We've had several nice, quiet winter days here at Stollen Central since Christmas Day, which have given me time to tinker with upcoming vignettes in preparation for painting and some online research with regard to suitable pieces for the long-planned supply and pontoon train. As you might recall, the Grand Duchess got me off to a good start with the latter, presenting me with two each of the Fife&Drum powder wagons and pontoon wagons for Christmas.
Besides, suitable horse teams, I will also order a third pontoon wagon, and see if I might be able to order an additional 3-4 pontoons by themselves. I'll also look and see about what figures in the Minden Range SYW range might be suitable for conversion to pontoniers. As many of you will undoubtedly agree, planning ahead constitutes a large part of the fun to be found in the wargaming hobby.
Where the rest of the supply train is concerned, I've combed the net and decided on several wagons and carts by Old Glory and Blue Moon. The painted models look good online , the prices seem very reasonable, and, in most instances, they come with the horse teams. I'll need to double-check, but the drivers and/or drovers might need to come from the Minden Miniatures range, but that's certainly not a problem. So, if 2013 was the year of vignettes, both officers and civilians, 2014 is going to be the year of the bridging and supply trains. By the way, you can read about my (ongoing) vignettes project and see a boatload of photos by having a look through the 2014 Wargamer's Annual. Ok, grotesque and downright sad Miley Cyrus-like self-promotion over.
So, what else is on tap for 2014 and, in all probability, 2015? First and foremost, there are four final vignettes awaiting completion on the painting table right now. Three of these are officers, and the fourth will be the Minden gentlemen and ladies, two of each, given to me for Christmas by the Young Master. Next up are 8-10 RSM, Minden, and Fife&Drum figures on horseback, which will become Aide de Camps on single bases. Third, we've got all of those wagons and carts, which I'll order after the first of the year. These will probably take most of 2014 to paint and complete, although I will not be teaching a May Term course this spring for the first time in eight years, so there will be an extra month of available time there.
During the second half of 2014, it will be time to paint another 80-figure infantry regiment to bring the Electorate of Zichenau's infantry contingent up to full strength. This unit will be made up of RSM Prussian and Austrian figures that have been languishing around Zum Stollenkeller for several years now. No new purchases necessary. The four companies will each wear a slightly different uniform, much like many of the contingents that made up Reichsarmee formations during the mid-18th century. There will also be a 32-figure militia battalion made up of Fife&Drum and Minden figures, some of which the Young Master also gave me this Christmas.
And finally, to go with the Minden blacksmith, his assistant, and the horse they are reshoeing, and which I purchased last January but have not quite finished, I plan to order the 30mm Prussian field forge from Berliner Zinnfiguren in Germany. Not a cheap item, especially when postage and handling are factored in, but it's just one of those things you've got to have if you are modelling some of the various support elements that might accompany an 18th century army in the field. We can blame Der Alte Fritz for sowing this particular seed when he shared a photo of this particular piece on his Hesse-Seewald blog a few years back!
Anyway, you see now why I am going with an 18-month or two-year plan instead of the more usual 12-month look forward. Since I've fallen off the straight and narrow here the last year or so where organization, time management, and painting diligence are concerned, I'll need to make up a new painting progress chart for all of this, much like the one I used during the 5+ years or so it took me to complete the initial and primary part of the Grand Duchy of Stollen Project, i.e., two Charge-sized armies of 25-30mm metal and plastic figures. In a nutshell then, here is what we are talking about for the next 18-24 months:
1) Finish the final four vignettes (three of officers, one of civilians)
2) 8 single-based ADCs
3) 3 pontoon wagons with extra pontoons, teams, drivers, and pontoniers
4) 9 supply wagons and carts, teams, drivers
5) 80-figure infantry unit
6) 32-figure militia unit
7) Berliner Zinnfuguren 30mm Prussian field forge
Beyond 2015, it looks like I'll finally come back to some cavalry to round things out and then stop painting for a little while to work on some other part of the GD of S Project. There are, at present, about 90 unpainted cavalry castings in the lead (RSM) and plastic (Spencer Smith) pile here, one of hussars and two of dragoons. By the time I finish painting those, it will be high time to take a break from the painting table for a while, catch my breath, and hopefully get in more games than is usually the case. Beyond that, who knows? But whatever happens, I'll remain in the mid-18th century. Historical or ahistorical, it just feels right to me.
But that's getting a little ahead of ourselves, isn't it? Speaking of Miss Cyrus above, I've got to "twerk" my way upstairs to the kitchen now. It's twenty minutes to five o'clock in the afternoon here, growing dark, and time to refresh myself with a fresh mug of coffee, a glass of eggnog (or maybe both?), and a couple of pre-supper pfeffernusse. I'm planning on 90 minutes or two hours at the painting table his evening after the Young Master's bedtime -- to begin work on a Doug Mason-inspired vignette -- before the Grand Duchess and I meet for a drink of something medicinal beneath the Christmas tree about 10pm.