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Showing posts from February, 2019

How I Got Started. . .

Stirring scenes like this one, courtesy of the late Peter Gilder, are largely responsible for the way I go about the wargaming hobby now.  Coincidentally, this is one of three early issues of Miniature Wargames that somehow turned up on the shelves of a hobby shop I frequented as a callow youth during the early 1980s.  I still have the original copies, #6, #7, and #12, although I have since replaced them with 'newer' less well-thumbed copies as I have filled in holes in the collection of hobby print matter.  Finally, I'll go out on a limb here and state that the covers of 'modern' wargaming magazines in current publication are rarely as charming or inspiring.

At its heart, my wargaming hobby stems from and grew out of playing with green, gray, and blue plastic toy soldiers, tanks, etc. as a child during the 1970s.  Probably like many of you  GD of S visitors.  I also have very vague recollections of paging through a Phillip O. Stearns (?) book on model soldiers a…

Retire vs. Retreat vs. Rout: Tentative Definitions and Further Explanation. . .

Ol' Frederick II leading his troops forward at Zorndorf, on foot no less, with renewed vigor.

Well, after information flooded in from various wargaming friends and acquaintances during the last 36 hour or so (Thank you, everyone!), I seem to have a better handle on the differences between these three terms.  I've cobbled together the working definitions and explanations below based on the responses to my question posed yesterday.  

Please feel free to leave any additional relevant comments as they occur to you, which might enable me to clarify things further.  New observations are welcome since many are well read and, no doubt, have a much better grasp of the subject than me.  

Remember, though, this is a work in progress by a dabbler and hobbyist (yours truly), so no one need tip over a figurative table full of figures and scenery in anger or annoyance like once happened long ago during the early days of the hobby as related by the late Donald Featherstone in a book or article(s…

Enter the Dragon!

The Young Master just post-introductory lesson in Tae Kwon Do.  A genuine smile instead of over the top clowning for the camera.

The Young Master, who has recently expressed an interest in the martial arts, tried out an introductory lesson of Tae Kwon Do this (Saturday) morning to see if it is a good fit for him.  He deals with a number of sensory and cognitive challenges, so we were not sure how things might go, but it seems Paul took right to it.  Besides giving him something to do that he enjoys, it will provide goals, focus, self-discipline, self-respect, and help with self-control things he has already grasped better after working with a Tae Kwon Do instructor one time.  A good good fit it seems, and I am so pleased for our son that I can hardly speak.  Wow!

-- Stokes

Retire vs. Retreat vs. Rout???

I actually enjoy these idealized old paintings of Famous Napoleonic battles more than cinematic attempts to render the same events.  Although I have not watched it in 20 years or more, I always find myself picking about Sergei Bondarchuk's version of Waterloo (1970), which seems to completely ignore most of the allied troops who were part of Wellington's army in Belgium that spring.

Revisiting three early issues of Miniature Wargames this morning, specifically a few related articles by Mark Clayton on Napoleonic troop morale, and I remain confused after all of these years.  1) What is the difference, within a horse and musket era context, between troops that retire, those that retreat, and those that rout, please?  2) How might you make these distinctions readily apparent in rules and on the tabletop?  Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

-- Stokes

The Joys of Amazon Giftcards. . .

One of the three sizes of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor brushes I ordered this afternoon.  Should have 'em by the weekend!

There is something nice about sitting on Amazon giftcards for a little while until clarity reveals what one ought to use them for.  Such was the case with a remaining Christmas gift from my in-laws this year.  I finally put together an order this afternoon to replace a few dried up, or soon to be, bottles of Citadel colors and also selected two of each of my three preferred brush sizes -- #1, #3, and #6 rounds.  

These are synthetic bristle brushes intended for watercolorists, but I have long used them for figure painting, and the points usually last long enough for three or four units, depending on the size, before they are relegated to the base-coating and dry-brushing jar.  They give me the results I seek and seem to provide a nice compromise between ready availability, durability, and usefulness on the one hand and price on the other.  I'll need …

A Lengthy Saturday Session. . .

The details are starting to make the composite grenadier battalion come together really nicely.


For good measure, here is another photograph to show how they look from behind.

A rare nine hours of uninterrupted sleep last night resulted in clear eyes, an unusually steady hand, and the patience for a lengthy session in the painting chair this afternoon.  

Some touching up to start, followed by lots of slow, painstaking attention to teasing fine lines of light brown onto canteen straps, white on cartridge pouch straps,  and dabbing bits of more white carefully onto fur-covered haversacks and musket straps.  My supply of hobby acrylic white is running out, so I made do for most of the latter with simple leather brown for the enlisted men.  I also hit the shoulder straps on the left shoulders since I was on a roll and lots of these things came together very quickly.  It is not always so!

Still a few things to do, but we're staring to see some light at the end of the painting tunnel!  Time…

A Scarlet Highlight Really Brings out the Reds!

Three photograph updates showing where things stand with the composite battalion of Kurkoeln (left) Hessen-Darmstadt (right) grenadiers.


Well, it took a while, but the red facings, turnbacks, and bags are done with dark red, red, and a dot or two (or a very careful short dash) of pure scarlet highlight to make the red really stand out.  Still a number of steps to go until they are finished and ready to gloss, but they are finally starting to look like something.  Next: touching up the black areas and dark brown musket stocks before moving onto the white highlight for the shoulder belts.

-- Stokes

Only -6 Degrees Fahrenheit in the Grand Duchy This Morning. . .

The view from our front porch a short while ago this afternoon at about 1pm.  A high temperature of about 16 F. is forecast for today, almost 30 degrees warmer than yesterday, so the three of us are headed out to ski later this afternoon once the Grand Duchess and Young Master arrive home.

Frigid winter weather provides the perfect excuse for extra time at the painting desk.  After all, one can hardly be asked to go (ok, 'sent') outside to clean out the gutters or engage in other kinds of domestic husbandly pursuits that, if we are honest, many husbands/male partners would rather not do.  So, I too have been plugging away with the 30 or so grenadiers in the composite battalion currently on the table.  

Most of my efforts the last few days have gone into getting the facings and turnbacks started with a dark red -- Citadel's Khorne Red -- which will then get a dash of Evil Sunz Scarlet applied very sparingly atop that.  I've also started to clean up figures here and there …