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Officers, NCOs, and Musicians in Progress. . .

  The number of small details to attend to with musicians, officers, and NCO's is always surprising even though they do not carry muskets or kit. S omewhat more sporadic painting this last week due to the start of the fall semester/term, but the long Labor Day holiday weekend here in the U.S. has permitted a number of 30 to 60-minute sessions in the painting chair thus far.  So, we're getting nearer to the glossing and permanent basing stage.  I need to check what I have in the way of bases and put in an order to Litko if necessary. A few tiny touch-ups to make here and there, but I'm relatively pleased with the way the drummers are shaping up.  For the red, white, and blue drum hoops and white cords I reached for a very, very tiny sable brush that has not seen use in at least 20 years.  Consisting of just a few hairs (12?  24?), it certainly helped although I don't think the results will win any painting awards.  But they look about right at arm's length and give a
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Fooling with Fotor. . .

  A cropped close-up of a previous shot shared here several days back.  Not perfect painting by any stretch, but good wargaming quality figures with some added tiny details. A sunny, hot Sunday here in The Grand Duchy.  The Grand Duchess and Young Master have headed off somewhere in the car, so yours truly is left with a good chunk of unstructured quiet time in which to paint and write (hobby-related stuff).   Before that, I've messed a bit more with the new Fotor photo editing and graphic design subscription to experiment a both with cropping and close-ups.  The application seems to do very nicely adjusting the raw images as you go along.   And, of course, highlighting not only your painting successes, but also the minute flubs and gaffs with the brush that you never notice at the time, but spot in an instant when looking at later photos.  Ah, well.  Being a slave to perfectionism means nothing ever gets done.   En masse, the figures will look fine once glossed, based, and arrayed

Officers, NCOs, and Musicians. . .

Fotor is my new online editor of choice.  Not completely free (US$39.99 per year), but fairly intuitive and nice, bright results.  Better even than Pixlr X.  You get what you pay for I suppose.   M aking time for painting in and amongst all of the last minute preparations for the new semester, which kicks off next Wednesday, September 1st here at MSU.  Working on completing my version of the Schaumburg-Lippe infantry with officers, NCOs, and musicians.  The flags will probably be the final cherry on top before glossing and permanent basing. The 48 infantry privates have, by the way, been stowed away in a plastic carrier for safe keeping until the later glossing stage.  My work area was becoming too crowded, and I feared cats, 11-year old fingers, an errant spill or drops of paint would inadvertently spoil previous brushwork. But anyway. You can see that I am really making the effort to keep the highlighting more subtle than on units of the past, really just touching the brush to high p

48/62 Completed. . .

  Just 14 human figures plus two flags left to pain.  And a horse.  His name is Trigger.  Of course.  I wanna be a cowboy! U p very early today (5:15am) for two hours of quiet 'me time' before waking The Young Master for his first day of 6th Grade with breakfast and other related early morning activities.  Paul will turn 12 in a little over two months!  Where does the time go? Anyway, following a mug of coffee and email down here in Zum Stollenkeller , it occurred to me that I might as well spend an hour finishing the white hat trim on the remaining eight figures in the forefront of the photograph above.  With the exception of a few very minor touch-ups and cleaning up a few edges, I've now completed 48 figures for my version of The Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Infantry regiment.   The back of this particular project is now well and truly broken although drummers and flags always make me a bit nervous in the run up to tackling and completing these important components of a li

Nearing the Finish with Batch #3. . .

  H aving a "No Day" this Saturday, as my late mother would have put it.  Just saying no to everyone, everything, and enjoying some me time.  What better way to do that than to continue brushwork on the current batch of 16 figures?  I thought you'd agree. This time around, I tried taking pictures with my iPhone.  I think they are marginally better than those taken with my now venerable Sony Cybershot although I am not quite sure.  In any case, PixlrX still is not cooperating and refuses to open any of my images, so these are the raw pictures without any autofix, adjusting for brightness, or cropping.   Still, they provide a reasonable idea of where things are at the moment. Remaining tasks include the queues at the back as well as highlighting visible hair and curls at the temples, mustaches, and metallics (musket barrels and firelocks plus brass fittings, cartridge pouch badges, and the few visible buttons), plus the inevitable touch-ups.  And then I will be free to forg

Too Many Irons in the Fire. . .

  The third batch of 16 musketeers is well underway. T oo much 'real life' on my plate lately as the relatively free months of summer wind down, but I've still managed to find some time here and there for painting.   Playing with the order in which I do things this time to avoid later mistakes with the brush as I try to maneuver it into tight spots.  So, for example, I've decided to paint the dark brown undercoat for the figures' hair as well as the dark red undercoat for the neck stocks and coat collars BEFORE applying the fleshtone to faces and hands this time around.   Those two steps will come this evening.  Right now, the painting approach has been sort of backwards.  Usually, I prefer to paint the flesh areas sooner.  But you get to know the road, so to speak, when painting many of a certain figure pose. So, it made sense to modify the usual approach after completing the first 32 or so of these wonderfully detailed castings.   As with so much else in life, a d

A Tangled Mass: Pared Down Close Combat Rules. . .

Another rousing engraving by Adolph Menzel, showing a clash between cavalry and Infantry at The Battle of Leignitz  1) Declare charges at the start of a turn.  Move the charging unit half of its charge move toward the enemy target.   2) Place a purple Bingo chip behind charging units, as a reminder, before attending to other matters on the table during the turn.   3) Once events elsewhere have been seen to, check to see if charging  units actually close with intended targets for close combat.  Both players roll a D6 and move their units according to the following situations:   a. Charging Infantry versus Infantry in the Open Close combat occurs if both players manage to roll the same number on their respective D6s.  If not, the unit(s) facing the oncoming bayonet charge 'retire at the double' (Retreat!) directly to the rear while the charging infantry occupy and hold the vacated space if possible.  Lower quality troops (D. or E. class) facing an oncoming charge might rou

A Saturday Schaumburg-Lippe Painting Update. . .

  Just a few buttons and touch-ups to do before glossing.  I must admit to feeling very pleased with the way the white highlights atop the light gray undercoat have turned out.  Kind of inexact washes, which give a nice, slightly variegated look to the figures.  T he first 32 musketeers for my version of the Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Infantry are just about done save for the buttons, a few small touch-ups here and there, and the usual two coats of gloss before basing.   But no rest for the wicked!  I'm getting ahead of myself.  Still another 16 musketeers, three musicians, several officers and NCOS, and the colonel's horse before the regiment can take the field.  And the flags of course. Parenthetically, wouldn't that be a terrific name for an English pub in a village somewhere?  'The Colonel's Horse.'  It almost screams Midsomer Murders , Richard Jury, or Lord Peter Wimsey.  Digression seems to be a way of life around The Grand Duchy of Stollen lately.  As I w

A Tangled Mass: Evolving Close Combat Thoughts. . .

  Another atmospheric Menzel engraving, this time showing a Prussian infantry attack at The Battle of Leuthen.   A bit of an edit here since this was first posted earlier this week after a couple of comments and a bit of rethinking. . .      This particular facet of tabletop historical miniature wargaming, close combat, can get complicated fast.  But I have tried to keep things pared down enough to avoid getting bogged down during games and hold my son's interest (another reason for our fairly contained games with just a few units per side thus far).  Here goes: First, any charges are declared at the start of a turn.  We move the charging unit half of its charge move toward the enemy target.  Whether the charging unit can close with the enemy target, or not depends on a morale check at this halfway point. We place a colored Bingo chip (Paul likes these) behind charging units, as a reminder, before attending to other matters on the table during the turn.  Once those have been seen

A Tangled Mass: Cannon Fire. . .

  Another Menzel engraving, this time featuring Prussian horse artillery in action. I n keeping with simplicity and ease, here are the rules for artillery that Young Master Paul and I use currently. Cannon Fire (D6 per gun.)  Close Range -- D6 = # of hits  Medium -- D6 –3 = # hits  Long -- D6 –4 = # hits Once again, very simple and easy to recall without straying into overly complex territory.  We do not differentiate between different sizes or calibers, and at close range cannon are assumed to be firing canister, case shot, or similar.   We use the usual saving throw table here too with each figure 'hit' allowed to roll a save.  Actual kills are recorded on the order-roster sheets that I print out before each game  Although my batteries typically feature two guns and about 13 crew, including a mounted officer, The Young Master and I usually just have one gun and crew each since most of our games have been modestly sized up to this point.  As I mentioned in the previous post,

A Tangled Mass: Skirmish Fire

Not a Menzel print, sadly, but these pandours from 1742 (by Knotel) do nicely. H ere are some very simple rules for skirmish fire between light infantry formations.  As with the previous rules for volley fire by line infantry regiments, The Young Master and I use saving throws for each hit scored.  You win some, you lose some as the saying goes.  Anyway, here is how we figure out individual aimed skirmish fire:   Skirmish Fire (D6 per figure firing) Close Range -- 4, 5, or 6 hit Long -- 5 or 6 hit   Saving Throws for Skirmish Fire (D6 per figure hit) Close Range -- 5 or 6 save Long  -- 4, 5, or 6 save   Probably not scientific, super realistic, or statistically sound but easy to remember, quick, and fun nevertheless.  As Charles S. Grant has advised in his rules and writing, Young Master Paul and I do not include much light infantry in our small games here in The Grand Duchy since these troops were relatively few in number during the mid-18th century.  Although I have more ligh

A Painting Update for July 27th. . .

  Here's where things stand by the evening of July 27th. A couple of pleasant painting sessions in the ol' chair yesterday.  One in the afternoon, and another during the mid-evening after The Young Master's bedtime and a walk around the neighborhood.  Still lots to do, of course, but the first 32 of the musketeer figures are coming together. A couple of painting points.  One, various sources differ on the color scheme of the hat pompoms and tassels of the Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Infantry.  Some say these were plain white, others suggesting red and white.  I've opted for the former (actually white atop a light gray undercoat).   Likewise, when it comes to the jacket lapels, sources indicate either red, blue, or none at all.  After double-checking, I went back and repainted them dark blue, highlighted sparingly with a mid-blue to match the rest of the coats.  Neck stocks too seem open to question when it comes to color.  I went for red this time around as a change fr

A Tangled Mass: Volley Fire

  An old engraving by Adolph Menzel depicting Prussian infantry preparing to fire on (presumably) Austrian cavalry [Thank you for the confirmation!]. T he Young Master and Grand Duchess are out doing mother-son things this Saturday afternoon, so before returning to the painting table and those Schaumburg-Lippe infantry, I thought I would begin sharing a bit more about the emerging and ever evolving rules for the games that my son and I occasionally stage. In much the same way as approaches to painting our miniatures, the discussion of rules and the thought behind them is a fascinating part of the historical wargaming hobby in my humble view.  So, here goes. First, these rules -- currently given the working title A Tangled Mass -- are not revolutionary and clearly owe a lot to numerous predecessors, most notably Featherstone, Bath, Young & Lawford, a bit of the Grants, Asquith, Gilder, Protz, Purky, Hyde, Flint, and most recently Messrs. Whitehouse & Foley.  Given all of that, p

A Schaumburg-Lippe Painting Update. . .

  Coming along slowly, but surely.  Some highlights at this point help bring the far from finished second batch of figures to life.   F airly quiet here for the last few weeks on the toy soldiering front.  The Young Master, like so many other children in 2021, is over-scheduled and has a lot on his plate during his summer vacation, so we have yet to return to the table, or continued painting of his Prussian garrison regiment.  Sigh.  Mowing, yard work, and tending flower beds has also occupied a lot of Bad Dad's (Paul's nickname for yours truly) time since late June. But, the last few evenings have seen me return to the painting chair for some more work on the second batch of 16 Minden Prussians with Swedish cuffs, which are being painted at the Schaumburg-Lippe Infantry Regiment.  At this point, they look like an awful lot of Prussian, Hessian, and other northern German infantry of the period, but the flags, when I get to that stage, will set them off nicely. I recall reading

The Raid That Almost Happened. . .

    B ut didn't.   Everything was all laid out yesterday by midday for a small raid scenario, but fate intervened.  The Young Master, as 11-year old boys are wont to do, made some very questionable choices elsewhere here in The Grand Duchy, which forced the planned game to be postponed while the three of us sorted through things, discussing choices, expected behavior, and who can change his behavior in the process.  Sigh.   As you can see, everything was ready to go, including two small raiding parties made up of various light troops, a small unassuming village, and even some of my supply wagons painted back in 2013, plus the ol' balsa windmill, now affixed to an irregularly shaped 3mm ply Litko base that badly needs some landscaping.   In addition, I managed finally to whittle my rules down to one side of a single reference sheet (reduced from five pages), with room for a couple of Adolf Menzel period specific line drawings of battle scenes AND finally came up with a neat titl

Der Schlacht Der Blasthofheide: A Post-Game Report. . .

Young General Paul von Stollen drafts orders for his units before the start of the game.   Turn One: Let the game begin!  Our initial dispositions astride the dried up River Blast.  It has been a dry summer in this small corner of Europe. About two turns in, von Stollen contemplates his next move as the respective advance guards approach Blasthof Bridge and nearby farm. Von Stollen rolls to see if he can hit anything with his lone cannon.  And a miss.  Ha!  Lucky for ol' General Phillipe de Latte, the D6 came up short. About Turn Five, the game got interesting.  Here, the two commands close in on the bridge and farm beyond.  De Latte's squadron of Batthyanyi Dragoons manage to charge home after enduring a volley from part of von Stollen's Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's Own) Grenadiers.  Thanks to saving throws, the musket volley inflicted no casualties. The situation heats up as a firefight breaks out between von Stollen's company of jaegers and elements of de Latte