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Back in the Painting Saddle. . .

It's hard to beat the richness of oil-based metallics.  The Minden mounted colonel that I worked on yesterday evening.  He ought to look pretty good when finished.

I spent a pleasant hour or so last night, following The Young Master's bedtime, carefully teasing tiny bits of Winsor & Newton, or perhaps Grumbacher, gold and silver oils onto the mounted Austrian officer, who will oversee the composite battalion of Minden Austrian grenadiers.  They, of course, are the fellows in the foreground.

Those of you with longer memories might recall that these miniatures have been on the painting table since January.  Real life, however, has meant that progress has been at a standstill since late February.  I even put them away in a box for a couple of months to reduce dust and cat fur build-up!  

However, I managed to get my seat back into the painting chair last night, and here we are.  A steady hand, despite the usual after dinner infusion of strong dark roast coffee, meant only one m…
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Almost Free for the Summer. . .

The Elstermuehl near Plessa in Brandenburg.  I really like the colors and silhouette of the main part of the the building where the waterwheel is.

Well, only a conference presentation -- on reading compliance among undergrads --  remaining tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, and then I am relatively free until mid-August when it all begins again.  A little time daydreaming today about a few more buildings I want to tackle this summer along with wrapping up those various painting odds and ends.  And Crann Tara shall soon release several new batches of figures!  The two I have my eye on are a generic mounted officer and another on foot peering through a telescope, both wearing open greatcoats.  Imagine the possibilities for those two!  In the meantime, here are a bunch of photos on which I'll base those three or four new structures.  I think it's going to be a good few months.

-- Stokes

A couple of photographs of the same old half-timbered warehouse in Klaipeda (ex-Memel) now and then.


Reports of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. . .

'Tafelrunde' by Adolph von Menzel.  Very loosely translated, the title means something along the lines of dinner table conversation.  In any case, a pleasing representation of ol' Fred, Voltaire, and others chewing the fat during a meal.

Here we are.  Almost May, and I realize that I have done nothing hobby-wise since late February.  The usual onslaught of family and work life as I have written many times before along with a health scare for ol' Mom in March.  Things have settled down in recent weeks however, and there is some light at the end of the tunnel.  Classes for the spring semester are now over, and barring a few last pieces of final grading, an approaching conference presentation, the conclusion of a hiring committee, together with a faculty mentoring group I've recently been part of, it's time to dive back into some toy soldiering.  

So, where am I again?  Well, besides picking up the paintbrush to finish the last few items on that composite battalion …

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