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Showing posts from January, 2009

Coming Attractions

A couple of 18th century grenadiers -- Not Prussian but Hessian (Shock! Horror! Gasp!) -- with some jaeger standing in the background in honor of Zvezda's forthcoming release. Another week has just finished, and while it didn't strike me as particularly packed with activity or terribly busy, it's sometimes amazing how little seems to have been accomplished in any given seven-day period. . . on all fronts! But, my recent opponent, the good Major Wolfgang von Hirschbiegel, and I have been discussing the preliminaries of a joint project that is related to the recently concluded battle, so I guess things have not been entirely inert. More on this later when we have a bit more direction. And as a taste of other things yet to come, I thought I'd mention just a few additional points of interest this evening before the Grand Duchess and I sit down to dinner. First of all, look for an after action report of sorts on the recently concluded Action at Pickelhaubewicz, in wh

A Communique from Major von Hirschbiegel. . .

At the Field Headquarters of Major von Hirschbiegel, the young officer with the flag of truce is kept waiting for several minutes, perhaps in a show of superiority, but more likely so that a tailor may quickly sew the appropriate additions to the uniform of the second officer of the Grenadiere zu Pferde and may locate the various commanders in the confusion of smoke that cloaks the village and firing lines, so that Zichenau may present the appropriate number of unit commanders present behind the Major when the young courier is received. It wouldn’t do to show any weakness. The missive delivered, a period of calm and quiet extends as Major von Hirschbiegel dispatches a courier of his own towards the west, to bring news of the situation to the main army as it continues its advance towards the field of battle, and convenes a council of his officers. Upon completion of the council, a missive is delivered to the courier for return to von Grundig. . . My Dear Colonel von G

Colonel von Grudig Takes Stock of the Situation. . .

This photograph gives you a very good sense of how close in size the Revell 1/72 SYW figures are to the classic 30mm Spencer Smiths. Stollen's Colonel von Grundig calls a quick consultation with the officers commanding his various regiments. In view of the general carnage experienced by both sides, and the futility of the situation in and around Pickelhaubewicz, the Colonel and his officers agree to concede the battle. Von Grundig has no wish to squander the rest of his army against a foe so firmly ensconced within a defensive position. The Colonel and his officers propose a solution to Major von Hirschbiegel. Beneath a banner of white, the Stollenians agree to grant control of Pickelhaubewicz to Major von Hirschbiegel and his Stollenians, ask to collect their dead and wounded from the field, and request that they be permitted to withdraw from the field unmolested in the gentlemanly spirit of the age. Colonel von Grundig, in the meantime, sends another courier to the Grand D

Carnage all around!!!

Both the Stollenians, under the despondent Colonel von Grundig, and the Zichenauers, commanded by the dynamic Major von Hirschbiegel, suffered heavy casualties from musketry, artillery fire, and melee this turn. Zichenau's 11th Hussars suffered two casualties at the hands of Stollen's 4th Dragoons (Squadron B). However, Squadron A, 4th Dragoons was wiped out by grenzer fire from the church and double-townhouse. Ouch! Stollenian artillery fire inflicted 3 casualties though on the enemy grenzers stationed in the village church, reducing its garrison to a mounted colonel and company officer on foot. Meanwhile, Stollen's Von Laurenz Musketeers scored four hits on the detachment of The Newts in the village post office, however they suffered 6 casualties at the hand of those same men. And to the southeast of Pickelhaubewicz, Major von Hirschbiegel's detatchment of Irish grenzers in the copse have just about reduced the fighting effectivenes of von Grundig's remainin

The good Major waits no more. . .

Stollenian dragoons charge the enemy hussars from the Electorate of Zichenau on the northeastern corner of Pickelhaubewicz, hoping to drive them off and attack Major von Hirschbiegel's infantry, who currently hold the village, from behind. Let's get back to the Action at Pickelhaubewicz, shall we? When last we left the action, battle was raging fiercely around this small postal and coach stop along the road toward the Stollenian frontier. The Stollenian 4th Dragoons had come to grips with Zichenau's 11th (Prinz Albrecht's) Hussars just to the northeast of the village, ensuring a sharp cavalry melee, while Major von Hirschbiegel had strengthened his positions within the four buildings that comprise Pickelhaubewicz. To the east of the village, Stollen's Colonel von Grundig pulled his Jaeger zu Fuss back to take up position on the left flank of the Von Laurenz Musketeers . And on the heights overlooking Pickelhaubewicz, his half-battery of foot artillery awaits

New 18th Century Plastic Figures!

Just a quick post to direct those of you who don't already know about this new venture to The Wargames Factory in Malden, Massachusetts, USA. Their link is: . Howard and his two partners are offering hard plastic 28mm figures for the Seven Years War and, I believe, the War of Spanish Succession on a basis similar to Eureka Miniatures' 100 club. If there is enough interest in a range, and enough orders are placed, a limited run of the figures in question will be produced and the orders filled. Wargames Factory is also offering the possibility of figures for a number of other periods too. I have no connection to these guys, but it would be great to see their operation get off the ground. And, of course, it's exciting to learn of more 18th century plastics without waiting for the Perry's or Victrix to decide on the viability of even producing masters for such figures, much less the actual sprues. My only reservation is that t

The 18th century? What's the Fascination?

Hessian musketeers by All the King's Men Toy Soldiers of Snellville, Georgia, U.S.A. Just a quick post post today, but I thought the above question might be interesting food for thought. Obviously, there is an array of possible periods, theaters, and conflicts that might catch our eyes. But what is it about the era 1700-1799 -- either real, or imagined? Is it the commanders and politics? The fairly straightforward tactics? The myriad of uniforms and flags? The variety and scope of the conflicts? The patchwork of various and sundry petty states, (at least in Central Europe)? I'm very interested to learn your thoughts. Don't be a lurker! Please leave a comment -- or even two or three. Have a nice day everyone!

Stollenian Errata. . .

Groan -- I had intended to get in several turns with Jonathan. . . er, Major von Hirschbiegel this weekend in our Action at Pickelhaubewicz game, which has been waiting patiently in the next room, to say nothing of the good Major. But, as you know, the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions! Still, it has not been an entirely unproductive weekend here in Stollen Central. The extreme cold has moderated somewhat, so Zum Stollenkeller is less cold that it has been for the past few days, which enabled me to sit at the computer for some time and do some long delayed work. The result of all this has been the introductory section of the slowly developing book, which now has a title I like and an introduction that lays out what the book is about in a reasonably nice way. It fits the rest of the material that I have developed in the last 14+ months pretty well, if I do say so myself. It looks like we are getting somewhere! Bet, admittedly, I have some big shoes to fil

It's like that sleigh scene in Dr. Zhivago!

At the moment, 6:57am, it is -19 degrees Fahrenheit here in Bloomington, Illinois with (wait for it) a -41 degree windchill! This is Minnesota cold!!! My classes for today have been canceled by my college, so at the moment I'm finishing my mug of coffee before returning to bed. Princess Rannveig, our steadfast kitty, has had the same idea and headed there already to warm up the foot of the bed. Look for some remarks here on those wargaming books I ordered a few days ago from They arrived yesterday, and I spent last evening poring through them and making a few notes. Early verdict? Interesting, but definitely not The War Game Companion by any means.

Leavin' on a jet plan. . . and a New Look for the Grand Duchy of Stollen Blog!

The Grand Duchess is on her way to Seattle, Washington as we speak. Well, I put the Grand Duchess on a plane this morning, and returned home for the final day of my Christmas/Winter Break (my classes begin tomorrow). She's on the way to Seattle, by way of Chicago O'Hare , where she'll be visiting her parents and sister for ten days. So, it's just me and the grand ducal feline, Princess Rannveig , until next Thursday evening. That means painting and gaming galore -- get ready Jonathan-- it's John Wayne starring in Back to Pickelhaubewicz ! So, I have a few things to take care of today, along with a phone call to an old friend from school (we've known each other 30 years as of last September), and then the decks are clear for more idle pursuits like painting and rolling handfuls of dice. I made a big order to this morning, using a Christmas gift certificate from my mother and step-dad, and there are some good titles on the way, including the double

Another Lovely Arrival to the Grand Duchy of Stollen. . .

Not much gaming or painting here since we returned from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and skiing last Tuesday. But, yesterday's mail brought the Battlegames Table Top Teaser special! So, I turned in early last night with my usual mug of coffee, tuned the radio to Cuba for some news about Fidel and Salsa music, and read from cover to cover. Fantastic photographs, engaging writing, and additional pieces on the TTT's made it almost as if I was reading each teaser for the first time. And when the kitty joined us on the foot of the bed a little later, the evening was about as close to perfect as you can get. My oldies band The Indras is gathering today to record seven or eight songs for eventual transferral onto CD's, so yesterday was spent gathering the things we'll need for the session, practicing a few bass parts, and reviewing the necessary lyrics. However, I did manage to snatch an hour to paint GW Goblin Green onto the bases of the next company of von Flickenhof

Christmas is not quite over yet. . .

Guess what arrived in the mail a little while ago? Yes, C.S. Grant's recent new book -- The War Game Companion ! It seems the Grand Duchess is full of surprises and ordered the book a month or so ago, but it was out of stock at that time. Well, I don't know what to say except that it is packed with all kinds of lovely photographs and fascinating information on Charles S. Grant's games, gaming history, gaming rationale, and much else. As I said to my wife after I kissed her and thanked her profusely, "Well, I'll see you next week. I'm going to lie down and have a closer look at this." So, do I try to paint this evening, get the Action at Pickelhaubewicz with Jonathan Broadus rolling again, or retire to bed early with a cup of coffee and this book? Hmmm. . . Decisions, decisions!

Snow, snow, snow!!!

The Grand Duchess and I are back in Central Illinois after several days of skiing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and extreme northern Wisconsin, and it was as close to perfect skiing as you can find (See the photograph above!). Very cold with fresh snow, freshly groomed trails, not too much wind, and not too many other skiers. You can't really tell from the photograph here, but there were about three-four feet of snow on the ground. We purchased three-day passes to ski at ABR Trails in Ironwood, Michigan, a place that has 60 kilometers of groomed trails. It's not as big a ski area as some, but there was certainly enough varied terrain to keep us busy exploring it for the three days. Using a trail map, we worked out that we skied almost all of it from Saturday through Monday -- 46 kilometers for me and over 50 for the Grand Duchess. What a shame it's an eight hour drive north of us because I'm all ready to hit the trails again this coming weekend! Arguably,

Happy New Year from the Grand Duchy of Stollen!

Can you believe it's 2009 already? Why, it seems like only yesterday when everyone was talking about Y2K and all of the coffee makers of the world going crazy or something. Strange. In any case, amid the excitement of the current play-by-email game taking place between the Grand Duchy of Stollen and the Electorate of Zichenau , I thought it would be a nice idea to pause and reflect briefly on the previous year here in my little corner of the world. 2008 was a good year here at Stollen Central, both in the spare "Purple Room" at our old apartment, and since early April here in Zum Stollenkeller , a large, finished basement with five different rooms where I have set up my office, a semi-permanent gaming room, and a rehearsal space for my amateur oldies rock & roll band, The Indras . It's more than I ever hoped for, and I feel very lucky. And before anyone mentions it, yes, I feel extremely fortunate to have a wife like the lovely Grand Duchess Sonja, who act