Monday, 31 December 2007

A Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year, to One and All!!!

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Leibgarde Grenadiers and IR 2 von Wöhl


I'm in the final stage of the tower project - completing the main porticoed entrance. While various glues, potions and pigments were drying I finally based-up the Leibgarde Grenadiers and IR 2 von Wöhl. Both regiments are passing in review above before moving off to barracks. The command element for the Bishop's Horse is in the early stages of painting. As the Holger Eriksson figures are single-piece castings, they'll require a slightly different approach than RSM95. Once these are done, it's on to the first line regiment of the Margrave of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl's army, which will be composed of Spencer Smith miniatures. Pictures at 11...
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The tower has been removed from the off-cut (using a subtle blend of care and moderate violence) ready to be mounted on a new larger section of 4mm plywood. This will leave space for a second, smaller building and a short length of paved road that will lead through a gateway and run in front of the tower.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

The Tower project - a little further on...


After a bit of experimentation and thought, I decided not to use single strips of card for the majority of the tiling but instead to make individual rectangles which were then glued into place. Believe me, it doesn't take that long to do! Each shingle/tile is measured out in a grid pattern to the dimensions required and then cut out en-masse using scissors. If you find you have too much after the work is done, put the excess in storage for the next roofing project.

Only the eaves are single pieces, mainly to create a base for the rest of the assembly. I glued this in place with impact adhesive and waited until it was completely firm before starting on the next stage. Working up toward the turret I dampened the strip and the thicker card beneath with a quick stroke from a brush then applied a light smear of PVA adhesive to the top half of the strip and the area of base card directly above. The area of the angles was kept clear as this would be where the ridge tiles would go.

Using the dampened end of a matchstick to pick up the tiles, I dabbed them into place one at a time, building up a rhythm and working fairly quickly to complete a row. The PVA soaks into the card quite quickly and stays wet enough for only a few minutes to allow the tiles to be slid into place if they're not quite correctly aligned. Although it doesn't matter too much if the tiles show gaps or a slight crookedness, the overall alignment is crucial. It's best to mark out lines on the base card to indicate where the rows should go, and as each new side is begun it pays to just check that the rows match those on the adjoining faces.

Once the tiling was in place, the curved ridges were added. These were simplicity itself to make, being just thin rolls of modelling clay cut to length and pressed into the card until firm. The tiles were shaped by rolling over the wet clay at an angle with a length of plastic tubing.

The card I used has a glossy side but this doesn't matter as a thin layer of diluted PVA was brushed over the whole surface, hardening it and preparing it for painting. When this has dried and set it's quite hard, a useful trait for what will be a wargaming model.

The overall effect is slightly rustic, as I wanted the tower to be a feature of some provincial town. Below the eaves can be seen the half-timbered gallery with the "wooden" beams cut from more thin card and given a light wash of diluted general purpose filler.

Friday, 28 December 2007

The Tower Project - A photo.

By popular request I now show the tower in the stage after the final major construction has been completed. The gray angled area of "roofing" around the lower part of the turret is actually thick card that is going to be the base of the tiling. The tiling itself will be made of strips of thin card cut to decreasing lengths (a supply of these is scattered around the worktop the tower stands on). Between the roofing and the first floor windows is the gallery fashioned from a rectangle of foam core, with corbels made of foam core off-cuts. I'm thinking of painting this in a half-timbered style. The small gray verticle rectangles on the wall of the turret are going to form the base for the four clock-faces. These will be taken from cut-out printed photos of a suitable period clock.
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I'm English and normally regard metric as the work of the Devil, although I concede it does have its uses in fine-scale modelling. And so I've used it here. Each strip is 7mm wide, with cuts made on one long edge every 4mm to a depth of 5mm to represent the individual tiles. The longest strip will run around the lower edge of the base area, with overlapping strips of decreasing length upwards from there, set about 5mm up from the edge of each lower run. Once these are fixed in place with contact adhesive, the whole will be painted (probably slate gray), given a black wash to pick out the "tiles" then varnished. A strip of tinfoil will be glued to the area between the tiling and the turret wall and painted to represent lead-sheet waterproofing.
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And then it's on to the door, the wall and gatehouse - and the actual paintwork for the tower.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Normal service...

...or what passes for it, is being resumed. The winter cold is relinquishing its grip and I was able to do a little work on the tower project today. All the component parts are now fixed together, and the base of the sloping roof connecting the main tower body with the turret is in place. Next, I'll fashion a suitable doorway, and a gateway for the short length of wall that will run from the tower base. The off-cut of plywood the tower was attached to warped, but luckily all the damage was at one end and was easily removed. I'll now glue the whole to a larger - stable - baseboard, and add smaller buildings to this. It'll fit in with the Shako rules which rates tabletop settlements by up to three sectors according to scenario - a sector being a group of buildings covering a few square inches.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

An ill wind.

A winter cold came from out of left field yesterday and took me in its clutches. Having to go into purdah to avoid spreading contagion around the family has put a crimp in my social activities over the holiday. It hasn't stopped me from picking up a brush.

The color parties for the Liebgarde Grenadiers and IR 2 von Wöhl are now complete, and both units are ready for basing. The grenadier company for IR 3 Bräbenachel is now done, and a start made on the command element of the Bishop's Horse. Depending on how I feel, I may have them finished by New Year's Day.

Monday, 24 December 2007

A Merry Christmas!


A Merry Christmas to all my fellow gamers and readers of the Hetzenberg Chronicles!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Progress report - 13.

The new Holger-Eriksson figures have had the heavy and rather clumsy flags and cavalry officer's sword removed and holes drilled for new brass rod staves. All these figures are now in the detergent soak. While they're enjoying that I returned to the tower project, fixing the dome and cupola to the turret body and coating it with filler mixed with shredded tissue and PVA. Once all is dried I'll fix this to the main tower and work on the roofing around it. I did raise the turret height by 3/8ths of an inch as this looks more in proportion to the rest.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Some comparison photos.

A squadron of the Bishop's Horse (RSM95) with Holger Eriksson figures.

The squadron with the command element, more Holger Eriksson's.
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For Jeff and others, here're a couple of clearer images to show the compatability between RSM95 figures (Hanoverian horse shown in the guise of the Bishop's Horse) and Holger Eriksson's sculpting. The bottom photo also shows what will be a command grouping of a general on foot with his mounted escort.
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All the figures are quite free of flash and molding lines. If I have a quibble it's in the detail of the swords carried or wielded by the officers - there isn't much. What flash and lines there were disappeared under the touch of the carborundum bit on my MINICRAFT drill. I plan to remove the heavy white metal flags from the guidon and standard bearers and replace them with my usual paper/foil sandwich versions fixed on brass rod. The cavalry officer's saber will be replaced likewise, either with flattened brass rod or a pin. I may leave the general's sword, as it resembles a gnarled walking stick. If painted up as one, it will add a touch of character to what is already a nice little figure.

Friday, 21 December 2007

The Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse - 2

The Bishop's Horse with new Holger Eriksson figures at the far end.


Closer but not much more detail...
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So here we are, the first public display by the good Bishop's bodyguard regiment. All that's needed now is a coat of varnish and the basework. The command element will come next, once the merry process of deflashing & degreasing is done. The HE figures are quite compatable with the RSM95, much to my relief.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

A good day.

Yesterday was a good day overall. In the morning I received my order of Spencer Smith/Holger Eriksson figures. In the afternoon I had some time to work on the Bishop of Guggenheim's Horse to a point where they're almost finished and to add the gallery to the tower. This evening I plan to finish the Horse and possibly base them. With the arrival of the Holger Eriksson figures I can then proceed to the command element.
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The Spencer Smith figures are best described as basic, but it was a real pleasure getting hold of some of these almost legendary figurines at last. The pictures in the wargames press and online show what can be done with some smart paintwork.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Tower Project - 3

The main components. The Grenadier company of IR 2 von Wöhl pose in front to show the scale.

Dry-run assembly.
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As my day job is winding down for the year I had a free afternoon again, so I turned my attentions to the tower once more. The modelling clay from which the onion dome was made had hardened overnight, and all that remained was some light sanding, scraping and filling where necessary. Shallow grooves were scored into the surface before sealing to represent copper plating, but the detail doesn't show here. The top picture shows the dome now attached to the cupola and sealed using two coats of diluted PVA adhesive. Normally these domes would have a weathercock finial, a crucifix or some similar ornament, but as this will be a wargames model I decided to keep it simple and omit details that can get snagged by passing sleeves!
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The round windows on the cupola are fashioned from Miliput epoxy modelling putty. I kneaded a batch together and pinched off small blobs, which I pressed onto the shell of the cupola. Using the cap off an old felt-tip pen in cookie-cutter fashion I cut out the round frame, peeling away the excess putty from the outer edge. A length of small-gauge plastic piping was used to fashion the inner window, cutting deep into the clay without going all the way through. The round blob that was left was then spread out to fill the frame using the blunt end of a paint brush. Four nicks were cut around the outer circle to represent the components of a stone frame and the whole coated with the ubiquitous PVA to seal the contact with the cupola shell. The center of each window will be painted to represent glass.
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The main body of the tower has now been enhanced by the addition of strips of "stonework" at the corners. These are simply made of thin card cut and bent to shape, glued in place using Evostik (or equivalent contact adhesive) then coated with more diluted PVA to strengthen them. Some of the windows now have frames, again of Milliput. I've not quite decided what to do about the windows cut into the topmost story. I may add an oriel window or a similar gallery that will fit under the eaves of the pitched roof which will join up to the central turret. This turret will have at least one clock face, located on the wall over the door. I may go crazy and put clock faces on all four walls. That decision's for tomorrow...

Monday, 17 December 2007

The Tower Project - 2


I decided to try using modelling clay to fashion the onion dome for the tower. A short length of dowelling was added to the cupola top and this was used much like a potter's wheel to fashion the basic shape of the dome. Some years ago I picked up a profile gauge (shown) for a bargain price. This handy little gadget has an array of fine steel bars which slide within the ruled casing, and allows the profile of any object to be recorded. I'm using this to fine-tune the tower shape so the profile matches all round.

* * * *

The next step will be to smooth the surface then score shallow lines over the dome to mimic the effect of copper plating. A couple of coats of diluted PVA or varnish will be brushed on, folowed by the paint and more varnish. The clay can chip or crumble if knocked so this will help preserve it.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

The Tower Project - 1

The shell of the upper turret.

The shell of the cupola.
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I've made a start on refurbishing the tower shown in an earlier picture. The main body of the upper turret level is made of foamcore, cut into equal rectangles, rabetted then glued using PVA. The cupola is cut from the thick inner card tube from a roll of labels, with thick card capping both ends. I want to cap the tower with an onion dome to follow the mitteleuropen Baroque style, but this poses the problem of how to approach it. A few ideas are bubbling away and I'll see which suits. I'm going to leave the cupola seperate to make it easier to model the dome then attach it to the turret and the whole to the main tower.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Horses and building courses.

Troopers of the Bishop of Guggenheim's Horse dance their version of the Maori Haka...

Their sturdy chestnut mounts await the fitting of bridle and tack.



The Grenadier company of IR 3 Bräbenachel take shape on the painting block.


The Tower Project.



So, I still haven't got access to a decent camera but the webcam gives an adequate image for now. I've adapted Jeff Bluebear's excellent suggestion of "tongue depressor" type splints, in this case using some strips of scrap 1/4-inch plywood to glue the riders' feet to. This method makes it so much easier to handle the figures in the course of painting.
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I begin with the undercoat, then I paint the faces and hands. From here I'll work "outwards," completing the breeches, the small clothes, the boots and the uniform coat and tricorn. Painting seperate portions of the figure allows the other recently-painted areas to dry off before going anywhere near them with different colored pigments. I work exclusively in acrylics using Vallejo Model Color, and Miniature Paints by Gamecraft. The latter's Type 32 Sand pigment is one of the most useful I've ever come across, especially for shading.
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The horses just need the bridle and tack painted in leather shade to complete them. I think the viewer can just make out the depth of shading given to the figurines by the multi-layer approach of ochre, red, brown and a final black wash. When I have more horses to paint, I'll do a step-by-step photographic guide.
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I had a batch of six grenadier figures left after completing the Leibgarde and the companies attached to the first two line regiments, so I began painting them as the grenadier company for the upcoming IR 3 Bräbenachel. All I need do now is buy some more of the delightful RSM95 range of figures to make up the rest of that regiment, and IR 4 von Kranke.
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The tower is a relic from an early period of my wargaming life, when I was younger, more foolish and nowhere near as competent as I am now with miniature building construction! What you see in the picture is all there is - I never got around to completing the roof. I've added the base of a rectangle of scrap 1/4-inch plywood for sturdiness. The model is based on a tower that featured in the 1813 Battle of Leipzig, but the picture I used is long gone. Having dug around the internet for images I've decided to settle for a Baroque style suitable for the 18th Century. I'll add a domed turret with cupola emerging from a pointed gray-slate roof, and a small ornate gateway to the stub of wall showing on the left of the tower. The windows will have frames around them made from of Miliput scored to look like stonework. The body of the wall will be painted a rich blood red in keeping with the style of the period with the stonework and other features picked out with ochre. Fingers crossed, it'll all come together...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Progress report - 13.

I got to work on the horses for the Bishop's troopers this evening. First I applied the black undercoat then a good coat of sandy ochre. This was followed by a light wash of red and a sloppy wash of chestnut. Whilst each wash was wet I wiped the flanks of the figures with a rag to remove most of the paint so the lighter colors beneath showed through. Each was allowed to dry before the next was applied. A final thin-ish wash of black overall and the main coloring was finished. The various layers give a life-like depth to the figures. The next stage will be the picking-out of tack and a few white markings on the animals.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Progress report - 12.


My day job has been busy again but I've made a bit more progress on the wargames figures, with the sturdy mounts of the Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse now under way. The body of the regiment will be mounted on chestnut horses and the command element on grays. I'm waiting for the officer, guidon and trumpeter Holge Eriksson figures to arrive from Spencer Smith, along with the first regiment of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl line infantry.

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With the first figures now complete I began to think of the setting they'll fight in. I remembered that years ago I began to construct a square tower based on one which featured in the 1813 Battle of Leipzig. Like many a wargames project, I never got to complete it but I came across it the other day, lurking in a corner of my workshed. I've now dusted it off and given it a critical assesment. I'm no Ian Weekly but I think I can finish it so it looks suitably mitteleuropen and of the period. With a few more buildings of the kind it'll make a good centerpiece for an urban area just right for fighting over.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Leibgarde Grenadiers and IR 2 von Wöhl.

Infantry Regiment 2 - von Wöhl.




Leibgarde Grenadiers - first company viewed from rear to front.
















By the way, that's not some strange Romanesque temple in the background - just the lower part of my painting block.

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With my girlfriend's absense at work and my own day job unexpectedly less busy I needed a way of distracting myself - and this is the result. After a productive couple of days I have completed the first part of the Leibgarde Grenadiers, and the rest are on the painting block with their black undercoat drying. IR 2 von Wöhl is entirely based now, and awaiting the arrival of their standard bearers - the delayed appearance caused, no doubt, due to more chicanery on the part of the devious Count Sleibnitz...
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As is only befitting their status I've painted the Leibgarde to a higher standard than the line. I decided to give them black gaiters as the effect makes them seem taller and more menacing when viewed from the front. French naval architects of the late 19th Century termed the philosophy "fierce face" - if it looks mean, it is mean. The Leibgarde wear white gaiters when on duty in the Ducal palace. Grand Duchess Irma thinks they look more splendid that way.

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Once the Leibgarde is completed I'll turn my attention to the famous Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse. These stalwart chaps and their sturdy mounts are even now soaking in hot soapy water, ready for their turn on the painting block. I think I'll have to come up with a modification to the dowel rod design to allow it to take cavalry. Do I mount the figures and paint them as a whole, or do I paint them seperately? Hmm...


Thursday, 6 December 2007

Progress report - 11.

Due to an unexpected light workload in the day job, I found myself at leisure this afternoon. Taking advantage of the time, I finished the main paintwork on IR 2 von Wöhl and made a fair start on the Leibgarde Grenadiers. All I need do now is apply the black wash to IR 2. Once the order arrives from Spencer Smith, I'll have the flag bearers and the regiment will be complete and ready for the basing materials to be applied.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

A work in progress...


The last half of IR 2 von Wöhl on the painting block, with the first half in front of the stand, all based up ready for flocking. My painting block is a fairly recent innovation for me. The design owes much to a laboratory test-tube rack. Each figurine is mounted on a 4-inch length of 1/2-inch dowel by means of a blob of re-usable putty. I embedded short lengths of thick plastic-coated wire in each dowel which hook over the figure bases as added security. The rods enable me to hold the figurines firm while I paint every angle. The rack can take up to 16 figurines, and the dowels sit in the holes so figures can dry as the next is painted. I've found it speeds-up the painting process quite markedly.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Progress report - 10.

The painting of IR 2 von Wöhl is almost finished, and should be complete by this weekend. I'm going to place an order with Spencer Smith for some Holge Eriksson standard bearers to complete the command element for this and the Liebgarde Grenadier regiment. The Eriksson range also has a rather fine cavalry officer with sword upraised on a galloping horse, and an infantry officer with a cane. He has such a brooding air about him I can readily picture him as a brigade commander, standing on a rise as he watches his regiments deploy for battle.

No further progress to report on the maps just now. I searched around the net and found some old maps of Germany which might be useful, but I lack time this week to experiment with them.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Progress report - 9.

The first half of IR 2 von Wöhl is complete and stuck to their bases. The second half is now on the painting block and undercoated. I'm lacking the two standard bearers I need for the regiment but I'll remedy that in the fullness of time. After some thought I decided not to add red piping to the facings as I think they look fine in the original pattern. Meanwhile, I decided the Liebgarde Grenadiers will be the next unit to step up to the plate, and they're now in the degreasing soak.

My thoughts have turned once again to the matter of the campaign map. I'm toying with the idea of using the Google map finder to lift an image of a suitable area from modern Germany and using my paint program to impose a hexagon pattern on it for movement, resources, etc. Has anyone else tried this method? If so, how did it go?


Friday, 30 November 2007

Update...

I hope to finish the first batch of IR 2 von Wöhl by Sunday. At the moment I'm wayyy too busy at the day job and that strange thing called "Christmas shopping" rears its ugly head tomorrow. Even so, I plan to add some RSM95 figures to my collection to make up the Hetzenberg first infantry brigade sometime early in the New Year.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Progress report - 8.

Infantry Regiment 1: Sleibnitz.

As Count Sleibnitz leads his men off to barracks, I'm concentrating on IR 2 von Wöhl. Half the regiment (a batch of 12 figures) are almost complete. The figures themselves differ slightly from the uniform pattern shown in an earlier posting in that they have facings. These will be painted black to match the cuffs and turnbacks, and will have edges of red piping. The gaiters are also lighter in shade than Sleibnitz's regiment, but this is just a unit peculiarity in the days before strict standardization - not that any army in the world can enforce strict standardization.

Once von Wöhl's regiment is complete, I will be faced with a choice - to paint The Leibgarde Grenadiers, or The Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse. Decisions, decisions...







Monday, 26 November 2007

Sleibnitz - Based.


All painted and properly based, Hetzenberg IR 1 Sleibnitz marches off the painting board, Colonel-Inhaber Count Sleibnitz at the head of the column. Its place has already been taken by the first companies of IR 2 von Wöhl.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Progress report - 7.

Both the IR 1 Sleibnitz and the Union regiment are now based. I even found time to make a start on IR 2 von Wöhl. No progress on the Daftest Africa buildings. There just ain't enough hours in the day this time of year...

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Progress report - 6.

The basing-up process on IR 1 Sleibnitz is underway. To make the most of the opportunity I'm basing a 25mm Union army unit at the same time. My preference is to use plasticard bases which I then cover with spackle, Tetrion or a similar filler mixed with PVA as a plasticizer. The mix is made up to a moderately stiff consistency, which I push around and over the bases of the figures with an old brush. A coat of really thin filler and diluted PVA is applied once the material is set. This is then painted in earth colors using acrylics, and more PVA is used in patches to create a grassy effect. I add small stones and sisal to the ACW bases as it suits the milieu.
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At the New Buckenham club last night some of us tried out the Guns at Gettysburgh rules and reached a favorable opinion of them. I'm looking forward to trying them for myself. I fought an Armati ancients game, Anglo-Saxons vs. Normans and got royally whupped! Unless the Saxons can anchor both flanks on impassable terrain and put their best troops in shield wall in the front ranks, it just becomes an academic exercise in discovering how long they can last before the Norman cavalry flank them and roll up the whole darn line...

< sigh >

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow gamers in the United States!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Progress report - 5.

Nothing much doing here for a while. The day job is really busy now and likely to remain so until after Christmas, which kinda restricts my painting/model-making activities to weekends. I plan to go to the wargames club on Friday evening, and this weekend I'll put the basing material on IR 1 Sleibnitz. The first batch of twelve figures of IR 2 von Wöhl are mounted on the painting block ready for their undercoat. Time allowing, I'll experiment with making some foamcore model buildings for my Daftest Africa set-up.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Hetzenberg Infantry Regiment No. 1 - Sleibnitz.


Here at last are the pictures of IR 1 Sleibnitz, fresh off the painting table! The base material of spackle and flocking has yet to be added to the plasticard bases, but you get the general idea of presentation. Both regimental and Ducal colors came out a treat. The 1-inch square colors are only lightly touched-up; the most I did was to add the silver borders.
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These have been excellent figures to paint. I did notice a few idiosyncracies, which add to the charm. The grenadiers are as tall, eye level-to-eye level, as the musketeers, but their bases are thinner, making them appear somewhat shorter. Their mitre caps compensate for this nicely. The ensigns are obviously young chaps, eager to advance to glory. The drummer (yellow coat, behind the colors in the top photo) also appeared to be a youngster until I painted his face - at which time he proved to have a splendid moustache!
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It made me wonder how to account for this. Is he a short, elderly guy, who never got promoted beyond drummer boy in all his years with the colors until now he's an institution in his own right? Or is it a Hetzenberg tradition like the reverse coat colors and swallows nest epaulettes on the musicians - that the drummer has to wear a false moustache..?
















Sunday, 18 November 2007

Progress report - 4.

All bar the three command figures of IR1 Sleibnitz are now based. Once the command element is completely painted and treated to a black wash they'll be based and the whole unit ready for flocking. All being well I should have them finished tomorrow. The experiment with printing off the regimental and Ducal colors from the PC then hand-painting the details has worked fine. A touch up with acrylics and they look a treat.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Spencer Smith 2.

I've been looking through the Spencer Smith catalog again, and I'm quite taken by the "militiaman/frontiersman" figures. I can see a definite use for them as irregular light infantry or militia for both sides in my ImagiNation games, either providing light infantry cover during a battle or as part of a skirmish game.

The musketeer figures for IR 1 Sleibnitz are finished. Just the command element to complete tomorrow then it's on to IR 2 von Wöhl...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Progress report - 3.

The final batch of eight figures for the Sleibnitz regiment are almost complete. An enforced spell of downtime from the internet due to connectivity problems early this evening meant I got more time to paint them than I hoped for. The command group will take a little longer - their uniforms are more complex - but the regiment should be finished by this weekend.

As for the regimental colors, I'm going to try a method I saw at The Other Partizan in Newark, Nottingham, England this year. One company's trade stand was offering pre-made flags which, on closer inspection, proved to have been printed off from a computer then hand-painted. As no-one seems to make Hetzenberg flags yet, I think I'll try this for myself.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The forces begin to assemble...


And so it begins! The picture above shows the first batch of sixteen soldiers of IR 1 Sleibnitz on parade and ready to be based. The remaining eight figures include the command section of two standard bearers, officer and drummer. They'll go on the painting stand next.

I used a black ink wash to tone down the bright blue of the uniform and the facings to something approaching an authentic "on campaign" appearance. My own experiences on the re-enactment field show me just how powder-stained and grubby it's possible to get in the space of an hour, let alone a period of months! The gaiters are painted in the light buff summer pattern, and not the black winter-pattern shown in the earlier post.







Monday, 12 November 2007

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl: Brigade of Dragoons.



The Margravate dragoons have had a long and varied history, not all of it good or honorable. A recent spell of reorganization has left the two regiments in an unsettled condition. They are in a transient phase between acting in the original role of mounted infantry and that of full-on cavalry. Only time will tell if the regiments will settle down and perform well.

The main uniform color is almost exactly that used by the Austro-Hungarian cavalry arm during the Great War. It was chosen here as a suitably neutral color to enable the troopers to blend into the countryside when operating on foot. The cuffs and turnbacks were scheduled to be of a similarly neutral but contrasting color until traditionalists in the Margrave's war council ordered the bright colors shown. So much for that idea...

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It has been brought to my attention that I've yet again referred to the Dayton Painting Consortium as the Daytona Painting Consortium. My apologies to the gentlemen concerned!
Don't anyone misspell my store site name in the same way when looking for it at CafePress!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Progress report - 2.

The first batch of figures for the Sleibnitz regiment are almost complete. Time and tide willing they'll be finished in the next couple of days. As each color is added, so the figure seems to come to life and I'm very pleased with the way my uniform design worked out. The only question I have now, is what color to paint the splendid moustaches on the grenadiers..?


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My CaféPress store is now online!

For "Reality is for those who lack ImagiNations" products, click here...




Saturday, 10 November 2007

Progress report - 1.

The first batch of figures of IR 1 Sleibnitz are on the painting board and are about halfway done. I've no connection with Dayton Painting Consortium, so take it at face value that I'm impressed with their RSM95 models. They're nicely sculpted and are quick and easy to paint. It's so much better than having to fiddle around with a lot of extraneous detail, and since the uniform colors come entirely from my imagination, I don't have to pause in order to consult painting guides either. Following my new practise I'm painting them up a dozen at a time. As soon as they're done I'll take a few pictures of them for posterity and post them here.

Friday, 9 November 2007

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl: The Heavy Brigade.

Over now to the iron fist of the Margravate army - the Heavy Cavalry Brigade.

During the fall of the Unangenehmes und nicht Notwendiges Empire two kürassier regiments were stationed in the Margravate. Abandoned by their former Imperial master, the Seinfeld and Saxenstadt revoked their oaths of allegiance and now serve the Margrave.

The motto of the Seinfeld regiment is that good old German standby, Gott mit uns - "God with us." That of Saxenstadt is the Latin phrase Cursus Honorum - "The course of honor." The regimental badges reflect the origins of the cuirassier in the armored cavalry of the mediaeval period. The uniform displayed above is the standard summer pattern. For clarity the cuirass is omitted. Seinfeld troopers wear a silver breastplate with gilt trim, Saxenstadt black breastplates with gilt. The Saxenstadt favor white duck britches with leather inserts, although in the field normal wear-and-tear sometimes leads to partial re-equipping with the buff version as worn by the Seinfeld regiment. The saddlecloth is standard for all Margrave cavalry regiments and displays the two-headed black eagle badge of Pfühl.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Spencer Smith.

I have to say I was taken with the Spencer Smith range of figures quite early on. Maybe it's a hangover from my early days in the hobby back in Nineteen-Hundred-and-Frozen-Stiff, when I'd read books by Featherstone, Wesencraft, Grant, et al whenever they appeared in the local library. The figures have a naive charm about them all their own, and look good en-masse. They were a prime candidate for forming the basis of my ImagiNation collection until I decided on RSM95.

As it is, I'm toying with the idea of buying some to make up the forces of the Margravate. It'll be an even clearer distinction between the two forces, plus it'll support a (relatively) local manufacturer, as SSM are based in the same county as me. As long as the figures aren't mixed in the same unit, it won't matter.

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The day job is really busy now and I barely have the strength to do more than just flop in my armchair and go "eep!" at infrequent intervals. I have a little energy to spare for designing the uniforms of a heavy cavalry brigade for the Margrave's host. Watch this space...

Monday, 5 November 2007

Line colors for the Margravate.

The Margravate's line regimental colors follow the same principle as the guard, with the exception of the unit's designating number being in Arabic numerals. Army policy has been set so as a regiment wins reknown, the color of the central wreath will be changed to silver then gold. Battle honors will be carried on streamers attached to the staff below the finial.


Sunday, 4 November 2007

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl: 3rd (Provisional) Line Brigade.


I'm back from vacation, horribly jetlagged and suffering from a rotten cold. Ho-hum...

Meanwhile, here is the Third (Provisional) Brigade of the Margrave's army. This is going to be made up of second-rate units such as the Austrian army possessed in the 18th century. The regiments have the numbers, they have the training; they just don't have much morale or fighting ability. Every army has units like these, that add bulk to the army's strength without adding much in the way of combat value.

* * * *

Even so, units such as these have their uses and can surprise their commanders on occasion. In one recent game at the New Buckenham club we fought a disguised scenario Napoleonic game in which two distinctly second-rate French brigades attacked a position held by good-quality British units. We used the Shako rules favored by our group and the French performed exceptionaly well. They took the main British position and ended the game "at nightfall" in a situation where they directly threatened the second. The game was based on the Union attack on the Dunker Church at Antietam/Sharpsburg, and the attackers had more success than those in the original battle.

Had the game been part of a campaign the division would've been given a higher rating as a reward. Seeing the "duffers" make good in the end is one reward for including such units in the order of battle. And if they foul up, well, it wasn't exactly unexpected, was it? It's things like this that make campaigns so pleasurable.


* * * *

For those who're interested some of my RSM95 figures are now soaking in detergent prior to painting. I will begin painting IR 1 Sleibnitz using my newly-adopted practise of painting 15 or so figures at a time. I find this is much easier for me to do as I'm not faced with the chore of having to paint figure after figure for hours on end. Even wargamers need a little morale-boost now and then...

I really can't praise the quality of these figures highly enough. They are the cleanest, most flash-free models I've ever seen. Recommended!

* * * *

I'm going to be very busy with the day job over the run-up to Christmas, but I hope to get in some painting time, and to work on the campaign background to the mighty struggle between Hetzenberg and the The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl. There may even be another chapter or two of Any Excuse. Stay tuned..


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Vacation.

My posts are less frequent as I am on vacation right now and access to the 'net is intermittent. Yesterday I spent up in Springfield, Il. visiting the home of Abraham Lincoln. Quite an experience!

I'm back in the working world from the weekend after next when I'll be able to get going on the RSM95 Hanovarian figures and transform them into the loyal troops of The Grand Duchy. I do like these figures; the style and sculpting are excellent. The command figures include drummers and ensigns, both obviously eager youths pressing forward to get into action. Hopefully it won't be too long before they see it!

Friday, 19 October 2007

My first batch of RSM95's.

I got my first batch of these yesterday, and they are very nice too! The castings are crisp with lifelike proportions. The cavalry come with saddles attached to the riders and seperate carbines/musketoons which are works of art in themselves. All will be painted in the Hetezenberg colors of IR Sleibnitz and IR Wohl, and, of course, The Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse. Once I've cleared the decks of my current projects, painting will get underway next month. I'll post work-in-progress pictures here by the by.

Monday, 15 October 2007

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl: 2nd Line Brigade.


My apologies for not posting for a while. I've been preparing for my trip to the USA this week. In between packing and sorting out all the very forgettable but vital things that need to be done, I've created the second line brigade uniforms for the Margravate.
A the moment I'm rating the third line brigade as "Provisional." I'm inclined to go with the Shako rules SYW supplementary section and have the Margravate follow the Austrian pattern of having four stands. This would mean a regiment of 24 figures. An option is to increase to four the number of 4-base regiments in each of the two brigades and discard the third brigade.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl: 1st Line Brigade.


And so to the first of the nuts and bolts, plain vanilla units of the Dunkeldorf-Pfühl army: The 1st Line Brigade. Following the Austrian style uniform pattern, the line units are marked by the broad yellow band on their tricorns.

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At the moment I'm still undecided about unit figure strengths for the Dunkeldorf-Pfühl line regiments. I'd like to follow Austrian practise (again) and have large units of perhaps 48 figures. In which case I'll cut the number of line brigades to just two.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

RSM95 Figures.

Due to work pressures in my day job I'm not able to post much today. The good news is I will have my first batch of RSM95 figures by the end of this month. Using their Hanovarians as the base, I'll have enough figures to make up the infantry regiments of Sleibnitz and Wöhl and the Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Campaign Poll - results.

Thanks to those who took part in my straw-poll. It looks like either a moderate depth of complexity or at least some form of framework is desired when running campaigns. I'm going to opt for a moderate complexity for the Hetzenberg campaigns, as it'll suit my available time.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Any Excuse: Part Three.

"…and so for completing his muster ahead of all others, Count Sleibnitz wins the right for his regiment to be the First of the Line with all the honors and customs pertaining thereto."

General Count von Raupen-Schlepper put the document down on his desk, picked up his pen and signed it. He refrained from writing with his usual flourish; if anything he had difficulty signing the document at all, such was his annoyance.

He looked at the assembled officers over the tops of his pince-nez, and considered how he should handle the situation. Oberst-Inhaber Count Sleibnitz stood at attention, his cocked hat tucked at a precise angle beneath his left arm. Of middling height, thirty, blond, with chiselled features and piercing blue eyes, the man reminded Raupen-Schlepper of a coiled spring, all blue steel and suppressed energy. His sky-blue uniform was new and immaculate, his bearing soldierly. A trace of a smile hovered around Sleibnitz's lips. Had it been any other man standing before the General Intendant's desk, he would have punched the air and crowed with delight at winning such a prize. As it was, the suppressed energy radiating from the man was all the more unnerving.

It was a marked contrast to Sleibnitz's rival, Oberst-Inhaber Wöhl. A plump, dark little man of fifty or so years old, he bore an air of perpetual worry that had deepened in the time the meeting had progressed. Raupen-Schlepper eyed him with genuine concern. Wöhl's face had turned a distinct puce and his eyes were mere slits in his face.

I'm getting too old for this scheisse! He thought. "Gentlemen," he said aloud, directing his attention to all but Sleibnitz and Wöhl, "I thank you for attending this meeting. May it prove an auspicious one for Hetzenberg arms."

The officers clicked their heels and withdrew, some with obvious reluctance until they were shepherded out by his ADC, Captain Scharf. Raupen-Schlepper knew he wasn't the only one to sense the atmosphere in the room. Rivalries between officers and regiments were nothing new, but that between the Oberst-Inhabers of the new First and Second regiments of the Line promised to be a classic.

Raupen-Schlepper looked at the men. "Colonels, while I have you here in my office, the Großartiger Armeerat has directed me to inquire into the methods of recruiting your regiments."

"I have a number of complaints, General!" Wöhl said, stiffening on cue. "The methods used by my colleague here were devious and underhand!"

"My regiment followed the army guidelines with strict probity," Sleibnitz protested, his expression one of hurt surprise. "Is my colleague implying that I had something to do with his regiment's tardy muster? Not one of my recruiting bands ventured outside their designated areas."

"I'm sure you did have something to do with it all!" Wöhl turned to Raupen-Schlepper. "General, my recruiting sergeants were doing well. I received messages that they had gathered dozens of men ready to march to my depot. They kept within the boundaries of my recruiting area, yet they vanished for weeks before returning empty-handed! They claimed to have been arrested for violating the conscription code by straying into Count Sleibnitz's territory! Each spoke of confusing directions given by local guides, of signposts that had been tampered with. The recruits they'd gathered were marched away to Sleibnitz's depot to swell the ranks of his regiment. I'm certain sabotage lies at the bottom of it all, and that this man is responsible!"

Wöhl's finger quivered with rage as he stabbed it in the air at Sleibnitz. His face had turned from puce to deep purple, and to Raupen-Schelepper's jaundiced eye he looked like a plump outraged Burgermeister who'd discovered his wife was having an affair.

Sleibnitz's reply was calm, even icy. "My recruiting bands did not venture outside their areas…"

"No, but your agents bloody well did!" Wöhl roared.

"What agents?" Sleibnitz glanced from Wöhl to Raupen-Schlepper. "I appeal to you, General! Can my colleague provide any scrap of proof to back his wild allegations?"

"Can you, Oberst Wöhl?" Raupen-Schlepper asked quietly, forestalling another burst of temper.

Wöhl quivered for a few seconds them turned aside to stare out of the window at the parade ground below, his arms folded across his chest almost as if he were trying to prevent himself from exploding. "Bah! Of course I can't," he growled. "Sleibnitz was careful to cover his tracks!"

"Then this matter will go no further. No further, Colonel Wöhl! Colonel Sleibnitz!" Raupen-Schlepper said. He tapped his desk. "We stand at the beginning of a long and dangerous time for our Duchy. The Duke will be most displeased to hear that rancour is already breaking out between the officers of his army. There will be no duels, no slanders; no reprisals for slights imagined or otherwise. Do I make myself clear?"

Sometimes I'm nothing more than a bloody schoolmaster disciplining unruly schoolboys! He thought.

"I'm sure my cousin will have no grounds for worry on my part," Sleibnitz said, his tone smooth.

"I'm certain His Grace will not. Oberst Wöhl?"

"As you wish, General," the man replied between gritted teeth.

"Very well." Raupen-Schlepper tried for a note of conciliation. "Gentlemen, you have your regiments. Both of you have made excellent progress in filling their ranks on time, in spite of any… difficulties. Return to your men! Train them as well as you can, and I'm sure your methods will prove exemplary. Put aside your differences, for the sake of our nation and the service of our Duke!"

Sleibnitz clicked his heels and bowed. Wöhl followed suit after a moment. But when Sleibnitz turned and offered his hand, Wöhl turned on his heel and departed the room without a backward glance. Raupen-Schlepper glanced at Captain Scharf, who took the hint and followed Wöhl out the door. The General could hear his aide's courteous tones as he began the lengthy process of calming the outraged officer.

"Well," Sleibnitz said ruefully, looking at his extended hand. He lowered it and smiled. "I shall depart also, General. If I may have my commission?"

Raupen-Schlepper picked up the document and held it out. He twitched it away just before Sleibnitz took it. "Is there any truth in Oberst-Inhaber Wöhl's accusations?"

Sleibnitz's eyes glittered. "Oh, there may have been some small infractions on the part of my staff. They're so very keen to enhance the prestige of their regiment and enter the war. I shall make inquiries when I return to the depot."

Raupen-Schlepper handed him the commission. "I shall be watching your career with close attention, Herr Oberst."

"I'm flattered, General."

"Oh, it's not a compliment." Raupen-Schlepper leaned on the desk and glared at the younger man. "Behave yourself and serve your country, and all will be well. But give me any excuse, any shred of impropriety in your conduct, and I shall bring you crashing down, Ducal cousin or not!"

Sleibnitz's smile slipped. For a moment their eyes locked, and at that moment he looked like a blue-eyed Bengal tiger Raupen-Schlepper's father had brought back from his travels many years before. It was caged and restrained, but still had that aura of latent power. It was perfectly capable of killing a man in an instant if a mistake were made. He had seen some dangerous men in his time but the one standing before him now was the worst.

But he himself was not lacking in courage or a willingness to make heads roll. "Any excuse, Herr Oberst. Any excuse."

"Just so, General." Sleibitz clicked his heels and bowed.

He left, and Raupen-Schlepper sat down heavily in his chair feeling drained.

Captain Scharf entered, looking thoughtful. "Oberst Reignitz of the Bishop's Horse is here to see you, sir," he said.

"Oh, God!" Raupen-Schlepper sighed. "Very well, Ludwig, show him in then have some coffee and cake sent up, if you please."


The ADC departed and Raupen-Schlepper stared out at the parade ground. The late autumn sun flooded the expanse of ground and lit the trees at the far end by the river with glories of gold and auburn. He wished he was out there, walking by the river with his wife and grandchildren. Instead, he was faced with a potentially long and difficult war, made all the more difficult by contrary and fractious officers. Once, it would've been a challenge and he'd have relished it. Now? Now I'm getting too old for this scheisse! He thought.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl: Leib Brigade.

The elite force in the army of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl is the Leib Brigade. More often than not the Brigade functions as a purely administrative unit, each Leib regiment being assigned to one of the three line brigades as the resident elite force. If tough opposition is expected on the field of battle then the Brigade will be assembled. The Grenadiers always act as army reserve under the direct control of the general commanding.



Saturday, 6 October 2007

The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl.



And so to the Duchy of Hetzenberg's inveterate enemy, the The Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl, a large nation occupying the area to the south and south-east of Hetzenberg. The two have been at loggerheads for various reasons since the breakup of the Unangenehmes und nicht notwendiges Empire.

Show above are the standards of the Leib Brigade. Unusually, the Leib regiments are assigned as the elite component to the three Line brigades, and are only combined into a Leib brigade when a special effort is needed on the field of battle.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Any Excuse. Part Two.

The Duke gave his brother the Bishop an amiable smile. "What do I want?"

Wolfram sighed, as only an older brother can. "I know you too well, Karl. The bonhomie doesn't fool me."

"No; I can see that." Karl swirled the wine in his glass. "Forgive me for trying so lame an appearance of normality. Circumstances have been anything but lately." He met his brother's gaze. "I want your regiment."

"Ah."

Karl cocked his head. "You don't sound too surprised."

"I'm not." Wolfram leaned back in his chair. "The Duchy needs an army and my men are both trained and experienced. It's only natural that the Großartiger Armeerat should cast longing glances at my bodyguard."

"General Küster thinks highly of them."

"And so he should. He trained most of my officers. Under their command the regiment has performed sterling service for me and my predecessor."

"Indeed. Theirs is an envious record. So, will you give me your regiment?"

Wolfram fished his meerschaum pipe from his pocket and began to tamp it with tobacco. Karl smiled. "You know me, brother, and I know you." He gestured at the pipe. "You're playing for time."

"Indeed!" The valet lit a taper from the sealing-wax lamp burning on the bureau and offered it to him. Wolfram thanked the man and lit his pipe, puffing it into life with a few short intakes of breath. Satisfied it would stay lit he turned his attention to Karl. "I want something in return."

"Ah!" Karl rubbed his hands. "And so we begin. What do you wish?"

Wolfram took a deep lungful of tobacco smoke and released it in a long stream. Out of politeness he aimed it away from his brother. "I want official support for my refutation of the Convocation of Waldorf-Salle-Adse."

Karl winced. Wolfram knew his brother had admirable composure at the negotiating table but here in private he could let his feelings show – while still being a tough bargainer. "Difficult," Karl said. Wolfram shrugged. Karl pursed his lips. "You know since that wretched librarian found that equally wretched treatise by Archbishop Wölnutz the whole continent has been in uproar."

"Wölnutz on Waldorf-Salle-Adse." Wolfram nodded his face grim. "Oh yes, I know it well!"

"And you find it difficult to digest," Karl said sympathetically. "Unfortunately the Duchy cannot countenance anything as… ecumenical as support for your stance at this juncture." Wolfram opened his mouth to speak but Karl beat him to the punch. "I can offer the Abbey of St. Sinnlos."

Wolfram blinked, closed his mouth with a snap. "Hmm!"

"Don't say it isn't a tempting offer!" Karl signalled to the valet, who brought him a box of cigars and a lit taper. "Come, Wolfram! You've been hankering after that wretched place for years."

"It's not so wretched, Karl. St. Sinnlos is a valuable Abbey."

Karl's eyes twinkled. "And it has important voting rights in the Ducal Council!"

"There is that, of course." Wolfram furrowed his brow in thought.
"With those votes added to my own, it would give me a great deal of power in the Council's deliberations."

"I'm aware of that." Karl waved his hand. The cigar left a thin trail of smoke in the air. "Wolfram, had you not declined your right to inherit father's title, you would be sitting here in my place with all that implies."

Wolfram looked at Karl. Karl gazed back as he lit his cigar. "You would seriously give me the one thing that could possibly trump a refutation?"

"Oh yes."

"You must need my bodyguard very badly."

"Brother, I can honestly say they could make the difference between survival of the Duchy or defeat at the hands of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl."

Wolfram puffed on his pipe. "Hmm. I'm the last man to display disloyalty to my nation."

"Indeed."

"But if you want my men, I want the Abbey and two more things in return."

"Name them."

"The Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse must be included in the Guard Cavalry Brigade."

"Agreed! They're elite troopers. It's only fair."

"And the Duchy shall pay their wages!"

Karl winced. "Agreed," he said after a pause and held out his hand. Wolfram took it and they shook. "I'll tell General Küster to set matters in hand. You'll inform your Oberst?"


"Yes. It's only fair." Wolfram took another deep lungful of smoke and exhaled it in a long sigh. "It's not something I'm looking forward to!"

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Any Excuse. Part One

"I think that went well, gentlemen." Karl, Grand Duke of Hetzenberg stepped off the balcony and strode into the audience chamber. The assembled courtiers bowed as he began pulling off the heavy brocaded coat. It was very mild for autumn and he had no intention of suffering in the hot garment any longer. Cheers from the huge crowd in the square in front of the Ducal Palace were still echoing through the city streets. The warm weather had ensured a good turn-out. Handing the coat to a waiting page he waved a hand toward the open French doors. "They seem well motivated now."

"It was a most electrifying speech, Your Grace," the Chancellor, Heinrich, Count Ostenburg replied. "No doubt there will be volunteers by the thousands queuing at the recruiting centers." He smiled. "The records will show that here is where Hetzenberg began to fight back against the unjust claims Dunkeldorf-Pfühl has on our lands!"

"Maybe."

"You have doubts, Your Grace?" Heinrich asked, cocking his head.

"We are not prepared, Heinrich."

A new voice spoke up. "Neither is Dunkeldorf, Your Grace."

Karl turned to favour his cavalry brigade commander with a penetrating stare. "You are sure of that, General?"

General Küster clicked his heels and nodded. "I am, Your Grace. Word reached the Großartiger Armeerat late yesterday."

"Why wasn't I told? No word from our agents was expected before next week at the earliest."

"My apologies, Your Grace, but the hour was very late. We did not wish to disturb you. Our men learned all there was to know sooner than expected. They report none of the Dunkeldorfer regiments are up to strength. Their recruiting drive is lacklustre. Some attempt has been made to recruit mercenaries to make up the strength but the Margrave's pay offer is miserly. Few men are taking his coin, and those only the most desperate."

"Hmm!" Karl rubbed his hands. "Good. Then the winter remains for us to recruit, form new regiments and train them into fighting shape. How is your cavalry, General?"

"The Rumtopft are fighting fit as always, Your Grace. Count Nikolai's hussars need work, but there's no denying their spirit." He stroked his bristling blond moustache. "Something may be made of them yet."

Karl smiled and wagged a finger. "Please, General! Do not let Count Noamchomski hear you make such comments."

The General smiled back and bowed with another click of his heels. "The Count's predilection for duelling is well known to me, Your Grace. I shall take care."

"Just so." Karl glanced at the ormolu clock on the wall and addressed his Chancellor. "My brother is expected shortly. Make sure he's shown into the private wing as soon as he arrives."

"As you wish, Your Grace."



* * * * *

Wolfram von Hetzenberg, Bishop of Guggenheim walked unannounced into the private quarters of the Ducal Palace. As family, it was his right to do so. Had his will been different, the Palace itself would be his. But his life had taken a different path.

His younger brother emerged from the bedchamber with his valet still fussing at the exact drape of his cravat. Karl gestured for the man to be still and advanced, arms outstretched. "Wolfram!"

"Karl."

They embraced, Karl slapping his ecclesiastical brother heartily on the back before they separated. "Some claret, brother?"

Wolfram nodded and smiled acceptance. Taking the glass proffered by his brother he sat in one of the overstuffed chairs, sipped, and nodded approval. "A Doppeldorf, '28 vintage unless I miss my guess."

"Just so, Wolfram." Karl sat opposite, his legs outstretched, and drank deep of his own wine. With a smack of his lips he tilted the glass in salute. "You always did have a fine palate for wine.

"It has its uses." Fixing the Duke with a stern gaze Wolfram leaned forward and tapped his knee. "Now, brother! We meet in private; you greet me with hearty backslapping, and draw out your best vintage. What is it you want of me?"


Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Maps and Other Matters.

Due to a spyware infestation on my computer I lost all the computer-generated maps I'd drawn up for Hetzenberg. In a way this was a good thing. I found I was painting myself into a corner with regard to options for the mighty Duchy of Hetzenberg and its beligerent neighbor, the Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl. Now I'm drawing up a new map - using old-fashioned hexagon paper and colored pencils.

To some extent this method is similar to that found in Tony Bath's seminal "Setting up a wargames campaign." Each hexagon on the map returns a population figure depending on the prevailing terrain, and thus a given value of taxable income. From this comes the national military budget. As others on the Old School Wargames loop have noted, only a small proportion of the population can be called to arms before the economy begins to fall apart. The armies of Hetzenberg and Dunkeldorf are hardly going to be military leviathans in any case, and using this reasoning suits me just fine!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the moment I'm equivocal about what level of depth and detail to use in my campaign world. The 2nd Edition of "Warfare in the Age of Reason" rules by Tod Kershner and Dale Wood (Emperor's Press of Chicago) has a nice-looking campaign system called The Sport of Kings. It includes a neat set of seige-craft rules too, an essential in 18th century wargaming.
So, a question (and a poll). What depth of campaign rules do you prefer? Deep, moderate, or superficial - or even "What rules?"

Sunday, 30 September 2007

The Jäger Korps


And so to the final unit of the line army, the Jäger Korps. The only regiment to comprise two battalions, the Jägers serve as the Hetzenberg army's light infantry component. The battalions are assigned one to each line brigade, but not on a permanent basis. A battalion may serve with the first brigade in one campaign and with the second brigade in the next. The only means of differentiating between the two battalions is by means of the unit number embossed on the pewter coat buttons. The Korps does not possess colors, rallying instead to the bugler when in action.

Initially the Korps was looked upon as something of a poor relation, an odd point of view considering much of the geographical nature of Hetzenberg favors the raising of light troops. The Korps has gradually gained acceptance in the army as the generals saw the sense of having a regular body of trained light infantry instead of relying upon irregular forces or paid mercenaries of doubtful loyalty.

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Under the New Buckenham club's use of the Shako rules light infantry are typically based a dozen or so figures to a unit. They are useful chaps to have around, and downright dangerous to formed troops when operating in woodlands and other broken terrain.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Ducal Color & Guards' Standards.


Each line and guard regiment caries the Ducal color alongside their regimental standard. The Ducal color is quartered, and composed of the Ducal crest depicting a stylized Mount Hetzenberg, with the gold and sapphire Flory cross of St. Ungulant, Hetzenberg's patron saint.

The Guards colors reflect some aspects of the regimental duties. For instance, the Grenadier standard has the "grenade, fired proper" device in the upper-right canton. The tower in the lower-left canton represents both a fortified place - exactly the kind of objective grenadiers are trained to take - and their role as Guards of the Ducal household.

The two fusilier standards are almost identical, differing only in the numeral of the regiment within the wreath, and the color of the diamond which reflects the regimental facings. This device is known as a "fusil" in heraldry, hence its inclusion in the fusilier standards. Heraldry seems to be full of these puns...





Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The Line Cavalry Brigade.

Hetzenberg's line cavalry arm comprises just two regiments, the Rumtopft Dragoons and the Noamchomski Hussars.

The former are an unglamorous workaday line regiment who still serve as mounted infantry when required. They were created in 1720 by amalgamating two smaller dragoon regiments which had seen hard service in the wars following the collapse of the Empire. Both regiments saw much action and their successor has the united battle honors to prove it. Their guidon bears the crossed arrows crest of their depot city of Rumtopft.

The Noamchomski hussars are a brand new creation, raised to follow the latest fashion in light cavalry. Their flamboyant garb is mirrored by their equally flamboyant behaviour. It was thought that brigading them with the sober and highly experience Rumtopft regiment would lead to trouble, but the hussars took one look at the battle honors on the dragoon's standard and paid them due respect ever since. It remains to be seen how the two work together on the field of battle. Their guidon device of a rampant bear is the the family badge of Count Nicolai Noamchomski, Colonel-Proprietor of the regiment.

As I'll be using the SYW option in the Shako rules, the line cavalry will be in 12-figure strong units and the hussars will be 24-30 figures. Final size will be determined at a later date.


Monday, 24 September 2007

The Ironclads!

From L - R: USS Canonicus, USS Monadnock, & USS Lexington.


From L - R: CSS Manassas, CSS Virginia II, & CSS Gaines.

Just for a change from Hetzenberg, here are some of the American Civil War Ironclad models used at our club in New Buckenham. The vessels are resin models from Old Glory built and painted by Paul Cotton, and are scaled at 10mm. A note to purists - some of these ships never saw action in real life. For instance the Monadnock was completed, but was used as a floating battery because her three turrets made her unweildy. On the original plans she was scheduled to have four but reason prevailed. The Virginia II was one of many Confederate Ironclads burnt on her slipway to prevent capture by the oncoming Union army. Our games therefore have more than a whiff of what if... about them.

For those interested we use the "Beer & Pretzels" rules. These give a good fun game which can be fought to a clear result in an evening. In the encounter game featuring the above ships, the Confederacy got royally trashed. Manassas rammed Monadnock but failed to inflict killing damage. Instead the 15" Dahlgren guns in the three turrets of her victim inflicted a brutal fire that sent her under in a matter of minutes. The "woodenclad" Lexington and Virginia II destroyed each other in a head-on collision. Paul was commanding the Lexington, and before he rolled the 20-sided dice for ramming damage he uttered the fatal words -

"Anything but a 19 or 20!"

He got a 20...

The only Confederate survivor was the CSS Gaines, ironically the lightest armored vessel in the squadron. She handed out useful damage to the Canonicus, without suffering much in return. With her squadron mates sunk, she decided discretion was the better part of valor and withdrew.

The South shall rise again!







Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Guards Cavalry.


The Guards Cavalry Brigade consists of the Horse Grenadiers and the Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment (see below). Formerly acting as mounted infantry the Horse Grenadiers fully converted to the heavy cavalry role in 1732, at which time they dispensed with the grenades and musketoon which formed part of their equipment. Their guidon is a much simpler form of the Guard Grenadiers infantry standard.






Friday, 21 September 2007

The Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse.


The Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse has its origins in the Troop of Guides raised by the Bishop's predecessor for ceremonial and escort duties. Such was the nature of the violent times following the break-up of the Unangenehmes und nicht Notwendiges Empire, the escort part of their duties was no sinecure.

Within a few months of the Troop assuming active duties it became clear its numbers were insufficient to guarantee the Bishop's safety on his travels. In one alarming incident the Troop were surprised by a large band of deserters from the former Imperial army while the Bishop was spending a night in the village of Pfalz-Unterschift. The Troop only just succeeded in dispersing them and guiding their principal to safety. A number of troopers died in the skirmish and their names were entered on a roll of honor in the barracks.

Within a week of the Bishop's return to Guggenheim the call went out for new recruits "of sober, honest and trustworthy disposition" to gathered to the colors in order to increase the strength to four full squadrons. Unfortunately the Bishop died before the muster was complete, but his successor finished the task. In the few years since its formation to the outbreak of war the Regiment proved itself a tough and devoted force to be reckoned with.

Ironically with the coming of war the Regiment has become a victim of its own success. The Hetzenberg army's need for cavalry is strong, and the presence of a "ready-made" fully-formed and equipped regiment in the Duchy proved too tempting. As a result the Duke "federalized" it. This did not pass without a lot of horse-trading! The Bishop gained a number of concessions connected with land and trade tariffs, which his brother the Duke thought fair exchange. One concession he was pleased to grant was the inclusion of the Regiment in his own Guards cavalry brigade. It remains to be seen if the Regiment lives up to their status once engaged in full combat on the field of battle - a different environment to escort and ceremonial duty.

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The uniform comprises a coat of clerical black, with cuffs and turnbacks of purple to denote their service to a Bishop. The saddle cloth is in the principal colors of the city of Guggenheim, with the mitre of a bishop in the corner. The Regiment's horses are all chestnuts, with the exception of the Colonel, guidon bearer and trumpeter, who ride greys.