Saturday, 20 December 2008

A little longer delay.

My apologies, but Christmas shopping took precedence over everything today! Poor Cindy is also going through the mill with jet lag which those who've experienced it can attest is truly horrible. I hope to post a new episode tomorrow. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A brief intermission...

Many thanks to all of you who follow the adventures of Ursula and Mary Amadeus. I'm glad you're enjoying them!
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I had hoped to post a new episode today, but an unexpected request to assist my brother cropped up. As my delightful fiancée Cindy will also be arriving at Heathrow airport on Thursday morning to spend Christmas and New Year with me, I'm going to be busy for the next few weeks. With luck and a following wind I'll have a new episode ready by Friday or Saturday, and other episodes as and when I can write them. Rest assured, Mary Amadeus will not be a wallflower!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

New recruits..?

Many thanks to all for your kind words in response to Wednesday's sad event. My family and I appreciate them.
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I was in need of some distraction yesterday, so I turned my thoughts to how I could add new units to my imaginations' armies. Sorting through the batch of Napoleonic era figures that were wished upon me I came across a couple of dozen French Carabiniers of the Guard and a few line cuirassiers, along with an astonishing number of Horse Grenadiers of the Guard in those outrageously big bearskins.
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Once I have horses enough to mount the cuirassiers they'll make up a regiment apiece for both nations. For Hetzenberg it'll be a unit provisionally titled the Birkenholtz Kurassiers, and for the Margravate the (in)famous Seinfeld Kurassier. As for the horse grenadiers I'm tempted to use them as-is, but painted up of course in the colors of my nations.
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But before that, I need to remove the helmets on the Carabiniers and replace them with tricorns. This I can do, with razor saw and rat-tail file, but can anyone suggest a quicker, easier way of doing so? I'm all for quick and easy at the moment!
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The next chapter of the Chronicles is ready, and I'll publish it tomorrow. Martin, sorry for the cliffhanger. ;)

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

No episode today.

Our poor old dog died this morning. It was not entirely unexpected, but it's no less of a loss when it happens. She had a long and happy, harum-scarum life, and I miss her terribly. I'll post again tomorrow or Friday. Thanks for your forebearance.

A J

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


A very Happy and Peaceful Thanksgiving
to
my fellow gamers in the United States.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

On the practical side.


Some time ago I discovered these figures in amongst a job-lot of Napoleonic/ Revolutionary French I acquired. I've identified them as Front Rank Miniatures post-1812 Hussars, but may be wrong. In any event I had intended to convert them to SYW-era hussars and they would then serve in the Markgraaf's army.
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For some reason the guy I got them off never bothered to order horses for any of the cavalry in the collection! That being so, I checked out the prices for mounting the regiment and getting suitable command element figures, and found it uneconomical when compared to, say, buying an entire mounted regiment from Dayton Painting Consortium. It would be a shame not to use these figures in some way as I like the process of conversion, but for now, this project has been put on the back burner.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Heart of Hetzenberg



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The Heart of Hetzenberg is a region some sixty miles across, with the Capital in the north west nestling in the lee of the Hetzenberg and Blauerberg mountains. The country is a mixture of mountains, foothills, plains and woods, with rich seams of gold in the Hetzenberg and coal in the southwestern hills.
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By tradition only the guard regiments are quartered within the Capital. The line cavalry are in barracks at Nirgenden where the ground is open enough for maneuvers and drill; the infantry are stationed in barracks across the country. One of the privileges of the First Line Regiment (in this case IR1 Sleibnitz) is to guard the town of Sinnlos-amt-Schlock with its important Abbey and river crossing.
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Hetzenberg is a city of culture, with many galleries, theaters and fine parks. In keeping with the general merry nature of the people of Hetzenberg each season is marked by a great festival. Spring is marked by Die Ostern-Parade where folks break out their finest clothes to mark the passing of winter and the coming of new growth to the world. Long tables are set out in the wider streets and in the parks where a great feast is served.
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Midsummer is marked by Die Blumenfestival as wagons decorated with bright flowers parade through the city to the accompaniment of bands, dancing and much drinking. If the army isn't on campaign it takes part in the parade, with the Grand Ducal Guard at the head in the position of honor, followed by the regiments in order of seniority and the artillery at the rear.
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Fall has Das Fallen der Blätter, where dancers garbed in bright reds, yellows and oranges parade around the city walls to celebrate the gathered harvest and warn of the coming of winter. This is the time of year when couples wishing to become engaged do Der zukünftige Tanz. Each boy dances around the girl of his choice with his arms open, in a manner similar to a waltz. If she is willing to be his wife she will wait until he has danced around her at least five times before stepping into the circle of his arms and continuing the dance with him. A real tease will wait the maximum of twenty-one times before doing so. The decision is held to be binding and the marriage takes place within a year. As most couples are willing to marry before the dance begins, rejections seldom happen. When they do, it causes something of a scandal.
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Winter itself has Das Laternefestival, held on Midwinter's Night to celebrate the turning of the year. The townsfolk throng the snowy streets carrying bright colored lanterns to the accompaniment of music and the drinking of traditional mulled wine and ale. Contests are held to find the best snow and ice sculptures. The snowball fights in Der große Park are legendary, with the Grand Duke having the honor of throwing the first. Each year during this festival the Grand Duchess awards a purse of five gold coins to the couple who can prove they have not exchanged a bad word with each other since the last festival. Up to five witnesses can be called to attest to the couple's virtue.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Campaign Map - 2

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Here is the north-central region of the Grand Duchy covering the Grafschaft und Abteilung of Nordseite-Ads. Administered from the cathedral city of Waldorf Salle-Ads, the region is mostly agricultural and noted for its dairy and beef cattle. Timber and charcoal production centers are dotted throughout the forested areas.
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The River Ads flows south-west to north-east until it meets the Bolschenzee where it turns eastward to meet the Eisenwasser. Thermal springs in the area have made the town of Bolschen itself a popular spa resort, and it has been the winter residence of the Grand Dukes for over forty years. As an adjunct to the income provided by resort visitors, the sulfur produced by the hot springs is mined for various industrial uses. This and the charcoal produced in the forests form a vital war commodity, being components of gunpowder, which is processed in the town of Kleiner Mundstadt before being shipped across the Duchy.
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The cathedral city of Waldorf-Salle-Ads was the site of the famous Declaration of Saint Ungulant in 1548. Following a serious breakdown of social responsibility and a rampant run on blue cheese futures, Ungulant, then Prior of the Cathedral school marched up to the doors of the cathedral and nailed his "Twelve Recipes for success" to the ancient timbers.
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The shock of what he wrote resounded throughout the Unangenehm und Nicht Notwendig Reich, and some historians point to that morning as the moment the old Reich began to fall apart. The blue cheese market stabilized when traders realized their cupidity, leading to a general improvement to the economy as a whole. To this day thankful pilgrims roll wheels of blue cheese to the top of the Hetzenberg, often on their hands and knees to give thanks for Ungulant's wisdom and to take in the wonderful views from the top. Ungulant himself went on to appear in several live ecumenical debates which always drew top ratings and wrote his "Thesis for a Better Venison Pie," and "Whereat the Suet Dumplings?" which went on to become best sellers.
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Ungulant died in 1608 and was interred in the cathedral. Canonised soon after, his work remains controversial up to the present day, when the Ecumenical Convocation of Waldorf-Salle-Ads met to decide how his works should be applied to modern living standards. The Convocation was a lively, often contentious affair which unfortunately divided opinion even further. When Chairman of the Convocation Bishop Wolnutz produced his treatise "Wolnutz on Waldorf-Salle-Ads" summing up his opinion of the debates, it led to a schism between the Traditionalist faction centered in the Markgravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl, and the Progressive faction centered in Hetzenberg. Only the presence of mind displayed by Abbess Hilda of the Oscillating Order of St. Ungulant prevented outright conflict when she produced the pamphlet "Pouring an Olive Oil Garnish on Waldorf-Salle-Ads." Even so, this stayed the trouble for but a brief while. Lines were drawn, and the traditional bad blood between Grand Duchy and Margravate soured further.
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The Grafschaft of Nordseite-Ads is an ancestral title of the Grand Dukes and is usually conferred on the heir-apparent, in this case Graf Philip von Hetzenberg. Although sixteen years old, he received instruction in his future duties from his early teens thanks to his father's policy of ensuring good government through good education. The Graf does not have full control over the County's affairs, nor will he until he reaches the age of eighteen. At the moment he receives reports from the County Council into matters of economy and military affairs but has little input in anything save matters of culture. As Graf Philip loves fireworks and has a good eye for art and design, the County's celebration displays make full use of the gunpowder produced here and tend to be the best in the Grand Duchy. He has already produced a pamphlet "Dann explodiert sie!" covering his theories, and has announced his intention of promoting an annual award for excellence in firework ordinance design once he reaches his majority.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Campaign map - one

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Above is shown a map of the area in which I think most of the battles between my ImagiNations will take place. It includes the Cockpit around Kimmelsbrucke in the center-south, and the Free County of Cottbus in the north. Ground scale is one hexagon = 10 miles, so the map covers a region of 100 miles east-west x 110 miles north-south. The two countries extend by about 100 miles either side of the area shown. Their common border is the River Eisenwasser, which flows south to north and is navigable for much of its length.
*
The Cockpit is noted for a number of mines which form an essential part of the national economies for both sides and, naturally, they also make for juicy objectives in wartime. The major towns are shown; for clarity many smaller communities have been omitted. Two principal towns in this area are Kimmelsbrucke with its famous bridge, and Randstadt.
~
Kimmelsbrucke has been a major crossing point of the Eisenwasser for generations and is a wealthy town as a consequence of the taxes and tariffs generated by river and road traffic. It's also the main market town for the agricultural industry focused on the fertile alluvial plain of the river, and handles much of the produce from the silver mine at Wohl. However, the town council is notoriously parsimonious, and this wealth has not been spent on updating the town's fortifications to any extent. It still relies upon medieval walls with some more modern additions for defense.
~
About twenty miles away in the Margravate the town of Randstadt is rather different. Occupying a plateau overlooking the tributary River Randwasser, it has a naturally commanding position not unlike Vicksburg in Mississippi. Modern fortifications in the Vauban style protect the main circuit of the town, and two batteries of fortress artillery cover the river. A riverine navy base is located within the eastern end of the town defenses, and boats from this maintain customs patrols on the river as far as the confluence with the Eisenwasser. The city is also quite wealthy through local agriculture and viticulture, and the products of the iron and lead mines in the region. The wharfs along the river are busy almost 24/7. There is a constant level of irritation in Randstadt over the high tariffs charged by Kimmelsbrucke on Margravate barge traffic to the sea at Cottbus.
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The Free County & City of Cottbus is one of many autonomous statelets. Possessing a natural advantage of being at the mouth of the River Eisenwasser, it makes full use of its location as an entréport while jealously preserving and protecting its autonomy. Unlike Kimmelsbrucke, the city has made use of its wealth to maintain and upgrade its defenses to modern standards, although they rely upon a well-equipped militia and hired mercenaries to man those defenses at need. A small flotilla of oared gunboats patrols the estuary and the length of river within the borders.
~
Cottbus became a Free City when the previous ruler, Count Oswald von Cottbus died without issue in the break-up of the Empire. The legal confusion over its status was lost in the turmoil and the City Fathers took advantage of it over the years. They do harbor a constant dread that someone, somewhere, will discover a legitimate claim to their city and its lands, and have prepared a vigorous legal case in their favor if needed. Cottbus is therefore something of a Mecca for practitioners of international law. The City Fathers know they would live on borrowed time if a claimant with any real power were to ignore legal niceties and launch a direct assault. Their defenses are among the best, but they won't hold out forever.
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Next time, I'll cover the western half of the Grand Duchy, including the Capital itself and the Bishop's City of Waldorf-Salle-Ads, where some say all the trouble began...

Thursday, 16 October 2008

A short sabbatical.

My current figure conversion and painting projects have run their course and circumstances dictate I concentrate on other things for a while. There'll no doubt be the occasional fictional piece set in my ImagiNary world and maybe a uniform design or two. One thing I will try to complete is a map of the lands of Hetzenberg and the Margravate. Watch this space...

Friday, 10 October 2008

IR 3 Kostanza

IR 3 Kostanza surges into action.

*
So here we have them, IR 3 Kostanza, the latest recruits to join the Markgraaf's army.
*
Colonel-inhaber Joachim Kostanza is of the Constantin family, Russian noble stock. Exiled from Russia following a serious quarrel with Peter the Great, after a few abortive tries at settling elsewhere in Urope they took refuge in Spain. Here they adopted Catholicism and married into the local nobility, and in a further attempt to fit-in Hispanicized the family surname to Kostanza. The menfolk saw undistinguished military service under Spanish colors, dying more often from various poxes and camp fever than action. A Kostanza won notoriety when he became the first Spanish soldier to be killed by a rampaging hippopotamus.
*
Something in the Kostanza genes makes them quarrelsome by nature and only a couple of decades passed before the family upset the Spanish King and clergy, and had perforce to move once more. Joachim's grandparents came to the Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl in the 1720's, and this time managed not to upset anyone important. His father, Georg Kostanza had a sunny disposition, served his new master well and rose to the rank of Colonel and Freiherr, making the family fortune into the bargain. So much so that upon the recent expansion of the army his son Joachim was invited to raise a regiment of foot.
*
Joachim Kostanza seems to be something of a throwback to his quarrelsome Russian ancestors. Belligerent, sporadically intelligent and fond of drinking and dueling, he has made a name for himself as an exacting if inconsistent taskmaster. He has a particular horror of gambling, and punishes severely any man caught in possession of cards or dice. Although well-trained, his regiment may prove somewhat brittle in action.
*
One feature the Colonel does approve of is the Regiment's dress sense. Having a mild fetish for well-fitting headgear, he permits the men to have tailored tricorns and bearskins instead of standard one-size-doesn't-quite-fit-all army issue. He also allows those men with moustaches to powder them along with their hair, giving the whole regiment an appearance of fierce old veterans. Idle frippery or a useful psychological trick? The debate still rages in the messes of Urope.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Conversion - job done!

Today was one of those times when I picked up the brushes and paints and just kept going. The new regiment is now painted and varnished/Klear'ed and ready for basing. I might even have it all based by tomorrow evening. (Gasp! Hold the front page! =) Pictures to follow.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Pootling onward

A bad back prevented me from being able to sit and paint over the weekend but I'm making some progress now on the converted figures. The trick of mixing some Klear/Future polish into the black undercoat has worked a treat. It no longer rubs off showing bare metal. I hope to finish them by this weekend.

Friday, 3 October 2008

TARDIS Model?

Just a quick appeal - does anyone know the UK manufacturer of resin Dr. Who TARDIS models to suit 25mm figures? I bought one at Salute in London this year but can't remember which stand I got it from - and now I need another. Googling hasn't helped. Can anyone give me a clue?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

New conversion job - 3

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Progress has been made! I had some free time yesterday afternoon so I pressed on with painting the first half of IR3 Kostanza. The final touches to this first batch have been done and I show them above attached to their bases, awaiting the rest of the regiment before flocking begins. The next batch of twelve are on the painting block even now. One figure (shown far left) lost the bayonet and the very end of the musket from an unseen weakness in the metal on being removed from the painting dowel. It now appears to be bearing a rather wicked-looking flintlock shotgun! Ideal for close-quarter combat, perhaps, but not quite the thing for the Age of Reason...
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As mentioned before, these are conversions from Front Rank Napoleonic French figures. After an experiment with a press-mold failed to produce good results the tricorns (or is that tricornes?) were modelled by hand. As such, they turned out to be something of a range of sizes. On the whole this doesn't look too bad, giving an air of uniqueness to the regiment.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

New conversion job - 2

All twenty-four figures are clean and ready for painting. I'm doing them in two batches of twelve. As an experiment I gave the first batch an undercoat of black Vallejo paint mixed with a drop or two of Klear/Future. This is intended to combat a tendency I noticed in the earlier converted figures for the undercoat to rub off exposed areas with disturbing ease. It seems to be working. All will be painted in Russian green greatcoats with red cuffs.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

A small diversion...

I apologize for a brief diversion from SYW era postings, but I felt this deserves to be mentioned. I repost this from one of the Yahoo loops, because frankly, this guy should have been awarded the Nobel Peace prize...
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Friday was September 26th, Petrov Day, celebrated to honor the deed of Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov on September 26th, 1983. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, take a minute to not destroy the world.

*

The story begins on September 1st, 1983, when Soviet jet interceptors shot down a Korean Air Lines civilian airliner after the aircraft crossed into Soviet airspace and then, for reasons still unknown, failed to respond to radio hails. 269 passengers and crew died, including US Congressman Lawrence McDonald. Ronald Reagan called it "barbarism", "inhuman brutality", "a crime against humanity that must never be forgotten". Note that this was already a very, very poor time for US/USSR relations. Andropov, the ailing Soviet leader, was half-convinced the US was planning a first strike. The KGB sent a flash message to its operatives warning them to prepare for possible nuclear war.

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On September 26th, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was the officer on duty when the warning system reported a US missile launch. Petrov kept calm, suspecting a computer error.Then the system reported another US missile launch.And another, and another, and another.What had actually happened, investigators later determined, was sunlight on high-altitude clouds aligning with the satellite view on a US missile base. In the command post there were beeping signals, flashing lights, and officers screaming at people to remain calm. According to several accounts I've read, there was a large flashing screen from the automated computer system saying simply "START" (presumably in Russian).

*

Afterward, when investigators asked Petrov why he hadn't written everything down in the logbook, Petrov replied,"Because I had a phone in one hand and the intercom in the other, and I don't have a third hand."

*

The policy of the Soviet Union called for launch on warning. The Soviet Union's land radar could not detect missiles over the horizon, and waiting for positive identification would limit the response time to minutes. Petrov's report would be relayed to his military superiors, who would decide whether to start a nuclear war.Petrov decided that, all else being equal, he would prefer not to destroy the world. He sent messages declaring the launch detection a false alarm, based solely on his personal belief that the US did not seem likely to start an attack using only five missiles.

*

Petrov was first congratulated, then extensively interrogated, then reprimanded for failing to follow procedure. He resigned in poor health from the military several months later. According to Wikipedia, he is spending his retirement in relative poverty in the town of Fryazino, on a pension of $200/month. In 2004, the Association of World Citizens gave Petrov a trophy and $1000. There is also a movie scheduled for release in 2008, entitled The Red Button and the Man Who Saved the World.Maybe someday, the names of people who decide not to start nuclear wars will be as well known as the name of Britney Spears. Looking forward to such a time, when humankind has grown a little wiser, let us celebrate, in this moment, Petrov Day.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

New conversion job

A bit of work with files and knife, some Milliput, and the IR3 Kostanza, the next regiment-to-be of the Markgraaf's army went into the detergent soak this morning. I should be able to work on them over the weekend, after finishing-up a small batch of 15mm WW2 US infantry mortar teams for Flames of War. Pictures at eleven - if my power-hog of a digital camera doesn't devour what's left of the batteries first...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tricorn mold - 2


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I've made a two-part mold for press-casting tricorns. It's a bit crude but functional. It was made using Herculite 2 engineering plaster which is excellent at capturing sharp detail. The tricorns themselves will be made of Milliput, pressed into the mold then released. I've no idea whether it would be better to let it set first and glue it onto the figure, or to remove it gently so it can be molded onto the figure's head. All the fun of experimentation awaits...

Friday, 19 September 2008

Tricorn molds.

The base work of removing the shakos from the French Napoleonic figures is done, and now I'm ready to move on to shaping tricorns for them - almost. Adderphue's blog had a comment from a chap called Adam who pointed out a number of useful links on YouTube for casting components using molds made of Green Stuff. It cuts down the length of time and general hassle involved in creating these for figure conversion work. Unfortunately my cranky browser crashes whenever a video clip starts to play and I can't watch the demonstration!
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I know enough about making molds to do the job, but I post the link above for those interested.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Tuhellenbach Hussars (Regiment Kramer)

For Jean-Louis, here we have the prospective Hussar regiment of the Markgraaf's army, the Tuhellenbach Hussars, led by their able inhaber, Casimir Kramer. Not the sharpest tool in the box, Kramer nevertheless possesses great dash and courage. Whether his men live up to his example will remain to be seen.

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The regimental uniform is based to some extent upon that of the French 3rd Hussars as worn during the Second Empire period. The tunic is dove gray; the pantaloons shown above are close to the garance color favored by French troops in that era. Most French hussar regiments were issued sky-blue uniforms but the 3rd Hussars resisted the change. I've shown Kramer's Hussars pelisse in this color.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Onwards and upwards.

Following the pleasing results of my first conversion of figures to tricorn'ed glory, I've embarked on a second regiment. Thanks to all who posted kind comments on the pictures.

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The new figures are equipped mostly with shakos which require cutting off (for the "hat" companies to be) or trimming and filing (for the grenadier company). A bit more work is involved but there's no rush. It'll make up the yet to be named third and final regiment in the Margravate army's first brigade.
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By the way, is anyone else having trouble with Sitemeter? They migrated to a new server recently and the hit counters have vanished. I do like to see how many visit this blog (5,200+ at last count) and from whence my fellow gamers spring.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Assembling Might of the Markgraaf

On an upland heath IR 1 Prinz Georg and IR 2 Margravine Josefina's Own maneuver, screened by the Sobelsburg Jagers...


...watched critically from the rear by Babbington's Legion.


*

So here we have them, the first two regiments of the first brigade in the Margraaf's army. In the distance is IR 1 Prinz Georg, screened by the Sobelsburg Jager Regiment. Directly behind them are Babbington's Legion, a mercenary regiment composed mostly of British Catholic exiles. Formerly in Gallian pay then in service to the Free Stadt of Cottbus, they now serve the Markgraaf as a steady veteran regiment. In the foreground is IR 2 Margravine Josefina's Own, the latest regiment to join the colors.

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The figures are Spencer Smith (IR 1) and Front Rank Miniatures (the rest). IR2 began life as 1990's vintage French Republican infantry before a little conversion work turned them into tricorn'ed heroes in waiting. All scenic work was composed using a basic brown cloth with some touching up using Microsoft Picture It photo suite.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Conversion job - finished

All done. Very tiring day driving so photos tomorrow. =)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Conversion job - nearly done

All the new figures are based and the flock is drying even as we speak. Once I get a set of colors done for IR 1 to bear in battle, I'll take pics...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Pootling on...

Not a huge amount to report. Real life tended to get in the way of hobbies these last few days. Still, I've begun painting the grenadier company of the Margravine's Regiment. They'll follow the same format as the "hat" companies, but their greatcoats will be in a lighter shade of green. I converted the shakos to bearskins but retained the peaks. They'll now be a form of bearskin distinctive to the Margrave's army, of a style known as "Josies" after the Margravine.
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Margravine Josefina noticed the soldiers of the grenadier companies squinting in the bright sunlight during an inspection parade of the new regiments. Being a compassionate woman she asked that something be done to modify their headgear to give them the same advantages as their hat company brethren. The generals don't particularly like the design but the "request" came from their boss' wife, so it stands. In any case, the grenadiers like it as it keeps the sun and weather out of their eyes, and appreciate the Margravine's concern for their welfare.
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The Markgraaf limits his comments to grumbling about the cost.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

IR2 - Margravine Josefina's Own Regiment of Foot

The regiment on parade for the first time.

Some new recruits...
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On the whole I'm pretty pleased with the way these figures came out. As I mentioned earlier I discovered a batch in greatcoats and shakos which will be converted to a bearskin-wearing grenadier company for this regiment. Two of the new recruits are pictured to the left on the bottom photo. This morning I rooted out another batch of greatcoated figures - enough for the third regiment in the Margave's army! All I need do is to add a cavalry regiment of some kind, a battery of artillery apiece, and the armies of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl and Hetzenberg will clash.
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All I have to do after that is to get them together on the same continent...
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The greatcoats are painted in loden green, a nice color for an Austrianesque army, I think. As usual I printed-off the regimental colors after designing them using the standard Paint program on my computer. They were hand painted with acrylics mixed with a little Klear polish, followed by a coat of Klear when dry to give the shiny silken effect. The basework will be done once the grenadier company is completed so it looks consistent.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Conversion job - 4

I've almost completed the new regiment converted to SYW-like figures from French Napoleonics. All that remains is for the musicians (a drummer and fifer) to be painted before I can begin on the the base work. I should have all done by tomorrow, and I'll post some pictures then.

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On the whole I'm pleased with the results. I have a batch of French infantry in bicorns which *may* bear conversion in a similar way, and some French Chasseurs a' cheval (I think) which might change to hussars without too much work. We'll see.
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Additional: Since making the above post I've discovered another 6 figures in greatcoats and shakos that can be converted to bearskin-wearing grenadiers. Although I was going to make this regiment a *light* one at 18 figures I can now add the grenadier contingent.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Bridge at Kimmelsbrücke.

Babbington's Legion marches across the bridge, en-route to their new employment.

An aerial view.

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This blog received it's 5,000th visitor yesterday, and to celebrate here are some pictures of the finished bridge!
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Known as the Three Kings Bridge, this crossing of the River Eisenwasser at Kimmelsbrücke was built in the late 15th century using the Gothic style of architecture. It took nearly ten turbulent years to construct, during which the then-Kingdom of Dunkeldorf saw three monarchs come and go. To commemorate these kings three busts were placed over the bridge spans. The bridge was fortified at the time of construction: the two towers were taller and broader and included gates and a portcullis to prevent hostile forces from crossing the river.
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In subsequent decades the expansion of the Empire saw the need for a defended bridge decline and the gates became a marked inconvenience. In 1695 the towers were rebuilt in their present style. They currently include offices for customs & excise officials charged with collecting taxes and tariffs from those using the bridge and from river traffic passing beneath. Local legend has it that if any boatman should dare try to pass without paying his fee, the masks of the kings will belch forth flame and incinerate him - a legend stoked most assiduously by the customs officers...
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The bridge and the town of Kimmelsbrücke lie within the Grand Duchy of Hetzenberg, on the west bank of the Eisenwasser. Only five miles to the east lies the uneasy border with the Margravate of Dunkeldorf-Pfühl.
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Some dimensions: Overall length = 24 inches. Height of towers = 9 1/2 inches. Height of central arch = 2 1/4 inches. Constructed from Hirst Arts molds using Herculite 2 industrial-grade plaster, with some foamcore and card components. Paintwork in acrylics, with Klear varnish treatment. I'm open to commissions - if anyone wants a similar bridge, contact me at:- kirbycane822 @ hotmail.com (close the gaps - email harvester programs prowl these sites) and we can talk terms.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Conversion job - 3



And so it begins. After two hours of purgatory trying to model tricorns out of Milliput followed by an hour of dremmel-work the following day, I achieved the above results. Milliput is good but it has the annoying habit of sticking to anything but what I want it to stick to! Give the stuff its due, it does set hard and stay in place. The queues of hair worn in this era I replicated by using spackle powder mixed with a drop of Klear/Future floor polish, pushing the resulting concoction around with a brush until I got what I wanted. Unconventional yes, but who cares? Not I! It works and takes paint well.
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In some cases the tricorns are a little bigger than most styles found during the mid-18th century, owing more to the Marlburian Age perhaps, but on the whole I don't think it a bad result. I justify it in saying the Markgraaf of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl is an old-fashioned type and this outlook carries over into his army.
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So, the regiment is now mounted on my painting block, each figure being glued to a dowel using a blob of "No nails" type adhesive which will hold them in place until I detach them. At least, they should stay in place now. In a moment of absent-mindedness I moved the block before the glue was set and two figures fell off, landing on their bayonets (of course!). These remained attached but weak, so I might replace them using a length of pin or shaped brass rod.
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As for my other project, the Bridge, painting of the main structure has begun and construction work on the quayside sections is almost complete. I need to do a spot of measuring up tomorrow night to check these against the scenic tiles used at the New Buckenham club in order to ensure a good fit. All being well, I should have the bridge finished this weekend. "Pictures at 11..."

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Conversion job - 2.

The assembled cast(ings)

Standard bearers with untouched officer for comparison.

A bit blurry but this shows the shape of the modified headgear compared with the fifer on the left.


The Commanding Officer and a soldier to be.


Some prospective candidates for conversion...
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As requested, some photos of the work in progress. These are all Republican-era French Napoleonic figures by Front Rank miniatures (early 1990's vintage) from the lead mountain. I'm not that knowledgeable about the French army of the period but suspect the foot figures are either Republican Guard or line grenadiers. I found a nice line infantry drummer figure walking with his drum slung on his backpack. With a little judicious dremmel-work his shako trimmed down to a neat bearskin mitre. The left hand and middle cavalry figures in the bottom picture are possibly light dragoons (?). The right hand figure might be a Horse Grenadier of the Guard. I'll need to buy mounts for them - there were none in the heap I acquired - but this will come in time. The figures were cast with the saddle attached, so the horses will have to suit this. They will be modified to serve as a hussar regiment and the infantry will make up the second line regiment of the Markgraaf of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl's army. Since taking the photos I've discovered a mounted general which will also bear conversion to a SYW style.
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Work so far - the bicorns have been trimmed off the two standard bearers (the officer figure shows what they looked like beforehand), and the commanding officer's shako and sword have been removed. The sword will be replaced by a length of flattened brass rod at a later date. I've begun removing the feathery epaulets from the rank and file figures, and assessing the possibility of slimming-down the visible leggings under the hems of their greatcoats. I don't think they're that noticeable now, and will be less so when painted and the figures attached to their base. Even so, if I can alter them without damage, I'll do so. Tricorns will be added using either Milliput or Green Stuff.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Conversion job - 1

Having come into possession of a heap of Napoleonic French figures some years ago, I've been rather stuck to get rid of them. For the most part they're "minority" figures, i.e in poses or of a type which gamers only need a few of. This has been a real bind and I can't even seem to interest anyone in buying them at the base metal price.
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However, a piece on Adderphue's blog mentions his use of figures from other periods to create a SYW ImagiNation, and this got me thinking. I went through the box once more, and picked out a number of figures with an eye to converting them to SYW-style troops. I was in luck, for the box yielded a range of infantry figures wearing greatcoats. Most are bare-headed, some wear forage caps or bonet de police and all can be converted merely by removing epaulettes and adding tricorns. The command figures have bicorns which can be trimmed and tricorns substituted. A drummer and fifer wear shakos which can be pared down to a basic grenadier mitre shape. Since a greatcoat is a greatcoat whatever the period, I now have a new regiment in the making!
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When I have the funds I might pay someone to create a master figure and a mold from it. And once the remaining figures have been thoroughly picked over, they will be melted down to create new figures.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Bridge Project - assembled.

The three bridge spans and towers - paint test on right bank tower base.

A boatman's eye view .


The three main components.

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Progress is being made! All the major construction work is finished. It only remains to make the quaysides from which the bridge will spring, and I'll begin work on those this weekend using 1" blue insulation foam as a base. Once all is assembled, the bridge will be painted with Klear (Future in the US) polish to seal the plaster, followed by blocking-in the stonework with a sandy-ochre color using Crown-brand "eggshell" paint designed for use on plasterwork and wood. A small test patch can be seen on the right of the middle picture. All finer paintwork such as weathering effects, the tower sides, timbers and roofs will be done in acrylics. The interiors of the spans were painted before being fixed in place.

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As mentioned before, all major construction was done using plaster casts made from the versatile Hirst Arts molds. The roofs are of card with the tiles cut from individual strips and the whole treated with Klear for additional strength. For ease of transport the model was built in three sections which will rise to five when the quaysides are done. This has the added benefit of allowing me to insert different central spans over time, such as a broken one showing a bridge demolition, and perhaps a Dutch-style double drawbridge to allow passage by masted vessels. The figures posing on the bridge are natives from my Daftest Africa campaign world awaiting their basework.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sobelsburg Jagers

The light infantry contingent of the Markgraaf's army are now painted and stuck onto their bases. I'm following the Shako rules system and having only eight figures, two to a base to represent the unit in skirmish order. Under the rules light infantry in good cover can be a real pest to formed troops but are rightly vulnerable to cavalry in the open. If contacted in melée in the open by formed troops of any kind, they just vanish from the table, which saves time working out the combat.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Babbington's Legion - almost...

The final coat of Klear is drying on these figures and all that remains is for the basework to be done. That'll have to wait until I get some PVA to make my favorite gunk mix. The Legion is made up of Front Rank figures, and I find them a fiddly task to paint compared with RSM95 and Spencer Smith. They do take a black wash well which brings out the detail, but I prefer the other makers.
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The bridge project is nearing the end of the construction phase. I have to work out the design of the river bank sections the bridge will spring from, build the entry ways, and then it's on to painting the brute. Hi ho...

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Babbington's Legion - almost there.

One advantage to getting some half-painted figures - less work to do! Here're a couple of pictures of Babbington's Legion, the "White Company" or mercenary regiment that has just accepted service with the Markgraaf of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl.


The colors, symbols and regimental motto Foy est tout ("Faith is all") are those of the Babbington family.
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A tradition of mercenary bands in this part of Urope is to have a regimental/ colonel's color, and a second flag in the primary colors of the hiring nation or patron. Those regiments between employments are said to be "empty staff," in other words the staff is devoid of any flag. When on the march through neutral territory, this staff is displayed at the head of the column to signify peaceful intent. Some nations also insist that such bands march with their arms in the baggage train while in transit through their territory.
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If a mercenary regiment is in action and finds itself in a tight spot, the colonel or surviving senior officer has the right to order the regiment to "go light," ie. to remove the hirer's colors and replace it with a white flag. Under the laws and usages of war, this must be respected as a flag of surrender and the unit permitted to leave the field or fortification under escort with its arms and equipment. Only if the unit has fought well may it keep its regimental colors. Once a mercenary unit goes light it may not take further employment with its former patron during the current conflict or for one year and a day, whichever occurs first.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Markgravate light infantry (Sobelsburg Jagers).

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Like many other countries the Margavate army recruits its light infantry from border regions, in this case the "Cockpit," a region of hills and forests bordering the Grand Duchy of Hetzenberg. Above is shown the uniform of the Sobelsburg Jagers, the only regiment of light infantry so far raised by the Margravate. The orange cuffs and facings are as "hot" as they appear but a few weeks on campaign soon causes it to fade to a more russet tone. A stiff leather helmet is the official issue, but the jagers soon modify it by adding or swapping out components of softer leather. The brass buttons are supposed to be worn in the field but again, the jager follow their own rules and either cover them with cloth or swap them for pewter buttons. To reflect their origins in the hunters and trappers of the border region a patch of black fur or wool is worn around the collar.

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A certain amount of snobbery exists in the army command. There's a tendency to look upon the jagers more as tradesmen, there to do a messy but necessary job, rather than soldiers. This is resented by the jagers who rightly feel they perform an arduous duty for scant reward.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Bridge project - ongoing.


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A couple of shots of the work in progress. Three stalwart chaps from the nascent Babbington's Legion pose for scale. In the bottom photo they stand just in front of the left bank tower footings.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Babbington's Legion-to-be.

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The bridge project is coming along nicely. It pays to plan well ahead! I've just begun the process of painting the interior of the three spans before closing the arches. In the meantime here are a couple of pic's of the Front Rank figures which will be turned into the mercenary Babbington's Legion and light infantry for the army of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl. Apologies for the indistinct images; once again I'm having to use a webcam, which lacks the photographic finesse of a full-on digital camera. Once the bridge is complete I'll turn my attention to painting these.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Under construction - 1

Tile & miter box with basic shell of left bank tower.

The Central span arches with basic components for comparison.

The left bank tower & columns.
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Due to some glitch affecting my browser I was unable to update this blog yesterday. Whatever it was that caused Internet Explorer such angst seems to have cured itself, so, on we go.
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Work has begun on the bridge for 17th century-plus wargaming. As mentioned before I'm using components made of the extremely tough Herculite 2 plaster cast in Hirst Arts molds for the majority of construction. As it happened I didn't need to make as many casts as I'd planned, as I have plenty of spare components in store that suit the project. To make it easier to transport the whole structure will be made in three separate parts comprising the two towers with side spans, and the wide central span. All will be mounted on bases made from two layers of thick card laminated with PVA and sealed with Klear/Future floor polish. MDF might be better in some ways but I find card easier to work with.
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The top picture shows the beginning. A perfectly flat surface is essential for constructing buildings using the plaster blocks as any errors that creep in tend to become magnified as work advances. I use a spare ceramic wall tile for this purpose, and a miter box to ensure perfect 90-degree vertical angles for the walls. Legos are ideal for this job but I gave mine away long, long ago...
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The blocks are glued together using PVA adhesive: Aleene's Tacky Glue is good too. Both types of adhesive allow some time for parts to be adjusted before they set. In the event of an error being noticed afterwards, the blocks can be soaked in water, separated, dried and re-glued without harm. Some of the components require sanding to remove the occasional irregularity where the plaster is poured into the mold but this is easily done. The irregularities can be avoided altogether using the techniques described on the Hirst Arts website. Each component is in multiples or fractions of inches, which makes it easy to calculate the number needed and the area they'll cover. The base shell of the left-bank tower is shown next to the miter box, and measures 5 inches long by 2 inches wide.
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While this was drying I assembled the arches that will form the central span of the bridge. Bruce Hirst cleverly designed these components so they can make either 4-inch or 3-inch wide archways depending on their alignment. My span uses the 4-inch version here; 3-inch arches will be used in the tower gateways.
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The smaller 2-inch wide arches shown in the lower photo are formed from 4 pieces, and will make up the two smaller spans between the towers and the central span. The photo shows two of the arches being checked in the dry assembly stage before gluing to the left bank tower. A roof made from thin card will arc between the tower and the pier on the right. Before this is fitted, I'll paint everything within the area to be enclosed as it'll be too difficult to do afterwards.
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In the forefront I've shown two of the Gothic columns that will stand on the corners to the right of the arches. Although the photo doesn't show it that clearly, the finials are designed in the shape of heavily-bearded faces. I think it'll add a nice distinctive touch to the design, as they'll frown down at anyone passing under the bridge as if warning them to behave and respect the river!
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Both towers will butt up to blue insulation foam terrain tiles sized to fit in with those used by the New Buckenham club. I'll make these last, and they'll have stone-flagged quaysides with bollards.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Forward planning.

Whilst I can't expand on my imaginary armies at present, there're plenty of things I can do. The campaign map I drew up some months back left me less than satisfied, so I'm revising it on a different scale of one hexagon = 5 miles. I'm also expanding the size of the hexagons themselves, to make the details held in each easier to read.
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I've looked over the Front Rank figures and reckon I can convert them to Babbington's Legion without much trouble. The poser is what to do with the scattering of light infantrymen. As mentioned before they come with the "Jockey cap" style of headgear issued to British light infantry of the period. They don't look compatable with the Hetzenberg army. I've a mind to paint them up as Margavate light troops in black uniform jackets.
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Work has begun on casting components for my most complex Hirst Arts construction yet - a multi-arched bridge with towers. It requires 16 casts from the molds to get the number of parts needed, and 10 of these have now been done. I'll use some foamcore throughout the model to save weight, but the majority will be plaster. As with any large construction, forward-planning and a dry-run in fitting components together is a must. The components all have to marry up to each other in the right way to avoid gaps and misalignment.
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I plan to have two quayside sections from which the bridge will spring. These will have paved edges with bollards. The towers will have open arches, where mediaeval gates once stood. Now the bridge serves as a convenient customs/tariff post which can be barricaded at need. The center arch will be a seperate unit. Eventually I'll make a ruined version to depict a demolished span for those "blow the bridge!" games.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Another review picture.


Another shot of the current units of the Hetzenberg army. IR1 Sleibnitz leads IR2 Wohl in review past Brigadier-General Schmaltz, watched by the Liebgarde Grenadiers and the Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse. The row of town houses is scratch-built from foamcore, with cartridge paper timberwork, all painted with craft acrylics. The model will be finished with premade doors and windows.
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Some time ago I acquired a number of Front Rank SYW British line infantry. Although half-finished as the 1st Foot (Royal Scots), I've a mind to finish them off as Babbington's Legion, a mercenary regiment operating in the vicinity of the Grand Duchy and the Margravate. A number of British light infantry in "jockey cap" style headgear came with them, and they'll be put to service in some way too.

Friday, 25 July 2008

There and back again...


Due to the complexities and sheer bureaucratic obfuscation of the post 9/11 immigration rules to the USA, I'm back in the UK until the paperwork goes through. In the meantime, the Hetzenberg army is resting in barracks in St. Louis, Missouri. The picture shows the review of (foreground, left) IR 1 Sleibnitz and (foreground, right) IR 2 Wohl, by the First Brigade commander, Brigadier-General Schmaltz. To their rear stands the Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse and the Leibgarde Grenadier regiment. All troop figures are RSM95 by the Dayton Painting Consortium. The figures for the Guggenheim command and the General Schmaltz vignette are Holger Eriksson.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

"Monstrous regiments?"

An interesting thread of discussion concerning female units arose on the Society of Daisy Yahoo loop recently. Another loop has some pictures of 28/30mm figures of SYW persuasion here. I must admit they do look nice, and I can certainly find room for a unit or two in my imaginary armies. History shows that more than one woman fought in disguise during the Seven Year's War. Why not get them out in the full light of day? Does anyone have such "monstrous regiments of women" in their ImagiNation, or are thinking of raising them? Comment and let me know!
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My latest order from Hirst Arts arrived Monday. Excellent service, as I only ordered them Friday. I'm looking forward to casting from them. They will give me the wide arches needed for the bridge project, along with other useful components. For now I'm making preliminary sketches to get an idea of what will be required for the construction.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Pootling along...

A rather grainy shot of the work in progress...

Not an awful lot to report to date. Bureaucratic paperwork is acting like a lead blanket over everything to the point I will probably have to return to the UK until things get sorted.

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In the meantime, the Hetzenberg town houses are basically complete, needing only the timber-frame effects added and the paintwork. I found an excellent source of inspiration from back issues of my fiancee's genealogy magazine! Recent articles featured tips on researching ancestors from Germany and middle Europe, and the cover photographs are of ancient towns in these regions. Plenty of gables, intricate woodwork and towers in evidence, usually in charming pastel colors.

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I have also placed a new order with Hirst Arts for the basic block and gothic accessories molds and they were shipped today. These will help me expand the scope of my projects quite dramatically. The bridge of Kimmelsbrucke is still on the to-do list. Unfortunately I'm not able to order any of the excellent RSM95 figures from Dayton Painting Consortium at this time.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

A street in town...

A week in a new country and a new town has gone by rather quickly. My Hetzenberg figurines survived the trauma of air travel - up to a point. A few men were left at drunken angles and more than one bayonet was bent, all in spite of magnabasing and bubblewrap.
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I've not had much time up to now to do anything constructive wargaming-wise, but today I put some foamcore board and Aleen's tacky glue to good use and constructed the shells of a trio of generic 18th century German-style town houses. Lacking access to my Hirst Arts molds at the moment I'm going to make the roofing out of poster-board card and thinner card cut for tiles. Pictures will follow once they're finished and painted. Now for some more RSM95 figures...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A street in town.

The Hetzenberg Liebgarde Grenadiers lead the march past the tower and rathaus, followed by the Bishop of Guggenheim's Regiment of Horse.

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Here's another view of the rathaus with the neighboring tower. My eventual aim is to make enough buildings to create a small generic Middle European town. It'll probably be surrounded by a mediaeval wall which has been upgraded to follow 17th/18th century ideas for defense. The next project *should* be ordinary houses for the citizens, but I've been looking at mold #44 in the Hirst Arts range, and those lovely big arches are saying "Bridge" to me. Stokes Schwartz of the Duchy of Stollen made a nice bridge which included two tower gateways, and I'll follow his lead for my project.

Monday, 23 June 2008

The Rathaus.

Front quarter view.


Front elevation.
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A couple of days to go before I head for pastures new. Planning is over, packing has begun! In the meantime I pushed ahead and completed a project that has been sitting on the workbench for way too long - the rathaus.
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This building was designed to be the meeting hall or rathaus of a town council. Construction is mainly from Hirst Arts components from their Gothic range of molds. Only the sides of the two upper storeys, the windows and the main body of the dormer windows are scratch-built, either from foamcore or balsa. Although it can't be made out here, the windows are diamond-paned, formed from the type of mesh used for car bodywork repairs. The roof of the main building lifts off to allow figures to be placed inside. The small plinth positioned over the central arch is intended for a statue of some kind. A 15mm figurine painted in suitable colors will go here.
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I used ordinary vinyl emulsion for the main paintwork and Vallejo acrylics for everything else, occasionally mixed with "Klear" floor polish ("Future" in the US) for added durability. The roofs do look a bit "hot," but this is due to the lighting conditions. All that remains for me to do is complete the street surface in front of the building. Time permitting I'll take a photo or two of the rathaus alongside the tower I made in the earlier project.
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Overall I'm reasonably satisfied with the result. As always I can see a few areas which can be improved upon, but that can wait for another time and another project.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Pootling along again...

All trips abroad take some preparation and I'm just beginning mine. In the meantime I've completed a few more hedges for the club, and a Flames of War US army company (less the integral bazooka teams). My thoughts haven't strayed that far from the 18th Century though. I intend to buy some RSM 95 figures to make up the First Brigade of the Hetzenberg army, the attached artillery battery and probably the Guard battery too. With so much else going on, I'm afraid the ImagiNation has had to take a back seat for a while.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Times they are a Changin'...

So, the reason why my ImagiNations have gone quiet for a while is this - I have the delightful prospect of moving to the USA to be with my girlfriend and to work. This will take place soon, but in the meantime I have a couple of decades' worth of wargames material to take into account. Not everything I have is of current interest to me nor likely to be. Some things will remain in my collection - Hetzenberg and the nascent Margravate armies. A lot of stuff will have to go. It's wayyy too expensive to transport or ship.
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First up on the sale block. Some time ago I aquired a heap of Front Rank early 1990's vintage Napoleonic/Republican French in 25mm. These are now for sale here under the Bring & Buy section. Prices are given, any reasonable offers accepted.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Pootling along...

One of the many discoveries I made when clearing out my workshed was a trio of Old Glory "Command Decision" packs, WW2 15mm miniatures, specifically US army riflemen and command. They were part of a consignment of a store's bankrupt stock I got years ago. As this discovery coincides with the club's interest in Flames of War, I decided to put them to use.
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I must admit, painting modern figures is much easier than most other periods! Using just the basic pigments of US olive drab, field brown, some highlights and a sepia ink wash I've completed an entire platoon today. It won't take long to do the basework, and they'll be ready to take the field.
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Of course they'll then be faced with the inevitable defeat/rout/annihilation that befalls all newly-completed wargames units in their first game! Is it just me that this happens to? I don't think so! This may be a wargamers' urban myth, but it happened at the New Buckenham club's ACW game to Guns at Gettysburg rules on Friday. My new 19th Indiana Union regiment was broken and sent packing within moments of arriving in the firing line. All the other Union units behaved admirably (helped by an incredible number of "box-car" rolls - 12 on 2d6). They're a nice set of rules, quick and easy to grasp. I should have a couple more units ready by the next game, so I'll see how they perform...

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Partizan 2008 & Theatiki.

The club's visit to Newark's Partizan show was a success. It was surprisingly busy; I guess most of us were thinking people would be pulling in their horns when it came to buying wargames material due to the much touted "credit crunch." Instead, it seemed the crowded halls of Kelham were filled with people determined to spend while they could.
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I don't think there was a single trader who didn't have a throng three-deep at his/her stand, at least in the first half of the day. Certainly the folks from Cambridgeshire who make nice hand-crafted buildings for 25/28mm figures profited from the New Buckenham club's visit. We bought a sizable quantity of buildings from them, leaving their table looking rather bare!

Nigel Higgins of Anglia Models displayed a nice and very tempting range of 28mm Spanish Civil War figures. Old Glory were present with some superb WW1 and WW2 aircraft from their "Li'l Flying Fokkers" range in 15mm, just right for the popular Flames of War rules set.
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The games themselves were many and varied. A Mexican-American War of 1848 caught my eye, with its gorgeous uniforms. A Spanish Peninsula game featuring a naval landing party saw the deployment of two splendid and sizeable vessels attacking a port, all in 28mm. Other games featured a mediaeval seige complete with trebuchet and early cannon, a long and dangerous-looking bronze tube under a mantlet.
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All in all, a very successful event, and one I'm sure to visit again, possibly later this year at "the other Partizan."
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This year sees a number of re-enactment events in celebration of the French-Indian War 250th Anniversary. One of the best is "The Gathering on the Theatiki," near Bourbonnais, Illinois, on the weekend 12th - 13th July. As I'll be in the US at that time, I'm hoping to join my fellow soldiers of the 78th (Simon Frazer's) Highlanders in their struggle for supremacy against the French. There'll be numerous events based on those times, and several dozen merchants on Traders' Row. Anyone in the neighborhood is welcome to stop by to visit the 18th century.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Partizan 2008.

The New Buckenham club fought a moderate-sized early English Civil War battle last night. The objective was to capture and control a small village with a bridge by nightfall.
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I was one of the two Royalist generals, and commanded the left wing. The ground wasn't really suitable for cavalry but I deployed them in the best area I could find on my flank, and forded the river to engage the Parliamentarian infantry there. For once my dice rolls weren't infallibly awful and I managed to push across the river, destroying an enemy regiment occupying the village churchyard in the process.
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My cavalry engaged another infantry regiment lined up behind one of my shiny new hedges. Maybe I made them too well, for the initial exchange of pistol and musket fire failed to damage either party! I destroyed the regiment at the cost of two of mine, and lost the last cavalry regiment in a prolonged fight with a single élite Parliamentarian one. They bought enough time for my infantry brigade to deploy in the village, although night fell before a decisive result was obtained.
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Tomorrow I shall be off to "Partizan," the Newark wargames show. I went for the first time last September and enjoyed it. It's a large venue, easy to reach, with a good spread of traders and games.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Hedges.

A couple of pictures of the completed hedges.
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I finished a total of 30 inches of the hedge sections in three days, including allowing the paint etc. to dry. Each piece is 5 inches long. I'm planning to make a few more sections with small trees growing in them and a number t-section pieces to represent the corners of fields, just for the sake of completeness.
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Figures-wise, I did a bit of soul-searching and have decided to restrict the armies of Hetzenberg and Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl to one brigade each with a cavalry regiment and attached artillery. This will be enough to field a decent-sized action. More units will be added, time and circumstances permitting.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Pootling along...

Nothing much doing this week, beyond clearing yet more of my workshed now the weather has improved. Once I could clear a patch of workbench I began making a batch of hedgerow sections suitable for use either as bocage in 15mm or ordinary hedges in 25/28mm. We found ourselves rather short of these at the club so having the materials to hand (and needing the space using them would free-up!) I set-to.
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Basic construction is two thin strips of scrap 4mm ply, 5 inches long glued in parallel to another shorter length set vertically, forming an upside-down T shape in cross-section. The sides are filled with a paste composed of PVA, spackle powder and Eberhard Arts powdered papiermaché. This dries quite quickly and is hard enough to survive most casual wargames use.
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The hedge material itself is rubberized horsehair, torn into rough strips 1 1/2 inches wide, which is folded over the upright section and glued in place. A hot-glue gun would be best for this, although I used impact adhesive. A dark green rattlecan paint at close range gave the basic coat to the foilage and filled the interior. While this is still wet a lighter green is sprayed over at a longer range to give a light shading, before scenic flock is dusted over all, ensuring the sides are covered as well. Tap off the excess, and paint the lower part in varied shades of green and brown to represent the hedge banks.
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I'll post a few pictures tomorrow of the work in progress.