Friday, 24 October 2008

Campaign map - one

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.
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.
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


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

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...
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.