Sunday, October 24, 2010

H.G. Walls Goodies

The new church fits in quite nicely with the rest of my town. All the buildings, tents, fences and large trees were made by Herb Gundt.

Saturday evening I made a trip to the Games Plus hobby store to meet up with Mr. H.G. Walls, himself, to pick up a couple of models that I had recently commissioned with him. As usual, the models were stunningly good, for Herb has the knack or intuition for knowing exactly what it is that I want whenever he makes a model for me.

The first item is a small German onion dome church to use with my Minden Miniature wargame project. I have decided that built up areas will occuppy an area that is two feet square, i.e., anything that sets foot in the square module is considered to be in a built up area ("BUA"). That eliminates the argument over whether or not a battalion is in or outside of the village. If you are in the square, you are also in the BUA. As a part of this system, I want each BUA to look like a diorama, so I want my buildings to be a little bit smaller than usual because I want to cram 3 or 4 buildings into each square, plus a number of large trees. No more of these tiny little tree models for me. I want my Great Oak to look the part. You can see what I'm talking about in an arborial sort of way by looking at the picture below.

A view of the front of the church. Front Rank civilians are having their "ears bent" by the minister in front of the church. Notice how the larger trees are in proportion to the buildings.

Once of the things that I noticed in some of the flats dioramas at museums in Germany, is that they clump a bunch of buildings together (3 to 5) and add some very large trees, to create a sense of realism. This is what I am trying to duplicate with this set up.

Next on my list of Gundt Goodies were some border guard posts that I asked Herb to make for me. He made two single guard boxes (you can see an example in the first picture at the top of the page, look for the house with the black and white chevrons, next to the command tents. Herb also made a border crossing post with a guard house and gate that actually raises and lowers. The only thing missing was a sign that said "Austrians Keep Out!"/

I forgot to turn off the flash, but the effect was rather interesting. It looks like the picture was taken at dusk. Minden Prussian sentry, RSM officer, and fire from Miniature Building Authority. Smaller trees by K&M. Click the picture to enlarge the view.

And finally, as long as I was at Games Plus, I had to do a little bit of shopping, so I picked up some paints and metal and wood bases. I was about to walk out the door, when I spied a large bucket full of "casino dice". These are large dice with square corners, rather than the standard rounded corners that most game dice have. I seem to recall a discusion on Old School Wargaming about the benefits of square cornered dice. So I bought ten of these beauties and plan to use them at my next wargame, next weekend.

Casino dice - guaranteed to roll lots of box cars (I hope). They are also huge and I like them a lot.

I am currently painting feverishly in order to finish some British cavalry in time for our game next weekend. As usual, the game will be held at Chez Protz on saturday October 30th. This time the game will feature the British against the French. I added a squadron of the 1st Horse (later 1st Dragoon Guards) to bring this unit up to 36 figures. Now I'm working on a squadron of Life Guards, using Stadden figures. The first test figure turned out nicely, so I'm looking forward to completing the unit and adding it to the dozen horse grenadiers that I already had painted. I also cleaned and prepped some more cavalry, but I ran out of metal bases, so I can't blitz paint some thing like The Blues at the last minute. More to follow this week.

Friday, October 22, 2010

British Dragoons for the SYW

My recent painting output includes a squadron of RSM British 3rd Dragoon Guard (left) and some Suren 2nd Horse (later 1st Dragoon Guards) on the right. Click picture to enlarge.

I have been working on some additions to my small contingent of SYW British cavalry for use in our Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (or "BAR") games, over the past week or two. Goodness knows that my redcoats need all the help that they can get, as they are heavily outnumbered by the mighty legions of France. In fact, our combined British forces (from Bill, Randy and I ) are competitive on the infantry side of the ledger, but they are vastly outnumbered when it comes to cavalry. Add in the fact that I sold all of my conventional British cavarly forces (i.e. multi-figure basing per stand versus single figure mounting for BAR), and you can see how hard pressed the redcoated cavalry shall be.

Here are five squadrons of British SYW cavalry - it's all that I have at this time, 60 figures sorted into squadrons of 12 figures. From left to right, 3rd DG, Household Horse Grenadiers, and three sqds of the 2nd Horse (War of Austrian Succession) or 1st Dragoon Guards (SYW designation). The kettle drummer is a Front Rank figure mounted on an Elite Miniatures horse.

So as of today, I have five squadrons of 12 figure, or 60 figures total for my British cavalry contingent. For comparison, Bill's single regiments of the Carabiniers and Gensdarmes are 60 figures each. It will be a slaughter until I can even up the sides. Eventually, I will add three squadrons of The Blues (the old 2nd Horse), a squadron of Stadden Lifeguards for the Household Brigade, and several 2-squadron dragoon regiments. Randy already has The Greys (2nd Royal North British Dragoons) so I will not be adding that unit.

If you double click the picture above, take a closer look at some of the figures. The kettle drummer and officer in the blue cloak are Front Rank figures. The mounted drummer is an Elite Miniatures figure, and the rest of the regiment are Suren castings. Some flags from The Flag Dude are resting against the horses awaiting a true standard bearer to hold them. I just wanted to see how the standards look with the unit.

The squadron of figures wearing mitres are the two troops of Household Horse Grenadiers, or enough to make one squadron of guard cavalry. These are Stadden figures. I also have, unpainted, the Life Guards in tricorns, also made by Stadden. One day I hope to get them painted too.

Next in line, on the left, are some smaller RSM figures that I painted this past week. I have been painting some of the rarely seen RSM British Dragoons Charging and I really like the way that they turned out. The poses are very dynamic, even more so if you mix in the charging horses with legs bunched and legs stretched out, as shown in the picture below:

Close up view of the 3rd DG with RSM figures and regimental flag from Rick, The Flag Dude. The officer with sword, on the right, is mounted on a Connoisseur H6 horse, while the rest of the riders are mounted on RSM horses. I like to mix in different brands of horses to mix things up a bit.

I have to finish two more troopers to bring the first squadron up to 12 figures. The second squadron is primed, in grey, and ready for painting over the weekend. Hopefully, I will have both squadrons ready in time for our BAR game on October 30th. It will be a British versus French battle, somewhere in western Germany. I am kind of looking forward to this game, even though I expect to get stomped by the French. The British have never won a battle in all of our BAR games played since 2005.

Even though there is a school of thought that the British cavalry regiments did not take their colours into battle, I believe that a cavalry unit does not look complete unless it carries its colours into battle. I did not want to hand paint them, so I called up Rick O'Brien, a.k.a. The Flag Dude and order flags for the 3rd DG and the 1st DG. For the 3rd, I already had the flag pole glued into the hand of the RSM cavalry officer so I needed a flag with out the pole.

Rick obliged by providing it, sans pole, with the sleeve open. So I merely had to slide the flag onto the existing pole. This is really great, because for some figures, such as this particular RSM officer, the hand is too tiny to be able to glue a pole on after priming and painting. I had to drill a small hole into the boot of the officer, so that the pole was affixed to two different touch points, providing greater strength.

The flag for the 1st DF is one of Rick's standard flag-on-pole-with-crinkly-flag. When I flag the 1st DG, I will have to paint new flag bearers, but drill a hole into their hand and insert the flag pole into the hand hole. The Suren figures that I am using have more metal to work with, so it is easier to use the completed flag set that Rick provides. I really like the flags and intend to use more of them. Oh, by the way, he also includes flag cords painted in the appropriate color when you order the flag and pole set. The open sleeve flag does not come with cords since you have to attach everything anyway.

British cavalry reinforcements are being recruited and trained at the depot. On the table: the first two squadrons of The Blues. These are Elite Miniatures British Dragoon Guards from the SYW range. The swords have been clipped off and replaced with soldered-on pin swords. Ouch!

Friday, October 15, 2010

What's On Fritz's Painting Table?

Minden SYW Austrian grenadiers stand front and center on Fritz's painting table, flanked by some RSM Bavarians (since completed) and a few other bits and pieces. My trusty old copy of Mollo's book on SYW uniforms can be seen in the background.

I have a battalion of Minden Austrian grenadiers that have been sitting on my painting table for over a month now, just crying to be completed. As you can see in the picture, above, I was able to finish one stand of six grenadiers before getting side tracked by my Summer Sale and various other priorities.

I have been helping other duchies and principalities build out their armed forces over the past month or so and it has been fun to crank out a few units for other wargamers and even more fun when I get to see the figures that I painted showing up on their blogs. Kind of cool, isn't it?

So just when I had all of the recent painting commissions completed and shipped, I was thinking about getting back to my Austrian grenadiers. But then Fate intervened with a ton of things to do at work, which drained me so much at the end of the day that my painting slowed down to a mere trickle. (On the other hand, some times of late the work has been so heavy that only the thought of going home and sitting down at the painting table is the only thing that helps me get through the work day).

My basement work station - this is where I clean and prime my figures and do all of my terraining of bases. The other station (first picture) where I paint is upstairs in the dining room. Here you can see some RSM Prussian Dragoons that eventually went to a client in the Cincinnati area.

Then those perfidious Gallians decided to stage another invasion of Northern Germany - won't they ever learn? So I am currently rushing reinforcements to the Marquis of Granby, commanding officer of His Britannic Majesty's Army in Western Germany, headquartered at Minden.

The 1st Dragoon Guards needed an extra squadron of Suren figures, so those got moved up in the painting que. I completed the first six figures the other evening and was working on some officers and mounted drummers to complete the squadron - there will be three squadrons of 12 figures in this regiment, all Suren figures.

After that, I have two more squadrons of the 3rd Dragoon Guards primed and ready to paint. In fact, I have already started on the first squadron, using the RSM British cavalry at the charge pose, and what a grand looking figure it is. The unit will have 24 figures and sport flags supplied by Rick O'Brien, a.k.a. "The Flag Dude". I'm looking forward to seeing these new colors as Rick turns out a great looking product. That should give me some incentive to finish up the 3rd Dragoon Guards by the end of the month, October 30th, when we convene in Brown Deer, Wisconsin to repel the Gallians from Minden, once again.

Then come November, I hope to be able to release some news about a top secret project that I am working on. I think that most of my blog followers will be as excited about the project as I am, once the news is released. So stay tuned for more information.