Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve Clean Up

As you can see from the picture, I have allowed the Clutter to take over my game room like kudzu. So in the waning days of 2013 I have decided that I should commence a major clean up and de cluttering of both the game room and the Closet O' Lead.

I am clearing out shelf space in the Closet O' Lead so that I can store all of the Minden inventory there, rather than on the floor underneath the game tables. This means that a lot of boxes full of junk and stuff need to find a new home, so be on the lookout for some lead sales over the next couple of weeks. These will be priced at clearance prices for unpainted lead and I will post some lots on this blog.

One of the items to be sold are a lot of 15mm SYW painted and unpainted Essex and Old Glory British and French infantry. If you have an interest in several hundred figures in 15mm, then send me an email and I can give you the details.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Fine Scratch-built Coach

I have been following the progress of this 18th Century coach model, built by Richard Watts, on various Internet forums and it appears that the model is finally finished.

Click on the above link to Richard's blog for more information.

I am beyond impressed by the modeling skill that Richard possesses and I am a little bit envious too.
The wheels come from various figure manufacturers and I believe that the horses are from Od Glory. The driver is converted from a Front Rank Figurines figure. The coach chassis and cab are scratch built from dowel rod and balsa wood. 

Minden Pioneeers

This is one of my favorite pictures, taken in 2013. It depicts some Minden Pioneers painted as Prussian Pioneers marching in their waistcoats. Berlin Zinnfiguren powder wagon and Herb Gundt made building.

The versatility of this set of pioneers makes them a must have in any Minden SYW collection of figures. They come with open hands and a sprue of work tools. So you can use them as laborers with shovels, axes and picks, or get creative and use them as something else.

Charles S. Grant uses the figures as pontooniers and bargemen on his river barges, while I have used them as artillery laborers, attaching twisted strands of wire to depict the drag ropes, etc. Ed Phillips uses them as bakers in his filed bakery models. The uses of these figures are only limited by one's imagination.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bears 28 Packers 33; Triple Face Palm.

On the last play of the game, it is 4th down and 8 yards to go for a first down. The Packers decide to go for it because there is less than a minute left in the game. It is all or nothing now. Aaron Rogers rolls out of the pocket to avoid the pass rush. He rolls to the left and spies a totally wide open Randall Cobb and throws a 48 yard bomb to Cobb for the game winning touch down.

Where was the safety? He was 40 yards up field instead of back near the goal line to defend against the long bomb. It is a no brainier keeping one defender back near the goal line during the final seconds of the game. Doh!

Frederick the Great's Coach

I found these images of Frederick's coach on the Berlin Zinnfiguren store. These are 30mm flats. I get lots of good ideas for future SYW era additions to the Minden Miniatures range by looking at some of the German flats that are currently in production.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Von Knyphausen & Francis Marion - Painted Figures

Von Knyphausen (Left) with a Minden Prussian officer on foot; and Francis Marion (Right). Click pix to enlarge.

I finally found some time over the holiday to finish painting the von Knyphausen and Francis Marion personality figures from Fife & Drum Miniatures. The Francis Marion figure obviously needs to have its base finished off -- the spackel compound dipped in fine grit needs to dry overnight and then I can ink the base and start applying the static grass and tufts.

I added one of the Prussian senior general staff on foot figures from the Minden range to create a mini diorama on the Von Knyphausen stand. The foot figure is holding a map and showing it to the mounted figure. He would make for a fine SYW Prussian general, with removal of the small epaulette on the left shoulder to convert him into a Prussian general.

In other Minden-related news, I have boosted the Bayreuth Dragoons from 32 figures to 50 figures over the past several weeks. I might stop at 50 figures, but eventually I could increase the regiment to 60 figures, which at a 1:20 ratio, would represent 1,200 cavalry in 10 squadrons.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas From Hesse Seewald

I want to wish all of my blog followers a Merry Christmas full of family, wonderful presents and a joyous day of celebration. I have posted a picture of our Christmas tree prior to the ransacking of the presents. :)

There is not much to report on the wargaming front, other than to report that we had to cancel our game on December 14th due to the snow storm that hit the Midwest. The silver lining in that cloud though was that the prospect of a game had me painting more Minden Austrians and Prussians for the game. In other words, I made a nice dent in the To Do list.

In a few more days I will start pondering on my plans for the new year and look back on the events of 2013, but for now, I will enjoy some holiday family time.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Recent ACW Game

The Players: Earl ( back to the camera), and moving clockwise  -- Randy, Keith and Bill ( on the right).

Last month four of our regular group assembled at Earl K's house for an enjoyable day of gaming the American Civil War.  The game featured armies of 20mm Airfix plastic figures on some beautifully rendered terrain in Earl's basement Wargame room. You can see from the pictures what a cozy and delightful Man Cave Earl has put together with the game table surrounded by scores of books on military history. It is really designed to get you in the mood to game.

Earl umpired the game and paired us off into two two-man teams. Bill P. and I drew the Confederate forces out of a hat, while Randy F. and Keith L. drew the Union forces. Each of us commanded a division of two brigades, with each brigade having approximately 4 regiments and a battery of artillery. This seemed to be just the right amount of figures for everyone to handle without getting overwhelmed by having too many figures to maneuver. 

I apologize for not remembering the name of the rules; they are a set developed by one of Earl's friends. I should have taken some notes or posted the report last month when things were still fresh in my brain. I know that Earl is one of my regular viewers so perhaps he will post a comment or two about the game on this page's comments section to provide some of the missing details.

Suffice it to say that the four old codgers shown in the pictures were able to grasp the game mechanics fairly quickly: that is the hallmark of a good set of rules. Earl had the game terrain set up head of time, covering about half of his table. The other half contained some extra regiments that were set up in various formations or tactical position and Earl used these to explain the rules and mechanics prior to the start of the game. It helped to have this visual aid to help u understand the rules.

The scenario did not particularly matter as we were there for the bonhomie and compatibility more than anything else. The scenario was sort of a mini Stones River, what with each side attacking the other side' left flank. None of really knew what we were doing so we just started moving plastic forward as fast as we could. 

A creek bisected the battlefield and I think that thenConfederate objective was to control the road leading off of the Union back table edge ( or roughly where you see Keith L. sitting in the picture). You can see Bill P. sitting at the Confederate starting position on the right hand side of the table. By luck of the draw, I had the Confederate division that were the toughest veterans on the table, which allowed me to move faster than the other troops. So our plan was for me to pitch into the Union brigade opposite me and Bill would cover my left flank from the second Union brigade.

Things seemed to be working to plan and soon Randy and I were engaged in a death grip firefight on my side of the creek. It actually appeared that Randy was gaining the upper hand when one of his regiments fell into a state of disorder. At about the same time, Bill moved one of his brigades up to my left, while his second brigade held the other Union division at bay to his left. This move gave us  considerable firepower advantage all of a sudden and as a result, the tide began to turn in the Confederate's favor.

Eventually we were able to rout off Randy's whole division, but our forces were too depleted to try to carry on across the creek. A standstill was the result.

All in all, it was a good day of gaming, eating and socializing. I don't get many chances to play in somebody else's game, so it was a nice change of pace to be a player participant. I want to thank Earl for being a wonderful host and for providing us with such a fun game.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Troiani's Battle of Trenton

This is a wonderful picture from the talented artist, Don Troiani, depicting the death of Colonel von Rall at the Battle of Trenton on Christmas of 1776.

This picture really has me thinking about our future releases of AWI Hessians in 2014.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

1st Continental Light Dragoons from Fife & Drum

1st Continental Light Dragoons: loading (L) and Firing (R). Click all pictures to enlarge the view.

Here are some pictures of the eight poses that Richard Ansell created for the Fife & Drum range of AWI figures. As with the British dragoons in the range, this set is primarily in skirmish or vedette poses, although you can create a formal looking regiment of troopers all with shouldered swords, along with the appropriate command figures. The Continental dragoons are at Griffin Moulds right now and I expect that we will have them in production in January 2014.

Continentals firing pistol (L) and resting carbine (R)

Continetal Command: trumpeter (L) and officer (R)
Continental standard bearer (L) and trooper with rested sword (R)

I could envision two squadrons of the 1st Continental Light Dragoons on the table top. The first squadron would be posted out front in open skirmish order and might include a mix of the Officer pointing, the carbine at rest, a pair of firing carbine and loading carbine, and shooting pistol and carbine at rest. Then you would have the second squadron deployed further back, with the officer, standard bearer and the trumpeter, plus 9 of the troopers with shouldered swords, ready to support the skirmish line.

The next batch of AWI cavalry will include the British Legion cavalry (8 poses) and the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons. These two sets of figures will be in a more energetic series of charging and hacking poses. This way, one regiment can be used for skirmishing and the second regiment could be used for charging and melee.

16th Light Dragoon - Fife & Drum AWI Figures

16th Light Dragoons
16th Light Dragoon: rested carbine (left); firing pistol (right). Click all pix to enlarge the view

I finally had a chance to download all of the pictures that Richard Ansell sent to me that depict the eight different poses that he has sculpted for the 16th Light Dragoons. I will post views of the figures from the left and from the right side of the figures. In a couple of instances, a front view of the figures will also be shown.

The general idea is that the first pair of American and British AWI cavalry regiments will feature skirmishing and scouting poses, as well as some "shouldered sword" poses to create either a skirmish line or a squadron deployed in line and ready to advance.

An active looking squadron or regiment can be created using the four "skirmishing" poses of the 16th Light Dragoons: loading carbine, firing carbine, firing pistol,  resting carbine on thigh and then adding the officer and musician to complete the set.

16th LD loading his carbine (L) and firing his carbine (R)

Left hand side view of the loading and firing figures.

The more formal look of the cavalry regiment in line and ready for action can be achieved by using the two 16th LD troopers with shouldered swords: one is wearing the traditional uniform coat while the other is wearing a hunting shirt out on the campaign. You can pair these figures up with the two command figures (musician and officer pointing) to create a squadron or regiment in line, possibly serving in a second line behind the cavalry picket line.

16th LD shouldered sword: uniform coat (L) and hunting shirt (R)

Right hand side view of the shouldered sword set of 16th LD.

16th LD command figures: trumpeter (L) and Officer (R)

Reverse view of the command figures.

The greens are on their way to Griffin Moulds, where Stewart will have the master and production moulds made, and after that, they can start spining metal and getting them into production. I anticipate that the 16th LD and the 1st Continental Light Dragoons will be ready to sell in January 2014.

NEXT: 1st Continental Light Dragoons.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Cold Winter's Night & A Warm Fire

Der Alte Fritz's Fireside Perch

It is 5F degrees outside this evening here in Wintry Hesse Seewald. Mrs Fritz is in her kerchief and I'm in my cap and we have settled down in front of a warm fire to watch the Chicago Bears defeat the Dallas Cowboys. This is the best place to be on a cold evening like this.

You can see my favorite chair right next to the fireplace. This is where I spend some of my evenings plotting the next Prussian invasion of Saxony or Bohemia or planning future additions to the Minden or Fife & Drum figure ranges.

That leads me to comment on the upcoming SYW game next Saturday at Chez Protz. The game will feature all of my painted Minden and RSM figures in one game, so it should be quite a thing to behold. I have been painting Mindens almost non-stop since Labor Day back in September  in anticipation of this game. I had hoped to add 8 more Bayreuth Dragoons and 2 more Black Hussars, but even I have 
Painting limits and the reality was that I couldn't add these last few figures without spending a ridiculous amount of time on them and getting all stresses out. So I bowed to reality and said "this is enough".

The rest of the week now looks a lot more relaxed.

Bloody Ban Tarleton Is Painted

The Banastre Tarleton Personality Figure from Fife & Drum Miniatures (click all pix to enlarge)

I was able to paint and base the new Banastre Tarleton figure that we have added to the Fife & Drum range of AWI miniatures. The figure shown in these pictures is seated on one of the six new medium sized horses that we added specifically for the AWI range, with the assumption that the heavy cavalry horses of the Minden range would be more suitable for the heavy cuirassiers and dragoons of the SYW era. Over here in America, the horses tended to be a lot smaller because the armies did not use their dragoons for heavy shock action tactics.

Front view of Tarleton
I think that Tarleton cuts a dashing figure and Richard Ansell did a wonderful job of conveying the spirit and elan of the cavalryman. He was really a lot of fun to paint and rather an easy job at that too, because the figure is not loaded down with a lot of equipment. The new (one of six new horses) is another walking pose - very life-like and natural in appearance.

When I look at this figure, my mind wanders into the future when we add the British Legion cavalry and I can just imagine Bloody Ban leading a frenzied charge against a line of shaky American militia. I imagine that the full regiment will look rather spectacular.

Left rear view of Tarleton
Banastre Tarleton - Fife & Drum Personality Figure. (click to enlarge)
And finally, here is a Work In Progress picture of the Knyhausen personality figure that I am working on. He has a ways to go before I can finish him off and base him, but I thought that you might enjoy the preview nevertheless.
Baron von Knyphausen, commander of the Hessian corps in North America. Work in Progress photo.

Friday, December 6, 2013

AWI Dragoon Greens - Sneak Peak

Here are a couple of teaser photos of the greens that Richard sent to me this morning. The first batch of Fife & Drum dragoons will include 8 poses each of the British 16th Light Dragoons and the 1st Continental Light Dragoons.  I will post more pictures over the next several days.

16th Light Dragoons skirmishing or on piquet duty.

16th Light Dragoon Command (above)

1st Continental Light Dragoons skirmishing (above)

Standard Bearer and trooper with shouldered sword (below)

Knyphausen, Marion & Tarleton Castings Are Here

Fife & Drum Personalities (left to right): Knyphausen, Francis Marion, and Tarleton. Click to enlarge view.

I received a package of castings from Griffin Moulds today. Talk about fast service, it only took two days for the package to ship door to door. I'm impressed. The box contained a resupply of some of the Minden Miniatures figures, so if you have any items on back order, I will be shipping your figures within the next several days.

The most exciting part however, was the inclusion of the first of the Kickstarter AWI Dragoons figures, of which we have the three personality figures for Knyphausen, Francis Marion and Banastre Tarleton. The figures won't be available until all of the Kickstarter backers receive their rewards in January 2014. After that time, anyone can buy the figures. If you are one of our Kickstarter backers and you happen to place an order for additional or other AWI and SYW figures, I will add your personality reward figures with your purchase.

Another view of the same figures, with picture scaled closer to their actual size. Knyphausen and Tarleton sit on 2 of the 6 new horses added to the AWI range. We have 27 horses in the range as of today.
I can see some multiple uses for the Knyphausen figure: perhaps use him as Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick or the Duke of Bevern for your SYW armies. I will attempt to paint these three samples over the weekend so that you can get a better idea of how they look. Please forgive my poor attempts at black washing the figures for photographic purposes.  They do no justice to the actual figures, which to my eye, are quite stunning.

Richard informs me that he is nearly finished with the rest of the Kickstarter Dragoons and so I expect that I should have some pictures of the greens within the next several days. We are making good progress and it looks like we will be able to deliver the dragoons on time in January.

I have also had some equipment pieces cast up to sell as weapons packs: swords, carbines, muskets and drum castings. Richard also made the Prussian Garde du Corps vexillum flag so that I could have a proper flag for my own Minden Guard du Corps.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Frederick's Leib Guard - 3rd Battalion (IR15/III)

IR15/III - Third Battalion of the Leib Guard - Minden Miniatures

Today is the 256th anniversary of Frederick the Great's victory over the Austrians at the Battle of Leuthen on December 5, 1757. Many would say that Leuthen was the battle that gave Frederick the title of "the Great".

What better way to celebrate Leuthen than to post my first pictures of the 3rd Battalion of the Leib Guard (IR15/III). The rank and file all wore mitres with yellow mitre bag and silver front plate. The 2nd Battalion (IR15/II) wore tricorns, edged in silver. Both battalions of the Leib Guard were considered to be "grenadiers".

Close up view of three of the five stands plus the regimental officer. click pix to enlarge.
The figures are from the Minden Miniatures range of SYW era figures, sculpted by Richard Ansell. I used the grenadier figures with the "Swedish" cuffs and painted the aigulettes (shoulder knots) that would have been on the right shoulder. One of these days, we shall add the proper dressed Leib Guard figures to the Minden range, but for now, these will do just fine, thank you.

3rd Btn (front) and 2nd Btn (rear) form a brigade of the Leib Guard . Minden Miniatures. Click all pix to enlarge.

We have a SYW game scheduled at Chez Protz in Brown Deer, WI on Saturday December 14th, and as you might imagine, I have been busy building up my Minden Prussian forces for the game. To be fair, I have worked equally hard at adding Austrian units (primarily 2 cuirassier regiments and one Hungarian musketeer regiment) to the opposing side. We will use Bill's "Batailles de l'Ancien Regime" or BAR for short, using a 1 to 20 figure ratio (about 30 figures per battalion of infantry and 24-32 cavalry regiments). We normally play our BAR games using our 1 to 10 ratio Big Battalions, but every once in awhile, we pull out the smaller units and have a go with the rules. They work just fine at either ratio of figures to actual men.

Some viewers have asked how I organize my infantry for my own Fife & Drum rules. I paint both battalions of a regiment plus a mounted officer to command the whole regiment. Since I am using a 1:20 ratio in my Minden Armies, I have 30 figure battalions based on an assumption of 600 men in the battalion. It then follows that the regiment of two battalions would have 60 figures plus the one mounted officer. For basing, I use a 20mm frontage per figure and so I use MDF bases measuring 60mm by 40mm for my 6-figure infantry stands. There are five stands in each battalion.

I currently have four Prussian regiments completed: IR5 Alte Braunschweig, IR1 Winterfeld, IR13 Itzenplitz and IR49 Diericke fusilier regiment. There is also one battalion of grenadiers, the Wedell Grenadier Battalion (1/23) comprised of the two grenadier companies from both the IR1 and the IR23 regiments of musketeers. The recently completed 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Leib Guard and a battalion of jagers complete the infantry portion of my Minden Prussian army.


Monday, December 2, 2013

18th Century Traveling Coaches

There is a distinct lack of suitable 18th Century traveling coaches  in the 28mm market. Many of us have to resort to the out of date 17th Century (ECW) coach made by Redoubt. I have seen some other "fantasy coaches " here and there, but none are truly suitable for our period.

I did stumble upon a likely candidate in the American coach reposited in the Beekman Collection. This is the real thing, not a scale model.

Monday, November 25, 2013

IR15/II Second Battalion of the Leib Guard - Minden Prussians

2nd Battalion of the Guard - IR15/II with Minden Miniatures
I seem to be on a painting roll of late as I get ready for our next SYW game on December 14, 2013. We are going to use the Batailles de l'Ancien Regime ("BAR") rules using a figure ratio of 20 to 1. This translates into infantry battalions of approximately 30 figures and cavalry regiments of 24 to 32 figures.

The incentive of an upcoming game seeems to have my brushes flying at full speed: last week I completed the 2nd battalion of the von Diericke Fusiliers (IR49) and this week finds me completing the 2nd Battalion of the Leib Guard (designated as "IR15/II). The second battalion of the Guard all wore tricorn hats (save for its grenadier company - silver front plates and red mitre bags) and the third battalion all wore grenadier mitres (silver front plate with yellow mitre bag). Regardless of what head gear they wore, all three battalions of the Leib Guard were considered to be grenadiers. 

The first battalion was largely a ceremonial unit, having only fought at the Battle of Kolin in 1757. It remained in Potsdam for the remainder of the war and it had a rather ornate, gaudy uniform with tons of silver metallic lace. One of these days I might commission Richard Ansell to make the first battalion of the Guard.

A close up view of the 2nd Battalion of the Lieb Guard.

Minden Miniatures does not yet have a specific "Guard" figure in the range, however, the figures with the large Swedish style cuffs are perfectly suitable for the job. Really the only thing that is missing, that would make them Guard uniforms, is the aigulette (shoulder knot) on the right shoulder. I found that I could render a suitable substitute by "converting with paint", i.e. painting the aigulette onto the figure.

Another view of the Guard down at eye level. Click all pix to enlarge the view.
Next on the painting docket: the third battalion of the Leib Guard. I will use the Minden grenadier figure with Swedish cuffs and do the same aigulette conversion. I should have enough time to get the third battalion done in time for the December 14th game.

Why are you painting guards, you might ask. Because it is my own Prussian army and I like the way that the Guards look, and I can paint whatever I please for my own army.  It is my hobby, my diversion from the hectic pace of Life and it brings me enjoyment and happiness to paint the Prussian units that I want in my wargame army. Isn't that reason enough?