Saturday, April 27, 2013

Some Little Wars Pix

War of 1812 Game - Knuckleduster Figures. Click all pix to enlarge.
I did not have a lot of time to roam through the game area at Little Wars for photo shooting, but here are a few that I snapped before the dealer area opened at 10AM Saturday morning. These were some of the better games that I saw, in terms of either terrain or colorful figures, or guys just having a darn good time of it. Click all pictures once or twice to enlarge the view.

Japanese Samauri game in 28mm
Knuckleduster Figures Booth. Nice laser cut building kits and nice Western and 1812 figures.

A Napoleonic game of sorts, using 15mm figures and nice looking terrain boards.

The Last Square's annual WW2 mega game. 

Napoleonic game featuring nothing but cavalry. Lieberwolkowitz 1813 perhaps? Great concept and I could tell that the players were really enjoying themselves in this one.

Geo Hex Terrain still looks great.

Thoroughbred Figures Booth - some great looking 15mm ship kits.

I did not have much time to do any shopping for myself, but I took advantage of the fact that The Last Square was across the aisle from the Fife & Drum booth, so I picked up a lot of Silfur Tufts to use for my figure bases. I also acquired a copy of Muskets & Tomohawks skirmish rules from Mr. Extra Crispy himself, who read my comment on Face Book that I could not find a copy of the rules in the dealer area. So on Saturday, Mark stopped by my booth and I bought a copy of the rules from him. How's that for personal service? (thumbs up in my book). I also bought a book on Gettysburg that featured drawings by Keith Rocco and pictures of the actual equipment that is at the Gettysburg National Park museum. I can't recall the name of the book right now, but it is a very nice book to have if you are an ACW buff.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Fife & Drum at Little Wars

Fife & Drum Booth At Little Wars Convention
I have just set up my dealer booth at the Little Wars convention, located next to the Litko Bases booth and across the aisle from The Last Square. Thank go to Karl at the Last Square for lending me a pair of scissors to cut the cord used for attaching the banner to the table, and to Paul at Litko for his knowledge of Boy Scout knots, particularly the Clove Hitch, which he used to help me tie down the banner so that it would not sag. I found all of the dealers to be very helpful to this newbie in the dealer trade. It was much appreciated. And finally, thanks go out to Robert Bowling, the director of the dealer area at Little Wars, for all his help in getting me set up at this very first convention that I attended as a dealer.

I really like the way that the Fife & Drum logo turned out on the banner that I had made at a local FedEx Store (formerly known as Kinkos). My sincere thanks go to Henry Hyde for designing the logo and for also creating the artwork for the cardboard headers that you see on the bags (in Red for British, Blue for Americans, and Green for Artillery Equipment).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Little Wars Convention Preparation

Filling up the carrying boxes with bags of Fife & Drum Miniatures. Click all pix to enlarge the view.

I have spent the past several days bagging Fife & Drum Miniatures into 3" x 5" plastic bags (4 figures per bag) and stapling on the card headers to make it easier to identify what is in each bag. I have placed the Fife & Drum logo onto the headers, and color coded them: Red for British figures; Blue for American figures; and Green for artillery and equipement.

After attending several smaller conventions, I quickly figured out that it was insane to bring 100 different plastic bins full of figures and then try to sell and pick the figures one at a time during the convention. The bins take up too much space in the car, and it takes forever to hand pick individual figures per each customer purchase. Regretfully, I have decided to start selling the figures in bags of 4 figures for $8.00 per bag of infantry. Artillery equipment and mounted officers will continue to be sold as individual models with one per bag.

Using this new system, I am able to carry all of the figures in only six large boxes, while reducing the number of SKUs from 100 to about 32.

Green card headers signify artillery and equipment models.

Blue card headers for American figures, and Red card headers for the British figures.

I will be attending this year's Little Wars convention in DuPage County, Illinois this Friday and Saturday April 26 and 27, respectively. So if you are attending the convention, stop on by at our booth and take a look at the miniatures up close and first hand. 

Take a closer look at the artillery wheels in the green bags. These figures are straight out of the mold and into the bag. You will note that there is absolutely NO FLASH filling up the space between the wheel spokes. No compare these to some of the other brands of AWI figures, particularly the ones made by the Gods, and you will see that they are often full of flash and thin little venting spiders that are really annoying to deal with when you are trying to prep the figures for priming.

At Fife & Drum, we believe that our customers deserve superior casting quality when they purchase our figures. I really hate cutting off bits and pieces of metal flash. It takes a lot of extra time and often I find that I missed a little thread of metal (spider vents, as we call them) only after I have primed the figures and am actually painting them. Oooooh, that really peeves me when that happens. Well guess what, you will never have to deal with irritating metal flash when you buy Fife & Drum Miniatures.

Simply put, you the customer deserve superior casting quality to go along with superb figure sculpts and top notch service. You have my word on that.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

28mm British Brig in Drydock

HMS Pegasus, from Laser Dream Works

Well, no I've done it! Lured in by those sinister naer-do-wells at Laser Dream Works ("oh, yes; our ship models are easy to build" :) ) I pulled the trigger on ye olde mouse and clicked away $130.00 to purchase the little beauty shown in the picture above. It is a British Brig, as described below, and it will serve in his Britannic Majesty's Royal Navy, stationed at the port of Lisbon, circa 1809 -1814.

This wooden model kit is a reproduction of a 10-gun British brig based on admiralty drafts for ships to be built on Lake Chaplain. This faithful reproduction is for use with 28mm figures. The ship's deck is 19 inches long and 6 inches wide. It's overall length is 30inches and she is 24 inches in height. The ship comes with all the materials to build the hull, masts, and yards. It comes with ten of our 24lb cannon.  This kit is of intermediate complexity and takes from six to ten hours to complete.

I envision the model being used to film some scenes in the Iberian Campaign that Bill P. and I are conducting during the Napoleonic wars. I have no doubt that Bill will come up with some creative means to use the ship as a back drop for one of the episodes in the campaign.

The only fly in the ointment is that I've never attempted to build a sailing ship model and the prospect of rigging the darn thing is kind of daunting to me. However, I'm willing to give it a try.

Friday, April 19, 2013

1806 Success!

The FG Miniz crowd funding project surpassed the €10,000 stretch goal, so this means that the hussars will go into production along with the field artillery , grenadiers and musketeers.

Thanks to those of you who gave a financial assist to this project. I have connection with the company, I just like the look of their figures.

Your Help Is Needed for 1806 Prussian Hussars

The Indiegogo project to crowd fund an exquisite range of 28mm 1806 Prussians is in its final hours -- about 25 hours left at the time of this writing. The project has reached its initial target of €7,000 and also hit the first stretch goal of €9,000, which unlocks the Prussian artillery and gun crew. Now the next stretch goal of €10,000 is within sight -- we need less than €500 to hit this level.

What will happen? This would unlock the Prussian Hussars and make all three basic combat arms available to subscribers. The goal is within sight and your contributions are needed NOW. If you have any interest in the 1806 Prussian army, one that is greatly under served in the Wargame figure market, then now is the time to make the final push of €500. Any contribution will make a difference and you can get on the bandwagon with a minimum contribution of €25.

1806 Prussian Funding Site

Click on the link above if you wish to make a contribution. I have no ownership interest in this project, but having seen the initial infantry figures, I am a big believer in what the company, FG Miniz, is attempting to do. We are sooooo close to unlocking the hussars.

I thank you for indulging me on this project . The picture below is a bit distorted due to the limitations of posting this via my iPad rather than on my home computer. But if you go to the campaign site you can see better quality pictures. If the link provided above is not active, then copy and paste the URL to your search engine and that should do the job.


Monday, April 15, 2013

AWI Game Setup

The British Are Coming!  Fife & Drum Miniatures
Terrain setup for Brown's Farm AWI scenario.
Here are several pictures of the table top setup for an AWI scenario that I have been tinkering with. I ran the game two times at the recent Seven Years War Association convention (for which it won the best of show game - The Mitchell Cup). I did not like the way some of the events unfolded during the game so I have tweaked the scenario a little bit in the hope that it will improve the game. I plan to run my next play test at Chez Protz on May 4th so I will have a chance to see how well the changes work.

Royal Artillery enters the town of Gloveton, escorted by the 16th Light Dragoons.
This weekend, I started painting a company of the 45th Regiment in Wellington's Peninsula army, but after doing a back of the envelope calculation of the forces that i need for my Historicon games, decided that I had better get back to painting AWI figures, and soon! So I completed six Perry 16th Light Dragoons to add to the vanguard of my British AWI army.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Wow, just one comment?

I am rather shocked that after posting a lot of pictures over the weekend about the Seven Years War Association, that each posting received a grand total of ONE comment. I know that many of my readers prefer to remain in the background and "lurk", but come on guys, can't we do better than one comment (and a tip of the tricorn goes to the Duke of Tradgardland for his comments)?

I mean, how could anyone look at the pictures of Ed Phillips' scratch built models and not come to the conclusion that these are very impressive examples of modeling and handiwork, or that Jurgen's SYW in India game is not the most colorful game that they have ever seen? I think that you get my point.

(This is where I would insert a You Tube clip of Ben Stein droning on "Buehler? Buehler? Buehler? Anyone seen Buehler?" From the movie Ferris Buehlers Day Off" if I knew how to perform such technical marvels on Blogger :) ).

Coincidentally, while at the convention we were talking about the levels of participation at American Wargaming conventions. This was brought on by several people thanking me for running my game at its conclusion and one fellow saying that "all he does is participate in the game". To this I replied, "without your participation, there would be no game". A lot of different elements go into the execution of a good convention game. Obviously, the game judge has to prepare an interesting scenario and haul all of the troops and terrain to the convention site. This is no small task, especially if you are an old fool like me, who should know better, who designs a scenario involving figures that have yet to be painted. Kids, do not attempt to do this at home -- game with what you already have on hand.

Then, someone, or several someones, need to be the lions of the hobby who organize the convention and do all of the behind the scenes work that ake the convention happen at all. Along these lines, let us thank Randy Frye and Dean West for their great work in organizing the show this past weekend. Everything ran smoothly from a logistical stand point, including the providing of carts so that dealers and game judges could roll their equipment and stock from the garage to the convention hall. Let us also thank the dealers who bring their wares to the show and provide us gamers with the opportunity to look at the latest products and to buy those new figures or books that we have all looked forward to seeing.

And last, but not least, a great big thank you to all the people who attended the show, either as lookers or lurkers, or as participants in the games. There is nothing more demoralizing for a game judge than to go to all the trouble to host a game only to find nobody to play in his game. It has happened to me in the past and I've seen it happen to other game judges. So the fact of the matter is, that those who lurk and come forth to participate in any aspect of this hobby, are valued contributors to any Wargame convention or to any blog. Without your participation, we have nothing.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Day 2 at the SYWA convention

Ed Phillips' scratch built gun emplacements and cannon. These two now rest in the Randy F. collection, so I get to game with them from time to time in our group

Another one of Ed Phillips' miniature masterpieces. A portable flour mill being worked by some of the Minden Miniatures pioneer figures.

Here are some photos that I took of some of the games that took place on Saturday. Enjoy the pictures, and click on the pix to enlarge your view. There were many impressive looking games and I particularly liked the games that Jurgen hosted for the SYW in India. I have never seen such colorful looking armies.

SYW in India

SYW in India - John Company troops.

Tod Kershner's famous "Iroquois Terror" game in progress. There were scalps aplenty in the game.

Paper sailing ships from Jeff Knudsen's game. Wonderful stuff here!

French breach the walls of Quebec during the return match in 1760, when de Levis' French army marched from Montreal to Quebec to attack the new British garrison.

My Fife & Drum AWI game.

Another view of the Fife & Drum game showing the British attack of the American right flank.
Black Powder game using 10mm figures.
Jude Becker's Age of Reason Game. Paul and Brian seem to be having fun contemplating doom for the Prussians.
Burkersdorf in 28mm - Final Argument of Kings game hosted by Dean West and Pat LeBeau.

Friday, April 5, 2013

First Day at the SYWA convention

Siege gun emplacements made by Ed Phillips. The fascines were made from straw brooms.

I arrived in South Bend, Indiana around 4:30 Thursday afternoon and quickly set up my display booth for Fife & Drum Miniatures and unloaded the painted figures and terrain for my AWI game on Friday. This year, I packaged everything into bags of 3 to 6 figures and reduced the number of SKU's from 100 to about 30 product codes. This way, I was able to pack everything into seven moderate sized boxes which easily fit into the trunk of my small car, leaving room for all of my game paraphernalia. That's a big plus for me so I think I will reorganize the SKUs for F&D and start selling figures in bags going forward, rather than as single figures. It makes life easier for me as well as the customers at the booth as they can rummage thru the bins and pick out the figures that they want.

Convention organizer Randy F. told me that we had 83 visitors for Friday, which is a little bit ahead of our usual Friday numbers. Saturday is the big convention day, so we should surpass 100 tomorrow.

I ran my game twice, in the afternoon and again, downsized, in the evening. The British won the first game that features 4 brigades per side, while the American team came back to win the night cap game, in a 2 brigade per side game. I used my trusty old Fife & Drum rules on one side of one sheet of paper -- I always use these easy to learn rules at conventions. By turn 2 the players are almost running the game by themselves .

I will update my game report when I get home Sunday. I use a different version of Blogger for my iPad and it is a bit clunky and hard to place and size pictures, compared to my desktop version of blogger.

I did not have much time to do a lot of shopping, but I did see a lot of good looking figures at the Eureka USA booth. Their new Suvarov's Russians range for the 1790s is to die for as they are gorgeous figures. They may be sculptor Alan Marsh's best work to date. Eureka also had a range of cartoonish SYW Prussians that I was tempted to buy, but managed to resist the urge. For now at least. :). I bought some Eureka American dragoons for the AWI because I haven't added them to the Fife & Drum range yet. The two ranges look to be very compatible so I will gladly use them in my American army.

Ed Phillips had some terrific wagons, carts, vignettes and siege gun emplacements shown in the blog today. Wonderful craftsmanship and creativity on Ed's part. I put in an order for a few things from Ed and will collect them at Historicon this summer. Yes, we are going to Historicon with the Fife & Drum range and we will run a couple of games as well. I hope to have some special figures available only at the convention booth for Historicon. Stay tuned for more on this later.

Well, it's time to hit the hay and get ready for day two of the convention. Bill P. is running a BAR French & Indian War game of the second battle of Quebec in 1760. The roles are reversed as this time the British are in the city, sallying out to attack the French on the Plains of Abraham. Should be fun!

A view of my AWI game in progress. The British have to march the length of the table from the top of the picture to the bottom. Rebels launch an attack from the right hand table edge.

Hessian Jagers run into militia and some Continental line defending the town at the end of the road.

The American brigade commander on the right flank is not pleased at the trend of the battle.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fight To The Last Man

I am reading Jac Weller's book, "Wellington in the Peninsula 1808-1814" at the present and came across an interesting statement regarding Marshal Massena's military acumen with regard to knowing when "enough is enough".

"Messena and his professional army now had almost a year's experience fighting Wellington, but had accomplished nothing. He had the good sense at both Bussaco and Fuentes de Onoro not to continue unsuccessful attacks indefinitely and expose his army to total defeat. both Marmont at Salamanca and Napoleon at Waterloo were to make this error." (Page 168).

Think about that for a minute and recall how many wargames you have been involved in when one or more players make some senseless, crazed attack because they either have nothing left to do, having destroyed their own command in attacks, or because of some artificial game deadline that looms, i.e. the "it's 4:30 and we've got one more turn syndrome".

A couple of weeks ago, when we opened up our Peninsula Campaign, we were nearing the end of the game when suddenly the French commander on their right wing called off his attack and pulled his troops back to the ridge. He later told me that he did not want to destroy his brigade and it was apparent to him that the battle would not be won or lost in his sector of the table. He was right, of course, and I tip my hat to him for playing the game straight rather than immolating his brigade for mom good purpose.

It is an interesting concept, don't you think? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section of today's blog posting.