Monday, December 24, 2007

Teddy Bear Christmas Armies

Two full regiments of Eureka Teddy Bears - the Blue Regiment (advancing) and the Pink Regiment (marching). Buildings are old Gallia resin buildings circa 1988.

At long last, the Pink and Blue Teddy Bear Christmas armies are completed (at least the first installment of the same) and drying in the varnishing shed. I have two 24-figure bear armies, with one army decked out in pink coats with green facings, and the second army wearing sky blue with pink facings. This is the first time that I have ever gloss coated a wargaming unit, and I'm rather pleased with the overall effect. The figures shown in these pictures have not yet received their gloss coatings. I used spray varnish and plan to give each unit three coats of varnish, to protect them from the wear and tear that they are likely to get from my 9-year old daughter. She is always talking about wanting to wargame with me, so I thought that this would be a fun way of doing it.

I have not made up any rules, as yet, but rest assured that they will be very, very easy to learn. I am thinking that firing will be with a D6 and it will take a natural "1" (or bulls eye) to get a hit. Melees will be done by matching up the figures one on one and having each player roll a D6 per figure. The highest roll wins that individual melee. I may use saving throws, but that might add a level of complication that my daughter isn't ready for.

The Pink Army of Eureka Teddy Bears in March Attack Pose. Note the officer riding the hobby horse and the reversed uniform colors on the drummer.

The Blue Army of Eureka Teddy Bears in the advancing pose. In this unit I made the musicians white Polar Bears while the rest of the battalion are Brown Bears. Note also that each army is in a different pose to make the difference more noticeable.

The figures are super glued to one-inch square MDF wooden bases and then painted a dark green. I elected to use the larger bases because my daughter has problems with her fine motor skills so I figured that it would be easier for her to pick up the larger bases. The other option was using a 3/4-inch base, but there is less to grab with the smaller base. I had thought of finishing the bases with texturing (spackle, flock and pieces of scrub brush), but elected to go for the Old School Toy Soldier look with the plain green bases. I am also figuring that a few of the figures might eventually break off of their bases, so it would be easier to make repairs if I leave the bases unflocked.

At a later date, I will add 8 grenadiers, 6 cavalry and a cannon with 4 crew to each army. I simply didn't have the time to finish everything before Christmas. I also have to work on the standard bearers for each regiment. The flag poles provided by Eureka have rocking horse or duck finials, but I like the idea that one of my blogger friends used for his Teddy Bear army: he put a pot of honey on the top of the flag pole. The artillery crew comes with a honey pot and I may use these for the flag finials instead of using them with the artillery crew.

These bears were fun to paint, but I look forward to getting back to historical miniatures soon. I have some 1806 French and Prussians on the painting table and these are likely to be my next project. I do need a bit of a break from painting SYW figures, you know.

Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I thank you for all of your kind comments and support for my on line journal. Your enthusiasm for my work keeps me motivated to write new articles all of the time. This is a lot of fun for me.


  1. The bear facts revealved at last. They look great and a super gift too. Could they oppose an army of traditional tin soldiers as in Hans Christian Anderson's The Faithful Tin Soldier?

  2. Oh, I like these bears . . . they are "precious" and I'm sure that your daughter will LOVE them.

    -- Jeff

  3. Der Alte,

    Ce magnifique! They're a Bonny looking lot of troopers and your daughter will be overjoyed. Assuming the wee lass is "bitten" by the bug we all share, I would second the idea of expanding the Bears to include a Polar Bear regiment and a Black Bear regiment. Then you can either oppose them with the Toy Town Soldiers offered by Eureka, or with an offering that my talented artist Son and I are working on.

    He is sculpting an army of Yard Gnomes (think the Expedia travel gnome in SYW uniform) and I am working on an army of traditional style nutcrackers (inspired by Stokes pic's). Assuming they turn out satisfactorily, we would then turn them over to either Nick or Tom Dye for casting. Should you end up with a "spare bear" I would gladly take him off your hands so that Morgan and I can scale our "Op Forces" to match. Right now we are still in the sketching phase and my Son has sculpted one dolly for his gnomes.

    Regardless, Happy Holidays my friend, I already know that you will have at least one blessing Christmas morning, and probably many more to come when she beats you at your own game ;-) M'Uedail extends their felicitous greetings to the gentle folk of Hesse-Seewald as well.

    Sir William

  4. Alte - you strike the nail soundly on the head, I also find blogging to be empowering, and as a result i've painted and gamed more this year than in the previous three...

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and many thanks for the fine collection of pictures and articles - I look forward to more next year...

  5. They look lovely, Jim, and I do hope your daughter enjoys them! A magnificent job.

  6. Wonderful work, Jim! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  7. Lovely bears Jim. A real labor of love. I know your daughter will enjoy receiving them.
    Merry Christmas!


  8. Bravo, cheers and applause Jim.
    Have a Merry Christmas,
    PS I am reminded Ken came to a game a year or two ago and fielded one Teddy Bear in a Jager unit. I noticed him after an hour or two. Good times.

  9. Wonderful Job,

    They Look great Jim, she is going to love them. I am sure you two have a great time with these figures.


  10. I just finished basing them and wrapping them in a box at a quarter to midnight on Christmas Eve. I had to glue some steel paper to the bottom of each base so that the bases would stick to the magnetic sheet that I used to line the carrying box. The box is wrapped in paper featuring Teddy Bears, appropriately enough.

    Good night everyone.

  11. Fantastic!

    Excellent to see so many triconred bears out there!

    I think it is wonderful you did this for your daughter.

  12. Jim
    i trust you and yours had a good day yesterday. did your daughter enjoy the bears? have they seen action yet?

  13. What a wonderful, unique gift! I'm sure it's one she'll treasure for years to come. :-)
    Excellent painting. The "old school" unflocked green bases are quite fitting.