Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year- Good Riddance to 2011

I finished the month of December with the final two stands of AWI British Light Infantry, bringing the unit up to 48 figures (8 stands of 6 figures), or 480 men at a 1:10 ratio. Adding these to the 40 British Brigade of Guards, also for the AWI period, results in a total of 88 figures painted for the month. That is more or less up to my painting pace in the days of old (several years ago), although it was admittedly helped by having the last 11 days of the year off from work. So make hay while the sun still shines.

I'm trying to think of the wargaming highlights for the year, of which there are many, but few are remembered:

1. SYW - the British army finally defeated the French for the first time in about 5 years, at the Battle of Waldeck!

2. SYW - Golconda Miniatures for the wars in India are first released

3. AWI - Fife & Drum Miniatures go into production

4. Colonial games - played several fun and interesting games set in the 1890s in Bill Protz's General Pettygree campaign.

I'm sure that there are others, but these are the ones that stick in my mind the most.

On the bad side of the ledger, there were a lot of natural disasters going on around the world such as the tsunami in Japan, heavy floods and hurricanes all over the USA, earthquakes and more. May 2012 have fewer natural disasters.



Friday, December 30, 2011

Frederick the Great

Friedrich der Große - Der alte Fritz Full Body

I just had to post this picture on my blog. :)

However, it costs a cool $379.00 (yikes!). Follow the link if you want more information:

Von Kleist Frei Korps

Foundry Prussian von Kleist Freikorps figures.

The von Kleist Frei Korps was one of my favorite wargaming units, but it has passed into the service of the Duke of Freiberg awhile back. I still get to see it on the table top from time to time since the Duke and I game together on a regular basis. Over the years I have become less and less enamored with Foundry figures, but I have to say that the von Kleist figures and the Prussian artillery crew (painted in von Kleist green) are pretty darn nice looking figures.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Random ACW Picture

Confederates from Brockenbrough's Brigade are "A Coming Thru The Rye", or in this case, a corn field made by Herb Gundt of H.G. Walls. Click to enlarge the photo.

Here is a picture taken in 2008 of an American Civil War wargame that I fought (solo), based on one of Charles S. Grant's Table Top Teasers in Battlegames magazine. My ACW collection has since been sold to one of my gaming colleagues who lives nearby. So I can still game with my former figures, but not have to actually own them.

Maybe one day I will start a new Fife & Drum ACW range of figures -- after the AWI range is completed in 2-3 years.

Gostelowe Flag No. 6 (created by Clarence Harrison)

I want to draw everyones attention to a wonderful link if you need flags for your AWI units. It is Clarence Harrison's "Quindia Studios" blog. (click on the live link at the left in this line).

Clarence has created his own flags that mainly cover various state militia, Continental, and those curious Gostelowe flags. He has also created some "generic" flags that are based on reasonable speculation that follow period conventions (such as using a 13 stripes motif). There are many good flag choices to use in your own AWI units, so I encourage you to visit Quindia Studios and look at what Clarence has to offer on his blog.

Holiday Greetings from Hesse Seewald

Der Alte Fritz, Mrs. Fritz and their staff wish you a happy holiday season.

The temperature is approaching 50 degrees Fahrenheit today, so it is as if we are having two Novembers this year and one less month of Winter. For that I am very grateful.

I just needed an excuse to post one of my favorite pictures from the vault, so there it is. It reminds me that I will need to get back to painting some new SYW units for our BAR games.

1 x 12 squadron of Black Hussars
5 x 12 Battalion of IR13 Itzenplitz (using Potsdam Figures)
1 x 15 Lieb Garde (using Stadden grenadiers)

And I might even treat myself to the purchase of 60 more Prussian Staddens marching to form a new battalion.

I am currently working on the last two 6-figure stands of AWI British light infantry and then I will train my guns on some more Continentals (Delaware and Maryland brigade)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More AWI British Light Infantry

Fife & Drum British Light Infantry battalion of 36 figures plus command stand.

I am up to six stands of six figures for my British Light Infantry battalion, or 36 figures, or 360 men at a 1:10 ratio. Eventually the battalion will have eight stands of six figures, or 48 in total. Since that creates a very wide frontage, I might divide the battalion into two "wings" of 24 figures (3 stands each).

Here is the battalion stretched out into one line:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Painting Mojo is up to Ramming Speed!

I am really cranking out the painted minis today. I nearly have two stands of six figures, or 12 in total, near completion. I'm still working on the AWI British light infantry. These are so easy to paint because they have a minimal amount of equipment, compared to the Continentals. Less equipment = fewer items to paint = faster ramming speed painting.

I really enjoy painting the light and irregular troop figures because of the individuality that each pose has. It is amazing how well Richard Ansell's sculpts look when they are all placed together on a single stand. It is as if he had planned a diorama and that each casting has its place in the overall tableau.

By the end of this week, I will have completed the first battalion of the British Brigade of Guards and the first battalion of the converged light infantry for my AWI British army. With the British line infantry and grenadiers on the foreseeable horizon, I want to get all of the other units painted before they go into production. I would imagine that February and March 2012 will have a decidedly red tinge to it. (January 2012 will see me knocking out a few more Continental and Militia units, because once the new Brits arrive, they will have the priority on the painting table).

The goal is to have a couple or three brigades per side done so that I can host a convention game at the SYWA convention in March 2012 or at Little Wars in April 2012. Time sure does fly when you are trying to paint in front of a convention deadline.

HEY! I just noticed that I hit 100 blog posts today, which was my goal for the year. Now I want to blow past that target and set a new personal record. Is 110 doable? We are also closing in on 200 "Follower" to this blog. If you are a regular visit to this blog, but are not a Follower, then please take a couple of seconds to click on the Follower box in the upper left corner. I would be honored to add new people to my Followers list.

Time to start thinking about what happened in the hobby during 2011. What was the most notable release of new figures (aside from Fife & Drum Miniatures, of course), new rules, new game ideas or anything else that made a difference to the hobby in 2011? Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section at the end of this posting.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Update

I finished my third stand of AWI British Light Infantry this afternoon using Fife & Drum Miniatures. The plan is that each stand of six figures will be in different facing colors. So far I have one each of Blue, Green and Yellow, with a White and Orange sitting in the painting que.

I based the third stand this afternoon and will apply the "mud" and fine gravel as the first step in the terraining of the base. We are going to see the movie "War Horse" in a short while, so pix and more will have to wait until this evening. After the movie, I will return with more of an update.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From Hesse Seewald

Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe extends her Christmas Greetings to all of our visitors at the Der Alte Fritz Journal.

Merry Christmas everyone. We wish everyone good health, good spirits and the best family gathering that one could ever hope for.

Lady Emma woke up the Erbprinz of Hesse Seewald and Mrs. Fritz bright and early at 8AM and bade us to attend the royal opening of the Christmas presents. Since I stayed up until 2:30AM painting AWI British Light Infantry, I was a bit tired and groggy as one might expect. However, 12 ounces of Diet Coke and a piece of warm Stollen found me up to the task of opening the presents.

I received some wonderful gifts, especially a box of artist acrylics and brushes from Lady Emma and a copy of the book "Money Ball", by Michael Lewis, which I have found to be fascinating. I can hardly put it down.

Well, I have to get back to our guests, we have 15 people, all family, at our home for Christmas Day dinner and there is much work left to do.

Merry Christmas to all.

Der Alte Fritz

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stollens & Guards & Lights Danced in my head

The completed first battalion of British Guards in the AWI, circa 1777.

The British Guards were completed and based on Friday and I put the finishing touches of static grass and Silfor Tufts on the bases before setting up the unit for its photo shoot. I think that they look pretty nifty and ought to scare the socks off of any Continentals that dare to face them in battle.

Next we have a front and back view of the first of the British Light infantry that I finished painting last evening (or early this morning, in actuality). I have decided to put six on each base, with the same frontage as the 8-figure Guards stand shown above. The lights are in a more informal mob of men and I plan to add bits of rocks, trees, fences and tall grass on each of the stands so as to make each stand a mini diorama.

Fife & Drum British Light Infantry (front view)

The rear view of the British light infantry

Finally, after all of this hard work, I decided to give myself a treat and try some of the famous Dresdner Stollen that my friend Stokes Schwartz has been raving about. Mind you, this Stollen was not made by the Grand Duchess herself, but rather it was purchased locally in a sort of "high end" imported food emporium.

A store bought Dresdner Stollen.

I cut off the first piece and munched it down. It was OK, not great. I was a bit disappointed. Then it hit me that I should try warming it up with a little bit of butter spread over the top of the Stollen. That made all the world of difference! I have to admit that this Stollen was pretty good. Now tomorrow, when all of our guests arrive, I will warm up the Stollen AND sprinkle the white confectioners' sugar over the top and I am guessing that the sugar will make it even better. I give this Stollen a thumbs up, if warmed and covered with butter and sugar.

Merry Christmas Everybody! See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

An Enigma Is Solved?

Colonel Enigma has a run in with the Regulators.

Colonel Enigma, the head of the Gallian Intelligence Service attached to the army in Western Germany, liked to work alone at times. He would don various disguises, from that of a mere peasant, to a Lutheran preacher, or even a Prussian officer. His efforts often paid good results, as his information was usually timely and very accurate. More than one Gallian victory had its roots in the information that Colonel Etienne Enigma delivered to the Gallian army.

Enigma led a charmed life as they like to say. He had many close calls passing through the lines. On one occasion he was disguised as an old hag and had nearly passed through the Germanian checkpoint when he literally ran into Colonel Bauer, his counterpart in the Germanian Secret Service. As both of them tumbled to the ground, Enigma's pistol fell out from under his garments and clattered on the cobblestones of the street. Bauer looked him straight in the eye (and I do mean "eye", because Enigma had lost sight in one eye and always wore an eye patch) and was about to give a shout when a thunder of musketry erupted from the woods. It was Gallian raid behind the lines and it seemed as if every Gallian light troop in the world was erupting forth from the woods.

Colonel Bauer now had more pressing concerns, his safety to be exact, and he dashed out of the street and into livery stable, where a squad of his grenadiers were seeking refuge. In all the excitement, the old hag slipped away, Bauer noting that she had dashed for the cover of the woods. But that is a story for another day.

This evening, General Chevert insisted that Colonel Enigma take Lieutenant Delacroix along with him. Enigma knew that he wouldn't be able to change Chevert's mind. When the general made a decision, he tended to stick to it. So off went Enigma and Delacroix towards Hesse Seewald, or to be exact, to the town of Vach at the eastern end of the Fulda Gap. Chevert needed to know if the Germanians were stirring from their encampments while the Gallian army was stealing a march through the undefended gap.

The trip started out uneventfully. It was a cloudy evening so there would be no moonlight to give them away. Furthermore, the road to Vach was decidedly empty of enemy patrols. Save for one: a squadron of Germanian hussars approached the two Gallians from a side road. They stopped to inspect the two travelers, but when they saw that it was a Prussian colonel and his aide, the hussar captain invited them to travel with them as they were all riding in the same general direction - east.

Enigma kept his cool and carried on a friendly banter with the Germanian hussar officer. Delacroix merely kept his mouth shut, as one might expect of an aide de camp of a Prussian officer. Eventually, the squadron arrived in Vach and the hussar officer bid farewell to Enigma and Delacroix. The hussars peeled off on a road bearing north, leaving Enigma and Delacroix alone once again.

Both men heaved a sigh of relief, especially Delacroix, who was soaked in perspiration. They continued on the road bearing east, passing several Germanian outposts, but still, nobody bothered to stop or challenge them. Well almost nobody.

A couple of miles beyond Vach (and they were now inside Hesse Seewald territory), the still of the night was interrupted by a crisp, clear voice shouting "Halt". Delacroix lost his nerve and kicked his horse with his spurs in an effort to get away. Enigma, who had clearly heard the sound and click of a score of musket firelocks being drawn back, did as he was told. Delacroix had gone no more than ten yard down the road when the night silence was interupted by the flash and thunder of musketry. Delacroix fell to the ground, his body riddled with lead.

The Regulators surround and apprehend Colonel Enigma.

Enigma kept his cool, hoping to talk his way out this pickle, but Delacroix's foolish dash had ruined his chances of doing that. He looked around and could see that he was surrounded, but he could not quite make out the uniforms of these men. They looked military, and yet they did not. Several lanterns were lit and approached . Enigma could make out the Prussian cut of the uniforms, but they were decidedly black rather than blue.

"Your papers please, Herr Colonel", said the large brute who seemed in charge. He was an ugly looking cur, with a scar across his right cheek, and he was a big one too, standing well over six feet tall, by Enigma's estimation. The man looked rather more like a pirate than he did a soldier. He had heard tales of Black Riders raiding behind Gallian lines, spreading fear and destruction where ever they went. Until now, he had not believed these stories, but there they were right before his eyes.

The ugly pirate took a glance at Enigma's identity papers. The brute did not seem to be convinced of their authenticity.

"Get off the horse, Colonel." he barked.

Enigma did as he was told. As long as he stuck to his story, that he was the inhaber of Prussian Kurprinz Regiment, his captors would have to pass him up the chain of command to the point where someone could verify his identity and papers. If he tried to escape, they would kill him on the spot for sure.

"This way Colonel. Follow me," said the pirate. An escort of a dozen or so black uniformed men fell in on either side of Enigma as they marched him off the road. Just ahead of them, he could make out the form of a coach and four parked in the glade beyond. It looked like he would be safe for now, because clearly the captors were taking him over to the coach. No doubt to drive him to some headquarters for further evaluation.

As they entered the glade, he could make out more of the features of his captors as there were more men with more lanterns. There even appeared to be a troop of uhlans. Everyone, foot soldiers, hussars and uhlans were dressed in black...

and as he neared the coach, he could finally see that it too was black, with red trim and a white eagle emblem on the door.

"Mon Dieu", he whispered to himself.

It was that Black Coach.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Quiet. Almost Too Quiet!

The Regulators and that mysterious Black Coach. Black Scorpion Pirates and Marines painted as Lady de Winter's personal body guard of naer-do-wells. The coach and four are from Redoubt Miniatures (ECW range) and a couple of Stadden Black Hussars are checking things out. Coach driver is a one-off special made for me by the very talented John Ray. Click to enlarge... if you dare.

Come on, you just know that these bad boys are going to be showing up fairly soon. They are starting to get a bit annoyed about that little trollope and murderess, Diana Pettygree, traipsing about western Germany on one extended lark with her coterie of ditzy little girl friends. They seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that there has been a major war going on for the past six years.

The Regulators intend to remind Miss Pettygree that life is not all seashells and balloons when there is a war going on. Stay tuned, something BIG is about to happen.

Today's random picture from the past reminded me that I have to increase the size of the Black Legion of Milady de Winter. I bought a couple of packets of Black Scorpion 18th Century Marines a few years ago with the idea of adding another company or two or Regulators (12-15 bad guys to a company). I also have another squadron of Crusader Bosniaks that need to be painted to boost that unit up to two squadrons. We cannot have Milady's guard du corps being outnumbered by the opposition now, can we?

I also thought about finally painting the Martin Hille 30mm Prussians that I bought back in 2005 and adding them as a grenadier guard for Milady. They will have the usual black & red garb, but I might put them in reverse colors and give them red coats, black facings and straw breeches and waistcoats.

Milady will also desire to add some 6-pound horse artillery to her little Black Legion. Word has it that those Frenchies are "on to her" so a little more protection might stand Herself in good stead.

Milady is very unhappy about recent events and attempts to kidnap Miss Pettygree. Someone is tipping off the French about her every move. Someone is going to pay with his or her life, I suspect. The fate of the unfortunate servant, Miss Catherine, will be revealed shortly. As you might recall, she was captured last year during a raid that almost nabbed the pesky Pettygree. It is not a very happy outcome, that is all that I can say for now.

See you tomorrow.

Oh, and be sure to lock your doors and windows tonight - the Regulators are on the prowl.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe

Lady Emma, Herself, in 2008.

Here is another random photograph from my collection, showing Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe in grenadier kit. She is undoubtedly pleased with having defeated Lord Paddington Bear (Daddy) for the umpteenth time. She might have a future at West Point or Sandhurst one day.

I did not get much done on the painting table this evening, other than block in the blue facings on the AWI British Guards - I have 8 more figures remaining in a unit of 40 figures. These are relatively easier to paint than the Continentals as they have less equipment. These guys are built to travel fast and light.

I also glued some Light Bobs to card board bases in preparation for priming them with grey primer. I always use grey primer for red coats as white results in too bright a color for any warm color. Grey seems to be just right. Then I sprayed 45 of the little fellows just before retiring for the evening. I want to build up an inventory of primed AWI figures to paint over the Christmas holiday. I have the next 12 days off after tomorrow, so hopefully I can really churn out some figures over the period. I would like to finish, say, 40 British Light infantry, 20-24 American Militia, and a converged brigade of Delaware and Maryland troops for a 36 figure brigade.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Random Photos: Gettysburg!

Union artillery battery on Cemetery Ridge. Click to enlarge.

I thought that I would pick some random photos from my vast and every-growing iPhotos library. These pictures were taken in 2008 on our trip to Historicon. Bill, Randy and I rented a van and hauled all of our big battalion SYW figures and terrain to Lancaster so that we could host a series of games at the convention.

A view of Hauk's Ridge and Devil's Den from the summit of Little Round Top.

I was really amazed at how different the terrain looks after the National Park Service restored this ground to its appearance back in July 1863. This entailed cutting down a lot of trees that had grown in the interim years. What you see in front of you used to be covered by a dense forest of trees. One could not comprehend what it would have been like to see Hood's attack developing because, well ....

You couldn't see anything since it was all obscured by the trees. Interesting, to say the least.

Fort Necessity - another stop on our trip to Pennsylvania.

Der Alte Fritz pays his respects to General Braddock.

Meanwhile, in Hesse Seewald, it has been a balmy Winter so far with little in the way of snow and temperatures in the 40s and 50s F. Now if this can just last through the end of this month, we will have knocked off a month of Winter. I could get used to Winter weather such as this.

See you tomorrow.

The British Brigade of Guards in the AWI

British Brigade of Guards - Fife & Drum Miniatures (click to enlarge the view)

Here is a quick picture that I am posting before retiring to bed for the evening (actually it is 1:15 AM the next day). It depicts the AWI British Brigade of Guards circa 1777, using my Fife & Drum figures . There is still time to get orders sent before the Holidays are over, so drop me a line if you see any figures that you would like to order.

So far, I have painted 32 figures, based equally on four stands of 8 figures. I have one more stand to paint this week and then the first of two battalions of Guards will be completed. This battalion has the grenadier company attached. The 2nd Battalion will have the Light Company attached. They have the exact same uniform except that the grenadiers have a brass grenade on the cap front plate, while the Light Company has the letters "LI" embroidered on the plate.

Monday, December 19, 2011

We Have Always Governed Ourselves

I picked up this paperback booklet, by Greg Novak, sometime around 1992 when I was painting my first AWI armies using the very nice Old Glory 28mm figures. This is probably the best source for information about the orders of battle for all of the actions in the Northern Theatre of the American Revolutionary War.

Novak covers each year of the war, starting with the state of the American and British forces, their location/base and their unit strength. From there, he provides orders of battle and regimental strengths for each battle in the North (which I define as from Pennsylvania to all points north of there).

I think that I recall seeing an advertisement that Old Glory has reprinted this book, and the companion work covering the Southern Theatre, with a nice color cover and more up to date fonts that make for an easier read.

If you are starting to research and game the American Revolution (and why wouldn't you now that those wonderful Fife & Drum figures are available), then this is a "must have" book for your library.

The Gremlins Are Gone (for now)!

I am happy to report that I seem to have solved the broken scanner situation by simply turning off the computer and printers and rebooting the whole darn thing.

I have fallen behind a bit in my quest to blog every day up through Christmas, so I will try to catch up with the weekends events, briefly.

The first three stands of 8 British Guards have been completed and are now based. Pictures to follow, hopefully later this evening. The unit will eventually have 5 stands of 8 figures, for a total of 40 in the battalion. Then there will be a second battalion of the Guards, also at 40. So at 1:10 I will have 800 British Guards in my army.

As an experiment, I painted one Guard ranker in a green coat with white facings, kitted out as one of the Loyalist regiments fighting for Britain. Since very little is known about these regiments or their uniforms, I figured that I could get away with using the Guards casting as a Loyalist soldier. It looks pretty good to me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

AWI: The Guards are Coming!

Just a short posting this evening as Mrs. Fritz had me loaded up with errands and chores and thus, not a lot was going on down in the Man Cave. I do have a 40-figure battalion of the British Brigade of Guards on the painting table.

Of course I am using my Fife & Drum figures for this unit, noting that no other range of figures in the 25mm to 30mm spectrum offers the correct Guards figures for the AWI. I nearly have the 8-figure grenadier company completed and have made a dent into the first of four centre companies. I hope to get these finished and based by Sunday evening, next, which also happens to be my birthday. Perhaps Mrs. Fritz and Lady Emma will give me some coupons for "painting time" so that I can hunker down in the Man Cave and paint my brains out. We can always hope.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pennsylvania Battalions vs. Regts. of the Line?

Fife & Drum Continentals painted as one of the Regiments of the Pennsylvania Line, circa 1777 (at least I think that they are). Click to enlarge the picture s'il vous plait. Fences by Herb Gundt.

I'm looking at my copy of Lefferts' "Uniforms of the War of the American Revolution" to identify regiments of Pennsylvania regiments to paint (using my Fife & Drum figures of course – see above) and I'm wondering what is the difference between:
1) Pennsylvania Battalions (numbered 1 through 6)
2) Pennsylvania State Regiment of Foot (only 1 of these)
3) Regiments of the Pennsylvania Line (numbered 1 through 13)

The Pennsylvania Battalions seem to have been formed in 1776 and were in Continental service. The State Regiment is obviously in State service. I'm inferring that there was some kind of reorganization of all units into new Pennsylvania Regiments of Line in Continental service. Am I on the right track?
So far, I've been using the Mollo book on American Revolution uniforms as my painting guide, but I'm not sure about the veracity of his information though. Lefferts almost gives you too much information (uniforms by the company within a regiment - highly variable). I guess that the point is that the uniforms were not, well, "uniform" within the same regiment.

Recipe for recreating the Continental Regiment shown above - mixing militia and Continentals in the same unit.

The figures used in the regiment pictured above include the following (stands numbered from left to right #1-#5) the numbering within each stand starts with the back row and then the front row

STAND #! (left side of the line)
A23 Continental NCO
A24 Continental Standing Firing
A26 Continental ramming musket
A6 Militia kneeling firing in hat
A5 Militia standing firing in hat

A26 Continental with ram rod
A4 Militia standing firing - hat
A4 (same)
A27 Continental cocking his musket (this is a very versatile pose - I use him in the front and second rank)
A6 Militia kneeling firing- hat

STAND #3 (command stand with flag)
A25 Continental at the ready
A3 Militia advancing - tricorn
A20 Continental officer
A21 Continental standard bearer
A22 Continental drummer

A26 Continental with ram rod
A25 Continental at the ready
A4 Militia standing firing - tricorn
A27 Continental cocking musket
A6 Militia kneeling firing - hat

STAND #5 (right hand side of the line)
A4 Militia standing firing - tricorn
A25 Continental at the ready
A4 Militia standing firing - tricorn
A6 Militia kneeling firing - hat
A1 Militia officer holding sword in both hands

AC1 Mounted Brigadier General pointing
A1 Militia officer standing, holding sword in both hands (he works equally well as a Continental or Militia officer)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Continental Firing Line

Fife & Drum Continental firing line using both Continental and Militia figures. As you can see, very few of the muskets extend beyond the edge of the base. This protects the figures from wear and tear breakage. Click or double click to enlarge the pix.

Here is a picture of the Continental firing line regiment that I completed over the weekend last. I used a mix of Continentals (13 figures) and American Militia (12 figures) to achieve a more diverse selection of poses and add more different types of coats and headgear. The goal was to depict a regiment that had recently recruited a lot of new men, who had not yet received their uniforms and other regimental equipment.

I was sorting figures to create a couple more American units: one militia and one Continental, to prime and paint over the upcoming holiday period. I like to place them on their stands so that I can figure out how best to mix up the poses on each stand. Once I have a layout to my liking, I take a sheet of paper and make a quick map of the regiment showing where each specific figure will be placed. Otherwise, I would forget where they belong.

Next in the painting queue: militia firing line (front) and Continentals marching (rear)

In the picture above, note the Continental unit in the second line and how it is split into two groups (2 stands and 3 stands). I am experimenting with the idea of painting a large 36-figure "brigade" rather than a regiment. Each regiment would have two stands of six or twelve total figures. One regiment would be the small Delaware Regiment (12 figures) and two more 12 figure units of Maryland regiments. Combined, they would comprise the "Maryland Brigade". So the Delawares could be painted in a more formal blue coat/red facings/white small clothes; one of the Maryland regiments could have grey coats and green facings and a third regiment could have anything else. Maybe even red coats.

Four regiments of Continentals have been painted so far (plus two more militia battalions).

The picture above depicts either a brigade of four regiments or two brigades of two regiments. I will probably increase the brigades to three regiments temporarily, with the ultimate goal of four regiments. There is also the militia brigade that I am working on. I figure that I can finish a total of 9 battalions of Americans in time for a game at the next SYWA convention. The British will have a battalion of Guards and Lights plus some Hessian regiments (using my Minden Prussians as fill ins until I can paint more regiments of British line troops).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good Bye, Dave

Dave - picture taken one week ago.

Today we finally had to put Dave down. Anne called me at work this morning and told me that he was limping badly with both front legs and feared that he might have fractured his leg, due to weakness of the bone from his bone cancer. A trip to the vet confirmed that we both agreed that it was Dave's time.

I regret that I could not be with Dave at the end, but with the amount of pain that he was probably having, it wasn't fair to Dave to prolong the inevitable any longer. We did the right thing. God bless you Dave- I will miss you every day.

Dave enjoying last winter's mega-snow storm with 24 inches of snow - January 2011.

So in the span of one month, we have had to put down both of our dogs. Don't feel sad, I am grateful for having Dave in our lives. We adopted him six years ago from a Golden Retriever rescue organization called "As Good As Gold" and we feel most fortunate that his previous owners were willing to give up Dave and let him be a part of our family. Rejoice in Dave's life, don't be sad. He had a lot of fun in life and he absolutely adored my wife Anne, following her everywhere she went. Farewell Big Guy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gremlins - They're Everywhere Rico!

Technology seems to have my number today. I still can't get my scanner to work, I guess that the software when "kablewee!" and it shuts down everytime I try to start it up.

Then on top of that, I had set up a photo shoot of my newest AWI Continental regiment, turned on the camera, and then the camera automatically shut off because the battery was too low. So while I sit at my computer this evening, trying to squeeze in today's blog report before midnight, the battery is still recharging, so no pictures today.

We went to the Christmas Pageant at church today and it was fun watching all of the little children dressed up like angels, animals, shepherds, etc. Everyone in the congregation sang Christmas songs in between the telling of the Christmas story through scripture. After that, we high tailed it 90 miles to the west to visit the dog breeder that we are working with to secure our next generation of hounds. There are some real cuties in the current litter, but we have a dog, maybe two, reserved for the next litter that will be available in March 2012. We got to meet the bitch (haven't you always wanted to say that without getting into trouble?) who will produce our pup(s) in March. She looks very bright, alert and intelligent and very loving to boot. We are happy with our choice, especially Lady Emma. She and I are working on Mrs. Fritz to give us the OK to get two dogs. Lady Emma will get to name the female (she seems to have settled on the name Angel) and Mrs. Fritz and I will name the male. Herself immediately ruled out military names such as Napoleon, Wellington, Wellsley, Picton and Fritz.

Mrs. Fritz just came into the office to see what I was up to and after reading this, she said,

"I think that I want to go with Chester."

It sounds like her resistance is weakening. Hehehe.

A little while ago, I pulled some Fife & Drum figures from inventory and started sorting them out to create a couple of new militia regiments and another regiment of Continentals. I like to set them up on the wooden bases so that I can see how the various poses will look together. Then when I have the look that I'm looking for, I take out a pad of paper and sketch a diagram of each base so that I will remember which figures go onto which base once they are all painted and ready to go.

My next unit on the painting table is 40 AWI British Guards. My goal is to get them completed by next Saturday. It will be a tight schedule, but I think that I can pull it off in good style.

See you tomorrow, as I continue "The Twenty Blogs of Christmas". My camera will be recharged so I should have some AWI pictures to post. I promise.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Case of the Mysterious No. 181

For the past several days, I've noticed something kind of funny going on with the "Followers" gadget that you see in the upper left corner of my blog. It seems that every other day, the number of Followers changes from 180 to 181 and then back to 180 and then up to 181...

So my message to Mysterious Follower Number 181, please feel free to drop in from time to time and see what is going on. I'll keep the back door open and the light on. :)

Last night, or actually early this morning, I stayed up to nearly 3AM working on my next regiment of Continentals (blue coated firing line). I put on a few Christmas CDs and nursed a Diet Lime Coke through the early morning hours while I painted. I nearly completed the unit, save for some black and flesh highlighting and a dab of gold paint on a couple of the officer figures, but then an ounce of common sense kicked in and I tumbled off to bed (probably around the same time that Stokes was waking up over at Stollen Central, according to his blog entry for today).

I completed the Continentals and just finished applying the spackle and fine grit to the bases. After the spackle dries, I will then apply a coat of dark ink, let the ink dry, and then dry brush some light flesh over the dark bases. Flesh color really looks good when used for ground effects. Try and see if you like it. I hope to have a picture of the Continental firing line up later this evening, around midnight Chicago time.

I'm off to the store to pick up a trunk full of fire wood. It is darn cold at 20F degrees and we will want to have a nice warm fire tonight.

Tomorrow, we visit a breeder to look at their current litter of Golden Retriever pups, just for fun. We still plan to get a pup or two in the Spring. Dave and I took a nice walk a little while ago. I just let him lead the way and gave him all the time he wanted for sniffing at scents and what have you. Mrs. Fritz is cooking him some chicken and veggies for dinner tonight.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Brigade of Guards in the AWI

British Guards figures from Fife & Drum Miniatures. Painted by Ye Olde Tarleton.

Let's get back to talking about miniatures today, as I shamelessly plump for orders of my Fife & Drum range of AWI miniatures. Today's topic: the British Brigade of Guards in North America during the American Revolution.

The Guards figures were the very first ones that I had Richard Ansell work on, for several reasons. First, nobody else makes them in the 25mm to 30mm spectrum of figure sizes; and secondly, they look pretty cool, especially the flank company soldiers wearing a cap with a front plate. Again, nobody else makes these figures.

So here is what is available in the range so far:

B10 Guards Officer marching, carrying fusil
B11 Guards Centre Co. Drummer, marching
B12 Guards Centre Co. NCO marching
B13 Guards Centre Co. ranker, marching
B14 Guards Centre Co. standing firing
B15 Guards Centre Co. cocking his musket
B16 Flank Co. NCO (wearing cap), marching
B17 Flank Co. ranker (wearing cap), marching

I have been giving some thought as to how I will organize and use the British Guards in my AWI army. I was going to show you a scan of the cover of "We Have Always Governed Ourselves" Campaign Book #7, The War of Independence in the North by Greg Novak, but my scanner just crashed and it won't restart. Grrrrr!

Anyway, here is Novak's information (page 24-25):

"It was to have an overstrength infantry battalion with a grenadier company of 120 men, drawn from the 8 grenadier companies of the guards, 8 line companies of 93 men and a light company of 96 men. Since the Guards did not have any light companies at the time, the men of this company were drafted from all seven battalions. Two musicians, 8 NCO's and 3 officers completed each company, with a battalion headquarters for the entire force including (Brigade Commander, Quartermaster, Sergeant Major, Surgeon, Chaplain, Adjutant, Major, Drum Major and 3 Surgeon Mates. (By my count, that works out to a full strength of 1,101 men of all ranks.)

While the grenadier and light infantry companies were drawn from all of the said companies of the Guards, the line companies, with one exception were drawn from a single battalion. The first, second and third battalions of the First Guards furnished men for the first, second and third Line Companies, respectively. The first and second Battalions of the 3rd (Scots) Guards make up the 5th and 6th companies, while the 2nd (Coldstream) Guards, true to their tradition of not following the 1st Guards, had their first and second battalions make up the 7th and 8th Line Companies. The remaining company, the 4th, was known as the "Brigade" Company as drafted into it were 60 men from the 1st Regiment, 27 from the 2nd Regiment, and 17 men from the 3rd Regiment."

(skipping a few lines)

"Howe had its makeup changed on arrival at Staten Island into two battalions. The first battalion had the Grenadier Company and the 1st to 4th Line Companies, and the 2nd battalion had the Light Company and the 5th through 8th Line Companies. Trained in Howe's tactics, a quick complaint from the Guards was that with only 3 officers per company of 90 odd men, command control problems quickly became evident."

Somewhere on the Internet you can find a web site for The Company of Military Historians that features a detailed history of the Guards Brigade in American and the uniform modifications that they made. Ah, here it is -- click on the words "Guards Uniforms" below. The link takes you to a terrific article that describes the Guards uniform changes for service in North America.

The most readily recognizable changes are the shortening of the coat, the removal of all of the lace from the coat and a major modification of the cocked hat. The hat was trimmed down in the back and sides and a front plate was added (from the left over felt or new material?) to create a sort of jockey style cap. The bayonet waistbelt was stored, and the bayonet was hung from the cartridge box instead. Trousers and half gaitors replaced breeches, and the blanket roll replaced the knapsack. Finally, a wooden barrel style of water canteen (it looks like the mini cask that a mountain rescue St. Bernard dog would have).

OK, so at 1:10, we are looking at a battalion at full strenght of 110 figures in two ranks. This is obviously too big for even my large wargame table. The solution is to divide each battalion into two "wings". Novak gives a battalion strength of 851 rank and file and 31 officers at the start of the 1777 campaign. The Guards were a part of Howe's army that traveled to Philadelphia by sea (actually, they traveled to Head of Elk and then fought their way into Philadelphia). Still, 882 men or 88 castings divided into two battalions gives us 44 figure battalions. At the start of the 1778 campaign, Novak lists both Guards battalions as having 18 officers and 435 rank and file. That equates to 45 figures.

I am going to arbitrarily decide that the actual campaign strength of both battalions would be closer to 400 men of all rank. Thus I would have two 40 figure wargame units. One battalion will have a stand of grenadiers and the other will have a stand of light infantry. Each battalion will have 5 companies (1 x grenadier or light+ 4 line companies), with each stand of 8 figures representing a company. Now there is no reason to depict companies in most rules, particularly so in my own AWI rules called "Sons of Liberty". It is just that it is CONVENIENT to have a stand represent a company.

So there you have it. I will have two Guards battalions in my British AWI army consisting of 4 centre company stands of 8 figures and one flank company stand of 8 figures. By the way, the only difference between the grenadier and light flank companies is that the grenadiers have a brass grenade emblem on the front plate and the light infantry have the letters "LI" embroidered on the front plate.

Here is a "recipe" for a sample Guards company in the marching poses:

1 x B10 Officer
1 x B11 Drummer
1 x B12 NCO
5 x B13 Rank & File Marching

A company in a firing pose:

1 x B12 NCO Centre Co. (place in the front rank)
3 x B15 Centre Co. cocking musket (place in the front rank)
4 x B14 Centre Co. firing musket (place all firing figures in the second rank)

A flank company marching:

1 x B16 NCO Flank Co. (cap) marching
1 x B11 Centre Co Drummer (hat)
6 x B17 Flank Co. rank & file marching (cap)
(you could also add the B10 officer pose if you like)

I hope that you have found this information to be of interest, and I look forward to seeing lots and lots of Guards units on wargame tables soon.

Best regards,

Der Alte Fritz (Jim)

PS. Dave thanks all of you for your nice comments. He is very grateful for your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good Old Dave - A Farewell

David J. Dog, or as we like to call him, just "Dave"

A month ago we had two hounds in our home, old Katie (age 15) and the younger pup Dave (age 11). As you may recall, we had to put Katie down less than 4 weeks ago. There was some comfort in the fact that we had Dave to keep us company. But Life had other plans for Dave - we discovered that he has bone cancer in his front left leg. So in the span of one month, we face losing both of our beloved hounds.

Dave had developed a limp during the summer and the initial diagnosis was arthritis in his knees. Anti-inflammatories seemed to be working and the limping subsided. Then, about a week before Katie passed away, Dave's limp returned, even more pronounced. Another vet visit and the same diagnosis. However, Dave did not improve. So Anne took him back to the vet one more time this past monday, and new x-rays revealed the presence of tumors in his legs.

We were told that either the leg would have to be amputated, or if the cancer had spread to his torso, then he would have to be put down. On wednesday, a visit to a Vet Oncologist gave us a prognosis of 1 to 3 months if we did nothing, maybe 6 to 9 months if Dave had radiation therapy, and several other "in between" options.

I can't see Dave having a very good life with only three legs, and we don't want to take "heroic measures" to prolong his life. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy might add several months to his life, but at a prohibitive financial cost. So now we are monitoring him, administering pain killers, and sort of figuring out when to put Dave down. The greatest concern is that the bone cancer weakens his leg bone and it could easily fracture if there is too much activity. That would result in putting him down immediately if he breaks his leg.

For now, Dave seems rather happy and cheerful and he is able to walk around the house without too much strain. It seems too early to put him down now. I don't want to wait too long, nor do I want to have it done before it is necessary. We will probably try one round of chemotherapy and see how that affects him. If he could handle it, then we would do this for several more weeks. If the chemo makes him too sick, then that would be the end of that.

We hope that Dave will be with us at least through Christmas and we are gradually entering the 'acceptance' phase of the grief cycle. We expected Katie's demise, but we really did not see this curve ball coming. That is what makes it so shocking and painful. The oncologist said that Dave is in pain, but that Goldens want to please their humans so much that they will hang on longer than most breeds.

As long as Dave is bright eyed and bushy tailed, we will cherish his remaining days. He is such a good fellow. These are sad times, but we are taking great joy from Dave's presence each and every day. Day by day until the time is right. I guess that we will know when that is.

Tomorrow's posting will undoubtedly be more upbeat and less of a downer. We shall persevere. Coincidentally, we had scheduled a visit to a Golden Retreiver breeder this weekend to find a replacement for Katie. The plan for now is to hold off on a new dog until Spring.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More of Fritz's Painting Table

Thing are quite a mess on my painting table - it feels as if Burnham Wood is closing in on me. Fife & Drum Continentals are in the foreground and the Guards Brigade figures in red are behind them. The black bits to the left are Front Rank wagons in primer. A nifty Eureka French 8-pdr is seen on the right.

I am almost ashamed to show you the mess that is on my painting table this evening. It is hardly in tip top Bristol Shape, as you can tell. Several weeks ago, I had cleared things off and made the surface a bit more tidy. However, like MacBeth watching Burnham Wood gradually creep closer and closer, so too do various bits and pieces of partially painted figures start to clog things up.

In the center of the table, you can see the Fife & Drum Continental firing line regiment that I am working on. The dozen uniformed figures in the center are nearly completed and I will shortly start to work on the militia figures to their right. I plan to include the militia in the regiment in order to depict new recruits who did not yet get uniforms or other bits of equipment.

Behind the Continentals, you may spot the red coated beginnings of my Brigade of Guards. The strength of this unit at Brandywine was around 800-900 men. At a 1:10 ratio of figures to men, that would translate to 80 or 90 figures. Yikes! The plan is to paint that many, but then divide them into two "wings" as the regiment likely was in practice.

Off in the distance, one might spot some black Front Rank 18th Century wagons that have been primed and are awaiting a coat of Austrian yellow ochre paint for my SYW Austrian army. Behind them are some casualty stands in black primer, mounted on 1-inch diameter circles. There is a lot going on at the table.

Fife & Drum Continental drummer.

Above you can see a close up of a Fife & Drum Continental drummer clothed in reverse colors with a red coat and blue facings. I really like the way that he turned out. In fact, I'm considering painting one of the "additional regiments" that were recruited in 1777 to augment the existing state and Continental regiments in Washington's army. Several of these sported red coats, probably captured from British stores. Eventually, they would have dyed the cloth brown.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On The Painting Table

I have a couple more AWI units primed and ready to go on my painting table this evening. The first one will be a regiment in firing line poses using a mix of Fife & Drum Continentals and Militia. According to one of my friends in the UK, it was not uncommon for new recruits to join the regiment and sport their own civilian clothes for awhile. Supplying new uniforms for a regiment was a hit and miss sort of thing.

I was also looking at one of the Lefferts Plates on AWI uniforms today, and it looks like one of the Connecticut regiments had no lapels. So this means that I could use my militia figures for this regiment. I don't recall the number, but it had a brown coat, red cuffs and collar, brown waist coat and buff breeches.

Finally, I painted a drummer for my blue Continental firing line battalion and decided to go for the reverse colors look. So this fellow has a red coat and blue facings with buff breeches and a white waistcoat. Let me tell you that he looks very spiffy. So this had me scurrying to my Mollo book to look at some of the Continental regiments that wore red coats. I have a feeling that I will be adding a red coated unit of Continentals very soon.

Another idea, I'm generally painting units of 20/24/30 figures at a 1:10 ratio. Late in 1777, my chosen year for this project, there were many BRIGADES that had no more than 300 men, much less regiments of that size. So when I get ready to paint the Maryland Brigade, my thought is to paint three or four stands, each having different uniforms. The stands will all be labeled as the Maryland Brigade so that the gamer will know that each stand is part of the same unit. I'm looking forward to trying this idea out.

More tomorrow. By the way, I try to post at least 100 messages each year, and as you can see from the blog archives for 2011, I am way short of the required 100, so I expect to be blogging every day between now and Christmas. So see you tomorrow - I'll have some pictures up on the blog by then.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Leuthen Day: December 5, 1757-2011

The army parades its standards under the approving eye of Der Alte Fritz after the Battle of Leuthen on December 5, 1757.

I can not let this day pass without reminding our Austrian friends that this is the anniversary of Frederick II's incredible victory over three times the number of Austrians as Prussians.

My Prussian army has been reduced by attrition from a peak of 20 battalions to the following core mainstays:

IR5 Alt Braunschweig
IR6 Grenadier Garde
IR12 Alt Darmstadt
IR15/II Second Battalion of the Garde
IR18 Prinz von Preussen
IR19 Margrave Karl
IR20 Bornstadt
IR24 Schwerin
IR34 Prinz Ferdinand
IR49 Diericke Fusilier Regiment
19/25 Heyden Grenadier Battalion
5/20 Grenadier Battalion
N/A Jager Battalion

CR2 Gelbe Cuirassiers
CR8 Seydlitz Cuirassiers
CR10 Gensdarmes (cuirassiers)
CR13 Garde du Corps (cuirassiers)

DR2 Jung Krakow Dragoons
HR2 Zieten Hussars
HR5 von Ruesch Hussars
N/A Bosniak Lancers

3 x 12 pd Brummers
2 x 12 pd cannon
2 x 6pd cannon
2 x 6pd horse artillery
4 x 3pd battalion guns

Perhaps peace will one day descend on Central Germany.

1st Pennsylvania - Fife & Drum Figures

I completed my third regiment of Continental units for my AWI project, which will join the two militia units previous painted. This time I chose another brown-coated regiment from the state of Pennsylvania: the 1st Pennsylvania.

To differentiate it from the 3rd PA Regt., I chose action or firing line poses instead of the march attack pose used in the other regiments. The results can be seen above (please click the picture to enlarge).

I really like the way that this regiment turned out. I included four of the militia figures from the Fife & Drum range. Can you find them in the picture?

Next on the painting table is a similar Continental regiment in blue coat with red facings and buff breeches. I painted the drummer in reverse colors, so the coat will be red and the facings will be blue. I completed the drummer figure this evening, and wow, does he ever look good!

I would like to increase the American army to about 8 battalions by the end of December, afterwhich, the British line and grenadier figures should be ready and so I will switch to red coats in January and February. The goal is to have enough regiments painted in order to host a small AWI wargame at this year's SYW Assn. convention in South Bend.

I am really stoked about this range! I am gathering information on the artillery branch so that my equipment sculptor can work on some 6-pdrs and 3-pdrs for the British, and 3 and 6 pounders plus a galloper gun (4-pdr) and perhaps a "grasshopper" gun and a limber. So in conjunction with the equipment sculpting, I will have Richard work on the artillery crew and limber horses for the range the next time that I am in the queue. So I would expect that around June or July of 2012, I should have nearly all of the basics in the range that one would need for AWI wargaming.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Game's Afoot! Kleine Krieg Tomorrow.

The Regulators will be searching for Lady Pettygree tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning I will be traveling to Brown Deer for our Fourth Annual Light Troop Game at Chez Protz. This year's event features three games: Russians in Persia, French & Indian War, and Lady de Winter's perpetual attempt to capture Lady Diana Pettygree.

Apparently, Lady Pettygree and her gaggle of ditzy friends are flouncing about the countryside looking for places to have a picnic. As usual, she has an escort that is armed to the teeth. All of this makes her suspect in the eyes of the dark overlord back in Brandenburg. I mean, why is an English woman cavorting all over western Germany, at will, with a large bodyguard of French troops?

She must be a spy. In fact, there are rumors that she killed the Duke of Saxe Gotha whilst they were taking a romantic stroll through the Gotha-wald on a warm summer day. The poor Duke somehow took a tumble into the Trummelbach Gorge. Lady Pettygree was nowhere to be seen.

Ever since, it has been the mission of a certain lady who travels in a black coach to find and apprehend that little scamp, Lady Pettygree. And who exactly is it that travels in the black coach?

Why none other than:

Lady de Winter, the Black Rider, and the Regulators.

Come back tomorrow for a report on the day's events. Mwwhahahahahaha!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Book About Frederick the Great

There was an announcement on TMP the other day about a new book on Frederick the Great. It has tons of color pictures and is available in both English and German. While many of the artifacts pictured come from the post SYW period , say, circa 1780, the book does appear to have all the goods that would make it worth the high price at EUR129.90. Click on the link below to see sample pictures:

The text below is copied from the Verlag Militaria web page.

Frederick the Great
The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786

Available as of end of November 2011
About the book
824 pages (linen bound with a protective cover, it comprises two volumes in a slipcase), ca. 1500 colour photographs and illustrations, Format: 29.5 cm x 26 cm
The authors
Daniel Hohrath, with additional contributions from Judith Zimmer and Elisabeth Boxberger
€ 129,90
978-3-902526-51-9 (English)
978-3-902526-50-2 (German)
This work represents a new basis for the study of the Army of the Prussian King Frederick the Great; it is an indispensable standard work for anyone interested in the military and cultural history and the crafts of that era. It depicts the uniforms of an army whose military successes laid the foundation for the rise of 18th century Prussia as a major European power, and which, like its royal commander became the military ideal for all of Europe. Their particular style and the grandeur of their equipment were widely copied, and – uniquely for that day – collected by Frederick’s successors for posterity. The result of those efforts is the world’s best collection of 18th century uniforms, now in Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum, located in the old Royal Arsenal, the Zeughaus. Here, for the first time, all of the more than 200 items are presented and described individually and in detail, with high quality colour photographs and precise measurements.
Many of these original pieces were previously unknown, or had been seen only in drawings or poor quality old photographs. Supplementing these illustrations are photographs of items from other European collections. The total of some 1500 photographs shows an almost complete series of fusiliers’ and grenadiers’ caps, along with such items as cuirassiers’ coatees and hussars’ dolmans, sabretaches, caparisons, cartridge boxes and hats. There are also several uniform coats, including one worn by King Frederick himself.
In addition, this work includes a complete reproduction of the Lace Pattern Book of 1755, a manuscript containing the original embroidery and braid patterns of over 100 Prussian regiments, which is kept at the Deutsches Historisches Museum.
Finally it contains reproductions of the portraits of a large number of Prussian Army officers of the Seven Years’ War period, many of them previously barely known; most are from the Field Marshals’ Hall of the Prussian Military Academy in Groß-Lichterfelde. Also shown are drawings and black-and-white photographs of items from the old Zeughaus Collection that have since been lost.
The text includes explanations of the uniforms and their development, and short histories of each regiment in the Old Prussian Army. It is prefaced by historical essays on the Army of Frederick the Great and the history of the Zeughaus Collection, and includes an in-depth examination of the materials, designs and production methods of the uniforms and trimmings, from the point of view of modern textile conservation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dad, Do You Know Anything about the French & Indian War?

Hochkirch Church and the Alter Fritz Gasthaus. This has nothing to do with the French & Indian War, but I wanted to try out my scanner. Picture taken in 1994 on the Duffy Tour.

So my wife and daughter come home this evening from a school outing and Herself announces that it is time for Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe to do her homework. Herself asks me, "Do you know anything about the French & Indian War? It's part of Lady Emma's homework assignment for this evening."

Do birds know how to fly? Do cheetahs know how to run fast? Here was a hanging curveball just waiting to be belted into the grandstands for a home run.

"Why yes," said I, "I happen to know a little bit about the F&I War."

I knew that my response was going to put me in charge of homework this evening, but this time I didn't care, in fact, I wanted to help. So Lady Emma sat down at the kitchen table and I got out a place mat so that we'd have a firm writing surface and not scratch the antique pine table. The mat also happened to have a map of the world on it.

So I took a look at the homework assignment and discovered that it had nothing to do with the French & Indian War, well at least not directly. The topic was merchantilism and the trade triangle between Britain, the American Colonies and the West Indies or Africa. Lady Emma had to determine whether certain historical events benefited the Colonies or Great Britain. Easy enough.

For a warm up exercise, I had Lady Emma point out geographic places: Britain, the Colonies, Mexico, Africa, China and the Indies. I wanted to make sure that she had the geography down pat. Then I went to the pantry and hauled out a bottle of molasses, a bag of sugar, some cotton balls from the medicine cabinet and a cloth table napkin. I had Lady Emma identify where each of these items might have come from. She didn't get many of them correct, but we quickly reviewed how sugar and molasses originated from the West Indies, cotton from the Southern Colonies, and cloth, buttons and nails came from Britain.

I then told her to imagine that we owned a farm in Pennsylvania (where my ancestors came from) and we were growing corn and raising sheep for wool. Our cousins in Virginia were growing tobacco and my other cousins were merchants living in Boston. We then worked through how the raw materials were harvested or extracted in the New World and sent to the Old World for processing into finished goods. At this point we would move the props (cotton balls, sugar, etc) around the map from the place of export to the destination.

In this manner, Lady Emma began to understand how the flow of trade occurred during the 18th Century. Most of the homework assignment covered the trade triangle and the Navigation Acts and various other tax acts imposed on the Colonies by Britain. Lady Emma then asked me,
"Dad, why do I have to buy rum and molasses from Britain when I can buy it directly from the West Indies?"

I was so proud to see the light bulb turn on inside her head. She was able to understand why the American Colonies were so upset with British trade policy and how that could lead to ill feelings for the Mother Country, which eventually manifested itself in the American Revolution. I think that I just might make a good history teacher.

As a sideline, we briefly covered the age old dispute between England and France and how it was naturally transported across the pond to Canada and the Colonies. Lady Emma began to see how valuable the colonies were to France and Britain and why they might start a war over control of the North American territories.

OK now, back to painting American Continentals. We have a war to fight.

I trust that in the near future, the homework will actually cover the F&I War, but I am confidant that Lady Emma understands some of the underlying reasons for the war.