Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Evidence of Striped Flags in 1777

Colonial Merchent Naval Ensign
"Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation."

                                                                      -- Continental Congress: June 14,1777

I found a little nugget of information in the McGuire book "The Philadelphia Campaign, Brandywine and the Fall of Philadelphia " on page 111 in which a British officer on board one of the ships in Howe's invasion fleet describes what he saw as the fleet sailed past Annapolis, Maryland:

As His Majesty's ships sailed by, Sir George Osborn noticed that two forts guarding the harbor "had the impudence to hoist rebel colours in the sight of our fleet" , a defiant display that provoked some commentary.

"In the city and on the fort are flown rebel flags (Union flags, as they call them), Captain Von Munchausen explained. "They are white with purple stripes."

A British officer was quoted in the London Chronicle as saying "notwithstanding we could have battered it to pieces in half an hour, they had the impudence to display the thirteen stripes upon the two forts; but it was an object of little importance, as it was looked at with contempt and passed by without firing a shot."

For more information about the development of the Stars and Stripes, click Here - flag blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Criticism of Mr. Howe

I found the following anecdote in the McGuire book (page 75) about the Philadelphia Campaign:

LOST, this Summer

in the enclosures about New York, in North America


Whoever can give an account of it to his Majesty's
Secretary of War, shall not only receive a large premium,
but have the high honour of kissing his Majesty's hand.
A part of it is said to have been seen, in the Spring,
near Danbury; but its stay was so short,
that its tracks were not deep enough to be traced.

This all rather reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's famous quip about General McClellan's handling of the Army of the Potomac, something to the effect of: "General, if you are not going to use your army, may I borrow it for awhile?"

It seems that General Howe did not do a very good job of informing Lord Germaine or anyone else in the government, for that matter, about what his plans were for the 1777 campaign season. Howe kept his army in quarters, in Brunswick New Jersey, for the period from January through May without undertaking any major moves against Washington's army. This respite allowed Washington to rebuild his army, it having withered away to several thousand die hards after the conclusion of the Trenton-Princeton winter campaign.

Actually, a fairly active petite guerre was going on throughout this period as the British would send out foraging parties and the local militia and some Continentals set up ambushes or conducted raids to disrupt the British supply line and to generally keep them on edge.

In Howe's defense, Washington had posted his army in the hills west of Perth Amboy and Brunswick and by all appearances, it was too strong of a defensive position to attack (keeping in mind the British aversion to attacking Americans entrenched atop of hills, as at Bunker Hill). Howe did stage several feigned withdrawals from New Jersey, hoping to lure Washington out of the hills and onto the plains of east Jersey, where the British would have a significant advantage in the fighting.

Howe's strategy nearly worked, as Washington followed up Howe's retreat by moving Lord Sterling's division forward. It made camp near Short Hills New Jersey and on June 25 and 26 of 1777, Howe and Cornwallis launched a two pronged attack that nearly bagged Lord Sterling's isolated corps. The Americans managed to make good their escape and retire back into the hills. With this, the New Jersey phase of the 1777 campaign came to an end as Howe realized that he could not lure Washington out into the open. So the British evacuated New Jersey, returning to New York City, where they eventually boarded ships for the voyage to Philadelphia via Chesapeake Bay.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

AWI Riflemen

American rifleman image from Don Troiani's Image Bank

I have a copy of Don Troiani's "Soldiers of the American Revolution" book and the picture of the American rifleman that he painted has always intigued me because of the equipment that he carries. Can you see spear that is strapped to his back? I have long wondered what the heck is the spear used for? Well, now I know, as conveyed in the following passages:

In the Spring of 1777, General Washington established a corps of rifleman to be commanded by Colonel Daniel Morgan. The men were hand picked from their regiments, "chosen men" if you will, and sent to Morgan. They tended to be frontiersmen from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia and all were armed with the Pennsylvania Long Rifle. 

In his letter to Colonel Morgan, Washington said:

"The corps of Rangers newly formed and under your command, are to be considered as a body of light infantry and are to act as such for which reason they will be exempted from the common duties of the Line. In case of any movement of the enemy you are to instantly fall upon their flanks and gall them as much as possible, taking special care not to be surrounded."

While rifles had a long effective range (up to 300 yards), their one deficiency is that they were not designed to hold a bayonet, which made the riflemen vulnerable to attacks by the British light infantry and light dragoons. Washington proposed a remedy for this as follows:

"I have sent for spears, which I expect shortly to receive and deliver to you as a defense against Horse; till you are furnished with these take care not to be caught in such a situation as to give them any advantage over you."

"It occurs to me that if you were to dress a Company or two of true Woods Men in the right Indian Style and let them make the Attack accompanied with screaming and yelling as the Indians do, it would have very good consequences especially if as little as possible was said or known of the matter beforehand."

The above passages are found on page 38  of the book The Philadelphia Campaign - Brandywine and the Fall of Philadelphia, Volume I, by Thomas J. McGuire.

The section of the book goes on to explain that Brigadier General Anthony Wayne did not appreciate the value of the riflemen under his command. He wrote to the chairman of the Pennsylvania War Board  requesting the exchange of 200 rifles for an equal number of muskets equipped with bayonets. In his experience, rifles were useless on the battlefield, as compared to musket armed soldiers, properly dressed and trained, given that rifles were so slow to reload. Wayne's letter also mentions the requisition of spears that were to be sent to the riflemen in Morgan's Rife Corps.

I do not believe that I have ever seen a wargame miniature of a rifleman having a spear strapped to his back. That is something for me to consider when Fife & Drum gets around to adding riflemen to the range.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Prisoner of My Own Projects

I am currently working feverishly on adding new British and Continental infantry regiments to my American Revolution war game armies so as to have them ready in time for this year's annual Seven Years War Association Convention in South Bend, Indiana on April 5 & 6, 2013. I wanted the Americans to have three brigades of Continentals (increased from 2 brigades) and one militia brigade and the British would have two brigades (3 regts each) of regular infantry, one light brigade with jagers, and one elite brigade of guards and grenadiers.

Based on this plan, I will need to paint two regiments of Continentals and three regiments of British over the next 9 weeks. That seems like a doable painting pace as I have dialed it back to about 60-70 figures per month ( a far cry from the glory years when I could knock out 120 28mm figures per month). Assuming an average unit size of 30 figures at a 1:10 ratio, that's about one unit too many to achieve my goal at my normal painting pace.

It looks like I will have to step up my output a little bit, n'est-ce pas?

This becomes a problem only in the sense that I have so many other things to paint, and as much as I love painting Fife & Drum AWI figures, I would like to find the time to paint other regiments in other historical periods. Thus I am a prisoner of my own AWI project, which admittedly is designed to help promote the range and trigger more sales, the proceeds of which go back into more Fife & Drum greens.

For example, I would like to get back to work on my Minden Miniatures SYW project and finish all of the Austrian artillery wagons, add a pontoon train, Prussian and Austrian cuirassiers and some hussars for both sides.

Or, I would like to paint some Napoleonic French chasseurs a cheval and start on another British regiment for our Peninsula Campaign.

Or, finally paint some SYW British cavalry so that my redcoats can stand up to the French on equal terms. I have a 24 figure regiment of dragoon guards from Elite Miniatures that are primed and ready to paint. I'd like to also start on The Blues using Stadden figures. I need to finish the grenadier companies for my line regiments so that I can converge them to create a free unit, so to speak. A few 12-pounders for the Royal Artillery would also be useful.

I could go on and on, but I think that you get the point. I risk burning out on AWI figures given the tight deadline so I'm not sure what to do. Well, I know what I should do, but I'm too stubborn to do anything other than try to meet my deadline. I tell myself that after April it is all free kreigspeiling with respect to painting as I can then do whatever I please.

What would you do?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pennsylvania Regiment in Hunting Shirts

Fife & Drum Continentals in Hunting Shirts, Marching

This evening, I finished a regiment of Fife & Drum Continentals in Hunting Shirts in the Marching poses. A couple of pictures are posted here, noting that the terrain material needs to dry overnight, afterwhich I will ink the stands and add static grass to finish off the bases. This is the counterpart to the firing line regiment that I painted last week. The unit has 30 figures representing 300 men at a 1:10 ratio of figures to men. It is a generic unit so it can represent almost any Continental regiment. I mixed in some figures wearing uniforms of brown with red facings to add a little variety to the appearance. It will be added to one of the Pennsylvania brigades in Anthony Waynes division, circa 1777.

Same as the first picture

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Chew House (Clivedon)

The Chew House at Germantown, Pennsylvania

I was browsing through my copy of Thomas McGuire's book, Germantown and the Roads to Valley Forge, this evening and it appears that quite a large portion of the book is devoted to the American assualt on the Benjamin Chew House, which was defended by several companies of the 40th Regiment, number perhaps 100 to 120 men under the command of Lt.Colonel Thomas Musgrave.

Musgrave's regiment had been posted on picket duty out in front of the main British encampment at Germantown and they were largely over run by the American attack, in the early morning fog on October 4, 1777. Musgrave and three companies were cut off from the rest of the regiment and they took refuge in the solid stone Chew House. The walls in the front facade of the building are apparently two feet thick and they resisted all attempts to route out Musgrave with musketry and iron cannon balls.

Howard Pyle's interpretation of the American attempt to force entry into the Chew House.
As the day wore on, various brigades of Continentals bypassed the veritable stone castle that stood behind the American front lines. At first, Washington considered posting a single regiment to guard the building while the rest of the army advanced into the main British line. But then Henry Knox, Washington's chief of the artillery, convinced him that they could not leave such a fortification in the hands of the enemy and behind their lines. Knox assembled a battery of 3 and 6 pounders (Procter's Battery) to try to pound down the front door and shuttered windows, but the artillery proved to be too light for the job and could barely dent the stone facade of the Chew House

To make a long story short, Musgrave's detachment resisted all attempts to force the house and they were eventually relieved when the Continentals retreated from the battlefield.

One anecdote from McGuire caught my interest:

A battery of 6-pounders failed to blow a hole through the front door, and now a small group of officers took it upon themselves to try and burn out the defenders by setting the wooden window shutters on fire. None of these attempts worked either. Among these brave men was the Thomas du Plessis-Mauduit,  a Frenchman in the Continental service. He and gathered some straw from the nearby barn and rushed towards the house. I paraphrase from McGuire's book (page 92)

The men of the 40th posted on the first floor behind each door and shuttered window were instructred to bayonet anyone trying to get in. As Du Plessis climbed on the windowsill, he found himself face to face with a pistol. When asked what he was doing there, he replied, 'I am only taking a walk'. He was fortunate, unlike others, instead of an infantryman with a bayonet, he was confronted by a British officer who demanded his surrender. At the same instant, another less gallant man (than the officer) entered the room and fired a musket that killed, not Du Plessis, but the British officer who was trying to capture him.  Now Du Plessis' problem was to find a way to retire without getting shot from one of the marksmen in the upper floor windows of the house. He chose not to run away, and risk being ridiculed by his men, or calmly walk away, returning safe and sound.

The attack on the Chew House might make for an interesting skirmish wargame, with individual British figures defending the house and the Americans attacking in group of 10 to 20 figures.


From Wikipedia:

Cliveden (pron.: /ˈklɪvdən/),[2] also known as the Benjamin Chew House, is a historic mansion in GermantownPhiladelphiaPennsylvania. It was the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting of the Battle of Germantown, fought in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War.
Built between 1763 to 1767, by Benjamin Chew, Esq, the mansion was inhabited from colonial times by seven generations of the Chew family, until 1972.[3] Benjamin Chew was head of the Pennsylvania Judiciary System under both Colony and Commonwealth, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Province of Pennsylvania. From his legal mentor, Andrew Hamilton, Esq, Chew inherited his lifelong clients, the descendants of William Penn.

Fighting during the Battle of Germantown
For his own safety, the Executive Committee of the Continental Congress forcibly removed Chew and his family from Cliveden, as his close personal friend, George Washington, was ordering his troops to move towards Philadelphia. British Colonel Musgrave then quickly occupied the sturdily-built mansion and fought off the attack from inside the house with muskets and bayonets. Washington's army was repelled and sent back down Germantown Avenue in defeat.

[edit]House and property

In 1966, Cliveden was designated a National Historic Landmark, part of the Colonial Germantown Historic District.[4] The National Trust for Historic Preservation operates Cliveden as a historic house museum, and offers tours from April through December. Significance:
Cliveden is an outstanding example of Philadelphia Georgian architecture. Probably designed by Chew and Jacob Knor, a master carpenter, the stone masonry house has particularly fine interior woodwork.
—Historic American Buildings Survey[5]
The original estate included a number of other structures, including a stable and coach house, a smoke house, hen house and summer house. The landscaping features statuary and gardens with over 200 varieties of trees and scrubs. In 1868, a two-story addition was added in the original courtyard. A window on the second floor stair landing in the main house was converted into a hidden doorway to create an entrance to the addition.
The Chew Family Papers, containing an extensive collection of correspondence, documents, financial records and other materials, are available for research use at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Prussian Fusilier Regiments

IR35 Prinz Heinrich Fusilier Regiment (RSM figures) with GMB Designs flags, circa 2009. Sadly, this regiment is now in service with a different Inhaber, having been sold. Click picture twice to enlarge the view.
Prussian Fusiliers from Front Rank Figures

A question was asked on The Miniatures Page about the quality of the fusilier regiments that were in the Prussian army of Frederick the Great. Naturally, my first thought was to pull my copy of The Army of Frederic the Great by Christopher Duffy off of my book shelf and see what the Master (i.e. Duffy) had to say about the subject.

Frederick the Great's own opinion of various fusilier regiments:

IR35 Prinz Heinrich
IR39 Jung-Braunschweig
IR41 Wied

IR49 Diericke

Here is an excerpt from Christopher Duffy's "The Army of Frederick the Great" about the fusilier regiments:

"The Prussian fusiliers were a lightweight infantry, fighting in mass formation like the rest of the line infantry, but drawn principally from newly-acquired provinces where the men did not have the loyalty or physical stature of people like the Pommeranians and Brandenburgers. Such at least was the oulook of Frederick. He inherited four rather good fusilier regiments, which he promptly converted into regiments of musketeers, and he designated as "fusiliers" only the sixteen or so regiments which he raised after he conquered Silesia. Taking into account their small stature, Frederick issued them with short muskets, and gave them scaled-down metal-fronted grenadier caps which made them appear more fearsome in battle. 'The headgear certainly looked impressive enough, when the sun shone on such a battalion of fusiliers and gave them the appearance of a row of fiery palisades. Even as seen from behind the caps had a lively look, thank to the colored cloth which covered the crown.' " (quote in the last sentence from Lossow, 1826)

By the way, if you are new to the SYW period, then I highly recommend buying any and all copies of books written by Christopher Duffy, especially The Army of Frederick the Great.

As for the pictures shown above, I was doing a Google search on Prussian fusilier uniforms because I wasn't certain whether or not I had any pictures of my own BAR units. If I did, I did not want to search through thousands of photos that I have stored in my computer. So the first decent picture that I found on line was of some Front Rank figures, but later, I finally found the picture of the Prinz Heinrich regiment from my own collection (RSM figures) and was able to find the same picture in my iPhotos library.

Alas, the regiment had been sold back in 2009 and now resides in a good home in Ohio. I usually don't have any regrets when I sell one of my painted battalions, but after seeing my own handiwork, I did feel a  pang of regret as I really like the way that the RSM figures turned out. The GMB flag is very pretty too.

I think that I am going to have to paint a new IR35 for myself, and soon. As with the original battalion, I plan to use the RSM fusiliers for the unit.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sitting By the Fireplace on a Cold Winter's Night

The Fireplace Room at Schloss Seewald
Here is another photo from my experimentation with the iPad camera. This is a picture of our family room last evening. With the wind howling and the temperatures plunging by nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit , it was a good evening to stay indoors by the fireplace and reading my copy of Charles Grant's Wargaming in History Volume 7 ( copy seen lying on the chair to the right ), which covers the Napoleonic Peninsular War in Spain.

UPDATE: I had to e-mail the photo to myself from the iPad and then download it from our desktop iMac. Then insert the photo, in the usual manner, into Blogger. I can't seem to get the picture to download using the Blogger App. Obviously there is a way to do this, but I haven't figured it out yet. I wish that these things came with a Users Manual or a "How to do it for Dummies" book.

Yesterday I received a box full of new books from On Military Matters and I want to compliment Dennis for the great service. I received my order within two days, just in time to get in a bit of weekend reading. In addition to the Grant book, I also purchased two books on the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777 by McGuire and these look to be exception books with lots of detail and information that is new to me. Some of the maps are superb from a Wargaming point of view as they present all of the regiments at hand and good terrain detail for conversion into war game scenarios.

Scan of the Germantown battle map from Volume II.
I would rate the maps as "Christopher Duffy Quality" in terms of the details about the different regiments and where they were during the battle. Hopefully the scan that I did of the Germantown map will give you an idea of what I mean. Note though that the actual map in the book is much better.

Volume I: The Philadelphia Campaign - Brandywine and the fall of Philadelphia, by Thomas J. McGuire. ($37.00)

Volume II: The Philadelphia Campaign - Germantown and the Roads to Valley Forge, also by McGuire. ($35.00)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's on Fritz's Painting Table

This is a test to see if my iPad can post to Blogger.  Here are some Fife & Drum AWI Continentals that I'm working on. There are eight figures wearing brown coats with red facings and 22 wearing hunting shirts. I think that Continental units look better when they have a mix of uniform styles.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Master of my Domain!

I purchased a new iPad today so that hopefully I can blog "on the go" and/or view pages on Blogger whenever I want to without fear of censorship. Pretty cool!

Then again, maybe not.

It looks like Blogger won't accept anything posted from my iPad. I assume that there is some way to set this up so that I can.

It looks like I can add my iPhone as a device that Blogger will accept for posting blog entries, but not so for the iPad. If anyone has a solution for how to post blogs from the iPad, please let me know.

Oh well.


I have a four day weekend, having taken Friday off as a vacation day and with Monday being a national holiday (ML King Day), that makes for a nice long stretch of painting time. I am currently working on a regiment of AWI Continentals in hunting shirts - marching poses instead of firing poses and I hope to get the regiment done by Monday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Battle of Cooch's Bridge Scenario 1777

Fife & Drum British Guards advance, supported by Minden Jagers doing double duty as AWI Hessian jagers.

Please click on the link and visit the Fife & Drum blog to read the historical background and scenario information about this first encounter of the Philadelphia Campaign on September 3, 1777. The combatants are Maxwell's Light Infantry Brigade for the Americans and von Wurmb's advance guard of Cornwallis' division.

Cooch's Bridge Scenario

I intend to start posting more AWI related content over on my Fife and Drum blog going forward.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Best Historical Figure Range Winner!

Fife & Drum Continentals, painted in November 2011. Click pix to enlarge the view.

Well the polls are closed and the final tally indicates that Fife & Drum Miniatures is the winner of The Miniature Page's ("TMP") vote for the Best Historical Miniatures Range of 2011". I want to thank everyone for their support and their votes which made the win possible.

I also want to thank the very talented Richard Ansell for sculpting the range and making it all possible in the first place. A few years ago, Richard really went out on a limb and went against the conventional wisdom in the hobby by sculpting figures with realistic and life like proportions, as opposed to "heroic" figures with "strong faces" and oversized hands that could crush a lump of coal into a diamond. I first saw Richard's handiwork in his range of Napoleonic Austrians that he designed for The Assault Group ("TAG"), now owned by Alban Miniatures. Then he started making Napoleonic British and French light infantry under the Alban brand and this led to the start of the exquisite Minden Miniatures range, the brain child of Frank Hammond and Richard.

Minden Miniatures SYW Prussians painted as IR1 von Winterfeldt Regiment, with GMB Designs flags. This was my first painted Minden Miniatures regiment done in January 2010. What's not to like about these figures?

That was kind of the "light bulb moment" for me, i.e. seeing the introduction of the Minden range. It hit me in two different ways:  First, someone was making wargame figures that looked like real people and they were done in a scale (1/56) rather than some arbitrary size of 25mm to 28mm. Second, up until then, it never occurred to me that someone with no sculpting talent (that would be me) could actually start an historical miniatures range by teaming with a sculptor. I had assumed that most figure ranges were developed and owned by the actual sculptors. Apparently not.

As Frank Hammond's Minden range began to grow and capture the fancy of wargamers all over the world, I felt that finally someone was creating the kind of realistic looking figures that evoked the style of the 30mm Stadden SYW figures or Steve Hezzlewood's Pax Britannia/RSM figure ranges or Tom Meier's sculpts of practically anything. 

I wanted to support the efforts of others to bring this style of figure sculpting back into the mainstream of the hobby. So I went all-in for Minden Miniatures. Over the next several years, I built up a pair of Austrian and Prussian armies, entirely Minden, and then decided that I would sell off all of my other SYW figures and start anew with the Minden range. These are simply the best figures that I have ever seen.

Minden Miniatures Prussian artillery battery fires a salute in honor of the Fife & Drum selection as Best Historical Figure Range of 2011.
I wanted the wargaming world to see what a complete army of figures, done entirely in 1/56 scale, would look like. My hope was that as more and more people saw these figures, a sort of Emperor's New Clothes Dynamic would occur and they would begin to look at their figure collections a bit differently. They would demand that the market provide them with realistic looking figures. Well, one can at least hope, but when one embarks on a crusade, one might as well hold nothing back.

Then in 2010, my nephew Alex and I began to discuss starting our own figure range - one that would be designed by Richard Ansell. Since the SYW and Napoleonics were already spoken for, with regard to Richard's commissions, the next best arena in the 18th Century tricorn era was the American Revolution, or the AWI as it is commonly referred to the wargame vernacular. I used to own AWI armies, but I had sold them off around 2005 as I very rarely gamed with them anymore.

I remember being entranced by the collection of John Ray, who sculpts his own AWI figures, and who focuses entirely on the 1776 to 1783 period with his collection. I knew that eventually I would want to dip my toes back into the waters of the AWI after seeing what John was doing.

So in the Spring of 2010, all of these variables began to coalesce around me and with a little nudge from several people, we approached Richard Ansell with our idea to have him create a range of AWI figures. Once he said "yes", then things began to really take off as we introduced first the British Light Infantry and the Brigade of Guards in early 2011. These were quickly followed by American Militia, Continentals, British centre company and grenadier company figures. In 2012 we added the artillery crews, artillery equipment and Continentals in hunting shirts.

My objective is to provide a comprehensive range of figures for the AWI period. I decided to start with the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777 and its follow on retreat from Philadelphia in 1778. I chose this period because it features some of the larger battles during the war: Brandywine Creek, Germantown and Monmouth, as well as some smaller actions such as Paoli, Cooches' Bridge and the Delaware Forts. So the campaign offers a little bit of something for everyone. I also like the fact that the Continental Army is starting to round into fighting shape so that it can eventually stand up, face to face, with the British Army and hold its own in a battle. Finally, I liked the appearance of the British uniforms that had been adapted for campaigning in North American and thought that this would help differentiate the Fife & Drum range from other AWI figure ranges.

Finally, it is my commitment to provide all of the basic combat arms (infantry, cavalry and artillery) for both sides so that anyone can start gaming this period and have all of the basic figures that one would need to build a collection. Along the way, we have added or will be adding ancillary figures that have been overlooked by other ranges, such as the British Brigade of Guards uniforms and others.

We will leave no stone unturned at Fife & Drum.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

4th Pennsylvania Continentals - Finished

4th Pennsylvania Regiment - Fife & Drum Miniatures
I finished the basing on the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment this evening so that you can see how it looks with the tufts and static grass on the stands. I have the feeling that this is going to be one of my favorite wargame units in my AWI Continental army of 1777.

I also collected enough Continentals in marching poses to create a new regiment of fellows in hunting shirts that are in marching poses. I added some of the Continental officers and command figures wearing uniform coats, rather than hunting shirts, for some added variety. The 30-figure regiment will have about 20 men wearing hunting shirts while the rest will wear a uniform coat that is brown with red facings.

I have much work ahead of me to get my AWI armies ready for this year's 2013 Seven Years War Association convention in South Bend on April 5 and 6, 2013.

4th Pennsylvania - Anthony Wayne's Division in 1777

Royal Artillery Amusette, in situ.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fife & Drum Continental Regt - Hunting Shirts

New Fife & Drum Continentals in Hunting Shirts with GMB Designs Flag. (click pix to enlarge)

I put the finishing touches on my first unit of Fife & Drum Continentals, in firing line poses, this evening and quickly applied the basing material and fine grit so that I could shoot some pictures and get them ready for the final basing step tomorrow (inking the bases, applying static grass). A GMB Designs flag (Grand Division Flag - Red) was added to spiff it up a little bit.

Click on the pictures on this page to enlarge the view. Click twice to maximum enlargement.

Best Historical Figure Range Update

The final round of the voting for Best Historical Figure Range of 2011 is on-going through January 10, 2013. If you have not voted yet, you only have a few more days. Click on the link below to go to the poll page so that you can cast your vote. Hopefully, you will vote for Fife & Drum Miniatures.

So far Fife & Drum is in first place, but there is a lot of good competition and I expect the voting margin to narrow. We are at 49 votes so far, compared to a total of 97 votes in the preliminary round.

Close-up view of the three of the stands in the regiment.

I had to paint at least one stand in purple hunting shirts; afterall, where else are you ever going to have the opportunity to use the color purple in a horse and musket era regiment?

4th Pennsylvania Regiment with mounted officer.
Royal Artillery Amusette and Crew
What's Next On Fritz's Painting Table?

I have a regiment of Fife & Drum Continentals in hunting shirts, marching pose. I plan to mix in a few men in uniform coats so as to mix things up a bit. I'm looking forward to working on another unit of these figures.

After that, it will be back to the SYW as we have a game scheduled for early February in Brown Deer, using our various 1:20 ratio 28mm armies. This battle will see my collection of Minden figures taking to  the field for the very first time. I have to paint a few more Austrian cuirassiers to even the forces out a bit.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Final Round Voting Begins - Best Range 2011

Fife & Drum British "Light Bobs" light infantry.

I want to thank everyone who voted for Fife & Drum Miniatures in the TMP poll for the best new range of 2011. With your help, Fife & Drum placed second with 97 votes, behind Perry Napoleonics with 119 votes. That is a pretty impressive showing given that the Perrys have a well deserved reputation for excellence and that Napoleonics is a more popular period than the AWI.

So now we are in the final round of voting, with winner take all, so to speak. You can cast your ballot by clicking on the following link to TMP:

I would be very appreciative if you would take a few moments and place your final vote for Fife & Drum for the Best Historical Miniatures Range of 2011. (Presumably, after catching up, TMP will launch its Best of polls for 2012 :)  ).

Painting Table Update

Der Alte Fritz contemplates developments in his game at the 2012 SYW Assn Convention in South Bend, Indiana.

Last evening I finally carved out some time to do a little bit of painting and so I finished off a stand of five of the new Fife & Drum Continentals in hunting shirts. One stand of five figures -- painted in purple hunting shirts and red cuffs and collars, as worn by the 4th Independent Company of Maryland State Troops, circa 1776. I assume that these independent companies, which numbered about 100 men, were eventually disbanded and amalgamated into the Maryland Regiments of the Continental Line in 1777. I have to figure out what to do with these guys. Should I keep them all on one stand to represent a discrete company, or should I mix them in with other guys wearing white and light brown hunting shirts? What do you think?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Another Lobositz Game

Prussian cuirassier regiment CR2 Prinz von Preussen attacks the Croats in the wolf pits at Lobositz - battle fought in February 2009 at the Little Wars convention in Chicago. Wolf pits were made by Herb Gundt. The figures are RSM (Croats), Crusader (hussars), Elite (the yellow cuirassiers), Old Glory (hussars shown on the right) and Suren (second cuirassier unit in support). click to enlarge.

A reader sent me an e-mail today inquiring about the Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (or "BAR") rules and how they could be used for units that are smaller than the 60-figure infantry and 48 to 60 figure cavalry units that our Brown Deer group regularly uses. He wanted to know whether or not the rules would work with smaller units of, say, 20 to 24 figures.

The answer to that question is an emphatic YES!

As a matter of fact, whenever we play The Forty- Five Jacobite Rebellion games with BAR, our Highland clan regiments are typically 30 figures and we downsize the Government redcoats from 60 to 40-45 figures. And guess what? The rules work just fine with the smaller units.

With this in mind, and considering that the Lobositz game played last week is still set up in my basement Man Cave, I am thinking that I might want to refight Lobositz one more time using 30 figure infantry and cavalry regiments at a 1:20 ratio.

If I can find the time, I might be able to set the game up this weekend and go at it as a solo game. I will report the results with both pictures and commentary. It should be an interesting game.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Lies Ahead in 2013

I am a little bit disappointed that I was not able to hit my target of 100 blog posts in 2012. I fell short with only 90 posts by the end of the year. I started out 2012 fairly strongly, but then tailed off the production during the Spring and Fall months. In the end, however, I decided not to post just for the sake of posting and increasing the count, but simply post an article when I had something to say.

Now that we have turned the page on 2012 and enter the New Year, I am starting to think about the wargame projects that I want to tackle over the next twelve months. These include:

Seven Years War BAR sized Armies (1:10 ratio)

British Cavalry - 2 to 4 squadrons of heavy Horse or Dragoon Guards
British Artillery - a pair of 12-pounders

Austrian Cuirassiers - add another squadron of Hinchcliffe cuirassiers to bring a unit up to 60 figures.
Croats - one never has enough Croats.
Austrian Artillery - add a couple of 12-pounders and 6 crew per gun model

Prussian Musketeers - add IR13 Itzenplitz to replace the same unit that I sold two years ago
Prussian Dragoons - perhaps start on the 10 squadron Bayreuth Dragoons (120 figures)
Prussian Pontoon Corps - I have two Berliner Zinnfiguren pontoon wagons

Seven Years War - Minden Figures (1:20 ratio)

Prussian cuirassier regiment - 32 figures
Prussian fusilier battalion IR49 - 30 figures, second battalion to complete the regiment
Prussian hussar regiment - 32 figures, kolpaks, so probably HR1 or HR2

Austrian cuirassier regiments - 2 regiments of 32 figures
Austrian hussar regiment Baranyay (green dolman/pelisse, sky blue breeches
Austrian supply wagons to go with each artillery piece

BAR Napoleon - Peninsular War in 1:10

British 88th Regiment (Connaught Rangers) - Elite Miniatures -- 84 figures
British 42nd Regiment (Black Watch) - Connoisseur Miniatures -- 100 figures

French chasseur a cheval regiment - 36 figures in three squadrons, old Elite Miniatures.

American Revolution (AWI) in 1:10 ratio - Fife & Drum Miniatures

British infantry regiments - 3 regiments of 32 figures

Continental infantry - 3 regiments in hunting shirts (20/24 or 30 figures each)

British 16th Light Dragoons - 36 figures, once the figures are sculpted and in production,

Odds and Ends

Claymore Castings  Otterburn range - I would like to paint some of these terrific looking castings. Maybe 1 to 2 "battles" of 24 figures of Scottish infantry and some mounted knights once they become available. A friend plans to start a Medievil campaign in 2013 and I would use the figures for this project.

That seems like a fairly ambitious list of things to paint. It is more of a wish list than a road map as I doubt that I can paint that many figures in one year. Well, I used to be able to paint that many figures in one year, but I think that Mrs. Fritz would not approve. I quite agree with her on that score.

I also want to start doing some more solo AWI and SYW battles using my 1:20 ratio armies of Fife & Drum and Minden Miniatures, respectively. I will probably take the AWI collection to several conventions in order to stimulate some figure sales, but the SYW collection will not make it into the public arena for awhile, I am afraid.

Fife & Drum Range: I am guessing that I will be able to add two more sets of 16 figures over the course of 2013, depending on Richard's schedule. In that event, I would add some AWI cavalry to cover the British 16th Light Dragoons as well as some Continental cavalry in various head gear. The second set will likely see either more American militia, some special figures and more horses, or I could go with 6 to 8 personalities for each side.

I would like to be able to make it to Historicon in 2013, both to host some AWI games and to have a dealer booth at the show.

It looks like a very busy year ahead for me, to say the least.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Voting Ends Tomorrow

Austrian Headquarters Camp during the SYW. The General Staff are cooking up ideas on how to get more votes for Fife & Drum in the TMP Poll for Best Historical Range of 2011. click pix to enlarge the view.

Your Vote Is Needed

There is currently a poll being conducted on TMP this week to choose the Best Historical Miniatures Range for the year 2011. One of the ranges under consideration is my own Fife & Drum Miniatures range of AWI figures.

TMP Poll Link

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to vote for the Fife & Drum range of AWI figures. We are currently in second place (91 votes for F&D - good for second place behind Perry Napoleonics at 106 votes). Earlier last evening, we had closed to within 2 votes of the Perry Machine, but a late surge of votes has probably pushed first place beyond our reach. So If you have not yet voted, please click on the link and cast your ballot.

400,000 Visitors Milestone Passed!
Oh, by the way, we passed 400,000 visitors somewhere around December 28, 2012. That is a staggering number of eyeballs that have viewed my little blog. Thank you to everyone for your support.