Friday, May 30, 2014

Tarleton's Legion Has Arrived!

Tarleton's British Legion at the charge, showing all 7 of the new figures (click to enlarge).

I just received two large boxes full of castings from Griffin Moulds today, and the shipment included the new Fife & Drum AWI Dragoons: British Legion Cavalry (7 poses), the British 17th Light Dragoons (4 charging poses) and the 3rd Continental Dragoons (4 charging poses). I only had time to glue, blackwash and photograph the British Legion figures this evening, so I will do the rest of the figures in a day or two and post the pictures here.

Let's let the pictures tell the story:

Command figures: officer (left) and trumpeter (right)

Two charging variants on two different charging horses.

Shouldered sword trooper on walking horse.

Firing pistol and hacking downward.

I will be sending figures out to the Kickstarter backers first, starting next week, but after that the figures are available to everyone. If you did not participate in the Kickstarter campaign you are probably kicking yourself wondering why you did not back the campaign. Not to worry, feel free to pre-order any of our Continental or British AWI dragoons and I can start shipping in two weeks. There is no payment necessary until I am ready to ship you your figures, but the pre-order ensures that I am able to set aside the figures that you want.

For the time being, we are selling the cavalry as single figures, but eventually the plan is to package them in packs of two or three figures.

British Legion Product Codes ($6.00 each including horse)

BC-003   Banastre Tarleton Personality Figure
BC-025   British Legion Officer, Charging
BC-026   British Legion Trumpeter, Charging
BC-027   British Legion Trooper, Hacking Downwards
BC-028   British Legion Trooper, Charging Variant #1
BC-029   British Legion Trooper, Charging Variant #2
BC-030   British Legion Trooper, Shouldered Sword
BC-031   British Legion Trooper, Firing Pistol

British 16th Light Dragoons ($6.00 each including horse)

BC-010   16th Light Dragoons Officer, Pointing
BC-011   16th Light Dragoons Trumpeter
BC-012   16th Light Dragoons Trooper, Shouldered Sword, Uniform Coat
BC-013   16th Light Dragoons Trooper, Shouldered Sword, Hunting Shirt
BC-014   16th Light Dragoons Trooper, Rested Carbine on Right Thigh
BC-015   16th Light Dragoons Trooper, Firing Pistol
BC-016   16th Light Dragoons Trooper, Firing Carbine
BC-017   16th Light Dragoons Trooper, Loading Carbine

British 17th Light Dragoons($6.00 each including horse)

BC-018   17th Light Dragoons Officer, Charging
BC-019   17th Light Dragoons Trumpeter, Charging
BC-020   17th Light Dragoons Trooper, Charging Variant #1
BC-021   17th Light Dragoons Trooper, Charging Variant #2

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Minden Prussian Personality Figures

Frederick II of Prussian and his staff. Minden Miniatures painted by Leuthen Studios.

I figured that it was about time to show pictures of the Minden Prussian personality figures on my blog. The vignettes were painted and based by Leuthen Studios, as I wanted these to look extra special. Click the pictures to enlarge the view.

We used the following Minden figures:

PER-001 Duke of Brunswick and staff on foot - $12.00
PER-002 Frederick (with horse)  - $7.00
PER-003 von Seydlitz (with horse) - $7.00
PER-004 von Zieten (with horse) and ADC - $9.00

We used the dismounted figures from set PER-001 to create vignettes on the main personality stands of Frederick, von Seydlitz and von Zieten. Richard Ansell's sculpts really come alive under the brushes of Leuthen Studios, as I am sure that you will agree.

Von Zieten (left) and von Seydlitz (right) personality figures from Minden Miniatures, painted by Leuthen Studios.
And finally, the Garde du Corps (KR13) to provide a little bit of protection for the Sovereign:

Garde du Corps (KR13) from Minden Miniatures, showing its unique vexillum standard that was recently added to the range. Painted by Leuthen Studios.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Cleaning, Fritz Style

My cleaning, prepping and terraining desk. Before clean up.

When you are in a painting funk, such as the likes that I have not seen in a long while, what can one do to further the hobby and be productive in some fashion? The answer is to look for alternative things to do such as terraining the bases of figures that you have ignored for too long, or cleaning and priming some figures to have on hand for the inevitable day when you break out of your painting funk, work on some terrain pieces, or....

Clean up your work area! The dreaded "before" picture is shown at the top of the page, while the "after" picture is shown below.

The "after" picture. It looks much better.
Actually, the above "after" picture still requires a little more work on the left hand side of the work area, but for all practicle purposes, the table is cleared of the clutter and is ready for some serious work. Note, I paint at a different table, but more on that at another time.

Now I finally feel like actually doing some work, now that my work area is picked up. It is kind of depressing to work in a 12-square inches space, surrounded by mangled castings with arms and heads chopped off, or half assembled cannon and limbers. When Burnham Wood is closing in on you, you don't feel like working, but rather, you feel like running away to hide.

I doubt that I will have much more time over the remainder of this Memorial Day weekend, but the painting area, reading area and game table area will be next on my list of things to clean up.

The painting table, as shown a year or two ago. Things are back to this state again.

It seems like the game table looks nice about 30% of the time and then it looks more like a repository for junk the other 70% of the time. I half expect the crew from the American Pickers television show to show up at my door asking if they can "pick" through all of my junk. When that happens, well... you know that it is a sad day in your wargaming life.

There must be some irrefutible law of physics that says that junk and clutter will always seek to fill the vacuum of an empty game table. You KNOW that this is true.

The gaming area and table are a disaster. Again, an older picture, but this gives you an idea of how things look today. Not a good thing.
This is how it should look, when I am on top of my game.

My reading area, in better times.
Now having looked at the last two pictures above, I feel a little bit of inspiration coming on to clean up the rest of the basement game room. The painting can wait for another day. I suspect that part of my painting funk is due to all of the clutter, so once I clean up the rest of the room, just watch battalion after battalion of figures come flying off of my brushes.

I hope that you are all having a happy Memorial Day weekend. Do pause for a moment and give thanks to all of those who served in any country so that the rest of us can lead peaceful, normal and happy lives.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Minden SYW Austrians

Austrian cuirassiers (left) and Prussian CR1 cuirassiers (right) close into melee. Click pix to enlarge.

I thought that it was about time to show some pictures of the "Other Guys" in the white coats, who serve for She Whose Name Cannot Be Mentioned on this blog.
Charles of Lorrain (leaning over), Hadik (in hussar mufti next to Charles) and von Loudan (in the front next to the grenadiers) as painted by Leuthen Studios.

Charles of Lorraine (center) discusses tactics with his staff. A lot of good that will do him, but at least he is giving it a try. Von Loudan is in the back right waiting for history to tap him on the shoulder.
Austrian artillery battery with a pair of 6-pounders in the right foreground and a pair of 12-pounders in the left background. Minden artillery crew, Berliner Zinfiguren cannon and limbers, RSM limber horses and riders. Von Loudan, in the background, supervises the battery while a battalion of Hungarian grenadiers provides support.
Same battery, but viewed from the rear.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Minden & Fife & Drum Shipping Procedures

I want to bring everyone up to date on my shipping and payment procedures for Minden Miniatures and Fife & Drum orders, as I occasionally get some anxious emails from a few new customers.

1) I receive your order via email.

2) within a couple of days, I will pick your order, pack it and send you a Paypal invoice only when I am ready to ship your order. I don't want to collect your money until the order is ready to ship.

3) your receipt of a Paypal invoice is your acknowledgement that I have received your order.

4) usually, I can only go to the post office on Saturday to mail your package, as I have a full time job during weekday business hours and can't go to the post office.

5) once I have received your payment, I will then mail your package.

6) orders shipped outside the USA usually arrive within 5 to 10 business days, but sometimes it takes 3-4 weeks, not often, but sometime.

7) if your order has not arrived within 4 weeks, then I will send you a replacement order for free and with no extra charge for postage.

8) it is important that you provide me with your shipping address so,that I,can mail your package. I would estimate that close to 50% of orders do not include the shipping address. Paypal provides me with the address that they have on record for you, but sometimes Paypal has the wrong address, so please, please, please include your shipping address with each order.

9) sometimes I make a mistake and provide the wrong number of figures, I.e you got two drummers and one NCO when in fact you ordered the opposite. In that case, I will ship the replacement figures for free and you can keep any extra figures as a result.

10) all international orders ship at a flat rate of $10 per package. 

I hope that this clarifies my shipping and payment procedures.  Let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to address your concerns. 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Annual Ayton Conclave - 2014

A swarm of Spencer Smith cavalry advance across the battlefield. Don't these figures look wonderful? (photo taken by Iain Burt)
Prussian style hussars from Minden Miniatures at last weekend's Ayton 2014 game in Yorkshire. (picture taken by Mike Whitaker).
  (click on all pictures to enlarge)

Last weekend (May 2nd and 3rd) there was the annual meeting of the Loose Association of Wargamers in Ayton in Yorkshire to play another in the series of Imaginations games. Henry Hyde, editor of Miniature Wargames, created the scenario, set in the 18th Century, and a dozen or so gamers brought their own fictional armies to cross swords, or is it dice, on the table top. Noted wargamer and bon vivant, Peeler, organized the logistical side of things by once again securing the public hall in Ayton for the game, helping people make hotel reservations, and personally seeing to it that the local public house was well stocked with beverages.

As usual, the two fictional countries (or are they?) of Grenouisse and Grandprix were at odds with one another as they vied for treasure and bragging rights over the weekend. The wargame was set in the 18th Century and featured 28mm figures from virtually every manufacturer in the Tricorn Figure Space: Spencer Smiths by the hundreds, Wargame Factory WSS plastics, Old Glory, Foundry, Perry, RSM, Front Rank, Minden Miniatures and Fife & Drum Miniatures, and I'm sure that there were many brands that I have not mentioned. The point is, each person can paint whatever he feels like painting and he shows up at the game with "what he brung" (sic).

The first pictures from the event were posted by Mike Whitaker on his Trouble At The Mill blog - click on the link below:

If you click on the link to Henry Hyde's massive picture file, you will get a real appreciation of how big this game was. The link to Henry's blog provides more of the story including some You Tube videos of the weekend that really provide a nice flavor of how the weekend games played out. By Henry's count:

Grenouisse: 1,768 infantry & cavalry + 45 guns + 8 fortress gund

Grandprix: 2,032 infantry & cavalry + 60 guns.

Henry's Wargame Blog

Henry's Ayton Picture File

Now I don't want to leave you with the impression that this is all Henry's production because many hands were involved in the weekend production. However, Henry's blog seems to be the most convenient repository of pictures, videos and information about the weekend.

If you can, look at the You Tube videos for a few moments and what you will come away with is a picture of a lot of wargamers being polite, not caring who won or lost, and above all, simply having a grand old time of it. There is much to be said for this.

I have been watching the build up of forces over the past six months as orders for Minden figures have been flowing in from the UK with a mind towards building armies for the event. One gentleman order have a dozen amusettes, for what purpose I can only guess, while another bought about 24 Prussian standard bearers in one go. What for, I wondered. Why nothing less than a regiment of pike armed warriors, which strikes me as a very creative idea.

Ideas are already bubbling to the surface for next year's gathering in Ayton and it appears that something in the late 19th Century (1880 - 1899) is the favorite for the theme of the game.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review: Wargaming In History Volume 9

My own, well-thumbed through copy showing a little wear and tear on the corners of the dust jacket. The picture on the cover depicts the Battle of Lobositz.

I received my copy of Charles S. Grant's latest wargame book, Wargaming In History - Volume 9 (SYW),  last November (2013) and I have been remiss in not getting around to giving it a review. The book covers the first battles of the Seven Years War in 1756 and 1757 and include Lobositz, Reichenberg, Prague and Kolin, so this book dovetails nicely with Volume  4, which covers Hastenbeck, Rossbach and Leuthen. Taken together, Volumes 4 and 9 virtually cover the whole opening campaigns of the SYW.

Grant usually begins his books by giving the reader a peek into the structure and organization of his famous VFS and Grand Ducy of Lorraine armies as well as any new ideas or tweaks that he has developed for The Wargame Rules. Volume 9 starts with a discussion of rules changes covering the use and deployment of grenadiers and his new cavalry organization (the same number of figures as before, only now they are organized into two squadrons). Additional comments regarding "dead ground" and how it is handled in the rules is also discussed.

Next part, the pictorial section covering the Grant wargame armies, is usually my favorite section of the book. This time, Charles does not fail to please as he provides pictures of some new elements, such as Sappers Pompier (firemen), the artillery train and siege park (with some rather stunning pictures of the whole siege park), various support wagons and camp scenes. The reader will find a lot of useful ideas that are worth stealing, um, er, I mean, borrowing, for one's own armies.

Part III - Lobositz

The battles of Mollwitz (1741) and Lobositz (1756) are probably the signature Grant family wargame battles/scenarios, as they were the ones featured in the original version of The War Game. While I have only played Mollwitz a few times, I never get tired of playing Lobositz. The book begins with the historical background to the battle accompanied by some of  Christopher Duffy's maps, a complete order of battle for both sides of the conflict and some present day pictures of the important Lobosch Hill. From here, Grant lays out the wargame scenario for fighting Lobositz, complete with game maps so that the reader can copy the scenario to his own tabletop. Included are victory conditions for both the Austrians and the Prussians.

Finally, we get into the meat of the game with a battle report of the scenario, as played by Grant and his  daughter, Natasha (commanding the Prussians). The battle played out over the course of two days and encompassed 30 game turns before reaching resolution.  I am happy to report that Natasha led the Prussians to victory.  I count eleven color pictures of the battle in progress and the large "Wargame Rules" battalions look very splendid indeed. How could one not be inspired to try the Lobositz scenario after reading this chapter of the book.

Part IV Reichenberg

The next scenario covers the battle of Reichenberg, fought on April 21, 1757, between von Bevern's Prussian column and the Austrian general Konigsegg. As many of you probably know, Frederick invaded Bohemia in the spring of 1757, descending into the province with four separate and converging columns of the Prussian army. Their objective was to link up near Prague and fight the decisive battle of the war and hopefully end it right then and there.

This was a smaller battle than one usually finds during the SYW, with 14,000 to 16,000 soldiers per side. The battle occurred as a prelude to the battle of Prague and is one that does not get a lot of mention or coverage in either the history books or in the wargaming forum. Thus Reichenberg will be a new battle for many of the readers, which makes the book worth the purchase for this reason alone.

This time, Charles and Natasha switch roles, with Charles commanding Bevern's Prussian army and Natasha conducting a fighting retirement from the defensive position at Reichenberg. Again, I am happy to report that the Prussians won the wargame, just as they did the historical battle.

Part V - Prague

Prague is a significantly larger battle than the previous two scenarios in the book, and so Grant describes how he approached the task of boiling the battle down to a suitable action on the wargaming table. The scenario focuses on the far right flank of the Austrian army, as it shifts the facing of its battle line to counter Frederick's attempt to march around the Austrian flank. This scenario involves a lot more cavalry than either of the previous scnearios, and some of the pictures of the massed regiments of horse in hand to hand combat are truly stirring stuff. The battle follows the familiar format of presenting the historical background, the order of battle for the historical forces, a description of how Grant reduces the forces to create a "doable" tabletop game, and finally, a description of the actual wargame augmented by lots and lots of pictures. As with history, the Prussians won Prague again, but the Austrians gave a good account of themselves and it was certainly no cake walk for the Prussians.

Grant reports that his new grenadier and cavalry rules received a good work out in this game and that they produced the intended results. Dividing the cavalry regiments into smaller squadrons seemed to have the desired effect of creating more ebb and flow to the cavalry melees and so I am tempted to apply some of these ideas to my own rules and armies and see what happens.

Part VI - Kolin

I have refought Kolin on a number of occasions (at least 4 times, if I recall correctly) and the battle is a large one that includes a number of problems in its transference to the tabletop. Charles rightly focuses the scenario on the Austrian right wing, near Krechor village, rather than trying to set out the terrain for the entire frontage of the Austrian position atop several hills. Grant gives us two different Kolin scenarios: one is the larger attack on the Austrian right flank and the other is a smaller scenario that involves the fighting in and around Krechor village (called "Clearing Krechor"). The latter scenario will probably interest the majority of gamers as it is a smaller action that requires fewer miniatures to play, thus making the game a doable event for most wargamers.

Part VII - Cavalry
The next section of the book covers aspects of cavalry in the mid 18th Century augmented with 13 colour plates drawn by Bob Marrion - wonderful plates and very useful as uniform painting guides.

Part VIII - More on Cavalry & Grenadiers
In this section, Charles provides more detail about the changes in the cavalry organization that he is now using for The Wargame Rules. While the regiments still retain the 24 troopers and 4 officers organization, he now divides the regiment into four squadrons of 7 figures. He then explains how the changes affect a cavalry charge in the rules so that you can implement the changes into your own games. There are also sections regarding "the first volley" and the new organization of grenadiers in the rules. This section is also sprinkled with more pictures of Charles' grenadiers in their converged battalions.

Well there you have it - a rather comprehensive review and overview of Wargaming in History - volume 9. I heartily recommend adding this book to your collection if you have an interest in the Seven Years War. You get orders of battle for all four of these important battles, ideas for converting the OOBs into wargame scenarios, after action reports, and lots and lots of colour pictures of big battalions of Minden Miniatures, RSMs, some Eureka Miniatures, and probably several other brands. If you buy Volume 9, I would also recommend buying Volume 4 so that you can tack on Rossbach and Leuthen scenarios and have the whole 1757 year in wargaming.