Sunday, October 31, 2021

Black November 20% Discount Sale

 Fife and Drum Miniatures / Minden Miniatures will be starting its annual Black Friday sale early, starting November 1, 2021 through November 28, 2021. Usually we have a one week BF sale, but wanting to build in enough lead time to plan your purchases and get them posted to you before Christmas, the Fife and Drum Miniatures staff recommended to me that we should open the sale for the month.

Here’s what you do: go to the Fife and Drum Miniatures web site Fife and Drum Web Store , place your order, and when you check out with your shopping cart you will enter the coupon code Rossbach57 and the 20% discount will automatically be applied to your order.

This discount applies to all product codes except for the regimental and battalion packs, which are already sold at a discount, so as to not apply a discount on top of an already discounted item.

Our stock shelves are brimming and overflowing with inventory so we are ready to fill all orders and ship them out ASAP. On the off chance that your shopping cart indicates that your item is out of stock, then send me a message at because in all likelihood the item is in stock.

Happy Shopping 

Der Alte Fritz

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Should I Stop Posting On TMP?

 This morning I was visiting another blog, one that I follow frequently, and the topic of monetizing one's blog came up. I don't mind if other bloggers want to monetize their blogs with Blogger, but I choose not to for various reasons.

Say What?

However, there was a comment by another fellow in the Comments section, in which he indicated that he stopped following a certain American blogger (no name given) because he posted too many TMP topics of the "here's what I'm doing on my blog today" entries. He thought that this was a scheme to direct traffic to my blog in order to get paid by Blogger.

This could not be any further from the truth.

I do not know if this comment was directed towards me, but I do post on TMP to bring attention to something that I have posted on my blog that day. I don't do this for every TMP posting, but I do this from time to time. Usually I post one picture from my blog and a link to that particular blog post so that people can see what I am doing. In most cases, I am highlighting a post that has lots and lots of pictures and I feel that TMP is not the place for me to post ten pictures, etc. TMP has a viewing tracker for each topic posted. For example, one of my posts might generate 400 hits on TMP by TMP viewers. That would seem to indicate that people are interested in what I am posting so I keep doing it.

Who's Paying Who?

Let me start by saying that the only money changing hands comes from ME to both TMP and to the owner of the Fife and Drum Miniatures forum - Proboards. I do not get a penny from Blogger because I haven't monetized this blog. "Monitizing" means that the blog owner allows Blogger to post advertising on his blog.

1. I am a regular advertiser on TMP. I pay TMP every month for the daily banner ads for Fife and Drum Miniatures.

2. I pay Proboards a monthly fee for the amount of storage capacity on my forum. This payment currently exceeds $100 per month and it all gets paid for out of MY POCKET.

3. Do I sometimes promote Fife and Drum and Minden figures on TMP? You betcha! Let's review, I pay TMP not the other way around.

Why Do I Post New Threads on TMP?

For starters, I operate a business that sells wargame miniatures that people apparently want and need. I am a business. If I don't promote my products then sales decrease and if sales decrease over time, then I go out of business.

Secondly, I created my Der Alte Fritz Journal because I wanted to have a place where I can post pictures about my gaming activities, be it painting figures, making terrain, or playing in various war games with my friends.

I take a great deal of pride in the content that is posted on this blog and in other forums. I spend a lot of time setting up a picture, creating little vignettes and hopefully providing some inspiration for other war gamers. And yes, I do like to have people look at what I do and I do like to show off a bit. Does that make me a bad person?

I post threads on TMP because they are targeted to a specific audience and TMP delivers tangible and measurable results for my business. Again, let's review. On October 5, 2021 I posted a topic about me new Punic Wars Project using 54mm plastic figures. I am really geeked up by this project and I wanted to share my enthusiasm with other war gamers. That post has generated (as of today) 607 views and 17 comments. My related blog entry that day was running at about 25% of the number of viewers on TMP. As of today, my blog viewer count for that post is comparable to that of TMP.

And finally, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Looking at viewer counter for my blog in the upper right corner of this page. Over 1.8 million viewers would seem to indicate that there is some kind of interest in what I do.

Am I doing something wrong here? Please give me your opinion in the comments section below. I would appreciate your feedback.

Respectfully Yours,


Friday, October 29, 2021

You Say "Hastati" and I say "Princeps"


My planned Roman army.
HaT Industrie 1/32 scale plastic figures.

Click on all pictures to enlarge.

I have turned my brushes and attention towards my Punic Wars Republican Roman army. The Carthaginians have four units finished: 2 Iberian, 1 Gaul/Celtic, and 1 African (plus a half unit of Veterans). So now it's time to even out the forces on the Roman side.

Last week I finished sixteen more Roman Hastati to bring the size of the unit up to 32 figures. I have finally locked into the idea of using 32 figures for all infantry units. There will be a couple of smaller 16 figure units whose size is only determined by the lack of available figures to turn them into 32 figure units.

Here is a look at the first Hastati unit. The figures will be glued to 40mm round bases that fit into a Litko movement tray. I went with the 40mm rounds to accommodate the size of the figures and leave some area on the base that will allow chubby fingers to pick them up. The individual circular bases are the same as those used for the Dervish in my 54mm Sudan Project last year.

My first completed unit of Hastati

A Roman legion of the Republican Roman era consisted of light infantry called "Velites", a first rank of formed troops called "Hastati", a second line of better armed (chain mail protection) troops called "Princeps" and, finally, a third line of veteran Triarii soldiers armed with the best protection and weapons. So here is the problem with using the HaT figures: the Princeps/Triarii figures are out of production and the Hastati are going fast and will soon be gone too. That doesn't give me much flexibility in supply and sourcing of figures.


The Need to Improvise

A part of me is conceited enough to think that perhaps my Punic Wars Project has stimulated interest in the HaT figures, resulting in a run of purchases all over the world, the end result being no more Hastati availability. The likely reason is that HaT doesn't seem to run more stock off of its moulds, preferring to leave the product out of stock for several years (if at all). I talked to one retailer and he told me that he had been informed that the Hastati are going out of production after all of the stock is sold. This is a strange way of doing business to say the least. 

So my solution has been to acquire as many boxes of Hastati as I can before they disappear from the market too. My thought is that I can use the same figures for the formed troops (Hastati, Princeps, and Triarii) albeit with some "conversion with paint". The plan is for Hastati to be painted in off-white tunics and to distinguish Hastati units by shield color, either red or yellow.

The Princeps soldiers will also use the Hastati figures, but they will be painted with red tunics as shown in the picture below. The Triarii will also be painted with red tunics, but will have chain mail painted on them. Chain mail can be produced by painting the torso in black paint and then dotting the surface with a metallic color to give the appearance of chain mail. You have got to go with what you have, right?

I have 16 figures of the actual Triarii figures made by HaT and one of my blog followers has sourced two more boxes (or 32 figures total) of Triarii that are headed my way from the other side of the world. Thank you kind sir. Sixteen conversion figures will bring the second Triarii unit up to 32 figures.

So here are a couple of sample Princeps figures, compared to a similar posed Hastati figure.

Roman Princeps figures (left and middle) compared to a Hastati (right)
HaT Industrie 1/32 scale plastic figures.

Front and rear views of the yellow shield Princeps unit. I have only painted one of the shields on these sample figures so far.
Both Hastati and Princeps of the yellow shield legion will have the decorated shield design.

My Roman Legion Organization

My first legion will have red shields and my second legion will have yellow shields. Each legion will have one Hastati, one Princeps, one Triarii and a half unit of Velite light troops. So far I have completed the Hastati unit of the red shield legion. It's Princeps unit will have red tunics and red shields. The second legion will have yellow shields, so the sample shown in the above pictures show a Princeps of the yellow shield legion.

Ideally, my Roman army would have two legions totaling six units. Thus a legion will have three formed units plus some Velite skirmish troops. This gives a game participant a command of four elements - "Jim's Rule of Fours". My Rule of Fours indicates that the average war gamer can comfortably handle up to four units of figures, of any type, in a game without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of figures that he is pushing around the table. Some people, of course, can handle more troops in a game, but when I plan out a convention game I like to adhere to Jim's Rule of Fours.

I like the way that that the sample Princeps figures turned out. The red tunic really makes the figure stand out compared to the white tunic figure, even though they are the same figure. With respect to my game rules, if a figure is wearing a red tunic, that indicates that it is wearing chain mail (regardless of whether or not chain mail is actually sculpted onto the figure). The shield design was relatively easy to do, but a bit time consuming to execute. However, I think that the added shield detail is worth the effort and really makes the figure pop.

To Each His Own

I enjoy painting my own figures. I find it relaxing and a level of excitement grows as I watch a unit or an army grow. When they are finished, I can look at them and know that it all happened because of the effort that I put into the figures. Some gamers can afford to send their figures to a pro painter and have the work done for them. The results can be spectacular;  however, are they really your figures if someone else has painted the pretty flags and uniforms? I find that such figures lack a certain spirit or soul, at least in my mind. The people playing with my figures won't experience the spiritual difference, but I would know, and that's what is important.

To each his own, I guess.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

They Certainly Have A Lot Of Gaul


My previous post about my new Gaul unit didn’t include a picture of the full compliment of 32 figures, so here it is:

I also completed 16 more Roman Hastati to bring that unit up to 32 figures. Next in the queue are 32 new Hastati.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Celts/Gauls for Hannibal's Army

Celtic Allies of Hannibal
HaT 54mm Plastic figures.

I finished a unit of 32 Celtic/Gaulic warriors to add to Hannibal's army in Italy. These were a little bit daunting to paint, at first, what with all of the plaids and strange shield designs of the Celts. I went to my "go to" uniform source, Pinterest, entered Celtic shields, and found lots of pictures to help me paint the figures. I also looked at painted 28mm figures, found on the internet, which I used as a sort of "how to paid them" tutorial. Usually I can look at a painted figure that I like and figure out how the painter painted this or that.

I also finished a 32-figure unit of Carthaginian Africans (painting an additional 14 figures to top the unit up to 32 figures). You can see both the Africans and the Celts in the picture below.

African Infantry in front, Celts in the second group and Carthaginian cavalry bringing up the rear.

So at this stage of the Punic Wars Project I have painted 4and one-half units for the Carthaginian army. These include the afore-mentioned Celts, two Iberian units, one African unit, one light infantry unit, a half unit of Balearic Slingers, and a half unit (16 figures) of Carthaginian Veterans. Oh, and I also have three painted elephants and eight Carthaginian cavalry that I picked up on eBay at a decent price.

Currently on the painting table are 16 Roman Hastati figures that will top up my Hastati to 32 figures (which is the size of one unit) These should be completed within the next day or two (I'm retired and the wife is out of town this weekend, so I have the whole house to myself, which equates to more painting time for me).

I'm not keen to start on any of the cavalry (I have 8 Romans and 8 Numidians to paint) because I have to do a lot of filing on the horse so that the rider will seat snuggly onto the horse. The HaT riders are not bow legged enough to fit on their horses. I also have to do a bit of drilling and pinning of figures onto the horses, which is time consuming. I have more elephants than I actual need now, having found the painted ones on eBay. For this project I don't mind using figures painted by other people because I seek "mass" in these armies.

So it looks like I had better prime more of my HaT Romans so that I have something to paint later in this week.

But wait! There is more. Here is a little preview of things to come:

Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves (as Linda Richmand would say) and feel free to leave some comments in the comment section below.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Cives Romani Adsunt

A wealthy land owner surveys his domain.


have embellished my Roman town with civilians and added more trees around the perimeter. An arboreal perimeter or corner of the table is a good way to define your table top. Also, given the trend to dress up our tables with little vignettes, the table corners are the best places to put these little gems because the territory is out of the way of the main action.

Note that all of the buildings on display were made by Herb Gundt. The town plaza is a cork placemat turned over. The Egyptian obelisk was something that I found in an art museum store (I can't recall which one).

Note the additional trees on the perimeter of the table compared to the previous blog post.

Civilians are now congregating in the oppidom platea (town plaza) listening to the town crier delivering the news of the day. He stands on the steps of the thermae (the baths).

A view of the town plaza with citizens going about their business.

A garrison of limitanei man the local watch tower where they keep an eye on a possible barbarian border raid. The soldiers will light the two hay stacks on fire to signal any danger.

Roman watch tower protects the town.

In this period setup, my Roman soldiers are based on 20mm square metal bases and placed on a magnetic movement tray that holds twelve figures. Two such stands make up a legion in my large battles, but serve as a small company of soldiers should I choose to use them in a skirmish game. This particular set up will likely be played as a skirmish game, hopefully in the near future.

For my larger unit battles, I use my own "Age of Rome" rules which are a variant of my "Der Alte Fritz Rules for the SYW". That is to say, that the movement, firing, melee and morale mechanics are the same in Age of Rome as they are in my SYW rules. The rules are printed on one side of an 8-1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.

For skirmish games, I'm planning on creating a variant of Tom Kelly's "Woodland Wars" for Ancients period games.

I have some other surprises up my sleeve for the Rome versus Carthage Punic Wars Project; something completely different from what I normally do in my gaming. Stay tuned.

Work In Progress - Celts for Hannibal's Army

Here is a picture of some HaT 54mm Celts that I am currently working on. I have 22 painted figures that require the painting of shield designs to finish the figures. This will be a 32 figure unit. I expect to finish the Celts later this week. Once they are done, I have my core Carthaginian army painted: two Iberian (Spanish) units, one African, one Celt and one unit of Numidian skirmishers. I also have several painted elephants that I bought on eBay as well as eight Carthaginian heavy cavalry figures. Most of my cavalry contingent will consist of Numidian light cavalry and some heavier Gaulish-Celtic cavalry.

HaT plastic 54mm Celts or Gauls. These are work in progress figures as I have to paint the shields,
something that I am not looking forward to.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A New Awesome Roman Town


Now that I’ve installed new LED lights in my game room, and I can actually see things, I thought that I should bring all of my Roman 28mm buildings and set up a Roman town. By the way, Herb Gundt made all of the buildings and most of them have never seen the light of day in a war game. 

The new LED lights. I added two sets of lights placed over the middle of the table.
All of the light pods are now LED lights.

Hopefully all of these pictures are well lit and enable me to take better photographs going forward.

All of the buildings have lift off roofs because it was my intention to play skirmish.level games with the terrain

The town square.

The Roman baths. Every town should have one.
Also note the temple to one of the gods.

A Roman Villa

The vineyards.

A Roman watch tower to notify the town if barbarians are sighted.

The view down the length of my 6ft by 12ft game table.

The Punic Wars project is moving along nicely. I have completed two units of Iberians, one unit of African heavy infantry, a half unit of veterans, and one unit of light troops. I am currently working on a unit of Celts or Gauls and hope to have them completed later this week. After that, I will likely turn to the Romans and paint some Hastatii units.

Friday, October 15, 2021

You Will Never See This Again


Looking back towards the entrance to the game room. Lots of stuff has been pushed up against the wall on the right.
You can see my painting table just behind the post.

You will likely never again see my game room so empty of tables. The table is set usually set up in the center of the room, between the two supporting poles in the room.

Yesterday I took down my game table, folded up the tables, removed all of the junk that I've hidden under that table, and Hoovered the carpet on the floor.

Why, you ask?

Because today the electrician is here replacing all of the filament lights with brand new LED lighting in the game room. The old lights oftentimes would not turn on unless I flicked the light switch multiple times. I'd had enough of this and decided that it was time to replace all of the overhead lights. I'm also having some new locations with lighting so that there is light directly on the game table. This should enable me to take pictures of the games on the table without having to use special photographic lamps.

The view from the entrance looking into the game room.
You can see the game tables stacked against the book shelves on the back right.

My Khartoum set up is out of the way of the main gaming table and overhead lights, so I didn't have to take down that table. I leave it up as a permanent display area in the game room. Yes, it's nice to have lots of space in my basement (cellar).

Once the lights are installed I will set up the tables running between the two posts and perpendicular to the Khartoum table. I will also cull through the flotsam and jetsam that I had stashed under the table with an eye for throwing things away (or selling them on my blog at deep discounts).

I use tables measuring 2-1/2 feet wide by 6 feet long and set them up with the long edges together. Thus two tables are 5 feet by 6 feet and four tables are 10 feet by 6 feet. I usually add a fifth table to give me a 12 foot long by 6 feet wide game table.

I'm looking forward to seeing the game room with good lighting.UPDATE: here is a picture of the new lights. I’ve marked the two addition lights placed over the area of the center of my table. I think I might need sunglasses now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Carthaginian Cavalry


Carthaginian Cavalry: HaT 1/32 scale plastic figures from set number 9056.

I have acquired eight of the HaT Carthaginian Cavalry figures from another collector and plan to use them "as is" or do a minimal amount of touching up with paint. The figures are from HaT set number 9056 and are in 1/32 scale.

If anyone has any painted or unpainted HaT Carthaginian Cavalry that they would be interested in selling, them please contact me so that we can make arrangements. I need 8 more mounted figures to complete a 16-figure horse unit, 16 being the minimum number of figures that would be "viable" in my proposed rules that I'm currently writing.

I contemplate having a Carthaginian cavalry contingent consisting of 16 heavy Carthaginian horse, 16 Gallic horse and 32 Numidian light cavalry. The latter two cavalry types are readily available from the usual plastic toy soldiers dealers so I should have no problem fielding the majority of my cavalry..... but I sure would like to have a few more of these Carthaginian fellows.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Protect Your Elephants - Carthaginian Light Infantry

Carthaginian war elephants with light infantry forming a protective zone around the Hefalumps.

Having recently painted some Roman Velites light infantry, I thought that I had better paint some light infantry for my Carthaginian army as well. The HaT light infantry box has four different poses and four figures of each pose, for a total of 16 figures per box. The figures are 1/32 plastic figures (54mm).

As you can see in the pictures below, the skirmishers form a protective zone around the war elephants.

Balearic Slingers on the far left and a mix of Libyan and Numidian light infantry.

The Carthaginian light infantry served two purposes: (1) act as a screen in front of the main battle line and engage the enemy light infantry, so that the latter didn't have free rein to pepper the main battle line with javelins and arrows; and (2) to protect the elephants from the Roman light infantry.

Here are some pictures of the HaT Carthaginian light infantry.

The light infantry will not fight as formed troops.
The base trays are for purposes of shooting the photographs.

I was short one figure (that had broken off at the ankle) so I drafted a Celtic warrior to serve in the light infantry.

Here are a couple of close up pictures of the Numidian figures and one Celt. It is hard to get all of the detail of the figure into a picture of dark skinned figures, but they do have nice detail on their faces. The figures were easy to paint due to the lack of equipment that one needs to paint.

I liked the way that the Celt turned out. I used the Reaper Tanned Skin triad of paint colors, which has a subtle change from dark to light hues. I don't like seeing pictures of figures (naked or bare chested) that have a severe dark red-brown color as its shade because it is too stark a change from the red-brown to the skin highlight. The Reaper triads have a more gradual and subtle change from shade, to base color to highlight.

I look forward to painting a 32-figure unit of Celtic infantry to use in my Carthaginian army. The Celts have some good looking poses, although I do not look forward to painting lots of plaids.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Roman Velites - the Wolf at the Door


HaT Industrie 1/32 scale Roman Velites

This past week I painted a small group of ten Roman Velites. They are 1/32 scale (54mm) plastic figures from HaT. I didn't think that I would like them because they all wore wolf skins on their heads, which looks a little bit silly to me. 

However, once I painted a sample, I found that the figures were fun to paint. So I expect that I will likely buy another box of Velites and paint them in the near future, as part of my Republican Roman army.

The rear view of the picture at the top of the page.

The set includes two different "throwing the javelin" poses, one holding a sword, and one that is not wearing the wolf skin on his head. The latter looks more like a Hastatus figure so I will use that pose in a Hastatii unit or convert them into Triarii, "converting by paint".

The Velites were skirmish light infantry of a Republican Roman legion. The Velites formed the first of four lines. Allegedly they were from the poor sectors of the citizenry and could not afford to buy armor or larger shields. They would have been supported by the second line of Hastatii, who had a helmet, large shield and a small breast plate for protection. The third line of infantry were the Princeps - wearing chain mail and armed with the best weaponry. The fourth and final line of infantry were the veterans, the Triarii. They were the older soldiers with the most experience in warfare and wore chain mail, carried large shields and carried a pilum spear and a gladius sword.

My thought is that one of my legions will have one Velite, two Hastatii and one Triarii unit, each of 32 figures, or 96 total figures per legion. I will have two legions in my Roman army and maybe add a third legion if I'm able to fight a larger battle on a significantly larger table, such as one that might be available at a wargame convention.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Carthaginian African Spearmen


Carthaginian African troops, the core of Hannibal's army in Italy.

This week I added another 16 Carthaginian African spearmen to bring the existing unit up to 32 figures. I like the ground level photo that graces the top of this page. It really conveys a sense of movement and action compared to the standard helicopter view of the unit.

Another ground level view of the Carthaginian unit.

Here are some pictures of the whole unit. I had a little bit of fun with a couple of the shield designs.

A wider view of the growing Carthaginian army. A Spanish unit is to the left of the Carthaginians. These are all HaT 1/32 scale plastic figures. In the background you might be able to see the Man Himself: Hannibal Barca on horseback. This is a John Jenkins Designs figure at approximately 60mm.

I  have not based any of the figures yet because I am still mulling over some of the options that I discussed in a previous blog post on this subject. There is no hurry.

I also finished ten Roman Velite skirmishers and started working on some Numidian/Libyan skirmishers.

Roman Velite skirmishers. They have reduced the local wolf population, it seems.

Rear view of the Velites

Work In Progress

I am currently working on a group of 16 Numidian/Libyan skirmish troops. I was one figure short of 16 so I added a naked Celt to their war band. I used the Reaper Paints "Tanned Skin" triad colors for the Celt's skin and thought that it turned out nicely. Now I am kind of looking forward to painting a Celtic war band for Hannibal's army.

The light troops will be assigned to the Elephant commander so as to provide protection for the Nellies from those dastardly Roman Velites. The animal cruelty society should be notified about this.

As I paint more and more figures I find myself sympathizing with Team Carthage, the underdog, versus the Republican Romans.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Romans Are Worried


Scipio Africanus and his proteges observe the growing threat of Hannibal.
John Jenkins Designs 60mm Republican Romans.

The Romans have been watching the recruiting and training of Hannibal's army with great interest. The Senate has sent Scipio ( he hasn't acquired the name "Africanus" yet) to Hispania to observe the Carthaginian siege of Saguntum. The Senate prepares to declare war on Carthage and start the Second Punic War.

I finished painting 16 Roman Triarii a couple of days ago, adding to the 16 Hastatii that were the first Punic Wars figures in this project that I painted.

My first HaT Triarii figures. Alas, only 16 of them rather than 32 figures.

Painted samples of two Roman Triarii on the left and one Velite skirmisher on the right.
One of the Triarii figures is "converted with paint", using a Hastatii figure and painting chain mail over his red tunic.
Can you spot the ersatz Triarii figure?

I need to find a way to increase this new Triarii unit from 16 to 32 figures. I found another 8 figures from a trading forum, bringing the unit up to 24 figures. The remaining 8 figures that I require will likely have to be conversions using some of the HaT Hastatii figures. I have "converted with paint" one Hastatus figure by painting part of his tunic black and then spotting it with a metallic color to give it the appearance of chain mail. I think that when I mix in the conversions that they will not be noticeable. 

Another of my blog followers found two boxes of HaT Triarii and that is enough figures to make a second unit. Thank you my friend.

Raw Roman recruits (say that ten times in a row) line up as they await their new uniforms. These are all Hastatii.

HaT Roman Hastatii are lined up in formation. These are all Hastii figures, wearing only an iron breast plate for protection. Since each box of figures contains four different poses, I grouped the poses into four units, all having the same pose.

I leave you with several pictures of the John Jenkins Designs Republican Roman Triarii figures. These are actually 60mm figures.

Triarii shield wall.

The Tribune and his Cornecer stand in front of a maniple of Roman Triarii/

Scipio seems quite pleased with this maniple.
John Jenkins Designs.