Friday, December 31, 2021

Painted 54mm Indians Gift


Now that these figures have been gifted, I can post pictures of the 54mm Indians that I painted for my daughter (Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe) for a Christmas present. She bought the figures at Gettysburg earlier this year. I thought that it would be a good surprise if she opened a box on Christmas Day and found them painted.

I was right. 😀

I gave the figures a gloss coating to protect the paint from rubbing off or cracking. These are hard plastic figures. I have no idea what brand they are, but they look nice and are easy to paint.


Peter Cushing Tells Why We Play War Games


I found this little gem on Facebook (or is it Meta now) and saved it. If anyone ever asks you why you play with Little Men then cite Peter Cushing's take on the hobby.

I find myself worrying about what people will think when they learn that I war game. Oftentimes they are fascinated by my hobby and ask me lots and lots of questions about it. I guess that the take away is this: 

Enjoy your hobby and don't worry about what anyone else thinks about it.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

One of My Favorite Vignettes


Frederick the Great grabs the standard of IR48 at Zorndorf and heroically leads his men to victory  in a painting by Carl Rochling

My version of the Rochling episode using Minden Miniatures with slight modifications.

Finding Military History In Advertising


I like to collect images of product advertisements that use historical references therein. The Highland Fruit Growers Association in California has a couple of interesting ads to promote their citrus oranges.

And here is an advertisement for biscuits from the UK. I wonder if Huntley & Palmers still exist? My understanding is that "biscuits" in the UK are what we call "cookies" in the USA.


Biggest Drink That I’ve Ever Seen


We are in Florida right now taking in some sun. Last evening we were at a restaurant for dinner and I ordered a Pina Colada. Without a doubt this was the largest cocktail that I had ever seen. One sip had me guessing that there must have been 3-4 ounces of rum in the drink. It was basically lots of rum and a little bit of pineapple juice.

I took a few sips of the drink and decided that enough was enough because I would have to drive home that night.

War Gaming With Silly Hats


Der Alte Fritz and Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe don
festive headgear for their annual Christmas Teddy Bears war game.

If you are trying to achieve the bonhomie and relaxing atmosphere of a Beer And Pretzels type of war game, then nothing achieves this better than to have all of the players wear silly hats. My daughter and I don headgear every time we play a war game and we encourage you to give it a try.

Here are images from past Teddy Bears war game. Lady Emma is all grown up now so I really enjoy these pictures of her as a youngster.

Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe models a British grenadier mitre from the Seven Years War era.

There is nothing like a good tricorn hat to get you into the mood for an 18th Century game.

Sometimes improvised headgear is the best.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

My Miniatures Come To Life?

Maurice de Saxe's Uhlans

I don't know what the heck happened to these pictures that I have of Minden Miniatures greens. Somehow they became animated.

French Cuirassier du Roi officer

British Legion trooper hacking at the rebels.

Kind of cool, aren't they?

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Return of the Teddy Bear Wars


The festivities begin with the traditional toast with Diet Coke

Yesterday, on Boxing Day, Der Alte Fritz and Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe (a nom du plume) convened at the dining room table to fight the sixth game of our sort of annual Teddy Bear Wars. We have been playing Teddy Bear war games going back to 2007 and Lady Emma is undefeated, so far, at 5 wins and 0 losses.

This year's game is aptly called "The Massacre at Bear Hollow" because You Know Who was virtually wiped out to a bear by Lady Emma's army of Brown Bears. Thus her record is not 6-0. I assure you that I did not let her win the game this time. Sound tactics and superb dice rolling led to Lady Emma's victory.

This is becoming a bit of an annual thing. I am doing worse than the Chicago Bears football team, and that's hard to do these days.

Our tale starts with the Brown Bears (in pink uniforms) and the Black Bears (in light blue uniforms) reacting to news that a huge load of chocolate coins have been deposited in the local bank: The First National Bank of Bear Hollow. Both sides were tasked with marching to the bank and "withdrawing" chocolate coins from the bank before the other side could get them.

The Bears are armed with cork pop guns so I can report that no Bears were hurt during the course of this game. If a Bear were hit, then it rolled a saving roll and needed a "6" to stay in the game. The corks in the pop guns merely put the target Bear to sleep for awhile.

Lady Cuddlestone-Smythe is eager and ready to defend her championship title.

Der Alte Fritz doesn't look like he is ready for his afternoon nap.
This could be a problem.

A view of the Bank and its deposits of gold chocolate coins.

Lady Emma's troops enter the table in road column.

My Blue Army marches smartly onto the village commons in two columns.

My Blue Bears change formation from column into line, showing their fine training and expertise.
The Bank is on the right flank of the Blue Army so they have the early advantage with their control of the Bank.

Lady Emma orders her Pink Army to double time into the village
 so that they can occupy the  Inn and take cover.

The Pink Army Bears fortify the Inn and draw a bead on the advancing Blue Bears.

The two sides deploy into line formation before they close into pop gun range.

Who will draw the first card and gain the first fire at close range?
The Blue Bears start loading gold coins onto wagons so that they can bring the sweets back to their camp.
The advantage appears to be in the Blue Bears' favor.

Was the initiative ever in doubt? The Pink Bears draw first blood as 9 Blue Bears are pegged.

Finger pistols at short range

The Pink Bears fire off a second volley before the Blue Bears can fully recover from the first round of shooting.

Well that wasn't supposed to happen. Der Alte Fritz looks concerned
after watching the devastating effects of the Pink Bears' pop guns.

Lady Emma shows no mercy as her lads give the Blue Bears a face full of cork at short range.

The Blue Bears' losses are too great. They begin to fall back out of pop gun range.
The Pink Bears capture the Bank along with the Blue Bears' fully loaded wagon of gold coins.

The Pink Bears capture the Blue Bear wagon

The Pink Bears press their advantage and chase after the Blue Bears.

Lady Emma's army drives away with a wagon train full of gold chocolate coins.

V is for Victory and Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe continues her winning streak over Der Alte Fritz.

So once again, Lady Emma is the winner of the Teddy Bear War Game. I must state that I did not let her win. She did it all on her own by combining skillful strategy (occupying the fortified Inn) and deadly pop gun fire. Early in the game it looked like the Blue Bears were going to have an easy time of it as they captured the Bank, but once the firing began, the Pink Bears mowed down the Blue Bears and turned it into a massacre of the Blues, alas.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Who Wore It Better?


Callan's war gaming room is very classy.
Something to aspire to.

One of the tabloid/fanzines magazines (maybe People magazine) has a section in each issue called "Who Wore It Better?". They compare the same outfit worn by an actress/actor in Hollywood, comparing one person's look with the other person's look.

So what the heck, I fished out a picture (above) of Edward Woodward in his Callan TV show, in which he is playing an ACW Gettysburg war game in his home. Peter Gilder set up the table with his own terrain and figures. What a nice setting for a game.

Below I have posted a picture of my game room for comparison to Callan's game room.

Der Alte Fritz's game room.

Another view of my game room.

So tell me, who wore it better; me or Callan?

How To Roll Your Dice Tutorial


Der Alte Fritz (left) and Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe (right)

So you think that you are an old hand at rolling dice in a game? Here is a breakdown of how it is done, curtesy of Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe. The pictures are from our annual Christmas Holiday Teddy Bear Game, which we played yesterday on Boxing Day. Lady Cuddlestone-Smythe walks us through the six steps of dice rolling. You can employ this tutorial to improve your dice rolling and amaze your friends with the results.

Step One - The Shake. 

Lady Emma employs the lesser known Left Over Right Hand shake of the dice. While the Right Over Left is more commonly used on the game table, the Left Over Right produces more top spin.

The Shake

Step Two - The Toss

Here Lady Emma demonstrates the popular Oriental Fan dice toss method. Notice how easily she transitions from The Shake into the Fan by bringing her hands downward and then fanning her hands to the right and left, sort of like opening a fan. This causes her dice to reach maximum throwing speed which increases the spin rate on the dice. A higher spin rate improves the chances of the die pips turning up Box Cars (6s).

The Toss

Step Three - The Reckoning

Lady Emma transitions effortlessly from the Toss and back into her starting position where she can begin her Reckoning move, that is, initiating the counting of the successful dice rolls. In this instance, she is spotting pips of 5 and 6 to score a hit.

The Reckoning

Step Four - Finger Pistols

Once the tally from The Reckoning is made, Lady Emma pulls out finger pistols to signify the casualties that have occurred on the table top. Some players may prefer to use the Double Finger Pistols move and shout "Bam" "Bam" . Lady Emma is shown demonstrating the rapid fire Single Finger Pistol method.

Finger Pistols

Step Five - The Knock Out

The Knock Out step involves the knocking over the opponents casualties on the table top. Note the cheerful countenance of Lady Emma that she employs to make her opponent feel at ease. Lady Emma is demonstrating the Finger Flick Knock Out method which adds more flair to the procedure. It is also acceptable to use the Push Over or the Pick Up Off The Table ("PUOTT") methods during the Knock Out phase of the turn. We caution against the use of the PUOTT method because the opponent may prefer to remove his own figures. On the other hand, the Finger Flick method establishes psychological dominance over the opponent, which leads to demoralization and poorer performance in the war game.

The Knock Out

Step Six - "V" for Victory

Lady Emma demonstrates the Right Handed Vee signal. She notes that the advantage of using this method over other methods of displaying victory is that she can rapidly move from Finger Pistols to Victory Formation all in one motion.

The Victory Formation

Well there you have it. We all tend to take Dice Rolling for granted and assume that any old method will work on the game table. That is not the case in competitive tournaments where the player needs to gain the slightest edge in order to win, legally I would add.

Try working through the Six Step of dice rolling on your own at home or at the office (during your lunch break, of course, and not on company time). With hard practice and dedication to your craft, you too can become as good of a dice roller as Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe.