Thursday, March 31, 2022

My SYW Skirmish Game Table Is Set


The Prussian camp and field bakery.

Last evening I finally got around to clearing off my game table so that I could lay out the terrain for my skirmish level game at this year's Seven Years War Association Convention in South Bend, Indiana. The convention will be held this weekend from Thursday March 31 through Saturday April 2, 2022. The venue is  the Ramada Inn South Bend (formerly known as the Waterford Estates Lodge).

This year I decided to do something a little different and run a small skirmish level game rather than my usual serving of large linear SYW battles.

Here is the view of the entire game table from opposite ends of the 6ft by 12ft game area:

I am using two game mats from Cigar Box Battles and the two mats have roads and fields that match up so that the table can be longer. The standard mat size if 6ft by 4ft as advertised, but the actual area is 6ft by 5ft. Thus two mats give you a 6ft wide by 10ft long table area.

The buildings and trees are largely made by Herb Gundt. There are also some stands of K&M trees that Tony Adams assembled and based for me. I added a few Woodlands Scenics trees to the mix. I think that a table looks better if there is a wide variety of trees on it.

Here are some pictures of the game table, which highlight some of the vignettes that are sprinkled around the table.

The Prussian Field Bakery (Ed Phillips made these)

The Prussian camp, including some wayward camp followers.

The Prussian Commander's tent.

The village watering hole.

Every game table needs a wind mill on it.

A Prussian guard post on the main road into the village.

A view of home of Bucket Woman.
Some Prussian freikorps troops know to keep their distance from her.

I am looking forward to running this game at the convention. I will run it on both Friday and Saturday afternoons. The rules are called "Kleine Krieg" appropriately enough, and they are loosely based on a set of rules called Woodland Wars by Tom Kelley. Each player will command a squad of two stands of 12 figures, or 24 figures in total. Unit activation each turn is done using a deck of cards. Each player has two cards for their unit and all of the cards are mixed together in a small card deck. The player will be able to do something with his units twice per turn. This is also known as "The Dreaded Double Phase". Movement, firing and melee are handled using D20 dice.

One side benefit of organizing this game is that it juices my motivation to get back to 18th Century wargames using my 28mm Minden and Fife and Drum Miniatures figures. You will be seeing more 18th Century content in the coming months and a little bit less of the Punic Wars Project (this is nearing its conclusion in terms of what I need to paint).

I will try to post some pictures of the SYWA convention on friday and saturday, God willing on the local wifi.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Caesar Award Winner for Best Blog


Well, I was completely chuffed (and surprised) to learn that the Der Alte Fritz Journal has won the 2022 Caesar Award for the Best Wargaming Blog. The award is presented annually by Little Wars TV (LWTV) and it recognizes achievements across a broad range of wargame hobby content creators. The crew at LWTV put together their award show each year around the time that Hollywood's Oscar show occurs and the mimic the latter to near perfection.

You can watch the entire show on You Tube 2022 Caesar Awards

The lads start the show with a red carpet pre-event show, hosted by um, ah, Richard Clarke complete with a very bad imitation of a British accent. There is even a minutes and seconds countdown shown in the upper right hand corner. The show kicks off with an introduction by a sort of Matthew McConaughey  that is even sponsored by Lincoln Navigator (well, sort of).

Greg is the MC and host of the event and introduces the other Little Wars TV members decked out in black tie. The nominees are introduced and then the envelope is opened and the winner is announced. Numerous clips/cut aways of the crowd at the real Oscar ceremony are interspersed throughout the show. Needless to say, the production quality and humor evident in all LWTV movies are in the Caesar Awards show.

The 2022 Category Award Winners Are:

pod cast - Yarkshire Gamer

wargaming blog - Der Alte Fritz Journal

Greg cuts in with a parody of "You'll Be Back" from the Hamilton musical

video painting tutorial - Pete The Wargamer ( Painting Dark Age Warriors)

video product review - Warlord Games (How to paint ACW figures)

terrain tutorial video - Deep Gaming Seeds (Making a Band of Brothers Trench Table)

Brutus Award for funniest meme - John Pickens for his Fire At Sea rules review

Filmed Battle Reports in a short format  "quick strike"- Wargames Tonight (the Battle of Shiloh)

Best Award Video After Action Report in a long format - Nonshot Wargaming (Crossing the Rhine)

In Memorium for 25mm Scale due to scale creep. Together we can end scale creep.

Favorite YouTube Channel (chosen by voters) - 7th Son

I am amazed by the creativity of all of the pod casts and video channels that are put together by the wargaming hobby and I will certainly be visiting many of the nominees' sites to see and hear more.

Once again, I am honored to receive the Caesar Award for the Best Wargaming Blog. I thank the LWTV crew, the judges and whoever nominated my blog for the award. Click on the link provided above and spend a quick 20 minutes to watch the show, get a good laugh, and maybe even learn about some new content providers that you were not aware of.

See you next year at the Caesars.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Hannibal Command Stand


I finished the basing on my command stand for the Carthaginian army commander, Hannibal. The figures are from HaT and are 1/32 scale (54mm). I used figures from the Carthaginian cavalry box set. I bought the figures already painted from another collector, but I basically did a total repaint of all three figures. I left the armor untouched, but everything else was repainted by me. The original shields were a brass color with no shield design on them. I decided that a black shield with a design and a red border would look better.

My lower level commanders that command the "wings" of the army will have a stand of two mounted figures, preferably one carrying a standard of some kind and a figure that looks the part of a commander.

My army commanders have a stand with two mounted figures and one figure on foot. The extra foot figure distinguishes the army command stand from the wing command stand. Both Romans and Carthaginians will use the same basing system.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Carthaginian Mounted Generals


Click on the pictures to enlarge the view

This week I have been working on adding a couple of command stands for my 54mm Carthaginian army. I found a few Carthaginian cavalry figures on eBay and I will use the officer and standard bearer for my command stand. The army commander, Hannibal, will get a third figure (on foot) on the stand. So three figures denotes army commander and two figures denote battalion/wing commander.

I have posted the Before and After pictures of the figures, above and below. The figures with the gold colored shields are the Before figures and obviously the black shields with designs on them are the After pictures. One of the members on the Virtual Wargamers Club (Zoom forum) suggested painting over the gold with the black and I really like the way these turned out. I also have twelve rank and file cavalrymen and I intend to give them black shields too. The line fellows don't need a whole lot of paint touching up so other than fixing some paint chipping on spears, I can paint the shields and use the rest of the figures "as is".

The above picture places the individual figures side by side with their Before and After counterparts. The After figures were pretty much a total repaint job of both rider and horse.

My next post will show my Hannibal command stand after all of the base terraining is finished.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Painting Tutorial: Numidian Light Cavalry In Hannibal's Army


Click on all pictures to enlarge the view

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day basing cavalry figures for my 54mm Punic Wars Project. I have shown pictures of the Numidian light cavalry in previous blog posts, however, I hadn't gotten around to basing the figures.

Unlike my Italian cavalry, I opted to not use green static grass on the bases. I wanted to achieve a more arid look to the bases so I relied on lots of dry brushing of light colored paint. Then I selected an assortment of dark tufts to provide some contrast to the base. The finished bases remind me a little bit of Western tumbleweed. I am happy with the look of the bases.

HaT Industrie Numidian light cavalry figures.

So now I have 32 Numidians that I painted and 16 more that I acquired from a collector who decided to dispose of his collection (much to my benefit). Thus there is a total of 48 Numidian light cavalry. I might paint another 16 figure unit in the future as I move into Stage Two of my Punic Wars Project.

Here are some close up pictures of some of the Numidians prior to getting based. I posted these pictures to give you an idea of the various horse colors that I painted.

1) Reaper  Ruddy Leather (09109) shade or base color.  Reaper  Oiled Leather (09110) highlight.

I used the Reaper Olive Skin triad paints for the skin color on the riders.

2) Iron Wind Metals Grey (77-707) shade or base. P3 Sickly Skin (93132) highlight.

I used the Reaper Dark Skin triad for the skin color on the riders.

3) P3 Umber base/shade (93028) and P3 Bloodstone (93029) highlight. The figure below on the far right, front row is done only in the P3 Umber color and a high gloss finish. Most of my darker horses have black manes and tails.

4) This is a color scheme that I made up. I don't know if horses exist with the colors below, but they look nice for light cavalry horses.

Reaper Oiled Leather shade or base color (09110). The I mix my own highlight color using the Oiled Leather plus some Reaper Creamy Ivory (09144) for the highlight color. I can't really give you a formula for this because I mix the paint until I get a highlight color that looks right to my eye. It doesn't take much more than a drop of the Creamy Ivory color mixed in with a lot of Oiled Leather. My recollection is that I do make a "base color" that is a little bit lighter than the Oiled Leather. Then I follow that up with a "highlight color" that has even more Creamy Ivory mixed into the Oiled Leather.

The figures are finished off with black manes and tails and hooves painted with a dark grey craft paint color. The bases are finished with a brown color, but this doesn't matter because the horse bases will get covered over with my terraining goop.

African Skin Color

This is a hard one for me because I can't seem to get a natural looking skin color for the Numidians, Beja and Dervish warriors. I assume that Numidians have a variety of skin tones so they should not all look the same. I have no idea what an ancient era Numidian looks like so I have come up with some different ideas for the skin tones.

My advice is to use a triad color system with the shade, base and highlight colors already selected for you. I use the Reaper Dark Skin triad: Dark Shadow (09040), Dark Skin (09041), and Dark Skin Highlight (09042). I use just the shadow and the highlight colors and skip the base color so that I get more of a contrast on the figure's skin.

Another formula is to use the Reaper Dark Skin Shadow (09040) and then use some P3 Bloodstone (93029) as a highlight.

The Reaper Olive Skin triad provides more variety to my Numidians for a lighter color variant. I also use this color for some of my Carthaginian Liby-Phoenician peoples.

Sometimes I slip in several figures with tan skin from the Reaper Tan Skin triad. Tan Shadow (09043), Tan Skin (09044) and Tan Highlight (09044). This is the color that I use for all of my Caucasian skin peoples such as Romans, Celts, Hibernians and some Carthaginians.

Hair Color

I use black for the Numidian figures and for any figure that uses the Olive Skin triad. My Romans and other caucasian peoples general get brown paint. 

Gloss Finish Effects

One of the nice things about a gloss finish is that it does a good job of hiding most painting mistakes and it makes certain colors "pop". The darker skin colors look better with gloss, which naturally provides a highlight to the skin tone.  

A gloss finish also makes it easy to mass produce horses. I paint the horse either black or umber and then give it a spray of gloss. Think William Britain's 54mm metal toy soldiers for how the glossy horses look. The end result looks good and you didn't have to spend extra time working with triads.

Gloss coating also seems to provide a heavier protective coating than Dull Coat or other matte finishes. I use gloss spray coating for all of my plastic figures, but matte finish for my metal figures.

Friday, March 11, 2022

The Italian Job - Allied Cavalry


HaT Industrie figures: Italian Allied cavalry in Roman service

Please click on all pictures to enlarge the view

With my Carthaginian cavalry forces nearing completion, I have turned my brushes towards the Roman Republican army in my Punic Wars Project. At the top of the list were two 16-figure units of Italian Allies horsemen in service with Rome.

I purchased a dozen Italian cavalry from the gentleman in the UK who is disposing his Punic Wars armies in 54mm. Another six figures were sourced from eBay. I am always on the look out for 54mm figures on eBay or listed in various wargaming forums. Purchased and painted figures are a quick way to fill out one's army. I do not care about the quality of the painting because good figures need little "touching up" while poorly painted or heavily used figures will look good after some major touch up painting.

HaT Italian Allied cavalry. The figure on the left is a touch up figure that I painted, leaving the horse "as is".
The other five figures are shown as the "Before Picture".

The "After Picture" of some of the Italian cavalry, essentially these were totally repainted.

So I now have one 16-figure Italian cavalry unit that includes the 12 figures (untouched) from the UK and 4 figures from the eBay group. I have a second Italian cavalry unit of 16 figures that I painted in entirety.

The two 16-figure Italian cavalry units.

This is the unit that I painted.

This is the unit of purchased figures. The basing/terraining makes all the difference.

Command Stand -  A Mini Tutorial

I also painted a two-figure command stand for the Italian cavalry. The officer holding his sword aloft in heroic fashion ("forward lads, follow me") has a sword that I made from wire off cuts and a hilt made from epoxy putty. The standard bearer is straight out of the box. I use a piece of 1/8 inch bass wood for the base. I cut the base in an irregular manner using a small coping saw to curve the corners, then beveled the edges with a flat file. 

The figures were glued to the wood base using "tacky glue" and allowed to dry over night. I also placed a small blob of epoxy putty under the saddle before adding the glue. The putty helps to seat the figure solidly on the horse and fills in some of the gap between rider and horse.

The next step is to slather the base with my standard goop: wallboard paste with brown craft paint ($1.00 per bottle) mixed in to give it a brown tone. Once the goop is slathered around the horses' feet the base is sprinkled with a heavy coating of Woodlands Scenics railroad ballast. The ballast provides texture to the stand. Next, I dry brushed an orangish-brown color from my box of craft paints and then gave it a second dry brushing of linen white or creamy yellow.

Final step is to glue tufts and flowers onto the base and let them dry for about an hour. After that, I do the final touch and add a minimal amount of static grass to the base to finish it off.

See picture of the finished command stand below.

I will likely use this command stand as my overall Roman cavalry commander. The HaT Roman cavalry figures are noticeably smaller than the Italian cavalry figures so they do not look as imposing in comparison.

Next on the docket, some Roman cavalry. I have 12 figures primed and ready to paint and another 4 figures purchased on eBay. This will give me my standard 16 figure cavalry unit for this project.

My next blog post will feature the Numidian cavalry in Carthaginian service. These were painted several weeks ago, but I only got around to basing them yesterday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Picture of the Week - SYW “Prussia Forever “ Cavalry Charge


The famous painting by Lady Butler depicting the charge of the Scots Greys cavalry regiment at Waterloo inspired me to recreate the scene using Minden Prussian Hussars. The dynamic action poses that sculptor Richard Ansell created really capture the sense of movement that is akin to Lady Butler’s rendering of the cavalry charge.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Picture of the Week: Silly Hats


Many raccoons gave their lives at the Alamo.I think that John Wayne must have been the last actor to get to the prop room so he ended up with the silliest looking cap. Richard Widmark is wearing that Stetson very well.