Thursday, November 24, 2022

Black Friday Week Sale with 20% discounts!


Leuthen village with 28mm Minden Miniatures
Buildings and terrain by Herb Gundt

Reminder that the Fife and Drum Miniatures and Minden Miniatures Black Friday Week sale is on now and will run through December 3, 2022. Enter the coupon code Trenton76 when you check out with your shopping cart and the 20% discount will be automatically applied to your order.

For our International customers, you get the 20% discount PLUS flat rate shipping cost of $20 per order, regardless of the size and weight of your package. That can result in an extra savings of up to 17% on the total cost of your order.

Click on the following link to the Fife and Drum Miniatures web store:  Fife & Drum Web Store

Leuthen Battle Anniversary on December 5th

Battle of Leuthen by Karl Rochling

Oh, and don't forget, the anniversary of the Battle of Leuthen is coming up on December 5, 2022. The battle was fought between the armies of Prussia and Austria on a cold and snowy day on December 5, 1757 and is considered to be Frederick the Great's signature battle.

There will undoubtedly be a refight of the battle on my home pitch in honor of the late Christopher Duffy. Will Duffy's "Good Guys" (Austrians) pull off the win or will the "Bad Guys" (Prussians) prevail? Check in on my blog to see what happens.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Black Friday Week Sale Starts Today!


It's time for Black Friday here at Fife and Drum Miniatures and savings of 20% off of the list price is now available for your purchases, starting today and running through next Monday. When you check out with your shopping cart, look for the coupon box and enter: Trenton76 and the discount will be applied automatically to your order.

The Black Friday Week sale applies to Fife and Drum Miniatures for the AWI and Minden Miniatures for the SYW and WAS.

Click the following link to our web store Fife and Drum Web Store and start building your armies with the discount.

Friday, November 18, 2022

More Duffy Pictures


Christopher Duffy in 1994 leading his tour of SYW battlefield sites.
Photo by Jim Purky

I found three more pictures of Christopher Duffy that I took on the 1994 tour of SYW battlefields in eastern Europe. Please feel free to use any of these pictures on blog posts or announcements - just provide attribution to me.

In the first picture at the top of this page, Dr. Duffy is undoubtedly enjoying pointing the way to Hochkirch where the Bad Guys (Prussians) were totally shellacked by the Good Guys (Austrians).

The second picture, below was taken at Kolin on the Krechor Heights amidst "The Cauldron" where the battle was decided in the waning hours of the battle. That's Ken Bunger on the left and Phil Mackay on the right.

Christopher Duffy at Kolin in 1994
Photo by Jim Purky

Christopher Duffy at Zorndorf in 1994
Photo by Jim Purky

The third picture, above, was taken at Zorndorf (Sarbinowem in Polish language). Surprisingly, there is a nice monument and sign marking the site of the battle, which is rather rare in Europe.

These pictures are scans that I made of my original photos which were taken in 1994, long before superior digital photography on smart phones was available . I tried to clean them up a little bit with iPhotos tools.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Passing of Christopher Duffy


Jim Mitchell (left) and Christopher Duffy (right) at Hochkirch in 1994.
Photo by Jim Purky

It is with a great deal of sadness that I have to report the passing of Christopher Duffy, noted historian and acclaimed expert on mid 18th Century military history. More specifically, he is known for his works about the army of Frederick the Great of Prussia and the collection of adversaries including Austria, Russia, France and the German Empire.

Back in the early 1980s, when I was getting my start in studying the history of the Seven Years War and wargaming the period, it was hard to find any information on the SYW printed in English. There were plenty of German language books about Frederick the Great and related military history, but very little of it in English. It was then that I discovered the author Christopher Duffy and he opened my eyes to the period in ways that I could hardly imagine a few years earlier.

My first Duffy book was The Military Life of Frederick the Great which was published in 1985. Duffy's writing style was fluid and easy to read. You never felt as if you were looking at nothing but dates, battles and dry history when you read anything written by Duffy. In fact, Red Storm on the Reich, a book that he wrote about the Russian army's final push against Germany in 1945, captivated me even though I had little interest in World War II at the time. I recommend this book too, by the way.

The important thing that Duffy made available to the student of Frederick the Great and his battles were nicely detailed maps of all of the battles. The maps were based on the German General Staff Histories, but formatted in a more readable manner. One could see the exact placement of individual regiments of infantry and cavalry for both sides of the battle, information that was hereto unknown to me. Christopher also provided a concise and informative description of the battles and the related campaigns. Again, his books are probably the most readable history texts that you will ever find.

A Short Biography of Christoper Duffy (1936 - 2022)

I am copying the short bio of Duffy from the dust jacket of his book Fight For A Throne, The Jacobite '45 Reconsidered:

Christopher Duffy is the acclaimed and highly-regarded doyen of eighteenth century military history (The Harold). His works are grounded on unpublished sources and physical realities, and are characterized by the attention that is given to the visual presentation and not least the maps, which he draws himself.

Dr Duffy was born in 1936. He was a contemporary and friend of John Keegan at Balliol College, Oxford - gaining a first class degree in Modern History in 1958 and his doctorate in 1961. In that year he joined the Department of Military History at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and retired from there in 1996 as Senior Lecturer in War Studies. After a research professorship at De Montfort University (1996 - 2001), he became involved in a variety of volunteer work taking in historical advice and fundraising for the National Trust of Scotland's centre at Culloden. As such, he is heavily engaged in the effort to save this and other "Jacobite" battlefields from the threat of development, which has now become acute. He was a founder member  of the British Commission for Military History and the Scottish Battlefield Trust, and is currently a Vice-President of the Military History Society of Ireland and Chairman of the 1745 Association.

My First Introduction to Duffy

I first met Christopher Duffy at one of the Gencon game conventions in Milwaukee, WI during the late 1980s. My recollection is that Todd Fisher had invited Christopher to make the trip from his home in the UK to the States so that he could deliver several speeches at the convention. By this time, those of us who were members of the Seven Years War Association thought of Duffy in a god-like manner and I'm sure that he was both flattered and amused that he had such a following in the United States.

A bunch of us had a beer with Christopher after one of his speeches and I am sure that we must have embarrassed ourselves with the way that we fawned over him. Todd Fisher had arranged for all of us to have dinner that evening with Duffy at a local Milwaukee German restaurant. I think that it was called Maters. After dinner, Christopher gave a talk about some SYW related topic and there he was introduced to what probably was his very first heckler. Duffy was talking about the Grenz border lands when some inebriated sod shouted out "what about Bosnia!"  Then after several more interruptions, Dean West walked over to the heckler and firmly invited him to "get the fuck out or I will shove my fist down your throat."  The heckler, not wishing to engage in hand to hand combat with Dean,  immediately slinked out of the dinner hall and was never seen again. Dean was short in stature but he was not one that you would want to mess around with when he was angry.

Christopher Duffy giving one of his history talks at the Seven Years War Association Convention
Photo by Jim Purky

Also at that time, I was the editor of the Seven Years War Association Journal, having picked up the editorial and publishing reins from founder Bill Protz. Having gotten to get to know him a little bit, I invited him to attend the Seven Years War Association Convention in South Bend, Indiana with all expenses paid (mainly by me, but several other people chipped in some money) and to my great delight, he said yes. This was the first of many visits by Christopher to our convention and after a couple of years he insisted that he should henceforth pay his own travel and lodging expenses (although I'm sure that the SYWA would have gladly paid). I believe that Christopher attended every SYWA Convention thereafter without missing any of them. My memory fails me on the exact dates, (2017?)  but when he reached his 80th birthday he announced that that this would be his last convention due to his health making the travel difficult.

During Duffy's first visit to the SYWA Convention I spent some time with him showing him around the city of Chicago. He was quite taken with the architecture of the city and when he heard that there was a lakeside boat tour, he insisted that we get on the boat and see the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan. I have lived in the Chicago area for most of my life and I had never taken that boat tour until Duffy came to Chicago. I drove him to South Bend, Indiana for the convention and we had some great conversation about all sorts of things. I was surprised to find that I was not the only person who would look at some passing ground and imagined how an army would look if they deployed on that terrain. Henceforth we kept our eye open for gentle ridges with dead ground behind.

On another visit to the convention, Christopher and I had some time to kill so we went to the movie th

Each year, Christopher would address the convention with a talk (speech is hardly the word that I want to use here) about one or more of Frederick's battles, complete with overhead slides and handouts. He always referred to the Austrians and the French as "the Good Guys" and the Prussians as "the Bad Guys".  We always got a good laugh out of that. His talk was always peppered with his dry sense of humor and he was a master of getting a laugh from the audience. All of this is to say that Christopher Duffy made history fun. He was quite a treasure for all of us and he would gladly sit down with you and answer any questions that you might have about Frederick, the Austrian army or what really happened at the battle of such and so, et cetera.

The Duffy Battlefield Tours

I think that it was in 1994 when Christopher let us know that he would like to lead a tour of Frederician battle fields in the newly opened East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland. The eastern European countries were now open to western tourists, post-fall of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe and this made it possible for us to actually walk the battlefields and hear about the movements of the battle from the preeminent military historian of the SYW era. We had a good group of eager followers on the tour from all over the globe: the USA, the UK, Australia, Sweden, Italy and Canada. The fellow from Australia fell in love and married a Polish woman that he'd met in Breslau.

Some of the battlefield sites that we visited were Lobositz, Kolin, Kunersdorf, Hohenfriedburg, Mollwitz, Hochkirch, Maxen, Landshut, Dresden and the holiest of holies, Leuthen. For me, as a student of Frederick the Great, it was a dream come true to walk the field of Leuthen. It is something that I couldn't imagine ever doing.

Duffy conducted tours in 1994, 1998 and 2016 with SYWA members. Here are a few pictures of Christopher Duffy during the 2016 battlefield tour of Seven Years War sites in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Duffy pointing out the finer details of the Austrian attack at Maxen
during the 2016 tour.

Photo by Jim Purky

Christopher Duffy, on the left wearing a red tie, talks about Hochkirch during his 2016 battlefields tour.
Photo by Jim Purky

Christopher and the rest of the tour gang learning about the battlefield archeology at Kunersdorf
during the 2016 tour.

Photo by Jim Purky

One Last Story
I leave you with one final story about Christopher Duffy that occurred during the first tour in 1994. Recall that eastern Germany had just been freed of the Soviet Russia yoke in 1989 and everything was still in transition as West Germany reintegrated with East Germany. There were still some Russian troops stationed in the eastern half of Germany in 1994.

We were touring the battlefield site at Torgau and our bus took a turn up a gravel road leading to the Suptitz plateau where the Austrian army had been deployed. Christopher then got on the public address speaker in the bus and told us:

The last time I was here at Torgau there was a Russian airfield on this ground and it may still be off limits to tourists. The Russian may still be here on their base. If we see a trail of bullets coming down the road toward us we will know that we have made a terrible mistake.

I have posted but a few of the many photos that I took of Christopher Duffy. Many from the 1994 and 1998 tours are in the non-digital paper format and so I will have to sift through my pictures and scan the best pictures so that I can post them on this blog in the future.

Christopher Duffy, I thank you for your friendship and for all of the contributions that you made to 18th Century military history. In so many different ways, you made a difference in this world.

Farewell and rest in peace.


If you have any short personal memories of Christopher Duffy then please leave them in the comments section of this blog story. I really really really would like to hear what you have to say.


Monday, November 14, 2022

New 54mm Nile River Steam Launch


The growing Dervish flotilla on the Nile River


Yesterday I applied the finishing touches to a launch boat for the Dervish flotilla of boats for my Khartoum  Project. The river battle will likely be a part of my package of 54mm Sudan games at Historicon 2023. The Sudan package of games will include several runnings of the storming of the city of Khartoum, a Limeys & Slimeys type of river battle with boats, and Abu Klea (British Camel Corps versus the Dervish). All games will be played on two 6ft by 24ft parallel tables.

On to the river boat update:

The launch (foreground) and dhow (background) are made from the same
hull that I purchased from Hobby Lobby. This demonstrates how the same
hull can be modified to achieve a different looking boat.

If you enlarge this picture and take a closer look at the poop deck, you can
see the ship's steering wheel and a safety rail. I also added a small set of 
stairs to the right of the safety rail.

The steam launch boat is on the right. The boat to its left is a dhow that still needs its sails.
A finished dhow with sails is behind the two boats in the front. A fourth vessel is behind the
dhow with the sail, just visible around the corner of the Nile.

After the boats are finished, I will start working on some riverbank pieces that cover up the straight edges of the blue felt. These will be made from cork placemats that I bought at Target. A sample of two curvy sections is shown in the table below.

Note the two curved sections on the right. These are just sample cutouts that need
to be terrained. I'm still deciding on how much sand color versus green grass should be
on the riverbank .

A picture of the Nile River in the Sudan


Thus far I have built two Nile River paddle boats for the British team and four dhow style boats for the Dervish side. I don't anticipate building anymore large British paddlewheel boats, but I might build four more dhows for the Dervish. I'd like this to be an 8-player game.

My Khartoum Project is coming along nicely as I've placed my recent focus on terrain building and river boat modeling. I will be getting back to the painting of more Ansar and Beja figures for the Dervish army. I anticipate that each Dervish player will command 100 figures.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

My Gun’s Bigger Than Yours!


Here is a picture of a Saxon fortress cannon at Koenigstein Castle in Saxony. I took this picture in 1996 whilst on the Christopher Duffy tour of Seven Years War battlefields. The Saxon carriage colors of black and yellow is particularly striking.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Picture of the Day


Here is a picture of my Freeman's Farm table top from 2020. I particularly like the use of different styles and colors of the trees, which is what makes this a good looking picture.

The figures, of course, are Fife and Drum Miniatures AWI figures.


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

City of Khartoum Models


Khartoum - capital of The Sudan


The other day I cleared off one of my wargame tables and set up the city of Khartoum. I wanted to get an idea of how much space it is going to need for my convention game at Historicon 2023 and also to determine the need, if any, for additional buildings and terrain pieces.

The city sits on a 5ft wide table and I will likely have 6ft wide tables for my game. After setting everything up and getting a better feel for the spacing of the buildings, walls etc., I am thinking that I should set up the game on two parallel 6ft by 20ft table. I will move just the outer walls of the city to the other parallel table, while the remainder of the city will be set up on the back table. Thus the actual storming of the city walls with scaling ladders will be played out on the front table so that the gamers can reach for their collective figures.  

Once the Dervish scale the walls then they can move onto the back table where they can loot and kill infidels to their hearts' content. Having the buildings of the city on the back table will make it easier for players to move their troops in and around the buildings.

The back table will also be deep enough to allow me to set up a portion of the Nile River and have some steam boats docked on the quay. I wonder how many of the European inhabitants will be able to make their way to the boats and relative safety, assuming that the boats can escape before the Dervish reach the river and cut off any escape.

These dhows and the Nile will not be in front to the city gate.
For now, I have a Nile River diorama set up on this table.

Gatey McGate Face - one of two entrance gates into the city.

Major General Charles Gordon searches in vain for the naval relief force.
Great view from the roof of the Governor's Palace.

Quayside at Khartoum.
Gordon should have taken one of those river boats while he had the chance.

Grand view of the entire city.

The view looking towards the town square.

Another view of the city center.

Merchant stall in the town square

Some of the European residents of Khartoum survey the city from their high perch.

Hookah smoker offering his wares to the public.
A pair of thieves carry off treasure from a nearby ancient tomb.

Most of the buildings were made by me, but I also have some resin walls and buildings made by King & Country in the mix. The street surface is cork from the backside of place mats that I bought at Target Stores. The civilians are a mix of 54mm figures from Trophy of Wales, Britains, John Jenkins Designs, and King & Country miniatures.

I finished my second Nile River paddle wheel boat (left) recently.

My plan is to run the Khartoum game twice a day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Historicon. The game will be set up to allow 12 players in the game.

P.S. Can you spot the easter egg in one of the pictures?

Monday, November 7, 2022

Paddle Wheel Boat Update


Yesterday I worked on the paddle wheel mechanism of my second Nile River paddle wheel boat and this pretty much brings the model to completion, save for a little bit of painting of the paddle wheel and several other bits and pieces.

The day before, I figured out a way to add actual brass handrails around both decks. I found some 1/16 brass tube at Hobby Lobby that was the perfect size to pair up with posts made from wood kabob skewers. It was tedious trying to drill holes into ten pillars and then grinding out the diameter of the whole with a rat tail file. Then I was fishing through my box of drill bits and I found a 1/16 drill bit which meant that I only had to drill one hole in the post and do it rather quickly. Next I threaded the brass tube through the post holes and this worked to perfection. I did run out of tubing and so I had to substitute some brass wire for the back end of the boat. It looks ok but I think another trip to Hobby Lobby will give me the small amount of brass tube that I need to finish the job.

I have left the boiler exposed so that it can be seen. The assumption is that this is how the boat would look before the war began. I also have some Britains mealie bags that I can place in front on the boiler to protect it from projectiles. The mealie bags are removable, of course.

Next up: three more dhows for the Dervish side.


Friday, November 4, 2022

Time to Boiler Up!


Lately I’ve been working on the construction of a new Nile River paddle wheel boat. I wanted it to look a little different from the first boat, so I decided to have the boiler exposed and visible. The two pictures below show the work in progress of the boat and you can see the location of the boiler midship. The boat isn’t as finished as it looks in the pictures; I have to add column supports for the upper deck and handrails around the perimeters of the first and second decks. I added some Britains mealie bag walls and figures to give me an idea of what the finished ship will look like.

I’ve had a lot of fun building this boat, especially the boiler and smoke stack parts of it. The boiler is made from a pharmaceutical meds bottle and a couple of small gears that I found at Hobby Lobby. I found a few other brass bits and dodads from the local hardware store. I don’t shop at the big box hardware stores unless my local family owned hardware store doesn’t have what I’m looking for.

The two metal bands around the boiler are made from strips of paper and the rivets are simple sewing pins that I pushed through the plastic bottle. A brass necklace magnet was placed on top of the door just because it was shiny and looked good. The smoke stack was made from a 3/4-inch dowel rod.

I like the steampunk look of the boiler and I had a lot of fun making it. The base was made from balsa wood because it is easy to cut and shape. Two brass grommets were pushed into the base to add some more shiny bling to the boiler base.

The final step was to prime the boiler black (save for the brass bits and gears which are attached after the boiler is painted. The boiler was then painted with a base shade color of dark grey and then a highlight color of a lighter shade of grey (but not a whiter shade of pale).

I wasn’t going to make a second paddle wheel boat, but on one of my shopping trips to Hobby Lobby I found a wooden blank sign that reminded me of a ship’s hull.

I hope to finish the boat over the weekend, but the handrails and paddle wheel are more complicated to make and so finishing the boat may take more time than expected. However, the finished product should look pretty damn good.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Picture of the Day: John the OFM

This is a picture of the world famous character and rogue on The Miniatures Page known as John the OFM. His TMP avatar is the fellow holding the tankard of ale. The gentleman on horseback on the right, waving his hat, is the real JOFM, Himself. One of the members of the Fife and Drum Miniatures forum arranged to have the head made in John’s likeness and then it was grafted onto a Perry AWI Continental army general.

The figure was then painted, we called him Little John, and he then made a trip around the world visiting places such as the UK, Australia and the USA, making multiple stops in the latter country. Those of us who were in on the bit then took pictures of Little John on our own Wargame tables and then sent him on to the next person. Finally, the figure was gifted to JOFM along with copies of the photos from around the world.

Pretty cool idea.