Thursday, August 31, 2023

Matthew Brady, of sorts


A Matthew Brady inspired war photographer.
Figure and wagon are from Lemax.

Every Civil War collection that I have owned has had a Matthew Brady inspired photographer and wagon. My new 54mm ACW project now has one too, thanks to a company called Lemax. Lemax makes those Halloween and Christmas villages that you find at stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby. It looks like the wagon and figure is closer to 60mm than 54mm, but I can put up with the size difference at this scale.

I will have to paint over the "snow" on the bases with green paint and I will probably print a new siding of the wagon to show Brady's name rather than that of HG Williams. Other than that, it's ready to go.

I found the model of Meade's headquarters at Gettysburg that is made by Britians. This ones a big one measuring 9"L  by 9" W by 7"H. At first I thought that maybe the model would be too large, but it looks ok once the 54mm figures are set up next to the model.

Here is another view, below,  of Meade's HQ that also shows some of the battlefield on my table top. The mats are from Cigar Box and the fences were made by Dennis Smail. There is something about snake rail fences that just screams out ACW (American Civil War).

And here are a couple of pictures of the game table, which measures 6ftW by 12ftL.  There is a side table to the left of the main table that measures 5ftW by 12ftL.

I have been using a corner of the main game table as a painting area because I was painting a larger number of figures than I normally do. I had 60+ figures primed and ready to paint at the time. For the month of August I have painted approximately 186 figures. That includes six Union regiments of 30 figures plus various command and mounted officer figures. A brigade of infantry will have three 30-figure regiments and a 2-gun battery of artillery.

I have two more Union regiments in primer and after painting those I will probably switch over and start painting the Confederates in September.


Monday, August 28, 2023

Britains Deetail Civil War Artillery Figures


A pair of Britains Deetail ACW Confederate 3-inch ordnance rifled cannon.

My Pickett's Charge game could have as many as 10 artillery pieces for both sides and so I thought that I would get a head start on the Long Arm by purchasing  a pair of 12-pound Napoleon smooth bore guns and a pair of Rodman rifled cannon for both Confederates and Union forces (so 4 guns per side for a total of 8 guns purchased).

Due to the expense of these preprinted beauties, I do not intend to outfit both armies with all Britains cannon and crew, but I thought that a few would look nice on the table and give me a jump start on the artillery contingent of my 54mm ACW armies.

A pair of Confederate Napoleons from Britains.
The mounted officer is one of the Americana plastic soldiers.

A drone's eye view of the Confederate Rodman battery.
The brown-red building is a copy of Lee's HQ building at Gettysburg.
Fences are 28mm pieces made by Herb Bundt.

Here are some pictures of the general layout and forces that I have painted so far. I have five Union regiments, but no Confederate regiments as of yet. The game mats are from Cigar Box Battle Mats. The buildings are 54mm plastic buildings from Americana (Meade's HQ at Gettysburg in white, and Lee's HQ at Gettysburg in brown-red).

Drone's eye view of the 6ft by 10ft table.

Lees HQ house from Americana. The model is a piece of junk whose parts do not fit together.
I plan on using the pieces as templates to make the parts out of balsa and foam core.

Lee's HQ. It would look nice if I could assemble and paint it.

Some of the Union regiments 

Meade's HQ

Armies In Plastic Zouaves painted as the 114th Pennsylvania or Collis' Zouaves

Union Rodman gun from Britains

More to come later as I must get back to the painting table.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

New Things On the Painting Table - Surprise!


An old picture of some of the pieces in my 28mm ACW collection.
The collection has since been sold to another collector back in 2011.
I think that this might be the Washington Artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia.

The month of August has seen Der Alte Fritz going in a different direction than the 18th Century. I have been painting 54mm plastic American Civil War figures for a possible Historicon 2024 game. I have also been working on some 54mm Carthaginians and Republican Romans so that I can finish those armies, also for a possible Historicon game. 

Recall in the movie The Great Escape how the Allied prisoners dug three tunnels, named Tom, Dick and Harry. The idea was that if the German guards found one of the tunnels, in all likelihood they would not continue to look for two more tunnels at the same time. Thus one of the tunnels was likely to get completed so that the escape could be made. So in a similar manner, I have two projects going on at the same time (Punic Wars and ACW) so that I am not locked into a decision for the subject of my Historicon 2024 game.

As of time of this posting on my blog, I have painted 24 Zouaves in July and 120 Union figures in August. I'm figuring that I will need approximately 500 figures per side for my Historicon ACW game. The regiments on both sides will have 30 figures each and three regiments will comprise a brigade. A brigade with a frontage of two regiments and a third regiment behind them in reserve takes up nearly 36-inches of table space. I debated between using 24 figures or 30 figures per regiment and decided that 30 figures looks better. I will base 6 figures per stand and have 5 stands make up a regiment. Thus I can place the flags in the center of the regiment more easily with 5 stands rather than the 4 stands that would be used in a 24 figure regiment.

Here are a few pictures that I snapped today. I cleared off a 6ft by 4ft section of my game table and set up a Cigar Box Battle Mats green mat on the table to show off the first brigade of Union infantry that I have painted so far.

Union command stand, perhaps a division commander with two foot figures also on the base.

Overhead view of the Union army so far

Collis' Zouaves (114th Pennsylvania Regiment)

A William Britains "Detail" ACW 3-inch ordnance rifled cannon and 4 crew.

Union regiment lined up against a wood snakes rail fence.

120 Union blue coats

Meade's headquarters in 1/32 scale. Plastic scale model.
It's about 10"L x 8"W and 7"H

Some 60mm TSSD Confederate figures. (Toy Soldiers of San Diego )

Stay tuned to this blog for more ACW pictures coming fast and furious as I burn through my paint brushes.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Carthaginian War Elephants - John Jenkins Designs


I just saw these samples of four different war elephants in 1/32 scale that John Jenkins Designs will release in the future. No release date yet, but I bet that these beauties will be very expensive. They will come painted. My guess is about $300-400 per elephant and crew. Yikes!

I like the idea of only having riders, rather than towers, on the smaller African Forest Elephants. I might use that idea on my plastic elephants from HaT.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

An Evening With “The Boss”


Mrs. Fritz and I bought tickets to the Bruce Spreengsteen concert last evening at Wrigley Field in Chicago. She bought the tickets as a wedding anniversary gift in celebration of 28 years of marriage. (Bless her). Needless to say, the concert was an amazing performance and I’m glad that we went. I’d never seen Springsteen live in concert.

Me and the adorable Mrs. Fritz at Wrigley Field.

I had some initial concerns about actually getting to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Traffic from the suburbs into the city is usually horrendous, but even more so on a Friday night during rush hour. We decided to take public transportation in the form of the commuter train network that has a stop at Addison street, across the street from Wrigley! Good decision on our part.

We arrived at the park with 90 minutes to spare so we ate some awful stadium food and then walked around historic Wrigley Field. Our seats were on the field level. How cool is that to be standing in center field on the pitch! Here are some pictures of Wrigley Field taken from my perspective of standing on the field in center field.

The concert started only 15 minutes late at 7:45PM with each member of the band walking on stage one by one so that they could bask in their own applause. Steve van Zandt was second to last and then Springsteen, The Boss jogged onstage and the crowd went wild. After about 20-30 seconds Bruce shouted the familiar “1, 2, 3” and the band wasted no time pitching into their first number. Here is the concert set list, all 26 songs.

Set list

One of the things that really struck me was how the band would finish a song and then a mere seconds later it was “1,2,3” and immediately into the next song in the set. Usually a band takes a little longer to let the cheers linger and the performers can take a quick sip of water or wipe the sweat from the brow. But not Bruce, he’s all business and there is no rest between songs. I was impressed by Bruce’s stamina on stage.. in fact, everyone in the band has to be in great physical shape to perform in the manner that they do.

I’ve never been a huge Springsteen fan so I don’t know the words to most of his songs, but the audience sure did. Of course I’m familiar with some of Springsteen’ s biggest hits ( which were mostly played in the encore of 5-6 songs) so I was seeing everything with a fresh eye leading to a wonderful concert experience.

All in all, if you have the opportunity to see Springsteen in concert then absolutely do so. It’s worth it.

Monday, August 7, 2023

The Start of a New Roman Legion


The new unit of the Green Shield Legion - the Hastatii of 32 figures.

Last week I completed the painting of 32 Roman Hastatii for my Punic Wars Project. Note the capital "P" in the word "Project". This means that the project is official, up and running.

My Punic War Project Roman army is comprised of Legions of 102 figures: 16 Velite light infantry, 32 Hastatii first line, 32 Princeps second line, and 32 Triarii third line of battle. Each legion will have its own unique shield color so that I can tell them apart on the Field of Mars. To date, I have completed the Red Shield and Yellow Shield legions and my project plan is to add two more legions (green and white shields) to my 54mm Republican Roman army.

So to start the new Green Shield legion I have begun with the Hastatii unit of 32 figures. During the 2nd Punic War, the Roman legions were comprised of four elements which essentially were deployed in a battle line of the four units deep. The Velites were the light infantry component and they would screen the main battle line of the Roman legion. Next were the Hastatii who represented the first line of formed troops in the Roman order of battle. Posted behind the Hastatii were the Princeps, who were similar to the Hastatii, but had more experience and could afford better weapons and armor. The third line of battle were the Triarii, who were the veterans that were well armed and wore chainmail protection.

Close up view of the green shields of the new Hastatii unit.

Once I have my three or four Roman legions, they will form up into three lines of battle and have their collective Velites out in front to screen the main line of battle.


Thursday, August 3, 2023

Punic Wars Roman Encampment


Roman command tent. Don't mess with these guys.

Click on pictures to enlarge

As is my want, I like to set up dioramas and vignettes on my game table for a variety of reasons. One reason is to take figures that I have not seen for awhile and get them out of storage and on to the table top. Another reason is to set out my armies for a project and make an assessment of its progress at this point in time.

John Jenkins Designs 54mm Republican Roman

I have placed my Punic War Carthaginians and Romans on my game table to see how things are looking, project wise, and I set up a camp or town vignette for Team Roman.

Two Republican Roman legions form up on the field of Mars.
Armies In Plastic 54mm Romans.

Giving equal time to Hannibal and his Carthaginians, as one is want to do.

Most of the figures shown in the vignettes are either 54mm or 60mm John Jenkins Designs or King & Country figures plus a few odd figures from hither and yon thrown in for good measure. I like to peruse the internet looking for likely inhabitants of my camp and town vignettes. The first picture below shows a strategy meeting among the Roman high command.

Julius Caesar (I know, he wasn't in the Punic Wars but he looks good in the vignette),
a Senator and a Tribune are checking out a map at the commander's tent.

Roman engineers at work

Scipio Africanus greets some of the townsfolk for an "interview".

The town center next to the Roman encampment

Question time. A Roman tribune interrogates some of the local citizens
to gain information about the Carthaginian army.

Stay tuned for more pictures over the coming days and weeks.