Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Pictures of the Day - Battle of Minden Big Battalion Game

The horde of French cavalry on their left flank.

Here are several pictures of the Battle of Minden that we played back in 2019 at the home of Kieth L. The game was played over three 6ft by 32ft tables so there was a lot of room for all of that cavalry seen in these pictures. Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick held on for a very close victory.

French Carabiniers

French infantry defending Minden



Tuesday, October 24, 2023

On this day in Dice History


I purchased these casino dice on October 24, 2010, having been told that perfectly square corners of the dice generate a truer dice roll. I suppose that I took that to mean that I’d roll fewer Snake Eyes and more Box Cars when I used these dice. Of course the math of probability tells us that one has a 1/6th chance of hitting on any particular number.

I have to say that these large square cornered dice performed well in their first two matches, but after that, not so well.

At least they look nice.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

ACW Picture of the Day - McPherson's Ridge


In June 2021, my daughter and I went on a tour of Civil War battlefields in the Eastern Theater of the war (Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania ). Our first tour stop was at Gettysburg and we arrived at the city from the western approach via the Chambersburg Pike. It was around 5PM in the evening when we reached the battlefield and I took this picture on McPherson's Ridge, looking east towards the town of Gettysburg.

You can see the iconic McPherson's Barn and some of the church spires of Gettysburg in the background. I was taken by the dramatic and foreboding black clouds in the sky and the contrast with the sunlight shining on McPherson's Barn. This is probably one of the best battlefield pictures that I have ever taken. As such, it deserves to be posted on this blog as one of my Pictures of the Day.

1/32 scale model of a Pennsylvania barn the could be McPherson's Barn.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Time to base the ACW figures


General Lewis Armistead's Confederate brigade at Gettysburg. All based in the past couple of weeks.

Click on all pictures to enlarge

My painting pace has slowed down a little bit so far in October, largely due to tackling the task of basing the figures. Basing consists of gluing the figures to an 80mm x 120mm MDF base and then troweling on the ground (wall board paste mixed with brown paint), and finishing off with static grass and tufts. Past experience has taught me that it is a bad idea to let hundreds of painted figures accumulate and then base them en masse at one time. Basing can be a bit tedious and so it is better to base a group of 30 to 60 figures rather 100 to 200 figures.

Here are some pictures of five Confederate regiments that I have based so far. These represents the Confederate brigades of Armistead and Garnett of Pickett's Division of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The unbiased collection of figures is starting to grow as I have two more regiments of Confederates to base. The regiment in the front uses CTS plastic figures while the regiment in the back is comprised largely of Armies In Plastic Confederates.

Close up view of some of the CTS brand of plastic 54mm (1/32 scale) ACW figures.
Note the flag bearer conversion, using the casualty figure on the left, now holding a flag on the right.

My October painting output, so far, has been limited to one 30-figure regiment of Confederates and about 20 of the required 30 figures for another regiment. There have also been about a dozen "one offs" painted simply for the reason that I liked the pose and wanted to give a particular figure a try with my brushes. I need to paint at a pace of 90 to 120 figures per month in order to hit my target one thousand figures for my Pickett's Charge game at Historicon in July 2023. That's about nine months to go and I have finished 15 regiments (8 Union and 7 Confederate) of 30 figures, or 450 figures. This does not include some of the one off mounted officers and various other single figures that aren't sufficient in quantity to make up a new 30 figure regiment.

Now 9 months sounds like a lot of time, but I have to consider the time needed to build the terrain. I have all of the buildings (farm houses and barns) that I need, but it is the number of turnpike fences that I will need for the Emmitsburg Road. Eighteen feet of road, with fences on both sides of the road, adds up to 36 feet of fences that I need to build. Yikes!

The other day I primed 60 figures, enough to make two more Confederate regiments. If I finish these this month then I would have painted 90 figures in October. The time spent on basing the figures has the effect of stealing time from my painting table. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Picture of the Day : Prussian Hussars

Here are some pictures of Minden Prussian Hussars painted as HR1, the Green Hussars. These were painted by Michael S. in Germany for one of my Minden Mini customers. Lucky fellow.   I hope that my readers will draw so inspiration from these awesome painted figures.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Picture of the Week: SYW game in the Fritzkeller


I was just scrolling through my photo library this evening and this picture kind of jumped out at me and demanded that I post it on my blog.

This is a Seven Years War game between the Austrians and Prussians played earlier this year.

Monday, October 2, 2023

What I’m Reading Today. Civil War


American Battlefield Trust has a remarkable set of maps for the Eastern and Western
theaters of the American Civil War

I’m going to be on a Civil War kick for a good part of the next year as I build up my 54mm armies to host my Picketts’s Charge game at next year’s Historicon. I am kind of burned out on the Seven Years War and I also enjoy painting the large 54mm figures. They are easier to see and they are fast to paint.

I do not have many books in my library that cover the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg and more specifically books about Pickett's Charge. I remedied that by purchasing these two books from Amazon. I was already familiar with the author Jeffery Wert and found him to have an easy to read writing style while presenting and interpreting facts. I have been reading Wert's "Gettysburg Day Three" and have already learned a lot of things that I didn't know. The early part of the book covers the fighting on Culp's Hill on the night of July 2nd and the day of July 3rd.

I had never read much about Culp's Hill and so I had the mistaken impression that Ewell bungled his assignment to commence an attack in conjunction with Pickett's Charge on the afternoon of July 3rd. I hadn't realized that the Union army opened the fighting early in the morning of July 3rd, which threw off Ewell's timing for his attack. In other words, the fight was brought to him and so Ewell was forced to fight it out during the morning. I hadn't realized how bloody and difficult it was for the Confederates to assault and capture Culp's Hill. Far from being due to incompetence on Ewell's part, Wert lays out the case that the Confederate assault never had a chance from the get go.

I have just started to read about the events leading up to Lee's decision to order the attack that ultimately came known as Pickett's Charge. I am very much looking forward to having the time to finish my reading of Wert's book.

My second book, not shown in the above picture, is written by a fellow named Philip Thomas Tucker. Much to my dismay, a quick perusal of the book revealed some tinges of Lost Cause writing, which was a red flag warning to me. This is the problem of ordering books from Amazon, you don't have the opportunity to look at the back cover of the book jacket and see which Civil War historians have nice things to say about the book. When you look at the back cover and do not see any recognizable names of historians, then this is another red flag that screams "do not purchase this book!" 

I made a few calls to people I know and trust to get their assessment of the Tucker book and their comments confirmed my suspicions. I tossed the book into the garbage bin. I looked at some of the books in my Civil War library and found another book by this Tucker (there is a good historian named Glenn Tucker and he should not be confused with this one). The book was about Barksdale's attack on the second day of the battle and my reaction was "doh! He got me again!" In my defense I bought the book at the Gettysburg National Park Visitors' Center bookstore. So avoid this author at all costs.

My third book "Third Day of Gettysburg and Beyond" is an anthology of six essays edited by Gary Gallagher (an historian I trust). The essays are written by acclaimed historians such Carol Reardon, Robert Krick, A. Wilson Greene and others. I recommend this book too.