Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Lights, Camera and Action!

Movie crew set of figures made by Barszo.


I recently bought a Barszo set of figures depicting a movie crew to use with my Pickett's Charge Project. The vignette will be placed in one of the out of the way corners of the game tables. It will depict Lee and Longstreet conferring over the plans for Pickett's Charge and they are surrounded by the movie crew.

The set includes the director, a seated woman holding the script, two cameras with camera operators, one large light stand with crew, and one fellow holding a boom microphone near the actors. The actors are not a part of the set.

This should be a fun little project to paint and assemble.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Tricking Out A Common Building


BMC "Meade's HQ" after I have painted and based the model.

I have plenty of buildings for my collections of 28mm figures, but finding "off the shelf" buildings for 54mm figures is not an easy task. After a fair amount of searching, I have an idea of where to find some of these buildings, but the selection does not come close to what is offered for 15mm and 28mm figures. So this necessitates converting whatever buildings I can find and turning them into unique individual models.

The BMC model of Meade's HQ Leister House is a pedestrian white plastic model with a medium blue roof. It is a snap together model whose parts are usually warped and hard to fit together. I decided to fix some of the model's defects and paint it. The results can be seen in the photo at the top of this blog post.

I added the exterior portion of the stone chimney using, well, stone pebbles 
that I picked up while walking my dogs. A resin chest was also added to the base.

I had a second model of the same building and decided to give it a different look. I removed the attached porch to change the profile of the building, making it thinner.

The dry brushing completed, I now added a new roof using tree wrap that
I bought at the hardware store. The idea comes from Herb Gundt. Individual
wood shakes will be delineated with a brown Sharpie pen.

The model after two rounds of dry brushing dark to light grey.

The basic model after a coat of black primer. The add on porch has been removed.

The partially finished model. I have to add things like a balsa wood door, maybe some card window shutters,
an outside cellar entrance, and attaching to a base made from a cork backed table place mat. A 
little water well would look nice too.

Here are a couple other commercially made buildings that I have not done any conversion work:

Foam clabbered house from Classic Toy Soldiers store.
Photographer's wagon is made by Lemax.

Colonial Salt Box style house from McShaun 's Closet.

The Rummel Farm Barn at Gettysburg from McShaun's Closet and sold
through Classic Toy Soldiers store.

Britain's - made resin barn. This model is Verrrrry heavy and is hard to find.

So I think that I am fairly well set for 54mm (1/32 scale) building models for my Pickett's Charge Project and other ACW games that I might play. These buildings would also be suitable for the 18th Century such as the American Revolution and the French and Indian War.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

A Zieten Figure Does Exist - Minden Miniatures


A couple of days ago I was rather gobsmacked to to look at my Facebook feed and read a post by someone lamenting the lack of a von  Zieten personality figure across the 28mm spectrum. All I could do was to just shake my head in wonderment since Minden Miniatures has not one figure, but TWO ZIETEN PERSONITY FIGURES.

So for your viewing pleasure I present pictures of both the mounted and dismounted version of Minden Zieten figures.

Zieten is the figure base that is second from the left. Frederick of course is in the center.

Oh, and by the way, Minden offers the only Marshall Maurice de Saxe riding in his wicker carriage at Fontenoy figure. Simply put, if you are looking for 18th Century military personality figures, then Minden Miniatures has the largest selection of such figures by a wide margin over any other manufacturer of 28mm figures. That’s a fact.

By the way, let’s dispense with all of this copyright nonsense that we see elsewhere; if you want to copy any pictures on my blog then feel free to do so.

Maurice de Saxe and his uhlan escort. All are Minden figures.

A close up, and better picture, of a dismounted Zieten handing a message to an orderly.
Minden Miniatures 

Please click on the pictures to enlarge your view and look at these wonderful Richard Ansell sculpts.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

ACW Camp Life & Little Wars Game Photos


Civil War illustrator Alfred Wand

Alfred Waud, original picture that inspired the miniature figure

Alfred Waud figure unpainted

I really like to create little vignettes on my table top, especially for games that I host at wargame conventions. They add a bit of life, character and sometimes unexpected discovery or humor to the tabletop.

The two pictures above illustrate famous Civil War illustrator Alfred Waud. I believe that the figure is made by either Barszo or LOD Enterprises, both in 1/32 scale (54mm or Toy Soldier size). When I first saw this figure, I knew that I had to have it a place it somewhere on the table for my Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg game. I always get a kick whenever some one discovers the figure on the table:"oh wow, it's Alfred Waud!").

Here is another vignette of General Meade and some of his staff, inspired 
by the picture below.

This is a rather famous picture of camp life in the Army of the Potomac.
Note George Custer on the lower right, petting his dog. The inclusion of
the dog adds a touch of whimsy and brings life to the story that the 
photographer is trying to tell. This photo inspired the vignette in the previous
picture above.

I recently commissioned a set of figures from Speira Miniatures, a company in Sweden. Speira creates 3D printed figures that you can order in almost any scale. This picture of three Confederate prisoners captured at Gettysburg is a well known photograph from the American Civil War (must I really add the word "American" when I say Civil War?)

I received my three figures the other day and I am eager to paint them and recreate the diorama for my own games.


A group of Union soldiers enjoying a cup of joe.

Some slackers! Confederates enjoying a brief respite to play a card game.

Here is another set up that I did of Meade's headquarters at the Leicester House
behind Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. I added the signal tower because I thought
that it would make for a good picture. In the foreground a settler is sitting in front
of his tent reading his newspaper

Meade's headquarters. I painted a rather bad looking plastic model made by BMC
and added a base, storage chest and some exterior chimney stones to the model.
I am rather chuffed by the finished result.

You can see the white plastic Meade's HQ building in its unpainted state.
Some of the pieces were warped and I had to drill a few holes to make the
fitting pegs align with the holes. This made the structure much stronger. The
roof on the porch extension was a total mess, so I replaced it with a piece of 
Balsa Wood. My intention was to cover all of the roof sections with tree wrap
to make new shingles. However, after painting and dry brushing I decided 
to leave the roof alone.

Here is a better view of Meade's HQ and its surrounding vignette pieces.
I am amazed by how nice the house looks after repairs and painting.

I am always on the look out for more vignette/camp life scenes in the toy soldier or 54mm size of figures. Speira fills this need quite nicely. I have a surgeon and his assistant doing some surgery on a wounded soldier and I plan to pair the scene up with an ambulance model that I bought from Classic Toy Soldiers company. I also have a Matthew Brady photographer figure from Speira that I have not painted yet.

My next post will cover the Pickett's Charge game after action report from my weekend at Little Wars The Confederates prevailed on the first day/game, but the Union army won two seesaw game on the second and third days of the convention. My game rules worked very well and the players were practically running the games by themselves. All I had to do was to hover around the table and answer rules questions or make some interpretations of various actions.

As gamers are want to do, they found a couple of minor loopholes in the rule sheet and I have since corrected and updated the rules in version 9.0.

Here are a couple of teaser photographs of my game that show the vast expanse of playing on three 6ft by 24ft tables.

The middle table (of three tables) had the entire Emmitsburg Road

Armistead's Confederate brigade crosses the stout post and rail fences of the Emmitsburg Road.

Confederates cross the middle table. In the background you can see the table 
that represents Seminary Ridge, the starting point of Pickett's Charge.

Action on Cemetery Ridge. This was on its own table and the Confederate
attack had to cross over from the middle table containing the Emmitsburg Road.


Monday, April 15, 2024

Game Slots Available For Saturday's Game


Union artillery battery on Cemetery Ridge

It looks like tickets for my Pickett's Charge games for Thursday and Friday are sold out, however there are plenty of openings available for my Saturday game on April 20th at 10AM. If you would like to play in the game then click on the link below which takes you to the Little Wars event sign up web site. Search for Saturday games at 10AM and my event number is 118.

Little Wars Event Sign Up

For added inspiration, here are a few photos of the collection for your viewing pleasure. Click the pix to enlarge the view.

I am looking forward to meeting all of the people who have signed up for my games. Your participation and support are very much appreciated.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Getting Ready For Little Wars Next Week


A few slackers congregate at the Codori barn next to the Emmitsburg Road.

Well, it is six more days until Little Wars game convention begins on April 18th to April 21st, 2024 and I think that I am in fairly good shape as far as having all of the things that I will need for my game(s). I am running games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The scenario and the rules have been play tested five times and I really feel that the rules work and will allow for a fast playing game with lots of D6 dice rolling across the table top.

I still need (want) to add more post and rail fences for the Emmitsburg Road, but I have plenty of stone wall and rail fence sections and a huge number of snake rail fence pieces. Were the game to start tomorrow, I would have all of the fences that I need. I have 24 feet of road sections for the Emmitsburg Road, so that bit of terrain is completed.

I have set up a 12 feet long section of the game table.
The actual table will be twice the length shown in this picture.
Pickett's and Pettygrew's divisions are deployed on the right in this photo.

A close up view of the Emmitsburg Road. Pettygrew's division can be
seen in the back righthand area waiting to advance through the corn field.

The troops are painted and ready to fight. The Union army has six brigades of infantry as does the Confederate army. However, I have started a seventh Confederate brigade and have completed two of the three regiments that comprise a brigade in my game. I should be able to finish that final Confederate 30-figure regiment within the next couple of days. Trust me, these 54mm figures paint fast.

Here are a few pictures of some of the terrain enhancements that I am working on. With three 6ft by 24ft tables covered by Cigar Box Battles mats there is a lot of wide open green fields to work with and these need to be visually broken up with some terrain bits. The Codori barn and orchard will be at the end of my tables in the game, so they probably won't get involved in the action to any degree. I like to set up buildings or towns in the corners of my games so that they do not interfere with the troop movements.

Confederate artillery take up position around the Codori barn. The artillerists
are there for the "show" to make for better photo composition. 

My experiment of adding more bits of terrain around the Codori barn.
A orchard (peaches, cherries or Apples?) on the left to break up the vast canvas
of wide open fields on the game table.

Confederate artillery deploys next to the small peach orchard next to 
the Emmitsburg Road. I will have to refight the Battle of the Peach Orchard
sometime after the Little Wars convention.

Last week I brought all of the figures and terrain back home after their extended encampment at Keith L.'s house (he of the three 6ft by 32ft game tables) and have set them up on my 6ft by 15ft and 5ft by 15ft game tables. They are organized by brigades, of course, and the regiments are undergoing inspection to see if any paint touching up is required. So far I have not found any damage to the paint from handling. General Kemper did fall on the floor and was unhorsed as a result, however, he has been glued back onto his steed with epoxy glue and he should be ready to return to the battle.

Meanwhile, back to the painting table. I still have some work to do.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Iconic Gettysburg Photo Recreated with new 54mm figures


The picture above is probably one of two of the most commonly known photographs of the battle of Gettysburg, the other being the posed picture of the dead Confederate sniper in Devil's Den.

Well guess what? I recently commissioned a company to reproduce the three figures in this photo for 3D printing in 1/32 scale (54mm). The figures were made by Speira in Sweden. These figures will comprised a vignette that I will have on my game table at Historicon, where I am hosting Pickett's Charge in 54mm.

Here are the renderings of the three figures. 

Eventually I assume that this vignette set will be made available by the company on its web store. You can order Speira figures in almost any size or scale and they will print the figures for you and then send them off in the mail to you.

I am very pleased with how the commission turned out and I look forward to getting the chance to paint them and mount them on a base with a pile of fence rails.



Yesterday Keith L. and I did our fifth and final play test of the Pickett's Charge game at his house. There were a couple of minor tweaks that we had made and we wanted to see how they played out. We also created several "situations" that are likely to pop up in a game, so we set up some figures for the situation (infantry charging into an artillery battery, among others), rolled some dice, and played out the moment.

I am very confident that we have ironed out all of the bugs and loop holes in my rules and that they are ready for the big stage. I expect some of my game players will find a thing or two though that are head scratchers.

Here are several pictures from yesterday's play test. I have already posted many pictures from earlier games so I only snapped four photos this time.

Armistead's brigade moves across the Emmitsburg Road

Garnett's brigade climbs over the post and rail fences. Another unit on the 
road has seen enough and is skedaddling to the rear.

The Rebs attempt to charge home into the stone wall. The casualty figure represents 
the spot on the table where the regiment lost a stand. The red D6 indicates the
number if casualties in the remaining stands of the regiment. I plan on replacing the 
D6s with wooden dial counters that will have terrain atop of them.

Looking down the Emmitsburg Road (facing south) as it runs to the Codori farm.

I am finished with the painting of figures and combatants for the game. The only remaining task is to make more post and rail fences for the Emmitsburg Road, the casualty counter dials, and a couple of vignettes.