Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The winner and new Alzheimer poetaster!

Stand high for grand Duchy,
Fight for King, and ne’er abate!
I am the very model of,
A petty German potentate.

Marching ‘cross yon battlefield,
Exchanging volleys ‘o lead.
Through fire we go, ne’er to yield,
Fighting for Duchy ‘till dead!

'Top our mighty steeds ‘o white,
With saber’s we go slashing.
Foe run when we come to fight.
Round the field we go a-dashing!

Stand high for grand Duchy,
Fight for King, and ne’er abate!
I am the very model of,
A petty German potentate.

Bombing forts with well aimed shot,
Or whiffing foe with bags of grape.
Through whole campaigns we have fought,
Though hard, we always escape.

Confident we always are,
To fight and die for Royal King.
Where fight is thick, we’re ne’er far,
Through trials we come out winning!

Stand high for grand Duchy,
Fight for King, and ne’er abate!
I am the very model of,
A petty German potentate.

Norris, please drop Herr Bauer a note at bloggerator@gmail.com with your address so that your wreath may be sent you post haste!

Urban Sprawl 4

A progress shot of the Spanish Farm. Please forgive the blurry shots - they were taken in haste!

You may not be able to make it out, but the building is modular, breaking down into four parts - the two wings, the larger house to the rear and behind that (unseen here) a small lean-to outhouse structure. Additionally to this are the two walls I built earlier that just happened to fit.

The next step will be to detail the buildings with card "stonework", dors and windows and the plastic card roofing. Following that I will do the texturing with the watered down plastrer and finally the painting.

I'm going away on holiday for the next week and a half, so the Duchy will be going quiet for a little while - unless I can get my hands on an internet connection.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Urban Sprawl 3

I've just about finished off my little hovel and additional walling, and am in the mood for something a little different. I have done my usual meticulous research (5 minutes googling at work) and think I might do a farm house.

The images I came away with were quite interesting, especially from this website:


It's amazing what prices are being asked for tumble-down ruins with no services whatsoever, but that's another story.

The accompanying picture looks rather interesting, and I think the farm could be built in the form of a number of boxes that could be basically butted up against each other and re-arranged to form a number of configurations. You seem to have a large house to which have been attached a number of newer buildings with the single-plane sloping roofs that then form "wings" and thus a yard which a stone wall has been built around.

Note the terrain. It's not quite the lush, verdant sward depicted in the touching History Terrain book on the Peninsular War!

I am also considering building an "L" shaped house - not as flexible perhaps as the "modular farm" but nice as eye-candy. I'm conceiving of it as being a high status house that might be at home in a town or in the country.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Urban Sprawl 2

I added another wall to the collection last night. Tonight I would like to add another with a simple gateway and to start work on a low-status house. I'll design this one to butt up against another structure or wall, so I'll leave two of it's walls innocent of any features.

It struck me also that I ought to loop-hole some of the walls I create. I might also do one with an embrasure cut in it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Urban Sprawl

I had a few hours to myself yesterday so I went and built a few lengths of wall and the tower you can see in these pictures. Again, the materials are foam-core board and railway accessory windows. I'm out of windows! You really get through them quickly in these buildings.

I like the walling, I played around with it last night and found it's very flexible. I'll make a few more longish sections, some short ones and a gateway. I like the idea of being able to create a walled garden that I could use in the Duchy.

As ever Sean Bean's Rifles are vigilant in combing through the village and have been joined by Major Astin who is seeing to the placement of one of his precious 9-pounders. Major Astin needs a shot of varnish to finish him off.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Peninsular House

Construction materials - foamcore walls, balsa strip, platic card for the balcony and doors, model railway windows, pantile effect plastic card for the roof. A few matchsticks to construct the roof of the balcony.

A few of Sean Bean's Rifles are included for scale purposes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Write a song - win a prize!

Here's the deal.

Write me a song to the tune of "I am the very model of a modern Major-General". I'll help with the punchline - "I am the very model of a petty German Potentate". Indeed, you can play with the chorus:

Hurry up there Bauer;
The hour it is getting late;
I am the very model of;
A petty German potentate!

Or words to that effect if you please!

This will be the national anthem of the ancient and noble Duchy of Alzheim.

That's right, the National Anthem!

Madness indeed, you might say, but His Serene Highness has deemed that it is to be so, and it was only with difficulty that he was dissuaded from offering the hand of the fair princess Mathilde to the sensitive soul who sufficiently moves His Majesty.

This competition will be open until a winner is found.

Aside from the laurel of victory and the honour of becoming the Duchy of Alzheims' poet laureate, you will also win a handsome prize! Not as handsome as the Princess Mathilde, but handsome nontheless!

Marvellous, aren't they! 1/72nd Revell Austrian artillerists, freshly and pointlessly won on eBay* by yours truly. Meister Chanticleer Schwartz, you would seem well qualified in many respects to enter this competition; nonetheless, come one, come all!

*thanks to bangorstu, 100% positive feedback - quelle homme!

Am I being anal? You can tell me...

I posted this on the 7YW Yahoo Group today.


I wonder if anyone could perhaps clarify for me whether or not the Saxon Infantry wore collared coats during the 7YW?

If I may, let me take you through the reasons for my confusion.

Older visual references (Funcken, Mollo and the Knotel(?) cigarette cards on the Grosser-Generalstab website*) all show the collarless coat. This might be fair enough, but I think that they might all be working from Knotel. I do not know this for sure, but this is my feeling. My Knotel, Knotel and Seig does not confirm this one way or the other.

Newer visual references such as my Pengel and Hurt and my copy of Sapherson show the Saxons in a collared coat. Again, I think Sapherson is relying on Pengel and Hurt for his information which in turn seems derived from an illustration from 1753.

My most recent and up to date reference is Wolfgang Friedrich's "Die Uniformen der Kurfurstliche Sachsischen Armee 1683-1763". It shows collars appearing on the Infantry coats from 1742 onwards, appearing in the plates describing the uniforms for 1756 and 1760.
Is it true that there was generally a collar on the Saxon infantry uniform that did not appear on the uniforms issued to the newly reconstituted corps of infantry after Pirna? Was the collar re-introduced when the uniform changed (ie, bearskins were added) in 1760?

Is Knotel (and those who have used him since as a source) wrong? Or was Knotel right and relying on sources that may not have survived the destruction of Dresden in WW2?

Is it even possible to be so precise at two and a half centuries distance?

Any light that could be shed would be most welcome!

Best regards,

Greg Horne

*possibly the most popular, referenced and readily available visual reference available on the Saxon army on the Internet!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Illustrations from the French 1755 Drill Manual

In no particular order and just for interests' sake.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sean Bean's Rifles

Over the past few days I have been staying busy painting these Elite Miniatures Riflemen. I love the quirky style of the sculpting which repays a fairly careful paintjob. I painted these fellows in my usual Vallejo acrylics from a white dry-brushed black undercoat. The bases they are on are their temporary "handling bases" (GW plastic ones), and are not their final bases at all. I think that the three figure vignette on the larger base looks quite nice though and may form the basis for a later grouping.

I've nearly finished painting five gunners, too and expect to have them photographed in the next few days.

I'm thinking of writing a "Sharpe" parody and calling it something along the lines of either "Sharpe's Pastiche" or even "Sean Bean's Rifles". I have been using the phrase "whoreson motherless rogue" an awful lot in the back of my head lately..!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Painted Figures - comparison

Here they are then. From the left, Mr White Undercoat, then Mr Black Drybrushed white undercoat and finally dull old Mr Black undercoat.

Personally spraking, I think the two blck undercoats look to work the best for this type of figure. I'll try three of my RSMs next and see how they go.

The Gardes Francaises need a new draft of troops.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I decided to do a little experiment in the past few days to try out the competing “undercoat” models we have available.

I took three similar miniatures (WW1 Russians from HLBS) and undercoated them. One I did in white, one in black and one in black, heavily dry-brushed white.

I painted all three using exactly the same techniques – base-coat, first and in some areas, second highlights. Some areas got a wash of my favourite brown ink.

The HLBS castings are heavily undercut and have many a nook and cranny.

The black undercoat and the dry-brushed one let me paint the “visible” detail, while the white undercoat made me want to stick my paintbrush into every semi-accessible crevice in the figure. This is for me always a frustrating exercise and I wound up washing those areas with ink to hint at painted detail. The dry-brushed undercoat let me wash over raised strap detail without having really to paint it. I followed this up with a thinned wash of brown ink again to define the detail and it came up looking pretty good.

For comparison purposes, I ought to paint three RSM figures for comparison. They are much less heavily undercut and would make an interesting point of comparison.

Images of the HLBS figures will follow in the next day or so.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Touching History Terrain Book review

I received in the mail of a copy of the first volume of the Touching History series on terrain making last night, the Peninsular War one.

It’s a magazine format book with a great many illustrations showing the buildings and terrain. I was greatly impressed by the quality of the photos, but not too impressed by the information presented.

I did not feel that the book really presented me with tips on making “Spanish” terrain. The section on making the terrain boards while nice enough presented some nice grassy scenery that might not have been out of place in any generic European layout. There was no discussion at all of the differing terrain and climate conditions that one might encounter in the Peninsula. I always had the impression that Spain is rather diverse, and a bit more arid!

The buildings as describes are very nice to look at, but the emphasis seemed more on describing the finishing of the buildings than on the techniques used in making them. That’s fair enough – it’s always seemed to me that war games terrain is mostly about the finish, but a few more tips might have been useful. Some tips that were mentioned were new to me – using brass sheet to represent pantiled roofing for example – but most were pretty unremarkable and frankly could have been gleaned from the Terragenesis website or past issues of White Dwarf.

The book contains a great deal of padding and irrelevance – double-page spreads of scenery layouts, close-ups of single miniatures, close-ups of scenery layouts from irrelevant periods and an astonishingly self-indulgent couple of pages on re-enactors of the 95th Rifles. Surely some of this wasted space (and surely there’s not much space to waste in a 75-page publication) could have gone towards fleshing out the descriptions on building some of the more complicated buildings.

The problem today with this sort of publication is that there is so much material available on the internet. This material is filled with excellent, well-illustrated articles on virtually every aspect of terrain design. To produce a book on terrain building that is actually worthwhile, you may need to pitch it as being someone’s “master class” with perhaps tips on advanced techniques, perhaps some material on designing buildings from conception to execution.

I think that if you wanted to take a more useful look at creating the terrain of the Peninsula War, you might be better off hanging onto the GBP18.50 this cost me here in Australia (and spending it on some Connoisseur miniatures) and go here instead: http://www.fusiliers.net/wargaming6.htm

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

West Melbourne Regiment

I'm taking a little time off the Seven Years War to paint up something a little different.

I have a small cache of Britains recasts from Soldier Pac and got around to cleaning up one of these already pretty clean castings. They are very light on detail, so most of what you see (buttons, piping &c) are all painted on. I'm fairly pleased with the result, but think I'd have benefitted from a brush with a better point! He represents a private from the West Melbourne Regiment c1882-85. I will do a few more in the next couple of days to go with my gun crew.

At the same time I am painting a dozen Mahdist cavalry in an attempt to cut into my lead mountain. I bought these in January at CanCon and I think they look very promising so far.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Feathery Hats

Odd title for a post?

I suppose it is. I was looking at some of my 7YW miniatures the other day and was struck by how well the feathery hat edges I'd added to a couple of mounted officers looked.

I'm the sort who likes sometimes to repeat what he regards as a success, so I started thinking that I'd like to do a few more and began casting around for a couple of units where I could have a shot.

I started thinking of the Cuirassiers du Roi in the 1740s and thought, "good, I'll do them - got a good collection of miniatures to represent a troop or two already". Then I remembered some chit chat on OSW or 7YW about Prussian IR15, the King of Prussia's own regiment. The Officers and NCOs wore feather edging in their hats.

Aha! thinks I, let's take a quick trip to Osprey-land.

One trip later and I'm a little confused. Don Fosten's magnificent plates show effectively two uniformsThe first battalion (of three) had a lapel-less coat - as some Prussian regiments did. Battalions two and three who saw a fair old bit of action had a coat with red lapels and white buttonhole edging.

Here is the question(s):

Battalions two and three can be readily modelled using RSM miniatures which come with the lapels and cuffs appropriate to battalions two and three, but did their officers and NCOs have the feathery hat edging, or was that confined to the gala-uniformed lads of the first battalion?

If they didn't, do I care and will I give them their feathery hats anyway because they look so good? Heresy!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

HE/RSM Comparison Shot

Interestingly, the two look much the same size. I had always had the impression that the HE were the smaller figures.

If anything, they are pehaps a little taller and lankier.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

HE Infantry Figures

I finally got around to photographing some of the sample HE infantry I promised for Stokes.

Npt the best image, but they do get the "look" of them across, I think. I'd say they were as close to a "true" 25mm as you are likely to get. They look very slight against Foundry, and by comparison the detail is very unrefined.

But beautiful to me.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One for the Kids

I'm currently painting some more Prince August homecasts for my nephew Max. He doesn't know it yet, but he's getting some Great Northern War Saxons and Swedes to bulk out the tiny force of Saxons he already has.

I decided to write some simple rules so he can do more with them other than line them up an roll marbles at them. After all, I painted them, and want them to stay unchipped for a while yet!

1. Move
Guns – 1dice in inches
Men – 2 dice in inches
Riders – 4 dice in inches

Men or Riders with an Officer or a Drummer or a Flag Bearer get to add another dice to their move.

2. Shoot
Guns – throw 4 dice. Each 5 or 6 is a hit.
Men – throw one dice. Each 6 is a hit.
Riders – throw no dice.

Each figure that is hit but has not fired is laid down on its side and may fire once before it is removed. Riders that are hit are removed. A gun needs two men to shoot.

3. Fight
Guns – throw no dice.
Men – throw one dice.
Riders – throw two dice.

Highest score wins.

4. End of the Game
The first player to lose half of his soldiers loses the game.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

von Bruhl Ensign

Converted from the RSM casting of a Prussian officer with a walking stick, he's had the walking stick cut away, that arm has been bent into a new pose, the hand drilled out and a wire flag-pole inserted. I also drilled a hole in the base to take the butt-end of the flag-pole for extra strength.

The flag is by RSM. That for the British Officer in yesterday's post is from the "Warflag" website; I chose a generic English flag and hand-painted the rose wreath and inscription. Our man is from the 51st Foot who fought at Minden.

Monday, October 30, 2006

RSM Ensigns

Over the weekend, I decided to convert a couple of RSM Officer figutes into more appealing ensigns than the "Cadet Standard Bearer" currently on offer.

I took the English Infantry Officer and cut his arm away from his body with a sharp blade and repositioned his arm (just a gentle bend done with my fat fingers) to take a piece of wire that would be a flag-staff.

I'm nearly finished doing another for the Graf v. Bruhl Saxon infantry regiment - I'll get an image up tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Break points and assymetric fighting styles.

It’s spring, the time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to kleine kreig.

I think that my sub-conscious must have been grinding away at this topic in the background. because I was cycling to work this morning and (as seems to be the case with me) apropos of nothing in particular I started thinking about Croats and Prussian Infantry.

Lets say a battalion (or any formed, regular unit, has six break points. Let’s also assume that a unit of Croats would be furnished with only five. I’m only plucking that number out of the air because it works agreeably with dice. The name “break points” could just as easily be substituted for “cohesion” points or “disruption points”.

What if, thought I, a commander of line Infantry was able to choose to open his order out at the cost of two break points? They could then act just like those rascally Croats and counter-skirmish but would be much closer to the point (let’s say three break points) where they would start to suffer unlovely consequences such as at the start of every move a dice is thrown and the number indicated is equivalent to the number of figures who have decided that now is as good a time as any to abandon the ferocious discipline of IR13 for a more felicitous regime.

Break points could be lost as a result of line losses and Officer casualties. Chaps lost to the flight to the rear would be counted as casualties. A large number of casualties in a move would lead to the loss of a DP. No officers left would equal another lost DP. Being exposed to cannon-fire might be worth a DP over and above the casualties caused.

Fleeing/ fled troops could be rallied by being joined by an officer.
Going back to our infantry sacrificing a couple of DPs to get to grips with the Croats, they’d find their advantage lay in having a higher starting number of DPs to play with. Also, as things got tricky for the line infantry, they could re-form their ranks and recover the sacrificed DPs. The Croats would not be allowed to form ranks, and would be at a fire disadvantage against formed troops in the open.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

12 days without a post!

Unbelievable! You'd think I've run out of things to say! Or had been really busy.

Well, having set up that straw man, let me knock him down by saying I HAVE in fact been rather busy. Does that work?

Just in the past week-and-a-bit, my Eureka 100 Club submission (one I'd just about given up hope on!) has gone live.

I'm really waiting on Eureka to get a prospectus out to all those folks who expressed interest in my Arquebusiers de Grassin (and thanks to all of you who've hung in there) to confirm their interest and we are on. I spoke to Nic today and he expects three comand, and 4 or 5 skirmishing poses. I remarked to him that his line of skirmishing "ragged continentals" had greatly impressed me, so those are the spread of poses we'll be looking at.

I've also been swapping info via TMP (under the byline "jetboy" - it's a short story with no place here!) with another gent here in Australia on the Saxon Army in the mid-18th Century for another Eureka 100 Club submission which has also just about gone live.

Eureka will be getting very used to sculpting tricornes, I'd say! If anyone out there has an idea for some unique project they want to get off the ground, there are worse places to start.

I promise to get on with the Alzheimer-Vulgarian skirmish soon. Donald? How's your availability?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Border Troubles 5

Voleur des Coeurs looked steadily at Manstein and said: "No. No head cracking. That is not proper military behavior. Besides, it's unfashionable. We shall behave in a proper military fasion and defend this ruin."

Theo, in a voice that surprised him by quavering only a little spoke: "Ought we not retire to the boat?"

"Ja, das vould be der gut idea" agreed Manstein, nodding vigorously, oak leaves showering from his hat.

"Oh, good heavens, I can never understand you people! No! We shall stand here and fight. Like Leonidas at Thermopylae, we shall fight our position and stand our ground!" Voleur's hand stole inside his jacket. He stood very erect and Theo thought he looked very noble.

He couldn't bear to remind him of what had happened to Leonidas.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Doings in the Dutchy

Just quietly painting away at my Volontaires. I'm hoping to get the final few finished off by tomorrow so that I can start doing a troop of dragoons to go with them. My eventual target is to get three eight figure companies of fusiliers , a company of grenadiers and eight dragoons. My intermediate target is 16 fusiliers and four dragoons.

Does anyone else build their units this way? For my line infantry regiments, my next upgrade (as it were) will be to take out the officers and musicians and stand them behind the line of battle and beef up the five constituent companies to ten figures from the current eight. This will probably be my "job on the side" while I'm working on something else.

I'm really looking forward to Battlegames 4 coming out - today's teaser from Jerry L concerning a Beowulf game has me rather intrigued! I'm rooting around for my Gollum fugure to paint up as Grendel. I'm realy enjoying researching the period; currently my interest is taken very much by the idea of building a "Middle-Saxon" army to represent King Offa's army. I've also been reading snippets of Beowulf for flavour. The Saxon invasions of about the middle fifth century also have an appeal that I can't deny. Those GB "Arthurian" figures appeal strongly, especially in the context of the warlord Arturus...

Does this strike a chord with anyone?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dark Ages Diversion

I feel terrible. Instead of painting light infantry or gunners, I've gone and painted a couple of Dark Ages Horsemen. I was guessing I could use them as couriers or Army Standard Bearers (in WAB-speak) for my Anglo-Saxons...

Feeling like I've let the side down...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Volontaires du Dauphnie

A bit of an update photo - we are now up to 10 figures out of a projected 16. Forgive the photo - I tried and tried last night to get a decent image and this was the best of them.

You'll notice that the bases are a bit larger than for my regular troops. The idea is to enforce the looser order I imagine the lights would have, and to ensure they cannot put the volume of fire onto a target that the regulars could with their closer order.

World Alzheimers Day

Today is of course World Alzheimers Day and marks the 100th Anniversary of the identification of the condition by Dr Alois Alzheim.

Please give where you can.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Border Troubles 4

Like a police patrol the little party roceeded up the pebbled shore where the twain were deposited along with their many goods by the patient soldiery.

"Very good, you fellows. Now, follow me, and boldly, now!"

"Eggskusink me meine Captain, beggink to report."

"Egad, you can speak! Yes, fusilieer? (and let not this sudden affability between me the master and you the man be taken as indicative of anything more than what it is) What is it? Speak up!"

"Ja, vell, meine Captain, vehn I vas in der service of the Erbprinz of Hesse-Hotpantz, ve vere inztrukted to make not der noise and to the creeping being."

"What? Theo, I can never understand the patois these chaps in the foreign regiments speak. Can you make anything of it?"

"Voleur, I think he is of the opinion that caution may be called for."

"Opinion? Ha! Bah! I have never heard such nonsense. They'll be wanting a representative assembly next. No - now see here fellow, Manstein, or whatever you call yourself, I have the blue blood, the utterly in-bred ability to lead men in battle, not just this picnic - now, boldly, on!"

So boldly they went on, stepping boldly out at a regulation 75 paces per minute as measured on the watch given him by Theophraste's mother. The silence was broken only by their noisy passage through the woods and Voleur's insistence on dressing the ranks at regular intervals. Every now and then a twig would crack with a loud report; violently disturbed woosdcocks would clatter into the air; a bayonet would impact with a branch with a musical "blink".

In the end though, it was all worth it, for at leangth they found themselves in a very large clearing and facing what was without a doubt a ruined Roman villa. If it was not, well, who was there to gainsay them, anyway? Although the insects bit and the sun scorched, Voleur and Theophraste were content to make amateur poetry and to sketch the tumbled masonry.

Manstein gathered an armful of fallen branches and soon had a merry blaze burning on the tiles remaining on the floor.

A branch snapped.

Theo looked around in some anxiety. "What was that?"

"Oh, just one of the lads. Probably gathering more firewood. It's for the best - I'm thinking of spending quite a while here. You know, I could do with a cup of good English tea, too." He was trying to render the stones of the wall. His charcoal was not co-operating.

Theo stood up and cracked his back. Equally abruptly he squatted down again.

Voleur asked in amazement:"Whatever are you doing? You've gone bright red. And you're hissing!"

"That was a Vulgarian fusilieer!"

Abruptly Manstein appeared - he was covered in field signs and had apparently fallen over in a puddle - his face was covered in streaks of mud. Theo was impressed with how well he blended into the background. "Meine Captain, you vahnt I should be making with the head-crackink?"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Border Troubles 3

Although the Sun had yet to shew his face, already a pearlescent light had begun to finger the sky. By this light a jolly little bum-boat was stealthily being rowed along with muffled oars toward the Vulgarian shore.

Captain Voleur des Coeurs struck a pose in the pointy bit of what he had taken to calling "the bows of the ship" and peered - not without melodrama - ahead. "You know Theo, I've often thought about taking up a Naval career."

Behind him sat a small, nervous figure. This figure shrugged it's shoulders with a regrettable lack of perceptibility (should the word exist), hampered as it was by a large greatcoat, scarf and ermine muff. "Have we a Navy? I'm sure my dancing master once told me that Alzheim is completely landlocked."

"Details. I'm sure that cousin Georgie over in chilly Britannica would lend me a Man 'o War should I feel like asking."

"But the inconvenience. The rats. The rum, the ..."

"Hist! We approach the shore!" Were it possible, the golden-tressed Captain's pose grew even more urgent. "Ship oars you men! Theo, get the sketch-books and foolscap together! We debark!"

With a bump and a scrape, the jolly little bum-boat slid up the shore. Two fusiliers leapt splashing into the shallows to draw the boat up and make it's painter fast to a convenient tree root. The remaining pair hopped over the side.

"Where do you two think you are going? Deserting? Hm? We'll have none of that nonsense in MY company, by G_d! Now, make a bench with your muskets. No, no, no! That will never do! Whith a cushion, with a cushion. One of the good ones d__n your eyes! That's right. Now. Ferry your officers ashore. Smartly, now! And no crafty dropping us in the drink either. I'm alive to all your soldier-games!"


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Volontaires du Dauphnie

The Volontaires du Dauphnie were, according to my Osprey, raised at the end of the War of the Austrian Succession to retain the body of light infantry skills developed during that conflict. A mixed force of fusiliers and dragoons - later a company of grenadiers was added. They served with distinction throughout the Seven Years War. The Infantry uniform was as illustrated here. That of the Dragoons was similar although the cap was a blue bag with a fur turn-up, later replaced with a brass helmet. They also had the white laces on both sides of the coat, not just on the buttonholes as was the case with the fusiliers.

The upcoming "Arcadian Skirmish" has moved me to get on with these troops!

Friday, September 15, 2006

1/72 Plastics

Some time ago I decided to put together a Napoleonic French Corps of two divisions of Infantry and a brigade of Cavalry along with supporting artillery, wagons, staff &c... This project was allowed to lapse.

Recently though as I have paid more and more attention to the Plastic Soldier Review website, I've had to put more and more effort into resisting the temptation to take the project up again.

Today i finally cracked and went and bought a box of HaT French infantry - the one that gives you 100 Grenadiers, Fusiliers and Voltigeurs. I also bought a box of the outstanding Zvezda Foot Artillery. The quality of this kit has to be seen to be believed. Really. You get three guns you can make up as 8 or 12 pdrs, in either the firing or travelling positions. There are three six figure strong gun crews - and an officer to command the battery. You get a limber with six horses and three riders and (wait for it...) a cassion, also with a six-horse team and three outriders. Did I mention that they are also of staggering quality? These were $AU17. The Infantry were $AU23. I want another 2-3 boxes of each.

I also very nearly bought the HaT Limber and Caisson sets, too. These would let me fully equip my artillery batteries and to hell with ground-scale! The price on these was also terribly reasonable. I note also that HaT are promising a wurst wagon and a Larrey ambulance - are HaT to become the Hinchcliffe of plastics?

I must go and dig out the other plastics I bought for my first go-around at this project.

Border Troubles 2

Donald and I have come up with a few bits and bobs specific to the scenario we'll be gaming out in the next week or so.

Initially, Vulgaria's forces will consist of one or two fusiliers (not the best of soldiers) on guard duty.

After that from the cave, about 9 to 12” away will arrive 2 more fusiliers, a fusilier NCO (Opalnitz) with spontoon, 4 musketeers , 1 Office (von Stahl) sword and 1 jaeger.

Arriving eventually depending upon where they set up will be a further 4 musketeers, 1 jaeger and an NCO (Steiger) with spontoon.

And finally if activated the 4 Irregular Cavalry will show.

Donald was not not sure how many men I really needed to start, or indeed how many the young Captain* Voleur would risk bringing into Vulgaria to look at some old ruins perched on a cliff. In the end I decided that along with him and Theophraste (themselves armed with a sword and a pistol apiece), they would take along four fusiliers to manage carrying the picnic basket, wine, camp chairs and so on. They will start the game in the ruins, consuming a flagon of rieseling and some camembert while their troopers gnaw hard tack, lucky fellows.

Still a work in progress at the moment. I think that the residue of the Alzheimer forces, 11 figures led by an NCO, should appear on the lake shore edge of the table from a point chosen by either my opponent or the dice four moves after the shooting begins.

I wanted to make the situation stickier for the Alzheim arts nobbling party. Per move we roll a d6. On a 6, Theophraste sprains his ankle and has his move rate halved.

I think that our two erring officers should have to make it back to the boats with half their troops to claim a victory. Either less than 50% troops or only one officer will constitute a drawn game. Both officers being lost will result in a loss.

Any part of this may change in the fullness of time!

* I have promoted Voleur des Coeurs to Captain in recognition of the fact that he is the proprieter of a Company.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Battlefield Map - 1st Draft

As you can see, this is the map I was just talking about in my last post. Each of the foot-square sections is further subdivided into three inch square sub-units. I imagine an order to move a figure might look like this: A1/15 to B1/3.

Border Troubles 1

Here at the Duchy (and also at another place) we have been rather busy.

In the next day or so I hope to publish the scenario specific rules, map and other materials which Donald Hauser and I hope to use in the first encounter between Alzheim and Vulgaria. The first draft of the map has been created by Donald and looks very fine.

We will be limiting this first game to a little skirmish of between 15-25 figures per side on a four foot square map that has been subdivided by a grid. At the moment we imagine that each will set up a table based on this map and communicate our orders to each other via an internet messaging service.

The rules will be Donald Featherstone's "Close Wars" from his book "The War Game".

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saxon Pirate or East Anglian Brytenwealda and retinue

I'm rushing to publish this image of some Gripping Beast "Germanic Tribes" - they are not quite finished, needing things like their boots and flesh areas painted as well as having the odd weapon stuck on.

I decided to make a departure from my usual methods of painting and go from a black undercoat. Appropriate for these Dark Ages figures? I find that this method of painting encourages me to paint from the darkest shades up to the lightest highlights - ususally with a white undercoat I start with a mid-tone, do a dark wash then reset with the mid-tone and then highlight. I find also that the black undercoat means that I didn't have to paint every single inaccessible nook and cranny. I've really tried to mute these colours down, adding a bit of brown or flesh to the blues, greens and reds to dull them down.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

An Arcadian Folly

Lieutenant Voleur des Coeurs was an extraordinarily content fellow.

Sixteen years of age, a gilded youth, alone in the wilderness but for a company of his very own troops that papa had bought him and his best friend in all the world, he stretched luxuriously upon the camp bed his soldiers (rough fellows, but so obedient!) had popped together for him and admired the silken pavilion they’d erected for him.

“Here we are, Ensign Theophraste! Roughing it! It’s too, too delicious!” He poured them both a goblet of wine.

His dear friend, Theo chinked his goblet against his. “Only two carts for our necessaries! Mother would have a turn!”

“I’m sure! Ah what it is to be a Soldier in our dear Princes’ service!”

“How is Uncle August these days?”

“Not so bad. I do hear though that he still likes to get dressed in common people’s duds and pretend he’s incognito! As though he could with that lemon-sucking clerk of his shadowing his every movement!”

“Ha! And now I’m bored. Ah! The ennui. Whatever shall we do to relieve it?”

“Well, Theo, and don’t breathe a word of this to anyone, there was a reason I brought us here.”


“You’ve been my very dearest friend for quite some time now, is that not so?”

“Yes, two entire weeks.”

“And you trust me, don’t you?”

“More wine? I need more – cheers. Y-yes, where you follow, so shall I be there!”

“Excellent! Theo – I may call you Theo mayn’t I? – I’ve in mind a small adventure. Just you, me and a few of our stawart chaps. What do you say?”

“Can I have a drink of water Voleur? – it seems a little warm in here of a sudden.”

Of course – here. Now, what I propose is an excursion.”


“To the far side of the lake.”


“To explore those old ruins. I’m entirely sure they’re Roman or something. At the very least I’m sure they’ll inspire me to write some of my Arcadian poetry.”

”That would be the Vulgarian side of the lake, would it not Voleur?”

“Oh, yes, dear Theo, but we’ll be in and out before they know it. Whatever could possibly go wrong..?”

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Army in Review.

An annual event here at the Duchy of Alzheim is a review of the royal army. Here it parades in full battle array, Infantry in two lines in the centre, cavalry on the flanks. One regiment of foot is absent, being the Royal Languedoc Regiment - away guarding the fortifications should a sneaky enemy try a surprise attack.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A year already?

I just noticed that this blog got started in August of 2005. I think I've missed out one-year anniversary by a few weeks!

Oh, well.

So where are we? We've had more than 7200 visits, 196 posts, scores of comments and hundreds of toy soldiers in that time.

Thanks very much to everyone wh has taken the time to cross over into the Duchy and take a look or who has even felt moved to post a comment here.

Looking forward to the next year where I can forsee war-clouds on the horizon; those blaggards in Vulgaria have been poaching OUR fish. It may be time to raise a regiment of Swiss and some more cavalry! Build some gun-boats!

You never ever know what the future may bring. Now that I think of it, we need fortress troops! and a seige-train!

Busy, busy, busy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Can someone let me know if I'm talking complete garbage here?

At work today I've been thinking about artillery. Specifically artillery in the middle of the 18th century, firing roundshot - after all, I want to keep this fairly straightforward for now.
Guns in this era - field artillery in the 8-12pr range - was immobile. Once put in place the limber teams who were mostly civillian contractors would wisely move to the rear. Field artillery being what it was in this era being beastly heavy was almost impossible to move by hand and so tended to stay where it was put.

Take it as read that I do not include battalion guns or the infant horse artillery.

An iron ball fired at the enemy. Surely each shot would kill or disable only a few enemy troops at a time. This especially would be the case if you were firing at a battalion advancing against you. Histoies mentioning "entire files" of men being carried away at a time were talking of between two and four men becoming casualties at a time depending on nation or period of time. A battalion facing a battery of six guns would suffer in the order of 12-24 casualties per salvo in the instance that every shot struck home. There is plenty of evidence available that not every shot would.
For this reason, I do not think that a gun should cause anything more than about two casualties to my 40-man units should it be firing through the unit. Should a gun be lucky enough to catch my unit in enfilade by firing along it, perhaps it might knock over as many as 10 figures per gun firing before the press of bodies halts the ball.

Bounce Sticks.
I'm not sure I agree with bounce sticks. I agree that a shot bounced along as it went - indeed, it was the gunners aim to skim the ball along to make sure it didn't bound off above the heads of the targets. I think though, that the ball would be lethal or incapacitating for most of it's flight, not merely incapacitating for that part of it's flight in which it "bounced".I think I might advocate a shot-rod, aligned with the gunbarrel, lethal to all it underlay until it had perhaps intersected 10 (random number) figures at which point it would cease to be incapacitating. The length of the shot-rod would be equivalent to the effective or as it were, maximum range of the piece. Every figure would take an automatic hit, but save rolls might be allowed. The shot-rod would have a minimum range below which no hits would be scored and we would employ some other device attempting to simulate the effect of grape or cannister.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

Allan Tidmarsh's website

Coming along nicely is Allan Tidmarsh's website wherein shall be described the growing conflict between the two rival of Kingdoms of Wittenburg and Monrovia.


Wurttembourg Regiment

Here's a pic of the test figure for my new cavalry Regiment. Note that he's the Colonel, complete with cuirass.

I've started a few comrades for him at the same time as I continue with the la Reine Infantry. I'm up to 30 figures for this regiment now and will be finishing another three tonight.

I'm hoping that by the end of the month I may be adding this regiment to the order of battle.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Electorate of Vulgaria

Donald Hauser has created a new blog for his Electorate of Vulgaria.

Take a look here:


"I expect a certain chill in international relations in our little corner of the Continent, don't you think, Bauer?"

"Your Majesty continues to put Voltaire in the shade with your incisive analysis."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Grand Duchy of Stollen

The Grand Duchy of Stollen is Stokes Schwartz's blog about the Grand Duchy ofStollen and its immediate neighbors, his painting project, etc.


He thinks we are having too much fun here at the Duchy of Alzheim!

This may have international "repercussions", eh Bauer?!?

Painted that RSM NCO...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Re-based Cavalry

Just rebased the majority of my cavalry over the weekend. I got them all onto GW plastic bases.

The Line cavalry went 3 to a 50mm square base, the lights (ie, the Turpin hussars) went two to the same sort of base. To facilitate casualty removal, I've based a number of singles on 25x50mm bases as well.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

RSM French NCO

I thought that my "la Reine" Regiment needed some NCOs.

I hope this little essay will go some way toward filling what I think is rather a gap in the RSM range.

I took a marching private, cut off the "swinging" arm and re-pinned it in place, the top part - where the bicep would be for you and me - completely cut away. I then built up the shoulder with green stuff to make the coat look like it had raised up with the shoulder, then finally built up the arm around the wire that acts as an armature.

To me at least he looks like a marching NCO giving orders to preserve the alignment of a body of soldiery. I'll post a seperate picture of him when he's painted to give you a better idea of what he looks like when he's done.

In addition, I finished my two incomplete fusiliers and prepared another eight for painting.

Works a-plenty

The first of these images is of my current progress with La Reine. I think I'm on track to get them completed by the end of the month. I've another two to polish off tonight before I clean and prime the next batch.
The bold ensign is from Fouquet's Horse. The flag he bears is the "generic" one I faked up a couple of days ago.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

la Reine again

... stays mainly in the plain...

Finished the first of La reines standard bearers this morning as well as the cavalry guidon for Fouquets' Horse.

This brings la Reine to 16 fusiliers, a drummer, an Officer on foot, an Ensign and the regiment's Colonel.

I hope to finish another four fusiliers tonight.

Come what may, I'll get a couple of "in progress" images up here tonight.

When the unit is completed, this will take my French troops up to six battalions of foot and three regiments of Horse. I think this is a fairly respectable total for the "line" troops, and I can feel a parade coming on if nothing less as soon as the vexed business of re-basing the tiny gentlemen is over and done with. I will then turn my attention to a unit of light infantry and some gunners for the Royal Artillerie!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Last night I just about finished another four fusileers last - I really only need to paint their bases green and thery're done.

I've also been looking sadly at some of my Cavalry, noting that none of them have guidons.

To correct this, I've used a Mouillard plate I have access to to gen up a "generic" French Cavalry guidon. I'll try it with regiment Fouquet tonight. Click on the image for a full-size version.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quiet Week

I've not a whole lot to report this week. I'm slowly plugging away at my La Reines; I've finished an Officer and ought to be adding another three ORs tonight with the remaining eight of the current batch over the next few days.
I'll most likely start work on another conversion toward the end of the week.
At the moment I'm considering culling my pile of unpainted plastic model kits, cutting down the size of my 1/72 ww2 collection, trimming my 28mm ww2 collection and seeing what else I can do without in the name of freeing up space for my 7yw troops. Watch this space, I'd say...
I'm also looking for a scenario wherein I can utilise my fortress bits. I was thinking that I'd make this my next photo-report if I can find a suitable subject.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Painting la Reine.

Apropos of nothing, I just thought I’d share with you how I paint my La Reine figures. This is partially a note to muself based on the first 10 I painted as I was quite pleased with the effect. I apologise for the dull-ish post.

Starting from a white undercoat, I base-coat the figure from the neck down with a pale, neutrally-toned gray.

I then block in all the basic colours – flesh, facings, waistcoat and musket-stock.

Do the black-lining. Paint hats, shoes, hair, scabbards. Undercoat metalwork black.

Here’s the clever bit as I see it. Paint the white highlights on the coat, hair, gaiters, breeches. Paint the belts ochre. This tidies up and fines down the width of the black-lining, making the effect much more like a hair-line, amazing your friends with your skill.

Paint the metal bits and you’re done.

The Duchy is on a recruiting drive

Last night I finished painting four more Gardes Francaises grenadiers. I’ve also base-coated a dozen more fusiliers from the la Reine regiment.

I think that this month my goal will be to finish this Regiment off and to rebase more of my other troops. At the moment I’m hoping to paint about a dozen per week. Should they arrive in time, I am also hoping to paint another half a dozen Cuirassiers du Roi. I've already got the horses part-painted.

On order too are a couple of bags of Russians i am hoping to paint as Saxons. Watch this space.

I am thinking in the longer term that it’s time to start thinking about increasing the size of my existing units. My infantry companies stand at the moment at 8 castings, usually an officer/NCO and 7 privates. Some companies have a command figure, a drummer and six fusiliers. I’m thinking of stripping out the command and musician figures and replacing them with fusiliers. This will take unit strength to 49 figures.
Later on I’m thinking of taking the fusilier strength up to a dozen figures per company. It’d be nice to have four drummers per regiment, too. That way I could post them in pairs at either end of the battalion. I could also break the grenadier company in half and post the halves at the postes d’honneur as well.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Miniature Photography

Jim asked in a comment how I photograph my miniatures.

There's no secrets to it, just a lot of trial and error which, when I use a digital camera, is painless (ie, cheap) because I can dicard my failures without a qualm.

Furthermore, my partner is an illustrator, so I have access to her PC which has Adobe Photoshop installed. Photoshop is great for "fixing up" my mistakes because you can use it to adjust the lighting, brightness, contrast, image sizing and cropping of the image. As such it can make my fairly ordinary photographic skills look better than they would with a "film" camera.

Most of my camera work is done in the evening in our kitchen with every single light turned on. This is why you may sometimes see a high contrast between the subject of the photo and the back-ground. The room is relatively dark and the flash is doing the hardest part of the job by illuminating the subject of the photo.

The bast single tip I can offer is to ask you to take your miniatures outside and photograph them in natural light. If your camera takes a reasonably high-resolution image, then do not bother to use your zoom function. You can display the image at it's actual size on the monitor and then crop all the extraneous bits anyway.

La Reine Regiment - First Dozen Figures

This weekend I thought it might be as well to get a new regiment started with a bang, so I painted 10 Fusiliers to go with the drummer who's been knocking around my workbench for at least a year and my newly-converted mounted officer. I like the shot that shows the rear of his hat. I think it shows the work I did on the feathers edging his hat to advantage.

They are standing in a GW plastic movement tray I am considering trying with my Gripping Beast Saxons.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Painted Conversion

I wound up painting him this evening while watching a Babylon 5 DVD as the Colonel of la Reine - just so that lonely drummer would have someone to talk to! I think he turned out pretty well, being particularly pleased with his hat.

I really think this conversion has given the casting a completely different look and will be pleased to have him on my wargaming table.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Standard Bearer - finished

I just finished off the conversion from mounted General to standard-bearer. I think the fluting extends a bit too far up the flagpole - there doesn't seem to be enough room for a guidon. When the Green Stuff has fully cured, I'll shave it back somewhat. I formed the shape by winding a coil of putty around the wire core then smoothing it down with a finger-tip.

The hand was a mitten-shape I cut from an oval of semi-cured green stuff. I wrapped it around the wire wrapped arounsd the staffone way, the thumb I wrapped around from the opposite side, then I cut the fingers in with my knife.

I have a suspicion that doing anything more radical to this casting might take e well beyond my gurrent skill levels... Nonetheless, let's see. I've a few hours "home alone" tomorrow night to get up to mischief. Lets see what can be done...

Finished Conversion

As you can see from the photos, I got the feathery hat-edging done along with the cockade (which isn't showing too well in the photos.

I think the hand I sculpted came out OK, but paint will tell all, I suspect.

Work is underway on another conversion of the same casting into a cavalry standard-bearer. The hat has been put on the head and the join disguised. The feathers and cockade are done as well. I''ve also prepared the wrist to take the wire hand armature. I'm going to try to make the standard from a brass wire core with built-up Green Stuff fluting. I'll hammer the end flat and cut it to a point for the staff's tip. More tonight, I'd say.

Monday, July 31, 2006

RSM Mounted French General Conversion

For those of you who know the figure fairly well, he's the French mounted officer who's waving his hat. I have found I have rather a surplus of this figure. As a result I decided I had little to lose by trying my hand at a little conversion.

I clipped off his hat and the top of his head. I filed the anmputated wrist and the top of his head as flat as I could manage and then drilled them with the finest pin-vice drill I have - I think it's a 0.5mm.

I popped a pin into the head to later hold the hat securely in place. It was fastened with superglue. More paperclip was wound around the hilt of a sword, and supreglued as well. This was then glued into the pin-hole in the wrist. I put a dot of paint on the end of the pin in the head and transferred this to the hat (from which I had filed all trace of the hand) so I could have a reference when drilling the hole in the hat.

The pictures are of the results so far. Later this evening I'll mix up some Green Stuff and fill around the hat/wig join, make a feather edging for the hat and perhaps rebuild the cockade. Then I'll reconstruct the destroyed hand. I think he'll make a nice Cavalry Brigadier. I'll do the conversion again and replace the sword with a flagpole going from the stirrup, through the hand on up.