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.