In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Inspirational Reading

I find that instead of doing the smart thing, and researching deeply before diving into a project, I tend to research as I paint. Each fueling the other in a feedback loop. If I read about something else it often causes a loss of focus and may even derail a project entirely. 

I've always been fascinated by the Prussians and the War of Liberation. Maybe it's my German heritage? Maybe it's just Prussians are cool and something different from British, which one sees a lot of. I mean, the Peninsula and the Waterloo campaign are awfully well covered by just about everyone else. So when Osprey had their sale this winter I got the two thematically appropriate campaign books for some background and perhaps scenario inspiration. They did fill in some gaps in my knowledge, even if the lack of maps, or the text referencing locations that actually weren't on the maps, was a bit frustrating.

I had mentioned that the title on the Prussian army was not available to a friend who sells Ospreys at Hot Lead and he just happened to have this old one in his personal collection. Published in 1973 and so old it doesn't even have a number on the spine. Written by Peter Young, who's book The War Game got me sucked into this hobby as a young lad of 11 or 12. It gives a nice overview of the army which is what I wanted, not the usual charts detailing button, cuff, and underwear colour distinctions between regiments. And for $10 plus $12 in postage and packing it was a bargain!

The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle is a great read. The stories are highly amusing. You can see how they inspired GM Fraser's Flashman, except Gerard is more brave and less smart. I've had it for a few years and have gotten it out to be my next read and source of scenario inspiration. My French force will have to have a unit of Gerard's regiment, the 3rd Hussars, with a suitably dashing Big Man to lead them.

Speaking of Peter Young and The War Game, I'll have to peruse it again just for a dose of nostalgia. 

Even just to look at the pictures of the old school armies. These pictures really inspired me as a youngster as I built my armies from Airfix figures.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Problematic Plumage

As I started basing up the first two groups of Russian Grenadiers, I decided that I really should double check how the drummer should look. I had painted him with white and red lace on the sleeves, like my SYW Prussian drummers. Plus he didn't have a shako plume, unlike everyone else in the formation. Something just didn't feel right. My Spidey-sense was tingling.

To the Internet!

He should only have white tape on his sleeves and a plume on his shako according to like the grenadiers (presumably black). But the picture shows a red plume. Hmmm. 

So I checked some other more or less, reputable sources.

I don't know about you guys, but I quite often use figure manufacturer websites as quick uniform references. Saves reading lengthy web pages. 

The Perry Miniatures webstore shows the plume as red.

But Front Rank shows black. Hmmm.

I decided to let the "Rule of Cool" dictate and went with a deep red. A spare figure was post-haste relieved of his shako plume and the conversion completed.

Basing was resumed and the flags are from the Warlord Games plastic Russian infantry box. I don't know if the shoulder straps, shako pompoms or facings match the flags, but I don't care. The red facings and uniform details just look better. I picked the flag because it is pretty.

The next batch is another group of 8 grenadiers, 6 skirmishers and 3 Big Men, and this will complete this formation and finish the Big Bag of Second Hand Figures.

So here's what I've finished so far:

The Prussians 4x groups 3x Big Men 

The Russians 3x groups of Musketeers 2x groups of Grenadiers 1x group of Skirmishers 1x gun 3x Big Men 

The French: 1x Very Big Man

Not bad for two months effort.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Fiat Lux!

Another upgrade to the gaming infrastructure in the Basement o'Rabbits.

A fine fellow who runs 40k events for Hot Lead is also a professional electrician. So I had him in to boost the lighting. Gone are the fluorescent tube fixture over the table and a sad 3 bulb ceiling fan trying to light everything else. 

Replaced by 14 LED pot lights. 

Both tables are properly lit now and I can see my book shelves too.

Now I just need to be able to have a game. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Big Gun for the Tsar

What is a Russian army without artillery, and large caliber artillery at that?

My big bag of second hand Russians included 6 artillerymen (2 each of 3 poses). So I used 4 of them plus one of the superfluous officers to make a gun crew of 5. Sharp Practice has artillery crews set at 5 figures, so I bunged in the second ammo carrier.
During a weekend long web conference I got them scraped, glued, primed and under coated. This was something easy enough, and not overly mentally taxing, so I could amuse myself and still pay attention to the PowerPoint slides and presenters, but still simple enough that I could put things down quickly to make notes.
I also painted the gun, which I got in a trade already assembled and primed from Mikey. The barrel was painted in Vallejo "Bright Bronze" with a sepia ink wash. For the "apple green" carriage I used Tamiya airbrush paint "IDF/IAF Green" and then some craft paints celery green. Iron fittings were done with black ink.
"Hurry Ivan Denisovich! We must bring up the ammunition!"
"Da, Piotr Vassilovich!"
I then got them painted up over a couple of sessions this week.
I know, I said I wasn't going to get in a sweat over uniform details and I thought I'd just do the collars and cuffs black, but Russian artillery uniforms have all this really distinctive red piping. It was only 5 figures and I was feeling brave, so I did it.
Detail of piping on collar and cuffs

Obligatory posed action shots