Thursday, December 31, 2009

Walls, etc.

At MilleniumCon in November of 2008, I bought a batch of various types of walls - stone, timbered, and wicker gabions.  The only problem is that I can't recollect if they were made by Ed of Two Hour Wargames or Al of Askari Miniatures.  :^(  I'm hoping that one of them will add a comment to this posting and tell us how we can obtain them.

Added Comment:  As Ed said in his comment to this post, these products are available from Acheson Creations.  Looks like he has a large number of very interesting terrain pieces and various forts and buildings.

The first piece is a 2.5" segment of four wicker gabions.

They are pictured with an Old Glory Eastern Woodland Indian.

The second type is a 3" timbered wall that is constructed with log walls and packed with earth.

A Foundry British light infantryman is firing from behind it.

There are also two types of 2.5" stone walls, one with several upright wooden posts at one end.

Here shown with a Conquest Colonial Ranger firing at the enemy.

And the other is just a slightly tumbled down stone wall.

Shown here with a Redoubt Colonial Ranger.

I've already used the wicker gabions in my Assault of Fort Khalaam Victorian colonial game last summer and the gabions and the timbered walls in the 18th Century Action at Eisenmuhlen game from this past fall.

These pieces are cast with some sort of pearl gray plastic or resin that feels very slick.  Even after washing them in warm, soapy water,  I had to spray them with Krylon Fusion paint for plastic before my brush-on primer would stick to the entire surface.  But that was just a small bump in the road to getting them painted and not a reason to avoid them.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bland

The last figure completed in December 2009 (and in fact the last in 2009) is Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bland, commander of the 1st King's Dragoon Guards.  Bland is a Dixon dragoon officer who will (eventually) lead three squadrons of the 1st KDG, although all that I have on-hand now is a single squadron, still unpainted.

Bland is a real person, the nephew and heir of Lieutenant General Humphrey Bland, colonel of the 1st KDG.  Although I don't think Thomas Bland was ever in the 1st KDG, he will be for my imagi-nation purposes.

He is painted as close to the uniform of the 1st KDG that I could get.  the only thing that I wasn't able to paint was the red and blue rolled blanket roll on the rear of the saddle and the blue line in the center of the gold trim on the saddle cloth and holsters.

He will also initially command my Brittanian forces as they battle the Gallians and Imperialists both in Europa and in and around the Capitania General de la Florida in the southeast of the Brittanian colonies in the New World.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rangers, Frontiersmen, and Iroqouis Warriors

Joining Major Rogers (see yesterday's post) are the rest of his American Colonial Rangers (Set A from Conquest Miniatures).  Like Rogers and all the rest of the Conquest figures I've just painted, these were very easy to paint.

Along with Rogers and the Rangers, his command will also consist of six frontiersmen (Set A from Conquest).  These intrepid adventurers will mesh well with the rangers.

And finally, we have six stout Iroquois warriors (Set B, Conquest) to round out Rogers command. They are all armed with muskets and either a tomahawk, a round headed club, or a spiked wooden combat stick. Eventually I'll add another six Indian warriors so that Roberts command will have 12 whites and 12 Indians.

I'll soon be posting a picture of the interim Britannian commander of this band of diverse figures, which includes the light infantry, rangers, and colonial grenadiers from an earlier post.  I say he is an interim commander because he is a Dixon British dragoon officer.  He will eventually be replaced by a more universal looking command figure, part of a group of Old Glory figures I received for Christmas.

These will be the last 18th Century figures I'll be painting for a while.  Next I will start on some more late 19th Century Victorian Colonial figures - Egyptian infantry and cavalry, British naval brigade, and Arab opponents - for my annual Colonial game at the Gulf South convention, Bayou Wars, in June.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More December Painting

I've had this figure sitting on my painting desk, partially painted, for well over a year.  Even though I would see him every time I sat down, I just couldn't seem to get the urge to finish him.  But over the past month I've painted about 30 American Eastern Woodland Indians and suddenly it seemed to be the right time, even though "Chief Joe" is for my Wild West gaming.

Chief Joe was one of the free figures provided to Old Glory Army members during the 2007-2008 period, I believe, as part of the line of Western figures.  According to the write up provided with him, Chief Joe has seen a whole batch of American history, from President Lincoln's assassination through Bill Hickok's murder and the raid on Northfield, Minnesota, to the "Shoot Out at the OK Corral" in Tombstone.

Now Chief Joe will grace the streets of our mostly nameless Western towns in our Wild West games here in Jackson, Mississippi. 

This figure was actually painted back in June prior to the Bayou Wars convention in New Orleans.  But since I had him out as a guide while I painted the rest of his rangers, I thought that I would take this "more formal" picture.

His other eleven compatriots, all from Conquest Miniatures, are not quite complete.  Their picture will grace this blog before the end of the year.

This is the first post I've done using the new editor.  Although it will take me some time to get used to all the "gimmicks" and can say that I like it so far.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Trains on Christmas Day

For as long as I've been working at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, there has been a model railroad set up at Christmas. Until Hurricane Katrina damaged the Old State Capitol in 2005, the trains were set up in the Senate Chamber. Starting in 2005, they have been set up in the main conference room in the Winter Archives Building.

The layout is set in a fictitious Mississippi town called Possum Ridge, in about the 1940s-1950s, and is O scale, standard gauge. It has period buildings that have been built over the years by a number of model railroad enthusiasts. It is run by volunteer engineers.

The front part of the layout depicts Possum Ridge's Main Street while an Illinois Central passenger train (either the City of New Orleans or the Panama Limited) makes it way "through the Mississippi darkness down to the sea" (to paraphrase the words of Steve Goodman, as sung by Arlo Guthrie). The volunteer engineer talks with Lucy Allen (facing, center), the Director of the Museum Division, and a visiting family.

Here is another shot of Main Street.

One of the many scratch built buildings is the Possum Ridge Museum (with "Lulu" Allen as the director), which is a refurbished "Possum Trot" house originally built by the Osborne family in 1824. "Lucky" Osborne is a master craftsman who has had a hand in creating much of the scenary at Possum Ridge. (You can see more of his work on this page.)

This completes my "homage" to Christmas. I hope that everyone who has stopped by has enjoyed the Christmas trees and the Possum Ridge model railroad. As I said in yesterday's post:




Thursday, December 24, 2009

Depression Era Christmas Tree

Our final tree is from the Depression Era (1930s). One would expect a "grim" looking tree with jobs and money scare, but as you can see, it wasn't. Surprising what human imagination can conjure up out of common items, isn't it?

As electricity became available to many Mississippians in the 1930s, electric lights were added to Christmas decorations. Families continued to use a combination of handmade and commercial ornaments. Since money was scarce, one family chose to wrap up "messages" addressed to loved ones as gifts. Other decorations included paper chains and glass balls. Toys under this tree include Popeye (ca. 1935), an airplane model of Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis (ca. 1930-1940), and Tootsie Toy trucks (ca. 1933).

I hope that you have enjoyed these Christmas trees. From all of us here at Col Campbell's Barracks, here's wishing you:


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Victorian Christmas Tree

Continuing with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Christmas decorations is our Victorian tree.

[Please click on the picture for a larger image.]

This late Victorian Period (1870-1890) tree is decorated with handmade ornaments common to that era, including gumdrop rings, paper fans, red satin roses, and cornucopias filled with nuts and sweets. Commercially made ornaments were also available at this time. A German tradition from this era involved the placement of a pickle on the tree. Legend had it that the child who spotted the pickle first on Christmas morning would receive good luck for the coming year -- and an extra present. Dolls continued to be favorite toys, with the decade of the 1880s marking a shift from adult dolls to baby and child dolls.

Tomorrow will show a Depression Era (1930s) tree.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Antebellum Christmas Tree

Since 2005, the Museum Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History decorates the lobby of our main Archives building with Christmas trees from Mississippi's past. This year we have three trees representing Antebellum (pre-Civil War), Victorian, and Depression Mississippi. Today the Antebellum tree is showcased. The others will have their "moment in the sun" over the next two days.

These trees are decorated with original or replica period decorations. The toys and gifts are also original period pieces from the Museum's collections.

[Please click on picture for a larger image.]

The placard reads: "The Christmas tree, introduced into England in 1841 by Queen Victoria's German consort Prince Albert, began to appear in Mississippi homes about 1850. The earliest documentation is in the 1851 diary of a Vicksburg housewife who wrote of her family's first Christmas tree. Early trees were decorated with handmade ornaments made from readily available materials. They included yarn and cornshuck dolls, quilted snowflakes, and candles. The doll Rebecca Saunders Gage (ca. 1850), with a wax head and clothed in pantaloons and dress, has been a favorite of museum visitors since the early 1970s."

Before 2005, these trees graced our Old State Capitol Building, constructed in the 1830s. But Hurricane Katrina forced us to move them into the Winter Archives Building, where they have been every Christmas since.

And as a personal note, my wife still makes crocheted snowflakes that we use on our family tree each year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittanian Corps of Scouts

As described in the previous post about the Charles Town Grenadiers, the Brittanian expeditions into the Hibernian Capitania General de la Florida will always be led by the Corps of Scouts. This "brigade" consists of nine Colonial rangers (foreground in green), seven Brittanian light infantry from the 5th Foot (left middle in red), and the four Colonial Charles Town Grenadiers (background in green with busby).

It is, to my eyes, readily apparent from this picture that the Redoubt rangers, Foundry light infantry, and unknown manufacturer grenadiers match fairly well and, in a skirmish role, can be used together in one unit.

Here the Corps of Scouts encounters warriors from the Soaring Hawk clan (Old Glory Indians)

They trade shots, although everyone's aim appears a little off as there are no casualties.

Charles Town Grenadiers

As promised earlier, here are the "unknown manufacturer's" Queen's Rangers grenadier figures. I will be using them in my imaginary 1760s-ish campaigning in the southeastern portion of North America, what I am calling El Capitania General de la Florida (with thanks to Jean-Louis of the Persipality of Monte-Cristo).

These four figures will be "brigaded" with nine Colonial rangers and seven Brittanian light infantry to form a Corps of Scouts for the Brittanian expeditions into Florida.

Although I have these figures glued to 3/4" (~20mm) fender washers, I think that I will need a slightly larger size, probably 1" (~25mm) washers since their bases are so large.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rangers and Light Infantry

After finally getting my first war band of Woodland Indians painted, I started on some opponents for them. First up were 9 Redoubt French & Indian War rangers.

I painted them wearing the black with blue facings uniform popular with some of the ranger units during the early part of the war. Although Redoubt sculpted them to be Roger's Rangers, these will just be a generic group until I can decide on a name for them.

Although they look very shiny in the pictures, they do have a matte varnish on them that gives them a warm satiny look. The Redoubt poses were very easy to piant.

They should be excellent opponents for the Gallian allied Indians and the Gallian colonial militia and Compagnes Franches de la Marine that I have.

The rangers will be teamed up with a small group of Foundry British light infantry. Now the actual figures are from Foundry's American Revolution line, but in my imagi-nation New World, they will be so uniformed just a little earlier than in the real-world.

These seven stalwart "Light Bobs" are painted as the light infantry of the 5th Foot, early in the conflict before they became corrupted by the radical ideas of those 'Murican bandits.

As with the Redoubt figures, these were very easy to paint, with the details being clearly defined and readily accessible to a paint brush.

I'm also just about finished with the last contingent of this little command, a squad of 4 'Murican loyalist grenadiers (see previous post for a picture of one of the figures primed). I'm basing their uniform on that of the American Revolution Queen's Rangers. Their picture will be posted shotrly.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who Manufactured These Queen's Rangers?

I purchased four of these Queen's Rangers grenadier figures earlier this year after having been told that they were RAFM figures. Once I received them I realized that they weren't RAFMs since they didn't match any of the other RAFMs I have in either height or stockiness, being taller and heftier. But I don't know who manufactured them. Can a reader help me?

Front View showing half gaiters typical of American Revolution British dress and distinctive Queen's Ranger "busby" with half moon device

Quarter view showing carrying bag and short tailed jacket, which is typical of modifications the British made after being in the colonies for a while

The figures are all the same pose, slightly crouching which distorts their height measurement. They are about 23mm from base top to the eyes and 30mm to the top of the busby. If they were standing atraight, they would probably be closer to 26mm tall to the eyes. The bottoms of the bases had no markings at all.

Any help identifying the manufacturer will be greatly appreciated!

Soaring Hawk Clan

I've just completed the first combat unit of North American Woodland Indians for my mid-Eighteenth Century "colonial" fighting. These actions will pit the Brittanians and their colonial and Indian allies against a shaky coalition of Gallians, Hibernians (AKA Spanish), and Indians. It will be set in the American southeast. Eventually I'll establish a new blog for it separate from this one. But that's for later on. Now, I present the Soaring Hawk Clan.

The first group of 12 warriors is led by Bright Eagle
(center front with musket at trail)

The second set of 12 warriors is led by Crouching Panther
(center front with blue blanket)

The Soaring Hawk Clan will eventually add a clan chief once I get several of my extra Indians converted with added muskets and more "regal" distinctions. The Soaring Hawks wear red and black "war paint" and the handles of their clubs and tomahawks are stained red. This represents the ferocity of the stooping hawk as it strikes its prey.

These figures are Old Glory and were painted with acrylic craft paints, sealed with Future, "dipped" by brush, and then varnished with a matte sealer. The flash on the camera shots tends to give them more of a gloss look that they have "in the flesh," so to speak. It took me a long time to get these painted as I tried to give each warrior his own unique look. I'm hoping that the next ones I paint will go quicker.

Snow! in Mississippi?!?

In a rare treat for those of us in the Deep South, we got an early season snow fall. We only had an accumulation of about 0.8" (about 20mm) here in south Jackson (capitol of Mississippi) but those residents east and south of here got a bit more. Now some of you will say that's a mere dusting and, having lived in Germany, I will agree with you. But for the Deep South, it is really a treat, especially since it didn't stick to the roads and was mostly melted by mid afternoon.

It started about 7:30 pm Friday (Dec. 4) night and continued until
well after we went to bed about 10:30 pm.

The front of my house looked very inviting with the snow falling
and the lights shining out.

Saturday morning dawned crisp and clear so that the white of the
snow contrasted nicely with the green pine trees and the blue skies.

The yard across the street looked very nice with the trees
all laced with snow.

But as I write this it is almost all gone and only these pictures are left. Snow is so ephemeral here in the South.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

At the Christmas Party

Col Campbell begins the Christmas season early, attending the annual Christmas party at the home of Baron Stahlbaum, one of Carpania's manufacturing magnates.

Col Campbell and his daughter, Leslie, pose in front of the giant
Christmas tree at Baron Stahlbaum's Christmas party

Note: The picture was taken many years ago when my daughter was dancing for Ballet Mississippi and persuaded me to be her partner in the Act 1 Party Scene for the ballet The Nutcracker. I cleaned up pretty well in my cut-away tuxedo.