Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas!

As snow closes the passes in the Thuringenwald, the various states' armies move into winter quarters. The Markgraf of Carpania has secreted himself in his small country bungalow to await the spring thaw.
The Markgrafin and I wish all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My First "BIG" Battalion

I've mounted my first "big" battalion of 24 Sash & Saber Russian infantry. They are mounted on 3/4" Litko bases (with self-stick metal sub-bases) and then onto magnetic movement bases. The individual bases still need to be terrained, but that will come over the coming days.

The mounted officer is a Front Rank Prussian who was "pressed" into service as a Russian.

In my imagi-nations, this battalion will be part of the army of the Duchy of Courland.

I also tried the "dip" method with these figures. The picture shows a newly painted musketeer (mounted on the nail) and a similar figure after being dipped. The MinWax stain adds a bit of definition to my average painting job and makes the miniature look a little better.

Another battalion of Russians, errr Courlanders, awaits individual bases and then it is on to my Prussians, ummm army of the Duchy of Carpania.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My SYW Imagi-Nations

Well, the fat is in the fire, so to speak. Hapnich of Carpania, worried that the Francophile syncophants of Concordia are desiring to encroach upon his domains, has entered into a defensive alliance with the Dukes of Friesland and Grand Fenwick (both Anglophile states). With their combined might, Hapnich now is secure on his throne. Of course, this entire incident has been encouraged by the Baron von Stuppe (a devotee of the Great Friedrich) who, being a first cousin, twice removed, of Hapnich, wants the throne for himself. He wants to get Carpania involved in a war with Concordia and get Hapnich killed on the field of battle. Then he can step into the breach, save the day, and ensure his ascension to the throne of Carpania. Oh what tangled webs we create!

On the other side, Piotr Ustinov, Prince of Concordia, wants nothing more than peaceful relations with all of his neighbors (and plenty of gourmet victuals). Fearful of the behind-the-scenes machinations of von Stuppe, Ustinov has persuaded his cousins, Iago of Campostella, Siegfried of Sachsen-Wachsenstein, and Yakov of Courland, to join his Entente of Concordia to oppose the perceived aggressive nature of the League of Potzdorf.

Both sides are now beginning a mobilization of their military forces. Concordia has just recruited a battalion of foresters, a battalion of infantry, and a squadron of heavy horse, while Carpania has added another dragoon squadron to its already impressive forces. More to come, including pictures, and maybe even separate blogs for the League and the Entente.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Le Grande Revue - To Be Continued

I'm having difficulties getting my pictures and text to post properly so until further notice my Grande Revue of my 25mm Napoleonic forces will be held in abeyance.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Le Grande Revue - Part 1

After a summer and fall of campaigning, my Napoleonic forces will soon go into winter quarters. But before they do, and following the example of Der Alte Fritz, I have decided to conduct a grand review of my troops. This will allow me to ensure I have an accurate accounting of the forces that are painted and based, as well as to make some minor repairs to battlefield damage. My Prussian, Russian, and French forces are organized on the August 1813 orders of battle for the Coalition’s Armies of the North and of Silesia and the Grande Armee’s Army of Berlin.

This review is divided into three segments. The first will cover the smallest of the three, the Russians. The Prussians and the French and their allies will be covered in subsequent posts.

The Russians of Corps Winzingerode, consist of the following:

21st Infantry Division, commanded by Generalmajor Laptiev, is represented by the Lithuanian, Petrovsk, and Polotsk Infantry Regiments, using Miniature Figurines figures, in a brigade commanded by Colonel Rosen, and

Heavy Battery No. 12, equipped by 12-lbrs, using older Miniature Figurines figures and guns; and Light Battery No. 11, equipped with 6-lbrs, using older Miniature Figurines figures and guns.

The corps cavalry is represented by:

3rd Cavalry Brigade, commanded by Generalmajor Pahlen, consists of Dragoon Regiments Riga and Finland, both using Scruby figures.

8th Cavalry Brigade is represented by the Mounted Jager Regiment Nijinsk, using Miniature Figurines figures.

Reserve Brigade (fictitious), commanded by Prince Jakov Alexandrovitch Pavlov, is represented by I Battalion, Pavlov Grenadier Regiment, using Der Kriegspieler figures; I Battalion, Finnlandski Guard Jager Regiment, using Der Kriegspieler figures; and Chevalier Garde Cavalry Regiment (with two squadrons of horse grenadiers), using Der Kriegspieler and Scruby figures.

Note: These are some of the oldest metal troops in my Napoleonic armies, having been purchased in the early 1970s while I was in college.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Flash from the Past

I just ran across this photo showing an early wargame (circa 1972) being played in the wing of my parents house in which my two brothers and I grew up. It is a Napoleonic battle using Scruby, MiniFigs, and Airfix figures and our group's homegrown house rules, with 30-40 man infantry battalions and 30-50 man cavalry regiments.
It's in black and white because we haven't gotten to Oz yet. :^)

Monday, October 8, 2007


Like many others have done (and will do), I have translated my interest in the Seven Years War into an alternate reality - using fictional countries as a backdrop for battles during this period. So far I've painted and mounted troops for two of them - the Margraviate of Carpania (ruled by Markgraf Friedrich Hapnich) which uses Prussian troops, uniforms, and flags, and the Duchy of Courland (ruled by Duke Yakov Alexandrovich Pavlov) which uses Russian troops, uniforms, and flags. Other fictional countries for which I have unpainted troops will be the Duchy of Grand Fenwick (British), Principality of Concordia (French), Principality of Campostella (Spanish), Duchy of Sachsen-Wachsenstein (Saxon), and Duchy of Friezland (Hanoverian). All these imaginary countries will be located in the similarly imaginary Kreis of Mittleland (which will occupy the same area as Thuringia in central Germany).

For those of you who are steeped in the names of imaginary movie countries, I'm sure you'll recognize several of the names, especially the Duchy of Grand Fenwick (from The Mouse That Roared) and the Markgraviate of Carpania (from The Great Race).

Here are some pictures of the units I have so far. The first four are from the Margraviate of Carpania and the last is from the Duchy of Courland.

Markgraf Friedrich Hapnich of Margraviate of Carpania
(a Front Rank Frederick the Great figure)

Colonel von Warsteiner, commander of the Warsteiner Grenadier Battalion and proprietor of the Warsteiner FreiKorps. The officer is an old Hinchliffe and the grenadier is a specially commissioned figure offered by Grenadier Books (

1st Battalion of Fusilier Regiment von Stuppe (Front Rank figures).

Freikorps von Warsteiner (Front Rank figures)

1st Battalion, Musketeer Regiment Livlansicher Orden (Sash & Saber figures)

Although these units are ready for gaming, I still have some more work to do on them, such as completing the terraining of the bases and doing some detailed touch-up of the figures.

I'll post more as they become available.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I just finished reading an interesting volume about the naval actions in the Mississippi Sound between a small American gunboat flotilla commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Ap Catesby Jones and the British armed barges under Commander Nicolas Lockyer sent by Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane to destroy them.

Sink or Be Sunk! The Naval Battle in the Mississippi Sound that Preceded the Battle of New Orleans by Paul Estronza La Violette (Waveland, Miss., Annabelle Publishing, 2002) is a slim but well written study of how the hydrography of the Mississippi Sound impacted the options of both the American gunboat flotilla and the British forces sent against them. La Violette is a Navy oceanographer and uses his training and experience, especially that of the Sound, to describe the shallows, currents, and winds that worked both for and against both sides.

The American naval presence along the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico was miniscule when compared to the might of the Royal Navy that was gathered against them. But American Master Commandant Daniel Patterson used his small squadron (a sloop and a schooner that he kept in New Orleans and five gunboats and two support vessels assigned to Jones) with the experience that he had gained in this area since he was first assigned to New Orleans as a Lieutenant in 1807. His primary subordinate, Lieutenant Jones, was intimately familiar with these waters, having been stationed in New Orleans since May of 1806 as a midshipman. His orders from Commandant Patterson were quite simple – observe, report, delay, and fight.

The story of the British officer, Commander Nicolas Lockyer of HMS Sophie, is just as interesting as that of Lieutenant Jones. He was involved in the disastrous action against Fort Bowyer at Mobile Bay when his ship was damaged and another British ship was lost to the American guns. Lockyer was determined to succeed in his mission of destroying the American gunboats in order to restore his good name. His energy and competence, coupled with his good instinct for the proper tactics, were deciding factors in the British victory.

When the two men finally engage in battle, La Violette’s descriptions of the fighting rival those of C.S. Forester.

The Battle of St. Joe Pass, December 14, 1814, was a tactical defeat for the Americans. But like Benedict Arnold’s naval battle on Lake Champlain during the American Revolution, the delay Jones inflicted on the British timetable allowed General Jackson just enough time to assemble his scattered forces, build his defensive line at the Chalmette Plantation, and eventually defeat the vaunted British Army.

I commend this volume to those interested in both a fight against stiff odds and in the early traditions of the American Navy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

HUBCON 2007 Convention

This past Saturday, I drove down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to attend the 2007 HUBCON convention ( Hattiesburg is known as the Hub City, which is how the convention received its name. Over the years it has always been a small local convention with historical, DBM, and fantasy gamers sharing a nice sized room first in a local motel and then in the Lakefront Convention Center. We are also joined by a group of "fantasy re-enactors" (for lack of a better description). I played in two historical games and bought some miniatures, books, and buildings.

The first game was run by Ken Hafer of Metarie, Louisiana. He used the Two-Hour Wargames "Nuts!" rules to fight a WW2 scenario pitting a small German kampfgruppe against a small American task force.

I was the senior German commander and had a Panther, two halftracks (one with a 75mm howitzer), and an infantry squad. I destroyed an American halftrack, two Shermans, and an infantry squad before driving off the tabletop on my way to Bastogne.

The second game took me to Afghanistan in the late 1800s for a replay of Maiwand. Run by Mark Stevens, we used Larry Brom's "800 Fighting Englishmen" rules.
I was the senior British commander whose total force consisted of one English and two Indian battalions, two English batteries, and two Indian cavalry regiments. The Afghans were, it seemed, as numerous as the rocks in the hills. And as in the actual battle, the Anglo-Indian force was defeated with severe losses. Oh well, fun was had by all.

I got to renew wargaming acquaintances from around the deep South and bought some things from two of my dealer friends - Rudy Nelson of Time Portal Hobbies ( )
and Vince Clyant of the London War Room ( ).

More pictures have been posted on my group's web site ( ).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Putting Down a Dance Floor at the Blue Bird

My younger daughter has finally realized her dream of opening her own dance studio. Last weekend (actually Thursday through Sunday) I helped her get her special dance floor installed. It was more physical labor than I imagined and I am just now recovering from it. Her web site is .

We started off by laying a vapor barrier over the bare concrete floor and then topping it with 3/4" OSB sheets that had special dense foams block glued to the bottom. Since the OSB we used is designed for sub-floors, we had to fit the tongue of one sheet into the groove of the previous sheet and insure the edges were straight. This resulted in much pounding with a small hand sledge.

But after two and half days, we finally finished. All the sheets were down and everything was straight and fairly smooth.

The next day (Sunday afternoon) was to see the laying of the actual dance surface, a product called Marley, which is a heavy vinyl matt with a smooth surface.

In order to fit the 1.5m wide rolls so the seam in the Marley wouldn't be in the same place as the seam in the sub-floor, we had to cut a 38' piece lengthwise. That was a chore although a heavy duty box cutter made it much easier. And yes, that's me doing the cutting.

Now we had to flip the Marley so the black dance surface was up. The Marley is heavy and cumbersome, but the three of us (my two daughters and I) managed it without to much cussing and fussing.

But the final product of all our labor was worth it as the dance floor is now in and my daughter and her friend have been conducting classes all week.

And tomorrow I drive down to Hattiesburg for a small local gaming convention called HUBCON ( ). I'll play in a few games, buy some more miniatures, and renew acquaintances from across the South. A report will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Swashing Our Buckles with Gloire

A new period in which I have become interested is Swashbuckling using the Gloire rules. I ran a rather large playtest with my wargaming buddies and then ran a game at Bayou Wars Convention in New Orleans in June 2007. The battle report for the large playtest is located at:

I modified the "Find the Messenger" scenario that was posted on the RatTrap Productions web site ( ) for the play test game. It had many more players than is designed for the game, but everyone had fun and many sword blows were exchanged

I used the "Find the Messenger" scenario at Bayou Wars with four players. It also went well and they seemed to have fun.

I made my own 2' x 2' game board out of a piece of pre-cut plywood painted a basic green. I then painted in the road in a basic brown. Using a piece of a sponge, I splotched in different shades of green to get the grass effect without flocking the board. The road was wet brushed with different shades of brown to get the effect of ruts. Even though it was a very basic terraining job, I was pleased with the effect.

My figures are a mix of Brigade Games musketeers, Foundry, and Old Glory. Here is a close-up of some of them.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Introduction to ColCampbell's Barracks

I've been wargaming for over 30 years and playing with toy soldiers for much longer than that. My first introduction to wargaming came with Airfix WW2 soldiers and Rocco mini-tanks while I was in junior high school. And things have just blossomed from there.

Currently I game as part of the Jackson (Miss., USA) Gamers.

Several of us have been gaming since college days and others have joined along the way.

I have very eclectic gaming interests and have figures, nay armies, for the following periods and "scales"

15mm early Medieval (ca 1000-1200 AD) [I guess you can see that I'm not very PC when I still use AD and BC in my dating.]
25mm mid-late Medieval
25mm Renaissance
15mm Renaissance naval (galleys)
"Pirates of the Barbary Coast" Renaissance galleys
15mm English Civil War
25mm Swashbucklers and Pirates
25mm Seven Years War
25mm American Revolution
25mm Napoleonics
"Pirates of the Spanish Main" etc. sailing ships
25mm Franco-Prussian War
25mm Colonial (primarily British and their native opponents)
1:2400 pre-dreadnoughts
15mm Russian Civil War
25mm Back of Beyond China
Spaceships (primarily old Babylon 5 ships)

And I'll game at least once in just about anything, including MechWars and Zombies!

Well, I think that's about enough for this first post.