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Sunday, March 27, 2011

54mm - Now that's a scale for Wargaming!

The family and I spent 3 wonderful days with my parents in the mountains of North Carolina near the little town of Brevard. Whenever we visit, we always make a trip to O. P. Taylor's, the coolest Toy Store on the Planet. I usually spend most of my time checking out the trains, race sets and of course - the toy soldiers. The O. P. Taylor store in Brevard carries several ranges of 54mm scale figures, including a well stocked inventory of W. Britain figures.
American Civil War Medical Set
The figures are nicely displayed in the store with terrain accessories; I just wish that I had brought my camera. Thank goodness there is an internet so I can share these beautifully painted miniatures.

American Revolutionary War
Though fun to look at, the figures are out of my price range for collecting and gaming. That didn't prevent me from getting a catalog though!

Rorkes Drift

As I looked at the figures in the catalog and online, I started thinking about the "first" wargaming rules published - Little Wars by the famous author, H. G. Wells. The full title of the book is: Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books. Wells, a known pacifist, published these rules in 1913 and they were played with 54mm W. Britain figures. The full text is a delight to read as Wells provides his philosophy in his writing and gives a description of the game from the view of one of the Generals in the battle "relating" his memoirs. Little Wars can be found on the web at Project Gutenberg. Though I am not interested right now in purchasing and painting 54mm figures, I did find a great site that has affordable miniatures in 54mm: All The Kings Men. Their current ranges are the Napoleonic Wars 1812 - 1815, The War of 1812 in America and The American Revolution. They also have a set of rules, appropriately called, All The Kings Men (ATKM) available free for download on their site or available for $10.00 for a hard copy set with summary card. All the King's Men Toy Soldiers, LLC is owned and operated by Ken Cliffe. Ken is a regular at conventions - I have seen many photos of the great games he has put on that showcase his figures and rules.
Picture from the ATKM website of a French and Indian Game put on at Cold Wars 2011

The shirt available from the ATKM website

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anhalt Battalion WIP #1

It's that time of the year so I've been working on house projects and doing my spring gardening. As a result, the poor boys from Anhalt have been somewhat neglected.

This officer figure will be on the Volley and Bayonet brigade base to add some variety. As mentioned in a previous post, this is a Wargames Foundry mounted French officer. His uniform is very similar to what Anhalt line officers wore.

Here are two brigade bases for the French army that I have already done with mounted officers:

French Light (Legere) Infantry.

French Line (Ligne) Infantry.

Grenadier of the Anhalt battalion. All of the figures are going to be painted as belonging to the grenadier company. The French figures I am using are not an exact match in uniform detail, but they are close enough for gaming purposes.

So far I have not found too many details on drummers in the Anhalt army. His uniform may end up as one of pure conjecture. Then again, many drummers were uniformed based on the whimsy of their commander - so why not?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Plastic Mahdists Coming from the Perry's!

Oh be still my beating heart:

Michael Perry of Perry Miniatures writes: The plastic Sudanese Tribesmen will be ready for July this year. Sorry about the delay, but that was down to me not quite finishing the command in time to get them in the queue for tooling earlier.


There will be 44 in the box, and they can be put together as early- or late-war Bija (Fuzzy Wuzzies), Kordorfani tribesmen, or Nile Arabs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Anhalt Battalion - Operational Security

Anhalt comprised three minor German duchies that were close to Prussia: Anhalt-Dessau, Anhalt-Bernburg and Anhalt-Lothen. As members of the Confederation of the Rhine, the three duchies are combining to form a single infantry battalion of the 5th (Anhalt-Lippe) Regiment of the Confederation.

I'd like to show you the progress of the mustering of the unit for Volley and Bayonet, but the Emperor Napoleon has clamped down on reporting - oh, all right. I can't find my camera.

Most of the figures I'm using for the unit are the Wargames Foundry French Grenadier or Voltigeurs in Campaign Dress advancing. I'm also going to use three other Wargames Foundry figures: a French mounted officer, a standard bearer in campaign dress and a grenadier drummer in campaign dress. The Anhalt battalion had a similar uniform to the French but there are some differences; their jacket was single breasted and had Austrian cuffs. But for the scale (and my budget) the differences will be hard to tell. With all of the straps on the figure, it covers the front of the jacket and I'm going to "modify" how I paint the cuffs. With the dark green jackets of the infantry, it will hide some of the sculpting details. The Anhalt uniforms did follow the French in how the elites looked, so the unit is going to be painted as the grenadier company of the Anhalt battalion. The plumes on the shakos will be red as will the epaulettes.

Hopefully that camera will show up soon . . .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No recent deployments - but I read a good book!

I haven't done much painting lately (still working on that Anhalt unit!) but I did read a great book. Alessandro Barbero's The Battle: A New History of Waterloo is an outstandingly and meticulous researched retelling of the Battle of Waterloo. It is well written and flows like a novel; and, unlike many books about Waterloo, it accurately portrays the contributions of the Dutch, Belgians and various German contingents in Wellington's army. And lets not forget the Prussians and French! Barbero does a great job of using primary sources from generals to privates in the French, Prussian, British, Belgian, Dutch and German armies.

Not just a rehashing of the "same old story", Barbero brings his own analysis, coupled with a careful look at the tactics and terrain of the battlefield, to present a fascinating narrative.

Only two minor (and I mean minor) complaints. The maps are all at the beginning of the book and are a bit hard to follow. I am extremely familiar with the campaign so had no difficulty knowing "who was where and when did they move." On the other hand, someone not as familiar with the campaign and battle may not be able to follow the maps as well. Also, I always like a table of organization of the forces; again, I had numerous references which allowed me to "keep track" who commanded what.

All in all, I highly recommend this for any one who is interested in Napoleon's last campaign or Napoleonic history.