Thursday, January 4, 2018


A study of two individually mounted figures of the Honved 24th (White Cap) Battalion in their fur caps. All figures in this post are recent releases from the excellent Steve Barber Revolutions In Europe Line

In this, the first substantive post of the new year, dear readers, we hearken back to a project  I reported on in my last, pre-holiday post. This project was actually completed in the days before the Yule, so these units may henceforth be nicknamed my "Christmas Infantry."  These round out my Hungarian Infantry contingent for my Chocolate Box Wars project: as a matter of fact, all I need now are some command figures and artillery and my Hungarians will be complete.  In the meantime, here is a study of the painted figures.

As described in my previous post, this project involved the creation of three units. The 24th (White Cap) battalion (represented twice: one in kepi and one in fur cap), and the 9th (Red Cap) battalion. Images above of the 24th and 9th battalion uniforms are from the excellent Gyozo Smogyi Honved Army 1848-49 book (a must-have for anyone interested in the period).   I commissioned these infantry in kepis and the officers advancing with sword, but the fur-capped figures were a pleasant surprise.  Upon seeing them, I had to add these to the mix! In the below studies, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.  

9th (Red Cap) Battalion
Once again, I lost track of how many different shades of brown (and tan) I used to keep the jackets, backpacks, rifles, and whatnot from looking like one big blob.  I will say that Humbrol "Brown Yellow" is one of the greatest discoveries I've ever stumbled across (I can recommend it for highlighting darker browns).

 24th (White Cap) Battalion in Kepi
One item that I probably wasted too much time on was the red/green/white piping around the base of the kepi. It probably won't be so evident at playing distance on the table, but what the heck, it was an indulgence worth trying. I'll know it's there. 

24th (White Cap) Battalion in Fur Cap

Okay, technically, this is the 24th (White Cap) battalion again, only with winter headgear. But these figures were just too cool to not have! So I'll bend history a bit.  If you see them on the table next to their kepi-headed comrades, let it be our secret!
If I have to paint one more hungarian knot my head will explode!  

The array of my Honved line infantry in its varied headgear and uniforms (and hungarian knots).  It certainly makes for a colorful force (and adding the national guard, rifles, and grenzers will make it even more interesting).   

I hope this post has proven interesting (and tempting) for those who have seen the recent releases from Steve Barber, and for those with an interest in gaming the continental wars of the mid century in general.


Saturday, December 30, 2017


Well, it's the end of the second calendar year of this blog's existence and time for a year-end assessment. As far as blogging, one of my aims was to keep the blog active.  Despite "real world" issues that interrupted hobby activity (and time for hobby activity),  I'm happy that I managed to keep things fairly "alive" with 56 blog posts over the year (including this one)--with a fair amount of variety, I think.  Another major blogging aim for me was to share hobby materials. I am gratified that I was able to add four new content pages in support of this goal: Chocolate Box Wars, Smalle Warre, Miniatures on a Grid, and Ramillies 1815.   
In 2018, I hope to flesh out the Miniatures on a Grid page with actual rules and also complete the Chocolate Box Wars project.

I am always impressed by bloggers who are able to report numbers of games, figures painted, and such. I fear that my summary will be much more general in that regard, dear readers. Although I don't log these things, by going through my blog painting posts, I am able, for the first time ever, to report on my (modest) annual painting output:

In 2017, I painted and based 127, 28mm figures. This tally does not count a consignment of painted figures I received and mounted for my mid century Austrians. Of the figures I painted, 26 were mounted and the remainder were infantry. Not a stunning total, I have to admit, but I've never claimed to be a volume painter--and all the mounted figures were either hussars or command figures, so I probably could count those as 1.5 figures each in terms of effort! Nevertheless, these have all been concentrated in one area: my Chocolate Box Wars armies. Therefore,  these modest totals still represent a significant step-up in gaming capacity in that area. Following this thought, one of the first posts of 2018 will be of the figures I completed from my December 8th WIP Post.  

In terms of overall hobby activity, hosting the Ramillies 1815 mega-game for my gaming club was the most significant hobby project of the calendar year, by far, as well as the most rewarding.  A close second in terms of significance, if not scope, was getting a workable Volley and Bayonet variant together that allowed me to put my new 19thC continental figures on the table for the first time in the Battle of Dybbol, the battle report for which turned out to be the most popular post--so I definitely want to run more of these games in 2018 (and report on them!).  Speaking of battle reports, I hope to have the time to produce more GIF-animated battle reports in 2018.

Finally, in 2017 the "Followers" count climbed to 41--wonderful encouragement for continuing what, to me, still feels like a fledgling effort. 

So, dear readers, I now close the book on 2017 and look forward to more happy meanderings in 2018--and wish the same to you.

Friday, December 22, 2017



Enjoy A Small Holiday Interlude... 
...Two Minutes With The Robert Shaw Chorale ♫


Sunday, December 17, 2017


 Aly Morrison's Shiny Toy Soldiers (STS) from the Spencer Smith Website

The talented Aly Morrison, of Aly's Toy Soldiers fame, and I had some small correspondence recently concerning our mutual interest in the wars of the mid century, specifically concerning my "Chocolate Box Wars" project.  Aside from posting on the topic on this blog, I also wrote about it in the Foreign Correspondent (#116, Oct 2016): a version of that piece can  be found in a previous post on this blog.  Gentleman that he is, Aly had contacted me asking for permission to use the term "Chocolate Box Soldiers" in something he was working on (an ongoing project).  Of course, I agreed: far from feeling infringed upon, I found it extremely positive that we were sharing a term along parallel lines. 

Now we come to the exciting revelation.  Several weeks ago, fellow blogger and friend Mark N, of the Come on My Brave Fusiliers! blog presented me with a fine gift: a small stack of back issues of the Foreign Correspondent, Newsletter of the Continental Wars Society. In the July 2007 issue, I ran across a piece entitled,  "Shiny Toy Soldiers" by Aly Morrison (text available by clicking on the title). 
In that piece, Aly uses the term "Chocolate Box Soldiers." The conceptual framework he describes and the one that I present in my ruminations are consistent with each other. So much so that one could easily imagine that I had co-opted (to be nice) his concept and turn of phrase--we both invoke the Prisoner of Zenda, for instance.  Incredible as it may seem, this was not the case. As a matter of fact, had I seen his Tiny Toy Soldiers (and also Little Britons) on the Spencer Smith site before I had embarked on my own project, my figure collection could have taken a very different turn.  Even now, with a half completed Hungarian infantry contingent on the painting table, I am still tempted to dabble in the STS line...but that way lies madness. No more of that! 

So, dear reader, to set the record straight and to give credit where it is due, Aly arrived there nearly a decade before I did, and it is I who should have been seeking permission from him (which he has since graciously granted).  More than that, this is a happy parable of the community that blogging enables. 
An Image From Aly's Blog
For a treat I heartily recommend checking the "A Gentleman's War"  reports on Aly's blog. There you will find Chocolate Box Soldiers on the march, doing H.G.W. proud.


Friday, December 8, 2017


Getting back into the swing of things after a prolonged period of distractions--after receiving the most recent order from Steve Barber Models, I was motivated to clear off the painting desk and get it in shape for operations again. Above, the new figures primed, put on sticks, and in progress (early progress). 

In my previous post, I showcased these figures as depicted on the Steve Barber website (in all their professionally painted glory).  In this post, dear readers, you can see them in raw form (you will note that I am squarely in the white-primer camp).  
Infantry Advancing in Kepis: these are destined to become one unit of "Red Caps" and one unit of "White Caps"

Infantry in Fur Caps: there will be one unit of these unique fellows.
The newly released officers advancing with sword will provide the leader figures for these new units. 
It is particularly gratifying to be working on figures that I commissioned (the infantry in kepis and the officer variants--the fellows in the fur caps are also a new release, but I didn't commission them).  It seems as though things will be settling down into a more normal pattern again (fingers crossed), and I'll be able to return to my usual routine of getting some painting done each day.  If that holds, I should be posting the finished product within two weeks.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017


 Hungarian Honved Infantry Advancing in Kepi (ERH14) from the Steve Barber website.

Work, Thanksgiving travel, and some upcoming travel for family issues have suppressed blog-worthy gaming activity recently. However, there is some news to report. I was pleasantly surprised during a recent visit to the Steve Barber website to find several of the figures that I had commissioned being offered: the much-anticipated Hungarian infantry in Kepi (above) and the Hungarian officer advancing with sword (below). As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in this post.
  Hungarian Honved Officer Advancing With Sword (ERH13) from the Steve Barber website.

These were among a few recent releases in the range (and there are more in the works, to include several more of my commissions). I promptly placed an order for the new infantry in kepi, along with the new officer variant. Of course, that wasn't all...

Hungarian Honved Infantry Advancing With Fur Hat (ERH16) from the Steve Barber website.

I couldn't resist adding these Hungarians in fur caps to the order, another nice addition to the line (although not commissioned by me).  All of these figures should help to kickstart my winter painting campaign, among other hobby activities. With these figures, I'm looking forward to adding a "red cap" and a "white cap" unit to my Honved forces, along with a unit in fur caps.

Another development was the recent release of the Transylvanian infantry...

Hungarian Transylvanian Infantry Advancing (ERH9) from the Steve Barber website: commissioned (and also expertly painted) by the Grey Herron

...interesting to compare the above figures with the conversions (below) that I had done to create the same prior to them becoming available (and prior to me knowing that they would be)...
 ...for the curious, I documented the production of my Transylvanian conversions in an earlier post.

 These figures should round out my Hungarian infantry, which, together with the Rifles and Transylvanians,  should present quite a colorful array when complete.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Above: An in-progress picture I took of a well thought out and innovative 30 Year's War game I was running at a local convention. Among the players at the table were veteran gamers who were versed in the arcane knowledge of 17th Century Warfare (you may notice some distortion in the lower right hand area of the above image).

Where am I going with this? Patience, dear reader.  For those who have been following this blog, you may recall the posting I did reporting on the major club game that I ran, Ramillies 1815, that had 20 players, a 20 foot main table flanked by 2, 18 foot approach tables, and enough 28mm Napoleonics to fill them.... novelty that I included in that game was toy telescopes.  These were the only means for players to spy out the opposing forces approaching from across the room...
 ...and they were next to useless. Nevertheless, this was half the attraction, and they were a hit.  In an email exchange after the game, I joked that the game had actually been an elaborate setup just to get 20 or so middle aged men to peer through toy telescopes on a Saturday morning.... 
...the more I thought about it, though, the more I came to realize that in my jest...
  ...I had stumbled upon an essential truth... 

  ...and that truth is that we are playing...

 ...even though we may be engaged in a sophisticated, provocative tactical problem, on a table strewn with historically accurate figures governed by rules systems that fulfill our demanding understandings of a historical period...
...underneath it all, this is what we're still really doing--if we are fortunate.  
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