Saturday, December 28, 2019


Feldmutzkopf looks back on the Meanderings of this last calendar year.  

For return readers of this blog, you will have seen references to my painting method, the hallmark of which is neither speed nor volume, and my patience with painting does wax and wane, I have to admit.  Although there are times when I will to take a short break from painting, I generally like to have something in progress that I spend an hour or so per day working on, usually with a longer painting session at the end to complete.  2019 was no exception.  For me this was a productive year. All told, I painted 160 figures  (28mm all) as opposed to the 103 I painted in 2018.  Of that modest total, 45 were cavalry (counted as 2 figures each), 55 were infantry or gunners (one figure each), and 15 were cannon (counted as 1 figure each).  Once again, this year's painting involved a large proportion of horse (which doesn't help with speed or volume).  This year there were also specialty projects that involved more time and effort than others in the painting list, like the candy striped Hungarian cannonMongol Specialty Figures, and two units of Prussian hussars
This year I managed 36 posts, falling short of my original intent of posting once per week: such is life.  I think that for me one post per week is still a good aim to keep in mind.  I think in 2020 I could do a better job in posting more consistently by sprinkling in some shorter posts between the more "project-like" posts that I tend to wind up doing. Given that this blog is now in its 3rd year, I think it's safe to say that although the pace of posting may vary I have found an approach that is sustainable, something I think all bloggers wonder about when first launching blogs ("Can I keep this up?").  As has been mentioned by others, blogging and being part of the blogging community is an integral part of the hobby experience: I think that this is the key ingredient to sustaining a blog--and in turn the blog helps to sustain non-blog hobby activity.  It all goes together (or does in the case of those who blog). 
I picked up 3 followers this year: I started with 49 and now am at 52.  I am gratified to have cracked 50, which seemed to have been an almost fixed barrier that I was stuck at.  Once again, I have to thank fellow bloggers for adding my blog to their blog lists so that it pops up when updated.  Statistics indicate that the most consistent source of visits to this blog is from other blogs.
The largest achievement of the year was finishing my Baroque Battles system and adding it to my content pages.  I also managed a major update to my 19th Century Rules page (several updates to the VnB variant).  The good news is that despite having only been active since March, the Baroque Battles page has reached 1176 views, second only to the Nine Years War page (which has 2468 views, but which has been active for several years).  A bit less encouraging is that this flurry of activity on the Baroque Battles page has not translated into a battle report or any other feedback on whether anyone has tried the system or given it a good look.  Then again, I haven't heard much about any of the other systems that I've posted, which also have good numbers of views.  I was thinking that being a gridded system that BB might be a bit more accessible and thus invite a different sort of response. I take this in stride, though. Based on what I've read on other people's blogs who have posted rules and similar materials this is not unusual--so I don't take it personally.  The fact that it has so many views does indicate interest, which I can take as an analogue to book sales (hey, it works for me!).  It would be nice if there were stats available for the number of downloads as well.  I have to say that I use my own habits to inform my read of things, too.  I will download materials that I'm very interested in but then not get around to studying them or putting them into use after that--and that's not just free stuff: the same goes for rules that I pay for, too, come to think of it! Oh well, I enjoy coming up with these systems and blogging provides me a means to share them, which is also gratifying.     
Based on my appreciation of the resource that I have found on other blogs, I wanted my blog to also be a hobby resource as well (aside from my "resourceful" blather, that is).  Towards this end, I have "Wargaming and Hobby" links on the left side of my blog and "Interesting and Useful" links on the right side, and I'm always adding to them.  Among this year's additions to the "Wargaming" links, I would recommend checking out the Fun With Army Men page with its simple rules (and variants) and many resource links at the bottom.  When you're done with that, you might check out John Cooper's Website: a treasure trove of game design graphics, to include the SPI Icon library. Among the "Interesting and Useful" links I added two excellent map resources:  The Third Mapping Survey of Austria Hungary (1910)--clicking on one of the mapsheets in the graphic will  bring it up; and the Topographic Maps Online in the University of Minnesota Borchert Map Library.  Looking over the Mapping Survey of Austria Hungary in particular brings on "campaign fever" for my 1866 Austrians and Prussians, and also my "revolting" Hungarians 😁.
 ON TO 2020
Although 2019 has presented some personal and family distractions that diffused attention to the hobby at times,  like "The Dude" in the Big Lebowski I have abided.  I'm looking forward to another year of painting, gaming, and blogging in 2020. 


Thursday, December 26, 2019


At first glance, it may look like a box of cigars...
Post holiday greetings, dear readers, on this Boxing Day 2019. Although I did not rake in a load of gaming booty among the presents this year (which were, nonetheless, splendid), I did happen to receive the above. Cigar-box like it may seem (in handsome wood, no less)...
...but  closer inspection reveals that it contains a different sort of treat: booze and chocolates! (A holiday favorite of mine). My wonderful wife normally gets me a small package or two of these treats to have around the house among the holiday confections; this year she came up spades with this!
In addition to looking forward to savoring the tidbits over the next few weeks, I am also anticipating how I might us this handsome (and handy) box for hobby purposes (Chocolate Box Wars, indeed!).

Next post will most likely be the obligatory end-of--year summary.  

Until then...

Monday, December 23, 2019





Please enjoy a 3.5 minute interlude with the Dresden Choir singing Silent Night (Stille Nacht) in the original German. No translation necessary to enjoy the experience. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


Scan of 10th Hussar officer from the author's collection (Sturm-Zigaretten GMBH Dresden)

In this post, dear readers, we cycle back to our Oct 29 WIP post "To Arms, To Arms!" in order to shew the completion of a unit found there: the Prussian 10th (Magdeburg) Hussars.

Having added the Northstar Prussian Leib Hussars to my collection earlier, when I saw that Northstar had expanded their 1866 hussar line to include figs for other (non-totenkopf) units, I decided that I had to add another unit of these figures.  I was originally thinking of  the ever popular brown-and yellow Silesian Hussars (Hussar Rgt 4), but I already have those among my Napoleonics.  I therefore decided to instead go with the less represented 1oth (Magdeburg) Hussars, an equally colorful unit in their distinctive dark green uniforms with yellow details.  I particularly liked the combination of the yellow "wolves teeth" and red border on the saddle furniture (challenging though it was to render).  
The 10th Hussar Regiment does not have the lineage of the first five Prussian hussar regiments that stretch back to Frederick the Great, but it has an impressive resume stemming from the Befreiungskriege (1813/14) onwards--so it is very much a distinguished unit of the wars of the mid-century.  It began as the Elbe National Cavalry Regiment and participated in the Waterloo campaign with the IV Prussian Armeekorps (being engaged at Wavre). It was then incorporated into the regular Prussian Army as the 10th (Magdeburg) Hussars and participated in all the major wars and campaigns up to and including the Great War.  Interestingly, it was represented among the German East Asian Expeditionary Corps during the Boxer Rebellion.  Here is my study of how I rendered this unit (as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX):
These figures are in coveralls whereas the Northstar Leib Hussars are in boots: a minor difference (other than the headgear: these have the bandeu as opposed to the Totenkopf badge)
When doing the earlier Leib Hussars, I cracked the code on the detailed strapping and equipment on these sculpts (fore-warned is fore-armed). 

The Magdeburg Hussars take their place next to the Leib Hussars.
 Given the time of year that they were completed and the green and red color combination, I think these will be nicknamed the "Christmas Tree Hussars"!✨

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


The newest addition to my Post-Napoleonic/Chocolate Box Wars collection:  Northstar 1864 Danish Dragoons.

Travel, the recent Thanksgiving holiday, and life in general may have slowed blogging, but there has been hobby progress.  In this post, dear readers, I follow up on my To Arms, To Arms! post of Oct 29--with the first unit among those being prepped there to be completed (others should be completed--fingers crossed--prior to the Yule).  In this post, as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX...
 Austrian 1866 Dragoons Converted to Represent Red Coated Danish Dragoons
The Danes were my first foray into post-Napoleonic forces. At that time, Northstar did not offer any Danish cavalry.  Thus, I converted Northstar 1866 Austrian Dragoons to represent Danish Dragoons (in the earlier red-coated Danish dragoon kit).  Although pre-blog, there is a post on TMP outlining this project.  Fast forward to the completion of my other major contingents (Prussians, Austrians, Hungarians...) and I realized that my Danes could use some updating, specifically in the cavalry department, which consisted of three regiments: the aforementioned single regiment of dragoons, the Danish Guard Hussar, and the Danish Horse Guard .  The prompt to take action came when I saw that Northstar had updated their 1864 line to include Danish Dragoons.  Here is my study of these figs:
The sculpts are in the less colorful later uniform and wearing the greatcoat typical of the 1864 campaign.  I do think that the helmet with the steel fittings is a rather smart feature of the later uniform.
Although depictions of this uniform vary, they generally show a steel/grayish light blue uniform with no color differentiation between the uniform, greatcoat, and saddle furniture (very unique in that way). To reflect the color, I used Humbrol 157 Matte Azure Blue, a diluted wash of black, and then a fairly "heavy" highlight of Humbrol 89 Matte Mid Blue. I took some license with he saddle furniture and used a slightly darker shade of blue to create some separation between the rider and furniture.  When I tried a historically correct rendition with them in the same color, it left the figures looking unfinished.  So this became one of those touches that I  deliberately got "wrong" in order for the figures to look "right." 

As usual, the Northstar Sculpts have details that take closer examination (and sharp eyes) to appreciate--like the van dyke facial hair on the command figure (left). Although under gaming circumstances, nobody will probably ever see this, I know it's there and that's what matters, I suppose.
The Danes can now can field a proper Dragoon Brigade... part of a proper Danish Cavalry division. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Mid-battle view from behind the Hungarian Division Command Stand.

This slightly delayed post, dear readers, is a quick battle report on a recent game set in the Hungarian Revolt (1848/49) between the Austrians and Hungarians.  The object of the game was to exercise a two-stand variant of my VnB 19th Century Battalion Scale rules. This variant, with two stand infantry units, is suitable for smaller level games: roughly a division to division plus a side (whereas the base system using single stand units can handle corps sized battles).  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in this report. I would recommend that you read Mark D's and AJ's battle reports as well on their excellent blogs.
The table as seen from behind the Austrian start position, with the starting brigades in their deployment areas.  For this game, I took the Hatvan Scenario and cut it down to a division (+) per side on a smaller table. It was tossed together, so I went with a minimalist layout without much "garnish" to jazz up the terrain. Each side had two objective areas (circled in yellow and marked on the table with a cobblestone template--which was not considered defensible terrain, just as markers to delineate the areas).  If one side ended it's turn with one of its objective areas threatened, defined as within range and line of sight (musket or artillery) of an enemy unit, then all units on that side would have to withdraw 6" in their next turn, and afterwards could not move farther away from the closest friendly objective until the objective that was in danger was no longer threatened.  If a side's turn ended and both its areas were under threat, then automatic victory for the other side.  I recommend these simple victory conditions for anyone looking for a quick game that organically causes players to  maintain a coherent battle line and respond to enemy breakthroughs (or threats to breakthrough). Each side started with a brigade on the table for the first two turns, with one brigade of the player's choice coming on between the objective areas per turn after that (with Division command and artillery coming in with any command).  This game used a new multi-stand variant of my VnB 19th Century Battalion Scale Reference Sheet.
Mark D, of Mark D's Gaming Site, played the part of the Austrian. The Austrian 1st Brigade at start, along with Austrian Chief of Staff.
AJ, of AJ's Wargaming Blog, played the part of the Hungarians.  The Hungarian 1st Brigade at start, along with the Hungarian Chief of Staff. 
Both players drifted to the flank with their initial brigades (the Hungarian right and Austrian left, respectively) and a very interesting brigade-level chess match ensued, with the cavalry squadrons on both side mixing it up (with the Austrian Uhlans and Frewilliger Jager battalion eventually getting the worst of it).
Out on the end of the line, a half battalion of  Hungarian rifles took up residence in the farmstead on their side of the line (seen in the distance) while the Austrians threw a half battalion of Grenzers into the orchard on theirs (in the foreground).  Things would escalate here as both sides committed more half battalions to contest the orchard.  In the distance, the Austrian Uhlans and Hungarian Volunteer hussars mix it up.
The first follow on brigades arrive, the Austrian and Hungarian 2nd brigades (both accompanied by Division Artillery and Command).
With its grenadiers visible behind the line, the Austrian 3rd Brigade marches on. The Austrian Freiwilliger Jager battalion (see in the foreground) had been reduced to one strength point in the early fighting. They would give up their place in the line and take up a position in the town on the extreme left of the Austrian position.
Both sides extend the line as more forces arrive and things start shaping up into a proper battle. For those familiar with VnB, in this variant, battalions are two stands and show that they are stationary by going into line (the "columns" are not actually mass columns, but are battalions operating "in depth"--or "normal" in VnB terms).  Half battalions are single stands (which go stationary in the traditional way, with a marker), and cavalry has the option of deploying as two-stand "regiments" or splitting strength points up into single stand "squadrons."
In the orchard out on the Austrian left/Hungarian Right, two Austrian Grenzer half battalions and a half battalion of Kaiser Jagers are more than holding their own against the German Legion (half battalion) and Hungarian half battalions of Grenzers and Rifles... 
...but the Hungarian 3rd Brigade, led by the elite Red Cap battalion, is marching to the right...
..and crashes the party, hitting the Kaiserjagers.  The Hungarians would go on to push the Austrians out of the orchard...
 ...after which, the 3rd brigade would continue on into the end of the Austrian main battle line...
...and achieve a breakthrough!  Austrian commander Mark had judiciously expended his command points to reduce his battered left wing brigade's waver level, and so this reverse was not as drastic as it might have been.  Although worn down, his white-coats still may be able to hang on for a few more turns here.
Meanwhile, on the other flank, the lines of cavalry face off. Above left: the Austrian cavalry brigade. Above right: the combined Hungarian cavalry. 
In a display of reckless elan, the Hungarian cavalry charges down the line (left), supported by the advance of the Hungarian National Guard infantry battalion (right),which draws the fire of the Austrian infantry away from the Hungarian hussars. Moving to close range, the Hungarian National Guard unit would have to check morale.  Being a variable morale unit, it would have to first check to find its morale grade: this day, it proved as steady as the regulars, coming in at 5.
...although the dashing Hungarians would take out the Austrian cavalry half-battery and recoil the Austrian Uhlans, the Austrian Cuirassiers repulsed their attackers with loss and the Uhlans would be poised to counter charge in their turn. A mixed result compared to the Hungarian 3rd Brigade's assault on the other end of the line. 

Obligatory view of Hungarian candy-striped guns. Batteries are two strength points while half batteries were represented with one strength point.

At this point, the game was called--a predictably inconclusive outcome given a balanced scenario played by two veteran VnB gamers. However, the aims of the afternoon had been achieved. I had exercised my system and gathered with friends to play with toy soldiers on a Saturday afternoon: result! Thanks to AJ and Mark D!

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