Saturday, January 18, 2020


Northstar 1864 Danish Infantry in Shako

Greetings, dear readers.  In this post, we return to earth in the form of an infantry unit (as opposed to the steady diet of horse of late).  A combination of wishing to make my Danish contingent a bit more robust and the relatively recent release of a specialty set of figures in the Northstar line (above), caused me to produce a one-off unit: the Danish 18th Infantry.  The 18th retained the shako after the rest of the Danish infantry had gone to kepi.  
My Danish Infantry in Kepi: Converted Perry Union Infantry in Sack Coats

Truth be told, the 18th infantry are a bit of an anachronism.  The overall look of my Danes is more in keeping with the 1848 1st Schleswig Holstein War, the infantry in particular being in the earlier transitional uniform.  The 18th in their greatcoats are in keeping with the timeframe of the 2nd S-H War of 1864.  A minor niggle, and one that could easily be overlooked given the greatcoat (which transcends eras, really).  Anyway, what respectable miniature gamer would let such a thing stand in the way of adding such a unique unit to their force? (Not me, obviously!). Anyway, here is my study of how I rendered these figures (as usual, you may clix for BIG PIX).
 Like some of my other units, each of these stands delivers a small vignette in itself--an indulgence made possible by doing these small figure-count units. 

The Officer with raised sword arm (As shown with the Northstar Command set)
The sword arm of the officer was detached.  Experimenting, I was quite taken with the determined stride this figure delivers with the sword arm lowered (it couldn't have been that I got it upside down by mistake).  

 Bringing out the distinctive lower sleeve chevrons of Danish NCOs was one of those points of emphasis that this NCO figure seemed to call for.

I like to do a few extra figures on individual stands: these come in handy as markers or to represent pickets in some scenarios. 

These figures were a study in blue. My base for the distinctive Danish Dark Blue is Humbrol Matte Oxford Blue (104).  The greatcoats are Humbrol Matte Oxford Blue (104) highlighted first with Humbrol Matte Blue (25) followed by Matte Mid Blue (89) and then a lighter highlight of Humbrol Matte Aircraft Blue (65).  The trousers are Humbrol Matte World War 1 Blue (109) highlighted with Humbrol Matte Aircraft Blue (89) and then a touch of Model Master Flat Light Gray. Getting the pompoms to stand out against the black shakos presented a bit of a challenge.  Sticking with the Oxford Blue would have been too dark.  So I underpainted them black and then heavily highlighted them with Humbrol Matte Blue (25), which is a shade lighter and more vibrant than Oxford Blue. I then highlighted them with Humbrol Matte Aircraft Blue (65) and a touch of Model Master Flat Light Gray.  The shakos are flat black highlighted by Model Master Gunship Gray (a combination that I find works really well for things like black headgear and similar features). For those following along, these are enamels--so you kids don't try this at home!


Thursday, January 9, 2020


Northstar 1866 Prussian Dragoons

Although this is the first post of the new year, the subject matter reaches back to the last. These figures were among those shown in the October  "To Arms! To Arms" work in progress post and were the last of that batch to be completed (in the last weeks of 2019).  Being able to field a dragoon brigade of two regiments was among my plans for my Prussian cavalry (similar to the impetus for adding the second Northstar  Hussar).  The same slippery slope applied in this project: I already had a single regiment of Foundry Prussian dragoons, but I didn't want a brigade with mixed figure lines. So I decided to just go ahead and add two new regiments of the Northstar figs. I can still put the third (Foundry) regiment on the table as needs be; given that its lines are distinct from the Northstar figs, it would actually serve very well as a dragoon of one of the other German states (many had similar if not the same uniform).  But I digress.  Here is my study of these figures (as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX):
1st (Lithuanian) Dragoon Regiment.
2nd (Brandenburg) Dragoon Regiment
I decided that I'd have one regiment with trumpeter and one with standard bearer. 
Although not as challenging as the Prussian hussar shabraque edging, the double line edges on the dragoon saddle furniture took quite a bit of tending to. It's not much of an issue to get a nice parallel set of lines on a single figure, but getting a consistent pattern across multiple figures is another matter. It winds up being one of those inverse painting effects, something you expend extra effort on so that it doesn't get noticed.
For me, each set of figures tends to call for a different emphasis.  On these figures, it was bringing out the details of the strapping and equipment against the palette of the utilitarian dragoon uniform.
Although the 1st Dragoons have a standard bearer instead of a musician, I couldn't resist doing their trumpeter, too--so I added him as a specialty/command figure. 
The newly fielded Northstar Prussian dragoon brigade on parade.


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. 

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