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.  
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