Saturday, June 30, 2018


Dr Nicholas Murray's Presentation at the US National World War One Museum and Memorial, July 13, 2015
I've been doing a bit of travel lately, so not much material to report as far as hobby/gaming. However, I thought I'd share this excellent presentation on the evolution of warfare to 1914 by Dr Nicholas Murray (the entire presentation runs just over an hour). Dr Murray's references to the wars in the 50 years leading up to the Great War should provide insights for anyone with an interest in the post-Napoleonic, Pre-Great War era. I found it to be an excellent mix of overview and analysis, delivering clear points about multiple levels, from industrial capacity to operational challenges.  Well worth the time, if you have it (sleep is over-rated). 

This video comes from a gold mine of resources that I've recently come across (and which has been sucking up much of my time): the US World War One Memorial and Museum website, specifically its Youtube Channel where all the presentations given at its symposia are availble, plus other content.  So whether or not you find Dr. Nicholas of interest, I think you might find something of use among these other materials. Warning: investigate at your own risk: it could be habit forming.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


Following on from the previous WIP post, here is the finished Prussian command stand vignette, based on and inspired by the 1866 Prussian Army. Above, Prinz Friederich Karl confers with an Adjutant of the German General Staff. As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.
On these higher level command stands, I include dice frames, in case I need to do some form of command tracking. I also put a small metal square on the base which allows me to mount a flag as a bit of eye candy or to signify some special status (there is small rare earth magnet under the flag base). The above flag is from the excellent GMB DesignsTo complete the above command vignette, I used the General Staff Adjutant in the excellent Great War Miniatures 1914 German High Command set . The 1866 and 1914 uniforms are close enough that it is mainly a matter of color scheme to represent the earlier period.
Having acquired the 1914 high command set, I couldn't pass up on the splendid general officers in overcoats (above).  I painted these with only a vague idea of how I might use them.  However, once done, I decided to put them together as a bonus command stand. 
Now I have another high level Prussian command stand if I need one, which is what I tell myself.  The reality is that I just had to create some sort of display for these splendid figures (I hope you're happy, Aly!).  It's not as if this hobby is about utility, anyway. 

But I digress. In the process of putting this post together, I've also gathered some shots to put together another post illustrating my figure basing scheme, which some have asked for.  I hope to put together a report on that later this summer. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Returning to the painting desk after a hiatus of several months, I am getting back into production with a modest project--but one that involves a conversion (what else?). In this post, as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.
The idea for this project came about whilst poking about looking for additional likely command figures for my 1866/mid century Prussians.  I stumbled across the above Great War Miniatures 1914 German Army Hussar Command Figure, which struck me as familiar... the above-pictured Prince Frederick-Charles of Prussia, commander of the First Prussian Army in 1866.  He was a general of cavalry and as you can see, wore the uniform of the 3rd (Brandenburg) Hussars. Quite snappy.  [Image from the must-have Armies of Bismarck's Wars, by Bassett-Powell].
Thus, I have embarked on another army command vignette for my mid-century Prussians, starting with a conversion to represent Prinz Friederich-Karl...
 ...I shaved down the figure's boots to put him in trousers...
...I added beard and whiskers with a bit of green stuff...
 ...and I replaced the very modern pistol with a telescope, as in the illustration.

I'm working on the other figures in the command vignette, which are coming along nicely.  A short bit of business travel will interrupt progress for a few days, but I hope to have a finished product in fairly short order.  Until then...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Back in March, there was a post on Ross Mac's excellent Battle Game of the Month Blog recounting the history of his Blue Guards figures. This caused me to start thinking about the lineage of figures in my collection (funny how we pick up threads from other blogs: one of the great things about the blogging community, I think). Given that my wargaming history was interrupted when I was commissioned into the US Army in 1981, there is a break in continuity in my collections as well. Before then, I had come to own a substantial number of 15mm Napoleonics (French, Saxon, and Russians). After graduating from college and getting commissioned, my collection and associated terrain wound up doing nothing more than taking up a closet. After about 10 years of this, I finally dumped them.  As unsentimental as I was about getting rid of the collection, something made me hang on to two reminders, which are all that is left of the original collection.  Upon starting up in gaming again, I eventually rebased them (they were originally on plain green bases, which was the standard back then), and now here they are, on parade on the interwebs, which wasn't even something one could imagine back then. As usual, you may clix pix for Big Pix.
First up is the Army Command Stand, now appropriately sized for 2/3 scale Volley and Bayonet.  This originally was on a much larger square stand, which had no actual role on the table then.  In big games, I would plunk it down at some prominent place on the table where it would be ever-visible to the allies (although I eventually came to own Russians, I was in the French camp then--in those days, you picked sides).  The figures are mainly Minifigs, with a Ral Partha aide de camp (the rather oversized looking fellow pointing in the hussar rig).   Our collections back then were almost exclusively Minifigs (first and then second generation). 

The other figures that take pride of place as the oldest in my collection were inspired by the above illustration in the Funcken Arms And Uniforms Of The Napoleonic Wars (Part 2)
...not only are these among the oldest of my figures, but they are also literally the last ones I painted before going in the Army (so they have a double resonance).  After these, it would be something on the order of 22 years until I painted another figure. Again, the band had no actual role in the rules.  I would plunk these down whenever the Imperial Guard was on the table, and they would lead the march whenever the Guard moved--we did alot of that sort of thing then.
Looking at them, I realized that my current mania for modifying figures is not new. I was modifying figures back then, too. The drum major is actually a marching infantry officer figure with a head swap from a French Marshall (I believe it was Massena). The baton was made by adding a glob of white glue to the top of his sword. The sappers were two Old Guard porte aigle figures: you can see the original version at the back of the command post stand. I created the aprons and gauntlets with putty, which I then simply painted over.
I painted these with the naked eye back then, which is another testament to them coming from another era! On top of that, these were done with enamels (which I still use--showing that I'm from another era).  The enamels have held up very well over the years (as opposed to me). Other than a bit of touch up, this is the original paint (I didn't varnish back then). 

I have once again put together 15mm French and Russians (and Prussians), in addition to my 28mm Napoleonics.  There are many in my current gaming group who have 15mm Napoleonics as well, which we used to play quite regularly (2/3 scale Volley and Bayonet). So, the command post, after all those years, has had a role on the table, and the band has also once again held a spot on the table with the (new) Old Guard figures. What's old is new again.

So much for this trip down memory lane...

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