Tuesday, September 30, 2014

And the Winner is...

After receiving many excellent entries, selecting a winner was very difficult.  In fact, many of the haikus really hit the nail on the head delivering a solid punch.  Some contestants focused on the wargaming philosophy theme while others focused on the Compendium theme.  Some participated in both!  I thank everyone who submitted an entry.  All were enjoyable and many prompted thought and reflection.

Did I mention selecting a winning entry was difficult?  Really too many excellent choices from which to choose.  Selecting one haiku was very challenging!
After considerable cogitating, I select the following haiku by Gonsalvo as the winning entry:

Dice roll, tin men fight
Spanning the sweep of all Time.
Superb Obsession!

Wargaming is, indeed, a "Superb Obsession" as Peter points out and I am guilty as charged.

Peter, for having the winning haiku, you will receive one hardcopy edition of Henry Hyde's Wargaming Compendium.  Of course, if you prefer, the Kindle version could be yours instead.


Now, for a few runners-up prizes.

My pick for the "Why I want the Compendium" theme, goes to Johnny Rosbif with his elegantly concise,
A compendium
Is all I need to master
An elusive art.

If the only thing needed to master the art of wargaming is the Wargaming Compendium then your request is answered. A Kindle version of the Wargaming Compendium is yours.

For being the most persistent entrant with four haikus, Bluebear Jeff wins his choice of either,
Wargaming Compendium Kindle Edition 
The Campaign of Naseby 1645

And finally, the first reader to leave a comment requesting a Kindle Edition of Wargaming Compendium will receive one!

Thanks to all for participating in the contest and especially for reading and contributing to my chronicle.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Napoleonics- 28mm Figure Comparison +2

Having recently completed a figure comparison of 28mm Napoleonic figures (see earlier review, here), I should not be surprised that that review was quickly made obsolete. Why?  I received a sample Britannia British Napoleonic figure from a fellow I have been buying Elite Miniatures from and a package from Front Rank arrived this past week loaded with new models.

To update the earlier comparison, both Britannia and Front Rank Reinforcement Pack (Front Rank RP) have been added to the line-up.
To my eye, the Britannia figure seems more on the caricature style of sculpting and the anatomy looks odd to me and quite chunky.  Head seems oversized compared to the length of arm and torso.  Also, the legs look too short but that could be an illusion because of the deeply bent knees.  With knees bent that deeply and head and pack so large, the poor chap may not be able to stand under such weight!  He might fit in ok with Front Rank and Elite since they are on the chunky side but might look odd with the others.

The package from Front Rank contained one of the Reinforcement packs of French infantry in bicorne.  Really terrific figures with crisp detail and good anatomical structure.  These are exquisite figures.  The anatomy is better than some earlier Front Rank figures and the sculpting style is very close to Paul Hick's Brigade Games' figures.  I have been eyeing these Reinforcement packs for awhile now and finally decided to give them a try.  I am glad I did!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

State of the Painting Desk

State of the painting desk is cluttered, but fully engaged, as usual.  More 28mm Napoleonics are crossing the painting desk this weekend.  On the table are two units of Frenchmen in progress.
First, in the foreground, are 16 figures to be fielded as a battalion of French line infantry plus one mounted officer.  Figures are Elite Miniatures which I picked up at a bargain price.  No parade ground troops here.  All are in campaign dress and look to have been in the field for quite awhile.  Elite Miniatures have a distinct sculpting style and I suppose you either like them or you do not.  To me, they have a certain character and I like them.  Elite are sculpted in the chunky style and fit in most closely with some of the Front Rank figures.

Second, and in the background of the photo, are eight Front Rank French dragoons.  These eight horsemen will muster out as two squadrons of the 18th.  Nice figures and these are the second set of eight dragoons to be fielded for the project.

Once the Minwax stain cures, basing will begin.

With these figures nearing  completion, what is next on the painting desk?  I think I will stick with the French theme and push across a handful of 15mm French mortar teams for the Narvik project and four French guns and crew for the 1799 Suvorov project.

Of course, plans may change and I would enjoy finishing out my replay of the Arroyo con Pollo scenario begun some time ago.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Old Glory German Paratroops

The Narvik project has certainly been on a back-burner for a long time.  No games using this collection in longer than I can remember (I could look it up) and very little painting activity.  The beginning of the year saw the addition of British mortars, AT guns, and a company of infantry.  Since then, nothing.

Well, my recent trip to the fjords of Alaska got me thinking about Norway which led to thoughts on the "Battles at the Top of the World" which led to a rekindling of interest in the project.  Perhaps this is a corollary to the Butterfly Effect?  Probably a good thing that I do not get out more!

Since German paratroops were present in the Norwegian campaign and only one company can presently muster for service, why not field a second?  Why not, indeed!

Off the painting desk are a handful of 15mm Old Glory paratroops complete with support weapons.  In a painting mishap, I lost the 81mm mortar tube during staining and the tube was replaced by a small length of coat hanger.  Not having the original tube dimension, I guessed as to suitable size.  For me, it works.

Having a number of books on the campaign, I may dig out a small action from one to recreate on the table.  In the last game using the collection, the guys were coerced into trying the rules, 1943.  I recall them not being too enamored with the system but the level of abstraction produced an enjoyable game (to me, anyway).  I thought they worked better than Battlefront but I was likely alone in that assessment.  The collection should get a dusting and given another chance on the field of battle even if only solo.   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Books Incoming from eBay.

Over the years, I have found that late summer is an excellent time to pick off a few bargains from eBay.  Why does late summer yield such inexpensive treasures?  My own theory is that viewership is lowest during the dog days of August.  With less competition, bargains on some items can still be had.

What did I pick up?
First up is a copy of G.W. Jeffrey's, The Napoleonic Wargame.  This is the 1974 edition making it a contemporary to Crane's Tricolor reviewed earlier (Tricolor review).  I have read about this set of rules often but have never seen it.  Why not pick it up for a fiver and see for myself?

Second, is an Osprey on The Samurai by Bryant and McBride.  Fantastic color plates by McBride along with a handy color plate of common armor lacing styles.  Just what I need!

Third, is another Osprey on the Campaign of Naseby 1645 by Asquith and Gilder.  This is an oversize booklet by Osprey standards and contains campaign and battle details on the Naseby campaign.  Included in the centerfolds is a series of wargame photos from Peter Gilder's collection.  Very nice!  Since the booklet is headered, Osprey Wargames 1, this suggests that there may have been other booklets in this series.  If so, I have yet to see them.

Finally, is a book I have been on the lookout for for some time.  That is, Epstein's, Prince Eugene at War 1809.  The book details the activities between Prince Eugene and Archduke John during the 1809 campaign.  Having fought the Battle of Raab on gaming table twice, I have been interested in getting a good account of the battle.  My hope is that Epstein's book will offer that.  I see the book for sale infrequently and often for hefty price tags.  I picked this copy up for under $20 shipped and thought it a bargain.  A quick check of AbeBooks shows that a copy is for sale for about the same price.  Oh well.

I picked up a copy of the boardgame from S&T108, Remember the Maine!  This might be useful either as campaign aid or simply to provide historical background.  Given the scope of the game, it looks like either the land or naval campaigns can be recreated. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog Contest - Fast Draw

"I hope this handgun is a nine-shooter!"
Still one week remaining in the Haiku contest.  With no activity in a few days, time to mix it up a bit.

What does that mean?  Well, how about a "Fast Draw" for a Kindle version of Hyde's Wargaming Compendium?  I have the Kindle version in addition to the hard copy and it is quite handy having it available on the iPad.

Anyone who has submitted at least one Haiku gets one entry in this random drawing.  Bluebear Jeff with four Haiku receives four entries out of the 12 received thus far.

Sometimes the odds are not favorable but you succeed despite the odds.

And the winner is:   Michael Peterson!

Congratulations, Michael!  If you can send me your email address, I'll send details on how to collect.  If you do not want the Kindle version, let me know and I will draw again.

Thanks for playing!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

SAW U.S. Volunteer Infantry in 25mm

Work at the painting desk slowed considerably this week.  "Slowed" is an understatement.  "Stopped in its tracks" is more like it.  After having spent a week on vacation, I returned only to be hit by a debilitating flu with complications.  With very infrequent and short sessions, a second unit of U.S. Volunteer infantry makes its way off the workstation. 

The figures are Old Glory and bring the total U.S. infantry to 60.  I may be getting close to giving a small SAW game a try.  I plan to continue working SAW figures into the painting queue and a unit of U.S. cavalry will be finding their way into the queue soon.

The volunteers are wearing a mix of trousers but all have the ubiquitous blue shirt.

Next off the painting desk will likely be a large handful of 15mm WWII German paratroops.  The 15mm WWII project has not seen much (any) activity since the beginning of 2014 so why not give it a boost?  What prompted a return to this project?  Well, Peter Pig recently held a sale and I was sorely tempted.  Upon reflection figured I ought to burn down the pile a bit before bringing in new recruits.  What? I passed sale?  It must be my weakened state of mind and body.

BTD USA is holding a 50% discount sale too and I thought I had made it without buying anything.  I received an email, however, this morning stating that the sale had been extended through Monday.  Oh, the pressure...    

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Year Anniversary Contest

Yes, the Year Two anniversary of my entry into the blogosphere approaches.  For me, the last two years have been quite rewarding.  Chronicling my hobby activities has provided an incentive and focus towards my hobby-time efforts.  Well, anyone who has read the eclectic nature of my various projects may be wondering, "Focus?  You must be kidding." OK.  Scratch "focus."  Replace with "dedication."

The most rewarding benefit is the number of friendships gained through these communications.  To borrow from 70's rocker Ted Nugent, we all need good friends (and a bottle of wine).
Ted Nugent's Good Friends and Bottle of Wine

Reading the lyrics below, these words might ring familiar to many wargamers.  We all know what others must endure within our hobby, right?  Going crazy, hazy vision?  Certainly, maladies for the painters and the button counters among us.  The last stanza contains the kernel of tabletop wargaming, don't you agree?  I do!

I think I know your condition
Yes I've been down that road before
Maybe it's just superstition
But there's one thing that I know for sure

They say that I'm going crazy
Well it's true, sometimes I want to scream
Maybe my vision gets hazy
But there's one thing I know that I need

It's true that life has it moments
Sometimes up and sometimes down
Identify your opponents
And gather all your good friends around

While I may not be able to produce something of such Nugentian clarity, perhaps at least one reader can take on this challenge?

Challenge?  What is the challenge?

With the last twelve months featuring numerous posts detailing the advancement of my Samurai Battles project, how about a Haiku contest?

The Prize:
A copy of Henry Hyde's excellent tome, Wargaming Compendium.  Henry's work is THE book I wish I had available to me as a reference when I first was drawn into wargaming.  Life would have been much simpler.

The Rules:
1. Theme 1: The meaning or essence of wargaming to you.
2. Theme 2: Why Wargaming Compendium should be yours!
3. Stick to the traditional three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables each.
4. Enter as many times as you like.
5. If your Haiku was inspired by one of the already posted Haikus, list your inspiration.
6. Being a public Follower may influence your entry's ranking.

Contest will close 30SEP2014 and there may be more than one prize awarded.

Yes, I still have my 1978 LP of Nugent's Weekend Warrior.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

SAW U.S. Volunteer Infantry in 25mm

Painting progress continues on with the Americans for the Spanish-American War project.  Saturday's output sees the first of the U.S. Volunteer Infantry.  These fifteen figures comprise half a bag of Old Glory figures.  The other half bag is on the painting desk undergoing a similar treatment.  This unit, like its Regular infantry before it, are awaiting the issuance of colors.  

While still early on in the project, attention will need to be turned towards rules.  My current inclination is to dust off Fields of Honor and give them a few trials.  Fields of Honor contains basic armies for many of the 19th Century conflicts.  Unfortunately, the SAW was not one of them.  Still, I should have the data needed to construct the combatants.  I have many fond memories of playing FoH years ago and still remains one of my favorite colonial rules.  Today I rarely see the rules mentioned.  I will set forth the basic mechanisms of the rules in a later post. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Libyan Heavy Infantry - Renegade

Back to the painting desk after a week away.  Even though the weather has been pleasant, it felt equally pleasant to sit down to the painting desk after a brief hiatus.

This time marching off from the painting table is a thirteen figure Libyan heavy infantry stand for Impetvs.  Figures are Renegade with the exception of the officer which, I believe, is Aventine.  Even scoring the transfers before applying to the very curved shields did not solve the bunching problem I had in earlier units.

With Renegade on indefinite holiday, not enough heavy infantry remain to field another complete unit.  There are still a few handfuls of Renegade skirmishers to paint and field for the Carthaginians but that is it.  I also need to find some suitable Carthaginian cavalry that can be fielded alongside the huge Renegade horse. 

The 28mm Punic Wars project has not seen much activity thus far in 2014.  In fact, only two other units have crossed the painting table this year.  I guess that means the project may be stabilizing.  Either that or other projects have elbowed it out of a higher priority.  Nevertheless, it is satisfying to make another addition to the project.

It would be fun to get these guys onto the table for a game. With cooler temperatures on the horizon, gaming activities will soon switch to those of the tabletop variety.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hey! Why the Silence?

It has been quiet around here.  Why?  Well, I spent the last week plying the waters of Southeast Alaska exploring the towns, fjords, and glaciers of the region and learning a bit about its history and culture.

On the wargaming front, my intention was to work on a rules review while away but that goal came to naught as I was quite occupied with activities at hand.  I did manage to read Theodore Roosevelt's gripping account of his exploits during the Spanish-American War in Rough Riders.  What an enjoyable and fascinating read!  I return rejuvenated to press on with the Span-Am project.

Before heading for home, we stopped in Victoria, Canada for one evening.  One objective was to revisit Miniatures World adjacent to the magnificent Empress Hotel.  I last visited Victoria and Miniatures World about 20 years ago so I was due for a memory refresher.

Miniatures World houses a display of dioramas some of which are military themed.  Many of the displays were familiar and brought back fond memories of my earlier trip but new exhibits were on display as well.  With battlefields in miniature, model railroad displays, miniature operating sawmills, dollhouses, and more, there is something of interest to almost everyone.

A sampling of the exhibits follow:

Normal activities resume and a Two-Year Blog Anniversary contest is in the works.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Napoleonic Spanish Officer

This solitaire Spanish officer has been lingering in The Lead Pile without any like-minded Spanish Napoleonics.  I liked the look of the figure so added him onto a Brigade Games' order when I was filling out the ranks of British and French infantry.
He is really exquisitely modeled but cannot seem to find a place in my current Peninsular War project.  Rather than leave him unpainted, I figured why not paint and base the officer?  Perhaps he could be used as a special character figure in one of the games?  Perhaps add a mounted figure and make a two figure command stand?

Of course, this will likely lead to fielding a small Spanish contingent.