Monday, July 6, 2015

Winding up the Windmills

One of my projects for this weekend was to complete the two Windmills that I scratch built. I covered the basic design and construction previously.. Picking up from there, I added details to the doors (using small balsa wood strips), a rickety porch and ladder for access (again using balsa wood, glue, and pins to hold it all together), and painted the new additions.

I deliberately made the "porch" lighter wood, suggesting recent construction (replacement of an earlier one, more likely). 

This is the smaller of the two "Post Mills", so I used the smaller barrels on the base.

I also added some "grass" clumps, flowers, and... 

- a dog to the base (from the former Mega Miniatures Dogs line).. 

This is the second, taller Windmill. Same mix of items on the base, but all slightly different.

I left the vanes of the mill unglued to the windshaft for easier transport and storage. The vanes will  most definitely turn!

The (Renedra) large barrels were used here. I used thinned white glue to add light brown flocking under the mill, where there would be a lot of shade. That was applied prior to adding the scenic items to the base. 

"Geo Hex Green" flock was then added to the rest of the base (this contains a fair amount of yellow). again using thinned white glue. 

Finally, I painted the edges of the base a light, grass green color (Delta CC Seminole Green).

Now for ma little natural terrain! As previously noted, we spent the preceding weekend in Vermont, friends of ours who own a house in Woodstock kindly having us up as their guests. We left home about 4 PM on Friday, and arrived at their house around 8 PM. We enjoyed some snacks and  superb Margaritas on their porch, which overlooks the historic town and the Rockefeller-Billings National Park.

The next day we set out on our bikes; our friends are avid cyclists, but in deference to us they chose a fairly flat ride, most or which was on this unpaved road along the Ottaquechee River (usually just referred to as the Quechee River). The Empress poses for a shot while our friends were helping another, hitherto unknown rider, change a bicycle tire.  

We rode about 10 miles to our destination - The Simon Pearce Mill and Glassworks. the white structure jutting out from the Mill is a porch which has a restaurant overlooking the River. The glassblowing in progress in the basement was fascinating to watch. They make gorgeous (but very pricey) hand blown glassware of all kinds, on sale in the shop on the main level. The entire affair is powered by their own hydroelectric generator, built in 1942, and later moved from Nova Scotia to Quechee, Vermont. It too was fascinating to watch in operation.  

The Quechee river just below the Mill. 

The covered bridge just below the Mill, as seen from the balcony at the Glassworks. The bridge looks new, because the old one was swept away by the incredible flooding of the Quechee river that followed Hurricane Irene in August, 2011. Imagine how much water was flowing through here to do that!

The dam at the Mill; water from here flows into the sub basement to power the generator. 

We rode back, slightly uphill, 10 miles to Woodstock, and had lunch at the Farmer's Market, and then drove top Silver Lake in Barnard, Vermont. W put in here opposite the country store. The gals swam the length of the (very clean) lake and back, while we two guys kayaked all the way around the lake (around the point off to the left is a lot more lake, and a state Park), and then swam. My wife swam competitively through college, and is an amazing swimmer! I'm not bad myself, but I've never been able to keep up with her for more than 20 yards!

After we got back to Woodstock, we relaxed a bit, had dinner at an out of the way quirky school bus restaurant (great food, and very reasonably priced), and had ice cream in town. Just as we walked back from town, the rain that had been threatening all day finally began - good timing!

It rained very heavily overnight and the following morning, but slacked off notably after about 10 AM. Thereupon we drove to the Sugarbush Farm outside of Woodstock, and sampled (and bought to take home with us) some of the excellent cheese and maple syrup made on premises there. 

We then drove to the Quechee Gorge, seen above. As it was raining lightly, we decided not to hike down the trail to the floor of the gorge. We did stop of at the nearby Cabot Cheese outlet (a Vermont co-operative) and sampled their whole range of products as well. Yum! After that we headed back to our friends house, packed , and drove back home, having spent a very fun, full weekend!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day 2015

In celebration of Independence Day, 2015,here is perhaps the most famous of John hilip Sousa's marches, "The Stars and Stripes Forever", written in 1896 and named the National March of the United States in 1986. Having played this March many times myself, like many of Sousa's works, it is NOT and easy one to perform!

Performed here by the President's Own Marine Band. 
Note the use of reversed colors for their Dress uniforms!  :-)

Sousa wrote lyrics to the March itself, of which only the words for the familiar Trio section is widely known:

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever!

Finally, we have my own take on Old Glory...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Reitenden Artillerie - Prussian Horse Artillery 1808 - 1815

As a calculated part of my massive Old Glory Prussian Napoleonic purchase earlier this year, I had enough spare artillery crew and Dragoons (whose style of uniform is essentially the same as the Horse Artillery men) to both add another Horse Artillery battery, and also re-base all my existing Prussian Horse Artillery batteries in a consistent fashion.

Here's all five of the Prussian HA units after re-basing. 

My usual preferred basing for Horse Artillery in the past has been 2 mounted artillerymen and one on foot per base. However, this can get rather expensive, and for the Prussians, the numbers worked out so that I could do one mounted crewman and two on foot per base. Ordinarily, 2 bases make up a battery, so I placed the mounted crewman on the opposite edges of the two component bases of each battery. 

The uniform of the Prussian Horse Artillery was identical to that of the Foot Artillery, except that the turnbacks were dark blue piped in red pipped black, and the leather work was white instead of the black used by the Foot Artillery. The Guard HA had gold litzen on the collars and cuffs. The guard battery has a  white flower clump on each base, and I've painted the wood of the implements light blue for them only, all to help it stand out better. 

The bit of green in the corner of the shot is from our outdoor Hydroponic garden - Lettuce, Kale, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Cilantro, Basil, and Tomatoes are all growing like crazy!

I almost think that I prefer this look. Since my guns aren't glued to the bases, "limbered" is indicated by reversing the gun off the back of the stand. 

I also added a flower clump the bases of  my old 6# Guard foot battery.

Light Blue paint for their implements again as a Guard unit.

The Litzen is all but invisible.  Hmm, maybe I forgot to paint it?!

The flower clumps do help them stand out a bit as Guard units.

Finally a few shots of the 12lber battery with the guns post "Magic Wash". The light on these shots is different, and the change in color is quite subtle, so I'm not sure you can really see the effect. 

Still Mark (Chasseur) asked for them so here they are!

As I said, I think the subtle change is overwhelmed bu the different (natural) lighting.

Finishing up the Hussars this weekend, and that's it for Historicon painting. Let the packing begin!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Assault and Batteries - Prussian Style!

The major expansion of my Prussian Napoleonic army has added nearly 200 Infantry and 40 cavalry. That much of an increase naturally needs a corresponding increase in the Prussian Artillery arm. This post concerns the new Foot Artillery batteries - four in all.

First up are three new six pounder Foot Batteries. Old Glory figures with Sash and Saber guns. The only thing I haven't done yet is to apply the Magic Wash to the guns, which will tone down the blue of the carriages a bit (paint color is Delta CC "Bluejay"). 

I added some "Large"Silflor tufts to the bases, which looks OK, but I think these "Summer" tufts may be a bit too green, so I am considering dry bushing them with a grey-green color to tone them down somewhat to a shade more in keeping with the early Autumn flocking theme. 

When Foot Artillery officers wore the "schirmutze" cap, it was grey with a black band, piped in red. 

One of the Batteries is from each of the three "brigades" that the artillery were assigned to administratively, with the shoulder strap colors varying accordingly  - Preussisches (white), Brandenburgisches (scarlet), and Schleische (yellow). 

Also joining the Army of der Koenig is a new 12 pounder foot battery as well. By my usual convention, 12 pounder batteries get 4 crew figures per base, as opposed to the three figures per base of lighter batteries. This makes them easier to pick out on the wargames table. 

Foot Artillerymen wore dark blue coats with the collars and cuffs in black, trimmed with red. The turnbacks were red. Shoulder straps as previously cited - this unit has yellow straps, placing them in the Silesian Artillery Brigade. In 1815, all batteries changed to red shoulder straps. Boring!  All; leather work was black for the Foot Artillery.

The somewhat old fashioned looking Bicorn was an option for Artillery officers as well, and we can see this battery's commander has opted for same.

The Prussian Artillery arm underwent an enormous expansion in 1813. Some of the new batteries were designated as "Landwehr" batteries,. but even the nominal "regular" batteries suffered from dilution of trained personnel, so their performance sometimes left something to be desired during the earlier parts of the 1813 campaign. Like their infantry and cavalry counterparts, though, field experience (and the break in fighting for the Armistice) resulted in steady improvement over the course of the Befreiungskrieg, and certainly by Leipzig the Prussian generals had few complaints  about their artillery support. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Roll out the Barrel(s)

I got a pack of these Renedra assorted barrels at Historicon back about 3 years ago, and finally got around to painting them up this week...

The set has 5 large and 5 medium barrels - they were dark brown plastic, so after gluing the halves together. I just dry brushed then with a light tan color., painted the hoops black, and applied a generous coat of "magic wash" all over. 

This Silesian infantry men seems to making a beeline for the barrels, doubtless hoping at least one of them is full of some good beer!  Well, actually, a lot of beer, if still full  - 117+ liters per barrel! For comparison a full size keg of beer is only 50 liters!

The motivation for painting them now is to use some of them as props on the bases of the windmills I'm building, which are nearing completion.

The Beer Barrel Polka
The music was written by the Czech musician Jaromir Vejvoda 1927, and later arranged by Eduard Ingris. The English Lyrics were written 1939. It became popular with soldiers of many nations during World War 2, with varied lyrics (and titles) existing in many languages. The Andrews sisters recorded a version in 1939, and it was a staple (played with amazing dramatic flair and energy) of Liberace. Elton John was even said to play it in his pub. Perhaps the best known version in the US is this recording by Bobby Vinton, a.k.a. "The Polish Prince", from 1975. It is also an unofficial theme song of my sister's alma mater, The University of Wisconsin, and almost a mandatory song at a Polish-American wedding reception.  Finally, it became a standard item in the repertoire of our drinking songs when I was playing in the Band in college. I don't think it is possible to listen to this song without smiling... and I don't even particularly care for beer myself. The only problem is that after listening to several versions last night, I have the darned thing stuck in my head!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Last of the Line head from Ligny to Waterloo

As the last few hours drain away on this, the 200th Anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, I post the last of the Prussian Infantry that will appear at Ligny (and then, late in the day, at Waterloo itself, if history repeats itself half as much as the Abba song!)

This is the 3rd Silesian Infantry Regiment, I.R. #13, As one of the "new" 1815 Line regiments, the flag is speculative at best, but it does go well with their yellow facings. 

As the 3rd regiment of the Province, even their shoulder straps are yellow. Old Glory figures once again (from the "Prussian Militia Men" bag).

Yes James, my freind, more clogs and tattered pants for these fellows, as well as "Litewka" coats.

"Feldmarshal Blucher has given his word that we will appear to support Wellington at Waterloo... and so we shall!

Sorry, couldn't resist posting this Abba classic. 
I spent most of the month of May, 1974, performing  and on tour of Europe with the University of Connecticut Marching Band (Baritone Horn).  The itinerary included Ingolstadt, Regensburg, Lyon, Geneva, Lucerne, Zurich, Leichtenstein, and Munich. Abba had just won the Eurovision contest with this song in April, and it was on the airwaves (and our tour buses) almost constantly that month. As a result, whenevr I hear the song, it takes me back to touring the Bavarian countryside, or the alpine roads of Switzerland. Unfortunately, I haven't been back to Europe since then, but I hope to do a Rhine River Cruise - perhaps in a few more years!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Lützow Freikorps, 1813 - 1815

The Lützow Free Corps (Lützowsches Freikorps) was raised in February 1813, and was officially titled the Königlich Preußisches Freikorps von Lützow The C.O.was Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm Freiherr von Lützow, who had served under Major von Schill during his ultimately successful raid in 1809.

The following is from the Uniform Evolution site:

The Freikorps eventually consisted of three, four-company, battalions; five squadrons of cavalry and two batteries one horse and the other light foot.  Eleven of the infantry companies were Musketeer; the other, which was part of the 2nd Battalion, being "Tyrolean Jager". This unusual unit was raised by Lieutenants Riedel and Ennemoser, the latter having fought with Andreas Hofer in 1809. Their men were drawn from the Tirol and were dressed in the style of the Austrian Jagers. Of the cavalry, three squadrons were Hussars, 1st, 4th and 5th; the 2nd was mounted Jager and the 3rd were Uhlans. In June 1813, the 1st Squadron were converted to Uhlans. In the reorganization of March 1815, the Musketeer Battalions formed the new No. 25 Erstes Rheinisches Infanterie Regiment; three squadrons joined the 6th Uhlan Regiment and one squadron went to the 9th Hussars; the mounted Jager squadron was disbanded.

The Musketeers were dressed in a black Litewka, the collar, Polish cuffs and shoulder straps of which were piped in red; the buttons were brass. They had black trousers with narrow red stripes down the outside seams; they were generally worn over short black spats. The head-dress was a Fusilier shako to which could be affixed black cords and a horse-hair plume. Usually a waxed cover was worn with the shako.

The Tyroler Jager-Kompagnie were dressed in grey jackets with green Polish cuffs, collars, shoulder straps, lapels and turnbacks. Their trousers were also grey and had a wide green stripe running down the outside seams. Their head-dress was made of black felt and was modeled on the Austrian Jager pattern "Corsehut". To it was fitted a green plume, officers having a green and white feather Busch. The leather belts were blackened and a brace of pistols was carried in the waistbelt.

The Freikorps was raised and promoted as as a "Pan-German" unit, not a specifically Prussian one, and included volunteers and deserters from the other many German states. As such, the unit enlisted a number of students and intellectuals (and at least 2 women, serving in disguise). The most prominent of these was the young Prussian poet and dramatist Theodor Koerner. Koerner wrote a number of romantic poems and songs about the Lützowers, and the cause of the Befreiungskreig. He was killed during a raid on a French supply train at the age of 21, but his father  published a collection of his works from this time, which became very popular. 

The Lützowers have also been featured in (German) film far more than we non-Germans might expect, occupying a major niche in the pantheon of German nationalism, even though they had the highest desertion rate of any unit in the army - 40%!

Was Steine erzählen (“What the Stones Tell”) (Germany 1925
Lützows wilde verwegene Jagd ("Lutzow's Wild Hunt") (Germany 1927, based on a poem by Koerner of the same name, later set to music by the famous German romantic composer, Carl Maria von Weber - see later in this post )
Theodor Körner (Germany 1932)
Lützower (GDR 1972)

The dramatic black uniforms - even the facings are black, piped in red), have made them a favorite tabletop unit for wargamers. It has even been suggested that the colors of the uniform - Black - Red-Gold (brass buttons) inspired the national flag of the German Republic!  They evidently retained some or all of these uniforms during the Hundred Days in 1815. The flag chosen here (for 1815) is again purely decorative and unlikely  - I chose it from among the pre 1807 Prussian standards.

I used Delta Ceramcoat "Charcoal" for their black Litwekas (a very dark grey color, almost black), with highlights in CC Hippo Grey, and shading with "pure" black; I used CC Paynes Grey for the pants for some contrast - a very dark, slightly bluish grey color. With the red stripe down the seams, they look more than a bit like modern  track pants! From a painting of the Korps (and Koerner), it seems that perhaps the "wings" of the musicians might have been black with white lace instead of red. Since these Old Glory figures ("Militiamen") have clogs and tattered pants, I did without the black spats, etc!

Overall, the Freikorp's raiding activities were an annoyance to the French, but not of any great military consequence. During the Armistice of 1813, the Korps marched to join the main Allied army under the safe passage terms of the agreement. They were intercepted by French cavalry. The Lutzowers nationalism and guerrilla tactics had made them particularly hated by the French in general, and Napoleon in particular, and were told the terms of the Armistice did not apply to "brigands" like themselves. The infantry was largely wiped out, although most of the Cavalry escaped. The Korps was re-raised during the winter of 1813-14, and fought with the main army thereafter.

At Ligny in 1815, it was officers from former Lützower formations who saved Feldmarschal Blucher when he was trapped beneath his horse and nearly captured by the French. For more information on this famous unit, try:

As a testament to their role in German history, there is a German Lutzow re-enactor group, a Lutzow facebook page, and many more German language sites dedicated to them.

"Lützow's Wild Hunt", Körner's poem, set to music by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826)

1. Was glänzt dort im Walde im Sonnenschein?
Hör’s näher und näher brausen.
Es zieht sich herunter in düsteren Reihn
Und gellende Hörner schallen darein,
Erfüllen die Seele mit Grausen.
Und wenn ihr die schwarzen Gesellen fragt:
Das ist Lützows wilde, verwegene Jagd!
1. What glistens there in the forest sunshine?
Hear it roaring nearer and nearer.
It comes down this way in dark rows,
And blaring horns sound in it,
And fill the soul with terror.
And if you ask the black fellows:
That is Lützow’s wild daredevil hunt.
2. Was zieht dort rasch durch den finsteren Wald
Und streifet von Bergen zu Bergen?
Es legt sich in nächtlichen Hinterhalt,
Das Hurra jauchzt, die Büchse knallt,
Es fallen die fränkischen Schergen.
Und wenn ihr die schwarzen Jäger fragt
Das ist Lützows wilde, verwegene Jagd!
2. What moves quickly there through the dark forest
And streaks from mountains to mountains?
It settles down for a night ambush,
The Hurrah rejoices and the gun bangs,
The French bloodhounds fall.
And if you ask the black hunters:
That is Lützow’s wild daredevil hunt.
3. Wo die Reben dort glühen, dort braust der Rhein,
Der Wütrich geborgen sich meinte.
Da naht es schnell mit Gewitterschein
Und wirft sich mit rüstigen Armen hinein
Und springt an das Ufer der Feinde.
Und wenn ihr die schwarzen Schwimmer fragt:
Das ist Lützows wilde, verwegene Jagd!
3. Where the grapes glisten there, there roars the Rhine,
The scoundrel thought himself hidden.
Then it approaches quickly, looking like a thunderstorm,
And throws itself in with vigorous arms,
And springs onto the enemy’s riverbank.
And if you ask the black swimmers:
That is Lützow’s wild daredevil hunt.
4. Was braust dort im Tale die laute Schlacht,
Was schlagen die Schwerter zusammen?
Wildherzige Reiter schlagen die Schlacht,
Und der Funke der Freiheit ist glühend erwacht
Und lodert in blutigen Flammen.
Und wenn ihr die schwarzen Reiter fragt:
Das ist Lützows wilde, verwegene Jagd!
4. Why roars there in the valley the loud battle,
Why do the swords strike one another?
Wild-hearted riders attack the fight,
And the spark of freedom has awakened, glowing,
And smolders in bloody flames.
And if you ask the black riders:
That is Lützow’s wild daredevil hunt.
5. Was scheidet dort röchelnd vom Sonnenlicht
Unter winselnde Feinde gebettet?
Es zucket der Tod auf dem Angesicht,
Doch die wackeren Herzen erzittern nicht,
Das Vaterland ist ja gerettet!
Und wenn ihr die schwarzen Gefall’nen fragt:
Das ist Lützows wilde, verwegene Jagd.
6. What departs there, rattling, from the sunlight,
Put to bed among whimpering enemies?
Death twitches across the face;
Yet bold hearts do not waver,
For the fatherland is indeed saved!
And if you ask the black fallen ones:
That was Lützow’s wild daredevil hunt.
7. Die wilde Jagd und die deutsche Jagd
Auf Henkersblut und Tyrannen!
D’rum, die ihr uns liebt, nicht geweint und geklagt!
Das Land ist ja frei, und der Morgen tagt,
Wenn wir’s auch nur sterbend gewannen.
Und von Enkel zu Enkel sei es nachgesagt:
Das war Lützows wilde, verwegene Jagd.
7. The wild hunt, and the German hunt,
Upon hangmen’s blood and tyrants!
Therefore, those who love us, no weeping and lamenting;
For the land is free, and morning dawns,
Even if we only won this by dying!
And from grandchildren to grandchildren be it said:
That was Lützow’s wild daredevil hunt.