Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Hobby Plans for 2019

No, I am NOT starting a massive Napoleonic Campaign, LOL!
(Map by Alexander Altenhof - Own work. (from Wikimedia Commons)


After 2 successive over budget years, I really need to do better in  2019. I will increase the allowance to $1800, or $150 per month, and hope to come in below that. The only lead I have in mind to purchase for sure in 2019 are the Murawski Baden Artillery and Baden Light Dragoons, probably accompanied by a Duchy of Warsaw Horse Artillery battery.


The main theme this year should be whittling down the Lead pile. With no major project on the drawing board I(at least at present), I expect painting output may fall this year as well. 

1)  Once again, the lead for a large Macedonian Army I picked up several years ago is high on the list. Perhaps I should plan to run a game with them; A game with TTS at HAVOC in April or at Historicon might be a viable target. 

2) Add the elite companies and an early Legere unit to flesh out an early Imperial  French "Division" of 5 units in Biciorne/side plumed shakos for the Legere. I have more than enough lead on hand for a second such "Division" as well. 

3) Paint some of the backlog of Great Italian Wars troops. Play testing daft versions of TTS, 2nd edition, if Simon proceeds with same, could provide some needed incentive there!

4) Start work on the ECW reinforcements I bought a year ago, with an eye towards running Soggy Bottom with FK&P.

5) Avoid starting any new projects! 


Try to hit at least 12 games run/assisted with/played in this year. Get in at least one more game from the Lannes campaign. Run at least 2 Tyrolese games at Historicon, maybe a game at Jared's game club, HAVOC, and/or EllisCon. Hopefully assist and play in rather than run a Campaign in a Day at The Portal again this spring. 

Maintain about the same number of Blog posts - circa 80 - 100 per year. 


I have several sets I want to try out, some perhaps even solo the first time, including Galleys and Galleons for my 15 mm Renaissance ships, Grand Fleet Action in the Age of Sail, and Steven Whitesell's Neil Thomas OHW inspired "Eagles Cheaper than Brain Cells". Also maybe some play testing on Brent Oman's revised "Season of Battle" campaign rules. 

Gratuitous Puppy Picture - 6 weeks old.
"Can we come out and play?  Can we, can we, huh?!"

Saturday, January 12, 2019

2018: The Year In Review

Picture from the Taiwan Toy Soldier Museum!


October 2018
JJ's Peninsular War Scenario Book Kickstarter $58.30

November 2018
Michael's (Mountain backdrops for Tyrol (etc)  games @ 40% off) $128.90
A&A Engineering (pdf copy of Grand Fleet Action in the Age of Sail) $7.60

December 2018
Michael Hopper Napoleonic Scenario Books $157
Litko Aerosystems (bases) $117.50

4th Quarter Totals: $469.30

2018 TOTAL:  $2,671.52

Goal was to keep expenditures under $1500, so... about 80% over budget! Ouch!

Still, at least $250 less than in 2017

Painting:  (all 25/28 mm, of course!)

October 2018
Black Watch Highlanders (18) 90 pts

November 2018
Tyrolese Rebels (40)  240 pts

December 2018
Tyrolese Rebels (104) 520 pts

4th Quarter Total:  850 pts

2018 Total = 2,857 pts
Down from 3,717 in 2017, and 3,320 in 2016.

Goals were:
Finish the Napoleonic Spanish by Historicon - done!
Maybe start the Tyrolese Rebels - not only started,  all but done!
Make a dent in the Macedonian and Great Italian Wars lead pile - no progress whatsoever

I also added to my Punic Wars forces, plus 2 units of  Highlanders and 1 of Nassauers - both also mentioned in the 2018 planning post. . 
Avoid starting any New Projects - done


1st Quarter - 3
Napoleonic game from our Lannes Campaign w/ Field of Battle, 2nd edition, 2nd Punic Wars game with To the Strongest at Jared's game club,  assisted with Jared's big Borodino game with Black Powder

2nd Quarter - 1
Talavera Campaign in a Day at The Portal, with Snappy Nappy

3rd Quarter  - 6
Talavera Playtest with Jared, Mike, and John (FoB2),
HISTORICON: Talavera Campaign in a Day with Snappy Nappy, Battle of Talavera with FoB2, Battle of Geronium with TtS!, Assisted with Two of Tim's Jacobite Games

4th Quarter 1 

Valois/Hapsburg battle with TtS!

2018 TOTAL = 11 games, a bit short of goal of 1 per month, and almost half at Historicon; 1 more than in 2017.

Failed to complete the Lannes campaign (still 2 battles to go), and my schedule didn't allow me to run a game at HAVOC in 2018

There were 87 posts in 2018, down from most of the past 5 years (all time high is 100), but still averaging a little less than one post every 4 days. For what little it is worth in the bot era, page views should exceed 1 Million in the 1st quarter of 2019. 


No new projects undertaken, no new rules sets tried. Several new sets acquired, though.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Climb Every Mountain...

With a horde of Tirolese rebels streaming off the painting table in the final quarter of 2018, they will need somewhere inhospitable from which to descend to plague the Bavarians, French, and what have you invading their homeland. Regular readers may be aware that I already have a fair bit of mountain back drop pieces - 2 tall mountains, 2 long mountain back drops, and a "lonely mountain".  I wanted to add to this to better set the stage for my Tirolese games. Thus the above pieces were added to my "Mountain" collection. 

A timely pre-Christams Lemax sale at Michaels helped a great deal - %40 off, and free shipping, too!
This  "Village Base" is a sort of plateau; suitable for, well, a village or other Alpine settlement.

Two "Medium Mountain backdrops". 

Two "Large Mountain backdrops". 

Here's another view of the five new sets laid out.

Each set comes with a small bag of wire "snowy pines", that can be stuck right into the foam of the pieces. Note that these "Mountains" might also be almost as well used lying down. with the straight "base " edge at the edge of the table, representing the foot of the mountains. These pieces (and the others I have) all have the "mountains" with red-brown rock, reminiscent of the American Southwest, whereas the rock of the Alps are decidedly grey in color. I will not be worrying about that myself, however!

Meanwhile, I am working on scratch building some Tirolese style buildings.,..

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Yielding to my Base instincts...

With 2018 spending already way overt budget, I tried to resist the great many Holiday sales from a wide variety of wargames manufacturers last month. 

The deal from Litko Aerosystems was particularly good, and I realized that the huge number of infantry units painted in the past year (Spanish, Highlanders, Tirolese, and more) had severely depleted my stores of my standard infantry bases for Napoleonics.  With lead for several hundred more French and Austrians each already on hand (plus a few Russians and British as well), it seemed reasonable to take advantage of the sale to replenish my stocks, to the tune of 200 bases. 

Some more WRG style bases will also be needed if I make progress on my Macedonian and ECW lead, too. 

Some more "vignette" bases for leaders were needed as well; unfortunately I managed to click the thin 1.5 mm thickness bases instead of the 3 mm thick ones I usually utilize. Oh well, it will be a good excuse to use filler to hide the stands of the individual figures!

And then there are 50 of these  60 x 150 mm bases... I wonder what I'll do with them???

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Napoleonic Christmas Gifts!

 Every year for at least three decades, we have a "pre-Christmas" with our good friends, the Hopkins family. Both Cindee and Bob are teachers (Cindee, English and Social studies, Bob Mathematics and Statistics). in our local regional school system. Indeed, both of my daughters had each of them as teachers. Although they are largely retired now, Bob still teaches a few classes of remedial Math and Bio statistics at nearby Western Connecticut State University. Bob took advantage of semi retirement and nearly free tutition as a faculty member at WCSU to get a Master's degree in History, just because he wanted to; he wrote hos thesis on the role of electricity in World War 1. Both of them love history in much the same way that I do (and the Empress does not; the dogs are her thing!).

    Anyway, it is always a "pre-Christmas", because Bob's birthday falls on Christmas Day. Knowing my love of both history and books, they almost always give me books for Christmas. Indeed, Bob has been know to check my library to see what I don't already have! I always look forward to their gifts especially, and I never know what they will find. This years items were especially apt...

Another biography of Napoleon?  yes indeed. Reading the preface and the last few pages suggest that Zamoyski is likely to give about a balance account of this complex man and his life as it is possible to achieve.; I look forward to reading it... most likely on vacation!

These books were a complete surprise. While I have excellent references on the Austrian Army already, browsing the pages shows that they still have things to offer me. I believe these have been translated (quite well) from Italian;p the first edition printing was just in September, 2018. This volume has extensive information on the organization of the Austrian Infantry, large color blocks illustrating all of the Austrian facing colors, and a stylized illustration of the uniform of each and every regiment. It does not give details as to the variations for NCO's, officers, or musicians, though. It lists the huigh ranking officers of each unit, a campiagn history foer each, and also has colorful maps illustrating the recruiting district(Kreis) for each uinit. There are even a few illustrations of Tyrolean Rebels!

Once again similar in format, this book includes many illustrations of the uniforms of various Landwehr, the Erzherzog Karl Legion, Freikorps, and Hungarian Insurrectio. Also included is the initial Order of Battle for January 1809, at which point the decision to go to war with France had been made. Unfortunately, like its companion volumes, there is neither illustrations nor description of any flags or standards. 

Similar in format to the infantry volume, the uniform of each and every Austrian Cavalry unit is illustrated... including each of the Hussar regiments. There is also a section on the rebellion in the Tyrol, and a listing of the composition of the Grenadier battalions (necessary if you want to worry about the facing colors within each battalion. Curiously, neither book illustrates or discusses the back of the Austrian Grenadier bearskins, a controversial subject. The technical support arms are especially well covered and illustrated, which is very welcome. 

    In summary, these books (each 100 to 115 pages long) make a worthwhile addition to the library of a wargamer interested in the Austrian Army; ion particular there is information about the irregular forces that is lacking or hard to find, and abundant if stylized uniform illustrations (as well as some color prints from Knoetel and Ottenfeld). I personally wish they chose to include a lot less minute organizational details, and instead covered the uniforms in more detail as to the dress of other ranks, as well as including flag information. Also, why not cover the whole of the era from 1792 or so to 1815?  It probably would have taken another volume, but have made the work even more useful. 

Publishers website:  http://www.soldiershop.com/index.php

Is in Italian, and showing a focus on Italian subjects; well worth a browse as it seems likely more an more titles will be translated into English like these. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Tiroler Scutzen #9, Friedrich Ursprung

The last of the Tirolese Schutzen units, this one is lead by Herr Friedrich Ursprung. 

Friedrich's men and women wear dark grey coats, pants in shades of brown, and hats in shades of green.

Concluding our narrative by Charles Morris:

    Of the two other principal leaders of the Tyrolese, Haspinger, the Capuchin, escaped to Vienna, which Speckbacher also succeeded in reaching, after a series of perils and escapes which are well worth relating.

    After the dispersal of his troops he, like Hofer, sought concealment in the mountains where the Bavarians sought for him in troops, vowing to "cut his skin into boot-straps if they caught him." He attempted to follow the mountain paths to Austria, but at Dux found the roads so blocked with snow that further progress was impossible. Here the Bavarians came upon his track and attacked the house in which he had taken refuge. He escaped by leaping from its roof, but was wounded in doing so.

   For the twenty-seven days that followed he roamed through the snowy mountain forests, in danger of death both from cold and starvation. Once for four days together he did not taste food. At the end of this time he found shelter in a hut at Bolderberg, where by chance he found his wife and children, who had sought the same asylum.

    His bitterly persistent foes left him not long in safety here. They learned his place of retreat, and pursued him, his presence of mind alone saving him from capture. Seeing them approach, he took a sledge upon his shoulders, and walked towards and past them as though he were a servant of the house.

His next place of refuge was in a cave on the Gemshaken, in which he remained until the opening of spring, when he had the ill-fortune to be carried by a snow-slide a mile and a half into the valley. It was impossible to return. He crept from the snow, but found that one of his legs was dislocated. The utmost he could do, and that with agonizing pain, was to drag himself to a neighboring hut. Here were two men, who carried him to his own house at Rinn.

    Bavarians were quartered in the house, and the only place of refuge open to him was the cow-shed, where his faithful servant Zoppel dug for him a hole beneath the bed of one of the cows, and daily supplied him with food. His wife had returned to the house, but the danger of discovery was so great that even she was not told of his propinquity.

For seven weeks he remained thus half buried in the cow-shed, gradually recovering his strength. At the end of that time he rose, bade adieu to his wife, who now first learned of his presence, and again betook himself to the high paths of the mountains, from which the sun of May had freed the snow. He reached Vienna without further trouble.

Here the brave patriot received no thanks for his services. Even a small estate he had purchased with the remains of his property he was forced to relinquish, not being able to complete the purchase. He would have been reduced to beggary but for Hofer's son, who had received a fine estate from the emperor, and who engaged him as his steward. Thus ended the active career of the ablest leader in the Tyrolean war.

Big Dogs, Little dogs!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Tiroler Landsturm #6, Franz Dienstag

Freiherr Franz Dienstag commands the last of the 6 units of Landsturm in my Tyrolese forces. 

His men (and women) wear light grey coats with pants in shades of brown, and the famous green hats. 

As the last of the units, they got the "leftovers" when it came to armament... a mixture of scythes, ancient halberds, pitchforks, poleaxes, and awls!

Our narrative by Charles Morris continues, with the sad account of Hofer's end. Napoleon was not a man to have sympathy for rebels of any kind, his roots in the French Revolution notwithstanding!
His captors treated him with brutal violence. They tore out his beard, and dragged him pinioned, barefoot, and in his night-dress, over ice and snow to the valley. Here he was placed in a carriage and carried to the fortress of Mantua, in Italy. Napoleon, on news of the capture being brought to him at Paris, sent orders to shoot him within twenty-four hours.

    He died as bravely as he had lived. When placed before the firing-party of twelve riflemen, he refused either to kneel or to allow himself to be blindfolded. "I stand before my Creator," he exclaimed, in firm tones, "and standing will I restore to him the spirit he gave."

    He gave the signal to fire, but the men, moved by the scene, missed their aim. The first fire brought him to his knees, the second stretched him on the ground, where a corporal terminated the cruel scene by shooting him through the head. He died February 20, 1810. At a later date his remains were borne back to his native alps, a handsome monument of white marble was erected to his memory in the church at Innsbruck, and his family was ennobled.