Monday, March 29, 2010

Good Things In The Mail

Like most wargamers I suspect, I like to receive stuff in the mail. Each morning I'm faced with the delicious question of, "Will ........arrive today?!". If yes, I feel like I've won the lottery. (And the odds are a LOT better!) If not, then the sense of anticipation resets and rebuilds till the next day. (And the odds are STILL A LOT better!)

Recently, I've had some outstanding deliveries. First, on page 96 of Wargaming In History: The Seven Years War, there is a picture of a Prussian Frei Battalion Le Noble jager. The caption describes his headwear as "a black leather cap with a high front". It looked familiar. After a quick reconnaissance at, I came across Italeri Set Number 6073, Austrian Infantry 1798 - 1805. I know. I know! They're early Napoleonic and not SYW, but... Hey! They've got leggings, casquet caps, and turnbacks on their long coats. If Brigadier Young could use RHA, then I can use these guys for my Frei Corps.

So...a quick order to the boys at Squadron Mail Order, down in Texas, resulted in four boxes (192 figures) showing up. This will enable the Markgraaf to field:

2 Frei Corps of 48 men, 1 Standard, and 1 Drummer each. (I still need 1 Mounted Colonel and 2 foot officers to finish them off.)

2 Companies of Light Infantry of 6 men each. (Still need 2 foot officers.)

1 Battalion of Grenadiers of 24 men. (They look remarkably like the picture of the Hanoverian Scheither's Corps Grenadier on page 110 of Grant & Olley's book! Will still need 1 Mounted Colonel and 2 foot officers.)

1 Battalion of Engineers of 24 men, and 2 foot officers. (I'm going to use the Fusiliers in the "Roman" Helmet. Will still need a Mounted Colonel to lead them.)

Any leftovers will be employed at the Army Staff level, or will be the basis for some of my "Frankenstein-like" conversions. (Eyegor! Bring me another head!)

Secondly, my Minifig "sample" order from GFI, out in Colorado, has arrived. (Thanks Jeff for putting them in your Websites Of Interest list!) Woe to the Treasury! They fit in with all the Revell, Italeri, Scruby, and Airfix guys I've accumulated over the years. I ordered a Prussian Mounted Colonel and Horse, a Prussian Musketeer marching, a Austrian Mounted Colonel and Horse, and a Austrian Fusilier advancing. These are classy looking figures! There wasn't much flash to trim off, and I bet they are a breeze to paint up. Impressive!

I ordered a further 3 Prussian Mounted Dragoon Officers and Horses, 2 Prussian foot officers, and 1 Prussian Dragoon Trumpeter and Horse to help fill in some of the holes in my collection. I like the look of these little fellas so much, I may have to break down and get some Grant style 48 men, 5 officer regiments and hang the cost. I also might have to put in an order with the Minifig U.K. lads for their SYW and AWI "Personality" figures as well!

Last, but not least, my copy of "The Annexation Of Chiraz" has come from On Military Matters. Mr. Grant and Mr. Olley have taken a giant step forward from their "Raid On St. Michel". I am a big fan of minicampaigns, and "Annexation" gives us a "peek behind the curtain" as to how Messrs. Grant and Olley went about it. It's a good read, and I'll be referring to it often.

So! On to the next item on the Neverending List Of Wargaming Stuff, as soon as time, chance, circumstance, and finance allow. I wonder how those Garrison figures would fit in...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Moment With The Markgrafin

After a morning inspection and saber drill with his squadron of Saddlesore Lifeguard Lancers, Colonel Somerussian Guyovich casually wandered through the palace grounds, looking every inch the "Beau Sabreur" he was, while searching for his sister, Sharon Elaine, the Markgrafin of Raubenstadt. He eventually found her having a light lunch in a "Repose Temple" in the formal gardens. A squad of his brother David's Guard Musketeers was discretely scattered about nearby to insure that no one approached unchallenged.

"Ah! Colonel Guyovich! There you are. You certainly are a dashing figure in your Cossack uniform. Do you have to use that sword to fend off all the ladies that throw themselves at you?!", she teased. "Will you join me?", she said gesturing to a seat across from her.

"Thank you, Milady.", he said as he claimed a chair, keeping up the pretense that they were not closely related. "What's on the bill of fare? I'm frightfully sharp set and hunger is indeed the best sauce."

"The potato salad goes remarkably well with the bratwurst and a bit of mustard. I also recommend the iced strawberry cordial. It's very spritely."

"And this is...?", Guyovich inquired.

"A salad made with three kinds of beans as the main ingredients.", she replied. "There are rumors that the Frankfurters are working on a salad with five beans!", she confided.

"Remarkable.", he responded, as his plate and glass were filled.

As soon as the servants were out of earshot, the conversation took a more serious turn.

I'm surprised that you have enough of a saber left to carry, Paul. Is it true you hone it everyday?", the Markgrafin inquired.

"Sargent Malik looks at me every morning and says, 'Hetman, a dull sword is of no use to anyone.', then he puts an edge on it that would do credit to a razor. Father always thought I was an indifferent 'hack and slash' man, and Uncle Mack spent many a long hour drilling with me, but I've come a long way since then. I have done my best to pass on those skills to your own sons."

Sharon nodded and changed the subject.

"All of my requests for an audience have been courteously rejected, but rejected none the less."

"They're obviously stalling for time, but why and to what purpose? Who gains from the delay?", her brother pondered. "Uncle Mack is very concerned about the reliability of his sources.", he continued,"Even the Badmann network may have been compromised. He says he feels did he put it? Ah yes! 'A one legged man in an ass kicking contest.'. He always had a gift for a colorful turn of phrase.", he laughed.

"Poor Uncle Mack.", she said as she joined in the laughter. "Well...he knew the job was dangerous when he took it. It's a very tangled web, and there is no easy way to unravel it. We tug on a few threads here and there to no avail. Legend says that Alexander used his sword to cut through the Gordian Knot. We may have to use similar means. We need friends in high places and leverage. I believe I can supply both!".

"Oh?!", her brother injected. "How?"

"Let me demonstrate." She pointed her closed fan at a dish that had been set upon a nearby stand. The dish suddenly shattered and the pieces fell to the ground. Both Von Kerns turned to see their brother David wave from a palace balcony and start to reload his air rifle.

"Friends in high places indeed! And the leverage?", Paul asked.

"It will be interesting to see how the Court reacts when I mention that the cabbage and Saurkraut contracts between Frankzonia and Raubenstadt are due to expire soon."

"Well that shall certainly set a cat among the pigeons", Paul laughed at his sister's audacity.

"I hope so!", she replied. "It's a good thing David is an excellent wing shot, when the pigeon we want takes flight."

Their glasses clinked as they toasted their plans.

"Death to Stagonia!", the Cossack Colonel said in a soft tone.

"Confusion to our foes!", the Markgrafin replied.

In the shadows of the carefully clipped and trimmed hedges and shrubs, von Mack slipped his spyglass back into a pocket. It looked like it was going to be another long day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Looking For The High Command

Except for three regiments of HistoriFig Scruby infantry (two of them Lights) and one lonely Minifig casting of Lafaytte on his horse that I purchased lo these many years ago in my youth, the rest of my forces are plastic. Zvezda, Italeri, Revell, and some really long service Airfix American Revolution George Washington's Army compose the bulk of my forces. Much to my delight HaT Industrie will be releasing a SYW line soon that will rival their Napoleonic offerings, and I plan to purchase a boatload of 'em as soon as they're available. (Insert creepy organ music here.)

However...I'm really at a loss for mounted officers above the rank of Colonel that really look the part and fit in with the rest of the guys. You know Generals pointing, contemplating their next move, squinting through a spyglass, or looking at a map. I long to have Staff and Aides-de-Camp galloping about, etc. carrying out the directions of their superiors. HistoriFig currently offers only one mounted officer in their SYW range and he makes a great colonel. Sometime ago I ordered the Prussian General Set from the excellent fellows at DPC. They are great castings with next to no flash to clean up, and they looked good to me once they were painted up. Now normally, a millimeter or two of height difference doesn't bother me, but they are pretty beefy and tower over the rest of the troops. On the other hand, who would disobey a general that looks like he can pick you up and break you like a twig over his knee.

Old Glory might be a better fit, and I do like their Fred the Great casting...there's just something about the cane he's carrying. Their Brunswick figure is pretty impressive as well. I suppose that since a tricorne is a tricorne, their American Revoluion line may also provide some volunteers as well.

Push comes to shove, I may just have to bite the bullet and order from Minifig UK. Lafayette will be glad to see 'em.