Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Heavy Horsemen for the Reconquista

After four units of Assyrians finished and mustered off the painting desk, my eye is drawn to five large chunks of lead from BTD.  These big pieces of metal are armored knights on big horses.  With barding, the horses look formidable.  Actually, given the size of BTD cavalry, horsemen are formidable in all permutations.
This stand of five deploys as an Impetvs-geared heavy cavalry or CP.  The heft of these figures combined onto one large base is impressive.  When they take the field, the Moors should tremble.
I gave them all a similar red motif with variation among the knights limited heraldry and attire.  Smart looking bunch.  I hope they can fight!  
The painting queue keeps serving up 25mm figures despite my efforts to get a battalion or two of 1799 Grenz onto the workbench.  Next off the painting desk is likely a nine-figure stand of crossbowmen for the Great Italian Wars project.  Unless, of course, I finish off the Assyrian mounted archers first.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cycling the Palouse - Beat the Heat

With only a few days into summer on the Palouse, temperatures are expected to heat up today.  A forecasted Sunday high temperature in the mid 90s F means that my road work out on the bike ought to be put into the legs early in the day.  That is exactly what I did.
With early morning temperatures in the low 70s F, I struck out on the bike to put in twenty-five miles out on the Palouse. Today's ride would take me south of town to the site of the severe fire last summer (see Wildfire).  Along the way, rapeseed could be seen in full bloom with its bright yellow blossoms.  Contrasted with the freshly mown hay, the rolling green hills, and the clear blue sky, the bright flowers of canola make a pleasing sight.
Along the route to the hills where the fire stormed through last summer, I passed some road maintenance.  Because of loose gravel, motorcycles are given warning to use extreme caution.  I guess (human-powered) bike lives don't matter...
Back to the object of this morning's venture.  That is, to check on the regrowth of the area ravaged by fire.  There has been progress in cleaning up the debris from the fire with select logging with skid trails criss-crossing the hillsides.
One benefit of the fire and clean up is that, now, the long switchback up the hill is visible before the rider is upon the ramp.  Is that a good thing?
As I near the top of the climb, the damage is still very much in evidence although the ground covering is returning.

The four photos above were snapped automatically by the GoPro camera while descending at about 35mph.  Cool!

All-in-all, a very pleasant way to spend some time out on the bike this morning before the day heats up.  Now, to relax for an hour session at the painting desk.  Sounds good, yes?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Battle of Kolin, 260th Anniversary Edition - Prep

View behind Prussian right flank
The 260th Anniversary of the 18JUN1757 Battle of Kolin will be refought on Saturday, 24JUN2017.
Croats Garrison Krechor
The anniversary provides motivation to pull the 18mm SYW collection from its storage lockers and put it in action, once again, on the fields of Kolin.
Kolin Initial Deployments
Prussia in the fore, Austria on the heights
The game will be fought under the Honours of War rules.  With four participants, this should be an entertaining day on the field of battle.
Below is an Order of Battle for Saturday's contest.
Kolin OOB
To make the game manageable in an afternoon, the forces have been scaled down or bathtubbed a bit.  Each foot unit on the table represents about four battalions and each cavalry unit represents about a dozen squadrons.  Even with that, the game is rather large and deployments consume six feet of table space. 
The long, thin Austrian line
This is only the second or third time HoW has seen action on the table.  For two of the players, this will be their Baptism of Fire with the rules.  Now, to read the rules before the morrow.

Freddie will be on the attack to wrest control of the heights from Daun.
Can Frederick reverse history?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Assyrian Archers II

A second stand of Assyrian heavy archers moves off the painting desk.  Like all figures in the early stages of this project, figures are from Wargames Foundry.
Based for Impetvs, these nine figures bring the total stands fielded for the project, thus far, to six infantry, four heavy chariot (two chariots each), and one chariot stand for the king.  These totals bring the project close to a BI2.0 force. 
On the painting desk can be found two, four figure stands of Assyrian mounted archers.  After those are fielded, painting attention may turn towards a stand or two of auxiliary infantry.     
Other projects are witnessing work at the workbench but painting productivity has seemingly slowed to a trickle as other projects wrestle for my time.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Assyrian Archers I

Returning to lighter matters, activity at the painting desk once again picks up.  
Today, a nine figure unit of Assyrian heavy archers debouches from the confines of the painting desk.  These nine figures comprise a 'T' missile stand in Impetvs.
Figures are Wargames Foundry from the excellent Bronze Age range.  I may sound like a broken record but these figures and the whole range of Assyrians are excellent in every way.    
A second, similar stand will be moving from the workbench soon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Wargamer's Demise

Hand-me downs
You're gone but your collection lives on.  Once this realization sinks in, what is a fella to do?

A number of recent events have hit me in rapid succession.  With this barrage of reality checks, my usual thoughts on wargaming turn towards reflection and introspection rather than project planning, painting, reading on military history, and gaming.  Is it a coincidence that four independent events converged within a matter of a few days?  Is someone, somewhere trying to tell me something?  Is this a conspiracy against my wargaming psyche?  So many unanswered questions.

All of the four incidents considered seem to relate to the life cycle of a hobby.  Not just any hobby; no, my wargaming hobby.  As with most activities or processes, a definite life cycle is in action.  Three of the incidents in the following discussion will bring me to the fourth and most puzzling of the incidents.  

The first incident was marked by the recent passing of a wargaming acquaintance.  D. was not the first wargame acquaintance to pass over to the other side.  He certainly will not be the last.  Left to the survivors was the task of liquidating his wargame collection.  As for many of us, his widow did not know what to do with his lifetime passion of collecting wargaming detritus.  "Detritus," that is, to those unfamiliar or uninterested in the hobby.  To those in the know, estates sales can be a gold mine as well as a time for mourning.

The task of liquidating D's main gaming project, a large 15mm Napoleonic Peninsular War collection, fell upon another gaming friend.  From memory, the collection consisted of at least 1,000 15mm old Heritage Napoleonics; all nicely painted.  The figures were all based similarly but no one knew the rules D. used to game.  I wish I would have snapped a photo or two of the collection before it marched off to a new owner.  Had I not already possessed a Napoleonic Peninsular War project in 15mm, this collection would have been given much consideration.  After some consternation, the entire collection was sold to the great relief of the executor.  Not relegated to the waste bin of history for those fine soldiers!

Note to self:  Annotate for which rules a collection is based.

The second incident was a recent post by blogger Robbie on his The Independent Wargames Group blog.  A very fine blog to add to a Reading List if not already discovered.
The topic of Robbie's recent post (see: Durham Wargames  Show Makes One Depressed), was the sight of an estate sale at the show's Bring & Buy.  What concerned the author was the observation that a lifetime's amassing of a collection was consigned to an impersonal liquidation.  The feeling of melancholy which overcame the author is likely one felt by many given a similar reflective situation.  What will become of my lifelong wargaming passion once I am gone?  Will the recipient realize what a treasure and windfall has just been captured?  Will the hours and effort needed to field such a collection be fully appreciated?  Of course, beauty is in the eyes of a beholder and a sentimental connection to a collection usually does not pass on to a new owner.  In this state of mind, thoughts may focus on the purpose and pursuit of our hobby goals.  Is the effort worth the result?  How can this melancholy and remorse be overcome so that one may forge ahead with the joys of the hobby?  

As I shared with Robbie,
it is not the ultimate destination (we all know where that ends!) but the journey that is important. If the hobby provides enjoyment and friendship along this path, that counts even when all aspirations have not been reached and we are pulled away too soon.    
The third incident was a recent discussion thread on The Miniatures Page soliciting opinions on when to stop collecting (see: TMP: When to Stop Collecting).  The gist of the original post was determining the point at which one stops buying and fielding new armies and switches to solely enjoying the gaming aspect of the hobby.  Does that regime switch ever materialize?  For some, it must.  If it does come to pass, how does one identify and make the switch from buying/painting to gaming?  Is this a gradual transition or does one make the change "cold turkey?"  As expected, the responses vary but many seem to hold that buying new armies late in the life cycle (and life) is quite acceptable.

While I have entertained thoughts of downsizing the number of periods and figure sizes I collect, those thoughts do not survive contact with reality.  When I do reluctantly jettison one project, two or three step in to fill the gap, cheerfully.  For me, downsizing seems not possible.

Finally, the incident that really prompted this reflection is, to me, the most puzzling and difficult with which to come to grips.

Our one-time painting and gaming comrade moved away several years ago.  Since then, very little painting, modeling, or game reports have come out from his part of the world.  Through second-hand reports, he has thrown in the towel on the hobby and wiped the slate clean.  He indeed has gone "cold turkey" and discarded the hobby that he once enjoyed.  Oh, he did often remark that "this would be a great hobby if not for the people in it" but I always took that as a tongue in cheek statement.  A by-product of his decision to abandon the hobby is that Scott was the happy recipient of 73 pounds of lead.  Wow!  He really is wiping the slate clean with no plans to return to either miniatures, modeling, or gaming.  Seems a drastic step but everyone makes their choice.  

Lucky for me, Scott is a generous bloke and passed along a bit of this windfall to yours truly.  What benefit did I get out of A.'s lifestyle change-up?  As seen in the leading photo, a small stack of books (one of which was a book I gave to A. years ago), several packets of Battle Honors Austrian Napoleonics, a bag of Langton Anglo-Dutch Wars ships, and about two-dozen packs of TAG TYW figures.  I am quite grateful to receive such a handsome windfall.  No doubt they will see action on the painting desk one day. 

Whoops. I digress from topic by the joy of new lead!  

Could I change direction so abruptly and put an end to my nearly 50 year relationship with toy soldiers, gaming, and the study of military history?  I doubt it!  I have always been drawn to these activities long before I knew there was such a formal hobby.  This hobby, while certainly still a hobby, has become a part of what defines me.  I am a wargamer.  For now, I continue to plan projects, paint figures, study military history, and game.

Enough for the introspection.  Attention must now turn towards thoughts of how to employ the newly acquired TYW lead.  Should these be additions to the existing ECW project or will these figures become the seed to a new, TYW project?  I am not too old to begin a new project.  Back to project planning, painting, reading on military history, and gaming for me.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Assyrian Slingers in 25mm

After two large stands of sixteen Assyrian heavy infantry each (see: Heavy Infantry I, Heavy Infantry II), I lighten it up a bit to field two, four figure stands of Assyrian slingers.
As the heavy infantry before, these slingers are from Wargames Foundry's excellent range of 25mm Biblicals.  Sculpting is first-rate and still top of the line after many years in production.
Each stand maintains the tunic and kilt coloring to match each of the earlier heavy infantry units.  Once I move on to auxiliary troops, unit attire will likely see more variety and less "uniform" uniforms.  Next off the painting desk for this project is a stand or two of Assyrian archers.  I am also considering rebasing the King's chariot stand to increase the frontage to a regular-sized base and adding a few runners.  For now, all of the other chariots will maintain their half-base frontage.
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