Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another Project!?

Just got a CD copy of these "super cool" (as my son would say) rules from the "Virtual Armchair General" site and on first blush, really look like a ton of fun! A Very Well Done update on Wellsian outdoor/toy soldier wargaming. It did not take me long looking at the rules before I was hunting up on Irregular Miniatures website for their 42mm toy soldier style 19th century listings...Oh! the madness! I was led down this delicious primrose path by " on his new Army Red/White blog...so if "the authorities" inquire,.. he's to blame. I've had an "itchy" spot for this kind of gaming for a few years now and I may have reached a tipping point with these rules.

vintage Britians Lancer with 10mm Carthaginians in the background

For my last post on trees I dug out a vintage Britians lancer figure I have had in a box for six years and dusted the stout fellow off and now, having done his service as a scale figure in the last few pics, he is sitting here on my workbench looking glorious but a bit forlorn...he might just need some hard campaigning with some new mates to set him right again...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pine Cone Trees

My wife, son, and I are in the habit of taking walks in the neighborhood on these nice spring evenings of late and last week the little "erbprinz" and I brought a bag along to collect pine cones along the way. There is a particularly prolific pine at the end of our street and the cones are shaped just right for a project that I have had in mind for a few years but never got around to...

I had the notion that pine cones have just the right shape and scale to make the armature for some credible wargaming trees. So today I set out to make some "prototype" pine cone trees.

First a pic of the materials I used to make the trees (click to enlarge the pics):

Pine cones (sized to the scale you want) , 2" (50mm) diameter metal "fender" washers from the hardware store (or DIY for you guys across the pond), 6x2 drywall screws (these are about 1-1/2" long), a bag of Woodland Scenics FC182 Light Green Clump Foliage, super glue (Cyanoacrylate) -my brand for this task is called "Gorilla Glue" and it has a thick consistency but sets immediately, the Bass Ale is optional but it does make the process more enjoyable.

I tried three different ways to make the trees so I'll refer to them as Mark I, II, and III. The MKI would be suitable for toy soldier/Old School games and don't use the flock at all. The MKII and III trees differ in whether to use the drywall screw trunk or not as will be explained below. So on to the trees:


I tried two different ways. The MK I and II used the drywall screw driven into the base of the pine cone as you see in the following pic. It is pretty to easy to drive the screw by hand but it's sometimes hard to drive it in straight because the core of the pine cone tends to send the point of the screw off to one side or the other. But when you get it in right it holds well and its a simple process to glue the flat head of the screw to the metal washer. The Mark III dispenses with the washer and uses a blob of quick set epoxy putty and the pine cone is simply stuck in to the blob and braced upright until dry.

drywall screw driven in...

screw head glued to fender washer...

MkII washer with epoxy blob...

pine cone set directly into blob...

Mk I and IIs ready for finishing..

Now for a really simple and surprisingly effective tree that would work for Old School or Toy Soldier battles the Mk I is simply given a coat of green spray paint and it's done!

a MkI pine cone tree..."kicking it Old School", with one of the few vintage Britians toy soldiers that I am the proud owner of...not enough to game with unfortunately.

The Mk II involves a slight bit more work but the outcome is surprising :
Dab a drop of super glue on the tips of the "leaves of the cone". Do a small section at a time and follow the glue quickly with bit of the Clump Foliage. The stuff sticks immediately and the process goes fast. (I tried this with PVA glue and it takes a bit to long to dry so the clumps tend to fall off before the glue dries... so super glue is the preferred method on this step)

glue drop to the tips...

add the clumps...work your way around and you're done!

On the Mk II since the screw is a bit too thin looking for a trunk, I added some epoxy putty to build up a trunk as you see here:

MkII with trunk and base texture added to be drybrushed a bit when dry...

Finished MKII

The MK III again, dispenses with the screw trunk and is finished the same way and the trunk is not really missed when it's all said and done....

Mk IIs and IIIs together with some skirmishing 28mm Perry Plastic French Voltigeurs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Powick Bridge

Powick Bridge

This week I've spent a little time researching a small historical battle to set up with my ECW stuff. This was one of the first battles of the English Civil War and the battle that established the initial reputation of the Royalist cavalry and Prince Rupert as a force to rekon with.

I was able to get some very good map info on a great site for battles in England called the "UK Battlefield Resource Center" that has super Ordinance Survey maps of many of the important battlefields in England. Each battle has the OS map, plus a more diagrammatic map of the original features of the battle, as well as aerial photos of the sites all in downloadable PDF format. Needless to say VERY useful for the gamer! I garnered an order of battle from Julian Lander's ECW scenario Book "De Bellis Civile" published by "Keep Wargaming". His book is primarily set up for "DBR" rules so I used about half the number of "elements" he lists and change them to "units" of my collection. so we get a pretty good approximation of both sides with:

CinC Prince Rupert (command stand)
3 units of horse (2 stands each)
2 units of dragoons (2 stands each)

CinC John Browne
4 units of horse (2 stands each)
1 unit of dragoons (3 stands)

thus a good small all horse/dragoon skirmish....

The battle was the result of a Parliamentary attempt to capture a train of silver plate collected by the people of Oxford to support the King who lay at Shrewsbury. Prince Rupert was dispatched with a body of horse to reinforce the column.

The battle began historically with Parliamentarian horse advancing out of the town of Powick down a narrow lane to eventually cross Powick Bridge in column. So for the game the Roundheads are set up in column on the road so at least the battle will begin historically with the advancing horse having to run a gauntlet of dragoons posted just across the bridge behind a line of hedges. After that I plan to let the game run its course to see if it generally plays out as it did in 1642. More to follow... First some pics of the initial set up.

Royalist dragoons wait in ambush

Ruperts horse, though surprised, assemble a battle line quickly.

initial positions of the Royalists at top posted in a wide meadow of higher groundand though outnumbered have a strong tactical advantage in defending the narrow lane and bridge

Col. John Browne follows the leading squadrons of Parliamentary horse down the narrow lane...the battle opens...

(as usual I'm using "Victory Without Quarter" ECW rules and 40mm Sash and Saber figures)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pirates vs Robots: An Outdoor Game

A beautiful spring evening here in Virginia and the Lead Gardens are ablaze with a battle between the Pirates and the Robots! Taking it outdoors with my little guy (who is a "not so little" 3.5 years). In a desperate bid for glory the Robots tried to take control over the Pirates hoard of AA batteries hidden in a "stick fort" we constructed for them this morning. The Pirates were a bit overmatched since they were a constant scale (54mm toy soldier) versus an escalating force of Robots whose leader topped out at 18 inches of hard plastic, battery operated, missile firing glory!! Needless to say the fighting was bloody until the robots decided to become friends with the Pirates and came in to have a glass of milk before bedtime...


I'm guessing a first blogging milestone is when you have enough posts to require sorting into categories. So:
Today and Henceforth:

The Posts on Lead Gardens are Hereby and Officially "Labeled" to make it a bit easier for readers to feel the madness!
see the list- top right

...So it is Written, So it Shall Be Done!

Let's Dance!

Friday, April 17, 2009

English Civil War: A Soldiers Eye View

So a little devotion to sharp close-ups this afternoon and the result is some "soldiers eye" views of the latest ECW battle to erupt on my game table...

Royalist foot line a hedge.

A Parliamentary garrison regiment fires a volley.

Sir Edward Dunscombe's "Greys" hold a critical hedge with Sir Allen Apsley's Regiment in the background.

A close up of a homemade "event token" (drawn whenever the "Event" card occurs)

Rupert's Blewcoats.

Struggle for a hedge.

Tower Hamlets Regiment up close and personal.

Apsley's Regiment hurries into position.

Rupert's foot file along a walled lane.

Sir Marmaduke Rawdon's regiment

Colonel Okey's Dragoons contest an enclosure

Royalist Horse

birds eye

Parliamentary Foot forming for the attack.

....and finally, a pic of the newest addition to Royalist collection just completed this week: The Marquise of Newcastle's Regiment of Foot, "The Whitecoats"

Friday, April 10, 2009

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

So another great battle report over at "For Ye Kinge" has thrust me back into my enthusiasm for the English Civil War period. I set up a battle today to be completed this weekend and this evening have started a foot regiment and a squadron of horse for good measure. Tonight was devoted to trimming and cutting pikes and such. I find the late night hours after everyone has gone to sleep to be a most productive time. Tomorrow I'll start with priming and basic colors. (the wooden buckets are also slated to be added to a currently empty baggage wagon.)

Also, here are a couple of pics of 28mm French Napoleonic light infantry that I recently finished. (Perry Plastics...) I've finished a unit of 12 for skirmishers to oppose the 95th rifles just completed... and the line infantry for bigger battles is on its way soon.

I broke down and ordered a unit of 12 Brit dragoons from Elite miniatures (a bit expensive...) but the Naps project is taking on a life of its own....and I just can't stop with infantry. So in a month or so French cav and artillery for both sides will be in the works.

While cleaning out my garage, I also found some Napoleonic cav that had been given to me 6 years ago by the father of an "old girlfriend" of mine (before I met my wonderful wife...)...he was a serious collector of classic toy soldiers (he had once sold some of his Britains collection to Malcom Forbes...one of the great collectors of Britains in the world). Unfortunately because the girl and I parted ways, i.e...I got dumped... I also lost the connection to a great guy in her father and his amazing collection....but such is life! But I still have these cool Willie figures that will be incorporated into the Naps collection. And I'm still the proud owner of a vintage Britains Queen's Coronation carriage given to me for Christmas by the gentleman a few years ago! (I'll post some pics of this treasure some day soon!)

But for now here are the 30/28mm Willies:

They were painted by someone else in a basic wargames standard paint job so I'm planning to touch them up a bit and resculpt/replace a few broken horse tails and swords. I remounted them this past week on GW plastic bases. These are the first Willies I ever laid eyes on and I have to say they are really beautiful despite their age. Hopefully with a little care they can be brought to full splendor soon!

What a Cool Hobby!!!