Monday, May 22, 2017

Join the Fife & Drum Minis Forum

A view of the Prussian encampment outside of the town of Altefritzenburg during the Seven Years War (click the picture to enlarge the view).

At the end of February 2017, I formed a new discussion board, fifeanddrum-minis, to have a place to talk about figures sculpted by the very talented Richard Ansell. These include the Fife & Drum AWI range, the Minden SYW range, and the Crann Tara Jacobite Rebellion/War of Austrian Succession figure ranges.

I would like to invite everyone with an interest in these topics to join our forum by clicking on the following link:

There is a very user friendly registration process and once that is down, then you can contribute to the forum whenever you wish. There are no rules such as a requirement to post anything or to click on "like buttons" in order to be a member of the forum. In fact, there are very few rules other than to engage in gentlemanly behavior.

The forum has been very active and it "has legs" or momentum evidenced by a total of 403 different threads and 3,857 total posts since its establish at the end of February 2017. We currently have 191 members from all over the world.

A selection of the Minden Mounted and Dismounted Ladies and Gentlemen. Note that each mounted figure has its own dismounted version. (click picture to enlarge)

Forum Categories and Boards
If you have an interest in 18th Century military history and wargaming, then I think that you will find many bits of information that are very useful. We also have made an exception by having a 19th Century Colonial Era board that features some awesome pictures of Dave Docherty's 28mm Sudan collection, among other topics. Why? Just  because I like the Sudan period of history, not to mention the fact that there are many interesting Colonial wargame collections and projects across the internet that need to be seen.

Categories include:

* 18th Century Campaigns
* Museums and Battlefield Pictures
* General Discussion Topics
* Fife & Drum AWI Figures
* Minden SYW Figures
* Crann Tara Miniatures
* Picture Gallery
* Der Alte Fritz Rules
* Market Place (for buying and selling things)

Within each broad category you will find a number of interesting sub-topics, which the forum structure calls "Boards". I'm not going to mention all of the boards that we have on the forum, there are just too many to list. However, here a few that are of interest:

* My own South Carolina campaign for the AWI
* SYW battlefield pictures and European museums devoted to the 18th Century
* Convention reports in the UK and USA
* Wargame Scenarios, where you can talk about your favorite game scenarios
* Painting Table Work in Progress, where you can display current painting projects
* Recommended Books

* Fife & Drum AWI figures and news announcements
* Minden SYW figures - I'm in the process of adding a forum picture catalog for the entire range
* CrannTara pictures and news

* Picture Gallery which features a broad array of topics from The Great Northern War and up to the War of 1812 (plus the fabulous Sudan board).

So click on the link and check out the forum today. There is no obligation to join or post anything, lurking is allowed. The range of topics are very interesting and the pictures redefine the term "eye candy" by a wide margin.

DAF's South Carolina Campaign
My own personal project is the establishment of an AWI campaign that focuses on the 1780 campaign in the Carolinas. I am using a heavily modified version of Tod Kershner's Sport of Kings and Bohemian Blitzkrieg campaing rules, with my own AWI specific rules. I am currently working on the campaign map and jotting down some of the rules that I will use. I anticipate launching the campaign within the next couple of weeks and you will be able to follow its progress over the rest of this year. I'm excited by this project and hope that you will enjoy following along.

This is not my campaign map, but I plan on using a variant of this map for my campaign.

The above map can be found by clicking on the link above. This takes you to a very useful web site that covers the AWI in the Carolinas. The amount of information on the site makes this a must see place to visit if you have an interest in the AWI.

Fife and Drum Miniatures Web Store News
I am happy to announce that the web-store now accepts credit cards in addition to PayPal payments. This should make it easier to place orders going forward.

I am also adding pictures of the painted figures across the entire web site. Each product code, or SKU, will depict all of the figures in a pack painted. In other words, if a pack of Prussian Musketeers has 8 figures, then there will be a picture of 8 painted Prussian Musketeers in the Product code listing so that you can see what you are buying and how it will look once it is painted.

I have also added a 10% discount for any order of $1,000 or more. This gives buyers an opportunity to save money on larger purchases, or they could even make a group order with their friends or club members in order to qualify for the discount.

What's Next on Fritz's Painting Table?
I'm currently working on some British infantry as part of the SKU painting program. After I paint the samples, I will build them up into units of 30 figures and start on a British SYW army. Same holds true for their French opponents.

I just finished the civilians in the Minden range and I really like the way that the sets of mounted and dismounted Ladies and Gentlemen look when painted. These could be used for ordinary civilians on your game table or could represent your characters in your Imaginations world.

Those pesky Russian horse grenadiers (the second squadron) are also primed and ready to be painted soon. My plan is to build up a SYW Russian army over the summer of approximately 8 battalions, 4 cannon and crew, and several squadrons of horse grenadiers, dragoons and some Cossacks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Battle of Arcot - Part II

I am posting pictures of the action that occurred in other parts of the battle of Arcot, largely in the center of the table. As I was busy on the left flank, I did not have much time to follow the rest of the action down the long 24 foot table.

I had to leave the game early, so I did not see who won, but it looked like the French had the upper hand in the key center part of the table. They apparently broke through the center and outflanked Fort Tandoori on the British right, causing the center and right to fall back.

Clive's flank attack on the left had a minor edge over the French, but he did not have enough infantry left to finish off what he had started.

The French and their allies advance in the center section of the battlefield. The British redcoats venture forward to meet them.

Some Indus Miniatures French sepoys lead the attack in the center.

They are briefly delayed by a hoard of bow and arrow armed native levies. These are also Indus Miniatures.

Native cavalry stream out of Arcot to support the French attack in the center.
The French artillery and infantry also head for the front in the center part of the table.

The French (blue coats on the right) appear to have the British (several red battalions on the left) outnumbered. The British unleash their secret weapon: ELEPHANTS!

A kink in the French line develops as Clive's flank attack is starting to push back the French center-right. British natives advance towards the bend in the line. French cavalry moves forward to attack the natives.

That seemed to work fairly well as the French went "all in" and pushed everything into the melee. The French and their native allies won this melee and eventually broke through the British center.

Meanwhile on the British right flank, the redcoats occupy Fort Tandoori and seem to have things well under control.


Monday, May 8, 2017

The Battle of Arcot AA Report - SYW in India

Initial table setup on 6ft by 24ft center table

On Saturday May 6th I traveled north to the Milwaukee area to participate in Bill Protz's annual birthday game. (Happy Birthday, Bill). We hold a game at his house every year on this approximate date to celebrate the milestone, to socialize and have a good time, and also, by the way, to play in a wargame.

This year's battle took place in India during the SYW in the Carnatic region on the southeast coast of India. The British (or East India Company) had stations in Madras and Pondicherry while the French had a station in nearby Arcot. You can find a lot of good information about this era and its military history on Wikipedia. The Osprey Campaign book on Plassey also provides good background information.

Game Logistics
Given that we were playing on a 24-foot long table and 6-feet wide plus two equally long back tables, it was difficult to follow what was going on at the other end of the table. I would go take a look see from time to time, but I really couldn't get a grasp of what was going on at the other end of the table. Who needs fog of war rules when the game provides its own built-in fog of war.

Prior to the start of the game, every player rolled dice to determine the quality of all of their troops: Elite, Veteran, Trained and Untrained or Native Mob. Not surprisingly, many of the units in my sector, both for my opponent and I, were rolled up to Elite status. I didn't think that my own Sepoys should be Elite, but that's what the dice said and who's to argue with the dice?

French trading station at Arcot in the Carnatic area of India.

The right flank at Arcot, from the French point of view.

British Fort Tandoori near Arcot.

A rather large oasis guarded the British left flank in front of Arcot.

My recollection is that there were four or five players per side. The British had four commands, but I split my command (Clive) into two parts so that a fifth player could join our team of Good Guys. The Bad Guys (French of course) had four players as I recall.

Clive's Task Force
My command consisted of:

1st and 2nd Madras Sepoys
1st Madras European Regiment
The Royal Governor's Bodyguard Dragoons
3rd (The Buffs) Regiment of English foot
2 x Royal Artillery 6-pounders
2 x 1-pound Amusettes

Clive's task force, flanking attack, screened by native light cavalry and European dragoons.

And then there were lots of native allies and two English regiments and a few elephants further to my right, but I couldn't tell you what they were.

Our forces consisted largely of a number of native warriors from Bill's Afghan-India Colonial collection, some French and British regulars, and several battalions of Sepoys that Bill and I were both painting for this game.

Over the past month of April, I think that I painted approximately 120+ figures including 60 British Sepoys from Indus Miniatures, 60 Madras Europeans using Fife & Drum AWI Guards soldiers (these were largely figures with broken bayonets that I'd been saving over the past four or five years, figuring that one day I could put them to good use.

Grand Nabob Ruttin Tuttin's elephant command stand. The Grand Nabob is visible  on  the right rear round disk, wearing pa urple tunic.

1st Madras European Regiment (using Fife & Drum AWI British Guards figures in round hats).

1st Madras Sepoy Regiment (Indus Miniatures)

2nd Madras Sepoy Regiment (Indus Miniatures)

Indus large Lion Cannon and artillerymen

I also painted two large Indian brass cannon and crew plus an elephant which served as the command stand for the Grand Nabob Rutin Tutin, whose warriors were allied with the British.

Two battalions of British Sepoys, the 1st Madras (to the right) and the 2nd Madras (to the left). In the upper left corner is the remnant of the 1st Madras European Regiment. Royal Artillery 6-pounders support the Sepoys.

Background to the Battle
The general background for the battle is that the British and their native allies were advancing on the French post at Arcot, hoping to capture it. Unbeknownst to them, the French had recently reinforced the garrison at Arcot, so it was a lot stronger than the British had imagined.

As the British/native contingent approached Arcot to make seige preparations, the French made a sally in force from the city to attack the British before all of their forces could arrive. While this was going on, Robert Clive was leading a smaller task force on a flank march around the French left wing, hoping to catch them off guard and to capture Arcot.

Let the Battle Begin

Clive's flank attack force had to wait until Turn 2 before they could be placed on the board, to the left of the oasis, as seen in the previous picture above. The passage around the flank was restricted by a severe bottleneck to the left of the large oasis. I gave this passageway the name of "The Narrows". The Bad Guys were able to stop Clive in his tracks, using just some light native cavalry which were employed to melee the British as they marched throught the gap. (NOTE TO SCENARIO DESIGNERS: be aware that terrain can really restrict the playability of the game. While I had fun playing, the terrain bottleneck of The Narrows made it impossible for me to have any chance of meeting the game objective that was given to me, i.e. make a flank attack on Arcot.).

Despite all of that, the game was a lot of fun. How could you not have fun in a game that has elephants?

Clive's march must go through The Narrows: the  area between the oasis on the left and the edge of the world on the right. A screen of light dragoons are sent ahead, anticipating a cavalry attack by the Bad Guys.
Native light cavalry preceed the European light dragoons through The Narrows.

A view of the Governor's Body Guard light dragoons (these are Fife & Drum AWI continental cavalry)

From this picture you can really appreciate how the terrain dictated the battle in this sector. You can see a single regiment of light lancers holding up Clive's whole brigade. It didn't help that the lancers rolled a skill level of Elite, prior to the start of the game. (sigh)

The Guard Cossack Lancers and the Governor's Body Guard clash in The Narrows. Clive's native light cavalry declined the opportunity to charge into the rear of the Guard Cossacks.

Once all of the cavalry had been cleared out of the way, Clive was able to advance his infantry through The Narrows and press home the attack on the French (Bad Guys) right flank.
Some of the native light cavalry decide that it would be fun to charge into a battalion of Irish musketeers in French service.

Bad idea. Irish let loose a "first volley" (+5 firing modifier for that first volley in the game for formed infantry). The Guard Cossacks, defeated in the earlier cavalry melee, reform behind the Irish regiment.

So Clive was able to work his way around the French right flank with only the Irish and the Guard Cossacks barring his way into Arcot. However, he did not have enough infantry left to finish off the Irish and march into the town.

The 1st Madras European Regiment (somehow rated Elite via the roll of the dice) was all shot up, having lost 75% of its initial muster of 60 figures. The 3rd (Buffs) Regiment got "Hougomounted" by a small band of light infantry hiding behind a hedgerow. The Buffs got the bee in their bonnets to charge the native light infantry rather than deal with the greater threat: the Irish battalion. By the time they had cleared the hedgerows of Bad Guys, the Guard Cossacks had reformed and hit them in the flank just as they were celebrating their melee win over the light infantry. That put the Buffs out of action.

Clive only had the fresh, unused battalion of Madras Sepoys left in his arsenal and a couple of 6-pounders. Maybe enough to head off the Irish regiment, but probably at a great loss of life. So I'd rate it as a stalemate on Clive's end of the table.

So what was happening elsewhere in the battle? You will have to come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I've Been Expelled From the AMG Forum

The first annual AMG meeting at Partizan in June 2015.

This morning I discovered that I had been expelled from the forum titled A Military Gentleman (or AMG for short). Since I was not able to say my good-byes on that forum, I wanted to do so now and to let my friends know that my departure was not of my choice.

John Ray, the AMG forum's owner penned this message on AMG today:

" I have taken action on a few members that have not been adding much value of late. I think this is partially due to pre-occupations on other Forums."

When I attempted to log in to AMG this morning to catch up on the forum threads overnight, I got a message that I could not log in because my user name no longer existed. Thinking that perhaps this was a technical glitch I made an few inquiries and confirmed that I had been expelled.

I have been a member of AMG since its inception, having made approximately 2,000 posts either from the creation of new threads or through my response to existing threads. I bought two copies of John's very expensive book titled, "A Military Gentleman" and touted both his book and his forum many times on this blog. 

One of my wargaming highlights was attending the AMG meet. It really gave me a much needed lift in my spirits at that time.
I think that I can safely say that I have probably been John's biggest fan both through my support of his book/forum and from my admiration of his talents as a sculptor, painter and book author. I have found him to be a delightful person and one of my highlights in recent years was the opportunity to meet John and the other AMG members in person, at our gathering at the Partizan show in June 2015.

I have made many friends on the AMG forum and know that I will miss them terribly. The forum was the first thing that I looked at every morning on the internet.  It was a tonic that lifted my spirits when I was down and the creativity of the members led to things such as the Maurice de Saxe in his carriage at Fontenoy model that was made with the help of other members. 

My only regret is that my expulsion cuts me off from the many friends that I made on the AMG forum and it is my hope that we shall keep in touch either through this blog, my Fife and Drum Miniatures Forum, or through direct email.

Strike the tent.



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SYW in India Progress Report

I have increased the 1st and 2nd Madras Sepoy Regiments from 15 to 30 figures. Now I'm working on the Madras European regiment using the Fife & Drum AWI British Guards in round hats.

I also primed a second huge cannon and crew that I will paint sometime this week.

Click or double click on all pictures to enlarge the view.

The Lion Cannon now has a crew of 6, including a British artillery officer.

There should always be an elephant picture in any SYW in India blog posting.

The 1st Madras Sepoys with the British East India Company standard, which looks like the American Grand Union flag of 1776.

The 2nd Madras Sepoy Regiment.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

The SYW in India Project

The British General's Command Stand - Indus Miniatures figures.

Who would have believed it, but I'm painting Indus Miniatures figures for a SYW in India game at Bill Protz's home on May 6th. I already had about 60 of the Indus British Sepoys that I bought about a year ago, but had never gotten them to the painting table. The pending game at Bill's provided the impetus to go ahead and prime the figures and pitch into the painting.

For starters, I painted one company each (remember, these are units for BAR rules) of 15 figures for the 1st Madras (blue facings) and the 2nd Madras (yellow facings) regiments with the idea of painting one company at a time so as not to get overwhelmed by the project. You can see the results below:

One company each of the 1st Madras (red turbans) and the 2nd Madras (white turbans) Sepoys.
Now I will go back and paint a second company of 15 figures for each regiment to give me 60 figures in total. This is enough to give me one converged battalion of Sepoys to use in the game on May 6th. I have a few more figures on the way from Indus so that I can either paint the 3rd Madras up to 30 figures, or paint two more companies of 1st & 2nd Madras to increase both units to 45 figures.

You can see close ups of the two regiments below:

Close up of the 1st Madras Sepoy Regt.

Close up of the 2nd Madras Sepoy Regt.
I am trying to keep the painting simple and basic with a minimum of two or three tones of each color. This makes the painting go faster. For example, the red tunics only get one hue of red - no highlighting except for the officers. Then some of the other uniform pieces will get two-tone coloring to make the whole figure stand out. An example of this is the turbans that each figure wears - painting two hues of the turban color makes the head stand out to the eye and one doesn't really notice the lack of color depth in the tunic.

I also plan on keeping the bases Old School with just a coating of green paint and no fancy terraining on the base. The figures are mounted on 3/4-inch fender washers and placed on a magnetic movement tray. Again, I don't want to give every figure the full treatment with my paint brush, but there is enough there to give me a good looking army.

The elephant and the artillery crew & cannon were a blast to paint, so to speak. I am also toying with the idea of having three or four command figures (brigade commander stand) on foot on a round stand. The army commander will be the elephant stand. See below:

Artillery stand, some command figures and the elephant.

I had never painted an elephant in my entire life, so I really didn't know where to begin. I did a Google search of Indian elephants and turned up a number of pictures which gave me some ideas for the colors on my elephants furnature.

I went with Ral Partha Sembia Red (sort of Rose in color) for the head and saddle blanket. I didn't want to add any complicated floral designs on the elephants thinking that these might clutter up the end result. Also, I want to practice on painting some designs before painting them on my elephants (plural, yes there might be more of them coming).

A little bit of inspiration for the painting of India elephants.
Finally, we have the gigantic artillery pieces from the Indus figure range. One of the cannons has a lion's head on the mouth of the barrel while the second variation has a plainer appearance. So I had to paint the lion's head first. I just made up the color scheme as I had no idea how Indian cannon might have been painted. I figured that the big huge guns were probably ceremonial in nature, so I gave them a multi-color green with red wheel spokes and painted some of the iron work with a gold-brass color. I doubt that cannon had brass on key elements of metal work, but I liked the way that this cannon turned out. I have the other one to paint prior to the game.

The artillery will not be attached to a stand, The crew are on single washers and the cannon will sit on the table top. Eventually, I'd like to convert some of the Indus elephants to haul a heavy limber to transport these big brutes.

Indus Huge Cannon with artillery crew

I had also never painted skin colors for Indians. I chose two different color schemes. One employed Olive colors with shades and highlights and the other used dark skin base plus dark skin highlights. I mixed some cream color into the dark skin highlights to brighten it up a little. I like mixing up the color schemes as I don't want every figure to look the same.

The Indus Miniatures range is very compelling to look at and to paint. They have some wonderfully exotic cavalry and a wide variety of native infantry.

Monday, April 17, 2017

SYW Painted Figures Clearance Sale

Overhead view of 9 French battalions for sale.
I want to thank everyone who bought the figures that I listed on the blog today. It helps me to clear out some much needed storage space and the funds will be reinvested in Fife & Drum figures and molds.

I also have quite a bit of RSM painted figures for sale. These are from my original SYW Prussian army, which I have since replaced with Minden figures. Nevertheless, this is a good looking army that is nicely based. I will post details and prices later this week.

I need more storage space so I am clearing out an old 15mm SYW project that I no longer wish to keep. The figures are all 15mm and are based for Age of Reason, except instead of 12 figure units, i doubled their size to 24 figures. 

I also have tons of Essex, Old Glory figures and Hallmark artillery equipment, unpainted, for sale.

Please inspect the lot compositions below and if you have an interest in any or all lots, then send my an email at :

All prices do not reflect shipping charges, which will be added to your invoice amount. I prefer to use PayPal for payment.

Unpainted Essex, Old Glory and Hallmark figures.

I have tons of unpainted 15mm British and French plus a one or bags of Austrians. There is also a box of the exquisite Hallmark artillery 3-pounders which are hard to find. My idea was to place a battalion gun in every battalion. In Age of Reason, battalion guns are calculated into the overall firing factor for the battalion rather being figured out by itself.

There are 14 bags of Old Glory figures, 37 bags of Essex British, 13 bags of Essex artillery pieces, 3 bags of Essex Austrians, 2 bags of Essex Prussians, 25bags of Essex French, and 36 Hallmark 3-pounders. I will also throw in some primed but unpainted figures at no extra cost: it appears to be 3 x 12 cavalry and 2x24 infantry - I think that they are French.


The French Brigade

The French forces consist of 9 infantry battalions, of which one is Irish, one is the Gardes Francaises and the other 7 are line regiments. I would normally charge $1.00 per figure but I'd prefer to move the whole lot of painted French:    SOLD!

Irish Bulkeley Regiment, Gardes Francaises and Aquitaine (?)

Three more of the French brigade. Note the use of the Hallmark 3-pound artillery base that has been included with the regimental basing.
A close up view of one of the French regiments. All French battalions are Essex figures.
Irish regiment Bulkeley
The Austrian Brigade

I bought these awhile back and they look like Freikorps brand of figures. They are nicely based on wooden stands with the name of the unit painted on the bottom and covered with varnish so that the hand lettering does not rub off. The actual figures have a flat finish. There are 92 figures in total and SOLD! 

Overhead view of the Austrian contingent: one Bavarian battalion(20 figures), one Austrian (24 figures) one converged grenadier battalion (24 figures) and a converged Croat light infantry battalion (24 figures)

A close up view of the grenadiers and Austrians. 

A close up of the Croats

 The British Brigade

There are five British regiments of Old Glory figures and all have 24 figures and several of them have a battalion gun included on one of the battalion stands. Keith's Highlanders, 23rd Fusiliers, 21st Fusiliers, 12th and 37th Regiments. My recollection is that other than the Highlanders, they are all regiments that fought at Minden. The standard bearers are Essex figures with cast on flags, which are painted to a very high standard (no pun intended).  SOLD!.

Overhead view of the entire brigade