Monday, June 27, 2011

Imex 1/72 Austrians Paint Conversion

In this picture,  the Revell Prussians have surprised the new Imex Austrians (converted British Redcoats) while they were in the middle of a fashion show to see their facings, while General Lacy (top right of center) looks on. Meanwhile General Loudon tries to thrust his sword into a Prussian Grenadier-Garde, Alt  6 man's head.

He would turn around to see what's holding up Lacy's reinforcements if he had time. Just like that time at Liegnitz in 1760. (Legnica)

Imex does not have Austrians for the SYW, Revell does, or at least they did. It's hard to keep up with the changes in the plastic 1/72 producers. Plastic Soldier Review can help sort most of it out. Some are out of production, some are not yet available but in the pipeline, and others have changed names two or three times.

So the ones on Peter's Cave the other day (see blogroll) are the exact same figures, and rather better painted than mine, but instead of calling them Imex he is calling them Revell, and before both of them the same figures were Accurate. Since I have a supply of both Accurate and Imex, and they are almost identical,  I'd have to think but this particular set was sold as Imex when I got them in late 2003.

I don't have the patience to track down the proper Austrians to go with those Prussians I found last week, but I had a set of what are supposed to be Imex British Redcoats for the American Revolution. I'll try to get the right ones later if I can, but I need Austrians now. I have already waited too long.

Back in 2003 I picked up some of these Imex for the Revolution but had not finished painting them. This set was going to be the French regulars and were halfway done in white uniforms. Another one actually are British redcoats, and there are blue ones and other types too.

I probably still will use these for French of the Revolution come to think about it, until I add some proper ones later. Even then, these could probably be used for the pre-79 uniform ones well enough. 

There is a French set out there by somebody else, but they are in the post-1779 issue uniforms. The French who came to fight in North America are believed to have worn both the older and the newer uniforms depending which force they are. So those too, I'll keep an eye out for them for later.

I kind of don't care about the differences that much. This whole plastic project started with a nostalgia for the days when we only had a few troops types to use, two for the Revolution and I can think of about seven types to cover the whole Napoleonic Wars. So we'd use the 1815 Highlanders to storm Fort Ticonderoga in 1758 if that's what we wanted to do that day. The muskets were basically the same, but their hats were different.

It was considered cool then to do conversions, lopping off heads of one kind to make another, but I had two problems with that. I never thought I had enough troops to waste like that, and once you did you couldn't use the other ones any more, unless by some miracle the hats were appropriate for the donors.

I finally did make some English Civil War figures from Napoleonics and American Civil War types, but it really made me ill to have to do that out of desperation. It ruined the original figures for the periods they came from, and within a couple weeks I would regret it.

I did not feel so badly about the simpler 'paint conversion,' since it is theoretically reversible when you change your mind back. These coats could go back to red, or blue, pretty quickly, if I ever wanted that.

So I have a long history fortified by nostalgia for the dilemmas caused by too limited a line in plastics. There are a lot more choices nowadays, but still not enough.

There are dragoons available nowadays, and there were always hussars if you will rob the Waterloo collection, plus now there are proper hussars with mirliton hats. But cuirassiers with tricorne (robbing Waterloo again) would call for conversions. I could get tricornes from certain American militia types.

And then the Worst Thing Happened

While I was thinking about all that, I started looking at my Napoleonic British and French, a rebudding little collection, and started to think about not wanting to rob them, because I will want to use them and regret it later. Why not leave their hats alone and just use French 1815 Cuirassiers as SYW cuirassiers, nobody has to know...then they can still go back to Napoleon later, no commitment, no strings...I can ignore the hats, and maybe the colors, just till I get the right ones...

The bane of the wargamer is to be distracted to a different project, before getting the other one done.

And then my thoughts started to drift to the vast half million man Voelkerschlacht, the biggest bloodiest battle of the 19th Century before World War I broke all records:

Leipzig, 1813!  The Battle of Nations.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tornado Hit Us, Not Too Badly

We got hit by some tornadoes last night. It broke up one of those runs of days that are too hot, like I had mentioned a while back.

Suddenly a storm blows in and once the rain and winds are gone, it brings fresher cooler air from aloft leading in a cold front.

But although the relief from the heat is very nice, there may be violent storms at the edge of this sort of change, and that is what happened.

Since I was languishing in the 88 degree heat, I was standing at the window trying to enjoy as much cooler air from the wind as I could while not getting too wet from the rain that is in the wind. At some point it becomes too violent, and then you lock down the hatches.

So the rotation in the wind formed a tornado, as it went over me, and bore down right on the Salt Mines to where I was working for our War Correspondent RJK last week, where it was close to the ground and violently ripped a crab apple tree near the front door right up out of the ground by the roots.

I found it a few hours later. There were lots of other branches on the ground from other trees, but that one completely torn out looked pretty dramatic.

Then it slammed into the ground a mile away at the next town's fire department, flipping all the firemen's cars upside down in their parking lot. This is close to the main airport of Chicago, which had to close down for a couple hours when the tower people had to evacuate.

They were reporting winds at 81 mph, but only later figured out it was officially a tornado. They determined two touched down, meaning hit the ground, and maybe three others up in the air around the area, without touching down necessarily.

If I had known it was officially a tornado I would have probably taken cover, but instead I was standing there enjoying the cool breeze.

There was another one heading towards the Alte Fritz's neck of the woods too, a few minutes later.

Both of them have officially qualified as tornadoes now, but of the kind that only just qualify, so it wasn't really bad, except for the firemen, and the place whose roof was torn off...and the crab apple tree.

I must say, on my way to the Salt Mines a half hour later, I benefitted from the lighter than usual traffic on the roads and did not have to drive at tornado speed to get to work on time for once.

This Helped the Blog in its Own Way

 Due to the disaster recovery I had to work an extra half day, but that helped the blog as I was able to meet with the Correspondent RJK to coordinate the story he has from Virginia, some aspects of which will be exclusive to the headquartersinthesaddle blog, but too busy with this to have it up just yet. It will be soon.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Revell 1/72 Preussische Infanterie

(need a shave, I guess)Prussian Infantry Set from the 90's-
I have been Working on the Plastic, and Taking Inventory

These rather poor images are from holding a netbook computer at a certain  angle, so they are not very good as pics, but they are better than nothing, like I usually have.

 Too bad you can't see the silver and gold braid on these.

I have several different wargame figure collections, and the best old one but most neglected for some years are the plastic 1/72 that I started out with years back.

I am up to around 672 Imex plus 100 or 200 Airfix figures in 1/72 plastic now, mainly for the American Revolution portion of the 18th Century.

The Imex came in a box set of 284 back in 2003, then about 300 that I picked up since about February, under the influence of Charlie Wesencraft and some blogging influences, and since then as we approach summer I have another 100 militia types and 72 artillery with 12 guns.

This is not counting cavalry, because only four mounted figures ar e officially from this period, plus five George Washingtons (two or three missing or amputated by the vacuum/cats)and four British Grenadier officers.

It's debatable whether the hussars and cuirassiers from the Napoleonic period can be used. It depends on whether it is really the American Revolution, or if we are doing the European wars of the 18C and anything goes because almost nothing is exactly right.

If I do count them, I seem to have about 10 Airfix British Hussars left, another 36 Esci and 24 Italeri. The Italeri are the crispest ones. They are the same as the Esci, but came out better. So, seventy of them. There are about twenty usable old Airfix French Cuirassiers, plus another set of 11 I picked up under the Accurate labels, but they are the same figures. So, 31 of those.

That's how I always used the old plastic anyway, and it never was quite right, but I did not care, because the right figures did not exist and were not available. Nowadays there are more out there, but the lines are far from complete, so in plastic it has always been about conversions and overlooking imperfections.

I like that. Let the 28mm people try to be accurate all they please. Their figures usually look like mutant Gnome-Frogs, to be honest, with bugged out eyes and bunches of bananas for hands.

So some of the horde is from this year when I suddenly started to want to collect the plastic armies again, and about half or more were already in various Bitz Bags around the place, being ignored.

For a few months I was looking at one gray Revell figure from an old box of Prussian Infantry for the Seven Years War, which was also called the French and Indian War in its American theater.

I had found it somewhere and just had it sitting around, while I wondered what ever happened to the rest of them.

So now:

 I always get my grapes at V. Sattui's Winery, whenever I'm in the Napa Valley. They are the juiciest.

 This shows the box; this brand was made in Germany when I bought these, some time in the 90's. Still probably are. The brush points at the Frederick the Great figure.

 This is the magnifying glass attached to a Chicago Cubs road hat. They are a very unlucky baseball team from around here. The hat holds the glass in place  so you can see fine detail better.

So let's see if it works:

Then here's an example of trying to get the glass to focus through the camera, for this pic.

Then I Found Most of Them

And then I found a cache of them; they were in a plastic divider box in a pile next to the 10mm Civil War troops, from another neglected and largely forgotten collection. I am also wondering what brand these 10mm ACW figures are, by the way. They may be GHQ, they may be something else, and they may be a mix of a couple types. I can't remember any more, and have lost any markings from the bags. I do have some small bags, so I know some came that way.

So this weekend I painted up the Revell 1/72 Preussische Infanterie, and even painted the mounted officer to resemble Frederick the Great himself. The only trouble with that is that he always thought it was too cold, and buttoned his coat up. This guy has it open.

Despite all these hundreds of other tricorne-wearing figures, these 3 plus 33 men are the only official ones from the Seven Years' War. I must have got them at The Emperor's Headquarters, an erstwhile wargame emporium in Chicago, which closed before I could get the Austrians or anything to go with these.

That's why you have to get them while you can, since pretty soon, you can't.

One Figure Per Battalion
Since there are only 33. I was painting just one figure per battalion, and in this period they can't just be generic because the colors depend on which regiment they are. So to paint you have to decide--how many of which regiment. I decided, one for each regiment, and let's get it done. Plus this officer will be the King himself.

So regiments will be usually two men, brigades usually four or so, etc. Near Frederick there are the Grenadier-Garde-Battalion 6, and another Grenadier for the III-Bat of Regiment Garde 15. Their comrades are among the marching figs in tricorne, along with Regt 13 Itzenplitz, the Donner-und-Blitzen regiment.

Now that these painted up nicely, I need some opponents for them.

In the pics attached to the Cubs hat is a 2xmagnifier that I picked up at a railroad shop, but I forgot what they are called. I couldn't have done the details without them, really close up. In one pic I tried to have the camera blow up the Frederick image, since otherwise you can't see the details clearly. Still can't, actually, but worth a shot. I like how this thing attaches to a Chicago Cubs hat.

Richard Prior wore one in Brewster's Millions, so maybe it's good luck

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Dispatches From Our Correspondent

John Trumbull's Surrender of Lord Cornwallis from the English wikipedia, with this description:
This painting depicts the forces of British Major General Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (1738-1805) (who was not himself present at the surrender), surrendering to French and American forces after the Siege of Yorktown (September 28 – October 19, 1781) during the American Revolutionary War. The United States government commissioned Trumbull to paint patriotic paintings, including this piece, for them in 1817, paying for the piece in 1820.
Français : Ce tableau dépeint le général britannique Charles Cornwallis, 1er marquis Cornwallis (1738-1805), se rendant aux forces françaises et américaines après le siège de Yorktown (28 septembre - 10 octobre 1781) durant la guerre d'indépendance américaine. Cette peinture à l'huile sur toile fut executée par l'artiste américain John Trumbull en 1817. Il fut acheté par le gouvernement américain en 1820.

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Our New War Correspondent Is Back In Town

Vacation is over for him and me both. I got away from my regular gig to cover for him, and now the time is up. He is back in town, driving the car that I suggested would be a good one back in '07, and he brought a stack of dispatches nearly two inches thick. Also we'll be working on a plug-in zip drive.

British Surrender at Yorktown

He has been in the area of Virginia where the British Army surrendered in October 1781, at Yorktown.

As the story goes, they tried to surrender to the French General Rochambeau, but the French general refused it on the grounds of etiquette, and then they tried to surrender to General Washington.  But, however, since General Cornwallis had directed his assistant O'Hara to do the surrendering, General Washington had O'Hara hand the sword over to General Lincoln--who had himself been compelled to surrender at Charleston previously, when the Southern Campaign was in its early stages.

Other highlights of the trip, from the point of view of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, will be further explored on the headquartersinthesaddle blog  in due course (see also Blogroll).

They include the Battle of Big Bethel 150th Anniversary, on Friday, June 10, 2011. This battle was a federal disaster and although it was quite a big deal 150 years ago at this point in the late spring of 1861, it would be eclipsed and forgotten six weeks later when the famous Bull Run catastrophe happened, at the First Battle of Manassas.

In the well-known Civil War movies, they like to start the war off with the Bull Run disaster, and it's a good drama, but there were some fights before that, and Big Bethel is one of them. The basic idea of the drama is that in the early stages they were expecting the war to be over in three months or so, and did not realize how serious it was going to be later on.

In 1861, the armies were organizing, and there were clashes in several places that are eclipsed by the bigger events, not only in Virginia but all the border states and the coasts.

Our Correspondent was there for the Anniversary of the Battle of Big Bethel

Also being a Navy man, he paid some attention to the fight of the Monitor and the Merrimack, and was using his hands to describe how they did it when I interrupted to ask, "you mean the C.S.S. Virginia?" and he said "Exactly."

The Confederates had taken possession of the USS Merrimack, in the navy yards in their state of Virginia, when they seceded from the Union, and used its hull for a secret weapon, the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, hoping to break the US naval blockade by using warships with armor, like the French and then the British navies were doing since the Crimean War.

But unfortunately with so many things to talk about, a 53-foot semi barrelling out of the dock, behind me and a low-flying airliner landing nearby, that's as far as that story got. Next we were talking about how someone at Big Bethel showed him a grave of a cook right near where he was standing.

There are some places in the world where every time you turn around it seems there was some historical event right where you're standing. Rome, Cairo, Athens, and Jerusalem come to mind, among others. Virginia is like that too.

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I Had Some 'Splainin To Do

If it weren't for the Correspondent, I would not even know how to access the Internet.

I would say that he taught me everything I know, about computers, but that would be a slight exaggeration since I already knew about the on-off switch, installing an operating system, defragmenting the disk, watching movies and playing music. All that came from a South Indian Desi, so my music was in his language and Hindi, and I also knew that the Indian films from Bollywood would be easier to watch on the laptop, due to the format.

And from a Russian guy who had sold him the computer, I knew that he had ripped off the leather bag, for his profit.

From that point the Correspondent stepped in and showed me how to do plenty more, opening up the vast world of the Internet to me, also Copy-Paste, e-mail, Word and Excel and that sort of thing, and even wikipedia.

He's already a great instructor, a great American patriot, and now he will be a great Photojournalist. Now if you'll excuse me, I will tell him the name of the site.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

War Correspondent

Cameras Cost Too Much
I went through the store and looked at the cameras yesterday. They all look expensive, especially the good ones. And really especially the really good ones. Just any old cell phone won't cut it for 2mm especially; that cries out for a macro lens.

What About Using Somebody Else's Then
But I also started to call in IOUs, especially from my new Correspondent in the field, who was heading down the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the time, and heading east. He'll be going south after that to Virginia, and specifically to the Peninsula area around Jamestown and Yorktown, Williamsburg and the like, where the Virginia colony had its start from 1607 onwards. Meanwhile I am stuck at the Salt Mines, and even worse than usual.

This gentleman tried to steal my days off in 2007, and now here he is again robbing me of my rest because I have to cover for him while he is on vacation. But his shift is the opposite hours of the day from mine, so it requires loss of sleep for two days at each end. That doubles the misery above having the wrong days too, which costs me at least two days off, and maybe more I haven't realized yet for next week.

This is because he decided to start his vacation on Thursday, unlike normal people, and furthermore he will continue to be gone while he goes to the Sexual Harassment class even when he gets back. Real men take the 6-hour class between shifts, and don't take a special day off for it. So when he does finally come back, that bumps me into further suffering to readjust and make up the hours.

About a year and a half ago I kicked his -- well I beat him up, during the Riot Baton and Chemical Weapons class, when the teacher was focusing on other things, and there is still a big streak from his shoe on the door there, but that was not enough compensation.  It was part of the training.

So in Short

He owes me big for all these infractions.

But instead I am going to advance his career and try my best to make him famous. As a publisher I am in a unique position to make him not just an ordinary photographer, but a Photojournalist.

So I have negotiated a verbal agreement to give me written permission to use his images, free of copyright entanglements for me,  on the blogs respectively, depending on whether the pics are closer to the 18th Century or 19th Century.

He already has thousands of good images, and every six months or so he goes and gets more like this, now that he has grandchildren there. It's always me who replaces him, because really it should have been my job in the first place back in 2009 when he grabbed it out from under me while I was sleeping. That's all the more reason. I didn't even mention that car he sold me and all the repairs.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Too Hot

It's 91 degrees in the shade. The computi slows down, and eventually may not go at all. Took a while, but I got an article up on the Headquarters in the Saddle blog. (See blogroll).

As for this one I have plenty to say about various things, but it's too hot. They had to kick everybody off the beaches at Lake Michigan over Memorial Day weekend, and now this weekend they are having trouble with a 'flash-mob' style 'wilding' incident. There are twenty hooligans in custody as of today from the weekend attacks on pedestrians.

One Polish guy fought back, and says he will testify against them.

The gangbangers allegedly knocked him off his scooter and he allegedly started belting them back, then they tried to swarm away. First five, then seven, then twenty of allegedly them got rounded up over the course of Monday.

It gets too hot here, and then all the crazies come out.

At least my one article worked, after several attempts. It's working a little better now since the sun went down.

I have added on to the three collections of 1/72 plastic figures with another 300 this weekend, 100 more for the British redcoats and their Tory friends, who later became the Canadians, and 100 each blue and gray for the Civil War. This time I am going to paint these backwards, so the blue will be gray and gray will be blue, so there will be Confederates in the kepi/forage caps, and Union troops from the Midwest such as Illinois for instance wearing black hats that look like cowboy hats.

Might have to post at three in the morning from now until September. Or October, if last year is any guide to the heat patterns. Actually it is already a little better just from Sundown having happened.