Saturday, July 13, 2019

Arrghh Matey!! There be a battle brewing!

     R.U.P. is going to be hosting a game this Saturday 13JUL19 at 1800hrs at his house. He plans on fighting a naval battle from the age of sail using Close Action rules. This battle will be a proper set-piece fight involving a good many vessels so please attend if you can. His model boats are up to his usual standard of excellence and the game room is most agreeable. My lack of nautical skills will be on full display so you may want to attend for the humor of it all.

   P.S.  This may well also be a Sign of the End of Times as it will mark the third game I have played in the space of a week;  Armageddon Approacheth!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Quarterly review 2019 Q-2

      The time for soul-searching and introspection has come again. This last quarter was quite disruptive of my schedules (like I haven't used that excuse before) with four lengthy trips out of state.  Fortunately I still got a fair amount of work done, unfortunately I haven't painted so much as single figure; not a one. Happily I managed to host, or play in, a dozen games or more through the quarter, which works out to about one a week.
      Throughout the quarter my gentle readers were exposed to my pontifications, opinions, and general blow-hardiness as I reviewed nearly everything I read, bought, attended or played. I thank you for your patience in this matter.
      I managed sixteen figure or product reviews (mostly of the superb Strelets American Civil War range). If you are looking for nice 20mm ACW minis you should consider them.
      I posted five photo essays about forts that I have had the pleasure to visit. These received a surprisingly positive response which encourages me to continue with this enterprise.
      I wrote three book reviews of the always informative (if also often misspelled) Helion & Company publications.
      I posted two AARs and a review of the Drums At The Rapids gaming convention.
      I did manage one terrain project, but it was destined to never be used in a game at my house.
      My crowning achievement was to unburden myself of all of my micro-scale figures that I had realized I would never get painted. I hope they all  went to good homes where they will be painted and played with for many years to come.

      Looking forward I must address the excess 15mm figures (more give-aways in the offing) and force myself to sit and pick up a paintbrush. I have fallen away completely from the one-hour-a-day discipline and really need to get back into the yoke.

                                                              Happy Gaming, my friends!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Is it Christmas in July?

no, Anton is just getting a chance to game twice in the same week!

At this moment it looks like Wednesday 10JUL19 will be a good date for our next gaming event.
We will begin at 6pm and continue until 9pm
Hope to see you all there.

Fort Pulaski Walkaround

Fort Pulaski as seen by Google Earth

     Another example of the U.S. Third System forts that predated the U.S. Civil War. Construction began in 1829 and was completed in 1847 using approximately 25 million bricks. Located on an island in the middle of the Savannah River Fort Pulaski blocked naval access to the city of Savannah and the interior, the coastal area being very swampy with a few barren sand islands along the Atlantic Ocean. At the beginning of the Civil War there were two caretakers "manning" the fort and it was easily taken by a force of Georgia troops with out firing a shot. After Georgia seceded in February 1861 the fort was turned over to CSA troops.

     One of the great problems in stealing a fortress from the government that built it is that the prior owner is apt to have a complete set of plans and be intimately familiar with the weaknesses of said fortress. This, joined with the massive advances in cannon technology in the period since the fort's design, meant that the Union was at a distinct advantage in their efforts to recapture the fort. Fortresses of the Third System were designed prior to the widespread adoption of rifled cannons, guns which had substantially longer range and far greater accuracy than the more common smoothbore guns on the 1820's. The Union forces began firing on Fort Pulaski on 10APR1862 and by the next afternoon had shot a huge hole in the outer face of the fort and had managed to place a shot onto the magazine located in the wall on the opposite side of the fort. Realizing that he and his men were sitting in what amounted a massive bomb (there were 10,000 pounds of black powder in that magazine) the Confederate commander surrendered. For a much more detailed report on the siege of Fort Pulaski check this Wikipedia page.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Upcoming Gaming Date

     I will be running a game at my place this Sunday starting at 1600hrs.

     If the Housemartin can get the updated Napoleonics rules we will be playing that; otherwise I will see about having Trunkmonkey bring his British Revolutionary War troops by for an ARW dustup

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Fort Michilimackinac walkaround

     Last summer I took the drive from the Detroit to Michilimackinac and toured the fort. This is a reconstruction of the final stage of a series of fortifications that guarded the Straits of Mackinac. Built by the French in 1715 the fort underwent regular upgrades to its design (these seemed to correspond the the lifetime of a wooden palisade in the rainy conditions of the Straits).
     The fort was more than a military outpost; it was a trading post and fortified village as well, containing storehouses and civilian dwellings. Surrendered to the British at the end of the French and Indian War in 1761 it was captured during Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763 and held by the Ojibwa Indians for a year until the British negotiated its return. The British decided that the position was too exposed and moved the fort and the town across the Straits to Mackinac Island but (confusingly) kept the name of the fort Michilimackinac, after establishing the position on Mackinac Island they burned the remains of the original fort.

the fort as seen by Google Earth

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Fort Holmes walkaround

     Last summer Rich Uncle Pat took a trip to Mackinaw Island and was good enough to snap some pictures of Fort Holmes while he was there. Fort Holmes (named Fort George by its builders) was built in 1814 by the occupying British army to rectify the glaring weakness of Fort Mackinac; that Fort Mackinac is overlooked by high ground to the northeast. The British were well aware of this weakness as they had exploited it when they captured Fort Mackinac in 1812 by dragging naval cannon onto the heights and threatening to blow in the back (wooden) wall of Fort Mackinac.

Fort Holmes, courtesy Google Earth

Monday, July 1, 2019

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

I've made a separate blog where I will intermittently cover things that don't make it here.

Procrastinations and Fascinations

And yes, I can already hear you.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Fourth of July Party

     I will be hosting my usual Fourth of July party again this year, Activities will start at about 1600Hrs with the ceremonial lighting of the fires with the cooking beginning as soon as the coals are ready, fireworks to follow as soon as we judge it dark enough, As always I will provide beer, brats, hot dogs and hamburger. It pains me to say this but, due to me being on a retirement budget, I am asking everyone to bring at least one (there is no upward limit) multi-tube fireworks launcher to add to the pile.

More last minute stuff

     I now that this is becoming a problem but I promise to get a handle on it soon. It was The Housemartin's birthday the other day (fifty-five, I fondly remember those days....) In honor of that event we will be wargaming on Friday the 27th, yes tomorrow starting at 530pm. Be there!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fort Christmas walkaround

     I recently had the opportunity to visit central Florida, of course I had to find some form of history nearby. Happily I found Fort Christmas (no, it is not where Santa Claus spends his summers). Built, starting on Christmas Day, in 1837 by a force of 2000 Army soldiers and Alabama Volunteers it served as a fortified supply depot during the Second Seminole War. The fort was abandoned in 1838 as operations had moved on and supplies were able to be moved by water.

     The replica fort was reconstructed in 1977 by Orange County as  part of their parks system and has a collection of original building that have been relocated to the park that demonstrate farming and civic life following the war. The fort contains a museum in the (very well air-conditioned) blockhouses.

the fort as Google Earth sees it

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Fort DeSoto walkthrough

       Built between 1898 and 1906 Fort DeSoto was part of the fortification program following the Spanish-American War that attempted to protect the lengthy coastlines of the United Sates. These forts were very different from the ones that had proceeded them. Recognizing the vast developments in steam locomotion and ordinance firepower they moved away from the traditional enclosed fortification and used batteries of cannon and mortars to cover approaches to vital coastal cities and harbors.
       A major feature of such batteries was the efforts to render them as invisible as possible to an approaching enemy fleet. In the case of Fort DeSoto the narrow approach to the inner harbor of Tampa meant that enemy warships would have to travel a very predictable pathway when making their approach. This knowledge made it possible to employ giant mortars to deliver fire into that narrow channel in a way such that it would land on the thinly armored decks of the enemy ships.

this shows the position of the batteries in relation to the narrow entryway to Tampa Bay 
please note that in all of these pictures North is on the right 
image credits Google Earth

Monday, June 10, 2019

Honors of War AAR

     I have to confess that I bought these rules when they were released and put them on the shelf telling myself that I would read them one day soon.........I guess it depends on what you consider "soon". On a galactic or geological sense this is soon; for people with a time-sense more constricted than a Time Lord I would be considered a laggard. Be that as it may, I finally took these down and gave them a good read. To my delight they were not another impression of "Something..something Rampant" (don't get me wrong I rather like the whole series that have spun out from that original concept). Skirmish games are all well and good but once in a while a man wants to sink his teeth into a battle.  These rules will allow you to do just that.

Chibi Brandenburger Tor

      My friends at Michigan Toy Soldier asked if I could make another panel to allow them to expand the Chibi What A Tanker game that they have been presenting at conventions. Having built a ruined town my thoughts turned to the fall of another ruined town; Berlin! My first thought was to model the Reichstag but the domed roof defied my ability to build a sturdy model (taking games to conventions has taught me just how damaging that experience can be). Staring at my third failed attempt at a dome I scratched my head and asked myself "What other structure just screams BERLIN!!?" The famous Brandenburg Gate of course! A few minutes digging in The Vault provided a set of wedding cake columns and few more minutes with my best buddy Proxxie provided the blue board body of the gate.

despite drastic reductions in size it is still a massive model

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Fort Clinch, walkaround

Fort Clinch, please note that North is in the upper right corner
courtesy GoogleEarth

     I have only had the pleasure of visiting Fort Clinch once in my lifetime. This massive masonry fort guards the mouth of the Saint Mary's River, Florida. Begun in 1847 as part of the Third System of forts intended to deter foreign attacks (memories of the White House being burnt no doubt drove the decision-making process) and constructed of over five million bricks it still hadn't been finished when the Civil war broke out. 

Centrafrique, The Game Played.....

     R.U.P. finally had a chance to show off his new man-cave/gaming room by hosting  a game over the Memorial Day weekend. He ran a game using the newly revised Spectre Rules. The table was his usual lavish layout and the scenario featured a French force on a peace enforcement mission (none of that pansy-ass U.N. "observer" nonsense; if you cut up in front of these guys they will deal with you in a forthright and forceful manner) searching for the crew of a downed helicopter. The rebels had captured one of the crew but were now wondering what to do with him. The French were assisted by an African Union force that possessed the same muscular tactics (if not the same quality of equipment and skill).

the southern end of the table, the crashed chopper is just off the top of the picture, 
villagers wander about doing "villager stuff" while trying to avoid being shaken down by the rebels 
if you look carefully at the top of the picture you can see French troops that have just finished searching the helicopter

Monday, May 27, 2019

Thoughts on Memorial Day

         One hundred and fifty eight years ago we let our political discussion degenerate into a Civil War that claimed the lives of 660,000 Americans and ruined the bodies and minds of  another million survivors. The nation still bears the scars of that conflict and doubtless will for a considerable time to come. So, amidst the barbecues and merriment stop for a moment and consider the sacrifice of our veterans and those that didn't come back. Pray that we never again let our disagreements get to the point where we are killing each other.

Friday, May 24, 2019


Central African Republic
Why Spend Hundreds On A Name-Brand African Country?

Don't let the generic name fool you- the Central African Republic provides the same quality of poverty, disease, and corruption as it name-brand African neighbors.

-the ONION: Our Dumb World, Atlas of the Planet Earth, 73rd Edition


During the 2013 French military intervention (titled: Operation Sangaris) in the Central African Republic, part of it's mission was the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the warring parties.  As opposed to many other ineffective intervention missions, the French forces in CAR were readily given the mandate that this was a "peace enforcement" mission, rather than just peacekeeping.  Combine this with ever-changing groups of rebels, an African Union led peacekeeping force, the changeover to a proper UN led force, and ever-present corruption within the CAR government itself, one is provided with an endless variety of wargaming opportunities.

We will pick up the action set in early April 2014:   A French helicopter has crashed while on operations south of the town of Boguila.  Nothing has been received since the pilot reported their rough location, but the area is known to be a hostile area within Seleka controlled territory.

Come sort out an equatorial African crisis!

Saturday (5-25-2019) at my house.
TIME: 630pm
Rules will be Spectre Operations (skirmish level game)

(If you have a drink of choice, please bring it as I have not bothered to stock any of your wines/whiskeys/ect ect)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Fort Meigs walkaround

     One of the big benefits of attending Drums on the Rapids is that admittance to the fort is included in the entrance fee. The fort is well worth far more than the fee charged.
      With the fall of Detroit to the British this area became the far Northwestern corner of the US position in the War of 1812. Built in the first few months of 1813 under horrific weather conditions by a mixed force of Regulars and militia it was completed just in time to thwart the advancing British and their Native American allies. The replica fort was built, and is maintained by, the Ohio History Connection in conjuction with the Fort Meigs Association.
       Surrounded by a circuit of almost 2500 yards this is a truly major fortification for the location and period, I found myself marveling at the industry and sense of purpose that the original builders must have brought to their task. The fort was built to overlook the rapids of the Maumee river, in a period when rivers functioned as highways this was a vital choke-point and the fort could control the passage of troops and supplies upriver.
       Below is a picture of the fort as it is today, courtesy Google Earth. The walk-through follows the path in a clockwise route from the western entrance.

Castillo de San Marcos, walkaround

     I have been going to visit the Castillo de San Marcos on an almost yearly basis for over thirty years. The fact that it located in the delightful seaside town of Saint Augustine Florida doesn't detract from its allure. As the oldest continuously occupied European site in North America I greatly enjoy the sense of history. The Spanish started building forts here shortly after claiming Florida as their own. Repeated piratical visits by all and sundry (combined with the regular burning of the town) finally led the Spanish authorities to take the plunge and build a proper stone fortress to replace the often-destroyed wooded ones. The result was the magnificent stone structure that still stands today.

an aerial view of the Castillo courtesy of Google Earth


Monday, May 20, 2019

Acheson Creations

     One of the supporting vendors that were at Drums was Acheson Creations. I have not encountered their products before this point (much to my chagrin) and have to say they are top notch. All the items that I examined were cast in a fine light pale gray resin with no visible bubbles and no trace of tackiness or smell. I often avoid ordering resin products due to prior bad experiences with casting issues but these are delightfully devoid of problems. Take a look at the website they produce simply tons of stuff!

of course I picked up the odd item (or two)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Drums at the Rapids convention report

     For years I have been promising myself that I would make it to Drums and, for one reason or another, never have. This year I attended and realized just what I've been missing out on. The convention takes place in the museum and visitor's center of the historical Fort Meigs. This fortuitous situation allows one the opportunity to play in a wide variety of games as well as tour the museum and grounds (which I did and which will be subject of another post). This is a relaxed and friendly convention which provided a good selection of games throughout the weekend

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

This is my new favorite coffee


         If you are a fan of "Safe Zones" and other such nonsense you won't want to watch this. If you think supporting our Vets is a good thing you will appreciate this brand. The advertisement is damned funny and the coffee is very good too! Watch a few of the other videos too, this really is a great Vet-oriented company and deserves our support


---this message is to advise you of an upcoming wargame---

DATE: 05/25/2019

TIME: 1830hrs


More game details to follow.

Interested parties can contact me directly for location details.  The normal website administrator will otherwise contact you in time.

*****  END TRANSMISSION  *****

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Up For Grabs Part III 1/300 WW2 Aircraft CLOSED

    I have been digging around locating the rest of the sub-15mm stuff. I knew that I had this box hiding in the back corner of The Vault but it took me a couple of days to locate it (it didn't help that it was mislabeled and in the wrong space!). These come from a series of false-starts; an effort to play Avalon Hill's B-17, Queen of the Skies with minis, a brief fascination with the early airwar over the Pacific and a short-lived interest in the British air-arm.

     The usual rules apply, leave a comment claiming the set of minis that you would like and then email me at daftrica 89 @ yahoo . com with your address. No payment required. My only demand is that you donate whatever the postage costs to a local Veterans Charity.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Gaming Dates, new and updated!

     It looks like I will be able to swing games on the following dates;
          Thursday  23MAY19 at 1830hrs-2130hrs

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Up For Grabs II CLOSED

I'm continuing to clean house and have a couple more items for your consideration.

Please remember that I don't want any payment, just your solemn promise to donate to your local Veteran's charity  an amount to match at least whatever the shipping cost is to me.

This is strictly first-come, first-served, proof is the time-stamp on your post in the comments.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Up For Grabs I CLOSED All have found good homes

     As part of my housekeeping/cleaning I referred to earlier I have decided to shed a number of projects that I am certain that I will never finish. I asked around in my usual gaming circle and some found takers while others didn't. I now am expanding the circle to include all of my loyal followers. Listed below you will find the collections that I am giving away.

     First person to respond in the Comments section will be the new owner of one of these collections. One collection each please! I will ship for free inside the continental U.S. and only ask that, once the package is in hand, you donate whatever my postal cost was to a local Veteran's Program of your choice. I rely on your honesty.

Book Review; Peter The Great's Revenge ( The Russian Siege of Narva 1704)

     Once again Boris Megorsky and Helion Books have combined to bring us a most illuminating volume. In 255 pages Megorsky takes us through the siege that avenged the crushing defeat that the Russians had suffered at the hands of the Swedes just four short years before. I must admit that I was at first concerned at just how readable a diary of a siege would be (they did tend to be plodding affairs, almost like a very slow waltz). To my pleasant surprise I found the text easy to read and nicely paced. This is probably the most interesting story of a siege that I have read since I found the "Siege of Dendermonde" in the old Battle magazine back in the mid 1970's with the added bonus of being a factual account.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Reaper Bones VI, unboxing

      Justice&Rule (known here largely as J&R) has long been a fan of the Reaper "Bones" series and has collected most of the prior issues. He has added "Bones" version IV to his collection and brought the box by the other night to show off his new toys. And what a collection of minis is is! I just wish that they would do a similar Kickstarter for an historical figure line (Vikings spring to mind, complete with Norse Gods, a meadhall and a couple of small boats). I turn the narrative over to him.....

here it is!  33lbs of minis!
that is an ambitious painting schedule!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Book Review, The Russian Army in the Great Northern War 1700-21 from Helion Books

     I have to commend Mr. Megorsky and Helion for producing a volume that will provide the wargamer with almost all of the information that they need to build, organize and paint a miniature force to represent the Russian army of the Great Northern War. Tipping the scales at slightly less than 300 pages this magnum opus brings together a vast amount of information, most of it from original sources, that simply isn't available to the average English-speaking hobbyist. As the subtitle says it covers organization, materiel, training, combat experiences and uniforms. I would unreservedly recommend this book to anyone building a Petrine Russian army. It simply is the best single-source  volume that I have ever seen on the subject. While certainly not a leisurely read this is a rock-solid reference that you will find yourself looking into time after time.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hey!! Look!! Even MORE gaming dates!!!!!!

     I will be gaming this coming Thursday, 25APR19 at18:30-2130hrs

     Another game is tenatively scheduled for Thursday, 2MAY19 at 1830-2130

Schedule is currently open so if there is something you want to play just drop it in the Comments section or call me.

Friday, April 19, 2019

This is worth a look

all those hours making my own guns 
and I could have bought these for just over three dollars

      As I stumble around on the internet I occasionally find some Really Cool Stuff, I think that this falls into that category Anyscale Models makes an astounding array of goodies at very reasonable prices. Railway scenics (terrain goodies to us wargamers), weapons and vehicles are all covered. They make most products in 15mm, 20mm and 28mm. Well worth a look for any post WW1 gamer.

who would have thought that you could get a 
WW2 Japanese halftrack at a reasonable price?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book Review; The Swedish Army in the Great Northern War 1700-21

     Returning to the group of books that I got at Christmas time I will look at Helion's The Swedish Army In The Great Northern War 1700-21 by Lars Ericson Wolke. I have long been interested in this conflict, it is a demonstration of how, through training, discipline and willpower, a tiny nation can impose (for a while) its policies upon its neighbors. The tool that allowed the Swedish monarchs to do just that was the Swedish Army.  In just over 100 pages this book provides the reader with an insight into the inner workings of that army. If I had to recommend just one book one this subject this would be my choice, it certainly provides a wargamer with everything they would need to hit the ground running.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Follow up on the Quarterly Review, Good Bye to the Wee Lads

2mm ACW, it seemed like a great idea at the time

     I have decided to work my way through my collection starting with the smallest scales and moving larger. This is largely due to the realization that my eyes are not clear enough, and my hands are not steady enough, to deal with micro-scale minis any more. Thus all of my "half-done" projects are stuck in a state of stasis. As this violates the first three rules; "rational", "attainable" and "desirable" the tiny figures are at the head of the parade out of The Vault. I intend to offer them around to my wargaming buddies first, then either put them on Ebay at fire-sale prices or find somebody who is new to the hobby and pass them along as a starter set.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Quarterly review; bemusement, appraisal and assessment

     I try to stick to matters relating to The Hobby on this blog so I don't often do posts regarding myself; but I suspect that there are a few other fellows out there in a similar position as I am so please allow me this moment of introspection. I have for some years sat myself down at the end of each quarter and looked back over the previous three months to review my progress (or otherwise) toward achieving my goals. I also use this opportunity to review my goals (are they still rational/attainable/desirable/affordable) and set forth my aims for the coming months. Frankly, the first quarter of this year has been a bit of a disaster. I got off to a roaring start and then burned out like a meteorite entering the atmosphere.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Strelets-R 20mm 1/72 12lbr Whitworth Rifle with Confederate Crew

the cover art, 
it provides a basic guide for Confederate artillery uniforms
     Not to be seen as unfair Strelets matches the recent Union 30lbr Parrot rifle with an opposite number; the Confederate 12lb Whitworth. Again I find myself applauding the choice of a cannon aside from the ubiquitous 12lb Napoleon. The Confederacy imported many examples of Whitworth rifle during the war. It was one of the few breach-loading cannon used by either side and was greatly favored for counter-battery fire due to its almost uncanny accuracy. The model is cast in pale gray plastic that takes detail well. The crew is mostly depicted in shirt-sleeves order (a more common sight given the heat of the campaigning season in the South). They are wearing kepis and could be swapped back and forth with the Union gun crew to provide even more variety. The kit provides three guns and twenty-one crewmen, all of whom are in effective, active poses.

      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Strelets-R 20mm ACW Confederates Skirmishing

box art, nicely done, 
a refreshing change from the odd photo-shopped  covers on some of Strelet's sets

    Strelets continues its march to dominate the 20mm ACW space with yet another excellent set of superbly useful figures. Both the dioramist and the wargamer will enjoy this set of Confederate Infantry Skirmishing. These figures can be mixed with the other Strelets Confederate sets to produce a scene or unit that has no repeated figures; they can also be mixed with Union figures as there was a great deal of similarity in the uniforms. The sculpting has many dynamic poses, the figures are all realistically proportioned  and are equipped in light order (no backpacks/bedrolls). The miniatures are cleanly cast in a light gray plastic that is reasonably stiff and which holds detail very well.

      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Strelets-R 20mm ACW; Picketts Charge #3

 the cover art is representative, if uninspired
it does provide some guidance as to colors for painting
     Completing the Pickett's Charge trifecta is this set of miniatures. Again Strelets has done the unnecessary, but vastly appreciated, favor of sculpting and casting yet another set of charging Rebels. These well-detailed and very active miniatures are cast in the now-familiar light gray plastic and display a high level of detail. Mixing these with the previous two sets will enable the modeler to recreate the chaotic last moments of Pickett's famous charge.

      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Strelets-R 20mm ACW Union Infantry Firing

 the box art isn't inspirational 
but it does give a clear idea of how to paint the minis and what one will find inside
        Strelets has offered an excellent set of Union Infantry, these are in firing poses. All are in good active poses, some are very convincingly leaning into the recoil. These figures are cast in a stiff,  bright blue plastic that takes detail very well. The figures display very little flash and are deeply sculpted which will make painting a breeze. The variety of the positions will allow the modeller or gamer to create a very realistic firing line; some men loading others taking aim  as still more deliver fire. I can see these fellows lining a stone wall at the top of a hill waiting for the previous three boxes of Pickett's charge to come storming uphill at them.

      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Strelets-R 20mm 1/76th 30lbr Parrot Rifle with Union crew

front of the box, 
it gives a good idea of how to paint Union artillerymen

      Taking a break from the flood-tide of infantry releases Strelets has paused to provide the Union with some artillery. I applaud the choice of subject as well, instead of another model of the 12lbr Napoleon (which is already widely available from other manufacturers) they have chosen to model a 30lbr Parrot rifle. Cast in the now-familiar bright blue plastic this kit provides three model guns with a seven man crew.

      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Strelets-R 20mm 1/72 Union Infantry Charging #3

The box art provides basic information for painting

     Strelets-R continues to flood the 20mm plastic market with new American Civil war minatures. This current subject is the third edition of Union Troops at the charge. The Confederates hold the prize for the most famous futile charge with Pickett's Charge, but the Union was known to have tried the idea a time or two (Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, The Crater). On a smaller scale both sides often tried to advance to decide the issue with the bayonet. Strelets provides us with 36 figures molded in bright blue plastic (plus three Muscovite infantry). The miniatures are cleanly cast in a stiff, but flexible, plastic that shows detail very well. The figures are well-sculpted and proportioned and depict men charging energetically toward the enemy. All of the figures (except for the three Muscovites with halberds) are depicted wearing the knee-length coat and kepis with light equipment. All are in useful poses and will mix readily with the previous two sets to proved the modeller or gamer with a very good variety of positions.

      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Strelets-R US Cavalry skirmishing

     Strelets-R has moved into the US Civil War in a big way having recently released nine different boxes of figures in the "semi-hard" plastic that is becoming the standard in 1/72 (20mm) scale.

Strelets-R USA Infantry on the March

     Strelets-R has moved into the US Civil War in a big way having recently released nine different boxes of figures in the "semi-hard" plastic that is becoming the standard in 1/72 (20mm) scale.

Strelets-R Union Infantry Standing

     Strelets-R has moved into the US Civil War in a big way having recently released nine different boxes of figures in the "semi-hard" plastic that is becoming the standard in 1/72 (20mm) scale.

Strelets-R Union Infantry in Attack 2

     Strelets-R has moved into the US Civil War in a big way having recently released nine different boxes of figures in the "semi-hard" plastic that is becoming the standard in 1/72 (20mm) scale.

Strelets-R Union Infantry In Attack 1

box art

     Strelets-R has moved into the US Civil War in a big way having recently released nine different boxes of figures in the "semi-hard" plastic that is becoming the standard in 1/72 (20mm) scale.

Strelets-R Pickett's Charge 2

     Strelets-R has moved into the US Civil War in a big way having recently released nine different boxes of figures in the "semi-hard" plastic that is becoming the standard in 1/72 (20mm) scale. Well proportioned, cleanly cast with enough variety to make it look like men moving under fire this is a great addition to the available figures for the US Civil War.

Strelets-R Pickett's Charge 1

     Strelets-R has moved into the US Civil War in a big way having recently released nine different boxes of figures in the "semi-hard" plastic that is becoming the standard in 1/72 (20mm) scale.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Book Review; The Army of James II 1685-1688

     Way back in 1987 I bought a copy of this title's predecessor; it was a laboriously type-written fifty-some page softbound book that displayed all of the primitive standards of the wargames publishing industry of the era. What shone through the crude material presentation was the immense amount of data gathered on what, at that time, was an incredibly unlikely subject. The energy and passion that Ede-Borrett has lavished on this subject was evident on every page. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Book Review; Peter The Great Humbled

     Second in the list of books I will be reviewing is  is the above-mentioned title. In 1711 Peter the Great, no doubt feeling his oats after his smashing victory at Poltava, embarked on a campaign against the Ottoman Empire with the aim of forcing Charles XII out of the Ottoman domains and detaching a couple of Slavic provinces from Ottoman control. As one could guess from the title things went rather badly for Tsar Peter and his army. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Book Review Marlborough's Other Army

    Things happen that make me think that I did a decent job of being a father; like asking for some books from Helion for Christmas and seeing my kids going out of their way to make sure every title ends up under the Christmas tree. As a result I will be opining on the books as I finish reading them.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Zvezda 1/100 Panther

     Wrapping up my sweep through my pile of unbuilt Zvezda kits we now are going to consider the Panther kit. Everything that I said about the last three kits goes equally well for this model. The design is innovative and elegant, the detail and quality of casting are unparalleled. Frankly I am running out of glorifying adjectives to use on these models. This kit is cast in a hard, pale gray plastic and shows no sign of flash and you can only find the faintest of mold lines after a thorough examination. This kit again pushes the envelope for snap-tight kits with an innovative approach and an exacting attention to detail. 

      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Zvezda 1/100 Jagdpanther

     Zvezda continues to push the envelope on snap-fit models with this kit. I have to admit that I was concerned when I saw that the instructions no longer fit on the back of the box. The model is cleanly molded in hard, pale gray plastic with no trace of flash and only the slightest hint of mold-lines. Detail, fit and finish are all first-rate, as has become the standard with Zvezda kits.  Frankly, when I unpacked the kit and took a look at the way that the designer had sectioned the model into parts and the assembly procedure I thought to myself that the good people at Zvezda had clearly crossed the line into madness. Read on to see just how wrong I was.

       This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website

Zvezda 1/100 ISU-152

     Continuing in my effort to get caught back up on my kit reviews I built the Zvezda SU-152. This monster filled a dual-role in the Soviet arsenal; it excelled at smashing bunkers and functioned very well as a "Big Cat Killer" being able to take on Tigers and Panthers with a decent chance of success. The model is molded in hard green plastic that takes detail very well. The level of detail n this kits is very good; delicate and in proportion. It took me about ten minutes to assemble this kit. One thing that I would like to point out when building a very precise snap-together kit is that you need to pay very careful attention to removing the the flow channels that connect the part to the sprue. Even a tiny bit of left over plastic can cause the parts to fit unevenly (we won't talk about the events that brought me to that Epiphany). Just be sure that you have the sprues trimmed back and flush before you start assembly.
      This kit was kindly provided for review by Michigan Toy Soldier Shop and is available to purchase either in their store or through their website