Monday, August 31, 2009

The Reinforcements arrive!

Stepping out of my front door on saturday morning to nip down to the shops, I stepped over the dead postman on my doorstep I hadn't left there. Expired through the compacted spine he'd obtained from hauling a parcel up the stairs, I prised the object from his dead fingers and realised that Essex Miniatures had clearly given up using lead to cast their models in favour of super-density antimatter.

Well, not quite. The post arrived on saturday bearing with it my longed-for miniatures to complete my armies, contained in a deceptively small box of around a kilogram of weight - lots of metal for the lead mountain!

Most of the miniatures are already familiar to you dear readers, through photos of them painted - however, some packs have answered a few questions. For example, one figure bought back in the mists of time has ended up painted as an Austrian artilleryman, holding a lit fuse out before him. He's never turned up in any other pack of gun crews, so I've always wondered where he came from. Wonder no more, with a look at the Grenadier Command Pack:

Oh, the ignominious demotion! A tricorned officer in the Grenadier Guards, mistaken for a common 'trade' officer like a soot-grimed artillerist! I can feel the contempt radiating off them already. The mysterious figure turned out to be as you see above: an officer in a heavily-frogged coat, gesturing languidly ahead with a topped cane, not a lit taper at all! The other mitre-wearing figures are pretty good too. The drummer probably can't bend his arms from the amount of ornamental braid sewn onto his sleeves, and I especially like the chin-up colourbearer, jauntily holding the colours one-handed.

Here, then, is a full base prior to setting onto a set of sticks for painting. The figures above are an Aschenbach Infantry HQ Stand. The mounted officers are pretty much the same as for Luftberg, except the figure is looking over his shoulder (doubtless checking the line of his companies for some minor error in drill.) Foot officers carry a spontoon. If I have one complaint about the Essex range, it's the stingy base sizes on the colourbearers. Look at the size of the flag! Balancing them to stand upright long enough for glue to settle is a nightmare.

Oh, and one last pic 'in colour' to show you my efforts to finish up my existing troops. Here are some Croats, now painted in my fancy new red uniform. The figures had been based before, but attempts to prise them off the base soon established that buckled legs were the more likely consequence! As a result, I was compelled to repaint them still mounted on the base - thank god they were open-order!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's taken HOW LONG?!?

The thing about a blog is that it makes you look back every so often and re-appraise how far you’ve come. Sometimes, the results of these retrospectives are… disturbing. Well, maybe that’s a bit strong. ‘Eye-opening’ is probably a better way of putting it. Take, for instance, the big project I undertook to rebase my miniatures. It’s been running since the stone age, or so it feels like to me, and the results are pretty reassuring – superficially. Lots of painting done, the old bases torn up and reorganised, plus a definite game-plan of where to go from here up to the finish.

Roughly, things stand as follows: one third of the miniatures are fully finished, painted, based, and ready for the tabletop; a further third are partially, mostly or completely painted, requiring finishing up and basing for action; and the final third are as yet un-purchased, thanks to the dislocating effect of the wedding on all the finances. The big blunder here was that I bought only Luftberg troops in my first big rush at the project, not a mixture. As a result, both armies have been uprooted from their old system, and now only one has grown to massive size while the other has languished at it’s old size, off-bases and useless. If you want a free hint for your own collecting, then learn from my blunder – never put all your eggs in one basket: grow both opposing forces together! Even more irritatingly, certain far-sighted individuals commented on the blog back at the start and warned of this very blunder, so I’ve no excuse for my idiocy!

What brought on all this navel-gazing? Well, that’s when the looks back get truly ‘eye-opening.’ I realised it had been running on for a while, but then it suddenly came home to me how much – I started this off in November last year, and now we’re already into August. I never, in my wildest dreams, pictured this job taking over a year. Not even up to a year!

In other words, if I’ve got any ambitions to bring this in at under one year, I have about three months remaining. The world won’t end if I don’t finish it by then, but my own ambitions will have been busted. It’s sprawled too much, and I need a target deadline. Now I’m fired up with fresh enthusiasm, and I intend to hurl all I’ve got at the remaining painting to knock out the last troops. I’ve also finally steeled myself to part with my hoarded money, and placed my order with Essex Miniatures for the remaining figures. Soon, I’ll have the lot in hand. In the meantime, I’m forging on with the last few hold-outs I have from the first batch – photos to follow soon, hopefully. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Blog, and Old one still going!

Hi, just a quick note for everybody - as you'll see from my last post, I was pondering a move into more general wargaming, but I've decided to keep this one strictly 18th-Century!

For those of you hankering for a battle report of some sort (and god knows it's been a while from me,) I can only cordially invite you to notice my other blog at:

where for your entertainment, the 'French Upstart' Napoleon is taking on the combined allied powers somewhere in Germany in 1813. (So, from the perspective of this blog, Science Fiction!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The SYW Painting Project groans on, but my wargaming remains active. As a matter of fact, I’m actually buffing up some ACW figures at present, following my recent reading of Bruce Catton’s excellent books on it.

Aha! The above sentence may be something of a surprise to you, as it’s the first time I’ve mentioned non-18th Century wargaming. I actually do a fair bit, like DBA ancients, Medievals, 2mm Napoleonics, ACW (soon!), WW1, etc. etc. However, I’ve always kept the ol’ blog strictly focused on my 18th-Century campaign. Mentioning anything else felt strangely like ‘breaking the fourth wall’ in a way, as if I was spoiling it.

However, over time I’ve come across many other blogs (Wargaming Miscellany, A Wargaming Odyssey, Geektactica, Steve’s Random Musings, Steel on Sand, - to name only a couple) which cover several periods. Plus, with this repainting scheme underway, it’ll be a fair while before I can campaign again for the blog – while in the real world, I’m still very active in the hobby. I've other campaigns I'm happy to share, but no blogging outlet for it all.

So, I thought I’d solicit some opinions from the valued readership – should I convert my blog into a multi-period ‘General Wargaming’ blog, or should I start a new one for this and keep ‘K-und-K’ strictly 18th-C only? I’m still pondering what to do, but haven’t made up my mind yet. Any other bloggers out there with advice are welcome to share their thoughts!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I hope everyone's weekend went well - I had lots to do, but thankfully I also managed to squeak in a little bit of painting. In a refreshing change I also took some figures up to the finished stage in one go - my grenadiers!

Luftberg's regiment of Pilsen Grenadiers have grown from the eight originals (based to the old system, on the left of the photo) to twenty-four frosty-eyed killers, fit to maul any battlefield. The uniform is just based on the first paint-effort I did years ago on my originals, which combines the two usual facings-colours of the army - red on the collar, blue on the coat-tails & cuffs. It's not based on anything historical, but just came about because I liked it. The figures are Essex Miniatures' Hungarian Grenadiers, as I thought that would add a touch of Mittel-Europa swagger to the figures!

Oh, and you may have noticed something else: no command group, with flags and drums! There was a reason for this, as when I ordered my figures initially I decided against getting any commanders. I had some vague notions the Pilsen Grenadiers would be a 'Combined Grenadier' regiment, assembled from the detatched grenadier companies in the other regiments, in the typical style of the age. As such, I wanted to give them less of a 'finished' look with their officers, colours, etc. Purely personal inclination, of course, and it hasn't translated into paint-schemes or anything complex - I just like 'em!

Coming up next on the painting table, some strips of base-wood which I'm planning to paint up as river and road sections. My terrain is growing with my army!