Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Terrain Tuesday: Making Terrain Tiles with Timecast 6mm Buildings


Hello friends and I hope this finds you well.

Recently finished these 6mm European buildings from Timecast and starting to mount them for my 6mm Napoleonic gaming.    For some reason which I can no longer recall, I chose to mount my buildings on 10cm square MDF bases, with the idea of integrating them into whatever road network the table required.  There are two completed tiles in this photo, metal buildings of unknown manufacture that I acquired at a Bring and Buy some years ago.

Sadly, my new Timecast buildings are a little chunky, and don't gracefully sit on the same base, which I wanted to be a four way road.

My solution was to climb my lead mountain and locate these two unpainted buildings from the same Bring and Buy.  A quick paint job and they should complement the Timecast model nicely and suggest a small town or village.

The other Timecast model will look fine on a second, T-intersection base.

I've also received some more trees from Timecast so I can pretty these bases up a bit.  So nothing very exciting for this Terrain Tuesday post, but the work in progress is promising.   We'll see if I can finish it off by next week.

Blessings to your worldbuilding!


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Thursday Napoleonics: 6mm Baccus Austrian Uhlans

Good day friends:

Brief post today to report that the three regiments of Austrian Uhlans I’ve been working on are now mustered into the Kaiser’s service.  


My source for the uniforms is the Osprey title, Austrian Army of the Napoleonic Wars (2) Cavalry by Haythornthwaite and Fosten.  As I understand it, there were four Uhlan regiments in Austrian service, each distinguished by the cloth top of their Polish-style czapka headdress.    I had enough figures in the Baccus pack to do three regiments according to my practice (2-3 command and 12 troopers on a single base).

So, in the lead we have No. 1 Regt (Merveldt, later G. de C. Herzog zu Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld) in their Emperor yellow.

In the middle is No. 2 Regt (Furst Schwarzenburg) in dark green.

Bringing up the rear is No. 3 Regt (Ersherzog Carl Ludwig) in their scarlet.

Fortunately, all Uhlan regiments seemed to wear the same green uniforms with red cuffs and trim, and use the same lance pennons (black over yellow).

I had some left over figures from the Baccus pack, and so based these singly as scouts or skirmishers.

With the Austrian light cavalry in good shape, I think my next 6mm Napoleonic project will be Bavarians.  All the cool kids are doing Bavarians, it seems.

Many thanks for looking and blessings to your brushes!   






Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Terrain Tuesday: Resin ACW Field Fortifications from Paul's Models

 Good day and welcome to Terrain Tuesday, which seems to have taken root as a regular blog feature.   

Today's feature is a box of resin field fortifications from a UK company called Paul's Modelling Workshop.   I needed some field defenses for the next stage in my refight of the ACW Seven Pines Battle.  You may recall that Phase One of the battle ended with the Confederates about to advance on the the Federal defenses known as Casey's Redoubt.  I needed some models to represent these field fortifications and not being a talented scratch builder and not having a lot of time on my hands, I decided that I would throw some money at the problem.

 I discovered Paul on the web and found him a responsive and friendly guy to deal with.   After looking at his extensive webstore, I purchased the Field Fortifications Set 1 and the Large Gun Bastion.

The gun bastion:

The field fortification set:

Almost five linear feet of defenses!   These should give the rebs something to think about.

This purchase gives me a manageable project to prepare and paint for my Seven Pines project.   Paul has a wide range of fortifications, some buildings, and other accessories that would look good on your tabletop.  His product was meticulously packed and promptly shipped. He gets the Mad Padre's blessing,



Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Canadian Wargamer Podcast is Live!


Exciting news to pass on to you, gentle readers.   For some time now, my dear friend James and I have been kicking about the idea of a podcast focusing on the Canadian wargaming scene.   Friends and wargaming twitter encouraged us to proceed, and so we committed to the project and the debut podcast is now available for download from Podbean.  The technical aspects of podcasting are a bit of a learning curve that we have not fully mastered, but we are getting there.   It was great fun to partner with my oldest friend in the hobby, and we have some exciting guests lined up for future episodes.    

We’d be be grateful if you would give us a listen, give us some feedback, follow the podcast and spread the word.    

Here are the show notes that we posted on Podbean:

In this inaugural episode of the Canadian Wargamer Podcast, hosts and BFFs Mike (@MarshalLuigi) and James (@JamesManto4) introduce one another and address the crucial question: does the world need another miniature wargames podcast in which two (youngish) granddads natter on?  Spoiler alert - yes, it does.

We explain our Concept of Operations for the podcast:

1. Tell stories about the Canadian wargaming scene, a small scene in a BIG country. 

2. Introduce Canadian hobby leaders - figure sculptors and producers, bloggers, local linchpins - and hear their stories;


3. Explore connections between Canadian military history and wargaming.  Of course, we may also talk about our goblin wolf riders and Prussian grenadiers, but we are particularly interested in representing Canadian battles and soldiers on the tabletop.

We talk about what's keeping us busy for the next month:  

James - lots of decidedly non-Canadian Napoleonics.

Mike - might get to those 15mm Canadians in Sicily this month.

We also shamelessly steal Andy Clarke's virtual library schtick from his Joy of Six podcast.  We intend to ask each guest to "donate" one or two books with a Canadian military connection. In this issue, we each put two books on the digital shelves.

James' choices:

Mark Zuehlke, Brave Battalion: the Remarkable Story of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) in the First World War (2008). https://www.amazon.ca/Brave-Battalion-Remarkable-Canadian-Scottish/dp/0470154160

Chris Wattie, Contact Charlie: the Canadian Army, the Taliban, and the Battle that Saved Afghanistan (2008).


Mike's choices:

Frederick George Scott, The Great War as I Saw It (1922).



Farley Mowat, The Regiment (1974).



Let us know what you thought of the podcast and tell your friends!   Also, check out our blogs:

James: http://rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.com

Mike: http://madpadrewargames.blogspot.com


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Terrain Tuesday: In Praise of Backdrops

Hello friends and welcome to another Terrain Tuesday feature, which today looks at how model railroad backdrops can enhance your gaming table.

If you’ve followed some of my recent AARs since I moved the painting table into a strategic corner of the basement, you will have noticed that the walls are painted a bright orangey-red of the hue beloved of interior decorators in the 1990s.   Sometimes that gave the photos from my games a bit of an SF vibe, as if they were being fought on some planet with a reddish atmosphere, like the sets in the original Star Trek.  This effect may not matter to those of a philosophical frame of mind, who think, “So what, they’re just toy soldiers, right, who really cares?” but I think you’ll agree that we do this hobby for its aesthetics; otherwise, why not just play paper and counter wargames?

For my self-selected Christmas present last year, I decided to try some model railroad backdrops (back scenes as they seem to be known in the UK), and I ordered them from an English company called New Modeller’s Shop, which gave quite good service.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for, but settled on to OO (1/76 scale) rural/village back scenes, here and here - which I felt would do for generic rural settings in the Eastern US (ACW), as well as western Europe (WW2, SYW).  The two codes I ordered each gave me two rolls printed on touch heavyweight paper - each backdrop set consists of two 5 foot long rolls, each 15” high - the rolls in each code are designed to be put together.  Here’s what I got.

To mount them I bought four large sheets of white foamcore board and used duct tape to glue the two halves together to get the requisite ten feet length.    The first one I mounted (second from bottom above) taught me that glue is a terrible way to proceed, as despite my best efforts I got wrinkles and bubbles.  They aren’t visible from a distance, as the camera generally focuses on the figures, but they annoyed me, so I went to an artists’ supply sore and purchased a roll of white mounting tape, which proved surprisingly tough and strong.  Working very carefully, I applied the bottom of the tape to cover the white border printed on the backdrops, and had enough width of tape remaining to secure the backdrops to the foam core board.   The end result was much neater and didn’t buckle the foam core exceedingly.

@MarshalLuigi highly approves, as you can see.  The camera focuses on the figures, so the backdrop is just a pleasant visual effect, but not distractingly so.   The OO scale seems to work with 20mm and 28mm figures.   I haven’t tried it yet with smaller scales.

The next problem was how to effectively keep the backdrops in place.   Butting the long table edge against a wall and propping the backdrop leaning slightly against the wall mostly worked, except that the white bottom edge of the backdrop was distracting in the photos, though I could cover it if I scrunched the table mat up against it like so:

The other problem I faced was the weight of the backing board causing the backdrop to slip down behind the table, which happened with annoying frequency.   I wracked my brains, and ended up using small metal angle brackets drilled and screwed into the side of table, about one foot in from either long end, at a height sufficient to hide the white edging on the bottom of the backdrop.

Then another angle bracket, to be bolted and taped (because extra duct tape never hurts) to securely hold the backdrop in place.

I’ll finish securing the angle brackets tonight, and I think that will solve the problem neatly.  Of course, if I want to use the backdrops, one long table edge has to be against the wall, making it somewhat problematic for reach if I want to use a second table, but I think that’s a small price to pay for the visual enhancement in the edited and cropped photos, and really, isn’t that what’s terrain is for in our hobby?

Cheers and thanks for looking,


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Nasty Nazgul, or, Mordor's Mounted Minions

Missed the Fantasy Friday deadline, but here are two dangerous Nazgul types for my LOTR collection to terrify both the legions of Mordor and their foes.   Both are Games Workshop figures.  The one on the left is the King of the Nazgul when GW used to make metal figures.    On the right is a plastic alternative rider for the Fell Beast that came in the Pelennor Fields boxed set I mentioned here recently.   I decided to keep him, and found a caparisoned medieval horse in the lead mountain that promised to work well when painted black.


\Painting black is an art form that greatly intimidates me.  I started with a Citadel Chaos Black spray undercoat, then highlighted in Vallejo German Gray, then added Folkart craft store indigo highlights, and finally some dry brushing as I finished the bases to suggest dust and dirt on the fabric.   I think they’re reasonably spooky and unpleasant and should add some biting power to the hordes of Mordor.

I really think I should start work on that mounted Gandalf figure i have tucked away - I think he’ll be needed!

Cheers and blessings to your brushes!


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Napoleonic Thursday: WIP 6mm Baccus Austrian Uhlans

Good day friends:

Napoleonic Thursday has rolled around once again and this week I have som 6mm Baccus Austrian Uhlans that I am calling finished, ready to be taken off the painting sticks, cut and bunged (a technical term I’ve learned from the (slightly) mad author of the Service Ration Distribution blog) onto bases.   I followed my usual recipe of a black undercoat and batch painting all 45ish figures (!), which gives me enough for three different regiments (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in their distinctive cloth czapka colours.  My source is Haythornthwaite and Fosten’s Osprey book, Austrian Army of the Napoleonic Wars (2).


 Once I get these done, I can finally tackle my Battle of Wertingen project, as the Austrians had at least one regiment of Uhlans there, I believe.    Not sure about you, but lancers give me the willies, and if I had to face any type of Napoleonic cavalry in battle, I think I would fear lancers the most.   I am sure that there are drawbacks in combat once your lance gets broken or caught and some brute with a dragoon sabre gets inside your reach, but it would be terribly intimidating to be charged by lancers, I would think.


In other Napoleonic news, I’m currently dipping into the Memoirs of Marshal MacDonald (trans. Simeon, Leonaur 2011), the Marshal of whom Napoleon once said that it would be dangerous to let him hear bagpipes on the battlefield.   MacDonald’s memoir is at times self-serving, as one would expect, but the accounts of how he survived his service in the Revolutionary army during the Terror, of being chased and chasing up and down Italy, and keeping his small corps intact during the Russian campaign are all entertaining.  

I had a look at the Front Rank website, once I learned that the owner is retiring and has the company up for sale.  My dear friend James has a huge head of steam up with his 28mm Napoleonics project, and I am sometimes tempted into joining him, but to my credit I closed my browser without buying an Front Rank figures.  James and I have agreed that after Covid restrictions ease, he can visit me to game with my 6mm Naps kit, and I can visit him and play with his big 28mm figures.   Thus my willpower and my wallet live to fight another day.

Finally, in the books received department, two very interesting books arrived in the post from David Ensteness’ The Wargaming Company, the new edition of his Et Sans Resultat rules and his guidebook to 1808 Peninsular campaign.  If I’m to be tempted to buy more Napoleonic figures, it will be for Spain, I think.  Comments on these books in the weeks ahead, I hope.

Cheers and thanks for reading.  What Napoleonics stuff are you working on?


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