Blog discription

What will you find here? Ramblings from an aging gamer-miniature painter. When I first started out in this hobby computers were in their infancy and finding other gamers could only be done by going to conventions or as in my case bumping into somebody who happened to see me reading "Panzer Leader" on the school bus. Look how far we have come! The internet has allowed our small community to be able to connect on a level I never dreamed of when I was but a small lad. What I do hope you will find here is something interesting from one wargamer/miniature painter to another. I paint miniatures somewhat decently, so I will be posting some pictures of my work, and perhaps a review or two of games and/or miniatures. Most of all this is just about having fun and anything I post here is meant to be for that reason.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hessian Fusilier Regiment Von Lossberg

Still tons of work to do, but I am making good progress. The good news is that I am still having fun doing them. After years of painting mostly 15mm, and some 25mm figures, it's amazing how much more work you have to do on these. More painting area, more attention to detail, etc. I am working on four at a time in a rotation. As some dry I am able to continue work on others. Plus it gives you a sense of accomplishment as four near completion. Though I am only getting a few hours a week in on them, I find myself thinking about them and what I want to do next. Something I haven't felt in a while. Here are some more shots of the work in progress.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fusilier Regiment Von Lossberg

I had set my alarm to arise early, took care of my dogs, had a hearty breakfast, and then sat down for the next several hours slapping paint on some Hessian 40mm AWI figures by Trident (Miniature Service Center in California carries them). I have to say that at the end of the day I was in high spirits and though I am a terribly slow painter, I placed paint on 20 of these bad boys.

The unit I am painting up is Fusilier Regiment Von Lossberg during 1776. I just love the orange facings (maybe because it's my favorite color) and red lining on this Prussian blue uniform. My idea is to recreate the battle of Trenton, using Sharpes Practice using the AWI supplement (This land Divided, and With Fire and Sword). It should be fun, but like all my projects of late will see what happens. I had actually gotten these figures last year or so when I was reading "Washington's Crossing" by David Hackett Fischer. Then fell off the band wagon until recently when I have begun reading "1776" by David McCullough, which so far has been a superb read.  

Well enough ado about nothing, here are a few photo's of what I have done so far (by the way you would think these bad boys would paint up faster because you can see everything better, not so, more area to cover with paint certainly slowed me down).

First a photo of what the unit looks like from "Don Troiani's Soldiers in America 1754 - 1865

The thin Blue Line

Close up

Saturday, April 30, 2011

150th American Civil War commemoration at Fort Wayne Detroit, Michigan

"In compliance with President Lincoln's requisition upon the State of Michigan for military aid to uphold the constitution and maintain the Union of the States, Governor Austin Blair issued a proclamation, dated April 16, 1861, for one Regiment of Infantry to be mustered into the service of the United States.
At this date there were a number of independent military companies in the state possessing military knowledge from long practice and study. Ten of these companies were accepted to form the First Michigan Regiment. Those companies accepted were designated at their home camps as the "Detroit Light Guard", the "Jackson Grays", the "Coldwater Cadets", the "Manchester Union Guards", the "Stuben Guard", the "Michigan Hussars", the "Burr Oak Guard", the "Ypsilanti Light Guard", the "Marshall Light Guard", and the "Hardee Cadets". Orlando P. Wilcox was appointed Colonel of the Regiment and the companies were ordered to report to him at Detroit with the least possible delay.
The organization of the Regiment was completed on April 29th., being mustered into the Federal service on May 1, 1861 with a total enrollment of 798 men. The President had called for these troops to serve in Federal service for three months and they promptly complied."

The above is a excerpt about the "1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry" from a website called Michigan at War. Today I had the privilege of attending Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit for the 150th Civil War commemoration. As it was told by the speaker of the day, we don't call it a celebration as the nation was plunged into a horrible war, instead we call it a commemoration to honor those (on both sides) who fought and died for their beliefs 150 years ago.

Michigan only had a population of around 750,000 in those days, and yet raised around 30 regiments for the Union of around 90,000 men. That is something in itself. I was only aware of this special day because I have a friend who is a Civil War reenactor who happened to mention the event that I took part in today as an observer. I must say I had a grand time seeing the volunteers of the 1st Michigan mustering at Fort Wayne and it was like stepping into a time machine and going back all those years. You could tell they took pride in their hobby as everything was quite authentic from the uniforms right on down to how they served chow etc.

Another unit taking part in today's commemoration was Michigan's 102nd USCT Co. B (United States Colored Troops). The original regiment was created in July 1863 after an extensive editorial and letter writing campaign by Henry Barns who was then the editor of the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune. It originally was called the 1st Michigan Colored Regiment and retained that name until it was officially mustered into federal service. At that time it was re designated the 102nd United States Colored Troop (USCT). For his efforts Henry Barns was commissioned the regiment's first Colonel, a post he retained until voluntarily stepping down in favor of a regular army officer. The audience learned today that this unit's regimental flag was being preserved as part of the save the flags, a program that was launched on July 2, 1991, to help save nearly 160 fragile, battle-torn Civil War flags that had been displayed for decades in the Michigan State Capitol rotunda.

There is much more to be told of the colorful histories of the Michigan Regiments that took part in the Civil War all those years ago, but I will allow the reader here to research further if they wish too. The following photos I took at the event are posted below, and as always thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share some of my interests with you.

My friend Brian (who is a serious student of American Civil war history and is a reenactor) and the author of this story posing in front of ole Glory

1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry
 1st Michigan Colored Regiment 
What Ole Glory looked like in 1861

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book review of "Monte Cassino"

I sit here relaxing, not bored, but wondering why I lack motivation to pick up that paint brush, or bottle of glue to work on some of my projects I started months ago. For those of you that have peeked in, from time to time, will know that I am working on some 1:35th scale Germans, British, and their allies during the battles for Monte Cassino. At around the same time I started putting together a 1:400 scale Uboat. But alas even though it is rainy, overcast, and just down right ugly outside (keeping me from doing some cycling) I find myself sitting in my comfy chair unable to will myself out of it to play with my toys (so to speak).

What I have been able to do since I've been home from my business trip, hobby wise, is catch up on my reading. So I have decided to give a review of some of the books I have completed reading. Mind you I am not a professional at this and it is only an opinion of my own tastes and likes.

"Monte Cassino" by Matthew Parker. Copyright 2004. 413 pages.

I found this book well written and easy to read and it is apparent that the author has done his research well. My only wish would have been for some better, more detailed maps which would have kept me from having to reference elsewhere.

The author sets up the battle of Monte Cassino by quickly covering what led up to the battle. He goes over the Casablanca Conference, the invasion of Sicily, the invasion of Italy, and the general campaign up to the allies (i.e. USA, Poland, Britain, and her commonwealth friends) grinding halt at the Gustav line (prepared German defensive positions). The author then goes on to describe the battle, not as a single long assault, but as a series of four major battles for Monte Cassino and surrounding area. What I liked best about the book is the authors first hand accounts from the soldiers (on both sides) and the civilians that were there on the ground. From letters of those that did not make it, to the survivors amazing accounts of the utter harshness of the terrain and the brutality of war. The author also describes the often forgotten impact that war has on the civilians, the moral and economic effects, as well as the interactions the various nationalities had on the civilians.

I was also amazed at how Allied high command was so disconnected from what was actually taking place on the front lines. From the lack of understanding of the terrain by the commanding generals and how this led to the hopelessness of the early allied assaults, to the controversial bombing of the Monte Cassino abbey. From the soldiers personal first hand accounts the author places the reader right at the front lines and you can't help but feel the hopelessness the soldiers felt at these ill conceived or poorly executed plans.

What touched me the most about this book after reading it was the post script at the end of the book entitled "Surviving the Peace". If you have ever experienced war first hand, or had a loved one survive it, I think it an important summation of how our loved ones go off to war only to come home changed forever.

If you have any interest in WWII I believe this to be a must read, and an important addition to ones library. The author successfully sheds new light on one of the least known battles and it's high cost in human lives.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Last Doolittle Raid Pilot Passes away

I know this doesn't concern my project, which sadly has had to be set aside for real life issues, but since I am into military history I thought this important enough to post.

Col. William Marsh "Bill" Bower, the last surviving pilot of "Doolittle's Raiders" who bombed Japan in 1942, died Monday at his home in south Boulder.
He was 93 and "lived a completely full life," said his son Jim Bower.
"My dad was a hell of a guy," he said. "He was a brave soul, a warrior. He was everybody's friend. He did all kinds of volunteer work. He was an exceptional human being."
Bill Bower was hailed as a hero for his role in the United States' first air attack on Japan following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He volunteered and was chosen for the mission, which was planned and led by Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle.
On April 18, 1942, 16 B25B Mitchell medium bombers took off from the decks of the U.S.S. Hornet in the western Pacific Ocean. Because landing planes of that size on the Hornet was impossible, the pilots continued toward China after bombing their targets in Japan.
All but one of the aircraft, which landed in the Soviet Union, crashed in China or were ditched at sea. Of the 80 crew members, 11 were either captured or killed; the rest returned to the United States.
On his return, Bower married Lorraine Amman in 1942.
Bower continued to serve during World War II, assuming command of the 428th Bombardment Squadron and joining Allied invasion forces in Africa. He remained there and in Italy until September 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role in the raids.
After the war, he worked as a planner and accident investigator for the U.S. Air Force and served in the Arctic as commander of a U.S. Air Force transport organization. He also served as commander at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Ga.
In 1966, he retired and moved with his wife and four children to Boulder, where he was involved in the real estate and sporting goods businesses for many years. His family described him as deeply involved in the community, from volunteering with Second Harvest, Community Food Share and Meals on Wheels to founding the Central Optimist Club to serving on city of Boulder committees.
His family described him as "the best outdoorsman," saying he was a big-time fisherman who also enjoyed bird hunting and guiding hunters in the Colorado mountains. He also enjoyed annual "Raider" reunions. Five Raider crew members, including two co-pilots, survive him. But Bower was the last living pilot.
In 2008, he was recognized for his distinguished service to his country at the Bolder Boulder Memorial Day race.
But to the children in his neighborhood, he was simply a handyman and caretaker, his family said.
"All the kids on the block at the time gravitated to him," Jim Bower said. "He took care of all the kids."
Michael Carrigan, a University of Colorado regent whose family lived on the same cul-de-sac as the Bowers, said part of his daily routine as a child was to ring the bell at Bower's house for a Jolly Rancher.
"He would give us a Jolly Rancher," Carrigan said. "Every day was Halloween at Col. Bower's house."
It wasn't until he was in college that he learned that the man who helped with the neighborhood children's projects and passed out candy was a war hero.
"He never drew attention to himself," Carrigan said. "He was very humble, kind and generous. I'm grateful that my children will continue to enjoy the liberties and freedoms that he fought so hard for."
He is survived by his children, Jim Bower, of Arvada; Bill Bower, of Chapman, Kan.; Mary Brannaman, of Sheridan, Wyo.; and Mindy Bower, of Kiowa; and six grandchildren. His wife died in 2004.
Longmont Ledger Editor Clay Evans contributed to this report.
Boulder's Bill Bower, one of Doolittle's Raiders, shows off the crest used by the four units that participated in the 1942 air raid on Japan in this April 2009 photo. Bower died Monday (10JAN2011) at age 93. ( MARTY CAIVANO)