Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from The Land of Toy Soldiers!

 Not enough snow in this photo for a proper Christmas!

Christmas is already special time for me since I'm a Christian and have a wonderful family to share it with, but it has always been a time tied directly to marching legions of toy soldiers as well.  At least for me anyway...  They captured my imagination long ago, and as a younger lad I had quite a collection of toy soldier Christmas tree ornaments and nutcrackers.

My Mom always reserved a shelf in the family room for my "Land of the Toy Soldiers" (military sub-district of Santa's North Pole) display that I would meticulously set up every year.  (Only to have my Dad mischievously knock them down from time to time when he got home from work.)

Conan, what is good in life?..  Toy soldiers of course!!

I quickly fell in love with the brightly colored uniforms, white cross-belts, and feather plumed silly hats so it was no wonder this child like fondness has carried over until the present day.  You can quickly get lost and annoyed in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  But for me, toy soldiers helps me revisit if only for a brief moment, that inner child and that pure joy untainted by present day worries and troubles.

Well, enough blabbing from me.  Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas!  Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season full of great memories with friends and family.  Hopefully you'll find a few new toy soldiers under the Christmas tree as well! :-)

Bonus video!


Friday, December 23, 2011

War Horse - Movie Trailer

Just came across this World War I era flick, War Horse, coming out in January (Not a year from now ;-) ).  Usually War Movie + Steven Spielberg directing equals good things, so we'll see.  Being a big cavalry fan, it's also nice to see a story dedicated to Man's silent but loyal partner on the battlefield for thousands of years:  the horse.  

My only misgiving at this point is the fact that many people get way more emotionally moved and upset when something tragic happens to an animal than when the same happens to their fellow man.  This blog however is not the place to wax on about such things. Instead I hope you enjoy the trailer of what looks to be a promising movie.  :-)


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Movie Trailer

Thank you to Quidamcorvus over at Warheim Fantasy Skirmish for posting this!  Apparently the trailer was released sometime Tuesday night, and could be all over the Interwebs for all I know.  To avoid any further embarrassment, I will not describe how excited I was after watching this. :-)  Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First Six Months, Milestones, and New Title Feature

The Hall of Field Marshals in Russia.

Monday marked the first six months of my blog.  Funny how I started this blogging stuff on Father's Day (6/19) and Monday was my Father's birthday (12/19).  I'm not much into celebrating milestones, but someone mentioned recently that I had passed a few for the blogosphere.  Apparently in under six months I manged to post over 100 times, gain 50+ followers, and have over 20,000 visits on Der Feldmarschall.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by, those that choose to actually follow, and especially to those that took the time to leave some comments on my posts.  I appreciate the support and the interaction with my fellow wargaming bloggers.  A special mention to Paul of the Man Cave who was the first to stumble onto my blog and welcome me to the blogosphere on my very first post.  Also to Ray (Don't Throw a 1) and Fran (The Angry Lurker) who seem to be everywhere supporting so many blogs.

As mentioned in my first post, I created this blog to help me enjoy my own wargaming hobby and share my stuff with those who cared to look.  Although the blog has attracted little interest from local gamers or even mysteriously few comments from Americans, the support from abroad has been great.  Especially from Australia closely followed by the UK.  Much of the fun has been visiting your blogs as well, and being inspired by your local clubs.

Although the blog has marched along nicely, my main regret is the lack of painting and other projects I've been able to work on the last few months.  It's always nice to have something your visitors can actually follow instead of posts about random stuff.  I'm looking forward to getting back to working on the Mordians and LOTR Dwarves that I started the blog with, and hoping to actually start a few historical projects (SYW, Napoleonic, Victorian) in the new year.

Although this post doesn't contain my typical picture to word ratio, I hope to make up for it with launching a new blog feature.  As you can probably tell by pics of my War Room and weekly Military History posts, that I like military art.  A lot.  I see my blog title as another opportunity to showcase some of the inspirational works that I've manages to capture on my hard-drive.  Until now I've been switching things up every few weeks, but now a new title pic will appear randomly every time the page reloads.

Although I probably shouldn't admit all this, but I've been working on my title project little by little for about three months now.  Right now there's over 250 possible titles with a few fantasy and sci-fi surprises thrown in.  So if you end up with a Star Wars or Dune title, you can pretend you've won something.  ;-)

Thanks again everyone for stopping by Der Feldmarschall and all the support.  I look forward to blogging with you for years to come!

All the best,

Friday, December 16, 2011

War Room & Painting Desk

Some of you may have noticed my "War Room" slideshow gallery in the margin before, but I figured it was time to write an actual post to share my stuff.  I definitely enjoy seeing the game rooms and painting setups of other wargaming bloggers, so hopefully you'll enjoy checking out my War Room as well.

Right now the set up is more of a studio and library.  I used to have a game table set up, and have been itching lately to get one going again.  This is going to take a bit of rearranging in the near future, mainly moving out some of the books/shelves and computer desk.  Maybe I'll throw up some new pics when dust settles.

When I was an officer in the Army, I had a bit more disposable cash than I do now.  I manged to build up quite a collection of military art prints (about 2/3 of my collection is shown in this room) and military history books.  Someday when I have a proper game room again (basement), I might have room for all my crap.

Next are some boring pics of my books.  The main reason I stuck these up is that I'm in the process of thinning out the collection and selling them on eBay, so it's a nice way of remembering them later.  At the time of this post I have at least 40 more to list, and if your curious you can check out my eBay store here.  I'll probably throw up another post when I've finished listing everything.

Here's are some shots of my painting desk and set up.  Although the set up inside the closet worked out better than I thought it would, I really enjoy painting by a window with natural light.  This is probably the main motivation to rearrange things right now.  This set up is nice and tidy, and you can close the doors if it isn't.  Still, I look forward to moving this stuff into another room so I can stare at snow banks this winter while I paint.  :-)

Finally, here's some shots of a previous game room from about 10 years ago I thought I'd share as well since it's the only other one I have digital pictures of.  The vaulted ceiling made this room a lot of fun.  Especially setting up the little display above the closet.

There you go.  My little corner of the wargaming world for now.  Like I said, I'll probably throw up some more photos when I get the new set up completed.  Maybe even get to do some home brewed batreps next year.  We'll see...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wargames Illustrated Special - Great Wargames

Finally found a local shop that carried the Wargames Illustraed Special issue that was released last month.  So I thought I'd throw up a quick and dirty overview of the mag for those that are curious.  The pics aren't meant to be any attempt at high quality photos, just a quick glance to give you the basic idea of what's inside.

The mag is wall to wall pictures.  123 pages, 27 battles, and over 380 photos.  The text is limited to the titles and a little blurb inside those blue boxes.  Tons of miniature eye candy with no commercial interruptions.

I love wargaming pictures.  I tend to visit blogs that feature lots of pics, and try to include a bunch in my own posts.  I also love flipping through miniature eye candy before I go to bed, when I'm bored, or when I just need a dose of inspiration.  All in all, this was a nice little purchase for me to enjoy an get inspired by.  Maybe not the greatest thing ever or for everyone, but I'm enjoying my copy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

By Fire and Sword

Cavalry has ALWAYS been my favorite branch of the combat arms by far, and my wargaming armies tend to show it even when mounted units are not necessarily the best option of a given rule set.  Polish Winged Hussars have been my favorite type of historical cavalry ever since I discovered them years ago.  From there a deep interest in everything to do with late Medieval and early Renaissance Eastern European warfare with their cavavlry heavy armies has grown by leaps and bounds.

In November of 2010, I came across the Polish site Ogniem I Mieczem and quickly downloaded their test version of By Fire and Sword.  Over the past year I have been back to checkout their growing range of 17th Century 15mm miniatures, but I have to admit they had fallen off my radar as of late.  A nice write up over on the ALBA Two Warblog, woke me up to the fact that the rule set had finally been released.

From the By Fire and Sword website:

"By Fire and Sword – a historical wargame is the name of a battle system developed by the Wargamer Company. We wanted to create a realistic, playable and dynamic wargame which recreates the 17th century wars fought by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against Turkey, Muscovy, Sweden, Crimean Khanate and Cossacks. The period between 1640 and 1676, on which the game focuses, is a time of almost constant warfare waged by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on all fronts, in many cases with several enemies at the same time. Supplements planned for the game will be dedicated to specific wars and campaigns in which the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth took part during the entire 17th century.

The By Fire and Sword wargame is a comprehensive system including game rules, historical background for the forces of all the combatants, battle group creation rules and scenarios, but most of all a huge number of wargaming figures representing all the military formations of the warring parties."

More information on the rules, scale, and figures con be found here.  Everything for the game has been produced by the Wargamer Company including an extensive range of 15mm miniatures that contains the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Kingdom of Sweden, Ukrainian Cossacks, Crimean Tatars, the Ottoman Empire, Muscovites (Coming soon) as well as a range of terrain models and historical banners.

From the "Game Rules" section:

"Depending on the experience of gamers and number of available figures, as well as time and space for the game, By Fire and Sword battles can be played on 4 different levels. The choice of the game level influences the available units for the gamer’s force. The basic level of the game – called “The Foray” – is a short skirmish, completed in less than an hour. The highest level – called “The Field Army” enables recreating huge and truly epic battles."

The rule book looks to have a high production value (I know the test download did), and seems to have a dissent amount of background information for the period as well.  What I really like is the information in the paragraph above.  The ability to play everything from skirmish to large battles gives you the opportunity to show off the brilliant armies of the nations and period covered in this set no matter what size your collection or commitment level is.

Personally, I've given up painting and creating terrain for anything smaller than 25-28mm, although their 15mm range looks great.  I know The Assault Group (TAG) have 28mm miniatures that cover this period, but I'm not too familiar with their product line having never seen their figures up close.  I do have the Cossacks from Wargames Foundry for my Seven Years War collection though.  So that's a start.  :-)

Maybe not something in the near future for me, but definitely a book I want to pick up down the road.  And then, who knows?...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Encounter at Grimminhagen Graveyard - Part 2

Meanwhile, back at Grimminhagen Graveyard... 

The prize was at hand, soon it's secrets and power would be his to command.  There would be no excuses for his necromancers now.  No more hiding or scavenging.  Just like the royalty of ancient Strigos, Vudir would dominate the land through shear terror.  His enemies torn to pieces.

Vudir could feel the book's dark power pulse from the graveyard below.  He could also feel another type of pulse.  Those of the human cattle he would gorge on this night.  He swooped down for a closer look and a sniff...  These were no ordinary peasants.  There was a danger here he knew, but he was cunning.

He had powerful minions already bound to his will... ghouls, fell spirits, a werewolf, and another vampire.  He stretched out his mind, calling to them, gathering them close.  The book is his for the taking, and darkness would fall for those that oppose him.

The Witch Hunters enter the graveyard. 

Note: Be sure to check out Part 1 for rules and scenario stuff as well as the roster cards and initial deployment.  Hopefully you'll be able to follow the battle without referencing the roster cards too much.

One interesting part of using the Lord of the Rings SBG rules instead of those from Mordhiem is rolling for priority each turn.  The zombie phase always comes after the two sides have moved.  Appearing and then being able to move on next turn.  My Witch Hunters won the first priority and I wasted no time moving to the first two pumpkins within reach.

Fezzik leads the brute squad around the mausoleum... "I AM the brute squad!"

I sent some heroes (Schwareblitz and Hoch) and warhounds wide left to start sweeping the rest of the far graveyard.  The handgunners and Wilheim stayed close to Captain Helsturm in the middle where they could flex where needed, although I had hoped to run the gunners out to the base of the "Fritz" statue to cover the open ground.  The other muscle (ogre, warhounds, and flagellants) I sent with Father Gregor and Nachtmann towards the back of the large central mausoleum where I expected a major confrontation with the deadites that were deployed directly across the board.

Klaus (the flagellant) finds the Black Unicorn Horn under the first pumpkin which he will hand off to the priest in the next turn.  Helsturm meanwhile uncovers a Screaming Skull which only leaves him with a slight headache since he is immune to psychology.

 Team Evil finds nothing helpful turn one.

Eric's undead also have two pumpkins fairly close.  The werewolf finds the Silver Mace of Gregor the Massive and is knocked back, while Fricai the vampire discovers a quick meal in the form of a Big Spooky Spider.  Yum!

Something wicked this way comes...

Eric sends a couple of ghouls and his main man monster Vudir wide right to search, while the rest of his goons go right for funny hat gang across from them.

Vudir... a face only a mother could love.

The first three zombies pop up and throw a wrench bone into the works right away.  Every gunpowder weapon within range fires away and only succeed in make lots of noise as everyone misses.  I can tell already the zombie phase is going be tons of fun...

"Zombies!  Quick, fire some warning shots!!"

Helsturm moves up to cover the front of the large mausoleum.  Schwarzeblitz bravely sends one of the hounds or distract the zombies while he and Vernon Hoch skirt around the backside of the crypt.  Fezzik and company almost reach the pumpkin by the back door.

"Shuuush, be very quiet...  Fido, you go that way.  Good doggie."  "Woof?"

Vudir continues his search (along with a few ghouls), Fricai swoops on top of the mausoleum, and the rest of the baddies charge in.  The werewolf Groaz is completely off my radar...

The warbands struggle over the old smugglers stash.

Battle is joined and the battle of the crates and barrels has begun!  First round is pretty inconclusive, but the Fell Spirit casts Chill Soul.  Father Gregor however says, "Denied!"

Close up of the action...  pretty intense, huh?!  ;-)

Meanwhile Karl and Vernon continue their nickel tour of the graveyard...  Witch Fingers?!  Yuck!

"What 'cha got there Vern?"

Priority allows Helsturm, Kurt Wilheim, and one of their faithful warhounds to run up the steps and engage the vampire Fricai.  The vampire had successfully cast Shadow Creep, but Helsturm was still within 6 inches.  They only manage one wound on the fiend, but hope to position themselves to block the tomb inside.

Blurry action shot!

The battle of crates and barrels continues...  The spirit attempts the crane, or something, while the priest utters of the prayer of Sigmar's Wrath.  No one is listening apparently 'cause nothing happens.  Not much else to report here...

"Watch this sweet move I learned from Mr. Miyagi!"

Almost forgotten in the excitement, Eric's werewolf makes an appearance.  The handgunners frantically try to reload as the dog bravely barks at the monster, while the zombies close in around them all.

"Woof!"  gulp!

OH NOES!!!!  Vudir discovers Jacob Schreck's Tome of the Damned.  Eric laughs like a girl maniacally.  Why did I ever agree to give him movement of 12...

"Evil is victooooorious!"  (Inside joke.)

This time Sigmar is listening and Sigmar's Wrath knocks down all the undead within 6 inches. Either that or Fezzik farted...  Good guys start to mop up Vudir's minions.

Sigmar's Smackdown! 

Winning the next priority, Eric has Vudir swoop in to take some pressure off his little vampire buddy, and hopefully push the Witch Hunters aside to complete the objective by reaching the tomb with the book.  Vudir and Helsturm go toe to toe and fight to a draw.  They separate after pushing each other back.  Next priority roll could decide the game!

 When the game gets its cinematic moment, everyone wins.  :-)

Schwarzeblitz and his "blade" gets chased by another pack of zombies.  Templar Hoch looks on in disbelief.

"Fritz" does not approve!

The Wight Wolf makes a nice last stand, but soon all the undead minions around are no more.  Time to march to the sound of the guns in front of the mausoleum.  Mathias Nachtmann only gets a swarm of bats in his face (Bat Attack!) when he opens the back door (pumpkin).

"Our work here is done."

Eric wins the all important priority roll and moves Vudir with the book to his objective winning the game.  Helsturn and his dog can only growl as the vampire takes to the air with his prize getting the last laugh as he does.  Congrats Eric!

"You may have won this round villain, but... wait, come back here!"

All in all, it turned out to be a great game, and playing at Village Games was pretty sweet too.  It probably would have been a little better if we didn't end up deploying so close to each other, and I'd definitely like to try out the scenario again.  The scenario and size of the table could of easily accommodated two warbands and players a side as most of the board was left unused.  Still, setting up a big graveyard is always fun.

Right now I plan on writing quick AAR for Part 3 to wrap things up.  So I'll leave any further thoughts on the scenario, the rules, or just the game in general until then.  Hopefully you enjoyed the tale of our little Halloween game.  I've tried to include most of the info in case folks might want to try out something similar.