When we last saw the dovecote, the halftimber detailing on the walls was done, the roof was just started, and it lacked paint.
Here’s the current state of the beast!
The roof got cardboard tiles to look like slate on both the main roof and the top of the tower. The capping along the ridges on the main roof is strips of light card, while for the tower roof I used greenstuff putty for the ridge caps and the little finial decoration right at the peak.
I also used a bit of greenstuff to add a ring handle to the door, and some details to the hinges.
The whole thing has been primed black, and then the wall panels between the timbers got a coat of GW Liquid Greenstuff to add some extra texture to those areas.
I’ve also started work on a large farmhouse, two stories with a thatch roof planned for it. More photos of that soon, it’s coming along nicely and I suspect I’ll paint both buildings at the same time.
I’ve had people ask about plans for these buildings. I rarely make formal plans for buildings in a way that would be useful to other people, to be honest! For the dovecote I started with the article in WS&S #87 and tweaked things slightly; the farmhouse is entirely out of my head, starting with a basic idea of how large I wanted the building to be (about 5″ by 3″, as it happens) and the basic features I wanted. I have spent some time looking at photos and sketches of the real thing; the post I wrote a few years ago on half-timber architecture in the Internet Archive is still useful, as is Google Image Search for terms like “17th Century English farmhouse” and similar. A lot of buildings like this, especially rural or village buildings, could be pretty wonky and random, so it’s kind of hard to get things wrong! If in doubt, just chuck a coat of plaster over it, like real builders have been known to do!
Dusting off my sadly-neglected blog this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to post a link to a very cool trio of old movies shot in the early 1930s by the US Marine Corp in China. The US (as well as the British, French and a few other Western powers) maintained military forces in China right up into the Second World War, including aviation forces.
If you were looking for scenery inspiration, a lot of this footage is at fairly low level, and while it isn’t hugely detailed you could get useful inspiration for Chinese buildings and compounds by peering past the airplanes!
Hope any Canucks reading this are having an excellent Thanksgiving weekend. I’m trying to get back into the gaming thing after a summer and early fall of practically zero activity, so more content soon, hopefully!
Quiet around here lately, primarily because all of my hobby time has been taken up painting White Russians for this evening’s first outing of Russian Civil War-flavoured Through the Mud & the Blood.
We’re using the first scenario from the TFL scenario book Stout Hearts & Iron Troopers, “The Platoon Attacking a Strongpoint”, with the defending Germans swapped out for Whites and the attacking British swapped for Reds. The British platoon in the scenario has all the Lewis guns, dedicated bombers and rifle grenades of a fully-evolved late WW1 Western Front British unit, all of which the Reds lack, so the Reds might get a fifth rifle section to make up the lack of specialized firepower.
Off to pack figures and head for the game, report here tomorrow, hopefully with photos if any of them turn out!
“Everything is very simple in War, but the simplest thing is difficult.” — Carl von Clausewitz, On War
Richard Clarke of TooFatLardies has written a fascinating post over on his Lard Island blog about friction in games and in reality. Short version: real war is full of things going pear shaped; most gaming systems aren’t. Go read the full article, I’m doing it a terrible disservice with my one-line smartass summary!
Created a new Historical Gaming page, which has replaced the ECW/TYW page in the top menu; there’s also a matching Historicals category now to populate the page.
With my interests wandering into the Great War, Russian Civil War, English Civil War/Thirty Years War and elsewhere recently, a new catchall page was needed. I’ve retroactively added old posts to the new Historicals category as well.
There will, of course, be a lot of overlap with my long-standing Pulp interests, which is only natural as most of my developing historical interest grew out of the quasi-historical pulp games we’ve been playing for the last several years! Expect strongly pulp-flavoured history, as well!
If you’ve never heard of the Internet Archive, it’s a huge and sprawling website full of all sorts of material. Probably the most famous section is the “Wayback Machine“, an attempt to collect, curate and archive huge swathes of the internet. Looking for an interesting old wargaming website, perhaps one hosted on Geocities or another vanished host? Fire the old URL into the Wayback Machine, you’ll probably find something!
What I’m focusing on for this article, though, is the Texts side of the Archive. It’s an attempt to preserve, digitize and distribute huge numbers of old and new books, and make them available in as many formats as possible. Google (through Google Books), Microsoft and dozens of university, public and national libraries are involved. The collection is already millions of books and still growing rapidly. It can be hard to find things, though, which is one of the reasons I started writing this article — it began simply as a list of interesting Archive.org URLs I wanted to save for future reference in case I couldn’t find the same books again!
The Great War On Archive.org
I make no claims to have here a comprehensive list of the era’s books and publications available on the Internet Archive, but what follows is a sometimes arbitrary list of items that caught my eye!
There’s a whole bunch of official publications of various sorts, mostly American but a few British as well. Of particular note for Great War gamers is Instructions for the Training of Platoons for Offensive Action, 1917 – this is an American re-publication of a famous British military manual. Straight from the source, as it were. A good chunk of the British background material in the back of Mud & Blood is straight from Training of Platoons, as are several of the scenarios presented in the Stout Hearts & Iron Troopers supplement.
Many of the rest of these books are published by civilian publishers; the main market seems to have been American officers in the newly-raised American Expeditionary Forces and to a lesser extent new officers of other nations. There was a certain amount of repetition and even flat-out plagarism in this market; some of the authors also regurgitate chunks of Training of Platoons straight into their own books.
Trench Fighting (1917) is a British book, noteworthy mostly for lots of good diagrams.
Tactics and Duties for Trench Fighting (1918) – One French and one American author, both infantry officers, longer book but written to be easy to read, lots of interesting details that could inspire scenarios.
Probably the most useful format to get these books in is PDF, especially as that preserves the original diagrams, illustrations and page layout better than any of the other formats the Internet Archive offers. Most books have a link straight to the PDFs on the left of the page; some (especially the ones via Google Books) don’t. The Google Books ones are especially frustrating, as going to the Google Books page does not actually give you an obvious link to the PDF file. Those PDFs are still in the Internet Archive, though – instead of going to Google Books, click the “All Files: HTTP” link at the bottom of the left-hand box, then look for the .pdf file on the resulting basic index page. Voila, the PDF, without messing around!
The prize find there, at least for a Mud & Blood player, has to be Instructions for the Offensive Combat of Small Units (Direct PDF link), which is a mid-1918 American adaptation of a French tactical guide. Training of Platoons, way up at the top of this article, was a British publication simply reprinted by the Americans; this one is extensively rewritten to use American tactical formations (the AEF used much larger units than either the French or British did by 1917/1918). Nice illustrations and diagrams, too.
There are almost certainly other interesting resources tucked away in the CARL files; I’ll keep looking and either update this articele or write a followup at some point in the future.
There’s also Druid_ian on Scribd but all his content is straight from the Internet Archive or the US Army sources listed above, just uploaded into Scribd’s sometimes useful but mostly frustrating interface. He has discovered some interesting documents buried in these sources, although note that only people who sign up for Scribd accounts may download from Scribd. Search for the same titles at IA or CARL and you won’t have to sign up for yet another website…
A number of these books are available on paper from various sources – search Amazon for them. I have no idea of the quality of these reprints; I prefer to keep my money for figures and scenery where I can! There are a number of good collections of trench maps and of course Great War/WW1 photography out there, but that’s for another article, this one is already long enough!
Found something interesting on the Internet Archive, the Obsolete Military Manuals collection or elsewhere? Leave me a comment below and I’ll add it to the article!
Week 9? There was no Week 9. Well, OK, there was, but it involved me running my ECW Parliamentarian Horse again, and them getting beaten. Again.
However, I still like the models and the paintjob I managed on them, so here they are again for everyone to admire:
In better news, LPL5’s final, ultimate round, Round 10, with the bonus theme of “A Scene from the Movies” is running right now. All sorts of great stuff, including a bonus-worthy set of miniatures from me that I really like, and that other people do too, judging by the voting!
For the 5th Lead Painters League’s 8th Round, something entirely new from me: 28mm English Civil War/Thirty Years War cavalry!
These are Warlord plastic horse, nominally ECW Parliamentarian horse but really destined for our gaming group’s quasi-historical nominally-Thirty Years War games. They’re also the first 28mm cavalry I’ve ever done, the first plastic wargaming figures I’ve ever done, and the first non-20th C historicals I’ve ever done. All at once!
Unfortunately they got beaten soundly by a nicely presented and very characterful set of 28mm Middle Eastern figures.
Still, I’m pleased with how the paintjobs turned out. I’d be remiss if I didn’t credit this Games Workshop article on painting horses with making the horse painting and the resulting horses both more interesting! (I’ve just said something nice about GW, in public… this might just be a sign of the End Times…)
(I also just noticed that this is post number 100 on The Warbard! Now, that includes a lot of old website material brought over as posts, but it’s still been a busy 4-and-a-bit months here! Many more to come! — Brian)