Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lost Scrolls giveaway (now over)

The new Field of Glory supplement, Lost Scrolls, was given to me, and it's up for grabs. Although I love ancients, I am not a very active wargamer. The local gaming club in Denver is fond of de Bellum Antiquitatis (DBA) and Big Battle DBA. So, Field of Glory has been well received at this group. I moved kind of far away, so now I don't know anyone to give it to. I thought it wold be cool to give it away here.

Would you like it? Just leave a comment on this post. Announce this give-away on your blog and get a double entry. I'll stop taking entries on On Friday February 5th, at 7pm Mountain Time. I'll then announce the randomly-picked winner in this post's comments. Check back here to see if it's you.

If you're in the US or Canada I'll post the book for free (media rate). I don't have alot of cash for an international shipment, so if the winner is outside the US or Canada, I'll need to be reimbursed the shipping cost. The book is 10 ounces. (The Postal Service website says it will charge $9.00 to the UK.)

The book itself looks really cool. The supplement is kind of a catch-all for the most requested FOG army lists. It includes 21 new armies for:
The Early Republican Army
Umbrian Allies
Italian Hill Tribes
Apullians, Lucanians, or Brutinans
Early Nomads
Early Highland Raiders (Biblical-era peoples of the Anatolian, Taurus, and Zagros uplands)
Early Elamites
Amorite Kingdoms
Pre-Islamic Arabian
Later Pre-Islamic Bedouin
Beja, Nile Valley, Blemmye, or Early Nobatae
Medieval German city leagues
Later Medieval feudal Germans
Later Medieval Frisian or Dithmarschen

As with the other FOW rulebooks, Lost Scrolls features numerous illustrations from Osprey's catalogue and photos of various painted 25/28mm miniatures. The model photos are mostly single minis placed decoratively. There are no full-page tabletop wargame scenes, but there are a couple zoomed-in diorama vignettes. A lot of these photos have that tungsten bulb yellow cast, but overall they're nice. Published by Osprey, this paperback's production quality is, of course, top-notch. The paper stock and print quality are high quality. Text layout and charts make for easy reading and quick reference. If you own the main FOW rulebook, you should definitely be happy with this last of the supplements.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Alpha Miniatures 1/32 Romans

Alpha Miniatures was a one-man miniatures manufacturer from New Zealand. Aaron Brown sculpted and cast an absolutely fantastic range of metal 1/32 Romans, Germans, Celts, and gladiators. They are full of historically accurate detail and have great character. He and I used to email quite a bit to discuss equipment details. A few years ago Aaron sold off the molds and now works as a freelance mini sculptor. Aaron's sculpting studio: Black Crab Sculpting

I have five Alpha Miniatures Romans. I painted the legionary and auxiliary a while back, and am considering work on my Roman signifer and German. I mounted the miniatures on rectangular pieces of sheet styrene. I wanted them to match my pre-painted Conte Collectibles 1/32 Romans, so I did not add flock or static grass. Alpha Miniatures models often comes with weapon options, in this case: pila/galius and hasta/gladius. My shield blazons come from Trajan's Column and were painted free-hand.

Alpha miniatures fit quite well with Italeri's 1/32 plastic Romans and Celts. They are a bit smaller, but the difference is acceptable in my view.

You can still buy these brilliant ancients at: Black Cat Miniatures
Check out Aarons current 28mm work on RatTrap Productions.

Chillin' with my Gnomies

After giving my mom a copy of Garden Gnomes: A History (see my book review), she went through her old photo album and found these two shots of me. I look about 2 or 3, so I'm guessing the photos are from around 1980. This is my grandfather's backyard in Rotterdam, NY. These two gnomes were given to him by his friend, Mr. Heiner. His parents came from Germany, and obviously they brought their tradition of garden gnomes with them. The concrete gnomes were home-made using Mr. Heiner's own mold. I think my grandpa painted them himself.

The subject and composition are pretty cool, but the image quality of these photos ain't so good. Unfortunately, my face and the smaller gnome are concealed in shadow. For a while back in the 70s-80s Kodak sold an instant camera. An avid photographer, my grandfather had one of these Polaroid-like cameras. Polaroid sued, and Kodak was to drop the product. I remember disassembling the then useless camera years later to see what was inside (mirrors, lenses and other interesting gizmos).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

GI Dragoon: a Curious Anachronism

Simon's recent illustration on Iron Mitten features a French Dragoon painting some toy soldiers. The helmet reminded me of a photo in my grandfather's WWII photo album. In the summer or fall of 1945 my grandfather and some men from his company took a tour of the Waterloo battlefield. They visited the farm at La Haye Sainte, which housed a museum. The Belgian curator was only too willing to let the young GIs try on some of the museum pieces. My grandpa took the pictures. The helmet above appears to be a French dragoon's. Anyone know exactly what kind? Bellow are some GIs sporting German Pickelhauben from early WWI or the late 19th century.

I'm busy writing a book about my grandfather's unit, which is why you haven't seen too many painted miniatures posted here in a while. His company participated in the Normandy invasion, worked on Utah Beach, and moved supplies through Antwerp during the German's V-weapon bombardment. I'm chronicling my research/writing on a blog:

That's my grandpa on the far left.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

History is Hilarious

Last month I was cruising around Twitter, and I found a follower of a follower who draws comics inspired by history. "History comics?" I thought, "Awesome." Kate Beaton was a history major, museum employee, and now a comic artist. Her subjects bounce from vikings to Elizabethans to cowboys to chimney sweeps. The illustration style is loose with wonderfully expressive faces. Her humor often rests completely on a character's eyes.

Beaton runs a web comic and recently published a book, Never Learn Anything From History. If you're a history buff with a computer, book shelf, and a funny bone, then you simply must check out Hark a Vagrant.

If you are a Twitterer you can follow her daily work there too.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Review of Liberators, by Peter Schrijvers

I posted a full review of Liberators: The Allies and Belgian Society on my WWII blog. I'm trying to keep Ferrous Lands within an ancient to 18th century historic timeframe (and some fantasy). Lately, I've been reading a lot of WWII books to fill in events surrounding my grandfather's service in the US Army's 519th Port Battalion. These reviews appear on my