Travels with a Rogue

A small piece of the web dedicated to Gen. Mikhail Skobolev (the White General), toy soldiers (any period), history, politics and books circa. 1850-1900.

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Location: Frederick, Maryland, United States

There was an earlier day in my life when I had plenty of time and no money for my hobby, now I have money for my hobby and not so much time. I never stopped playing with toy soldiers "much to my mothers chagrin" exchanging the sandbox, green armymen and rocks for Donald Featherstone's book Wargames, AWI soldiers from the back of a comic book, dice and rulers. Those early games were great fun and very exciting. Eventually I graduated to more complicated systems, better miniatures, headaches, rule arguments and basically not a lot of fun. I thought about ditching the hobby altogether. I realized recently that I like a good game of toy soldiers. I like the look of toy soldiers and I like the way a simple game plays. I like the trusty d6.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Presents are Ready!

Well as the title suggests, the Christmas presents for Jaena and Jordan are ready. I wanted them to have the look of old style toy soldiers and needed a container that would properly show them off. A trip to the Container Store rewarded me with 9"x7"x3" clear boxes with tension hinges (actually my wonderful wife found them).

So in all of their glory here is the first regiment of toy soldiers to be presented to my nephew with hopes that at a later date it will spark an interest in a hobby that has served me well for the time that I have dedicated to it. He's still a little young; although, I hope that in a few years these fine chaps will ignite a little fire of delight when he views them.

And for Jaena, some Teddy Bears on parade! I suspect she will be happier with the princess gear that will accompany these little fellows in a separate box. In a few more years perhaps these guardsmen can find a place in her curio cabinet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Egyptians and Russian Rifles

Today I have a few shots of a regiment of Egyptians and my Brigade of Russian Rifles. I have much more to post in the coming few weeks so stay tuned.

The Egyptians formed a separate division in the war operating out of the quadrilateral fortresses; they were involved in the operations to relieve Osman Pasha in Pleven.

This was another easy conversion. The Irregular Miniatures Turkish figure is actually closer to an Egyptian for this period then an Ottoman soldier. I used an exacto-knife and scrapped off the trouser bottoms about half way up the figures calf. After that it was a simple job to paint them in leggings with dark blue uniforms and white trim. The flag is based loosely upon a civic standard from the period. I wanted to differentiate my Egyptian forces from the Ottomans and to do that I will be using green flags for the four Regiments.

The 1st Egyptian Regiment deployed in a firing line. I'll paint one other unit in the same color/uniform scheme for brigade unity of appearance. I'd like to paint a regiment in all white (circa 1880); although I think that would be taking significant liberties. Instead I think the second two regiments will wear the blue tunic and white trousers. Each regiment will have a unique standard.

Here we have the detail picture of the rifles. I had thought to use the militia figure at rest, in fur cap, for the Rifles and Bulgarians. Instead Irregular came to the rescue with a brand new group of figures. I'll be using these figures for the Bulgarian Legion also, when I paint them. They are painted without conversion; trouser color indicates the regiment assignment. The Brigadier is wearing the white fur reserved for senior officers and blue dress trousers.

The Russian Rifle Brigade advances! At this point in history there is very little difference between rifles and line infantry. As riflemen they could be armed with the Berdan rifle instead of the Krnk; that would give them range and firepower to equal the Turkish troops who were armed with the Martini-Peabody rifle.

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Irregulars

I have more to post for tomorrow; however, here's a tease. This is my first conversion with the Irregular Minis. It was very easy; nothing more then a bent arm and a swapped head. With this minor surgery we go from the figure on the left to the figure on the right; or more properly a dismounted horse holder (as described in the catalog) to Gen Mikhail Skobolev. I am very happy with this conversion. The little horse holder casting is going to become a very valuable item for conversion.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Eureka Toy Soldiers for my Nephew!

When should you start someone out in that grandest of hobbies; collecting toy soldiers? I'm not sure I've got an answer for that; however, Eureka Miniatures has made it a lot easier to give the gift of toy soldiers to younger children. My nephew is almost 2 years old, he is certainly too young to play with lead soldiers. He is easily old enough to receive his first set for display though. At Historicon06 I noticed a new line of toy soldier style toy soldiers from Eureka Minis, Nic Robson and crew. I purchased a few with the idea of painting and giving them as gifts. They are lovely castings, very cleanly cast and pleasant to paint. Eureka has cast a nice variety with Guns, Crews, Infantry, Cavalry and Generals all currently available. I thought a regiment per year at Christmas and one at Birthdays would make nice gifts for the next few years; plus the occasional set for no good reason. By the time Jordan is old enough to play with them he should have two very nice little forces of toys. I can offer you a link to the Eureka webpage although I'm unable to find these fellows listed.

In this range are figures for two separate armies, infantry in either bearskin or shako and cavalry in either helmet or shako. The are all about 40mm in height.

To view some painted Eureka Teddy Bears for my niece (shhhh it's a surprise) visit my other blog! I know it's shameless cross posting to my own blogs!

Here's a close up of the infantryman (front and back) in shako and regimental musician. I thought about reverse colors for the musician and instead decided that I'll make each regiment a different color. I think they look a little more like toy soldiers if all of the men of a regiment are dressed in the same colors. The "J" on the shako front is for my nephew Jordan.

A close up of the regimental commander and the standard bearer. I think simple colors and a simple paint job really make these fellows pop.

A close up of the unit flag. I wanted something that would appeal to young collector, thus the smiley face surrounded by laurel and my nephews name to add a personal touch.

After painting them I used a heavy gloss coat. I suspect they will get heavy wear and gloss easily out lasts matte. More importantly they are toy soldiers so it's only proper that they be glossed.

I enjoyed painting these fellows and I'm looking forward to a few years from now when we can sit and play a nice game of toy soldiers together. I also hope that they serve to generate some interest in the hobby. With this line of toys available it's never too early to start recruiting toy soldier enthusiasts! Great job Nic and Eureka!

An Update with photos!

My wife is fascinated by the hobby and the processes that I have developed for completing my regiments. To that end here are a few shots of Work In Process. I have finished these units although I need to gloss coat them and take some completed shots and post them here! So these are photos of 2 regiments of Russian Rifles and 1 regiment of Turks in process. BTW-the shirt is a shameless plug for the OSW group!

Here I am applying regular drywall paste to the base of a 42mm soldier. You can't actually see him; however, there is a Russian rifleman waiting his turn sitting on the table. I have a solid card table that I set up in the living room and while watching the NFL (Go Ravens!) or a movie with the family I can clean, base and putty my figures. Priming is done downstairs in the heat of summer or chill of winter and outside on those nice spring or fall days that have low humidity.

The next photo is of the drywall paste being applied. I use a sculpting spatula and apply the compound on generously; then remove any excess while smoothing the finish. The entire process takes a few minutes per model and when painted gives the miniature the toy soldier style that I'm looking for. Wax paper is used to protect the card table and to keep the miniatures from sticking to the clipboard after they are glued to their bases. I am using 1inch fender washers as bases for this project and super glue gel as the adhesive.

Next we have the finished figure being set with his comrades to await priming. On the clipboard are 2 Regiments of Rifles and in the background a Regiment of Turkish soldiers. I keep most of my projects on clipboards, they are easy to store on a shelf and make moving the projects around very simple.

The photo below is my painting table in a corner of the dinning/project room. It's very nice to have a wife and family that don't religate me and my hobby to the basement or some other room. It's much easier for me to work on projects during family television time and know that I'm still part of what's happening.

On the shelf to my right is my next project. I should finish (well the first part of it anyways--do we ever really finish toy soldier projects?) my RTW project sometime in May/June 07 time frame. Next on the table is 25mm SYW using RSM95's primarily. I will probably augment that with a few Musketeer Miniatures GNW battalions as well. Anyway click on the photo to enlarge and you'll see a handful of Vulgarians on the shelf watching my painting with interest.