Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Painted Werdenfelser

Well, I finally made some progress and painted up four of my Tsuba Miniatures, Freikorps Werdenfels. Oh, what a lousy year. Please, it's too painful to recount! The other good news is that I have the next four on my bench as I type. Personal pressure has been weighing on my hobby happiness levels as the Red Sailors new release will soon to be upon us and I need to justify the purchase (Not really, actually!). I hope Andrew Taylor doesn't mind me borrowing his general color schemes as I am one of the most unimaginative, OCD afflicted wargamers you will find. My OCD is also why I get such little done, sadly.

Basing Pumice and all paint colors are Vallejo (Model Color, and Panzer Aces); bases are 2mm MDF from Pendraken Miniatures; grass is Gale Force Nine and The Army Painter. I am not completely satisfied with my finished basing, and will be applying a few scattered leaves from Secret Weapon Miniatures. Hmmmm, maybe even a highlight color to the grass?

Please forgive me for the lousy photography. As typical with a digital phone camera, the figures look considerably better in the flesh.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Freikorps Werdenfels

This a rather grand post card depicting members of Freikorps Werdenfels as they head off to liberate Munich in May of 1919 from the Bavarian communists. There are conflicting reports that the unit strength was anywhere from 250-500 members. This photo is quite intersting in that it makes viewable 200+ men at one time, all in march column. Great for reference, and even better for inspiration!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The German Freikorps 1918-23


Author: Carlos Jurado
Illustrator: Ramiro Bujeiro

Publisher: Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK
First published: 2001
64 pages; 65 photographs; 10 illustrations; 2 tables; 2 maps
Contents: 1918: The Empires Crumble; The German Revolution; 1919: Civil War; Border Warfare; 1920: Against the Republic; 1921: Upper Silesia; 1922-23; The Freikorps Examined; Bibliography; The Plates; Index
     The book's structure follows the standard pattern for Osprey Publishing's Elite series. Chapters are short and melded into one another providing for a swift read. The photographs are an uneven mixture of low, medium , and high quality, most are in the medium range. The illustrations are of the usual high standard as evident by the example on the book's cover.      
     The author provides a fair overview of the core subject matter. All pertinent topics are touched upon: politics, economics, and military. As typical with Osprey's Elite and Men-at-Arms series books, organization and uniforms are the central point in the book. These elements are most critical to the wargamer. Unit insignias are also covered, and quite pleasantly a good number are included.
     With so few (less than a dozen) books on the German Freikorps available in english, it would seem a basic requirement to purchase a copy of this book. If you don't own a copy already, I must ask you, "why not?"

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Battlefoam: Custom Cut Foam

     Having been directed to be shipped off to "The Land of the Morning Calm" [Republic of Korea] again, I decided that I would try harder at getting some hobby time in. Last trip over here, worked consumed me to the bone, and nothing was accomplished over the 12 month's time. I new that I would need more foam to transport my miniatures, especially those that will be so time consumingly painted and ready to return to the good old U.S. of A. I decided to give Battlefoam a try. I had always heard the buzz, and figured there had to be something to it. They have excellent YouTube videos that describe their products and services for those who are unfamiliar with the company.
     Battlefoam's website is easy easy to navigate and easy on the eyes too. While the background color is dark grey, their web designer wisely chose contrasts that are not disturbingly hideous. Besides, their product is dark grey, so why not use it as a color scheme for their marketing! Enough about the website and on to the product. I used their Custom Tray Creator which was truly easy to get the hang of. The only stumbling point was their lack of metric sizes to match my basing plans in their generic shape choices. This was handily solved by adding instructions into their order form which is built in just for circumstances such as mine. I simply chose a size that was close to my needs and then described how each shape was a representation for a corresponding metric one. e.g. "1in diameter circle represents 30mm diameter circle", etc.
    Having played around with the Creator for a few minutes, I quickly realized that I could put an entire, gameable force on each individual tray: one flag bearer, one miscellaneous item (or alternate flag bearer); two crew served weapons; four light weapons teams; five leaders; and 32 individual figures. That would build four 10 man squads, two heavy weapons for support, and one six-figure command element to run the whole show!
     I quite conveniently placed my order during the Christmas shopping season and their associated sale pricing. The sale prices were really nice, but they were not the clincher on me placing my order. The fact that one custom cut tray was less than the three Sabol Designs' pluck foam trays necessary for the same task was what did it. It is a lengthy process between order and arrival and the projected turn-around time on the website is accurate.
     When the product arrived, I was completely blown away. The quality of the foam and the care in manufacture was superb. I was the source of a number of laughs around the house as my family found it funny that anyone could be so happy over a piece of packing foam! I did experience one hiccup in my order as their designers accidentally cut the five leader cutouts the same diameter as the four light weapons teams. To this, I must add that the company has the finest customer service. They responded rapidly to my emails with concern and courtesy. The replacement products were rapidly made and then shipped with just as much speed. I cannot recommend their company highly enough.
     The time came, and I shipped off my materials and figures having finally unboxed them yesterday. All was safe and sound, just as I had hoped:

     I am not a huge consumer of storage products as my lack of painting progress does not support anything substantial, but Battlefoam alone has all of my future business. For now, I need to put together a couple of orders to fill in those empty spaces! [Musketeer Miniatures' "IWI", and Tsuba Miniatures' "Freikorps Werdenfels"].

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Um das Menschenrecht

     Having recently moved, SWMBO decided it was time to upgrade all of the household's video entertainment equipment. And since she must be obeyed by all means, who was I to argue! For my silent compliance, I ended up going from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century technology wise. Today, I took the equipment for a test drive by watching YouTube, in HD, on the big screen. This is a big shift from my usual fare of a 15" laptop computer. The video of choice, "Um das Menschenrecht"; a 1934 film with a storyline centered around the German Revolution.

     While the film was created with the backing of the NSDAP as propaganda for stoking nationalist emotions, it is by no means a mouthpiece for them. The film is one of my favorites, and well worth watching. The picture quality is so-so. It was digitally recorded from a VCR tape, which was first recorded from a television. This copy of a copy headache does not prohibit the viewer's ability to spot some really great details on the Freikorps uniforms, so be sure to look closely!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tsuba Miniatures Update

     Tsuba Minaitures has a great new addition to their Freikorps Werdenfels product line. Packaged as FW-06 Assault Team, the code contains two different figures armed with a Bergman MP18 along with a Wex17 Flamethrower team.
     While Tsuba is the first to admit that the figures armed as they are, are not historically accurate, I cannot fault anyone for wishing to add them to their force. They are an easy and attractive way to spice up a gaming scenario. After all wargame scenarios are always a mixing of fact, what-ifs, and outright fiction no matter how much of a simulation your chosen rules may be.
     More warmly welcomed product codes are RJ-R06 Russian Troopers Firing II, and RJ-R07 Russian Casualties and Medical Orderly.

     Tsuba's Russo-Japanese War figures are purpose designed for the 1904-1905 conflict, but they are fine proxies for many armies in the Baltic and Eastern European regions from 1917-1923.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Birth of the Nazis

Full title: A Brief History of the Birth of the Nazis: How the Freikorps Blazed a Trail for Hitler
Author Nigel H. Jones
Publisher: Carril & Graf Publishers
Published: 1987, 1995, 2004
329 pages; 13 photographs; 3 maps
Contents: Birth of the Stormtrooper; Collapse of an Empire; "Revolution or Republic?"; The First Freikorps; "Spartacus Week"; The Twin Murders: Liebknecht and Luxemburg; Maercker's March; Strikes and Street Fights; The Freebooting Spirit; The Baltic Campaign; The Munich Soviet; Versailles: Resistance or Submission; The Kapp Putsch; The Red Army of the Ruhr; The Politics of Murder; Enter Hitler: The Beerhall Putsch; Epilogue: The Fate of the Freikorps
     The book is a small trade sized volume. It is printed on standard paper stock with glossy pages for the photographs. The photographs themselves are clear and good qaulity. All maps are cleanly drawn. There are two appendicies, bibliography and an index included in the total page count. The chapters themselves are short making for a fast read, or easily broken up into smaller bits. The language used is easy to follow even during early portions where names and locations are the least familiar and most likely lost track of.
     The book provides a quick overview to the turbulent times from the last months of the Great War up until 1923. It includes additional information beyond this specific period, but it exists solely for refernce or context. The depth to which any one area is covered makes this book only a starting point for further research. Appendix A does provide some useful statistical data concerning the various Freikorp units and their total strength. The greater contribution to the wargamer is that the book provides a good feel for the turbulence and instabilities of Germany and her bordering territories. Pure inspiration!
     In short, if you want content for scenario generation, this is not the best book for anything substantial. If you simply want to get started with the period, and need to know the how and why events occured as they did, this is a great book.