Monthly Archives: January 2011

Marx Giant Blue & Gray playset – “Centennial Series”

I had a wonderful childhood, growing up in a small lakeside village nestled in the scenic wooded hills of southeastern Ohio. It was an area steeped in history; an area where famed Civil War generals Phil Sheridan and William T. Sherman grew up.  My own family was rich in Civil War heritage, with direct ancestors on both sides of the family serving in the Union Army, including three of my great-great-grandfathers.

My Dad, whose 97th birthday would have been yesterday, and Mom gave me a giant set of Civil War toy soldiers for Christmas back in 1962. It was the 54mm Marx Giant Blue & Gray playset which I believe they bought at the local Montgomery Wards store, which my Mom frequented in those long ago days. As a kid I played with them extensively and lost parts of the set in my outdoor “wargaming” activities. The rest survived the years, and are now enjoyed by my two grandsons.

Here are a few shots of the remnants of that old playset (I also still have the tin mansion).

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Categories: Civil War toys | Tags: , , , | 20 Comments

For you Civil War cavalry buffs!

Confederate cavalry splashes across a creek in the Loudoun Valley of Virginia and prepare to defend against oncoming Pleasonton’s oncoming Union troopers off in the distance. (Click each photo to enlarge it)

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Categories: Civil War wargaming | 4 Comments

Barrage XV Convention in Baltimore, Maryland

The Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKS) club put on its annual Barrage wargaming convention today in Baltimore, Maryland. This is the fifteenth edition of this popular regional mini-con. Click here to visit Buck Surdu’s website for the con.

Attendance was strong, with several interesting dealers present with all sorts of fun merchandise. The games appeared fairly full, and all seemed to be having a good time. Good mix of younger gamers, females, and we 50ish middle-aged geezers.

Here are some more photos of today’s action.

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Finished my 1:600 ACW Naval Project

I have completed my winter project, laying out and creating 16 feet x 1 foot riverbanks for my new wargaming interest, 1:600 scale American Civil War riverine / naval wargaming. This is generic terrain meant to evoke the general flavor of the terrain, with bluffs, farms, woods, watercourse confluences, and small towns with their wharfs and docks.

And, oh yes, complete with a series of Confederate forts and campsites, daring the Union flotillas to take a crack at running past them.

Watch out for the torpedoes (mines)!


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Categories: ACW naval gaming | 7 Comments

Annual Civil War mega-game by the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp!

Every year, the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp (TSA) presents perhaps the largest Johnny Reb 3 miniature wargame in the world, or at least competes strongly for that honor. This year is no exception.

The boys from Belgium are back at it again, and this time the theme is the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run / Manassas.

This commemorative wargame will be held at the TSA’s club house in Antwerp on March 26-27, 2011.

Please visit the website for this mega-event.

Some year i just have to get to Belgium to see this in person!

Categories: Civil War wargaming, Conventions, Johnny Reb 3 | 1 Comment

Is the wargaming hobby graying?

Over the past few years, there has been much discussion on the graying of the hobby of miniature wargaming. Hobbies such as stamp and coin collecting, model railroading, model rocketry, radio controlled airplanes, and many others appear to also be struggling somewhat to attract younger aficionados, to various degrees of course.

I am doing my part to attract young gamers to the hobby of historical miniatures! Start them with their own plastic Civil War 54mm figures from a Gettysburg gift shop, and teach them some rudimentary rules (in the case of my younger grandson, it’s set the soldiers up and knock them down). In the older lad’s case, it’s about rolling the dice, counting the spots, and determining where to go from there. He’s a little young yet for a Combat Results Table.

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Categories: ACW naval gaming, Civil War wargaming, Wargaming in general | 3 Comments

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 170,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 7 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 50 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 462 posts. There were 177 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 112mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 24th with 1 views. The most popular post that day was Dioramist Dennis Morris offering new art prints!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for civil war diorama, civil war dioramas, pickett’s charge, gettysburg diorama, and battle of gettysburg.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Dioramist Dennis Morris offering new art prints! May 2010


The best Civil War diorama??? May 2008


Scenarios July 2007


Civil War dioramas at Gettysburg Miniature Soldiers March 2009
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28mm Pickett’s Charge diorama at the old Cyclorama Center November 2008

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Mississippi riverbanks in 1:600 scale – my latest project

For the past week, in the evenings after work I have been constructing a 1:600 scale depiction of  rather generic 1861-63 Mississippi River terrain in preparation for a January 22nd wargaming convention, Barrage, put on by the HAWKS gaming club near Baltimore, Maryland. I bought a $6.97 sheet of particle board at Lowe’s and used scrap foam insulation board for bluffs and hills, and extra flocking and Woodland Scenics ground foam for trees and brush-lined fields.

A Confederate fort guards the confluence of the Mississippi River (not shown, foreground) and the Yazoo River (right). Fort is a metal kit made by Thoroughbred Miniatures.

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Categories: Civil War wargaming | 2 Comments

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