Monthly Archives: September 2013

Steve Miller’s diorama of Fort Phil Kearny

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Steve Miller was an Indian Wars reenactor off and on for some 20+ years during his Air Force career. He has also been a board wargamer, primarily WWII but with 8 or 9 Civil War titles in his collection.

Another of his interests is the Old West.  Back in the early 1960s he borrowed Dee Brown’s “Fort Phil Kearny, an American Saga” as a book from his high school library.  He also built a small perhaps 24 inch by 18 “cavalry fort” and “manned” it with HO scale Thomas figures purchased from K+L of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and with AirFix plastic Indians.  When he was commissioned as a 2Lt in the Air Force in 1968 and left for active duty, both the fort and the miniatures were left at his parents’ home. Over time they disposed of all of them.

Years later, Steve began Indian Wars reenacting in Tucson, San Antonio, and finally southern California, but never thought much about his boyhood diorama until this past January. He re-read Dee Brown’s book about Fort Phil Kearny again,inspiring him to try to build another diorama.  He had taken Terry Johnson’s “Northern Plains Indian Wars Tour” in about 1999 which included a visit to the Fort Phil Kearny HIstorical Site outside of Sheridan, WY. That museum contained a diorama.
Steve googled Ft Phil Kearny, found its web page, and saw a picture of that diorama and a note showing that it had been created by Bob Wilson, once the site superintendent but since retired. Steve was able to contact Mr. Wilson, compare notes, learn of some of the factual errors in Dee Brown’s old book, and begin planning his own diorama.
As for the layout of the post, “MIlitary Posts of the Powder River” was the most useful.  In it and in “Red Cloud’s War” Steve Miller learned that the fort was much larger that what was mentioned in Brown’s book (400 ft by 400 ft). It turns out that was the size of just the parade ground.  The actual size of the “main” fort was 800 feet by 600 feet, and attached to that was the Quartermaster Yard of 600 feet by 250 feet.  At a 1/72 scale, he was going to need a table 20 feet long and 8 feet wide.
Oops, he didn’t happen to have a room that would accommodate that.   What to do?
Categories: Civil War dioramas | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Osprey has been busy recently!

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Osprey has recently published several new books of various genres covering several periods of military history.  Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry & Dragoon Tactics is self-explanatory, and is a useful treatise on the uniforms, armament, and tactics used by the Imperial troops and their many adversaries. Like most of Osprey’s past titles, this is lavishly illustrated with original artwork. Plates show the typical heavy cavalrymen, as well as illustrating their tactics on the battlefield.

The French Musketeer 1622-1775 covers the period made famous by Alexander Dumas in his classic book with the tale of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and their young friend D’Artagnan. Again, color plates show examples of uniforms. The books details the formation of the Musketeers, their rise to prominence, and their eventual downfall.

Manzikert 1071 details a critical battle between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuq Turks at the start of the second millenium.  In a pitched fight, forces under the sultan Alp-Arslan defeated the troops of Romanus IV Diogenes in what is now modern Turkey,

Another of the recent publications is an army list for the popular rules set Bolt Action, written by Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley.  This new book covers the Armies of Imperial Japan.

Ronin is a new rules set covering skirmish wargaming in the age of the Samurai,  For more information, see Osprey’s webpage for the book.

Daniel Mersey’s new book King Arthur is the latest edition in the Myths and Legends series .

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Two new Civil War books from Osprey

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The good folks at Osprey continue to pump out new books with regularity, including titles focused on the American Civil War. Clayton James Donnell is the author of a new book entitled Shenandoah Valley 1862, an excellent entry-level treatise on Stonewall Jackson’s brilliant operations in the Valley in the spring of 1862. Other than a loss to Nathan Kimball early in the campaign at Kernstown, Jackson confounded a myriad of Union commanders and eventually cleared most of the Valley for the Confederate cause. Connell gives a sweeping overview of the movements, the battles, and the strategic and tactical implications of the fighting. Augmented with Adam Hook’s usual fine illustrations and maps and an array of period photographs and illustrations, this book is a useful addition to the Osprey lineup.

Long-time author and historian Ron Field is back with his latest work for Osprey, Lincoln’s 90-day Volunteers 1861.  This is a concise account of how the states responded to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers for three months to put down the rebellion, a seemingly easy task at the time. Field uses period newspapers, letters, diaries, and other first-person accounts to describe the response, the numbers of men, their armament and uniforms, and their early days as soldiers. As with Donnell’s book, Adam Hook has provided original graphics with some excellent plates of the early war uniforms (often gray for many of the Union fledgling regiments, which created some confusion at Manassas/Bull Run).

Here are a few photos of selected pages from the two new books, which are great additions to the ever growing Osprey lineup.

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