Civil War wargaming
John Zabawa’s Gettysburg Miniature Soldiers has long been a favorite stop for many wargamers, plastic toy soldier collectors, and those hobbyists who enjoy high-quality 54mm collectibles such as King & Country, Conte, Britains, etc. I always enjoy visiting with John; he’s one of the true gentlemen of our hobby — very knowledgeable, strong on customer service, and well informed.
Recently, I stopped by his shop on Steinwehr Avenue on the south side of Gettysburg during a visit to town with some of my family members. The store, as always, is filled with eye candy — row after row of every kind of plastic army men and military toys that one can imagine, vintage Marx boxes from my childhood, shelves stuffed full of model kits, bags of unpainted wargaming figures, finished dioramas that will dazzle you, hobby supplies, and so much more. It’s all here.
John has a back room where he maintains a large gaming table for the gamers who regularly meet in the store.
On my visit, he had a 15mm layout of Pickett’s Charge set up, ready to play. Here are a few photos. I really like the custom-built Lutheran Seminary that he placed at the end for visual effect (yes, it was not on the field of the assault, but it is a cool-looking model, designed and built by very talented modeler Gary Manville).
A few years ago, I spent a delightful day driving and walking around the Gettysburg battlefield with two fellow wargaming and Civil War history buffs from Australia, Tim O’Connor and Brad Smith. Over the intervening years, in combination with their friend Ian Fainges, they have graciously allowed me to post some photos of their fantastic battles with 40mm Civil War figures.
Brad writes, “We recently gamed Valverde 1862. Ian took some photos and they are attached. It was a good fun 3 player per side game which the Confederates narrowly won (as per history). Its summer here and fighting a scenario based in the desert is thirsty work so we all made sure we had a beer when we broke for lunch.”
Photos by Ian… used by written permission. Enjoy this look at the tabletop Battle of Valverde!
Cannonball reader Stephen Schultheis sent me some photos of his fantastic diorama of the Civil War battle of Pea Ridge, fought March 6-8 in northwestern Arkansas. The Union victory essentially allowed the Federal armies to recapture and hold the region for the rest of the War Between the States.
Here are some more photos, plus commentary from Stephen!
The latest Civil War book from Osprey is Atlanta 1864: Sherman Marches South, written by James Donnell with illustrations by Steve Noon.
From Osprey’s website: “On September 3, 1864, Union Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman telegraphed the War Department in Washington, D.C., “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.” The capture of the heart of the south the day before was the end of a fiercely fought four-month campaign in the Western Theater of the Civil War and caused jubilation throughout the North. More importantly for the Union cause, it propelled President Abraham Lincoln to reelection two months later.
In this volume author James Donnell explores the entire Atlanta campaign, from Sherman’s initial clashes with Joseph E. Johnston’s army of Tennessee to the final Confederate resistance under General John Bell Hood. Perfectly complemented by specially commissioned artwork and detailed maps, this study takes the reader from the border of Georgia and Tennessee to Atlanta, with Sherman preparing for his famous March to the Sea.”
Talented wargame scenario designer Brad Butkovich is among the upper echelon of today’s generation of Civil War regimental-level wargamers. The Georgia-based Butkovich is well known to Charge! readers from his previous series of excellent scenario books, mostly based upon battles in the Western Theater.
Now, Brad has produced an interesting new booklet covering various actions at the July 1-3, 1863, battle of Gettysburg. It’s an area of keen personal interest to me! Some of you may recall a two-volume set, Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature, which I wrote for my friend and graphic designer Ivor Janci more than a decade ago. They have long been out of print, so Brad’s fresh look at the battle is much appreciated and timely.
Here is the table of contents for this book, which may be the first in a series (let’s all hope!). Brad’s research is compelling and accurate, and his take on how to break up the battlefield into bite-sized scenarios is of strong interest to Civil War gamers everywhere. The scenarios are adaptable for almost every major regimental-level rules set. They are designed for 15mm gaming, but of course can be modified for other figure scales. Brad also presents data for rules based upon 10-minute, 15-minute, and 20-minute time intervals per turn.
A reader sent me this image of an old Confederate artillery diorama (25-28mm it appears) he purchased in the 1980s. It is hand-painted with excellent detail and is hand-signed “Wilson” in white ink on the lip of the hardwood base.
Does anyone know anything about this piece, especially the identity of “Wilson”? What about the figures? Any idea of the manufacturer?
Any information is appreciated!
Years ago I wrote the text for a very popular wargaming scenario book, Undying Courage: Antietam in Miniature, which has unfortunately been long out of print. Long-time Johnny Reb wargamer Jerry Merrell has taken several of my scenario maps (drawn by graphic artist/publisher Ivor Janci of Wheaton, Illinois) and combined them into one large tabletop layout of Antietam for a heavily modified version of the late John Hill’s Across a Deadly Field rules. Check out his layout above! Impressive!
Jerry writes, “I photocopied the maps from each Antietam scenario & pieced them together (resizing where necessary) to create the mosaic shown. A few compromises were made, but not many & none where significant fighting was anticipated. We’ll be using traditional 4 stand JRIII regiments with simplified ADF rules. 15 players
with a total of about 600 stands. Hope you enjoy seeing that you work endures.”
Here are a few photographs Jerry sent to me…
Australian wargamers Brad Smith and Ian Fainges are back with some more photos of their great 40mm American Civil War wargaming layouts. Inspired by Karen Rodes’ McPherson’s barn I presented in a past Charge! blog post, Ian decided to customize another building and partially scratch build his own 40mm version of this historic structure on the Gettysburg battlefield. Nice job, isn’t it?
The guys played their first ever 40mm ACW wargame a few weeks ago (Brotherton FIeld at Chickamauga). Here are some photos!