Fantastic custom diorama of the Pea Ridge battlefield!


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!

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Categories: Civil War dioramas, Terrain | 15 Comments

Combining Undying Courage scenarios into one large ADF table!

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

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…

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Categories: Antietam, Civil War wargaming, Scenarios, Terrain | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Easy-to-use illustrated wargame mats from Cigar Box Battles!

IMG_3081Cory Ring of Cigar Box Battles has produced a growing series of printed mats/blankets for wargaming use. They are useful for quick set-ups for tabletop games where time or space is a premium. They come in a variety of styles and prints and can be cut apart for additional variety of setups.

In the case above, I set up a quick 15mm American Civil War game between a brigade of Union infantry and a Rebel brigade protecting a critical roadway leading from a village in Northern Virginia. I spread out the mat over an air hockey table in my game room, added a dozen stone walls, some houses and outbuildings, and placed a few tree models in the printed “woods.” Add the figures and the game is ready in under 5 minutes!!!

Cory has a nice website with photos and ordering information, as well as images of each of these new mats.

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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Product reviews, Terrain | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A few random 15mm ACW photos

I have been away from the wargaming scene all spring and summer as I focus on an expanded role within the company I work for, as well as getting a couple of  Civil War book manuscripts ready for the publishers. Here are few photographs of some past games I hosted, starting with a couple of shots of the award-winning South Mountain game I presented at the HMGS-East 2002 Fall-In convention in Gettysburg, Pa.

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Categories: Conventions, Johnny Reb 3, Terrain | 6 Comments

My temporary Civil War 15mm / N scale train layout

A local model railroad club recently invited me to set up and display my 15mm wargaming layout at an open house they were holding in York, Pennsylvania. Here are a few photos of what I came up with in mixing my wargaming terrain and figures with my railroad.

My interest in miniature wargaming stems from several factors, including a childhood love for toy soldiers, growing up near a railroad, and having a grandfather who worked for the New York Central his entire career. I have always enjoyed miniatures, whether it be a wargaming layout or a model railroad. Here are some photos of a temporary set up I presented a few weeks ago.


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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Terrain | Tags: | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania Dutch farm in miniature!

I have recently completed a small vignette for my wargaming table, as well as to use to attract attention to my table when I am selling and signing my Civil War books I have written. This scene shows a Pennsylvania German farmer, let’s call him Jacob, nervously guarding his barn as he spots a distant dust cloud which indicates the arrival of Confederate foraging parties in his neighborhood. “Here come the Rebels!” has been the cry for weeks, and they have not come.

Until now, that is.

Jacob has failed to take his horses to safety (they are in the stable in back of the barn). He will attempt to negotiate with the raiders. He has a yellow membership card to the Knights of the Golden Circle, knows their secret password and identifying hand signals. For this information he has paid $1 to a couple of men from New York City who have visited his farm. They sold him the ticket and secret signs and told him the Rebels would leave his personal property, livestock, and horses alone if he showed them he was a member of the Southern-sympathizing K.G.C.

Click on the photos for better views of old Jacob and his farmstead.

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Categories: Buildings and structures, Civil War dioramas, Civil War wargaming, Terrain | Tags: | 1 Comment

Making model trees for your wargaming layout

Here are some links sent to me by Bob Glorioso of the Stillmeadow Crossing Model Railroad group here in historic York, Pennsylvania. Some of these websites are useful for getting ideas for modeling trees for miniature wargaming layouts.

Wood dowel, wire branches (mass production)

Bottle brush pine

“Wispy” pines (see the second half of the article)

Fern-branch pines from dowels

Fern-branch pines from balsa

Furnace filter trees

Scrub pad trees

Autumn trees (dried flowers and melted plastic straw)

A thread with really inspiring pictures of model trees, but you have to do a lot of clicking and reading to find the secrets (link to middle of thread)

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Some Civil War games at Historicon 2011 Saturday evening session

I wandered around the main gaming hall of the Valley Forge, PA. Convention Center on Saturday night of the annual Historicon miniature wargaming convention sponsored by HMGS (Historical Miniature Gaming Society). I took a few photos of some of the theme games (American Civil War).

The convention appeared crowded, with most tables filled with impressive looking wargames in progress. Crowds seemed thick, and most looked like they were having a good time on this the final night of gaming action for this year’s Historicon.

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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Conventions, Johnny Reb 3, Terrain | 4 Comments

Ivor Janci’s ACW game photos – Gettysburg Soldiers rules: Part 1

Chicago-area businessman and talented graphic designer Ivor Janci is a long-time friend of mine who has collaborated with me on four popular (and sold out) scenario books for Gettysburg and Antietam.  He recently ran a wargame using Larry Reber’s EZ-play Gettysburg Soldiers rules system. Gamer Tim O’Leary took a series of photographs of the game, which he and Ivor graciously gave me permission to reproduce on the Johnny Reb Gaming Society’s Charge! blog.

The above photograph shows an overall view of the 8′ x 6′ table with the Union initial positions denoted by the camps with tents. Three of the four Confederate brigades will be coming onto the table at the far end (the south end). Each of the 4 camps represents one brigade of Yankees going about their morning chores. Barely perceptible in the distance are emplacements with Union cannon facing east where the Union command thought that the Rebels would have attacked. The battle is on!

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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Terrain | 5 Comments

Battle of Shiloh in 15mm at Cold Wars

On Friday night at the annual Cold Wars wargaming convention in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I helped my old friend Jim Kopchak run a 15mm game based on the second day of the 1862 Battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War. Jim’s visually stunning terrain and well painted figures and battlefield accessories always attract attention from passersby.  Jim and I used to game together when I lived in NE Ohio east of Cleveland, and we have in the succeeding years at times tramped battlefields and Civil War sites together.

He has published his own rules set entitled Civil War Commander, but at Cold Wars the game he presented used Johnny Reb III as the rules, modified to make it usable for a brigade / demi-brigade basis. The modifications worked, and the game was fun. The Yankees took 2 of their 3 objectives by the game’s end and were declared to have won a minor victory (versus the historical timetable for Grant’s actual success at Shiloh day 2).

Here are more photos of Jim’s game. Click each one to enlarge it for better viewing of this very nice Shiloh presentation.

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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Conventions, Terrain | 2 Comments

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