Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Back in my youth, I was an archery freak of sorts, and had a couple bows. Over the years, these became lost or broken and my interest faded. I was never a fan of the compound bow, which I never could respect. I was a recurve man, and only wanted one string on my bow. That interest never died, but went into hibernation instead.
When I picked up Primitive Archer, I said "ooooooooohhhhhh!" and the interest started coming back. This goes nicely with reenacting, because many bows you can buy are the ones used as military weapons, and would be great centerpieces for a display, not mention for hands-on use.
Synopsis: Mongol is the first movie in a projected trilogy about the life of Genghis Khan. The movie first picks up when the then Temüjin was enslaved and imprisoned by a Chinese garrison captain. He receives a then cryptic message from a young monk that sets the stage for the rest of the story. The movie then goes back 20 years when Temüjin was 10 years old, and tells of his escapades and romance with Börte. It also touches on his personality and eventual conflicts with his blood brother Jamuka and eventual rise as uniter of the various Mongol tribes, where the movie ends.
Overall opinion: I found that I had to get into the rhythm of this movie before I started to piece things together to enjoy it. But when it picked up its legs, it was a compelling movie to watch. The movie does err a bit on the side of the romantic and escapade side of things, and doesn't really attempt to explain what made Temüjin such a great leader of men. As a viewer, I was a little bit unsatisfied, but I'm willing to hang on for the other movies to see if Temüjin's leadership traits more fully explained. Overall, it is a beautiful movie with some good battle sequences.
Good reenactor film?: I would call this a good reenactor chick-flick. Enough romance for the loves of our lives, but enough of the exciting bits for the manly men. Past that, it doesn't dwell too much on the military, but the clothing seems to be acceptable, although I don't know enough to definitely say it's authentic to the period. You will get an insight on Mongol tribal life and language, which again, may be a precursor to a deeper understanding of the other movies projected to come out. The battle scenes weren't fully explained, and I question the accuracy. Some of the fight scenes were a bit over the top, so nothing there for a reenactor to use.
How does it stack up?: This movie has the potential to be a classic, but the other movies have to come out to seal the deal for me. It's a good historical flick, but to me, it jumps around in time too much, and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. These questions may be answered in the course of the other movies projected to come out, so I'm reserving judgement till then. But now, I think it's a movie worth spending some time with.
If you want to see about more movies, check out my old blog, "War Moovies".
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
American Civil War: Looks like Lincoln and Douglas are duking it out again in Illinois: Lincoln, Douglas square off in reenactment of famous debates.
Although I can't place the time period other than in the 19th century, this article is about Suzy Beggin Craft, a shepherd: Illinois woman recreates history with a flock of specialty sheep breeds , an interesting article if you like applied living history.
Here's something on a hockey coach and ACW reenactor: Ice Bears' Siganuk likes to live in the past.
Mainstream reenacting in Texas: Bringing the Civil War to life.
The 146th anniversary of the Battle of Prairie Grove comes to life: Battlefield Comes Alive 146 Years Later.
Looks like the battle reenactment at Selma is no more: Guns of war no longer blast in Selma . I've written on Selma in the past, with this post, revisit, and opposing opinion.
Here's something that we need more of: Re-enactor to present Civil War program - the title of the program is "Introduction to Civil War Reenacting". It heartens me to see reenactors going out proactively into the public to share the hobby.
American Revolutionary War: Good intentions gone for naught, another crossing of the Delaware River proves unsuccessful: Washington Crossing reenactment thwarted by high winds.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Great narrative and photos, worthy of a look.
Enter Noble Knight Games, an online shop devoted to finding and selling old wargames, miniatures and RPGs.
This is a neat place to shop to say the least. They may not have every title, but they have an impressive selection to indulge most gaming nostalga. I also heard that they have great customer service, so this may be a site to check out from time to time.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Why blog something obviously not real-world military? I did it for a couple reasons. In a strange, round about way, the LotR books led me to miniature wargaming, RPGs and then on to reenacting, so this game has a strong element of nostalga. The second reason is that the LotR books has a military bent to them, and is attractive to me.
This game represents a possibilty to get my smack-talking, orc-friend brother in a game that can be used to wargame some LotR battles out. Probably not the most accurate way, but most definitely a fun way. It harkens back to the time of the Fantasiques miniatures.
Who knows? I might also turn to LotR reenacting!
Friday, December 26, 2008
The realization is that I could have shot those guys up when they were crossing some rice paddies. Hindsight doesn't count in these games, though. My units are getting chewed up pretty badly.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Recently, I did find a very nice blog authored by a reenactor who also happens to be a gifted photographer. The Past Reflected in the Present is a very link-worthy effort, and to be honest, you can spend hours looking at all the great shots. I've this site linked for a couple months, and it's a great source of inspiration for any reenactor. The site's author, Driftingfocus, follows her Russian WW2 unit in events, snapping some great shots along the way.
I haven't gamed CMAK against a live opponent before, and these two games aren't big ones, just enough to get my feet wet so I can play on a more competative scale. I like CMAK for what I've played of it.
I have played Vietnam against live opponents. The game I'm playing is for points and also to get me out of the Blitz's bootcamp level. The scenario looks good, but I do have issues about it reacts to PbEM play. You have to jiggle it here and there to get to not crash on the Vista OS.
Monday, December 22, 2008
It just blows my mind pondering the skill and amount of time it takes to build some of these beautiful behemoths. An impressive model was at the Virginia Air and Space museum. It was a close to 1/48th scale model of the USS Lexington (CV-2) during the 30's. The actual model was as big as a board room table, with lots of detail for the eye to take in.
The model at the museum has some beautifully detailed Grumman SF-1s of Scout Squadron VS-3B on the flight deck. Impressive to say the least.
Then there was the USS Ronald Reagan (CV-76). Another fine model!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Most of my best wargames have been with Blitz opponents. The reason for this is that the club is very well moderated, and the site tends not to collect alot of deadwood. The Blitz moderators some reasonable rules in place to ensure that active players are the ones that populate site.
I found it to be a good starting point and many players are experienced and willing to walk a newbie through a game to get them off on the right foot.
My walkabout affected my reenacting, wargaming and my interests as a whole. I haven't done too much, so I haven't had much to write. Too distracted by changes in my own life, and picking up new interests that have been adding to the quality of my time.
Have I gotten religion or have a dread disease? Naw, I've maybe become little bit more spiritual, and definitely have become more healthy than I have been for many years. I've just been dealing with some painful personal stuff that drags along with it regret, anger and fear. So, I took time off from life to deal with it.
I've discovered the simple joys of hiking, and that has led me to a healthy lifestyle. I can now hump a decent 10 mile hike and not feel too sore afterwards. I'm lugging (as of this writing) 41 less pounds on my body.
As a reenactor, that may sound like the thing -- now I can actually look baggy in my clothes, and maybe look like a half-starved Confederate. Or come as close as I can. But, along with the changes has come some personal reflection. I'm still a military history buff - a path that lead me into reenacting in the first place. But my reenacting career has come to a crossroads.
My decision is to go down one of three paths. The first is to jump back into the hobby and just go on as I've always done. The second path is to pick up on a under-represented area of US history and present it at "Military Through the Ages" type events. The third path is to stop active reenacting and do some reenacting tourism. Be a insider on the outside looking into the hobby. Critique events, spotlight great impressions and do some travel around and see as much as I can. As you can probably tell, I'm leaning toward the last path.
This decision has been brewing for some time. You see, I've been doing some sort of reenacting, on and off since 1982. I love the hobby, but there have been times lately that I've just wanted to see more than the yearly Civil War event and show people that reeacting is diverse and for almost everyone who loves history.
Seeing the Elephant(recreated) is a product of that desire. When I first started writing, it was to record my own experiences in the hobby. Then I expanded out slowly. Then one day, realized that I missed a magazine that I subscribed to in the mid '80s - Living History Magazine. I loved it. It looked at all aspects of living history in the US. It told me about General Miles Marching and Chowder Society, the wonders of WW1 reenacting, and spotlighted the fact that people actually recreated the French and Indian Wars. I wanted StE(r) to be like it. A record for everyone who like to study military history from more angles than books alone can provide.
So to quote one of my favorite scfi characters, Malcolm Reynolds from the TV show Firefly:
"So here is us, on the raggedy edge."
Whatever my decision, Seeing the Elephant will go on, better for it all.
Have a Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring the best for everyone.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's also an option to consider for the future too. As some vintage weapons become more and more expensive, cap-firing models may become the wave of the future.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Early 20th Century:
Remembering the struggle: Reenactment marks 100th anniversary of ...
Actress brings suffragists' struggle to life in Visalia
Civil War reenactors tout importance of history
War reenactment turns all too real for Virginia man
City prepares battlefield for Civil War Reenactment
Olof Krans' birthday party to feature Civil War program
A graveyard of mysteries
Battle Of Blue Springs Strategy: 'Shootout' Along Depot Street
Southern charm drawing tourists
Retracing an arduous journey
Rendezvous & Early Frontier:
Rendezvous craftsman keeps the art of spoon making alive
Exclusive: Bannockburn reenactment actors left battling the ...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I'm now convinced it is universal that reenactors aren't Oscar-grade thespians. ;-)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
What makes it cool is the fact that Lulu caters to people who self-publish. So what you see is the stuff that normally doesn't find its way to a bookstore. But then again, that is one of its inherit dangers, too. Searches on reenactment, wargame and similar turn up some interesting titles.
Another wish of mine would be to see some enterprising soul publish some home-grown stuff and make it available via Lulu. Republished drill manuals would be perfect, as would be period tracts, booklets and other things that reenactors would need to round out an impression.
Well worth your time to browse the site.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Learning by remembering
B-17 Bomber Patrols Jackson's Friendly Skies
Shooters, soldiers, singers at Mesa fest-oh my!
American Civil War:
Women saddle up for riding demonstration at Cedar Creek reenactment
Fictious Civil War battle lures spectators to Dollinger Family Farm
City prepares battlefield for Civil War Reenactment
Civil War reenactors tout importance of history
The Civil War Revisited
F&I and Revolutionary Wars:
It took an Army, and the effort paid off: Hard work, planning produced Battle of Hook reenactment held at Warner Hall
Shelby's Volunteers help to remember man's contribution
Monday, October 20, 2008
Not that the North Carolina and the Wisconsin were not interesting, but it seemed to me that more of the Texas was open for viewing by the public. The design of the ship was the eye catcher for me - the Texas is the last generation of dreadnought-style battleships. Much stuff to see that you don't with the newer ships.
I would love to see a reeacting group on board, like with the North Carolina. The Texas would have some great possibilities, like showing the different uniforms between WW1 and WW2.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I was raised in the time of Avalon Hill and SPI, so it seems that traditional board wargaming is making a come back of sorts. Several companies are publishing games on a cottage industry level - some very heartening to see. Lock N Load captured my interest because the selection seemed very interesting, and the prices reasonable.
Although I wane nostalgic at times, I'm still big on the computer-based systems.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"ATF has been in existence in one form or another since 1992. We provide exact reproduction WWII uniforms and gear for re-enactors, collectors, museums and films."
So these guys have been knocking about for quite awhile. The site itself is very interesting, and the About page is very informative about the company itself. The goods they produce are presented very nicely, and seem to be fine quality.
At The Front seems to stick with WW2 recreation, but they do have Japanese uniform and gear, and just the usual German/ American/ British mix common with other vendors.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This site's gallery is a great study for someone wanting to do a out-of-the-ordinary impression and needs some outstanding photo reference. Also fantastic for miniatures painting, and the like.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
World War 2:
Dogfights help show air history in reenactments
Antebellum & Civil War:
Lincoln visits for weekend
Civil War reenactment participant shot in Isle of Wight County
LOCAL CAMP MEMBERS REENACTING BATTLE THIS WEEKEND
Civil War reenactors open the window to another place, time
‘RD Players’ recreating history
Muster with 13th Texas Cavalry at the fort
Civil War Belle Boyd Shares Wartime Experiences
RHS Living History Program & Ice Cream Social Set Sat., Oct. 18
They be here, mates! Pirate fest this weekend!
Revolutionary War & Late Colonial:
Colonial Reenactors Teach US History
Local organization sponsors largest Revolutionary War Reenactment of 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
The final impression period was Vietnam. The private on the left is wearing what would be the uniform of US forces in the mid- to later stages of the conflict. He looks to be wearing the 2nd Pattern Tropical Combat Jacket, Variant A, along with the 2nd Pattern Tropical Combat Trousers. He's also wearing issue Jungle Boots, second or third pattern.
This far as I can go on the description, but from what seen at King's Mountain, it was pretty impressive and the way to go for many who are looking to branch out from WW2 reenacting to a area that is now developing an interest in recreated events.
This fellow is part of the recreated 199th LIB "Redcatchers".
The offerings from this site are many, and come in the major wargaming scales - 6mm, 12/15mm, 20mm and 25/28mm.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
One thing I notice about some groups is their character, and the Snowshoemen definitely have a site that expresses character. The groups is primarily the French and Indian War, but it also has a couple of splinter groups, Church's Company, that covers King Phillip's, King William's and Queen Anne's wars of the late seventeenth century, and Eames' Rangers for Revolutionary War. Easy site to navigate, and a nice opening for looking at F&I groups.
Friday, February 15, 2008
This Saturday Vid is early - going out of town for the weekend, but I wanted to share a very creative video done by Roman reenactors. It has a strange old timey feel to it, but the effect seems to go.
AEF Supply is a cool site, hands down. It was one of the first sites that I encountered when I started doing surfing outside the American Civil War realm to look for single-era vendors to cover in the blog. Then I opened up the sutler categories to anyone interesting.
I like this site because it specializes in supplying US army reenactors from the Spanish Armerican War through Vietnam. The prices are very decent, too. Plenty of pictures illustrate the inventory. This is a great place to go if you're into Spanish American War reenacting, this vendor has the best overall selection of uniforms. The WW1 selections are simply excellent - this was AEF's primary era before it expanded. The site is easy to navigate, and is recommended by many reenacting groups.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I've already got someone to play me in a dry run so I can learn the rules. This game is set up much like a traditional wargame, and each unit represents a squad, or squad weapon. In this skirmish, the "P" stands for Pinned, and as the NVA, I've been able to Pin one of my American opponent's squads. But, he's got two of mine.
The larger battle has two separate American platoons, and right now my overall strategy is to keep them separated and defeat each with superiority of numbers, and wait for the the rest of the US force to come rolling in. Let's see if I'm successful.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
World War 2:
Bicentennial: Horton's efforts saved Newark Air Force Base
Lincoln celebration kicks off today
Lincoln flatboat will launch Sept. 9
The Battle of Valverde and Rafael Chacón
Museum to honor Civil War doctor
Civil War history comes alive in EC
Revolutionary War & Late Colonial:
A patriots' preserve
Colonial living comes to life at Aspen Creek
Old Fort plans replica stockade
Monday, February 11, 2008
This plug has a whole-hearted recommedation to it, I'm happy to say. Sash & Sabre Castings covers a small handful of eras in 25mm, including the Seven Years, Napoleonic, and American Civil wars. Where Sash & Sabre really shines is with their 40mm line, which covers many major periods from Rome to the Zulu Wars.
From personal experience, I can say that the quality is excellent, and when painted, the miniatures look great. If you're looking at building an army for wargaming, Sash & Sabre should be one of your first stops.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
A worthy visit for anyone interested in being a civilian and needing some insights into the subtleties of an authentic impression.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I've been to Wilmington numerous times, and I never tire of it. It's as Southern as any southern city gets, and reminders of its Civil War heritage are almost countless, from the points of interest to the many DAR statues that you can find about town. Not so visible, with the exception of the USS North Carolina, are the WW2-era landmarks which can be found around town too. Not only does the Civil War history live strong in Wilmington, so does the spirit of the WW2 homefront.
I have a thousand storys to tell about Fort Fisher, and this landmark is much like coming home each time I visit.
Obviously a PR piece for Hoghton's Companye of Foote, this is still a great look into English Civil War reenacting. It's interesting - one part musket, one part pikes and one part rugby. :-)
Friday, February 08, 2008
I already have a roaring battle going on in one game with the Poles vs the Wehrmacht. I've got the Poles, and while my opponent was able to knock out one of my Shermans, I was able to rain some fury back, and scored on a StugIII and a couple SdKfz 251 halftracks. I get the feeling he's going to hurt me back.
If you have empty time, I suggest, very heartily, to buy Combat Mission:Beyond Overlord, learn to play it, and pick some fights.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
State Troops contains a wealth of photos and bits of information about the men in the uniforms. You can almost trace the progression of State-issued uniforms, and get a handle on who wore what early on.
Apparently, for more complex boxes and desks, he'll work with the customer. That's a nice service in itself.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
I do recommend any reenactor to read Public Historian's Haven and come back and post here with opinions and comments.
UPDATE: Found another blog, Living on the Field with a very relevant observation about reenacting battles and the history behind it, and whether or not reenacting is preserving the history or changing it. A much better critique of reenacting than the Public Historian's Haven.
I only had time to run through the tutorial game, but I was pleased with what saw. If you've played other non-Squad Battles HPS titles, no fear. The interface and command buttons are very similar to other John Tiller games and easy to learn.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Happened to stumble on this video tonight. Not only is it a nice video, you have to hand it to the Russian reenactors, they're into it hardcore. When you have a functional flamethrower, you're in the big leagues of authenticity.
FlyntAirsoft.com Finds Airsoft Games Bring Past to Life
World War 2:
Historical reenactment at Sawyer Park on Friday
Military-historical reenactment to mark the end of the Leningrad blockade
Reenactment takes students back to 1939
Re-enactors, crowd victorious at “Bulge”
Vigilante hanging reenacted
Battle of Rivers Bridge reenactment this weekend
A friendly reenactment
Fighting to preserve history
Seminole fight to be reenacted on battle site
War re-enactors to put on show at Okeechobee battlefield
Colonial and Revolutionay War:
Wormsloe Celebrates 275 Years
Patriots scores a blast at Gillette
Parochial students gasp at stories of Colonial Yonkers
He commands the Federal Blues
Cowpens National Battlefield celebrates 227th anniversary
Monday, February 04, 2008
Warmodelling.com is the outlet for Fantassin Miniatures, a Spanish company that has an interesting line of products, including the Spanish-American and Carlist wars. The site has a ton of pictures, and the company offers not only miniatures, but services for painting and modelling too.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
This month covers the Second Marne and Alexander's campaigns in Bactria, and promise to be exciting articles. But my guilty pleasure with S&T is looking at the ads for the tabletop wargames. One day, I might buy one.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Although this isn't military fiction, it still would be useful to living historians doing antebellum presentations. The book seems to be well researched, and the author has an easy to read writing style that should make this book a quick read. I'm putting this one on the list of books that I read when I need a break from the thick military histories.
This shows what a little knowledge in video production and a bit of creativity can do for a great recruiting tool for any reenacting group. Made me want to get my uniform and kit together to fight 'ole Boney.
Friday, February 01, 2008
I used to get some great gaming partners from this site. The strength of this club stems from the players willing to do PBEM and the sheer variety games played. Very worthwhile to join up (which incidently is FREE!). I'm currently trying to find partners willing to play Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
The site gives a nice succinct description of Battlesim.com:
BattleSim.com LLC is a company that services gaming communities and gaming players with a primary focus on "war" or "battle" simulations. These simulations range from airsoft events to PC gaming.
It's an interesting concept that combines reenacting vendor (they also sell stuff) and host roles into a service company. The site is worth looking at, if to get a feel for what Battlesim.com does. The forums are an especially interesting stop.
As with all Christmas gifts, I gleefully opened this game and hoped to have it installed and played in a few minutes. After an hour of trying to get it to play, I gave up. Then last night I tried again, and having done a little troubleshooting research, installed it successfully. I was impressed with the interface and sound effects. But when it came to playing the game, things changed a bit. Unlike the other Combat Mission games, this one wasn't as gamer friendly - the map navigation is more cumbersome and there's a ton of unit information to track. Adding to the problems, my computer didn't have the "oomph!" to run the program optimally, so it seemed to putter through the games.
I'll mess with it more and see if I can get used to the interface and game play and hopefully, I'll become impressed.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I can't make any guarantees when I'll start regularly blogging, but I hope it's soon when my time opens back up and my mind can get focused on the fun things again. Until then, I'll at least get something up every week.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
OK, got that out of the way, now to some interesting posting!
I recently caught a reply to a post I left this spring on an article covering the Civil War reenacting scene in California. The article mentioned the use of staged blood and gore, which seems to have virtually vanished from the East Coast events. I whipped out a comment that inspired me to write a little more about my feelings on the subject.
We all reenact for different reasons, and with differing viewpoints of how an event would be best pulled off. Some of us are into the look of the forces moving about, others like the use of period tactics, and still others are into the look and feel of the event itself. This where the use of props makes an entrance.
One kind of prop in particular seems to have a controversial reputation in the hobby - stage blood and gore. Now, to be clear, I'm not talking about its use in a surgeon's demo, but rather, on the reenacting battlefield. Although I've been the field off and on many years, I haven't seen too much of it to formulate a passionate opinion one way or the other.
I have heard of some interesting stories about using props that were pretty humorus though. When I was doing WW1 reenacting, a couple fellows that I rode with told me a story that either had to be a reenacting urban legend or it was squarely a rippin' true reenactor tale. It concerns the SPAM dummy.
The SPAM dummy was a prop that a devious mind with artistic ability, money and a sadistic bent came up with. The dummy was a life size representation of a fallen German soldier that was in the later stages of decay. To "accentuate" the experience, the dummy had small washable areas that SPAM could be dabbed into. Then the dummy was thrown into a shell hole and left to ripen in the sun. On Saturday and Sunday, the SPAM dummy was doing it's job of adding a little extra realism when a hapless Allied or German soldier slid into the hole for cover and had to take a whiff of putredness. Afterwards, some clean up and a tolerant nose would get it back home. But the real story was when the SPAM dummy's handler was going home...
Apparently, the SPAM dummy was pretty realistic too. Being that it was life-size and had to fit into a small car with reenacting gear, so the SPAM dummy was buckled into the front seat on one trip. Needless to the say, the trip was interesting. After many stares, and a look of horror on a little girls face as her car passed the SPAM dummy, someone took it on themselves to alert the local authories of a man transporting a dead body on the interstate. Minutes later, SPAM dummy handler was pulled over explaining to the police about his "friend".
As for props, my advice is: don't let them get the best of you. :-)