Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When life deals you lemons....

For the past few months, my life has had its ups and downs. That fact usually reflects on this blog, more or less in an unspoken manner.

During the time I have been blogging, I've met some pretty great people who have given me support, advice or whatever encouragement they could lend. For that, I'm very grateful. But most aspects of my life happen outside the blog and my hobbies. Those things have a profound impact on the time and energy I'm able to give to my interest pursuits. No matter the amount support and encouragement I receive, I've got to pay heed to those things that take a higher priority.

Reenacting and StE(r) are some of those things that are a labor of love to me. Sometimes time is so fleeting you have to make hard choices what to do with what little time you have left over for the fun stuff. Unfortunately, its come time for me to make a hard choice. I could blame it on the economy, rail against the politicians, and so on, but that would come close to whining. I'm not a whiner.

It has come to a point where I want to simply give my readers a bit of closure. This will be my last post on StE(r). I've built this site up to a point where its value is still significant for the next few months. Maybe someone will pick up the torch and run with it on another blog, which has always been my hope.

So, I close this post in the immortal words of Douglas Adams...

"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekly Wargames Focus

I loved to play Avalon Hill's Squad Leader in the day. I enjoyed the game and the add-ons. That is, until I couldn't afford to be a Squad Leader addict any longer. But over time Hasbro ruined bought Avalon Hill and did away with most of the good games, including the beloved Squad Leader.

Behold Multi-Man Publishing! Squad Leader is back and thriving once again. Although MMP's forte is SL (or Advanced Squad Leader when you start into the expansion games), they do other nicely designed board wargames that hit on a number of familiar wars. MMP did the world of wargaming a huge favor by keeping one of the best examples of the old-school wargames alive and in good shape for all to enjoy.

It is my sincerest wish that Hasbro will sell the right to other Avalon Hill games to small companies like MMP, so they can help keep a great hobby going strong.

StE(r) has Twitter on the side

I decided to add on to the blog with Twitter updates on the side. This will be handy for small on-the-spot wargaming updates as well as in the field reenacting reports. Just keep an eye on the left side of the blog, and scroll to the bottom to read.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Awesome Images

One blog that gets my attention on a weekly basis is the Reenactor Post. The contributors there have an awesome ability to uncover some great offerings on the 'net. Recently, they uncovered some Russian photos that transpose WW2 images with modern day ones. The result is awesomely stunning, and in my humble opinion a required look if you're a reenactor.

I won't post an accompanying picture lest I spoil the surprise.

Cool Vids: Someone looking to get into Vietnam Reenacting

Here's an interesting video - not of reenactors, but someone looking for a group. This could be a novel (or creepy) thing! Sometimes it is hard to find groups that do niche eras, so selling yourself on video may not be such a bad idea. Just don't be a Private Pyle... Gomer or the dude on Full Metal Jacket.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I might have to chock this week up as a light posting week -- lots happening on all fronts. Will pop a post in when I have a minute or two to spare!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Another new title in the collection

I'm on a wargame buying roll. I really enjoy the John Tiller Civil War games, and I succumbed to the temptation again, and bought another title. This time it's Campaign: Peninsula. I wanted another eastern theatre game, but it's very tough to beat Atlanta, which seems to be the most recommended title in the series.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Group Spotlight

Here's something not usually found in the States -- a non-SCA medieval group. Weorod is a nifty group - here's a description from their site:

Weorod are a small, independent Historical Re-Enactment and Living History group based in Southern Hampshire. Although a new group, we are formed around a nucleus of seasoned re-enactors from other societies with over 6 years experience gained whilst working with organisers of both large multi period events and small shows. We normally commit to around six weekend events throughout the season allowing us to maintain a healthy balance between group training sessions and shows. This enables us to always give our best.

The site is beautiful and well-written. I suggest a bookmark if you're looking for a well-designed site.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cool Vids: 1884 Trapdoor Springfield Carbine

In my previous trapdoor Springfield post, I embedded a MidwayUSA YouTube video with Larry Potterfield, which featured the 1873 rifle. He actually did quite a few of these videos, mainly focusing on the weapons of the old west or gunsmithing techniques. They are all excellently done, and worth the time to watch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My favorite Sutler of the week

At a loss where to get some War of 1812 or Napoleonic gear? Look no further than MilitaryHeritage.com. These guys from Canada have it covered, and more. The selection of firearms is very impressive, and at reasonable prices to boot. They have matchlocks to doglocks to flintlocks, and from what I can tell is their strong point.

They have some uniform pieces from the Napoleonic eras, which they seem to cater to the most. But if you do F&I War, Revolutionary War or even Early Colonial reenacting, MilitaryHeritage.com is still a great resource.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reenacting Links of the Week

World War 2: The Russians put on a large reenactment copmmemorating the Siege of Leningrad: Siege of Leningrad Marked 65 Years Later. Nice photo! Here's another article and nice photos: St. Petersburg marks anniversary of 900-day Nazi siege.

American Civil War: The aftermath of the inauguration, very interesting observations: Emotions affect war re-enactor.

Here's more on some of the bureaucratic nuts and bolts of doing a Civil War reenactment: Woodbury Zoners Hear Plans for a Civil War Reenactment .

Sounds like a promising event, if the word quality isn't being thrown around too lightly: 'The Battle Of Bulls Gap' Reenactment Planned In May .

A great example of being personally involved in local historical preservation: Preserving local history is LaFayette man’s passion.

Here's a small article on a living history in Jacksonville, FL: Salt pork, squirrels part of living history re-enactment

American Revolutionary War: Here's a great piece on a John Bartram reenactor: Reenactor channels ‘God's gardener' in Philadelphia.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tidbit for your ACW impression

Here's an interesting article in Popular Science about soldier's loyalty to each other in the Civil War and how it affected survival.

Cool and then some!

If you're into playing older wargames and can't find an opponent, then VASSAL is the way to go! Here's a short description of the application:

VASSAL is an engine for building and playing Internet-capable versions of turn-based, human-vs-human games. Players move and manipulate game pieces via the mouse while typing accompanying text. Moves can be recorded into a log file and stepped through one at a time for email play. During live Internet play, all moves and text are automatically broadcast to other players in real time. Combining a live VASSAL session with a third-party Internet voice-chat tool (such as NetMeeting or TeamSpeak) allows you to play with people around the world at very close to face-to-face pace.

You use modules to emulate the games you want to play. What I've seen looks great. They have alot of Avalon Hill titles, along with other manufacturers. But apparently they're a loss for SPI titles.

Weekly Wargames Focus

One of my favorite wargame designers back in the day was S. Craig Taylor, Jr. On a curious bent, I wondered whether or not he had continued on after his stint with Avalon Hill. He produced a couple of games me and my friends played heavily; Airforce/Dauntless and Wooden Ships & Iron Men. As a matter of fact, one of my friends was a Airforce freak and playtested it when it was being updated and reissued for Avalon Hill. Doubtless we played other games he designed, but those two were the ones that really stuck out in my mind.

Last week, I hit paydirt. He is still designing wargames, but not all board games. His forte seems to be card games. He designs these games for Lost Battalion Games. This site was hard to find, and I had to link through another site to get to it. But the extra work was worth the find. Lost Battalion has a load of games, but if you're a traditional board gamer, you may have to change your paradigm a little, and give the card-based games a shot. There are also rules for miniatures, and at least one one board game title, Sergeants!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just Arrived Today

The Portable Abraham Lincoln

ISBN:78-0-14-310564-0

I've given this book a spot read, and I like the editing and choice of Lincoln's writings. The Portable Abraham Lincoln is a worthy buy for anyone who has an interst in Lincoln and would like a sampler of some of his best writings.

This is the Bicentennial Edition (of Lincoln's birth), as it was previously published in 1993.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reenacting Bosnia in Japan

Seems that the late Bosnian War has become somewhat of a reenacting subject in Japan. My suspicion is that they were using the conflict as a Check Spellingbackdrop for some Airsoft battle scenarios, rather than accurately recreating any particular battle that happened in the conflict.

Molehill, meet mountain!

The more entertaining part to this article are comments that some pudding-heads make to explain it.

Neat! A kiwi wargaming group

The Kapiti Fusiliers website was an unexpected treat that was caught up in my search for Napoleonic reenacting. These guys are miniature wargaming geeks who seem to be pretty active. They also have reenactors in their numbers - there a great article about the reenactment of Waterloo and some nice pictures to boot.

A very nice example site for other wargaming groups to emulate.

Group Spotlight

To pop me out of the ACW/WW2 groups rut, I've decided to look to Europe and spotlight some groups in other time periods. If I'm correct, the major reenacting period there seems to be the Napoleonic War, and there are a ton of groups to spotlight. The first I'd like to do are the 23rd Foot Royal Welch Fusiliers.

I have the impression that Napoleonic reenacting is equivalent to Civil War reenacting in the States in terms of size and interest. Unlike ACW, the Napoleonic reenactors have nice colorful duds! The 23rd Foot is no exception.

The 23rd's site is simple and pegs the basic information, but the photo gallery is the main attraction for the casual surfer. Lots of picts that give an idea how active this group is. Interesting and well worth a look.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New in the collection

Scraped up my remaining Christmas money and bought Winter War from HPS Simulations. This is the first honest to goodness wargame I've purchased in quite awhile, and I'm pretty excited about playing. It was a toss up between this and Spanish Civil War. Since I had an interest in the Russo-Finnish War, I decided to give Winter War a try.

I've decided to use the Squad Battles games to play the less known or not as covered wars, leaving Combat Mission games to cover the WW2 European theatre for my gaming needs.

Cool Vids: What to Get?

This is a well done slide-show type video of what you need to get as a 101st Airborne reenactor. A great idea for any group who wants to draw recruits via the Internet. One thing I'd love to see is someone photogenic enough to talk through and show variations in clothing and how to put on gear.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My favorite Sutler of the week

Need some wicked-looking ordinance to complete a WW1 or WW2 display?

Inert Products is the place to go. Normally their forte is modern-day military training aids, but they have a section that has WW1 and WW2 -era grenades and shells. They have a selection of German stick grenades, US fragmentation grenades, and even a mock-up of a "sticky" bomb.

Site is worth a peek or two.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Days

It's a SNOW DAY for Mntineer. These days bring back the most pleasant of memories. Back when I was teen living the mountains of NC, we were blessed with the occasional snow day - a sweet day off from school.

During that time we would do some sledding and snowball fights, but the main attraction as going to my friend's house to do some extensive wargaming. Me and couple others would meet there and my friend would have the latest game that he bought. He'd already have the pieces cut out and ready to go. Many a cold and snowy day was spent quizzing over moves or arguing over the rules. Avalon Hill, SPI, Yaquinto, Battleline - you name it, we played it.

Oh, the memories of my early snow days!

Reenacting Links of the Week

American Civil War: Might as well start off with the painful parts first. Looks like the fellow who shot a bro has been caught and indicted: Re-enactor Is Indicted in Shooting of a Yankee. The crux of it is that the man wasn't even a reenactor, just someone who turned up on set in a Confederate uniform and had a period pistol. Rant to follow - thankfully Mr. Lord is doing OK. Here's another report: Indictment issued in re-enactor’s shooting.

Lincoln is making some personal appearances: Lincoln Reenactor Speaks Of Faith, Religious Freedom.

More on the group marching in the Inauguration today: Civil War regiment embraces parade role with open arms.

Free is good!: Civil War Museum offers free admission.

Bringing the Civil War to life, in second grade style: Bringing the Civil War back to life.

American/Canadian Frontier: Talk about little known history: History reenactment to salute Royal Engineers.

Some good news for a historical site with a strong living history program: Attendance rises at Old Sturbridge Village.

American Revolutionary War: Here's some shots taken at the Battle of Cowpens reenactment: Blasting back to Cowpens.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekly Wargames Focus

The more I dig around, the more I find. Here's another board wargame company that has a novel way of giving gamers what they want. GMT Games has a great site and a huge selection of games.

The novelty is called P500, and the way I understand, the printing and pre-ordering of games is done by votes from the GMT gamer community.

Movie Review: Flyboys

Period: World War 1 - 1916 to 1918 -Lafayette Escadrille

Synopsis: Flyboys is centered around the later months of the Lafayette Escadrille, from 1916 to 1918. The story revolves around Blaine Rawlings, a Texas rancher who was foreclosed on and has decided to involve himself in bigger things, namely WW1. Other characters are added to the mix to become Rawlings' companions in the escadrille. Dogfights, balloon busting, unlikely rescues and romance are all featured.

Overall opinion: I'm torn with this movie. It's much like U-571 in the fact that it is a fun movie, but the history is absolutely terrible. First off, all the characters are fictional. The historical Lafayette Escadrille had more interesting characters than was presented in the movie. Secondly, the graphics, while great, didn't lend to much variety. You had the feeling that all the German planes where red Fokker Dr Is. Only the bad guy flew the black one. The real fact is Germany had all sorts of planes and the Dr I had a relatively sort operational career. But apart from the history, and probably the tendancy to save some money on the CGI, it was a fun movie to watch.

Good reenactor film?: This is one of those movies that is fun enough to watch, and inaccurate enough to pick apart. Some of the settings are great, and I think are fairly accurate, the uniforms are so-so to not-too accurate. I liked the actors, and there are some quotables in the movie to use in a reenactment or a WW1 dogfight wargame.

How does it stack up?: Flyboys is decent enough, but could have been much better if the writers used the actual historical figures and spent a little more on giving the Germans different airplanes. I'd recommend it for a rental, but think twice before making it a keeper.

If you want to see about more movies, check out my old blog, "War Moovies".

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Presidental comparisons

I usually try to avoid political commentary on StE(r), mainly because there are other blogs that do an excellent job of covering such things as the main topic. As an informed person, I tend to read such blogs on a daily basis, taking in a steady diet of the good, bad, and the ugly. But, I'll kick in MHO just this one time.

To set things straight right off the bat, this isn't a rant... more like an observation and an accompanying opinion. OK, maybe it's a rant about the national media's handling of the last presidential campaign. I like Lincoln historically, think that FDR's terms should be looked at with more scrutiny from a historical standpoint. I style myself as a Roosevelt man. The Roosevelt whom a stuffed bear is named after, that is.

But it seems in their haste to talk up the next president of the United States, the major news outlets have decided to draw up comparisons of President Elect Barack Obama to FDR and Abe Lincoln. This is a prickly subject for me on many grounds, but a couple in particular.

I'm a big believer that greatness succeeds the man. If I were PE Obama, I would be praying for deliverance from the institution that helped him win the election. Why? Because right now the national media is seemingly billing Obama on the same level as men who had to actually serve their terms to earn the accolades that he is currently receiving. Not only that, both Lincoln and FDR were presidents who served the nation in extraordinary times. Although our current time has its qualities and challenges, Obama has to see the Nation through the tough times on his watch. Only then can the national media give him the laurel leaves of accomplishment or even greatness bestowed on the likeness of Lincoln and Roosevelt.

As it stands, Obama is going to not only fill some big and well worn shoes, but he's got to live up the near-myth that the media built up for his "benefit".

To live up to the likes of Lincoln, FDR, and the others we as a nation hold in great esteem, we come to my other prickly subject, what role the national media plays in deciding this.

When Obama got elected, two real changes were going to happen; the usual party switcheroo and race of the nominee. Again, the national media played an embarrassing role in advocating the latter.

They pushed heavily for a man who hadn't even completed a single term as a senator. As a matter of fact, it did little to find out what Obama's real stand on issues. Instead, some in the media insinuated that not voting for the Obama was akin to racism.

We the people didn't learn much from the national media, and what did come out usually was via Obama's main Democratic rival or bloggers who posed some big questions and did the leg work that journalists were supposed to do in the first place. Nope, what we did hear about was Obama becoming the first black president and superficial fluff. The national media infatuated itself with Obama, and not what he stood for or his character. So no one really knew about what he stood for or who he really was. Comedy skits were based off this very fact. In fact, no one in the national media really pushed Obama for what changes he was aiming to make.

Although it sounds like I'm beefing about race, I'm not. Personally, I've always thought that Colin Powell would have - should have - been the first black president. My beef is with the institution the people depend for finding out the truth utterly failed, becoming a partisan tool (yet again) in the process. It fell for the allure for what was on the surface and did not dare go any further. It attacked and ridiculed those who posed the tough questions, rather than seeking clarification from the man offering the answers. The national media was determined in burying the last eight years by becoming a PR crutch for a weak candidate whose party wasn't currently in office.

Now Obama has to live up to and past what the media have done to him. Great presidents aren't Republicans or Democrats, white or black - they're men of the people. Lincoln didn't come into office with huge ideas, and as a matter of fact, he came into office with a huge problem. A rebellion hinged on his very election. Although one of the platforms that he campaigned on was limiting slavery in the new territories, his bigger problem as keeping the Union intact. FDR had to lead the Nation out of a economic depression and through a World War. Both died before they could fully realize the fruits of their labor. Both were men of the people, as were many other great Presidents.

Our big question now is the one that the media failed to help us determine. Will Obama be a man of the people, a puppet for his party, or a one-trick pony? When I voted, I had three possible presidential options; 1) someone I didn't know a thing about, 2) someone whose politics I didn't like, and 3) someone who I know couldn't win, but I agreed with in principle. Call me Don Quixote. What a choice to have to make.

Even though my candidate didn't win, I'm willing to give Obama a chance. I'll reserve judgement on his service to our nation until 2010, when my vote gets put to good use once again. Hopefully we'll see some wisdom and good decisions will come from Obama and his administration and be worthy of accolades. Maybe comparisons will be drawn up to him with future presidents, so he'll become known more than just the first black president.

But until he has completed his service, he needs to earn his place in the pages of history. That's something that the national media cannot help him do, nor has the moral right to bestow on him before his term is over. So superimposing images of Obama over the likes of Lincoln and FDR are only deceptive window dressing for the question underneath.

So, good luck, and may the next four years be prosperous for we the people.

So you're looking for an Elephant?

Sometimes I poke around with my GoStats link to see how people are finding StE(r). The two most common searches are , in this order, invariably for: 1) WW2 German Elephant Tank or 2) the phrase "Seeing the Elephant".

So to everyone who does a search and wanders into StE(r), I say - thanks for coming by! :-) I hope you find something unexpected and fascinating. This is one of the reasons this blog exists. Please take your time and stay, or bookmark it and visit often.

If you are intent on finding out more about the tanks or the phrase, I suggest looking here:

For the Elephant (or Elefant using the German spelling)/Ferdinand tank: This is a link that tells your where the surviving tanks are located. Here is a great break down of the development of the Tiger tank and its spin-off models. Of course you can also go to Wikipedia for a detailed description. And here's a video of a walkaround of one of the surviving tanks:



For a bit of history on the term "seeing the elephant": Here's a great article that was printed in Civil War Times Illustrated some years back speculating the possible origins of the phrase. The phrase wasn't restricted to wartime use, and was often said in peace time to refer to a big event that was forthcoming, like what was to become the California Gold Rush.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Looking for Trapdoors

The "trapdoor" Springfield was the principle long arm of the US Army from late 1865 to about 1890. Even with the Spanish-American War in 1898, some US troops were armed with this slow-to-load, but reliable weapon.

In reenacting circles, there are several models that could potentially be used for Indian Wars era impressions, including the M1866 Springfield trapdoor conversion. The good and bad of this is that originals go for a relatively reasonable price, but the reproductions are more expensive and only a couple models are available. Of those, only one is a rifle version.

Pedersoli is one of two manufacturers of a replica rifle version of the trapdoor, the M1873. They make a trapdoor carbine model also. The other is Uberti, and they have the same M1873 version of the rifle and carbine. Harrington & Richardson replicas of Springfield trapdoors are in circulation, but the company is defunct. Dixie Gun Works and Navy Arms companies both sell H&R replicas.

Dixie Gun Works sells many original versions, most notably the M1866, M1873, and M1884. Armchair Gun Show has several originals, too. TrapdoorDave can guide you in buying a trapdoor Springfield and Trapdoor Collector is a great one-stop resource.

Lastly, here's a great video on the M1873:

More reenactin' blogs!

Found a couple more inter-related reenacting blogs that are updated relatively often and carry interest for 18th century reenactors. They are Reenactors Weekly and A Reenactor's Journal. Reenactors Weekly seems to get the most updated information and covers some reenacting and preservation news.

Group Spotlight

Not often do you hear about the Pacific theatre when it comes to WW2 reenacting. The China Marines are a group that is active in telling the story of the Marines that served in the Pacific.

A short descriptions from their web site:

While others may choose to depict one of the elite "glamor units" of the ETO, we prefer to honor the common Grunts and Old Salts that spearheaded the allied campaigns of the Pacific Theatre in WW2.

And...

The China Marines are not your typical WWII reenactors, nor are we a slack, 0900 to 1700 outfit. Drill, camplife, liberty, etc. are all important parts of the impression.

Looks to be a group after my own heart!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cool Vids: Ludi Savarienses Re-enactors' battle

Here's some footage and narrative of a Roman-era reenactment and skirimish with the Gauls. This particular event is in Hungary, in case you didn't recognize the language.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Mormons like their treks!

Here's an interesting site detailing a trek in progress. A reenacted version of the Mormon Battalion is in route from Nebraska to California. Here's a small write-up from the site:

As the Mexican-American War began in 1846, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were preparing to leave the United States for their journey to the Salt Lake valley.

To aid General Kearny’s campaign to occupy “upper Mexico”, President Polk requested that the Mormons raise a battalion of 500 men to march to California.


Brigham Young and other church leaders were able to convince their people that this was the right thing to do even though it required about 1/4th of the able-bodied men.

The Battalion mustered into service at Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 16, 1846. Including stopovers, the Battalion took 194 days to march approximately 2,000 miles to San Diego. At the time, it was the longest infantry march of US military history.

After a year of service and many adventures, the Battalion was disbanded at Los Angeles, then returned to their families and helped settle the western states.

Sounds like a great time if you don't mind the walking!

Here's a another write-up about it via Wes Clark's site.

My favorite Sutler of the week

Here's a very cool site for the hungry WW2 US reenactor - World War Two Ration Technologies. To be clear, this company doesn't sell the food, but rather the packaging and how-tos on how to make your own rations. It also offers WW1 era rations too.

The site itself is a plain no-frills design, but what it offers is great for any WW2 reenactor who doesn't mind putting a little bit of elbow grease into making their own stuff.

Note: The link is a little wiggy, so if it doesn't work, then do a search on World War Two Ration Technologies to get you to the proper place.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Great example of stupid legislation

This is a prime example of stupid gun-banning legislation that takes away a right, but doesn't even address a problem. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

First off, the news headline is misleading. The proposed bill is a flat ban on modern .50 caliber weapons, with the exception of any antique firearm over .60 caliber. Would this include .69 and .75 caliber weapons? The article seems to think so, but I'm not convinced. From what I understand, firearms in NJ .60 caliber and above are considered cannons, and are considered illegal in NJ. So this would be nice for all the reenactors who have .58 caliber weapons, but still potentially a dud if you want the next highest calibers. Bill A2116 doesn't really include any clear wording on this.

Enhance by definition is: to improve or add to the strength, worth, beauty, or other desirable quality of something.

It may not TAKE away from SOME reenactors, but it doesn't enhance anything.

Making an exception for all antique weapons in New Jersey's case is an enhancement. It improves on what should be an inalienable right to begin with. This new bit of legislation is a travesty with an exception thrown in.

“This analysis proves once and for all that there’s no reasonable argument for opposing this bill,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer). “This should remove any doubt for those who may have had it.”

What "analysis"? What problem is being solved? There are perfectly good arguments for not instituting a ban (aside from the obvious Constitutional issues) including the fact that a .50 cal weapon of any type is probably on the bottom of any perp's list of weapons to use to knock off the local convenience or liquor store. Usually a .50 weapon amounts to a high-powered paper/pumpkin/milk jug shredder. It still bans .50 caliber WW2 or later era weapons that are part of historical displays. So no reenactor enhancement there, another right taken away from law-abiding citizens, and no social problem solved.

If it's the case of personal taste, then maybe the good citizens of NJ need to make that determination, instead of an ignorant politico with a seeming chip on his shoulder. This is also a great example of why you should be vigilant at all times, lest you see your rights fade away because of suck-up politicians.

Here's some NJ gun law trivia.

Reenacting Links of the Week

Vietnam: A review of Small Wars, a documentary featuring Vietnam era reenacting: The Vietnam of the Mind.

World War 2: Some nice photos from a Battle of the Bulge reenactment at Fort Harrison State Park: Battle of the Bulge Reenactment .

A nice piece that outlines civic concerns about a reenactment coming to a town: WWII re-enactment could come to Romeo.

American Civil War: A slow news week, but we'll start off with the Battle of Galveston announcement: Re-enactors to mark anniversary of battle . Battle of Olustee is coming back to town too: Battle of Olustee heralded with city’s 150th celebration.

Some more coverage of a black Civil War reenactment unit marching at PE Obama's inauguration: Mattapan reenactment group revives Civil War regiment for inauguration .

A discussion of how effects other events in the coming year: Civil War 150th in Budget Crunch: The Outback Steakhouse Fort ...

Have US Grant, will travel: Area Grant re-enactor travels country

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's Gee, I, Joe...

Gary's Military Modeling Page is a great place to do some nice photographic research. There are links galore here, and he covers reenacting, modeling, you name it.

The most interesting thing on his site, though, is the 1/6th scale military models he builds. These figures are much like the GI Joes of old, but the uniforms and the models themselves are much more detailed. I think the Bayonet Duel is pretty gripping for a diorama.

If you want to see something different, this is the site to check out.

Fellow blogger Pith Helmet would appreciate this site!

Weekly Wargames Focus

Here's a company I'd would dearly love to start ordering titles from. Avalanche Press has a ton of good stuff. Some inexpensive, some a little pricey, but seemingly thorough treatments of the events they represent.

I'm very interested in the WW1 naval titles in their selection. The good thing about Avalanche Press is that they specialize in a period and have a representative game system they expound on, unlike Avalon Hill/SPI which tended to cover as much history as they could, with as many game systems as they could publish.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Traditional archery for beginners

Here is a great article on the Kevin Boone site introducing beginners and the interested to the concepts of primitive/traditional archery. He goes over many great points and explains the types of bow and arrows, as well as where to shoot and some basic shooting tips.

Playing some Diplomacy today

I'm going to try my hand at being a diplomat today by playing an old Avalon Hill game called... Diplomacy. I played this game about 26 years ago and it was great fun. Since then, life got into the way, as well as another hobby. I'll update the outcome later today!

UPDATE: The game went well. We had enough players for 6 of the 7 available countries; Russia, Germany, Great Britain, France, Turkey, Italy, and Austria/Hungary. In this game, Italy was the odd one out.

Diplomacy is a tricky game that requires alot of strategic thinking and a persuasive tongue. It is one of the greatest games ever created, IMHO. It's not big on the details, but you get a sense of how alliances are created and broken. How sometimes you need to be open to one player and hidden to others.

Without boring you with the details, the game concluded thus: Austria/Hungary was out of the game, and two major alliances came to be - Russia/Turkey and France/Great Britain/Germany.

Even after 26 years, the game was all I remembered it to be.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ellis Island reenactment... sounds interesting!

Here's a new one on me that makes perfect sense - a reenactment program at Ellis Island. Here's a small portion of the write-up:

The reenactment of The Board of Special Inquiry on Ellis Island is held in the actual boardroom of old, which has been restored to its early 1900s condition. The modern incarnation of the board, which draws it's members from the audience in attendance, proves to be a lively and informative interaction. The new board members are encouraged to expand on the list of questions given them. The audience is drawn into the action, and the whole experience is personalized in a way that could not be supplied by merely reading about it.

Sounds like another visit to put on a NYC trip itinerary!

Woohoo! On a reenacting blog roll!

Found another reenactor's blog! The Re-enactors Blog is a slow posting site, but it has a lot to offer in the way of narrative and photos.

The blog's author, Eryk Rawicz-Lipiński, covers the WW2 and Viking reenacting scene in Ireland, which judging by the pictures he posted, has a great grasp on authenticity.

Group Spotlight

What a nice site to visit, not many frills, but the design is solid and navigation is easy. The 90th Infantry Division Preservation Group site has a lot for a casual and serious reenacting surfer to see. It has a lot of insider references, but that only adds to the homeyness of the site.

The important part is that the 90th IDPG seems to do a ton of research, and they post it regularly on the site. This goes with what I wrote about awhile back with Forensic Reenacting. This is the way to manage any site, but many groups seem to lose that focus and don't use their sites to their full potential.

This site has found a place on my favorite bookmarks.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cool Vids: War of 1812

Here's a nicely done video of some War of 1812 reenacting. Sharp uniforms and an interesting period.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Irreverent Guide to Civil War Reenacting, Pt 4

It's back! Now to continue the series. Way back when, the series looked at the major players in a Civil War reenactment, the infantry, cavalry and artillery. Now is time to look at the bit players; surgeons, signal corps, civilians and anyone else I can think of.

Surgeons
I think CW surgeon reenactors are the mad scientists of the hobby. In my observations over the years, they seem like the type of people who feel at home in Halloween haunted houses and laugh at the gory parts.

To visit the hospital in the Civil War was horrible enough. You usually came out missing parts of your body, if you *lived* through the surgery or even general care. Almost all reenactor surgeons seem to strive for that vision. And more. Blood everywhere. Enterprising surgeon reenactors may even go for the cut vein shtick, and send blood spraying everywhere.

One day, some surgeon will do Big Red* busting through a hapless victim's chest. (*Big Red was a commercial parody done on Saturday Night Live. It featured a toy of a viking whose head spun like a water sprinkler. All you had to do is fill the secret reservoir with the fake blood provided and pull the string. The head would spin and the blood came out the horns on his helm. Fun for all!) Even more so, I fully expect to hear the same surgeon suddenly burst out in maniacal laughter, shaking his bloodied instruments of destruction surgery at the sky.

OK, it's out of my system. Needless to say, a surgeon's exhibit is worth at least one visit!

Signal Corps
I've always thought the Signal Corps reenactors were kinda weird, but in a good way. When they are on the field, they add to the event. But they seem to rarely interface with other reenactors during the action parts of an event. They some signalling, but to whom I'm not sure.

When I was at the event at McDowell a few years back, the SC guys built an impressive signal tower. They finished it on Sunday. But it was impressive.

There has to be an attraction to the SC, plenty of reenactors seem to have an interest in doing the impression. It might be worth your while to ask an SC guy what's he's up to. Then again, you may get so much detail that your brain cramps. That's what happens when you talk to the silent weird types.

Snipers
I've never seen the real use of a sniper in a CW event, other than the fact they tote some nice and heavy scoped weapons. But then again, because you're unique doesn't mean you're useful. In a noisey recreated battle, a sniper is typically ignored. No one knows that they're around, laying imaginary waste to their enemies, who never seem to notice that they're being sniped. Someone may catch the faint cry in the distance:

"Hey man, I hit you! You're dead!"

Civilians
There's a lot of ways of looking at the civilians in a reenacting camp. Some have purpose, some don't. Some are "retired" reenactors, some are attracted to the clothes and fashions of the period. Some you simply wonder about.

Nowadays there seems to be a renewed interest in doing civilian impressions, with battlefield journos being the more popular choice.

Next: What really happens in an event

My favorite Sutler of the week

Anyone who sells blackpowder is a friend of mine, so The Maine Powder House has made it to the list this week. Black powder is a rare find anymore, so any qualified seller is someone to support as much as possible. Blackpowder is the blood that flows through many reenacted eras, and although the hobby can go on without it, it certainly wouldn't be as attractive or interesting to participants and the public alike.

They offer Goex, Swiss and Schuetzen brands and the pricing is decent, although you'd probably be better off with a bulk order to keep the shipping costs under control.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Elusive Hall Carbine

Early in my reenacting career, I used to help with a newsletter, and one of our advertisers was the Ordinance Depot. One of their projects at the time was to reproduce a Hall breechloading carbine. I don't know if the project ever got off the ground but the thought of owning a Hall has never left my mind.

The closest you can come to owning one, is to put one together with parts from The Rifle Shoppe. These guys offer parts for several Hall models.

Reenacting Links of the Week

World War 2: Sad news any way you cut it: Student Dressed As WWII-Era German Soldier Shot, Killed By Seattle ...

American Civil War: A subject near and dear to my heart, the restoration of some of the battlefield at New Bern, NC. My ancestors fought on and fled from this battle: Battlefield project reaches milestone.

Update on the preservation efforts at Laurel Hill Battlefield: Laurel Hill Battlefield Where the past is present

Crikeys - no wonder our hobby doesn't have a worse rap (refer to #9 in article): Offbeat stories found on local news beats

An interesting article about an SC reenactor who's marching with a recreated black regiment in the presidential inauguration: SC re-enactor to march in black unit at Obama inauguration

It's amazing that these things can still kill 150 years later: Officers detonate live cannonball

Sad news about a bro who died with great honor: Pastor Killed in Storm Exemplified Message of Sacrifice ...

Hey! I went to high school with this guy: Brad Harmon and his family are bringing a little “Dixie Pride” to ...

Seminole Wars: Here's a write-up on a rare reenactment: Dade Massacre's outcome always the same, for history's sake

Early Frontier and Rendezvous: Preparing for an event is an event within itself: Living-History Reenactment Is Planned Chaos.

American Revolutionary War: Looks like the Delaware River crossing reenactment has some family history to it: River crossing re-enactment a tradition for three generations of ...

A report on the Battle of Cedar Bridge: Re-enactors mark Barnegat Revolutionary battle

Teaching young minds good things: Folk singer, re-enactor visits Cherry Road School

Ancient: A primer on bring living history to the classroom via ancient Greece: Living history in the classroom

Monday, January 05, 2009

Speaking of wargaming...

Here's a great blog on that very subject. Matthew Kirschenbaum runs the Zone of Influence blog, which has a ton of wonderful information ranging from the theoretical to the trivial, but all interesting. His focus is mainly tabletop gaming, but he covers other related topics along the way.

Weekly Wargames Focus

Jeux Grenier Games is a refreshing site to visit. Not quite a polished game company yet, they have some promising offerings that wargamers should take note of.

Their game selection is small, but covers an interesting array of periods. The games are:

  • Operation Weserübung (WW2)
  • The Pursuit of von Spee (WW1)
  • Distant Foreign Fields (WW1)
  • Quelques Arpents de Neige (F&I War)

For a cottage biz, this is a quality effort, well worth a look-see.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Samurai Archery

Here's an awesome AP article on an event in Japan - Samurai archery. Part of the article reads:

Each year, archers in feudal shooting gear climb atop their decorated mounts for a lively competition on the beach of Zushi, a town just south of Tokyo, galloping in the sand as thousands of onlookers cheer and shout. The first competition was held here in 1199.

Here's a BBC video of the same event and the particulars behind "yabusame":

Friday, January 02, 2009

Tons 'o Soviet pix

Stumbled on a site, Geek2Live, that has a good many black and white pictures of the Soviet army in WW2. I'm not sure if these are staged or actual action shots. I get the feeling they may be staged propoganda pictures. Decide for yourself, but they are nice uniform studies regardless.

Group Spotlight

The Netherlands 1940-1945 is an impressive Netherlands-based WW2 group. Equally impressive is the website.

While other WW2 groups are militarily-oriented with civilian elements attached as a side item, The Netherlands group is the opposite. Its mission is primarily civilian with some military accents thrown as needed. This is a refreshing twist to the usual reenacting group formula. In their introduction they state:

We try to act out our WW2 persona as accurate as possible.We wear vintage clothing, we talk and act as people did back then and by carrying 1940's items with us we hope we can show the public a bit more about life in wartorn Holland.

This is a site to definitely bookmark and refer back to frequently.

Picking fights: Vietnam

OK, I just got my tail whipped.

I just got overrun and totally beaten by a very worthy opponent. The scenario is based off a firefight at Song Lau. I would link it, but apparently there is no information about it on the web.

If you haven't tried it, I recommend every military history buff try their hand at wargaming. It's a great way of looking at the vital battle of history and seeing why the generals thought the they did to win battles, or make the major screw-ups.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cool Vids: Prussian Reenactors storming a Confederate mortar position

Ok, I have to admit that this video is a little on the fun side and historically way out, but it does show that reenactors research and recreate many eras - this time it's the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.

Happy New Year!

Out with the old, in with the new! My wishes for a wonderful 2009.