Thursday, 30 October 2014

DFFcon 2014

Deadly art or just a modern wall clock?

On the weekend of the 25th and 26th October it was finally time for DFFcon 2014!
Jesper, Michael, Thomas (based in Denmark) and your's truly have been painting on the Lund 1676 project for little more than 8 months, so it was a real pleasure to finally see all the miniatures lined up on one table. 

The poster we printed for our Lund 1676 Game.

We had a great reception from the other players and visitors at DFFcon, and needed not worry about any shortage of willing participators. Besides the actual Lund 1676 participation game and a Demo Game of Osprey's new Lion Rampant Rules, we also brought a little Mini-Shop of Warfare Miniatures with us. This was very well received, for which we thank the many people who supported Barry's wonderful miniatures range and rules.

The battle of Lund rages on.
The Warfare Miniatures mini-shop can be seen in the foreground.

Warfare Miniatures are launching a new range of 28mm Great Norther War figures,
which we naturally wanted to promote to the Danish wargaming society, seeing as Denmark was one of the nations in the alliance against Sweden and Charles XII during the GNW.

The poster we printed to announce the coming
Warfare Miniatures GNW range.

Below follows a range of pictures from the days at Tøjhusmuseet in Copenhagen.
Michael also have posted a wonderful set of pics from our time at DFFcon.

Battle of Lund 1676.
Jesper is directing the battle line on the Swedish side.

A great setting with plenty of atmosphere.

WW1 Aviation Game.
Beautiful terrain from moulded foam.
The airplanes are attached to the thin rods, and fastened 
into the terrain board with a needle at the end. 

WW2 Arnhem game.

A table set up for a game of Chain of Command.

The Layout of the room.
Very pleasant setting for an afternoon of wargaming.

The museum chronologically displays artifacts from Denmark's wars.

Battlefield protection then and now.

Impressive collection of uniforms from medieval to modern.

Thanks for stopping by for a read!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Off to Copenhagen & DffCon 2014

My latest in a series of Command stands for the collection.
This time Swedish General Simon Helmfelt.

After months of preparations, nibbling away at a huge lead pile and subsequent numerous play tests of our different “Lund 1676” scenarios, it’s finally time.
The bags are packed, tickets ready and Friday we’re off to Copenhagen and DffCon 2014.

I want to thank all the readers from around the World, who have been following this project as it grew. What started as a small skirmish game venture between fellow blogger and wargamer Michael and myself, later morphed into the largest battalion based miniatures project I’ve ever painted. 

The battle of Lund took place north of the city,
where a few small hills command the field. One of them
is the "Gallow Hill". So, of course I had to paint these two unfortunates.
Notice the magistrate's death sentence nailed to the beam on the right.

A big thanks also goes out to fellow project painters: Thomas from Denmark, Jesper from our club in Stockholm and of course Michael for getting me into this period. We’ve all pitched in to build what is an amazing looking collection in 28mm, with great labour and attention paid to historical correctness of uniforms and flags.

This brings me to the Danish flags. A special thanks goes out to Peter Smith, for taking on the work of making us a historically researched and immensely beautiful Scanian War flag sheet. These flags are the icing on the cake. 

What is a battlefield with out debris - human debris.
Gave these a thick brush of earth pigment as a finish.
Wanted them to look like trampled infantry or crashed cavalry.

When I started my Scanian War collection I decided to go almost completely with the range from Warfare Miniatures. It was the largest on the market, and had all the diversity and animation I was looking for. What I didn’t know at the time was that Warfare Miniatures’ owner, Barry Hilton, also had a huge interest in Scandinavia history with predominance on the Great Northern War. This common interest and Michael’s and my Scanian War project, quickly turned into a collaboration and friendship.

A model of the shipbuilding district "Holmen", 
Copenhagen harbor 18th century. The model can be seen at 
the Royal Danish Navy Museum.

So I’m very proud to announce that we will be carrying Warfare Miniatures, flags and even some of the acclaimed Donnybrook rulebooks with us to Copenhagen for sale at the DffCon show. Anyone attending the show can drop by our table for a look at our painted collection battling it out for the fate of Scandinavia, and if inspired buy their own miniatures and get started on their Scanian War or Great Northern War collection.

Copenhagen at its finest. Nyhavn - first build by Christian V, 
the ruling Danish king during the Scanian War.

The venue for DffCon is the old Royal Danish Armory building inside the old city centre of Copenhagen. With such a central located site, the weekend will also offer us opportunities to drop by the Royal Danish Navy Museum and Rosenborg Castle. 

Classic Danish Smørrebrød. 
Bon appetit!

After sights seeing, visiting museums and a day throwing dice at the wargaming table, I hope to offer my Swedish travel companions a first rate gourmet experience in Danish food culture – a dish of the traditional “Smørrebrød” (Open Sandwiches).

Perhaps lesser known to the World than Danish pastry, but oh so good and best-enjoyed when washed down with plenty of Danish pilsner beer and perhaps even one or two schnaps! 

Thank you very much for reading!

Friday, 17 October 2014

WW1 naval fever & childhood nostalgia

Chas Stadden 30mm WW1 
Early German Infantryman.

Admittedly the last months of painting output and quite a few of my recent blog posts have been circling around the Scanian War and the showcasing of the Battle of Lund 1676 at the coming gaming convention in Copenhagen in a week's time from now. 

In need of a change and inspired by fellow blogger Jonathan’s post on his first wargaming memories, I decided it was time to go up to the attic, and break out some of the boxes with my childhood hobby collection.

Chas Stadden 30mm WW1
Early French Infantryman.

So with autumn holding a firm grip on a yellow and red-leafed Stockholm, I found myself up under the roof, surrounded by a mountain of old books and 1/72 Seven Year’s War boxes, flipping through the very same 1994 Revell catalogue that I used to study for hours without end as a kid, planning my next purchase (Dare I say some things stay the same – the internet have not made that less of a habit). I used to paint a lot of these small soft plastics when I first got into the hobby. Revell was the brand of choice then. Loved those figures and still do. There is actually a really nice 1/72 plastics site here for those interested.

1/72 Revell Seven Year's War Prussian Infantry.

At the bottom of one box I found an old cigar box with a few metal figures inside.
I had completely forgotten about these, but as I picked them up, I remembered it all again. I had been given these miniatures by my father when accompanying him to Copenhagen on a business trip in the early 90ies. Apparently his meetings went well, because I remember he wanted to get me something, and took me to the very best hobby shop Copenhagen had back then – Smith’s Hobby in Kompagnistræde. 

Charles "Chas" Stadden 1919 - 2002.
Sculpter, painter and collector.

It was a small crammed basement shop, with expo windows glittering of glossy Tradition and Stadden metal figures. I got a 54mm Frederic the Great by Tradition and a bunch of beautiful 30mm Chas Stadden WW1 figures.

The 30mm Stadden minis are very nice sculpts indeed.

Beautifully proportioned and with a good level of details.

As I already had a healthy sized lead (or rather plastic) pile back then, the Stadden figures went into oblivion after a while. Now, almost like time transported, they came out of a cigar box in an attic in Stockholm some 22 years later. After a closer study, realizing the top quality of the sculpting, and admitting to a small smite of WW1 fever, I decided these minis had to go directly to the painting table.

Found this old classic in the attic as well.

Following the Chas Stadden figures down from the attic came an old book that John, my scale model-interested uncle, once gave me for Christmas. It’s an amazing resource on the WW1 navies. Battleships of World War I by Antony Preston, published by Galahad Book New York in 1972. Each country’s fleet, the commanders and naval traditions are described along with the main ship building wharfs. Then follows a complete run through of every important ship-class of every mayor navy participating in WW1. 

The Preston book contains beautiful and detailed
technical drawings of each ship-class.

This childhood reminder of my love for WW1 naval warfare and dreadnoughts (I’m born and raised in Jutland) quickly got me searching for suitable models and rules for a WW1 naval project. 

The Battle of Jutland 1916.
The Royal Navy's Grand Fleet clash with the Kaiserliche Kriegsmarine.

I settled on GHQ and their 1/2400 WW1 range – which to me has the level of details suited to a painting style using washes and high lighting. Fellow blogger and Stockholm wargaming club member, Mark, recommended the Naval Thunder rules which he has for WW2. Thus the “Clash of Dreadnoughts” variation of Naval Thunder was subsequently purchased along with some “Kaiser-class” and “Iron-Duke-Class” (God I love those names) ships from GHQ, now presumably crossing the Atlantic on their journey to my painting table. Can’t wait to get started on these.

Thank you very much for reading!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Carl von Arenstorff – Danish Commanding General at Lund 1676

Carl von Arenstorff pondering his next move at Lund.

As the date for the big convention game in Copenhagen is nearing, time has come to get the commanding Generals in their saddle.

At Lund the German noble Carl von Arenstorff led the Danish forces. His brother Frederic also served in the command of the Danish army, and would eventually take the supreme command at Lund as Carl got shot and had to retire to attend what would later show to be a mortal wound.

Frederic von Arenstroff - Carl's intriguant brother.
He would take command at Lund when Carl got wounded.

The Arenstorff brothers had been plunged in intrigues ever since they came to the Danish court in the early 1670's. Carl had quickly gained the King’s favour and had even been given a seat in the Royal Council. 

When the Scanian War opened and the Marshall’s baton for the Danish forces had been given by foreign recommendation to the very able Duke of Plön, the Arenstorff brothers were far from pleased and immediately set about an elaborate bad-mouthing campaign leading to the King finally dismissing his undermined C-in-C duke. 

Orders are being scribbled down by the staff.

The Duke of Plön had led the Danish forces successfully through the opening phase of the Scanian War land campaign, overseeing the occupation of Scania and tactical rebuffing of the Swedish army. He was rewarded the island of Usedom on the German Baltic coast for his achievements. 

Command then passed to Carl von Arenstorff in October 1676. Perhaps an able cavalry commander, but a very unsure card as supreme leader of an army. Quickly things deteriorated for the Danes, leading to the game-changing defeat at Lund on the 4th December 1676.

A High-Command in harmony? 
The Danish commanders prancing on their horses 
as the army, lead by the Duke of Plön, 
conquered Kristianstad. 

Perhaps it was really a stroke of luck for Carl von Arenstorff ‘s honour that he was wounded at Lund? It certainly took him of the battle at a very early stage, and thus out the blame-sphere and the subsequent infested defeat-ferment in Copenhagen, seeing the King putting many of his commanders on trial for treason. 

Oddly enough, and perhaps as an omen, Arenstorff actually started his career in the professional and highly successful Swedish army under King Charles X Gustav. He was a Swedish cavalry commander in the Dano-Swedish Wars fought in the late 1650's, that eventually saw Denmark loose 20% of its territory to Sweden, most notably Scania. 

Charles X Gustav successfully occupies all of Denmark by a daring crossing over the frozen belts of the Danish Isles in the1650's.

Now some 20 years later, Carl von Arenstorff was back in the saddle, but this time for the opposition – the Danes. Now he was fighting to reclaim to Denmark, what he in fact had precipitated the Danish Crown to loose two decades earlier. 

Another view at the command stand.

Carl von Arenstorff died in Copenhagen 6 days after the Battle of Lund, as wound-infection had spread gangrene in large parts of his body. His death marked the starting point of a large purge in the Danish high command – opening the question; how would the Danes have fought at Lund – with their superior numbers in infantry, cavalry and three times the artillery – had they been properly led, for instance by the Duke of Plön?

Thank you very much for reading.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Christian V – a gentle king with a arduous mission.

Christian V symbolically charging over a 
broken Swedish cavalry standard.

Dear readers, in a few weeks I head out for Copenhagen together with fellow club members Michael and Jesper, for a visit to this year’s DffCon gaming convention, where we are hosting a string of scenarios based on the Battle of Lund 1676.

For the purpose of these games I’m at the moment finishing up all the command stands.
Last week saw the Swedish King mount his horse and head out for battle – this week time has come to the King of the Danes, Christian V. 

The East Danish provinces;
Skåne, Halland and Blekinge - lost in 1658.
The location of Lund can be seen on the map too.

Christian was born 1646 in the Danish controlled duchy of Schleswig. He was a prince of the House of Oldenburg, descendants of the Jellinge Dynasty (The dynasty which has been in power the longest in all European history, more than 1100 years).

Another shot of the charging king.
The figure is from NorthStars 1672-range.

Ascending to the Danish Throne in 1670, his kingdom had suffered terribly under his father, Frederik III. The economically and socially important East Danish provinces had been lost to Sweden in 1658 during the peace settlement following the ”Karl-Gustav” Wars. 

This meant that not only had Denmark lost some 20% of its population, but also the strategic position as gatekeeper at Øresund, with the profitable trade taxations and most importantly its richest province of them all – Skåne (Scania).

King Christian V.
1646 - 1699.

Christian V would his entire life look across the waters from Copenhagen, eying his lost dominions in the horizon and feeling a call of destiny to take back what had been lost.

Through unintended diplomatic entanglements the opportunity arose in 1675, when France had forced Sweden to make war on Brandenburg, the ally of Denmark. Christian V declared war on Sweden, and preparations for a recapture of the eastern provinces began.

The coronation of the King in 1670.

After a successful campaign against the Swedish foothold in Germany, and the establishing the Danish naval supremacy, Christian V had the opportunity to move the war to Scania by a naval landing of his army.

On the 29th June 1675 Christian V and an army of 15.000 lands at Råå on the Swedish coast, crossing the only 5 mile wide strait. With his army watching from the enormous 500-ship transport fleet, Christian V is rowed in to the beach. As he leaps out of the boat and the sand of this old Danish dominion is again touched by its king, cheers from the many boats are heard. In response Christian V, this wonderful man, treats his audience to a little victory dance as he jumps and skips around with joy. He has his life’s goal in sight.

The massive 17 x 7 meter Danish flag - the picture is from 1977.
It was captured by the Swedes 1677, and is to this day kept in Stockholm.

Initial Danish success in the Scanian campaign saw the Swedish army retreat north to Småland, while awaiting reinforcements. Meanwhile a curious manifestation of Danish victory fever occurred. Christian V ordered a mammoth sized Danish flag to be sewn up, and hoisted from the fortress tower of Helsingborg. The flag was 17 x 7 meter (!!!), large enough to be clearly seen from the Danish coast across Øresund. It was a sign to Denmark that Scania had come back to its former owner.

A frogs view of his majesty.
No shortage of laces on neither horse or rider.

Later that year, well in control of Scania and the war, Christian V returned to Copenhagen in order to prepare for Christmas. However news of the Swedish army approaching from Småland compelled the King to return to his army, now encamped outside Lund in prepared winter quarters.

On the 4th December 1676, the fateful battle of Lund took place. Danish losses were crippling and Christian V was forced to allocate further funds for reinforcements and materiel. But in effect Lund was the beginning of the end. Never again during the Scanian War did the Danish army hold such a tight grip on its former provinces, or on the outcome of the campaign.

Christian V at the capture of Landskrona 1676.
A year later he would meet defeat at this very same location.

A further defeat of the Danish army at Landskrona on July 14 1677 settled the question to any effect. The war would drag on, but the young Swedish monarch had successfully defended his inheritance, and before either Charles or Christian could get a chance to sit down for a proper peace settlement, Louis XIV (Swedish ally) and the Dutch (Danish ally) had passed a peace resolution including a status quo in Scandinavia.

Both Christian and Charles were furious. Both had lead their armies from the front, both had seen war in the eye and risked everything for the price. And now, they had to sit down like two naughty schoolboys and take dictate.  Newer again would Christian hope to gain back Scania, and never again would Charles entangle Sweden into such close an alliance with France.

Front view - the command base is 3 inches wide.
Suitable for the C-in-C.

Christian V lived on for many more years, focussing his energy on renovating his capital, Copenhagen. It is due to his work that we today can enjoy a cold beer in the charming Nyhavn area, and on the “Kongens Nytorv” square next into you find the huge commemorative statue of this gentle but firm king.

Rosenborg Castle in central Copenhagen.

In the fall of 1698 Christian was mortally injured in a hunting accident. In pursuit of a deer, the king stormed up to the animal to finish it off, but the wounded deer kicked the king with such force, that he would never recover, but instead died after a long struggle to regain his health.

Today the “king-killer” deer can be viewed at the Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen.

Thank you very much for reading!