Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Grand Prince's New Clothes

After months closeted indoors due to the harsh winter weather, Grand Prince Dmitry IV Dmitrovich of Velikye Byelgorodniya and his most trusted aide-de-camp Pavel Romanovich have ridden out together for a much needed breath of fresh air.

"So, Pavel Romanovich, what do you think of my new coat? Quite the latest fashion and most suitable for a monarch of my stature dontchathink?!? The ladies at court won't know what to do with themselves, I'll be bound!" said Grand Prince Dmitry, ever the fisherman when sartorial compliments are not forthcoming.

"Of course, sire, it is most fetching. I do believe I've never seen the like in all my days..." replied Romanovich, squirming in his saddle, the little voice in the back of his head already warning him this wasn't going to end well.

"Ha! Ever the diplomat Pavel. One day you'll tell me what you really think and I'll drop dead from shock! Come now, there's something special about this new coat. I'll bet you a week's wages you can't guess what it is, not that I have any idea what I pay you of course. Go on now, have a guess..." The last sentence hung in the air between them like a string of beets without a horse.

"Well sire, it must be the buttons. No, hold on, it's the lace. No, wait... It's the fabric. That's it, the fabric is a brocade again, but this time it's doesn't match the curtains in the west ballroom."

"Faddle. Not even close my boy! Would it help if I tell you WHERE I got the coat?" prodded the Grand Prince. "Let me give you a hint, it's from that new tailor in the Old Town. What's his name? Grambowski? No, that's not it. Groobovshki? Not that's not it either... What the devil is his name now?!?"

Pavel Romanovich's face turned a shade whiter than normal. "Um, please tell me it's not from Gruberski's sire?!? You DO know he's related to that idiot map maker from Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz don't you?"

"Is he really? He seems to know his business." replied the Grand Prince. "That certainly does explain why I can't find the blasted special map pocket though..."

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The 2nd Glish Foresters (of Blensk)

As tensions continue to mount in the "phony war" Grand Prince Dmitry IV Dmitrovich of Velikye Byelgorodniya becomes frustrated at the lack of reliable intelligence. You might think he is referring to his general staff and you'd be correct, however in this instance it is news of the enemy's movements he wants.

Being a man of action he decides to seize the initiative and immediately dispatches a contingent from the 2nd Glish Foresters to the border. They go under orders to return with news of the enemy "...or don't bother coming back!"

Monday, March 25, 2013

The ideal Imagi-nations miniatures?

Stepping out of character for a few moments here to promote something really quite special...

Nic Robson from Eureka Miniatures has been kind enough to let me preview their new range of 28mm miniatures coming out in a couple of months time. The range is being advertised as "28mm Marshal Follies: SYW", sculpted by Gennady Stupin.

There are plenty of ranges of fantasy historical miniatures out there but many of them go too far and enter the realms of silliness. These are different. I think you'll agree they are absolutely lovely, packed full of character and animation but without going over the top. I can't wait to get my hands on some for my guards...

From the promo literature:

100MFS01 SYW Musketeer at attention (4 variants)
100MFS02 SYW Musketeer NCO at attention (1 variant)
100MFS03 SYW Musketeer Drummer, at attention (1 variant)
100MFS04 SYW Musketeer Standard bearer ,at attention (1 variant)
100MFS05 SYW Grenadier at attention (4 variants)
100MFS06 SYW Grenadier NCO at attention (1 variant)
100MFS07 SYW Grenadier Drummer, at attention (1 variant)
100MFS08 SYW Grenadier Standard bearer ,at attention (1 variant)
100MFS09 SYW Mounted Officer
100MFS10 SYW Canon and three crew

Figures are sold individually unless a set is indicated. The number in parentheses denotes the number of available variants for that product code. Variants are supplied randomly, but Eureka Miniatures will always endeavour to supply a representative sample.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gazetteer of Saxe-Coburn complete!

At last the day has come when Herr Grüber has completed his masterwork!

Both halves of the epic two volume Gazetteer of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz are now complete with the release of The Gazetteer of Saxe-Coburn.

It's jam-packed with everything the would-be visitor to the duchy needs to know from local customs and food to celebrity gossip and engravings. Grab your copy today for only 37 Björk plus tax! If you write within the next 6 months we'll send you a complimentary potato at no extra cost.

But wait, there's more! Not only has Herr Grüber completed the gazetteer, you can also now view the history, army and people of Gross Wurttemstein! Don't delay, read today!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Meanwhile, at the Academy...

The early spring sunlight slanted into the Committee Room of the Novi Byelgorod Academy, illuminating the massive oak table which occupied the centre of the chamber. Three men stood about the table, staring fixedly at the mass of charts spread across its green leather surface.

The small sad-eyed man in the dark green coat threw down the magnifying glass in exasperation, sending a cloud of dust motes dancing. He looked back and forth between the two other men, his frown giving him the semblance of an angry spaniel.

"Really, Peripatenko, are you absolutely sure? We would surely have long since heard of the existence of not one, but two foreign principalities in our own region, would we not?"

The larger of his two companions, still dressed in travel-stained clothes and riding boots, nodded tersely.

"Highness, I am certain. Lindt und Lindor and Gross Wurttemstein are completely real. I've crossed their borders, I've seen their cities, I've eaten their bloody food. I can't understand why none of the Academy's maps show them!" His gaze skewered the thin, bespectacled man across the table, fixing him with an interrogatory glare. "Perhaps the learned Pyotr Afanasyovich can shed some light upon this geographical anomaly...?"

"Erm... most irregular..." began the elderly scholar. His pale hands fluttered between the buttons of his worn coat and the curls of his unfashionably long periwig as his eyes darted over the maps spread out before him. "Erm. The political situation in Europe is very fluid at present, Your Highness... in the chaos and hurly-burly of war, some of the smaller states may have gone unnoticed..."

"Unnoticed? UNNOTICED??" spluttered the Prince. "We've just discovered two entirely new states on our doorstep, TWO, and astoundingly, not one of our maps shows either one of them?" He scuttled around the table and stared up into the face of the unfortunate Academician. "What of your other maps, Bibliotekhsky? Do WE actually exist or is my entire realm a bloody misprint?"

"Highness, I abase myself before you! I beg forgiveness," stuttered the scholar. "I was given to understand that the maps were of the highest quality! Look at the subtlety of the shading, the clarity of the etching, the signature of the cartographer in flowing cursive script..." Bibliotekhsky leaned over the table, fumbled for the glass and handed it to the diminutive monarch. "It's in Latin, of course, Sire... 'Franciscus Gruberius scripsit'..."

"WHAT?!" Pavel Romanovich strode around the table and stared down at the cartographer's signature. He extended a hand. "If I may, Sire...? The glass?" The Prince handed over the magnifier. Peripatenko leafed through the maps, muttering under his breath.

"Hmmmph. And this one... and another... Hmmph." He rose to his full imposing height. "Sire, it would appear that the estimable Count Bibliotekhsky has, in his enthusiasm for pretty etchings, failed to realise that the author of these maps is none other than the infamous Franz Gruber."

The Prince's face turned white.

"No... surely not..?"

"I'm afraid so, Sire. Look here, there's a figure of an American Indian at the bottom near Nizhny Bublik, he always puts a couple of them in, God alone knows why... And may I respectfully suggest that I be allowed to take a couple of surveyors out into the field post-haste to ensure that our borders are mapped correctly...?"

"...Yes... by all means." The Prince straightened, resolution returning to his face. "And take Pyotr Afanasyovich with you. You've been indoors too long, Bibliotekhsky, some fresh air will do you good. Pavel Romanovich, see that Bibliotekhsky is suitably outfitted for the journey. And Bibliotekhsky...?"

The scholar's face was a study in terror. "Sire..?"


A minor, yet crucial detail...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

News from the East

Herr Grüber has recently returned from an expedition into the previously uncharted East....

Leaving Bad Übersetzung in an easterly direction early on Tuesday morning he ventured boldly into what has subsequently been discovered to be the fabled realm of the The Electorate of Lindt und Lindor, ruled by the Elector Wilhelm von Sprungli-Schwarz. Some describe it as a the sweetest nation in Europe and her army mere "chocolate box soldiers".

After feasting upon the local delights Grüber ventured northwards into the Grand Duchy of Gross Wurttemstein, famous for its beer and sausage and ruled by the enigmatic GrossHerzog Florian Lothar von Wurttemstein. The Grand Duchy has a strong naval tradition (reputedly being the only nation in the region with a navy of any sort) although whether this navy actually exists is a subject of conjecture at this point.

Both these fledgling states may be found on the updated map in the Cartographer's Guild. Already there are diplomatic efforts in progress from Velikye Byelgorodniya, a situation likely to further increase tensions with Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Advice from the Humble to the Mighty

From the Court of Dmitry IV of the House of Mikhailov, Grand Prince of Velikye Byelgorodniya, Grand Duke of Kapusta Zemlya, Hereditary Hetman of the Cassock Horde, Count of Novi Byelgorod, Grand Master of the Most August Order of the Golden Cockerel, and Companion of the Order of the Ancient Spoonbill;

To Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina, by the Grace of God sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma, Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Empress Consort of the Holy Roman Empire, greetings.


We must confess some surprise at Your Majesty's recent loan of some of your loyal soldiers to our southern neighbour. We had thought that the affairs of smaller nations were of but little moment to the empires of the mighty, and find ourselves flattered that Your Majesty should take an interest in our matters of state.

We respectfully urge Your Majesty to consult your Imperial husband before making any further rash or precipitous decisions, and make bold to remind you of the unfortunate consequences of having failed to do so on previous occasions; the recent unpleasantness in Your Majesty's former domain of Silesia springs most readily to mind.

As Your Majesty has so perceptively observed, our children will, from time to time, throw their playthings from their cradles. At times such as this, it is best to retire to a safe distance, since these playthings may be hot, heavy, explosive, or all three. It is indeed fortunate that Your Majesty's loyal soldiers have had so much practice in retreating expeditiously from danger, as they might otherwise come to harm.

While even a shaven monkey may put to flight a Habsburg lapdog, so even a humble Byelgorodniyan Grenadier may clip the wings of the Habsburg eagle if it decides to swoop too closely over our beloved homeland. 


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reinforcements from our Austrian Allies

From Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina, by the grace of God sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma, Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Empress Consort of the Holy Roman Empire.

My Dearest Mikhail Johann,

It is with deepest regret that I heard of the increase in tensions between yourself and your unruly Northern neighbours. Frustrating as these times are, we must understand that these lesser "nation-states" are invariably backward and lack the worldly view of those such as ourselves. At times they will "throw their toys from the pram" so to speak and we must simply do as needs must.

Therefore, in view of the longstanding friendship between ourselves, Francis and I send to you some of our loyal soldiers to support you in your time of need. Do with them as you see fit, I know you would treat my children as you would your own.

With fondest regards,
Maria Theresa.

P.S. If I may offer you some advice, have the idiot Gruber taken out into the hills and shot. I really don't know what you see in him and if you're to have any chance whatsoever against that upstart Dmitry and his army of shaved monkeys the likes of Gruber will need to be removed before its too late.


Field artillery

O'Donell Cuirassiers