And now for something completely new

Father’s Day 2021 was imminent and at the ceaseless nagging gentle prompting of Fraulien von Peter herself some sort of gift was required. The time had come to yield to one of those never ending urges that corrosively simmer away at the back of one’s brain waiting for its chance to see the light of reality. And FYI a decent “never ending urge” requires an interest in a period and a decent figure range with which to facilitate said urge if it is to see that light of reality. So the Thirty Years War it was to be using 1898 Miniatures figures as supplied all the way from Spain.

1898 Miniatures Spanish Tercios 1618-1648

1898 Miniatures are in the early stages of their Thirty Years War Spanish range with the cavalry and artillery yet to put in an appearance. Hopefully they will then move on to another army and there is a chance that perhaps that army will be the French. That would suit von Peter himself quite nicely thank you very much.

1898 Miniatures TYW Spanish cav greens

Above: Thirty Years War Spanish cavalry under recruitment at 1898 Miniatures

An order was conceived. The order was placed. The order duly arrived nicely packaged and in first flush they seem to be well cast though there is a little assembly required for all/most(?) of the figures. Most of the figures need their separately cast sword & scabbards attached – presumably this arrangement was for casting reasons. Others require arms or heads or whatever attached because there are optional options(!) available.

So what was got?

The Spanish Tercios Premium Collection – a whole bunch of figures pikes included plus the Maestre de camp exclusive miniature (out front in the black armour in the picture) …

TYW Spanish 1898 Miniatures Spanish Tercios Premium Collection

The Dead and Wounded – surely a compulsory purchase…

TYW Spanish 1898 Miniatures Dead and Wounded

The Scenery pack – how could one not? …

TWY Spanish 1898 Miniatures Scenery pack

Spanish general and cornet. Both figures can be built in differing ways …

TWY Spanish 1898 Miniatures Spanish general and cornet 1

TWY Spanish 1898 Miniatures Spanish general and cornet 2

TWY Spanish 1898 Miniatures Spanish general and cornet 3

A few flags were got as well. So another donation for the unpigmented figure pile. But at least one never ending urge has been scratched!  😃

TYW Spanish Battle of Rocroi - the last tercio by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

Above: Rocroi, the last tercio by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau. Fought on the 19th May 1643 between the French and the Spanish during the Thirty years War. The Spanish stand proud and defiant in defeat. Spain’s military ascendancy in Europe is at an end. Click for a larger and clearer view.

Miniature figure images care of 1898 Miniatures … and they tend to be clickable.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

Front Rank Figurines &/or Gripping Beast news


From the Front Rank Figurines website

Front Rank Figurines Ltd are delighted to announce that Gripping Beast Ltd have acquired all the Front Rank ranges and website.

To allow for the handover to Gripping Beast Ltd, we are now no longer taking new orders, any outstanding orders will be dispatched as normal.

Gripping Beast are aiming to reopen the Front Rank website for orders on 14th October.

Alec & Angela would like to thank all our many loyal customers for choosing Front Rank Figurines over the years.

We are confident that you will experience the same high standard of service and be able to continue to add to your Front Rank collections in the years to come.

Alec & Angela wish Gripping Beast every success in the future.

Front Rank

And from the Gripping Beast website

Gripping Beast Ltd is very pleased to announce its acquisition of the ranges designed and manufactured by Front Rank Figurines Ltd, upon the retirement of Alec and Angela Brown. The handover will take several days, and we are aiming to reopen the Front Rank website for orders on 14th October.
There will be no changes to the website for the moment, and we aim to provide the same high standard of service that customers have enjoyed to date. Over time we plan to remove the order value limit and make the ranges available to our trade customers.
We would like to wish Alec and Angela well in their retirement

Logo Gripping Beast


So all seems to be working out nicely then.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

A Calpe update – better late than never?

This is terrible! On the 4th July 2021 a News item was posted on the Calpe Miniatures website and von Peter himself has only just clocked it! 🤬 There can be no possible excuse for not spotting this sooner. The only pathetic rather weaselly excuse is that it looks quite similar to the immediately preceding News item.

No point lingering on what is obviously an embarrassing reconnaissance failure so here for the convenience of the The dear readership is said News out of Calpe Towers …

Calpe Miniatures is now closed until the 2nd September.

The website itself will remain open and you can send your orders in if you so wish, but no orders will be sent out until after the 2nd of September.

It has been a busy year, particularly on the family front, as two of my children managed to get married despite Covid’s best efforts. In mid June we started much delayed building works on our house and it has been a struggle keeping Calpe going while this has been going on. We have reached a point where it is actually impossible to work in the house and we are vacating it and going for a holiday until the worst is over. Our builder assures us that by September the house will be habitable again.

You might think from these comments that all I have done for the past year is deal with weddings and builders but, in fact, the main thrust of my activity has been the conversion from traditional to digital design for the figures. The process of learning to sculpt digitally has taken most of my time but the transition has been easier than I expected. Yes, I have had to learn how to use a new software programme but the fact that I could already sculpt has made things much easier. I would compare it to moving from using a type writer to a word processing computer, the skill set you use is the same but the digital medium makes the process much faster and more user friendly. The fact is, that having acquired the basics, it is amazing what can be done with digital design.

Several customers have expressed concern that the “look” of my figures will change.This was a major concern of mine when I started working digitally. Many sculptors produce figures which are anatomically correct but look too thin by the time they have been printed and moulded. I circumvented this by buying a jewellery scanner and working from scans of my own figures. This keeps the proportions of the figures the same as the traditionally sculpted figures but the detail now is far superior as I can blow up the head of a screw on a musket to the size of the 24 inch screen on my pen tablet. What this means is that sculpting the smallest of details is now possible. Figures are scanned and either reworked digitally or chopped up (digitally) and used to make new figures.

I have a library of finished figures and horses awaiting 3D printing. The printing side of things has slowed things down as I needed a top quaility jewellery 3D printer and choosing the right machine took time. It also had to be a machine that could print in a resin that was capable of withstanding the moulding process in silicone rubber. I made my choice in late May and the 3D printer was delivered in early June – a week before the building works started! I managed to get one very promising print out of it before I had to pack it up again and put it in storage. Roll on September!

The question really is what to release as my first digitally sculpted figures? After some thought, I have decided to redo, and complete, the Lutzow Freikorps. When I first sculpted these figures I did them because I wanted them for my collection but did not expect them to sell. Infact, they have become one of my best sellers but I get constant complaints from customers that the set is incomplete as that there is no cavalry, light infantry or artillery. I have scanned the original figures, reworked them digitally and expanded the “musketeer” set. The new figures will conform to the new format of packs in 4 or 6 figure sets. The “musketeers” are almost complete and will probably be the first release. The light infantry will follow and then the cavalry and artillery if I can find what artillery pieces they used – apparently they had both foot and horse artillery. The logic behind using this set as my trial release is that is enables me to try out sculpting and printing techniques for all arms of the Napoleonic army – infantry, light infantry, cavalry and artillery.

The Saxon light cavalry is also sketched out digitally and will be completed and released as soon as I feel confident that the figures I am producing digitally match up to, or surpass, the rest of the figures in the Saxon range.

Calpe logo1


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself … still a self confessed Calpe zealot

Snippets #20

A quick update as proof that there is still some form of life existing here …

von Peter himself spends way too long on the internet but sometimes it pays off. By way of example we are pleased to present Miniature Addiction. Not only a mighty fine site with mighty fine content but it is authored by a mighty fine fellow kiwi. Well worth a visit.


Seven Years War collection documentation has commenced

With Bastion Number 2 functional – well almost functional as the lighting needs more oomph – the venerable Seven Years War collection has been rescued from its purgatory stored in a shed so that it may be photographed for “documenting” on von Peter’s website. Work has commenced with the Prussians. Not that it really counts as “work” as it is quite therapeutic choreographing the terrain and figures whilst playing music and best of all ignoring the rest of the world.

Sadly the photographic skills of von Peter himself are not all they could be and the poor old camera being used is showing signs of over use and poor treatment. For example it is really REALLY annoying when the camera’s screen won’t show the scene that one is trying to photograph. 🤬 It can take numerous photographic attempts and numerous visits to the computer to review said photographic attempts to result in a single “good enough” photograph. Such is the work flow at Neu Schloss von Peter. But still it is therapeutic.

A new page is being developed on the website but for now it is in a discrete mode as wordage as much as the photographs is developed. It will be revealed soonish however even if the page will be in an extended state of “work in progress” as more photographs are taken. It just needs to be made a little more presentable first.

Above: one of the recently photographed photographs. Two battalions of fearsome Prussian grenadiers – the 9/10 von Mollendorf and 19/25 von Ramin Grenadier Battalions. Click for a larger improved view


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

Survey and sites

The folks over at Karwansaray Publishers are at it again with their The Great Wargaming Survey 2021 EDITION. Guy Bowers wrote to von Peter himself personally – yeah right! …

Dear history fan!,

The eighth edition of the Great Wargaming Survey has begun this Sunday, and it runs until the end of August.

As always, we’re asking you to take a few minutes of your time to let us know what YOU think about wargaming. We’ll be using the results to try and track trends and changes in the hobby, with the results published online in a variety of ways (mostly at the GWS blog).

Besides our undying gratitude for completing the survey, everyone who completes the survey gets a €5 discount coupon for our webshop, a bunch of articles selected from the fifty+ issues of WSS I edited, and of course you get a chance to win one of more than thirty(!) prizes, including boxed sets, books from various publishers and of course subscriptions to Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy or our other magazines. So why not take a few minutes now to help us out– it’s fast, fun and might net you some free goodies!

Kind regards

Guy Bowers
Editor, Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy


For the record it took von Peter himself just over ten minutes to complete the survey. And that was with an interruption from the good Fraulien von Peter herself!

Obscure Battles

During his meandering around the interwebs von Peter himself sometimes stumbles across sites that are of a heightened interest. Obscure Battles is one fo those sites. Perhaps not all the battles discussed would von Peter himself consider obscure – Frederick the Greats victory at Leuthen, 1757 or Gettysburg, Pickett’s Charge, 1863 – but the battles are all there for a reason. And anyways they make for great reading with some alternate views on how and why occurrences occurred thrown in to stir the brain.

The battles are presented with a background, a narrative, discussion of points of interest, some great maps – versions can be purchased based from the author, pictures of the terrain, paintings, orders of battle giving a little information on uniforms and flags, and references. But there’s more!  As a distinct bonus the author – Jeff Berry – is a wargamer so there are wargaming options / considerations offered up for the battles … at least in the ones von Peter himself has seen.

The list of battles currently covered to date are …

  • 334 BCE The Granicus
  • 1066 Stamford Bridge
  • 1346 Crécy
  • 1704 Blenheim (updated Oct 2017)
  • 1706 Ramillies (updated Mar 2021)
  • 1741 Mollwitz (updated Sep 2017)
  • 1742 Chotusitz (updated Apr 2020)
  • 1745 Fontenoy
  • 1745 Soor (updated Apr 2020)
  • 1756 Lobositz (updated Apr 2021)
  • 1757 Kolin (OOB updated July 2019)
  • 1757 Leuthen
  • 1758 Zorndorf (OOB updated July 2019)
  • 1775 Lexington-Concord
  • 1796 Arcola
  • 1800 Marengo (updated Dec 2020)
  • 1800 Hohenlinden
  • 1805 Wertingen
  • 1805 Gunzburg
  • 1805 Haslach-Jungingen (updated Mar 2019)
  • 1805 Elchingen
  • 1805 Durnstein
  • 1807 Friedland
  • 1809 Aspern-Essling
  • 1812 Shevardino
  • 1818 Gqokli Hill
  • 1862 Cedar Mountain (updated in Sep 2017)
  • 1863 Gettysburg, Pickett’s Charge
  • 1863 Chickamauga, Snodgrass Hill
  • 1879 Isandlwana
  • 1898 Omdurman (updated in Oct 2017)

Obscure Battles logo


Saxon Dog – it lives

Finally as yet another a public service announcement … the Saxon Dog blog has sprung back to life recently. von Peter himself believes that this site flaunts the projects of a certain David Imrie. The Dear readers may have heard of him. Whether he’s known to you or not the site is certainly worth an occasional perusal.

Logo Saxon Dog 2


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

Making water

Another quickie for the long suffering Dear readers.

Just in case any of the aforementioned Dear Readers missed it the Perry’s Facebook page has a photo tutorial on Alan’s latest technique for making water terrain using a couple of Vallejo products – Thick European Mud and Still Water.

It was posted on 4 July 2021. To glean what tips you can …

Hopefully that makes sense!

Photos above from the Perry Miniatures Facebook page.

And from the sublime to the ridiculous. Many / most / all of The dear readers will have seen the image below. Over the years von Peter himself has found himself in many a good natured “discussion” regarding the painting of eyes on 28mm figures. Being of a naturally idle disposition von Peter himself is firmly in the no painting of eyes camp. The theory is that if they are painted well – which is easier said than done – nobody notices them in gaming situations. If not done well they can turn a perfectly good figure into a mutant thing attracting ridicule. All that is required for eyes is a shadow in 99.99% of cases. Here endereth the lesson rant.

Where this image originated is a mystery. It has been seen in many places by von Peter himself who passes on his thanks to the originator. It still generates a chuckle.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

Grow your own

Unlike some less conservative hobbyists von Peter himself has to date shown little interest in the world of 3D Printing. Yes there are some interesting hobby related creations out there but if von Peter himself wished to obtain them he’d most likely purchase the thing already printed. Or if he could only buy the files for the “thing” he would want to send them somewhere to get printed, i.e. he would still want the “thing” to arrive already printed. 😃

Locally it is imagined that 3D Printing is going through the same technological advances that the emergence of home printing – of the image on paper variety – went through several years back. That is that the technology will get better and cheaper. Is home 3D Printing currently at the level of an expensive dot matrix printer?

No doubt right now there are some/many of you yelling at your screen to the ignorant buffoon who wrote this ill informed garbage. To this von Peter himself can only reply “it’s a fair cop”. He has done little to keep abreast of any 3D printing developments.

So why all this diatribe? Because this now closed Kickstarter from Henry Turner was chanced upon – Europe Asunder: 3D printable 6-18mm Napoleonic STL files.

Europe Asunder

See the sales pitch trailer here. Individually and much magnified the figures look chunky but on mass and at a distance – say on the tabletop – they look fine. And rumour has it that it is possible to thin down the figures via software anyway according to a Comment in the Kickstarter.

But what surprised and impressed was the provisioning of the Blender Files. These are the modular parts used to build the figures. With these in your possession – and some software … and a little learnings with that software – it is possible to customise your figures. Figure variants with heads twisted, different headgear, moustache, beard etc are all within reach. You could even create a brand new figure using diffing bits of uniforms from different nations. At least that appears to be the case. As to how easy how easy it actually is to do? Let me know!  😃

Europe Asunder French

Henry has provided some tutorials with more to come … that’s the memory von Peter himself has assimilated from somewhere!

For much more information plus some reviews check the Kickstarter.

Henry’s other wares can be found …

By way of disclosure – Images “borrowed” from the kickstarter.



Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

The times, they are a changing

The changings keep coming. The old guard are being removed from the hobby at a remorseless rate. By way of examples …

Duncan Macfarlane 1948 – 2021 is a name that apparently means many things to many people in the wargaming world but for von Peter himself he is Mr Wargames Illustrated. Many moons ago a much younger von Peter himself wandered into a local retail establishment and spied issue #1 of a new magazine – Wargames Illustrated. And it was a beautiful thing. Pretty pictures, nothing but wargames content and amazingly it was readily available in New Zealand.

Issue #1 was the first of many MANY years of purchases which did not cease until around the time that Battlefront Miniatures bought the magazine. The intervening years left a stack of magazines which eventually were replaced by official cds of the first 225 issues of the magazine plus a few issues of the associated Wargames World.

So much time spent pouring over the “war-games porn” pictures, the wargaming articles, and in those far off days pre the saturated internet age the advertisements. von Peter’s introduction to Calpe Miniatures resulted from an advertisement in a Wargames Illustrated. He remembers being on holiday in the Marlborough Sounds and sitting on the shores of the Sounds staring at the Prussian Landwehr battalion that graced the advertisement. Every figured seemed different and each was a marvel. Contact was soon made with Calpe Miniatures.

So though we never met von Peter himself is glad to have been a sort of associate of Duncan Macfarlane. May you rest in peace Duncan.

For a proper obituary see Duncan Macfarlane 1948 – 2021 on The Partizan Show Blog.

The above photo “borrowed” from The Partizan Show Blog referenced above.

But there’s more

Although von Peter himself has never dealt with East Riding Miniatures the name seems to have been around forever for von Peter himself. So it was sad to stumble across this …

As some customers will know, I have been suffering increasing health issues related to my diabetes, psoriatic arthritis and age . With the passing away of my wife in April it has only got worse (stress related, but it shows no sign of easing) to the point where I can no longer manage basic casting operations and maintenance, let alone mould making, due to the state of my hands, knees and hips. With my 65th birthday only weeks away I have reluctantly concluded that full retirement is now my own way forwards

The various parts of the business, figure ranges and equipment will shortly be up for sale. Interested parties are invited to contact me. Full details to follow.

I do apologise for the inconvenience this will cause customers but I can see no other way around this problem.

It just remains to thank all my customers of the last 22 years. I couldn’t have done any of it without you.

In time I will be restarting the second-hand section of the site and clear out some more of my own collection of books and miniatures. Watch this space.

– Tony

The times – and the guard – are a changing.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

A podcast discovered

A quickie.

von Peter himself has stumbled upon another podcast to while away the commute, the dog walk, and hopefully some figure painting. Ken aka the Yarkshire Gamer hosts The Yarkshire Gamers Reet Big War-games Podcast.

The blurb on iTunes says …

A wargaming blog covering that modern day rarity, The Big Game. No 10 figures a side on a 3ft square table here chap. All scales, all periods so long as it’s BIG. You know what they say “Go Big or Go Home”. We, my friends, have gone Big! Regards Ken The Yorkshire Gamer.

Available from several podcast providers – von Peter himself sources his from iTunes – or it can be listened to directly from Ken’s  blog.

Yarkshire Gamer logo

Bastion No. 2 gets a table

A quick update on Bastion No. 2. It now has a gaming surface installed aka the trusty table tennis table.

Bastion No 2 gets a table


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

Front Rank Figurines shock horror …

From Front Rank Figurines – especially their News Page comes this 18TH MAY 2021 – FRONT RANK FIGURINES FOR SALE stunner …

Exciting opportunity to purchase and relocate a Wargames and Collectors business with an impressive reputation. Would suit business-minded enthusiast/s or established Wargames company wishing to expand their ranges.

Conducting largely web-based sales, supply and manufacturing operation of premium quality miniature metal figurines.

Comes with excellent dedicated e-commerce website & lots of further potential.

Sensible offers over £225,000 + £35,000 for stock, plant and machinery are invited for genuine sale after 35 years of successful trading in same hands. Front Rank Figurines was founded by Alec Brown in 1986.

We are selling the assets and not the company shares, the assets consist of :-

The goodwill, all 28mm & 40mm ranges, stock & stock storage units, moulds and mould storage racks, production masters, casting & mould making machinery, unprocessed metal & moulds, e-commerce website, order processing & mail order list, packaging & stationery materials, office equipment.

Front Rank has a very loyal core of repeat purchasing customers and continues to attract new customers worldwide through our good reputation and word of mouth.

Front Rank has been a major part of Alec and Angela’s life for over 35 years and with Alec’s continued passion for the hobby and military history, it has not been an easy decision to put Front Rank up for sale, but now that we are in our 60’s we would like more time to pursue other interests in retirement.

We believe with a forward thinking, enthusiastic person/s at the helm, Front Rank has fantastic potential to continue to grow and develop.

Raising Front Rank’s online profile and presence through social media to the Wargames community, in Wargames publications/online websites etc, will undoubtedly increase sales worldwide.

Front Rank has not supplied trade outlets or attended exhibitions for a number of years and recently we have had in place a maximum order cap.

Front Rank is for sale as a ready made successful business with a long history and proven track record.

The forecast adjusted EBITDA figure for 2020/2021 ending June 2021 is £102,429.

Information/Sales Memorandum and financial details will only be provided once any interested parties have signed a non disclosure agreement.

We would appreciate only genuinely interested parties to contact us through the Contact Us page on our website.

Whilst Front Rank is up for sale we wish to assure all our customers that during this time it will be business as usual.

What can one say. Alec and Angela have run a top rate outfit that has been a pleasure to deal with over several decades. It is true that along the way they have managed to acquire no little amount of what should have been the wealth of von Peter himself. But the quality of their service and the quality of the product have meant that von Peter himself does not begrudge them. Not too much anyway!  😃

SYW Prus inf command stand front

For the record locally Front Rank Figurines provide all – or nearly all – the figures for von Peter’s

  • Napoleonic Austrians
  • Napoleonic Russians
  • Napoleonic Bavarians
  • Napoleonic Polish
  • Napoleonic civilians
  • Seven Years War Prussians
  • Seven Years War Austrians
  • a small contingent of Seven Years War Hanoverians
  • a small contingent of Seven Years War French
  • Seven Years War civilians.

Who will sculpt/create new figures in the style of Front Rank Figurines von Peter himself muses … to himself? Is this the end of new Front Rank Figurines?

Hopefully whoever takes over at Front Rank Figurines will continue the fine tradition of excellent prompt service and great casting. 

Of course a HUGE thank you go to Alec and Angela. You have been a pleasure to deal with. One hopes that you get your well deserved pursuit of other interests and a happy and extended retirement.

Perhaps von Peter himself should get those few figures required to complete the Polish horse artillery battery now rather than later. Hmmm.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself