Unfortunately none of my paints from long ago survived. This has left me with the problem of securing new ones. My old collection was rather vast and well established in colors and pigments discovered over time. I've begun by ordering a few vallejo that seemed prudent, a number of their washes, metallics and flesh tones. I've also managed to visit a few craft stores like "Hobby Lobby" and "Wal-Mart" where I was able to secure a number of colors on the cheap. One particular day saw a sale at Hobby Lobby where all craft paints were on sale 40%. I walked out with about 80 or so ranging from Folk-Art and Americana at 60 cents apiece to Anita's at 30 cents each. A few mom and pop hobby stores had the brushes on hand to fill out what I needed and I've also secured some Future at the local hardware store. All in all not a bad start, but pale in comparison to my former array. I'm looking towards getting a good selection of Citadel and at some point Foundry to fill any gaps and cover a few particulars.

Orders, Orders, Orders...

Today and yesterday I completed my first round of web orders in accordance with the decisions I've made recently.

  • Johnny Reb 3
  • British Grenadier
  • British Grenadier Scenario Booklet
  • American War of Independence by Greg Novak Vol 1 & 2
  • A few assorted 10mm OG AWI packs

GFI Online:

  • 2 packs of 10mm OG AWI

Old Glory:

  • 1 bag of confederate command figures

Scale Creep:

  • A bunch of Hardee Hat infantry with enough command to do the brigade
  • A number of Vallejo Paints

It's So Easy...

Looking far and wide for information about stripping miniatures free of paint I found a lot of information and even semi-scientific experimentation and their data. However, since Iowa is right above Missouri, I occasionally feel the twinge of "show me" and that's just what the leading contenders would have to do. Rather than use any typical paint thinner I thought it would be more fun and useful to survey the top household products.

The Contestants:

  • 300+ Miniatures of Old Glory's ACW line, primed and painted over a decade ago. Primer is of Armory black and paints are of citadel, a few craft paints, and whatever brand Stone Mountain sold back then. The sealant was of Armory, matte.

  • Simple Green

  • Easy Off (no odor variety and heavy duty original)

  • Pine-Sol (lemon odor)

  • 4 "Hard" or "Stiff" bristled Johnson and Johnson toothbrushes

Almost in the guise of a "300" movie parody, 300 miniatures are put to the test against 3 powerhouse household products!

The Contestants Posing for a Photo Op

The Method:

Three test subjects were placed individually in 4 jars along with one variety of solution. Another 3 large jars were each placed with 1/4 of the remaining miniatures and likewise with one variety of solution apiece. The individual jars were examined every hour for paint adherence, nothing rough, we are looking for penetration of paint and separation. In each case the solutions are not watered down or diluted at all.

The Goop Brewing

The Results:

Simple Green
The much talked about and celebrated Simple Green failed me almost completely. Checking hourly on the test subjects during my awake hours the first two days I saw nothing but the slightest flake. After 3 days I removed the large sample jar and attempted a scrub, 50% of the paint remained after a stiff bristle Johnson and Johnson was finished.

Aside from the pleasant odor, little was found pleasing about this product. It performed above Simple Green, but still left large amounts of paint post-scrub 3 days later.

Easy Off
The king, winner, the undisputed champion of this contest. Within 3 hours I could scrub the miniatures free of paint. After 3 days of failing me, the other products were kicked to the curb and the miniatures given under an hour in Easy Off. The result was easily scrubbed, totally clean miniatures. The jar of scent free and original heavy duty performed equally.

The Results

In summation the performance of Easy off had me remembering a really old commercial show tune of theirs. Fortunately for my manhood and pride's sake, I could only remember the "It's so easy...." part.


Following many a good read and advice offered around the web I finally came to a few decisions. I'm going to pick up where I left off with the ACW in 15mm as well as start building up AWI armies, at this point decided upon 25mm to take advantage of Perry's line, but I will be ordering some 10mm as I'm intrigued.

So where to begin? After much debate and trepidation I've decided upon continuing along my Johnny Reb roots and will obtain the new edition. The changes in basing particularly has given me pause, along with the fewer figures required as I enjoy the massed look on a tabletop. The great Y!Group that supports JR3 has helped me, if not to overcome my doubts and fears than to at least face them with a little more hope.

I've decided to build around the ANV and AoP at the outset of the Lee's invasion in '63. This will provide for many "what if" scenarios and historical encounters. Tallying up my present lead I decided to begin with the 1st Corps for each army. Although not equal entities in strength I believe building in this manner of Corps will prove the most hassle free in the long run.

Manufacture is still a slight spot of contention. I've always used Old Glory for infantry and Essex for cavalry, but with so much out there to choose from I may play the field a bit more wide. In the spirit of this I was able to obtain samples from Scale Creep and being rather impressed I'm confident that I will be using their miniatures for my Iron Brigade. The only thing I have to look out for is that in the "advancing pose" they cover a lot of ground and JR3 calls for a 3/4 inch deep base.

One thing I am certain of; my old lead needs a bath and I need to find the right brew...


My excitment continues at the rediscovering of a much loved hobby. Magazines, books and rules have been reread. Visiting my many previous bookmarked forums and discussions I utilized the valuable information so many of you out there provide. I now face a need of direction. My main interests would include ancients, ACW, ECW, Colonials, Napoleonics, some skirmish 20th century and anything 18th century, espeicially the AWI (not much that I don't have an interest in). Having a rather large personal library of history books and biographies (my one lifelong bad habit) I have begun to reread many old passages looking for inspirational direction and anything to jumpstart old memories of games past.

My present inclinations are towards beginning again with the ACW and AWI. Further research is in order; rules, figures, paints, all are to be determined.

Wargaming Archaeology

Having made the decision to wargame once again I needed to find out exactly where I was and where I wanted to go. My first acts included using the web where I proceeded to get liberal with the bookmark button. On a side note, my appreciation of a browser's bookmark feature was never fully realized until I had children. Finding many great forum's, groups and blogs I was able to find out that the hobby hadn't changed that much in the last decade. There were some new rules, some old ones had gone out of print and sure the information age had taken its toll on the genre, but for the most part, the state of the actual act of miniature wargaming was just as I had left it. Unfortunately, the boxes that I had packed up 10 years prior had not had as calm an existence.

As much of my old collection was stored in one of our family homes, much had gone missing, some had deteriorated due to dampness and freaks of plumbing/heating. All in all though I'd have to say that my excitement to rejoin the wargaming ranks produced a solid "cup half full" attitude. I found many miniatures, some of my long ago youth including some old space marine epic rhinos with their tracks still ingrained with spray flock snow for window decorations; our early attempts to recreate winter battles. I will not go into all our youthful experimentation when attempting to create atmosphere, but I will say that smoke bombs do produce a Fog of War element, even if they do cause your gaming room to be filled with smoke, eyes water and invite fits of coughing.

The search widening and the dig deepening I finally came across the treasure trove of Miniature Wargames magazines and historical material. In total I was able to find much of my Old Glory and Essex miniatures, a liberal estimate at placed at 60% their original strength. Despite metal bases and magnetic strips in containers many had broken free and been chipped past repair. Only a few stands here or there remained intact, namely a canon, a cavalry stand and one Confederate Divisional General. If my plans took me down the path of the ACW again I knew there was work to be done...


After much time and consideration I've decided to create this space to communicate my return to wargaming as well as my interests and pursuits within the hobby. Its my hope that you will find this entertaining and maybe helpful in your own wargaming ventures. The many wonderful, informative and helpful blogs and forums which I have found, upon my return, have been invaluable to me and weighed heavily in my decision to take on this endeavor. In summation this is my own little effort to contribute to the hobby's collective information online and hopefully advancement.

As always, thank you for stopping by.