I've made a bit of progress over the last couple nights, once the kids are in bed. Horses for the first (Mamluk command) base of the Ayyubids are finished, though I might pick out the manes and tails a bit more. I'll do skin and mail on these next, and then have some fun with the scarves etc. and tack.
I've also snatched some time to read through The Last Argument of Kings, and part way through Black Powder (backwards, I know), and am enjoying both, not only as rules, but also as an engaging read, something I've rarely said about wargames rules.
LAoK serves as a broad survey of the major European conflicts of the 18th century, including the European colonial conflicts. It begins with a few general modifications to the basic rules to reinforce the linearity of the period tactics, and a discussion of some of the developments of the period, but the real meat of the book lies in the later chapters. Each of these focuses on a particular conflict, and generally consist of a brief history, and then profiles of key personalities and their associated nation and army.
In the section on the War of the Spanish Succession, for example, we have a brief survey on the causes and events of the war, a profile (and accompanying game-relevant crunchy bits) on Maurice de Saxe, and the profile for the French army in the 18th c., including both a historical sketch of the army, and broad guidelines in game terms. These include stats for various units, guides to building an army (in both percentiles and absolutes for rarer units), and tweaks to the army at different points in the period covered. Grognards may balk at the idea of a single list for the entire 18th c,. but it fits in well with the overall logic of the BP approach, which seems to be "here's a framework that works for us, it's plenty to get you started, muck around with it as you will".
In addition, I've dropped a bit of Christmas gold (filthy lucre anyway; frankincense and myrrh never seem to make it under the tree) on some reading material. First up were a couple books I've heard about on TMP over and over again, "Swords Around a Throne" by John Elting, and "Carthage Must be Destroyed" by Richard Miles.
Whenever anyone on TMP asks about where to start reading on the Napoleonic wars, or more specifically the Grand Armee, Elting's book gets mentioned. It seems to be wargamer-standard reading. Miles' book generally comes up as a history of both Carthage and the Punic wars, but one that's a little less Romano-centric, to the extent that's possible. As someone who's perilously tired by most things Roman, this comes as a welcome respite. Throw in the fact that I've been fascinated by both Hannibal and Carthage since I was a kid, and I'm really looking forward to the public transit commute in the forthcoming weeks.
Last, my Beloved found me a terrific score on a trip downtown today, at BMV, the discount book store. We had taken the kids down for a tramp down Yonge St., and stopped in for a poke-about. What she came across were two half-price volumes of the bound library edition of Hellboy.
I'm a latecomer to both Mignola and Hellboy, but have become something of a rabid fanboy, maybe to make up for lost time. Have nice, solid, bookish editions of the big red guy makes me feel all tingly, and now that I know they're out there, I'm going to have to track down the rest in the series. Apparently there are editions for the BPRD as well. Yummy. As an aside, there's apparently a Dr. Doom / Dr. Strange graphic novel out there penciled by Mignola, the existence of which I discovered just the other day. Going to have to find that as well.