Friday, September 18, 2015

Doc's Bavarian Bad Boys!

In amongst the Bolt Action WWII AFVs and Italians I've had my Napoleonic Bavarian Brigade project puttering along.  It was unfinished, a mishmash of figures and needed sorting out for years, all the more so when I succumbed to temptation yet again with the new Perry's line of Bavarians.  I bought enough for three battalions worth - two line & one light - plus artillery limber and caisson. The Bavarian Brigade consisted of six x 12 figure battalions, one of them painted as LI, two of them Front Rank and the rest old Foundry.  Added to this is one three gun battery (scratch built to match captured Austrian pieces) with Foundry crews and two Chevau Leger regiments one Front Rank and the other Foundry. Like I said, a bit of a mishmash.  

Doc's Bav Badboys - (from L to R) old Foundry, Front Rank and new Perrys figures on all Doc's patented magnetic movement trays!
Doc's Bav Badboys including Bav cav with (L to R) Foundry and Front Rank and in between a new Perrys mounted commander on rearing horse.  My scratch-built Foot arty guns to the right.  The closest one with the long trail is a Seven Years War vintage light howitzer, the other two standard 6 pdrs.
The plan is to have a Brigade consisting of one regiment of two 24 figure battalions of Foundry, one regiment of two 28 figure battalions of Perrys and one 12-16 figure battalion of Light Infantry (Perrys).  I'd also have my 24 figure battalion of Front Rank for good measure which would make for a six battalion brigade - historically matching what they marched into Russia with.  Apart from the Foundry command stands and the repainting/rebasing of them and the existing 12 figure Foundry LI I have over 70 new Perry figures including three mounted commanders to paint and base.  Together with diversions for the WWII stuff including my Italians and AVs its taken me the better part of nearly four months - but the end is now in sight! I have five battalions of infantry and mounted commanders for both infantry and cavalry finished and very happy with the result!
The Perrys prancing horse Bav CO - I've made him a cavalryman by giving him a fancy feather in 'is 'at!

Bav Cav and their prancing Perrys CO
Interesting the size discrepancy between the old Foundry (also possibly sculpted by the Perry brothers when they worked for them many years ago?) the Front Rank and new Perrys figures.  The 28mm FRs tower over everyone and are positively Teletubby-ish in their proportions compared to the 28mm Perrys - I think the old Foundry Bavarians are probably 'true' 25mm. You tend to notice the difference in the foot figures rather than the cavalry which I thought blended in quite well.

The guns - love the old Foundry crew poses - amongst the more animated in their day and beautifully proportioned even if smallish 25mm.  The guns are the same scale which next to the 28mm figures makes them look more like 3 pdr light guns.  The Bavarians made use of plenty of these captured in the 1809 campaign but of course lost the lot in Russia.
I found myself slightly short of command foot when I went to make up the Perrys regiment so I used one of the mounted commanders as the regiment's Oberst (Colonel), putting him with the infantry command figures on a slightly deeper base (60x40 rather than the 60x20). I have a mounted CO for my old Foundry figures which I converted from a Revolutionary French commander which in turn fits in with a mounted Oberst for each two-battalion regiment. Basing the mounted CO up with the foot worked so well with the Perrys I might try and do the same for the Foundry figures if I get the time.

Regimental command stand with mounted Oberst. The standard bearer with the CO carries the Liebfahne  or regimental colour rather than the Ordinarfahne carried by the other battalion(s).
Bavarian tete d'colon - I have no idea what colour the battalion marker flag carried by the pioneer was so I gave him a nice red one (warning flag: fierce beardy man with axe and attitude!)
Herr Oberst mounted on a beautiful Perrys horse - they do very nice ones in perfect (correct) proportion. I've noticed the newer sculpts don't appear to suffer from the sometimes fatal spindly fetlock syndrome - they are far better attached to their metal base. 
The Perrys are some of the finest figures around and being priced accordingly I have in the past whinged about the occasional lack of quality control - the ultra-thin horse legs that have an alarming tendency to snap off bases for instance.  While Perrys seem to have addressed that issue I should warn that one reason they took me so damn long to paint was that I discovered after I had finished painting that there were unsightly lumpy bits, particularly on hands, cartridge boxes and bayonets that only became apparent when painted. Every figure has some flash from the casting process and the Perrys are no exception.  They have less than most but they still have some - ALL the Bavarians had tiny tendrils of metal on many of the raised and termination points of the cast figure.  Including bases I found these most prominently on the hands, ends of bayonets (and sabres), musket stocks and cartridge boxes. Mostly pressed and folded back onto the figure they were very hard to detect when prepping the figures for paint and once the base-coat was on, impossible to see. So the first two batches I did resulted in a lot of scalpel work, paint touch-ups and f$%*ing bad language after I thought I'd finished them! Very stressful as I don't bloody swear much.  I learned the hard way that it pays to go over every figure very, very carefully before paint!

Some of my favourite figures that I've now added to each battalion - a stand of them suffering from a 'whiff of grapeshot'.
My old Foundry Bavarians with their mounted Colonel. Love the expression on the face of the officer - really barking out orders 'Vorwarts meine Kinder!'

Contrast the scale: (L) Foundry and (R) Perrys Bavarians
Perrys Bavarian Light Infantry Schutzen - rifle-armed Bav Badboys!

My Bavarian Brigade Commander - probably should have a big cocked hat rather than the casket helmet but I couldn't bring myself to butcher such a nice figure!

Most of the Perrys figures I've added to my Bavarian Bde
I have one more battalion of infantry and the artillery limber and caisson to go before I've finally finished my little Bavarian army. Might have to get a high command for them at some stage but for now I'm more than happy to finally finish one of my longer standing projects. 

Achtung! Doc's Bavarians on parade!
 The matt on which all these figures are standing is one of my new wargaming tablecloths that I've made from rubber-backed canvas paint drop sheets, a liter of paint via my large spray gun and copious amounts of flocking. A messy process that had to be done outdoors but now I've got a mat that will cover a 12' x 4.5' table. Now that winter's over and I'm less likely to perish from exposure working outdoors I'm planning to do one for desert/Mediterranean theater games as well. 

Achtung! I must to be going to der Little Wars convention @ Lanyon for zum wunderbar gaming action!
Well that's about it - Auf Weidersehen from Doc and Herr Oberst.  Almost forget to mention a plug for the forthcoming 'Little Wars' convention to be held in Canberra on 8 November at Lanyon Vikings club showcasing the hobby (click on the link to find out more). There will be traders there and games covering a wide range histroical and fantasy.  We're putting on our famous French and Indian Wars game 'Tomahawks Along The Ohio' which I have posted on previously on this blog.  Its a gold coin donation entry to go towards our returned servicemen and women - a most worthy cause so hope to see a few of my blog-followers and fellow gamers there.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Some more Italian armour

I had intended to get stuck into my Bavarians and actually made a good start even finishing a small unit of jaeger but my Warlords order for my Bersaglieri army came in and I felt drawn to finishing my WWII Italians or the armour at least. The Warlord offer was too good to refuse - UK$75 for an entire army (4 x 10 man sections i.e. a full platoon plus command) including a support weapon and two armoured vehicles delivered - normally nearly UK$ 100 plus delivery. The order took a little over two weeks to arrive and Warlord very kindly put in a Sahariana AC instead of the Semovente (which I already had). The pack includes a set of Bersaglieri heads which are enough to make up nearly two platoons so I'm able to convert some figures I had to give the Bersa's a mortar as well as the MMG they came with. Naturally I had to make up the figures and vehicles as soon as I got them.  Very impressive they are too. Nicely caste figures with minimal flash (unlike the Perrys I have to say) and great detail. The AVs are resin and do have a bit of flash and crap to clean off (no different to the Perrys 'Blitzkrieg' armour) and the usual collection of fiddly metal bits that do require some patience in cleaning up and attaching with Superglue.

The M13/40 (closest) is the Perrys 'Blitzkrieg' vehicle, behind are the Warlord Autoblinda Lince and the Sahariana that came with their Italian army deal.

The awesome Sahariana - what a beast it is! The little Lince is the Italian version of the Brit's Daimler 'Dingo' scout/command vehicle. Warlord send you the buttoned down version to differentiate as otherwise they're almost exactly the same.
I've added a few bits and bobs to the vehicles including sandbags, Jerrycan rack and spare track for the M13/40 tank, a second Breda MMG, pickaxe and some packs etc for the Sahariana and an aerial for the Lince - which I think I've managed to snap off about four times so far! Also arriving about a week or so later were my three L3/35 tankettes from 'shapeways' in New York. Shapeways are a 3D printer mob who do a nice line of armoured vehicles. The finish is a bit rough but as the models are so small in 1/56 - 28mm its not that noticeable and at just under $AU 19 each not that expensive.  It cost me about $75 AUS to buy three and have them shipped halfway 'round the planet in about two weeks. Not bad at all.  I have to say they have an amazing range of 28mm AVs with dozens of variations to each model available. I settled for the L3/35 with the twin Breda MMGs and one with a Solothurn AT. Warning though - they are made in a  very lightweight hard plastic and are hollow and very light. In fact there's virtually no weight to them at all which led me to glue a couple of coins underneath and mount them on magnetic bases just to give them a bit more heft for the game table.

L3/35 next to the tiny Autoblinda Lince - its actually bigger (but only just) and must have been very cosy for the two crew!
The Italian AV production line - ready for finishing paint etc. Note box of neglected Bavarians behind them.
Finished Autoblinda 'Lince' (Lynx) with Breda M38 MG, also lighter armour than the Dingo hence the 'open top' vehicle rule applies in BA games.
The M13/40 with extras such as fuel can rack, sandbags and extra track piled on the front armour for added protection. Dunno how much protection it provided but the extra weight apparently played havoc with the engines which had a tendency to overheat as a result.

Of the models I've now completed I have to say the Sahariana is the one that appeals the most. I didn't realize they were so big - very wide chassis and huge tyres made them perfect for off-road desert ops to counter the LRDG in North Africa (dunno if they did ever encounter one another historically but that would make for an interesting game scenario!) because of their construction they came with a wide range of armament options such as the one  fitted with a 37mm Ack-Ack belonging to one of my wargaming companions that I posted on previously. Jason's Sahariana inspired me to acquire one and I decided to give mine the extra Breda MG it usually came with. Supposed to have a four man crew but usually 2-3, it could also transport six fully armed men. Luckily for the Allies the Italians only made about 100 of them as they are widely agreed to be the best vehicle of their type in the war - forerunner of the modern SUV? Its a huge AV - bigger than the M13/40.

The other Breda MG is a Battle Honours one and a fair bit cruder version that the one the model came with - could pass for a heavier caliber MG I guess - mounted on a bit of brass rod.  I like the NCO seated in the back clutching his bottle of vino!
The M13/40s and Semovente AG behind them are all Perry's 'Blitzkrieg' line, the three L3 tankettes are Shapeways (worth checking out through the linked text) and the remaining Sahariana and Autoblinda ACs are Warlords.
That's finished all my armour for the Italians - I now have to do just a platoon of Bersaglieri and one of parachustisti which I intend to turn into the famous Folgore who fought so gallantly at Alamein - another 60-70 figures with support weapons teams. Before I get to them I have to return to my Napoleonic Bavarians and finish that lot off and by then it'll probably be time for the 'Little Wars' con in October.

Doc's Italian armour - Avanti Savoia! They go nicely with my dismounted/surrendering/running away Italian tank crews!