Thursday, June 16, 2022

Covid Recovery Capers

Its been quite a while since the last (post Christmas New Years) post. In between have been a few health issues and a decent bout of the dreaded Covid. Fortunately didn't hack up more than one lung and have eventually made a full recovery (I think) anyway the worst aspect of the Wuhan Flu was feeling too crook to even sit at the work table to paint! 

Nonetheless in the intervening time I've managed to paint up a storm, well heavy downpour anyway!  With lengthy breaks in between. I have to admit motivation was somewhat lacking on occasion. First lot would be familiar to those who follow me on Farcebook - the final completion of my second ALH Ford armed scout vehicle and crew. From the delectable Empress (with the usual great service from Nathan of Elite Miniatures in Townsville) this was a fiddly affair to put together with superglue but the end result is just superb, and a joy to paint up.

I debated on the basing but decided in the end to keep it simple as it didn't have the de-mountable HMG required of the first one. Am tempted to get a third one (Empress seem to have three car/crew variations available) but I also have the smaller Company B version already so its not a pressing issue.

Next lot after this was finishing off my early WW1 Belgian Guides d'Cheval - the Belgian's colourful elite lance and carbine armed mounted scouting squadrons in their anachronistic 
Napoleonic-style Chasseur a Cheval uniforms. These are the rather nice UK Brigade figures which surprisingly (for a mostly fantasy figure company) do a rather good range of early WW1 Belgians.  

In addition I did some basing and touch-up work on my kit-bashed Belgian Field Artillery and limber. This is an early French 75 with seats on the gunshield for limbered mode. Two rode on the limber, two on the gun - imagine what bone-shaking fun that would have been! Again this is all early 1914 -15 as the uniforms etc, had all been changed over to Belgian khaki by mid 1915.

This completes the early war Belgians, a unique little army to go with the same in British and German. The French are still a work in progress with colonial troops done but (1914-5) line still required (with supports!) Cavalry have been obtained and are next to do up. Also in contemplation are Russians and Austrians but apart from a few recently acquired Northstar(?) Russians (and supports) they are still some way off. My late war French were posted last time and to go with them now is some air cover in the form of a Niewport in the colours of French ace Roland Garros 'The Sentinel of Verdun' who survived the war. Interesting factoid: the surviving veteran French airmen were forbidden to fly in or rather over the victory parade along the Champs Du Elysee (they were expected to march apparently). Garros was so enraged by this overcautious and rather nonsensical order that he defied the ban and flew not only down the parade route at roof height but then actually through the famous victory arch. Although the Niewport is a very small plane it was still a remarkably dangerous feat that he actually appears to have gotten away with. One can imagine the onlookers astonishment - who cheered him madly of course. Well he was a famous national hero - one of the few who'd survived - so I suppose they were hardly going to lock him up for it. I'm sure he was grounded for it though!  ;-)

The next lot are a bit of a departure from the modern-ish era. They are a unit of Medieval mounted Arab crossbow - I think the Saracens ( or Spanish Muslim light cavalry) copied the Europeans who had mounted a few Turkopoles as well as their own (French maybe?) Anyway they're nice-looking figures (although some of the horses I've found for them look a bit dodgy) and will fit in well with my Muslim mounted which now number well over 40! Wait... what?? How the hell did that happen? I wasn't even aware when I'd collected most of them! Oh dear. More figures. Shhh... don't tell the Memsahib!

Very colourful and I'd imagine quite deadly from the saddle - at a gallop too I shouldn't wonder! Possibly Artizan or old Gripping Beast figures - I've really no idea.

The last lot I have painted is another commission for my mate Doug who has collected a Napoleonic Saxon army from the wonderful Calpe Miniatures. I seized the opportunity to return albeit briefly to my Napoleonic wargame roots. It's been a while and while my eyesight and steady hand aren't what they once were I decided to give these a decent bash. They are Saxon Prinz Clemens Chevaux Legier and superb figures - so how could I not? 

You're right if you spotted they're unfinished - based but not flocked as our Doug prefers to flock his own! Well that's it for another six months... well OK - hopefully not! I have to also thank my mate Peter Rixon who has given me an awesome and eclectic collection of figures including many unique Pulp and lesser known all-sorts ranging from Italian colonial to German East Africa to Chinese Warlord, the Black & Tans and IRA, African native, Turks and even some Zulus etc, etc. I am still deciding which from the first three I'm going to tackle first. I'd better get stuck into them before that Baron's War kickstarter arrives! (Oh Gawd, here we go again!) 

Until next time.


Sunday, April 10, 2022

The much overdue FIRST post of 2022 (the better late than never post) update!

I have tried on several occasions to post this pilgrim's progress since the start of the year but something always seems to get in the way, the latest being a prolonged serious illness and then the bloody Wuhan Flu in the house! At least the required quarantine has been fruitful as I've just managed to finish a mate's impressive Empress 88 gun and crew done up as Condor Legion (so Luftwaffe Flakartillerie). The gun is just base-coated in Tamiya's German Grey with a black wash on the wheels etc, The brown Luftwaffe Flakartillerie uniform is correct for the Legion in Spain where the anti-aircraft guns like the 88 came under Luftwaffe control. The Unteroffizier is wearing a standard issue Luftwaffe Feldmutze and I given him a knock-off white 'Fliegerblusse' that Luftwaffe officers and NCOs liked the wear (with appropriate red tabs etc, for the artillery arm). the usual Legion uniform was brown - even the helmets but a coat of Feldgrau and they're all early war Germans again. Wonderful model but very fiddly to put together (as only the best ones can be!)


As you can see, as well as the detachable wheels the set comes with a host of ammo boxes and shells and can be set up on wheels (the 88 could still be fired that way) or on its large cruxiform stand in any position. But my best achievement (I think) so far this year has been the final completion of my Imperial Indian force. Thanks to the generosity of another friend I obtained a horde of unwanted figures including the wonderful Artisan and Copplestone NWF Indians, both Sikh and Muslim troops to add to those I already have and the units of Woodbines plus the beautiful Empress Indian Mountain gun set.

Muslim Rajput unit including HMG

Two Sikh units with HMGs (the third figure on the Sikh crew is my conversion using a Woodbine head)
Indian officers including one in the middle from the Artisan NWF range

The magnificent Empress Indian Mountain Gun

The collection also now includes two units of the famous Hodson's Horse - just missing one mounted officer! - and one unit of Frontier Rifles (which can double as dismounted Indian cavalry). Also prominent are three units of Ghurkas - two Woodbine (with HMG) and one Artisan (excellent figures) - plus four Woodbine units of two each of Muslim and Sikhs each with an additional Hotchkis HMG. 

A few more shots of the Mountain Gun (with mule ammo carrier!) and my Hodson's Horse officer.

Prior to my Indian army units I was finishing my WWI French army (as seen in my last post) with a colonial unit after acquiring a box of the Atlantic plastic figures which come loaded with options - and Senegalese heads! They required quite a bit of scalpel work to properly fit arms etc, and avoid odd poses but the advantage is a wide variety of figures in quite animated poses, and being plastic ideal for the odd conversion such as my bugler! Generally matching the CoC list for a late war French infantry platoon (very VB heavy!) that could also do for early WWII - European or Middle East/Levant theatre. They paint up well and I'm not unhappy with the final result.

There have been plenty of others too with some recent Perry's FPW Jaeger but more on them in a future post when I get more done - plus I'm holding out for their promised FPW French infantry release which should be any time now (hint, hint Alan and Michael! ;-)

Jumped the gun a bit publishing this as I completely forgot all the Vichy French units - and armour - that I'd also finished. The French armour includes some very interesting pieces from Mad Bob Miniatures in the UK such as the Panhard 165/175 Armoured Car and a couple of Panhard 179 APCs (amongst the world's first armoured troop carriers). The latter had two crew (one who acted as a gunner if it carried a Chauchat or Hotchkiss LMG) carrying 6-8 men and will form a mobile recce unit for my Vichy French. 

My Vichy French mobile recce unit

The rugged and reliable Panhard 165/175 Armoured Car

Next cab off the rank so to speak is the Renault R35 light tank from Rubicon which is a highly detailed plastic kit - I couldn't believe how small it is! Nonetheless it was well armoured and considered one of the best light tanks in the world at the time - the Allies in the Levant had nothing to counter it! The tank comes with both the long and short barrel 37mm gun turret. There were over 90 of these in the Vichy Arme L'Orient most operated by the famous Chasseurs D' Afrique regiments. 

Renault R35 (short 37 gun turret version) 

Long barrel 37mm version

Rear view of the long barrel version with two Perry Vichy French infantry to give an idea of just how small they were!

Apart from the AVs I also completed several units of figures to complete my Vichy force in the Levant and Syria including one of the more exotic cavalry the French had (several thousands of them in fact, both as mounted and mobile infantry mounted in trucks!) - this lot done up as French Moroccan Spahis - but could also easily be Circassians etc. and which I have as both mounted and dismounted.  The figures are Askari Miniatures from the US who have one of the largest ranges of various colonial types, FFL and so on available.  The quality mightn't be up there with the Perry's etc, but you can't quibble with the variety - many unique - very reasonable prices and for me anyway, the great service (and for those of you who have suffered at the hands of the US Postal Service you know how important that can be!)

In addition to the above were more of the pile of lead given me by my very generous mate Peter. They were the first of those figures I painted and are a full unit of French Foreign Legion in Vichy service so in all-French kit. I substituted a French SMG from the Atlantic WWI French set for the bearded FFL NCO figure - all the figures are Artizan with one unique one-eyed, one-armed Pulp French officer. A great character figure whose name escapes me but based on a real-life French war hero.

With the addition of the FFL my Vichy force is about complete save for a truck or two, which I'm still trying to source. So quite an extensive update but then again its been a loooong time between posts so I have some making up to do. Hopefully the next will not be so long in the making and will include some of the FPW figures I've been doing for a skirmish style game. Ou revoir for now and may the dice gods be with you!