Monday, December 1, 2014

Urrah! More Russians done!

I have recovered (almost) from my little tumble and have been somewhat busy in the yard to make amends for my enforced put-yer-buggered-foot-up (you old fool) shenanigans. I've commissioned an ex (or perhaps not so ex) bikey cum tree surgeon to cull my Amazon-in-the-backyard and turn it into a savannah like setting in time for summer.  Old mate's done a pretty good job and I've also slaved away too hauling truckloads of vegetation outta the place. All of which hasn't left as much time as I'd like to finish up my Russian army.  Nonetheless since last posting I've managed to paint up no less than 64 Russian infantry to an acceptable standard, with another 24 half done and 24 more 'prepped and ready to go. Reasonable effort in the circumstances. That gives me (finished) 3 x regiments (or battalions of 24 figures) of line, two of grenadiers and one 16-figure battalion of Jaeger. The one half-done will give me a full brigade of line when they're finished. Most satisfying! Nearly half my Austro-Russian army now completed. A regiment of dragoons, one of jaeger and two of line? grenadiers? will finish it up.  I have a few nice mounted Perry's officers to go with them too.  As command figures I plan to lavish a bit more attention on them.

The figures are a mixture of Front Rank (the Jaeger) Warlord and Perry. The FR Jaegers are a bit Tellytubby-ish in comparison but are still a very nice figure - and all are 28mm so within a mil or two of each other size-wise.  The Jaeger are resurrected figures with a new, proper paint-job and basing. The Jaeger's green uniform was so dark it was almost black at a distance according to authoritative sources. I've given them the matching green trousers as well rather than the summer whites as it more befits their skulking, scurrying and shooting role as the Russian army's outnumbered skirmishers!

The Warlord box was the one with the metal command stand that contains those very useful cords and tassels for the standards.  The plastics are OK - reasonable detail and poses (well, they are all marching aren't they?) but the command are less... er, OK?  They are all in marching poses (drummer and bearers) save for the officer who seems to be having some kind of a fit with sword in hand. Doesn't really go with the rest but could have if he wasn't looking at the ground while he's waving his sword about!  Dunno what the sculptor was thinking there.  Nonetheless done up together with the bits of annoying flash cleaned off (not the greatest metal casts) they look quite reasonable as a command stand.

As you can see I've done them up as the Ekaterinoslav Grenadiers who were brigaded with the Pavlovs (my other Front Rank unit). I like the flag cords which you can bend into whatever shape. They fit very neatly onto some copper rod flag poles.  If only that officer didn't have his head at such an odd angle it'd all work! Still, a decent 'regiment' in a box for under $40 so shan't complain.

The last lot are the Perry's plastic Russians. Very nice figures as you'd expect and very clean casting - virtually no annoying flash to clean up. Gotta hand it to Rendera - their molds are some of the best there is in the biz. Have a look at the Perry's Facebook page to see the step-by-step process of doing the latest knights in HD plastic shown in short videos. Real craftsmen at work. Amazing stuff.

I've made them up as the Narva Regiment in Bagration's 2nd Army.  They were part of Raevsky's 7th Corp defending the Redoubt at Borodino I think. Stout lads all!  Apologies for the photography - its a bit overcast and about to bucket down outside.  The clouds make it very glary without enough light to show the details on the figures - too much contrast. At least its a good rendition of the colours which (I hope) are pretty close to what they would have been historically.

That's it for now.  As I alluded to in a previous post, I could not resist getting some of the Perry's new Bavarians. Once the last Russians are done I'll have to get stuck into them but I doubt I'll get much done before Christmas is upon us once more.  I also have a squad of WWII German Fallschirmjaeger motorcycle combos to do, and some Panzers, which I am trying to resist but, as we all know, resistance is useless!

Who knows, I may even get a game in too.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cossacks! Urrah!

Well being banged up at home with a sprained ankle its probably time to do my monthly post. Nothing like an enforced lay-off to get productive with the hobby!  Anyhow I finally finished off my Perry Cossacks.  Lovely figures in well animated poses with an officer in a classic Cossack 'follow-me' pose leading his swarm or sotna (which sums up their battlefield tactics too!)

A scruffy-looking lot in simple blue uniforms (have I made mine too blue?) which fit the bill nicely. But as we know appearances can be deceptive for they were universally acknowledged as the finest light cavalry of the time. They are brigaded with my earlier Front Rank versions with the plumed fur kolpaks. And Platov - can't forget my legendary Cossack general! Also a rather nice Front Rank figure.

Urrah! The cossack sotna sweeps forward.
Platov and his Cossack pretty boys in the fancy kolpaks with the showy plumes (just like his!)
The Cossack Brigade
The only thing slightly out of place is the gun and crew which pedants will have noticed is of Crimean vintage. The fact it fits in at all just goes to show how little the Russian army had changed from 1812. The Cossack gunners also look very much like the Russian Opolchenie (militia) of the time - have a look at the Perry's versions in their Napoleonic Russian range. To go with them (or not) I also have a regiment of rather nice Front rank Russian lancers I've done up as the Lithuanian Uhlans. Three regiments of Russian lancers - its enough for any Frenchman to require a change of undies.

I must admit I prefer the Perry's versions only because of the poses - the Front Rank are beautiful figures but it just doesn't look very Cossacky to be just standing there holding your lance as it were! Its a pity because a more animated version would be perfect. I used the classic dark blue for their uniforms too - sans washes or highlights which may have been a mistake however, given the number of Russians I still have to paint, not one I have the time to correct!

The very bright sunlight I took these photos in make the Perrys Cossacks look like they have sky-blue uniforms in comparison to the Front Rank boys behind them - but they don't. If they look too light a blue I can always put another black wash over the uniform.

The Front Rank Platov figure - a beauty with his mace of authority and painted in the days when my eyeballs allowed me to paint theirs!  I should spruce up his base though - its a bit sparse for a commander of his stature!

To be honest I'm not unhappy with the results.  Now hopefully to get a game with them. I've got to try and get Doug lined up for a GdB stoush - he hates Russians!  Trouble is I've only got four 24 figure infantry battalions - I need to paint up another eight - yipes!  Better get cracking then!

Before I go it would be remiss of me to mention something very exciting to 28mm collectors and gamers.  The German firm Pro Gloria have recently announced their intention to release a box of plastic Landesknechts in early 2015.  Pro Gloria make some of the most beautifully sculpted late Renaissance figures around. In my opinion these figures are as good as anything the Perry's or Paul Hicks do i.e. the standard  is incredibly high - the benchmark for figure makers; the best there is! 

Also check out their Facebook or even better their IndieGoGo page: 

The latter is a very good means of funding projects over the Internet.  I'm currently examining my rapidly shrinking hobby fundage with a view to investing in these beautiful figures for my Impetus armies. They have a lot of great deals going so do yourself a favour and nip on over to their IndieGogo site and check it out.  If you spend a squillion Euros on an order they even offer to get your mug on the head of one of their figure releases!  Awesome.  Never heard of that before (although Alan Perry sculpted Michael as a squished/dead Rohan on their Muamak base) but given the standard of the sculpts they've already put up on their site, I can believe it!

Until next month, Doc out.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Not dead yet... another WWII aircraft and some Napoleonics finished

Rumours of my demise are.... rumours!  No activity on my blog is NOT a sign of my passing but is a sign of:

a) blogging bone-idleness

b) work (boring work of the post 'retirement' variety)

c) work of the domestic variety (including commissioned work from the Minister of war and Finance)

In fact I have been busy-ish with the hobby in my spare time (once more becoming a rare and precious commodity!) painting loads of figures, building model aircraft (I seem to have been bitten by that bug again) and various other projects. The only thing I haven't done recently and which I do miss is have a decent game.  When I do manage one I usually post the results on the blog.  The fact there has been nothing - nada - zip for two months  gives you an indication of the parlous state of affairs my wargaming has fallen into lately.

That said, what I've lost in wargaming I have somewhat made up in other hobby-related activities, mainly finishing off my new Austrian Napoleonic army and building WWII aircraft to finish my Greece/Crete/Mediterranean Theatre project.  My eldest bought me a few models I'd been after for Father's Day (well done lad) and I have recently completed the Gloster Gladiator biplane.  It's Airfix' new kit and what a beauty it is. The only drawback is the decals for the Irish air force or pre-war options which forced me to source stuff for the Greek theatre. Here I discovered one belonging to Gladiator ace Sqdn Leader M StJ Pattle, tragically killed over Athens in 1941 flying a Hurricane against ME110's. Turns out he was probably the highest scoring Allied ace in the war - at least in the West, and certainly among the Commonwealth pilots (he was South African born but joined the RAF before the war) with 51 confirmed kills, although private records from squadron members suggest the real figure was over 60. Remarkably that's all between early 1940 and April 1941 when he was finally and fatally shot down. He was a master of deflection shooting which meant that unless there was another witness, the gun cameras didn't catch the shoot down, as the burst was put into the space the enemy plane flew into - a pretty rare trick very few mastered - so it often looked like he was firing into thin air!

A remarkable record for Pattle, even scoring a few ME109s in his Gladiator before swapping over to Hurricanes in about February or March 1941. He was also one of the very rare 'ace-in-a-day' pilots - shooting down more than six enemy planes in two or three sorties on the same day.

Sqn Ldr Pattle bags another Italian Macchi fighter over Greece!
As you can see, I had to have a Gladiator in his colours!  Pedants would notice there's a missing letter on the side of the plane.  One of the things I have been unable to master thus far in model-building are the #$%@ing water-slide decals - particularly the old ones that disintegrate when you try to put 'em on! Hence the missing third letter!  Other than that its as accurate as I can get it of a Gladiator from the same squadron in Greece in 1940-41. That Gloster nearly completes the Allied air force - just a Fairy Swordfish bomber (another biplane - should be a fun challenge!) and a Kittyhawk to go. To finish the Axis air force I have found (again thanks to the help of my eldest boy) a rare kit of an Italian S.79 Sparviero trimotor bomber. I may also do a JU88 or a Dornier if the madness doesn't subside but there are literally thousands of figures awaiting my attention too. Which brings me to my next piece: Cossack artillery!

I picked this old Foundry set up from a bring-&-buy last year for a few dollars. It is of Crimea vintage Cossacks BUT the uniform is virtually unchanged from 1812, particularly under greatcoats!  The tall cylindrical peakless hats also match the earlier era - have a look at Perry's new Opolchenie artillery set and you'll see what I mean. It's to finish off my Cossack brigade and goes well with the other figures (painting up my Perrys cossacks now in fact). Its a great little set - I even like the shouting officer  and the superfluous running Cossack crewman ("Hurry Pavel - run & fetch vodka for Kapitan!")

Last but not least are my Perrys Hungarians - a 36-figure battalion of them. They are a lovely figure and nicely animated - should have got more of course but they are bloody expensive to import from the UK even with the boy's discount (but thanks guys!)  Still, cheaper than buying 'em here!  

Ya see folks, Tony Abbott's Australia is a bloody expensive place to live (apparently it's cheaper to live in Switzerland) and my town Canberra - one of the most costly places to live in it. EVERYTHING costs a fortune - so I shouldn't whinge about my expensive little indulgence of a hobby! 

Apologies folks, us 'semi-retired' get a bit antsy about the price of things here or as the sign that I got my dad when he retired said: 'Knows everything - now has the time to tell you about it!'  So, stressed pensioner or retiree know-it-all just gobbing off - take your pick!

Anyway, the Austrian Holy Roman Empire's Hungarian infantry.  It may have been neither holy nor Roman but their sky-blue pantalooned Hungarian infantry were the pride of the Empire!  They look the business too. 'The duck's guts' as my boy would say. I am concerned about the old WRG-sized basing which has become increasingly crowded with the 'scale creep' of modern figures BUT given I've done the lot that way, re-basing hundreds or even thousands of figures will not be happening any time soon! Besides, they still fit - just.

Sorry about the quality of some of the pics - had a bit of trouble with over-exposure in the beautiful but very bright Spring light this morning. I like to take my pics outside in natural light so after this winter, bright sunlight beats freezing your whatsits off in the back yard!

Well, that's about it. Only got another couple of Austrian units to go to finish the reconstituted army off. Still hanging out for some quality Austrian lancers though. I've been pestering Alan and Michael but to no avail - they are having just way too much fun dressing up and riding in AFVs to Arnhem (check their Facebook page out - they appear to be having about as much fun as you can have with your pants on). [Sigh] That'd be the life, eh?  Bit of sculpting. Bit of messing about in camos and armour. Bit of wargaming. C'mon boys - get cracking! Just a few miserable Poles in Austrian service on nice horses in nicer uniforms. How hard can it be? ;-)

Murat says: 'Where are those bloody Austrian lancers?!?'
Of course I'm kidding myself to think the Perrys have the time to regularly read my blog! Still, they've just put out a range of Bavarians - all gorgeous must-haves of course (I can feel another huuuge order coming on guys!) - so how hard could it be to do a few Austrian uhlans I ask?

Anyhow that's me for another month.  Reckon I'll just post what I've been up to once a month - with the exception of any decent wargames - if I ever get to have one again that is!  People asking themselves 'I wonder what that curmudgeonly old sod Doc is up to?' can now log in just once a month and find out.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Napoleonic Austrian Hussars

I really should have waited before posting on the Perry's French wagon because I just finished my Perry's Austrian Hussars.  They are quite a nice figure and well animated, with a choice of sword arms to vary the action a bit.  If I have one criticism its that the horse's fetlocks and bases are way too thin and can bend or even break getting them off the painting stick I hot-glue them to.  I've used the hot-glue gun method for years and its mostly the new Perry's that have caused me grief - although I did also have problems for the same reason with my WWII RifRaf Greeks.  Its a production problem I've heard of from quite a few others so I know I'm not alone. Some of my wargaming colleagues refuse to buy any more Perry's, particularly cavalry, because of this problem.  Its a pity because they are, like most other Perry stuff, beautiful figures. I've not encountered the problem with their plastic cav figures either.

Every man and his dog when doing Austrian hussars seems to pick the more riotously coloured ones like #4 'Hessen-Homberg' with their bright blue shakos and parrot green pelisses but I decided on the more quality and somberly coloured Regt. #3 'Erzherzog (Crown Prince) Ferdinand Carl d'Este' - still colourful enough in my opinion!

Gradually re-building my Austrian army after selling off most of my old figures. Big job! But its good to take a break from WWII stuff for a bit and paint some Naps - always my first love when I started collecting!

They'll fit in nicely with the hordes of other Perrys I've bought.  Still got artillery limbers and several battalions of infantry (@ 48 figures each!) to paint up before I start the Russians. I haven't entirely abandoned WWII either as I have a Fairy Swordfish bomber to build - the old Airfix kit which should be a challenge - and an Italian army to put together.  I still want to have another go at Galatas Part 2 again.  Plenty of other ambitious projects in the wind too - Austrian 1859 army, WW1 Belgians & Germans, Italian Wars Landesknechts & Pike and finishing my TYW dragoons etc, ACW - it never ends really.

Lotsa of lead to paint - so little time to paint it! Still, more time now the AFL footy season draws to a close, my son's team out of their finals (no more goal umpiring duties for me) and my beloved Saints seemed destined for yet another wooden spoon. [sigh]
Think I might paint some more figures...