Friday, February 27, 2015

More Mamelukes and a couple of BIG guns

As I promised in my last post I have got stuck into the small mountain of lead that is my newly acquired Mameluke/Ottoman army (circa 1800 - for Napoleon's Egyptian campaign).  Now I've finished repainting & restoring the painted figures (a mix of Dixon and Old Glory) I started on the beautiful Brigade Games 28mm figures.  First lot were the artillery crews.  These appear to be a generic type of Arab - Egyptian or even Ottoman Turk and come in a variety of Middle Eastern garb and poses, both loading and firing. For the gun I've used a pair of old Warhammer Empire sakers, as they are so close to the larger calibre guns favoured by the Arabs and Ottomans as to make little noticeable difference in appearance.  The figures fitted with the guns perfectly!

As you can see I've added some appropriate puffs of smoke to her as she's fired off. The plume from the barrel is wrapped around a thin piece of florist's wire to keep it rigid. Quite a pleasing effect but don't if I'll use it for even wargame.  After much umming and arring I decided to mount both the figures and gum on large 120 x 80mm bases and using my new rocky desert flocking mix.

I love the chap covering his ears as the monster gun goes off.  The noise those things made would have been eardrum bursting load and terrifying.  I had to have big guns for my Mameluke / Ottomans as one of my formative wargaming experiences was loosing an entire regiment of dragoons to a point blank volley of canister from a pair of these monsters whilst fighting an Ottoman army at my first con many years ago. My regulars were going quite well against my opponent's Arab filth, even seeing off their Mameluke irregular cav until my rash cav commander decided it would be a good idea to charge the guns and fatally came up just short. Naturally it cost me the only game I had any chance of winning in that competition and thereafter it was seared into my wargaming brain that I must get me one of those colourful armies with those huuuuge guns!  My mate Doug's recent acquisition of a Revolutionary French army made me decide that the time was ripe to fulfill that desire.  That and the fact I'd flogged Doug my cherished French Camel corps figures (see previous postings last year) and he had found some magnificent ones to match them from the Brigade Games range which also had the Ottomans & Mamelukes I was looking for.

The loading crew look just as good, with bits and bobs 'borrowed' from my old Warhammer gun sets. There'll be no 'charging the guns' with any cavalry with this lot in action. KABOOOOM!!!!

 The pair of them in action will look quite a sight on the wargaming table.

Not to be forgotten are my Old Glory Mamelukes. Again an already painted acquisition from my lead pimp Doug.  I thought them pretty average figures with an even less average paint job, begging to be tarted up.  They have some funny poses and the heads look a bit cartoonish but with a repaint and some added detail, they come up alright and should fit it well with the rest of my Mameluke cavalry.

The challenge with painting Mamelukes is of course the sheer variety of colourful apparel.  As they were virtually a collection of little princelings they dressed each to their own taste and always tried to outdo one another with the splendour of their robes etc.  There would have been few more spectacular sights on the battlefield of thousands of these superbly mounted (all on Arab stallions) and dressed Muslim maniacs charging hell-for-leather at the French squares.

I have now just finished my first batch of the Brigade Mameluke figures.  They proved every bit as challenging - and more - as the above Old Glory figures.  Being such slender figures the horse all have an inherent weakness where they attach to their thin bases.  Unfortunately I discovered this after I finished painting and was attempting to remove them from the painting sticks to base them up. At least one separated from its base and several others threatened to do so too.  Much very bad language followed BUT I've managed to finally get them onto bases and (hopefully) secured them with large amounts of glue.  I'll flock and finish them then make a start on the next lot but here's a photo of them on the work bench with glue drying and before the final touches.  They are all based up as per irregular cavalry on 60 x 40mm bases.  These unfinished figures are led by the figure of chief Mameluke maniac Murad Bey, the figure in a gold spotted yellow robe closest to the camera. And yes , he was an old white-beared dude of 50+ years when he led his Mamelukes against the French at the Battle of the Pyramids.

I think I'm going to enjoy painting the rest up, which should keep me occupied until retirement!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

More Russians and the start of an Ottoman (and Mameluke) army

Well its been a while and before January is over and done I thought I'd better put together my 'monthly' post (bi-monthly more likely).  Unfortunately I couldn't make Cancon this year with other commitments so can't say how it went or any of the usual goss - first year in some time where I haven't been involved in a demo game of some sort. Felt both strangely liberating and somewhat unfulfilling at the same time. Its not that I haven't been busy with the collection since the last post in early December - far from it - but I have had to get a grip on my collecting mania as I have more figures to paint and finish than years left to draw breath!  I have (for the very first time) actually had the money AND the time to get most of what I've wanted. I haven't been completely rash about it as I've sold off several entire armies including my entire 20mm collection in the process which has largely paid for my new purchases but nevertheless they went for considerably less than the market price (although that is a fickle thing if there ever was).  Still, for a good cause - to help out a mate who had lost his entire collection in the Canberra fires to rebuild.  And it gave me a good excuse to collect the figures I really wanted.

Amongst those of course are my Perry's Napoleonic Russians. I have finally finished most of them - just one regiment of Dragoons to go.  I now have a brigade of Cossacks plus a regiment of Uhlans and a battery of horse artillery. To go with them I now have a five battalion/regiment (4 x line, 1 x jaeger @ 24 figures each) infantry brigade and a grenadier brigade of 2 batt. plus 1 of jaeger. There is a battery of foot artillery (6 x guns) to go with them. This is (or will be once the dragoons are done) a perfect wargaming army.  A bit on the small side true BUT they can also go with my much larger Austrian army of three infantry (2 x line 1 x Reserve) and two cavalry brigades. But there's also a lot more to do to finish off all the Austrians.

Above, the line infantry of the Narva Regiment and below the Jaeger in the same brigade in Bagration's army. All Perrys of course.

Also got a number of mounted officers and the pick of the litter is the grenadier Colonel on his rearing horse - as good in its way as the famous Front Rank commanders (I have both Bagration and Archduke Charles on their rearing horses). A very finely featured and animated figure he is.

Apart from the Herculean task of organising Christmas at my place for the family AND very hectic work in between I have been finishing off collecting my Napoleonics.  In this Perry's tempted me beyond restraint with their new line of Bavarians. After much deliberation I finally caved and bought enough to fit out my Bavarian brigade.  Unfortunately/fortunately I have an artillery battery otherwise I'd have got the guns, crews and multitude of caissons etc as well.  The latter are particularly good, with a range as extensive as that of the Austrians - at some future date I can see myself having to get me some...  but not for now Josephine!  As it is I now have 80+ Bavarians to paint up as well. I also have another brigade of French to do as well. You see what I mean about getting a grip on the collecting mania? Look - it's an addiction OK? I said I'll handle it - right? [palms head]  But that's not the worst of it. Not by a long chalk. What Doc also did over Christmas/New Year was to buy an entire Napoleonic Mameluke/Ottoman army. Mostly unpainted of course.  Totally crazy of course.  Madness in fact.  Hundreds more figures to paint. Clearly I did not have enough already!

So I started on the ones that came sort-of painted (and based, but not the greatest paint job).  I now have a full orta of Cairo Janissaries, another of turbaned (Cairo?) archers under command of a mounted Turk Janissary officer and what appear to be either Ottoman Akinji light cav or some other (Dixon figures). The latter were beautifully painted, just needed a clean up and re-basing. I'm now in the process of doing up ten Old Glory Mamelukes. Crappy figures but will come up a treat with new paint etc.  That just leaves 28 Brigade Games Mamelukes (magnificent figures) 20 armoured Spahi and 20 Akinji light cav plus two ortas (@ 30 & 28 figures each) of Janissaries and Nizam plus artillery crews (also currently in hand) - so still some 80 cav and over 100 foot to paint. What a project!

Cairo Janissaries - Old Glory figures.

Detail of the Cairo Janissaries - OK figures with some crazy poses (well, they are irregulars!)

The Dixon Ottoman (?) cavalry - either Akinjis or the Egyptian (Mameluke) equivalent. Beautifully painted, now re-based and just awaiting the proper green jihad flag.

I don't know who did the painting on the Dixon Ottoman cav but although small figures (true 25s?) they are beautifully done and now all chips and blemishes removed and on proper bases. 

Not to be outdone of course is our little Janissary officer in charge of the archers.  Again some unknown painted them but I've re-based and repainted the officer to more closely match his men. Mounted on a Shetland pony of course! 

I particularly like the standard bearer as well.  Big job carrying something that size!

He really is a tiny, tiny little Turk...

To see the quality of the other Ottomans and Mamelukes I'm currently doing, check them out on the Brigade Games site (Napoleonics / Ottomans) They are as good as anything the Perry's have done (i.e. their superb Sudan range) and are remarkably similar to Paul Hicks sculpts - so very high quality indeed. I'm encouraged to try and get a really good paint job on them which should outshine even the above. A lot of work but looking forward to doing something really different. Another advantage is that the Ottomans can also be adversaries to my Russians - so another very rich source of wargaming. I'll post again next month hopefully with some more progress on the colourful Mamelukes and Ottomans.