Sunday, December 5, 2021

Update: the FINAL final post for the year!

Its been a considerable break since the last post what with all that Covid lockdown crap (hopefully) behind us, I've saved up the bits and bobs of Doc's 'Art of War' activities for one final post for the shitty year that was 2021. Where I left off was my Empress Model T Ford scout vehicle (done to represent the ANZAC ALH unit in Palestine circa 1918) with another to be done to match but alas I've only gotten as far as building and base-coating as other (commission) work has intervened. 

Finally getting a break from that I took the plunge and developed a late war (WWI) French platoon with supports for a series of games intended for Cancon next year - provided it isn't cancelled again with the next Covid outbreak! - and including some French armour. My wargaming friend Duncan has 3D printed a St. Chamond and a Schnieder which he has generously provided me for the painting of his own Trenchworx version of the model. The camo schemes used by by the French seem to vary widely so I've settled on one of the more common also used on their artillery (similar to that used by the Germans too) examples of which I have seen at the Musee de Armee in Paris and in the War Memorial here in Canberra.

The Trenchworx model of the St. Chamond

Duncan's 3D printed version - a bit cruder but quite serviceable
with a dab of paint (and mud!)

The Schnieder (also a 3D print) tankette/armoured MG carrier
The MGs were usually Hotchkiss M1914s rather than
the Vickers or Maxim-looking MGs I've created.

Useful comparison of the Trenchworx model next to
based Artisan(?) late war French

In between the various commish jobs I took the time to base and give a proper rendering to an old resin model (15 -25mm?) of a small destroyed church which I got from my wargaming partner in crime Doug and had been fought over on the tabletop for over thirty years (so time it got a spruce-up)! A great little model, its even got space to accommodate an observer or sniper in the wrecked belfry and perfect for our WWI gaming endeavors!

A now suitably singed church occupied by the cunningly disguised
Men In Black (AKA early war Belgian Carabiniers) - can
you spot the lookout in the wrecked belfry?

Just enough room to accommodate an HMG too!

Just prior to this I had finished a commission job for Doug for supports for his late war Germans - two field guns and two HMGs. The models are the superb Empress but the bad news was I had to build them first! Both the guns and HMGs were a nightmare for failing eyesight and superglue soaked fat fingers! The basing is my own machined and cut MDF on magnetic sheet as in the middle of a @#*$lockdown I couldn't find any suitable commercially made bases the right size - AND he still had the temerity to whinge about the 'grassy bits' in the flocking - sheesh! there's no pleasing some people!  But seriously a splash of brown wash will get rid of the green bits.

Again beautiful Empress models but the rubber hoses for the water cooling is my addition.
 The guns were so fiddly to make one or two more bits wouldn't matter - a rash decision I came to regret! 

Note the camo pattern on the gunner's helmet - gaudy but accurate!

The guns are also Empress and beautifully made but
second only to the HMGs in degree of difficulty to assemble!

I decided to make the guns in their standard feldgrun colour as I couldn't find a source
that agreed on the splinter camouflage pattern used for the gun-shields and ran out of time.

Before this I was finishing off Doug's lovely Calpe Saxons. They really are just about perfect Napoleonic figures which is a big call considering other high-quality metal ranges such as Perrys. A better quality control in the spin casting process perhaps as there is next to no flash or even mold lines on the figures which are also highly detailed. If I didn't have more than enough Napoleonics to paint I'd be very tempted to get them myself. Note they're still on the painting sticks which is because the client (Doug!) prefers to do his own basing, which is fine by me - its still $5 a figure ($10 for mounted). All figures are base-coated and (matt) varnished. I've stuck to this over the years and its still paid for my otherwise (probably) un-affordable hobby - well, mostly 😉 (just don't tell the Memsahib!)

Another significant commission was for my good friend Peter and his Game of Thrones collection which featured in a previous post. He'd given me a range of fantasy figures and I kind of surprised him with my interpretation of R'llor(?) flaming swords and the Red Fire God priest types associated with them. In fact he liked them so much he gave me more to do. Not my cup of tea gaming-wise (I might play a game as a challenge but wouldn't collect them) but as I've stated previously, the figures themselves are superbly sculpted with great detail and some with well animated poses, so good to paint.

A few more Robin Hood-forest bandit types - love the voluminous green hooded capes!

The Red Priest this time accompanied with two female acolytes.

A few more flaming sword s to match in with those done previously.

I'm sure there'll be more to come - the potential range of figures is huge and I know Peter - not being a man of half measures - has purchased to complete game series including hundreds of figures. I'll look forward to painting the next lot! 

There is a lot more other stuff of my own in the works or awaiting my attention over the Christmas 'break' - I'll just have to get them into some semblance of order - like my late war French (now over half done!)

A late war (1917-18) French infantry platoon (Western Front) of
two sections with supports and armour.
There is also another commission job - an 88 and crew (early WWII German) intended for action in France or even the Kondor Legion (SCW) - so don't worry Doug I haven't forgotten! The build for that one promises to be a nightmare too!  Then there are literally boxes of my own stuff, most of it here:

From the bottom (L-R) my ALH Ford Scout [sigh] - one day my friend, one day...
next to it my FPW Bavarian Kuirassier and next to them Doug's 88 and my mounted Bashi Bazouks,
somewhere there's even a regt of half painted early war (WWI) French Hussars to fix up! The
next box includes my long-neglected Napoleonic French with a regt. of Legere and and another Rhine Confederation
regt., wagon train and yet more Revolutionary French...

This little lot doesn't include my other WWII stuff such as the Vichy French which need a few more bits to complete and my other Napoleonic Russians etc, etc, OR my planned Perry's FPW collection (next year) I'm sure you all get it - a lead addiction such as mine never has an end to it really 😁

A few more games planned over the next two months but I probably won't be posting anything more at least for this year. I do hope next year is a better one for all of you who have a passion for wargaming miniatures and share in our wargaming artistry - for that's what it is - and have a damn sight better year than the last two!

God speed and a Merry Christmas to all - Doc signing off for '21

Definite last post! I seem to have been a bit premature with my last 'last post' as I was in the process of fixing up and finishing my late war (WWI) French infantry force for our annual wargaming convention next year (Cancon) - somewhat disappointing as I had created complete German, Belgian & British (BEF) forces for early war (1914-15) - but nobody else had them! 

We are using Steve Langan's great rules "Setting The East Ablaze" (2nd Ed.) as it covers the period including the last years of the war (1917-18) with a straight forward but dynamic rules set. We are using Chain of Command (CoC) army lists devised by our rules guru Andrew to accurately represent forces at a platoon level which, with supports appears to be the most equitable way to game it. For the French that I chose (after a lot of um-ing and ah-ing) the standard platoon consists of a HQ (1 x Lieutenant) with two 22-man sections each headed by a sergeant and consisting of two squads: one Voltigeur/Grenadier consisting of 3 bombers & 5 rifles led by a Corporal; one 12-man Support Squad with an LMG team (usually a Chauchat) of a gunner, loader and two riflemen and a second BV (unique French rifle grenade) team of 4 rifle grenadiers and four BV loaders. For platoon supports I have a 75mm Field Gun, medium trench mortar, a Hotchkiss HMG (MMG?) and another rather unique French small anti-tank gun (didn't know they even had them!). The lumbering St. Chamond tank completes the force. En avante mes amis!

Grenadier/Voltigeur squad
NCO with 1st LMG team
The unique BV squad - the BV rifles are my clumsy conversion!
NCO leading his bombers
The Chauchat LMG team
An extra officer (General de Brigade!) with the converted 1st Lieutenant - now with sidearm!
Doc's late war French army.

The famous '75'
Hotchkiss HMG
Anti-tank gun (actually just a really small field gun)
A rather unique French trench mortar with finned rocket-like bombs.
The lead figure is my converted rifleman

Friday, September 24, 2021

The Lockdown Follies cont'd...

 Last month it was doing all the fantasy figures (farewell to my old LotR and a GoT commission) whilst in lockdown this year. After a brief interlude the *#%$ing Covid lockdown has extended curtailing all meetings and games although resulting in a corresponding range of projects being completed.  Some have been hanging around for years and now finally getting attention. 

That said the one that I was really enthused by was the more recently acquired Empress Miniatures Model T Ford scout with de-mountable HMG & crew. It is a really superb model of the first Ford truck with beautifully sculpted figures which come in several sets to enable multiple choices in your model set-up. Here it is all based up and good to go. Note that the NCO figure with the binoculars is a conversion of another Empress 'Jazz Age' figure using a Woodbine head, the actual crew consists of the two MG and the driver. 

Historically these scouting vehicles were introduced in the Palestine campaign in the Middle East in early 1917 and operated mainly by the Australian Light Horse as well as the British Yeomanry. Despite the mechanical difficulties of maintaining these machines in such a hostile desert environment they were remarkably effective - the Turks had no real answer to them. By the end of the war ALH Model T scouts were the furthest advanced of any Allied unit ending up in Aleppo, northern Syria just next to the Ottoman Turkish border. 

I was so impressed with how it eventually turned out (although fairly simple the Ford was a tricky build - and getting the MG and crew to fit together involved much superglue and bad language!) that I have acquired another (from my great kids for Fathers Day!) I'm in the process of doing it up now - after commission work that is. This Model T was (unbelievably) more of a challenge to build than the first one but here's what it looks like ready for paint:

Amongst the figures I've painted are a number of Revolutionary and Napoleonics I've had left over or waiting around (sometimes for years) for paint. These included some Trent French Revolution figures in tricorne for my French-in-Egypt army. Although many are in Kleber uniforms unique to the Egyptian campaign, the idea is to have a number of units in early Nap/Revolutionary kit that can also be used to fight in northern Italy etc. Note: Trent are a terrific range of figures who appear to have been bought out by Warlord and are now marketed by Skytrex. If you're into French Revolution or early Napoleonics these are definitely worth considering. 

As you recall from a previous post - they match in (ie. same make) as these guys:

Nicely animated and some fierce expressions! They also compare well and mix with other makes like Front Rank and Elite, speaking of which I happened to have an Austrian 'German' unit hanging around for years primed and ready for paint. So they too got the treatment! 

Lastly was this (old Perry?) figure of Marshal Ney - quite a challenge as it was in a very dilapidated condition. I tried to remove it for another base but no go - it was glued fast and in real danger of snapping off at the fetlocks! So with a bit of cutting back and pinning (cunningly disguised!) plus a good repaint the Marshal has been given a new breath of life on the wargaming table! 

I've been more productive than anticipated despite health concerns including a back injury that has limited the time spent at the painting desk. I've got to maintain my 5km walk per day too which means NOT risking the progress I'm making (oh so gradually!) by staying up hours every other night painting! Nonetheless I've managed all the above and a few odds and sods over the last six-eight weeks. 

Amongst the latest of these are the following Franco-Prussian War Bavarians. These are some of the original Perry's sculpts they did for Foundry back in the day (which was forty odd years ago!) - I have complete armies of them - but these Bavarians, like the Front Rank Austrians, have been waiting for years to be painted. I'd forgotten what lovely figures they are and found a regt. of Kuirassier to go with them (which still remain to be done). All of this was inspired by the recent release of the Perry's FPW range, particularly the boxes of Prussians. I'm hoping the commission work will fund a few boxes of them for skirmish games but I'm also eagerly awaiting their release of the French in plastic, hopefully this year. Meanwhile I've painted and based up the Bavarians as per my other FPW figures three to a 60 x 30mm base. 

Most of my commissioned work thus far (some lovely Calpe Saxons at the moment) are to pay for a unit of mounted Perry's Bashi Bazouks and some wonderful WWI French Hussars all of which will also need a good repaint. Until next time. 


PS: As usual feel free to comment!