Saturday, July 7, 2018

THE LIST

In the interests of record keeping I thought it might be worthwhile listing all of my armies and projects which might be of interests to anyone else who reads this blog - although I can't really imagine why you would be.
I have always approached this blog with a view to discussing things I learn when I paint or build anything (techniques, issues ... that sort of thing). I have never posted any older items on this site - only what I've finished at the time I was working on it. So, there's a heap of stuff which pre-dates the blog's origins. Perhaps I'll move toward electronically cataloguing ... we'll see.
I'll approach this in an historical chronology. I never consider any of my armies truly completed. There is always a unit or sub-unit I think about adding. I tend to like to play with something new when I trot my old soldiers out. Unless stated otherwise, the following list are armies which are capable of being fielded on the table-top.

Persian Wars Spartan army - 28mm
Caesarian Roman army (under development) - 28mm
Early Imperial Roman army - 28mm
Gladiators (under development) - 28mm
Iron Age Celtic army - 28mm
11th Century Norman army - 28mm
Viking army (collection phase) - 28mm
13th Century English Barons Wars Rebel army (under development) - 28mm
Wars of the Roses army - 28mm
English Civil War (collection phase) - 28mm
17th Century Dutch Wars (under development) - 28mm
17th Century Anglo-Dutch Naval - 1/1200
War of the Spanish Succession Dutch (under development) - 28mm
FIW Seven Years War British and French (under development) - 28mm
British Napoleonic Spanish Peninsular army - 28mm
Allied 1815 Napoleonic army (under development) - 28mm
French 1815 Napoleonic army (under development) - 28mm
Crimean War Allied & Russian (under development) - 28mm
Franco Prussian War French (under development) - 15mm
Sudan Colonial British force (under development) - 28mm
Allied WWI Palestine skirmish army - 28mm
WWI allied and axis aviation models - 1/72nd scale
WWII Allied forces (British Western Desert/Canadian Dieppe (under development)/US Italian campaign/British commandos/British Western Europe 1944) - 1/72nd scale (20mm)
WWII Axis forces (Italian Western Desert/early Fallshirmjeager/DAK/1940 Germans - 1/72nd scale (20mm)
1990s British Army battle group - 1/72nd scale (20mm)
Sci-fi Daleks/Ogrons and Unit (under development) - 28mm

The bold/red listings are those armies I've actually played games with. I truly do only get to play wargames about 5% of the time I spend on this hobby. When I return from my current posting (possibly two years away) I'll explore how to change this.

Part of me wishes I could stick to just one period but I can't. Too much fascinates and attracts me. WWII is a period I keep returning to and it's really a hobby in itself - like Napoleonics is for me also. All the above comes with terrain and scenic buildings and fortifications in some cases.

Some of the above armies are major projects in themselves or will be. My Quebec re-fight is shaping up to be more than 1000 figures in total (both sides) and will continue for years to come. My Barons Wars Baronial army for a Lewes 1264 re-fight is near completion and has been stalled repeatedly over several years. It has it's own blog and I also need to build the Royalist army which is even bigger than the Rebels - over 1250 figures. The Dutch Wars will be massive but progress will be rapid once I get serious about committing to it - it also has it's own blog which has been effectively dormant for some time. My Crimean Balaclava project is also considerable and a total labour of love.

The list never rests. I keep returning to a lingering interest I've been slowly cultivating for a bronze age Assyrian army - I'm sure it will happen. Intend developing a Crete 1941 game one day. I've flirted with a mid/late Hundred Years Wars army and a 12th century army - I just love the medieval era.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

De Havilland DH2: Times Two

I can't be certain but I think these two models have been my longest ever builds. I put the models together (the easy bit) in 2014 and just finished them. Prior to that I decided to get into Wings of Glory (what a fabulous and fun game concept) but wanted to play it in 1/72 scale because the models are better.
None of my aeroplanes are after 1916 vintage and these two additions will give my British squadrons half a chance against my two eindeckers. Obviously I like to rig my models to take it a step closer to an authentic look but it's a compromise at this scale - they are not fully rigged - I'm not completely mad.
I just love these pusher types - all very 'stop the pigeon.' Having said that they are a damn sight more fiddly than standard biplanes which I admit to having difficulty with at the best of times.
Weathering is a bugger as I needed to replicate the thin fabric semi-translucent effect with the air-frame ribs showing through. The decals for the tail section are problematic even using Microsol. They come as an entire tail section (tricolour with numbers) and required trimming after application, matte coating and touching up. I think painting the tail and then applying just a numerical decal across the top would be better.
I snapped two struts and lost one (let's put the look down to battle damage) which highlighted how imprecise I was when building the models in the first place. My enthusiasm for these models has come and gone a few times during the process but I chipped away until they were done - a labour of love and hate.
I black washed my prop-wash discs to simulate the blur of rotation. These Revell models represent fighters of the 24th and 29th squadrons - the latter being an earlier colour scheme. Well that's that. Whenever I build another WWI aircraft it will be an early war two-seater German observer I should think. Now I'm moving onto my three 1/72 German DFS230A gliders.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Project Quebec: Regiment Guyenne

I've really enjoyed building this unit. For those of you who follow my blogs, it should be understood I am enthusiastic about too many periods and armies. Each project distracts me from the other and it's no small wonder I have plans and desires which can take years to achieve - many years in fact. Well this is one achievement which was well overdue. I have wanted to build a French Seven Years War regiment for the French Indian War since the 1980s ... and now I have.
My auto-focus caught the drum!

I have also enjoyed it because it's a small unit (only 22 figures at 1:9 representative scale for the Plains of Abraham) and because of the fine quality of these Crusader Miniatures - they really are a pleasure to work with. Oh, and it makes a pleasant change from all those red-coated British I've been banging away at. By the way, after I painted the drummer (pictured above) even with my magnifying lamp I couldn't pick out the buttons on his lace to paint them. The pin-dot lace proved too disruptive for my ageing eyes.
To differentiate the two officers I amputated and re-set one of the arms (left). It's an imperfect result but not so much that anyone will notice. I used grey and shaded up to white on all the coats but used ochre as a base for the gaiters. Not sure if it made any real difference in the end and I'm going to try the beige base for the next regiment.
This is a poor photo but I took it to highlight one thing I've changed in painting bayonets. After the blackened steel base coat and steel dry brushing I run silver just along the edges of the bayonet to simulate a sharpened edge. I've also started copying other techniques such as using grey on the faces for that unshaven look - I always used thinned black wash before.
I also love the flags - colourful and best of all, simple. The colour panels are done in three tones. I left the regimental colour (right) to dry over night before painting the white cross otherwise the colours would smear. The left colonel's colour is white on white so I've base coated the panels light grey and the cross beige/white prior to dry-brushing white to better pick up the design. Oh, and before anyone asks, yes, I made sure the flags of the regiment are also on the drums which you might make out on the drummer picture above.

I've struggled with how to base my French. I was always going to base them in three ranks but by how many files per base? In the end I went with four and three figure frontages on four figure frontage bases making for less handling.
The next unit will be identical in size and they are my smallest regular foot regiments. They are also Crusader Miniatures figures but I will be buying some Black Hussar figures for a firing line or two next time around and I'm looking forward to find out how they are to work with.
I've only tacked down the standard bearers as I'm still finishing the colours and will be transporting them separately back to Canberra. Last time the finials broke off and I'm still waiting for mine to turn up. I've opted for the Front Rank French finials with the cravat as I didn't care for the fiddlier and smaller Crusader Miniatures finials. I use thicker steel wire for my poles and they couldn't be seated securely. The Front Rank finials allow for deeper holes to be drilled.


I finally finished the colour party and I'm happy with the results. The finials arrived just after the original posting - so here they are. The finials are Front Rank and they are great.  word of warning - when twisting the ribbons be super careful - they are on the brittle side and I came within a whisker of snapping one.
Anyway, their accompanying war-party are on a go-slow as I decided to take a small break from figure painting and finish a couple of early DH2 pusher-type 1/72nd scale bi-plane fighters which I suppose I'll post next.
 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Dutch Artillery Limber: And Guns ... Part 2

At last my allied army for Waterloo has some artillery support - a half-battery of Dutch Horse Artillery. What is it about undercoating that reveals all the bits you miss when you are cleaning up the figures prepping them for the paint-job? Maddening. Well, this has been an interesting and fiddly build.

I've never had this happen before but it's amazing how unobservant I can be at times. When I finally got to painting the belts and straps for the artillery train figures I noticed that the rear figure has no hanger straps for his scabbard. Unlike his counterpart up front, there is nothing attaching the scabbard to his belt. His sword is just hanging there, suspended in mid-air. Looks like a design flaw to me and I think in all the figures I've painted in my life (thousands I suspect) this was a first for me. Tut-tut Perry bros.

The drivers have shako covers on with a pom-pom. This makes painting the shakos easy but every reference I have refers to plumes - not pom-poms. This is because the Perry's offer a generic limber (Dutch/Belgian) and I suspect these 'train' figures are foot artillery drivers. I've gone with black consistent with my sources.

Images for the train are a rare as rocking-horse dung and references in my Osprey sources are scant - they same 'same as the horse artillery' which makes for a black plume. Then again, images often show pom-poms for rank and rile with plumes for officers - so that's what I speculate my train drivers to be.



My artillery crew have all got their new white issued belting but you can have them retaining black if you like - I didn't mix them up this time which is normally the sort of thing I'm likely to have done.
I have gone for my gun carriages in the French olive green paint scheme. I think I may have misinformed previously as the Dutch had both Dutch and French equipment - but not any British.
The brass barrels are simply dark brown based with a slightly tinned dry brushing of Vallejo Brass. Normally I'd wash it over again with thinned dark brown but it didn't seem to need it - not to these ageing eyes anyway. I also blackened the muzzles and the touch holes. I want my field pieces to look  like they are being worked.

I elected to go for a plain wooden limber but kept my gun carriages French olive green consistently. I had thought to cut away a spoke here and there and even have a couple in plain wood to represent field repairs but dismissed the idea in the end. Perhaps another time.
The limber took much longer than I expected. Even once the horses were completely painted I had to wait 24 hours after gluing them to the base before I could tie off the rest of the harness to the limber.
As with so many references for the less popular uniforms there is conflicting details for the train. I've opted for black belts as per my Osprey reference but I also see them in white
It may have been the frame of mind I was in at the time but painting the striped shoulder rolls is not something I enjoyed but it does sort of make the figures in a way. Other than those affectations the uniforms are straight forward.
When I complete the bases some time in the future I will be sure to muddy this lot right up.
 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dutch Artillery Limber: More than meets the eye Part 1

I've long played my wargames with the convention of one limber per battery to represent my artillery on the move. When it's time to shift, limber model comes on and when they deploy, guns and crew go down and limber comes off. For my developing Papelotte (Waterloo) scenario I have a reduced two-gun Dutch horse artillery battery in play so it was time to build the Perry Miniatures DB44 model being a four horse limber team - the only one on offer.
Not many (or any?) manufacturers make a full galloping limber team which is a crying shame. This model is a walking limber but beggars can't be choosers. I determined to go the extra mile with this model and rig the full harness as best I can. In this effort I have to say the figures themselves don't offer much assistance. The rig does not provide for the forward harness array so I've had to improvise and kit-bash significantly.

I like to base my larger models and artillery prior to painting just to give me something to grip up. I also find that the model as a whole retains better structural integrity if I build as much as I can before painting. I placed and traced the arrangement on the base and then cut grooves into the 5mm MDF to better seat the gun carriage and the wheels of the piece itself. I used Selleys Araldite to glue the metal on metal parts and Liquid Nails to fix them to the MDF. I ensured the limber pole was elevated to the correct height when setting the piece.
A few observations: like a lot of models requiring assembly, the manufacturers provide little in the way of a guide on how to assemble the model. As I'm thousands of kilometers from my home library it was onto the internet for some reference shots. As you may know, the drivers should be on the left of the team looking forward. The second detail to be aware of is that it's the horses with the rump harness array (above) which is the team nearest the carriage (to the rear). I was almost going to stuff that up until I noticed.
The next thing I needed to do was drill receiving holes at the correct points in the harness to fix my cables. You may not be able to see this clearly enough but on the rearward pair they are at the forward section of the rump harness (that's what I'm calling it) just behind the saddle. With correct manipulation of my hand drill, I created channels leading into the receiving holes at the same time. You need two cables for each mount. For the forward pair, they enter the rear of the harness skirt and you can see where the sculpted cable starts on the figure - so make the connection there.
I can't recall when and where I picked up this modellers thread but it's perfect - I suspect it's made for model ship builders.
You might see the receiving holes I drilled just behind the scabbard of this rearward rider. Like all of my mounted figures, I drill holes in the riders seat and saddle and fix with a steel wire pin with Araldite prior to undercoating.

Without wanting to waste my thread, I allowed a bit of play because I was going to need to tie it off at various points.



Okay now here's an experiment which I was compelled to abandon. Either a part was missing with my purchase or the model does not come with a forward mounting for the forward team to hitch on. I decided to start manufacturing my own only to find out that the limber centre pole does not extend far enough past the rear team to allow for the extension to be built as I have seen. Oh well, I cut it off and improvised with forward cabling tied directly to the pole.
Next step: glue the riding team to the base and wait. Once the glue set, I then tied off the rear cables to the limber hitch rail using Superglue. I also elected to coat the cables completely in Superglue to let them set rigid for undercoating with the rest of the model.
I made some hard plastic hitching poles for the forward team and Superglued them. I then fixed them in turn to the limber pole with some cable off-cuts from the centre of the hitching pole to the limber pole.
I can only apologize at this point for what must be a gross failure on my part to correctly identify the correct names for the component parts of an artillery limber of the period. Anyone wishing to set the record straight must be my guest and feel free to post an insightful comment.
I think going to this sort of effort is akin to the rig/no-rigging approach to age of sail model ship building and wargaming. It's not for everyone and plenty wonder why I'd bother. I wonder too at times.
It seems that the Dutch limber on offer is from their French ordinance and they fielded British variants also during the 100 Days campaign. Now this is for my horse artillery and I am surmising that the drivers of the train do not differ between horse and foot batteries - I'll be sure to check. Perry Miniatures don't give me options anyway and there's not a lot on offer for the Dutch Belgian forces in any event. It is only a four-horse team and again, there were no additional pairs on offer for the Dutch. This model will represent Bijleveld's battery which copped a pounding at Quarter Bras prior to Waterloo and lost a lot of horses. Therefore I am comfortable enough with only a four-horse team for the horse artillery for my scenario.
The riderless team I'm painting separate to the rest of the model and will attach them afterwards. This will allow me far greater access to the model when I'm painting it. I've painted entire limber models before and I'm keen to avoid it - what a painful exercise!
I may end up fixing both forward hitching poles to each other - I'll see how I feel later. There's all sorts of detail I could have gone into for this model. For a start, there's a lovely set of artillery equipment by Black Hussar Miniatures which could be fixed to the carriage. Also, I've never seen anyone make mounted horse artillery crew who would have ridden along with their limber crews - so I suppose that rules that option out. Anyway, time for undercoating.

This has been a small journey of discovery for me and I hope someone gets something out of this lot.






 

Friday, March 16, 2018

WARLORD Ceasarian Romans: Tribunes

I think I may have stated in my prepping post that the first of my three Tribunes is a slight conversion. I think he was 'hailing' but I lopped and replaced his hand with a waving gladius. Not sure if you can see from any of these or my previous photos but I undercoat my sword blades with a blackened gun metal mix, heavily dry brush with steel and then highlight the edges with silver.

I cropped the plume on the helmeted officer to give him that broom-end crest look which I preferred for a more junior officer. Don't ask me to justify that - I can't. I don't normally include images of incomplete figures either but I have no bases for these three hard-men and I wanted to catalogue them on the blog before I forget. I really love the cloaks on these sculpts - beautiful folds. I went with regular reds for their uniforms and clothing as I'm saving other colour options for the Legatus. Theoretically they could be any officer but they will be my Tribnes.

I've yet to make another light box over here so I'm just assisting my photography and the natural light with my working lamp with my camera flash off. 
The final Tribune is a mean faced character, best seen from the other side. I'm not sure how I will base these and if I'm going to need more until I read Warlord's Hail Caesar rule set. For Warhammer Ancient Battles they'd be based individually and fielded as characters.
 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Warlord Caesarian Romans: Cohorts I & III

Primus Pilus Lucius Varinus & Legionary Titus Pulo ... who else?
Done at last (except the bases). I have completed my rendition of the first and third cohorts of Legio XI for the civil wars ... or thereabouts. This was stalled due to the impact of cyclone Gita here in Tonga but now things are mostly back to normal I am proceeding across my wargaming projects once more.
First Cohort Legio XI
My first produced cohort for this legion was the second (see previous posting) and I've adopted a couple of different approaches this time. You will see a few green shields in the mix with the general legion blue and the unpainted raw leather variants. I'm playing with the idea that for whatever reason they have had a colour change to blue but there a a few older green shields retained by some veterans.
Anyone following my blog may recall an earlier posting where I sketched up the shield designs and couldn't decide between the green or the blue - so I'm creating reasons to have a bet both ways. If I add more cohorts to the legion I'll go with blue and brown from here on.
All figures are Warlord including the Pulo & Varinus set who I have naturally as Primus Pilus with Pulo defending the eagle. The Aquilifer is a re-purposed Wargames Foundry figure from the early imperial range as is the cornicern.
Cohort III
Both cohorts this time have the front rank drawing gladius supported by pilum in the rear - when deployed two ranks deep anyway. I included a casualty figure for each cohort this time to mix it up a bit.
Taking heed of a comment on the Lead Adventure Forum I experimented with dulling down my brass with a brown wash and I am quite happy with the result. I don't think I'll revisit my first cohort (cohort II) which would take little effort but I will retain the differences and imagine that cohort II is freshly equipped whereas I & II have been marching under the eagle for some time.
These latest centurions and my representative decanus (what is the plural for decanus?) have red horsehair plumes. My Primus Pilus is straight out of the box whereas my centurion for the third cohort is a conversion - so now I have three different centurion figures. I'm enjoying this diversification and will continue to change every centurion to make him unique to the others.
I made the cohort III standard a white hawk to add to the mixture. Well, that's it for my Romans for the time being. I'm waiting another six weeks for Vini Vidi Vici decals to reprint their white Hellenistic horse decals before I can continue. I also need to decide if I want to change to another legion to diversify my army and to give me the option of an enemy - I'm all for fielding both sides. In the meantime I' getting back to my Balaclava project and apply my developed brass painting technique to some British heavy dragoons. Tally Ho!