Saturday, July 28, 2018

DFS230 Gliders: Huma 1/72nd scale

I've had a hold of these models for an awfully long time. I remember being so excited when I saw them and snapped three up straight away. I've long had a fascination for German  Fallshirmjaeger operations since listening to my Grandfather Tom talk of fighting them in Crete 1941. A long intended staging of WWII Crete Rapid Fire games has now gotten a little closer with my construction of these three DFS230 gliders.
Before continuing, I recollect looking at the reconstructed glider inside fort Eben-Emael in 2012 and wondering at the daring of these soldiers. I'm currently reading Anthony Beevor's Arnhem and I have to say that anyone prepared to land in enemy territory under fire in any of these WWII gliders has a degree of fatalism greater than the common soldier. I've done two civilian static-line jumps myself but a glider? These Fallshirmjaeger rode inside straddling a bench-seat grasping each other's waists. I can only imagine how cramped it must have been - bloody agony. Also if the glider got into trouble in the air there were no parachutes ... mental.
Anyway, the Huma model (German company) is quite straight forward - especially when I realised I was to dispense with the undercarriage which was jettisoned after take-off. My models are flying in and will be landed. Having said that, the cock-pit construction was a bit of a mystery and I just left them out. My pilots will be fighting on the table-top mostly.
The other mystery was the decals. I had no idea what they are specifically representing and in spite of hours of trawling the internet I could find little reference to unit organisations. So, I have gone with each of the options provided - in fact there are four in the set. From the photos of DFS230s on Crete some are very plainly marked indeed but I went with unit organisation numbering all the same. What the decal set does not offer (and not for the first time) are tail swastika decals. This is all too typical of western European manufacturers these days and I find it quite irritating. It's an air-brushing of history - the denial of an inconvenient truth and I find it's falsehood disturbing. Airfix seems to do this also nowadays. Am I really supposed to have on hand a sheet of various sized swastika decals to make up the deliberate inaccuracy of an 'historical' model? So, be warned - they lack this option. Having said that, from my observation of on-line photos it seems they were likely as not to have them on the DFS230 tail-plane anyway so happily I feel I can get away with it this time.
The blurring of the upper into the lower pain schemes was achieved with wet and dry-dabbing a tiny sponge. The decals themselves were extremely robust and I could handle them a great deal - even trim them which you will need to do to squeeze them onto the thinning fuselage. You might also need to pull them apart once they are floated off the backing paper as they are imperfectly separated. I set them with Microsol, and matte coated them before pin-washing the panel detail and then dry brushed to catch the highlights. After a final overall matte coat (these will be handled a bit) they were done.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Caesarian Romans: Cohort IV, Scorpio and General Part I

Contrary to even my own expectations I'm back into my Caesarian Romans again a bit earlier than I had thought I would be. My Hail Caesar rule book made it to Tonga along with two scorpio bolt-throwers and I'm straight into them.
As I flagged in my previous posts, my challenge is to make each centurion I have representing the cohort commander different to his peers. This time I remembered to chose a body with the awards on his belt and I believe a different face to his two plastic predecessors.The first shot is the original centurion head with the crest top half carefully removed - doesn't look happy does he?
Above is the new centurion ready for undercoat. It's my intention at this time to paint his crest a natural white horsehair colour. I also have the metal centurion from the Warlord Command set who I was going to have escourt the general and his Vexillarius but I may swap them over ... we'll see. Also, I've filed back and done a little carving of the standard bull signum to represent what I hope is a passable sheep onto which I am green-stuffing horns (oops ... gerand alert).
Here we have the two face plates of my scorpios. I was careful to scrutinize several pictorial and video references to confirm the riveted face is to the front and the torsion ropes detail is to the rear when fixing to the main-frame. Also the domed end of the breach should be to the top just in case anyone needed to be reminded.
I thought I'd play with one a little and set one to 'actioned' ready to shoot. To do so I bent back the torsion arms as far as the casting allows (left) and then carved a niche behind the rear end of the bolt - see below.
These models come with bolts cast onto the table of the scorpio and with the torsion arms set to the unloaded position. I am fixing a thin cotton thread into the niche and then wrapping both ends and fixing them to the tips of the cocked torsion arms. Also, these models come with no winding levers so I have created create a couple of them - depictions vary as to how many leavers are required on the capstans.
As stated, my general will have a Vexillum carried by his Vexillarius and escourted by a centurion. The figure I am using is the Warlord Pompey the Great figure. I will create further general options in the future including Caesar with a couple of lictors when I get them.


Saturday, July 7, 2018


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.