Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Caesarian Romans: Cohort IV, Scorpio & General Part II

Well in spite of other products having been pre-scheduled for my attention I've derailed the production process to crack out another Caesarian cohort of Roman legionaries. Or are they Marian? What the hell - late republican Romans will do.

This is my cohort IV for my legio XI and I have to say I'm having just as much satisfaction painting them as I did their three previous counterparts (cohorts I-III). Thanks to a new print run of Veni Vidi Vici decals, I was back in business for continuing to build what I hope will be my first complete legion.
For this group I went back to the basic blue background with a handful of unpainted leather shields - with black detail instead of white. I used the separate command pack centurion from Warlord Games to further differentiate the unit from the others. This time around he and the optio have natural beige horsehair plumes.
I built up the signum with a couple of battle honor discs out of plastic-card and a tassel from green-stuff. I cut and filed the bull which comes with the Warlord sets to reshape it into what I hope is a convincing ram and added some green-stuff horns so I suppose this makes them the golden ram cohort? I'm happy enough with the final result.
I have jumped the gun a little by completing two scorpio. According to Hail Caesar army lists, I get to field one artillery piece for every three cohorts - so I have two more to do before fielding both of these at one time - if you worry about that sort of thing. I have thought of building a shield stand for the crew but in not doing so I am not identifying them with any particular legion which makes them far more adaptable.
A quick word on my chosen wargames rules. I love Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB). I'll continue to play it into the future. I have; however, been converted to Black Powder for later periods and am looking to play my Romans with it's ancient counter-part: Hail Caesar. I'm less inclined to fiddling with casualty removal and figure counting for dicing than I used to be. I also like the command aspects of the Hail Caesar approach. They are generally quite similar in many respects.
I also painted up an army general and his escorts. In this case I think he will be a Tribunus Laticlavius (the senior Tribune and 2IC of a legion). He will command my army on the table top when fielding up to five cohorts when the eagle is not present - hence the veillarius who I have based with him. My vexillum will be the army standard for a detachment - anything less than a majority of a legions cohorts. The vexillarius comes from the abovementioned Warlord Games command pack and his escorting centurion is the commander who would otherwise have been in charge of this latest cohort. I have made him a centurion from the first cohort (seemed logical) and jazzed up his plume.
I have bought myself two boxes of the now defunct Wargames Factory Caesar's Legions plastic Romans to add to the mix. I have already built and am prepping another Warlord Games cohort - this time all gladius wielding. I only have enough left o make one further cohort after that until my new purchases arrive. I will build my onager only after the sixth cohort is done - a promise to myself. I will also be experimenting with a testudo model. For those of you following the Lead Adventure Forum you will know I've been exchanging ideas with Tom, aka tyrianhalfman (user name). The shields and figures won't get into Tonga for another two months so that little project will have to wait.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Western Desert Force: Rolls Royce Armoured Car (Part 1)

One of the few advantages to being deployed overseas unaccompanied (and there really aren't many) is the time I have on my hands to chip away at my long accumulating stock piles of models and figures. I have a multitude of projects and ideas for my hobby which repeatedly swirl to the forefront of my thoughts only to be filed and re-filed to the back of my mind for when I ever get time to put them into effect. Years ago I bought all the necessary elements for an early war Western Desert Force for the British - a combined armed battlegroup many of you will be familiar with as a 'Jock Column.'
Coincidentally, the last addition I made to the group was my cruiser tank and the artillery observation crew (see previous postings) the last time I was in Tonga. Well, I am getting all worked up again about WWII and I am about to embark on a Dieppe build with nine tanks and few extras in the pipeline. Before I can proceed with that in all conscience I have reasoned I need to finish my Jock Column first.
1938 at Lydda railway station
For my Reconnaissance company I have a pair of what I believe are 1920 pattern Rolls Royce armoured cars and a Morris C9 armoured car all made in resin by Cromwell Models. When I consider the difficulty (read failure) in procuring Cromwell Models products recently, I consider myself fortunate in possessing these items at all. I really don't know if they are resin or plastic but I can tell you they glue very nicely with Humbrol poly cement.
British Army armoured car convoy in Palestine - The daily 10:30 Jerusalem-Afuleh convoy leaving for the North - circa 1936
Now a little word on the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars. My models appear to me to be the MkI 1920 pattern. More commonly, the 1924 open-topped pattern is depicted in North Africa during WWII. Having said that, the images (of which there are several) from the Library of Congress clearly shows the 1920 pattern in use up to 1938 in Palestine and Egypt with the RAF and 11th Hussars.
The Osprey New Vanguard 189 The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car tells us many of the 1920 builds were deployed to the Middle East and ended up in the possession of the RAF who do not appear to have adopted the 1924 pattern rebuilds or the open-topped turret.
British Army Eleventh Hussars arriving at Ludd. Train load of armoured cars etc. arriving at the Lydda Junction from Egypt with the 11th Huzars on July 15, 1938

The 11th Hussars retained their Rolls-Royce armoured cars most of which appear to have been the 1924 pattern (most obviously identified with a high cylindrical turret). Whilst many of these were retrofitted with the open turret, the practice does not appear to have been universal.
My Jock Column has the older 1920 models present in the region pressed into service. In the days before Operation Compass the 11th Hussars D Company comprised Rolls Royce armoured cars seconded from No:2 RAF company and the following images show nicely the mix of variants present in operation at that time.
The above and subsequent shots are taken in Maadi, Cairo in July 1940. In fact the RAF also had hybrid 1920/24 pattern vehicles - it was all about extending the service life and making do.

Western Desert Force: Morris C9 Armoured Car (Part 1)

Envisaged as the replacement or next generation armoured car after the old WWI vintage Lanchester and Rolls-Royce armoured cars was the development by Morris of the C9.

Rolling out in 1939, thirty were issued to the 11th Hussars and served in the first half of the war in the Western Desert. My Crusader Models version is the third vehicle of my three car reconnaissance squadron and will fight alongside my two Rolls-Royce 1920 pattern armoured cars.

Built on a 15 inch commercial vehicle chassis, the new design was topped by a traversing open ring or basket type turret armed with a smoke discharger, Boyes ATG and a Bren gun.

Tempted as I was to make a beach umbrella out of green-stuff and have it stowed across the back I resisted the temptation. I adorned this model with home made campaign equipment - the usual box and tarpaulins. The brackets and planks are poor substitutes for sand bogging recovery. The base texturing is pre-mixed putty with mouse litter and sand pressed into it before setting. I then coated the base with diluted PVA and spry undercoat the entire assembly with matte black.