Saturday, 10 February 2018

800 Hinchliffes!

This is the result of a pretty intensive 8 months collecting and painting Hinchliffe English Civil War figures. The video is a bit shaky in places as I move the camera around and refocus, but please bear with it for the close ups. I doubt that I will add any more figures now so it seemed a good time to lay everything out together and to record them before re-boxing them up.

Thanks to all who have inspired and encouraged me through this project, it helped keep me going, and a special thanks to Rob who's idea of expanding the shot wings to 24 figures has made a huge difference to the visual impact of the foot regiments.

Started in May 2017 the project was intended to replace the collection I sold off in 1979/80 as a young printing apprentice living in a Blackheath bedsit and finding myself short on the rent. Those went to John Tunstill at his shop 'Soldiers' in Lambeth SE London a generous offer from the tall, well spoken proprietor whom I have described as having something of the Edward Fox abut him. It was ironically my first visit to John's shop whilst still at school and on a trip to the Imperial War Museum that I first encountered the wonderful world of model soldiers that has continued to fascinate me to this day, so I dedicate this collection to him.

I would have been about 15 when I first entered John Tunstill's shop and encountered case after case of painted wargame figures including the entire early Mini figs range. This was before John moved into traditional 54mm collectors figures from which he made his fortune!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

New Horizons!

I have seriously neglected this blog recently, having been very busy preparing for the move abroad. So much to think about, and having to let go of so much sentimental stuff to charity and recycling has left little energy for much else. The garage has been cleared, the loft is almost done, furniture has been let go to charity etc. Spanish houses tend to sell at least partially furnished, so we need to let go of more stuff yet. There is the matter of passport renewals before the price increase and currency exchange rates to keep in mind, it's all a bit daunting but nothing is going to stop us now. We are being guided by experienced professionals on both the property and currency markets so feel we are in good hands.

So where does this leave me on the hobby front? Well, most of my spare time has been spent on my English Civil War collection which now approaches 800 figures, but it's about done now and I'm going to finish it all off with magnetic basing and lining of the file boxes for travel. As part of the downsizing process I took the decision to sell off all of Flames of war collection and all of my French & Indian War collection. This might come as a bit of a shock to some, but it never really got used and the new owner has already given it it's first outing with the Sharpe Practice rules so I'm happy.

However, as painting soldiers is very much my method of unwinding and relaxing I decided to find myself a small project that will keep me painting until the move and this morning ordered two boxes of plastic figures from Perry Miniatures, the superb AfrikaKorps set and the Desert Rats set. I have never done the desert campaign but always fancied having a go and to be honest the pictures on the Perry site blew me away when I first saw them months ago. Each box makes up a platoon for Bolt Action and while I would have preferred not be sticking figures together again, I know the results will be worth it.

Well worth a look at the pics on the Perry site if you have never seen them, this will be the focus of this blog going forward. I removed the last post re F&I Wars as being no longer relevant as the game never got played, but if your into the desert campaign I hope you will continue to join me here as I build this one up.

Images borrowed from the Perry website, how inspirational is this?

Desert Rats. 


Friday, 22 December 2017

Merry Christmas from Dymchurch!

I have neglected this blog somewhat recently, been painting nothing but ECW's as I work to expand all the Foot Regiments up to 40 figures per unit. The New Year will bring some big domestic changes as we will be off to Spain, but I intend to take my two major collections with me, the ECW's and the French and Indian War collection, I will of course continue to update both blogs.

We are ready to leave Dymchurch after 14 years living here, too busy in Summer and Dead in the Winter and it's time for an adventure before we get too old! Found these lovely drone shots on local Facebook page, thought I would share them and wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Downsizing, and revisiting an old idea!

As previously mentioned there have been ongoing domestic manoeuvres that have had a knock on effect upon my hobby time and space. It's just temporary until the New Year, but I have been looking back through my blog at early efforts in smaller scales and on smaller tables in order to get back to some kind of wargaming again.

Looking back, I used to enjoy playing Memoir '44 scenarios using 15mm model tanks and figures rather than those supplied with the game. A few years ago I invested in the base game, the terrain pack and the 'Breakthrough' boards, and together they offered endless scenarios and set ups in beach landing, grass, desert and winter theatres. The two Breakthrough boards are deeper than the standard board at 17 hexes deep x 13 wide, printed double sided and supplied with suitable Breakthrough scenarios. The game could be set up quickly, played to a conclusion in reasonable time and then quickly packed away again, that appealed to me then and still does. I simply replaced the supplied plastic figures - 4 to a hex- with a base of 15mm figures and marked off losses with a micro dice on the base. Tanks were a single model rather than the 3 small ones supplied, and again a micro dice recorded hits until such time as the tank was destroyed. I enjoyed myself, and began to slightly expand the rules to introduce HMG bases, anti tank teams, mortar teams etc, but still retaining the simple play of the game. I allowed each side to make two attempts at an Air Strike during the game, which were rolled for, and introduced slightly improved armour rules where a heavy tank hitting a medium tank got to re roll to see if it immediately exploded (as per the  FoW Firepower check). Infantry could only damage tanks if in adjacent hex and designated as having anti tank weapons and indirect firing weapons required a spotting team with line of sight to the target. All very simple and in the spirit of the Memoir 44 rules, but adding a little more variation.

As it was long enough ago to be lost in the mist of past blog posts I thought I would add a few images of some of those games here because with a bit of free time due tomorrow I'm going to have another crack at a scenario.

Memoir 44' boardgame played with 15mm miniatures - April 2015.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Chariots, more Travel Battle French and Typhoons!

A month has passed since I last updated this blog, must be a record! I have been busy on the domestic front and my head has been in a bit of a spin so it's been difficult to find the quiet painting time I enjoy. For reasons I won't go into here our middle daughter and partner have had to move back in with us until the New Year so the house is upside down and as we're in the process of selling up the situation is far from ideal and if I'm honest it's all getting me down a bit. I look forward to more settled times ahead, family is family and you do what what you can for them of course, but it's not always easy, and given that I'll be 60 in January I guess I have turned into something of a grumpy old man!

On with the hobby related stuff, starting with a few pics of the two painted chariots and the first eight 'new' Roman codes. I'm far happier with the latter Legionary codes, they don't have heads the size of giant pumpkins and the shields have a better curve to them and take the transfers  better. The pilums are separately cast and must be glued into the hand but look good.To be honest I have lost interest in the Ancients so will put them aside until enthusiasm returns.

I also painted several more bases of the French infantry from the Travel Battle set, this time trying to give them a more 'campaign dress' look. I don't think they turned out at all bad? I still have a few more bases to do yet, plus more French cavalry. I'm trying to figure out how best to trim down the helmet plumes to create Dragoons, I do have an idea but more in due course.

Flames of War.
I'm still plugging away at FOW and currently have 4 Battlefront US M3 half tracks on the painting table as transports for my infantry and airborne platoons.

I bought a few Tiger 1 E's via eBay, but they turned out to be not such a bargain as I had thought, two of the Tigers were very badly built with the wheels right on the edges of the wide tracks and there was nothing I could do to rescue them so they went in the bin! Two more were better, but had the 'desert' exhaust pipes on the rear deck so not really suitable for Normandy, at least as far as know? The final Tiger however is the Battlefront Wittmann Tiger 007, a hefty resin and metal model, and it has been built with driver and bow gunners hatches open and heads visible, Wittmann also has his head out of the turret, it's a lovely model and came with the staff car and figures. A quick retouching of the cammo pattern and it was ready for action. I still have a couple more plastic Battlefront Tiger kits to build and three Forged in Battle Tigers already in the collection.... needless to say I'm a big fan of the Tiger 1E.

Micheal Wittmann was killed on 8th August 1944 when a shot penetrated the engine compartment of Tiger 007 causing a catastrophic explosion that blew the turret off. The shot was attributed to Gunner Joe Ekins of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry fired from his Sherman Firefly, but recent research has questioned this and attributed the fatal shot to the   Canadian  Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment who were much closer to the target. Whatever the case, most certainly Gunner Ekins bagged at least a couple of Tigers on that day.

The Wittmann Tiger 007 - still in need of a little re touching to crew figures etc.
Wittmann standing in the turret of Tiger 205, 7th June 1944.

Note the desert exhaust pipes on the rear deck of these two models.

I noted the full flight of 3 Typhoon aircraft over on the Mad Tin Hatter blog recently and immediately thought I must do the same! My Flames of War collection is of course Normandy themed, and version 4 rules now features the ability to field actual number of model aircraft in the flight rather than a single model with a flight dice. The Typhoon model in particular is now extremely hard to find on eBay, so when I spotted this box set on auction I was prepared to bid high to obtain it and won it. Still awaiting a paint job, I will use the Typhoon I already have as a guide and then probably put it up for auction as I wont need four of them!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Warband based.

Since my last post I have painted the last two figures for my Warband elements plus four slingers. I have two chariots undercoated ready to start, fine little models one featuring a lovely animated figure of Boudica as we must call her now days, (I grew up knowing her as Boadicea from the statue on the London Embankment). Hinchliffe lists the chariots as EG 46 & EG 47, both feature different designs on the wicker side rails. I will need to add one more to make up the listed three chariot elements.

If I have one slight issue it's that the wire javelins keep falling off if I so much as touch them! I used 'Ultraloc' superglue, it may be that it's not the most efficient product, but Super it isn't! I have to re glue a few of them, which makes a mess of the hands requiring touching up, a bit of a pain in the proverbial.

I often watch/listen to related YouTube videos when painting, mostly documentaries, but found this clip from 'The Eagle' extremely watchable. The film as a whole is not great in my opinion, but this battle scene does represent the wild barbarian charge very well I think, and demonstrates the iron discipline of the Roman soldier, stabbing out from behind the large shield with the Gladius. Worth a quick watch for it's entertainment value.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Back on the Woad again!

Having put the Romans aside for a while following my disappointment at the scale discrepancy (I have ditched AR1, AR2, and AR3 as being too small and replaced with other codes), I decided to have a go at a few more Britons, and having painted the first 16 figures thought a touch of woad on the bare chested chaps was in order. I selected Vallejo Blue Green and set about painting various swirls and squiggles. It was fun and freehand and produced an overall pleasing effect. These 16 figures will make up the first 'Warband' bases under DBA rules, I have more underway, plus 2 bases of slingers classified as 'Psiloi' or dispersed skirmishers, just 2 figures per base. The Ancient British force once completed will consist of the standard 12 elements per army (initially at least!) as follows:

*6 elements of Warbands: each of 3 warriors. These relied upon a single ferocious wild charge rather than a cohesive attack, they COULD break a Roman line, but only if successful in that initial charge.

3 elements of Chariots: These are small fast 2 horse chariots with scythed wheels. In addition to the driver there is also a javelin armed warrior.

2 elements of Light Horse: Mounted skirmishing cavalry.

*1 element of Psiloi: Skirmishing light infantry, in this case armed with slings.

*There is the option of swapping 1 element of Warband infantry for an additional Psiloi element.

Clearly these are going to be small forces, but deliver the kind of small space game I enjoy with lots of tactical challenges. I'm going to do the chariots next, although I need to order one more, then I'll do the Roman infantry.

Travel Battle will be finished shortly, not neglecting it, just ringing the changes :)