Saturday, 3 March 2018

Establishing desert tones and collectables.

I glued up the first section of 10 infantry from the Perry 'Desert Rat' set, they were far quicker and easier to put together than the Napoleonics I did a few years back, possibly because I have had a lot of practice with plastic multi part figures, but also there are a hell of a lot less separate parts to these latter figures. I then set about deciding how to approach painting them. After some thought I decided to stick with my trusty black base coat and to work with a fairly dry brush to build up the colours. I started with Vallejo British Uniform, highlighted with uniform + Off White. Still not happy with the resultant shade I went back to Flat Earth with about 20% added Off White and this produced a better shade to highlight with, again still keeping the brush fairly dry, not loaded with paint. At this point I felt I was close to the tones as illustrated on the box artwork, if a little patchy here and there. For the flesh I went a shade darker than usual Vallejo Beige Brown as the base and Sunny Flesh Tone as the highlight. At this stage I still did not feel happy 100%, the flesh needed a more suntanned look.  Vallejo Sepia Wash was brushed over the flesh - not forgetting the knees - and this produced a look that I was happy with. I also brushed a watered down wash of the same over equipment and uniform folds etc. They need varnishing, but on the whole I think they give a reasonable representation of the Desert Rats uniforms.

They will be based for Bolt Action with sand bases and represent a British Infantry Section consisting of a Sergeant with machine gun, 8 riflemen, one of whom supports the Bren Gunner with extra ammunition and the Bren Gunner himself. The Perry box contains 3 such sections together with mortar and anti tank rifle support weapons plus command figures/radio operator to complete a Platoon, as such it's very well thought out. Additional metal figures are available from Perry of course, including a fine Vickers medium machine gun section.

Bits and Bobs and a question.
With completion date set for 26th March we have been going through lots of old boxes from the garage and loft and found a few interesting things including my late Father in Laws small collection of pen/fruit knives, lots of old gold and silver jewellery, a Box Brownie camera and other things. Most of this has been sat in boxes since we moved into this house 14 years ago and it's been fun rediscovering these oddities.

A bit of research tells me that some of the fruit knives have quite an age, my favourite by far is this lovely little one with elegantly engraved mother of pearl handle and hallmarked silver ends and blade, the hallmark would appear to be for 1888 which I find remarkable, I'm keeping this one for myself! What I am most curious about is the object shown below, again it's hallmarked silver with a steel inset that opens and closes and appears to be designed as some kind of cutter? Too small for a cigar cutter, I would really be interested to know what it is? If any fellow bloggers have any ideas on the matter please share them with me.

Victorian Fruit Knife - Mother of Pearl with hallmarked silver blade and end caps

The mystery object - hallmarked silver body with steel moving insert section.

Any ideas.

Some of the collection - at left is a 1943 Farthing with a fold out blade.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Perry 'Travel Battle' sets completed.

I should start by saying that the '800 Hinchliffes' post was actually intended to be posted on the Civil War blog, but confusion between signing in and out between blogs meant I accidentally posted it here! Still I'm glad the video got good exposure and all comments are very much appreciated. My aged Golden Retriever Marcie decided to start click clacking around the kitchen and then take a long noisy drink, which made for some interesting background sound effects.

Painting time is at a premium and the house is full of packing boxes, some furniture is being sold off and we are making lots of trips to the recycling centre and charity shops. However, I have managed to finish off my two Travel Battle sets, purchased almost a year ago after the launch at Salute. I think it may be useful now and that it will live up to it's title.

The four plastic terrain tiles can be laid out in a variety of configurations and occupies a space of just 20"x 20", the grid is 1" squares. I must admit I find the tiles very pleasing on the eye with the winding roads, farms and outbuildings, fields and hills etc. All I did was to very carefully drybrush the green plastic with Vallejo Buff, paint the roads in Vallejo Flat earth and the fields the same before drybrushing with Flat Earth/Off White to add highlights. The figures were all black base coated and the colours carefully picked out, leaving some black to add depth, my usual small scale style. For variety I painted one French heavy cavalry unit as Dragoons, a simple paint job that seemed to work OK. I have - for the time being - left the plastic bases a flat green, but that may change.

So here we are, two sets that fit comfortably in one of the TB boxes. 16 bases of infantry, 8 bases of cavalry, 4 artillery and 4 Generals per side. The sets also include nice blue and red dice plus a set of somewhat simple, fast play rules that I'm about to try out.

A previous close up of the British infantry.

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!