Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hinchliffe Roman test paint & Hairy Britons!

My first Hinchliffe 'Ancients' order arrived on Friday from Ian Hinds, even before I had received the invoice such is the service, and I wasted no time in getting the first 8 Roman infantry undercoated in Vallejo black primer. Barely a sign of any flash, and the castings are crisp and clean, this range having been completely remoulded only recently by Ian. I ordered a mix of both Roman and Briton codes, in addition to two chariots that are to follow. All are a delight, being true 25mm scale with the kind of animation I have come to expect.

The first to receive a lick of paint was AR1 Legionary with pilum, these I found very easy to paint, starting with Flat Red over the black (this is a nice solid red that covers well), highlighted with Amaranth Red which is quite an orange/red. Next went the flesh, Light Brown base followed by Flat Flesh highlights as usual, possibly I could have gone for a more Mediterranean tone, but these guys are serving in Britain so those tans must have faded somewhat! Then the armour received a dry brush of Natural Steel followed by a highlight of 50/50 Natural Steel and Silver. Belts were then painted in Red Leather and sandals and pilum shaft in Citadel Mournfang brown, my favourite brown and the only non Vallejo shade I use these days. having checked references I painted the edges of the shield in  a Khaki shade. The shields will of course be finished off with transfers from Veni Vidi Vici once I can establish what size to order, these shields being smaller than for example Warlord one's, my thinking is that the HaT transfers for their 20mm plastic Romans may be closer to size but I need to check. There is no doubting the shield transfers are a great finishing touch though, yellow on red. Finally I went back and painted toes, and even though I only managed three per foot it did improve the final look.

I took a few pics of some of the other Roman Codes I ordered, I'll paint another 8 Legionaries first before doing some Auxiliaries. After that I'll do some of the wild hairy Britons that you seen below, again lovely castings with variations in poses. All will be based for DBA, the Romans being 4 x 'Blades' the Britons being 4 x 'warbands'. DBA of course utilises just 12 elements per army. I continue to paint ECW's on the other blog, Dragoons both foot and mounted being required to finish things off there.

Hairy Britons, just look at those faces, complete with 'Jason King' style moustaches!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Roman's, Britons & FoW freebies!

I had been mulling over what to do next as my ECW project has reached the point - now approaching 500 painted figures - where I can add in the odd figures here and there as and when I feel like it. My enthusiasm for painting model soldiers is probably at an all time high, and I'm certain that the re discovery of Hinchliffe figures has much to do with it. I have also come to terms with the fact that I am very much a collector these days rather than an active wargamer and I'm comfortable with that. I do plan to get the ECW's on the table now and then though, and to this end I have been reading through the scenarios in 'One Hour Wargames' with a view to creating a six unit random force selection system like that used by Steve the Wargamer, I have enough troops to be able to do this now so I'm working on it. My foot regiments range from 28 to 40 figures with varying ratios of pike and shot, Horse from 10 to 16 figures, plus Dragoons and artillery so plenty of random variations to select from, generated by dice throws. This will be explored on my ECW blog shorty.

Ian Hinds kindly sent me over some samples of the Hinchliffe ACW range, 15 figures no less, and all look fine to me, however lurking at the back of my mind for quite some time now has been the possibility of painting a small Imperial Roman & Ancient British force, and having seen the images and been informed by Ian that the range has been completely remoulded I gave in to temptation and decided to do this first. This also fits my retro theme as I first became fascinated by this period when I was a member of the South East London Wargames Group in the late Seventies, and often on a Friday evening I would sit and watch Roman V Britons games played upstairs on a covered snooker table. I remember that it was Chris Hurren the club chairman who owned the Romans and they were beautifully painted metal figures. The opposition was plastic Airfix Britons, also well painted and the games intrigued me, they were of course played to WRG rules at that time.

A couple of years ago I bought several boxes of Warlord Romans & Britons, but they were mainly plastic multi part and I just could not find the enthusiasm to get going on them so later sold them on. And so to the present, I have lots of figures on order, taking advantage of the Hinchliffe Summer sale with infantry at 75p and horses at 90p each until the end of August. Now I don't intend to paint hundreds of them, my intention is to produce a couple of small armies for the WRG DBA rules in the first instance. Again these fit my interest in small fast paced games played on a small area, in this case 4' x 4'. My thinking is that I might like to produce several DBA armies over time, the Sassanid Persians being in mind, the Hinchliffe war elephant model being superb. But I'll start with the Imperial Romans once they arrive and have the DBA army lists at the ready. I should add that it's a period of history that I have long been interested in, the Roman occupation of Britain and I have plenty of YouTube videos lined up for while I'm painting.

I will of course just have to have one of these! 
And the chariot models are lovely with so much animation.
Images borrowed from the Hinchliffe 'Roman Era' range by way of inspiration!

On the general subject of Hinchliffe I found this article from Military Modelling 1973 on the internet, not sure who owns copyright but I thought I would share it. I think what really struck me was the quoted sales figures of between 30 & 40 thousand figures per week, which seems incredible. Any thoughts on this? I would have thought 3 to 4 thousand per week would have produced a healthy business back then.

15mm WW2 giveaway.
Having decided not to proceed with the planned British FoW force I have quite a bit of stuff that I'm happy to offer to any follower of the blog who would like some. To be honest ebay is awash with FoW and the prices are so low I'd rather give it away than bother listing it. A platoon of German Panzer IV's I sold last week went for £2 per painted tank model, barely worth the effort. I'm keeping my German & US late war forces of course, but have no plans to expand them.

So, here's what I need to clear out, free economy postage, please take your pick and email me an address to send to:

Battlefront Sherman Tanks from the Open Fire box set, still on sprues  x 10 tanks.
Sherman 'Crab' flail tank in blister.
Sherman resin and metal Fireflys in blisters
PLastic German PaK 40's from OPen Fire 2 anti tank guns with crews.
Battlefront Tiger 1E's plastic on sprues x 4 tanks
Battlefront US half tracks 2 per box, 2 boxes.
Battlefront resin and metal German Pumas armoured cars, still in blisters x 2

Happy to share them around, let me know what you are interested in and I'll sort it out. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

More Hinchliffe loveliness!

A quick interim post this one, I have some samples from the ACW range to review here later, but for now here is a short video of my ECW collection sitting on the bookshelves before being boxed up. It's my first You Tube upload and is a bit shaky, please excuse the background noise as I had my granddaughter with me!

Edit: Looking at the  video again I can see it's also a bit 'foggy' and jumpy! I might try again later and replace this version if it goes well.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Old v New ..... what next for this blog?

The discovery of the fact that the entire old Hinchliffe range of 25mm figures is still very much available has completely changed the way I feel about 'modern' wargame figures. Over the past few weeks I have been working enthusiastically on building up my Hinchliffe ECW armies, and was lucky enough to discover a rich vein of painted figures on sale via Ian Hinds (Hinds Figures Ltd). Among the thousands of painted figures I hit upon a number of units that were clearly painted by the same talented hand, some featuring beautiful hand painted flags and conversions, they were reasonably priced and so I set about acquiring as many as I could afford. They were a revelation, they arrived looking as though they had been stored for years and were all in need of a good clean, but what emerged from the grime were really well painted figures with some fine detail work. I'm still working through cleaning, touching up chipped paint and re basing, but I find myself the very proud owner of over 400 painted Hinchliffe figures of which 160 are cavalry. I have around another 100 castings that will enable me to finish this project, mostly by adding more Foot. These will of course continue to feature on my ECW blog.

Hinchliffe elegance.

And one of my favourite units featuring a trumpeter conversion, crashing troopers and hand painted flag.

As a consequence I have been casting around for what to follow this up with, my enthusiasm for painting model soldiers being as high as it's ever been. Followers of this blog may recall attempts to start new projects over the last couple of years have mostly ended in dismal lack of enthusiasm, Warlord Ancients & ECW's followed by Renegade ACW's for example. I'm now convinced that the chunky style of the '28mm' figures has lost all appeal to me, and that I no longer have the patience to glue together multi part plastic figures, and whilst I can appreciate that they produce finely detailed, very historically accurate results, there is something about the elegance of the simple 90p Hinchliffe 'true' 25mm casting that I enjoy painting and collecting. Bearing in mind that these figures were sculpted by Peter Gilder in 1978, they have stood the test of time very well and Ian Hinds has been committed to restoring the range to top notch quality, re moulding the ECW range among others and is currently I understand working on the Napoleonics.

As mentioned above I wanted to do the ACW again as it's an old favourite of mine, but the Renegade figures I ordered simply did not work for me, they were expensive at £1.25 per figure, but more than that the poses were very limited and I thought them quite stiff, with marching arms straight down the side of the body and no variety in leg poses, the faces were very good indeed, but again little contrast and too many heavily bearded chaps for my liking among the ranks. I painted 18 of them and then found myself quite bored with them! I still have them, but they will go on eBay when I begin my planned clear out. However, the Hinchliffe ACW range still looks great to my eyes and having spent some time thinking things through this is going to be my next project. Of course I have been looking back at old photos of the Gilder collection and the tight packed ranks of these slim elegant castings has proven to be more than I can resist.

This is the one that did it! These apparently attributed to the hand of Peter Gilder himself.

The classic 'Yank' advancing (code ACW1), as seen in the above image, (from the Hinds Figures website).

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Memoir '44 - a few tweaks and a game.

Ready for action, US 2nd Armoured Division attack from the left.

It struck me the other day that if I used the 6" hex 'Commands & Colors' printed matt bought some time back I could actually play a game of Memoir '44 using my 15mm Flames of war collection. I retain a fondness for the board game, but never really enjoyed using the plastic parts supplied. I did play a game on the board using 15mm figures and tanks but it was far too cramped and simply did not feel right. So this could be the perfect solution, the mat is 13 x 9 hexes so it's standard memoir size and when laid out occupies an area of 7' long by 4 ' wide which gives a nice feel to a WW2 game in 15mm scale. The table once laid up with terrain looks as below. For some reason these pics do not accurately reflect the green of the mat, I will try to improve things for the battle, but they show the layout. I think for a grid based game it looks pretty conventional, especially when you stand back a couple of feet or so.

One shot with the flash turned on..... but still not great!

The game is going to be played to standard Memoir rules but with the following tweaks as I have used previously.
  • Armour - a single model tank will replace the 3 plastic models supplied with the game. A micro dice will record hits, 3 hits on a standard medium tank and it's destroyed. Heavier tanks will require 4 hits to destroy, as per the rules. Infantry cannot inflict damage on tanks unless they are dedicated tank hunters with anti tank weapons (see below).
  • Tweak #1 - When a medium tank takes a hit from a heavy tank the dice is re-rolled and if the armour symbol comes up again the target is instantly destroyed. This represents the penetrative firepower of say a Tiger against a Sherman. I will also give US M10 tank destroyers the same re roll against German heavy Panzers such as the Tigers. 
  • Infantry are based in two's on 1p coins and a standard unit as per the rules is 4 coins, each hit removes a base. This gives 8 figures per unit and ties in quite nicely with squad sizes, more elite units can have 5 bases (10 figures) which again equates roughly to veteran German squads in the latter war period.
  • Tweak#3 - Tank Hunters, squads with anti tank weapons such as panzershrek/panzerfaust or Bazooka, mines etc. For simplicity I have banded these weapons together and all can only be used when adjacent to a tank, ie: what what normally be 'close combat' range requiring an armour or grenade symbol to hit. As this is a new addition to my rule tweaks we shall have to see how it plays out.
The game will be a basic encounter with both sides starting deployed on table on the first or second line of hexes. Victory is gained by taking 4 'clear' victory medals or by capturing the enemy HQ (moving onto that hex). This means for example the game could run to 10/6 or more, or indeed be won at 4/0, again we shall see how this idea plays out.

The forces are as follows:

4 infantry squads ( 4 bases per squad)
5 Sherman medium tanks (1st platoon)
4 sherman medium tanks (2nd platoon)
4 M10 tank destroyers
2 mobile artillery
2 commanders in jeeps

4 veteran infantry squads (5 bases each)
1 Youth tank hunting squad (4 bases with panzerfaust)
5 StuG assault guns (medium)
4 panzer mk4's, late model H with shurzen. (medium)
2 Jagdpanther, heavy tank destroyers
2 light howitzers
2 commanders in armoured half tracks.

Deployed forces.

A couple of shots of the relevant terrain and troop cards supplied for quick reference, and a shot showing the six faces of each dice for those unfamiliar with Memoir '44. You can see that I have placed 2 areas covering 4 hexes of the dreaded 'Bocage' (see 'hedgerow' terrain card below for how this plays, it can certainly bog things down. Each building is treated as per the 'Towns and villages' card below, the church occupies 2 hexes - how could I leave it out! - each hex counting as an individual BUA.

The 6 faces of each battle dice supplied, there are 8 of these and each player takes 4 dice, Memoir is certainly not a 'bucket of dice' game!
Should give a lively game I think. IN addition both sides will have air support if and when the 'Air Strike' card is drawn as per the rules. It is late Summer of 1944 and the Germans are fighting to hold back the Allied advance, US 2nd Armoured Division is advancing in force supported by infantry but the Germans are in good shape, the infantry being veterans for the most part with a smattering of young  recruits from the Hitlerjugend, armed with close quarter anti tank weapons capable of burning through a Sherman or M10 at close range.

Let battle commence.

EDIT: I changed camera for the last few shots above, borrowed my daughters Cannon, much better than mine so took a few pics of the ECW's sitting on the bookshelf in the background, nice and sharp, all Hinchliffe from Hinds Figures as featured on my other blog!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Disguising the Tigers!

Some may recall that a few weeks back I ordered a platoon of plastic Battlefront Tiger IE's to replace the Forged in Battle resin and metal version that I have as I felt that the models did not fully reflect the bulk and size of the original. Once the plastic box set arrived I set about comparing the two versions and was actually surprised to find that both are really pretty much the same in size. The Battlefront models are slightly larger, by a couple of mm's in length only and about the same in width, the real difference is that the plastic hull is deeper as is the turret, and the 88mm main gun on the plastic version looks more hefty and is slightly longer .This has made up my mind to  hang to the FIB Tigers and sell of the plastic kits. So I decided to add foliage to my Tigers in order to keep them in line with the rest of my late war German armour. As mentioned previously I wanted to try to achieve that Normandy look when most German Panzers were covered in foliage to enable them to hide in the hedgerows, and again I tried to replicate the look of branches being pushed through 'D' rings welded to the exterior surfaces rather than the use of netting more commonly used by the Allies.

Resin and metal Tiger 1E from Forged in Battle.

Konigstiger - these models really convey the huge size of these beasts.

Overall barely any difference, maybe sharper detail on the plastic kit?

Only a slightly deeper turret on the plastic kit.

My late war collection now stands as follows:

  • 5 StuG assault guns.
  • 5 Panzer mk 4, late model H.
  • 5 Panthers
  • 3 Tiger 1E.
  • 2 'King Tigers'
  • 2 Jagdpanthers
  • 2 Recovery vehicles
  • 4 half tracks
IN addition to the above I also have a further 20 odd models that I no longer require, these include 3 platoons of earlier Panzer MK 4's one of which is in Russian Front  paint shade of whitewashed grey. I intend to cut back this collection by selling off the stuff that does not relate to the Normandy campaign period.

At the same time I have been going through my 'spares' box and find I have a fair bit of unwanted stuff that will also be sold off, this includes many plastic Warlord ECW cavalry and infantry sprues, 18mm AB figure unpainted (about £100.00 worth of castings), the Renegade 28mm ACW's, and about £80.00 worth of Peter Pig Wars of The Roses figures, all still in the bags! This will find its way onto eBay in due course no doubt. I will of course retain my Front Rank French & Indian Wars collection, my US 2nd Armoured Division as a foe for my Germans and continue to paint Hinchliffe ECW's.