Friday, 27 February 2009

Great War British Infantryman

It’s not just Belgians!! At the same time as sorting out the colours for the Belgians I painted up this figure which had been lying around in the tin of undercoated yet to be painted figures. I think it’s a Wargames Foundry late WW1 from some years ago and I have mostly followed the Warhammer Historical Great War painting guide for painting a British Infantryman of 1918.

I do prime all the figures I paint with Halfords White car spray primer, spraying as many as possible in one go. If I’m painting armoured/chainmail figures I then do a basecoat of black on top of the white covering the armour/chainmail areas.

For the British Infantryman I applied a basecoat of Charadon Granite on all uniform areas and the helmet.

Basing the Figure

The figure was based on a Renedra Plastic Stand (bought with an order from Gripping Beast) covered with B&Q ready mixed filler to the depth of the figures metal stand. A lumpy ‘churned’ up effect was applied by ‘lifting’ the filler with Starbucks coffee stirrer (101 applications cut it down to make any tool!) When dry a well pigmented wash of GW Graveyard Earth/Chaos Black was applied followed when dry with diluted chaos black to make the mud look horrific & putrid! The edge of the base was painted GW Bestial Brown. No grass no nothing! Was added to show the bleakness of the ground the troops were fighting over.

To seal the paint onto the figure & protect it Humbrol Matt Varnish was carefully sprayed on.

Below are a few pictures from the 'Military Odyssey' re enactment show 2008 held at the Kent County Showground over August bankholiday. Hazel and I went last year and amazingly I think she enjoyed it or preferred it to an airshow! The best turned out in my opinion were the WW1 re enactment groups and here are some pictures of them;

In the grey corner superbly turned out 'Hun'

In the Khaki corner the 'Tommies' in the background it is a little known fact that white 'Gazebos' were taken to the front line!

Being able to wonder through the encampment was the best bit somehow watching WW1 reenactments simulating being mown down by machine guns is a bit close to semi recent family history!

Sorting out the Books & Modelling Space

The main job on the modelling, painting front hasn't involved modelling or painting!! For some years since moving to 'pooh corner' (the unoficial family name for the house!) none of my library of books has been in order and modelling is vying with work laptop and files on the one desk. This has now changed with two desks in the house! the library lives in the 'study' with pc and display cabinets the modelling desk is in the corner of the spare bedroom...what an improvement! I can now find references & should be able to paint and model quicker without spending a whole evening digging around for references and clearing away after a painting session.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Haselrig's Lobsters an Illustration by Richard Scollins

This was the first article and picture of a new series on the ECW in Miltary Modelling back in May 1977!! it was about one of the more unusual cavalry units especially fighting for parliament in 1643.

Sir Arthur Haselrig was in charge of Wallers cavalry and to quote Trevor Hopkins ' Sir Arthur Haselrig M.P., a truley fascinating personality; bellicose, rich and staunchly republican, when Sir Arthur made his military reports to the House of Commons it was usually with a carbine slung to his back and pistols at the hips!' what a great picture those words paint! Scollins of course does the regiment justice with a superb impression of what an officer and trooper of the regiment would have looked like in 1643, being notably the first and only full regiment of true cuirassiers to see action in the civil war. The fully enclosed helmet and metal gauntlets were probably replaced by a 'lobster pot' helmet and leather gloves which would have been much more practical.

The lobsters fought at Lansdown, Roundway Down, Cheriton and finally were badly mauled at Cropedy Bridge. They probably had a limited role in the second battle of Newbury before being absorbed into the New Model Army in 1645.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Cavalier Wargames Show, Tonbridge, Kent, 22nd Feb 2009


This is the major Wargames event in Kent, annually held at the Angel Centre, Tonbridge and organised superbly by Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society. Its small but well attended by traders (39 listed in the programme)12 demonstration games and has an excellent bring and buy sale. Years ago I attended Salute and Colours and this show is a lot less stressful!! in fact its a very friendly show where traders and attendees are willing to talk and swap info etc I could not recommend this show highly enough. Most traders it seemed were happy with trade and there was a lot of temptation on view! Below are some Vikings on display on the Tunbridge Wells Societies stand which demonstrated one of the periods they wargamed regularly at the club.

It was great to be able to talk to traders who I buy from on the web and find out future plans. With one of my current interests being WW1 and Belgians in particular it was good to find out 'Brigade Models' future plans. The Belgian machine gun dog carts should make it for Salute and the first of the horse 'greens' has been completed for the cavalry there was further talk about bicycles and Belgian armoured cars!! If anyone has a cunning idea about how to replicate bicycle wheels realisticaly in 28mm answers on a postcard please! Also does anyone have plans of WW1 Belgian armoured cars?!

'Black Hat'had some superb and varied figures on display and I had to buy the Dwarf with gatling gun! (its called something else!)and the Panda eating lunch (again called something else!) but they had on release their new 15mm War of the Spanish Succession Cavalry and very nice they are too........ see the British cavalry below.

These will be followed soon by Dragoons, Artillery and 'Generals' nice to know a range you start buying continues.

'Tumbling Dice' are a new company to me and I liked their American Civil War 1/72nd figures which seem to blend well with 1/72nd plastics...hurrah from my point of view as I have collected plastics for the ACW for a long time, due mostly to companies producing decent figures at a very reasonable price, well moulded and in proportion which cannot always be said of metal figure company styles. I had a long chat with the owner about the Battle of the River Medway when the Dutch 'did over' the British Fleet upstream of Chatham in 1667. A new venture could well be the naval actions of the Anglo Dutch Wars (another Richard Scollins illustration in MM somewhere!)

'Caliver books' had loads of tempting titles including a new book on the Armies and Uniforms of the Monmouth Rebellion by Christopher Scott a very nice publication indeed full of colour and information about one of my 'favourite' battles.

Finally there were many stands with the excellent Osprey books on offer including one with new/secondhand at £5 each or 6 for £25 a bargain and they were being rapidly snapped up. The bring and buy had lots on offer including a few years old copies of MM at its zenith!

The game on display were excellent and 'flying' games very popular including Southend and Rayleigh Wargames 'Sakishima Gunto' WW2 far east carrier battles with ingenious 'radio aerial' stands imported from USA blue hex playing surface metal planes & Tamiya etc ships superb

and Mid Anglia Wargamers 'Dawn Patrol'was a masterpiece of patience with all that rigging in evidence on the Gothas and Handley Pages!!

....They were using Air war 1918 rules by Wessex Games.

Back to terra firma with Crawley Wargames Club and the Battle of the Alma 1854

......and the superb terrain was up for sale!!!

The 'Maidstone Wargames Society' which has an open day on the 13th june 2009 at Linton Village Hall had a fantasy demonstration game 'The Second Battle of Magd Tuiredh' underway using Celtos figures

Other 'cold' looking wintergames were put on by both South East London Wargames Group (SELWG) with napoleons Retreat From Russia

....and Loughton Strike Force with 'Winter War' WW2 eastern front tank battle

Well it was a very enjoyable show and probably the only one I will get to with family commitments usually taking precedence at weekends and I must admit to buying 'Munchkin' a fun game for all the family and work colleagues too!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Cromwell's Ironsides at Marston Moor - Richard Scollins Illustration

'Marston Moor was the most important and bloodiest battle of the Civil war and it was due to the decisive charges of the Ironsides that the fate of that day was at last determined'Alan Buttery MM January 1985.

The second article on Cromwell's Ironsides gave an account of Marston Moor and details for wargaming and modelling using Minifigs, Laing's and Jacobite Miniatures. Langley Models produced a fine Mounted Trooper at the time in 54mm

Richard scollins picture is very evocative showing the action when Cromwell's Ironsides hacked their way through Ruperts men while a summer thunderstorm added to the noise and cacophony of battle.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

First Belgian Line Infantryman of 1914 Painted and Based - Paint References Included

At last the ‘prototype Model’ Brigade Models Belgian Line Infantryman is finished. Delay caused by ‘rushing’ the basing which looked dreadful too much flock and too dark a brown used meant I had to remove the filler etc from the base and start again!!

‘The Belgian infantryman of 1914 had something of a comic opera appearance. The shiny hats of the Carabiniers and the stiff shakos of the line, the dark green or dark blue uniforms and the glinting brass all helped to make the Belgian soldier an easy target’ (Funcken)

So this is what I used to paint the Belgian Line Infantryman of 1914 all paints are acrylics click on table and enlarge to read!

Basing the Figure

The figure was based on a Renedra Plastic Stand (bought with an order from Gripping Beast) covered with B&Q ready mixed filler to the depth of the figures metal stand. Builders sand was washed and left to dry and then the base with wet filler dipped in it. When dry a well pigmented wash of GW Graveyard Earth was applied then a darker well thinned down black brown wash was added. When dry highlighted with graveyard earth lightened with white. Finally Hornby Light Green Grass R8863 was cut to length and glued in place using B&Q wood glue (dries clear) and a few tufts of GW static grass.

To seal the paint onto the figure & protect it Humbrol Matt Varnish was carefully sprayed on.

Now I’ve got this first figure painted I will follow the ‘recipe’ to paint the rest of my Line Infantry 5 at a time. Note the only omission is not having the confidence to paint a white number in the middle of the oilskin shako cover plate denoting the regiment!! so left it off!!!

Cromwell's Ironsides - Richard Scollins Picture

As mentioned recently on Ralph's excellent blog 'Wars of Louis Quatorze'Richard Scollins superb illustrations used to liven up articles in Military Modelling. I think that this is what I miss the most from the modern slick magazines and MM sadly now does not feature on my magazine buying radar as its predominatly full of tanks (I model tanks myself but I like variety) and usually very expensive ones and covered in resin and etched brass!! Marriot, Fosten, Younghusband etc all used to provide great illustrations and I miss this element in the current journals. Also I liked one magazine which featured modelling, wargaming and military history. Perhaps its my age (I am now in the grumpy old man age bracket)however on the wargaming and modelling front we've never had it so good every army produced in metal and plastic, tanks and aircraft of every nation and mark.....but I just miss the journal that was Military modelling and the old Airfix magazine from the 70's & 80's!!!

This picture was from MM December 1984 in an article by Alan Buttery on Cromwell's Ironsides (Part1)

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Shell Shock & Combat Stress

I got the above book 'Shell Shock The Psychological Impact of War' by Wendy Holden published by Channel 4 Books in 1998 two weeks ago from the excellent Oxfam bookshop near where I work. I have only just started it but 'it charts society's attempts to distinguish between madness and cowardice, in conflicts from the First World War to Bosnia'to quote the dustcover. It plots the changing labels for an eternal condition - shell shock, battle fatigue, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)in a changing moral landscape, it details the revolution in military attitudes to the fragility of men & the birth of modern psychiatry.

The best quote is on page 159 by Simon Weston who suffered terrible burns on the Sir Galahad in the Falklands War and lost close friends in that burning ship;

'We did not take part in a holocaust. It was not a war that will be remembered for ever. It was just another conflict, and now is just another already half-forgotten story, a more and more distant memory of Union Jacks and cheers of glory. But for many the price is still being paid; their war is still going on.'

Now the wargaming/modelling fraternity are doing their bit as I found out on Steve the Wargamers Brilliant Blog which links to Soapy's Blog. Soapy is the sculptor benind the Woodbine 'branch' of the Gripping Beast empire & doing a lot of work on WW1 figures (I have some of the Naval Division cap head varient chaps to paint up soon)and has been asked to produce a figure to raise money for the ex services mental welfare charity 'Combat Stress' which you can link too on the Button Bar. Other figures apparently will be produced by other sculptors and I will get them all but I like this one it reminds me of the Great War monuments you see in towns up and down the country.

Direct donations to the charity can be made via the battlegames appeal .

Belgian Army WW1 References Part 2

I thought its worth adding at this point all the Belgian Army of WW1 and principaly the 1914 army references that I've been able to gather so far and the best way was to supply a few web site links and also a list under Belgian Army websites in the left hand margin.

One of the best is Patrick De Wolf's 'Het Belgische Leger 1830-1914'

For Photo's and Belgian Martial Music! try 'Ermeton sur Biert et les combats de 1914'

For Belgian Army Organisation and photo's the superb 'Belgian Fronts'

A great article by James Reeve on the 'Uniforms and Equipment of the Belgian Army in WW1'on the very useful 'Welcome to Landships! - a site for WW1 Military Hardware & WW1 Military Modelling

The place to visit to see the uniforms and weapons of Belgium is the Royal Museum of the Army and of Military History, Brussels - Belgium. I must go there this year if possible no excuse easy Eurostar ride from Ebbsfleet for me here in sunny Kent.

Useful and interesting postcard references can be found on the 'Brave Little Belgium' page of the 'Around the War in 80 Postcards' site.

For those who prefer to do their fighting above terra firma have a look at 'The Belgian Air Force during WW1' This is on 'An Illustrated Hitory of World War One Aviation' a very good source of info indeed with lots of pic's!!

Books are a little far and few between apart from those listed on the earlier post I have found a page in my copy of 'Arms and Uniforms 18th Century to the Present Day' by Liliane & Fred Funcken published by Ward Lock. I have ordered second hand (they are mostly ex library copies)their World War One part 1 volume via an Amazon seller.I think these books are great references and fun to flick through requiring very little reading!! The Carabinier above is a funcken depiction of a Belgian 1914 Carabinier.

Another useful book on the Belgian Army in 1914 is the 'Handbook of the Belgian Army 1914'
The Amazon review by Robert Newman of the USA says 'A reprint of two British War Office manuals that detail the Belgian Army on the Western Front in WW I. It provides details on the organization of the army, and equipment of the Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers & others. Uniform details, personal equipment, drill & tactical doctrine and an order of battle as of 1914' can be ordered from Caliver books who lists it as 'latest imprint of original source'. Other specialist shops may have it too (very BBC!)

But whats that on the horizon not an Osprey !!!!!!!

From their Men at Arms series this is due to be published on 10th June 2009

Product Description
While small in numbers, the Belgian Army played a vital role in World War 2 that is often overlooked. Germany's invasion of neutral Belgium, which led Britain to declare war in August 1914, should have been swift and fierce yet the unexpected heroic defence, against great odds, of Belgian fortresses, frustrated the German Schlieffen Plan for a thrust to Paris and a lightning victory. The plucky Belgian resistance proved successful in buying time for French and British troops to mobilize and report to the front, where the Belgians would then go on to fight, stubbornly defending the northern end of the Allied trench line for the rest of the war. In this work, discover the story of this determined Army, from their organization and commanders, to their uniforms and equipment. The only main combatant army of World War I not previously covered by Osprey, this volume will be an important addition to any enthusiast's collection, accompanied by detailed artwork and archive photographs.

I think I might want a copy!! Trouble is I want it Now!!!

Phew I am all Belgiand out if I carry on like this I will have to change my name to Tintin Poirot!!!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Great War Tank Diorama

This was made about 20 years ago and I think is an Emhar kit of a 'male' mark IV I think the slightly out of focus infantryman is a Revell 8th army infantryman in greatcoat as Emhar hadn't come out with WW1 1/72nd British infantry at the time. The kit is based on a wooden base with melted polystyrene tile covered in 'filler' and painted.

The weekend was productive, half of the wallpaper in the bathroom was removed and wall prepared for painting,also ten 15mm Minifig WSS British infantry and 8 WWI 28mm Belgians cleaned up and undercoated with white Halfords primer! The first Belgian line infantryman is almost painted as an experiment to 'work the colours out'. I have not come across any references for which paint numbers etc to use for Great war Belgian infantry plus I am weaning myself off enamels as Humbrol paints are made it seems for airbrushing these days hence why old tins go for so much on e bay!!. I am using Games Workshop & Vallejo Model Color acrylics. Below is the first Line Infantry test figure underway.

The good news for Great war Belgian army fans (I think I have definitly found a minority interest on this one!!!!)is that Brigade Models are working on the Machine Gun Dog cart teams!!! Greens below.

Well thats it for this evening back to Simon Scarrows 'The Generals' the second instalment of the Napoleon and Wellington story. Scarrow is an excellent writer and while much of the story is fictional embelishment of historical fact it is a good read although for relaxation I usually keep his latest instalment of his Roman heroes Cato and Macro for holiday reading. I noticed today that the next instalment after 'The Generals' is now being offered in Sussex/British Stationers at under £7.00 for a hardback!! damn I thought £8 in Asda was cheap!!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Belgian Army WW1 References

Not too much in my library of books on the Belgian Army in the Great War so will have to do research on the web. I have had a couple of good links suggested on the Great War Forum which as usual is absolutely brilliant.The help I got on researching a silver wounds badge was incredible (Brodsky of the 18th Husssars)and will relate the story here on a future update.One of the references I have got at home is a colour plate by Simkin of 'Types of the Belgian Army'from my grandfathers set of 'The History of The Great European War' published by Caxton.

Secondly from 'World War 1 Infantry in Colour Photographs' europa militaria No3 a superb study of a Belgian Infantryman 1914. This book is extreemly useful & worth getting for your reference library.

Well as I'm off today from work due to working all of last weekend I must get back to re decorating the bathroom but hopefully will also manage an hour priming and painting before tea.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

World War One 28mm Figures

Some Figures from the workbench today starting with Great War Miniatures BEF British and Brigade Models Plucky little Belgians. These are about to be cleaned up but first a size comparison.

As can be seen the Brigade Models are slightly taller/bigger figures even allowing for fancy headwear! and do not have as much finese as GW Minis but have a certain charm about them.

The Carabinier at the top looks superb in his Tyrolean hat, and the Line Infantryman below in the typical Belgian Shako. Belgians army was dressed in even more of an archaic fashion than the French army of 1914 and thats part of the appeal.

Now thats what I call cavalry the recent addition to the Great War Miniatures 'stable' (pun intended...groan)a BEF lancer 2 packs of which were purchased the other day plus command pack from the Snipers Nest.

Finally as its getting late a picture prooving the existence of my first regiment of 15mm figures for my British army from the Wars of the Spanish Succession. These are 2'Buffs' on the painting table and I hope to finish the regiment by the end of Feb thanks for the gentle reminder Steve!! This was my new interest last year & I will continue!!!

Monday, 2 February 2009

ZULU - 1975 Military Modelling & Norman Abbey??

Ok 4 months no post second month of the year...o well aim to post more often.Whats been happening well very bad neck and back problems due to being stuck at computer & driving too much!! not modelling honest!!

Well after another fascinating 5 days including the whole of the weekend putting a 44page funding bid together to the Big Lotto (fat chance of success odds not good as usual, hard work if not in a labour heartlands area!)I suddenly started wondering what inspired the military modelling while viewing e bay! well mostly father and grandfather and their war stories but also an issue of Military Modelling in around 1975 with a diorama about Islandwana/Rorkes Drift...was it Norman Abbey who built it using 54mm Hinchcliffe Figs?? has anyone got a copy????? would really like to get issue/article.

This diorama was a huge inspiration and various attempts followed for school and cubs!! The Battle of Masada Jews v Romans hilltop bash using Airfix Arabs (scarce then) and Romans, Crashed Airfix Triplane on the western front with surrendering pilot and a zulu wars diorama using Esci Figures.

Anway new year and inspiration is taking hold due to the very useful presence of a wargames shop 'The Snipers Nest' in Ramsgate. Ramsgate is a very underated seaside town with loads of history (great harbour & Augustus P's house the prototype suburban dwelling) and also Ramsgate Models (2 1/48th Airfix TSR2's purchased from there recently for those with an aviation interest!)

Back to snipers nest!! here I buy monthly a Wings of War model for the game and Great War Miniatures Figures which are superb! The cavalry have just been released and lancers have been duly purchased. Also I can get Victrix, Perry and Warlord games plastics !!! hurrah!! no hope for concentration on 1 period there then!!

No but number one interest will be 1914 & WW1. I have also Brigade Models Belgians to paint as well and have just worked out the uniform details. Nearly forgot also in stock inspired at christmas to purchase from that graet company Gripping Beast some WW1 british figs with naval Division haeds (change putties and could be RMLI at Ostend)

So there we go pictures to follow including the only remaining diorama a WW1 tank mounted on melted ceiling tile pockmarked with shell holes, plastered, painted and twig tree stump!!

Time to dine and another drop of merlot!