Sunday, 22 January 2017

FIW The British Army and a request for help!

As I managed to complete the 42nd foot this week including command base I thought I would get my entire British force out for a few pics. I say British, but it includes Colonial allies and also Iroquois who have agreed to fight on the side of the British. This was of course a very uneasy alliance, the six tribes that made up the Iroquois 'Six Nations' -  Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora - being reluctant to fight against those supporting the French. Montcalm regarded them as savages who had no understanding of the European way of warfare, giving no quarter and demanding the taking of scalps of fallen enemy.

The force currently consists of 3 units of British Regular Foot, a company each of Grenadiers, light infantry, Virginians, Rogers Rangers, Settlers and a 6 Pdr. Royal Artillery piece. The two bands of Iroquois complete the force. I have two more guns and and crews to paint, another 6pdr and a howitzer. General Braddock and Aide comprise two mounted figures on a single base. I will be adding a second standard bearer figure to the 42nd foot and 1st foot, and also plan better quality flags from GMB for all units.

As forces engaged were small by European standards I tend to think in terms of individual companies operating in largely wooded terrain in a slightly looser order than normal. The figures are mostly by Front Rank but with a smattering of Warlord Games metal figures. The blue coated figures represent the Virginia Regiment, commanded by no less than young George Washington who proved to be a remarkably courageous officer under fire, who narrowly escaped death on more than one occasion. He was however refused a commission in the regular British Army, something he never forgot.

I'll feature the French forces in a subsequent post, they are of similar composition being mostly French regulars with Canadian and Indian allies.

WW1 Air war game - can anyone help?
Recently over on Steve the Wargamers blog he recalled a game that pitched German and British WW1 aircraft - Airfix of course - against each other using tall wooden flight stands. This happened to be a game that also caught my imagination around the same time, and I was lucky enough to be able to construct numerous flight stands in my school woodwork classes. This would have been around 1972 to 1974 and we have been trying to recall where the article would have appeared at that time, I have read back through lists of both Airfix Magazine and Military Modelling from that period but can find no reference to it. Don Featherstone and Mike Spick have been mentioned but I can't find anything with diagrams or photos showing how the game was played. I did find the photo below over on TMP forum, it's very similar in construction with it's altitude marks on the upright dowel and wooden collars that slide up and down, although as I recall my stands were only around 4 feet tall. The aircraft itself fitted on a thin extension dowel and the model could be placed in climb or dive mode etc, very much as seen in the photo. The aircraft had varying move distances and turning circles and machine guns of various types, the aim being of course to shoot down the enemy in a dog fight by inflicting damage points as you manoeuvred your aircraft to gain an advantage. This would make a fantastic 'nostalgia' project for me on the blog, and I would love to put it together again, so if anybody can help with references etc I would be most grateful.

Image from TMP forum showing a very similar game in progress, but it seems to be on a larger scale.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

42nd Foot in the French & Indian War.

I decided that it was time to get down to some more French & Indian War figures and to paint the 42nd foot in honour of their valour at Fort Ticonderoga. After much research I based the figures upon some images of the regiment in 1756 uniform - which I'm sure changed as the ravages of campaigning took it's toll - so here is the first base of 8 figures. They are of course Front Rank figures, actually from the 1745 Rebellion range but close enough. All of my FIW collection are individually based, but sit in what I think of as company sized trays of 8 models. The unit will eventually comprise 16 rank and file plus a 4 figure command base. Units such as Rangers, Canadian Militia and colonials are on 6 figure bases, as are the Indians, the latter being on irregular shaped bases. Some will recall that the bulk of this collection was painted on commission for me by John from Kingscolours and I am grateful to him for his fine brushwork. But I really fancied getting down to some painting of 28mm figures again and so will add to them myself going forward.

I'm going to complete the next 12 Highlanders, the command base will comprise Officer, bagpiper and standard bearer plus possibly a sergeant, and follow these with a 20 figure French line infantry unit before adding more artillery to bring it up to 3 guns per side plus limbers etc.

Rules: I have in my mind a simple home made ruleset heavily based upon a combination of Commands & Colors Napoleonics combat system and the Sharpe Practice order card system, The game will be based upon a 6" square grid 10 deep by 12 wide. To be honest I'm just looking for a simple game that allows me to push my soldiers around the table, but that captures the flavour of FIW combat. I'm starting to get stuff down on paper, but I have a very clear idea on how I want this to work. More to follow as things develop. Just a quick note on terrain, the grid will be subtly marked out and the choice of a square grid will allow more conventional terrain pieces to be employed (as opposed to hexes). Using a 6" grid also allows for the use of all my existing road and river sections as they are all made from 12" or 6" pieces, my aim is to make the table look as conventional as possible with the grid defining movement, shooting and command and control zones etc.

First company, 42nd foot, took quite a bit of work and a week to paint!



The company forms column of march - the advantage of individually based figures.

And a few shots of some other figures from the collection as it's been a while sine they featured on the blog.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Some new bits & Xmas beer!

Happy New Year to my readers, Let's hope that 2017 brings a more peaceful time, and that we witness far less of the mindless violence of 2016. Sadly, I doubt it, but we can live in hope. 

I managed to squeeze in a bit of painting over the festive period, to be honest it offers an escape for me from the excesses of eating, drinking and the general upheaval of family life at this time of year, the noise has subsided and things are getting back to normal. As you can see below my eldest Son in Law did me proud once again in the beer department, we drank our way through one box of the Great British Ales already, and started the second. The Hobgoblin Gold is a particular favourite of mine but I'm saving it for a couple of weeks when I hope to have a couple of beer drinking friends round to help me with it, I have found in the past that it loses condition quite quickly once opened, and it needs to be done justice in prime condition.


I painted the US HQ objective marker and added the 2nd Armored Division flag with it's 'Hell on Wheels' symbol, this adds a final piece to my US army. I also painted a platoon of Hitler Youth bristling with panzerfausts ( Battlefront metal figures). I was watching a couple of videos whilst painting them, and felt appalled at the losses suffered by these children (many were 15 or under, some as young as 12), during the final weeks and days in Berlin. At a time when many experienced regular 
soldiers were surrendering,  the indoctrination was such that these boys were prepared to fight to the last and lay down their lives. Still, FoW is just a game and I enjoyed painting them, the red armbands as cast on gave a little lift to the somewhat bland colour scheme. Next up is a platoon of Soviet Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, resin models with metal figures. Very nice castings, I almost trimmed off what I thought was flash from two of the rockets before I realised they were actually arms supporting the weight and the figures go together in pairs! 

Katyusha rocket battery in action.

The pictures I took of the Soviet v German game were a disaster, to the point that I have given up with my old camera. The lighting up in the room is not good, and I also found that having just 18" either side of the table was too tight, I kept knocking the tiles and hill sections. I have now decided to play future games back downstairs in the dining room where the light is much better and there is far more room. When I get a free day I'll try again with a game write up and photos!

A quick note re Flames of War, with version 4 due out in March, and the news that the rules will be trimmed down to about a third of the current size, I'm delighted to read that the new publication will be given out FREE to those who hold a copy of the 3rd Edition - I have the hardback and it's a hefty tome. This is very pleasing and certainly will keep me playing this fine game.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

"Toy train goes to War".

I have just recently begun research into the lives of those who lived here in Dymchurch during WW2 and already it has thrown up some fascinating personal stories that I hope to share in due course. My main interest is in the period leading up to D Day when the Americans arrived and obviously created quite a stir locally! In  1944 a 10 deep mile exclusion ban was put in place all along the Kent coast as the preparations for the Normandy landings began in earnest. Locals were issued with Identity Cards and access was strictly controlled. Typhoons and Tempests were based at Jesson airfield (became a Holiday Camp after the War), and one local describes how two Typhoons returning home from a mission collided during a victory roll, killing both pilots. B17 Flying Fortresses and B24 Liberators of the US 8th Air Force were a common sight and several crashed in fields on the journey home, one coming down in the centre of Dymchurch. US infantry occupied seafront bungalows, including the barber who gave locals free haircuts. One eye witness, a child of Ten at the time, described how German bombers would come in "skimming the waves" to avoid radar detection before swooping up over the sea wall, so low that he could see the pilots clearly. In one incident on the Dymchurch seafront a British officer who was instructing soldiers in the use of hand grenades accidentally dropped one into a box full of them causing a huge explosion that killed and injured many of the men. Italian prisoners worked the fields and were described as being quite affable and no trouble.

The above is just a brief taster of life down here during those dark days, of course the Dymchurch Home Guard continued to serve and some were deployed to man the narrow gauge railway - opened in 1927 - where a loco had been converted into an armoured train. This short Pathe News film captures the spirit of the times.

Dymchurch Station today, thankfully a more peaceful place.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Seasons Greetings, Soviet command post & 'Hell on Wheels'.

This will be the last post before Christmas so it's appropriate to wish everyone Seasons Greetings. This year seems to have flown by and been very busy, but on the hobby front I have finally settled on my game of choice and that is of course Flames of War. I have an extensive collection that will continue to grow in the New Year as I expand into early war French and British forces. I also plan to expand the 28mm French Indian War collection, possibly rebasing into more conventional larger units. I'm going to try hard to resist the urge to start anything new if I can!

I have a game to write up, Soviet Tankovy v 9th SS Panzer, and this will appear as my next post. Meantime I added this lovely little HQ objective to my Soviet force, I popped a few additional figures (actually tankriders) on the base, including the flagbearer. Five nicely painted Panthers were purchased from eBay and added to the mass of German armour I already have. They round off the Mid/Late war collection well, and in the New Year focus will be on early war model Panzers, mark 1's and 2's as I prepare for the invasion of France!

The 2nd Armored Division- 'Hell on Wheels'- dice tin has arrived so I took the opportunity to snap the tin alongside my models that represent them. I hope to give them a run out over the holiday period.

I took the decision a few weeks back to sell off all my Bolt Action stuff, I have no regrets at all as my enthusiasm for the rules took a major dip and I wanted to focus on armour based games that work better in 15mm on a 6 x 4 table. I achieved a good price and some has been re invested back into Flames of War, especially scenic items that I am really pleased with. In the New Year I'll be selling off the 28mm scale MDF buildings, British bits and Bobs, and a few other things to clear the decks a little. I also have a couple of unopened Warlord ECW 'Starter Battalia' boxes, plus a few Roman and Celt boxes to clear out via eBay as I just can't see myself using them. I hope to employ the services of John from Kingscolours to paint more Front Rank FIW figures for me in the New Year, so the sales come in handy.

Anybody interested in these?  They will go on eBay in the New Year.

Iain, please remind me of your address again! Saved this for you :)

Best regards to you all, have a great Christmas and a peaceful New Year.