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.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Shorncliffe Barracks and Military Cemetery.

I occasionally have cause to pass Shorncliffe Barracks and Military Cemetery, set high on the hills overlooking Folkestone and out across the English Channel. Shorncliffe has a long association with the British Army, the Light Infantry were trained there under Sir John Moore and the 95th Rifles are probably one of the best known units to have learned their trade at Shorncliffe. During WW1 it was the final stop off before heading to France and there are many images of columns of happy, smiling soldiers making the short march down towards the Harbour. I know that my own Grandfather Alfred Gramson made that same march as part of the British Expeditionary Force, having trained at Canterbury Barracks before being sent to Shorncliffe prior to departure.

Shorncliffe Military Cemetery contains over 600 Commonwealth War Graves, 470 from WW1 including 300 Canadians, it is set beside the barracks on the hillside and is a sobering place to visit. Three recipients of The Victoria Cross are also buried there:

Private Patrick McHale (1826-1866), Royal Artillery, Indian Mutiny
Sergeant Joseph Charles Brennan (1818-1872), 5th Regiment of Foot, Indian Mutiny
Private John Doogan (1853-1940), King's Dragoon Guards, First Boer War

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Going back to the English Civil War.

Such sad news from Manchester to start such a beautiful day, young people innocently going about enjoying their lives, where and when will this ever end?

I am in the process of starting a new blog dedicated to my Hinchliffe ECW project. It seemed better to start fresh rather than include it here, as this blog has taken so many twists and turns over the years.

Should you wish to join me the new blog can be found HERE. I'll link it from this blog eventually as it develops, early days of course but the first post is up.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Plans, Howitzers & contemplating Hinchliffe ECW's.

Sunday Morning again, the Sun is shining and over on the beach it's lovely and calm. I just watched a very skilled water skier making several fast runs up and down, looks great fun. With the Election looming and uncertainty over just how Brexit will pan out we have decided to hold off our planned move until end of Summer here, we are still going to Spain, but the house won't now go up for sale until September 1st. With that decided we invested in a garden hot tub (Laz-y-Spa) and I have been busy repairing and repainting the old garden shed to house it, it will go with the house sale as an additional feature, but meantime it's a little touch of the Spanish lifestyle we are looking for here on the Kent Coast and the kids and Granddaughters all love it!

Had a break from painting the Travel Battle figures this week and returned to my Flames of war collection. I painted up a couple of German Howitzers that I had for some time and I'm pleased with how they turned out, metal Battlefront models, they will add a bit more indirect fire ability to my German forces. Version 4 has done away with the need for separate command teams, one gun being nominated as the command gun instead, so I marked this with a red square on the front and rear of one model.
10.5cm leFH18 Howitzers.

The table is back up in the hobby room, the board size of 4' x 5' 6" fits comfortably in there, as it's only 9' long x 7' wide the slightly reduced length allows me to pass by without dragging any models off the table! I intend to play out some 'Flames of War' games as and when I feel like it.

Finally for now.
I have been looking for another project to add to the FIW & FoW collections that are really both about finished now save a few bits and bobs such as replacing the Tigers. The Travel Battle sets will continue to get painted slowly as I must admit to finding it a bit of a strain on my old eyes. I tried ACW's in 28mm but they are just not doing it for me I'm afraid, wonderful figures but I really need something fresh and different. They do paint up well, but I'm calling it a day now on this one.

One thing I have long had at the back of my mind is to do my very own 'Nostalgia' project using Hinchliffe 25mm figures. My first 25mm collection back in the day was English Civil War and to this day I still admire that range, especially the cavalry, the first figures I painted was a unit of  Haselrig's 'Lobsters', inspired by an article in one of the magazines. That would have been around 1977 - 78 -ish when I was living in a bedsit in Blackheath, London, my parents having moved down to deepest Kent and I was serving my printing apprenticeship at Municipal Mutual Insurance, Great Queen Street, Westminster. In those days it was common to have a couple of pints during the lunch hours and my Manager introduced me to Courage Directors Bitter as part of my education, having guided me away from drinking lager and lime! Anyway, I digress, the picture was cut out of the magazine and put in a frame on my wall, amazingly I found the very image on the web and as you can see from below it was indeed an inspiring image.

I have checked out the Hinchliffe range, now owned and sold by Hind's Figures and they do indeed still look good to me. I'm going to place a small order so I can see them in the flesh, but research on the 'Unfashionably  Shiny' blog has indicated just what can be done with them, along with figures from Peter Gilders collection, as used in the 'Battleground' Edgehill edition which can still be viewed HERE albeit somewhat blurry. The figures are old true scale 25mm castings, in the slim style of that time.

Borrowed from the 'Unfashionably Shiny' blog is this wonderful image of Gilder designed figures, just look at the animation. These are actually from the 'Foremost' range and sold under the heading of 'Prince Ruperts Charge'

I'll be back with more on this once my samples arrive.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Blasted Eurovision!

My Sunday morning routine normally sees me out early with the dogs, followed by watching the previous evenings Match of The Day recorded on Sky. This morning however it had not recorded because the powers that be in their great wisdom had switched MoTD over to BBC2 to make way for the Eurovision Song Contest! I really was not amused, especially as I had - as usual - carefully avoided the results on Saturday. I have no idea who won the damn thing and I really don't care, I saw a few clips earlier in the week of some entries, that seemed to me to be stuck in a previous decade (or century?) bland, repetitive and cringe worthy. I apologise to those who might actually enjoy this stuff, but it's really not my cup of tea at all.

Anyway, with no footie to catch up with I sat down and painted these tiny Hussars from the Travel Battle set. Took around an hour, again carefully picking out the colours whilst leaving some black to give depth and shade. Enjoyed doing the horses, the figures are just generic French hussars. So now I have painted all of the French figures from one TB box. The rules state that each players begins by dividing his army into three Brigades, each commanded by a Brigadier mounted figure. What you see is two infantry brigades of 4 units with attached artillery battery, and a cavalry brigade. You can use any combination so long as it's just three brigades. I'm going to paint the other two blue sprues next before starting the British. This will give me six brigades per side under the rules.

This represents the French Army contents of one TB box.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Travel Battle - painting part 2.

Things are coming along nicely now that I seem to have got my eye in for this scale. Painting on the sprue laying flat definitely helps because I can use both hands to steady the point of the brush! I have now knocked up more infantry and some heavy cavalry for the French, just the light cavalry (Hussars) to go and that's two sprues done. I decided to paint the French heavy's as Carabiniers, maybe I should have gone with the white jackets, but went with the (latter?) light blue. I'm trying not to be too fussy but it's good fun, trick is knowing when to stop.

I put the four boards together to see how things looked, I wont touch them until I have all of the figures finished. It struck me that one more set would give a more conventional battlefield, I'll see how things go.

Main thing is I'm enjoying the challenge immensely and I can visualise how it should all look once it's all finished.

Now, should I highlight those 'black' horses? maybe I will at a later stage.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Travel Battle - painting the figures, part 1.

I managed to paint the first infantry figures from the Travel Battle sprues this week, plus an artillery base and officer bases. I must admit that I found it quite daunting at first, it's been a long time since I have painted anything quite this small! having base coated in black I began by picking out the blue coats followed by the white trousers. At that stage I was not too impressed with progress, only once I painted (dotted) in the flesh did the figures seem to 'come alive'. I then dotted in the red facings with a fine brush, followed by painting the cross belts carefully, laying the sprues flat and using both hands to steady the brush. The shakos were then given a brass plate and pom poms dotted in red and blue for a touch of contrast. At this stage I called it a day, deciding there was little point in attempting to add further detail at this scale. Once glued into their bases I felt quite satisfied with the results as you see below. I'm halfway  through the next blue sprue, leaving the cavalry until last, and as I have two sets to paint I have 8 sprues to work through in total.

I'm sure the fully finished results will be worth the work, just hope my old eyesight holds up!

Monday, 8 May 2017

A nice surprise!

Arrived home this afternoon to find our postie had left my two copies of Travel Battle in the garage for me as he usually does if we're not in. I was quite surprised as they were only posted on Friday and I have read of a few people waiting a couple of weeks for them. I eagerly opened them up and must say I'm impressed with the contents. I wont waffle on about the various bits and bobs at this stage, just to say that I'm very keen to see what I can do with painting them. I'll spend the new few days working on them and hope to have something to show here by the weekend. The quality of the figures is most impressive in my humble opinion, and should reward a careful paint job. I'll probably start with a flat black undercoat and pick the colours out as I used to do when painting the Baccus figures a few years ago, hopefully the hands are still as steady and my eyesight has not deteriorated too much!

For inspiration I looked back at some of my old 6mm's and in particular my  '6mm Painting Guide'. There is also a '6mm Napoleonic Gallery' on my old 'War Artist' blog should anybody be interested in a peep.