Sunday, 29 April 2012

Mad Mullah Chapman's Turbaned Terrors

Surprise, surprise, surprise!!!

How often does an impulse purchase jump to the head of the painting queue and see fruition??? This was something I bought into purely to aid Nephew Paul, whose purchase of some British started all this off. I have heavy weapons, civilians, technicals and a tank to do, but forty-odd figures so far is not bad.

Bought on 11th March at the WMMMS show, painted by the middle of April, they have displaced musketeers for the Jung-Tilly regiment, two squadrons of Sarsfield's horse for my stalled 1690 project and another two of Oxford's for the same. They were joined in this queue-jumping escapade by some SS and Lord Clifford and his base-mate, Nicholas Stapleton.

Will I ever get back on track and actually stick to a plan?

All my Afghanistan figures so far are Britannia Miniatures figures. Decent selection of poses and equipment, characterful and backed by various vehicle options too.


Sniper team and random hairies

I like to think this is the paincky response when a UAV shows up......

More random hairies

Some decently-equipped terrors

Raw materials

Now I am two figures into my Anglo-Scots Wars project and still enthused by it, the time has come to add to the stuff I have so far painted.

The Fireforge Games Teutonic Knights box has been my starter for ten. For around £18, you get twelve circa 1250 to 1350 knights on caparisoned horses. Simply remove the odd horns and such from the helms and away you go. I would give the set 8 out of 10 - a very good start.

  1. Value for money.
  2. Decent variety of such fittings as weapons and helms (if you carve off the horns, etc., as above).
  3. Four different rider figures which, with the weapon and helm options, give numerous different figures from the same box.
  4. Usable for all sorts of basic projects from later Crusader (Damietta, Acre, etc) to Baron's Wars to East Prussia to Courtrai to Scots' Wars........
  5. Overall good fit to the parts.
  1. Limited horse variety.
  2. Need to fix them together, which does not suit everyone (me included).
  3. The way the horses are fixed to the sprue as clipping off within the saddle leaves a lot of annoying carving to do to get rid of the remains to properly seat the rider.
  4. Moulded on sword scabbards means carving off hilts if you equip the rider with a sword. Separate scabbards would have been better.

The basic rider sprue - four riders, numerous heads, weapons, shields, etc.

The reverse of the above. The sharp-eyed will notice that some of the shields have arms attached. Separate arms are supplied for the others, increasing rider variety.

Teutonic helms. Simply remove horns and file/ sand/ trim as necessary. It is harder to do this with some (the two central, horned ones, for example) than others.

Weapon options. I will probably cut off the lances, should I choose that option, and replace them with metal versions for strength. There is also a version of this basic sprue with musician arm, flag and cross options, to add a command element.

And with bits stuck together.

Another completed build, with horns carved off this particular helm.

Clifford and Stapleton - progress continues

The retinue is (very) slowly building as I further my research, build figures and generally get distracted by all the other stuff I have to do, mostly completely unconnected to wargaming and figures.

At least the first two figures are now together in some sort of composition. To restore English pride, I have an old Naismith spearman who I think will enjoy being ridden down by some further English knights on another base some time soon. Ying and yang and all that.

The brown splodges will be puddles, a simple paint effect with a few layers of gloss varnish. It is Scotland, so evidence of some sort of current or recent precipitation is essential to realism!

Probably my favourite of the pictures for showing how I want the two figures to relate to each other. Regardless of heraldry and historical context, which only I am likely to remember anyway, this shot shows why Stapleton's horse is rearing, as Clifford crashes to the ground just to its front.

Better pics - Lord Clifford 1314

The first pics were a bit blurry, using a smaller, less able camera than my own. For those who are interested, I have taken a few more which, I hope, will show this subject in a better light.

He is now joined by Nicholas Stapleton (Argent, a lion rampant sable armed and langued gules). My lion looks abit more like a gorilla/ bear/ other than I would really like to admit, but........

Much clearer now - horse loses footing in a pothole, tumbles and throws rider, Scotsman dashes out from schiltron and.....

Now all I need is a few dozen more knights and associates and several score Scots spearmen.....

Final solo shot before company arrives in the form of.......

Nicholas Stapleton. The Osprey Campaign book on Bannockburn gives this heraldry as both Miles and Nicholas Stapleton and also gives a forked tail to the lion. The WRG Armies of the Middle Ages vol 1 gives Sir Miles Stapleton dying in 1364 and having a single tail and a white star on the lion's shoulder, so I am plumping for Nicholas for this era. A star on the normal family heraldry was a common way to distinguish family members, along with labels, a border and other features.
Now to marry the figures together on the base, varnish, texture and add a few hundred allies and enemies to "complete" the project!


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Robert, Lord Clifford - KIA Bannockburn

Again using my eldest's piffling little Photoapparat, I was able to capture my latest sample for something new - the Anglo-Scots Wars circa 1300.

I like painting heraldry, get a bit of a buzz out of it even, but madness is surely on the cards going for this one. You see, I wanted context. I had the falling horse (Black Tree, I think), but the rider was not so good in the pack. Then I bought the Fireforge Teutonic Knights and the riders worked better than the originals I had (with a bit of crafty greenstuff to make the join better).

Now, back to context, there were a few notable casualties at Bannockburn, as befitted the horse pose. I could have de Bohun (Gilbert), who got his head cleaved by Bobby Bruce's axe when he charged him alone - no, not for the falling horse.

I could have Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, whose "Or, 3 chevronels gules" would be easy to replicate, but he did not wear his full panoply on the day of his death, so the set up would not look quite right. Both horse and rider had full armour and livery.

So that left Clifford.................Checquy Or and Azure, a fess gules.................

Yellow and blue checks with a red horizontal band.....on a falling horse and 28mm......

In for a penny and all that.

I did not bother to fully animate in all honesty - the scabbard should be falling, the stirrup strap loose, his surcoat remodelled, but the paint job tested my sanity.

The space has been left for Sir Nicholas Stapleton on a rearing horse. He was one of Clifford's retinue in his ill-fated charge against the Scots' schiltrons. You may be pleased to hear that his heraldry was a far simpler affair!

Heraldry is a lot easier if you can avoid the geometric designs and go for animals!!! Straight lines are not my forte, but I can do the odd flourish with some random fur, especially with a picture to copy.

Clifford is far from perfect, but I hope you like him. More will follow whislt I am in the mood.


Flak Attack

After some serious bother from Sturmoviks in my inaugural Flames Of War game a couple of weeks ago, some AA was definitely on the cards. I had some footslogging 20mm's to hand, but wanted mobile. A quick check of the "Das Reich" options for Normandy in the relevant book ("Grey Steel"??) and the Sdkfz 7/1 Flakvierling came to light - 65pts of dakka-dakka mayhem!!!

Slightly blurry image of Battlefront's unarmoured AA half track, model Sdkfz 7/1

A clearer view

Pilot's eyeview from the other side as the canopy slides back for bailing out. Dashed bad luck, that ack-ack, what?
I borrowed some piddling small image monger from eldest daughter for these shots, so apologies for the blurring and lack of clarity close up. None of those nice micro settings unfortunately.

Now for a varnish and base and game 2 on Wednedsay evening.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

April showers and the duff PC

I had such hopes........

The Fireforge Teutonic Knights box was duly bought, a couple of riders matched with a couple of random horses I had lying around and the first couple of samples for my Anglo-Scots c1300 project were away. On top of that, the Taliban I bought on mega-impulse (or to bail Nephew Paul out after his even more mega-impulse purchase of 16th Airborne figures) turned out to actually grab my attention and were turned out in a couple of weeks or so, though remain unbased. Why? The SS needed some additions and have them, newly finished today, in the form of some AA and vehicles.

But the home computer has gone bump/ bash/ bang (delete as appropriate). I type this on my second daughter's notebook and the photo card slot is too small for my Olympus XD card!!!!!!!!!!!!! To top it all, I cannot find my cable to download direct from the camera either.......................

So, if I can either talk Mrs G into a new PC or work out another solution, all will be revealed. I can not post piccies just yet, but hopefully tempt you with the prospect of seeing this activity in the near future.

Robert, Lord Clifford, crashing to the ground at Bannockburn anyone?

Sir Nicholas Stapleton (or it could be Miles, as sources  are unclear) on rearing horse trying to avoid falling Clifford?

Fritz, Hans and Karl sat round a quad 20mm waiting for some Typhoon action, whilst Gert the Driver reads the latest issue of "Signal" and bemoans his luck at not getting to play with the noisy guns?

Or Ahmed the Bad (or just plain "misunderstood" to his friends) and his Pashtun cronies?

All await their blog debut when the graphics and PC situation are sorted!!!

I sincerely hope this is VERY soon.......


Friday, 6 April 2012

Back at home, with wet toes

My first ever game of Flames of War went well today.............I lost.

Those Russians get a lot of kit for their buck, with Scottish Paul fielding 16 KV-1S tanks, 3 Sturmoviks and an artillery battery vs my 4 Panthers and 6 Pz IV's.

What did I learn?
  1. As a cuirassier at heart, with a passion for hard-hitting armoured guys (Swiss pike, men-at-arms, actual cuirassiers, elephants, etc) I like to get stuck in, but I need to be far more subtle than that.
  2. I need some AA!!!!! I was lucky to lose just the single Panther to the Sturmovik/ artillery combo.
  3. Stay focussed. I may have routed the artillery and toasted several tanks, for the loss of 3 of my own, but Paul won by capturing an objective whilst I was spraying 75mm shells around!
  4. I WILL PLAY AGAIN AND JOIN THE STAFFORD GAMES FoW LEAGUE (if only to annoy as many "experts" as possible, trample those aesthetically-displeasing infantry bases and maybe scrape a win somewhere!)
  5. Panthers rock!!!!!!!!!
I bought some AA, so point 2 has been addressed, but I do not hold out much hope for any success with either of points 1 and 3!

I didn't paint Panther 321 just to provide Sturmovik fodder......

Scratch one Commie Company Commander. Sadly, he brought some friends along who stormed down my right flank and snatched the objective my opponent had placed there.

Victory hopes died with my C-in-C. I tried to kill as much Russian kit as possible to force a company morale check, when I realised the objective was gone, but fell a tank or two short. Alas.
A good game nonetheless. I will look to grow my force to 1750pts (sic) with the aforementioned AA and some recon.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Taking the plunge (well, dipping a toe...)

Just a quickie.

Those who have followed my recent "tankathon" will know that I have succombed to the "delights" of Flames of War. Well," succombed" does not quite cover it, more like "resigned myself to the need to join in" perhaps. Anyway, with the little learning videos on the Battlefront website duly watched, a fair amount of turgid rulebook read and a few glances at some comparative vehicle stats held firmly under the belt (in what little room is left after all those buffets.........), I will have my first formal lesson tomorrow.

Scottish Paul will no doubt teach my fledgling 2nd SS Panzer Division chappies a lesson in what not to do, but I am looking forward to the experience. I have not played any game since WMMMS back on 11th March, so a bit rusty in the rolling dice arena, but the kit is ready and it would be sad not to use it.

So "Laissez Allez!/ Dex Aie!/ Charge!/ En Haye!/ etc" and time to chase after those dogs of war that some careless soul has let slip. I doubt I will cry "God" for Harry or any other member of our current Royal family (monarchist though I am), but the odd "Damned dice", "Verdammte Amerikaner/ Russen/ Englander", "What the £&£%^$% am I doing???" or similar may be heard.

I will try and remember the camera for a few pics of "the first one" (everybody remembers that first one fondly as we all know.....)