Wednesday 31 August 2011

HMS Glory-less - part 2

HMS Glory-less is now complete and undergoing sea trials on the modelling table.  A few words about the name - I have not given the model an historical name as it is far from being an accurate model - rather a vague representation of the original HMS Glorious.
The painting process involved spray painting it black and then drybrushing on the other colours - light brown for the decks, white for the lifeboats and pale grey for everything else.  A quick squirt of matt spray varnish finished it off.
Hopefully a maiden voyage will be taking place soon...

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Camel Cataphracts - more news

Further to my recent post on armoured camels, there followed an email exchange with John Bassett.  John writes: 
<< Enjoyed your recent blog on the cataphract camels. They certainly seem to have existed in real life, and were in used in battle against the Romans in the early C3 AD - towards the end of the Parthian empire and a generation before Harry Sidebottom's "Ballista" books.

Our source is a contemporary history written by the Roman senator Herodian. He wrote a history that starts with the death of Marcus "Richard Harris" Aurelius, covers the reign of the demented, tyrannical Commodus (Joaquim Phoenix...), his assassination, the subsequent civil wars, the rise and rule of Septimius Severus and the brief and blood-thirsty reigns of his various relatives, culminating in the rise and brutal fall of the demented teenage trans-sexual god-emperor Elagabalus. Something for everyone here, and a brief stage appearance by Parthian cataphract camels can only have added to this unedifying if colourful pageant. Anyway, Herodian IV.14.3 - the battle of Nisibis, AD 217:

"Meanwhile Artabanus was upon them with his vast and powerful army
composed of many cavalry and an enormous number of archers and
cataphracts who fought on camels, jabbing with long spears."

No real reason you couldn't use them in a Sassanid army, as they took over various parts of the Parthian army, including the horsed cataphracts. I doubt there were any at Carrhae - the camels there are mentioned as supply animals, but who knows...

I don't recognise the model camels. I have some Minifigs armoured camels from about 1975, and they are only armoured on the chest and shoulders (if that's what camels have...). I wonder if the full armour may be conversion work by JR from Garrison originals?

The riders do look like Minifigs PB cataphracts. The only designated camel riders that Minifigs made in the early 70s were lightly armed Arabs and Palmyran caravan guards, before issuing a Parthian armoured camel lancer figure at the end of the 1970s.
I still have a great fondness for this period (both the Greek and Roman world and the 1970s!) as the first "proper" wargames figures I got in 1974 were Minifigs 25mm Greeks. I still play with them. >>
Thanks again to John for his useful information.  I can say that the armour is definitely not conversion work.  Since the earlier post, two further batches of camels have emerged from the dust - photos coming soon!

Monday 29 August 2011

HMS Glory-less - part 1

I have to report a brief outbreak of ship building on the modelling table of late.  The already reported  re-release of the Airfix 1/1200 WW2 ships set me looking into the conversion opportunities offered by these kits.  Armed with my trusty copy of Conway (the volume covering 1906-1922), the Internet and a newly arrived reference book (below), I began work.
I had decided to begin with the HMS Hood kit which looked to have possibilities to be bodged into some of the earlier British battle cruisers.  The original HMS Glorious - though perhaps better known as a WW2 carrier - looked very much like a shortened Hood with only two turrets.  I assembled the hull and main deck and called in my trusty X-Acto razor saw to remove a 12mm(ish) chunk just ahead of the aft mast. 
I then carved away and filled the mounts for the 'A' and 'Y' turrets.  The 'B' and 'X' mounts should really have been trimmed down by a few mm but I didn't bother.  Assembly was then completed with lifeboats and secondary guns being secured in locations somewhere between those offered by the kit and those indicated on the plans I found.  A single funnel was located approximately midway between the masts.
Ready on the slipway!  The white stripe ahead of the aft mast shows where a miscalculation was rectified with a slice of plastic card...
The completed model ready for some paint.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Camel Cataphracts - and why not?

I was originally going to call this post 'Dusty Warriors', but the late Richard Holmes had already bagged it.  On Sunday afternoon I set about doing more tidying up of some of the figures rescued from JR's attic last month.  With the aid of a 2-inch paintbrush the worst of the dust (see the photo in my previous post) has now been removed from these chaps - to reveal some really rather nice paintwork.  Can anyone help with identifying the manufacturer?

My plan is to base up the painted figures and (in the fullness of time...) paint some more in order to get some use out of these rather splendid figures. I have noticed that these older 25mm metal figures are fairly compatible with many of the newer plastics - and Martin has many of the latter which we have used in Strategos / Lost Battles games.  
Clearly I was drawn to the sheer ridiculousness of what WRG used to call 'Extra-Heavy Camelry' - what better place to start?

Tuesday 23 August 2011

JR's toy sort-out. Part 3

For your edification I now offer photos of more boxes which have been initially categorised.  We are still in the pointy-stick era.  The next step will be to go through these in detail, clean up the figures and arrange them into 'like' sets.  Just as well there's no hurry!  My aim is to try and get a few of the nicer painted figures re-based during the next few weeks.  Unless the dust inhalation or lead poisoning claim me first....
Mostly Medieval types in here - including a few rather nicely painted knights.
A box of dust also contained these camels - including some of the celebrated (and possibly fictional - but who cares about that?) Parthian Camel Cataphracts!  I recall these featured in the original WRG Army Lists (for their 5th Edition rules).
Quite a fleet of 1/1200 ancient galleys.  I already have a few of these so I really ought to try and get a game out of them.

Friday 19 August 2011

We're all doomed!

Wednesday night saw us play another Dialogue Game using Steve's Dad's Army figures.  The cast was as follows:
Captain Mainwaring (short, bespectacled, bossy) - Dave
Sgt. Wilson (softly spoken nice chap) - John
L. Cpl Jones (easily confused and prone to panic) - Martin
Pvt. Walker (dodgy geezer, frequently disappears for a smoke) - Gunter
Pvt. Pike (stupid boy) - Steve
Pvt. Fraser (cantankerous Scotsman) - your humble correspondent....
The action opened with the platoon arriving in a small hamlet to investigate a report of an unexploded bomb.  A great deal of milling around ensued with Walker cadging cigarettes and Fraser disappearing to make a telephone call.  Meanwhile Pike has spotted a hole on the roof of one of the houses but everyone is ignoring him..
ARP Warden Hodges then appeared grumbling about it being "an ARP matter".  While the argument raged, Jones accidentally discharged his rifle and shot Hodges's helmet off!  Eventually Jones bribed Hodges with some sausages and he buggered off. 
While part of the platoon was searching the timbered house a large dog appeared and ran at Walker.  Walker then ran off and tripped over a metal object which turned out to be a bomb!  As Mainwaring tried to restore order, Wilson went to ring GHQ and Jones flung himself on the bomb which promptly began ticking...  As the episode ends, cut to a close up of Fraser - "we're all doomed...."

Thursday 18 August 2011

JR toy sort-out. Part 2

The sorting out has so far been confined to putting stuff in 'themed' boxes.  The sheer quantity of figures came as something of a surprise.  This post deals with the pre-gunpowder 25mm toys.  The main manufacturers represented (as far as I can tell) are Minifigs, Hinchliffe and Garrison - from the days when 25mm figures were actually 25mm tall!
Quite a mixture in here - mostly Romans, and about half a dozen chariots.
Some painted stuff too - including pikemen, light cavalry and Sassanid levy infantry.
Another real mixture of figures - including some Dark Age axe swinging types.
Mostly Assyrians and Greeks in here.
Lots of pikemen and Thracians.  The small box contains Napoleonic figures - I recognise the cavalry and remember using them in games in the late '70s.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

River Coa - 24 July 1810

Last Wednesday I set up the next Command & Colours Napoleonics scenario - the Battle of the Rover Coa.  John had a change of scene and commanded the French while Steve led the British.  As usual this was played on my Hexon terrain while toys are from my accumulation of 15mm Napoleonics.
The initial set up, seen from the British side of the table...
...and again from the French side.
Infantry advances on the French left.  This and all further photos are taken from the French left/British right.
The French heroically overran the British (actually Portuguese) field works.  These turned out to be less of an obstacle than anyone had anticipated!
Infantry surges forward on the British right while the French press forward in the centre.
French infantry hunt down the remainder of Sharpe's chums.
Meanwhile on the French right, heroic (or stupid?) light cavalry charge the guns.
More dramatic cavalry action as the British heavies charge the French vanguard.  Compare this photo with the 'after action' one below.
Casualties on both sides, but the cavalry didn't hang around.
Before the French can take a breather more cavalry (light this time) gets stuck in...
...and see off the French.
The game lasted for less than 90 minutes - particularly impressive considering that Steve hadn't played before.  While the Frenchies took an early lead, the Brits mounted something of a comeback before being finally beaten.

Monday 15 August 2011

JR's toy sort-out. Part 1

At last I have managed to do some sorting out of all the toys.  As I had initially shoved the stuff straight from car to garage, I decided to put up my 'spare' wargames table (it was rescued many years ago from a skip outside the wargames club...) on the drive and go through the stuff in the open air.  There are many 25mm toys - mostly unpainted Ancients and 'Renaissance' types, together with some 15s and oddities such as small quantities of 6mm WW2, old Minifigs 5mm blocks, a few 25mm Napoleonics, 20mm ACW metals, 30mm AWI and an impressive number of 1/1200 Ancient ships. 
And so it begins - the tray in the centre illustrates the sort of chaos I was dealing with.
Some boxes contained more boxes which contained many random things...
This session at least left toys in some small degree of order.  But not much.  More photos coming soon.


I finally got round to threatening this KV-1 with some paint.  It is one of the Pegasus kits I picked up at Partizan last year which I built a few months ago.  The black spray paint was added some time later and it has now had a heavy drybrush of green.  Detail painting will follow....sometime.  Probably.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Projects and plans

There has been much discussion of late on several blogs about the challenge of having multiple projects on the go and the need to plan. While it's all very well in theory having a plan to complete a project, I find I get bored with painting, say 54mm cavalry and distracted by the lure of 1/1200 ships, while all the time feeling slightly guilty about the half painted KV-1, the 6mm train, the undercoated AH-1 (which has been in that state for at least 4 years), the two French trucks whose bases just need flocking etc etc...... And that's before we start on the half dozen Megablitz divisions assembled but as yet un painted and indeed the boxes of completely unstarted toys, the boxes of unbuilt kits and all the stuff from JR's attic.

Anyway, now that I've done more painting of the current batch of ships and retrieved the regiment of 54mm cavalry (primed yesterday) from the garage, its on with sorting out some 25mm Highlanders. I wonder if this will ever change....

Friday 12 August 2011

Ki-84 Frank - part 2

I managed to find time during the week to finish off these three models and took the photos before clearing them out of the way to create table space for yet more projects.  Why do I always seem to be working on about a dozen different things at any given time?  Is it just me?
A Ki-84 of 3/47 Sentai.
An aircraft of 51 Sentai.
The same - but different!  All three in a low level flypast of the table.  The metal-finish machine bears the markings of Rensai Hikotai 10.

Thursday 11 August 2011

Siberian Rifle Corps

I managed to find time for a bit of 20mm activity at the weekend.  These Russian chaps were part of the batch acquired recently from Fred Cartwright and are in the process of being rebased as a Rifle Corps for Megablitz.  Yes, another one.

More news and another photo after the bases have been flocked.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Ki-84 Frank - part 1

The Nakajima Ki-84 'Hayate' (Gale) entered service with the Japanese Army in 1944 and shows (to my eyes at least) a clear visual similarity to the earlier Ki-43 and Ki-44.
These are yet more F-Toys pre-painted kits and were part of the same set as the Nate and Sonia and have been hanging around awaiting the combined assaults of knife and glue.
The first (of three) kits assembled.
The parts awaiting assembly.
The second Frank takes to the air.
As with earlier F-Toys builds, these went together easily.  In view of the handling these models will get, my practice is to completely disassemble the kit before gluing it all together.  More photos will follow when I have chosen and applied the markings.

Monday 8 August 2011


Just to prove that the sun does (occasionally) shine in the UK....
Whitby - seen from the south side of the harbour.
Looking from the north side of the harbour.
The dead centre of town.  West Cliff in the middle distance and Sandsend further away.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Back from holiday!

It's been quiet couple of weeks in terms of postings from me. Firstly, as has already been mentioned I had a few days in Scotland and then last week I was on holiday in Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast. Hopefully over the next couple of days (Once I've ploughed through the mountain of office post) I'll get going again and dazzle you with tales of:
1. The contents of the boxes from JR's attic (brace yourselves).
2. Progress on some 1/1200 ship models.
3. A few more Forbodian light cavalry (I started painting them in June).
4. More 1/144 scale WW2 aircraft.
5. More 20mm WW2 stuff.

I am also looking forward to. My first visit to the Wargames club in three weeks this coming Wednesday. I just wish I could remember what we'd arranged to play.