Sunday 29 September 2019

(Hotch)kiss and tell - part 1

This ancient Heller kit has been hanging about for a few months, so earlier this week I took pity on it and set to work.
These Heller kits are getting on a bit but the mastering and moulding is on a par with contemporary Tamiya. The instruction sheet folds out to A4 size and is a model (sorry) or clarity.
The three legs of the MG tripod are separate parts and I wasn’t looking forward to the assembly but in the event it all went together very nicely.
Paintwork will follow - I’m planning a 1940 French overall khaki finish so these chaps may also see service in Spain. 

Monday 23 September 2019

Jolly Green Giant - part 1

To accompany my brace of Skyraiders to war I have at last whipped out this implausibly large chopper.
To say it’s a basic kit would be slightly unjust as it’s hardly a new release. That said, I’m not looking for any more detail or complexity and at about £7 it’s hardly expensive!

Friday 6 September 2019

Quelling the Commune - part 4

Back to Paris now for the final thrilling installment.
While Marshal MacMahon bravely has his photo taken at Fort Issy...
...his troops assault the first barricades.  Happily the defenders ran away from this one.  Note the engineers with a barrel of gunpowder poised to breach the wall.
Historically, when the first Government troops entered the city there were accusations of treachery. In the game this was replicated by one of the Commune players being banged up in jail for a couple of turns. 
It wasn't all so easy thought and casualties were high in some units.  As well as facing musketry and close range artillery, our brave chaps had to deal with snipers and infernal devices.  Not least the dreaded Petroleuses - women armed with incendiary devices - who attacked troops and burned buildings.
It can now be revealed that the Government's negotiations with the Prussians (whose army, it will be recalled, still encircled the city) had gone well and two regiments of elite Breton infantry had been sent by rail round to the north.  They appeared in the middle of day two and effected an unopposed entry to Paris.

Several of the Government units got rather lost in the urban sprawl - the apparently empty areas were assumed to be heavily built up.
Some of the mob made a fight of it, others fled.  Some rather annoyingly fled and then made a fight of it.
The great 'central redoubt' in front of the town hall.
By now (c1600hrs in real time) Republican columns were closing in on the centre from several directions and the end was no longer in doubt.

The players, apparently awaiting the firing squad.  Or more likely tea and buns.  From left - Graham, your humble correspondent, Mike, Anthony and Brian.  PW is safely behind the camera.  Well done to all!

Thursday 5 September 2019

Quelling the Commune - part 3

As night falls the defenders of Fort Issy remain confident...
...but overnight they are outflanked by Republican troops.
Soon the flag of freedom (or it might be brutal repression, depending on your point of view) flies proudly atop the fort's ramparts.
Republican forces near the city...
...where the criminal mob mans the walls.  They were an ill-assorted bunch of scruffy figures.
See what I mean?
Meanwhile, the Marshal maintained a dignified appearance.  Comfortably out of cannon shot...
Aside from the walls, the many barricades looked pretty formidable.  But hopefully the rabble would run off at the first whiff of grapeshot.

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Quelling the Commune - part 2

 Government troops surge forward...
 ...towards the nest of criminals that is Paris. Note the barricades on the streets and the town hall in the distance.
 But first we must subdue Fort Issy......
....General Gallifet’s division was tasked with that. 
As you may have gathered from the tone of these posts, I was cast as Marshal MacMahon, with Mike L as General Gallifet and Anthony M as General Cissey.
The town hall flying the red flag. Deputies can be seen lolling drunkenly on the steps outside.
The wicked Communards were played by Brian C and Graham A. Setup and umpiring by PW. 

Tuesday 3 September 2019

Quelling the Commune, 1871 - part 1

Or to put it another way, “Thiers before bedtime.”
This was a Funny Little Wars game played in London with an assortment of 54mm toy soldiers.  It is 1871 and the French republican government under Adolphe Thiers has finally lost patience with the Commune which controls the city of Paris. A corps under Marshal MacMahon is ordered to capture the outlying Fort Issy and then return the city to government control.
A word of warning at this point - if you might be easily misled into taking any of this seriously, or to taking offence at some period politics and language, then stop reading now and go and do something else.
If, on the other hand, you are confident that what follows is merely a sorry tale of some middle-aged men playing with toy soldiers, read on!
Above - our 100% accurate scale model of Paris.
Fort Issy. It’s commander was wanted for murder of a police officer. I wanted him to stop firing those bloody guns.
This and next three photos - the government forces assemble. The figures were an assortment of ACW Yanks and various French dating from 1805 to 1914!

Sunday 1 September 2019

Essential purchases from COW

Better late than never, here are my purchases from the informal bring & buy at COW. There are always some books - the first is every bit as dodgy as it looks and has already been read and put in the surplus pile. 

I’ve still not had a rummage in this box of old 25mm medievals - they were comfortingly cheap though!

David Crook provided these 25mm Sea Peoples figures for an excellent price. Free!
DC also very kindly gave me this splendid book from the collection of the late Eric Knowles. Toy soldier porn of the very highest quality.
The seemingly bottomless boot of DC’s car also yielded this box of dodgy 54mm ‘modern’ figures. I’ve kept a few (and the palm trees) and passed the others to Ian Drury. 
Finally, there is this box of high quality plastic. There are three tolerable Humvees in there, plus a tank transporter.