Sunday, 21 February 2016

North Africa Campaign WIP & some 1:1 Scale stuff.

I have been mulling over the possibilities of skirmish gaming recently in an attempt to revive a somewhat flagging gaming hobby. I do like big spectacular games with plenty of figures on the table but pressures of work & other commitments have reduced the opportunities to perhaps one or two games per year. So to try & reverse this trend I am going to paint up a few figures for small unit actions set in the Desert War.

This is the first squad nearly complete in only three evenings of painting. Using vallejo panzer colours & some washes these Perry miniatures paint up really nicely & quickly which is great because my concentration span for painting has declined severely over the last few years.
The box set comes with enough figures to complete a full platoon of 37, but I'm going to assume a little bit of wastage so I can use the alternative heads included on the sprues to make up a small group of LRDG for a bit of variety. This will also give me a valid reason to paint up a couple of vehicles.
This might seem a bit of a departure from my usual wargaming interests but I was clearing out some boxes the other night & found a bag of Airfix 1/32nd scale 'Desert Rats' that I received for my 7th birthday, so its actually gone full circle.

You there, that man! Its all your fault.
In other news I have been busy with the woodworking tools again, in addition to the bows that are currently in production, I spent yesterday in the workshop putting a shaft on this:

This being a sparth axe/ bardiche from the very talented Josef Dawes at White Well Arms. There seems to be some debate over the origins of the berdiche, but the weight of opinion seems to suggest it evolved in Northern Europe from the earlier Danish Axe. I had a session yesterday afternoon trying to figure out how to use it effectively & it is not a subtle tool, requiring quite a bit of room to use & a fair bit of strength. More of this at a later date when I have some time with it.
The other woodworking project is also progressing:

The natural lamination of heart & sapwood that gives yew its characteristic spring.

These are the two longbows mentioned a few weeks back, there is still a way to go with these. It's not a job you can rush, if you remove too much material or remove material in the wrong place the job is buggered so theres a lot of weighing up work going on. Its unusual to find yew of the right quality for bows these days, If I cut 25 pieces in a year only one or two will actually be any good. The best stuff comes from the centre of overgrown yew hedges where the trunks have been forced to grow straight up to the light with very little side growth. Apparently Pacific Yew from Oregon is very good, but this is hard to get hold of in Shropshire so for the time being I will continue to use my closely guarded sources closer to home.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

More Gran Colombians from Orinoco Miniatures.

Painting has been slow again this week, mainly due to long hours at work, but also my lack of a project that I am particularly enthused by. This seems to happen every now & then but eventually something will come along that provokes a veritable frenzy of brushwork, but for now I'm just tidying up loose ends of ongoing projects:

The first base of Fusileros. I like the variety of canteens carried.

WIP officers, the colonel on the left drawing his sword is nicely done.
When funds allow I will purchase a lot more of Orinocos figures, they really are very nicely realised, they are on the smaller side of 28mm figures which makes the painting a bit harder work, but the payoff is worth the effort. The range is quite limited at the moment, though there are more on the way apparently.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Mixed Bag.

After last weeks trip to the capital its back to painting miniatures again this weekend.
First up re-purposing some redundant Foundry Hypaspists as late 3rd Century Thorakites by simply replacing their hoplite shields with some spare Polemarch Thureos from the spares box:
The figure in the centre is a Victrix plastic Hoplite.

I've got eighteen of these, but will mix in some of the Victrix figures to make this up to a round two dozen. Despite the Victrix figures being taller their overall proportions are fairly similar so they shouldn't stand out too much.

In addition to these I have made a start on some Orinoco Miniatures Gran Colombian Fusileros who have been languishing for the last two years:

These are very nice figures, very similar in style & build to the Perry Miniatures Napoleonics I used for my Peruvian troops. I will be returning to these later on today after lunch has been dealt with.

Handgrenadealien does London.

My long suffering other half was kind enough to treat me to a short break in London for my birthday last weekend. Covered a fair bit of ground in three days, visiting The Natural History Museum ( full of people rushing round without actually stopping to look at anything properly), The British Museum ( full of Chinese people looking a bit overwhelmed) & The Tower of London ( full of Americans complaining about the weather). The highlight for me was HMS Belfast ( full of me plus other half & about half a dozen others):

Yours truly &the biggest pillar drill I have ever seen.

The business end. A &B turrets & the bridge.
Its taken a long time to actually make this visit, my first trip to London was with my Father when I was eight years old & the plan was to visit HMS Belfast & The Imperial War Museum. Unfortunately only the latter was open on the day we had available, which was fair compensation as I recall it being very good. The other thing that sticks in my mind was having very sore feet; my Father having somewhat idiosyncratic views on public transport insisted that we walked everywhere which was a bit hard on my young legs.
Glad I finally got to take a look at the old beauty though. It seemed very roomy on the day, but I suspect things were a bit more uncomfortable with 850 men on board & as for running through 40' seas round The North Cape, that simply beggars belief.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

An Alternative Take on the Thorakitai.

Bear with me on this one there is a bit of lateral thinking going on. Or rambling.Which given the foul cold I am currently enduring may be more likely. I apologize if some of this is all greek to you, but my powers of explanation have also deserted me.
Normally one would picture a thorakites as a slightly better armoured thureophoros with a light mail shirt in addition to his thureos shield; but I got to thinking earlier, would the cuirass worn necessarily be of mail? Would it not be equally likely that this was of the more traditional linothorax type & if so what would this combination look like:

Actually not bad, almost like a latter day hypaspist ( depending on your point of view) & quite suitable for standing in line of battle as flank protection for the phalanx as well as providing a solid anchor for the thureophoroi while operating in rough country.