Battledress Brown, Hedges and a Highland Fling.

With an impending WWII game, I felt that I should finally finish some British for Normandy and the European theatre.  The figures are, I believe, old Hinchcliffe 20mm that I bought of EBay a couple of years ago and promptly stored them. Most of the figures are riflemen in various poses, with one officer and a PIAT. I originally had not intended to paint them as I thought they were already painted to a reasonable standard but I noticed the paint work was worn in a few places and one thing led to another. I completed the repaint back at the start of the year but have only just flocked the bases.

ww2-british

advancing-british

british-firing

en-garde

piat  british-officer

I have also recently completed some hedges. I made four lengths of hedge from an old unused luffa sponge.  It had been knocking about in a draw for quite a few years while I worked out the best way of turning it into a useful piece of terrain. I cut the sponge into quarters along the axis and then glued the pieces to MDF. I added some gravel to texture the bases and help conceal the bottom of the hedge. I spray painted the lot in dark brown and then over painted it to provide some contrast. Finally I flocked the top of the hedge and the base. The photo below is a sample to show how they turned out.

hedge

Last weekend my wonderful wife and I went to see the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in concert and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, my darling wife being particularly enamoured with men in kilts. The theatre was fully packed and the audience very appreciative of the performance, resulting in two encores. There was plenty of singing, sword dancing, piping and drumming, to stir the blood. Indeed it has taken a full week to get one my favourite tunes, “The Black Bear”, out my head.

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Colonies to Commonwealth

I have been fortunate to recently add two new books to my collection. One I have sought for some time, while the other was a serendipitous find. Both books address my interest in Australian military history, and Tasmanian military history in particular. The first book, “Australian Military Uniforms 1800 – 1982” by Monty Wedd, I was able to purchase for $15.00 on EBay. Although second hand, the book is in reasonable condition (They normally sell for considerably more). The book was published in 1982 and features some 40 colour plates and many black and white illustrations by Monty Wedd. It details the various uniforms worn by the Australian military forces of the individual colonies and then the Commonwealth until the mid-seventies. I am very pleased to be able to add it to my bookshelves as it is a rare gem for anyone interested in Australian military history.

Australian Military Uniforms

The second book I was fortunate to pick up at a local book shop is “Preserving Our Proud Heritage The Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army” by L.I. Terrett and S.C. Taubert. The book was only published in November last year and is a very weighty and comprehensive tome detailing every aspect of the Australian Army through the customs and traditions it has developed and  maintained since its formation from the colonial defence forces in 1901. The book also includes a CD of the regimental marches and bugle calls of the Australian Army. I was able to pick up my copy of this brand new book for $15.00 due to it missing its dust jacket and having a very slight bump to the spine.   The recommended retail price is about $60.00 so I found a true bargain on a book that is surely  a must have for anyone interested in the history and traditions of the Australian Army.

Australian Army Heritage

Catastrophic failure and a disaster averted.

My darling wife and I were sitting quietly in the lounge room at home on Monday when there came a loud creaking sound from one of the other rooms. This was followed by an even louder cracking sound. We went to investigate the cause of the noise and found my painting cabinet listing heavily with some of the curios stored in it already strewn across the floor. With catastrophic structural failure imminent, my wife braced the cabinet while I raced to recover everything out of it.

I should explain that the cabinet was huge and featured a slide out desk top and drawer, many cubby holes and shelves for storage, and inbuilt lighting. It stood about four foot high and five foot wide, with a two and half foot depth. It was a massive cabinet that also acted as storage for miniatures and rules. The miniatures were of course saved first and no casualties were suffered. Paints, tools and rules were rescued next, along with various ornaments.

With the potential disaster of broken miniatures and paint everywhere averted, the cabinet  finally collapsed. A quick examination of the carcass revealed a major internal structural weakness that led to the catastrophic failure. So as I cleaned up the after the titanic disaster I could only think where am I going to put everything?

Games Galore

It seems that game shops in northwest Tasmania are like buses, none for years and then two come along at once. Two dedicated game shops opened in Burnie recently and I was able to visit them with my gorgeous wife just before Christmas. The first shop we visited was called Games on Board. We perused the many games on display that ranged from role playing games to board and miniatures based games. Tables were set out at the back of the shop for gaming and visitors could also try out some of the available games. We had a cordial chat to the owner and made a couple of purchases. The second shop is Mind Games and it offered more standard board games and puzzles that also appealed. Sadly we were unable to buy anything there as we had already spent our spare cash. However we did go back to Games on Board after Christmas and made a further purchase.

While I mostly play historical wargames my interests run to a wide variety of games and it is really great to see two game shops open in the region. While games can be easily browsed and purchased online it isn’t as satisfying an experience as going into a shop and seeing the games on the shelves like so much candy. Internet shopping can’t match the pleasure of picking up a game, handling and examining it before making your choice. There is also the advantage of being able to talk to the friendly shop staff about the qualities of each potential purchase. I wish both shops all the best.

My lovely lady wife and I purchased three games in the end. We bought “Cthulhu Fluxx”, “Firefly Shiny Dice” and “Descent: Journeys in the Dark 2nd edition”. “Cthulhu Fluxx” is a card game and “Firefly Shiny Dice” is, unsurprisingly, a dice based game. “Descent: Journeys in the Dark” is a fantasy miniatures board game reminiscent of “Dungeons & Dragons”. Of the three games, I have only had time to play “Firefly Shiny Dice” with my family. It proved to be a quick enjoyable game that captured the character of the Firefly television series and Serenity movie. “Firefly Shiny Dice” is not the only gaming I have done recently in the Firefly universe. My wonderful wife and I have just started playing the “Firefly Role Playing Game” with friends.

 

Firefly RPG and Cthulhu Fluxx

 

Descent

 
On a completely different note I was given a box of the old Airfix 1/72 WWI German Infantry for Christmas. It may prove to be the start of another new period. However, I think it will be a long while before I accrue enough painted figures to have a wargame using the Machine Age rules from One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas.

 

Airfix WW1 Germans

A Bridge so Far!

Yuletide greetings! In my previous post I mentioned that I had completed some small terrain features. These consist of a bridge and hedges that were unearthed during a reshuffle of my wargaming stuff.

Bridge

The first piece is the Italeri Stone Bridge kit that I was given as a gift a few years ago. The kit went together easily and paints up quite well. The model is 1/72 scale but it will, I think, work with figures from 15mm to 40mm. So far the bridge is free standing but at some time in the distant future I intend to place it on a scenic base.

Hedge

The hedges, bought many years ago likewise emerged from the reshuffle. They are simply attached to MDF bases that I cut out and flocked. There were also some virtually complete anti-tank defences but due to an unfortunate accident I’ve had to set them aside for repairs.

 

Veteran Imperial Guard Voltigeurs

It has been a while since the last update to this blog but I haven’t been entirely idle in that time. Since my last post I have completed a unit of second generation Miniature Figurines Imperial Guard voltigeurs. They were bought second hand some time ago and required a few physical repairs before being repainted.

Young Guard Voltigeurs

Young Guard Voltigeurs Command
I have also been working on building the old Airfix 1:76 Bren Gun Carrier and 6pdr Anti-Tank Gun plastic kit (no pictures as yet). This is almost complete and it only remains for me to apply the decals and then a coat of matte varnish when I get around to it. I have further completed some small terrain features and have been doing a bit of home casting but all that will feature in another post.

A Walk in the Artillery Park

It is just a gentle stroll from the pavilion to the artillery park where over the past few months I have positioned a few vintage field guns that I won on Ebay. All are diecast Britains in perfect working order and still capable of firing projectiles. The first is the famous 4.7” naval gun beloved by H. G. Wells, while the other two pieces are “Royal Artillery” guns of different calibres. What will I do with them? Only a time traveller can tell!

The mighty 4.7" naval gun mounted on a field carriage.

The mighty 4.7″ naval gun mounted on a field carriage.

Heavy field gun of the Royal Artillery

Heavy field gun of the Royal Artillery

Light field gun of the Royal Artillery

Light field gun of the Royal Artillery

One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas

Another new acquisition is “One Hour Wargames: Practical Tabletop Battles for those with Limited Time and Space” by Neil Thomas. The many favourable reviews found on the internet, along with my past experience of Neil’s books persuaded me to purchase it. I have read other books by Neil Thomas and have played and own a copy of his “Ancient and Medieval Wargaming”. There is much to be found of great use in Neil’s books for they are an easy read and his rules are very playable.
The first part of the book provides simple rules for some nine historical wargaming periods from Ancient to World War II, along with a potted explanation and historical information for each epoch. Neil boils down armies to four basic unit types and the tactics and mechanics of warfare in each age to its most essential elements.
The second part of “One Hour Wargames” largely consists of thirty very useful scenarios with maps for gaming. Each scenario includes explanations and notes about the source of inspiration for them. There are also short sections that deal with campaigns and solo wargaming. Finally the book also has appendices regarding background reading and useful addresses.
“One Hour Wargames” is a delightful and thought provoking read for anyone interested in historical wargaming. The provided scenarios are an absolute gem and will be an inspiration for my little wars long into the future. While I have not played the rules they do seem on reading that, despite their simplicity, they are effective in creating a sense of gaming a particular period. “One Hour Wargames” is a handy book for any wargamer to have on their shelf.

“One Hour Wargames: Practical Tabletop Battles for those with Limited Time and Space”

“One Hour Wargames: Practical Tabletop Battles for those with Limited Time and Space”

Midlands Military Meet & Rendezvous 2014

A couple of weeks ago my wonderful wife and I, mounted an expedition to Campbelltown in the middle of Tasmania to go to the Midlands Military Meet and Rendezvous. We had been previously, so knew what to expect of this curious event.
The Meet, which occurs every 2nd year, is Tasmania’s only major military history and collectibles event featuring a great variety of vendors, re-enactment groups, arms and militaria displays. It attracts a wide audience and there is always something for everyone.
Walking into the showgrounds we were greeted by faithfully restored vehicles of mostly WW2 vintage, while the re-enactment groups were to be found encamped further on. These were later formed into a grand parade of the vehicles and re-enactment groups. In the main pavilion were to be found the history exhibits and various vendors displayed their wares, including vintage firearms, edged weapons, medals and uniforms.
As it is the centenary of the outbreak of WWI there were a number of displays to commemorate it. The Tasmanian Light Horse put on an impressive display of skill at arms. While the Australian Great War Association performed bayonet drill and later re-enacted an episode from the battle of Fromelles. This consisted of an infantry assault on a German machine gun nest in a pill box.
The scene opened with explosions detonating around the enemy pill box from a mortar barrage. A whistle sounded and the first wave of men climbed out of their trenches, with bayonets fixed, charged towards the machine gun position. The pill box spat fire as the Germans opened up with the machine gun. The first wave was quickly mown down as they crossed the open ground. A whistle was again given and the second wave went “over the top”. The Germans opened up once again and more men were mown down but the assault went home and a grenade was lobbed into the pill box destroying the machine gun nest. One German survived and tried to make a run for it but was quickly shot down.
The Wayfarers of Midgard from Launceston put on a display of Dark Age close combat techniques using sword and shield and the Stoccata School of Defence from Hobart demonstrated Renaissance sword play.
I only made one purchase due to a lack of funds, this was a 1930’s near mint vintage Life Guard. But we had wonderful time and found no shortage of things to look at. The lack of anything specifically related to wargaming was a disappointment. However, we were thoroughly satisfied and happy with our big day out.

A small sample of the many photos from the day.

melee parade pill box tow truck grand parade jeeps

Called to Arms

As any wargamer knows little wars (just as big wars) can be expensive affairs and raising a miniature army or two requires considerable sums of money. Until relatively recently the cost of raising entire armies was largely beyond me due to a lack of funds that could be committed to such pleasures. Consequently, over the years I have often relied on armies made of all kinds of miniatures and these have provided me with plenty of fun games. Metal figures of various sizes and the ubiquitous HaT and Airfix plastic ranges have been utilized to build small armies and detachments. I have also used and retain a considerable fondness for paper miniatures, when they are done well they are splendid little works of art.

Like most wargamers, I have periods of history and armies that I am actively developing and others that are waiting a call to arms. Those presently awaiting “the call” include 30mm Ancients, Colonial and Seven Years War in 30mm German Flats (Zinnfiguren). The Seven Years War project is largely aimed at imaginary wars between fictitious states but using historical units as a basis. It will also include units of 30mm fully round and semi round miniatures. I quite happily play with flats and rounds together, although not in the same unit. Lastly I have 15mm metal Romano British / Late Romans and 15mm Colonials waiting in the wings.

On the active list of current endeavours is the development of my collection of metal 15mm Napoleonic armies and 20mm plastic and metal (1/72) WWII German army. Of these the Napoleonic forces are the ones being most actively developed and consist of a French and allied army, an Austrian army, and a few units of Spanish and Portuguese. I will write more about these in my next post.