Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Saturday, 16 December 2017

1/48th Fokker Dr1 WIP

A few months ago I bought myself an Eduard Fokker Dr1 1/48th model kit. It has been sat on my to do pile for a while, until last weekend, when I started work on it.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Spring chicken to shitehawk in one easy lesson

Over the last week or so, I painted the aircraft that came with the Plastic Soldier Company's new Battle of Britain game. it took longer than expected as I ordered some BoB decals from Dom's Decals over a month ago, but as Dom has been in absentia for a while, I waited as long as I could and found some on EBay instead.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Russian Huts

I bought these three Russian huts from Minibits at Fiasco a little while ago. They are actually 10mm, but at three quid each, I couldn't let them go. Anyway, huts come in all shapes and sizes in Russia. They look slightly small for my 15mm figures, but they work perfectly for the abstract nature of Rommel.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

6mm French Caissons

Back at the Derby Worlds show, I picked up a pack of Baccus' French Caissons. These were big carriages full of all the stuff needed to keep the guns firing.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Somewhere on the Eastern Front Rommel AAR

On Saturda, Ninjasaurus and Dean called over for a tester game of Rommel. I had tried it out solo, but it would their first game of it. With this in mind, we used the same forces I had previously (100 points of Soviets and Germans), but I took the Germans as they had fewer individual units and they split their command between themselves.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

15mm American M3A1

I was going through some boxes the other day and came across these Plastic Soldier Company M3A1s that I bought a long time ago but had forgotten about completely! I thought they would make an nice addition to my small American forces (something I intend on expanding in the future) to give them some armoured transport.

Monday, 20 November 2017

A Mark IV for the Cambrai Centenary

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai, known mostly for it's use of mass tanks, in particular, Mark IVs. Over the last few months, I have been building a Mark IV that was bought for me for my birthday back in July. I wanted to make a vignette using the model and wanted to add a couple of figures to emphasis combined operations. The figures came from Tamiya and they are lovely minis, really nice poses and sharp detail.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Rommel Solo AAR

I've had Rommel for a while now and have been itching to try it out properly. All my chums have been busy for the last few weeks though, so I thought I'd try a solo game using a Soviet and German force, each of 100 points. I used the scenario number three in the book, which is the meeting engagement, with four objectives to be captured.

Saturday, 11 November 2017


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Photo of two German soldiers found at Bullecourt, June 2017, almost exactly 100 years since they were killed. Copyright Harvey Mills 2017

Saturday, 4 November 2017

The Maus That Roared

Back at Derby Worlds,I bought myself two Maus tanks by Zvezda. As there was only ever two built and never got beyond prototype (don't believe those folk that tell they fought, they didn't...), this was way too many for Rapid Fire! and Rommel.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Fiasco 2017

This Sunday was the the Fiasco show over in Leeds, but before I get onto that, I have some Rommel tinkering for you. The game of Rommel is governed, in part, by events and tactics that can swing the odds in your favour. These are printed on each side's Ops Sheets and you have up to ten dice to show which one you are using. I was looking around on blogs and I saw that someone else had decided to turn their Command Post Sheet into game cards.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

'They Got the Rose and Crown'; Battle of Britain First Play

On Sunday Ninjasaurus Rex and I got together to have our first game of the new Plastic Soldier Company board game Battle of Britain. Obviously, this was a chance for me to break out my vinyl of the Battle of Britain film soundtrack.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

1/35th Scale British Mark IV

For my birthday this year, Martin, a chum bought me a Emhar 1/35th scale Mark IV tank kit. That my birthday was in July and I have only just finished it shows you how much I have been faffing about with it. The main issue was the tracks.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Nassau (Reserve) Brigade in 6mm

I am a bit skint at the moment, so the 100 Days Campaign project is on the back burner until I can raise the funds to buy the figures I need for the Allied Reserve Corps. However, I have a lot of left over figures from other Corps and I was able to put together the Nassau (reserve) contingent from spare Baccus French Infantry. The uniforms are reasonably similar and at 6mm, who's going to tell me that the facings are the wrong pattern? No one, that's who!

Friday, 13 October 2017

"'Einkels!" "No they Ain't, They're Messerschmitts!"

I arrived home this evening to find a parcel waiting for me. It's one I've been looking forward to receiving for quite a while now: The Plastic Soldier Company's Battle of Britain board game! This was a Kickstarter that went live over 18 months ago now! I think it was around last April that I backed the project and it has finally been released. I know there have been a few problem with production along the way and I trusted PSC enough to deliver, so I wasn't unduly worried about delivery.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Rommel Supply Tokens

I have got back on painting track since coming back from Vienna and completed a couple of supply tokens ready for Rommel. They are simply a pile of crates and oil drums, but are used in the game to decide who is in supply and who isn't. Also units can become isolated if they can't draw a line back to their supply.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Derby Worlds 2017

Yesterday, 7th October 2017, was the first day of the two day Derby Worlds wargaming show and I drove down to Leicestershire with Ninjasaurus Rex and Dean to attend for the day. The venue had moved from last year, which meant a longer drive for us, but only about twenty minutes more. 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Flory Washes on a T-26 and couple of Flaktürme

I have neglected this blog for the last week or so, as I have been in Vienna over the weekend, visiting my wife (she has moved there for a year for a new job, it's a long story...). But before I left, I bought myself some Flory washes for weathering. I've been wanting to experiment more with weathering on bigger models and these had come recommended by a mate who makes some amazing models. The washes are clay based and easily wiped off even when dry, so that some residue remains in the details on the model. Click the link above to see some good tutorial videos about using these.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Black Orc Down: Blood Bowl and Blucher AARs

Last Tuesday Grandfather_Nurgle called over to my house for a day of games. We'd not seen one another for a couple of years, so it was good to catch up and actually play a couple of games together.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Imperial Guard Artillery

Although I'd finished off the French Imperial Guard recently, when I bought the figures I'd also got myself a set of heavy 12lber cannons, to use as either a battery or attached artillery. These didn't take long at all to paint, with only about 31 figures on the base, so I just sat down and cranked them out one afternoon.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Trois Bras; A Blücher AAR

Last weekend Ninjasaurus Rex called over for a game of Blücher. I had finished off the French Imperial Guard and was looking to try them out in a game, along with everything else I have been painting for the past two years... 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Final Unit and the Full Imperial Guard Corps

The last brigade I needed finish for the Imperial Guard was the Grenadiers à Cheval de la Garde Impériale and the Dragons de la Garde impériale.The heavy cavalry!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Lancers of the Guard

Quickly following on the heels (or hooves) of the Garde Chasseurs à Cheval comes the next Imperial Guard cavalry unit, the 1st and 2nd Régiment de Chevau-Légère Garde Lanciers. This was a mixed unit of French, Dutch, and Polish Lancers and included the famous 'red Lancers'. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Garde Chasseurs à Cheval in 6mm

I have been up in Scotland for the past week working on an excavation of some First World War trenches alongside veterans suffering from PTSD and other injuries. There is some information n the Facebook page of Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage, both of whom are involved with the work. Click on the names to see more about the project (and give them both a 'like'!).

In between that time, I managed to complete the first Imperial Guard cavalry base, namely the 1st Brigade Régiment de Vieille Garde Chasseurs à Cheval. 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

2nd Brigade, Young Guard in 6mm

In a week that has seen quite an upheaval in my personal life,ie, my wife moving to Vienna for a year long job at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, I have been slowly working on the Imperial Guard. The latest being the 2nd Brigade commanded by General de Brigade Baron Nicolas-Philippe Guye. It was made up of the 3rd Tirailleur Regiment and the 3rd Voltigeur Regiment.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Zombie Nosh

Over the last weekend, Dean emerged from his pit and called over to my house clutching his copy of Zombicide for an afternoon of shooting and clubbing zombies. Or at least their 28mm equivalents. I am surprised at the very few times we've actually played Zombicide, it's such a good and tense board game (and bloody difficult!).

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Chartrand's Young Guard

As life has settled down, I have been able to tackle more 6mm Imperial Guard, these next brigade being Chartrand's 1st Brigade of the Young Guard. This was formed of the 1er and 2e Bataillons, 1er Régiment de Tirailleurs and 1er and 2e Bataillons, 1er Régiment de Voltigeurs.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

More Citizens For Mega-City One

I return to this blog as a married man, the wedding is over, the honeymoon is finished and I am back with brush in hand. The first figures I have completed recently are four Mega-City One citizens whom I bought in Warlord's Judge Dredd sale. 

The first guy reminds me a bit of a creature from a Hieronymus Bosch painting. I'm not sure why, maybe it's the medieval style shoes and the weird helmet he's wearing.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

British Tank Colours of the First World War

When we worked in Bullecourt a few weeks ago, one of the major discoveries was a six foot length of tank track from a Mark II training tank that was rushed out to attack the German positions with the Australian Brigade in early 1917. On that tank track was some of the original paint, which was photographed by our photographer Harvey Mills, who then matched the colour that the Mark IIs were painted into the Pantone Matching System equivalent. As far as I am aware there is not a single example of original paint on any of the surviving First World War tanks in museums across the world. All have been repainted over time, so this is the first time in 100 years that we can see the exact colour. What is intriguing is that the tank tracks were also painted in this colour, so now, you will be able to paint your First War tanks in the correct scheme!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Chasseurs of the Middle Guard

With just over a week to go until our wedding day, this really, really, really, is my last bit of painting for a while! I had a few free hours last Sunday so I hammered out the Chasseurs of the Middle Guard.

This is an understrength unit and as the French are pretty quick to actually paint (it's a lot of blue and white and not much else at this scale...), I was able to complete the unit in under about three hours. Although, that doesn't include the basing and waiting for drying times.

As I mentioned, it's classed as Understrength, but they still have an Elan of 8 and it is the last powerful French unit for the 100 Days Campaign.

I really am happy with the look of the French columns. This brings my total of painted 6mm figures to 3,098. There's no wonder I need spectacles...

There are only two brigades of infantry (Young Guard) and three Cavalry brigades to complete for the Guard Corps, so these are nearly a halfway point for the full unit now. As I said though, I get married in just over a week, so this blog will probably go quiet until after then and after the honeymoon. Never say never though and I may find time to paint some more tiny men!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Chasseurs of the Old Guard

I have been slack with the blog posts over the last couple of weeks and I shall tell you now, it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better again! 

Why? Well, in just over two weeks I get married, so with all hands to the pump for the big day, I have not been able to get much work done on the Waterloo project. That said, I did complete a brigade of the Chasseurs of the Old Guard, so things are moving forward, even if slowly.

This is a full brigade of four regiments, all in column (I like how it looks now and wish I had done my other French infantry like this... Ah well, III Corps may have a few columns in amongst the brigades...).

As with the other Guard brigades, this is another big hitter. 8 Elan, along with the steady, skirmish and shock traits all combine to make them as hard as nails!

So with this brigade, I now have three of the Guards brigades complete, but the rest will have to wait until after the wedding and the honeymoon, so maybe late August?

I did forget in the last couple of posts to keep the running count of 6mm figures painted, so here is the new total: 3,045!

Speaking of the wedding, our first wedding present arrived last week from an American friend who can't be there, unfortunately.

It's a cat tank and our very own little Obersturmmbanfuhrer Michael Kittmann loves it!

And just to wrap up in other gaming news it was my other half's birthday last week as well, so I bought her a few books and this game, Mansions of Madness. We've yet to play it, but it seems interesting with the use of a mobile phone app to aid in playing!

Hopefully we'll get a game soon and I shall report on how it went!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Grenadiers of the Middle Guard

Following on from the Old Guard Grenadiers the next Blücher unit I finished is the Middle Guard Grenadiers. It is formed of the 3rd and 4th Middle Guard Grenadier regiments. The 3rd Regiment was formed in Holland as the Royal Guard when Napoleon's brother Louis was crowned King of Holland. When Holland became part of France in 1810 it became the 3rd Regiment of Grenadiers of the Guard. It was then disbanded in 1813 and reformed in 1815 just in time for the 100 Days Campaign. 

The 4th Regiment was raised in May of 1815 to bolster the numbers of the unit. However, this unit is understrength in Blücher terms, so only one Battalion of the 4th are represented here.

This aside the unit is another big hitter, with 8 Elan, shock and skirmishers!

However, in real life, this didn't stop them from collapsing under the pressure of Anglo-Allied firepower in the dying moments of the Battle of Waterloo.

This should be another good unit to field and will certainly give their opponents something to think about, unless they get ganged up on!!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Grenadiers of the Guard

As it is the 202nd anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo today, normal Blücher service has resumed as the next batch of Baccus figures marched through the letterbox recently. I thought it was about time that I added the Imperial Guard to the French forces and in line with the anniversary of the battle here are the Grenadiers of the Old Guard. This Brigade consists of the 1st and 2nd Régiment de Grenadiers.

To make the Guard different from the rest of the army, I have put these figures in column, rather than firing lines. Although the Guard spent most of their time running away during the Battle of Waterloo,the classic image of them is of attacking, hence the columns.

This a heavy hitting unit, with the shock, skirmishers, and steady characteristics, along with an Elan of 8!

Mind you, in the real world, that didn't stop them from collapsing under Allied pressure at the end of the Battle of Waterloo. That's what happens when you stand around all battle waiting for the rest of the army to do the work for you, before delivering the coup-de-grace...

I am looking forward to finishing the entire Guard Corps, as it will be a spectacular sight, I am sure!

And finally as a follow on from the Bullecourt post, here are the official site photos as taken by the amazing Harvey Mills. Click this link for the full roll of film: 

Amazing pictures, I am sure you'll agree. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Ex Joan of Arc, Bullecourt 2017

There were no blog post last week as I was in France working at Bullecourt for an excavation run jointly by Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage. Both of these groups use archaeology to give wounded, injured and sick (WIS) soldiers new skills and help their rehabilitation, especially those suffering from PTSD. I was there as archaeology supervisor and the project was centred around locating some of the tanks which went into action with the Australian forces that attacked the Hindeburg Line in April 1917. I will not give a full description of the battle, but click this LINK to read more about the operation. 

One of the research aims of 'Ex Joan of Arc' (as the project was known) was to see if we could locate tank remains of Lt Skinner's vehicle, a rare Mark II, numbered D23 796, and destroyed by German fire on the 11th of April 1917. From aerial photos we knew the location after the battle of the tank, so this was the obvious place to look! 

Skinner's Tank after the Battle of Bullecourt

However, on arrival in France, our first act was to visit the sexiest lady on the Western Front, Deborah D51. This tank had been recovered near Flesquières in 1998 and currently housed in a barn, for more information click HERE.

Then we had a quick look at the memorials in and around Bullecourt:

Including the Diggers memorial for the Australian infantry who were involved in the April 1917 operation.

Using the geophysical survey readouts we located the archaeological trench, directly over what we thought would be the Hindenburg Line. Then work began and almost immediately unearthed a piece of tank! It may not look like much but it's the chain link from the gear systems within the behemoths. It also appears that it has some battle damage inflicted on it.

First World War battlefields are littered with dangerous materiel, this one was no different, and we unearthed a German stick grenade. This was still live and it was the task of our EOD cover to remove it to a safe place. It was not the last one we found either...

With the clay under the topsoil being baked solid from hot days and a dry winter, we had to get a machine in to remove the earth down to archaeological layers. Having done so, this mysterious object emerged and many theories about what it could be were being thrown about!

It wasn't long before we knew exactly what we were dealing with, the mysterious object was several links of tank track!

Meanwhile, work in the rest of the trench continued, cleaning back the natural clay earth a single shell crater was obvious in the centre. Also on the left you can see the dark grey clay where the tank track lay. But, no Hindenburg Line! The geophysical survey must have picked up the remains of the tank, this shellhole and the Elephant Iron, as we were supposed to be directly on top of what looked like a stretch of German trench in the results!

The veterans worked hard on cleaning up the tank tracks to reveal them for the first time in a century.

Beyond all expectations, the track also had a 'spud' attached for manoeuvring over rough ground. It's the large blob about half way along the right hand side of the track. 

Meanwhile at the south end of the trench, work was progressing on some large Elephant Iron sheets. These appeared to be laid in a large shell crater and had possibly been dumped there after the war.

In the baking sun the track was cleaned to a very high standard by the volunteers.

As were the Elephant Iron sheets. They may be covering something, like a bunker, bodies or explosives, but we were not to find out as time was against us and they were just outside the area we had been allowed to excavate by the local DRAC (French equivalent of a County Archaeologist).

As the end of the week was looming, it was all hands to the pump to get the track cleaned ready for recording (and to show it off to the local mayor and other dignitaries!).

Finally the track was clean enough to record. The scale is 2m long.

This included some daring dos, by our official photographer Harvey:

Then came the time to lift the track, this was helped by the farmer Didier's tractor and some large chains.

Underneath the track we also uncovered the remains of two German soldiers (I have no photos of them as we were trying to control their images getting out on the net until official release). We dealt with the soldiers to the highest of professional standards, it took two days to excavate their remains and most of the soldiers stayed on site to guard their brothers in arms overnight.

With the soldiers recovered we headed home, stopping off at the impressive Indian Memorial at Neuve Chapelle:

And from the Haynes Manual on the Mark IV tank here is where the chain link that we first found would be located (number 21).

And a picture of the individual track links that we found. There was even some paint remains on the underside of one of the tracks. This was amazing as the surviving First World War tanks have been repainted numerous times, so no one is entirely sure of what colour they originally were. The release of this information will have to wait until Harvey has Pantoned the paint fragments, but it's very exciting!

All in all, one of the best and most successful excavations I have been involved with in France. Not only did we find exactly what we had set out to find (a tank!) and recovered two lost soldiers who will be reburied in a military cemetery, but the involvement of the veterans made it all the more special. This project demonstrates exactly the good work that archaeology can do to men recovering from some of the worst stresses that combat can throw at them. 

Photo thanks to Harvey Mills

And why was the project called Exercise Joan of Arc? Well, the commander of the Australian 48th Battalion (which took part in the 1917 battle) was Lt Col Ray Leane, who also had other members of his family scattered through the unit. The battalion was known as the Joan of Arc Battalion as it seemed to be 'made of all Leans' (Maid of Orleans)... Who says war is miserable?

Thanks for reading!