Saturday 31 May 2014

British Pathe News at War

Recently British Pathé News has released 85,000 of its newsreels onto YouTube including a number of military ones which they have put up in the War Archives section. Some of them have to be taken with a pinch of salt (I'm somewhat sceptical that British troops would walk upright WWI style across a jungle clearing into the face of Japanese sniper fire), but there is some really interesting stuff to be found, even in the clearly propaganda footage.

Friday 30 May 2014

Lead Mountain Grows...

Well I heeded the sound advice of Clint, Tamsin and Mark and did not jump on the Spectre Miniatures Kickstarter (though I did download the free Beta rules for a look at). I'm not 100% sure how I want to expand the Empress project yet, so will wait until I get that underway before deciding.

Of course that didn't stop the 'Lead Mountain' growing considerably today as my Black Tree Design sale order turned up, over 100 more miniatures for £65 including shipping (so 65p a figure compared to Spectre's £2 a pop).

It was mainly Germans and Soviets and I know I have a late war  WW2 Eastern Front project underway in 20mm but I have always loved these Nick Collier sculpted figures originally released by Harlequin so have earmarked a 28mm 1942 Eastern Front Bolt Action/Chain of Command platoon level project. Given the relative simplicity of the uniforms of both sides, I might set myself a challenge to paint in a week or something when I take some holiday, we'll see...

Thursday 29 May 2014

Do I or Don't I?

Well, as I type this there are 34 hours left to go on the Spectre Miniatures Kickstarter - do I or don't I? It would fit in nicely with the Empress stuff I've got to paint up but it's a pile more unpainted white metal. Umm...

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: Clones of Poland?

I started work on my Early War Polish boxed set from Warlord and must say I am very disappointed with the contents. The figures are decent enough, but the amount of duplicated figures in the 24 miniature box really sucks. I wasn't overly happy with the amount of duplication in the French box but this takes the biscuit...

Looking at the picture of a Polish section taken from their website above, you can see that not only do I have six of one particular miniature and three of two other, but there are different figures I don't have any of. I appreciate that with a large section like the Poles had there will be some duplication of miniatures, but to throw in six of one and none of others I don't have does not make for a happy Steve!

Suffice to say I will not be buying any other boxes of WW2 miniatures from Warlord where I cannot see the contents...

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Penny Dreadful

I managed to catch up with the first episode of Showtime/Sky's new Victorian Gothic drama series Penny Dreadful yesterday. Using a mix of public domain literary characters from C19th fiction (rather like Alan Moore did with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), it is great stuff for Empire of the Dead/IHMN players, interested in some horror gaming in the demi-monde between the real world and the supernatural.

Monday 26 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: Fallschirmjäger IV

Despite missing the alarm going off and having a very late lie in(!) I roused myself to finish off the two Fallschirmjäger NCO's to finish off the section using the pesky Warlord Decals.

The Felbwebel (with MP40) is a Crusader Miniatures figure, the Obergefreiter (with Kar98) is from Black Tree Design.

Here is the complete Fallschirmjäger section...

2014 Painting Target: 211/1000

Sunday 25 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: German General

Despite my get up and go seemingly having got up and gone, I forced myself away from watching The Lord of the Rings on the TV and to the painting table, working on the last two Fallschirmjäger and this ex-Harlequin (now BTD) German General I've had for donkeys years...

I've just got the decals to do on the Fallschirmjäger which I'll do this evening or tomorrow morning before starting work on the Poles (or maybe the Danish lmg team).

2014 Painting Target: 209/1000

Saturday 24 May 2014

¡Viva El Lardistas!

I had hoped to get some painting done today but I have somehow only managed to spend an unproductive day in front of the TV catching up on Longmire with Saul! :-)

I did have a bit of a brainwave part way through one episode, recalling I had the Too Fat Lardies Through the Mud & Blood inter-war PDF supplement Triumphant Standards. Unfortunately this doesn't include any Spanish Civil War material but does have some very useful stuff on the German Civil War which will be useful when I find that bag of Scheltrum miniatures I bought a few Salute back!

However, the Lardies are a good bunch and they have released online articles and army lists covering the Spanish Civil War for Chain of Command which is full of really useful histories and unit TO&E's.

The downloadable lists available are:

Milicias obreras (Workers Militias)
Milicias del 5º Regimiento
Tercio de la Legión (Spanish Foreign Legion)
Peninsular Army Infantry
Peninsular Cavalry
Ejército Popular de la República (Popular Army)
Nationalist Army
Corpo Truppe Volontarie
Raggruppamento Repartí Specializzati

Great stuff, I can feel the ooh shiny butterfly might spread his wings soon!

Friday 23 May 2014

¡No Pasarán!?

I've taken a break from reading an Army at Dawn and currently have my head stuck in George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, an autobiography of his time fighting with one of the republican militias in the Spanish Civil War. A hugely enjoyable work and very well written, it has got the old noggin pondering Spanish Civil War wargaming...

Empress Miniatures Republican Assault Guards (photo Empress Miniatures)
I do have a desire to undertake some inter-war project and I have started a German Civil War one (started as in added some white metal to "Lead Mountain" started) but the struggles and bravery of the militias fighting against the fascists in the early period of the Spanish war is tugging at me and I am considering a small section level project like the Blitzkrieg one. Those Empress figures certainly look tempting...

Thursday 22 May 2014

Shiny Plastic Goodness!

My first "proper" wargames army was a late war US Armoured Division, lots of Heroics' Shermans but with one platoon of Skytrex Pershings (the leveller for my opponents King Tigers - remind me one day to tell you how I took out one of his Panthers with an M8 Greyhound!)

Consequently I have always had a soft spot for the M26 and also in its M46 guise during the Korean War. Wargames Illustrated 320 arrived today with an advert for Battlefront's new plastic M26's - drool! :-)

Of course they are the wrong scale for my long term plan of extending my 1945 20mm Eastern Front project to the West, but I have always wanted to try Korea and given the amount of T34/85's and infantry needed, 15mm may be the answer. Perhaps I should buy a box just to see? :-)

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: Fallschirmjäger III

As I mentioned a little while back there was a minor SNAFU with my Black Tree Designs Fallschirmjäger order as I received a section pack containing an MG42 gunner and NCO with MP44. Nice figures but not really appropriate for Eben Emel!

BTD are correcting the error but I couldn't be bothered to wait for the replacement figures to arrive so pinched one of the MG34 gunners from the unpainted Crusader Fallschirmjäger platoon destined for Tunisia. As you can see they work quite nicely together, the BTD figures will now be sent to North Africa when the arrive!

2014 Painting Target: 208/1000

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: Fallschirmjäger II

Another three of the BTD Fallschirmjäger painted up for actions in Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium...

2014 Painting Target: 206/1000

Monday 19 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: Fallschirmjäger I

I've decided to stick with the Germans for the time being and crack on with the Black Tree Design Fallschirmjäger which I picked up in their recent sale. These three have been painted up in the rather plain (but easy to paint) early war uniform. The helmet decals are from Warlord.

They are nice enough miniatures and scale well with the Crusader ones I bought for the forthcoming Tunisia campaign.

 2014 Painting Target: 203/1000

Sunday 18 May 2014

The King of Monsters!

Just back from seeing Godzilla at the local cinema - awesome!

Whilst being more than entertaining enough for regular cinema goers, Godzilla fans will get enough out of the little nods to Godzilla history (blink and miss the Mothra on the fish tank reference) and the broad sweep of Godzilla's role as saviour of the planet (as seen in most of the Japanese films). Godzilla himself is very well done, having enough of the man in the suit look to be familiar (and some of his combat moves!) but rendered so well that it does not look cheesy.

Great inspiration for a bit of Kaiju gaming! Recommended.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: German Infantry V

Hurray, the German infantry section is now complete with this MG34 team...

These two bring the years total to 200 miniatures, 20% of the year's target (which is not so good as we are 37% of the way through 2014, I need to up my game!)

Here is a picture of the completed section of Warlord plastic Blitzkrieg era Germans...

2014 Painting Target: 200/1000

Friday 16 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: German Infantry IV

Moving swiftly on here are the next batch of Warlord Heer, taking the section total to eight completed. Just the MG34 team left now...

2014 Painting Target: 198/1000

Thursday 15 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: German Infantry III

Progress on the Blitzkrieg front! The Wehrmacht are now at that stage were I break them down into smaller groups to finish them off (I think I'd go insane trying to fix twenty of the minute Warlord decals to the helmets in one go!). Here are the next three Warlord plastics...

I must confess that nicely detailed as they are with the benefit of hindsight if I was doing this over I would have chose Crusader's metal figures purely for the time saved.

2014 Painting Target: 195/1000

Wednesday 14 May 2014

1920 And All That...

Well I've now watched Battle of Warsaw and can confirm with some relief that it does not feature a Leopard 1A4 in it! What it does have - and to any wargamer this is so freaking cool - FT17's in action!

The film, Bitwa Warszawska 1920 (Battle of Warsaw 1920), to give it it's proper name, may not be the greatest work of cinema ever from a character development point of view and some of the acting is a bit suspect, but as war films go it is pretty damn good. The battle scenes are consistently well done, the attention to detail is fantastic, and the scale is immense. The Red cavalry army looks like an army, hundreds of infantry advance in waves not a dozen, antiquated armoured cars roll across the countryside it is all very, very impressive. There are also some wonderful modelling ideas, Soviet cavalry trombone band anyone?

It would have been easy for the film to be overly nationalistic but it is not. Polish troops run from the enemy, some are portrayed as self-serving bullies, the problems with troops fighting side by side when two years previous they fought in the Austrian, German and Russian armies is shown.

Overall, hugely enjoyable and anyone who likes or good war film along the lines of A Bridge Too Far or The Longest Day or has an interest in twentieth century warfare should pop over to Amazon right now and buy a copy. It'll be the best £3.39 you'll ever spend! Did I mention it has FT-17's in action?

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Worst DVD Cover Ever?

I know we have to suffer some bad war films with dubious historical accuracy, and some even worse DVD covers that have little to do with the film inside, but this takes the biscuit...

With SWMBO claiming the "wand of power" here at Bleaseworld (the TV remote to mere mortals) I thought I'd take a break from Vikings on Amazon Prime and see what war films were available as part of the Prime membership.

There are quite a few, mainly foreign, and I thought Battle Of Warsaw looked worth checking out. Ok, it's got a Leopard 1A4 on the cover but it'll do as a proxy Tiger if I squint!

Wrong Battle of Warsaw, not the 1944 Uprising, this is the film the DVD cover is for...

I'll let you know if it is any good when I've finished watching it (trailer looks epic), hopefully there is no Leopard in it!

Monday 12 May 2014

Warhammer: Dwarf Stone Thrower

Along with Grombrindal I decided it was time to finish an old-Citadel Dwarf Stone Thrower that had been sat half-painted on the workbench for too long...

Back to the Germans now...

2014 Painting Target: 192/1000

Sunday 11 May 2014

Warhammer: Grombrindal

Progress on the German infantry and paras has gone well today and hopefully they should be finished later this week (unfortunately there was a slight SNAFU with the Fallschirmjäger as BTD sent me a late war pack with MG42 and NCO with MP44, they are sending early war replacements).

As the base filler was drying earlier I looked around for something to finish and found a small batch of Dwarves including this old model of Grombrindal, the White Dwarf, which I finished before the football started...

2014 Painting Target: 188/1000

Saturday 10 May 2014

France At War in Photos...

I've been concentrating painting German infantry and paras today but whilst waiting for the ink wash to dry I decided to try for photos of the Vichy forces in North Africa during WW2 - and came across this fantastic website chock full of photos of French military forces in action from before WW1 through to Afghanistan. For anyone with an interest in the French military it is a fantastic resource...

Vichy artillery in action in Syria
The Army of Africa in Tunisia
French armour in Tunisia
Algerian infantry in Indo-China 1950

Friday 9 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: German Infantry II

Alongside the MP40 sporting German test piece I also painted one with a Kar98, today I got a few minutes to try the Warlord German army decals on him...

They are (obviously) very small and this is not helped by the spacing on the decal sheet which is ungenerous to say the least. Very careful cutting with a scalpel is required and I can't see why the sheets aren't a fraction larger to allow more space to cut round - it was like playing Operation!

The end result though is worth the effort, the helmet decals looked good so I promoted the smger to an NCO with a decal for his stripes. Work has now started on the remaining eight of the section.

2014 Painting Target: 187/1000

Thursday 8 May 2014

Où est l'Armée d'Afrique?

No progress on the painting front but I am enjoying reading An Army at Dawn about the US Army in North Africa, despite some errors in the text. It has reinforced by interest in the Vichy French forces, especially the Armée d'Afrique which can historically fight American, British, German and Italian forces (expanding into the Levant with most of the same troops you can add Australians, Indians and the Free French). It goes without saying that no one produces much in the way of suitable figures in 28mm, the only ones I have found are some of Artizan's French Foreign Legion.

It seems that a search for suitable proxies may have to be be the way forward but information on the campaign uniforms of the Vichy French colonial troops is hard to come by (and photos even rarer). Looking at the photo above of Giraud in Algiers after Torch the colonial infantry don't look too far removed from Woodbine's WWI French Senegalese, the separate heads are likely to be useful as well, though a head in a 1930's topee would be useful (anyone got any suggestions?) for other units.

Most problems will be with the native cavalry (and I love WW2 cavalry), the Historie & Collections French Army 1940 shows an Algerian Spahi in a campaign uniform, cut like the one in the photo above but in the same colour as the 1940 European French army uniform (with no cloak).

These two photos (above and below) however suggest a campaign uniform in a lighter sand colour in North Africa (which would tie in with the French tropical uniform which would be ok for summer operations but maybe not so the Tunisian winter).

Regardless, I have not found any suitable figures that would look right for Spahis with a suitable paint job and an odd Adrian helmet head swap. Shame no manufacturer has taken up the challenge really, a great looking army with loads of potential opponents.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Black Tree Giving It Away (Almost)...

To celebrate VE Day (or SWMBO's birthday as they are one and the same) Black Tree Design have a 50% (yes fifty!) off sale on their WW2 infantry. Having taken advantage of recent sales I wasn't planning on picking anything up for a while but 50% off with the rewards voucher from the last sale kinda blows that idea out of the water - just need to decide what to get...

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Batman Before

Fox has just released a trailer for it's pre-Batman series Gotham. My interest level has gone from meh to wow...

Monday 5 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: German Infantry I

I've been sticking together a section of German infantry from the Warlord plastic box set today. They can be a bit fiddly but I think the end result will look pretty good. Hopefully I can get outside and undercoat them in a little while.

Whilst I was converting and painting the Danes I also started work on one German as a test piece for uniform paint colours which I finished this morning. I'm quite pleased with the end result.

As he is armed with the MP40 I probably will promote him to an NCO by adding rank chevrons on his arm when I get around to using the decals I bought for the helmets.

2014 Painting Target: 186/1000

Sunday 4 May 2014

Blitzkrieg: Danish Infantry II

I managed to spend a little time today finishing off the paint jobs on the second batch of WW2 Danish infantry to go those I converted and painted last month.

Work is progressing on the final five (I think a section is enough), conversion work has been completed on the Marsden lmg team. and I'm working on the helmets of the three riflemen.

Whilst it has taken a fair bit of effort to convert the Warlord Germans, it is great to have a unit of obscure troops that are not commercially available.

2014 Painting Target: 185/1000

Saturday 3 May 2014

What AREN'T They Telling You About "May the Fourth"?

Citizens of the Empire, some of you may be considering "celebrating" the so-called "Star Wars Day" tomorrow. Be warned that this activity is illegal and you will be treated as a traitor to the Empire. We repeat our informative documentary from last year to help you avoid arrest and summary execution.

Friday 2 May 2014

Die Götterdämmerung

The weekly Warlord email arrived today advertising their new wares including a new box of twenty defenders of Berlin. They look a lovely box of Volkssturm characters and no doubt would be great for some skirmishes in the ruins of the Reich.

Of course with the usual foresight of a wargamer many moons ago I persuaded SWMBO to buy me a 20mm scale resin model of the Brandenburg Gate and a pile of 20mm Volkssturm (can't remember who  exactly) to refight the Battle of Berlin so it would be pretty stupid to buy some 28mm Battle of Berlin figures wouldn't it? Or...

Thursday 1 May 2014

Out of Africa?

Temptation is fluttering her beguiling eyelashes at me again! Doing my best to ignore the Gorgon Norwegian campaign miniatures I stumbled over a new Kickstarter for Spectre Miniatures and their ultra-modern covert ops in Africa line.

Spectre Miniatures PMC's - so tempting...
Now I know I have a pile of Empress Miniatures to get around to painting but these look like they will match the Empress figures and the African militia types provide an interesting new opponent for the USMC.