Monday, 20 November 2017

2/14 London Regiment (London Scottish), 179 Brigade, 1917.

Every self-respecting British-Imperial force should have a kilted unit. Here's mine but no tartan in sight, only Hodden Grey. Footsore Miniatures with Woodbine heads and a Jazz Age Imperialism Lewis Gun team from Empress Miniatures. The circular yellow patch is correct. Wearing the The London Scottish light blue hackle on the Wolseley helmet is entirely conjectural but it adds a little interest and colour.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

4th Australian Light Horse 1.

These figures are from Blaze Away available from Lancashire Games. Painted up as the 4th Australian Light Horse (tiny detail of the the patch in the sleeve) with some added clutter and an extra blanket to the saddle. Half way through the unit of ten mounted and ten dismounted. The keen eyed among you will notice that, through the miracle of "Instant Mold" and green stuff, I have added swords to these Lighthorsemen. They were issued swords in 1918 and these chaps will be used for a game set during "The Great Ride"of that year through northern Palestine and Syria. Another post showing all complete will follow in due course.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

2/15 London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles), 179 Brigade, 1917-18.

I took some time to experiment with speeding up the painting process for my own collection of Tabletop Tommies given that I don't have a lot of time to devote to painting my own figures. I decided that I would cut cards with the Devil and have a go at a basecoat-wash-highlight technique. I have not done this before. Needless to say that this speed painting technique is NOT something I will be offering to my paying clients!

I had all the ingredients to make up my own ink washes (acrylic medium/inks/water/a drop of washing up liquid and some 10ml plastic dropper bottles). I mixed up three different shades and intensity of wash not really knowing what the end results would be like and tried all on these ten figures.

I think I found the right one by the end... a mix of six drops sepia ink and six drops umber ink in a 10ml bottle. Some washes are too subtle and do not pick out the detail enough, particularly on the front of the tunic. 

I also tried both a black and a grey undercoat. Again, I think the two figures painted on a black undercoat are more successful.

These figures are a mix of Woodbines, Mutton Chop and a Footsore officer figure, all with Woodbine tin helmets with neck flaps. The Brodie helmet arrived in Palestine in the interval between the Second and Third Battles of Gaza when there was sustained period of trench warfare on the Gaza front.

This technique worked better with the Footsore and Mutton Chop figures. The Woodbines (the Lewis Gun team) are very "smooth" figures and in my opinion, do not take well to washes. 

This was very much a steep learning curve and when I repeat this technique on the 2/13 London Regiment (Kensingtons) I think all will be black undercoated and washed with the sepia/umber mix.

Did it save time? Yes. I was able to "knock out" this unit of ten in half the time it would normally take to paint in my normal style.

Would I use it for everything? No. The bulk of the infantry would look acceptable from a distance but I don't think they bear up to close scrutiny. Command figures and other specials will always get my normal painting method. 

So, these are, I think, the two most successful of these experimental ten. The figure on the left is black undercoated. The figure on the right is grey undercoated. Both have the darker sepia/umber mix wash.

The blue patch is correct thanks to some interweb trawling and the excellent pool of collective knowledge that is the Great War Forum. 179 Brigade adopted a system of circular patches during their short time on the western front prior to being dispatched to Macedonia in June 1916. They brought this scheme with them to Palestine in the early summer of 1917:
2/13 Kensingtons - green
2/14 London Scottish - yellow
2/15 Civil Service Rifles - blue
2/16 Queen's Own Westminster Rifles - red.

2/14 London Scottish are almost complete. I relised that I lacked a kilted Lewis Gun team. An order to Empress Miniatures is in the offing.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Czech Legion Cavalry, 1919 - Test Piece

So.... Rodger sent me some images:

"Could we do this using these?" he asked:

(North Star 1866 Austrian Hussars)

"Yes!" I replied:

Colour scheme? Here:

Monday, 23 October 2017

Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, 1918.

Out of the blue, the chaps from "Wargames Illustrated" asked if they could use some of my images of WW1 Yeomanry troopers for an forthcoming article on  the Battle of Megiddo. With the caveat that the Yeomanry I have painted cover 1915-17 I offered to do a quick headswap to give a couple of troopers a Brodie helmet for that "1918 look" when the steel helmet became much more in evidence in Palestine. So here are a couple of Mutton Chop Cavalry troopers with Woodbine helmeted heads painted up to represent the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, 1918.

The helmet patch of 1/1 Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

179 Trench Mortar Battery 1917.

A scratchbuilt 6 inch (medium) Newton Mortar abd a couple of crew cobbled together from the leadpile.

The first of the units for 179 Brigade, my next personal project. 2/14 London Regiment (London Scottish) to follow soon.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Queens Own Dorset Yeomanry. Footsore Miniatures Conversions 5.

Finally, after three and a half years lurking about the "to complete" section of the painting shelf, I give you the mounted figures for the QODY project. There are some Footsore "BUF/Yeomanry" troopers in these, some British Lancer figures and the Hotchkiss gunner is a conversion from a Great War Miniatures British Cavalry trooper.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Second Battle of Gaza, April 1917: The Assault on Ali el-Muntar. Colours 2017, Newbury, 16th September.

Yesterday, at Colours 2017, Newbury, we played the game. Almost a year in the planning, the huge sixteen feet long table attracted a lot of interest and kind comment. Adrian acted as Umpire, Steve, Simon and Andrew controlled the Ottoman forces while Rodger, Mike and myself pushed about the Tommies on the table top.
From the top of Ali el-Muntar looking down towards the British jump off point and the heavy gun lines.

Gaza, with low lying ground criss-crossed with cactus hedges and the slope of the ground rising to the top of Ali-el Muntar showing the last lines of trenches in the Turkish defence.

Tracking down the table towards the British jump-off point. the third of three redoubts on the forward slopes of Ali el-Muntar.

Continuing tracking down the table: the second redoubt.... 

... and the first redoubt.

A long spur of rising ground, then the British heavy gun lines in the distance.

The British end of the table. The initial infantry jump-off point was in front of the guns on the other side of the wadi.

Turkish defence in depth. HMG and field artillery emplacements would make this a hard and potentially bloody affair.

Rodger's troops on the jump-off point.

Two turns later, Mike's force entered table left over the soft sand dunes. Instantly he attracted the attention of Johnny's heavy guns. Fortunately for Tommy, Johnny's Heavy Artillery dice rolled badly throughout the whole game.
As Rodger's boys continued the long slog up the table towards the slopes, Mike's troops reached the first obstacle.... WIRE!

Rodgers command closes on the spur. HLMS PINCHER on the left, HMLS TIGER on the right. Soon Johnny was in for a bit of a shock because on turn six....

.... HMLS OTAZEL and the lead elements of my command entered the table on the right through a small area of dead ground. Mike's boys in the distance are held up by the wire and for the rest of the game they boldy struggled forward through shot and (innacurate) shell. Rodger brought his troops onto the spur and the assult on the first Turkish redoubt began to take shape.

OTAZEL rumbled up the slope with the 1/5 Suffolks in her wake forcing Johnny to test against "tank terror"....

... which they passed. Back on the heavy gun line the gunners from the Royal Garrison Artillery knocked out both HMG emplacements and the two batteries of Austrian Mountain Howitzers that were covering these trenches and the spur from slightly higher ground behind.

OTAZEL planted itself on top of Johnny's trench and fired both left and right causing havoc... but still Johnny held...

... as PINCHER and TIGER took the lead in Rodger's advance along the spur.

Just as your back is turned to take some photos, Johnny lands lucky and OTAZEL bursts into flames. The 1/5 Suffolks and 1/4 Norfolks ready themselves to take the trench at the point of the bayonet.

As the Turkish players capered about celebrating the destruction of OTAZEL, the Norfolks spang forward into the trench....

....while TIGER and HLMS NUTTY, (following on behind OTAZEL) pushed forward as the 1/5 Suffolks and the 1/5 Argylls from Rodger's command formed the second wave...

... and in they get. Johnny stood to a man and they sold their lives dearly.

Revving up the engine, 2Lt Carr drove Nutty on to take the top of this first hill from which the 163 Trench Mortar battery had cleared away the enemy.

But then the Turkish dice rolled true. NUTTY took a hit that stopped it dead, and PINCHER and TIGER  were hit and knocked out. The Norfolks made it to the crest of the hull but fire from the next redoubt hit them hard and they faultered. By this time it was time to pack up.

No one claimed victory. Johnny still had Gaza. Tommy had had some success. The tanks performed as they did at Gaza in 1917.... they got there and then were knocked out. From left to right: Rodger ("We'll have to kill 'em all to take that trench"), myself, Mike (looking uncomfortable as his boots were full of sand), Adrian (Umpire, Conceptual Designer and Terrain Builder), Simon "Mustapha" Chick (we had to say that carefully), Steve (shellshocked at the dreadful Turkish dice results) and Andy "Unwin Pasha."

The Wargaming press was there and all came round to take photos. Something about this game will appear in Wargames Illustrated in a future edition as Dan stole my SD cap and wouldn't give it back until I promised to write something for him.

Oh... I almost forgot. I built a BE2c from a horrid 1/48 Roden kit. All the bits kept breaking as I cut them from the sprues. I was so frustrated that once it was built all I had enthusiasm for was a very basic paint job. It proved just as good in combat....

Round 1 of dogfight...

... end of Round 2.

Ho hum... at least the pilot and navigator survived.