Monday, 18 September 2017

'Travel Battle' terrain boards progress.

A quick pictorial update now that I have finally started painting the four 10" square boards from my two sets of Travel Battle. They are not yet finished, more dappling and dry-brushing is needed to complete the look, and I have another six houses to paint, plus two more French figure sprues. As the British army is now done I thought I would lay them all out on the painted boards, and I must say I'm rather pleased at the overall results so far. I will do a run through of the rules once all is completed.

It all fits back into one TB box nicely so it is a real portable game and can be played on a coffee table.

4 Travel boards giving a playing area of just 20" x 20" ........now, do I need to just add 2 more?




The British Left flank.

The British right flank.

The flags denote Guard battalions, who get to re roll in combat.

Steady Boys!


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Travel Battle - painting the British.

I felt the urge for a bit of a change recently, the Ancients project being stalled somewhat by the scale issue referred to in my last post here. Most of my hobby time has been spent on the ECW's, but I was in the mood for touch of smaller scale painting the other day so got a couple of the TB sprues out I undercoated several months ago. Some may recall that like many others I purchased two sets of the Perry 'Wargame in a box' game and so far have completed the contents of one box, two blue sprues and two red sprues, and have just started a test paint on one terrain square.

I was concerned that my eyesight may not be up to such tiny figures these days, but once focused I found it a pleasure to be picking out the shades again. For the British infantry I started with Valljo Flat Red over black primer as it's a thick paint and covers very well. I used a blue grey for the trousers, again dotting and lining, being careful to leave a black line down the centre. I managed to dot in facings too, the final bit being to carefully paint in the white cross straps. This can be tricky, you want a white that flows well off the brush, but you also want a white that is strong and requires just the one stroke. I went with Vallejo Foundation White after some experimentation, again it's a thick paint that covers well, it's flow properties are not as good as standard Vallejo white, but by picking up the paint on just the very tip of a fine brush it gives a good clean white line. Bit of patience and they turned out rather well, if I say so myself! OK, so such fine detail in such a small scale might seem overkill and unnecessary, but I enjoy the challenge and I like the result.

Cavalry were painted as Household cavalry and generic Hussars, a couple of mounted offices and artillery pieces completed the sprues.








So that's half the French and half the British done so far. I then have the buildings to do before the 4 boards. As Perry are now selling the components individually I may add a couple more sprues to try some conversions (Imperial Guard, Highlanders etc ...... seen it done!), and possibly two more boards which would give a nice 'coffee table' sized game 30" x 20" perfect for when the Son In Laws come round.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Romans - a slight scale issue but progress made!

I have not been neglecting my 'DBA' project, but things did come to a temporary halt while I sorted out a slight problem I faced with the scale of some of my Romans. Hinchliffe code AR1 is a wonderful figure representing a Legionary with pilum behind a large shield, and I painted the first 8 as you see below. However, when I painted a base of AR2 'Light infantry', it became very apparent that the latter was much smaller than the former in scale, and as much as I tried to ignore this it bothered me! AR8 'Asiatic Archer' looked closer to AR1 to me, so I painted a 4 figure base of these and they do scale up much better. Looking through the range I saw AR31 'Auxiliary infantry attacking' so ordered some with a view to replacing the painted AR2 codes. These are indeed chunkier castings that match both the other Roman codes and the Brits so problem solved. For some reason that I assume is connected to the re moulding process (?)Roman codes AR2 and AR3 (slinger) are indeed smaller than the rest of the range, not a major problem but a heads up to anyone considering buying the Roman range.

The next issue to be solved was that of the Roman shield design. As said above AR1 is a great figure, but when I ordered the Veni, Vidi, Vici shield transfers they did not fit, the slightly raised rim of the shield being a little wide. I had in the meantime ordered up 20 of code AR34 'Legionary attacking' and these arrived bearing slightly larger shields with thinner rim and a more accurate curvature typical of the period.  They also come with nice separate cast pilum (I was expecting wire 'spears') so all good there. Had I been familiar with the range from the start I would no doubt have gone with code AR34 for my basic Legionary figures, but having painted 8 of AR1 I wanted to be able to use them too. Solution was ( after much head scratching) to order the shield transfers designed for the 20mm HaT Romans, repaint the shield rims red and Bingo! looks good enough to me at least. I will now crack on with both codes to produce two 5 base Legion units each of 20 figures  ....... somewhere down the line I think 'Double DBA' (yes, it does exist) beckons.

AR1 with shield transfers applied, not a perfect fit but good enough and greatly improves overall look.

Rear view showing the nice bright basing style.

Asiatic archers - reminds me of the old Aifix set!


AR2 ;Light infantry' sadly too small to use so will be replaced.


The figure that will replace them AR31, you can clearly see the difference in size here.

AR34 at right, a good match for AR1 and better shields.
So with the Romans sorted I turned my attention back to the Hairy Brits of which I had the first 8 figures half painted. The shield designs were a bit of a puzzle for me, I found painting Celtic style swirls a problem with even the finest brush, but persevered to what you see below. For the next 8 however I want more typical oval shields so a bit of conversion work is required, and a quick file job on a test figure produced the result you see below, not too bad and will provide some contrast in the units. I also plan to try fine art pens to line and detail shield designs and for those swirls.

All in all I'm now happy with things and have a good stock of castings laid in from the Hinchliffe Summer Sale, with figures reduced to 75p each from 90p, about 80 castings per side, two chariots and a fine Roman catapult. Time to crack on!

A mix of Ancient Briton codes, may add a touch of Woad to finish them off.





Slight shield conversion to produce rounded oval shields.

The Hinchliffe Ancient lead pile.

Finally: I received an email sent via 'Wellington Man' from 'Rob G' who is currently working on his own Romans v Britons project. Many thanks for the comments Rob and for the wonderful picture of your conversion work, I hope that you will not mind me sharing it here by way of inspiration?  I love the rounded shields and the animation and shield designs are fantastic.

Robs Ancient Brits!


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hinchliffe Roman test paint & Hairy Britons!

My first Hinchliffe 'Ancients' order arrived on Friday from Ian Hinds, even before I had received the invoice such is the service, and I wasted no time in getting the first 8 Roman infantry undercoated in Vallejo black primer. Barely a sign of any flash, and the castings are crisp and clean, this range having been completely remoulded only recently by Ian. I ordered a mix of both Roman and Briton codes, in addition to two chariots that are to follow. All are a delight, being true 25mm scale with the kind of animation I have come to expect.

The first to receive a lick of paint was AR1 Legionary with pilum, these I found very easy to paint, starting with Flat Red over the black (this is a nice solid red that covers well), highlighted with Amaranth Red which is quite an orange/red. Next went the flesh, Light Brown base followed by Flat Flesh highlights as usual, possibly I could have gone for a more Mediterranean tone, but these guys are serving in Britain so those tans must have faded somewhat! Then the armour received a dry brush of Natural Steel followed by a highlight of 50/50 Natural Steel and Silver. Belts were then painted in Red Leather and sandals and pilum shaft in Citadel Mournfang brown, my favourite brown and the only non Vallejo shade I use these days. having checked references I painted the edges of the shield in  a Khaki shade. The shields will of course be finished off with transfers from Veni Vidi Vici once I can establish what size to order, these shields being smaller than for example Warlord one's, my thinking is that the HaT transfers for their 20mm plastic Romans may be closer to size but I need to check. There is no doubting the shield transfers are a great finishing touch though, yellow on red. Finally I went back and painted toes, and even though I only managed three per foot it did improve the final look.





I took a few pics of some of the other Roman Codes I ordered, I'll paint another 8 Legionaries first before doing some Auxiliaries. After that I'll do some of the wild hairy Britons that you seen below, again lovely castings with variations in poses. All will be based for DBA, the Romans being 4 x 'Blades' the Britons being 4 x 'warbands'. DBA of course utilises just 12 elements per army. I continue to paint ECW's on the other blog, Dragoons both foot and mounted being required to finish things off there.



Hairy Britons, just look at those faces, complete with 'Jason King' style moustaches!






Thursday, 10 August 2017

Roman's, Britons & FoW freebies!

I had been mulling over what to do next as my ECW project has reached the point - now approaching 500 painted figures - where I can add in the odd figures here and there as and when I feel like it. My enthusiasm for painting model soldiers is probably at an all time high, and I'm certain that the re discovery of Hinchliffe figures has much to do with it. I have also come to terms with the fact that I am very much a collector these days rather than an active wargamer and I'm comfortable with that. I do plan to get the ECW's on the table now and then though, and to this end I have been reading through the scenarios in 'One Hour Wargames' with a view to creating a six unit random force selection system like that used by Steve the Wargamer, I have enough troops to be able to do this now so I'm working on it. My foot regiments range from 28 to 40 figures with varying ratios of pike and shot, Horse from 10 to 16 figures, plus Dragoons and artillery so plenty of random variations to select from, generated by dice throws. This will be explored on my ECW blog shorty.


Ian Hinds kindly sent me over some samples of the Hinchliffe ACW range, 15 figures no less, and all look fine to me, however lurking at the back of my mind for quite some time now has been the possibility of painting a small Imperial Roman & Ancient British force, and having seen the images and been informed by Ian that the range has been completely remoulded I gave in to temptation and decided to do this first. This also fits my retro theme as I first became fascinated by this period when I was a member of the South East London Wargames Group in the late Seventies, and often on a Friday evening I would sit and watch Roman V Britons games played upstairs on a covered snooker table. I remember that it was Chris Hurren the club chairman who owned the Romans and they were beautifully painted metal figures. The opposition was plastic Airfix Britons, also well painted and the games intrigued me, they were of course played to WRG rules at that time.

A couple of years ago I bought several boxes of Warlord Romans & Britons, but they were mainly plastic multi part and I just could not find the enthusiasm to get going on them so later sold them on. And so to the present, I have lots of figures on order, taking advantage of the Hinchliffe Summer sale with infantry at 75p and horses at 90p each until the end of August. Now I don't intend to paint hundreds of them, my intention is to produce a couple of small armies for the WRG DBA rules in the first instance. Again these fit my interest in small fast paced games played on a small area, in this case 4' x 4'. My thinking is that I might like to produce several DBA armies over time, the Sassanid Persians being in mind, the Hinchliffe war elephant model being superb. But I'll start with the Imperial Romans once they arrive and have the DBA army lists at the ready. I should add that it's a period of history that I have long been interested in, the Roman occupation of Britain and I have plenty of YouTube videos lined up for while I'm painting.

I will of course just have to have one of these! 
And the chariot models are lovely with so much animation.
Images borrowed from the Hinchliffe 'Roman Era' range by way of inspiration!

On the general subject of Hinchliffe I found this article from Military Modelling 1973 on the internet, not sure who owns copyright but I thought I would share it. I think what really struck me was the quoted sales figures of between 30 & 40 thousand figures per week, which seems incredible. Any thoughts on this? I would have thought 3 to 4 thousand per week would have produced a healthy business back then.

15mm WW2 giveaway.
Having decided not to proceed with the planned British FoW force I have quite a bit of stuff that I'm happy to offer to any follower of the blog who would like some. To be honest ebay is awash with FoW and the prices are so low I'd rather give it away than bother listing it. A platoon of German Panzer IV's I sold last week went for £2 per painted tank model, barely worth the effort. I'm keeping my German & US late war forces of course, but have no plans to expand them.

So, here's what I need to clear out, free economy postage, please take your pick and email me an address to send to:  lgramson@yahoo.com

Battlefront Sherman Tanks from the Open Fire box set, still on sprues  x 10 tanks.
Sherman 'Crab' flail tank in blister.
Sherman resin and metal Fireflys in blisters
PLastic German PaK 40's from OPen Fire 2 anti tank guns with crews.
Battlefront Tiger 1E's plastic on sprues x 4 tanks
Battlefront US half tracks 2 per box, 2 boxes.
Battlefront resin and metal German Pumas armoured cars, still in blisters x 2

Happy to share them around, let me know what you are interested in and I'll sort it out. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

More Hinchliffe loveliness!

A quick interim post this one, I have some samples from the ACW range to review here later, but for now here is a short video of my ECW collection sitting on the bookshelves before being boxed up. It's my first You Tube upload and is a bit shaky, please excuse the background noise as I had my granddaughter with me!


Edit: Looking at the  video again I can see it's also a bit 'foggy' and jumpy! I might try again later and replace this version if it goes well.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Old v New ..... what next for this blog?

The discovery of the fact that the entire old Hinchliffe range of 25mm figures is still very much available has completely changed the way I feel about 'modern' wargame figures. Over the past few weeks I have been working enthusiastically on building up my Hinchliffe ECW armies, and was lucky enough to discover a rich vein of painted figures on sale via Ian Hinds (Hinds Figures Ltd). Among the thousands of painted figures I hit upon a number of units that were clearly painted by the same talented hand, some featuring beautiful hand painted flags and conversions, they were reasonably priced and so I set about acquiring as many as I could afford. They were a revelation, they arrived looking as though they had been stored for years and were all in need of a good clean, but what emerged from the grime were really well painted figures with some fine detail work. I'm still working through cleaning, touching up chipped paint and re basing, but I find myself the very proud owner of over 400 painted Hinchliffe figures of which 160 are cavalry. I have around another 100 castings that will enable me to finish this project, mostly by adding more Foot. These will of course continue to feature on my ECW blog.

Hinchliffe elegance.

And one of my favourite units featuring a trumpeter conversion, crashing troopers and hand painted flag.



As a consequence I have been casting around for what to follow this up with, my enthusiasm for painting model soldiers being as high as it's ever been. Followers of this blog may recall attempts to start new projects over the last couple of years have mostly ended in dismal lack of enthusiasm, Warlord Ancients & ECW's followed by Renegade ACW's for example. I'm now convinced that the chunky style of the '28mm' figures has lost all appeal to me, and that I no longer have the patience to glue together multi part plastic figures, and whilst I can appreciate that they produce finely detailed, very historically accurate results, there is something about the elegance of the simple 90p Hinchliffe 'true' 25mm casting that I enjoy painting and collecting. Bearing in mind that these figures were sculpted by Peter Gilder in 1978, they have stood the test of time very well and Ian Hinds has been committed to restoring the range to top notch quality, re moulding the ECW range among others and is currently I understand working on the Napoleonics.

As mentioned above I wanted to do the ACW again as it's an old favourite of mine, but the Renegade figures I ordered simply did not work for me, they were expensive at £1.25 per figure, but more than that the poses were very limited and I thought them quite stiff, with marching arms straight down the side of the body and no variety in leg poses, the faces were very good indeed, but again little contrast and too many heavily bearded chaps for my liking among the ranks. I painted 18 of them and then found myself quite bored with them! I still have them, but they will go on eBay when I begin my planned clear out. However, the Hinchliffe ACW range still looks great to my eyes and having spent some time thinking things through this is going to be my next project. Of course I have been looking back at old photos of the Gilder collection and the tight packed ranks of these slim elegant castings has proven to be more than I can resist.

This is the one that did it! These apparently attributed to the hand of Peter Gilder himself.


The classic 'Yank' advancing (code ACW1), as seen in the above image, (from the Hinds Figures website).