Wednesday 17 April 2024

More 7th Cavalry and Epic ACW's!

Another two troops of 7th US cavalry - B Troop and L Troop - have been painted for Mark bringing the total so far to four with a further two to paint plus the dismounted figures for all six troops. I have tried to add a touch more contrast to the general Blue shades with some slightly more faded shades and overall I think they work well. B Troop were mounted on Bay horses as were L Troop but Mark requested that L be mounted on Black horse for a bit of contrast. The remaining troops will ride Sorrel horses and of course the famous Grey horse troop E. In front are the mounted and dismounted versions of General George Armstrong Custer, the latter with repainted blue battle shirt piped white. There also remains a further 100 mounted Indians plus lots of civilians/cowboys etc so still a fair way to go yet.

Qualiticast 20mm's and Satin varnished.

My own Epic Battle Cry project is also coming along well with 22 infantry bases now completed of the planned 24. I'm starting to print and fix the rear unit labels now on the black strip. Also made a start on the 'top down' terrain tiles and will be printing a set of command cards this week using the printer friendly version that is available as the wording is much sharper and easier to read.

Still waiting for the printed mat to be shipped from Tinywargames as they seem to have a bit of a backlog on orders.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Royal Mail meltdown and Ariel landscapes !

I feel the need to have a bit of a rant regarding the current state of the Royal Mail postal service! I don't know how reliable it is for you chaps but around here in the Medway area of Kent it is appalling, no other word for it. I'm not knocking the individual posties for one moment, but the  reliability of the service is very patchy and they will admit that they are unable to maintain a daily delivery service and that agency and courier staff are employed to cover some weekends. I have had several examples of poor service in the last couple of weeks alone. Firstly, a 10 day wait for a first class signed for package posted to me by Old John and containing a Graham Farish 0-6-0 tank locomotive purchased on my behalf from John's friends shop. When it failed to arrive I checked the tracker which showed a failed delivery attempt on the Sunday (!) with no card left. I was in all day that day and mostly sat painting by the window and with Poppy the dog in the room who always barks when the door knocks. I  duly booked a redelivery for the Thursday, waited in and again it failed to arrive. This left me having to wait over Easter thinking it would be delivered on the Tuesday but again nothing. On Wednesday I managed to catch the postman who suggested I rebook again but said he would check at the delivery office. On Thursday he pulled up in his van at 3.40pm and knocked on the door saying "I think this is what you have been waiting for". This was a great relief to me and also to John and his wife Cynthia (who had posted the package), and I know it caused them a lot of stress and worry. 

In addition to the above a package from eBay due to be delivered on a Thursday arrived on the following Monday and this last week a 1st class letter posted to me on the previous Wednesday was delivered on Monday. I think you will agree this is a rather shoddy state of affairs.

Creating terrain tiles for 'Battle Cry'.

With the PVC game mat now on order from Tinywargames I have been thinking about putting together other components required for the game. I have sourced the  rules from the 150th Anniversary Edition, a printer friendly set of replacement command cards and even printable patches for the dice. Now to the question of terrain tiles. My idea has been to print the tiles and glue to 75mm MDF hexes, it is possible to find the original tile designs but I want to make my own using satellite or drone images. I have had some success in this, a few examples/ideas you can see below including woods, corn and wheat fields etc. I also have hilltops and roads rivers etc. It's a fun exercise and I hope to have something ready to print by the weekend. My main issue is finding a suitable town hex design but I have some ideas. In sharing a few example images I should state that all are readily found on Google and will only be used for my personal use.



'Unofficial' BC tile.

Unofficial 'Dunker Church'

I like this for woods.

'Peach Orchard'


Friday 5 April 2024

Some thoughts on my 'Battle Cry' project.

We are now comfortably settled into our new permanent home and enjoying bungalow life. After the upheavals of the last few months it feels good and as I said to my wife the only way I'll be leaving here will be in a box!  It's quiet, as it's over 55's only, and my painting desk is set up beside a large south facing window overlooking a green with some tree cover for the Summer. With the natural light coming in from my left where my two lamps are placed on the desk I have also added a standing lamp at right with a small lower 6500 or daylight bulb that can be extended over the desk for additional light. This is about to be put to the test as I finally begin painting Geoff's next batch of 2mm bases.

I just wanted to share a few thoughts about the Battle Cry project that I am doing on the side. I have been researching the game in both it's original form and the variations that bring the game more in line with the later Napoleonic C&C games. For those who do not know Battle Cry was the first game in the C&C series put out by GMT games, the rules are quick to learn and play whilst still offering tactical challenges and scenarios can be played out in a round 45 minutes average. This really appeals to me so I have firstly decided to stick firmly with the original rules. Whilst I don't own the original box game (it's very hard to find now at a reasonable price), I do have the rules and access to the command cards etc. 

My game will be played on a printed 13 x 9 hex grid of 75mm hexes and in order to stick with the boardgame look as far as possible I'm having it printed on PVC by Tinywargames. Further to this I have made the decision to keep everything on MDF tiles only, with all scenics just printed 'top down'. This will be quick and I hope should look quite effective using satellite images of woods, fields, rivers hills etc that can be placed around the board as per the scenarios. I will probably raise just the hills using 10mm foamboard. The reason behind this is that I will be doing a lot of scenic detail work on my model railway shunting layout so wanted to keep this really simple and in line with the board game concept just played on a larger board and using Epic scale units.

More Union Zouaves, New Yorkers in pale blue jacket and trousers.

Latest video features the growing number of ACW bases for the project.

Sunday 24 March 2024

Side project coming along, 'Battle Cry' using Epic ACW's.

I have been adding the odd unit base here and there and this little project is really coming together quite quickly. To date I have painted 14 infantry, 3 artillery bases plus mounted and dismounted cavalry and horse holder markers. I have deliberately tried to keep this project on a  budget as I'm focused on building up stuff for my model railway project which even for a small N Gauge shunting type layout is pretty expensive. Rather than buy additional metal command strips from Warlord (£15 for 5 strips!) I am converting the standard infantry strips as required. By careful trimming away of rifles and replacing with dress makers pins heated and then glued I'm more than happy.  A cut down pin also works as officers sword over the shoulder. You can judge the results from the photos. I'm also trimming down all the hats to kepis for my Union units, something quite easily done with a bit of practice using a scalpel.

As I had leftover Zouave strips I decided to add a unit of the early war Louisiana boys. I wanted to add a few straw 'boaters' which involved head swaps using suitable hats which in this scale was quite a demanding job I can tell you, I lost several heads in the process! I also wanted just the single standard bearer for all my Reb units so I cut a command strip in half and replaced the unwanted figures. I also trimmed away all bayonets so as to match the other units. On the whole I'm rather pleased with them I must say. Will be adding flags to all Reb units later today, the Union already have them fitted.

So far this project has cost me the grand total of just £42.00 and I still have Union cavalry and enough strips for another 6 infantry units left to paint. I will need some of the mounted personalities though.

Once again I'm enjoying myself with this and it takes me right back to my early Airfix ACW days, I still have my battered old copy of the 1971 Terence Wise book.


Standard strip converted to command.

Rear strip for unit designation and to place casualty marker.

Pure nostalgia!

Monday 18 March 2024

40mm Peninsular War Napoleonics - a long sad journey but happy ending.

Regular followers here will recall I'm sure the collection of 40mm Peninsular War Napoleonics that I purchased from Andy Copestake of Old Glory UK just after I moved to Spain back in early 2018. At the time I was looking forward to being able to enjoy the large scale as I had the space for them and once they arrived on the Costa Blanca in the boot of my Son in Law's car I started work on enlarging the collection. This involved my wife and family carrying heavy packages of metal soldiers through customs on a regular basis, much to the amusement of Customs Officers!

A couple of years later and we had decided that life in Spain was not for us and we decided to return to the UK. Lovely as it was living on the side of a mountain looking across the orange groves towards the Mediterranean twenty minutes drive away we had started to miss being around our family and to be honest I was quite homesick. I loved the Spanish people, the weather and the laid back lifestyle but I was missing Blighty.  So again we sold up and thus ended what I refer to now as 'The Spanish Campaign'.

The now much expanded collection - over 400 painted figures - travelled back again this time in the boot of my car along with my wife the dog and the cat. When I eventually unpacked them it became clear that there was no way I was going to be able to use or even just display the figures as I had in Spain, so I made the decision to let them go to a new home where they would be enjoyed and played with. 

I put the word out and was contacted by Daniel Peterson in the United States who was extremely keen to add them to his existing 40mm collection that he had acquired from Australia, and was more than happy to cover the high shipping costs involved. I agreed, but then found that the stress and worry of shipping 400+ valuable 40mm painted figures overseas, many of them multipart with separate heads etc was more than I cold cope with. I informed Dan, who understandably was not entirely happy but accepted my decision. 

By this time I was in regular contact with Graham Cummings and Ian Smith (prolific 40mm collector).  Graham was keen to buy my collection and the figures were duly packed up for the short overnight courier delivery which was a 48 hour fully insured service. Despite the time and care I had taken to pack them within  a large container clearly marked Fragile they arrived with the box bashed in at one corner. Luckily there was very little overall damage once Graham had unpacked everything, a few lost heads and bent weapons mostly. I offered to supply replacement painted heads, ( I must admit I was somewhat devastated when Graham sent me photos of the interior of the container), and all was restored in next to no time. Graham, in his usual easy going way, just plodded through the minor repairs and was delighted to be the new owner with plans to expand even further. Shockingly Graham passed away a few weeks ago following a very sudden illness. 

Last week I was surprised to receive an email from Dan in the States telling me that he had finally acquired the collection that he had tried to purchase from me several years ago. Dan had spotted them on eBay being sold by a Military Bookstore in York following Grahams death, and placed the winning bid, apparently there were very few bids on them. So the figures are now in the States alongside his existing 40mm Peninsular war collection, but the story does not stop there!

Sadly Ian Smith had also passed away a couple of years ago, again following a short illness. Ian and I had corroborated on a 3D print project to produce a set of resin RHA crew in 40mm scale and as a result I got to see lots of his wonderful collection. When Ian was planning his amazing Sharpe meets Hornblower display game (see video below) he asked me if he could buy my French 2nd Hussars. There were 16 of them beautifully professionally painted - not by myself I hasten to add - and as he offered me a straight £20 per figure for them I let them go. To be honest it was as much the thought of them being involved in that game as much as anything else that persuaded me to sell them. I replaced them with 16 Chasseur a Cheval that I painted myself and they were part of those sold to Graham. The 2nd  Hussars can be seen thundering across the bridge in the video, Ian had replaced the swords and added a little more animation work before he passed away. The game was eventually put on as a memorial by his friends and won 1st prize, a fitting tribute. 

So last week Dan also informed me that he is in the process of purchasing Ian's entire Peninsular war collection including the terrain boards and two waterline ship models that I know were his pride and joy from his Son. Dan's plan is to house everything in a permanent  room and then to tour the game around the States to wargame conventions. So three 40mm collections will have shortly come together, one from Australia (Dan's original collection), and two from the Uk. I must admit we did have a joke about The Curse of the 40mm's but Dan said he will take his chances!

I hope you enjoy reading this and with luck you guys in the States will get the opportunity to see this in person in the future. 

Below are a couple of shots from my collection including a couple of close ups of the French Hussars and a link to the Ian Smith memorial game at Partizan.

And those fine 2nd Hussars on the day they arrived to me in Spain, now part of the Late Ian Smith collection on the way to the States soon.

And their new home, Dan's 1809 Log cabin!

Monday 11 March 2024

More ACW's photos for Old John!

Really enjoyed painting these. Following on from the Reb Generals box set here is the Union Personalities box set, the 4 wonderful old Airfix US Cavalry, 10 Union Infantry ( ?) and 4 Russian Falconers. This is the March batch for John. Just waiting for a new varnish brush to arrive and to see what John wants me to do with the card bases with the names on.

Union Personality box set 35 figures. 

Spot Custer and Abraham Lincoln!

Oh the nostalgia, takes me right back to childhood!

Epic ACW/ Battle Cry next, coming along, added a few more bases and started adding flags. Went with the Epic flagsheet as the poles are a bit short but they look OK. Also adding additional command by trimming away muskets and using dress makers pins for poles and officers sword across shoulder. All Union strips cut down to kepis.