Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Whoosh! Whiz! Bang!

28mm Empress Miniatures Naval Rocket Unit



More from the wonderful ‘Empress Miniatures’, New Zealand Wars range; this time a Royal Navy rocket unit. Once again the supremely talented Mr. Paul Hicks does another excellent job on the crew, which were a delight to bring to life with a lick of paint. It was, however, the actual rocket launcher left me a little stumped.


From what I understand Congreve rockets, named after the man tasked with their development, were employed by Royal Navy crews during the wars. Unfortunately, such was the structural integrity of the Maori fortifications that were rendered practically useless, but still retained some worth as a psychological weapon – just imagine a firework display aimed straight at you! (Some might also remember the wonderful scene with the experimental Royal Horse Artillery Rocket Troop in ‘Sharpe’s Enemy’ that brought a much needed dose of humour to the episode.)


Anyway back to the rocket tube, it occurred to me that even at close range it probably ought to be elevated in some way so I decided to do a touch of ‘terra-forming’ and built up a slightly raised area using slate and some pumice gel. Having decided to work up the base a little more than normal, I reached for the etched brass bracken that I had used on my Maori warriors, it being deeply symbolic to the nation and the sharp eyed amongst you will have spotted a strange looking shrub at the back of the base. This was actually a palm tree that I had bought and a shining example of how one should carefully check the measurements of a proposed purchase before clicking the ‘add to basket’ button!


Those of you that have visited the sensational ‘Captain Richard’s Miniature Civil War’ will know that apart from been a hugely talented model maker he also has a propensity to ‘light things up’ with LEDs. I’d had some success at trying this with the ‘Wilderness Camp’ so thought I’d give it another go here. Not as successful or as obvious as I had hoped, so I may need to try again at another time.

Not that you would notice, but there is a light bulb in there!

Finally my apologies for the rather picture heavy post, but having invested such a considerable amount of time on the stand I just wanted to showcase it fully – well what is the point of having your own blog if you can’t do what you want with it? Just for those who haven’t seen the episode of Sharpe that I was referring to earlier, here you go… 

all together now, “over the hills and faraway”


If you really can't stomach another foppish British officer asking, "Aren't you the Johnny that Wellington raised from the ranks?" then the action starts about two and a half minutes in; enjoy!












36 comments:

  1. Well done, my good man! It makes me want to pull out the HaT rocket troop set and get it painted now. *Sigh* another project to the queue!

    As to your dwarf palm, it actually is quite accurate as the ferns and grass trees of the rainforests look quite like yours.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Sir! I do like a good distraction, go on get the rockets out.

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  2. A really interesting weapon, I should learn more about it. And the crew is great too, there's a lot of motion!

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  3. What an excellent base of figures!!! Top work Michael!!!
    They may not have done much damage, but I don't think I'd like one fired at me!!

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  4. Well worth the extra pics, you can't have too many you know. Especially when they look so good

    Ian

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  5. Absolutly marvelous!! Where do you get the etime to produce such work?

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    Replies
    1. Time is certainly precious; I try and do an hour in the evening and then as much as I'm allowed on a Saturday morning, chores permitting!

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  6. I heard they were quite rubbish in their effect but that's a wonderful looking piece Michael!

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  7. That is a wonderful peice of artillery you have there my good man, beautifully painted and based. Actually the little Palm looks very good as a fern plant. Top work my good fellow.

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  8. Top painting and basing! The foliage is very good... where did you get the dwarf palm?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Mark, the 'dwarf' palm was from a company called the Model Tree Shop, you can find them in the palm section. Great service too.

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  9. Awesome work Michael! Lovely model and excellent painting. Really like the fern too.

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  10. Really great work! Navy infantry always are such interesting figures!

    Christopher

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  11. Congreve was born and experimented with his rockets just up the road from where I grew up. Lovely looking piece..I´d totally forgotten about rockets in the colonial era..I see another scratchbuild coming on :-D
    Cheers
    paul

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Paul; vcan't wait to see what you come up with.

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  12. I see the light...I see the light!
    Wow! What a vignette! The figures' sculpting is really top notch!And you justified it with your painting!
    Excellent!

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  13. Very nice little scene. Those little additions including the miniature palm tree fit really well

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  14. That's great..love the cycad in the corner.

    I suspect it would be more of a Bang! Whizz! Whoosh! Aaargh! though

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  15. What a whiz bang unit! What I particularly like is that the sailor's suits will be fine for other periods too (War of 1812 for instance).

    Love the video too!

    Cheers

    PD

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  16. Fantastic, Michael. Rarely has artillery been such fun! And I love the shrubbery and fern foliage. Absolutely top notch!

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  17. Great vignette! Figures and base, smoke and fire...you did it, Michael!

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  18. Excellent work Michael! You should not make any apologies for the number of pictures, they are worth to see this fantastic model from all angles!

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  19. A lovely piece and as mentioned above, the fern foliage looks the part.

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  20. As always Michael, most impressive figures, and something out of the ordinary. If it weren't for the slightly withering look from the Saintly Mrs A when I arrive at Awdry Towers with a book clutched under my arm, I'd pop round a tome which includes details of the only British unit present at Leipzig in 1813 - a Congreve Rocket Troop.
    Pip pip

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  21. Ooooh Rockets! Great stuff, love the basing details too of the small palm tree...
    They do provide some fun randon entertainment in the games we've seen them used in, landing just about anywhere! ;-)

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  22. Michael...I CAN SEE THE LIGHT...Great paint on the figs, love the top hats

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  23. That is fantastic work - and the terrain really looks New Zealandy. Exquisite!

    I've painted the exact same figures for my own New Zealand Wars project, and never realised that the collar on the figures was a separate flap coming from under the toggle. So I had painted mine just as plain dark blue collars on the dark blue jackets. But I much prefer your look of the light blue trimmed white neck-flap - much more sailor-like. Did you find any reference pics, by any chance?

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks Roly and my apologies for my tardy response to your question. I have to admit that I found very little reference so in effect had a free reign. What I did find was a great plate in the Osprey Men at Arms 'Royal Navy'. The seaman in question was dated 1828 but certainly mine owe somewhat to his appearance.

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  24. This is a nice bit of work and it looks like it was well worth the extra time and effort. More pictures are always welcome as I really do get a lot out of seeing things in detail like this.

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  25. Lovely figures as always. Nice to see the amount of thought that goes into a model, such as the base foliage, as well.

    Regards,
    Matt

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  26. Great looking base the foliage is fantastic amongst the best I have seen!!

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  29. Did you actually find a colour reference for the rocket launcher?

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    Replies
    1. I didn't in the end and just plumped for the blueish grey used on British artillery pieces.

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