Sunday 25 February 2024

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I have been doing some tidying up on my ailing laptop as it has developed a rather worrying chesty wheeze and I concerned that I may need to upgrade.  That being the case, I felt it prudent to 'back up' the files and what not including a vast amount of photographs of toy soldiers in various states of readiness.  Some of the images that I came across were as a result of a wonderful little distraction back in the summer of 2021 and so I thought I would take the opportunity to share them here.
I try to catch up with a couple of blogging chums every year and at this particular visit it was suggested that we try something a bit different in the shape of a Cowboy skirmish game called Shoot N' Skedaddle from Turnstyle Games.  This is a 'rules lite' game that sees the combatants field a posse or gang of Cowboys from either Lawmen or Outlaw factions with Neutrals being available to either side.  
Having decided that I was going to field a gang of Mexican bandits the wonderful 'Artizan Designs' came to my rescue with their characterful Banditos, but with them came Ill Buono, Ill Brutto and Ill Cattivo.  Simply a joy to paint all was going well until the varnishing stage, where a distinct lack of attention on my behalf saw me overdo the matt spray and left some rather nasty pooling.  Although disappointing, it wasn't terminal and actually at arm's length barely noticeable.  To round out the gang, I re-based a With the a couple of miniatures that I already had kicking around and so phase one was complete!   



Saturday 10 February 2024

Exploding Puppies!

 

I am perfectly aware of my many limitations as a war gamer. The most crippling of which is a lack of focus on any given project for any length of time.   To be clear these projects are never totally discarded, but rather hang in suspended animation awaiting their time to shine once again.  So to complete the basic units required for a 1000 point Bolt Action Soviet Army was, by my standards, going to quite an achievement. I had deliberately left aside the more esoteric units as something to look forward to, but with the return to work hobby time evaporated, that’s not to say that it disappeared altogether and there would be small steps forward, often snatched over a weekend, but the momentum built up through the longer breaks was inevitably going to stall.  
Returning to the esoteric, the inclusion of the dog units was always going to be a controversial choice here at ‘Awdry Towers’.  The Saintly Mrs. Awdry will not bat an eye as the massed ranks of my toy soldiers are massacred wholesale following another tactical blunder by yours truly, but suggest that an animal might be injured, even one made of white metal, and oh my goodness me - the horror!
 So when we discussed the fate of these poor mutts, that had explosive charges strapped to their backs and then encouraged to go and lie under the advancing tanks, it was clear that I needed to present the grim reality in a more palatable way.  No longer would they be referred to as Anti Tank Teams, but instead good doggies being taken for a walk by their caring handlers!  
All of this nonsense aside, it would appear that there is some discrepancy as to the effectiveness of such tactics, not the sanitising of history to appease your wife you understand, but stories abound of dogs so terrified by the metal behemoths that they run back to their own lines, much to the chagrin of Uncle Ivan.  I am led to believe that any stray dog seen on the streets of Mother Russia was exterminated by the German invaders. Still there was something so absurd about all of this that made them a must have inclusion to my force. 
As hinted at earlier, tactics are not my strong point, so anything that throws a certain semblance of chance into the proceedings is most definitely up my street so I picked up the ‘Warlord Games’ pack and planned to paint them as they were, but give them the ‘wintery’ treatment to tie in with the rest of my force.  Unfortunately the pack only had one handler wearing a Telogreika, but as I wanted to add additional units to this team I was going to need more winter clad warriors to swell the ranks.  Fortunately I fell upon on a series of posts on the wonderful, Dramatic Katastases blog.
This was a veritable gold mine of ideas, and you can expect to see more of them shamefully plundered here in due course, but the dog unit in particular gave me food for thought - I could make my own!  A couple of snow suited veterans that had been abandoned, as I was looking to make a unit with SMGs and they had rifles, were conscripted to the cause. The bits box also yielded some scraps that I thought would work well for me and as luck would have it, a pack Warlord Games Ancient Britons Mastiffs!*
*Everyone has these lying around, right?
The build itself was relatively straightforward and I am genuinely thrilled with the results, although already thinking about the possibility of using markers to show that the dogs had been deployed.  With regards to painting, I simply followed the same steps that I used with earlier units, finished off with a dusting of ‘snow’.  For the time being this is where I am going to leave my Soviet forces.  By my reckoning, I have enough options to field a competitive 1000 point force, although there are still some pieces I could call upon, including the ubiquitous T34 waiting in the wings.  As to what pops up next here at '28mm Victorian Warfare' is anyone's guess.  A quick check revealed 54 draft posts, the earliest dating back to 2013, in various states of completion and detailing an inordinate array of periods and projects.  That said, I am enjoying getting back to writing and catching up with friends so determined to keep going for a little while longer. 

Saturday 3 February 2024

28mm BM-13 Katyusha rocket launcher

The BM-13 Katyusha rocket launcher, also known as 'Stalin's Organ', was a fearsome and iconic weapon used by the Soviet Union during World War II.  It was a truly formidable weapon that left a lasting impact on the battlefield. The sudden, overwhelming nature of its barrages, creating chaos, destruction and psychological distress among enemy forces must have been terrifying.  

This, then, is one of those units that I would consider 'uniquely' Soviet and a 'must have' for the collection.  There were several options available, but in the end, I kept with 'Warlord Games' in the thought that it would be a relatively easy build as compared to perhaps a 'Rubicon Models' kit, but when I unpacked the box, I was left with this... 

I have to confess, I was initially put off by the sheer number of parts some of which were cast in soft metal whilst the molded, resin elements had some warping that would need addressing.  Slowly and with some considerable filing and filling, the finished model emerged!
Now knowing that I could work with the dark green undercoat spray, the startling appearance of the freshly primed model didn't hold the same terrors as before.  In fact working with primarily a dry brush the initial painting took less time than the actual construction.  By far the most complicated area was trying to paint the rockets themselves given that I had glued them in place before priming.  Weathered and detailed, I am pleased with the final outcome, although I remain nervous at the fragility of certain elements like the support legs at the rear. 
The model comes with a couple of crew members, one of which received a quick head swap from the plastic sprue and angled as if following the trajectory of his screaming rockets.  Their bases given that all important 'wintery' treatment to tie them into the rest of the unit and with that another, devastating addition was added to the collection.

Saturday 27 January 2024

28mm Soviet Army Zis 3 Divisional Gun

I have always enjoyed building and painting artillery whether it be the Russian guns at Balaclava, the mighty siege cannons pressed into the service of my Indian mutineers or a more modern iteration in the form of the fearsome '88

There is something about a finely crafted and historically accurate model that just looks wonderful on the tabletop.  One such gem is the Warlord Games 28mm Zis-3 Divisional Gun. This miniature artillery piece is a testament to the meticulous attention to detail and commitment to historical accuracy that Warlord Games is renowned for.  
Part of the challenge is putting the thing together and I try to take a before and after shot just for my own reference and to document the process that I underwent.  It also helps to remind the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' that I don't just spray paint on models, those that I actually get round to painting that is.  
That said the photograph above has obviously just been sprayed using a previously long forgotten can  Army Painter Angel Green primer; a remnant of a jungle terrain build.  I did have a mild panic that it was too dark, spending far too long agonising over how accurate my palette selection was.  Ultimately I reminded myself that this was my toy and I could paint it any colour I liked and immediately set about weathering it and lightening certain areas. 
The Zis-3 Divisional Gun, a product of Soviet engineering during World War II, played a crucial role on the Eastern Front. Its versatility, power, and reliability made it a staple in the Red Army's arsenal.  My 'wintery' Soviet forces now have some significant stopping power in the armoury! 
The crew of three, bolstered here with the addition of a forward observer from the Soviet HQ pack, were all given the same treatment as the rest of the force with a suitably wintery base.  I found that a coat of heavily watered down PVA glue on the hems of the jackets persuaded the snow to adhere, adding to the illusion that they were battling the elements and not just the enemy.  
I am obviously delighted to have completed another support unit and have taken the opportunity to photograph the recent additions together.  I have a couple of more 'uniquely' Soviet support units to come so hopefully more updates in the near future.  



Monday 22 January 2024

Soviet Army 82mm Medium Mortar Team

More essential support for my hard pressed 'wintery' Soviet Army.  This 82mm Medium Mortar Team is from Warlord Games and was given much the same treatment as before.  I, like a great number of us, keep notes as to what colours I have used and so by now this palette is becoming quite familiar.  I dare say that there would be an argument for adding a bit of variety to things, but I like the repetitiveness this is giving the unit as it helps, in my eyes, to convey the feeling of a much larger force.
I am building up to a couple of larger support units before a much needed change of palette and an opportunity to catch up with some more varied subject matter. 

 

Friday 19 January 2024

28mm Soviet Maxim MMG

Some much needed support for my 'wintery' Soviet Army in the form of a Warlord Games Soviet Maxim MMG.  Not much in the way of component parts, but an additional three crew members needed painting to match their comrades.  Rather than use the metal heads provided, I snipped off a couple of the plastic ones from the winter infantry frame, for no other reason than to help tie in to the rest of the unit.

Once painted the base was given a light sprinkling of snow, but otherwise kept very simple.  Another useful addition done, but feel that the hard pressed infantry are going to need something with a bit more punch. 

A quick shot of the team in action...

Saturday 16 December 2023

Happy Christmas Chumrades!


It had been brought to my attention that a year has passed since my last post.  Somewhat aghast at this fact, I resolved to do something about it, once the long Michaelmas term came to a close.  Now, as I sit here, tring to write this post, I am not entirely sure where to begin.  I had thought that I would simply just document another completed part of a collection that has already gathered dust, but somehow this didn't seem to be enough.  

This most humble of weblogs was conceived to document my exploits in our most wholesome of hobbies, building on the sense of community first encountered at the Gentlemen's Wargames Parlour; a wonderful forum for likeminded chaps.  The support and advice received during these times was what kept me inspired.  Working, essentially in isolation, the interaction that grew through the blog meant the world to me as ideas would be shared and genuine progress made.  Some of my closest Wargaming friends were met through this interaction and whilst we manage to meet up once a year for a game, there just never seems to be enough time to move ideas along.

I am essentially a very private person and so find outpourings of emotionally charged material difficult.  As such, I am simply going to report that myself and the saintly Mrs. Awdry are well.  Personal circumstances have thrown up a few difficulties that we strive to overcome.  With the day job, I am looking at stepping back from pastoral responsibilities in the hope that this might help to give me the headspace that I need to address the work/life balance that is clearly askew at present.  In short, I miss my chumrades.  I started Facebook and Instagram accounts in a bid to make that connection 'easier' but even these have dried and turned to dust.

So what is to be done?  I enjoy writing the posts, I imagine I am sitting in a Gentleman's Club at the end of the nineteenth century as I do, where nothing but good manners will be tolerated - utter tosh, but nonetheless this is often my starting point to generate themes and ideas.  That said, I have found Blogger to become very 'clunky', something that I am sure is down to 'cookies' or the settings, but just replying to comments or even commenting on others' work has become so painful that I just haven't the time to commit to it.  To not interact like this has caused me the most concern, it is essentially what is at the heart of the community, it just seems rude to me to not reciprocate if someone has taken the time to comment on your work.  Yet this is the dilemma I face - some interaction, or none at all?  Surely a 'like' is better than loneliness?  

So then, '28mm Victorian Warfare' is to continue.  I will write posts as, and when, I have the time, but they will essentially be for my own satisfaction.  I shall also look to post more on Instagram and continue to use Facebook for following wargaming groups and connecting with friends, do please seek me out.  There will be no 'targets' on the blog anymore, it is here simply as a journal.  

So here is to you all, a very Happy Christmas.  



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