Thursday 29 December 2011

Empress kneeling British

More loveliness from 'Empress Miniatures' that have been sitting patiently in the painting queue for far too long.  As always, I'm impressed by the characterful sculpts of Mr. Hicks and particularly enjoy the 'campaign' style with broken epaulettes, rolled up sleeves and even patches.

Additional support drafted in, although I must get around to changing those lipped bases!

This will probably be the last post before the New Year, so best wishes to all and I hope you all have a healthy and prosperous 2012!

Tuesday 27 December 2011

"Back I Say!"

Just thought that I would share this before he is packed off.  I suppose you could call him my first commission, but when I was asked by the 'Provost Marshal' if I could paint up this 'Bolt Action' miniature as a gift for a colleague of his, then how could I refuse?  There were, however, a few required specifications that had to be adhered to.  The first, a greying beard, then a Royal Military Police cap and if possible the addition of a Priest's stole!  

Well never one to shy away from a challenge here was the result and I have to say that I will be sorry to see him go!  It was really great fun to do with the stole been made from a piece of foil, trimmed and folded into place.  Apparently destined for a serving Army Chaplain's desk!

Sunday 25 December 2011

Christmas Truce

The big day has finally arrived and I would just like to take this opportunity to wish one and all a very
        Happy Christmas.  
I have to confess to being somewhat sceptical at starting a blog but have thoroughly enjoyed posting and maintaing '28mm Victorian Warfare'.  I must thank all of you that have visited and followed but in particular a huge thank you to those of you that take the the time to leave comments.  The encouragement  this engenders is immeasurable and not only maintains the enjoyment but helps to build the sense of community that has been an unexpected, but wonderful, by-product of 'blogging'.

The Christmas Truce 1914 was a free gift with my subscription to 'Wargames Illustrated' and today, of all days seemed like the perfect time to share it.  I couldn't resist jazzing up Tommy's scarf and hence my homage to the one true Doctor, Tom Baker.  Happy Christmas everyone!

The legend of the Christmas Truce continues to live on, this rather poignant retelling is by Dr H J Krijnen and can be found at the Royal Welch Fusiliers' Regimental Museum website.

The Christmas Truce at Frélinghien 
Contributed by Dr H J Krijnen

On Christmas Eve 1914 the Germans in the trenches opposite "A" Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers, had been shouting across, but on the morning of Christmas Day everything was quiet. One of the Fusiliers, Pioneer Sergeant J.J. "Nobby" Hall, stuck up a board with "A Merry Christmas" on it and the enemy stuck up a similar one. Then, around noon, a German was seen coming out of the fog along the tow-path, his hands in the air. Private Ike Sawyer went out to meet him. The two shook hands, and Sawyer was offered a box of cigars.
More Germans were beginning to leave their trenches. The Welsh had been strictly forbidden to do the same, but they began throwing tins of bully beef and plum and apple jam across. By then several unarmed Germans were standing on their parapet, waving their arms and shouting "Don't shoot! We don't want to fight today. We will send you some beer." Three of them hoisted a cask on to the parapet and began rolling it across No Man's Land.
The commander of "A" Company, Captain Clifton Inglis Stockwell, later wrote that he was warned by a worried duty sergeant. Stockwell climbed over the parapet and shouted in his best German for the opposing company commander to appear.  A German officer emerged and walked into No Man's Land where he was met by Stockwell. Both formally saluted. The German introduced himself, in Stockwell's words, as "Count Something-or-other." We now know that he was Hauptmann Maximilian Freiherr (Baron) von Sinner, the commanding officer of the Machine-gun Company of the Prussian 6th Jäger Battalion from Oels in Silesia which had been attached to the Saxon 40th Division and held the German positions in the Frélinghien brewery.
Von Sinner then called out his subaltern officers, and all were formally introduced to Stockwell "with much clicking of heels and saluting." Stockwell pointed out that he had orders not to allow an armistice and that it was dangerous for the German troops to be out in the open. Von Sinner agreed, having received similar orders, and sent his men back into their trenches. Both officers then agreed to a truce until the following morning.
Stockwell continues, “I did not know what to of­fer them for their courtesy but suddenly I thought of a plum pudding and hoped the officers would accept. I then went off to get it and the Saxon got his men back to the trenches. When I returned I gave him the pudding. He then produced two bot­tles of beer and a glass. I drank his health first (cheers from both sides) then they drank my health (more cheers). Then I talked a little and asked after the German of­ficers I knew in China. Then we had a ceremonial farewell, many salutes and bows, and re­turned to the trenches. "
Private Frank Richards tells a somewhat different story in his classic "Old Soldiers Never Die" which was published in 1933. According to him, so many Fusiliers had already left their trenches that Captain Stockwell had no choice but to accept the situation and with his fellow officers also walked into No Man's Land. Instead of staying in the trenches as described by Stockwell, Richards says that "We mucked in all day with one another" and goes on to report conversations between the Welsh and German troops. Only at dusk did the men return to their respective trenches. This story has the ring of truth. Richards could not care less about military propriety and described things as he saw them, while a serious loss of control as evidenced by the men "mucking in with one another" would not be something that a strict disciplinarian like Captain Stockwell would want to admit to even in his own diary. A recently discovered article in a contemporary Welsh newspaper, containing an interview with 2nd Lieutenant Michael Murphy, confirms the version given by Richards.
Richards spoke to several German soldiers. He found that they were as fed up with the war as the Welsh were, "fed up to the neck" as he puts it, and that their trenches were in a similarly bad condition. The men only returned to their respective trenches at dusk, in time for their Christmas dinner of Maconochie’s (tinned meat and vegetables) and plum pudding.
During the evening and night not a shot was fired by either side. On the morning of Boxing Day Captain Stockwell climbed up on the parapet, fired three shots in the air and put up a flag with "Merry Christmas" on it. Hauptmann von Sinner then appeared on the German parapet and both officers bowed and saluted. Von Sinner then also fired two shots in the air and went back into his trench. The war was on again.
But it remained quiet. According to Richards, all during Boxing Day there was much shouting across No Man’s Land, often about the quality of the French beer. Peace reigned all day, and songs were sung in Welsh and German. In the evening, when the 2nd Battalion was unexpectedly relieved by the 2nd Durham Light Infantry, the men heard that similar things had been happening all along the lines.
It had indeed been a memorable Christmas.

Happy Christmas.

Friday 23 December 2011

Farewell to Tommy

Finally completed 'Tommy' as the year draws to a close and what a journey it has been!  This was my first attempt at a larger scale (54mm)  and came about by been constantly 'bullied' into it by my good friend 'the Provost Marshal'.  I picked the model up at Euro Militaire 2011 from, the then, relatively new company 'Tommy's War'.   The process has already been described in the following posts;
Tommy's Tailor
so I won't repeat myself here, other than to say whilst relatively pleased with the results I am delighted to have him move off the painting table!  A great exercise from the point of view of having to 'relearn' miniature painting techniques, as many of the tricks or shortcuts simply do not work at this scale.  

The final stages incorporated the texturing of the base by simply using a generic household filler, forming small craters which I hoped to be water filled puddles.  Bits of stone, twigs and sand all played their part in the final build, not to mention roughly twisted lengths of wire to form barbed wire pickets.  The barbed wire itself came from Games Workshop.  Final touch was a little casting resin with some added colour for the puddles.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

28mm Roman Marines

These rather splendid fellows are here as a direct result of my seemingly obsessive search to find miniatures that, in some way, illustrate the most recent book to leave the bedside table.

Now I know very little about Ancient Roman history other than what is portrayed on the silver screen or written in popular literature and even less of the Roman Navy.  If I'm brutally honest I don't suppose that I had given  much thought to a navy at all, until I read the opening chapters of Conn Iggulden's 'The Death of Kings'.  Here the fictional exploits, although I understand there is some factual basis, of a young Julius Caesar unfold.  The wonderfully vivid descriptions of the warfare aboard Roman galleys at this time certainly fired my imagination and so you can imagine my delight to find that 'Warlord Games' actually produce a set of Roman Marines!  Given my painfully slow rate of progress at present I've opted to do only one of each pose.  

I'm becoming more and more impressed by 'Warlord Games', great sculpts, fantastic service and some very shrewd alliances;  I was able to also pick up a set of shield transfers originally created by 'Little Big Men Studios' on the same site.  Will certainly be looking at returning there when I get round to reading the next instalment.  

Sunday 18 December 2011

'Civil War News' page added

Just the briefest of posts to launch the new 'Civil War News' page; the tab is located just below the title banner.  A gift from my father many years ago this hugely impressionable set of trading cards recently resurfaced and I was horrified to find that there were gaps in what was once a complete set.  Fortunately with the magical infoweb at my fingertips and those good people at 'Fleabay' I have been able to put the collection back together again without too much of a financial drain!

The set has already inspired the construction of a diorama with 'Through the Swamp' so it seemed only fitting to give the rest of the cards a permanent page; who knows perhaps  there will be future projects lifted from their lurid and violent depictions of the American Civil War.

Friday 9 December 2011

Book Review#7. - The Death of Kings

The Death of Kings, book two of the 'Emperor' series by Conn Igggulden and what a rip roaring read this turned out to be!  Our two main protagonists are found fighting for their names and lives in far flung corners of the Roman Empire.  Julius Caesar starts the adventure aboard a war galley before been captured, ransomed and abandoned on the North African shore.  Trouble and glory seem to follow as he looks to build a force to avenge his honour.  Meanwhile back in Rome, Brutus is trying to return the disgraced Primigenia Legion to the rolls of the Senate; a task that will involve making shrewd political alliances.  When they finally meet again it is only just in time to march out in defence of Rome as a slave uprising led by the rebellious gladiator, Spartacus is threatening to consume their beloved city.

Fantastic to see the return of Tubruk and, the now one armed, Renius; great characters both and the guardians of the two young men.  Fast paced, great battle sequences and a wonderful insight into the day to day life of this most brutal of times.  Thoroughly enjoyed this as the fictional page turner that it is meant to be; although ultimately based in fact, Conn Iggulden makes no apologies for his invention and the narrative is all the better for it.  If you enjoyed 'The Gates of Rome' then you will really enjoy 'The Death of Kings'.  Now all I have to do is decide which miniatures to paint to represent it!  Without doubt worth everyone of its four crowns.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Deck the Halls!

Well it's official, Christmas is coming!  Throughout the land one can hear the sound of tearing cardboard as chocolate filled advent calendars are attacked with a ruthlessness normally associated with a pack of starving hyenas.  Add to this our seemingly annual forfeit of good taste as houses are festooned, within an inch of their structural integrity, with every conceivable LED display and flashing light, not to mention the endless repetition of a 'Fairytale of New York' on the wireless radio and you know that the season of 'Good Will' to all, has well and truly arrived.

Now please don't go and think, for one moment, that I've gone all 'Bah Humbug', far from it - I love Christmas and once again I'm looking forward to spending time with loved ones, reflecting on another year gone and ultimately giving thanks for all that is right in the world.  To that end I have decided to give all visitors to '28mm Victorian Warfare' a virtual Christmas gift in the shape of these rather festive decorations.

Just to set the mood please feel free to pour yourself a virtual glass of sherry and indulge in one of my favourite Christmas ditties: Jona Lewie's, 'Stop the Cavalry'.

Now the only thing left is not to forget to take the decorations down before Twelfth Night!  Happy Christmas all!

Just as a very brief aside as I'm mentioning gifts; I was delighted to have all my Birthday goodies arrive through the post this week.  Quite a little stash in the end and a huge thank you to family and friends who have helped to steepen the sides of my ever growing lead mountain!  

Sunday 4 December 2011

Corpulent Zulu Chief

With commitments at work demanding much of my time the painting output seems to have slowed somewhat; akin, in fact, to a  dripping tap.  I have found that the only way to maintain any progress at all is to have a batch of 'one off' or solitary figures on the painting table. A case in point would be this wonderful character.  He was a bit of a 'lucky dip' as  there was no picture of him on the 'Redoubt Enterprises' website,  he was just simply listed as a 'Corpulent Zulu Chief'.

Once again the Redoubt sculpts are big, full of character and seem to take paint particularly well.   I've certainly enjoyed working with them, but again he does rather tower over the others. 

A wonderful excuse to have a go a leopard print headband though!

Thursday 1 December 2011

Chaplain George Smith

This simple, but rather splendid miniature is part of 'Redoubt Enterprises' Zulu War range and a welcome addition to my growing Anglo-Zulu War collection.  Chaplain George Smith had accompanied Centre Column to Rorke's Drift.  This Tall man, with a great red beard, was seen distributing ammunition to the men from a haversack all the while exhorting them not to swear throughout the battle.  His black, civilian coat was said to have faded to green.  He can be clearly seen in Alphonse de Neuville's painting entitled the 'Defence of Rorke's Drift', painted in 1880.  The artist has chosen to depict the dramatic evacuation form the hospital for his theme but has rather condensed the time frame for the sake of dramatic effect.  

Detail from  de Neuville's, 'The Defence of Rorke's Drift' 
Now interesting enough I may have found mention of the Reverend Smith being a tall man, but it would appear that he was more like a 'giant of a man', just look at him in comparison to some of the other characters from the battle; you certainly get your money's worth with Redoubt!

From left to right:
Colour Sergeant Bourne - Empress Miniatures, Chaplain George Smith - Redoubt Enterprises, Rev. Otto Witt - Foundry conversion, Private Hook - Empress Miniatures.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well another year older but probably not wiser!  Wonderfully lazy day at home with the good lady wife; thoroughly spoilt by friends and family, with a considerable amount of lead now winging its way towards Awdry towers!  

A splendid day all round; now what to start first?

Thursday 24 November 2011

Tommy's Tailor

Now that the distraction of the 'swamp' is out of the way I have found a little time to do some more on 'Tommy' here.  As I have mentioned before this has been a complete departure for me and one that I still  have mixed feelings about.  That said I was so buoyed by the very positive and encouraging comments from so many that I am committed to seeing the project through. 

As you can see 'Tommy' has started to get himself dressed thanks mainly to the 'Smillie' passing on his secret formula for painting First World War miniatures.  This certainly took some of the uncertainty out of the process and Mr. Smillie, next time you find yourself anywhere near the Sunshine Coast then there is a beer waiting here with your name on it.  Just as a very brief aside if you haven't visited Smillie's 'Painting Diary' then I thoroughly recommend a visit, you will not be disappointed.

'Tommy' has had some issues with stability of late, he keeps falling off his base, hence the paint job stops at his trousers.  Next job, therefore is to try and fix him a little more securely, finish off the painting and come up with something original for the base!

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Through the Swamp - The Conclusion.

So here it is, the conclusion of my mini project to recreate an 'American Civil War' trading card!

The original card, printed in 1965, was part of a much larger set and a gift from my father when I was a boy.  Known as 'Civil War News', the cards depicted historic events or battles that occurred during the war, their graphic violence leaving a lasting impression on a ten year old Mikey.  


With the figures and alligator safely attached a little sisal string was used to represent the reeds and weeds.  These were positioned with P.V.A. and needed a little bit of colour to tone them into the rest of the piece.  Although the base only had a very shallow lip, it was enough to allow me to flood the remaining space with a clear drying resin.  This was my first attempt at a water effect and so I was a little apprehensive, worried that I was going to ruin several weeks worth of work!  Fortunately a colleague was on hand, thanks Jemma,  to guide me through the curing and colouring process so all went according to plan.  There was just a little more painting and leaf litter to add and then finished.  I have picked up so many useful modelling tips along the way  and without wishing this post to read a little like an acceptance speech, there are one or two people I would like to thank:

'Provost Marshal', whose generous donation started the whole thing off.  See 'a Beer and a Bag' for further details.

'Laughing Ferret' over at the 'Laughing Ferret Lab'; your tutorial was superb and carefully guided me through the pitfalls of constructing 'Spanish Hanging Moss'.

'Captain Richard' of 'Captain Richard's Miniature Civil War'; your piece entitled 'Weeds' was simply superb and really helped me to visualise what had previously been just a collection of random thoughts and ideas.

Finally a huge thank you to all of you who have taken the time to post comments along the way as the project developed.  They really do help to keep the spirits up and make the process have a very definite sense of direction. 

Sunday 20 November 2011

Through the Swamp - Part 3, The Build

Having had expected to have been at work this weekend I was thrilled to find that the event was rescheduled presenting with  a little priceless time to move on the 'swamp' build.  There has always been a clear objective in that I wanted to recreate a 1960s American Civil War trading card using 28mm miniatures.  The Union boys and the alligator safely completed I needed to turn my attention to the matter of the swamp itself.  I had collected together all manner of different bits and pieces and had recently seen some wonderful examples of model making that served as inspiration.  Captain Richard's wonderful 'weeds' post and the Laughing Ferret's wonderful 'how to' for 'Spanish hanging moss' been two of the most influential.

The base is a 10cm diameter 'Fenris' casting bought through 'Hasselefree Miniatures' that I had kicking around and on to it went all manner of things including real stones, twigs and roots (thank you Captain Richard).  There was also bits of aquarium plastic plants, hand sculpted root system even bits of Christmas tree made an appearance.  I had roughly planned where the miniature were going and consequently left a space for them.  

Once the glue and household filler had dried the whole thing was sprayed black and then sprayed again with a couple of different green sprays I had left over from the 'Bamboo' build.

Again once dried I started to pick out details using a suitably muted palette and then followed the 'Laughing Ferret's' tutorial for the hanging Spanish moss.  It really does take you back to play school but was wonderfully effective.

So now its just a case of placing the figures, probably a little more painting and final details and we should be there!

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