Sunday 28 February 2016

Cavalier and back again

This years Cavalier Wargames show has been an excellent and tiring day. I spent a lot of the day meeting up with friends and fellow bloggers like Henry Hyde, Bob Cordery, Whisperin Al, David Crook and Stephen Dix. Everyone seemed to be having a great day and and lot of laughter could be heard whenever we gathered in a huddle to exchange greetings. For me this first show of the year is summed up by this amazing banter and friendliness and makes the show a firm favourite in my calender. I didn't take as many pictures as normal, mainly because I spent so much time talking to traders and friends. Here's a selection of my photos and they gave a good overview of the games on display.  

The main hall of Cavalier

Henry Hyde, Ray Rousell, Robert Cordery & David Crook

Friday Night Firefight - Zulu! 1879

Friday Night Firefight - Zulu! 1879

Hailsham Wargames Club - Malplaquet 1709

Hailsham Wargames Club - Malplaquet 1709

Deal Wargames Society - Prison Break 1945

Deal Wargames Society - Prison Break 1945

Society of Ancients - Trebia

Society of Ancients - Trebia

Staines Wargamers - Trojan War 1180 BC

Maidstone Wargames - Road to Homs 1982

Maidstone Wargames - Road to Homs 1982

Maidstone Wargames - Road to Homs 1982

Maidstone Wargames - Road to Homs 1982

Tonbridge Wargames - Chickamauga Day 2

Tonbridge Wargames - Chickamauga Day 2

The Bring and Buy stall

Cavalier small hall

North London Wargames - Monoontour 1569

Gravesend Gamers Guild - Warmachine
All in all quite a varied selection of games on display with a wide range of scales and periods. I particularly enjoyed the 2mm game... but I must remain disciplined and not get sucked into another scale!

I had a pretty successful shopping trip as well. David Crook gave me a book on Hannibal that will help me in my current project and I also found a book about about the Fall of Carthage on the David Lanchester stall. In addition I found a book I have been seeking for a while on the Churchill Tanks and an impulse purchase, a book on WWI Tanks. I also picked up several packs of MDF bases and some paint and medium thinner. Not a bad haul.

Saturday 27 February 2016

Ready, Steady, Cavalier!

Tomorrow (Sunday 28th Feb) I'll be joining several other members of Posties Rejects and heading down to Tonbridge for the Cavalier Wargames Show. Its been a long winter and for most of us our last show was SELWG in October, so we are all in need of a hobby fix. 

For those that haven't been to Cavalier before it's held in the The Angel Centre (SatNav Postcode TN9 1SF). There is plenty of car parking in the surrounding area and the event itself is spread across two halls and some side rooms with a good selection of traders (list here) and demo games (list here). Entry is £5 with under 16's free. Doors open at 10am.

I normally go to these events with a shopping list but this year I'm just going to see what takes my fancy - a very dangerous thing to do with so much 'shiney' to tempt me. I do have a few things in my mind that I need though. Imperial Purple paint, some more dullcoat if I can find it, and more static grass and bases...nothing too surprising there. The rest I'll leave up to fate and the dice gods. 

Thursday 25 February 2016

More 6mm Carthaginian War Elephants

After my large 6mm Citzen Infantry submission last week I needed a few days to lay down and whimper. Fortunately I have had a busy week so I actually had very little time to get much painting done anyway. I have however started preliminary work on a bonus round entry and my Curtgeld submission, so its not been a completely lazy week. My only submission this week has been these two War Elephants.

Yes, there are four nellies pictured here but two of these (with the red Howdah blankets) were painted in November, prior to commencement of the Challenge and long before my admission to the Painting Challenge. The Carthaginian army list for To The Strongest! says I can have two units of elephants so now I do.

The Carthaginian's employed a now extinct breed of North African elephant and at one time records suggest they had as many as 300 stabled in the walls of Carthage. Hannibal famously took 37 war elephants over the Alps and if ancient sources are to be believed all survived the journey. However most died shortly after arriving on the Italian Peninsular, possibly from the after effects of their arduous journey. Up to 70 elephants were used at Zama but these inexperienced and poorly handled animals were ineffective against a Roman army that had by now learned how to fight and defeat such apparently mighty beats of war.

I wasn't sure how these should be scored (as Mounted Figures or as Vehicles) and in the end I had to refer back to older submissions to the challenge to see if there were any previous rulings on the definition. True enough I found an old post that described War Elephants as "the tanks of the ancient world" and therefore counted as vehicles. Tamsin graciously also scored points for the crew so these two Nellies eventually earned me 6 points and another small step towards my goal.  

Wednesday 17 February 2016

6mm Carthaginian Citizen Infantry

I worked hard last week to get my biggest ever submission to the Analogue Challenge posted for the Tuesday deadline. Once again my wife has been a trooper, giving me the space and time to work on my mad little hobby. And boy did I need the time, two hundred and sixteen 6mm figures is the biggest little project I have undertaken since starting this period and it tested all my stamina before the end. 

A unit of Carthaginian Citizen Infantry

The models as usual are from Baccus and are listed as Citizen Infantry. They don't wear armour but have a bronze helmet and large oval shields. They are armed with a short sword but their main weapon is the short spear.

Six units containing 216 figures.

Painting the shields in particular tested my skill and patience. I wanted the white to really pop but I also needed to use an ink wash to show up the details. In the end I painted the shields white, added the bronze Boss in the center and then applied the ink wash. The final stage involved a 000 tipped brush, a lot of patience, some swearing and a lot of time as I picked out the white highlights. The result looks great, but I was knackered and goggle-eyed by the end!

Frontal view of the troops

Now I have probably made a terrible mistake but I was having problems trying to figure out how these fitted into the To the Strongest! army list for the Carthaginians. In the end I labelled them as African Spearmen but I'm not entirely sure this is right. Some of the research material I have found says the Citizen Infantry were recruited for the first Punic War but not later while other sources are less clear, suggesting these troops were only employed when Carthage itself was under threat. I clearly need to do more research but if anyone can point me in the right direction I'm not above accepting help!

In column

Rather embarrassingly I managed to completely miscalculate the number of figures I had painted. I finished these late on Monday evening and should have waited until I had had some sleep before writing my draft post and adding up the numbers for the Challenge Blog. Twice I added the numbers up coming up with three ranks of nine per base times six bases equals 164 figures or 82 points. But thankfully the eagle eyed Tamsin pointed out that these are ranks of twelve not nine so I had actually painted 216 figures worth 108 points, Clearly painting so many 6mm figures in one sitting had made me a gibbering wreak unable to cope with basic mathematics. 

From behind, showing the simple details of the backs

Another view of the shields

I'm not sure what I'm painting next. I'm having a few days off for family engagements and I have a busy weekend coming up, so whatever I paint it'll be small (ie not another couple hundred infantry!). I currently have a couple of Carthaginian War Elephants on my desk waiting to be primed, but I also have some Italian AA trucks for my WWII Desert war project waiting to be finished....I'll give it a couple of days and see where the muse takes me.

Thursday 11 February 2016

6mm Punic Libyan Cavalry

I just about finished these Punic Cavalry in time for submission to the Analogue Painting Challenge this week, thanks to a long session on Sunday and the tolerance of a very understanding wife! Baccus list these as Libyan Cavalry but in the TtS! army list they fall under the broader description of Punic Cavalry which seems to put horsemen from various Carthaginian territories under a single banner. Later on I will try to find some of the famed Numidian Light Cavalry but for now they are alluding me in the catalog (Thanks to Vladd309 of the blog Too Much free Time for pointing me in the right direction, my order for these is now on its way to Baccus). I'm also working on several units of infantry but the cavalry muse was with me so these got finished first. 

Punic (Libyan) Cavalry from Baccus
Tamsin very generously awarded me some bonus points for the hand painted shields so these earned me a very nice 90 points! I'm well chuffed with that. This puts me on 170 points and (as of typing this) 50th place in the rankings, which is my best position thus far in the Challenge. 

Showing of the shields
These will make for a strong cavalry contingent to my Carthaginian army

I have mixed feelings about how these turned out. I like the colourful shields and the waterproof pen I use for the shield designs is once again proving its value and utility. The pen writes best straight onto the acrylic paint but needs to be sealed with a spray varnish to avoid smudges (don't use a brush varnish as it can make the ink run). I'm less happy with how the white leather armour turned out. The ink wash I applied has made the armour look a bit muddy for my liking and I wish I had taken time to reapply the white highlights again after the wash. Still, its a lesson learned and a mistake I won't make again.

Showing both the front and rear view.
So I have just about made managed to get my first Carthaginian's into the Challenge but they most definitely won't be my last. 

In one long line they look pretty formidable!

Monday 8 February 2016

Heroes of Arnhem

On Saturday I had the privilege of spending a morning with some very brave, very humble men. All were veterans of the Normandy campaign and several had also served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy however the focus of this event were two former members of the 1st Airbourne Division, who too part in Operation Market Garden and the abortive attempt to take the Arnhem bridge. All the Veterans were there to support the launch of my Brother-in-laws new book and all proceeds raised from sale of the books and from collection buckets went to The Spirit of Normandy Association and the Southend branch of the Normandy Veterans Association.

Raymond P. Newlyn with his latest book "The Airborne Club"

Two of the Veterans featured in the book; (L) David Whiteman and (R) Alec Hall both formerly of 181 Airlanding Field Ambulance, 1st Airborne Division and veterans of Arnhem 1944.
The Airborne Club, by Raymond P. Newlyn

Ray is hoping to have the book available to purchase on Amazon in the near future. When quizzed he admited that his third book is almost finished but he is keeping its subject under wraps for the time being. 

Saturday 6 February 2016

My TtS! Roman Army

Earlier in the week I posted my latest batch of Romans, this time some Generals to lead my army. While I was photographing them I decided to put the whole army on the table, the first time I have gathered them all together like this. I have to admit to being a little impressed with the relative speed with which I have completed these. 

In the front are the Generals with six units of Velites shielding the front of the army. Behind these are the three ranks of Legionaries typical of the period, consisting of Hastati, Principes and Triarii at the rear. Flanking the army are cavalry and Bolt throwers. One thing I have realised now that I have these on the table is that the units labels on the Principes are on the wrong side of the base (on the right rather than on the left). Doh! I'll remove and reapply these next time I have half an hour free.

I will add some Italian Allies at a later stage but for now I need to work on building up my Carthaginian forces so that I can have a few games. Once we have played a couple of battles I think I'll be in a better position to consider what the army lacks and therefore what units to paint next.

One thing that is definitely missing at this stage are camps and/or baggage. Once I have a few Carthaginian units under my belt - and once the Challenge has finished - I'll look at make a camp for each side. 

Thursday 4 February 2016

Roman Generals

This was my second submission to the Analogue Painting Challenge earlier this week, albeit a small entry. I have finished all of my Romans (for the time being) and the only thing lacking was someone to lead them. I managed to find some MDF tokens that could be re-purposed as bases and I think they are just right for these mounted generals.  

The generals are based in two's but for the Senior General I have based him with two sub-commanders so he stands out. And now that I have painted these they should lead some troops, so here they are at the head of the army. 

Nine mounted figures are a small submission but it does mean I have finished my Romans for the time being. Next on the table are some Carthaginian's...lots and lots and lots of Carthaginian's. 

Wednesday 3 February 2016

British Cruiser Tanks

Yesterday I managed to get two submissions into the Analogue Painting Challenge the first of which see's me return to my WWII North Africa project with eight early British Cruiser Tanks. These are 1/285th scale models by GHQ and as such are modelled with an eye watering amount of detail. These really were a joy to paint and are some of the best looking tanks I have painted in some time.

The Cruiser tank concept was a typically British approach to tank design that flourished in the inter-war period, saw action during the start and middle of the war and began to die out in favour of the MBT concept by the end of the war. British tank nomenclature is particularly confusing but here we have two examples of Cruiser development, one more successful than the other.

The Cruiser Mk V was conceived in 1938 with the General Staff specifying the need for a faster, lighter cruiser tank to replace the Cruiser IV. The new specification was the A13 Mk III Cruiser Mark V, and would later be given the name Covenanter. The new tank would have a Christie suspension and would have to be able to accommodate the main British tank gun of the time, the QF 2 Pounder. Some design elements from the earlier A16 were incorporated in the new tank as was the use of sloped armour to reduce thickness and therefore weight.

By the late 30's the governments policy was to encourage British firms to develop the skills for war production and so the contract to design the A13 was handed to a Railway Company which had no prior experience of producing tanks. With war on the horizon the first order for 100 tanks was placed without a proper prototype evaluation process. The result was a tank that had a shopping list of problems and defects, not least issues related to engine cooling and reliability. This was a tank not destined for combat duty and most were retained in the UK for training pruposes. However a few were given to REME for desert evaluation and its possible that some saw action with the Churchill Tanks of Kingforce in 1942.

Initial production of the Covenanter was shared between several firms but Nufield preferred to pursue its own design which would later become the Cruiser, Mk VI or A15 Crusader. The Crusader Mark I and Mark II were fitted with am Ordnance QF 2 pounder main gun, but the design was also able to accommodate modification so that the Crusader III was fitted with an Ordnance QF 6 pounder main gun. Like the A13 the A15 used the Christie suspension system but employed 5 road wheels rather than four to aid with weight distribution. The Crusader would weigh in at close to 20 tones compared to 14 tones for the Covenanter.

The A15 was also ordered straight off the drawing board and although it would become the main British Cruiser in the early part of the desert war, it still had significant design problems. The angled turret proved something of a shot trap, deflecting incoming AP into the roof of the crew compartment. The tank was also prone to 'brewing up' with stowed ammunition catching fire when the tank was hit. The cooling system struggled with desert sand and the engine was prone to oil leaks and unreliable performance. None the less the Crusader was well loved by British Crews and it wasn't until the arrival of American tanks like the Grant and Sherman that this weary warhorse began to be phased out.

Tomorrow I'll post my other submission to the challenge, some Roman Generals. But if you haven't already seen them (and want a sneak peak) follow this LINK