Sunday 26 February 2017

Cavalier Wargames Show 2017

Phew, we've made it through a long desolate empty winter to the first wargames show of the year, and for Posties Rejects that means Cavalier at Tonbridge in Kent. This is a relatively modest sized event but we never fail to enjoy the selection of Traders and Demo games on display. This year was no exception and offered us a chance to reaffirm old friendships, spend some cash, restock our dwindling supplies and indulge in some ill advised impulse buys! 

Cavalier 2017 - Busy as usual

Peter Pig - Men of B Company - 15mm Vietnam Game

Peter Pig - Men of B Company - Vietnam Game

SEEM Zombie - 28mm Participation Game

Deal Wargames Society - Holding up the Traffic - Prudka, Poland 1939

Deal Wargames Society - Holding up the Traffic - Prudka, Poland 1939

Crawley Wargames D-Day Operation Overlord

Crawley Wargames D-Day Operation Overlord

Freikorps und Spartacist

Freikorps und Spartacist

Rainham Wargames - Blood Bilge and Iron Balls - 1/2400 Naval Demonstration Game

Rainham Wargames - Blood Bilge and Iron Balls

Maidstone Wargames Society - Fenris Decending - 28mm

Southend Wargames - Four Days Battle 1666

Gravesend Gamers Gild - X-Wing 

North London Wargames - Black Horse Strike - 15mm Vietnam

North London Wargames - Black Horse Strike - 15mm Vietnam

The Games Hall

Tunbridge Wargames - Age of Sigmar

Society of Ancients - Punic War - Battle of Cannae - 28mm

Society of Ancients - Punic War - Battle of Cannae - 28mm

The Anti-Alchemists - Calvados and Chips - 28mm WWII

The Anti-Alchemists - Calvados and Chips - 28mm WWII

My Swag from Cavalier - Lots of MDF bases, glue paint and 'bits' for base dressing. Some 6mm ancients including Creatan Archers from Colonel Bills and a ten Selanite Warriors from Ironclad Miniatures.

Friday 24 February 2017

Fart the Jester

This was painted purely as a light hearted distraction from my other projects and as such its no more than a bit of whimsy. This particular model was a freebie handed out by Wargames Foundry at a show I attended a couple of years ago. I didn't pay it much attention at the time but when I looked at it recently I realised what a lovely sculpt it was. There is so much expression and pathos in this model it was a joy to paint. 

I reckon this guy has been a court jester for many years and now in his mid forties, with his joints starting to ache and feeling his age he is wondering where it all went wrong. How on earth did he end up spending his life doing a job he loathes, playing the fool and being the butt of every joke. 

In case your wondering no this isn't about me, for a start I have a 'few' more pounds on my frame than this guy. And besides I'm very happy in my job. Honestly, I love it. Every single day. Day after day after day....

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Italian Ariete Tank Company

Time for a change of direction! Today's post moves away from the Hellenistic Period to the North African battles of the Second World War. Up to now I have focused on the battles of 1942 leading up to and including El Alamein. But for the Challenge I am moving back a couple of years to the opening moves of the North African campaign and the British Counter offensive against the Italian invaders of Egypt. Operation Compass has always fascinated me, not least because the British victory was so complete and (in some quarters at least) so unexpected.

I have started by painting Italian tanks and have chosen to depict vehicles from the Ariete Division. This company has three platoons of M13/40 Medium Tanks, Two Platoons of M11/39 Light Tanks and a reconnaissance platoon of L3/35 Tankettes. Italian nomenclature during this period is easy to understand with the weight in tons followed by the year it entered service (so the M11/39 weighed 11 tons and entered service in 1939).

Some of the tanks of the Ariete Division had a a really neat splinter camouflage pattern during this period and so I have opted to paint these to that scheme. All the tanks also have white air recognition crosses on their turret roofs so the Italian Air force does not bomb them by mistake. I've never quite understood the value of these markings because any symbol that identifies friendly units is surely just as valuable to enemy aircraft!

Italian tanks of this period were woefully inadequate compared to their British and German counterparts. Armour and armament were significantly inferior and the Italian army in North Africa suffered generally from poor logistical support and command. Having said that the tank crews were often very brave and showed great elan in battle, befitting their elite status. The Ariete Division went on to be a vital if often unrecognised part of Rommel's forces in the coming years.

Painting these as one big batch has had two effects. First it means I have been able to achieve a consistent look across the whole company. But secondly it has meant I am now way ahead of the schedule I set myself at the beginning of the Challenge. In fact there is a very real chance I will run out of things to paint before the finale in March! I may have to get my thinking cap on and hunt through my lead mountain for something else to work on. Unheard of!

Thirty tanks at 2 points each have hurtled me across my personal finishing line of 500 points. Combined with my recent Bonus round entry and other projects in the pipeline I'm on schedule to break my personal best in the three challenges I have participated in.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Westward Ho! A Sherman Firely

Another bonus round in which I take liberties with the theme! I've wanted to paint this Sherman Firefly for some time and I had already decided to call it Westward Ho! when the theme list was published. A perfect if cheeky submission.

The town of Westward Ho, on the North coast of Devon, is a popular holiday destination and was named after the title of Charles Kingsley's novel published in 1855. The book was a bestseller, and an opportunity to develop tourism in the area was grasped with the building of a Hotel. The town developed around this and took the same name and now has the distinction of being the only location in Britain to have an exclamation mark in its name.

The connection to WWII, and therefore with this tank, is that North Devon was used extensively for training and preparation for the D-Day Landings. Adapted Bailey Bridges were tested at Westward Ho! as part of the Mulberry Harbour project, a mad-cap Catherine wheel like weapons called a Panjandrum was tested here by the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. In addition the US army set up a school for teaching and adapting techniques in amphibious assault nearby and many of the skills in landing the swimming DD Tanks and other wading adaptions were perfected here.

So what is the connection to the Sherman Firefly? Well there isn't one really, except that some Sherman crews did train in and around Westward Ho! and I imagined a commander naming his tank after those relatively care free summer days in North Devon. Ok a bit of a stretch but stranger things have happened!

Incidentally the reason for the rather strange pattern on the end of the barrel is that the Firefly was fitted with a British 17pdr gun and was significantly longer than the regular 76mm gun fitted in other Sherman's. In British units a troop of tanks may only include one Firefly and there was a genuine concern that these special tanks would become priority targets for the enemy. The disruption patterns like this were one solution although there are also pictures of a faux muzzle breaks fitted half way down the barrel.

Sunday 19 February 2017

Italian Tanks

From next week I'm shifting from painting 6mm Pyrrhic War Greeks and moving to the early days of the WWII North Africa campaign. So its time for me to start thinking about Italian armour and it just so happens I have seen some up close and personal at the Tank Museum in Bovington. Nothing quite beats seeing the real thing to help when painting. 

M14/41 Italian Medium Tank. It was a slightly improved version of the earlier M 13/40 with a more powerful diesel engine

This symbol identifies the tank as the First Tank of the 3rd Platoon in the 2nd Company.

Twin 8 mm Breda mod. 38 machine guns in the Hull

The Engine deck. The exhaust manifolds glowed red hot when in use, burning off any paint and leaving them open to rusting

Plenty of information here to guide me in my new project. Now I must plan a return trip to Bovington for later in the year!

Friday 17 February 2017

6mm Pyrrhic Army Finished!

Last year I had the rather crazy idea to paint a complete new army in 6mm to use in games using the To the Strongest rules. These could be used against my existing Republican Romans. I quickly decided I would paint them as part of the Analogue Painting Challenge and started planning what units I wanted and ordered nearly everything in one hit from Baccus 6mm. When it all arrived I knew I had a big job on my hands and started planning how I would tackle the job as part of the Challenge. I initially thought completing the army would take nearly the whole 13 weeks of the competition but as soon as I started painting I realised that my progress far exceeded my projections. 

In a little under 9 weeks the army has been completed and here it is in all its painful glory (those pikes are sharp!).

And unit by unit here they are...

Epirot and Macedonian Pike Phalanx

Greek Slingers

Greek and Sicilian Hoplites

Thessalian Heavy Cavalry

Tarantine Light Cavalry

Greek Heavy and Light Cavalry

Greek Bowmen and Indian Elephants

There are more units I can add at a later date (allies mostly) but for now I am very happy to have completed this army as fast as I I just need to find anther army to top this in next years Challenge!