Monday, August 8, 2011

On the Workbench: Colonial Lancers

I was determined to get the troopers done over the weekend. I need to wait for some magnetic bases I ordered from Shogun Miniatures so I can mount them. I have been purchasing bases from Robert Knestrick for over two years now and find his product to be as good as GF9, but at about 2/3s the price.

As you can see I decided to take the simple route with the horses and painted them all one colour. I guess that the images of the RCMP escort of the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge, as they arrived on Parliament Hill in the State Landau were still on my mind.

I will dig through my pile of lead to see if I can find some more spear tips to top off the lances of this unit. Eight of the figures came with the sharp end of the pointy stick, pennants flying , the rest did not.

I need to paint the two officers that came with this unit. While digging around in my minis a pack of three cavalry officers from the same Ral Partha/RAFM colonial line surfaced. Additionally I never painted the commanders of the Space 1889: Soldiers of the Queen. A total of 7 mounted figures. My project for the next week.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The War of the Ring: Fantasy Flight Publishing

In 2004, Fantasy Flight Publishing published the English version of War of the Ring, an epic board game experience based upon the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The game was originally designed and printed in Italy. It includes a beautiful hard backed map and comes with numerous thick playing tiles. Generally speaking, the game mechanics are driven by the play of cards.

In addition, the heroes and Armies of Middle Earth are represented by plastic miniatures. On the whole they are rather drab. The forces of darkness are represented by red figures and the free peoples of the west by blue figures. Leaders and personalities are a dull gray. We can go back to AH Blitzkrieg to have the units of Great Blue vs those of Big Red.

At Cangames I saw the game played where the forces of the various factions of middle earth have their bases painted a different colour to help ease the marshaling of forces.

In my opinion, the most disappointing figures are the Nazgûl, ring-wraiths mounted upon their flying beasts. The figures are both hopelessly out of scale to the other figures in the game, because of the size of the mounts, and are incredibly dull to look at. The final flaw with these figures is that they are top heavy and easily topple over.

Over my break I took the time to paint the Nazgûl and add a metal weight to the bottom of the figure to add stability. This is what they now look like.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Legions of Mars

In addition to the 20 British Lancers that have stirred my interest in the colonial era, there is also an opportunity to explore Worlds Away and struggle against new Adversaries, while in the service of Her Majesty,  the Queen-Empress on distant Earth.

Earlier this year I received three boxes of the above troops. There are no limits to where the Soldiers of the Queen, under my command may serve. I am not sure when these figures will reach my painting table. My studies take up most of my free time. Perhaps painting them will be my Christmas project.

Soldiers of the Queen, North West Frontier

In my previous post I wrote, that I purchased a NW Frontier force that came up for sale a number of years ago. The main advantage was it was already painted and I would not have to lift a brush. That wasn't quite true. This Field Force came with a dozen pieces of artillery, lacking crew, as well as numerous pack animals. These are mostly mules laden with pieces of dismantled artillery. They still have to be painted. The artillery crews, were blogged about last year.

Mounted Native Troopers (15 Figures)

In addition to the unit of 14 mounted troops, there were three units of native infantry. One unit wearing red tunics, with painted turbans (20 figures) and two units dressed in khaki drab. One unit consisted of 24 figures and the 2nd of 20 men. Twenty is  the traditional unit size for TSATF (the Sword and the Flame) rule set, as well as the unit size that was chosen for the Soldier's Companion  (Space 1889 Miniature Rules).

NW Frontier (India) Native Sepoys Unit Unknown

Khaki Drab,  Unit of 24 in March Column (4 Wide)
Native Sepoy Troops

Khaki Drab, Unit of 20 in Line (3 Deep)
Native Sepoy Troops

Since I had the colonial army on the table, it was time to finish the bases of all the infantry units. That way I can "claim" the project is complete. Origanally, the infantry figures were  mounted on government issued metal copper disks. Even the native calvary figures were glued to two. Their outline can be clearly seen through the flocking, on the GF9 magnetic bases.

I found the copper base to be slightly smaller than I liked. I also wanted something that would attach itself to the flexible magnetic sheeting I lined the floor of the tool box with. The infantry was then glued to 1 inch, steel washers. Canadian Tire sells them by the hundred at a very reasonable price.

Soldiers of the Queen

I have gone through a number of phases with my on again, off again love affair with the mid to late Victorian colonial era. I received my first two figures as a gift. A fellow gamer, Joseph Lappin, had gone on a summer pilgrimage to the old country, and when he returned he presented to his friends in the local gaming club two figures. One was a hills-man and the other, a member of Her Majesty's Forces. One of the two figures I received still survive in my collection, sans bayonet.

Colonial Highlander (painted I think by John Saranic)

In the first incarnation in the early 1980s I built a small force of British and Zulus with 15mm Mike's Models. I based 4 figures per stand, and I don't even know what rules I had in mind. Nor do I know what became of the figures. About the same time I picked up two packages of either Ral Partha or RAFM colonial Egyptian Infantry for sale at a local Halifax gaming store.

Egyptian/Sudanese Colonial Infantry

I decided that I wanted to increase the scale of figures I was using. About the same time ESSI came out with both British Colonial Infantry and Zulus. I bought three boxes of each and spent a summer painting. They were the last soft plastics I painted, but they allowed me to run a good number of the Sword and the Flame Colonial Skirmish games.

The ESSI figures were retired and sold on eBay. Part of the proceeds were able to cover the cost of two boxes of the Space: 1889 Soldiers of the Queen. These troops were sculpted by Bob Murch, and produced by RAFM for GDWs Space 1889 RPG.

Soldiers of the Queen First Company Forming Firing Lines.

I know I am going to take some heat on these figures. The colour is wrong, the facings should be on the collar and not the shoulder straps, etc, etc, etc...I admit that I am not a historical purist. Like the song goes, " Wargamers just want to have fun." I look at my figures as toy soldiers to be played with.  In that, my armies succeed.

Soldiers of the Queen, 2nd Company
(notice different colour painted on the washer)

I have had these figures for a while and I cannot say that they are a new project. But recently my interest in the colonial period has been stirred. I won at auction, 20 British Colonial Lancers, which are my current painting project. I have been meaning for some time, to finish the bases of Her Majesty's Forces. In addition to the two boxes of Soldiers of the Queen, I purchased a NW Indian frontier force that was for sale about 5 years ago. At the time it was a very good investment (cost vs already painted) and it filled the spot that was open due to the sale of my plastic Zulus.

Daredevil Adventures: USRC

I have been a big fan of Bob Murch, and his pulp era figures for a long time. I recently won an action on eBay that provided me with an 4 open packs of his US Rocket Corps figures from Pulp Figures. I received one pack each of PYS 20 (US Rocket Corps Flying) and PYS 21 (US Rocket Corps Landed 1) and two packs of PYS 22 (US Rocket Corps Landed 2) at a price that was too good to be true.

1st Squad with Group Leader (looking up)

The figures will make a great addition to my Daredevil Adventures if I ever start to run it again. As well, it is an excellent unit for any WW2 skirmish game, and I'd suggest that they can easily replace a unit of paratroopers or commandos on the table. I divided my figures into two 7 man squads, lead by a 15th figure.

 2nd Squad looks like it is led by Doc Savage, Man of Bronze

IMO the figures clearly resemble a certain hero featured in a mid 1990s Disney adventure film. I lost the 6 inch action figure, of the Rocketeer, late one night in a poker game.

The five flying figures are painted but I still have to mount them as aerials. These figures bring back memories of the late 1940s Republic serial action adventures King of the Rocket Men, as shown on television in the early 1960s on a local Halifax kids show, called Firehouse Frolics.