Sunday, October 21, 2012

Response to "A Night at the Theatre"

Peter Douglas posted on his blog The Single Handed Admiral, his recent viewing of "Billy Bishop Goes to War".  

His posting reminded me that only last month I visited the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and took photographs of the medals awarded to Air Marshal William Bishop VC, CB, DSO,& Bar,MC, DFC, ED as well as his souvenirs of  April 8, 1917, the day he became an Ace and won his Military Cross.

His Awards Include: Victoria Cross, Companion of the Order of the Bath, Distinguished Service Order & Bar, Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Canadian Efficiency Decoration, Mentioned in Despatches, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre.

On 8 April, Bishop claimed his fifth victory, but returned with his windscreen perforated by a bullet which had narrowly missed killing him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sōhei 15mm Japanese Warriors Monks

These figures have been sitting around in a box for years and it was time to bring them out and go to work on them.

Primed 15mm assorted Japanese Figures

 As I posted I had three bags of warrior monks. After they were painted and based I have three distinct units,

2 Elements of Blades, 2HCW and 2 Elements of Hordes

6 Elements of Blades, Japanese Warrior Monks with Naginata
6 Elements of Japanese Long Bow

Rebasing Micro-Armour Infantry and Heavy Weapon Groups

For years I lead a very active wargaming life playing microarmour. I remember purchasing my first vehicles from Heroics and Ros in the late 1970s for what worked out to about $0.25 CDN per vehicle.

Over time, I played many rule sets but I kept returning to the set that offered the perfect combination of complexity and playability, both for  World War 2 and the Modern Period. I refer to the WRG  Armour and Infantry 1925-1950 (June 1973) and Wargame Rules for Armoured Warfare 1950-1985 (June 1979). This 2nd rule set replaced the earlier version of the rules which covered to 1975.

My introduction to the revised Modern rules was at a gaming convention held at St Mary's University in Halifax against a team from the Armoured Warfare School based at CFB Gagetown. They taught us civilians a lot that day.

WARGAMES RESEARCH GROUP - Rules Ancient and Modern and other periods in between, a website by Sue Laflin-Barker, provide pdf downloads to these and other out of print WRG rule sets.

My only complaint about these rules was the level they presented the infantry and heavy weapons units. I imagine they are what would be labeled as fire teams. My own interests tend towards a squad level unit, using markers for multiple hits.  In recent years I have tended towards Blitzkrieg Commander for WW2 and Cold War Commander for the modern period. For these rules I looked at rebasing the majority of my 600 infantry as squads on a 40mm x 20mm base and I am very happy with the results. 

WW2 Soviet Hvy MGs

WW2 Soviet AA Gunss

WW2 Soviet Mortars

WW2 Soviet Combat Engineers

WW2 Soviet Anti-Tank Rifle Teams

Monday, August 27, 2012

DBA Army IV/35 Mongol Conquest 1206AD - 1266AD

1x 3Cv (Gen), 2x 3Cv, 8x 2LH, 1 x 2LH or Art (need to borrow 1X 2LH Element)

As I explained in the chart a couple of postings ago, I purchased a painted Ancient Chinese DBA Army at the Cangames Booth 7 years ago. It included a large number of unpainted figures, with more on sale at the booth the following year. The story that follows should be divided into three acts. Where better to start than Act III. The Chinese are totally painted, mounted, but not fully identified, and are divided into two groups each of about 24 Elements.

Based upon the Elements that were left over, I felt that I could throw together a Mongol Army. The 14 elements available were:

3x 3Cv Elements

1x 3Kn/Cv (Gen), 1x 3Kn/Cv


1 Artillery Element

4 x 2LH Elements

4 more 2LH Elements

As you can see from the photos, there are two distinct painting styles on display with these figures.  Some figures were partly or fully painted when they were purchased. Others were untouched. Some elements combine both styles of painting.

By borrowing between one to three elements from other armies I find that I have a very flexible force that can be used to field a number of possible armies. How can you be more economical than fielding nine armies for the price of one.

II/80 Hunnic 356AD - 570AD
 A) 1x 3Cv or 2LH (Gen), 7x 2LH, 1x 3 Kn, 2x 4Wb, 1 x 2Ps (need to borrow 3 Elements)
C) 1x 3Cv (Gen), 8x 2LH, 1x El, 2x 3Bw (need to borrow 3 Elements)
D) 1x 3Cv or 2LH (Gen), 11x 2LH (need to borrow 3 Elements)

III/11 Central Asian Turkish 550AD- 1330AD
D) 1x 3Cv (Gen), 2x 3Cv, 6x 2LH, 1x 2Ps or 2LH, 2x 7Hd or 2LH (need to borrow 3 Elements)

III/14 Early Bulgar 559AD - 1018AD
A) 1x 3Cv (Gen), 1x 3Cv or 2LH, 10x 2LH (need to borrow 3 Elements)

III/30 Magyar 650AD- 997AD
A) 1x 3Cv (Gen), 1x 3Cv, 10x 2LH (need to borrow 2 Elements)

III/44 Tribal Mongolian 840AD- 1218AD
A) 1x 3Cv (Gen), 1x 3Cv or 2LH, 10x 2LH (need to borrow 3 Elements)

IV/46 Ilkhanid 1251AD-1355AD
1x 3Cv (Gen), 1x 3Cv, 9x 2LH, 1 x 3Ax or Art or 2LH or 3 Kn (need to borrow 1 or 2 Elements)

IV/47 Golden Horde or Sucessors 1251AD-1556AD
1x 3Cv (Gen), 3x 3Cv, 6x 2LH, 1x 3Bw, 1 x 4 Bw or 4Cb or 3 Wb or 2LH (need to borrow 1 or 2 Elements)

IV/52 Later Nomadic Mongol 1266AD - 1508AD
1x 3Cv (Gen), 4x 3Cv or 2LH, 6x 2LH, 1 x 7Hd or 2LH (need to borrow 1 or 2 Elements)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh, Bright and Shiny Toys!!!

Or The Captain's 15mm Lead Attention Deficit Disorder Update 1

I had time this afternoon to take photos of some of the work that I completed and included in my August 17th update. This is a real mesh-mash of various projects that have caught the Captain's Eye, and are now complete.

A) Late Crusades: Five Elements of Knights of Christ (Old Glory Miniatures)

Five Elements of Knights of Christ
 B) Two Hilltop Camps: This is a set of hilltop camps that I purchased for DBA 1.0 sometime in the early 1990's. One is an earth fort and the other a stone fort. Both have enough space to hold a 60mm x 20mm Element. As you can see they also work great for 15mm figures as well. Each Camp is mounted on a a 40mm x 80mm base.

Hilltop Earthworks
Hilltop Stonework Fort with 15mm 4Bw Element for Scale

C) Sassanid Persian (DBA Book II/69) 220AD-651AD Elephants: When I received the three elephants that I won on eBay, I discovered they were crewless. Buyer beware. I purchased a crew pack from Crossed Swords at Cangames in 2009. Unfortunately the crew are wearing a headdress that is suitable for Achaemenid Persian Empire. Someone is  makeing a 500 year old fashion statement.

Sassanid Persian (DBA Book II/69) 220AD-651AD Elephants

D) War Wagon: This was a gift that I received at Christmas. My sole contribution was to mount it on a base.

Hussite War Wargon

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SELEUCID 166-83BC DBA 2.2 Army Pack Book II/19d by Essex Miniatures

I finally completed my latest DBA army.  I think this is the first time I painted an army in the same year in which  it was purchased. Essex Miniatures have a complete listing of all the DBA version 2.2 armies for sale. I find their line of  miniatures to be crisp and clean. My one complaint would be in the style all the cavalry figures in this army are sculpted. They all seem to hold their spear in the same position. I really have no idea how prevalent it is with their other army sets but it is clearly evident in this army, as the photos will show.

The army itself consists of the following elements

1x 4Kn (Gen)

 1x 4Kn

1x 2LH or 3CV
1x 4Bd
4 x 4Pk
 and the following elements  or choices to be made.

 1x 4Ax or El
1x 2Ps or 4 Ax
2x 2Ps

2 Elements of 4Ax
3 Elements of 2Ps
 Most of these elements are also included in the other 3 eras of the Seleucid empire. In order to field armies 19a to 19c, I need to purchase another Elephant, a Scythed Chariot, one element of Auxiliaries and a Warband (4Wb) Element. Additionally I should have two 3Kn Elements and three 3Ax  Elements to properly field all of the possible configurations available to a Seleucid commander.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

15mm US Civil War Fire and Fury

A long, long time ago, three of us decided that we wanted to get involved with the ACW period, and we ordered three brigade packs from Stone Mountain Miniatures. Before I knew what was happening bot Charles and Harris had started to paint their "Northern Armies". I was left to defend State's Rights. Other local gamers were playing  Fire & Fury,  the American Civil War in Miniature we based our troops for that system.

Rebel Infantry on the Advance
My infantry, cavalry and artillery we painted before I left Halifax, as was my camp, which is the subject of a previous posting. What my unit lacked was limbers for the artillery. I've had two packs lying around for years and felt it was time to do one of them up. I believe they were by Old Glory 15mm and there were 6 limbers per pack. I painted all six up, even though my army only has four guns.

Example of 15mm Confederate Limber
Limbers in Mass
I dug out the rules to take a look at unit scales, and stand sizes for 15mm figures. The rule book's binding was old and brittle and it fell apart in my hand. I had a supply of Oxford binders and sheet protectors, and with the help of a hole punch the rule book was secured. However my artillery stands did not look right.I had used the wrong size base when they were mounted. I can't believe no one told me, or I didn't notice before.

CSA Battery

2nd CSA Battery

Gun Battery with Limbers

15mm HOTT Forces of Evil

Slowly, over the past few months I have been working to catch up on a number of small projects. Some figures have been sitting in my collection of unprocessed lead (now pewter or some such alloy) for  almost 20 years. These three figures are surely included in that category. I have been in Montreal for almost 15 years and I am certain I bought these figures long before I left Halifax. They are mounted as Flyers on 40mm base width elements for HOTT.

3 Elements of Flyers
I think it was about 4 years ago June, that Joseph was in town for a weekend war gaming visit. We went to the Valet d'Coeur and each picked up a couple of packs of trolls in the $1 bin. Mounted on individual 40mm wide elements, they make excellent Behemoths for any Force of Evil that cares to ally with my undead army.

2 Elements of Behemoths

The Anatomy of a Small War Part 7

Once again I return to the Soviet-Japanese struggle for Changkufeng-Khasan, 1938 on the Mongolian frontier thanks to Five Arrows Figures and Fine Art, who were in attendance at Cangames this year. This year at Cangames I parted with a few games that I had not touched in years and as a result, covered all my convention costs including 4 Japanese WW2 resin trucks that I purchased.

Among the items that Five Arrows sells are vehicles from Frontline Wargaming.  I purchased two of each of the following vehicles to beef up the mobility of my Japanese Imperial Army.

J1   Isuzu TX40 GS Truck (4-Wheeled 2 Tons Cargo capacity)
In August 1938 The first and second models of TX40 were completed at Kawasaki Plant.

Isuzu TX40 GS Truck
J2   Isuzu Type 94A/B Personnel Truck (6-wheeled)

Isuzu Type 94A/B Personnel Truck
As one of the oldest companies in the Japanese automotive industry, Isuzu traces its beginnings to 1916, the year Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. and Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial Co. initiated plans for automobile production. In 1922, Japan's first domestically produced truck, a Wolseley model A-9, was completed. In 1934, after meeting Ministry of Trade and Industry standards, vehicles were renamed 'Isuzu' after the Isuzu River in the Ise Shrine area. This is the origin of the company name, which was changed to today's 'Isuzu Motors Limited' in 1949.

I found it really hard to find any information about either of these vehicles. IMO the history of the company seems to be very revisionist, commencing in 1949, with almost no motion of the war years.

Daredevil Adventures: USRC Part 2

 These 5 figures have been sitting in the drawer of my painting desk for almost a year. I needed to dig out my drill in order to add a hold in the chest of each figure for the flight stand. I used GF9 magnetic bases and flat headed nails to make the stands. Using a pair of pliers I clipped off the pointed end of the nails after they were hammered through the GF9 bases. I like the look of the figures which conjure up both the Rocketeer * or more importantly,  my childhood memories of the various Rocket Man** serials which were shown on Firehouse Frolics  in Halifax in the early to mid 1960s.

* According to Wikipedia the Rocketeer is a 1991 American period superhero adventure film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and based on the character of the same name created by comic book writer/artist Dave Stevens.

** Again according to Wikipedia the King of the Rocket Men is a 1949 Republic movie serial, in twelve chapters, notable for introducing the "Rocketman Character" who reappeared under a variety of names in later serials Radar Men from the Moon, Zombies of the Stratosphere and the semi-serial Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe.

A "Rocket Man" character appeared in four Republic Pictures movie serials from 1949 through 1953. The fourth serial, originally conceived of as a Republic TV series, was first released (for contractual reasons) as a theatrical serial. Two years later, it was finally syndicated on TV as twelve 25-minute episodes.

Charge! or How to Play Wargames

I was introduced to miniatures at some point during my first year of High School in Dartmouth, NS. Halifax-Dartmouth had a very active wargaming community and I think that it was for two major reasons. It is both a university and a military centre. I started playing with Avalon Hill and SPI boardgames in September 1972 and within the year was playing minatures regularly at the Sunday meetings of the Halifax-Dartmouth Wargaming League, at the Dalhousie University SUB, sponsored by Dal Con Sim.

We would play with massive Airfix Napoleonic armies, that were owned and painted by the older members of our group. The rules we played with were Charge!, or How to Play Wargames by Brigadier Peter Young, D.S.O., M.C. and Lieutenant Colonel James.P. Lawford, M.C. It was a great introduction to the hobby. In the 40 years since, it has been a regret that I never really caught the Napoleonic bug. I always felt that I would never be able to do justice an army. The paint job required was just too daunting for me to attempt.

Two Battalions Form Double Square
About 8 years ago I purchased a Russian Napoleonic Army (unpainted) on eBay. The majority of the figures were by Fantassin Miniatures, and the rest by Old Glory 15mm. Next was the decision about which rule set to use. I played a number of games using Napoleon's Battles and I was also attracted to The Age of Eagles by Colonel Wilbur E. Gray, due to my familiarity with the Fire and Fury Civil War Rules

In the end I was seduced by the apparent simplicity of both the Napoleon Rule Set by Matthew Fletcher, and Black Powder by Meissers Priestly and Johnson. What caught my eye, with both of these rule sets was the use of the 40mm square infantry base. Both volumes are handsomely illustrated with photos of four 25/28mm figures mounted on the infantry stands. This is what I want, but with 15mm figures.

I like the effect of 3 lines deep on a base

The first figures I painted were a pack of Old Glory 15mm Russian Line Infantry in Greatcoat. A pack of 100 figures was enough to provide me with 10 stands of nine figures each. I still have to produce two command stand in order to field my first two battalions.

Stonehenge and other Terrain Features

I recently completed a number of Terrain Features and was at odds on how to best display them. In the end, it was a no-brainer and I decided to base the features on some installation CDs that were taking up shelf space in the office.

The first piece is a representation of Stonehenge,  a prehistorical circular setting of large standing stones. Being circular, it was very easy to make the leap to mount the pieces on a CD. The model used is called  Stonehenge: Build Your Own Ancient Wonder and is available from Indigo or Chapter Books in Canada. I used two sets that were given to me as gifts and still have numbers numbers pieces left over. The kit was called to my attention by a fellow gamer from Halifax who used  the same kits to build a large standing stone structure to be a centerpiece for a large battle HOTT games. . A stand with two 15mm  undead archers is used for scale throughout this posting.

The 2nd piece is a desert ruin by JR Miniatures. It is a heavy piece and from the JR Miniatures' website I would guess that it is made from Drystone. Drystone is described as a polymer modified cement for casting detail parts. 
According to the website Drystone is durable and chip resistant and has a PSI of 10,000 as compared to plaster which only has a PSI of 2,000.  When painting DO NOT wash and using a primer is not necessary.

I purchased this piece from a local gaming store sometime last year to go with a 15mm  DBA army.

The final pieces are some resin rocks that were included as a freebie in a Armorcast river set I purchased on eBay years ago. The river  was one of the first posting I wrote about on this blog, three years ago.

Again the 15mm undead show the scale of the pieces.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beware of Gifts Bearing Greeks Part 3: Border Wars

There is no doubt that the Elf Spearmen and Medieval Handgunners fit more into my War of the Roses collection of figures, than with the Robin Hood. Ross' remarkable Bag of Holding contained even more figures. I ended up with three Elements of Knights. When he and I were originally discussing my ideas for the Norman's for Robin Hood, Ross asked if I was intereted in Norman figures or later style Knights. My response was for Norman style figures.

However last August he appeared with 9 Knights. Six were mounted on bases and the rest were loose figures. I have to say the paint job was superior to what I could have done. Of the six knights mounted on elements, four were of name.

Now comes the danger from letting a Gift Bearing Greek into your home. The gifts sneak up upon you and you find yourself staring into a brand new period that you had no intention of gaming. In my case, it  appears that I am now destined to fight over the English-Scottish border during the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Knights with Names were

The Earl of Carrick , not clearly seen here. Third figure rear rank.
The following two paragraphs are from Wikipedia

The Earl of Carrick was the head of a comital lordship of Carrick in southwestern Scotland. The title emerged in 1186, when Donnchad, son of Gille Brigte, Lord of Galloway, became Mormaer or Earl of Carrick in compensation for exclusion from the whole Lordship of Galloway. The title has been recreated several times in the Peerage of Scotland.

Donnchadh's granddaughter Marjorie (Marthoc, Martha, Margaret), who later held the title in her own right, married Robert de Brus, who later became Lord of Annandale. Their son, also named Robert and known as "Robert the Bruce", would later rule Scotland as King Robert I, causing the earldom to merge into the Crown. Robert was also created a baron in the Peerage of England by writ of summons in 1295 as Baron Bruce of Anandale; the title became abeyant with the death of his son David II in 1371. Thereafter, successive Kings of Scots re-created the Earldom several times, but made it non-heritable, specifying that the earldom would revert to the Crown upon the death of the holder. Thus several creations ended with a reversion to the crown or with the holder becoming King.

Left to Right: Unnamed Knight; Earl of Buchan, Earl of Carrick
Sir Robert Menzies, Unnamed Knight, and Sir David de Berkeley

The Earl of Buchan, middle figure rear rank (First Photo).
The following paragrah is from wikipedia

The Mormaer or Earl of Buchan was originally the provincial ruler of the medieval province of Buchan. Buchan was the first Mormaerdom in the High Medieval Kingdom of the Scots to pass into the hands of a non-Scottish family in the male line. The earldom had three lines in its history, not counting passings from female heiresses to sons. Today it is held by the Erskine family as a peerage. The current holder is Malcolm Erskine, 17th Earl of Buchan (b. 1930).

Sir David Berkeley. I suspect that this is suppose to be the Sir David de Berkeley related to the Clan MacFarlane, who was killed at battle of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314.

Sir Robert Menzies :  As Normanisation progressed into Scotland under the descendants of Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret, a family apparently settled in Lothian and from there moved into the Highlands. The name occurs in charters of the 12th and 13th centuries and in 1 249 Sir Robert de Meyeris became Lord Chamberlain of Scotland to Alexander II. His son Alexander held Weem, Aberfeldy and Fortingall in Atholl. He supported Bruce at Bannockburn and was rewarded further territories, in Glendochart and Durisdeer in Nithsdale, thus by the King's death the Menzies possessions extended west from Aberfeldy almost as far as Loch Lomond.

Note: The above paragraph is taken from A Brief History of The Menzie Name by Ron Mennie.

BTW I am just guessing at the identities of those with names. All the following write-ups were lifted from the Web. I am not an expert on Scottish nobility so please help correct any errors I have made.