Monday, December 21, 2020

Discoveries in the Lead Mountain


We had gotten to the part of the afternoon where the cigars and VAT 69 Whiskey had come out. 

The Brigadier and I were rummaging through the lead pile here in a remote department of the Duchy when - "Aha!" quoth he. "I remember these little fellows!"

He triumphantly waved aloft a small packet. We peeled off the browned and unadhesive tape, and carefully brushed aside the decayed remnants of some foam peanuts to reveal the undercoated figures.

Fortunately I was familiar with the Stadden back catalogue and I knew them for the Frenchmen they were. 

"Ha! These will paint up a treat, dear boy!" He pressed them into my hands. "Santoigne Regiment, American Revolution. There's a jolly good picture in young Mollo's Blandflord."

"What ho!" he cried. "Have those done by Christmas and I'll have a shiny sixpence for you my boy!". With a hearty slap to my shoulder he poured himself a port for the road and vaulted into his MG. As the gravel spurted from under his tires, I reflected that I had not - yet - completed the first Company of the Erbprinz Regiment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Infamous BVC

The Bush Veldt Carbineers were a Light Horse in South Africa notorious for the conviction and execution by firing squad of two of it's officers and the imprisonment of a third for the murder of numerous Boer prisoners of war. They were just one of many small units of what were basically irregular light infantry raised to prosecute the guerilla war against the diminishing Boer commandoes as the Boer War ran down in late 1901-2.

Their job was to out-Boer the Boers. They are a troop type that is absolutely necessary if one is to war game the later phase of the Boer War. I'll probably make up the troopers from Willie Lancers with heads swapped from figures with slouched hats. 

I am also considering getting together a unit of New South Wales Lancers which could probably be done in much the same way with or without lances.
This figure is a lightly converted US Cavalry officer from the Willie "Wild West" range. Sadly the horse looks a little like an over-sized dog!

Monday, November 02, 2020

Willie in the West


Taken in the greyish light of the early morning and Apache rides hell-for leather whither I know not.
Basic Willie figure with a shield made from a drawing pin and some Greenstuff.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Old Things Picked Up Again

 Or - the project that would not die.

I've recommenced on an old Landsknechts project this week. The paperboys are having a rest for the next week or so.

I was chatting to a chum about his growing Landsknecht forces when I recalled my own; one thing led to another and we have committed to a battle next year of a particularly school-boy sort where "You bring every thing you've got and I'll bring everything I've got.". And naturally this will be kicking off an arms race, and some good-natured sledging.

So and without any further ado, some pictures of where I am at right now.

First up, the weeks' painting; four preening pike-men.
An enormous movement tray for the pike block that will be eight ranks of eight figures.

And partially populated with the figures I managed to finish basing yesterday.

Yes, I am going large on this project. I am planning 12 and 24 figure cavalry units and at least two units of pike along with sundry artillery, arquebusiers an other riff-raff.

Don't tell my chum this but at least one of the cavalry units will be based plowing through a broken bunch of landsknechts painted to resemble those from one of his own units, so if anyone can tell me what flags he is using...

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Growing Might of Rome

 Appalled by the spectacle of the vile Gauls who have the impertinence to thumb their lime-stained noses at Rome, More troops have been sent to the border areas under Legate Stocus M. Derivitatus.

Not my best photography, I'll admit, but enough to show that the scissors have been flying and the glue splashing liberally about here.

Next time, the Romans' fears are realised. More Gauls.

UPDATE: Right here!

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

The Last Temptation of Stollen


Now the Gauls will need Romans for opposition. So here is yesterday's work, about an hour and a half in between this and that. 

Legate Stocus Maximus urges a cohort of the IXth on to do his dirty work... somewhere in Gaul.

Monday, October 05, 2020

What a difference two days makes...

 I got busy with the scissors and glue over the weekend and knocked out some more stands of Gallic infantry. This is what 12 stands looks like all in a row:

And with the stands doubled per the rules in the "Roman Invasion" Paperboys book. Warbands are meant to be 6-10 stands strong, so I'll be splitting this and adding a few more to get a couple of nice, hefty warbands to terrorise the Romans with.

I love the density of these formations. As everyone seems to be saying, they look great in large numbers.

And who is this? Why, it's Julius Caesar, of course, doubtless ready to pen his version of "The Gallic Wars".

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Paperboy Gallic Infantry


While the kids watched a movie last night, I was gluing and cutting out some of the excellent Paperboy figures that I bought from Peter Dennis' site for a pound a sheet. What a marvellous thing these really are. 

Fiddly to cut out, once you get into the swing of things, they go fairly rapidly. I processed a bit more than a single sheet last night.  

I have the Romans in Britain book from Helion as well and I am in the process (I think) of scratching a long-held itch.

6-10 stands makes a warband for the Gauls...

Monday, September 21, 2020

Willies in the Wild West


A handful of figured and a lone tipi; whatever could this be? Surely not another project?
Left to right foreground are a Subaltern of the Cavalry, a Circuit Judge and his Wife. Left to right background are an Apache and a Sioux afoot whilst mounted is Crazy Horse on the day of the Greasy Grass.

Behind them is a tipi a la Weekley, being a paper cone overlaid with some heavily whittled kebab skewers them selves overlaid with a layer of kitchen paper that was later brushed with very runny plaster filler. When dry it was fairly tough and I was able to paint it with a mix of watercolour and acrylic with a light overspray of buff and white from various spray cans to tone the intensity of the colour down.

Friday, August 28, 2020

The War Gaming Bucket List

 Come on, we all have one.

What war gaming period have you always looked at with half an eye and thought to yourself: one day..! 

Always the war gaming butterfly, I have several.

The American Revolution. Caveat - it must be with Stadden 30mm figures. I have always been drawn to the American Revolution because of the Stadden range. I weakened about a year back after spotting some of them here and bought all the named characters (Washinton, Howe and all the others) and some of the British Light Dragoons. I could stop there perhaps, but would keep on looking at the British Grenadiers, and if I have those then I would need some Continentals who would be gorgeous in blue and buff.

Next would have to be what I really only loosely would term "The Great War in Africa". Loosely as it covers the Lettow-Vorbeck adventure, but because there are so many lovely add-ons that you can throw in. Armed sailors in the Rufiji Delta. Germans defending Tsingtao. Australian naval types mopping up German colonial possessions in the Pacific. TE Lawrence doing his thing against the Hijaz railway. I could go on. In effect this is all late stage colonial war gaming with a touch of VSF thrown in in the shape of gunboats, armored cars and biplanes. There is a Heart of Darkness element if you consider the British Naval Expedition to the great African Lakes. All are epic stories in their ow right and together are almost too much to take in. Indeed, I am almost paralysed with indecision.

The Great War more generally. I've always been interested in the early war battle of movement - always so much more interesting than the dreary slog of most of the war. Likewise the later battles of the war when allied armor was able to be used after the last great German offensives of 1918. 

And then there is always the war in the air... Something where the players have a roster of pilots available with each his own abilities and a natty 1/72 scale aircraft. Each side gets a squadron of  fighters and some specials per mission.

Finally there is the clash of coastal forces as so ably done by Warlord with their fine "Cruel Seas" range. Splendid models, a well supported range and fun looking rules. All I have to do is commit.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Edward Suren


The 31st Foot at Sobroan
The 31st Foot at Sobroan

Regular readers of this blog will have long since twigged that I like Edward Suren's "Willie" range of miniatures. Well-sculpted, well-proportioned with a hint of caricature and tons of panache, these are the cool younger brothers of Stadden's elegant miniatures.

No-one could do refined elegance like Stadden, and no-body could pull off dash like Suren.

It strikes me that his miniatures were designed with the diorama-maker rather than the war-gamer in mind. I say this with the large dioramas that Suren made up for the Forbes Collection of Toy soldiers. Often the ranges are quite limited and the figures have separate weapons that can be a trick to attach as there are often no obvious attachment points. That is left to you. The limitations of the range are there because the range was often created with a single action in mind - I think of the mid-18th century range in this context with Carillion/Ticonderiga or Fontenoy being obvious contenders. If you needed a specialty figure such as Sgt McCabe of the 31st Foot at Sobroan, then you took the figure that suited the conversion, bent and twisted it a little, glued or more likely soldered on a musket an a flag-pole and off you went.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Up the Chamla with Willie


A WIP of the latest project. 

After spending the last couple of weeks on the HLI, I thought that it was time to pull out the screw gun team that has been patiently waiting on it's turn to be made ready for active duty. The castings were in fair condition, but did take a couple of hours to clean up - one of the joys of using figures that were designed more than 45 years ago. A small problem is that the gun's carriage was short shot and not fully formed in the mould, so I'll be scrounging some plastic card to make good.  

What you see here is the weekends' work. I have another three mules to finish along with a pair of gunners before I can tuck this one safely away. 

The basing is sand on PVA painted with one of the GW "crackle" paints. That's then dry-brushed with a bone shade and topped with three or four different types of grass tuft.

The Order of Battle is now:

The Infantry
The Buffs
The Highland Light infantry
The Seaforths
The Guides Infantry

The Cavalry
The 21st Lancers

The Navy
The Naval Brigade Gatling Guns

I am staking a claim to a Mountain and a Field Battery, some Guides Cavalry, perhaps some Lancers from Bengal and another couple of infantry units.

Then it's Pathans in a big way. Then perhaps a few Mahdists. An Ross, just to tease you a little, some Boers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Buffs (again)

With the Gatling battery and it's merry crew all painted, it was time for the infantry to get some love so I returned to the Buffs who just needed seven more figures to finish them off.

So, with no further ado, here they are sitting on the potting table in the last of the winter sun for the day.

I am not sure if I had gotten up a picture of one of the command staff - he may be Major Pettigrew, he may not, but here he is with his eager ADC.
I am not completely sure, but i think that the next part of the project may be to get through the Highland Light Infantry.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

More Sailors

Forgive the picture quality. Was done in the shed under artificial light very early in the morning!

Still, that's all the Gatlings done and 8 of the 12 Gunners.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Jolly Jack Tars

As you are doubtless aware, the Willie Ranges include a few artillery pieces.

Among them are a Gatling gun with an army crew.

I wanted a navy crew and there are a couple of sailors in the "Farewell Dolly Gray" range - an Officer and a marching rating. I hoped the rating might be a fairly versatile figure I could animate into a few different attitudes with the odd arm bend and turn of the head. Well, the figures arrived in the post this week. I was pretty happy with the rating - he marches, open handed. His rifle could equally be at the trail or in the slope arms pose. So, plenty of potential there. His sennett hat is not really attached to anything other than the crown of his head, so it's quite easy to snip away the brim and drop a blob of greenstuff on top to make a sailor hat. That same lack of attachment makes it easy to gently twist his head gently left or right.

Among the gunners that come with the Gatlings is a nice officer with field glasses who is getting a head transplant so that he may wear a peaked cap instead of a sun helmet.
The army crew will not be wasted. The "gunners" are infantry castings that are intended to be judiciously posed about a gun - yes there is one specialised figure in terms of a seated gunner, but I have plans for him and a 4Ground Wagon. His mates will either join the infantry or be used to crew some Connoisseur Field Guns.

I am organising this force for TSatF and will need three guns and a dozen gunners per battery. Gun 1 gets an Officer and three ratings, Gun 2 a Petty Officer and three ratings and Gun 3 gets four ratings.

One down, two to go.

PS - of course I am now buzzing with possibility. How about a crew for a Boer War 4.7"? I have the guns already... Or a couple of gunners for a light piece mounted hastily in a steamer? Officers to fit the wheelhouse of the HMS Implausible?  A handful of deck-hands. A small Naval Brigade?

Sunday, June 21, 2020


Death or Glory for the 21st Lancers.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Basing up the NWF

Take that you wily Pathan... wait a minute...
Oh, it's complicated and the result of much indecision on my part, but seeing as how I have co-opted my Willie 21st Lancers (at Omdurman) for my NWF project it was only necessary that there be a few butchered Sudanese people strewn about the place because of course they are still the 21st Lancers (at Omdurman).

The idea here is that each cavalry base will be a vignette and the whole twelve figure unit will be a species of moving diorama of this unit's most melodramatic moment.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

On the workbench - Medievals

Over the past few weeks I have been engaged on a campaign  to clean up my painting table. Just as a break from painting Britains.

Resting, not forgotten

It had gotten pretty bad, bad to the point where all the action was taking place in the only clear part of the desk, a strip abut 5 cm deep and 30 cm wide. Now, this was getting a little unsustainable, so off I went. There have been all sorts going out. A small herd of horses, a couple of knights, one a Crusader:
One, a Crusader
The other a later type in Maximilian armour.
The other

 A Polish winged lancer,
Hammer of the Turks

 French Fusiliers for Napoleon's romp through the Ottoman Empire and a few more figures for the North Western Frontier.

I glow with virtue.

This week though it's been a handful of medieval archers.
I liked how these turned out so much that I started making some hoardings for them:

The palings are sliced up strips of coffee stirrer glued to strips of skewer, although I think I may have had a less fiddly time with more trips of coffee stirrer. The eagle eyed among you may note that they are in the same livery colours as the archers. The idea here is to ultimately get together a medieval siege setup.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

... and another

24th Foot, of course, or the South Wales Borderers for this later fellow,

Yes, I still need to put his arm on, but the varnish is sticky and I couldn't resist.

One of my favorite of the Wm. Britains poses and really a breeze to paint them as well. More in the coming days.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

A Toy Soldier's Progress


How are you all? What's happening out there?

How are you filling in those long days and evenings in lockdown when you are in quarantine, or cant get out and a bout as you might like in the evening or over the weekends?

I have decided to make this my Time of Unfinished Projects.

Each week or fortnight (depending on how much of the particular project is in stock) I will be picking up a different unfinished project and moving it along a little. Last week it was Willie Highlanders (pics to follow),  this week it's recast "Wm Britains",

There's a bit of WIP progression picture here:

They do come up well. I had forgotten how elegant they are in their line and how they take as much detail as you are prepared to put on them. The black lining may not be to everyone's' taste, but I am having a go at emulating the Henry Harris painting style.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


For my birthday this year, I bought some of the Peter Dennis "Paperboys" books, having seen them in action on Aly Morrison's blog.

I thought they looked quite charming, and when I saw one of them was a "Little Wars" reprint, I was gone for all money.

So I started assembling a base of WSS Bavarian Grenadiers.

Not too onerous to cut out. I'd probably benefit from making a few stands at a time as a batch. Good fun so far. I am looking at a scenario for the Schellenburg, 1704 as my build target. Let's see how we go.

The Schellenburg was an early love of mine since I first came across it in Mil Mod years and years ago and I'm chuffed to be building a neat little Bavarian Army in that cause.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Cavalry

My North West Frontier project has been coming along as I move into Cavalry country.
Firstly we have a couple of Sowars of the Corps of Guides. Seminal troops for any NWF project.
And secondly, some British Lancers. Looking closely at them , it's very apparent that these are meant to be the 21st Lancers at Omdurman. It's my intention to mount these figures on comparatively large bases - say 80 x 40mm to accommodate the rather large horses. I am intrigued by the possibility into making some of these into mini vignettes which might make up into something quite impressive when the whole regiment is eventually assembled. I have just about enough castings to produce a full Squadron (in TSatF terms) of 25 figures - two troops of 12 figures plus a Captain commanding...

Wargaming megalomania? Why, yes.

Now, just to wrap up for the day, a miscellany of just varnished odds and ends:
From left to right, a Buff, an Officer of the Artillery, a Sowar of the Corps of Guides, an Officer of the Corps of Guides, another Buff and a Driver. The last is a Willie seated gunner from the Gatling Gun set whi has opted for a quieter life and is waiting on a 4Ground cart.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The HMS Hood

I am currently (when not cranking out miniature Pathans and others) working away with the fellows from the Airfix Tribute forum on a group build.

The topic is Airfix WW2 Royal Navy Warships and I am building HMS Hood. I am using the base kit from Airfix as well as a kind of sticky-backed timber deck overlay and a sheet of impossibly small and fine brass etch to detail this elderly classic.

This has been a very enjoyable effort and one that I intend to repeat.

Herewith a few pix:

The whole thing dry-fitted together

The screens and railings on the Admiral's Bridge

The Flying-off platform on 'B' Turret
 The Hood in 1931. The Hood could carry a Fairey III seaplane on a steam catapult aft and a Fairey Flycatcher on a platform over the 'B' Turret. Ideally, you'd crank the old girl up to 34 knots, turn into the wind and..... launch!
A bit of internal bracing
 It's possible I may have bought a few Destroyers and a Cruiser as well.

Friday, February 07, 2020


A rare view from inside the Shedio of some Pathans. I had these a while ago from John P and painted them up last year on a whim. Mostly Stadden with a couple of Willies on the extreme right of the picture. One of those is a re-purposed Saxon.

There are another ten that are at about the 80% mark.

Things are starting to some together, I feel.

Tomorrow I ought to have a few Cavalrymen to put up.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020


Just starting to scrape the bottom of my NWF figure barrel.
From left to right, wounded, mounting up and Fighting Mac. The mounting up figure no longer seems to be in the Willie catalogue; I had this figure from a mixed lot a few years ago. His horse is being painted. Fighting Mac is I think, meant to be Hector MacDonald.

Next, some wily Pathans.