Monday, August 29, 2022

More adventures in VFM 28mm

When I get enthused by a project, I often want to produce more units for the project even when I've exhausted the available figures. Thus with my American Civil War Sharp Practice forces I've been casting around to see what I could use to create more toys to play with.

My Confederate force is intended to represent irregulars operating somewhere along the Mississippi River, It provides opponents for my Union's Mississippi Marine Brigade fellows. I have two Groups of line infantry and three Groups of cavalry. 

I want to have the option to deploy the cavalry dismounted so I've been gradually accumulating suitable figures. One Group of six came from a pack of Perry's metals (Confederate dismounted cavalry, civilian dress) I bought at Partizan. For the second Group I repainted some old Dixon's minis I got from Richard Phillips. I still "needed" a third Group though. These are they...

The marginal cost of these guys is negligible (at least in financial terms). Their existence depends on some key facts:

  • The Perry plastic Zouaves box gives lots of spare heads
  • The Perry plastic ACW infantry and cavalry boxes provide spare hats and weapons
  • The Warlord War of the Spanish Succession infantry box provides a multitude of spare torsos, and
  • The Warlord Gallic cavalry set provides a load of spare legs as it mates the standard infantry sprue with white metal horses with cast-on riders' legs.
I have all of those boxed sets left over from previous units.

In addition I had some Perry ACW wounded figures left over after creating wounded versions of my existing Leaders.

The figures are, left to right in the picture below:

First is a metal figure out of the "wounded" blister pack except that I replaced the right hand with one holding a pistol from the ACW cavalry box. I actually cut both recipient and donor arms at the top of the cuff to make sure there was sufficient plastic on the new hand that I could drill a hole to take a brass reinforcing rod.

The next guy is straight from the Perry wounded pack.

The remaining four are cobbled together from ACW, WSS, and ancient bits. I decided the WSS cavalry torso that has neither neck-cloth nor cuirass could pass for an ACW-era undershirt. These were grey by regulation but I thought it reasonable to change one of them to pink to give some variety. The torso has a cross-belt so I glued spare cartridge cases to the appropriate hip of each model.

Attaching hats to Zouave heads required a bit of careful carving away of the cast-on fezzes but nothing I couldn't happen. 

I squared off the pointed Gallic boots and decided the legs could represent trousers tucked into socks.

A bit of Greenstuff to fill I the gaps where parts didn't fit perfectly and I had another Confederate unit!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Value for Money 28mm

Of late I've been painting some of the figures I picked up cheaply at my local friendly local games shop (Wargames Emporium in Sheffield).

First up is a small selection of Bavarians. They come from a Victrix command sprue that was cheap because the horse was damaged. I thin they look fine.

Next up is a familiar chap who came from the assorted-bits-for-a-fiver bag I picked up six months ago. In the words of Charles Boyle, "Yippee-ki-ay other buckets"!

And finally, we have this WW1 German officer from the same bag as Mr McClane above. I don't have an obvious use for him. Maybe useful for a Pulp Alley game?

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Second-hand bookshop find

The other day I decided to check out Porter Books, a second hand bookshop in Sheffield. I'd been unable to find any such while we were on holiday and really fancied a leisurely browse.

When I found the four volumes of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War - a history of the ACW that makes use of the writings of the commanders involved, I thought I'd treat myself. 

I hoped we wouldn't be looking at something north of £100 for the full set. As it turned out, the cost was just £20. Really good value for what looks like being excellent research material to support scenario design!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Tank Riders

I've struggled in the past to find a visually attractive but practical way of indicating that a 1/300th scale armour unit is carrying tank riders.

Yesterday I had an idea and today I completed a couple of test pieces.

As my tanks are all on 20mm wide (and generally 30mm deep) bases, I decided to create a 30mm square base out of thinner-than-usual card. It's actually the type you get on the back of a note-pad. To this I added two strips of 5mm x 30mm artist's mounting board to create a "gutter" into which a standard tank base would fit.

I then glued on some SMG-armed Soviet infantry to the rear end of each strip and textured the strips with Tetrion, being careful to leave the gutter clear.

The result is a base that makes it clear that infantry are being carried without having to balance units on top of tank models. When the riders dismount I'll remove these and replace them with normal units.

I'm pleased with these as prototypes. Now I'll have to make some more and some British and German versions too!

Thursday, August 11, 2022


Some time ago Richard Phillips acquired, and shared with me, some second hand 28mm Picts. They've been sitting in a box for some months but I recently had the urge to (re-)paint them and get them based up for Lion Rampant. Because they were already painted (albeit not brilliantly), I was able to finish them off in a very few days either side of our recent family trip to County Durham.

Mostly I've added plaid-type patterns to the cloth and I've given a few of them woad body-paint. I've also rebased them using the 1-2-3 basing style.

First up are a couple of units of warriors. One of the figures I got from Richard turned out to be unsuitable for use as a Pict (he's actually a Norman slinger) so I've replaced him with a leader on a horse. 

The mounted leader is based on a character in a historical novel I read recently. He's wearing mail and a captured Roman cavalryman's face-mask.

I've used brown grass tufts on all of the bases as I wanted to give the impression of these guys emerging from boggy ground.

Finished some time previously was this unit of skirmishers.

Again I've used a mounted figure in this ostensibly infantry unit. I suspect the Picts didn't use a set of Wargames Research Group army lists when organising their warbands!

I mentioned a Norman slinger that was among the figures. I've repainted this one completely and will probably use him in Glorantha skirmish games.