Friday, April 21, 2017

More 15mm WW1 French

The 15mm First World War project continues, and I've added a few more figures to the French platoon. After the disastrous encounters of 1914 and 1915, French infantry platoons (like those of their allies and enemies) saw the development of many specialist roles to allow the unit to employ a variety of new weapons. Fortunately the excellent Peter Pig WW1 lines give you a lot of great options in modeling these.

Every platoon will need a lieutenant and a couple of sergeants. Without their leadership even the best-trained men will falter.

Bombers are men with a talent for grenades, a very useful skill set on the modern battlefield. Their job is to get in close while their comrades suppress the enemy, deliver a deadly volley of grenades onto the entrenched enemy, and move in to the wreckage.

To engage targets at longer range while the bombers get in to position, picked members of the platoon employ rifle grenades. The technology has come a long way since the beginning of the war, and these guys are significantly less likely to blow themselves up than they might have been a year or two ago. Honest.

Of course we're going to need plenty more ordinary riflemen too:

To lay down some really heavy fire, you could do worse than a Hotchkiss heavy machine gun:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

15mm First World War French - Peter Pig

I recently came down with a very strong impulse to start a 1st World War project, and after deciding on 15mm scale I fell into Peter Pig's offerings in a big way. I loved the look of the figures, and their French line in particular is awesome.

My goal is to build two platoons worth to start, one mid war French and one mid war German. I intend to use these with the TFL ruleset "Through the Mud and the Blood" which I've been told works best with one to two platoons per side.

So here is the first French squad - a corporal, a chauchat gunner and his assistant, and 6 riflemen. The figures themselves are a joy to paint, with lots of character and great poses. I like the proportions, and I was pleasantly surprised with the strength of the metal, which makes the bayonets more durable than I had expected.

Eventually the platoon will sport one more squad similar to this one, a team of bombers, and one of rifle grenades.

Here in isolation are the corporal, the chauchat gunner and his assistant:

Here are just the riflemen, the backbone of the French army:

And here is a look at their backs to see the details of their gear. Honestly I probably didn't need to bother painting the backs, as I am confident they will never be shown to the enemy anyway.

Friday, January 27, 2017

USS Washington - Langton 1:1200

Here is another of Langton Miniatures' very small offerings, this one the 20 gun galley Washington, built in 1776.

To quote the Nautical Research Guild's summary of the history of this vessel:

"The Continental Galley Washington was a lateen-rigged, two-masted row galley built in the autumn of 1776 on Lake Champlain at Skenesboro N.Y. On October 6 1776, she joined the small fleet established and commanded by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold. Washington was among Arnold's ships that anchored in the narrow body of water between the western shore of Lake Champlain and Valcour Island to await the expected British move. On October 11th the British attacked from leeward. As a result of the battle Washington suffered the heaviest damage to the American fleet.

"Arnold regrouped his fleet and slipped past the British fleet in a desperate attempt to escape. However, they caught the retreating Continental force on October 13th, at Split Rock near Crown Point. Arnold managed to beach and destroy four of the galleys and his own flagship, Congress, while most of the remaining ships escaped upriver. Washington, at the rear of the van, was captured by the enemy; she struck her colors, as Arnold reported later, "... after receiving a few broadsides." After her capture Washington was repaired and put into British service on the lake. It was during this period that her lines were taken off."

You can find the NRG's description and an amazing guide to scratch-building a model of the galley (by Jeff Staudt) here:

And here is Langton's 1:1200 model:

Here for size comparison the model is seen with several other Langton kits. To her left is a small schooner with a pivot gun, to her right a gunboat. To the rear is a 24 gun frigate.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Warlord Games 28mm Praetorians

Here is a unit of 28mm Praetorian Guardsmen that I've just completed for a commission. These are some of Warlord Games' plastic offerings, and I think they are very attractive figures. Each one is comprised of 5 parts: body, weapon arm, shield, head and crest. Detail is pretty crisp, and there are some nice touches, like the 5 different faces included for the regulars. There is also a new arm pose not included in the regular legionary box set - an upright javelin held close to the body.

My only complaint about this set is the shield decals. The graphics themselves are perfectly fine, but in every other way they are extremely frustrating. They have too much "flash" of clear film around the edges, they had to be soaked too long to remove them from the backing paper (I tore several even after soaking more than 45 seconds) and - probably because of that - adhesion to the shield is extremely weak. They started curling off immediately, and I had to develop a routine where right after applying the two halves to one shield I would immediately coat it in matt varnish to get it to stick. It made for a slow, excruciating process, which is not how decals have to be. I've only had good experiences with other brands.

Still, they do make for a nice looking unit, and are an economical option.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

La Vengeance - GHQ 1:1200

Here is a model that I finished some time ago, but am only now getting around to posting: GHQ's 1:1200 La Vengeance, a 40 gun frigate.

Vengeance was a heavy frigate launched in 1794. She is best remembered for her duels with HMS Mermaid (1796 - inconclusive), HMS Seine (August 1800 - at which point she was captured by the British), but especially - for American audiences - for her bloody, indecisive duel with USS Constellation in February of 1800, during the so called Quasi War between France and the young United States.

I've rebuilt the bowsprit out of brass rod, mounted on a Langton base with a wood and a magnetic layer under it, used Langton brass ratlines, and rigged with nylon bristles.