A Yellow Fort!!

Well, I got fed up with the freezing weather and took a last minute holiday to Madeira. It was mainly walking and catching up on my reading pile. However on one end of the old town of Funchal is this wonderful yellow painted fort. Fort Sao Tiago was built to protect the coast from piracy during the 16-17th century.

Its not large and only costs €3 to have a look around and that includes the contemporary art museum, unfortunately the military museum has moved to the Palácio de São Lourenço and was closed whenever I had the chance to visit.


King of Tigers?

So I've finished my Airfix King Tiger, a lovely kit with one exception - rubber band tracks. Of course as you would expect when fitting them I broke off one of the idler wheels. I was not a happy bunny! In the end I left them loose as they are not noticeable with the side skirts.

As for the colour of the image, I have a new camera and I'm still trying to find the best settings for taking indoor pictures. The Dunkelgalb certainly looks to yellow in this picture.

Also in the picture is an Edai Stug IV that I picked up at the Derby show.


DAK radio trucks

After quite a bit of work they're complete, a large KFZ61 for my kampfgruppe/regimental HQ and smaller Kfz 17 for the artillery. The cause of the slow progress is the complexity of the mouldings and ensuring a good fit, even then after a lot of care on the underside of the Kfz17 I found the wheels were too far out and therefore after a lot of soul searching I ripped off the suspension. The replacement was just a simple length of sprue cut to size and it's virtually unnoticeable without turning the vehicle over.

Since I had a second Kfz17 I decided to assemble it at the same time to save time on the learning curve. This time it's for my early war German forces.

Kits are the Ace Kfz17 and the ZV Models Kfz61, both limited production run models.


More DAK Infantry

A few bits and pieces to fill in gaps I have identified in my force. A pair of OP teams, a couple of extra 81mm mortars and some conversions. These are AT Rifles and a 50mm mortar for my early DAK forces.

Figures are mainly Italeri plus a few Airfix, the 81mm mortars came from the Zvezda German mortar set.


WW1 Austrian Artillery

Another interloper on the workbench. I was hunting for some stowage for my vehicles when I remembered that the Hat WW1 Austrian gunners included some boxes, having sorted them out it only took a short time to paint these bods in their very simple uniform.

Normal service will be resumed shortly as I slowly assemble some Ace Radio vans


Frundsberg Pontooners

A new unit for my imagi-nation the Frundsberg Frei Stadt. I realised that I would need these so they sneaked onto the workbench while I was waiting for a replacement highlander and some plastic kits to harden.

For yhose interested there are more pictures of the Pontoon bridge here ,the barges in action here and some construction details here


British 12th Light Dragoons 1801

After some struggles trying to find the right uniforms, I settled on the the version as shown. It's not clear exactly when the helmet turban stopped being in the facing colour and became blue, similarly the shabraque, I went for the conversion being before the period. Similarly, the colour of the trumpeters coat was unclear, I opted for reversed colours because it looks better.

Thanks to Bob for the loan of the Grant books


US Para Jeeps

The last bit of my 2012 US Para project was the Jeeps. All from Britannia, I've completed two as 75mm howitzer tows and other pair as 57mm tows and the last as a command jeep.

Of course once I lay the whole unit out, I'll probably spot something missing!


Citroen Traction Avant

Something of a classic car (details), I've painted mine as a French staff car, but it was also used by the Germans after the occupation, including by the Gestapo.

It's not heading for my French forces, instead it is heading for the "Paint your wagon" charity build over on The Society of Gentlemen Gamers, so I'll have to get another Ace kit to have one in my army.

Only an odd German figures was hanging around to provide scale


DAK medium artillery

First unit for this year. The two guns are a 150mm sFH18 and a 100mm K18 by ACE. Quite details models and take quite a while to assemble as they are low production run models and need extra effort to ensure alignment, etc.

For those interested, here's a link with details of ACE kits


On the workbench January 2013

Well, in an attempt to keep up momentum I'm trying to close off as many bits and pieces as possible before starting the bigger projects, so I'm working on
  • Ace 100mm and 150mm guns to provide my DAK with some heavier support, this is why I needed some more Sdkfz 7s;
  • A small unit of Light Dragoons to round off my 1801 British, I'll need some of the Hat British Command to provide commanders when they are available.  I had started on a unit of Highlanders, but had an unexpected brittle fracture so they will have to wait till a replacement arrives;
  • British and US Airborne Jeeps to provide AT and Artillery tows, plus Morris tractors for the 17pdrs
  • A French Staff car for the SOGG charity "paint your wagon" appeal.
  • Some more DAK bits to make up the army, especially a couple of radio vans, odd infantry, OP and command teams.
  • Some Italian TL37 artillery tractors
and a special indulgence the Airfix King Tiger I got for Christmas


Plan for 2013

Reviewing my performance last year, it’s certainly time to make a major effort on my Medievals. Looking ahead to June, this year big game is Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily 1943, so I expect any work on this front to be just rounding off various bits for my desert collection. The Gauntlet game is yet to be decided, so this is the big unknown; personally I would opt for Tunisia 1943, but who knows? So my main projects will be:

  • Make a medieval Burgundian/German force (carried over from 2011).
  • Sort out the assorted Saracens so I can use Hail Caesar for Crusades games (carried over from 2011).
  • A Jacobite army, mainly of Highlanders, but including some of the possible French reinforcements

Possible projects

  • Upgrade my WW2 Americans – if rumours are correct The Plastic Soldier Company will be releasing Americans this year, so it would fit in with a clear out and general tidy up of my US forces for North West Europe.

Other activities

  • Complete the last bits of the British/US Airborne.
  • Tidy up the last bits of the DAK/8th Army
  • Late French armée d’orient (trying to make a few French demi-brigades with pretty uniforms and pouffes sound posh)
  • German/Italian/Hungarian forces for “Stalingrad” Eastern front winter game.
  • Try and play some large 1813 period Napoleonic games, especially as my armies were originally organised for this and this is the bi-centennial.
  • Attempt to rationalise the stash again - watch my trading lists.


Review of 2012

1) Progress against plan
In line with plan most of my painting, etc. was desert themed, with two major projects

  • WW2 desert forces - I've done a lot of work on my that has both increased the size of my armies and improved their appearance, trouble is I've still got quite a few bits still to complete. But in general the target was achieved. The Alamein big game was a splendid weekend.
  • A Dervish army was built mainly using the Hat Dervishes and subsequently I've had quite a few enjoyable games in the Sudan. The Thud and Blunder scenarios came in quite handy for pick up games. My second target achieved, though an army can never be considered complete.

Minor projects

  • British to fight the French in Egypt – very much a last minute push here as the figures weren’t released until late in the year, but I’ve almost finished the force. Another tick!
  • Sort out the assorted Saracens so I can use Hail Caesar for Crusades games. – not done at all
  • Other projects:
  • Work on the British Airborne brigade (carried over from 2011) – big push early in the year, but had to leave off till all the big game work was completed, so I’ve only recently got back to it and now all that remains is a few vehicles.
  • Clear out the rest of my medievals to make a Burgundian/German force – not done at all
  • Upgrade more terrain, especially walls and hedges (carried over from 2011) – still not done, but I did work on some fences and barbed wire, pathetic excuse I know.
  • SOTCW game at Gauntlet turned out to be Vietnam, so nothing specifically needed to be created; I just added a few civilians and sorted out the barbed wire I had already planned for desert games.
  • and finally “keep the stash to fewer than 5,000 taking into account Christmas presents” – abysmal failure, so many goodies out there and then the bargain bundle of figures I picked up on a B&B totally wrecked this target – final figure 7,500.

Conclusion, a reasonably credible performance

2) Painting Progress
A first glance progress seemed much as usual with 1,550 items completed compared to 1,547 last year, but the breakdown shows some surprising shifts, like:

  • Hardly any cavalry or terrain
  • Quite a bit of touching up/rebasing was included in the list, but as I observed with the 8th Army at times it can take as long or longer as painting new figures from scratch.
  • I have no ACW figures at all in the stash – so one minor piece of progress there

In detail:

  • WW2 – 938 items of which 152 were tanks, vehicles and guns. The split by nationality demonstrates this year’s emphasis: British desert 270; German DAK 236; British Paratroops 229 Italian desert 55; US/Russian 123 mainly tank riders.
  • Colonial – 286 items, mainly the Dervishes with just a few British to balance up the numbers
  • French Revolution – 128 items all from my British army for the 1801 campaign in Egypt, with the exception of a few gunners for my Frundsbergers
  • ACW – 94 items, only 30 were actually new painting, the rest were rebased to give a consistent feel to the figures and this was not quick rebasing.
  • WW1 – only 41 items, concentrating on artillery and crews with the new Hat hard plastic guns.
  • Terrain – a quiet year only 32 items, the barbed wire, C18 tents/camp and the desert fortified positions. I was pleased that the later sold for a good price in the big game charity auction.
  • Early C18 – just sorted out the limbers, etc – 24 items
  • Modern – 7 Vietnamese civilians


Last of the old year

Happy New Year everyone.

I managed to finish off a few more bits yesterday

Firstly the Hat German wagons. If you have suffered Hat's previous attempts with the dreadfully bendy plastic these are a real delight as they are moulded in polystyrene and fit together well. I've painted two for early war and one for later.

The fast assembly Miniaeron Panzer Is providing some extra "muscle" for my early war Panzers

Now on with a review of the old year and a plan for the new.