Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spanish Civil War: Condor Legion Panzer I, Luftwaffe Aircrew & Pirates(!)

A couple new(ish) additions to the Spanish Civil War collection.

First is a Panzer I from the Condor Legion. You know, those guys that were not really from Germany, not really fighting for Franco and not really in Spain - yeah, those guys. This one's a little worse for wear, but still stoically clattering along.

This nice lump of metal is from Empress Miniatures. About seven or so parts to it - a great little kit. 

And two Luftwaffe aircrew who are desperately fighting their way out of a jam. 28mm figures from Wargames Foundry.

I particularly like the fellow who's yanked out an MG34 from his downed aircraft. He's definitely playing for keeps (probably a wise choice, especially if they were brought down anywhere near Guernica...).

This panzer and the two aircrew will feature in an upcoming SCW battle report so, if you're interested, stay tuned for that.

I also received in the mail a rather stout parcel from North Star Miniature Figures. Yes, it's the 'I Want It All' Pirate 'Nickstarter'. To be absolutely clear, I think pirates are cool n'all but I'm really no huge fan, but I do like Steve Saleh's sculpts and couldn't resist getting a whole schwack of his work (with free shipping to boot). Shiver me timbers, I have a lot of painting to do...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The First VCs of The Great War: Lieutenant Maurice Dease and Private Frank Godley, 23rd August 1914

One hundred years ago today, on August 23rd 1914, the 4th battalion, Royal Fusiliers were ordered to defend the Nimy bridges, which were only a few kilometers from the main British force at Mons.

By 10:00 that morning the British positions around the bridges came under heavy German artillery fire which was then followed by direct assault by the 84th Infantry Regiment. 

In answer, the Royal Fusiliers caused heavy casualties amongst the Germans, who initially advanced in tightly-packed formations. Being shocked by the rapid fire of the Fusiliers, the Germans soon abandoned this costly tactic and began to advance in open order. As more German troops were thrown into the attack, the situation for the Royal Fusiliers became perilous in the extreme. Yet to withdraw while still in contact with the enemy would expose them to close-range enemy fire. Therefore it was vital that the battalion's machineguns, now under the command of Lieutenant Maurice Dease, hold back the Germans long enough for the rest of the men to withdraw.

Lieutenant Maurice Dease, the first posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross of the Great War.
By this time, however, virtually all the men of Dease's two sections had either been killed or wounded. So the young Lieutenant, along with Private Sidney Godley, took over a gun and kept the Germans at bay. Having been wounded several times, Lieutenant Dease was taken back to the dressing station where he later died of his wounds.

Dease and Godley depicted at the railway bridge near Nimy. Painting by David Rowlands
Meanwhile, Private Godley, himself wounded by numerous shell fragments and a bullet wound to the head, maintained fire from his machinegun. 

Sidney Godley, first Private soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in World War One.
Godley continued to hold his position for two hours, allowing the rest of the British force to fall back safely. Once out of ammunition, Godley, dismantled his gun, threw it into the canal and attempted to crawl away. Weak from his wounds he was eventually captured by the advancing Germans.

A contemporary rendition of the defence of the bridge at Nimy.
For their actions that day, both Dease and Goldley were awarded the Victoria Cross, the first of the war. Godley was informed of his award by his German captors while being held at a prisoner of war camp near Berlin. He was formally awarded the decoration by King George V on February 15th, 1919.

Drawing inspiration from this event I painted up a 28mm early war British Vickers crew sculpted by the talented Paul Hicks, sold by  Musketeer Miniatures. I've gone with my usual greyscale treatment with this trio. A great set, with very clean castings and exhibiting excellent animation in all the sculpts. 

The Vickers Crew along with some infantry support.
Next up is a new indulgence from across the pond and something else for the Spanish Civil War...

Monday, August 18, 2014

28mm 'Raketrucksacktruppen' Squad for Pulp Adventures

So, my thinking is that if paratroopers are cool, and rocket packs are cool, then a whole squad of badass German fallshirmjaegers sporting jet packs must be the absolute tits. 

I call them 'Raketrucksacktruppen'. (With deepest apologies to my German friends for my appalling 'Sgt. Rock Deutsch'.) I thought the name fitting with the comic book nature of these guys.

These figures are from Bob Murch's excellent Pulp Miniature range. I swapped out their original oxygen tanks in favour of rockets packs as, well, it just seemed the sensible thing to do.

It looks like I'm going through a bit of a 'Blue Period' lately, but I thought these fellas would look good in cool tones, similar to the early-war uniform of the Fallshirmjaegers.

Anyway, I'm hoping these Raketrucksacktruppen will create suitable mayhem in our 'Strange Aeons' pulp adventures. 

Next: Back to the first weeks of the Great War...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Duel: Dancing or Villainy - Which is your Favourite?

Last night Sarah showed me the recent Johnny Walker Blue Label commercial 'The Gentleman's Wager' which I found quite fun, smart and very stylish. Thinking I was quite 'up on things', I showed it to a young, hip female colleague at work who watched it quietly and then dismissively said that Tom Hiddleston's 'Villain' ad for Jaguar was much better. At first I was a bit gutted, but then I recalled that this particular staff-member believes Mr. Hiddleston is hands down 'The Perfect Man' striding upon this green earth and so I surmised that he could be selling radium-infused baby seal eyes, gift-packaged in hollowed-out elephant tusks and she'd still be enraptured with whatever he had to say.

Nevertheless, I went home and watched the Jaguar commercial to see for myself. 

Well, it's very good. It has great presence, it's sleek in a bond-like way and is unashamedly cheeky. I freely admit that Tom adds a lot of sex appeal to the ad (and that F-Type Coupe sounds bloody amazing), nonetheless I think it lacks the subtlety, depth and elegant restraint that Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini bring with their performances in the Johnny Walker commercial. [Spoiler] If you watch 'the Gentleman's Wager' again you'll see from the start that these two men have probably been trading this boat back and forth for years. There is a charming playfulness between the two that is very fun to watch.

Anyway, for a bit of silliness, I think we should have a little poll to see what you visitors think. Here are the two ads - give them both a look:

Tom Hiddleston's 'The Art of Villainy' 

Law & Gianni's 'The Gentleman's Wager'

Sorry JF, I really think Hiddleston gets pwned in this matchup. But, hey, that's just my opinion. What do you folks think? Give a click for your favourite on the panel to the right. 

I'm going to have a nice, neat glass of whisky on Sunday while I wait for the final votes...

Addendum: The final vote tally was: 14 votes for Law & Giannini's 'The Gentleman's Wager' whereas 7 votes were cast for Hiddleston's 'The Art of Villainy'. I think the dancing girls buffered the votes a bit (and why not), but there you have it.   

Sunday, August 10, 2014

28mm Spanish Civil War Republican Guardia de Asaltos (Assault Guards) and a Spanish Romanesque Church from Barrage Miniatures

In an attempt to be somewhat simpatico with our recent hot weather I thought I'd feature some more Spanish Civil War figures, this time a few squads of tough-as-nails Republican Assault Guards.

The Guardia de Asaltos were a large body of para military police created by the Republican government in reaction to increasing instability throughout Spanish society. The Assault Guards were primarily tasked in maintaining public order in urban areas whereas the Guardia Civil's jurisdiction focused on rural areas.

When civil war broke out in Spain in the summer of 1936, the majority of the Assault Guards remained loyal to the Republican government. They quickly proved to be a highly dependable force for which the government relied on time and again in its struggle to control the cities of Spain. They were particularly effective during the siege of Madrid and it has been mentioned several times that of the Assault Guards that were in uniform in 1936, very few remained alive by 1938, being ground-up in the vicious street fighting in the intervening years.

These guys arrived from Empress Miniatures less than a week before my game with the guys from The Fawcett Ave Conscripts and so being a complete idiot I decided to try to get them done in time for kick-off. After several extremely late nights I managed to get the sixteen of them done and ready for deployment. 

Of course, as these things always work out, they never even made it onto the table as they kept missing their reinforcement rolls. Sigh. Anyway, they are now sitting in the wings, gnashing to get at the Nationalists. I know Peter has been chomping at the bit to get stuck-in commanding the Republicans so I think this is the unit for him. 

Also seen here is a 1:56 Spanish Romanesque church, a very generous gift given by the vastly talented Alf from Barrage Miniatures. This was part of the loot that I managed to smuggle home after visiting his workshop in Madrid earlier this past spring. 

This resin-cast building is inspired by the very picturesque 12th century Sant Quirc de Durro church found in the Vall de Boi, Catalonia. 

The church is a wonderful model, with loads of deep relief for easy of painting/drybrushing. Like a dolt, I first primed it dark brown, but then realized by looking at photos of similar mediterranean buildings, that the mortar used is typically cream coloured - so I traipsed back outside to respray it a light khaki. 

I can't say that I'm completely happy with my efforts, but I finally decided to throw in the towel and call it done. Nevertheless, it will be a welcome addition to the growing SCW and Napoleonic Peninsular terrain collection.  Thanks so much Alf!! 

Finally, I want to give a big shout out in celebration of the debut of Wargame Bloggers Quarterly which was launched this past Saturday. WBQ is the brainchild of the ever-industrious Millsy, one of the famed contributors of Canister & Grape. I had the pleasure to witness the whole production unfold (being characteristically lazy, I can't say I helped that much) and can attest to the high standard and tremendous level of work that has gone into this publication. So, please download the premier issue and enjoy! I understand that the editorial duties of WBQ will change from issue-to-issue so there should be a wonderful variety of articles and viewpoints as the Quarterly moves forward. Congratulations Millsy - this is a real triumph!