Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Warrior Miniatures Army O' The Month

This is the second 100 piece army I purchased this year from John Holt of Warrior Miniatures.


Here's the whole lot:
This is sold as The Army of Xannthippus, and meant for the First Punic War. Here's what you get:
18 Spartan Hoplites, in two styles:

18 Carthaginian Hoplites:

6 skirmishers:
4 War Elephants:
6 Numidian Cavalry, one piece castings, in two styles:

3 Carthaginian Heavy Cavalry:

The elephants come in kit form:

They go together quite easily, I assembled mine with white glue and super glue. Over all a fun army to paint with lots of variation. The elephants are the stars of this group, the least attractive are probably the skirmishers. The hoplites are quite nice, but they have the basic problem of all hoplites and that is the long spears. John includes more than enough, and has various styles of spears available in the set. Sharp eyes might spy several figures returning a Roman pilum. But the long spears do suffer from handling, I broke several and gave up on the lead ones. I instead used the stand by, 20 gauge florist wire from Michael's. And even then I broke off a couple during the photo session. The shields stay on fine, but those spears are a headache.
As for the cost?
It was 40 pounds UK for the army, plus shipping which came to 55 pounds. In Canadian money that was $90. Starting to get pricey, but still a bargain compared to other manufacturers. It's the long distance postage that bumps up the price. 40 quid is just $66 Canadian otherwise.
So you end up with the core of Hannibal's army, as these guys could easily be used in any of the Punic Wars, although this set was probably meant for Bagradas in the First one.
I ordered yet another Warrior army a while back. This one is a bit slower arriving, so I'll hopefully have it painted up in April.
I have to admit I'm enjoying painting these various armies, and the minimal cost is an incentive to experiment with different eras.
I'll post some more of my regular plastic guys soon. I have a hankering to do Edgehill.
Bye for now.

Just A Curiosity

I recently was looking in a Dollar Store when I spied these:

It immediately reminded me of the Games Workshop 6 x 4 foot battle terrain they were selling a while back. I toyed with the idea but passed, as they were over $300.
But these are cheap!
So I bought a few and went home.
Here is what they are:
Sadly though, there is only one pattern. I was hoping there were a selection of three or four styles.
So these 1 foot by 1 foot plastic tiles are somewhat limited.
Anyway, I painted a couple just to see:
A basic desert sand being over ridden by my Caesar Hittites.
And a verdant green:

This time topped with some large 1/72 scale Romans, copies of Elastolin I think. Here's another shot, basic paint job with miracle dip.

Well that's it. A shame there aren't other terrain variations, it has potential beyond the price (less than $2 each). I had envisioned mounting 4 on a cardboard base and using putty or plasticene to smooth over the joins.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Stand Ins

I often check out board games for the minis inside. A while back I found a version of Risk! called Risk! Godstorm:


From the box it looks like you get some nice hoplites in armour and some Viking looking guys.
The price is around $30 range and you get a whack of figures.
I ended up with some 300 guys all between 1/72 and 25mm high. They are made of a vinyl like plastic, so they are softer than esci type figures but not floppy.
NO hoplites though.
What you do get are 300 of the same figure in 5 colours. The figure has leggings similar to dark age figures, trousers, rough tunic with oddly ornate sleeves and long hair. He has a caveman barbarian looking spear and a rough wooden shield, more like a small targe, with metal studs.
The odd thing is that he's a lefty.
Spear in his left hand, shield in his right.
So these aren't front rank soldiers.
But they might do to fill in the nameless ranks of barbarians or rear rankers in another army.
So here's my first attempt, not quite done yet but here goes:

They need hair touch ups but otherwise they're there. A barbarian horde.

I also painted some to back up my Warrior Miniatures Saxons:

With the Miracle Dip you can see the odd shoulder detail, best ignored in my opinion.
Here they are backing up my Saxons:

They do pad out an army.
Not bad for stand ins.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Crusade Miniatures Polish Army From Warrior Miniatures

Hello. Good to be back blogging again after a disastrous autumn computer wise. A couple of hard drive crashes and a failed android battery left me stymied. So I settled into painting more.
This time I thought I'd make a departure from the plastic realm and show a 100 piece army I purchased from John Holt of Warrior Miniatures:


He has many 25mm figure ranges and features 100 piece army deals.
I've been a customer over the past 25 years, so I settled on trying some figures that I haven't tried before.
He has in his line some medieval sets under the "Crusade Miniatures" line.
here's the link:


I ordered the Polish army.

This is the army I painted. They are nice figures, crisp and clean and feature a nice degree of detail. I base coated the infantry with a brick red and painted them in earth colours. The cavalry I base coated in white. Painted with acrylics and painted with "Miracle Dip", ie Minwax Tudor Stain for that shaded gloss look.
The army comes with a couple bags of accessories in the way of spears, lances and axes. In point of fact, the infantry have enough side arms to select pole axes or spears for the entire company.
Here are some more pix:

The knights are interesting, having winged helmets. IIRC Funcken has a picture of these sort of knights in his books:

One quibble. The figures are cast in a nice hard metal that allows minimal adjusting. And by minimal I mean almost none. I dropped the red fellow and his wings snapped off. A quick repair with white glue and super glue did the trick.

The infantry are a nice lot:

I used the pole axes, but I had enough spears as well. I think they'd look fine without a weapon as they have a sword and scabbard. Nice pose and detail, I think they could stand in for many different armies.

These two units are archers, one has axes and shields with their bow and quiver slung.
And now the cavalry:

Listed as Kazak cavalry I left the spears off them as they tend to be a bit soft in my opinion. The figures are kitted out with axes and bows, so they aren't naked. Very useful types I think, from ancients to medieval.
Heavy cavalry. These guys needed their lances.
Dramatic looking, they certainly stick out from the drab looking infantry.
The remainder of the 100 piece army. I suppose I will mount them individually. As you can see I had one casualty in shipping. He might make a good flag bearer.
So what was the damage?
Not much.
Listed at 35 pounds, plus shipping to Canada it was a total of 50 quid, which worked out to 80 dollars Canadian.
I ordered in early January and John shipped within a day or two. Two weeks shipping and I was painting. I did a quick job on these guys, but I had fun, and they were easy to paint. The clean figures took acrylic paints like a dream. I liked the small rectangular bases that made fitting them on my wooden bases very easy, I didn't have to trim any.  So I can recommend these figures for anyone looking to put together a small force or a DBA style army. two or three of these sets would make an impressive wargame army.
In fact, I ordered another army (different era) in early February, and I received it yesterday.  I've already painted one unit and started another. I'll post soon. Perhaps I'll do "Warrior Miniatures Army of The Month"?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

100 Years Ago

I have had access to some old family photos, and I took the time to take some photos and reflect on those who came before us.

Several family members have served in both World Wars, and I thought someone might be interested in what I found.

My Grandmother on my father's side was from the Selkirk, Manitoba area. In fact a small community called Elma.

Here are some of the photos and post cards from the young men who signed up for the Great War.

These two are brothers of my Grandmother. Great Uncles in the common parlance.
The man on the left is Fred Mayo. On the right, his brother William "Bill" Mayo. Fred's photos are post cards and one has a short message, "To Mother from Freddie".
Bill was killed on August 9th 1918, age 27. A picture of his grave reveals his number, 267233 Private W.R. Mayo, 5th Battalion, Canadian Infantry.

I tried to use the online Commonwealth war dead website, but it's really poorly set up. The searches do not work.

Some other photos:
The center photo is my Great Uncle Freddie, I believe, but the hat badge is different, and there is no writing on the back of the photo.
The young man at left has a Glengarry bonnet, I don't know who he is. However both he and Freddie are standing in front of Minto Armouries, a beautiful old building still standing today. It has a unique ramped entry way, and I recognize it.

From wikipedia:
"The Minto Armoury is a prominent and historic structure in the West End of WinnipegManitoba. The armoury is currently the home base of The Royal Winnipeg RiflesThe Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, and several other reserve units. The building remains an active military structure. It is noted for its smooth integration into the character of neighbourhood and remains a local landmark, both factors have help to certify the Minto Armoury as a Recognized Federal Heritage Building.[1"

The fellow on the right is Private J.L. White
No. 267227
D Company
13th Platoon
214th Battalion
Camp Hughes
He must have been a family friend.

This is another unmarked post card with several NCO's and privates. A lot of rubber boots and no puttees, must be fall or spring time.

An interesting post card from 1918, showing "The undescribable Horror and Ruin Caused by Great Halifax Explosion"
Here are two post cards with a lot of writing on back:

The one on the left has this:
"Miss Elenora Mayo, Selkirk August 19, 1916

Dear Elenora. Recieved your letter today and was glad to hear from you. sorry to hear your mother is not feeling well. As for myself I'm enjoying the best of good health. I'm sure getting lots of mail. How it keeps me pretty busy at nights answering letters when a fellow gets mail in the trenches.I'll tell you it sure cheers him up a bit. I was over to see some boys from Elma last night. Young McDonald, the old Black Smith's son. Young ?Sareell?, young Rotherford from Selkirk was over this morning to see me. Well Elenora I must ring off for this time. Letter following later.I remain your affectionate admirer, Graham."

The one on the right has this from Great Uncle Freddie to my Grandmother, his sister Elenora:

"Dear Sister. Just a few lines to say I am well hoping you are all the same. This is one of the fellows that I am working in the cook house with. Well Ellie I ain't I aint got any news to tell you you this time so I will close for this time so good by from Freddie with love to all XXX 18th Canadian Reserve Battalion c/o Army Post Office London England
From Freddie to Ellie with love and XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX"

Interesting that his note was obviously started and stopped several times.

Lest we forget.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Memories Of Old and Those Yet To Be Remembered...

I finally took some pics of my old terrain. It was inspired by the pages of Miniature Wargames and consisted of 2 foot by 2 foot squares of styrofoam. I did the texture with a mix of green poster paint, plaster of paris and a now defunct product, green sawdust from Life Like railway products.

 These pix weren't from a wargame, just a set up to take some photos with one of those little tourist cameras. The figures were a mix, some conversions and some 25mm Warrior Miniatures painted as Neapolitans. My raging river had an island and a bridge and was in an "L" shape. The roads were all measured from the center of the tile and were 2" wide, plaster of paris with brown poster paint, run over with suitable wheels.
 Back then I used to mount Airfix figures on cardboard, then later seal the open sides with masking tape. You can see that on the RHA battery. Later I tried plaster of paris or glue and sand. I never got the hang of it. That's why I just gave up and started with the wooden dominos.
 Washington's Army have joined the Spanish grenadiers. Looks like a new crop is coming in on that combed farm field.
My Portuguese guarding the crossroads. I guess the cazadores failed to show up this time. I miss my old terrain, but it sure took up a lot of space. Looking back has made me nostalgic and I am currently abusing a 5 foot by 5 foot section of cardboard with glue, tape and beach sand.

Well then, onto new items.

I have noticed a change in the offerings from the Chinese and the dollar store armies. To whit:

New tanks. Of note are the two WW2 tanks, a Lee/Grant and what appears to be a Russian T35!
The scaling is awful, the T35 is diminutive, and the Lee is a bit too big. However, beggars and chosers...
The Lee I think is based on the British version, the Grant as it has a large turret. If one spent the time you might get a decent model to mix in with other tanks. The soldiers are Airfix, and Esci for scale.
The T35 is just too small, but it certainly is useable as a fantasy war tank. The new way of mounting the wheels and axles is annoying, necessitating some surgery to get those treads in the mud.
Other models are faintly recognizable, having turrets, short guns and the same hull.

Other items of late are trucks:
 I like these. They are big and clunky, but look at the tank transporter! I had a go at this one with my XActo razor saw and it comes apart quite nicely. I removed the tank and its tiny size reduces it to the pre war variety, perhaps an Italian or Japanese two man tank. I removed the huge gun and made a field gun out of it on an Airfix French Napoleonic gun carriage. I haven't had a go at the oversize guns, but with some camo netting they might make decent heavy artillery. The wheels are of interest though, they look like all metal wheels from WW1 or from an anti tank gun. Sadly, they don't turn and are moulded onto the truck, so surgery would destroy the truck to save the wheels.
 The next batch are a return to tiny scales. Long trucks with two cabs. One a modern streamlined version, and the next a long nosed version that would do for WW2! But a lot of cutting to get rid of the nuclear missiles and?railguns? on the back.
A blurry shot of the grill. Smallish, but useable with a bit of paint and imagination.