Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Other Parcels & A Head Count

So other parcels today. In addition to the second tank engine I received a pack of WWI German "characters" from North Star Miniatures. They're nice enough, and look like they'll fit in well with my existing figures (about half of which are actually early WWI, from Foundry I think). Two are clearly old Grognards with spectacular beards wearing service caps, one a bareheaded fresh faced youth (this one had a miscast bayonet, which I can live with) and one fairly ordinary chap in Pickelhaube. Since I'm two figures short of an even six line infantry units, the plan is to use these chaps as sergeants spread across various existing units, which not only accounts for any differences in uniform and sculpting style but actually makes their distinctiveness an advantage. The only down side is that these chaps are all cast in running pose, with the rear leg raised and connected to the base by a temporary support. This leaves me with the choice of either living with an unsightly column connecting the rear leg to the base, or cutting it away and being left with a figure that's more vulnerable to being snapped off at the remaining leg.

The third parcel was the cavalry and artillery from Irregular. I'll get to work assembling them tomorrow. One nice touch I've noticed was that the British Lancers come with a separate rifle scabbard that can be fitted onto the horse. Beyond that they're as I described in an earlier post - not spectacular sculpts but incredibly good value and functional. The WWI German Uhlans will past muster as 188x lancers for the Invasion of England, but I'm not sure what to do about converting the British Lancers to Home Service uniform, as being created for Zulu War use they come with Wolseley pattern pith helmet. Someone once described turning a round-headed pin into a helmet spike by sanding it to a point using a Dremel like a lathe, but I've tried that without much success. I have a couple of sacrificial pith-helmeted figures on which I've fixed a short wire pin into the top of the helmet, with a view to sculpting up the spike around it with Milliput, but I'm not sure my sculpting skills are up to the job. In the end I may cheat and just indicate the home service helmet via painting rather than modelling.

The final parcel was a pack of HO/1:87-1:100 model railway automobile models from Everest Models, a seller on eBay. These guys are perfect scale for 15mm figures, looking much better than die-cast cars. The key thing is that even heroic 18mm figures struggle to see over the roof of a typical Hot Wheels car, some even struggling to see over the bonnet/hood. I suspect the nominal HO scale is a little.... flexible shall we say? But in practice these look exactly right, and ordered direct from china are dirt cheap. The casting quality isn't fantasitc, some cars may need a bit of cleaning up around the windows, but other than that they come pre-coloured and ready to play, and since they're made of hard plastic, are relatively easy to hack about for conversions.

One delivery that didn't come via parcel post was the pack of Wargames Factory zombies someone bought for me at Phalanx. That worthy gentlemen came around and we had a most civilised mid-morning tea discussing the disastrous state of British Politics over the last 30 years. After he'd left I got to have a look at the flesh-eating ghouls he'd brought. One happy surprise was that instead of £15 for 24 zeds, which still represents a good deal, the box contained five sprues for a total of 30 zeds at 50p each. Bargain. While listed as 28mm, they are quite slender sculpts, and seem to fit nicely between the Mega Minis and my old GW zombies in size. Between these three ranges, I now potentially have about 86 zombies. I've also got a pack of 50 coming from Victory Force Games as part of a "50 for $50" deal they do periodically. That, and possibly the rest of the Mega Minis Range is as many zombies as I am *ever* going to need for an "All Things Zombie" game. For now though, the zeds all go into the "Later" box.

Apart from all that, today was mainly spent trying to get the unit of Redoubt British Home Service Infantry on my painting table finished. They're 90% there now, with seven of them needing the gold decorations on the helmet doing. It's only now that I'm so close to being finished that I realise their pants are far too light a shade of blue. Every picture I see of home service uniform shows pants that are allmost black, and while the Quickshade will darken the "Ultramarine Blue" shade I used, it won't darken it that much. So I'm going to have to redo the pants on each figure tomorrow, then redo the red trouser stripe, before these are ready for applying sand to the base and then Quickshading. The other figures on the painting table are a unit of Germans that I'd already painted that I'm upgrading the basing of, and a couple of civlians. The Germans just need flocking, while the civilians are ready to be Quickshaded along with the Brits. After that I've got one more unit of Germans primed and ready to paint, and then it's on to Tranche 2 - two more German squads and a unit of Guardsmen from Ironclad Miniatures, all of which are ready and waiting to be taken outside to be primed. I'm still waiting for my order from Ironclad Miniatures, including another unit of Home Service Brits.

Figures to be painted

1 unit (10 figs) of British Guards
1 unit (10 figs) of British Line Infantry
1 unit (10 figs) of British Lancers
2 British field guns (each with 4 gunners)
4 units of German Line Infantry
2 units of German Jagers
2 German 75mm guns (each with 4 gunners)
2 units of "Masked Minions"
2 units of "Iron Men"
Assorted character figures (about a dozen in number)

Considering the unit of Redoubt British I'm just finishing up now took 8 years to complete (albeit with a seven year interlude) then that's a hell of a lot of figures for me to do in six weeks.

Challenge Accepted.

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