Tuesday 26 July 2016

WW2 British Infantry 15mm - DCLI

Seeing as I posted a WW2 Hawker Typhoon in my last blog entry, I thought I would follow up on the same theme.  These are probably the first WW2 British Infantry I have painted since splodging paint onto Airfix 20mm figures in my teenage years.

These figures are 15mm Flames of War figures produced in plastic.  I have to say that I was a lot more impressed with them than I thought I would be.  There is a lot of detail and character to the figures, without the figures being too 'cartoony' as seems to be the case with some 28mm figs.  They look purposeful and usable on the field.

WW2 Normandy is something that I have been wanting to do for 20 years. I bought a lot of 15mm Skytrex troops and tanks back in 1996, and in the boxes they sadly remained.  That dormant interest finally rekindled when I recently purchased a set of the PanzerGrenadier rules (2nd Edition).  All it took was driving down summer country roads, high hedgerows and seeing stone farmhouses and my imagination put everything together.

Things have changed of course in 20 years in our hobby as you will be well aware! We are so well catered for in WW2 figures and vehicles it is simply amazing.  One cannot help but admire the Flames of War range with this period.

Now for some odd reason, when I took these fellows out of the box and decided to paint them, I thought it would be a quick job. A splash of khaki, a few strokes of mid-stone on the webbing, flash tone, boots rifle and voila!   But it just didn't work out like that.  I ended up putting as much time in as I would have done had they been from a more colourful uniformed era.

For one thing, getting the light contrasts on the uniforms so that they looked right and did justice to the guys who wore them, became an interesting and enjoyable challenge.  I found myself really wanting to get the detail right.  Owning and shooting original Lee Enfields also meant that I found it impossible to scrimp on time and detail on the rifles. It became more a labour of love.....not something that I had intended!

I also drew on inspiration on a book that I have owned for 30 years 'Hill 112' by Major JJ How. This book written by an officer in the Monmouths who fought through the Normandy campaign is a remarkable insight into the ferocious battle for that Hill and it's box-shaped wood.  I remember in the early 1990's meeting my Great Great Uncle Charlie Savage from Cornwall for the first time.  He recounted to me his days in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.  His brother was at Hill 112 though he himself had been transferred to the Kings Regiment mid-war and found himself fighting throughout the siege of Malta.

As I painted these I couldn't help but think of Charlie and his brother and so I painted these figures up to represent the DCLI. On the upper sleeve of these 15mm figures is the Wyvern of the 43rd Wessex Division of which the DCLI were part. It is more of a representation of the Wyvern at this scale I should add...my skills are not that good!

Paints used were mostly from the Flames of War ranges but also Vallejo and Foundry.

Bases are MDF from Warbases.  I wanted something with slight curve instead of straight corners so that it wouldn't look as if I was forming Napoleonic line when my sections were alongside each other

A few more pics below..I'll stop my narrating for a bit....

I had a bit of dilemma in how best to represent the formations which make up the battalion.  For me it was all about accuracy and also knowing where I was up to as I built the Battalion up.  I really do want to know which Platoon is where and where the relevant commanders are on the field so they can keep in communications and lead the right sections.  I knew I had to label them up but the question was how.  I'm not a big fan of visible labels on bases but with MDF bases and very small print, I found that a small strip of info could be placed on the very rear edge of the base.  Because my playing mat has raised grass, it makes the label less obvious, a small push down of the grass and I can see exactly which unit is where.

On the underside of the bases (beneath the magnetic sheet) is more detailed information which I can pick up and look at should I really need to.

Handy for being accurate in what exactly is contained on support weapon bases when I can't remember my 2" mortar from my 3" (not a euphemism!).

Well, that might be all of my WW2 stuff for the time being. More colourful things will follow as I have been playing with colourful paint palettes after all that khaki!

Sunday 17 July 2016

Hawker Typhoon 1B - Victrix 15mm

Well, followers of my blog probably weren't expecting to see one of these appear!  It's true, usually I like to see my wargaming done with lines and columns of scarlet and blue clad infantry!

I have of late ventured into some WW2 wargaming.  This resulted in me desiring a suitable model for the allied airstrikes in the game.  Hence I am pleased to introduce my 15mm (1/100) Hawker Typhoon 1B made by Victrix.

I have to say that I am really impressed with the model.  Everything went together just as it should do and very cleanly.  The parts fitted together really well.

It's been a very long time since I made a model aircraft.  I made a Skytrex Fokker DVII some years ago but that was of a smaller scale if I recall and very straight-forward.  In my teens I made lots of kits, the aircraft adorning my ceiling with thread and sticky tape...with every so often that awful thump on the floor above telling me that the tape had given way after many months and drastic repairs would be required!

I last made a 'proper' plastic kit aircraft in around 1993 for a friend who had just passed RAF jet training and gone solo. That was a Jet Provost 1/72 scale which I presented to him in a perspex case.

Some years have passed since (23 years!!!), and I have to say I got a lot more detail into this smaller model than I ever did in any larger kits!  Painting eyes on 28mm figures and such like has been good training!

There were a few things that I should have thought about before glueing parts of the plane together and painting. For instance, I should have put the decals on before sticking the rockets and rails on!  This made things much harder later on!  The instructions are very simple indeed, possibly over simple as a few little reminders such as this (which I'm sure Airfix would have given) would have been much appreciated.  I do also blame my modelling inexperience so I do accept that a bit of forethought might have helped me!

The Victrix kit is sold in a box of 3 models. There are 3 different sets of decals for aircraft of three different squadrons.  This does make the schemes interesting, but does mean that your 'cab rank' is going to be composed of mixed force.

There are also three flight stands.  Now these are really good indeed!  They are telescopic and allow the aircraft to be set at different elevations above the table.  Pleasingly the base has a wide footing to help prevent accidents from happening. The plane can also be set to bank, climb and dive on a pivoting ball at the top of the flight stand.

The fit of the flight stand is excellent as it just clips into the two holes shown above in the wing root either side of the fuselage.  You will also see the decals which had to go around the rocket pods.  I did resort to using paint for part of the invasion stripes rather than prising off the rockets after I had glued them on!

The Hawker Typhoon really is a gorgeous aircraft and I really got to appreciate it as I made the kit. I couldn't help but view the footage on YouTube of it's missions over Normandy. Truly a purposeful aircraft, which really played its part in those skies in 1944.

I was away from home on a course for 2 weeks when I built this kit. I have to thank my room-mate Dave for his enthusiasm and encouragement when I was building this.  It became something to look forward to doing each evening after some pretty trying days!  Dave's tip of trying a light wash with the black between the panels really worked well. I was going to try a very fine pen but the carefully applied black wash was perfect applied with a very fine brush and the surplus wiped off straight away.

In conclusion, I am really happy with my model and it will be gracing the airspace over my board during games, no doubt much to the dismay of whoever is commanding a panzer battlegroup!

More WW2 updates will follow in due course, though as usual I am flitting between other projects...more of those to follow soon too!