Vis Imperica: 19th Century Egyptians

Bank holiday weekend and a chance to take another few steps towards finishing the photography of all my 19th century figures. First up were the Egyptians from about 1875 - 1900.  

I had forgotten how much I like the look of my Egyptian troops until I got them out of storage in order to photograph them. I have a soft spot for troops in fezs: I think it must be something to do with Jon Courtney Grimwood's Arabesk trilogy!

My Egyptian force consists if two brigades, with each brigade having the same composition: three battalions of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and a couple of guns. 

These days, as I don't play much 19th Century at the moment, my Egyptians will probably find themselves proxy-ing as Libyans for my Operation Compass games...but at least they'll be on the table! Click on the pic below to see all:

New Early War Gebirgsjaeger Gallery

My Gebirgsjaeger were originally bought to provide a late war German force for the eastern front...mainly in a desperate attempt to avoid painting the camouflage smocks that I would need for a contemporaneous company of Heer troops!

The figures will, of course, also do nicely for a Gebirgsjaeger force built from the new IABSMv3 Poland 1939 lists: although they will obviously need a bit of adaption to fit into the earlier OOB.

As always, I find it easier to see these things pictorially, so have now had a chance to put together a Gebirgsjaeger 1939 gallery...and very bare it is too, with lots of the late war equipment stripped right away.

Needs include some more infantry, to represent the bigger platoons, some earlier anti-tank guns, and maybe some pioneer types if only for completeness.

Click on the pic to see the gallery.

Unboxing the Polish Reinforcements

Some of you picked up on the fact that it was my 50th birthday last week. Thanks for all your good wishes and, to one particular person:  no you can't have my collection when I keel over due to old age!

As it was my birthday, and I'd finished the IABSMv3 lists for Poland 1939 for the Poles, Germans and Soviets, I decided to take the opportunity to fill out my early war collection a bit.

You see, when I first started playing WW2 games, I tended to play IABSM as it was originally designed to be played: with each side consisting of a few platoons of infantry supported by a couple of guns and maybe a single platoon of armour. I also almost exclusively played France 1940 or Barbarossa games, having (at the time) this strange aversion to late war with its big cats and hordes of character-less Shermans.

I therefore only have a single platoon of most types of early war German and Soviet tank, and understrength platoons at that.

Well, what's the problem, I hear you ask, you have everything you need?

Yes, but, the thing is, these days, although some of the best games I've ever played have been games with small forces on each side, I now occasionally like to play huge, power games, with swarms of tanks everywhere...I think it's an age thing: why buy a sports car when you can command a full company of panzers!

So, for my birthday, I decided to do ma bit of filling out:

That's a platoon of Panzer IIs, a platoon of Panzer 38(t)s, a platoon of T-26s, a platoon of BT-5s, and a couple of SdKfz 222 armoured cars as well.

[All bought from Hannants, BTW, a very good source of Zvezda kit: ordered Wednesday, arrived Saturday, discount included in price.]

You may notice that all the tanks ordered are plastic Zvezda kits: cheap but perfectly serviceable...especially as I don't expect to use them very often. 

And that's the point of buying cheaper Zvezda or PSC tanks rather than the more expensive metal or metal and resin vehicles from other manufacturers: if you're not going to use them very often, then cheap but serviceable is the way forward.

Don't get me wrong: these will paint up very nicely. Here, for example, is one Battlefront and three Zvezda Katyushkas in the same picture:

I would go as far to say, with my limited building skills, the rocket rack on Battlefront model looks worse than the Zvezda versions...and I've only ever fielded all four once, as an objective for a German attack. Imagine if I'd bought four metal versions for a single game: ouch!

The Zvezda range is expanding as well. Take a look at the box again. Nestling on the right are two Ferdinands. Together they cost about a fiver: cheaper than a single Battlefront model. Yes, I need them just in case I ever have to field them, but how often will I do so? Cost efficiency is the way forward!

Right: back to painting. All my Polish cavalry still do before I can start on the tanks!

IABSM AAR: Blenneville or Bust! Near Avaux

Great write-up of a game at the August meeting of the Devon Wargames Group taken from the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack.

The action took place Near Avaux: as an embattled German force attempts to hold out against a strong attack by British armour.

You can read all about on the Devon Wargames Group page (click here), or on this site by clicking on the picture, below.

Dismounted Polish Cavalry

So here they are: the dismounted Polish cavalry of the previous post rescued from their terrible frosting at the hands of a can of GW Purity Seal with a liberal application of olive oil, and then re-sprayed with Army Painter seal:

Now they don't look perfect, being still a little granulated with tiny particles of Purity Seal, but they look a whole lot better than they did before!

What I am also hoping is that they will improve even more with time and a bit of handling i.e. that the granules are worn smooth or continue to be absorbed in some way. They are not a disgrace now, though, and that's the main point.

Battlefront figures, BTW. Quite nice, although the faces were not particularly well defined and were difficult to paint into anything remotely resembling humans. That could be down to coming from an old mold, but is still disappointing. I've gone Forged in Battle for the mounted cavalry, so we'll have to see if they are any better.

Here's another couple of shots. Oh, and they look a bit weird on my custom bases as they don't have any LSW teams, and the bases are designed to take eight singles and a two-man LSW team, not ten singles. Should make playing with them interesting, as that's down one dice on all firing! 

PS the painting challenge scorecard is now updated as well 

Frosting Disaster!

I have been painting a company of 15mm WW2 dismounted Polish cavalry: 49 figures in all.

It's probably taken me about ten hours of work to finish them: that's prepping the figures, undercoating, top coat, highlight, wash, and basing.

Finished them last night.

Went out to the garage to varnish them. Picked up the bad can of GW Purity Seal that caused me so many problems with my half-tracks (see previous post) that I'd put handy to throw away, but hadn't actually thrown away yet, and promptly frosted the lot of them!

And when I say frosted, I mean frosted:

An absolute disaster! And on my 50th birthday as well! I could have cried!

Now usually when this happens I try spraying with a gloss varnish, and that sorts most of it out. Not this time: just made it slightly worse!

So I googled solutions and was amazed to find people suggesting a thin coat of olive oil might solve the problem.

Olive oil? Are you sure?

So into the kitchen I went, and was immediately confronted with my first dilemma: what sort of olive oil. The wife has got at least three types: ranging from the cheapo, supermarket own-brand in a plastic bottle to the super-squishy, extra-extra-virgin delicatessen variety.

Well, these troops have had quite an investment of my time, so it had to be the top quality oil: nothing but the best for the Polish cavalry!

Rather dubiously, I started painting it on.

Immediate results: figures de-frosted almost as the brush passed over them, leaving them free of frosting and nicely detailed again, with just a hint of roughness caused by particles of varnish.

Extra-ordinary...and now that they are dry, they have a rather pleasing patina to them too.

Glad I used the expensive stuff!

I've now re-varnished using Army Painter seal, and will post a pic tomorrow: it's good to keep you in suspense a little!

Olive oil! Who'd have thought it.

TFL Painting Challenge: Tuesday Update

Not a huge amount of people who have submitted entries, but plenty of entries submitted!

So, in no particular order, we have:

  • Andrew Helliwell with some renaissance cavalry and Soviet scouts
  • The Great Gatzemeyer with some Confederate cavalry
  • Mr Naylor with large amounts of 6mm figures
  • Kev with another batch of beautifully painted English Civil War figures
  • Ashley sends in another couple of buildings
  • and last, but no least, Steve Burt submits a great looking 28mm church

Here are some pics:

Steve's 28mm church

One of Kev's ECW campsites...


...and some militia to visit it

Another terrain board from Ashley

IABSM: Germans in Poland: Most Gaps Filled

As I said in my previous post, I have plenty of early war German kit: I just needed to re-photograph some of it to fit in with the specific Germans in Poland infantry company list.

That's now happened, (click here to go to the gallery) and I know exactly what I need to buy in order to be able to field anything I might need to.

As expected, the only real gaps are in the number of tanks and armoured cars I need...but as that's not critical, as IABSM is more about infantry than tanks and it's going to be a rare occasion indeed that I need to field an entire tank company, I can just fill these gaps with cost-effective vehicles from Zvezda as and when I feel like it.

I reckon if I bought six SdKfz 221s; five Panzer 35(t); five Panzer 38(t); and six Panzer IIs then I would have all the early war German tanks I could ever realistically need...and at Zvezda prices, I could probably get the whole lot for the same amount as one Battlefront late war tank killer box set! All hail Zvezda!

In fact, the only real gap is the two-squad infantry scouting unit which, obviously, I could represent on foot, but would like to do as cavalry: the first German cavalry I would then have. A trip to Peter Pig for them, I think, as I quite like PP's cavalry figures.

So, infantry company gallery now done: next up will be the Schutzen and the Gebirgsjaeger galleries. After I've been shopping, of course...

IABSM: Germans in Poland Gallery

Now that I have finished the IABSMv3 1939 September War lists for the Germans and Poles, it's time to see what I have got in my collection...and therefore what I haven't got as well!

Easiest way to do that is to build galleries for each potential force: then I can clearly see where the gaps are, and how big my next shopping spree needs to be.

Well, the first of the Poles are still on the painting table (just need to finish the bases), so it's the Germans that will start things off.

Click here to see the first of the Germans in Poland 1939 galleries: that of the standard infantry company. Quite a bit of new photography to do this weekend, along with the shopping list!

Don't forget that you can download the IABSMv3 Polish and German lists from the Poland 1939 page under the IABSM tab at the top of the page. Feedback always appreciated.

IABSM: Germany in Poland 1939 v3 Lists Now Available

I have now finished the IABSM v3 compatible German lists for the 1939 September War to go alongside the Polish lists that I posted a month or so ago.

These lists allow you to field a variety of German forces based on everything from a standard infantry company to a light trucked tank company. As with the Polish lists, they are largely taken from Anatoli's excellent work, converted to IABSM v3 alongside additional info from my own research.

Click on the pic to download the list, or visit the Poland 1939 section of this website (under the I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! tab at the top).

Any feedback gratefully received: either comment or send me an e-mail at the usual address.

IABSM AAR: Pegasus Re-Visited

Regular visitors to the Vis Lardica site will know that one of my favourite builds this year was the Warbases' Pegasus Bridge model. This enormous piece of scenery took me some time to put together and paint, including a short hiatus whilst Warbases, showing their usual high levels of customer service, replaced a part that I had superglued into the wrong position and then destroyed as I tried to re-position! Now that the thing was built, it was time to get it onto the tabletop and into action.

I did think about replaying the actual Pegasus Bridge action itself but, at a loose end one day, I put together a rather nice set-up on the wargames table featuring the bridge as part of a small town. As I didn't want to take it all apart again and re-build to the correct landscape, I decided to just write a quick scenario featuring the bridge where it was.

Click on the pic below to read all...

TFL Painting Challenge: Post Hols Update

Lots of activity in the painting challenge whilst I've been away.

So, in no particular order, we have:

  • Carole Flint with some buildings for her Imagi-nations project
  • Keith Davies with an assortment of figures and buildings
  • Mr Helliwell with some more 15mm ACW figures and, controversially, some 28mm Late Romans
  • Mervyn pops in some more buildings
  • Mr Slade re-bases in a Sir Pelanor-like quest to find the perfect rules. 
  • Andy Duffell sends in some rather nice buildings
  • Mr Hooge has gone all Mexican on us: andale, andale!
  • Thomas makes his mark with some, er, markers
  • Kev has been at the ECW figures again.

Today's pictures:

I am loving Andy's pigsty!

15mm Mexicans from Mr Hooge

Late Romans from Mr Helliwell

A pike block from kev

With almost 2/3rds of the year now gone, there's still plenty of time to get your entries in.

Don't worry if you're sitting on a huge pile of entries to send in: just get e-mailing!

I Am Back

Just in case any of you have been wondering why there have been no posts for the past week or so, it's because I have been away on hols.

Rumours that I'm modelling for the new Apocalypse Now range of Vietnam-era surfers are obviously untrue!

Lots to update now that I'm back, including at least one AAR and a Painting Challenge update. I'd do one now, but I'm off to see Suicide Squad at the cinema! Laters...

IABSM AAR: Find the Front by Mark Luther

A very colourful game of I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! in 6mm from Mark Luther.

The scenario involves one of my favourite situations: a clash of late war reconnaissance units. Forget the big cats and the swarms of Shermans: let's let the armoured cars and half-tracks out to play!

Click on the pic to see all:

IABSM: 1939 Polish Lists Updated

I have slightly updated the IABSM v3 lists for the 1939 Polish Army, available by clicking the picture or from the Poland 1939 page under the IABSM heading.

Whilst working on the German lists for the same period, I realised that the IABSM v3 convention is to give medium mortars a crew of five rather than the v1 or v2 crew of three.

Small thing, especially as they will be off-table in most games, but now corrected.

German lists are coming along nicely: should be done by the end of the month. Wish my Polish cavalry painting was doing as well!

TFL Painting Challenge: Ashley's Return

Hi All

Enough entries to justify another quick update, including another first-time-this-year returnee.

So, in no particular order, we have:

  • Ashley Pollard making a welcome return with a couple of 15mm buildings
  • Mr Helliwell sends in more ACW 15s
  • Richard Naylor has T-55s on offer: lot's of little T-55s
  • Steve Burt resurrects a 1/72 scale shop
  • Mr Hodge sends in some nice Napoleonics and a single wight
  • Mr Luther fills in one of his gaps with some shots of his weekend game
  • and last but by no mens least, Andy Duffell sends in some transport from across a couple of periods

Lots to choose from pics-wise today:

Ashley's buildings

Derek's rather nice band of guerillos

28mm jeep from Andy Duffell

Another great table-scape from Mark Luther

Scorecard will be updated tonight.

TFL Painting Challenge: Cheeky Weekend Update

Enough entries to sneak another update through only five days or so after the last one.

So, in no particular order, we have:

  • Matt Slade with some lovely 28mm Crusade figures
  • Geoff Bond sends in his first entry of the year: some Germans
  • Mr Plowman has been re-basing
  • Chris Stoesen pops in some 15mm Continentals and engineer-types
  • Steve Burt sends in a barn
  • And last, but by no means least, Mr Luther has completed a vast amount of figures for Sharp Practice 2.

Today's pictures? Well it's got to be Geoff's Germans...and we'll add an extra photo from Mr Luther of some of his 6mm 'planes:

You'll also be pleased to hear that the Scorecard is now fully up to date!