Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More on WW2 Norway

Norwegians by Valkyrie

Several people have commented that they would be more interested in the less usual WW2 fronts rather than Normandy or the Eastern Front. Well, I was just looking at TMP this evening and saw a post about the 1940 Norwegian campaign and a firm who were going to make some Norwegian figures. It turned out, as I feared, that these were 15mm, but someone else posted a link to Valkyrie Miniatures who do make a 28mm Norwegian range.
The figures look a bit crude compared to the Mike Owen ones but, hey, who else is likely to make Norwegians? I do like the prone figure too. Not enough manufacturers of modern figures do prone figures; given that is a common firing position in modern warfare.

I have found a picture of a Norwegian infantryman in my trusty Blandford Military Uniforms of the World so no excuse not to get any I suppose...

Gerbirgsjager by Brigade Games
Here is a picture of Brigade Games German Mountain troops which do look nice. The postage is a bit steep from the USA but there you go. I have also now acquired the Osprey so this is looking more and more like a proper project (another one!).

A small WW2 Diversion...

Artizan Designs 8th Army

I've always been slightly dubious about gaming World War 2 (or indeed any "modern" conflict) and still feel slightly queasy about people who build, for example, large SS units for the tabletop. However, as I have said before, both my father and uncle fought (actually fought) in World War 2 and this, added to the two WW2 novels I have just read, got me searching around in the lead pile for the pack of Artizan 8th Army figures I bought in a sale at one of the shows a year or two ago.

Thinking that the Norway campaign (which my uncle fought in) might make for some good skirmishes (having just read James Holland's The Odin Mission) I also ordered the Crusader Rate of Fire Rules as a pdf, although, sadly they seem to involve counters; which I detest on a wargames board. Maybe I will use the Great War rules instead as the Norway campaign had very little armour (none on the British side) so we are really just talking about infantry and artillery. I also ordered a squad of early British infantry from BEF Miniatures which arrived very quickly.

BEF's excellent early war British Squad. Seven rifleman (including an NCO) and a Bren gunner.
Mike Owen sculpted both the 8th Army and the BEF early British but they are somewhat different in style. With the BEF figures he went for more proportional rifles which makes them look much nicer than the over-sized guns and (especially) bayonets on the 8th Army figures. However, it's a small range so I will have to look for things like machine guns elsewhere. Crusader Miniatures do early British although they don't have the characteristic chest-carried gas mask cases which the BEF ones do.
For the Germans, Crusader do early WW2 figures (including MG 34 teams) and Artizan do figures in greatcoats (although the Norwegian campaign was in April and May it was still quite snowy). The figures I am really interested in, however, are the Brigade Games German mountain troops, which will be an unusual alternative.
The Artizan figures are easy to paint but I did have some trouble finding suitable paints in the Humbrol range. As a reference I have Brayley and Ingram's excellent Khaki Drill and Jungle Green which poses people in genuine WW2 uniforms. The nature of photographic reproduction being what it is, however, meant that in different pictures the uniforms the troops wore in North Africa looked completely different. I suspect mine are a bit too dark but it was either that or much too pale. I am happier with the colour of the webbing which definetely had a green tint to it. Here I mixed some Humbrol 72 (khaki drill) with Humbrol 120 (pale green) for the right shade. I have now based the rest of the 8th Army pack and have already started the Norway British (I've now painted their skin and the uniform base colour since I took this picture). Finding the correct colour for them was much easier, Humbrol 26, but theire is a surprising difference from my current tin and the one I am used on my WW1 British.

Although I am not going to get that many figures done for May I have quite a lot nearly finished so in the next week or so I hope to complete my Great Northern War Russian Command, my Elizabethan gun and crew, a couple of Norman Knights, some more Zulus and Zulu War British and my Wars of the Roses cannon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Not painting in Switzerland...

Sir Henry Havelock: hero of the Indian Mutiny

Well, here I am in not very sunny Geneva with a lot of health ministers. This is a shame as my painting was going quite well lately. I finished a Gripping Beast plastic Viking test figure and will put up something next week on my Dark Ages blog. Not entirely convinced, I have to say.

Almost finished as well is the long awaited Musketeer Miniatures Great Northern War Russian command figures I bought at Salute and, likewise, I hope to have these on the blog before the end of next week. I'm also working on some more Zulu War figures, a couple of Fantasy pirates from Black Scorpion, some Foundry Swashbucklers, a Perry Wars of the Roses cannon, some Crusader Normans and my first Immortal Miniatures plastic Greek. The usual focus, in fact! Basically, I am trying to finish some of the figures that have been sitting on my desk for far too long. The Norman knights have made an appearance because we have been doing Hastings as part of Guy's common entrance revision and I enjoyed painting the Wars of the Roses mounted figures recently. I used to hate painting mounted figures until I discovered that if I stuck the figures on the horses before painting it was a lot easier.
I didn't have anything on my camera's card to illustrate this entry with except this bust of Sir Henry Havelock which is tucked away in the basement of the Lord Mayor of London's official residence, Mansion House. The bust is by William Behnes who was also responsible for the statue of Havelock in Trafalgar Square (which Red Ken Livingstone wanted to replace with something more ""relevant"). I took this picture a few weeks ago when I took Charlotte on "take your daughters to work day" and I arranged a tour of the Mansion House for her.
Anyway, given the paucity of pictorial material available to me it leads quite nicely on to my contemplation of Mutineer Miniatures Indian Mutiny range which is coming along very nicely; with new British Infantry, Gurkhas and Highlanders out (oh, no more tartan!). Also very welcome are the first scenic items which include some houses and we are promised parts of the walls of Delhi soon. The latter has helped crystallise what part of the war I want to concentrate on. Street fighting in the city fits more with the skirmish nature of the figures, I think. Anyway, it will be back to my Mutiny figures once I have cleared the current figures I am working on.
I notice that the first of the Great War Miniatures Crimean War figures are out and hope that I can resist these. I am still thinking about the Matabele figures but they are really too similar to Zulus to think about at present and I still have a lot of Ngoni to paint too.
Currently I am reading the novel The Odin Mission by James Holland which I picked up in the airport on the way out here yesterday. Its an OK time waster and those who say it is a World War 2 Sharpe are spot on but the war in Norway makes an unusual World War 2 setting. Militarily, it seems quite accurate even including the German Panzerkampfwagen Neubaufahrzeuge VI which was used in this campaign, where it performed rather poorly.

The original Panzer VI: way before the Tiger. Photographed in Lillehammer in April 1940

My Uncle Keith served in Norway with the Sherwood Foresters before transferring to the Airborne Division later in the war so I am, yet again, toying with the idea of getting a few WW2 troops for a skirmish game (The Two Fat Lardies rules for WW2 seem quite popular at Guildford). Failing that the Warhammer Great War rules would probably work for a platoon level game.

Right, it's time for a Martini I think. Let's hope my lovely new friend from Guyana is in the bar!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Artillery Piece of the Month: Zulu Wars Hale Rocket team

Well, one day late for April's artillery piece of the month but here it is. Empress Miniatures Hale rocket team with a couple of 24th Foot soldiers to assist.

More about it here: