Sunday, January 27, 2013

Copplestone Castings White Russian Lancers in Chinese Service

Although I have, for me, a reasonable number of painted Chinese Back of Beyond figures I haven't done any for years.  When these came out just before Christmas, however, I knew that I had to get some for my Chinese warlord army.  

It's a very small unit but then they were just bodyguards for the warlord Chang T'sung-chang.  They were armed with Mauser automatic pistols, Da-Dao swords and bamboo lances.  The Copplestone figures don't come with lances but Foundry do bamboo lances so I got them from there. At present Copplestone don't make a command pack so I chopped off one of the lancer's hands and replaced it with a hand holding a Mauser pistol from one of my Bolshevik command figures. 

I actually had the relevant Osprey, Chinese Warlord Armies 1911-30, so painting reference was not a problem.  The only issue, really, is that my existing Warlord army is the one of Wu Pei-fu, the bitter enemy of Chang T'sung-chang, so now I will have to paint a force for Chang.  His provincial forces wore blue rather than the normal grey, grey-green or khaki so they might be a bit more interesting looking.  I have four unpainted foot soldiers I have just based but have run out of the model filler I use on my bases, annoyingly.  Off to Modelzone next week I think!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Not much progress on painting but more shopping...

The view in the Legatus's road last Friday afternoon

I realised that I haven't posted for three weeks and in that time everyone else whose blogs I follow seems to be turning out stuff at an amazing rate.

Two things have stopped me progressing on my painting.  Firstly, both my wife and son have gone down, at different times, with some of the nasty viruses around at present so I have been running around looking after them, getting medicine and plying them with drinks (they both got very dehydrated).  I'm not feeling too brilliant myself this evening and I had a nasty fall at the weekend on the ice underneath the snow in our drive. I've been limping around for nearly a week and literally bumped into local WAG Louise Redknapp today in the doctor's surgery car park, as my ability to change direction rapidly to avoid other people is much diminished.  Although if you have to collide with one of the neighbours...

The question tonight, therefore, is what is the best way to treat pain and a cold:  Lem Sip, Rioja or a Vodka Martini?  All three, I suspect, may not be a good idea.

We haven't been hit as bad as some parts of the country with the snow but four inches was enough to bring most of the transport to a halt here for a day at least.  The Legatus lives on a cul-de-sac so we don't get enough through traffic to clear the road of snow properly.  At least we didn't end up with a BMW in our garden like the family at the top of the drive. Rear wheel drive cars are rubbish in the snow!

The second thing that is taking up my time is work.  I am dealing with an imminent visit from Colombia which means that stuff keeps coming in until about midnight, so I am tapping away doing emails instead of painting.  I did get some painting done at the weekend and at least the snow helped provide rather brighter light than of late.

British base in Waziristan (well, actually, Yugoslavia)

Actually, I have nearly finished a small unit (8 figures) of Copplestone Back of Beyond cavalry.  I'm hoping a bit of work this weekend will see them finished.  I think the Russians I did a few months ago have got me interested in the period again so I might prepare some more during Dancing on Ice on Sunday.  Added to this are the new Empress "Jazz Age colonials" which currently only consist of three packs of Afghan tribesmen.  I picked up the widescreen (as opposed to the dreadful pan and scan) DVD of the Tom Selleck film High Road to China this week.  This rather underrated film, slated at the time for being sub-standard Indiana Jones (Selleck was Spielberg's original choice for the part), features a British camp in Waziristan, Waziri tribesmen (led by Brian Blessed!) and a final battle between warlord Chinese forces. It is very unlikely that you will ever get a more Back of Beyond film than this!  They even got the five coloured star on the Chinese officer's cap right! Painting these on 28mm figures has proved something of a challenge, I have to say.  All this has got me thinking about Waziristan so I hope Empress eventually produce some suitable British, Indian Army and Gurkha troops.  Copplestone make them but they come from the period when his figures were huge so I don't think they will match too well.


I've been buying a few more figures (as if I need any more) and today this whopping box of Matabele arrived from North Star (there is nothing like a big heavy box with a Nottingham post mark).  These are entirely Giles' fault and there looks to be about three years worth of work in here.  I also bought some Perry French Napoleonic light infantry on eBay as well as, at last, my second Copplestone elephant which I need for my stalled but not forgotten Zambezi campaign.  Or, as my particular friend Sophie pointed put the other day, Zambesi if I want to adopt period correct spelling.  The rest of my Crusader American Civil War regulars turned up (North Star is not the place to go if you want instant gratification - unlike Copplestone, for example) and I based those but ran out of spray undercoat.  This has now been rectified and I plan to move them along after my Back of Beyond cavalry.

I also based some of my Empress ECW cavalry figures and was surprised to find that they will work perfectly well with my existing Renegade figures.  They are delicate, however, and I broke one of the horses off its base but Empress came to the rescue with replacements so I took the opportunity to pick up a few pikemen.  I haven't looked at these compared with the Renegade figures yet but, again, they look quite large (although slimmer than the Renegades and with smaller heads).

Finally, today, I picked up the Black Powder supplement on the Peninsula War which is filled with the most delicious looking photographs.  I must not get distracted from Waterloo and Quatre Bras, however.

So, I think my cold is getting the better of me and I will retire and hope I feel up to finishing my cavalry tomorrow!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

First figures of 2013!

Well, I have finished my first figures of 2013!  Only three of them but they are enough to complete my unit of Dutch 27th Jäger.  This is my first completed Napoleonic unit in 28mm and I am delighted to have achieved this given the amount of work in uniforms of this period.  The only downside is it's taken me just a week over five years to paint them!  At this rate... No, don't even think about it!  The only good thing is that I have done eleven out of the 25 figures in the last seven weeks.  More about the 27th Jäger on my Quatre Bras and Waterloo blog which I now feel is a bit more respectable as a result!

Now I feel enthused to finish my Prussians who probably only need a couple of weeks concentrated effort to complete.  Next I have a battalion of French already based and I've even painted three of them.  I can use the same French against the Prussians and Dutch with just different flags, of course.  

Alongside the Prussians on the workbench at present I have a small Back of Beyond unit for which I received the final four figures from Copplestone Castings yesterday.  It's only an eight man unit but they are cavalry.  Still, I am enjoying painting them.  Other than that all the other figures (other than a few one-offs) are for my Argonauts project.  I will try and only keep three periods of figures on the workbench at any one time this year!

Resisting Temptation Part 2

So, here is how it goes.  As expected, as I looked at the North Star sale, various armies on (really quite big) discount floated across my still somewhat addled post Christmas-consciousness,  Why not get two 1866 armies?  How about a big batch of Louis XIV French?  I could use them for North America!  But, as I had hoped, the voice of measured reason floated up from the antipodes in the Middle Earthian shape of Scott. Everything he said in commenting on my last post was spot on. Phew!  Saved again.

Then, however, sitting on my other shoulder was Big Red Bat whispering about the French.  Now just looking at his excellent blog has me searching around for ancients to paint: I've just found some Macedonian pikemen to base as a result of one of his recent posts.  So I don't really need any more temptation from him!

All was well.  I looked at my half finished Prussians and moved on. This morning, however, Giles posted about the big Matabele impi on sale.  I'd completely missed that one.  I've been wanting to buy these since they came out.  Darkest Africa figures are the first metal 28mm soldiers I bought!  I could use them in my Zambezi campaign (well, not really).  I bought Zulu and Matabele: Warrior Nations by Glenn Lyndon Dodds  and enjoyed the novel The Shangani Patrol by John Wilcox.  Oh dear!  Temptation given in to once more!  At least it was the cheapest of all the options I was looking at (by £3).

I'm sure I will get on to them after I finish the 200 Zulus I have to do.  And the Ngoni.  And the Masai.  And finishing my Azande....

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Resisting temptation...

Resisting temptation is not one of the Legatus' key characteristics.  Indeed, my particular friend Sophie always maintains that my epitaph should be "Oh, alright then...".

Now, although I am very busy at present (I actually had to contribute to a brief for the Prime Minister today at ridiculously short notice) I have been trying to do a little bit of painting every day.  So collars, cuffs and turnbacks on my Dutch Jaegers today.  Not much but enough to move them along a bit.  Now, given the enormity of my lead (and plastic) pile and the geologically slow rate of my painting it would be palpably insane to be considering buying large numbers of new figures,  Today, however North Star have announced a sale.  Now there isn't very much there to tempt me except they have several deals on big collections of figures. 

A third of my painted French infantry

In particular, a force of 69 foot and 20 mounted of the Copplestone (mainly) sculpted Glory of the Sun/1672 French for £93, down from £156.  Now I should bear in mind that I have painted exactly three of these figures in the past few years, mainly because I have no idea as to how they fit in a wargaming/historical context.  The promised historical information on the Copplestone site never materialised.  But it's such a good buy!  I have always had this urge to get some figures from the 1650-1770 period but didn't want to do WSS (mainly because many people do it at Guildford already and I am contrary by nature).   I recently bought some British from this range but I can't find anything that shows the British fighting the French on land for the Dutch Wars.  In fact we were allies of them at some point.  Hmm.

The next offer I was tempted by is even more insane: two armies, Austrian and Prussian, from their 1866 range.  99 Prussians for £75 and 96 Austrians for £70.  This is for a range that is hopelessly incomplete as well but I have always had an interest in it because of the interesting uniforms and, perhaps, my Austrian heritage.   But given the pickelhauben hatted infantry at the top of this blog do I really need another bunch of pointy-helmeted troops?  If I want to do something from this period shouldn't I just do ACW?  Hmm.

The third temptation today (don't they always come in threes?) came about because I was searching for something else.  I can't even remember what it was now.  Anyway, there was someone selling Roco Minitanks.  My father used to buy me these in the early seventies and I loved their orange boxes and exciting blister packs that let you see the complete vehicle.  It wasn't some kit that would take hours to assemble; it was ready to go (on little wheels too!).  I may even still have some up in the loft.  It isn't the WW2 tanks I am interested in though, as I had a lot of these when I was younger.  I had the Minitanks catalogue and it had in it all sorts of exciting modern (at least in 1972) tanks in it.  I wanted Pattons and Chieftans and self propelled guns with really long barrels.  Maybe I could do some 1970s-set WW3 (like Team Yankee but 15 years earlier?)  I really liked the painting of the Centurion at the Imjin River on the cover of the catalogue I had.   Maybe Korean War?  Hmm!

Sometimes only a very big bottle of wine will do!

Well, the only solution is to have a glass of claret or three and wait until these feelings go away.  Just think of all the other figures that I really, really do want to paint (such as my Perry Cuirassiers) that I already own!  I have also been very impressed by everyone else's well thought out plans as to what they are going to paint this year, so I really don't need any distractions.  Hmm.