Thursday, February 20, 2020

AHPC X Femme Fatale for Repeat Balloon Ride

A 28mm figure of a Femme Fatale for my second balloon ride of the Challenge, this one taking me to the summit of the Snowlord.  Like many challengers the ability to make use of the balloon had me scrambling through the lead pile for suitable female figures.  (I also hit the e-commerce route for some figures that were ordered in 2019 but just arrived this week.)  This figure is a 28mm Reaper Bones figure bought on spec for the Hero Theme Round a few Challenges back.  The plan was to have something mid cold war themed in front of the Berlin Wall and word smithed to fit Bowie's Heroes.  But that project got sidelined by a case of the February's and she's sat in the lead pile ever since.

Anyway for a Reaper Bones figure, quality was pretty good and she painted up nicely.  There was a small mold line that came off easily and those slender legs don't give her much support and she bent over with too much pressure on the brush but that was easily handled.  I've painted her up as a generic Femme Fatale for cold war pulp stories using as my muse....
The young Deneuve in les Parapluies de Cherbourg (sigh)
I've never seen the film, it's supposed to be good, but I can fanboy over la belle Deneuve all day long.  I have been to Cherbourg twice on sailing expeditions with my dad.  It's a typical port city with not much to offer it, but it's in France and there's some interesting harbour fortifications on the breakwaters.

No bonus points on this one, it's my second balloon ride and we've been drinking Italian reds to go with some mighty fine stripling steaks recently.  But's she's my balloon ride ticket to the Summit and what ever the Snowlord has in store for me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

AHPC X Bengal Lancers for Millsy's Millpond

Next stop on my tour of Challenge Island is Millsy's Millpond.

This challenge location (paint a mini dating to the 20th century) was both easy and difficult for me.  Easy because I had lots of figures dating back to the 80s and hard because I had to choose only 1!  In the end I opted for two figures that I acquired at the very end of the 1990s foregoing extra points for figures that I actually wanted to paint.

I have two 25mm cavalrymen from Minifigs Colonial range representing members of the 10th Bengal Lancers (Hodgson's Horse) on the North-West Frontier.  Like most current regiments in the Indian Army, the regiment was raised during the Indian Mutiny (or First War of Independence) and is still in existence as one of the armoured regiments in the modern Indian Army. I base my painting on the figure on the cover of the classic Osprey (I obtained my copy used in 1991 in Ottawa).

The figures have all the classic minifig's attributes - stiff toy solder pose, limited detail but a lot of simple elegance.  And like all minifigs they take a coat of paint nicely if treated with proper respect.  I used figures with swords as the lance armed figures in the lead pile suffered from droopy-lance and I wasn't in a converting mood.  I kept the paint job fairly toy soldier simple but tried to make basing that looked suitable for the Khyber and similar locales.

Like many a tail from the the North West Frontier the details are a little hazy on the back story on the figures, but here goes.  I think that I acquired these circa 1999 and most certainly was gifted them by my old gaming pal Ross MacFarland owner of the Battle Game of the Month blog.  I relocated from my native Halifax, Nova Scotia to Regina, Saskatchewan in February 1998 (long story suffice to say that I've always believed that if your going to C*ck up your life, do a thorough job of it).  I know that I started my Wascanastan project immediately on arrival, inspired by Ross' With MacDuff to the Frontier Rules and project.  If you were poking around the inter web circa 1999 you may remember my AARs posted under the guise of the Peshawar Gazette on Ross' older blog.  By that time Ross was making the transition upwards to 54mm scales and gifted me a variety of wonders from his lead pile, I think this took place about 1999 during a trip home.  I don't know when Ross got these figures but certainly no later than the mid 90s and possibly much earlier.  You never can tell with Minifigs, indeed the same figures are still available today from Caliver Books.

There are also two family connections to the NW Frontier and the Bengal Lancers.  The first is that my Great Grandfather was an officer in the Northamptonshire Regiment and served in the Tirah Campaign of 1897.  My dad has great grand dad's medal from the campaign and my grandmother was born in India while great granddad was posted there.  The second is that my mother was a member of the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers, a Nova Scotian youth horse group.  In 1949 she was part of the group that performed a Musical Ride at the Canadian National Exhibition in getting very good reviews in the Toronto press.  I have seen photos of 16 year old mum mounted and lance armed in Tunic and Topi but could not find a copy.   She did cut quite a figure.
Points wise that 2 25mm cavalry men at 10 points each plus the 30 points for the Challenge Location.  I will leave it to the minion du jour to judge the points worthiness of the "this is how I got the figures" and "mum was a Bengal Lancer" stories.

That makes my fifth Challenge Location and my fifth merit badge, so I'll be booking a balloon ride to the Snowlord's Summitt shortly.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

AHPC X 28mm Hanoverians

So far my posts have been mostly focused on my odd little naval projects plus other odds and sods.  This time a round I am returning to the project that occupied almost my entire Challenge IX the Seven Years' War. 

For Sander's Sand Dunes the requirement is RED and it think that these 8 Hanoverian infantry men fit the bill.  These guys are from Hanoverian Battalion 4B known by the inhaber's name, which was Marschalk until the end of 1760 and Crashaur after that.  I tend to complete these units in three batches of eight, and this is the third batch stated but the second completed for the regiment.  Batch 1 was posted late in AHPC IX.  Batch 2 was primed in time for that Challenge and started over the summer but languished about 75% done by the start of this year's affair.  Hopefully I'll get them finished once this year's madness is over.

Once again these are 28mm Front Rank SYW figures and very nice to paint up.

That's 8 28mm foot figures @5 points each plus the location bonus for a 70 point total.  Plus I get to update my map...

And my scout badge collection...

Sunday, February 2, 2020

More War of the Pacific Ships

Another set of 1/2400 ships from Tumbling Dice for my War of the Pacific project.  As obscure as this war is I've found a small community of bloggers indulging in the same project.

The two ex-USN Monitors

First up is the last of the Peruvian ironclads, the monitors Manco Cápac and Atahualpa (those Inca names are tough to spell).  These were ex-USN Canonicus class single turreted monitors which were built too late to see service in the ACW.    They were sold to the Peruvians, fitted with fore and aft sailing rigs and minimal superstructure and relocated south and around the Cape Horn (this being before the Panama Canal).   Must have been one hell of a rough journey given the low freeboard.  

This shows the completed ships vs the original.  It also shows the sea bases included by Tumbling Dice and how they fit on my 50mm long pdf bases.

Once in Peruvian waters they were used for coastal defence and fought the Chilean fleet  in the final phases, including a duel with the Huascar after her capture, but were eventually scuttled to prevent capture.

One of the originals, as much of a bodge as my models.

The models are admittedly complete bodges.  TD doesn't make a Canonicus class monitor so I used a pack of the USS Monitor model, which was 20% shorter than these ships but it was the closest available.  I added the rig from spare fore and aft sails from one or the other TD packs of ships.  My best guess is that they came from the two Cochrane class ironclads, which I modelled mostly unrigged as they removed as much rigging as possible during a mid-war refit.  The final models are nowhere nearly being replicas of the two ships.  But they look like Civil War monitors with rigging and rudimentary superstructure attached, which is exactly what they need to look like.  If any one cars to model exact replicas Spithead miniatures makes them in 1:1200.  i didn't go that route as I like the cost and space effectiveness of 1/2400 and couldn't figure out how to order anything from Spithead.

Chileans at sea

Next up is a squadron of Chilean unarmoured ships, or Cruising ships in the Victorian vernacular.  There's no specific models for these in the TD range, so I sued whatever models looked about right based on period photos, rough dimensions available and models on hand.  We have the corvettes O'HigginsChacabuco and Mallaganes, all of which had an active part in the war.  

Last of all  is  the schooner Covadonga which had a history rivalling the Huascar's.  originally Spanish, she was captured by the Esmeralda (still on the work bench) and brought into Chilean service.  She had a key role in the Battle of Punta Gruesa where she outgunned the Peruvian ironclad Independencia,  who then ran aground and was lost.  Covadonga was sunk later in the war while on blockade duty by a rowboat rigged as a floating mine.

The original Covadonga.

Points wise that's six 1/2400 ships for a whopping 18 points.  Finally I'll leave you with the following video.  My wife and I are huge fans of Carol Burnett and I can't say the name O'Higgins (Higgins or Wiggins) without releasing my inner Mr. Tudball.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

War of the Pacific Ironclads

Peruvians in front, Chileans in the background.  It turned out that only one shot of the Peruvian squadron  on its own came out, but my group shots have the Peruvians in the fore.

To follow on from an earlier post I have 4 of the major warships from the War of the Pacific fought between Chile and Peru from 1879-1884.  Back in the earlier 80s the Yaquinto board game "Ironclads" described it as a "Chilean-Peruvian Banana War", which is surely a misnomer as it was fought over the Atacama Desert where very little grows and certainly not bananas.  The key resource at stake was actually nitrate deposits from guano deposits at the large sea bird nesting sites, was a war fought over bird sh*t.  Actually this war is also known as the Saltpetre War but 10 years earlier peru and Chile had allied  against Spain was in the Guano War.
Independencia leads Union

In addition to the Huáscar from my earlier post, back from the Peruvian fleet included these two vessels the Ironclad frigate Independencia and the unarmored corvette Union plus other oddities on the work bench.  

Independencia was armed with big rifles on pivots bow (8") and stern (7") plus 6" rifles on the broadside.  She was the Peruvian navies second most important ship after the Huascar but was written off after running aground in the war's first action.   Union was an unarmoured corvette packing a useful armament.  
Spot the doofus moment.  Note how the Blanco Encalada has more smoke and a flag.  I decided that I needed to fix this!

On the Chilean side of things we have the two central battery ironclad sisters Almirante Cochrane and Blanco Encalada built in the UK and completed just three years before the war began. They were named for naval heroes from the Chilean War of Independence, Cochrane of course being the Scot who was the inspiration for Horatio Hornblower.  They packed a punch of 9" rifles and feature the angled gun ports to give wider arcs of fire.  Cochrane survived until 1934 but her sister ship was torpedoed by the torpedo gunboat Almirante Lynch in the Chilean civil war of 1891 and was one of the first casualties of Mr Whitehead's invention.
Coinage added to give idea of scale.  Canadian quarter at the bow, loonie at the stern.

These are all Tumbling Dice 1/2400 model, and again I'm very pleased with these casting.  The Cochrane class come packaged in a pair, as do Huáscar  and Independencia.  Tumbling dice don't make specific models for the unarmored ships so I've used more generic models for these, including Union and HMS Amethyst
Look carefully, I've fixed the smoke on Blanco Encalada and took her flag off int he process.  Easily fixed however.

I seem to be following trends this Challenge as 19th century South American wars are on an upswing.  The Perry's released figures for a slightly earlier war across the Andes and there's a recently published set of rules for the land operations of the War of the Pacific.

These TD models have been scored at 3pts a pop, so that's a whopping 12 points for me.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

More 18th Century Civilians

Another quick and small post from me, two 28mm foot figures.  There are another pair of 18th Century gentry from Front Rank.  As with my previous post these were great to paint and I had a lot of fun on these two.

I've christened the fellow with the stein JP which can represent Jean Pierre or Jan-Paul depending on which side of the Rhine we're fighting over.  The name comes from a JP that my Dad and I met in the bar of Dad's sailing club (although I think that similar characters inhabit bars of course clubs, cricket fields, dart clubs and rock hound club houses).
Nothing much to add, I dressed these two less ornately than the lady and gentleman in my prior post.  The figures were cleanly cast, had the right level of detail for me and were easy to pose together.
Anyway that 2 28mm figures for another 10 points as I crawl towards my 500 point goal.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

18th Century Vignette for Curtgeld

Over at Challenge Island, one can hop between locations using Sarah's Balloon service for the ticket price of a female miniature.  Here's my entry to hop from Cook's Crevasse on the west side of the island to Sanders Sandunes on the east coat.  It also serves as my "curtgeld"  or entry fee for the challenge and as such will be the prize for some unfortunate who completes the Snowlords Challenge.

I have two 28mm figures from Front Rank to serve as both my balloon ticket and my entry fee.  I don't have a whole bunch to say about these.  I really like Front Rank's figures, they paint up really nicely, and I had fun doing picture searches of Reynolds and Gainsborough portraits doing research on them. 

I'm not sure that Mademoiselle is having any of Monsieur's nonsense.

I intended these to be any generic Europeans.  However my better half (who has costume knowledge) informed me that the gold was more likely to be found on the French.

Funny perspective here.  It looks like M. is down on one knee from this angle.

Another stop on my island tour.

And another merit badge for my sash

I offer the above proof that my wife and I had a glass of prosecco last night in honour of the balloon ride, and because it was dang cold.  Unlike others in the Challenge I know where the champagne flutes are kept.

Points wise I believe this scores as
  • 2 28mm foot figures = 10 points
  • Curtgeld bonus =25 points
  • Sarah's Balloon Service =30 points
  • Bonus for prosecco =5 points
  • Total 70 points
Two other notes.  I will leave it to Curt to choose the short straw to see who gets these figures.  Also I would like balloon transport to Sanders' Sanddunes please.