Monday, 30 March 2015

Ladies Night - or "Martha pass me another loaded musket"

One of the reasons I like playing Muskets & Tomahawks is the game involves side missions and quests that mean it is unlikely you will play the same game twice. One scenario will have you trying to protect the Colonels Daughter while the next you are tasked with defending a civilian outpost. The flip side is you need to have some less mainstream models - ie the said lady and a certain number of armed civilians to be threatened by Philip Madoc and his band of roaming Hurons (from the Welsh Valleys)
Don't tell them your name!
So we shopped around a bit and I picked up a few different female figures to fill the roles of supporting the men fighting, and swooning on cue. This also gives me a shameless excuse to watch the new series of Poldark on the BBC - just to see what the BBC costume dept have come up with that I can copy for 18th C dress colours I can copy - it's research!

First up is a nice rather well to do young lady who is going to represent the high class love interest. She is from Redoubt Enterprises "Bodys Bits" range. I had a bit of an issue cleaning the flash from the figure, and I cant work out what she has in her hand - I assumed a fan but it could be a flower? Anyway here she is - looking a little paler in the pic than in the flesh.

 Next is a more working class lady - actually the other half of the "posh totty" set from Redoubt - this is the ladies maid, but she will do as any female civilian.

More from Redoubt. Unlike the Lady & her Maid set these are armed - in fact they are busy loading muskets either for themselves or their menfolk. They're part of the French Indian Wars range - pack F&I 25 which has some interesting poses including loading and passing muskets around - useful for armed civilians defending their homes. The male parts of this pack will make an appearance later I'm sure.

Last is this older lady, again handing out muskets. This one is from Conquest Miniatures , available in the UK from Warlord Games. Pity that for some reason the Conquest pack has 8 figures in there but the Warlord one only has 7 - no idea why.

Here's the group shot - as you can see the Redoubt ladies are certainly more "robust" than the Conquest one, but a bit of variation is no bad thing in skirmish games.

So that's it for the Ladies. I'm still looking for some more female settlers, armed or not, so if anyone has any suggestions please shout out

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Civilising the Natives (well that's one point of view)

One of the earlier posts mentioned my efforts at painting Wargames Factory Militia for Muskets and Tomahawks.

That unit was supposed to be the more "backwoods" types in hunting shirts to represent Canadian Militia. As I mentioned, the box is split 50\50 with troops in buckskin and others in civilian dress. I've finally got a unit of civvies painted, but it was a bit of a slog.

That is not to say there was a problem with the figures - far from it, they were fairly easy to assemble and the detail is good as previously stated. The problem was me, and my kitten Roxy.

My problem was I just couldn't seem to make progress or get a them painted to the point I was happy with the result - in the end I decided I had wasted enough time and declared them "done" 

The other problem was Roxy. She's five months old or so and seems fascinated with toy soldiers. When I say fascinated, what I mean is she likes to pick them up in her mouth and run away with them - but so far just these Militia. She has stolen several - one officer discovered intact on the bed, a second rifleman found behind the sofa with one arm missing, and another on the stairs minus his gun. Much repairing was called for.

Having said all that, I was rather surprised that they did look ok when they got on the table at last.

Here is that officer, who seems to have survived his encounter with Roxy with only minor injuries and no doubt some recurring nightmares

As I mentioned before, these are very versatile figures and will be called into service as civilians, British, Canadian or American Militia. There are a few more to paint, but as far as the Muskets & Tomahawks project goes, it looks like I'm getting close to declaring "job done"

Monday, 16 March 2015

Chinese T26 - the tank not the menu code for sweet & sour

I've made a start on the T-26s for the Chinese Nationalist army. The models are Minairons and come 5 to a box for a very reasonable £17.00 - I got mine from the Plastic Soldier Company

The models themselves are very simple - two track units and upper and lower hull, with a choice of the single turreted A version or replacing that with the twin MG armed turrets of the B. The kit also includes a commander for the A version, and a hatch that can be open or closed. The kit has the early cylindrical turret with no rear turret MG, which marks them out as Model 1933s.

Assembly is simple and trouble free. The plastic is a different composition to others I have seen in kits of this nature, and for want of a better word "softer" without reaching the "bendy" stage some of the early Zvezda snap together Art of Tactic, but it seems to take normal Liquid Poly glue well enough.

Detail is adequate if not great, particularly around the running gear and sprockets which are basically smooth. As you can see in the pic the join between the upper and lower hull is not quite perfect on this one, but when painted I expect this to be invisible. Proportionally this looks very good, particularly the two turreted version. They come with an optional tank commander but as with the actual tank the detailing is "soft" and not as sharp as we have come to expect

I liked these little models, and I understand they were one of the first (if not the first) Minairons did. I also have some of their Pz IA and they have certainly improved, but the T26 is still acceptable if a little plain.  

This is kit with its 2 versions is a great because it adds another plastic (ie cheap) option to the gamer wanting to build an SCW or Early WW2 army. Given we already have the later conical turreted T26 from Zvezda and their flamethrower version we are starting to get spoiled for choice.

All the twos - Zvezda's SdKfz222 armoured car in 15mm

I have a new painting commission - 15mm WW2 Nationalist Chinese. I'm really looking forward to it too, as it is such a strange mix of vehicles and troop types.

One of the first up is a SdKfz 222 armoured car. I knew Zvezda did one in their "Art of Tactic" range and I thought this was a good opportunity to have a look at the kit. I did this with a bit of trepidation - while Art of Tactic models are usually described as quick builds, they sometimes are rather complicated, for example the Katyusha kit requires some fairly nimble fingers, and I had also read a few comments on TMP that suggested it was a bit of a challenging kit.

The kit is as usual for AoT reasonably priced at £3 or there abouts. It comes in 18 parts - which is quite high for AoT.

Suitably forewarned and with my trusty bottle of Liquid Poly AND a glass of whisky & ginger at the ready, I got stuck in, and..................

I think the guys on TMP must have been having a bad day. The kit went together quickly and easily, with no problems. I didn't particularly rush it but the whole thing took maybe 15-20 minutes and I was watching an episode of Grimm at the same time. All the parts were clean, well detailed and came off the sprue easily. I was very careful when removing stuff from the sprue not to damage any of the sharp edges and to clean the areas where they had connected to the sprue, but other than that it went together with remarkable ease. There was one tense moment right at the end when I was trying to get the hull top plate to seat properly with the sides, but when I lined it up right it clicked into place and stayed there, and almost no visible gap between the hull top and sides.

Overall detail is excellent, The only issue is the usual one with AoT kits - you cant model the turret hatch open, so no commander. In fact I would say this is the best 15mm version of the 222 I have seen, better even that the 1:72 scale ones available. I'm certainly going to pick up a couple for my 15mm Blitzkrieg era Germans. They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here's a close up which to me says only one - "beautiful"