Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bring and Buy, ... and a question.

Bring and Buy, 2015:

Twelve French Horse Grenadiers of unknown provenance. The
two Minifigs Cuirassiers have been added to the picture by
way of comparison.
I didn't bring, but I did buy... a little.  The more or less annual modelling/war games Bring and Buy was held at the Woolston Club this year, and, ever in search of a bargain in matters of interest, I hied me along to said event.  In the past it had been held in the depths of winter, the first weekend in July. The two-month difference was much appreciated; it was a pleasant half-hour walk to the venue. 

Quite a colourful unit.
A bit of touching up here and there is probably called for: especially
the horses.

Well, I say half an hour; more like three quarters, stopping off at a petrol station on the way to buy a bacon and egg pie and a sausage roll by way of brunch, and stopping off at Linwood Park (also on my way) to sit in the late morning sun and eat.  Most pleasant.  There's been a howling southerly blasting through here since that evening...

Arrived at the venue, I thought that, as I was on a very limited budget, I would do a circuit of the stalls before coming to a decision. Although I could have bought more, only two items really demanded that I part with cash.  First was the above lot of 12 French Horse Grenadiers.  As I had been wanting to get such a unit for my Imperial Guard anyhow, $25 seemed to me a goodish price for these colourful guys.  If I do put in an order for Minifigs later this year, it will now be for Garde Chasseurs a Cheval instead. Meantime, I was glad to return to this vendor the half-dozen British infantrymen that had snuck in to my inventory during the Waterloo event in June.

A certain amount of touching up will be needed, but nothing major - except for the horses.  I don't especially like grey war games horses, so although maybe three will be done as dappled greys, a couple more as blue roans, the rest will be bays, with maybe a couple of chestnuts.  

Palm trees - enough for a smallish oasis.
For the rest, these palm trees insisted that they were a 'must-buy' for my WW2 Desert War, my involvement in Brian's 'Harad' Project, and, as it transpires, my Army Men project.  Four bucks for eight trees seemed to me a bargain.  I could have bought more, but I'm not building a forest!  In the following pictures, the 45mm tall figure gives an idea of scale.  The PzIV is a toy from China at I estimate 1:64 scale.
Figure (45mm) added for scale, along with 1:64 (?) tank.

As these palm trees came without bases I had to find something upon which to mount them. Most fortunately I had some off cut bits of wood that had been kicking around against just such an eventuality.  I've bevelled the edges very roughly with a craft knife thing, but further work will need to be done with file or rasp.  A coating of sand will finish them off.  I was told that the trees could be painted with acrylics, after a good soapy wash, but I'm not sure I'll trouble. Possibly a dry brush of the trunks and the trees an overall ink wash will suffice.  If I do anything at all. Twenty-nine dollars, plus two to get in the door - that was well under half what I had budgeted for, and I came away well satisfied.  

What to do with these?

French Foreign Legion done up as ACW Union.
What is wrong with this picture?
These picture have nothing at all to do with the Bring and Buy sale, but rather with my sorting out my American Civil War armies.  Long, long ago, to augment my Union Army, I bought several boxes of Airfix French Foreign Legion figures.  From these I formed four regiments, of which three are depicted in the above picture.  Two comprise 27 figures (HQ of 3 plus 24 'other ranks') and the other 21.
The unit on the right of the picture painted as coloured.
The C.O. is left 'white'.  The darkened caucasian
features make an odd impression, I find.
As you can see, I never quite finished painting them.  Partly I think this was due to my not being able to make up my mind about them.  It was the havelocks, really.  Unpopular with the soldiers, they disappeared rapidly, so they are kind of unhistorical.  I was not keen to carve them away though.  In any case, painted white, they look quite elegant.  These are nice units
I was going to make them into a Coloured Brigade, and you might have noticed the deeper tan of the fully marching unit (except for the paler C.O.).  Interestingly enough from the photographs, the darker complexions do not much alter the generally Caucasoid appearance of these guys. But really, I still haven't been able to get past the havelocks.  Of course, the rifles look wrong, as well.  So I'm thinking they are likely to be recruited holus bolus into the Army of Azuria, or possibly of the Door - a vaguely Turkish opponent for Azuria and Ruberia... Unsure yet.  Any suggestions?

What of the fourth regiment. then?  Here it is: 
New York Zouaves: Airfix French Foreign Legion with
turbans added.  That two of the figures have been broken I hope
was due to accident and not 'plastic fatigue'...

These guys were painted up at least thirty years ago.
These are Union Zouves, Airfix Foreign Legion figures with plasticine turbans added. Understrength at 21 figures, this is, of course, a veteran/crack unit.  It will remain part of my Union Army, and was anyway part of a different brigade from the three other FL-figure units. Unfortunately two of the figures have snapped off at the ankles, and I don't know why or how. The flags will have to be removed from the other three, and that will have to be done carefully, I suspect.  They have been hand drawn on paper and coloured with the type of pens used to make overhead transparency pictures.  The distinctly 'lozenge' shape is not accidental - I find that paper flags 'drape' better if you begin with that shape.


  1. The Grenadier a Cheval are Warrior Miniatures.
    You can still buy them.

    1. Thanks for the info. I have some Warrior infantry (Austrians) but I would not have guessed these horsed figures were the same manufacturer. Different designer, maybe?

    2. Warrior Miniatures has had several changes of figures and lines. They had a nice Renaissance line that is out of production. I asked John Holt of Warrior and he said the molds were worn out. You can see some of them in George Gush's "Rennaisance Armies".

  2. I am being sorely tempted to buy some Napoloeonics.... after seeing these I'll pop over to Warrior's site. Their prices are very good. Great conversions on the Airfix guys, andI should leave the havelocks as an oddity.

    1. I don't want to lose the havelocks. But I do think these guys are destined for another army.

  3. Hi, as a collector of all types of classic period toy figures,and model figures too,I would say those AIRFIX figures have Plastic Fatigue! Breaking points usually are the lower part of the legs. Early AIRFIX figures are prone to this condition.
    Beano Boy

    1. I've been pretty lucky so far with my Airfix figures in that regard. I'll try gluing them back, and hope for the best.

  4. Nice pick up with the gren a cheval Ion.
    Your conversion of foreign legion to zouaves is amazing! You should keep the kepi/havelock ones to do First Manassas!


    1. Thanks, James. Maybe those FFL guys will remain in my Union army for a while longer. I have to prioritize my projects, and I have other things to do with the remainder of my ACW armies.

  5. The Airfix Foreign Legion are the later version (which I think are very well sculpted) and came out in about 1976-7. I haven't suffered from plastic fatigue on the ones after say 1973. All my British Waterloo Infantry seem fine but the earlier ones seem to be much more vulnerable.

    1. My earliest Airfix plastics are CSA bought in 1974. I suspect an accident might have helped, together with a certain age induced brittleness might have caused the damage. I just hope it's fixable.