Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Recently acquired Russians with their new flags:
Pavlov and Archangelsk Grenadiers
My definition of 'multitasking' is, as you might imagine, 'leaving things undone'.  This is not mere sarcasm by any means.  It is just that for this or that reason one feels the urge, desire or compulsion to move onto other things before the thing one is actually doing is quite complete.  Let the following explain...
General and staffs.  The unpainted fellow in the bicorne hat
is an Italieri plastic Russian general figure, and mounted
on one of the hardwood bases that formerly accommodated
4 infantrymen.
Last weekend I bought from Paul ('Jacko') his Napoleonic Russian Army (at a price rather less than I had been prepared to pay).  I believe Paul is going through a gradual process of rationalising his armies.  Now, I had from him a few years ago a force of 4 x 24-figure (I think Old Glory) units, in bicornes and 'bushy' plumed shakos, added to which was a small 15-figure group of Minifigs jagers. I subsequently bought from elsewhere a Minifigs howitzer with 4 crew figures.  The two musketeer units I took an historical liberty with by eking out their numbers with 4 mitre-hatted grenadiers. Clearly these units dated from before the sartorial and millinery reforms of Tsar Alexander I.
Russian horse artillerymen with a bigger gun than that
with which they arrived.  The trunnions and cap-
squares were added after the gun barrel was glued down.
See infra

To this corps, last weekend's purchase added post-reform units as follows:
1 x 24 figures Pavlov Grenadiers (of course!);
1 x 24 figures Line Grenadiers with kiwer shako and the tall, thin plume:
2 x 24 figures Line Musketeers with kiwer shako;
1 x 20 figures Ditto
1 x 20 figures Jager
1 x 12 figures Cuirassiers
1 x 12 figures Dragoons
12 (horse) gunners with I'm not sure how many guns - at least three;
1 General with his ADC
1 light cavalry officer to command the Horse
An extra foot officer and flag bearer, who may find themselves drafted into the artillery!   The flag-staff, reduced in length, would look much like a trail spike...

Three units of line infantry.  Only the centre
one needed a new flag.  It isn't easy to distinguish
its pale grey (silver) Maltese cross from the
white on white of the near unit.
The inventory I already possessed and these purchases were still works in progress, as you will see from these pictures.  But in the last few days I have added flags to the units lacking them, painting the staffs white or black.  Some flags I had already prepared a long time back, but one more was needed for an infantry unit, and two for the cavalry.  The images for the cavalry flags were copied from a source found in an internet search, and the Archangelsk infantry flag from a file I already had downloaded.  The latter I forgot to skew before printing, but as the flagstaff is nearly upright, I let it pass..

Flags from various sources copied to a single picture file for
copying and flipping, resizing and reshaping, previewing
... and printing.

Among the new additions were 6 four-figure stands on commercial bases made from hardboard or customwood, or some such material.  Paul allowed it was one of those 'seemed like a good idea at the time' things that he rather regretted. Fortunately their removal was a whole deal easier than it seemed like to go before I started.  Those bases will come in handy for something else, I dare say.
Still work to do, enough to make them 'mine'.  But I doubt
that now I can match Paul's paint work.

Now,  I like to fasten my metal figures to cardboard bases with PVA.  But before PVA dries, the figures are likely, whilst you're not looking, to slide around, especially on a glossy surface, and fetch up half overhanging one side.  To prevent that - or at least to reduce that effect - I etch the surface, cross-hatching with a sharp object.  The point of a scissors blade is ideal.  It needs to be sharp enough to scratch, but not so sharp as to cut.  A few other figures - not many - needed rebasing or relocating on their bases.


Most of this unit got new bases.
Some of the cannon also needed their gun barrels fastened.  One cannon's barrel was wanting trunnions.  These I fashioned from toothpick, and fixed them in position after gluing down the gun barrel.  At maybe 3mm they are overlong, but even then they were fiddly to place.  Then capsquares, fashioned from cotton bud tubing went over the top.
These are from my existing inventory, that I received in
mint condition (from Paul) years ago.... 
 As you can see from this group of four pictures (1 above and 3 below), I hadn't really finished the guys I already had.  But the incentive of a complete - or near as dammit complete - army it apt to alter priorities!
... as are these jager...

... and these fellows.  

Minifigs Russian gunners and howitzer.  That bull really needs
to be yoked to a cart.  I'll let him keep his horns...

Splendid fellows.  I was planning a flag with a green field, but
I think I prefer the white after all.
At last my Russians have cavalry support: dragoons and cuirassiers. They were awarded their colours last night.

Cuirassiers.  The godawful seat of the rear rank
trumpeter reminds me: these figures have yet to be glued on
that'll have to wait fo the horse furniture to be painted up...

'Big men on big horses'  Hinchliffe cuirassiers and
a Prince of August dragoon.

Some strays - nothing to do with the Russian army purchase. A couple of Hinchliffe cuirassiers that seem to be AWOL from their parent squadron. Beside them a Prince of August dragoon, souvenir of a home casting session with Jacko. He tells me his home casting is going well now - when it is going at all.  It is a very nice figure.

Red lancers.  Minifigs.
I am reminded of a small shipment of Napoleonics and assorted stuff Brian O'Sullivan sent to me earlier in the year.  Just oddments he didn't need, and which he thought might find a home in my own collection.  The pick of the lot was this little group - these 8 lancers.

They didn't look like that when I got them, and I already had two 12-figure lancer units.  But why not...?  No reason indeed...  So: there they are, the Red Lancers of the Imperial Guard.   You should have seen them when I mistakenly gave them red shabraques.  Man, they looked spectacular.  

The four or five Minifigs infantry that came with them might go towards bringing the 11th Division (a.k.a. 15th Light Infantry) up to strength. The 11th Division is becoming something of an eclectic unit, with 1st and 3rd generation Minifigs and figures from other provenances as well.  There were a couple of dragoons in addition, which, having no unit to attach to for the moment, might wait on staffs, or be added to logistic elements as escorts, say. Unfortunately, three or four of items needed a bit of remedial work. That's fine: figures so resurrected add to the numbers.  But a couple of them were so resistant to surgery they had to be deep sixed, or set aside for some other purpose - such as casualty markers, say.  Pity: I hate having to do that. One of the lancers Brian sent me had to be given a horse that fortunately I had going spare.  The one he was riding simply had to be put down, poor thing...

Russian WIP.  I bought the overflying German FW190s
years and years ago.  Only recently did even this much work on them.
All this has come in the middle of doing work on my WW2 Russians and Germans for 'Big Battles' - operations types of games.  First thing to do is to discover what I have in my inventories.  I'm none too sure!  What you see in these pictures is but a small proportion - especially of my German army.
Germans used in recent One Hour War Games.

British 8th Army figures.  2" mortars and Boys ATR
scratchbuilt and using 1st generation Airfix figures.
About a week ago I was asked about my 8th Army inventory.    I have to admit, it doesn't amount to all that much - a rather neglected project on one of my favourite campaigns of the war.  On the right is just about my whole collection of Matchbox and 2nd generation Airfix figures.  On the closer box most of the figures are painted, and some even have their bases flocked sanded landscaped ... done.

A couple of the Vickers MMGs have been placed in the 'down' position, which is much better if you want seated figures for gunners. The very observant reader might espy a couple of Boys anti-tank riflemen on the near box as well.  A have made five, four of them using the 1st generation Airfix bren gunner.  He makes a pretty poor bren gunner, but a superb ATR man.

A few 8th army vehicles...

In this box a few vehicles, in paticular a couple of kit-bashed light trucks, and two Grant tanks. The farther one of the pair is Airfix, missing its commander's cupola and hatch.  Not sure how I'm going to fix that.

Meanwhile, the two 25pr artillery pieces above will likely get a new paint job in some desert color, and added to another already painted and a fourth yet to be assembled to form a troop (or higher level unit) of field artillery.

I sure have plenty to keep me occupied for the time being!


  1. very nice and very impressive!

  2. Yes I like the idea of rationalising collections of things, and avoiding the impulsive acquisition of the next cool thing, if you can manage it! Looking forward to seeing some progress on these Russians Ion. Looks like just some consistent basing will get most of them battle ready, and not too much painting needed!

    1. No: not a whole lot of work needed now at all! In fact I'll probably do the flocking in the next few days to clear time for going back to the WW2 stuff.

      Now that my Russians have a reasonable body of horse, I might resume the 'Retreat from Smolensk' narrative...

  3. There is a satisfaction to rescuing things.

    1. I seem to do quite a bit of that sort of thing. But Minifigs horses are a beggar to fix if they break at the legs (or the tails, for that matter). A couple simply refused to reassemble however carefully I applied the glue.

      The 20-25mm plastic Prussian Army I acquired about 4 years ago was about to be binned in its entirety by its owner, dissatisfied with the work he had done on it, but looking towards building a WSS period army in 28mm scale. I took it off his hands even though it doesn't really match my metal armies, and, though the cavalry still needs a lot of work, it's pretty near finished.

  4. Let me know if you need anything for your 8th Army - I think I have surplus Airfix, Matchbox and ESCI lying about.

    Cheers, Dave

  5. I have to admit I haven't given them much thought for one heck of a long time. Thanks for the offer, but I think I'm pretty good on the figures front. It's more the vehicles and AFVs that are wanting. At that, I don't really plan on adding very much more to what I have already, unless it is to be 2 pr ATguns and portees, or A10s or something.

    For a long time I organsided my 8th Army stuff around a cut-down version of the 2nd New Zealand Division after El Alamein. Then, 4th Brigade was detached, along with 22nd Battalion, to for the 4th Armoured Brigade. To fulfil its pursuit role, the British 4th light Armoured Brigade was attached. The Royal Scots Greys made then a fine 'Command Decision' armoured regiment that comprised (in CD terms) 1 Grant (representing four) and a 3 vehicle squadron each of Shermans, Crusaders and Honeys (as the numbers were actually nearer 20 than 15, 4 of each would have been more accurate. The Motor battalion was the King's Royal Rifle Corps (if memory serves correctly). The other two 'armoured' formations of the 4th LA were the Royal Dragoons and the King's Dragoons, both of which were armoured car units. As I didn't want two dozen armoured cars, I was inclined to field a 'stub' for each, but never got further than 1 Daimler and two Humbers. A second such squadron would certainly not have gone amiss.

    Priority for the moment is low, but I'll take a closer look in the next few weeks, and maybe kick it up a bit.

    1. I really like your Boys ATR - old school conversion! It reminded me of a conversion from Airfix Japanese & 8th Army v1 to make an Italian Solothurn ATR team - "Italian Army in the Desert" by George Gush, Airfix Magazine Annual 1973.

  6. 1973! That dates from before I found out that miniatures war gaming was a 'thing'! I don't have Italians, but my friend Paul does. He might well want to look into this Solothurn thing...

    Come to think of it, it was probably a pity Airfix never produced a little volume, companion to Bruce Quarrie's Afrika Korps and John Sandars's on the 8th Army, on the Italians in North Africa.