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Sunday, 13 June 2021

1745 - A lengthy discourse or procrastination?

I've been planning the 1745 Project for some time. In fact, looking back at things, I first pledged to the Flags of War Kickstarter for figures back in 2018. Needless to say - this is not the oldest project \I have going, but it is one of the oldest since I moved continent in 2016. 

To date, there have now been three Kickstarter 'Waves' from Flags of War, and I have bought into each, so now, with the exception of the Irish Piquets,  (which I am now kicking myself I didn't get..) I now have a little of pretty much everything - 

I've actually had a long term hankering for a 1745 campaign or armies or battles. I suppose; having grown up with hugely conflicting and sometimes romanticised versions of the myth, having walked Culloden Moor in the rain, and learning to sing 'Hey Johnnie Cope' as a small child, it's inevitable that like most Scots, I would have some impression of the whole thing. I remember illustrations of how the Scot was depicted in contemporary or near contemporary prints and papers.   

'Sawney on the Bog House' att: James Gillray, (Wikipedia)

Untangling the myth from facts was immeasurably helped by Stuart Reid's 'Like Hungry Wolves' and '1745, A Military History of the Last Jacobite Rising', some contributions by John Prebble 'Culloden' and more recent publications such as 'The Army of George II 1727-1760' Peter Brown and 'The Lilies & The Thistle' by Andrew Bamford. There are also of course, the Osprey Books on uniforms, clothing and campaigns. With the one thing in common being the illustrations that show inordinate amounts of tartan. There are tartan breeks, tartan waistcoats, tartan coats, jackets, cloaks, hose, plaids, hats - in fact, a wealth of tartan. 

It's not worth re-hashing all the debate about tartans here, most readers will know that much of the tartan myth is a spurious 19th Century concoction at least partly to soothe injured pride in the far-flung Imperial outpost of North Britain. So we know that tartan would not have looked as we now know it. 

What we do have are contemporary or near contemporary illustrations such as the famous painting by David Morier:- 

'Culloden', David Morier via Wikipedia

Not to mention numerous near contemporary portraits of Lairds, Clan Chiefs, and other 'High Heid Yins' of that ilk. Many of them wearing extraordinary, and to the modern eye, ludicrous amounts of tartan.

I'm suspicious of such sources, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, that there was a real tendency to 'other' the Jacobites, and what easier way than to play up their barbarity of dress. It's the equivalent of all those Victorian illustrations of Africans with bones through their noses and grass skirts. Savages, of course. 

Then there was the proscription of the kilt, so gentlemen needing to display their Scottish-ness were depicted in trews, waistcoats and jackets of tartan. Whether this was reflected in their daily dress it is impossible to know.   

In any case, I should really be painting dozens of kilted savages, with claymore and targe, dirk and musket, but instead I am shilly-shallying - and to date have spent more time on Shock Markers than on actual infantry.








Now, whether to do artillery, 10th Dragoons or \Bagot's Hussars next? Anything to defer the savage hordes,

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

1745 - A Lacy Diversion

On schedule, and as glorious as the other figures so far, I now have the third release from the Flags of War 1745 Kickstarter. This release was some Hanoverian Grenadiers loading, Bagot's Hussars, Artillery, and some other rather nice specials, like 'Rude' Highlanders and a very nice Hanoverian Sergeant. 

I now have all the figures I need to do a reasonable sized Jacobite engagement for Sharp Practice, essentially 9 'groups' a side. For other rules, each figure could be 1-5 or 1-10 giving 40-80 men per group. 

The corollary is that I now have no excuse for not getting started painting. I should really finish up what's on my workbench, but where's the fun in that.. ? So, inspired by another post of someone having painted the Royal Ecossais, or Lord Drummond's regiment. I grabbed a single base yesterday and had a crack at it. Here's the results... 



I have to say I'm very happy with how these turned out. Being uniformed, they are probably the easiest to paint for the Jacobites. The plan, (which will doubtless fall apart very quickly..)  Is to alternate between Hanoverian and Jacobite groups, doing one per side till they are all done. Although it might make more sense to tackle them 2 bases at a time, as the roster is:

Jacobite

2 groups - Lowlanders (Duke of Perth's)

1 group - Royal Ecossais

2 groups - Highlanders (MacPhersons)

2 groups - Highlanders (mixed)

1 group - Bagot's Hussars

1 group - 3 lb gun with crew 

 Hanoverian

3 groups - Barrels (4th) Regiment (2 x Hatmen, 1 x Grenadiers)

3 groups - Buffs (3rd) Regiment (2 x Hatmen, 1 x Grenadiers)

1 group - Government Highlanders (64th?) 

1 group - Cobden's (10th) dragoons

1 group - 3ln gun with crew

Hopefully two fairly evenly matched sides. In hindsight, I probably should have made the Jacobite cavalry a 'mixed' unit of hussars, lifeguards etc, as the mounted were so few in number, especially compared to the relatively numerous Hanoverian mounted.  

By wargamers logic, I should now do one of the 'line' units for the Hanoverians, having done the glamour boys for the Jacobites. But I have some red coats to do, time to crank up the airbrush

Thursday, 20 May 2021

"It's a Trap...!"

 As Admiral Akbar so pithily noted, sometimes things that look great on the surface are hiding unforeseen hazards. 

As I become more familiar and comfortable with 3d printing, simple things like cleaning the plate, the print, hollowing the model, adding drain holes, setting supports and levelling are easier and easier. So I have reached a point, where I almost feel guilty if the printer isn't running. Well, that's no problem really, I have lots of STL (3d Object) files. What could be easier than slicing those, copying them on to the USB stick and cranking up the printer? And there's the trap.

There are Two jeeps in this picture...

Confession time. I already have a ton of vehicles for Chain of Command. As the game is primarily a platoon vs platoon, vehicles are usually just support options. You might get a couple of Shermans or a couple of Marders in a scenario, but most of the time, the tanks and armoured vehicles are just a support act. Sure, it's nice to have a UNIC whatever for 21st Panzer Division when I'm playing a Normandy scenario, or a Sherman Flamethrower. But I reckon I must have easily a hundred or more 28mm (1/56) vehicles from Rubicon, Warlord and elsewhere.

So I don't really 'Need' to be printing 1/56 armoured vehicles. Sure, I could add a Deacon or a Command vehicle, no one is going to think me mad if I add a couple of jeeps, an LVT Buffalo or a Semovente 90. But once those are done, there's nowhere to go!  

Ships and stuff... 

So I print a few ships off for a bloke I know, he's playing Coastal Patrol (the Lardies 'Cruel Seas') and the prints look nice...  Nooooo... must resist... too many projects already. 

But how would it hurt to run a few off for myself; after all, you only need a few, they won't take long to paint, a blue cloth is all the terrain you need. And bang,.. just like that, I'm downloading the rules (Too Fat Lardies Summer Special 2011 £5.50) and figuing out how many coastal freighters I might want, and whether a Fairmile D or B would be best, and where to source clear acrylic bases (or not) 

And then there's the funky stuff you look at, and say to yourself - that's cool! French 1930s armoured vehicles. Laffly 80, Panhard 179, VUDB armoured personnel carriers..  and next thing you know, you're looking at Perry's French desert troops, and wondering .. Vichy or Free French? Or maybe some Foreign Legion, I am pretty sure I have some Ruffian 'Arab' types in the lead stash...   and that's it, another hare off and running!

Oooh - steam-punky and Colonial. Still awaiting cleanup

Have I mentioned I have a Resin Kegrasse P16 Halftrack I picked up cheap on eBay, a VUDB or two, and AMD Laffly 80 all printed? All I need to find is a file for a Dodge Tanake and it's on.... 

Not to mention I did a bunch of 15mm prints for a friend, and I do have the 'O Group' rules... 

French & German Early War in 15mm

So probably just as well I took some time out and actually did some painting as opposed to printing...

Poor blokes..!!

Ok, it's only two figures scavenged from the Perry plastics set, on Warbases dials and Warpainter Scenics tufts, but these guys have been hanging around for ages, so it's yet another part of the 'tidying up' of the backlog. They will most likely be Shock Markers for Sharp Practice. 

All I have to do is not let the printing outrun the painting...  ha!!!


Sunday, 16 May 2021

3d Printing

So I have now had a good chance to have a go at this 3d printing lark, and I have actually got to the stage where they mostly work rather than fail. I haven't yet had a go at printing figures but the level of detail I can get with the printer suggests it shouldn't be a problem, so that might be the next step.

So far I have been able to do a bunch of prints for a friend who expressed an interest in 15mm Early War French, and managed to throw in a set of German armour as well. Then some vessels for someone doing 1/300 WW2 Naval. At the moment the printer is humming away quietly as it tackles a 1/300 Hunt Class British Destroyer. 

Mostly I have been doing 28mm WW2 stuff for myself. Some it to fill in gaps, others just to try out new vehicles. Some of the print files are upscaled 15mm and it shows, while others have been fettled for 28mm detail, and work much better. Anyway - here they are:

Update, added in the 88mm. 1st Corps crew, 3d printed 88.



Upscaled, these are not the best quality, but quite usable

YOu can see the layers quite clearly.

For Malaya, another Universal Carrier, an Indian Pattern Carrier and a Marmon Herrington A/C

The rear of the Marmon shows print layers. Angling the vehicle while printing would help

A selection for North Westen Europe

Pretty sure that's a non standard WaspIIc but it will do in the meantime.

Sdkfz 221 needed for the new Pint Sized Campaign 

The 15mm prints I did for a mate. 

So what's next...  hopefully, with lockdown easing I might even get to play a game!

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Malayan Platoon

Having checked back, I see I first started assembling my 2 Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders for the Malaya Campaign back in December 2019, so 18 months later, I have finally finished these guys. 

The whole platoon plus supports
Of course, as a wargamer, no platoon is ever finished, and I found myself printing off a 1/56 Marmon-Herrington the other day/ So there will be one more vehicle added, then that's it. I promise. No really, stop laughing there.

2lb AT gun, Perry Miniatures

Vickers MMG, Perry Miniatures

Command plus 2" mortar, Boyes AT rifle, Medic and FOO. 

A close up of the squads

Another glamour shot

The first squad

The figures are from the Perry Desert Rats plastic set, with additional heads from Woodbine. I'm quite pleased how these turned out. Looking forward to getting them into the jungle.


Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Now what have I gone and done...

In a moment of weakness, (that may have included a lessening of restraint following alcohol consumption), I bought a 3d printer. In my defence, I have wanted one for a long time, but so far have resisted. The model concerned, the Anycubic Photon S is a resin rather than FDM printer, and was on special, and cost me less than £200 shipped. (Interestingly, the same model in black was about £50 more expensive..)

A neat little unit

So, hugely excited, I proceeded to try and get the thing to work. Hmmm. First find the files you want to print from, convert them into something that can be opened by software that supports your printer, and 'slice' them into the appropriate file format, pop that on the (supplied) USB stick, and press print..  easy eh? 

Well no - not exactly. A few abortive attempts later, I am gradually working out how to do this with a minimum of mess, how to use the software, and get some half decent results. 

The process is a bit of a palaver till you get it down..   level the plate after every two or three prints, keep the film in the resin vat clean, pop the freshly done print into isopropyl alcohol in a zip lock bag in my little ultra-sonic cleaner (a 1001 uses, and wargamers, impress your partner by showing how easily it cleans jewellery). Then expose to UV to cure properly. 

Also - be patient, even relatively simple prints will take a while at a decent level of detail. I have the Anycubic set to 0.05mm although it can apparently go to 0.025, but the time to print would be a major pain. Every so often, you may also get a failed print. So far, the ones I have had are due to the resin not adhering to the build plate, so fiddling with the settings will usually sort this out. My one gripe is that it can be difficult to tell the print has failed until well into the print process, so you can lose time and resin. 

There's a little bit of experience required to figure out whether you need supports, and how heavy and how many. Generally though - it's not too hard to get the hang of. And provided you don't intend to sell the results, there are a lot of free 3d files out there. 

So these are some of the results so far.

15mm Bren Carrier and 1/56 Ram Kangaroo

The Ram is kind of 'blurry' - these were my first two prints, and I hadn't got the hang of cleaning up the print, so the detail is not great. I'll cover the rear deck with stowage and it will be fine. The detail on the track units is actually very good. And removing supports takes some care, though the resin (which is the Anycubic resin that came with the printer) glues easily with superglue if you accidentally crack a piece. Once cured it is very sturdy.

A single piece BT7 with a Bofors gun in the background.

The BT7 was a Sketchup 2017 file (SKP) converted to an OBJ file, sliced using Chitubox. It's a very accurate sketchup, too much so for printing really, with very fine tracks and nose panels. I still have to clean up some of the supports. 

Marder

This is one of my favourite pieces so far, the level of detail is excellent, the gun assembly is printed separately.

Undercoated prints, Marder, Ram and Marmon Herrrington

The Marmon Herrington will be joining the forces for Malaya, and I am reasonably pleased with this, except I managed to jar the printer (I think) and there is a just visible line halfway up the hull.

Japanese Type 41 Mountain Gun

This is the latest print, not yet cured, and will get some cleanup once it has cured. The big advantage of 3d printing is that some of these models are simply not available or very hard to obtain as kits or models elsewhere. 

And I grabbed another sprue of Warlord Games plastic Japanese to make up the crew. Green Stuff surgery to reposition some of the more 'active' poses.


Am I pleased with the 3d printer? Yes. Do you need extra 'stuff' to make it work properly? In my opinion yes, UV lights for when sunshine is in short supply. sonic bath for clean-up (not essential but very effective), Isopropyl alcohol, and fresh supplies of resin. Do you need space? Yes, don't use without decent ventilation, and you need to have the room for the 'process' of cleaning and curing, as well as storing teh various bits and pieces, like paper towel, gloves, spatula etc.

Now, time to see about printing 3 Universal carriers at once.. :) 


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Japanese for Chain of Command

Quite some time ago, I was inspired to start collecting figures to play something World War II, a little bit different from the fairly standard fare of NW Europe. Back in 2018, The Tactical Painter was running a series of After Action reports on a campaign from Too Fat Lardies 2015 Christmas Special - covering the Malaya Campaign 1942 that ultimately resulted in Singapore being captured. I coincidentally picked up a Kindle copy of the 'The War Against Japan, the Loss of Singapore, Volume I' by S Woodburn Kirby.


Reading through even the official account, it was a litany of poor decision making, underestimation of the opponent, inadequate forces, poor organisation and lack of training, and of Japanese planning, leadership and flexibility. On the Empire side, with few exceptions, the leadership from Whitehall to battalion level was diabolical. Empire troops were thrown into line unsupported, ill-equipped, with virtually no training (some of the recently raised Indian battalions had almost never fired a rifle).

Leadership paralysis in Singapore saw a resort to the tactics of poor management since time immemorial, reorganisation. Battalions seemed to fall under half a dozen different command structures during the brief campaign. reassignment and poor communication saw troops being pulled out of prepared positions leaving neighbouring flanks hanging. Overall, it was a pretty object lesson in what not to do.   

The few high spots for the Empire troops were the courage of individual battalions and officers, in particular some Indian units, an Australian formation and the 2nd Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. (In an interesting aside, when the surviving Argylls reformed in Singapore, they were combined with Royal Naval Marines and nicknamed the 'Plymouth Argyll' after the well known football team.) 

A regular army battalion, the Colonel of the 2nd A&S was considered a bit odd by his fellow British officers for his insistence on jungle training his men. Conventional wisdom was that it was impossible to fight or move in force in the jungle and no opponent could conceivably mount a jungle campaign. Whether that was the difference or not, the Highlanders seem to have been used as a fire brigade in the latter stages of the campaign, and were the last battalion to withdraw over the Causeway into Singapore, pipes playing. 

Imperial War Museum via Wikipedia

Part of the appeal of this period is also the necessarily primitive equipment, so that materiel considered obsolete was often reassigned to Malaya and other secondary theatres. (One can only imagine the dismay of RAF and RAAF pilots, outnumbered and facing Zeros in Buffaloes and Beauforts.) So the 2nd A&S managed to acquire 5 obsolete Lanchester armoured cars, and possibly some Marmon Herringtons. Facing them the Japanese forces would make considerable use of their Ha-Go light tanks, relying on the lack of Anti-Tank capabilities to charge through roadblocks, and attack Empire formations with virtual invulnerability.

So having done some serious terrain modelling - 


I had a jungle, a couple of jungle huts, roads etc could be repurposed,  and at a pinch I even had railway track that would serve. I had a start made on the 2A&S, so it was time to work on their opponents. An anonymous Japanese army platoon, organised into 3 squads of 12 men and a corporal, a knee mortar squad of three mortar teams under a corporal, and the senior leaders, a sergeant and a lieutenant.

The core infantry plus an anti-tank team came from the Warlord Games Plastic Japanese. Supports came from 'The Assault Group' in the form of snipers, flamethrowers and a fixed mount Medium Machine Gun, Chi-Ha or Type 97 tanks from Warlord Games, (one resin, one plastic) and two Ha-Go Light Tanks, resin prints from 'Paint & Glue'.

So firstly, when I had a look at the plastic infantry on the sprue, I found them a little underwhelming. The poses looked a little 'overactive', and I also felt that there was a degree of stereotyping with some of the heads having prominent 'buck teeth' while there were also quite a few sprues with spectacles. (Ironically, replicating the views of many British Officers in Singapore who were very dismissive about their opponents!)


Once assembled though, and taking some care with the selection of arms and equipment, I think they build up into some very active and attractive figures. There is a nice mix of heads, some with bare helmets, some with mesh, and some in the cap. I was a bit disappointed that none came with the tropical flaps that attached to the cap, but those would be easy enough to add if you wanted to.


I had to fiddle a bit to get the numbers and poses sorted out, and rather than purchase an additional sprue to get more riflemen, I used some artistic license and used the 'flag' arms to creates some banner bearers. The Warlord box comes with three flags for the banners, but note that one of these is the naval flag, which is identifiable as the rising sun is offset from the centre of the flag. The easy fix is to trim one edge of the flag to centre it. It does end up slightly smaller but quite acceptable.

Three squads, the Knee Mortar squad is the thirteen men on the right. Supports at the back.

Still not sure whether I am happy with the basing. These are the Warlord bases glued to coins, then coated with a coloured 'goop' (a mix of paint and adhesive grout), then white glue (PVA) and 'Herb d' Provence' - a big bag of this will last for ever, and costs next to nothing. I feel like they need some more jungle.    

But they are done, they can expect to face the Argylls when we can get back to FtF gaming, and eventually, I will get round to painting a US Marine Corps platoon so they can appear in an island-hopping game.

The painting was very simple, Vallejo unless otherwise stated, undercoated with black car primer, airbrushed with Tamiya Dark Yellow, Helmets English Uniform, (Mesh dry-brushed German Camo Beige), green equipment is Russian Uniform, waterbottles, Chocolate, rifles Mahogany Brown, boots and leather equipment Leather Brown. The flesh is Flat Flesh, washed with GW Seraphim Sepia. I then went back and applied Coat d' Arms Dark Brown Super Shader over everything  other than the flesh, matt varnished, and added back in the Dark Yellow as a uniform highlight.

Now.. on to their opponents.. unless I get distracted by something else..  oops.. shiny!