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Tuesday 10 October 2023

Loser Shed Make-Over

 After talking about it for probably 5 years, I have finally got around to getting a new laminate floor laid in the loser shed. Together with a space-age insulation underlay, I'm hoping this will make things a little more warm through the winter.

Tilly the terrier seems to approve!

 I've also treated the Loser Shed to some posh draught excluder around the door and a super-efficient ceramic fan heater which allegedly only costs 15pence an hour to run ..... we will see.

All this has led to a delay in progress with the 15mm pirates and their ships. All the figures are now finished, but there's still a bunch of cannon to paint and four resin ships.

The ship at the very rear was picked up at a Bristol Bring & buy some years ago and in storage until now. The two in the centre are Peter Pig ships bought at the IPMS show and the painted example is Colin's ship from those original starter sets.

Here's my original ship bought from Peter Pig many years ago.

The remaining ships require the addition of the small metal details that came with them (Cannon sticking out of gun-ports, ships-wheels and the like) before I prime them and finish them with speed paints of one type or another.

Monday 25 September 2023

15mm Peter Pig Pirates

 About 20-25 years ago, my late friend, Colin, and I put on a demo game at the Shrewsbury Wargames club show. Whilst we were there, we were fascinated by a new manufacturer who was selling his 15mm Pirate figures range. 

The last batch on the bench - painted exclusively with Contrast Paints

Not only did he have 15mm pirates he also had resin pirate ships to match (I later discovered these were made for them by another manufacturer. Originally "SDD Models" and then latterly, "Stronghold Miniatures" neither of whom I believe are still trading?). These were lovely models with customisable white metal parts (ship's wheel, cannons, balustrades etc) and had soldered steel masts with optional vacuum formed sails.

As a show special, they were offering a small pirate force, matching ship & a set of the first issue of "Pieces of Eight" rules for £10 (I think).

3D printed base designed to protect the oars

We were smitten and bought a set each together with an additional rowing boat + crew and some spare cannons!

The bases were then textured with artists acrylic paste before painting

Roll on a couple of decades - My figures were painted (badly) and in a box. We never got around to playing the game with them for all the usual reasons and when Colin passed away, I inherited his equally badly painted figures and ship!

Finished figures in their magnetised RUBs

Then along came the IPMS show at Thornbury and what did I see on the B&B stall? A box with two Peter Pig pirate galleons & 10 packs of figures for £25.

Needless to say I had no cash and they didn't take cards😏 So a quick bit of wheeler dealing with the guys on the door (repaying my wife and I's entry with a card in return for some cash) and I was back to the stall. It was meant to be, it was still there and off I went into the sunset with a very nostalgic package!

Some experimental 3D printed furled sails in the box as there were no vacuum formed ones with these

Over the last few weeks I've been painting these up (together with repainting our original figures) and basing them on 15mm diameter bases. Some were on MDF, others on 3D printed ones that would accommodate a self-adhesive 12.5mm magnet so I could store them in magnetised  Really Useful Boxes.

I'm not sure exactly, but I think there are around 150 figures + 30 or so cannon. I now have 4 galleons in total and will paint these up next. What rules to use I'm not sure....maybe home-written? We'll see.

Thursday 24 August 2023

Afrika Korps 28mm and other dalliances....

Can't remember when I last picked up a paint brush, so when I saw these Artizan figures at Attack! I decided I'd try and get back into the habit.

I'd built a few 28mm Afrika Korp figures from a free Warlord sprue mixed with some early war Germans. These came out well when painted using Contrast paints, so I decided I'd get some heavy support to build a small Bolt Action force.

As an aside, it's interesting how many figure manufacturers think the MG34/42 belts feed from the right? I'm sure the gun no.2 is supposed to be facing forwards!

So I bought an 81mm and an MG34SF team. The bases for which I 3D printed to match some mdf ones I'd used with previous heavy weapon teams. These allow two figures to be removed as casualties.

I also found some 28mm para command and a Winston Churchill figure that I thought might fit well with a 02 Hundred Hours game.

All were painted entirely using Contrast and other speed paints before varnishing. To be honest, they're not of the standard I'd really like to be painting, but I simply don't have the spare time. So this is my compromise. They look just fine on the table so what's not to like?

I'm trying the same approach with the 15mm Pirates I've bought and so far I've completed 20 figures over three evenings work, so I'm pretty pleased!

IPMS Show Avon - Thornbury Leisure Centre

 My wife and I took a trip out to England to visit the annual IPMS show near Bristol. 

This show seems to be going from strength to strength, with an ever increasing wargame content - including competition games.

The traders are mainly modelling specialists but there's plenty to interest the wargamer too. There's also a healthy bring & buy run by the Lincombe Barn club from Bristol. 

I weakened here and bought myself some old (un-painted) Peter Pig 15mm Pirates & two matching resin ships!

There were demo & participation games as well as static displayed models on tables, across three halls in the leisure centre. It took a good two hours just to walk around once!

About 60/40 mix of aircraft to AFV models so plenty to interest me.

A great day out, looking forwards to next year.

Dedicated models of the mulberry harbour at Arromanches

DBA Competition

1/16th Scale....impressive

1/32nd Scale ..... Impressive!

1/35th Scale Normandy street

I'm in the process of building this 1/56th Rubicon kit. Like the display!

Attack! 2023 - Devizes

 I recently visited the Attack! show with a friend of mine back in July. Whilst not the biggest or best supported show on the circuit, this year's show showed a significant improvement in attendees and traders over last year.

It's a two day show and we went on the Sunday. The line up of demo games had changed from the Saturday slightly (no DAK Attack demo) and there were less rich pickings on the bring and buy.

There were a few competition games going on (DBA & FOW) as well as demo games that had clearly ground to an impasse!

Nice to see a few of the smaller traders (some nicely discounted ends of 28mm metal ranges on offer) and those showcasing the 3D resin printed wares.

Not a bad day out😀

Thursday 4 May 2023

Flanders Tour Spring 2023 - Day Seven

The trip back to Dunkirk gave us an opportunity to examine the Nazi Vengeance weapon programme. Firstly we took a walk around the near intact V1 facility in the Bois des Huit Rues close to Hazebrouck. There are the Ski-shaped storage facilities, fuelling and arming buildings as well as the launching ramp. The site was bombed and destroyed by the USAAF before it could be used operationally. The Nazis switched to using temporary launch sites instead.

Ski-shaped storage & assembly building

Entrance/Exit to above building

Troop shelter/accommodation building

Arming building

Launch ramp protecting walls

Ruined non-magnetic building where V1 wings were fitted and navigational gyros set just before launching

Then it was on to La Coupole, near Wizernes. Here the gigantic concrete dome (built to protect the V2 assembly and launch facilities in just 10 months) was terminally damaged by RAF Grand Slam bombs. The museum is dedicated to the Nazi occupation of France, the V1 & V2 campaigns and the race for space. It takes around 3 hours to see everything and doesn’t spare the viewer from the atrocities carried out by the Nazi regime in pursuit of their V-weapon dream.

What the site was planned to look like

Entrance tunnel today (bottom left in model picture above), overlooked by the slightly tilted dome

Tunnels into the side of the mountain

V1 - Cruise Missile

V2 - Ballistic Missile

Manned V1 - trial aircraft

Finally it was time to head for Dunkirk. Another trip over….until next time.