Or, where is Kirk Douglas when you really need him?
As we have seen before, the local mob are currently in pursuit of a scale for building late WWI armies. We have had 15-18mm, and now it is time to look at 10mm. I have tried 6mm in the past, and found them too small to be satisfactory for me, so 10mm is a little as I care to go. I must say I approached the whole thing with a great deal of reluctance, almost bordering on trepidation.
First up was Magister Militum, from whom I got a bunch of poilu.
The first pleasant surprise was the price. the chaps are really a lot more inexpensive then even 15mm, and a pleasure to deal with in a financial sense compared to the 25/28mm I am accustomed to stockpiling unpainted.
Second pleasant surprise: they are very clean with decent detail on them. The only file and knife work I had to do was on the bottom of their bases, which is excellent, because I hate cleaning lead. The figures were well moulded, with good detail and of the whole batch only one with an outstretched arm had a moulding defect. Really very nice.
They primed well, and were a treat to block paint, wash, and highlight. The whole process was quick and enjoyable. the figures are portrayed in marching order (with a backpack) rather than combat order (with a blanket roll) but this does not matter to me, and gives a few more details to give character to the figures. Really I could not be happier with them.
And when I went to base them, my trepidation came home to roost. The standard methods I am accustomed to use on 15mm and 25mm were just not suitable.
I needed to build up the base because the plinths the individual figures are on are in proportion, quite large, but I had a terribly hard time coming up with something that had a little texture to it, that did not look like the poor guys were advancing over an old lava flow or a cobblestoned street. Therefore the bases on this lot, as can be seen, are pretty darn bad. I think I can resolve the issue for the next lot, but clearly it will require mucking around.
To summarise : easier to paint than expected, nice figures, and I need to work on my scenery.
As we saw previously, our local group is looking at playing some WWI games, being as it is the 100 year anniversary and all. I volunteered to look into and paint up various manufacturer’s figures as test pieces, and to see if they would go with our current forces. Some of the previous stuff can be seen here and here. And here is some more test pieces
Blue Moon this time, late war british.
Four large trench mortars and two small. Once more the large ones are too big to fit on the designated 1″ x 1″ bases, and have been paced on those for artillery pieces. Pretty sure this will be unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I do like these figures, even though they are large. I find I am able to paint them well, and that they “come up” nicely without a terrible amount of effort in cleaning and painting. The issue with them would be merely one of size, I suppose. One would be more or less stuck using their product; having said that their range is pretty deep and I am unsure that it is a terrible constraint.
I know some of the other guys in the the group are leaning toward the smaller scale figures; those are next up for experimental painting. I have primed some, and am feeling like I will be popping out for my portable electron microscope shortly. Oh well, we can but see.
As we consider how to address the late war WWI stuff in scale we decided to do some experimental pieces. In support of this I put together a couple of later war german mortars in 15mm. Some of the group lean toward 10mm; personally, I have enough problem seeing 15mm lead, right now I feel those other chaps are too small. I have purchased some 10m lead though, so it is possible my opinion may change. In the interim, I ordered a couple of mortars from Blue Moon; while expensive, they came with enough chaps to make up two engineer stands also.
In my ignorance I thought the later war Germans were in grey (it must be from looking at black and white photos); some small amount of research put them in green grey, so that is how I have painted them here. They have certainly come up well; they are really nice figures, good variety in the bags, and a treat to paint.
But they are HUGE. Their 76mm minenwefer (yes, I know I left the wheels on, I like the wheels) is taller than a french 75mm. In fact their mortars will not fit on the prescribed 1″ x 1″ base, it needed to go on a 1.5″ x 1″. This might well be a problem for scale footprint on the boards, but might not be such an issue as mortar stands are fairly limited in quantity.
However, it is clear to me from these pictures,
that the figures are not mixable. In the pictures with the 2 french stands and the german we have Peter Pig (the old sculpts; I am not sure they have re-done their Early war French yet, but I know they have redone their Germans, and the re-done ones are a little bigger) then we have an Irregular miniatures mortar (as discussed here) and finally the Blue Moon German one.
As I said, the Blue Moon figures are great. The mortars are good as well. But they are really not mixable with the Peter Pig ones, they loom over them like Frankenstien’s monster over a torch-lit villager. The Irregular miniatures ones would probably not be noticeably out of place with either of the other manufacturer’s product.
If we were adding these to our existing armies, this would all be an issue. However, these are being looked at for the late war project, so mix ability is not that huge of an issue (see what I did there?).
So I continue on the World War I anniversary kick, The WWI Spearhead rules we use give mortars to 1915 armies to a certain extent, so the the first move has been to fill out our current 1914 armies with these tools, making the current figures a little more flexible. Of course, everyone changed cuostume in 1915/16 so clearly we are going to need a different solution for that, but we have not got that far yet; there has been some discussion of looking at 10mm, so much so I acquired some, and will post some results when I get some painted.
In any case, to continue. Early war french mortars are not commonly available, but Irregular Miniatures came through once more, providing me with 6 mortars and crew, and 4 75mm guns.
Without thinking about it that much (something my friends will say is fairly common for me) I painted the mortars as infantry; quick reference to some photos gave a rough approximation of artillerists uniform for the 75mm battery. Once more the figures painted nicely, but I did struggle with putting together the guns; as you can see the one on the end looks like it has suffered a severe thump as a result of my lack of model making skills. I am happy enough with the final result, I will admit.
If I had thought of it, some reference to see what uniform the mortar crews wore would have been appropriate, but I am certainly not going to go back and change things at this late stage in the game. So if mortar crews were seconded from the artillery in the fFrench army 100 years ago, I apologise, but they have been issued with “Les Pantalons Rouge”
One of my favorite memories of growing up was sitting with my father and brother on Sundays, after Sunday lunch, watching the seminal BBC TV show about WWI, the Great War. Now I see it was a co-production with ABC so it must have been on that channel we watched it; to my young eyes, that was the channel with all the BBC stuff on it, all of which seems to have a darker, or gloomier appearance than the American or ITV or Australian shows on the other channels.
In any case, it served to spark an interest in WWI that I have preserved ever since. Land, sea and air gaming of WWI I have done; the most problematic has always been the land gaming. Forever a poor relation of WWII gaming, and the nature of the conflict has always seemed to make the standard WWII company/battalion sized game an unworkable solution. You either need to be playing skirmish, or with divisions.
Great War Spearhead has provided us with an interesting solution to the issue, as we see it, and in honour of the 100 year anniversary of the war we have been dusting off some of our old lead. We have a decent collection of 15mm early war stuff, which I volunteered to fill the holes in on; there is still discussion on the scale to be adopted when we proceed to later war, with a vociferous element demanding the newness of 10mm while I grumble that I cannot see 15mm. Never mind.
Here we have some mortars and a 77mm battery for the Germans, things we both found to be needed for early war. Figures are Irregular Miniatures, honestly because they are the only ones I could find with early war mortars. I have always liked Irregular though, because they have always seemed to me to paint up very well.
Though the mortars can with stands, I am not sure wwi ones had them, and I found the stands very difficult to attach, so I made an executive decision and left them off. I am still pretty happy with how they came out, at least from a distance.
I just finished off these chaps. Of course, I have absolutely no other WWI middle eastern stuff painted.
And these blokes only made it under the brush because I was terribly tired of seeing them sitting whitely on sticks. The only problem is Im not terribly happy with the job I did on them.
Finding the right color was a bit of a challenge. I settled on Vallejo Khaki, because it seems they retained their Indian uniforms which were “classic” Khaki, and this is a fairly close match. I did all the usual stuff, but I was not really “engaged while painting them I mean, they look alright, but I’m not hugely impressed.
Which, on top of everything else, is a bit of a pity. The figures are Eureka Miniatures 25mm, “true 25mm and very nice too. They deserved a more enthusiastic job, really.
I cannot recommend the figures highly enough, though, full of character, come with their own slotted base. I think I used some of mine that I had lying there, but a nice touch. I have always been happy with Nic Robsons stuff, I have some 15mm of his I use for Flames of War, and they really are wonderful.
I don’t know what the availability of 25mm mid eat Indians is for the great war, but these lads are in the right kit as far as I can tell, and reallly are very nicely done. You should all dash out and buy some.
And then paint them properly to make up for my lackluster job.
I decided to attempt to alter the color of some of the photos I’d taken; in the grand tradition of fixing my mistakes as I am too dumb to do it right the first time. On finding that iPhoto had some basic adjustment controls, I lowered the saturation and temperature of some other photos I took Sunday of things I had painted. I think the new ones are a little more successful.
These are some very old Wargames Foundry French world war one figures.
In fact, I am quite embarrassed when I realise how old they are, and quite how long it took me to paint them.
Never mind, they look all right. they are the older non-blocky 25mm style, and I think I prefer it. The color of the coat looks a bit light when I compare it to “A very long Engagement“. color looks fine when I compare it to “Paths of Glory” though.
Honestly, I thought the lighter blue would look better than the one in the recent movie. I may be wrong, but we’ll see.
These blokes should eventually be used in our local WWI skirmish games. Provided, of course, anyone paints any late war stuff.