EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Blue Guards are ordered to the Front

The Blue Guards, which I painted c 2007/8, were one of my first units of gloss toy soldiers.
(Two of them may be just seen in the top right hand corner of the blog header picture. Apparently they are camera shy since I am having trouble finding good pictures of them from their first 10 years of service)

Ever since I  took the  rash step four years ago of painting my first WW1 troops since my pre-wargaming Airfix days, and then resurrecting my 54mm Toy Soldiers, I've been torn about what to do with my redundant late 19thC units . I did try mixing the drab and coloured units but it never felt convincing. Both the shortage of shelf space and the presence of more active wargame periods than my brain can handle has been bothering me so I have been slowly de-converting and rebadging various units to earlier or later periods but the Blue Guard have remained. Until now!

The Blue Guards in their new uniforms,
waiting for the grass to grow.

Since I need at least one more German unit for Huzzah! I decided to modernize them. The obvious, technically correct, and logical step would have been to strip the paint but, well, logic and I don't really get along unless a debate is in progress. If I stripped them, it would probably be as easy to just melt them down and cast new ones but either way, their little faces would be changed and they would no longer BE the Blue Guard. They would just be another anonymous field-grey unit.

Once again David Nash came to my rescue with a picture of a German soldier in a parade version with field grey uniform with red facings very like the Blue Guards wore, with the same black belts, boots and uncovered helmet. All I would have to do is paint over the tunic and trousers, touch up the leather and facings and there they would be with the same cheery, weathered faces shining up at me.

Archive photo of various Oberhilse uniforms including a Guardsmen in front.

OK so a little incongruous in action in 1914 but no more so than any clean, glossy, toy soldiers and very much in keeping of my vague idea of opposing armies based on what someone had found on the shelves in Eaton's or Ogilvy's back in the day.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Les bicycletes de Belmont

Don't worry, I'm not going to sing, but the Bicycle Scouts are done.

Converted Zinnbrigade Prussians with 3d printed bicycles courtesy of e_tenbris_lux.

The uniforms are a tiny bit darker than intended, an unfortunate side effect of mixing colours in a casual fashion. Since some colours dry darker, it can be easy to misjudge slightly when mixing a rarely used colour. An organized sort of person would probably make a careful note of exact paints used and exact proportions but where's the sense of adventure in that?

There should also be a number on the shako cover but I need to figure out if they should wear the number of the Jaeger regiment they are part of or something else.

The black leather is questionable but I was getting tired of the brown and Nash's Almark book shows one Jaeger in his grey-green uniform with black leather and that was good enough for me!

I was rather unsure what to do about the missing handlebars since the stand needs to be rugged enough to travel to conventions. Luckily I found a picture of German cyclists with their blanket and great coat rolled up and strapped to the handle bars. A close inspection would reveal that the Officer's bike has invisible handlebars underneath the blanket roll.

Next up is, well, a Mystery, even to me at this point.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Striking the Diecast Alloy While the Idea was Hot.

Sometimes its best to act on a thought while its fresh in the mind.

After looking at various pictures of the real 4.5" Howitzer, the main things that struck me were:

a) The wheels and overall height were similar to those of the 18 pdr field gun.

b) The barrel was only as long as the recuperator but the configuration with the barrel on top is the same as the Britain's 25pdr (the toy I was starting with) but opposite to the 18 pdr which was the only other gun available for me to work with.

c) The largest wheel in the latest Prince August SYW mould is very similar in size and spokes to the wheels on the Crescent WWI gun.

d) I have become more comfortable working with die cast metal after frigging with the 25 pdr last fall. 

The pre-Christmas mock up with plastic wagon wheels.

So, roughly my steps were:

A. Separate  the one piece gun & shield  from the carriage.

B. Cut off the old axle holder.

C. Drill a hole at what looked like about the right height, insert a trimmed finishing nail as an axle, and add 2 PA wheels from the bits box, making sure the wheels will turn freely (It's supposed to a toy after all.)

D. Deepen the sockets for the gun trunnions to lower the height of the shield and trunnions then use some putty to push out the bottom of the shield thus increasing the angle of the barrel.

E. Glue it all together.

New crew undergoing howitzer training while waiting for their uniforms.

F. and Paint.

Two batteries coming into action. 

4.5" Howitzers later into the war.
I've already forgotten where I grabbed this photo from but hopefully they will forgive me.

OK back to those Cycling Jaegers.