Monday, 16 July 2018

AWI Fencing

Almost three years ago (!!) I did a post on the start of my AWI project. I was fairly cautious about the progress I was likely to make (wisely as it turned out), and the number of figures hasn't grown by much in the intervening period. One thing that has moved along is my determination to up my game in the terrain department. So far, the terrain boards have been completely re-styled and a lot of drop on stuff done for WWII in particular. Over the last few weeks, I have been working on some trees for my 28mm collections, including experimenting with armatures made from florist's wire and am quite pleased with the results. This post though is on a subject that cannot be avoided if you are going to wargame in North America - fences. There are a fair number of ready made items out there, some of which are not bad at all, but scratch-built is definitely the way to go if you want them to look realistic and are sad enough to care about such things.

Having done a bit of online research, I decided to start with some snake fencing. I already had a load of matchsticks (around 2" long) and quickly realised that I couldn't really use them "straight from the box" - they were just far too neat and regular. So the first job was to take a small and very sharp knife and run it down all the corners in order to rough them up a little. One is easy, 10 not too bad, 50 and I am starting to wonder what knitting might be like as an alternative hobby. Am at the 300 mark about now and have ordered some knitting needles from EBAY just in case! I will probably need more like a thousand to get the 40 pieces, each 8" long that I will need. In all seriousness, this is a job to do little and often. I do 5 or 6 before I start work and similar sized batches throughout the day, and try not to think too much about it. It really is just persistence.

In the first photo, you might just be able to see the result. It may not seem much, but it does make a big difference to the overall final look.

For the sake of robustness, I decided that I would need to base them and chose 2mm plastic sheet. It is both robust and rigid, ordinary card or even MDF would probably "curl" a little over time. It was cut into 8" x 1" strips with the ends rounded off to make angles and joins that much easier. After that it is simply a matter of laying down layers of rails on top of each other until you get the height you need. In the photographs I have seen, such fencing can be anything from knee to head height, so I decided on a height of three/four rails, which looks fine for my 28mm AWI figures. Hopefully the following pictures illustrate the process well enough. One advantage of basing the fences, is that you can add a few upright or loose rails to aid realism, as well as a few tufts and the odd tree. I have painted the rails in various shades of grey, as this contrasts nicely with the bases. Modern photos seem to show that this colour is often achieved after a bit of time in the sun and rain.

The finished article looks OK I think but at the moment it is an only child. I have another 11 in various stages of completion at the moment. When they are done, I think I will go into full production and do the remainder in a single batch, over a period of a few weeks. I don't want to have to do this job again - I really don't - so I want to get it right first time. After that, I may look at some other kinds, such as stone fencing, although sanity may prevail here and I might go for the Grand Manner resin option.

Anyway, I hope that this mini tutorial has been of some interest. Will report back when I have a bit more to show.

I am also working on some extra figures to try and get a few small units done. The advantage with using an admittedly modified "Sharp Practice" is that I should be able to get a decent game with a fairly modest number of figures and build from there.

Anyway, I will report back when there is more to see, but I think I have got the AWI bug again.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Grand Alliance Vignettes

This post is, alas, the swan song of this particular collection. A few months back I received an offer that was "too good to refuse" for the whole lot. They are now campaigning in Germany under a new owner. These vignettes are just a few odds and ends of figures that I had kicking around, so decided to paint them up for old time's sake. They will doubtless make their way onto EBAY in due course. It was a difficult decision to sell them all - around 1,000 foot and 300 mounted (!!), but it is one of the facts of life for a professional figure painter. Never mind, the cash will be re-invested in future projects I am sure!


Speaking of which, terrain, WWII, Napoleonic, AWI and Italian Wars are all competing for valuable hobby time. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to focus for too long on one period - easily bored I suppose. One thing I am particularly keen on at the moment, is trying to adapt TFL's Sharpe Practice for larger (2-300 figures a side) AWI games. I think the mechanisms really lend themselves to this period. Whether I will be able to make them work, only time will tell. Will certainly report back if I do. The WWII rules are still under development, but the response from the lads has been very positive so far. Progress has been halted somewhat by playtesting Olicanalad's 18th Century rules - his adaptation of the Piquet system - for Roger and Mark's growing GNW collection. I have to say that they are looking very promising. I was fortunate enough to have an earlier run out with James himself using his quite superb SYW collection.

Anyway. Will report back when I have news. For now, here are the links to the blogs concerned.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

FBB Flak Regiment (1)

Sorry it has been a while. Have been pretty busy with commissions and my own terrain boards (of which more anon). I have also been playing about with different ways of doing trees and bushes for my 20mm and 28mm collections; again more anon. Below is the latest addition to my FBB project: the first element of the Flak Regiment, which was such a powerful component of the brigade, vital for dealing with all the enemy jabos that were knocking about towards the end of the war. The vehicle itself is a die cast model acquired from EBAY and re-painted with the airbrush. The crew are mainly AB miniatures.

Monday, 19 March 2018

FBB Panzer Flak Company

This is the final component in my Fuhrer Begleit Panzer Regiment: the regimental Flak Company. Consisting of a Wirbelwind and Mobelwagen (each representing 4 vehicles in the original unit), it is quite a useful addition. It will need to be in view of the overwhelming allied air superiority at this late stage of the war. The next part of the project will be elements of the panzer grenadier regiment. Most of the vehicles are already done, but are without their crew figures, which are a real pain. I reckon I will need 80+ for the vehicles of the 1st (armoured) and the 2nd (Schwimmwagen-borne) battalions. This is the equivalent of a battalion and a half of infantry - a lot of extra figures that don't actually fight. The thing is that the vehicles just don't look right empty, so needs must, but it is one of those jobs that I keep putting off! The infantry figures for the two battalions are pretty much done.


Friday, 16 February 2018

Another Late War AAR

Not my own work this. Old wargaming friends Roj and Mark came round to playtest my WWII rules again. We concentrated more on the infantry and indirect fire side of things this time. Roj has done a great AAR on his excellent GA PA blog. Hope you enjoy reading it (I did). The rules seemed to work pretty well and no major tweaking has been needed so far (early days).

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Grand Alliance Vignettes

Here are three little vignettes that I did a few weeks ago, since sold to a gentleman in Belgium. The figures are a right old mix of Warfare, Foundry and Redoubt. I quite like to "dress" my wargaming table with a few non essential but visually pleasing extras such as these.


Friday, 26 January 2018

Let us Pray

It is a while since I did any work on my German buildings and this church is a welcome addition. Another EBAY purchase, it has been sitting around half finished for months and I though I had better get on and complete it. It made its debut in a WWII game last night, with old wargaming mates Richard Croisdale and Andy Lawson, who are gamely helping me to playtest my WWII rules. Also making a first appearance was the newly painted panzer regiment FBB. Fittingly the 2nd Abteilung, commanded by yours truly, got absolutely battered by Andy's deftly handled Soviet armour. Tragically I forgot to take any photos for this game!! Richard did his best with the 1st Abteilung, inflicting some loss on the enemy armour facing him, but he couldn't make up for my dismal showing on the left flank.

We have tested out the rules for armoured vehicles and they seem to work pretty well, as does the overall concept. We all felt that it was now time to concentrate on other aspects of the rules, especially infantry fighting and indirect fire. Next time I will revert to umpiring and leave the fighting to others.