A re-enactor remembers, No.1

In the English Civil War Society of the 1990s it was common for those of the female persuasion to take rôles as male musketeers.

After all, who wants to accompany their male partner, or travel on their own, several hundred miles to spend the weekend cooking or sewing while the blokes have all the real fun?

Our “regiment” had no problem with this. In my view, most of us were too old, too healthy and too fat. Where was the problem in being too female, provided that you made an effort not to be too feminine?

But, as a junior officer, there was one problem with commanding a company that could be, on some days, up to 70% female*. It has been documented that female mammals as a group in close company tend to synchronise their menstrual cycles as a semi-defensive mechanism against male attentions.

So, at some events, stentorian commands, such as “SHOULDER YOUR MUSKETS” had to be accompanied by submissive eye contact, indicating “Please?”. Thank God that the ladies never had bayonets! I hope and believe that I was able to quite accurately read the general mood for the general well-being of all.

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* When I was a corporal with 6 or 7 musketeers under command, I found that I frequently seemed to gather the same half-dozen ladies in my file. They called themselves “Paul’s Bang Gang”

A Small Success

Today I finally managed to find a box in the attic that has been hidden for four years, despite numerous attempts to locate it.

When I retired in 2014 I determined to acquire a lot of the stuff from my 1960s and 1970s wargaming years.

One thing tbat I saw in several books (mainly those written by Charles Grant Snr.) was the Merit Alder Tree.  This was at the time both normally outside my pocket money and also never actually seen in our local model store.  I did manage to buy a few Merit poplar trees and a few Roco fir trees as substitutes, but I never owned an alder tree.

So, when I retired I scoured eBay for Merit trees and other stuff of the period.  I managed to get a decent number of these trees together, based them on MDF and boxed them up for future use, then stuck them in a corner of the loft and lost them.

This is at least the fourth search, but the Holy Grail has at last been found.

After some re-glueing, the forest amounts to 27 trees:

Dunkirk – two short film reviews

Whilst doing my ironing today I started to watch the 1958 film of “Dunkirk” with John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Robert Urquhart et al.

I know that this was a post-war semi-propaganda version, but it is far more believable, despite the clipped language, than the absolute rubbish perpetrated by Christopher Nolan in 2017,

It appears that the major claim to fame of the latest version appeared to be: “We did not use CG”. Nor did the earlier version (simply because they could not), and in their day they did not need to show huge cardboard cut-outs of queueing soldiers or very obvious buildings from the 1970s or later.  But the 1958 producers could get a large quantity of extras who had actually been under fire in WW2.

It appears to me that the producers of the 2017 version were too carried away with  filming at the location to notice that it has been rebuilt since 1940.

The earlier producers/directors also seemed to have researched the number of bombs that a JU88 “Stuka” could actually carry, unlike their later “let’s aim for maximum effect” counterparts.

My vote?:  1958 version: 4/5, 2017 version: 1/5.

“Denial”: A film review

I started to play this DVD in the background while painting model soldiers, but very soon had to sit and watch it.

I don’t know if this story was ever presented on the stage, but it would make an excellent stage presentation. Based on a true story, most of the story is centred around how lawyers handle a significant case in the British High Court, almost to the exclusion of the client.

The case is a complex libel accusation about holocaust denial. The central characters, played with great skill by Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Tim Spall, who interact – or do not – brilliantly. The supporting cast add to the film with great performances.

The title “Denial” becomes more relevant as the story progresses. It becomes clear that it can mean many things.

I know nothing of the actual court case, but it all looks very believable.
And the visit to Auschwitz depicted in winter made it more poignant.

An excellent film.  One that I will watch again and again, even if I now know the outcome.

Painting Blog 26/12/18-17/01/19

Just to prove that I have not been idle for the past 4 weeks, this is what I have been preparing for various wargames.  I must remind readers that I am a wargaming butterfly, in that I have may projects active at all times.  However, my priority is to keep the “Market Garden” campaign active for my five on-line Generals.

So, what have I painted and modelled since Christmas?  For reference, any photographs below on a gridded board are displayed on a 2″ x 2″ (5cm x 5cm) grid.

Painting and modelling projects in the last four weeks

WW2 German 6mm Adler Panzer Grenadiers.

16 Platoons of 4 figures each.  To be painted in late war camouflage smocks.

26th December:  Models sorted, bases labelled.

27th December:  Figures glued to 2cm square plastic bases using UHU contact adhesive.  Snipped corners from some bases to indicate weapon type.  Milliput added to bases to help strengthen the contact.

28th December:  Basecoat (Vallejo WW1 German Field Grey) applied to figures.

29th December: Bases painted for urban setting.   Uniform Grey overall, sprinkled with fine sand, then “splodged” with Vallejo Green Grey.

30th December:  Flesh tone added to faces and hands.

31st December: Repainted hands and faces with lighter flesh colour (Coat D’Arms Flesh).  Rifle barrels painted with Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

1st January:  Stippled smocks with Vallejo 70.875 Beige-Brown.  Stippled smocks and some helmets with Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

4th January: Brick wall ruins on bases painted Coat D’Arms 509 (Brick Red?).  Black leatherwork painted Coat D’Arms 102.

6th January:  Gas mask cases painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.  Army painter Matt spray paint applied.  Unit Finished.

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WW2 1944 Polish Parachute Battalion

16 Bases of 4 Infantry; a mix of Adler British Paras and British Marines.

15th January:  Glued troops to bases.  Painted bases Coat D’Arms Grass Green .  Base Coated Figures Coat D’Arms 537 Faded Khaki.

17th January:  Rifle stocks painted Coat D’Arms Horse Tone Chestnut.  Helmets painted Vallejo 382 Reflective Green.  Faces painted Coat D’Arms Dark Flesh.  Dabbed smocks with Vallejo 70.782 Chocolate Brown.  Dabbed smocks with Coat D’Arms 223 Chestnut.  Trousers overpainted Coat D’Arms 225 Khaki.  Weapons painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

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Blindheim Project.  6mm Irregular Miniatures troop blocks.

Lt-Gen. Horn.  Mounted General with 3 footsoldiers carrying a flag)

31st December: Horse painted Vallejo 70.875 Beige-Brown.  Coats painted Coat D’Arms 211 Light Grey.  Base painted Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

1st January: Musket barrels painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

17th January: Faces and hands painted Coat D’Arms Flesh.

Danish Foot Brigade. 3 blocks of 18 musketeers + 3 man flag base.

6th January: Black wash to all. Diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.  Command base. Boots painted black.  Faces and hands painted Coat D’Arms 213 Flesh.

7th January: Coats painted Coat D’Arms Grey 236.

17th January: Musket Barrels painted Citadel Mithril Silver

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 American Civil War 20mm Plastic Figures.

Two Union Regiments of 5 bases (15 figures each).  Part-finished.

31st December: Repainted musket stocks Coat D’Arms 225 Horse Tone Brown

1st January: Repainted musket barrels Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal, Touched up bases with Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

4th January:  Backpacks, cartridge boxes and belts painted Coat D’Arms 102 Black.  Sprayed with matt varnish.  (Will be resprayed gloss for a “toy-soldier” appearance.)

3rd Maryland Regiment  8 bases of 3 figures each.

9th January:  Musket barrels painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun metal, Card bases painted Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.  Sprayed with Rustoleum clear matt varnish.

13th January:  Bread bags painted Vallejo 886 grey-green.  Trousers painted in various greys and browns.  Bases touched up with Polyvine Acrylic Enamel 52 Brunswick Green.

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Terrain for “Market Garden” campaign.

City river bank hexagon tiles.

2nd January

Five existing river hex tiles masked and one point sprayed with grey stone effect paint.  (Will need a touch-up by brush – stone effect spray cans only work well the first time).

Two railway sloping embankments started.  Cork tile sections cut, glued and clamped.

5th January:  Tried to cut cork embankments to form slope.  Failed.  Designed similar shape for 3d printing and printed two sloping embankments.  A partial failure as the bottom of the piece was curved, so I inverted them.

7th January: Overpainted the city river banks with light grey “tester pot” paint.

14th January:  Glued Leven Miniatures rail sections to sloping embankments.  Re-glued rail sections to sloping embankments!  Ordered more hexagons from Kallistra.  (Plain Blue single tiles).  Spotted new half-hex tiles, and ordered them too.  Made side slopes of rail embankments from Milliput.

15th January:  Painted and flocked railway embankments.   Added streaks of PVA to blue hexagon tiles for wave/river effect.  Glued railway sections to polder/swamp tile for rail crossing with embanked road.

16th January:  Discovered I was using the wrong bridge for the Arnhem Rhine rail crossing.  Dug out different bridge and added Leven Miniatures resin rail sections.

17th January:  Black washed rail sections on the sloped embankments.  Railway sleepers (railroad ties) painted Vallejo 70-872 Chocolate Brown.  Rail track tops painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

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1940 3mm German force.

Two SIG33 15cm Self-Propelled Guns.

6th January:  Black wash overall with diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.

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WW2 Naval

Sinking destroyer token (3d printed)

6th January: Black wash overall with diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.  Deck painted Coat D’Arms Flesh 213.  Bottom of hull painted Coat D’Arms 509 Brick Red.

7th January: Superstructure and gun turrets painted Coat D’Arms 236.

17th January.  Repainted hull and superstructure darker grey.  Repainted deck with a darker tone.

HMS Warspite (prepainted model from Axis & Allies Naval)

13th January:  3d printed base (2 x 6cm hexagons adjoining, 2mm deep).  Repainted hull and superstructure with Vallejo 886.

15th January.  Spray-painted base with 2 shades of blue.

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WW2 1/600 Aircraft

De Havilland Mosquito, Focke-Wulf 190d.

6th January:  Painted all aircraft Coat D’Arms 211 Light Grey.  Poor coverage.  Maybe the models should have been washed first?

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6mm Commission Figurines MDF

French Revolutionary War, 24e, 56e, 90e de Ligne.  Part finished.

13th January:  Painted white coat turn-backs and breeches.

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That’s all Folks!

And now back to the painting table…

 

A re-enactor’s remeniscence

Back in 2002, taking part in a living history display representing 1642 in the undercroft of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, Central London.

My rôle was hand-sewing linen sheets together, supposedly preparing tentage for the troops in the expected dispute between the King and the Parliament, but actually manufacturing an awning for my re-enactment officer’s tent.

Mid-afternoon I fell asleep, slumped forward on my stool.

I awoke to find a group of school-children clustered around me, and a hand-written cardboard notice: “This exhibit is currently out of order.”

 

 

 

 

Continue reading A re-enactor’s remeniscence

A storage challenge

I am struggling with a mathematical problem that takes me back to my work in the late 1970s.  In those days the problem was: “How many chest freezers measuring X x Y x Z can you fit in a shipping container measuring A x B x C?”

Now it is:  My toy soldiers are in boxes measuring 60mm x 95mm.  The storage containers are 345mm x 220mm internal.  Is there any way to fit 11 boxes into one container?

imageA suitable wargaming prize will be awarded to anyone who can supply a solution before I do.