Gisby's Gaming Blog

July 7, 2020

SPACE 1889: British Cavalry

I was going through a box of figures, and I found a pair of Castaway Arts Sudan-era British cavalrymen. “I know what I can do with these!’ I thought, then remembered that 20+years ago I had bought a unit of British cavalry for use on Mars.

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Surprisingly, I was able to stand up, wade through the clutter, and go directly to the container where they nestled, mixed with other forgotten minis.

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The figure that started this all: A Castaway Arts British officer. He came with an absolutely beautiful horse, but that’s not what I wanted for him. A bit of bending and filing, and he sat comfortably on a Gashant.

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The second figure was also from Castaway Arts, I decided to use him as a scout or galloper, mounted on a Tauntaun for speed.

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The long-forgotten unit was from the Victorian Classics range (Produced by Frontier.) They were larger than Frontier’s other offerings, and fit in well with RAFM and Foundry of the time.

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I had to spread their legs a bit to get them to fit, but fit they did. I was amazed, after 20+ years kicking around in a pile of lead, none were broken – I had been expecting to do some repairs.

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I painted them in khaki, but on reflection, they might have looked more impressive in red or blue jackets. The unit as is seems to be all shades of beige.

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January 9, 2020

Wargames Atlantic Afghans

I have a sample sprue from Wargame Atlantic‘s upcoming 28mm plastic Afghans, and I wasted no time in assembling and painting it. Forgive the poor photos, they were taken with my phone.

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There are 5 figures on the sprue, a mix of standing and running figures, plus one kneeling figure. To make the figures individual, there are eleven heads, with skullcaps or turbans, some with beards, some without, and wonderful facial detail.

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There are also eight sets of arms, armed with jezzails, muskets, rifles, swords, and knives, plus 4 shields, and several loose guns and scabbarded swords.

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The fit is good, and the arm pairs are marked on the sprue ( 1L, 1R) making it easy to match them up. Most of the arms can be used with any other, but there are several where they work best matched. There are essentially no mould lines.

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There are comparison pictures on their Facebook page, and the figures are scaled to work well with Perry Miniatures.

I built these at my desk in about 10 minutes, and I enjoyed doing so: The marked arm pairs and good fit made a big difference. (And I like Afghans)

I can see myself using them as Afghans, Indian Mutineers, and Baluchis, Arabs, and Zanzibaris in Darkest Africa.

Here’s a picture of the sprue from the Wargames Atlantic site. (There’s a head missing)

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August 12, 2016

Home-Grown Askaris

Years ago, I sculpted a bunch of figures for a company that shall remain nameless. They were state of the art for 1975, but it hadn’t been 1975 for many years.

I did however sculpt an Askari miniature, and kept a mould of him: Based on a Belgian Askari, he was pretty generic, so I have painted units of them in blue, khaki, and white, and he serves in many of my armies without raising eyebrows.

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I recently found a TSATF unit’s worth in a box, based and primed, so I painted them as yet another bunch of Belgians.

The command figures are random figures from my Victorian spares. I think the Officer is from (long gone) ItalWars, and the NCO from Warrior Miniatures.

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My Askari is not so bad: If I could only sculpt hands, feet, faces, and bodies, he’d be great!

September 24, 2015

Sally 4th Russian Farmhouse – A Review

Filed under: COLONIAL WARS, Pulp Gaming, Review, Sally 4th, terrain, Victorian Adventure Gaming, WW1 — Tags: — gisby @ 20:38

This is Sally 4th‘s kit 28WW2_001 Russian Farmhouse. I have no idea how typical this building is of Russian farmhouses. (farmhice?) I picked this kit up because it looked (to me) like it wouldn’t be out-of-place as a white farmer’s home in Africa. (NB: I am not doubting it’s accuracy…. I have seen a photo of the original building, and this is what it looks like. It’s a dam’ good representation.)

Sally 4th Russian Farmhouse

It’s laser-cut from 2mm and 3mm MDF, with a patch of ‘fun fur’ for the thatching. It also comes with extensive colour-printed instructions. The fit is good, and it is well-engineered.

The building itself is a rectangle with two interior rooms. Three walls have windows, and one wall is blank. It is surrounded by a wooden walkway and an overhanging awning/roof. There is a nice-looking chimney supplied, but apparently I forgot to add it.

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I primed and painted all the pieces before assembly, which makes for much easier painting. Priming isn’t essential, but without it, the MDF tends to soak up paint like crazy. However the tolerances on this kit are extremely tight, so too much paint will interfere with the fit of the pieces. Be aware of how it fits together before you start painting.

The roof has four sloped pieces that are glued together, and to a good, solid frame that helps align them. The instructions suggest that there can be difficulty getting them aligned because of all the angles, but it wasn’t really difficult.

The instructions tell you to assemble the four outer walls, let them dry, then insert the inner walls and room dividers. (The walls are double-thicknesses as are the interior walls. This makes for a more substantial kit, and allows detail on both sides of the walls..)

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Because the tolerances are so close, I’d suggest that you assemble the interior walls then glue the outer walls around them. (And do not paint the wall surfaces that are glued together.) When dry, I filled what seams there were on the outer walls, and used a bit of the filler to add some texture to the walls themselves.

Each window has a lintel, a sill, two sides, and a shutter (open or closed) and a frame that sits inside them. Again, be careful of painting the surfaces that glue together because they may not fit easily if you are careless. Don’t get me wrong, the resulting windows look great, and all the pieces make them easy to paint. They are engineered so that they align themselves for the most part, so in spite of the number of pieces they aren’t really difficult to assemble.

The doors can also be assembled open or closed (or left unglued.) They have a handle assembly that looks like a block with two curved antennae. The instructions showed where they go, but not how. Eventually I realized that they fit into the door with the antennae pointing down, making a very convincing set of iron door handles.

The floor and walkway are a single piece, and slot into place easily. The awning and supports also fit easily and cleanly. The roof just sits on top for easy removal.

I had pictures of each end, but they are identical, so why bother?

I had never tried the ‘fun fur’ thatching before, and it was complicated by the multiple angles of the roof, I aligned and glued one  long side. When that was dry, I did the other long side. When that was dry, I folded the fabric at each end flat and slit it at the approximate centre of the wall. This left a flap on each end that overlapped the other side. I trimmed this flap where it overlapped the other, and glued them down.

Then the fabric was dry, I brushed the fur with a toothbrush, blending over the joins. I used slightly dilute white glue and brushed it all downwards.

I painted the whole house much like they did in their instructions. (It looked good, why not?)

russianfarm1

When dry, I lightly primed the thatch, then brushed various tans and greys onto it. The fur supplied was black, and I had some doubts, but it actually worked well.

While more complex than most laser-cut kits, this was easy to assemble, and a pleasure to build. The results make the extra complexity worth it. Available from Sally 4th.

July 26, 2015

Space 1889: A German Landship

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First of all, let me say that this was not an original idea: It came about as the result of a conversation with the Major General himself. He suggested that the GI Joe ‘Cobra Imp’ might make a good Steampunk tank. And so it does.

This vehicle started life as a GI Joe kid’s toy, with four rockets on it’s back and a Cobra crewman sitting in the front. I got lucky on ebay, with a seller apologetically throwing in a second vehicle because it was missing the rockets and launcher.

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I covered the open compartment at the back, leaving space for a grille to show the inner workings. (They look a lot like steam turbines) I placed a tall smoke stack just in front of the grille.

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I closed the front of the seating compartment and put in a floor suitable for 25mm command crew. I use 20mm bases, so it was the perfect size for two crew.

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The hull front received a view slit and a limited-traverse cannon. The vehicle may be big and impressive, but it isn’t particularly effective.

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There were platforms at the back with pegs to fit the feet of GI Joe soldiers. I removed the pegs so the platforms can still carry a couple of troops. I suppose carrying an MG and crew would make the beast far more effective..

For very little work I got two impressive-looking steam tanks The Imps can still be found on ebay, and without their rockets they don’t cost much….

The crew in these photos are supplied by my Hinterland Miniatures Trench Raiders: https://gisby.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/hinterland-miniatures-trench-raiders-hun-honeys/

July 19, 2015

Darkest Africa – More Germans

Filed under: COLONIAL WARS, Germany, Pulp Gaming, Victorian Adventure Gaming — Tags: — gisby @ 22:20

Askaris

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gerskar5a

This unit is based on a description of Early German Askaris in Foundry’s ‘Small Wars and Skirmishes.’ It’s made of Old Glory Egyptians painted as Africans, with a German flag. It has Egyptian Officers, as the troops hired only understood commands in Turkish, so non-German officers were needed.

The Egyptians and the Sailors below had a few of the ‘Hey Bob!’ poses, with heads looking around at odd angles, but they were easy enough to fix.

Matrosen

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A naval landing party. Old Glory again, Austrian sailors from the Boxer Rebellion. If there is a difference in the uniform, it’s lost to me in 25mm.

Schutztruppen

Renegade WW1 Germans in field cap, with a neck curtain added.The uniform might not be 100% correct, but it looks good enough to me. (The caps should have a small visor on the front, but I didn’t bother) They’ll also do for troops serving in Asia.

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I also made a MG and crew.  The funny little tripod is made from wire and plastic card.

 schmg01 schmg02

May 17, 2015

Darkest Africa: Pulp Figures German Colonial Infantry.

Pulp Figures is known for great personality figures and (of course) Pulp Archetypes, but I have always particularly liked their historical troops.

I was very excited when they released their ‘German Colonial’ sets. They are perfect for Colonial warfare, WW1, and the Boxer Rebellion. This uniform could be seen in the Pacific, Africa and Asia.

PGS 15 German Colonial Rifles is  well posed for a skirmishing line, and they really look the part: Tough, experienced troops. (The girl in the first picture is from PHP 19 Dangerous Dames 2)

sh1 sh1bsud2 sud1

PGS 17 German Colonial Maxim Guns

Again, well-posed and well-sculpted, a pair of efficient weapons teams.

Note: The HMG is not the one that came with the set. I accidentally wrecked mine trying some solder work, so had to replace it with a spare.

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I used a RENEGADE 77mm gun with the crews from a set of PGS 17  to give my Colonial Troops some artillery.

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I also have a unit of Seebatallion made up from PGS01, 02, 03, and 06. These troops could also be seen in the Pacific, Africa, and Asia,

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The officer below comes with binoculars in his hand, but I replaced them with a sword.

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Needless to say, I enthusiastically recommend these figures. They are available from Pulp Figures.

For more information on German Colonial Uniforms: http://www.germancolonialuniforms.co.uk/

April 13, 2009

Wargames Factory – Plastic Zulu War British – A Review

 

When Wargames Factory announced their intention to release a set of 1879 British, I was very excited.

First of all, because it was an indication that they were going to do Victorian subjects (pun!) but more, because it suggested that they were going to do ZULUS!

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After all, no groups will benefit more from cheap reinforcements than the various charging natives of the Colonial Era: You just need a lot of ’em to face the massive European firepower.

 

Although they were not the first set announced by WF, they were the first set actually released, so are in some ways, a learning experience for the company.

That being said, they still aren’t bad as a first attempt.

The set comprises 20 figures, with two body poses, and arms to do a mixture of firing, at ready, and loading poses. There is no Officer included.

There are also 24 heads, with 5 styles of helmeted heads, and 2 in forage caps. Helmets are separate, so bare heads are easy enough if you want them.

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When first I attempted to assemble these figures, it seemed less like I was making wargames figures than assembling Tamiya-style model figures.

The parts were tiny and fiddly, and ill-suited to my elderly ham fists.

 

I’d suggest a production line approach for efficiency:

First of all, remove, clean up, and sort the pieces.

One-by-one, attach the left arms to all the figures. (I use tube cement: It fills gaps, and allows a bit more ‘wiggle’ time)

Next, attach the right arms: The left arm will help align everything.

Attach the heads so they sight along the weapon, or look wherever you want.

Put on helmets, adjusting heads as neccessary.

This speeded things up considerably.

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The Officer

Of course I needed an Officer…

This proved amazingly easy to do. (One of the advantages of plastic)

I pared away any straps or details I didn’t want, and repositioned the ‘loading’ arms.

With a revolver and scabbarded sword from the parts box, he was done.

(The hardest part was deciding on a pose)

 

What Did I Like?

Once I came up with a method, the figures went together easily and quickly.

Ultimately, they were ‘fun’ to make.Well done faces with personality. (and yes, the helmets fit well)

Loads of variety: Between the head, arm, and body choices, no two figures need be the same.

Being plastic makes them easy to modify and assemble.

Price: They are dam’ good value.

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What Didn’t I like? (NB: What I DON’T like may well be a GOOD thing to other people)

Delicate weapons: While the figures were proportioned like wargames figures, the rifles were delicate, like traditional plastic figures. I like my rifles a bit more sturdy.

Soft detail: The detail is there, it’s just not as ‘crisp’ as it could be. (Later sets have improved on this dramatically)

I don’t like firing figures (boo hoo. Poor Tim)

Above you can see a size comparison with a Wargames Foundry Brit of the same era.

RECOMMENDED

All in all, I’d recommend this set to anyone wanting to start or increase their Zulu War forces. The figures are also suitable for service anywhere in the 1870’s and perfect for Victorian Adventure Gaming or VSF!

AVAILABLE FROM:
Wargames Factory LLC

c/o Triangle, Inc

420 Pearl Street

Malden, MA 02148

http://wargamesfactory.com/Home.htm

August 14, 2008

SPACE 1889: A German walker

I am a big fan of the SPACE 1889 rules and setting. They had role-playing rules, tabletop battle rules, plus aerial and naval rules. They combined Victorian and Barsoomian elements well, and deserved to be far more popular than they were. Even now, 20 years later they still have a following.

I’ll admit, in places the rules weren’t great, but in others they were teriffic.

Where they shone, was in background. The rules themselves were followed by a bunch of reasonably priced sourcebooks, each with background material a-plenty and a really crappy scenario.

REALLY crappy. They were interesting, but totally channeled: Nothing the players did could make a difference.

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If they caught all the villains, another villain would blow up the ship.; If they jumped ship before then, they could successfully evade capture for up to 7 days, then they WOULD be captured.

There was always only one route to take, and one solution. But I digress….

‘Soldier’s Companion’ (the battle rules) had great photos of battles between British and German troops, and of course between Europeans and Martians. And of course there were ‘Land Ironclads’ and ‘Walkers’.

This is my attempt at a walker.

The cab is made from Lego blocks, assembled and turned upside down, with a plastic roof added.

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Doors and hatches are also plastic card, with hinges & handles made from wire. The ventilator on the roof is a the head of a 2-part rivet.

Round ports and frames were done with hole punches, and the front window frame was plastic strip from the model shop.

Rivets were punched from plastic with a leather stitching punch, and glued in place one at a time.

NB: Lego are not made from styrene, so model cement does not work on them. All the parts were crazy-glued in place.

The housing below the cab, and on the rear are just different Lego pieces. (so I didn’t have to worry about making anything square) The machine-gun and smoke stack are plastic sprue & wire.

The housing is glued to a sandwich made of several (detestable) slotta-bases. (So I’ve found a use for 3)

The wheels on the side were rolling wheels from a Lindberg snap-together Iosef Stalin III kit. They are on a coat-hanger wire axle, also glued to the underside of the housing. On the right hand side in front of the wheels is the base of a 2-part rivet, just to add interest.

The legs are made from coat-hanger wire, bent at the ‘knee’ and glued into the slotta-base sandwich. The bends, and the joint are disguised by sections of plastic tube, with sprue sticking out of the ends.

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The ‘knee’ actually has a slot in the side, and was forced down onto the bend: The bit sticking up is NOT the leg below..

The ‘feet’ are SPACE 1889 flying bases with rivets added. The peg is rounded at the top, and has plastic disks cut with hole punches covering the join.

I painted it grey, added some lettering & weathering, and put it on a shelf. sigh…..

If we ignore the fact that a three-legged vehicle just doesn’t work, it’s a fearsome piece of German technology.

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