Gisby's Gaming Blog

September 24, 2015

Sally 4th Russian Farmhouse – A Review

Filed under: COLONIAL WARS, Pulp Gaming, Sally 4th, 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.

russianfarm6

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..)

russianfarm4

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 6, 2015

Hinterland Miniatures Trench Raiders – Hun Honeys

Filed under: Hinterland Miniatures, WW1 — Tags: — gisby @ 01:01

A while ago Hinterland Miniatures released a set of ‘Trench Raiders’ – A set of female soldiers in an approximation of 1914 German uniforms. They were lovely, delicate figures, but were equipped with gas masks and with late war automatic weapons that (I felt) did not ‘go with’ the early war look. (Despite the fact that nowhere was any claim made that these were ‘fantasy 1914 Germans’ or anything of the sort)

hunies1

Being a gamer on the internet, I could not let my shrill complaints go without being voiced. I wrote to the manufacturer, who answered me quite civilly that they were fantasy figures, not 1914 Germans. I tried to explain that my wants and opinions far outweighed any logic in the matter, and generously offered to shriek loudly until my concerns were met.

hunies2 hunies2a

Several months later, Hinterland released a 6-figure set ‘Trench Raider Unit Builder’ containing 2 each of 3 poses, without gas masks and armed with rifles, exactly what I had asked for. They also added a ‘Trench Raider HMG’ with a MG08, 2 crew, and a third figure with a bare head and a Bergmann SMG.

Having made such a stink over the first releases, I felt I should put my money where my mouth was, so I ordered 3 sets and a HMG pack.

They arrived in about a week (I’m in Canada) well packed and complete.

hunies4

(The figures above are: Princess Cecilie on foot, the NCO from the HMG pack, and a converted Trench Raider officer: None are from the Trench Raiders pack)

The figures are beautifully-detailed, flash-free, and the bottoms of the bases came pre-sanded so they were flat.

They are a small 28mm – They are small and slender women, in a smaller 28mm scale. They do NOT mix well with my RENEGADE 1914 Germans. The picture below shows in order, a RENEGADE German, a Hinterland Trench Raider, and a Ral Partha 25mm Zulu War Briton.

hunies3

The uniforms are an approximation of early war German uniforms: They wear y-strap suspenders, puttees, and jodphurs. One of the poses has a grenade at her belt, and two carry bags of them. I can live with this.

hunies5c hunies5a

The machine gunner is the only figure wearing a pack: It’s sort of low-relief, and the mess kit is a flat indication rather than a solid piece. The loader  seems tinier than most, but that’s mostly her pose. She lacks her MG drag straps. The HMG was a nice little model, but I replaced it with one from the spares box just for uniformity’s sake.

hunies5b hunies5

The figures were a delight to paint. As I said, they are delicate, crisp, and well-detailed. I happily recommend them to anyone wanting female sort-of-German soldiers.

June 22, 2015

Guns for Fun 3 – Turkish WW1 Guns

Filed under: WW1 — Tags: , , , , , , — gisby @ 00:01

I needed another opponent for my WW1 Russians, so I decided to build a Turkish force. I used the Copplestone Castings Back of Beyond Turks, because they are gorgeous figures.

Unfortunately, the range is somewhat limited, having only Command, Infantry, and HMG & crew figures. I still needed Artillery.

My first solution was to take the Back of Beyond Chinese field gun, and replace the heads on the crew. The uniforms aren’t perfectly accurate, but you can’t really see them well, clustered around the gun. I have absolutely no idea what type the gun represents.

turgun1b turgun1c

For a second piece, I turned to Irregular MiniaturesVery Useful Guns range, and picked up a German 77mm gun and Turkish crew.

turgun2b turgun2a

I found myself with a spare pair of kneeling Irregular Turks, so I removed their rifles, and paired them with a spare HMG from my parts box. They turned out well, I think.

trkmg2a trkmg2b

June 8, 2015

Guns for Fun 2 – Guns for Huns

Filed under: Germany, Irregular Miniatures, WW1 — Tags: , , , , , — gisby @ 00:01

My 1914 Germans are from RENEGADE. They are good-looking figures, and really look the part. But their HMG crews are all prone, and I wanted some seated MG crews. I bought these from Irregular Miniatures, and replaced the guns with spares I had in the box.

wargermg1

Kannick’s ‘Uniforms of the World‘ and some photos in the ‘Illustrated War News‘ showed the Maxim on an odd, wheeled version of its sledge, not the same as the Russian wheeled carriage. These were shown in use by the MG Battalions, so I converted the Irregular crew  with MG Bn shakoes. The photos were probably from pre-1914 wargames, so the wheels might have been gone by 1914, but it makes for an interesting piece.

wargermg2a wargermg2

My artillery park has several 77mm guns. It was a common gun, but hardly the only gun the Germans used in WW1.

For variety I picked up a Krupp 15cm FH13 (short) from Irregular Miniatures ‘Really Useful Guns’ range, and paired it with a spare RENEGADE gun crew. I filed their helmet spikes to balls, as German artillerymen wore a ball on their helmet rather than a spike. (Aside from the Bavarians, who did wear a spike)

war150c war150b

I was worried that the crew might be a bit too big for the gun, but it looks fine. The gun is simple in design, but builds up well and looks the part.The gun shield needs to be curved at the top, (a bit more than I did) but it’s easy enough to do.

war150a

Irregular has a large range of guns, with suggestions on who used them, and when. These guns fill in a lot of gaps for smaller armies and conflicts . The guns themselves are good-looking, well cast, and build up well.

I also have several 77mm field guns from various manufacturers. Before RENEGADE added the 77mm to their range I bought an Irregular piece. It looks a bit small beside the RENEGADE infantry, but the artillery isn’t usually up front with them.

77mmirreg

I picked up an incorrectly-assembled Foundry 77mm second hand, repaired it, and gave it a crew from Irregular. It’s the same size as the Irregular piece.

77mmfdry

And of course when RENEGADE added the gun to their range, I added it to my Artillery Park. It’s a much bigger, sturdier piece than the others, and they don’t look right side-by-side. But all of them are nice pieces in their own right.

ger77mmren

May 11, 2015

Some Guns for Fun

Filed under: WW1 — Tags: , , , , — gisby @ 01:41

When building WW1 forces, you need more than Infantry. You need Machine Guns and Artillery.Unfortunately, what you want is sometimes not available.

I built a WW1 BEF force from RENEGADE Early War British. I had to alter some hats to 1914 styles, but overall they are a good-looking range.

But I wanted a small Canadian force so I could fight Second Ypres. The infantry was easy, I just painted them a different shade than the British. It’s not 100% correct, the uniforms were not identical, but it’s good enough for me.

I made a Colt MG and crewed it with spare Artillery figures. Most parts are from the Vickers guns, I just made the actual gun, from wire & putty.

canmg1 canmg2

The Canadian gun is a 4.5 in. QF Howitzer from tin-soldier.com. I chose the dark green because I wanted it to look like the die-cast toy artillery of my youth. The gun is an excellent kit, fits together well, and looks good when finished. (I actually made this piece so I could use the gun. I really like the kit)

The crew is from the RENEGADE 18 pounder.

cangun1 cangun2

I bought another 4.5 in QF Howitzer for my Interwar Chinese. I used my Chinese Gun & Crew for my WW1 Turks.

The crew are made from random Chinese figures from Copplestone Castings.

chigun2 chigun1

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