Plan B!

My boss, StuG, is a jolly decent bloke but he’ll probably be panicking now at the title of this post!  He knows that the time is approaching where retirement is a viable career option for me, and I refer to this as Plan B!  Thirty years ago retirement was maybe Plan Z, but it’s worked its way closer to the beginning of the alphabet now!  The good news for StuG (if he chooses to think of it that way) is that I’m not retiring quite yet (should I maybe have said that sooner?)!


So, why mention retirement?  Well, another colleague said that he thought I wouldn’t want to retire because I’d have nothing to fill my time in with.  Oh, so seriously wrong!  See the picture above!  Stuff needs painting!

I only finished one model in July (and that’s here) but I’ve been busy preparing stuff to work on later this year and into next year.  Some of the stuff is from armies and periods that I wargame that I’ve maybe neglected in the last few years, and other stuff is getting done because there are maybe some anniversaries of different battles and wars on the horizon (and I like to try and remember these in amongst all my other wargaming projects).


So, first in the planning queue are figures and guns for my Boxer Rebellion armies, both Allied Powers and Chinese.  I’ve come up with some additional rules to use with the 19th Century European Warfare Rules by Neil Thomas to try out in a colonial warfare setting.  I’ve got plenty of figures for Boxer Rebellion armies, so really all I want to do is round out some of the units.  I’ve got a good selection to work on, infantry, cavalry and artillery units, but mostly only three or four figures in each unit (shown above – not a great picture I’m afraid, but there are Chinese regular troops, Russian infantry, Indian infantry, British sailors, French Colonial troops and a selection of cavalry).  In some cases I need to partially re-paint some older figures to fit in, the worst offenders being Japanese infantry who were painted in khaki uniforms (khaki summer uniforms were mentioned in the Osprey Boxer Rebellion book and I now that to be incorrect) but I now want them in blue!  Since I also use unit bases with these rules, I’ll have to get some extra ones made for some of the Chinese units.


Next up are Franco-Prussian War figures (shown above), with next year being the 150th anniversary of the start of the war.  I’m quite well off for Prussians, but I still want to add another gun battery, a hussar regiment and an infantry battalion (and in that order of importance).  My French have been cobbled together over the years from colonial and WW1 troops who look the part, but I need to add a “proper” infantry battalion, a zouave battalion, a dragoon regiment and a mitrailleuse battery (these are the figures in the bottom half of the photo above).  By careful choice of uniform colours, and adding some spare officers and colour bearers, the zouaves can be either French or Brazilian, the latter forming an extra unit in my Allied army for the Paraguayan War (since I haven’t added any units for this conflict this year).  To counter this extra Brazilian infantry battalion I also converted a Paraguayan cavalry battalion from ACW figures (they’re the six horsemen top right in the picture above).


This just leaves some 20th Century stuff to be done (shown above).  I’ve nearly finished all of the tanks I got under way in April, with the Russian T-26s now being shaded and awaiting drybrushing (top left).  The only two vehicles remaining untouched from April are the Russian and Japanese cars, but I’ve built a German 38(t) light tank and want to also make up two Panzer II kits (yes, they’re still in the box)!  There are fewer figures than the earlier periods though, just some Polish infantry (bottom left) and Red Army troops (bottom right) for the Russo-Polish War (fought from 1919 to 1920).  Again, these are just some extra troops to fill out my forces, the bulk of which are already done.

Some of the featured figures/units are “must haves” whereas others are less important but I’d like to get them painted if I can.  Needless to say, some might drop out and other things get added.  Realistically, when I finally do manage to retire, I would imagine my wife will ensure that I have less free time to paint figures than I have now – maybe retirement will have to wait!


  1. Sorry John but grab the retirement as soon as you can. Firstly, only people without indoor hobbies and interests have to fear it. It’s the wet days which do people’s heads in but for me now they are some of the best because I get to paint without any guilt! Secondly, there are tried and tested (by me!) techniques for getting under your wifes feet and ensuring banishment to the painting desk that never fail – trust me! 😉

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  2. Hey mate ,spot on with the retirement thing ,people have been telling me for years that you get bored when you retire or just drop dead ! but I have found that all my friends who have retired are always to busy to catch up, and as I have been having a little practice at it I can see what they mean ,boy I have the taste for it now ! but my finance man wants me to go on a little longer , my wife and I have been checking out the rural towns with weekend trips this last eight months in preparation as we like Dave( IMP )wish to get out of the bloody great mess of a city we live in now and move to country life where we both started from .
    It looks like you have some interesting things on the go mate ,quick one ,the metal cannons ,where did you get then from ,they look pretty good .
    Like you said earlier I have not been idle and like yourself have a few things to show but the weather here being abysmal, and what with being away a lot I’m yet to post some shots of my work but will do so when the weather turns ,Cheers Pat the hibernator!

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    • Thanks Pat! If it’s any consolation the weather here is crap at the moment and it’s meant to be summer, but since our caravan is in the country we always enjoy being there! I’m trying to think what the guns are now – the two guns shown in the picture with the Chinese are a Sikh War cannon and a Napoleonic Ottoman gun (that’s the smaller one with small wheels on the rear of the trail), both by Newline Designs; the cream coloured plastic gun is from the HaT Gardner gun set; there’s a British Zulu war gun in a small bag still to be built and that’s by Newline Designs; in the Franco-Prussian War photo, the Prussian limber, gun and crew, along with the French mitrailleuse and crew, are by B & B Miniatures. Newline Designs have quite a good range of guns in 20mm/1:72nd and the prices are very reasonable indeed (and they do a nice Gatling gun that I still need to get painted)!

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      • Sorry to hear about your weather being bad as well ,but its is good that you have that country retreat ,getting away is good for the soul even if it’s only for a weekend .Thanks for the information on the guns and as I’m a big fan of the Gatling gun I’ll have to check that out .The only ones I have been able to obtain were the Hat set I picked up in Exeter and brought home in my shoes !

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        • Well, as TIM has already mentioned, bad weather outside doesn’t usually impinge on indoor hobbies, so the cleaning up, preparing and painting continues! Newline Designs have a picture of their Gatling and crew at I like the HaT set because it’s got the heliograph team with it, but in the end I opted to buy the Gardner gun set instead because the sailors in landing rig that go with the gun are really useful! It still brings a smile to my face when I think of you heading back to Australia with your shoes full of plastic soldiers – I bet you deliberately pack more shoes than you need as well! 🙂

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          • Hey John that was one of those rare moments I wished for bigger feet ! ,Thanks for that link mate ,I was trying to look for that picture but for some reason the picture wouldn’t show ,It looks pretty good and a reasonable price as well. I agree with you on the crew with the Gardner gun they would be of more use to you and I would have preferred to use them on the ship instead of the Gatling crew I had to convert ,alas the shoes must have been to small at the time or the shop didn’t have both !
            And yep you right no weather will stop us true blue hobby folk ! .

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  3. My Dad dreaded retirement but then he moved to warmer climates and loves it. He potters in his garden everyday and then when it gets too hot he goes inside and watches movies with mum. I’m still a bit away from retirement but I’m looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong, I bloody love my life and enjoy every day of it but with retirement comes more time for the hobby haha. I have sooooo much to do and hate the thought of leaving this world with unfinished projects haha. Retirement age here in Aus is 65 but my plan is to retire at 55 or 60. My wife and I will downsize and live in, literally, a tiny house and I’ll have a big shed on the property for my hobby hehe. Looks like you have lots to get on with too my friend.

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  4. Thanks for the link John ,I was trying to get the picture up when looking at their site this afternoon but couldn’t get the photo up ,nice unit and a good price. I feel you went the right way with your choice of the Gardner as the other figures are really good ,in hind sight I should have bought them as well and used there crew on the Gatling.
    Now IRO spoke sometime ago about gifting stuff and I thought that was a great idea, when you mentioned the heliograph team I thought ,hell I have these left over and will never use them! so mate if you want them let me know and they are yours, I’ll also add a Gatling gun and some of the other figures you could use in conjunction with it, just give me an address to send them to .

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    • Cheers mate! Since I’m doing my Boxer Rebellion stuff bit by bit, by army or nationality, I’ll hopefully do updates frequently and they are first in the queue (well, OK, along with the Russian tanks). I’m trying to make the forces I’ve got for the different nationalities all mini-stand-alone armies, each of two or three units, so they can operate independently if they need to!

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  5. Wow, this is timely John. I turn 57 next month and have been laid off since June. Still looking for a job but no luck. I like Pat and TIM’s comments, and yours resonate with me as well. I would never be bored in retirement for sure! Good luck finishing these projects – you’ll be done soon I am sure!
    And you work for a StuG? Which Ausf?

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  6. For me, the sight of those figures all set up and ready to start work on is heaven! I’m particularly looking forward to seeing those Boxer Rebellion figures come to fruition. I’ve been toying with the idea of having a go at them but now I get to enjoy the process by proxy! 🙂 Best of luck with all of them!

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    • Thanks Marvin! I’m doing well with preparing Boxer Rebellion figures at the moment and some of them are pretty much at the top of the list for painting. Probably some Chinese first and then Allied powers (I have British, Indian, French, US, Russian and Japanese for the latter). I’ll probably aim to put up a post about each force as I do it, since I think the most that need to be painted for any one “brigade” is about half a dozen figures. 🙂

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