Well, it’s about that time of year when another birthday’s over! Some people tell me that this year’s birthday has been a “significant” one. I’m assuming significant to people who count on their fingers (like myself) and therefore calculate that my age now has a zero for the last digit! And, since it’s the Chinese Year Of The Pig, and that was my birth year, my age must also be a multiple of 12. So, by my reckoning, I’m 120 years old! On the plus side, I’m maybe not looking too bad for my age then, but on the other hand I’d have expected to have got more wargaming stuff finished by now!
I thought I maybe ought to post something birthday-related, but since I’ve painted even less in August than July, maybe a different approach is required. So, I’ve been delving into those cupboards and storage boxes that rarely see the light of day and photographed some old stuff that’s never been featured here before. Once you see it, you’ll realise why some skeletons are maybe best kept in their cupboards (‘fraid some of the pictures are not great)!
Way back in the late 70s I started a 20mm WW2 Hungarian army. Infantry were simply Airfix Germans painted khaki and I had to scratchbuild Hungarian tanks from card. Most of the latter have long since disappeared, but two Toldi light tanks have survived (see above). These were built in the early 80s from card, paper and plastic rod, from drawings I made from photographs. They are simplified quite a bit, and accuracy could be a lot better, but they are recognisable as 40mm-armed Toldis. They’ve never been repainted, but I might add some early war markings to them and put a shading wash and highlight on them and start using them again.
About the same time I built myself a small WW2 Bulgarian force, since I’d just bought the Zaloga Eastern Front Camouflage & Markings book (Panzer IVs, a Panzer III and a Panzer 38(t) are shown above). Bulgarian national insignia on the turrets was painted freehand but I doubt I could manage that now. Infantry were, once again, plastic German painted khaki!
The Bulgarians have been stashed away and the plan is to replace them with new troops and vehicles, hopefully better painted and more accurately portrayed! Most of the tanks should be finished in German overall yellow for 1944 operations, although the dark green Panzer IVs above are correct for 1945 actions.
Some of my first metal figures were 25mm samurai from Dixon Miniatures. These were painted in about 1983 in Humbrol gloss enamels, not a method I’d repeat! Later troops were painted in matt enamel and gloss varnished, but these have yellowed with age unfortunately. The picture above shows just a handful of figures from the 100-odd that I’ve got, and the picture below shows some ronin (dispossessed samurai).
I’m actually thinking about getting some of these figures tidied up and matt varnished to try out with Osprey’s Ronin skirmish rules. Just for some different opposition to the samurai, in the early 90s I painted a Ming Chinese army using Irregular Miniatures figures. The Chinese fought the Japanese in Korea in the 1590s and I painted most of my Ming troops over a two year period when I was away a lot for work.
Once again, I’ve got about 100 figures, all gloss varnished.
Next up are Aeronefs in 1:1200th scale from Brigade Models. I think I started collecting these in the 90s by making a Chinese air fleet (above) and then some Japanese (below) along with Russians and French.
In the early noughties I started playing the aerial combat game Crimson Skies, sadly not long before it became unavailable.
In my opinion, Crimson Skies was an excellent game, much better than Wings Of War/Glory, with pilots gaining experience and abilities with each mission they flew. I think I have over a hundred plane models and pilots, many of the aircraft models being converted from historical metal plane models (Crimson Skies was set in an alternative 1930s where the USA had fragmented and air transport was the primary means of transport – the official models were approximately 1:200th scale). The fictional planes above were converted from Scotia Grendel 1:300th models using Milliput, a Grumman Sabretooth on the left and a French Guillotine heavy fighter on the right. Shown below are a Dutch Fokker XIX fighter bomber and Scorpion heavy flying boat fighter with a remote operated turret.
Crimson Skies contained all the rules needed to create your own planes and most of mine were my own designs, which tended to be slow and heavily armed! I think I used more Scotia 1:200th P-47 Thunderbolt models for conversions than anything else – the German Bv P.163 below is a Thunderbolt conversion.
Even used some larger models and made up my own rules for bombers – the French Cyclops night bomber shown below was converted from a 1:144 scale P-38 Lightning.
I’m thinking I maybe need to play Crimson Skies again! Was always good fun!
So now, something definitely not historically-based! Warmachine! You weren’t expecting that (well, OK, the title picture might have given the game away)!
Started collecting Warmachine stuff ’cause I thought it might make good steampunk hardware, but it ended up with a group of about five or six of us playing Warmachine over several years before it all lapsed. The first force I made up was a Rhulic mercenary group (shown above) that took forever to paint. I added a few barrels and stores to one of the smaller Grundback Gunner warjacks and painted the bigger Driller with a shark’s mouth to match the artwork in one of the sourcebooks.
Next force I painted was Cygnar, as it was the only one no-one else was bothered with at the time. Instead of the characteristic blue scheme I went with khaki and added some extra stowage on my two Hunter warjacks. My favourite warcaster figure was Victoria Haley (she’s the figure carrying a staff and wearing goggles and a hood). To complement my Cygnar force I also bought some extra mercenaries – the Devil Dogs and Nomad and Mule warjacks amongst others (see below).
I swapped some of the bits between the Mule and Nomad and went with an orange-brown for warjacks, although I painted the Mule in Cygnar blue (to represent its origin) with some other bits patched on. And, last but not least, how could I not get myself a figure of Arquebus Jonne (he’s the ogrun below with the heavy tri-barrel gun, along with his partner Herne)!
Just love these two figures! I think Herne was the first figure I ever tried painting with stubble on his chin!
It’s been a while since I’ve played some of these games and had these minis out, so I quite enjoyed looking through them all and getting some pictures taken. Maybe I have just had a significant birthday after all!