Sunday, 24 November 2019

It takes a village...

In preparing my tiny troopers to battle for control of Sicily, I realised that they would need some tiny terrain to battle over.  This began a quest to procure some appropriate buildings and other features to construct a Sicilian village.

I considered scratch-building but quickly determined that it would be beyond my skills or patience to construct anything that looked good enough to meet my needs.  I looked at MDF buildings but decided that they looked too flat, with angles that are too regular for my tastes.  I was temped by paper buildings, but again the texture turned me off, although price-wise, paper buildings are very hard to beat!  And there are certainly some very attractive paper building choices available.

Finally I decided to purchase resin buildings.  Pricey, but I am very pleased with the results.  

I bought these from Brigade Games Spanish and Caribbean buildings line.  The set I ordered includes three small buildings plus the hacienda, and I added the stables and the fountain to fill out the order.  I have spent the time since they arrived in assembling and painting them.  Turns out there is quite a bit of fiddling around with resin buildings, between cleaning the pieces, assembling the buildings, filling gaps with putty and more.

The fountain turned out to be quite substantial, bigger than I had expected based on the photo on the website.  I am pleasantly surprised by how big it actually is, as you can see with the soldier below (Perry Miniatures).

I also repainted an Italeri wall set to match the colours used on the fountain.

I also dug out a few MDF walls that had been in my terrain box and gave them a bit of paint as well, to provide even more terrain to fill out the table.  The pre-painted MDF had been a bit dull, but adding just a little bit of paint really makes them fit it much better.

Here are the four smaller buildings.I treated them all pretty much the same.  I assembled them, filled any gaps with green stuff putty, primed them and painted them.  Roofs can be removed to allow figures to be placed inside.  Each building has been based on MDF board, which will hopefully make them a bit more durable in case of getting dropped or other misfortune.

Here is the first house.

For all the buildings except the stable, I added some textured Plastruct plasticard flooring, as you can see here.

You can see the roof with structural support added to give it a bit of durability during play.

Building #2 is similar to building #1, with a simpler, unpeaked roof.

Building #3 is taller, with an implied (but not actually present) second floor.

The stables have big, removable doors.  I decided against installing hinges; the doors can be removed if necessary during play.

And now la pièce de résistance, the hacienda.  This is a big building, with a big footprint, two floors and a large balcony.  

As with the other buildings, the roof is removable.

And so is the roof over the balcony.

Inside, there are two floors.  The upper floor is also removable.

The table came from my bits collection (it is originally from a Foundry WWI set!), and serves as a handle to lift the upper floor out of the building.

Which then allows access to the ground floor!

The start of this Sicilian village inspired me to pull my Warlord Games ruined hamlet set out of storage, to confirm that it fits in well with the new buildings.  Works for me!

As I now have a nice big sheet of MDF, I took the opportunity to add some strength to the barbed wire obstacles I made a few weeks ago.

The bases are now quite thick, but still serviceable.

Too add some more interest to the tabletop, I picked up some 1:48 dollhouse furniture from my nearby dollhouse shop.

There's even a dunny in case the toy soldiers need to answer a call of nature!

To my mind, I've got a good start on the village.  Enough at least for a game, especially when I add in other terrain in my collection.  Maybe in the new year, I'll see if I can procure a church for this village...

Monday, 11 November 2019

Canadian War Heroes

Today is Remembrance Day, so a fitting day to remember these two Canadian soldiers from the Second World War.  Both of these figures are from Stoessi's Heroes.

First up we have Sergeant Harold Marshall, of the Calgary Highlanders Scouts and Snipers Platoon, based on this famous photo (this version is from Sgt Marshall's Wikipedia page).

This image was part of a series of photographs made when Lt Bell, a correspondent from 'Army News' stopped by the unit in October 1944 to write an article on the scouts.  More images from the shoot can be found on the website of Library and Archives Canada.

Scout Platoon commander Lt G.H. Seller

Corporal S.Kormendy

Sniper Team of Sgt Marshall and Corporal Kormendy demonstrating sniper and scouting techniques.

Here is my take on Stoessi's figure of Sgt Marshall.

Stoessi has also decided to recognise the One Man Army, Léo Major of Le Régiment de la Chaudière.  Quite an amazing man, and one whose exploits are sadly under-recognized in Canada.  He earned the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) three times in two different wars, but was only awarded it twice as the first time he was nominated, he refused to accept the medal as it would have been presented by Field Marshall Montgomery.  Major thought Monty was incompetent and he wasn't going to accept an award from him!  He is the only Canadian to be awarded the DCM in two different wars (his second DCM was awarded for his actions in Korea).  

Major was wounded several times, including the injury that cost him his eye.  Where many other soldiers would be grateful for a "blighty" that allowed them to be invalided home, Major insisted on returning to his unit and carried on fighting.  I can't do as much justice to his story, but recommend following the stories at the following links.

There's an hour-long documentary from Radio-Canada, in French here:

A bit more accessible is this short animated feature (although the French pronunciation is sometimes bizarre).

Here is Stoessi's Léo Major.

And here are the three Canadian heroes, including Tommy Prince.