Saturday, 29 February 2020

A Mediterranean Church

Here is one last building for my Sicilian village - a church.  Every Sicilian village has at least one church, and there are multiple churches in most towns, so I'd be remiss to omit a church from my village!

I carefully studied Sicily guidebooks, and even Google street view for several communities in Sicily to get an idea what a Sicilian church looks like.  The biggest and most prominent churches are mostly quite Baroque in appearance.  However, I found outside of the town centres, and especially out of the towns themselves, simpler churches could be found.

This church is from Empress Miniatures. I was very impressed with the service from Empress, I received the church just 7 days after I ordered it.  I don't think I've ever received a package that quickly from the UK.

The tower is completely separate.  This provides some flexibility in setting up the terrain.  The tower can be attached to the church or set somewhere else altogether.  

I used a sepia wash to try to match some of the colouring I saw on streetview.  I didn't get an exact match, and I was not very uniform applying the wash!

The tower has a few floors and a lift-off roof, so it provides a good place to put a sniper, or a FOO (forward observation officer, or artillery spotter).

Doors are a bit small, carrying on the tradition of wargaming terrain being slightly smaller scale than the miniatures.

The set includes a small statue of a saint and a crucifix to fit into the sconces on either side of the church doors.  

While browsing the shelves at Imperial Hobbies, I made an impulse purchase of some 4Ground church furniture, including an altar, a pulpit and a couple of pews.

I agonised over whether two pews would be enough, until I realised that I could barely fit even these 4 items into the church!

I also picked up a set of corners to match a set of straight wall sections I already had in my collection.

Panzer IV Ausf G

And the forces continue to grow for Operation Husky!  Here is the Rubicon Models Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf G.  Ausf. is an abbreviation for the German word 'ausführung' which more or less refers to the version of the tank.  The Panzer IV was produced from 1936 right through the end of the war in 1945, but was upgraded multiple times.

The Ausf G was notable for the long 75 mm KwK 40 gun.  I've painted it in an approximation of dunkelgelb to represent the tanks of either the Hermann Goering Division or the 15th Panzergrenadier Division.  Mostly I felt that I needed to provide the fallshirmjager some armour support, and there are multiple references in the histories I've read of 1st Canadian Division facing what are referred to as Mark III and Mark IV tanks.

I tried to dust up the decals a bit, but they still look quite 'decal-ly'

Tank commander can be removed to represent the tank buttoning up.

Here are some comparisons with the Warlord Games/Italeri Panzer IV that I built previously.  It's painted white and represents the Ausf F1 as deployed in the Russian winter of 1941-42.

Both models are very close in size - without pulling out calipers, I would not be able to determine any size difference between them.  

After poring over all the photos of Panzer IV in Italy and Sicily that I could find, I decided that this tank should get schurzen on the turret, but not on the sides of the tank.  I splashed some paint on the side schurzen anyway, though.  It's possible to snap these on to the side of the tank, so if there is some compelling reason, I could add them for a scenario.  

Quick and dirty Patrol Markers for Chain of Command

Chain of Command starts with an interesting process called the Patrol Phase, which will set the deployment points for the two forces when actual play begins.  It's played out using patrol markers, which represent the two forces maneuvering around the battlefield until they make contact.  It's a great way to help represent the "empty battlefield" which has been a feature of warfare since at least the Boer War, and which is hard to depict on the wargame table as we just love to show off our beautifully painted toys!

Each side gets a number of patrol markers, typically three or four, but potentially up to six.  The Canadians are represented by the 1st Canadian Division's "Red Patch" and the Germans by the Fallschirmjäger  badge.  

The markers can be flipped once locked, which happens once the marker ends up within 12" of an enemy markers.  These markers are pretty big, and moreover the Canadian and German markers are different sides.  It'll be important to measure from the centre of each marker.  Measuring from the edges will potentially give one side or the other an advantage of a few inches.  

They are really sloppy, so if I get a chance I'll redo them.

Kate the Great

Here is a tiny break from WWII in Sicily.  This figure is from Bad Squiddo, and represents Empress Ekatarina Alekseyevna, better known as Catherine the Great of Russia.  I don't really have a role for her in my collection, but I suppose she could join the staff on Peter the Great's army.  Even though she wasn't crowned Empress until nearly 40 years after Peter's death!  

The figure appears to be based on this painting by Vigilius Eriksen, showing the Empress in the uniform of the Preobrazhensky Guards.  

I skimped a bit on the details.  I really don't like painting grey horses, so went with a chesnut instead, and of course I couldn't be arsed to replicate all the fancy embroidery on the saddlecloth and holster covers.  (Don't quote me on this, but I think the name for the holster cover is "flounce").

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Um Bum Part 4 - ruined castle

Here is the last of my Um Bum purchases, a ruined castle!  

 It's pretty big, about 32 cm (1 foot) each side and 27 cm tall.

There's a side panel that can be removed to access the interior (or simply left off to make the caste even more ruined!).

The corner tower is also removable.

Lots of room inside for moving figures around.

As you can see, fits in nicely with 28mm figures.  Depending on how my Operation Husky plans proceed, it could fit in as an abandoned Norman keep, somewhere in Sicily!

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Canadian Army Mule Cart

The photo above was taken by Frank Royal, and shows soldiers of the 1st Canadian Division marching near Modica, Sicily in July 1943.  Much of the Division's transport was lost when the ship carrying it was torpedoed en route to Sicily, so the soldiers had to make do as best they could.  As you can see in this photo, they made use of local mule carts to carry supplies.

Now, apparently Sicily is famous for brightly decorated mule carts.  I was tempted to follow suit, but decided that it wouldn't be very army-like to have a bright orange and red cart following my khaki-clad soldiers.  So I went with a more subdued colour scheme for my cart.

Intrigued by this, and with no particular game application in mind, I determined to procure a mule cart to support my own soldiers!  The mule cart is from Empress Miniatures, driver from Perry Miniatures Desert Rats (plastics so great for all these 'specials'!) and the stowage from various pieces I had around, including Perry, Die Waffenkammer and Warlord Games.

Driver and stowage are removable.  The stowage is glued to a base of plastic sheet, and could potentially be used as a jump off point for Chain of Command.  I drilled a hole in the cart and inserted a magnet so that the driver can be easily removed.  Too bad I messed up the otherwise neat lines of the cart!

Finally, I tried to duplicate Frank Royal's photo. Didn't quite get it, but I think the flavour of the photo is there! 8^)