Monday, April 30, 2012

Aldi Quickshade

This is the result of the Aldi-bought shading experiment on the British Dragoon conversion figure from a couple of posts ago. 

The dark wood stain comes out roughly equivalent to AP Quickshade Strong. It is a warmer, less harsh contrast compared to my home-grown mix; useful for flesh and lighter colours, I'd reckon.

Military Medal Mystery #3

One of my followers, PanzerKaput, has done a little investigating himself, and has found Sidney Bradshaw's entry in the Edinburgh Gazette! I didn't even know there was an Edinburgh Gazette. After searching fruitlessly through the London Gazette, there is his name and number at the top left of the page!

Still no mention of a citation for what he did to deserve the medal, though.

Thanks for your help, PK!


I just received the reply from the IWM to my original request. As well as suggesting the National Archives and the London Gazette, they suggested I find the unit diary for the 7th Btn. Border Regt., which is there in the National Archives as well. Unfortunately, it's not digitised, so I can't peruse it from the comfort of my PC in Australia :(. One of my in-laws is living and working in London at the moment, so I'll see if there's any possibility they can get a copy of the citation.

The IWM also suggested getting in touch with the Border Regt. Museum in Carlisle (something young PK also advised). They ask for a minimum GBP 25 donation for their research, which really isn't that bad seeing as they don't get much funding from the MoD or governement in general, but I think I'll try and find out as much as I can before I resort to shelling out the readies (you can tell I'm descended from Scots!).

Sunday, April 29, 2012

In Your Face, AP Quickshade!

I found a 1 litre tin of dark wood stain at Aldi here in Australia for $8.00, works out at something like GBP 5.15, EUR 6.30, $US 8.40. As AP are still flogging the 250 ml. cans on their website for EUR 25.00 I think you can safley say I won't be buying any more AP Quickshade!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Military Medal Mystery #2

I'm fleshing out the bones of our mysterious S. Bradshaw, although I haven't found the citation for his MM yet. What I have found is that his first name was Sidney and he served in the 7th Battalion of the Border Regt.

Here is his entry from the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards showing his eligibility for the 1914-15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal, but no mention of his MM. This card indicates he joined up in 1915 and served in France.

Latest Procrastination Project - 1st (Royal) Dragoons

After converting and painting the riders last year, I have started painting the horses.

The riders are Italeri Scots Greys with head replacements using decapitated bonces from the Italeri French Dragoons, while the horses are the originals from the Scots Greys set.

This is the first horse/rider combo ready for basing and shading/varnishing.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Military Medal Mystery

After yesterday's post I became intrigued with one particular medal in my grandfather's collection. All the other medals were theatre service medals of the type awarded to all service men deployed in a particular theatre of operation, whether they were at the pointy end or in the typing pool at HQ; a sort of ' Thanks for all your hard work. Here's a shiny bit of metal and a pretty coloured ribbon for your efforts.' kinda thing.

This one, however, is the Military Medal, awarded 'For Bravery in the Field', As far as I can tell it's on the lower rung of bravery awards underneath the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Military Cross and the Victoria Cross. Still, you'd have to have done something fairly special to warrant one of these.

On more careful inspection, I discovered there's an engraving around the edge which reads '14599, Pte. S. Bradshaw, Border R.' From which it looks like the recipient was serving in the Border Regiment, which is a British regiment. I've tried to find his citation at the British National Archives, but I found I have to pay to have a look at the record. As I'm not sure I found the right one, I'm loath to go through all that palaver if it's not the right record. I've contacted the Imperial War Museum to see how best to find out Private Bradshaw's citation for bravery, and am waiting with bated breath for an answer. It's quite exciting! I feel like an amateur detective, or archaeologist waiting to dig up the past!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ANZAC Day 2012

Here in the Antipodes we are celebrating (commemorating, maybe more apt?) ANZAC Day, the 97th anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915.

In Australia it is also a day for remembrance of the sacrifice of all Australian soldiers from all conflicts we have been involved in from then on, especially of the World War II veterans who are fast becoming a rare breed, but also those involved in the forgotten or unpopular (at the time) conflicts like Korea and Vietnam. Participation of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are adding further poignancy to the day.

I have dragged out my grandfather's medal collection today as a way of remembering him and his generation. I really need to display them properly, as now I can't remember for sure which are his. I will have to do a bit of research to find out for certain. the first image is of his own service medals as far as I can make out. The rest are from his collection of medals from all the other major conflicts Australia had been involved in up until 1975.

Grandpa's service medals (I think): (l-r) 1939-1945 Star, Pacific Theatre Star, Australia Sercvice Medal, 1939-1945 Service Medal, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal 

Boer War campaign medals; (l-r)  Issued pre1900 with Queen Victoria's image on the reverse, clasps for Orange free State and Cape Colony; Issued post 1900 with King Edward VII image on the reverse.

WWI medals: (l-r) Military medal, 1914-15 Star, Inter-allied Victory Medal,   1914-18 War Medal, miniature of same.

Coronation and Jubilee medals 

WWII service medals; (Top row, l-r) Atlantic Star, Italy Star, Burma Star, British Defence Medal,
(Bottom row, l-r) Africa Star, 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star. 

Post WWII medals; (l-r) Australian issued Korea Service Medal, UN issued Korea Service Medal, Australian issued Vietnam Service Medal, South Vietnamese issued Vietnam War Service Medal.

l-r, Air-force efficient service medals and Regular Army Long  Service and Good Conduct medal

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To the Victor go the Spoils!

The winners of the inaugural 'La Bricole" painting competition have been announced!

While I didn't win, I came a creditable equal 4th along with von Blucher's 15mm AB 1806 Prussian Fusiliers and Archduke Charles' 28mm Foundry and Victrix Austrian Landwehr.

It was a lot of fun and definitely a boon in making one disciplined enough to finish a unit within a given time period . However, a few members fell by the wayside as the time pressure became too great :(.

The standards were very high and while I didn't really think I had a chance against some of the beautiful figures and painters in the competition, it didn't stop me doing the best I could. The quality was top-notch and the winners were very deserving of their prizes. Well done Bryce and Paul!

I'll be coming back for the second comp. in whatever form it takes, and I'd encourage you to join too, if you'd like to join in a bit of gentlemanly competition!

1st place:
Greystreak's Libavskii Russian Infantry Regiment (28mm Foundry)

2nd place:
Lieutenant Hausmann's Saxon Infantry Regiment (von Low's)(15mm AB)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Westphalian Officer's Surtout

I found these images of Westaphalian officers in surtouts from the Vinkhuijzen collection of the NYPL, so I guess I'll be repainting my command stand soon!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I've been Polish-ed up!

Back in the saddle again after nearly 6 weeks without a game! 

The long postponed game against John R. finally came to fruition last Friday night at the club. I was trembling with wargaming withdrawal DTs as I set up my Anglo-Iberian forces. While I had quantity over quality, with my heterogeneous infantry contingent, John had quality over quantity with a homogenous Polish force. I was planning to anchor my left on the buildings using my Spanish line battalions, as their suspect morale makes them an iffy prospect in open combat, while using the more reliable British line battalions to do the heavy lifting. I had the 92nd Gordon Highlanders and the 72nd GLHI plus the Portuguese brigade as a reserve, which I thought would be plenty to force the issue.

My original setup: Spaniards closest to the camera, Portuguese in the centre and British in the distance.
The lines didn't stay quite so neat!

"Niech żyje Polska!"

Hills Hiding Hussars!

"On do Lizbony!"

My serried ranks with ample reserves (or so I thought!).
Little did I know those were 12lbers ahead!

In actuality, my Spanish had the best of it and were about to roll up the Polish right flank, when my British line crumbled under the pressure of concentrated artillery fire and  infantry cavalry pressure, not to mention some ordinary dice rolls combined with some lucky rolls from John!

The pride of Spain!

My new guerrillero shouting threats at the Poles from a safe distance!
(He survived, but he didn't do anything either!)

What really spelled my doom was an unwise charge by my cavalry in the centre, followed by an opportunity charge by John's dragoons that we both forgot had to be rolled for first to see if the opportunity was taken. Fog of war! It may not have mattered as I pulled up my charging cavalry column after the target infantry battalion succeeded in forming square, which left my cavalry half-in, half out of an artillery battery, blocking it and adding disorders to the cavalry. John's resulting charge cleaned up the cavalry and both artillery batteries, which until that point were giving me good service in whittling down John's infantry lines immediately to their front.

My Spanish and British 9lbers did good service until I threw them away!

Caught flat-footed, the cavalry, guns and a battalion of Portuguese cop it in the neck!

Wrong way, lads!


Over on the British right flank, the riflemen of the 5/60th and the battalion light companies were peppering the Poles to their front, racking up disorders, supported by my other cavalry regiment and a battery of horse guns. 
Skirmish line advances...

...and starts their work...

...backed up by cavalry and artillery.

The first inkling I had that things were not going to go my way was when my lines came into range of John's 3 artillery batteries; I found out the hard way that one of them was a 12lber battery! Its first discharge knocked 3 figures of my line. Ouch! I withdrew them, causing a distinct bowing of the line, but next round they still suffered a casualty, causing an automatic morale test which they duly failed!

The line immediately in front of John's gun line.
"I wonder how big those guns are?"

"F@#$îng 12lbers?!"

"Steady lads!"

The line bends away from the guns

"Bugger this for a game of soldiers! We're off!"

It was then I decided that I had to do something offensive ("Your mother wears army boots!", I yelled), rather than stand on the offensive to get pummeled by his artillery. The disastrous cavalry charge could have been a winner, but I think I would have been better off getting in a position to attack his cavalry before starting on his infantry, rather than the other way around. As it was, his cavalry went battlemad and ended deep in my rear, unsupported. Even though I peppered him from the flank and rear with several Spanish units, their abysmal shooting and my pathetic dice rolls, coupled with John's infernally lucky dice rolling,  allowed him to survive. That didn't last for long, though, and the law of averages finally went my way when a 4th Spanish battalion joined the fun and fired in the dragoons'rear and they failed the resulting morale test. Huzzah!
John's dragoons left high and dry with infantry converging on their flanks.

They are fired upon, but manage to withdraw without suffering any consequences.

"Where'd they go?!

"There they are!"

Cacadores approach, fire, miss and the dragoons just give a  contemptuous Gallic shrug.

A Spanish battalion approaches and fires with the same result.

Finally, the Regimiento Irlandais approaches, fires, misses, but spook sthe horse enough to set them running for the rear! Hurrah!

On the other flank, John decided it was time to move before my skirmishers did too much damage and advanced while his guns played down my lines. I withdrew the 50th foot and another of my line regiments and replaced them with the highlanders and light infantry, seeing what was about to come.

I was banking on the massed firepower of my elite highlanders knocking enough figures off the attacking columns to affect their pre-melee morale check to an extent that would make the result of the charge doubtful. Although I did great damage to his attacking columns, John again pulled a die-roll out of his backside that allowed his Poles to ignore the damage and charge home. In the melee John rolled well again, while I didn't roll well enough, and his weight of numbers tore through the highlanders, leaving a gaping hole!

The Poles gear up for the charge

"Dać im chłopców bagnetowym!"

A dirty great hole where the Gordons used to be!

I felt the only way to restore the balance was to try a little offensive action myself, and sent the cavalry on that wing at the remaining infantry line which had suffered a lot from the skirmishers. John had kept his hussars behind the hill, with a vedette out keeping an eye on things. Once I declared the charge, he declared an opportunity charge. At this point we realised he needed to roll the dice to see if he actually took the charge (which he should have done the first time around!). In this case he failed to take the opportunity, which actually worked in his favour. I was actually hoping he'd be able to take it and we'd have a cavalry combat that I felt I had a chance of winning. Instead, I charged his infantry who successfully formed square and blasted me back to my starting point, after which John then launched his hussars. Now I had disorders as well as being blown, so I was never going to win and was duly smashed.

Cavalry face off 

My charge bounces off the Polish square...

...and are then ridden down by an avalanche of horse-flesh!

Hi-tech wargaming;
John uses a laser level to judge whether or not the infantry column gets cleaned up.
They survived by a whisker!

On the Spanish flank, it was too late to retrieve the situation, but not too late to try to and extract some pride  and gain a local success, I thought!

John sent in an infantry charge against the closed column of Spanish light infantry which formed the right hand side of an anchored line. They were duly crushed, but the victorious Poles were then left exposed in amongst a lot of angry Spaniards! The Regimieto Irlandais formed up on the flank of one of the Polish battalions and fired, while my Walloon Guards and Regimiento Toledo formed line on the flank of the other. The battalion fired on by the Irlandais cracked and fled, while I ran out of functions in that turn for the Walloons to fire, but it would have been nice!

The Polish columns crush the column anchoring the right of the line...
...and push on through the resulting gap...

...leaving them vulnerable to a flank fire. Off they run in the distance!

The Walloons and Toledos form up on the remaining column's flank

Unfortunately, the game had run its course and when the Buffs formed up on the flank of the Scots-crushing Poles, their artillery caught the Buffs in the flank and forced them to flee, spelling the end of the British division and the end of the game, so my Walloons didn't get the fun of a killer flank shot!

The Buffs trying to get in on the flank of the Scots crushing Poles, but in turn cop flank fire from the Polish artillery.

No nice neat lines anymore!

Bring out your dead!

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