Monday, 17 February 2020

S Range Prussian Pioneers - Conversions

Whilst fiddling about making the casualties for my Ambulance service, I came across a couple of conversions that I had started with the idea of making a small unit of Prussian Pioneers.  I wasn't wild about these but thought I should just go ahead and painted them up.

The figures are based on the 2 Prussian Artillerymen and one Prussian infantryman.  The conversions are fairly obvious.  

Given the figures I used,  you can do exactly the same conversions to create Bavarian or Wurttemberg Pioneers although I have struggled to find any pictures or uniform details for either.  The only uniform I did come across was a Saxon Pioneer which is the same uniform as the Prussians but in green. 

The 'shovels' are from Irregular Miniatures SW20 Farm Implements.  Gripping Beast also make a set of tools SC62  12 tools for £2.00, as do Essex Miniatures X52 which includes Hammers, shovels and picks 8 tools for £2.50. Prices exclude p&p.  I am sure there are others out there, but these I have used in the past.  One set of tools allows you to make up a number of 'pioneers'.

My latest messing about is to make a third gunner for the Prussians, Bavarians and Wurttembergers artillery crews. I always think they look a bit odd with only 2 gunners/poses.  This one will be holding a rammer and will be a conversion of the gunner with the shell.

Friday, 14 February 2020

FPW Ambulance Update- Wagon Driver RNX1

I mentioned in the previous post that I had spotted the Russian Wagon driver in fatigue dress RNX1 in the Minifigs catalogue and wondered if this would be an easier way of getting drivers for LLeido wagons (or indeed any other wagon) than cutting 2 figures apart as I had been doing up until now.  

Of course as soon as I finished my Ambulance conversions I discovered that I already had a LLeido 'box' wagon in another wargames box!! Anyway, at least if provides an opportunity to show you what the figure looks like on a variety of Lleido wagons.

Brewery wagon. I removed the barrels to use as barricades

A Bavarian head with the comb removed might
make a passable fireman's helmet?
Basically the figure works and doesn't look out of place with S range.  I think the driver may supposed to be mounted on a horse rather than the seat of a wagon as his legs are quite spread apart.  However they can be squeezed together with a pliers to make it look better.

The fatigue dress means that the figure has no pouches, cross belts or weapons and has shoes rather than boots, meaning he is ripe for conversion of simply having leaving and being painted.  The only thing that strikes me as odd is the hat, which looks very formal.  A quick file to get rid of the top 'rim' of the hat and or filling it down would probably work and give a more fatigue cap lookas would a straight head swap .  The raised right hand looks as if it should be holding a whip.

You can use this figure as a driver for any wagon and with very little work or a simple head swap for almost any nation in the CW or FPW or with S range Napoleonics.

This is the figure on an Airfix wagon.  The seat needs to be raised by 2mm either with card or as in this picture a small piece of laminated floor tile to allow the figure feet to sit properly.

Monday, 10 February 2020

FPW Ambulance Part 2 - S range Casualties and make your own FPW Ambulance

Not sure if it is to do with my condition and the frequent trips to hospital but I seem to have become a bit fixated on Ambulances!  

The more I looked at the anniversary model of the British Red Cross FPW ambulance, the more obvious it was that it was merely a standard Lledo standard model with transfers.  I therefore went on Ebay and found 2 Abels of East Anglia Bros models unboxed and with no drivers being offered for 99p plus 2.90 P&P.  I put in a bid of £1.00 and won them for 99p.

I created a template for the windows based on the original FPW ambulance and cut it out of an old Christmas card.  Easier to cut than cereal packet and thinner.  I have included all the measurements if you want to give it a go yourself.  You will need some extra lengths of 3mm wide strips of card to run along the plan front face of the model, you just line these up with the window frame and one at the bottom edge. I use Evostick wood glue to fix the card to the model.

Red Cross Original
My Conversion of Abel's Wagon still to fit reins!

I am not entirely sure where I got my model Minifigs carriage and passengers, but you can buy just the passengers who I have converted into drivers, limber riders etc.  There are 2 different models; WAGX3 is 2 British Napoleonic Officers – Open coach and WAGX4 two French Officers  - Open coach.  Needless to say for my purposes it was off with their heads.  I sacrificed one to make a seated figures for the Foundry Prussian gun.  For that exercise I didn’t take that much care separating the 2 figures using snippers to cut them apart and losing the arm of one of the figures in the process.  Sensibly, I never threw that part away and he has made an appearance as a Prussian cuirassier casualty (see below).

With a bit of effort with a scalpel, some emery paper and a file I was able to separate to two figures completely without damaging either and this gave me two drivers, albeit one looks like he is signalling a right turn!

Since then looking at the Minifigs 25mm on line catalogue, I came across a picture of a Russian Wagon driver in fatigue dress RNX1.  I have ordered 2 of these in the hope that, whilst they are not S range, they don't look as if they are modelled on the same lines as the more bulky 'Minifigs'.  In which case I (and you dear reader) may be able to be able to do a simple head swap without all the cutting about.   

From the various illustrations on line, 'uniforms' for these ambulance drivers and staff seem to be crosses between civilian and military uniforms, so it is a bit of free for all.  I stuck with the British blue uniform for the drivers but somehow managed to give them new heads with Kepis which, when I painted them, left them looking a little American Civil War-ish.  May change them. 

Having created these ambulances (why does anyone need 3?)  I felt there was a need for some casualties to place around them.  It was back to my scarp box and collection of headless and arm less figures.  Starting with the French General mentioned above.  I drilled and bent a bit of florist wire so he could rest on the ground and then moulded some green stuff around the wire to give him an arm.  No matter how many times I use this compound I am hopeless with it!  The arm is too thick but after a lot of unsuccessful fiddling I gave up and decided that paint deceives the eye!  I gave him a Prussian Cuirassiers head which saved me having to do too much alteration to the body.

The other figure I had a lot of was the FPW artillery man with shell.  Probably the easiest figure to work with.  I literally cut away the base with my metal cutters and then filed to remainder back to the figures boots.  File away the shell and you can just leave it at that.  His hands are clutching his stomach.  I felt I wanted to reposition his left right arm so using my hand drill I drilled a series of holes to help me get a scalpel into position to cut the arm free.  A tip here,  drill through the arm at the shoulder into the body first as this helps to reposition the arm later.  Separating the arms also allow you to create a sling on the arm left attach to the body. 

If you are really feeling adventurous you can use exactly the same figure to make a sitting pose.  I merely cut the legs away from the body again using my cutters and filed things smooth; super-glued it onto a base and filled the gaps a little more successfully with green stuff.  Again I gave him a sling made of cooking foil.  

A very simple conversion using this figure is to remove the base; file back to the boots; file away the shell;  file the back flat and fix it to a base.  

You can cover the figure with a blanket made of cooking foil, or ‘cigarette paper’ or a piece of old rag if you fancy it.

Feeling really cocky,  I decided to try to make some walking wounded.  I was going to try to use the same figure and attack it with a soldering iron but my nerves are still not up to it.  So I had look at my spares and wondered if I could us a cavalryman?  After all he has two legs and they are sort of at a stride.  So again, out came the metal cutters and my large and small files and some emery paper to remove the saddle cloth etc.  I drilled his arm at the shoulder as described took it off and repositioned it.  I squeezed the legs together a bit with a pair of pliers and bent one back, again with pliers, to give the appearance of a walk.  I was going to get rid of the sword and give him a cane to rest on, but the sword gave me instance balance on the figure so I left it.  Again, the figure is clutching the reins , i.e his stomach.  To disguise this I gave him a sling.   I padded out the gap between the legs with green stuff.  I started with a Bavarian Cavalry head but thought it didn't work with the body.  I should stress that all the tools I used are very crude and easily available at any DIY store and may also account for the end result being not perfect.

 So I swapped for a French Hussar's busby head.  

Fortunately, the French Hussar model has ‘baggy trousers’ not sure I could do it with tight fitting cuirassier leggings, but I am going to give it a go as I sort of fancy a 'personality/command ' stand with perhaps a dismounted and mounted officer set up.  

So my original project has grown!

What is even worse is that I have come across some pictures of Ambulances in the Crimea War!!  In particular Dr. Smith's New Hospital Wagon.

By courtesy of the Welcome Foundation (CC)
This may be a step tool far!

Sorry about some of the pictures, my camera has developed a fault which I can't clear and will probably need to go back to Sony for repair.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Battle of Chongzhou: - a mostly Jacklex 20mm game

When I first got my diagnosis of cancer and was given ‘months’ I thought it was time to have a sort out of the figures and down size.  Jack had made me a number of ships over the years which were really great but difficult to sell on line because of their fragility and subsequent packaging.

I contacted gamers who I had been in touch with over time to see if they were interested in the models and more importantly could they physically collect them from my home.  Payment was a voluntary contribution to Cancer Research UK of what they thought the models and figures were worth.

One gamer Richard Wells came up from Kent to collect some ships and other bits and I have stayed in touch with him and his progress towards getting his table sorted out.  I am delighted to say that the models have finally hit the table and Richard has kindly sent me some pictures and a description of his game which he has agreed that I can post on my blog.

So I give you the Battle of Chongzhou:

A British force under the command of General Wells were instructed to relief a German and French force, running out of supplies and tied up in a fort next to the River Sonlung very close to the Chinese held town of Chongzhou.

First the much larger Chinese navy had to be defeated, before a dangerous landing could be attempted. The British navy consisted of HMS Daring and HMS Endeavour and a machine gun armed launch. Against them were arrayed 6 Chinese junks and 3 smaller dhows. Alas the Chinese navy proved no match for the much better armed British boats and after some extraordinary dice throwing the entire Chinese fleet was sunk in 3 moves, with very little damage to the British ships.


Landing boats with the Marines were then launched to make a bridgehead.

The Chinese commander  General XunTsu realising it was imperative to stop the landing sent all his cavalry and a unit of boxers to drive the Marines back into the sea before they could establish the bridgehead.

Richard's son Sebastian looks on as the Marines land.

The Marines and their Gardner gun only had time to clamber out of their landing craft and fire one volley before they were hit by the charging Chinese cavalry. That one volley managed to sweep away nearly half of the Chinese cavalry at close range but the charge was carried through and the Marines were beaten back into the sea, although they caused much damage to the cavalry, which was also forced to retire and re-group.

Two Highland regiments were fast approaching the shore, while the Boxers were closing in on the beach. The Marines in a dis-organised state were driven back a second time into the Scots whose firepower made some holes in the Chinese attackers. The Scots managed to land and the Boxers after one round of fighting fled.

Meanwhile the Germans and the French, despite being low on rations decided to launch their own  attack on Chongzhou - a risky operation at best. Chinese fire from the perimeter houses was highly inaccurate, as it was prove to be throughout the battle. The French and Germans fought their way through the houses forcing the Boxers into the open, but they had not realised that a unit of the crack Tigermen were waiting on the other side. These charged forward and despite loses forced the French and Germans back with their own heavy loses.

The patrol boat that General Wells had sent up the muddy river was now approaching the fort and relief was at hand. The British infantry started their advance on Chongzhou with a regiment of cavalry in support. The Navy’s ships poured fire into Chongzhou taking a particularly heavy toll of the Chinese gunners and guns on the battlements.

The regrouped Chinese cavalry decided to give it one more go and moved forward to meet the British cavalry. In a battle that seesawed backwards and forwards the British Cavalry eventually got the upper hand although both Cavalry forces were forced to regroup after 2 rounds of combat.

A small force of German snipers who had been ashore on the right side of the battlefield had now advanced within range of the town’s fortifications and started to lay down a withering fire.

While the Germans and French were fighting in Chongzhou, a small group of Chinese attacked the fort and one of them managed to force his way in killing the last French soldier.

Unfortunately for him the naval launch had by now arrived at the fort and it’s commander plus one rating confronted the Chinese and killed him after 2 rounds of combat.

Things were looking grim for the Chinese commander, so he decided to launch an attack against the German snipers

 His artillery were hopelessly inaccurate and were starting to take hits from both the naval launch’s machine gun and the approaching British infantry as well as a well placed German artillery piece which was firing from the fort. The Chinese stormed out and managed to finish off the remaining Germans before turning their attention to the Navy’s Gardner gun, which had started raking the city’s battlements. Despite taking what they thought was good cover they were mown down by the Gardner gun in two rounds of deadly fire, failing to score a single hit themselves.


General Wells now decided to go for the kill and sent his remaining Cavalry and himself up to the City’s main gate, armed surprisingly with previously unknown explosives. They received casualties from the Chinese defenders, but were able to lay the charges and then detonated them successfully. The Chinese commander realised the situation was now utterly hopeless and was forced to surrender.

I think we will be having a review of the rules next time to ensure the allied force do not have too many machine guns and artillery as these were an overwhelming factor in their victory. Although this was combined with some exceptional rifle fire by the British and a worse than expected performance by the Chinese infantry. In hand to hand battle they generally did quite well, but in a gun battle they were beaten every time.

However, it was a very enjoyable game and the buildings looked magnificent.

Most of the British figures are Jacklex 20mm available from Jacklex Miniatures .  The Boxers are mainly plastic figures from Orion, there are also some 20mm metal figures, including the Tiger Men but the make is unknown.