Air War Germany 1944 – Session 4

Me 110G-4s scramble

Our Treasurer has just realised that he had omitted to write up the fourth session of our campaign from the end of last year – still better late than never!

This session began with an attack by the Me110s of 3.NJG5, which had just infiltrated the tail of the bomber stream as it left Berlin.  The Me110s weaved backwards and forwards across the bomber stream using their on-board radar to detect and attack targets.  John La was first onto the score sheet, detecting ‘Q for Queenie’.  He missed the target on the first pass, but sent the bomber down on his second.

As the bombers headed off to the northwest, 3.NJG5 stuck with them and continued their attack. Three bombers went down in quick succession, the first, ‘O for Oboe’ to John, then ‘P for Peter’ to Andy and finally ‘N for Nab’ by Marcus in his first combat.  However, the bombers then struck back, as first Steve took damage and was forced to break off in an attack on ‘M for Mother’, then worse still Marcus was shot down by ‘L for Love’.

Lancaster MkI/IIIs of B Flight, 460 Squadron RAAF. Letters ‘J Jig’ to ‘Q Queen’

Now another Me-110 unit, 4.NJG3 of Steve’s 2.Jagddivision was able to infiltrate the bomber stream.  However, their attack got off to a poor start as the alert gunners of ‘K for King’ shot down John’s attacking fighter.

The bombers were now re-crossing the German defensive radar line and the Me-110s of 3.NJG3 were successfully vectored in to attack from their overwatch positions.

At this point we ran out of time for the day, leaving the raid to be concluded in a fifth and final session, which will be a catch up to bring all players up to 2 sessions played.

At the end of session 4 the points scored were as follows:

Andy (4JD)                        +1             +1 for Lancaster shot down

Steve (2JD)                        +1            +1 for GCI Intercept, +1 for tame boar                                                                                  infitration, -1 for fighter damaged

John La (7JD)                       0             +2 for Lancasters shot down, -2 for fighter                                                                     shot down

Marcus (3JD)                     -1             +1 for Lancaster shot down. -2 for fighter                                                                        shot down

Tony (1JD)                             –           Unable to fly

That leaves the individual League table so far as follows, with Steve just passing Dave at the top of league table, as he has shot down more bombers (4 to Dave’s 3).  1 JD keep their lead in the team competition with 11 points:

Steve (2JD)                      +6         2 sessions played (4 bombers downed)

Dave (1JD)                        +6         2 sessions played (3 bombers downed)

Tony (1JD)                       +5        1 session played

Mike (2JD)                       +3           2 sessions played

Chairman John (3JD)  +2.5        2 sessions played

John L (7JD)                      +1           2 sessions played

Marcus (3JD)                     -1           1 session played

Andy (4JD)                        -1.5       2 sessions played

Bob (4JD)                          -2             1 session played

Chris (7JD)                       -3.5           2 sessions played

Society Quiz 10th June 2020

 Here is our latest virtual quiz for you to try.

Follow the link at the end for the answers.

  1. With whom did Shakespeare credit the words “The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit; and upon this charge, cry ‘God for Harry! England! and Saint George!” at the siege of Harfleur in 1415? For a bonus point name the present day country in the region that was the birthplace of St. George, who also have him as their patron saint.
  2. Who played the role of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, who proclaimed himself the Mahdi, in the 1966 epic? For a bonus point name the commander of the British Army sent to relieve his siege of Khartoum in 1885.
  3. Which nation’s troops carried ‘Ordinarfahne’ of the type shown in picture 1 during the Napoleonic wars? For a bonus point name both of the countries which also featured eagles on their standards in pictures 2 and 3.
    Picture 1
    Picture 2

    Picture 3
  4. On which planet of the Star Wars universe was the 1997 MWS show game, featuring a scratchbuilt sandcrawler, set? For a bonus point name the people blamed by the Empire for the destruction of the sandcrawler featured in the original Star Wars film.
  5. By what nickname was Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, considered the ace-of aces in WW1 fighter combat, commonly known? For a bonus point name the aircraft that he flew at the end of his career with which he is most associated, or any other fighter in which he scored a victory.
  6. Who claimed victory for the Egyptian Army at the Battle of Qadesh in 1274BC? For a bonus point name the rival empire he claimed to have defeated at the battle or its ruler.
  7. What is the Russian WW2 tank in picture 4? For a bonus point name the tank in picture 5.
    Picture 4

    Picture 5
  8. What battle of 1759 is depicted in picture 6? For a bonus point name the town in Kent where the British commander killed in the battle grew up, or the commander of the defeated French force.

    Picture 6
  9. At which battle of 1861 did Brigadier General Thomas Jackson get his nickname as a result of General Bee ordering his men to “Rally behind the Virginians! There stands Jackson like a stone wall”? For a bonus point name the Battle at which Jackson was killed.
  10. What nation did Prussia attack in 1866? For a bonus point name the battle at which the fleet of Prussia’s ally, Italy, was decisively defeated by the Fleet of Admiral Tegetthof.
  11. Which decisive battle on the Italian Front in November 1918 precipitated the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian army, in which Italian troops are seen in action in picture 7? For a bonus point name the battle in November 1940 in which a battleship named after the battle fought, the photograph in picture 8 is of her at gunnery practice with her sistership Littorio.
    Picture 7

    Picture 8
  12. By what name is the war that resulted from the surprise attack by Egypt and Syria on Israel in 1973 known? For a bonus point give the English meaning of the associated religious festival or the phrase often used at the end of the service that ends the fast on that day.

For answers follow the link:

Answers to Quiz 10th June 2020

Here are the answers to the quiz:

  1. Henry V – Georgia

The speech is from Henry V, Act III, Scene 1 and has Henry encouraging his troops to renew the attack after failing to break in to the town.  St. George was a Roman officer of Greek descent from Cappadocia, martyred in early persecutions of the church.  Also the patron saint of Ethiopia and Catalonia and quite a few other places, as well as England of course!

  1. Laurence Olivier – Lord Garnet Joseph Wolseley


  1. Austria-Hungary, Austria or Habsburg Empire acceptable – Prussia and Russia

Flags are the Austrian 1806 Ordinarfahne, 15th Prussian Fusiliers and Lithuanian Life Guard Regiment of the Russian Army

  1. Tatooine – Tuskan Raiders or Sand People


  1. Red Baron – Fokker Dr.I or Fokker Triplane (19 out of 80 victories), also Albatross DII, DIII, DV and Halberstadt DII

The nickname comes from his practice of painting his aircraft red, hence German propaganda portrayed his as Der Rote Kampfflieger – the red fighter pilot – as he was a Freiherr (Baron) the rest is history.

  1. Pharoah Ramesses II or Ramesses the Great – Hittite Empire of Muwatalli II

The battle was more probably a draw.  The war dragged on inconclusively until 1258BC.  The peace treaty that ended the war is preserved in both Egyptian and Hittite texts and is the earliest surviving peace treaty.  A copy hangs on the wall at the UN building.

  1. T-34/85 – IS-2 (short for Iosef Stalin)

The IS-2 mounted a formidable 122mm main turret gun

  1. Quebec – Westerham or the Marquis de Montcalm

Wolfe grew up at what is now Quebec House in Westerham – now in the care of the National Trust and well worth a visit

  1. First Battle of Bull Run – Chancellorsville in 1863

Jackson was a victim of friendly fire from spooked pickets of the 18th North Carolina Infantry, who mistook his party for federal cavalry in the evening light.  He was hit three times and died of complications and pneumonia a few days later

  1. Austria-Hungary – Lissa or Vis

The Italian fleet lost 2 ironclads

  1. Vittorio Veneto – Spartivento or Tuelada

The Italian Army had nearly 40,000 casualties in the battle, but inflicted 30,000 casualties on the defending Austrians before breaking their lines, capturing a further 300,000 men in their subsequent advance.  The machine gunners are in action on Monte Grappa, a diversionary attack to draw Austrian Reserves away from the main assault.  Austria-Hungary was forced to accept Allied terms and quit the war as a result of the battle.  It is seen by many Italians as the conclusion of the long struggle to re-unify Italy, the Risorgimento. 

Spartivento was an attack on the escort of a British convoy and ended as a draw with only minor damage inflicted on both sides.  Vittorio Veneto inflicted minor damage on the cruiser HMS Manchester from near misses and fired only 19 rounds of 15″ shell, but forced the British cruisers to retire behind a smoke screen.

  1. Yom Kippur יוֹם כִּיפּוּר – Day of Atonement, the phrase is לשנה הבאה בירושלים, L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim, “Next year in Jerusalem”

Wargaming in the Pandemic – Playing Nightfighter over Zoom

As we currently have no meetings and gathering indoors is not possible, we have been starved of our wargames for 2 months!

We tried a game of GMT’s Nightfighter over Zoom.  The game uses some house scenarios that allow multiple players on the German side.  The main game map is enlarged and uses miniatures to substitute for counters.

There were four Ju88C-6 night fighters patrolling to intercept bombers over the targets.  These could be coned by the searchlights on the ground, spotted by the onboard radar, or spotted visually.

Here is the hidden umpire map showing the Lancaster position at close of play:

We played until a Lancaster was shot down.  Mark shot down ‘E for East’ after a four move duel.  The bomber spotted him before he attacked and got two rounds of fire, but failed to score a hit.

The Ju88 missed on the first pass from a poor position, then scored heavy damage on the second pass.

The Ju-88 mis-timed the third pass, but finished the target off on the final pass.

Sean had meanwhile homed in on a bomber with one of his Ju-88s, but ran out of time to shoot it down.

This was the game board at close of play:

A scan of the battle map was shared on Zoom with the players and annotated with the fighter positions, radar sightings and searchlight spots.

Game play is slowed, as moves have to be described sequentially, so the game would have worked faster with less planes controlled by one player with hindsight, but the board game hex playing surface does make a game over Zoom possible!  We may give it another go having worked out the snags.

Answers to Quiz 27th May

1..  Churchill (tank is of North Irish Horse in Italy 1944)Renault Char B1 bis, Char B acceptable (tank at Musée des Blindés at Saumur)

2. 1870 – Sedan

3.  Avro Lancaster – Avro Lincoln

4.  Boromir – Faramir and the Rangers of Ithilien

5.  1814 – Battle of Bladensburg

The end of the war in Europe allowed Britain to send a force of Peninsula veterans to America to put an end to what up to this point had been a backwater conflict.  They routed the US force, which was mainly composed of militia and added to its disgrace by fleeing right through the capital.  The fire-raising in Washington was a direct retaliation for the complete destruction of the settlement of Port Dover by US forces in Canada a few months earlier.

6.  HMS Vindictive – Acting Captain Alfred Carpenter or Able Seaman Albert (Edward) McKenzie

7.  122AD (72-172AD acceptable) – Emperor Pius Antoninus (the Antonine Wall)

The earliest known military presence at Chesters Fort, the Bath House of which is pictured above, was a wing of cavalry, ala Augusta ob virtutem appellata (“named Augusta because of its valour”).  Infantry Cohors I Delmatarum, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Cohors I Vangionum from Upper Rhineland in Germany were also stationed here. 

The Antonine Wall was begun in 142, took 8 years to build and was abandoned only 12 years later – Caledonians were just too hard to control!

8.  Guernica (the canvas is now in the Reina Sofia Gallery in Madrid) – Condor Legion

9.  Jerusalem – The 3rd Crusade was launched with the aim of recovering the city for the Kingdom of Jerusalem

The hero of the film, Balian of Ibelin did command the defence against Salah ad-Din in the siege.  However, Balian was not a virtuous blacksmith from France!  He was the legitimate third son of a knight of French descent from the County of Jaffa, inherited his title as Lord of Ibelin in 1170 from his father and was in his late forties in 1187.  He died in 1193 and was a major power-broker and political operator in the region, with a role similar to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, in the Wars of the Roses.

10.  Gettysburg – Major General Commanding George Gordon Meade

11.  秦始皇帝 pronounced Qin Shi Huangdi, meaning Emperor Qin (I) – 匈奴 pronounced Xiongnu or Hsiung-nu in DBM army lists!

12.  Hamburger/Burger – Hardtack (one pound a day) or Small Beer (one gallon a day – thin with low alcohol content – just enough to prevent bacteria growth – water would have quickly become full of bacteria on a voyage)

Hardtack also known as ship’s biscuit and occasionally as brewis, cabin bread, pilot bread, sea biscuit, soda crackers, sea bread (as rations for sailors)

Society Quiz 27th May

Here is another virtual quiz for you to try.

Follow the link at the end for the answers.

  1. Name the Prime Minister the tank type in picture 01 is named after?  For a bonus point name the type of tank you can see in the picture 02.
    Picture 01

    Picture 02
  2. In which year did Emperor Napoleon III declare war on Prussia?  For a bonus point name the climactic battle of the initial campaign at which the newly appointed French commander, General Ducrot, summed up the tactical situation as ‘Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés’ (“We are in a chamber pot, and we’re going to be shit on”)
  3. What is the name of the famous WW2 bomber in picture 03?  For a bonus point name its less famous successor in the picture 04.
    Picture 03

    Picture 04
  4. Name the son of the last Steward of Gondor (as played by Sean Bean) who was killed by Uruk-Hai.  For a bonus point name his brother and the part of Gondor the Rangers he commanded were named after.
  5. In what year did the British Army set fire to all of the government buildings in Washington DC, including the presidential mansion (now the White House), during the War of 1812?  For a bonus point name the catastrophic defeat suffered by the American Army that led to the capture of Washington.
  6. Our 2018 show game was ‘twisting the dragon’s tail’ featuring the Royal Navy assault on the Zeebrugge Mole in 1918.  What was the name of the cruiser that was the centre-piece of the action?  For a bonus point name either of the members of her crew who won Victoria Crosses in the action in pictures 05 and 06.
    Picture 05

    Picture 06
  7. In which year did construction begin on Hadrian’s Wall?  Answers within 50 years will be acceptable (picture 07 is the bathhouse at Chesters Fort).  For a bonus point name the emperor who brought what is now southern Scotland briefly under Roman control and built a wall from the Forth to the Clyde.

    Picture 07
  8. The bombing of which Spanish Town in 1937 is depicted in picture 08 by Picasso?  For a bonus point name the unit responsible for the bombing.

    Picture 08
  9. The siege in 1187 of which city was featured in the semi-fictional 2005 epic, Kingdom of Heaven?  For a bonus point, what military campaign began in 1189 in response to the fall of the city?
  10. Which battle, fought in Pennsylvania in 1863 is famous for an infantry assault led by Major-General George Pickett, as depicted in picture 09?  For a bonus point name the commander of the Union Army in the battle as shown in picture 10.
    Picture 09

    Picture 10
  11. Who ordered the construction of the first Great Wall in China in 221BC?  For a bonus point what name were the nomadic tribal groups it was intended to keep out known by to the Chinese (the answer is not Mongols!).
  12. According to Jules (as played by Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction), what is the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast?  For a bonus point name the regulation food or drink of the Elizabethan Navy.

Click the link for the answers:

Answers to Quiz 27th May

Answers to the MWS Quiz 13th May 2020

Fregatten Jylland

Here are the answers to our quiz from 13th May 2020, with some trivia associated with the answers:

1.  Stalingrad – Vasily (Grigoryevich) Zaytsev

Prior to 10 November 1942, Zaytsev killed 32 Axis soldiers with a standard-issue rifle. Between 10 November 1942 and 17 December 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad, he killed 225 enemy soldiers, including 11 snipers

2.  Any of T-65B or X-wing or Starfighter – TIE Advanced (x1)

3.  Alexander III or Alexander the Great – Darius (III)

4.  1956 – MiG 15, but Gloster Meteor and MiG 17 also acceptable

5.  Denmark – Heligoland or Helgoland

Steam frigates Niels Juel and Jylland and the corvette Hejmdal defeated Austrian steam frigates, SMS Schwarzenberg and Radetzky, Prussian Aviso Preussischer Adler, Gunboats Blitz, Basilisk – the victorious HDMS Jylland is preserved as a museum ship at Ebeltoft and is pictured above.

6.  Yorktown – Comte de Rochambeau

7.  (Gaius) Julius Caesar – Pharnaces II or Pontus

Caesar’s letter was to the Senate according to Appian; Caesar was on a roll as Dictator for the year and having his second term as a Consul at the time.

8.  Marston Moor – Prince Rupert of the Rhine

9.  Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty – HMS Caroline is the light cruiser (4th Light Cruiser Squadron in the action), HMS Indefatigable, HMS Queen Mary, HMS Invincible are the sunken Battlecruisers

Caroline fired two torpedoes at the close of the day action, which narrowly missed the Battleship Nassau.  She also narrowly avoided torpedoes fired by the German 6th and 9th Flotillas earlier in the action when 4th LCS counter-attacked them with gunfire.  She survived for many years as a drill ship before being renovated as a museum ship.

10.  1969 – Vought (or F4U) Corsair

11.  Charlton Heston – the Reconquista or Valencia

Rodrigo’s wife Jimena Díaz = Sophia Loren, almost certainly didn’t tie his corpse to a horse  to lead the army in battle when he died in 1099– a legend grew around this as she rode alongside his coffin on the journey to Burgos, where he was buried in the cathedral in 1102 – you can see what might well have been his sword, the Tizona, in the museum there.

12.  1974 – Henry William Paget, Earl or Lord Uxbridge, later 1st Marquess of Anglesey or Willem Frederik George Lodewijk, William, Prince of Orange – all variations are acceptable!

In a famous piece of understatement Uxbridge remarked “By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!” — to which Wellington is reputed to have replied; “By God, sir, so you have!”

MWS Quiz 13th May 2020

Who is this British Admiral?  See Question 9! © Imperial War Museum Q 19570

The Society has been having some virtual quiz nights while we have been unable to meet.

We thought we would share this if you want to give it a try – answers will be published next week.

  1. The story of which famous WW2 battle is featured in the 1973 film Enemy at the Gates? For a bonus point name the real life Red Army sniper who is the hero of the film.
  2. Which fighter type, now the name of a popular set of wargames rules, was the mainstay of the rebel forces in the original battles to restore the Republic in Star Wars? For a bonus point name the fighter type used by Darth Vader during the same period.
  3. Which King of Macedon brought an end to the Persian Empire in the 4th Century BC? For a bonus point name the Persian King he defeated.
  4. In what year did war break out between Israel and her neighbours, in co-ordination with an Anglo-French assault on the Suez Canal? For a bonus point name the main jet fighter aircraft flown by the Egyptian Air Force during the war.
  5. Which country picked a fight with Prussia, Austria-Hungary and the North German Confederation in 1864? For a bonus point name the island, at that time owned by Britain, off which a naval action was fought during this war.
  6. At which Battle in 1781 did the British Army suffer its decisive defeat in the American Revolutionary War? For a bonus point name the commander of the French forces in the battle.
  7. Who famously wrote “Veni, Vedi, Vici” about his army’s victory in 47BC? For a bonus point name the king or the country of the army he was referring to.
  8. What battle, fought on 2nd July 1644 made Oliver Cromwell’s reputation as a cavalry commander? For a bonus point name the senior commander of the defeated Royalist Army.
  9. Who commanded the British Battlecruisers at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, later that year succeeding Admiral Jellicoe as Grand Fleet commander? He is pictured above.  For a bonus point name the light cruiser which fought at the battle and is preserved as an IWM museum ship in Belfast, or one of the British Battlecruisers that was sunk.
  10. Last year’s show game featured the 100 hours war between Honduras and El Salvador. In what year was the war fought?  For a bonus point name the manufacturer (or 3 letter designation) and the name of the main fighter flown by the Honduran Air Force.
  11. Which well-known wargamer played the role of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as ‘El Cid’, in the Hollywood blockbuster of 1961? For a bonus point give the Spanish name of the long conflict in which El Cid fought, or the city he was defending when he died.
  12. In what year did Abba win the Eurovision Song contest with the song ‘Waterloo’? For a bonus point name the commander of the British Cavalry who had his leg shot off by a cannonball at the end of this battle, or the wounded Dutch commander of I Corps.

The Russian Baltic Fleet in 1914 – Organisation, Modelling and Painting Guide – Part 1

2nd Cruiser Brigade

Our Treasurer recently decided to expand his WW1 naval campaign into the Baltic – a theatre that saw a lot of interesting naval actions and a major amphibious assault.

That meant acquiring the Russian Baltic Fleet.  Fortunately Russian naval enthusiasts have unearthed a lot of good material from their naval archives in the last few years and made it available on-line.  After brushing up on the Russian alphabet and with liberal use of Google translate, this information is just a click or two away as long as you use Cyrillic text for your searches!  I’ll give the correct 1914 Cyrillic names of the units, commanders and ships below with their western script equivalents.

1/3000 is the scale of my German Fleet, so off went my order to get started to Navwar – who still have an unrivaled range and reasonably priced models for this period.

First up on the painting table are 6 cruisers from the 1st and 2nd Бригада Крейсеровъ (Cruiser Brigades).

The flagships were the big old armoured cruisers Громобой (Gromoboy, meaning Thunderer), and Россия (Rossiya, meaning Russia)  respectively.  These are oldish Navwar sculpts and needed some work, but also needed quite a bit of conversion work to bring them up to 1914.  Both had been considerably upgunned from the 1904 era Navwar model with prominent new casemates on the top decks  – Gromoboy had also had a complete new set of boilers, but you can’t see them!  Bring on the modelling knife, plasticard sheet and rod, bits of old national trust membership cards and superglue and voila:

Original models of Gromoboy (top) and Rossiya (bottom)
Gromoboy (top) and Rossiya (bottom) after conversion – casemates and guns moved/added, boats re-positioned, funnels and bridges tidied up/added and for Gromoboy stern shape and ship length corrected with a new stern casemate and conning towers also added

Next were two other much newer, smaller armoured cruisers of 1st Brigade, the sisters Адмиралъ Макаровъ (Admiral Makarov, a celebrated admiral lost in the war against Japan) and Баянъ (Bayan, a celebrated 11th century bard).  These needed very little work – not much more than just filing away the 11pdr gun in the bow and moving a couple of boats.

Last in this first batch were two 2nd class cruisers of 2nd Brigade, the sisters Богаты́ръ (Bogatýr, a Russian medieval warrior/knight) and Олегъ (Oleg – the name of several celebrated historical figures).  These veterans of the Japanese war also needed some tidy ups and removal of some of the small guns from Oleg:

Oleg (top) and Bogatýr (bottom) with funnels tidied, turret shape/size corrected, aft superstructure enhanced/corrected, boats added and 4x11pdr guns removed from Oleg

Finally painting and basing.  The Baltic Fleet introduced a two tone paint scheme for all large warships in an order of March 7th 1912, with light grey upperworks and a darker grey hull side.  All of these warships had unpainted wooden decks.  Finally the Baltic Fleet continued to use 1m wide funnel bands throughout the war (painted out in most other navies).  1st Brigade used red and 2nd Brigade blue in 1914.  First ship had a band at top of 2nd funnel, 2nd ship a band half way down 2nd funnel, 3rd ship a band at the top of 2nd and 3rd funnels and fourth ship a band half way down 2nd and 3rd funnels:

1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade
1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade
1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade

These ships underwent a bewildering number of changes in their armament during their lives, but contemporary records, photos and plans confirm their armament in 1914 as:

1st Brigade

Контръ Адмиралъ Коломейцевъ – Rear-Admiral Kolomeytsev

Gromoboy (flag) – 4×8″, 22×6″, 4x75mm(11 pdr), 4x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Admiral Makarov (2nd ship)- 2×8″, 8×6″, 20x75mm(11pdr), 2 TT

Bayan (4th ship) – 2×8″, 8×6″, 22x75mm(11pdr), 2 TT

2nd Brigade (initially titled Бригадой крейсеровъ 1-й резерва, 1st Reserve Cruiser Brigade)

Контръ Адмиралъ Лесковъ – Rear-Admiral Leskov, promoted on 10.8.14, having been appointed to command a couple of days before war broke out

Rossiya (flag) – 4×8″, 22×6″, 15x75mm(11 pdr), TTs all removed

Bogatýr (2nd ship) – 12×6″, 12x75mm(11pdr), 4x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Oleg (3rd ship) – 12×6″, 8x75mm(11pdr), 8x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Most 3pdr guns and all 6pdr and 1pdr guns had been removed from the ships as they were found to be ineffective deck clutter in the war against Japan.

The next batch will add the remaining cruisers in these Brigades and begin adding the destroyer and torpedo boat flotillas…….

Painting 6mm Figures

**This post has been updated as the steel paper originally recommended for basing is no longer available**

We have a 6mm Napoleonic game at the club tomorrow and Mark has added a Brigade to his French Army for the occasion.

6mm figures are ideal for large battles, but many people think they must be difficult to paint – like anything it is easy if you follow some simple rules and don’t make the mistake of trying to paint them like larger figures.  Here is a quick guide on how.

The figures are 1/300 scale Heroics and Ros and the units are the 4th and 46th Line Regiments comprising GB Dalesme’s Brigade, belonging to GD Carra St. Cyr’s Division of the French 4th Army Corps in May 1809 as well as the General’s of GD St.Hilaire’s Division.

Here are the 2 packs of French Fusiliers (FN26), half a pack of French Voltigeurs (FN4), half a pack of French Grenadiers (FN27) and some assorted generals (from FN 17 and AN8) that need to be painted, straight out of the packs.

It always pays to rinse the figures in warm soapy water before starting to get rid of any mould grease, then work round the edges of the figures with a sharp hobby knife to get rid of flash and any casting mismatches.  There is some surgery on the general staff figures to removed unwanted plumes, marshal’s batons, etc, as they were all to be used as French generals.  The figures date back to when most people painted their flags and the old style metal flags need removing – good flags really do make or break 6mm figures, so this is worth your time – don’t skimp and put paper flags round the metal – the results don’t look good.  Small nail clippers are a good tool to nibble the flag off the flagpole.  Try to avoid the eagles, but you can always glue them back on with superglue if they break off!

FIRST TIP – Now base the figures, as they are easier to paint this way.  The figure in this post used mounting card with steel paper underneath, but steel paper is no longer available.  Instead I now use 40thou plastic card with self-adhesive non-magnetic ferrous sheet on the bottom – this needs to be the thick variety as sold by First4Magnets product code FFU620(SA)-1M. The infantry are on a 1″x.5″ base for our house rules, four bases to a battalion.  One battalion is on an open order base (combined Voltigeurs of the Brigade) and this uses a 1.5″ base.  There is one combined battalion of Grenadiers and four Battalions of Fusiliers.

SECOND TIP – Now undercoat all over with a black undercoat, making sure that every cranny is filled.  You can use spray, but for this size an old brush can be quicker and less messy.  DON’T USE WHITE FOR UNDERCOAT – if you do you give yourself a massive painting headache trying to cover the undercoat and then shade the figure to avoid it looking like a paint blob – this a technique for bigger figures!  Your black undercoat on 6mm means you have already painted anything black on the figure and you have already shaded it – don’t worry that all you have at this stage is a load of black blobs:

THIRD TIP – It is essential on 6mm to use lighter shades than the colours you are depicting.  This is partly to offset the black undercoat and partly to ensure the colour looks right at a distance.  Your eye perceives small objects as darker than they really are.  If you use dark ‘correct’ shades, all of the figures will simply look like near black blobs when you have finished.

There are three key colours we now need to add.  First Dark Blue for the coats and some of the horse furniture.  Citadel Ultramarines Blue was used, which is a middish blue pigment.  When you paint the coat use a fairly small brush (for these a 101 was used).  Work down the line painting the same feature on each base.  From the front do a stroke down the left arms of all figures, then the same for the right arm, shoulder to hand (don’t worry about paint getting on the hands).  Do another stroke to join these up under the chin, then fill in the lower chest, leaving the black undercoat showing in the crevices between the chest and arms.  Repeat round the back.  The horse furniture was also painted now (light crimson for the French generals, Vallejo Carmine was used) again don’t paint right up to the next colour – leave black showing around the furniture:

Second main colour is white (and white is – well white, Humbrol white here), for the trousers or breeches (both were used, so for a bit of variety I have done one regiment in each here), as well as coat lapels, which are a prominent feature on French line infantry.  Paint up the leg from above the footwear (all left legs from the front, all right legs, then reverse and do the back – a final tidy up to join the legs at the front.  Breeches are best done with a horizontal stroke around the leg as far down as the knee.  Leave some black showing between legwear and coat.  A simple stroke down the middle of the chest for the lapels.  Also touch in the drumskin on drummers.  To make the command figures stand out a bit better white scabbard and drum supports have been added, but you can omit this!   Regimental plumes and pompoms were also done at this point (a simple dob on the pompom):

Now for the last main colour; red/scarlet.  Before doing this the Voltigeurs plumes and epaulettes were painted (both regiments used green plumes with red tips and green epaulettes for their voltigeurs at this time) in Citadel Goblin Green – another strong middle shade.  Humbrol scarlet is used for the red here, which is a nice bright shade.  Paint a red line above each hand for the cuffs (again don’t worry if the paint slops onto the hand).  Then paint the grenadiers plumes and a dob on each shoulder for the prominent epaulettes.  A dob of red added to finish the Voltigeur plumes and the fusilier plumes are also quickly dabbed in (one base each of dark green, sky blue, light orange and violet for each battalion):

You are nearly there now!  Paint the back of the rawhide knapsack with leather – leave the sides black (this is Humbrol Leather) then a stroke horizontally along the back and a touch in from the front on each end of any grey you have to hand for the rolled greatcoat on top of it (shades varied enormously for this item)  Brass for the drum body and Voltigeur horns.  Masses of gold lace to finish the generals (worth taking some time over these as they are few in number) and the eagle on the flagpoles.  Optional extras are a small dob of brass for the helmet plate at the front and the visible sword hilts on the voltigeurs, command figures and grenadiers.  Senior generals horses are painted white with a black bridle.  The colour makes them easy to pick out.  Regimental command horses are painted leather and brigadier’s horses left black.  You can leave the underside of the horse as well as the mane and tail black for contrast, a few white flashes on the noses of some of the horses also make a lot of difference.

Lastly a stroke of silver along the top of each musket and any bayonet and drawn swords all over.  Leave the rest of the musket black (it really is not worth using brown for the woodwork – the black keeps it looking thin in scale and most musket wood was in any case quite dark, but you can paint the body brown first if you really want to).

Finally add a dob of flesh on each hand and a stroke of flesh across the face to finish the figure.  Don’t overdo the face and leave black around it.

Finally finish with an overall coat of matt varnish to protect the figures from handling (I use Vallejo which sets with a good clear finish):

FOURTH TIP – Don’t skimp on basing, as bad basing really ruins any figures and especially 6mm – you would be better off cutting corners on the figure painting.  Flock also is not good with 6mm – it tends to make it look like the figures are moving through a patch of dense scrub!  These figures are finished with Basetex.  DON’T USE TOO DARK A GREEN.  If you do it will kill the figure painting.  Use a light spring green for both the basing and the terrain.  Basetex green is way too dark for 6mm, so a mix of about half and half green and sand is used here, stored in a sealable sandwich box.

First work the green around the base of each figure with a small old brush:

Now use sand to cover the bases (and the sides).  A cocktail stick works well to pick up and poke the Basetex into place.  Make sure you ‘bury’ the sides of each figure base.  Some printed labels are added at this stage for the generals:

Once dry use a really old big brush with a few bristle left to work over the top of the sand with your light green mix – working quickly using a mixtures of dabs and strokes and leaving the sand showing through the green:

That just leaves the flags, which really finish off each unit.  The ones used here are adapted from those available free online from Warflag, reduced to around 20% size.  Print these on a printer using pigment (not inkjet ink which will run if it gets damp).  These were printed on an Epson printer as all Epson printers use pigment based cartridges.  Use thin 80g/m paper.  The flags are glued with simple PVA, which lets you work with the flag to line up the sides before it sets, then given a ‘crinkle’ to give the flag some life before the glue sets (easier with thin paper).  A pair of tweezers is useful to ‘pinch’ the flag around the pole.  Once dry it is well worth running round the edges of the flag with a matching colour to get rid of the ‘white edge’ effect – use a little thinned paint for this.  Finally flag poles are finished in a dark blue, covering up any glue stains.

Here is the end result:

Each close order battalion sits on a 2 inch by 1 inch piece of magnetic ferrous sheet (which is why the bases have steel paper/ferrous sheet on their bottom – allowing them to grip the magnetic sheet).   As the magnetic sheet looses its magnetism over the years, it is easily replaced.  This is why you should not use the magnetic sheet on the figure base – not so easy to replace!  The four bases on each sheet can be re-arranged for the required formation (those above are in column).  Finally the whole lot sit on a brigade manoeuvre base (8″x3″), which is simply a sheet of steel paper with some Woodland Scenics Spring Green mat stuck on top.  This allows the brigade to be quickly moved until it gets into contact.