Thursday 21 September 2023

Japanese Warrior Monks

 Many many moons ago Chinese firm Hing Fat produced a set of Ninjas, quite nice little figures and all in original action poses with a variety of suitably Japanese weaponry.  You used to see them everywhere, but nowadays not so much.  Now my understanding is that Ninjas are some sort of super stealthy assassin, so not the sort that you want whole armies of, with that in mind I turned some of them into Warrior Monks:

I converted these six just to see how they would work, I think they're good enough to justify making up to a unit of twelve, then maybe another sect in blue.  I like the idea of having varied units that can act as allies to the main armies of a period, it makes the converting and painting less onerous when you know you only have to make a few.

This is a modern solid metal figure made by Frontline, from a set of medieval cavalry that were given away with magazine partworks, they came freestanding without a base, which makes them prone to falling over as they are rather heavy and have a high centre of gravity

This was the only Samurai figure they made in the range, shame really as they are beautifully painted, I added the base for stability and it makes a very welcome addition to the collection I am slowly building up.

Friday 15 September 2023

Irish Warband

 Irish sea raiders were pillaging the coast of Saxon Britain long before the Vikings arrived, they later opposed the Viking incursions into Ireland and continued fighting alongside anyone who would pay them until well after the Normans appeared on the scene.  So a useful addition to any Dark Ages collection, sadly nobody ever made 54mm toys soldiers depicting Kerns or Gallowglass, so I gave them my own twist:

In the centre is a modern metal figure of an Irish Chieftain made by Del Prado, he needed a warband to follow him and that kickstarted this little project.  Irish warriors are depicted wearing predominantly ochre cloth (wool dyed with urine) so I used this colour liberally to pull the figures together as a unit.

They also used a hotchpotch of  weaponry and armour, when they had them, so this allows considerable licence when selecting figures and converting them, the chap centre front is throwing a dart, a uniquely Irish weapon of the period.

Wealthier warriors and sub-chieftains were better armed and armoured than the hoi-polloi so I've included a few of these.  They won't win any prizes for historical accuracy but were fun to paint and being of Irish heritage myself I have a certain fondness for them.

Friday 8 September 2023

Elastolin style trenches

 Following on from the previous post, here is a command post I made many years back in the style of the old Elastolin modular trench sections:

For many years (more like decades!) I had been bidding at various auctions on original Elastolin entrenchments but without any success.  It's not that they're rare, they come up all the time, it's just that they are desirable and always sell for silly money.  So I decided to make my own.

Based roughly on an original model from the 1930's the basic structure is formed from polystyrene packing, the whole thing then covered in papier mache and sprinkled with sawdust for texture.  The entrance posts and lintels were provided by the stick from a firework rocket and the steps just cardboard folded into a concertina shape.  The paint scheme follows the original, an overall wash of earth brown with a drybrush of grass green and the odd highlight of drybrushed yellow.

The only problem is storage, the figures are 7cm tall so it's a big old piece of kit and the only place I can find for it at the moment is balancing rather precariously on top on another glass display case!

Friday 1 September 2023

Shell craters

 Feeling the need for some crafting therapy I cast around the projects I've started over the years but left unfinished, there were plenty to choose from.

Motivated by the recent acquisition of some rather neat First War tanks I opted to finish the shell craters I started before lockdown.

Several years ago I started making modular trench sections in the style of the old Elastolin accessories, (they've still yet to be completed) and these shell craters were to be  an addition to the project.

The wooden tanks are decorative items, artisan made, in a small workshop which I have been unable to track down.

The figures are mostly conversions of Armies in Plastic and various Cherilea bits, the explosion is a resin recast of an original Elastolin item. 

This is how they started life, various sized circular lids glued to cardboard and bulked out with polystyrene packing chips (this was as far as I got before getting bored first time around), an irregular shape built up with air drying clay, the outer walls given a coat of PVA glue then a mix of sawdust with scatter sprinkled over the top.  I gave the crater a coat of  burnt umber with a wash of black around the inner walls to simulate the heat of the explosion and dry brushed grass green over the sawdust on the outer slopes, the centre painted dark grey to represent pooled water.

Already feeling better for having achieved something.