Battlefields in Miniature – Paul Davies – Review

Every so often I buy a book forgetting that I already have that book on the bookshelf. Friend Anthony suffers the same problem from time to time and as a result  we both get additions to our libraries as we give the other our duplicated purchases. These books are, in many cases, in areas where we normally do not read (enjoy the naval history books when I get them to you Anthony!). 🙂

One such book was Battlefields in Miniature by Paul Davies, published in 2015 by Pen and Sword Books. It looks like the hardback version of this book is out of print however Pen and Sword have an ePub and Kindle version listed (ePub, Kindle) in their catalogues.

There are a number of books published on wargames terrain making, many from the makers of various figure ranges and while normally books like this only provide a passing interest to me, this is one book I will refer to again and again, especially as I pursue my hobby here in the Philippines where there are limited wargaming clubs.

So, why this book? The 287 glossy colour pages make the book enjoyable to flick through. Better though is the organisation f the book with 18 chapters dealing with generalities, tools, materials and then a discussion of 17 types of terrain. The chapters included are:

  1. Welcome to the Workshop
  2. What’s Everyone  Else Doing?
  3. Before  You Get Started
  4. Terrain Cloths
  5. Terrain Tiles
  6. Custom or Sculpted terrain
  7. Rivers and Ponds
  8. Islands, Cliffs and Hills
  9. Trees
  10. Walls
  11. Fences and Screens
  12. Hedges
  13. Gates
  14. Cultivated Fields
  15. Roads
  16. Bridges
  17. Defences
  18. Buildings

The author, Paul Davies, will be recognised by many for his regular series of “how-to” articles in Wargames Illustrated. Throughout this book however he has combined techniques he had illustrated before and added new ones such that most wargamers should have little or no trouble constructing their own terrain by following his guidelines presented here.

As mentioned, I have the hardback version and it looks like only ePub and Kindle versions are currently available from Pen  and Sword.  I certainly will unashamedly be stealing some of Davies’ ideas when constructing my next batch of terrain and I am glad to have the book in my library (thank you Anthony). I do recommend this book to wargamers.

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Peshawar – Some Test Basing

2mm figures based and flocked
2mm figures based and flocked – a little out of focus

I have been a little remiss in the area of time management lately and have managed for a couple of months to do no preparation or painting, not just of the Peshawar project but pretty much of anything. Some of it I can put down to a combination of beer and rugby, but mostly it has been too much work combined with inertia.

I decided tonight to finish the painting and basing of two test pieces. They are the ones illustrated.

I am trying to decide whether to use a sand/dry brush/a little flock for the base or just flock only on a dark brown base. I am leaning towards the base on the right.

The images are a little out of focus – I guess macro on my phone is not as good as it could be. The squares you see a 10mm by 10mm giving you and idea of the size of the figures.

I am sure I will look at these figures again 30 or 40 times before I settle on one form or another.

Peshawar – the American Ground Forces – Part 1

The Yanks are coming
The Yanks are coming

The Americans were the next to be prepared for painting.

They are organised along the lines suggested in the Land Ironclad rules. Ready for the sand and paint are a Battalion of Infantry (4 companies); two companies of marines; an artillery regiment (4 batteries); and 4 regiments of cavalry (three of then having a dismounted equivalent – two dismounted bases to every three mounted bases).

s with the Russians, the figure models represent 10 men so the infantry companies are about 400 men strong and the cavalry regiments around 300 troopers.

Next off will be the conventional forces of one of the newcomers to Peshawar but an old power – the Prussians.

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Peshawar – the Russian Ground Forces – Part 1

The Russian force arrayed, ready for sand to be added to the bases
The Russian force arrayed, ready for sand to be added to the bases

The Peshawar project is moving forward slowly. Over the Christmas break in between gorging on roast meats washed down with ice cold beers I started basing the “conventional” ground troops for this. Land ironclads and contraptions will come later. First cab off the rank here were one of the oldest protagonists in the Great Game … Mother Russia!

The Russians are organised along historical lines (and as suggested in the Land Ironclads rules from Wessex Games). Based and ready for sand on the bases and painting is an under strength battalion of infantry (one company detached), two sotni of Cossack, four squadrons of ‘ussars, two squadrons of dragoons and a brigade of artillery.

A Russian infantry battalion normally consists of four companies of regular infantry with a rifle company making up a fifth company. The companies are all about 200 men strong so that is represented by four infantry blocks (I am assuming each infantry block represents about 50 men).

The cavalry squadrons are all approximately 150 men strong.

Next off will be the conventional forces of one of the newcomers to Peshawar – the USA.

A battery and an idea of the size of these figures
A battery and an idea of the size of these figures

 

Peshawar – The Combatants

I mentioned that Peshawar was a Victorian Science Fiction campaign or game. If you click on Peshawar in the tag cloud or search Thomo’s Hole for it you will see that it was inspired by a VSF book, the Peshawar Lancers. I needed a universe for my Aeronefs and Peshawar provides it. Of course, it was then a small step to add Land Ironclads and as wargamers do, expand, expand, expand. Now I have six belligerents, all playing a variety of the Great Game. We have British, French, Prussians, Russians, Americans and the inscrutable Orientals, a mix of Japanese forces and Imperial Chinese.

I have enough 2mm forces to take care of Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry for the Land side of the game. I also have Land Ironclads for some of the forces. As far as ‘nefs go, I have six fleets awaiting paint. I have been considering organisations for these forces for a while and they will be the subject of a future post. In the meantime, I was considering colours for the various land forces and came up with the following basic plan.

British

The forces of Perfidious Albion, being located on the sub-continent, will be based around the British in India in the 19th Century. To that end, the following colours will apply (with some variations later):

  • Infantry – red coat, white trousers, dark forage cap with buff/white next cloth
  • Artillery – in blue
  • Cavalry – red jackets, dark grey breeches, brass helmet. Some variation with some native lancers

French

The Stylish French have been based around the colours of the French during the Franco-PrussianWar:

  • All arms – dark blue uniforms with red trousers

A picture of the French can be seen on this link.

Russian

Britain’s main competitor in the Great Game:

  • Infantry – buff or light grey greatcoat, white straps, dark blue or black hat, black bots
  • Artillery – as the infantry
  • Cavalry – Heavy cavalry in brass breastplate, white coat, white breeches and brass helmet. Lancers in dark blue coat, yellow breast (maybe), light grey breeches and white lance pennants (based around Crimean War Colours). I may add some irregular cavalry later

Japan and Imperial China

The Asia contingents:

  • Infantry – White coat and trousers or dark blue coat, white trousers with a grey blanket roll. Chinese forces in black (Boxers?).
  • Artillery – as for infantry
  • Cavalry – mid-grey coats, red breeches, grey hats

Prussia

As the Germans try and carve an empire in the sub-continent, they sent their troops in colonial colours:

  • Infantry – mid grey coat and trousers, black boots, dark helmets or mid green coat, grey hat, grey trousers and black boots
  • Artillery – in mid grey coat and trousers, black boots
  • Cavalry – as er the infantry (they are Germans after all and are therefore very uniform – based on late 19th century or Boxer Rebellion Germans)

USA

The Americans are playing the game as well. The forces are based around those of the American Civil War with a touch of Teddy Roosevelt:

  • Infantry – mid-brown/khaki all over or blue grey shirt, khaki trousers and hat. US marines in dark blue coat, light blue trousers and khaki hat and gaiters.
  • Artillery – same as the infantry
  • Cavalry – same as the infantry

And to leave you wit a taste of more 2mm, the remaining two armies – USA and Japan – are pictured below:

 

Peshawar – The Continuation

Sometime back in 2009  started a project for 1/1200 scale Aeronefs. As is the way of wargamers, I then expanded it to include Land Ironclads. In both cases using rules from Wessex Games; Aeronefs and Land Ironclads and buildings from Brigade Models; and period(ish) infantry, cavalry and artillery (in 2mm scale) as well as buildings and scenery from Irregular Miniatures. As it also the way of wargamers, something else bright and shiny appeared in front of me and so the project was shelved. At the time of shelving, I seem to recall that I had expanded from the original two combatants (the French and English) to add the Russians and the Prussians.

Well, looking through the figure stock here in Manila I saw the 2mm terrain and Russian and British Crimean Armies sitting forlornly still in their plastic bags. Some Aeronefs were located as were most of the British Land Ironclads. 20 minutes online to Irregular Miniatures and I had expanded the whole Peshawar idea to add the Americans and maybe Japanese. These Americans are an easy add to the universe but the Japanese will be a bit more problematical – I will need to craft a good back story to justify Japanese ‘nefs but a mix of European Land Ironclads.

Whilst online I also looked at getting some 2mm Napoleonics. I have a plan for another little project (in 2mm scale, little is the operative word) but more of that later. I think I have found my Christmas project for Manila this year – Expand Peshawar!

Back at the Painting Table … Finally!

The bits!
The bits!

I finally got a computer table which will serve as a computer table and a painting desk. A trip to one of the local model shops on Friday evening resulted in me having something to do as a small project. I got something to build. A drill, for models, with small chucks to take, er, small drills.

Now I will freely admit that this is only likely to be of great use when I am working in plastics although it may spin up with enough torque to drive a bit through the soft metal of wargame figures … ans ships.

Hmm!

The finished drill - on the painting table photographed darkly!
The finished drill – on the painting table photographed darkly!

This leads nicely into projects for the coming year. Now, as I have a drill, what can I drill. 2015 is the next year. One hundred years ago it was 1915 and that just leaves me one more year to wait for the centenary anniversary of the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrakschlacht) on 31 May and 1 June 1916. I have two fleets at mother’s, the High Seas Fleet and the Grand Fleet in 1/3000th scale. Almost all those ships will require masts of some form or another. This is starting to look like a plan. Brass wire, a small electric drill and 200+ World War I ships.

Best of all, it stops me becoming lost in 1/72 scale plastic figures and tanks 😉

WIP – the Type 97 Te-Ke 2

Type 97 TeKe
Type 97 TeKe

Back on 26 June 2014 I noted that I was working on the The Type 97 TeKe, a Japanese tankette used in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan) against the Soviet Union and Mongolia, and in World War II generally.

The photo to the left indicates where I had got up to with regards to painting these vehicles.

I got some time this week so finished them off yesterday. The photos below show how they look in their full camouflaged glory.

The tankettes were reasonably new as they were designed in 1937 and a total of 616 of them were built. They were small, however, only being large enough for a crew of two (a commander and a driver).

Anyway, these are the last of the Japanese tanks to be painted. On the painting queue for the Japanese are two aircraft and all the infantry. The infantry still needs to be adhered to bases and prepared for painting but that may need to wait for a week or three, depending on (I hope) new work.

I will photograph all the Japanese armour later this week once varnishing is complete and dry.

The Type 97 Te-Ke tank park ... such as it is
The Type 97 Te-Ke tank park … such as it is
A slightly different view of the Type 97 Te-Ke tank park
A slightly different view of the Type 97 Te-Ke tank park

WIP — Yes, Plastics 6

I finished the first five bases today, recovering as I was from watching the Netherlands finish the demolition of Brazilian football. I’m pretty happy with everything on them, except for the unit flashes. Looking further at the flashes on-line this evening they seem somewhat straighter and smaller. Oh well, I guess I will touch them up when I do the next batch of uniform dry-brushing.

Apart from that, I am happy with them. I don’t have to worry about finishing the bases, Anthony will do that so they look the same as the other troops in his forces.

The main colours used were the following (Vallejo unless otherwise noted):

  • 921 English Uniform
  • 988 Khaki
  • 924 Russian Uniform
  • 982 Flat Earth
  • 967 Flat Red
  • 963 Gunmetal Grey
  • 995 German Grey
  • Barbarian Flesh (from Army Painter War Paints)
  • Devlan Mud (an old Games Workshop Citadel wash)

The figures themselves are OK although they appear a little large for 20mm (1/72) and there are a few in odd poses – like the bloke squatting as if he as answering a call of nature whilst pumping a few rounds off from his Lee-Enfield SMLE. The hard plastic takes paint quite well though and has the advantage of not bending like metal does when you bump a figure accidentally.