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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Pesky Plumes

Another annoying problem with old figures is that often a perfectly fine figure is ruined by having a broken plume, especially French and Russian figures with their long thin plumes. I have had many figures that required repair in order to complete a unit, and so I devised this simple method.

Tools required:
  • A small pin vice with miniature drills.
  • Super glue.
  • Wooden cocktail sticks.
  • An old nail or similar steel point.
  • Sharp knife
  • Fine file
Here is the subject figure. It can be seen that the plume has broken clean off at the point it meets the shako:
If any of the plume does remain, cut away with the knife and file smooth. Decide where the plume needs to go, normally as close to the front edge of the shako as possible.

Mark a small indentation with a sharp steel object (I use an old nail) to form a guide for the drill bit. I use a drill of around 1mm:
Slowly drill into the top of the shako, at a slight angle for about 2-3mm:
Clean off any rough edges with the knife. Take the cocktail stick and cut off the first 1mm from the point and discard. Then cut off another 5mm (length depends on size of plume needed):
Push in and glue the thin end of the cocktail stick into the hole in the shako:
When the glue has set, round off the top of the plume using the fine file. There you have it - a new plume!

Broken Swords and Bayonets

A common problem with old figures is that often they will lose a bayonet and cavalrymen and officers often have blunted or broken swords. When restoring old figures it is possible to carry out simple repairs.

To do this I use the following:
  • An empty drinks can, or better still the lid off a bean tin or similar.
  • A good pair of kitchen scissors.
  • Sharp modelling knife.
  • Super glue
  • Pliers.
Here is my first subject, an old Minifigs cavalryman, with broken sword:

Cut out a section of the drinks can ( the bean tin lid is more sturdy, looks better, but is a little more difficult to cut and shape):
Then using scissors, cut a very narrow sliver of metal - this may curl, but can be easily straightened:
Cut the new sword to size with scissors and shape the end:
Now the tricky bit. Using the knife cut a slot in the figures hand:
Fix the new sword in place with super glue and gently squeeze the hand back together using the pliers:
Job done.

Using the same method it is possible to repair bayonets. It is a bit more fiddly, but with practice it can be done. Here is my subject:
I make the bayonet in the same way as the sword, but include a tiny lug at the blunt end:

I cut a tiny slot in the end of the musket - tricky this:
Attach the bayonet in the slot with super glue and close the slot with pliers:

Thursday, 12 October 2017

For interest - Austrian gunners

I needed some Austrian Artillery to go with my S range Minifigs Austrian Army, however, after months of searching I have not been able to find any. I thought I would try some Warrior figures to see how they would work together and I was happy to find, that despite the very different pose styles, size wise, they work OK. Here is a picture of some Warrior Austrian Horse Artillery with some old S Range minifigs in the background:

Austrian foot artillery look like this:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Peninsular Warriors - French Artillery

Having completed the bulk of the Allied force, I am now turning my attention more towards the French, with this batch of  figures covering the foot artillery.

My plan is for the French to initially have three foot batteries and one horse artillery battery.

The French line foot artilley, all by Warrior Minitures:

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

More Peninsular Warriors - British Highlanders

Another British infantry regiment takes to the field, this time it is the turn of the Highlanders, again from Warrior Miniatures:

Monday, 9 October 2017

Peninsular Warriors - Allied Staff Officers

There are just four staff officer figures available from Warrior. Of these only two are of use for the Peninsula War, as the first figure is a model of Napoleon and another is a Prussian general in Feldmutz type cap.

The remaining two are a Field Marshal and a Marshal, which are described as suitable for any army on the Warrior Miniatures website.  They are fairly generic and with the right paint job they do look OK. First off we have the 'Field Marshal' figure, which I have painted as my Spanish commander:

The second is the 'Marshal' figure, which I am using as my second British brigade commander (or Division), depending upon the scenario):
I have two French marshals too.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Peninsular Warriors - British Royal Horse Artillery

Another offering from the Warrior Miniatures stable are these rather splendid Royal Horse Artillery figures. My plan is to have one battery of horse, one battery of line for the British, and two Spanish batteries. The French will have three line and one horse battery.

The British Horse Artillery:

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Peninsular Warriors 9 - Warrior Miniatures French Cavalry

The latest troops to join my Peninsular armies are these two regiments of French dragoons by Warrior Miniatures. They are the Empress Guard Dragoons and 2nd Line Dragoons:

Friday, 6 October 2017

Peninsular Warriors 8 - More Spanish

I have just added another Spanish Regiment, bringing the total to five. This unit is painted to represent the Regiment Irlande:

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Peninsular Warriors 7 - Warrior Miniatures 25mm British Rifles

Another offering from Warrior Miniatures, their spirited British Riflemen, which I have painted to represent the 60th Rifles. They were fun to paint, with their powder horns and long hair tied at the back. Perfect for those earlier Napoleonic engagements during the Peninsular War

Monday, 25 September 2017

Action at Pont de la Croix

I might have mentioned in an earlier post that one of my favourite wargame books is"Operation Warboard" by Gavin and Bernard Lyall. For a long time I have wanted to try out the scenario in the opening chapter, that sees a small US force being delayed at a bridge before the fictional village of "Pont de la Croix" in Normandy, by an even smaller German force. I decided to use this battle to form the basis for this action.

This map gives an overview of the battlefield:
The German force has been ordered to hold the bridge in case it should be required for a counter attack in the future and if it cannot be held cause as much damage and delay to any attacking force as possible.  As can be seen, a road leads into the village from the northeast, crosses a small bridge over a river that is impassible to vehicles and armour, but can be waded with difficulty by infantry. This is what the wargame table looks like:
Defending the village are two platoons, a company HQ and a single tank. A machine gun is deployed forward in a bunker on the far bank and there is an anti-tank team in the ruined house. There is another undisclosed anti-tank weapon hiding somewhere on the field ( a dice will be thrown to determine whether it is a panzerschreck, a 75mm gun or a light tank destroyer).

The first German platoon is in the area of the Ruined House supporting the declared anti-tank team:
The second platoon is in the area of Red House:
And Company HQ is set up around the Ruined Church, with a machine gun in the Ruined Cafe:
Finally, and most potently, a Panther Tank lurks out of sight behind the church:

The US force consists of a company of three infantry platoons, a recce troop, with machine gun armed jeeps and three Sherman tanks. The company commander looks down the road towards the sleepy village and wonders what, if anything awaits over the bridge:
Following the "Operation Warboard" scenario, the Company Commander orders the recce jeeps forward to check out the village:

This is where my use of the scenario in the book ends, as rather than tearing down the road and across the bridge, the jeeps edge fowards covering each other. As they move the Company Commander orders two of his infantry platoons to move up to the woods on either side of the road; One Platoon on the left, Two Platoon on the right and he holds Three Platoon in reserve.
The jeeps move foward:

They are engaged by a machine gun in the bunker and one jeep is destroyed losing one of the crew; the second crew member takes cover:
The other jeeps hastily pull back, and while the two platoons advance on the woods the US commander calls forward his tanks:

Meanwhile, the German machinegun team in the bunker pulls back, wading across the river, covered by the machine gun on the top story of the Ruined Cafe:
The US Shermans halt and cover the infantry moving towards the woods.

As One Platoon approach the South Wood a hail of bullets come from the tree line and the platoon commander is down:

A brisk firefight develops as the US troops in the open fire into the woods. Meanwhile on the US right flank Two Platoon moves forwards into the North Wood:
The German commander decides to deploy his only tank, the Panther and it begins to rumble up the road towards the Bridge:
At the same time Two Platoon are emerging from the North Wood and decide to bounce the river and get across quickly; however they run into the Panther and a hail of fire from the Ruined House and gardens. Two platoon is decimated:

On the left One Platoon continues to fight the Germans in the wood, slowly grinding them down, when the Germans reveal their undeclared anti-tank weapon. Unfortunately for them it is another Panzerschreck, which fires a round that misses a Sherman on the other side of the road:
He is quickly taken out by combined small arms and tank fire.

 The US Shermans spot the Panther and engage:
One shot hits the Panther, but bounces off. The Panther returns fire and the first Sherman to be hit brews up:
Two Platoon continues to suffer casualties and is forced back into North wood:

As this is going on a second Sherman is struck by a 75mm round from the Panther, and is destroyed:
 The third Sherman wisely pulls back and swings around North Wood to try to get a flank shot against the Panther:

On the left, One Platoon finally clears the South Wood and takes up position along the edge of the river. The US commander is more cautious now having seen what happened to Two Platoon:
Despite this, One Platoon comes under fire from across the river where the German Platoon in the Red House occupies the buildings and gardens,

The US commander orders his reserve, Three Platoon, to cross the river, with One Platoon providing cover:

Three Platoon advance, but suffer casualties and withdraw back over the river:

Meanwhile, on the right flank, Sherman number three has skirted around the North Wood, spots the Panther and takes aim, however, the Panther fires first, but misses. The Sherman fires and a lucky shot enters the tank through the turret ring. The Panther burns up:
Sherman number three begins firing HE rounds into the buildings across the river, supported by the remnants of US Two Platoon:
Over on the left, the Company Commander orders up one of the recce jeeps, which along with the machine guns of One and Two Platoons, as well as the remnants of Three Platoon pours a massive weight of fire onto the Germans in the area of the Red House:
This allows One Platoon to storm across the river:

This time the crossing is succesful as Sherman Three fires into the buildings.

The German commander can see his men being slowly worn down by the tank fire and he has nothing left to take on the Sherman tank as it is out of range of any hand held anti-tank weapons. His right hand platoon is suppressed. He orders a withdrawal. Fighting around Red House continues as the Germans pull back:

Here the battle ends. The Germans withdraw and the US forces halt, having lost two tanks and nearly 50% of their infantry. The battle is a victory for the US, although they could not exploit their win without further reinforcements.