The Big Dry

What has this post got to do with wargaming?

It is too bloody hot to paint.

In the last two months we have had about half a day of light rain that barely wet the ground before it evaporated.  Pretty much the entire North Island of New Zealand is now officially in drought. The only places we have any green grass is where there is shade from trees – fortunately I have a few big trees on the property.  Everywhere else the grass is being burnt away. Got quite a lot of bare patches in some paddocks already.  We are feeding the cows the apples, grapefruit and veges we would normally reserve for preserving and eating.


Here is a link to a news item on the drought.

I hope we get some rain soon. The sheep are going to be culled this week. Not enough feed for them. I might have to get another freezer.

The only thing keeping a bit of greenery in our valley are the morning river mists. They have been quite heavy but it burns off by about 0800.


Of course, we have a lifestyle block. Our livelihood is not threatened by the drought. The farmers around us are stressing.  Already they are having to use the supplementary feed that should be used for winter.

Banned from Battlefront’s Flames of War Forum


Today I got an email from Chris Townley (Design Studio Manager at Battlefront) with this rather terse sentence.

Hi Brian,

your forum account on the Flames Of War site has been deleted at the request of the senior management.

Chris Townley

Battlefront Miniatures

Well, I wondered why – I had hardly said or done anything controversial at the Battle Front Forum. The sum total of my contribution was posting a link to my painted Battlefront Stuart Recce tanks post (in the Galleries section), and to some of my Monday Music posts that had themes that may or may not interest people interested in social history of WWII and Vietnam War (in the Canteen section – the appropriate part of the forum for such posts).

Here is what I wrote about their Vietnam range:

Battle Front’s Tour of Duty line.  Quite extensive and looks pretty good. I have only ever seen the models in blisters but I am guessing that they are of the same pretty high standard as the rest of the BF line – arguments over the shape of a T-55′s turret notwithstanding.

Still waiting to see if I get a response from Chris as to why my account was removed, but I have to ask – has Battlefront become thinner skinned than an Opel Blitz truck?

28mm Spanish Militia: Milicias Prov. de Mallorca

Another militia battalion marches forth for my Spanish napoleonic army project.  These models are all Perry Miniatures Carlist militia infantry. I have no idea if the hats are all correct for the Napoleonic period but I have never been that hung up on that sort of thing. They look the part and will now take the field alongside their Brigade Games counterparts that I posted a few weeks back. I have one more Perry battalion to complete and that will be it for my Militia. I also have two units of guerillas to paint and then it will be on to the regular infantry.

The Battalion advancing with the colours of the Milicias Prov. de Mallorca.


Rear view. What I like about painting militia is the lack of straps, backpacks and accoutrements that regular infantry have. Hate those things.


Command Stand. All my militia battalions have spiritual help on hand in the form of an armed clergyman. The flagpole finial and tassel are from a Warlords Games Russian infantry box set I have acquired at a Bring and Buy.I thought the officer’s blanket came out quite well.


The mixture of hats, shirts, jackets – make these a great set to paint.


The other thing I like are the fact that half the chaps have their muskets shouldered on the opposite shoulder to the other half. A real motley lot – enough to make a regular grimace.


The priest tells the men that God is on their side. One hopes.


They look like they are ready for action but I have the sneaking suspicion that these Spanish infantry will flee at the first whiff of powder smoke. I guess time will tell. Their first outing is planned for three weekends from now when some friend come up to the woolshed for a weekend of eating, drinking and gaming.


Monday Music: I was Only Nineteen (A Walk in the Light Green)

The Vietnam War is one of those conflicts that I have only gamed a couple of times. It does not really appeal to me.  However, I have been looking at what is available in different scales and there is a fair selection.  I have only looked at 15mm, but there are also extensive ranges of 1/300th, 1/72nd, 20mm and 25/28mm ranges. Get Googling if those scales interest you. As far as the 15mm ranges go, this is by  no means an exhaustive list – happy to update if anyone lets me know of other manufacturers I have left off.


Battle Front’s Tour of Duty line.  Quite extensive and looks pretty good. I have only ever seen the models in blisters but I am guessing that they are of the same pretty high standard as the rest of the BF line – arguments over the shape of a T-55’s turret notwithstanding.


Flashpoint Miniatures.  These look really nice. I have never even heard of them until I started looking for Vietnam War minis.


Old Glory Command Decision Vietnam Range. Old Glory can be relied upon to get pretty good figures at a pretty good price (especially if you have the Army Card). Infantry and Vehicles available in the range.


Skytrex 15mm Vietnam Vehicles. A small range of soft skin vehicles. They look pretty trick to me.


Anyways, on with the Monday Music. When I was in my twenties I got an album by the Australian folk band ‘Redgum’ that had this song on it. The first time I heard it I was moved to tears. It still has that affect on me. This video has a Redgum live soundtrack and the video from some other group’s cover of the song. Enjoy.

and the band themselves performing the song

Monday Music: In Der Fuhrer’s Face


This is a great piece of comedic World War Two music.  Spike Jones and His City Slickers released this in 1942  Spike Jones was sort of early Weird Al Jankovic, parodying popular songs of the day. In Der Fuhrer’s Face is a parody of the Horst Wessel song – a Nazi anthem of sorts. The song was very popular and even made an appearance in comic book form and was used in advertising to sell War Bonds.


The catchy tune was used in the famous Donald Duck cartoon (1943).

28mm Napoleonic French Cavalry Division

I recently rebased a lot of old models – mostly painted in the 80s (and it shows) and also painted some French Chasseurs a Cheval that I found in a box. I had acquired them in 1985.  The models are a mix of Connoisseur, Hinchliffe and Hinchliffe Foremost ranges. The horses are Connoisseur, Hinchliffe and Essex I think.

Two regiments each of Chasseurs, Lancers and Dragoons.



French Line Lancers. Connoisseur models.


French Dragoons at Rest (mostly Hinchliffe and Foremost). Note the trooper second from right in the back rank with a scythe. Must have been out foraging.


French Dragoon Brigade Commander.


French Chasseurs a Cheval. They are all Connoisseur except for the Elite Company officer and the bugler who are Hinchliffe.  Again the horses are a mix of whatever I had. I am not even sure who made some of them – the result of buying horses at Bring and Buys at conventions over the years. I always figured it was cheaper to ship just the riders from the other side of the world to New Zealand than to bring their mounts with them – so I have a huge remount depot available.





Monday Music: D-Day Dodgers

I have always loved the saccharine sweet Lili Marlene in almost any language I have heard it sung. I have copies in German, Hungarian, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish and of course, English. The song was parodied during the war by Allied servicemen in Italy who took exception to a supposed comment by Lady Astor that those serving in the Italian campaign were ‘D-Day Dodgers’ – having an easy time away from the real fighting in France. The bitterness in the lyrics is still there after all this time.  My father served in Italy and he loves this song. When I hear it I picture the young man he was then.

I think that it is highly unlikely she ever said it and she herself denied it and there is no documentary proof of such an utterance.  However, the supposed slight was the genesis of a great ballad. One that my Dad want’s played at his funeral. There are versions galore of this song, so I present to you two different interpretations.

and a version that is probably more like what the lads sung.

NZ inf

Paint Transportation Module.

My life is somewhat nomadic. I live week about between the Woolshed (Oeta Homestead) and Wellington.  This map shows the relative locations.


That means that I am away from home between 5-7 days at a time and living at my other home. This is how I have been transporting my painting gear for the last few years. Actually, this is an improvement because for most of the time I was using an old cardboard banana box.


It is a pain to carry, to find anything in and where-ever I leave it it looks messy.  Today I acquired this – an old Sewing Box.  This will be my new retro Paint Transportation Module.


I was amazed – it is exactly what I needed. Takes up bugger all space, has a handle, little legs and even better it was full of old wooden cotton reels.  I use these to mount my figures on for painting.


Not sure what I will keep in the fold out bits but I am sure I will think of something.


A quick sand and re-varnish will have this old Sewing Kit – sorry – Paint Transportation Module – looking tip top.

Monday Music: 55 Days at Peking

One of my all time favourite movies is 55 Days at Peking, starring David Niven, Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner.

I am always looking for something else to waste my hobby spend on and did a little search on what was available for this period in 25/28mm. I have not looked at what is available in other scales but there sure seems to be a lot of 15-20mm stuff available if that is your preferred scale.

In no particular order:

Boxer Rebellion figures from Old Glory. They cover the Great Powers and there is even a set of civilian volunteers. The Boxers are covered quite well with a dozen or so sets including Chinese Regulars and Tartar Cavalry.

Boxer Rebellion by Redoubt Enterprises.   This range covers all the Great Powers, the Boxers and even the Relief Column that broke the siege.  The Redoubt catalogue has photos of pretty much all the figures in the range. The International Gun “Betsy” is one of my favourite pieces in this range.

Cellmate Miniatures have a Boxer Rebellion Range in 25mm.  I have never heard of these guys before.  Figures are pretty basic but cheap and there are plenty of photos. The web site includes a pdf ruleset for the Boxer Rebellion.

Irregular Miniatures has some Boxer Rebellion miniatures in their Colonial range. The Boxer infantry look quite nice.

Kennington Miniatures has early Chinese. I am not sure who owns these now but I think they are available from SHQ.

Matchlock Miniatures available from Caliver Books has a late 19th Century Colonial range. No pictures of models that I could see but a large range.

Ral Partha Boxer Range. The only place I could find these was at Great Endeavours in the UK. Plenty of pics of models too.

Studio Miniatures.  I cannot say anything about this range because my virus and firewall told me that the site was dangerous – it had a thing called Blackhole Exploit Kit lurking on the main site. Read about that here.

Oshiro Model Terrain has some really nice Boxer Rebellion Japanese. Worth a look.

Castaway Arts make some very very cool Chinese of the period. Definately worth a second look.

There are others but I have got bored looking. Short attention span strikes again.  If you know of others please leave details in the comments and I will update this post accordingly.

And if you want to watch the whole movie it is on YouTube.

boxer rebellion image

28mm Spanish Militia (Volontarios des Cuidad Rodrigo)

My latest unit and the first of my 28mm Spanish Napoleonic project. These figures are from Brigade Games.  The codes are Spanish Rebels I, Spanish Rebels II, Spanish Rebels III and Spanish Rebels Command 1. The Officer commanding is a single model code Spanish General.  I also brought Spanish Rebel Woman with Musket but did not include her in this unit. She will be painted separately as part of a guerrilla unit.  She bears more than a passing resemblance to “Teresa” from the Sharpe TV Series.  These models are fabulous. Nice detail, no flash worth mentioning and pretty easy to paint. I did not use any reference material for these guys so just painted them how I thought they should look. The Brigade Games range do not have a standard bearer so I converted a guerrilla who had a pistol in his left hand to instead be holding a flag.  The flag is one I found on the internet, re-sized and printed.


The models are based on laser cut mdf bases from Australian company Back-2-Base-ix.







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