Sunday, 28 February 2010

Oh! What a Lovely War

Amongst the usual round of weekend domesticity I have been able to to give the newly acquired Peter Laing 15mm Early WW1 collection a proper look over. As you may recall, I had mentioned on a previous post that I am in the market for a new digital camera and so at the present time I am not going to bother with any photographs of the models - simply because they will not come out particularly well. Profuse apologies for this and as soon as I am fully kitted out with a new camera I will happily snap away in close up!

There is a pile of stuff in this collection and starting with the British we have two battalions standing firing, two advancing, two deployed in trenches, one prone firing and a battalion of Highlanders. These are all sixteen figures strong - as are all the battalions from both the French and German contingents. There is a twelve figures cavalry regiment, two HMGs with three crew each, two field guns with five crew each and a couple of bases of figures suitable for staff or higher command groups. The figures are very roughly painted which looks OK at a distance but really grates when viewed close up! I don't mind a basic paint job (by that I mean unshaded and with blocked colours) but I really dislike a sloppy job e.g. straps painted over the tunic or flesh in the wrong place. A simple and tidy paint job for these figures is all that they would need to look really special in a 'toy soldier' kind of way and so I guess that will be the look to go for. The infantry prone firing will be used as dismounted cavalry but I am not sure that the figures in trenches will see any use although I will have to see in due course. The cavalry are all standing with the lance in its bucket and of all the cavalry the British are in the best condition but probably the most poorly painted. The artillery and HMGs are fine although the Vickers has been painted black and will need to be redone at some point.

The German infantry consists of six battalions advancing, three standing firing and two of jager. There are seven HMGs and eight field guns - four of which look like 77mm pieces; two of 150mm and a couple of 203mm heavy gun/howitzers. There is also an army command base with seven figures including a seated commander in chief with map spread across the table (looking suitably splendid and 'Germanic') and three each of two figure artillery /staff command types and three figure command types. Cavalry wise there is a regiment of hussars and one of ordinary cavalry - both regiments with the lance. Painting wise the same observations as those made for the British apply - a wholly appropriate paint job marred by the sloppiness of application.

The French contingent consists of five battalions - four of line, one with white trousers (I am showing my ignorance here in respect of 1914 French uniforms!) and one which I believe is the Chasseurs Alpine.There are three cavalry regiments - one of Dragoons, one of Cuirassiers and one of Belgians. the French cavalry units are fifteen figures strong as opposed to the twelve figures of the German and British. There are two HMGs and three field pieces - two of which are the famous 'soixante quinze' and the other is a larger piece. Although there is not a dedicated higher command base there are a number of loose painted staff officers that could easily be pressed into service for use as a higher command base. Once again, the same observations re the the painting apply.

As you can see, the scope for this collection is enormous but it has given me an almighty headache. I was expecting to merely have to rebase (which is in itself going to be a huge undertaking) and apply the odd touch up on the painting front but I am now thinking that a complete repaint may be more appropriate. I will be able to expand the collection simply because I will be changing the unit sizes from sixteen to twelve figures for the infantry - based in threes - and six figures for the cavalry (three bases of two figures each).

This will be a long term project and no mistake - the cavalry will need some TLC in the biggest possible way - but oddly enough, given the 'old school' nature of the figures and the fact that I will be able to quite happily use an understated paint job (aka my painting comfort zone!) I am really quite keen to tackle this.

I have a long term idea in mind for use with these figures involving Morschauser and the naval version thereof (the ship charts are finally ready for these and I want to run the final play test before I unleash them on the unsuspecting public!) and will leak the odd detail out from time to time as the mood takes me. In the meantime though - the Balkan Wars stuff needs to take priority and I am hoping to make a severe inroad into that particular project over the next week.


Steve said...

The white trousers may be supposed to be Marines...

David Crook said...

Hi Steve, Marines eh? That should be interesting! I will have to dig a little deeper methinks so thanks for the pointer.

All the best,