Thursday, January 19, 2017

Spanish Civil War Miliciana Standard Bearer and AAC-1937 Armoured Car - 5th Submission to AHPC VII

I know I had promised an Indochina post, but these two practically leaped onto the table demanding brush and paint, so here they are.

This past summer saw the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and this autumn marked when Republican Madrid held fast against Franco's Nationalist forces. 

A significant amount of credit for the city's resistance was due to the arrival of reinforcements from Barcelona, led by the charismatic anarchist Jose Durruti. His force, known as the 'Durutti Column' became famous for its assistance in fending off Franco's hardened Moroccan professionals. The anarchists took particularly heavy casualties, including Durruti himself, fighting in the Casa de Campo (Madrid's largest park).

Durruti, in car crudely marked with 'C.N.T.', with his column heading west in the autumn of 1936.

Durruti's ad hoc column of Republican fighters on the move.

Durruti's death is still shrouded in controversy. Some say he was killed by enemy fire, while others contend he was a victim of friendly fire.  A few go so far as to say he was killed by Soviet-led Communists who saw him as a threat to their leadership within the Republican cause.

So, seen here is a miliciana standard bearer, wearing the distinctive blue workers overalls (el mono azul), giving the Republican clenched-fist salute and holding aloft an anarchist flag. The flag is emblazoned with 'Columna Durruti' and the acronyms of the two largest anarchist workers militias, the C.N.T and the F.A.I.

The figure is from the Empress Miniatures' range and the banner is from Flags of War.

Behind her is a AAC-1937 Chevrolet armoured car. This vehicle is often mistaken for a Soviet BA-3/6, but in fact was built in Valencia, using a Chevy 6x4 chassis as a basis. This one is armed with a hull machine gun along with a 37mm gun with a coaxial MG. It saw service in the later part of the civil war.

Many of these vehicles were captured by the Nationalists, or confiscated by the French during the Republicans' final retreat into exile. Oddly enough, many would see the end of their active service as German armoured cars on the Eastern Front.

This vehicle is, again, from Empress Miniatures. A nice, simple and clean kit. I've given it a fairly basic paint job in dark olive green, which seemed to be a relatively common colour  for vehicles at the time. It has 'U.H.P.' on the upper hull, denoting it's crew as supporters of the Uníos Hermanos Proletarios (United Brothers of the Proletariat) a socialist workers organization, part of the alphabet soup of socialist-anarcho-sydicalist trade unions that were (and still are) popular in and around Barcelona. 

Next up: Indochine (no really, it is, I promise) 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New WWII Skirmish Rules, 'Rattenkrieg!'

My good friend Alf over at Barrage Miniatures has recently released a new set of WWII skirmish rules titled, 'Rattenkrieg!'.  

Over the past few years Alf has shared with me several of his design concepts for these rules and I must say 'Rattenkrieg!' is  one of the most detailed and nuanced rulesets out in the market today. 

As a thumbnail description, I would say that 'Rattenkrieg!' is much like 'Advanced Squad Leader' for miniatures, but with even more tactical detail. Yes, these rules are for the dirt-under-your-fingernails grognards who don't mind going through a few charts and tables to get the results they desire. 

Alf has kindly allowed me to show a few pages from the beautifully designed rulebook. You will quickly see that these rules exhibit tremendous amount of research behind them and have been a labour of love.

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of tactical warfare, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of these rules. They are worth every shell casing.

'Rattenkrieg!' can be purchased in PDF form through the Barrage Miniatures website.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Francis I and Montmorency Surveying the Investment of Pavia, October 1524 - 4th Submission to AHPC VII

For our 'Armour' theme, I've returned to the Italian Wars with a vignette of Francis I of France overseeing the investment of Pavia, October 1524. 

Francis is seen here with his helmet under his arm, discussing the proposed dispositions of the French siege with one of his advisors, Montmorency, Marshal of France. The two men have recently arrived in front of the city and have placed a map of Pavia on a makeshift table made from a wagon wheel set on a tree stump. A pair of Francis' hunting dogs, Alaunts (a breed now sadly extinct), are at his side.  His banner-bearer, bored out of his mind, stands at the rear, holding the Royal Standard. Francis' attendants have brought out a stool with a refreshment of wine in pewter goblets.

Francis' figure is roughly based on an oil-on-wood painting from an unknown artist which was contemporary to the battle. In the painting he is depicted wearing gold armour with a red surcoat emblazoned with a large central cross. 

I kept the red surcoat, but instead painted him in his tournament armour, which in real life is  beautifully detailed with representations of fleur de lis on the knees, elbows and helmet (which, of course, nobody can see now due to the placement of the figures. Doh!). Francis' armour can be seen today at the musée de l’Armée, Les Invalides. 

The figures of Francis, Montmorency and his standard bearer are from the very talented Oliver James over at Steel Fist Miniatures.  These were part of a Kickstarter which I participated in a year or so ago and are now available on his website.

The two Alaunts were sculpted by Steve May as a private commission for Simon over at le Jay Emprins, who kindly provided me with a couple sets (Thanks Simon!).

Alaunts at the kill of a wild boar from The Grimami Breviary, 1490
The tree stump, wagon wheel, stool, wine bottle and goblets I printed off on my 3D printer (I LOVE that thing).

Francis' brave banner is from Pete's Flags.

As a historical postscript, the French siege of Pavia went on too long and a Imperialist relief force was dispatched to attempt to raise the siege. After a bold night march, the Spanish Imperial army smashed Francis' forces on 24th February, 1525. As the ultimate disgrace, Francis himself was captured and sent to Spain as a prisoner to negotiate his own release.


Next Up: I think something from Indochina is in order.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Spanish Civil War Falangist Infantry - 3rd Submission to AHPC VII

As a nod to the upcoming inauguration of the new POTUS and his Alt-right supporters here are ten fascists, er, Falangists from the Spanish Civil War, wearing their distinctive blue shirts, tasseled gorrillo side caps and khaki jodhpurs all fighting hard to 'Make Spain Great Again'. 

The Falange was a Spanish right-wing political movement that rose to prominence during the Spanish Civil War. They were fervent supporters of General Francisco Franco in his bid to wrest control of Spain from it's Republican government.

The Falange was an organization built around strict authoritarian ideals, believing the nation state should have close control over all aspects of Spanish society. They were patriarchal monarchists who were anti-communist, anti-liberal, anti-intellectual and ant-capitalist (though they smartened up with this last one, quickly seeing the reality of competing in a world market). Yeah, these guys were real forward thinkers, but hey, they had sharp uniforms and won the war, so they couldn't have been all that bad, right? Riiight.

After the Civil War the Falange became a significant political force during the 1940s, extending later into the postwar period. Nonetheless, they  began to steadily lose influence as Spain had to adapt in order to relate to a increasingly secular, technological world. Upon Franco's death in 1975, the Falange broke up into a number of splinter groups, politically negligible, each bickering with the others to (get this) claim the name of 'Falange'.  The descendants of these d-bags can sometimes be seen giving Nazi salutes at their pathetic rallies and generally being useless wastes of skin. But I digress.

These 28mm figures are from the comprehensive Empress Miniatures range. Wonderful sculpts from the very talented Paul Hicks. The flag is (I think) from Flags of War.

Next up: Back to the Renaissance with something French.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Inquisitor's Retinue (Part I) - 2nd Submission to AHPC VII

Hello All and Happy New Year!!

We've had a huge meal and have just returned from taking the dogs out for a big romp in the snow. 

Felix burning some energy.
Oscar burning energy? Not so much.
Now with a bit of quiet time I can sneak away to post up my second entry, closing the gap in my sci-fi paint-duel with Juan.

I'm a big fan of Dan Abnett's writing, especially his 'Inquisitor' series of books. This past autumn I ran a 'Dark Heresy' RPG campaign for a few friends. In my 'world', the player characters begin as new recruits for an Inquisitor they have never met. Her name is Esme Rochel-Perez. The players were facilitated through her large retinue of arcane and dangerous specialists, who briefed them on the task at hand and provided them with a modicum of support (but not so much to make them feel at ease).

Here are two members of Esme's retinue, Second Interrogator Roland Velasquez and Arch Adherer Barthalamaus Pinder.

These are both older 28mm Games Workshop figures. I understand that the fellow with the hat is a bit rare - I picked him up at a Games Day in Toronto over 10 years ago. Anyway, they are beautiful castings with loads of character and wonderful details to tease out with a brush. 

Arch Adherer Barthalamaus Pinder

Not much to say here. I've used fairly subdued colours for these two, with lots of browns, blacks and dark greens. The brazier's coals and Pinder's banner were fun to work on as was Velasquez's bionic arm and plasma pistol. 

Second Inquisitor Roland Velasquez

Over the next few months I will be introducing some other members of Inquisitor Rochel-Prez's retinue, all the while (hopefully) keeping Juan on his toes with his own 'Rogue Stars' efforts.

Wish me luck!

Next Up: The 'Alt-right' from the Spanish Civil War.