Tuesday 20 February 2024

Great War Spearhead II - Gallipoli 1915 in heerr... 1/1 scale (part 4): A trip to the Naval events from January to March 1915


In the last summer vacations I visited Gallipoli.  On the first day I started with the coastal forts along the eastern part of the Gelibolu peninsula. In fact this is almost mandatory as the boat leads you to Kilitbahir, from where everything starts. I took plenty pictures of many forts, and guns but I will keep them for me as there are much better pictures of them in the Web free to see. 

Like that I will concentrate this post on rare period photos the guns and emplacements from a small museum (may be temporary exhibition?) close to Kilitbahir coastal forts. These pictures shows some of the Turkish heavy coastal guns that created havoc on the British/French fleet. There was a total of 20 of these big guns of German origin mostly, some were British, in a grand total of 80 guns if counting the smaller calibers. This number was clearly insufficient and the guns were in open emplacements, but even so, due the the Turkish tenacity, the Anglo-French arrogance and some brilliant feats of arms like the one from the Nusrat minelayer, the Allies were forced to go for landing operations on the south and western parts of the Gallipoli peninsula in order to silence the guns and then reach Constantinople. 

 A 355mm L/35 Krupp gun. These big ones were used at forts 16, 19 and 20. 

On the visit to the Military Museum at Istambul I took the picture of a 355mm L/35 were we can see the famous future of corporal Seyit carrying on its back a huge shell ( which helped to sink HMS Ocean). The matching of Sayit with this gun is in fact wrong as Seyit and its crew were manning a 240mm L/35 Krupp gun. Sayit, a very powerful man for sure, would have an impossible task when placing the huge 355mm shell into the breech. Eventually, after the battle Sayit was even asked to repeat the feat and place a 240mm shell in the breech by the force of arms and he simply couldn't. Apparently he wasn't lying as the fact had many witnesses and the story proves that soldiers can do incredible things under the stress of battle. 

The left side of the 355mm gun. Not an easy thing to scratch build :)

The 150mm  L/26 Krupp guns ( don´t take them for the 150mm Vickers model) of forts 6 and 9. 

Another view of the same guns. 

The 150mm L/26 in detail. The equipments and uniforms of the personnel involved in these period pictures also shows the variety and also the differences between ordinary artillerymen and officers. 

Remains of Turkish Trenches facing the Dardanelles close to Çimenlik castle. 

Just for the sake of curiosity, and to see the power of the naval allied fleet,  you can see in an inner wall of Çimenlik castle and unexploded shell (yellow light) that bounced inside the castle and left a path of destruction. 

Next: part 2 for the British beaches or a quick re-entering at WW2 North Africa. 

Friday 16 February 2024

Great War Spearhead II - Gallipoli 1915 in 20mm (part 3): The British with Kitchener´s helmet and KD uniform


I made these British for Gallipoli years ago and now it was time for some GWSH II rebasing. The figures are conversions using Esci parts, WW2 desert British bodies with Esci Colonial heads. 

The result is not the best as the Wolseley´s helmet was larger than the late XIX century one from Esci. Even so they gave me some work and, just because of that, they entered the shelves. There are two different command stands as the one with the piper can go to any of the brigades of the 52nd division. The machine gunners are Esci WW2 British with half of the ammunition pouches cut out. The same happened to all figures. 

The newer Hat industries WW1 British tropical infantry box depicts very well the Gallipoli units equipped with the KD uniform. Mine are just in shirt order but in the future, while expanding the army, I´ll try to get some of the Hat tropical infantry. 

Even if the British were much more careful with the uniform than say the Anzacs, after some time in the Gallipoli trenches their look was not the same upon the arrival. 

Another possibility is to use the figures as Anzacs (see the left figure). Obviously the piper is out. 

Left: a small break in the Gallipoli series with some more WW2 British for the Western Desert. 

Monday 12 February 2024

Great War Spearhead II - Gallipoli 1915 in 20mm (part 2): The French 175e RI


Not only Anzacs and British troops were at Gallipoli fighting the Turkish army. There was also a divisional size ( two, in august) from day one (25th of april, 1915), first at the Asian side at Kum Kale (the Sand Castle) and transferred a few days later a bit to the north of Sedd-Ul-Bahr of the SS River Clyde collier fame. The 175e RI was one of the four regiments of the 1st Division of the Corps Expeditionnaire d'Orient among other colorful units like Zouaves, Foreign Legion and Senegalese soldiers. 

The 175e RI was one of the four regiments of the 1st Division of the Corps Expeditionnaire d'Orient. The Adrian Helmet is still a few months away but the horizon blue capote is already distributed even if in a lighter tone than in the future. 

The figures are all HAT WW1 Early French Infantry with the exception of a few officers taken from the Esci box of the Foreign legion (right figure in the command stand, with bent arm). 

This picture came from Militaria magazine No 21 (1987, my goodness) and they are from an article about the 1915 Poilu. The text and photos mentions brown trousers and I went for it in this group. 

I also got some inspiration from this picture taken in Egypt in which the trousers look to have a different tone than horizon blue. Which in fact may only be the shadow. Well, this is one of the beauties of our hobby, sometimes you will never know.

My late father built, among thousands of 1/43 cars, slot cars, HO trains, some 50 TAP (Transportadora Aérea Portuguesa) and FAP (Força Aérea Portuguesa). Most of them were kits and were given to friends after my father's passing but I kept all the scratch-built ones as they are true works of art. Luckily, there was also this 1/72 scale Farman MF 11 Shorthorn in the survivors, also completely scratch-built, that somewhat resembles the Farman F40 used by the MF98T squadron of the Corps Expeditionnaire d'Orient

I only added an MG and the crew made out of old Airfix figures. The wings are made of wood and covered in tissue, like the real thing.

Also some french colors were painted on top of the portuguese ones. 

My father only had this two pictures of the farman MF11 taken from the book Aviões da Cruz de Cristo. 

The Farman MF11 is the one on top while the smaller Farman F40, used at Gallipoli, is at the bottom. They look similar but in fact the F40 only has one rudder which makes the two machines very different. 

My dear father. Love you every day, miss you every day. 

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Great War Spearhead II - Gallipoli 1915 in 20mm (part 1): The Turkish army


More than 20 years ago, still not knowing that Hat industries was on the way,  I made up a Turkish WW1 small army from the Esci British colonials, Atlantic and Airfix Japanese infantry and copies of the WW2 hard plastic Soviets from Esci. Later on, Hat released its two boxes of WW1 Turkish figures (infantry and artillery+MGs) and I found my old conversions to be better hidden in some boxes. Recently I visited Gallipoli (Turkish Gelibolu) and the interest for Turkía in WW1 was reignited. 

With these old figures two full regiments and (right) the divisional rifle battalion were made for Shawn Taylor´s GWSH II. The pair of Hat Turkish boxes are on the way from Italy and it will allow me to make the 3rd and last infantry regiment for the division and add a few more artillery and HMGs. 

The Esci British colonial officers were also converted to divisional and regimental standard bearers. All british colonial helmets got a few small cuts at the front so they can look more to the Turkish M1909 Kabalak, in fact a piece of cloth wrapped in a specific way around a wooden structure. The other officers are the Russian Esci copies, some with the Kabalak, others with the Kalpak. The Kalpak was made using heads of the Esci Hussars. All flags are hand painted. 

Also some flags were added to a few battalion stands with Airfix Japanese used for cornets and flag bearers. The Japanese field cap is easily cut to look like the red Fez, still in use in WW1 even if in dwindling numbers. To the right an Atlantic Japanese officer was also converted.  

The Esci colonial infantry became WW1 Turks. Some got a Fez from converted heads with Napoleonic shakoes, others saw the Kalabak made from the already mentioned cuts at the front (small) peak of the Esci colonial helmet. The big difference from the true Turkish uniform are the puttees but somehow they get slightly disguised with the en masse looks... at least I like to think that way. 

The Hotchkiss HMGs came from the Atlantic Japanese set and the crew from the Esci British colonials. The HMG firer is the figure pulling an ammo box converted here as to be firing the gun (sort of). The guns look a bit like cannons and will be replaced by the Hat ones (German 08s, which were much more common). 

The German 77mm guns are IT Figures with Irregular Miniatures crew. 

The 15cm Krupp 1880 and crew are all Irregular  Miniatures with Arab crews. 

Next: Depends on the mail but eventually the first video on the Iraqis 1990. 

Friday 26 January 2024

Impetus Rules - Mohacs 1526, part 10 - A batch of Ottoman infantry from Lucky Toys in 20mm

Lucky Toys have a nice box of Ottomans mixing both infantry (less the Janissaries) and cavalry. The figures are some of the best I´ve seen in 20mm and their faces are true works of art (Lucky Toys is affiliated with Caesar somehow). The figures are best for the previous century and for the campaign that led to the fall of Constantinople but they fit reasonably well for the campaign of 1526. My Lucky Toys cavalry was made years ago already and the swords and maces were replaced by spears, a more proper weapon for the XVI century. 


These heavy infantry figures belong to the Kapi Kulu corps and will be placed close to the Janissaries. Most of the shields were bent with fire for more frontal protection. I thought about replacing the axes and swords with spears but maybe i´ll do it in a next batch I find. 

These Yayalar were some of the most common Ottoman infantry together with the Azab. The figures with the spear to the front got a plastic shield. 

Only one position for archers but even so a very nice figure.

These two command stands have a commander thats transpires Turkish from all pores and also an European looking figure that may be inspired in the Balkanic allies.  

Next: WWI Turkish

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Impetus Rules - Mohacs 1526, part 9 - Ottoman Light Cavalry in 20mm


The Turcoman archers shoot at the Hungarian lines with their own  'Caracole' tactic while protecting the arrival of the Akinjis. In fact the only thing noticeable about this post is the position of the Turcoman archers inside the stands. 

By placing them by side on the stands they can simulate the 'Caracole' with a central stand shooting its arrows and the two others mostly recharging and getting ready to shoot again. 

The figures are all StreletsR and all of them are different which makes the group pretty lively. 

The Akinjis in fact are figures from the Muslim Cavalry box by StreletsR but, with a different painting, stressing red and green, they make reasonable Turkish Akinjis. Most of the horses came from Italeri as the original migrated to the Norman army at Hastings. 

Next: More Turkish for Mohacs 1526 or  Gallipoli 1915.

Sunday 21 January 2024

RFR/Able Archer - The Portuguese Brigada Mecanizada 2008-24 in 20mm size

This Brigade is one of the three of the Portuguese army. It's made around a powerful group of Leopard 2A6 and infantry on M-113 under the fire protection of M-109 A5. The models came from a number of different brands like Die-cast Altaya, Riich, 3d BPM and many conversions. The infantry are plastic US, NATO and German figures with cuts in the weapons for them to look like the G3.

Sunday 14 January 2024

The Portuguese campaign of 1895 in Mozambique in 20mm

Years ago, after finishing my Anglo-Zulu War figures, I started another campaign were I could use once again the Zulu army without many changes. It was from the idea of reusing the Zulus that I started the actions around the uprising of the Landins and Vatuas (Shangane, for the British) of Mozambique against the Portuguese rule during the years of 1894-95. These African tribes were affiliated with the Zulus and most of its weapons and garments were similar so my 20mm Zulu army could be used once more this time a few years later and a bit to the northeast of Africa. The major battles like Marracuene, Magul and Coolela were big affairs not smaller than most of the engagements of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879.
The Portuguese army, both the colonial and the metropolitan, had to be made from conversions as nothing exists in 20mm.  First I made all infantry necessary using French Legionaires from Esci and heads from Confederates and Australians and many others to portray the Portuguese uniform in Mozambique. In my help came three excellent articles on this campaign by Jorge de Freitas in Miniatures Wargames No 144, 145 and 146. On those days of 1995 wargame magazines were packed with more information and had less pictures so the total 12 pages of the series gave a good insight of the military actions, organization, equipment and uniforms.  Then with a few extra books, namely the Portuguese Tribuna book 'Moçambique 1895, a campanha de todos os Heróis' by A.J. Telo, photos from my visits to the Army museum in Lisbon and nowadays precious internet, I got the rest of the information.

Friday 12 January 2024

Hastings 1066 - The two last Fyrd stands for the Saxons in 20mm for Impetus rules


These two stands of Fyrd were made from the Robin Hood Airfix set and a few leftovers of the last Revell Saxon´s box. Like this my Saxon army got to 17 stands against 15 stands of the Normans and I will probably let it be like this. 

All figures got some degree of conversion. The Airfix figures got plastic card round shields and broomstick spears and the Revell figures also got spears replacing axes and swords.

These stands of interlocked shields consume a lot of figures but make some very nice and varied groups. 

Only two colors were used for the tunics which speeded painting. The shields were also kept with only a few colors and mostly some sort of cross. I felt tempted to glue paper shields but ended up by painting them as the Saxons symbols look simpler than the Normans. 

On the other stand there is a lonely Saxon lord in its chain mail armor leading its peasantry into battle (but at least fighting within its ranks). You can find one of the several Friar Tuck figures with shield and spear on the back row, left figure. There are two archer poses in the Robin Hood box and some four of these are spread on the second rank just for some variety. The original bows were a bit too big for 1066 and they were slightly shortened as the famous English/Welsh longbow is still far in time. From the box, only the Robin Hood figures, Lady Marian, and the figure with the pole high in both hands (another Friar Tuck figure?) were not used. All others are great peasant figures for many Middle Age armies up to the XIV century. 

Next: a video on the Portuguese campaign in Mozambique,1895.

Sunday 7 January 2024

Hastings 1066- The Norman army in 20mm for Impetus rules


This Norman army was an old wish of mine since Revell released its box in 1989. While the figures looked great there was the obvious problem of only two horsemen per box and only with rearing horses. Also a number of other armies from the early Middle Ages could be modelled, like Portuguese and Castillan for the Reconquista or Crusaders for the first few rounds of invasion of the Holy land, but the horsemen problem continued and the project kept on being delayed. 

This is how the Norman army would have looked like at Hastings. The centre would be occupied by the Normans themselves with Roger of Montgomery´s French and Flemish on the right and Alan of Brittany´s Bretons on the left. The first line would have been made of archers; the second, of heavy infantry and the third, of heavy or medium cavalry. A total of 15 Impetus stands were made, a match for the Saxon army. They are ready to climb Senlac hill or Caldbec hill if you prefer. 

Now for the Norman host proper, the most numerous of the three groups with maybe around 5000 men. All figures are Revell (with the exception of Bishop Odo of Bayeux with a club, an Italeri figure, leading the army next to William). 

This is the trick I used to produce some 20+ cavalry figures. I used some of the poses of the foot Revell Normans with swords, carved a bit of plastic from the middle of the legs (ouch...) and sat them with the help of an hot glue gun in Airfix or Italeri Medieval horses from several boxes. Also a few of the rearing Revell horses got some heat for them to bend to some more common poses. The Pope's flag was placed in the front rank of this stand. 

The infantry was less problematic as Revell gives a nice assortment of poses. The only  aspect worth mentioning was the usage of glued photocopies of 25mm Norman shields from the web, scaled down and retouched as the brands place those lines to avoid, well, exactly what I did... In fact all Normans and French have this trick both in cavalry and infantry. 

The archers are the same for the three hosts. In the end I regretted not placing the mailed archers only in the Norman stands but frankly I don´t know if this was the case. 

Now for the Bretons which may have been some 2000+ at Hastings. Their main visual difference to the Normans characteristic was the lack of mailed armor or maybe its use under the clothes both in cavalry and infantry. 

For the Breton (and French/mercenary) cavalry I did not use Normans. Instead I looked in the several sets of early Medieval cavalry from Italeri (Russian, Teutonic and Crusaders) and used the ones with conical helmets or Kettle hats. Their cavalry was mostly discarded as they have the Caparison cover and were replaced by StreletsR horses. These two stands have one less figure than the Norman stands so they can be used as CM or CP as the difference between 7 or 8 horsemen is barely noticeable. 

The shields were enlarged with the glued photocopies. This time, just to make them different from the French, I painted the shield in one color only a practice I saw in a number of Breton from different sources. 

As you can see here the smaller original shields were dwarfed by the paper ones. In the end if you place a good layer of PVA at the joint between the plastic and the paper shields you will barely see the difference and they become very tough. 

The Italeri figures, used for Breton infantry, had even smaller shields which were enlarged with the same trick. 

The full stand of Breton Infantry made of Italeri figures mostly with kite shields. When the kite shields were small they became bigger with the photocopies trick. 

Lastly, the French and other european mercenaries, maybe some 1500 or 2000 men. 

The cavalry was made pretty much like the Bretons, only with printed and retouched colorful shields. 

The French Infantry was made like the Bretons as I couldn´t find any relevant differences. Eventually they also used plenty of mailed armor like the Normans. The main source for this period, the obvious Bayeux tapestry, was made years after the battle and many details and differences between the fighters are not clear. 

One more stand of French archers, mixing mailed and non-mailed figures. I thought about placing some crossbows but there are already two in the Breton infantry stand so this one became archers-only. 

Odo of Bayeux and William still need the company of the Breton and French leaders which will join the ranks when I find a bit more of information on Alan and Roger. 

Next: a video on Hastings or on the Iraqis of 1991.