Thursday, 26 March 2015

Visit to Waterloo, February 2015

Finally I managed to go to Waterloo and to Belgium, profiting from the Carnival break. I really wanted to go there before the 200th anniversary so I could say " bah, I've already been there...".

This is the view from the Lion's mound, a very unfortunate construction that ruined part of Wellington's defensive terrain but from were you can have a fabulous view over the entire battlefield. 

To the right you find La Haie Sainte...

...and you can see the reason why Wellington chose Mont-Saint-Jean as the main feature of the allied defensive system. The ground rises gently to the left creating a ridge ideal for his defensive tactics. 

From the Genappe road I took this hasty picture of La Haie Sainte looking at the axis of the French assault.

Back to the Lion's Mound and far to the top you can see the Papelotte-Frichermont area.

Continuing clockwise you can see to the left the place of the Grand Batterie and the area of D'Erlon's attack. 


Now a little more to the center you have the area of most of the French cavalry charges made in the afternoon.

The area was also used by Foy and Bachelu divisions that ended drained to Hougoumont, fooled by Wellington's breakwaters defensive system. 

And the Hougoumont area close to the woods you can see at the center. 

Continuing clockwise you have to your back the allied places were the infantry squares were placed to resist the French cavalry charges. 

Now to Plancenoit and its iconic Saint-Cathérine's church that changed sides between French and Prussians several times.

And here I am safely in front of the walls...

...and preaching from the inside. 

The walls offered great protection for muskets and the whole area became a killing ground on that 18th June 1815.

The church yard was and still is a cemitery. 

A tribute to the courage of the Jeune Garde.

This street was one of the axis of the arrival of the 4th Prussian army of Bülow von Dannewitz. 
Going back to the museum area you can see a beautiful diorama of Hougoumont in a scale about 1/40. 

The North gate,the only part of the building to be pierced by the French, but only for a short time.

The South gate and the aproaching area of a good part of Reille's men.

And an also beautiful painting of Napoleon. 

In the Cyclorama you have an outstanding 360 degree painting of the French cavalry charge recently restored. 

With the light already fading I came to Hougoumont. 

The south gate. A place were so many died that is still strange to have your feet in such place knowing that, according to witnesses,  the ground was not passable without tripping in a dead body. 

The also famous North gate, pierced by Sous-Lieutenant Legros and his group of 30 men.

 What remains of the woods to the South that covered  from Napoleon's  eyes  the walled Chateau D'Hougoumont, allied to some really bad French  maps of the area. Originally they were 30 meters chestnut trees that gave the impression of an easily passable obstacle.

Next: the Army Museum of Bruxels.


Rapid Fire! 20mm, 8th Army additions

A few more bits and pieces for the British in the desert. 

Everything is old plastic kits with a more recent Armorfast Sherman. 

The Airfix 5,5 inch gun with towing Matador vehicle. The 5,5 inch received some new parts in Greenstuff as well as the Matador saw its canvas cover taken out and replaced by Evergreen rod. 

The figures are Chinese copies of british desert infantry with a lot of cutting and glueing. 

The OP group is Valiant. 

Esci 25 pdr battery with Matchbox Daimler. 

Matchbox Monty's caravan with a soft plastic officer giving harsh advice to an hard plastic Monty of the same brand. I think he will regret it...

Straight-out-of-the box Monty's caravan. 

An Esci Matilda and an Armorfast Sherman III. The sherman was heavily transformed and it comes from the M-4 Sherman of Armorfast. 

As I did with the cast hulls of PSC the bogies were transformed to look like the initial version, the mantlet had its 'ears' cut to look like the M-34 mantlet, the rear  had an extra piece of plate (plastic from Evergreen really) and many small bits were placed like an MG, bags, boxes, new transmission and antennae. 


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Rapid Fire! 20mm, Rommel's desert army additions

Latest models for Rommel's army: the second company of Marder I with the Russian 76,2 mm gun and two companies of Italian L33 tankettes. The Marders are PSC and are some very nice, robust and easy to build models. This company is on the way to the 21st PD while the other one already built (from Milicast ) is serving the 15th PD.

The S-Models L33 will try to do their best in the beginning of the war against Matildas, probably taking advantage of its small size to hide behind some rocks. 

When looking at these small vehicles one cannot cease to admire these courageous crews who equipped two thirds of the 1940 Italian tank units. 

The crew for three Marders in each PSC box numbers 30 (!) figures. Even so I decapitated some and glued DAK peaked caps as half of the seated figures carry the officers cap. 

I had only one true Italian tank figure left (the ESCI one from their M13/40 series). I placed it in one of the flamethrower tankettes and used different figures for the two other crew just adding some GreenStuff to the back of the helmets in order to reproduce the Darth Vader style headgear of the Italian tank crewmen. 

This one is the ESCI WWII French infantry officer. 

And this is the Airfix U.S. M3 halftrack driver. He was also given a right arm something quite handy if you are at war. 

The S-Models are a different concept than PSC, more detailed and less robust but also equally accurate. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Impetus Baroque, 20mm - Portuguese War of Restoration, 1640-1668. Part8 - Landsknechts under Spanish pay

At the beginning I wanted to paint three of these stands in a row. They would be more than enough for the German mercenaries fighting for the Spanish in the battle of Montes Claros, 1665 . 

The problem became all those different colours and  stripes that will leave you mad if you don't change the issue. And so I did. I finished my Hougoumont farm and started some new PSC tanks for the sake of mental stability. 

But for the moment here it is the first Landsknecht stand. The next ones will probably take a lot of time to show up according to this experience. 

The models are the nice Dark Dream Studio and the references used are the usual Osprey and a fantastic blog I found googling from a Saint called Stuart Mulligan,

The DDS figures are to be built. Exceptuating  the arquebusiers the pikemen come in 5 pieces and the patience exam starts here. But in the end the final result is quite pleasant. 

The İmperialist flag is one of the home made photocopies for the Mohacs campaign. 

The Doppelnsoldners were double pay crazy guys that would venture out of the formation cutting and slashing everything in their path with their big double hand swords.

This one doesn't want to see the end of the battle...

The flag bearer is the only conversion. His sword was taken out, hands were drilled and a pole from a plastic broom thread was placed instead, as usual with my figures. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Rapid Fire! French Cemitery, Omaha 1944 area

My French cemitery. Mainly card foam with a few plastic cake trees and a plastic Ho cart.

The gate is a nice photo etched piece of unknown origin. 

I'm ready for World War Z.

What is Brad Pitt doing with a XVII century flag on his back?