Wednesday 31 August 2011

Back Home

We had a seemingly endless journey home yesterday but finally arrived late last night. I've now unpacked all the stuff I took to France to paint and have stashed it away for the immediate future so that I can get back to the AK47 army that's been waiting in the wings.

I'm hoping to have crack at some of the vehicles tomorrow, perhaps even finishing the tanks and the tows by the end of the day, given a favourable window of opportunity. This will invole a very quick three stage wetbrush followed by a splash of drybrushing and a few highlights. Very quick, very simple and very easy.


Monday 29 August 2011

Atlantic Wall à Doélan

One of the places that we always visit when staying at my in laws is the fishing port of Doélan, which is about fifteen minutes down the road. Until recently it was a very quiet and un-touristic place but, as it was chosen as the film location for the French version of Doc Martin (which I've never watched) a couple of years ago, it's now started to be a bit busier.

Anway, we went there today and I was able to have a second look at the bunker complex on the headland to the western of the harbour entrance. On the map there's a single bunker indicated but in actuality there are at least six that I located. A couple have been covered up and built into the coastal footpath whilst others have been filled in.

However, there is one exceptionallly well preserved Tobruk Stand on the headland itself that has been neatly camouflaged by the addition of a layer of stonework. It also has a dogleg access trench with a concrete pathway leading up to the rear door, where a sump is located to drain off surface water. The wooden doorframe is also very well preserved.

It's a great site and well worth a visit if only for the fantastic view.

The Battle of the Thirty

On the way back from the wedding in Avranches yesterday, I finally got to visit the moument to the Battle of the Thirty, half way between Ploermel and Josselin. I'd wanted to visit the memorial in the past but somehow never got round to it even though the extended family live ten minutes away.

It's quite an impressive site and there is a very good information panel to put it all in context. There's a roadside rest area right next to it so, if you're travelling that way on holiday it would be a good place for a picnic and a bit of 'inadvertant' wargame related sight seeing.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Le Petit Journal Supplement Illustre

Apologies for the dodgy French but here a a few equally dodgy photos of the front and back covers of Le Petit Journal. The lovely wife bought these for me today as a present, for which I am duly grateful. They didn't cost very much but it's the thought that counts.

I chose what I thought were the most evocative from an In the The Heart of Africa point of view, so I hope you like them. I've been given permission to have one or two framed for display at home (blimey!) so it's a bit of a result all round.

African River Gunboat

I've been inspired some of the pictures in Le Petit Journal to do some research into colonial river gunboats for my prospective Darkest Africa forces. I quite like the idea of a French naval landing party, complete with marines, sailors and tiralleurs Senegalese. As a result, I have compiled a few contemporary illustrations of the sort of gunboat I'd like to scratchbuild in 28mm, with a few concessions due to scale and gaming practicalities. 

Zut Alors!

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Best Laid Plans Go *&^% Up

Well, the holiday is almost over and we'll be back home after the weekend. I have a wedding to be dragged along to on Saturday so the weekend itself is a washout as far as painting is concerned. This means that my painting project for the summer holidays has (yet again) ended in abject failure.

I have been able to clean up, base and undercoat my gladiators and chinese bandits but haven't been able to even start painting them. It looks like they may end up back in the box of things to do. This is the second time I've tried to paint on holiday and it just doesn't seem to work out. I think I'll stick to the preparation side of things in the future.

I have, however, rejuvinated my interest in some old projects and am keen to crack on with the stuff I have left back on the workbench at home, especially the AK47 disctatorship army that is well advanced but needs to be pushed forward. The target for this is October half term, so the clock is already ticking.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Summer Sale

I'm thinking of shifting some of my dead end projects to clear some space for other things. As my erstwhile VBCW opponent has disposed of his 28mm Anglican League army, my BUF and Red Workers are at a bit of a loose end, so may end up on the market.

The BUF are complete but the Red Workers need a few finishing touches to be ready to use. I'll probably post them on TMP or LAF when I get myself organised but, if you're interested, drop me a line and I'll get in touch when I get back from France in a week or so.

Anyway, here's a few pictures to show you what's up for grabs:

That's unless I can summon up the energy to finish them off AND find a decent set of rules to use them with!

Atlantic Wall Construction Site

I took the family on a detour to the gravel extraction and concrete manufacturing site at Treguennec today. They were very impressed, as you might expect. I thought it was well worth it too.

It was a little worse for wear due to the extensive graffiti (some of which was quite good) and the slow process of degradation due to the elements.

However, it remains an impressive and rather poignant reminder of the effort that went into the construction of the Atlantic Wall, with particular reference to the thousands of enforced labourers who had to work to build the vast but futile project.

Monday 22 August 2011

Central Africa

I gave in to temptation and bought a copy of the new Chris Peer's book on Central Africa today, having found a seller on ebay who was charging two thirds of the asking price compared to Foundry. I'm planning to make my next 28mm project an army for In the Heart of Africa, once I get the gladiators wrapped up, so it seemed like legitimate expenditure (to me anyway).


Saturday 20 August 2011

Dusty Warriors

We did the annual visit to the extended family today and only got back an hour ago, so no painting today or tommorrow for that matter, as the in laws are coming to stay for the weekend.

Anyway, I finished reading The Gladiator yesterday and was underwhelmed. It was all a bit random and disorganised although I did find out a couple of useful details about the organisation of gladiatorial games.

To make up for lost time, I'm now reading Dusty Warriors by Richard Holmes. It's not a subject I'm especially interested in but it's about the only book by the author that I haven't read. I'm expecting it'll be well worth it.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Le Petit Journal

We went to the local brocante today, which is a cross between an antiques fair and a junk shop, just to have a look around at the various overpriced bits and bobs that they try to sell to the tourists. Most of the stuff is expensive junk but there are a few interesting things to see and the occasional bargain to pick up for a few euros.

I bought a couple of factory reject diecast 1.100 scale planes in their packaging but without any decals or markings apart from the basic camouflage. I now have (another) MiG 17 and a Gloster Meteor to add to the AK47 air support collection for 10 euros for the two, which is pretty good especially as they don't need to be repainted.

I also found a trunk full of illustrated newspapers dating from the 1890's and 1900's but was put off buying any by the 10 euro per copy price tag. They were all originals of Le Petit Journal which was published in Paris at the turn of the last century. They have large colour front and back pages illustrating contemporary events and incidents, including a lot of colonial campaigns by the French military in Africa and the Far East.

After a bit of googling I've found a site with colour scans of most of the issues from the 1890's to the 1920's:

If you are in any way interested in colonial wargaming, Victorian Science Fiction or late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century history they are a fantastic source of contemporary illusrations of all manner of interesting things. As an example of the sort of thing I mean, here are some illustrations from 1892 and 1893 issues at the time of the French campaign against Dahomey:

I immediately thought of In the Heart of Africa when I saw these pictures and, in particular, the excellent range of 28mm figures by Dixon Miniatures of which I have a small selection. There are some new French colonial figures in pith helmets from Artizan as well which could be used for campaigns in West Africa. I also reckon they'd be great for Aeronef or other VSF games.

I'll certainly be looking for more of these atmospheric images as I trawl through the various on line issues. As you can search my year and month, you can even narrow down your search to particular events of campaigns, such as the Fashoda Incident or the French invasion of Madagascar, so it's a great resource for colonial gaming and Beau Geste style derring do in particular.


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