Tuesday 31 March 2015

Breaking The Mould .

Thought I'd give you a glimpse of my home casting set up . Nothing fancy , a Calor Gas twin ringed camping stove - which as my wife points out ominously "if we go camping again - that's going to take some cleaning up !". I did try an electric portable hob but it didn't seem to have the heat to melt the casting metal .

I usually put the mould ready for casting in an old saucepan half full of sand - so that it captures any spillages - which when cool can be re-added to the melting pot . I find each mould has its own characteristics and some need more tapping as you pour in the metal to get it to circulate than others . Some are a joy to use with perfect castings most of the time and others have you pulling your hair out and using very bad language !.

To my right I have the assembly area were I prepare the moulds and remove the finished castings - yes tidiness is not one of my strong points !. The talcum powder is for the moulds to help in getting the castings free , the boxes of various shapes and sizes hold my moulds .

With the Nürnberger Meisterzinn metal moulds I try to angle them to one side as they usually have several vent holes and this should help to expel the air as you pour the metal in .

And when it works you get this : ) !

And when it doesn't - you get this : ( ! . The German moulds are definitely harder to use, after successfully casting four figures one after the other yesterday - today I struggled to get two figures cast before retiring into the house for tea and a cake . The Goddess of Home -Casting is very capricious !

Monday 30 March 2015

Blessed by the Goddess of Home-Casting.

Been busy casting again and the Goddess of Home-casting once again smiled on me . ( seeing I'm using a camping gas cooking stove to heat the metal - this could come under the auspices of Vesta ? the Roman Goddess of the Hearth ) 

I even managed to cast from the German Nürnberger Meisterzinn moulds I've had for quite awhile and been singularly unsuccessful in using .I read somewhere that it helps to warm the moulds first to get the metal to circulate around the metal moulds and it seemed to work !. The metal mould give a crisper casting and can be used more often , the Prince August ones need to cool between castings . The finish products - needing quite a bit of cleaning up .

On the Left the Prince August figures, on the Right the new Nürnberger Meisterzinn Infantryman Storming (?)- a bit larger than the Prince August but I don't think it will be noticeable once in their own unit and on the table .Think they will have to be something Germanic .

I also cast up from the Civilian mould I have, which comes with alternative heads and accessories to produce this 18th Century Lady and Gentleman . Having got all these cast it's time to undercoat them and start painting .

Wednesday 25 March 2015

'So As A Fool Returneth To His Folly'

The large amount of casting metal I have at the moment ( care of 'B' ) has set me thinking of revamping my 54mm Toy Soldier collection . The above box bought cheaply at a car boot sale set me off on the 'home casting' hobby and I've got about 60 + figures cast up and painted .

The original concept was to play with them outside in the garden - as H.G. Wells did, but the combination of the British weather , a new dog and the fear that the neighbours would think me even weirder than they do at present - the project stalled .

I did try a couple of games indoors on my wargaming table but the lack of suitable scenery was a problem .

The figures themselves are I think some of the older Prince August multi part moulds which are the very devil to cast and fit together - needing large amounts of 'Green Stuff' and super glue to construct them .

Then there was the problem of an enemy . The moulds make up a British soldier with a selection of heads ( peaked cap , bearskin etc. ) , so what to do about an opponent for this vaguely Edwardian army ? . Luckily Irregular Miniatures came to the rescue , as they do various separate heads for their 54mm range of figures , so I purchased some heads with 'Picklehaubes' and started forming a German army .

There still remains the problem of suitable terrain , it occurred to me that seeing I was using 'Toy Soldier' type figures I should use stylised 'Toy Soldier' scenery - with a 'Toy Town' feel about it . So I've started making up some , now I hate making scenery ( only slightly worse than painting limbers and teams ) so this will be a testing time but I hope to be able to show some of the results soon .

Saturday 21 March 2015

Garibaldi's Invasion Of Sicily - An Informal Campaign .

I've tried doing campaigns before and in my experience they trend to wither after a few moves as they become more complected or the participants loose interest . The best idea I've decided was to have a series of linked games with the result of the first affecting the next one - side'A' and 'B' fight = 'B' wins - next game 'A' is then on the defencive etc etc. The first of these series of games has Garibaldi and 'The Thousand' having landed at the Sicilian port of Marsala , setting up some light defences and being attacked by a Neapolitan force determined to nip the invasion in the bud .

The Redshirts move off the beach to counter the approaching Neapolitan army.

Garibaldi has set up a small redoubt for his light artillery piece . the markers are the staff ratings of the various commanders .

The Neapolitan force moves onto the board headed by a Squadron of Mounted Chasseurs .

Hodge is not impressed ! - he can be very critical of my efforts at times.

The Horse Chasseurs charge rather impulsively down the road into the Guides - who being well supported drive them back .

The Guides have taken two casualty markers which they being a small unit leaves them shaken . Garibaldi has sent his Carabineers forward to the right of the church to harass the enemy column . 

Friar Pantaleo has roused the locals and brings them onto the table (this was done by a random dice throw and the point of entry was also determined randomly)

The Neapolitan advance has stalled due to confusion in the command system (the Neapolitan Generals were given low command rating to reflect their incompetence at this point in history).

The Neapolitan Line Infantry finally attack the Redshirts .

A prolonged melee takes part with the Neapolitans suffering heavily - the red markers are to record casualties - having suffered three the Neapolitan's have become shaken.

The Line regiment breaks and flees and the next one is thrown into confusion as the Redshirts manage to pour a flanking fire into it . In the background the Sicilian irregulars are kept at bay by the now deployed enemy artillery .

The end game - with two of their regiments fled and having inflicted only minor casualties on the enemy the Neapolitan C in C decides discretion is the better part of valour and retreats . A solid win to Garibaldi and his forces.

The outcome of this battle will now influence the next one as Garibaldi - now supported by the enthusiastic Sicilian peasantry moves inland towards the capital Palermo. Hodge's look says it all - a total scorn for the prowess of the Neapolitan military ! .

Friday 20 March 2015

The Solar Eclipse - Or Rather The Lack Of It !

Well that's as good as it got for the Solar Eclipse ! , got up early and took the dog for a walk to witness this splendid event ,only to be foiled by the Lake District weather .

Just to make things worse - my wife took this photo yesterday ( of Coniston Old Man ) at a similar time of day ! - sometimes nature mocks us ! .

Sunday 15 March 2015

Another Gift And The Fruits Thereof

They other night my wife and I came back home after visiting my sister and the phone rang - it was my wargaming colleague 'B' - "have you looked on your front step" he said ? ," I've left you a box of lead ". Evidently he had been having a 'de-clutter' of his wargaming stocks and had kindly given me all the unwanted scrap /sample figures he had acquired over the years . I'm sure we all have bits and pieces like that hidden somewhere . This however enabled me to start casting up figures for my next units.

I'd been wanting to cast up more cavalry for a while , the problem is they use a lot of  lead and are generally more difficult to cast with a higher miscast rate . I got this mould off EBay last year and have been wanting to try it out for a while , there was also the question of which nation and unit to depict ?.

I wanted the unit to bolster the Allied army which is made up of British and German States Regiments . After an extensive search I decided on the Brunswick Regiment of Carabiniers , which had formerly been Dragoons but were re designated to Carabiniers in 1759. The uniform coat was 'straw' in colour ( I Goggled this colour and it seems to vary in shade) , so I went (as I always do !) for the brightest - I'd rather they stood out and look pretty - than historical !. That's the first Squadron done and I'm half way through casting the second one - so 'B's old lead has been reborn ! . Please 'click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

I Win A Cup !.

I won a cup - well a mug actually - M S Foy of http://prometheusinaspic.blogspot.co.uk/ was offering them free on his blog to people that could come up with a good reason why they should have one . Having just broke the handle off my mug I said I should have one as a replacement - and my cheekiness got me one - which duly arrived this morning . On one side it has a picture of  Maximilien Sebastien Foy who was a French Napoleonic General .

and on the other a motto - 'Old Wargamers never die they merely reduce their Combat Effectiveness to zero'. Here we see the mug being used in combat - surrounded by gaming equipment and emergency rations . 

Thursday 5 March 2015

French Regiment - Bavaria De La Marche.

I have re-based the 40mm figures I bought off EBay to match my existing collection , touched up any missing paint and given them a coat of varnish .

They could do with a couple of drummers but I'm going to struggle to match the quality and style of the original .

Volker Scholz was kind enough to point out that they are from the French regiments La Marck and Royal Baviere. The uniform with the yellow distinctives is La Marck 1760-61, with the white ones Royal Baviere 1762/67. Because my SYW collection is at times verging on the 'Imaginations' I can combine them into one Battalion - 'Bavaria De La Marche '. These figures have enticed  me back into home casting and I have been rummaging around for old figures to melt down for casting.