Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Up and Onwards …. Pocket Armies.



As a follow-on from the recent ‘Everything has sold' post, this is just a quick snapshot of how the Pocket Armies have progressed in the January aftermath of the sell-off.

I knew that the clear-out would allow better focus on getting remaining main projects moving forwards, but I have been surprised at the degree of productivity that has followed with those other distractions gone. 

There is now a greater sense of purpose in getting things done, so I am hoping this will continue and make 2022 a good painting year. 

Having made January an ACW month, the following ACW and WWII! items rolled off the painting table. The shots are a bit over exposed by flash and the digital shows detail too sharply, but on the table they 'relax' to fit in quite well.

The ‘to paint’ box has had six ACW infantry regiments sitting in it since last summer, when I took advantage of being able to glue outdoors (I don’t get on too well with the toxic glues) to create some painting stock for over winter.



One Union regiment has just been painted and based, though a Confederate regiment should be sitting next to it. There was a problem with the white primer that I put over a black primer and colours did not readily cover it properly, so the Confederates have had to go around for a second ‘touch up’, delaying them by a few days.

They are on their painting sticks waiting for a wash and then will get some highlights and get based. This bit is slow because I give the wash a day to dry, then another day for highlights and a mat varnish, then another day for attaching to bases because I use the slow drying, but non-toxic ‘no more nails’ product (which works well on an MDF base because it is porous). Then there is another day needed for the acrylic modelling compound to dry that builds up the base and then another day for flocking and dressing the base. So although it feels like the unit is nearly there, it will be another 5 days or so before these can be fit for duty (I have a teaser scenario waiting in the wings, so these will be going straight into action).



The Union are flagged from the flag sheet that came with the Perry basic starter set (Battle in a Box ACW) and flocked to fit in with the regiments already produced. The units are formed from 3 x 50mm bases for a 150mm (6”) frontage. These two additions push the ACW pocket beyond the the Perry starter armies set to now having 5 infantry regiments per side.

The mounted cavalry units from the starter set have been painted for a while, but they have been less functional without having a dismounted version of each regiment and so each side has now been given six Perry metal dismounted figures.



These have been based in pairs on 50mm ‘pill’ bases and to show them taking up positions in advantageous terrain, their bases have been dressed up a little and more heavily flocked and tufted than the standard units. Being metal, these have three coats of varnish, a gloss followed by satin, followed by mat, all hand brushed. Once based, they get another very light mat sprayed varnish dusting to help ‘fix’ the flock.



This Union artillery unit in metal came into the collection, because at the time of the order, the shop had made a stock mistake and so couldn't supply me the napoleonic Austrian artillery piece that I bought with them online. I like the store, so to make life easier, I just took the ACW gun piece instead. This will allow the Union pocket army to now field two pairs of guns.



Guns are based on 50mm frontages and 70mm depth, with just three crew used, which is pretty much the smallest footprint that I can give the piece.

With five infantry regiments per side, there is now the prospect of creating two small brigades, so each side has had a metal mounted commander added, which will give each pocket army two brigade commanders.



Accepting that one can never have too much snake fencing, another four sections have been added, with these each being 8” in length and matching the previous batch enough that they don’t stick out.  



The balsa wood bases are just 1” wide to reduce footprint and so the fence does not ‘snake’ wildly. The fencing itself has been made from those heavy skewers that you can get for BBQ’s. The bars have been whittled away with a knife to give an impression of roughly hewn timber.

During the various prepping, priming and varnishing stages of the ACW figures, where there was some downtime while things dried / cured, some items have been done for the WWII project.



Firstly, three 1/72 StuG III’s from Plastic Soldier Company that were also glued up last summer. These have come up nicely, though perhaps suffer a bit from my mud on the tracks fetish! (they probably served at Anzio!) These are going to be real workhorses for the mid war project.

Airfix put out a number of resin building items a few years ago, which seem to be getting harder to get hold of now. This water fountain feature allows for an interesting piece without being too demanding of time or space. ‘Realistic Water’ from Woodland Scenics has been added to both the main part of the fountain and the elevated bowl. The item was mat varnished before the water effect was added.



These sort of things don’t seem to stay in production for very long. I have had my copy for at least a couple of years now and it is stamped ‘Hornby Hobbies Ltd 2013’, so eight years on, if you fancy one, it may be worth hunting one down now, before they disappear altogether.

Finally, something that I have wanted to put together for ages, a plastic engine shed kit (PM112 Single Road Engine Shed) from Knightwing International. It is a simple five piece kit, plus two doors, so is an easy build (well it should have been ….. but I originally put the doors on upside down and didn’t realise until putting in the final touches, so a damaging rescue was mounted, but all is well now, with the damage mostly hidden!)



There were two elements to this. The first is obviously just the build and then priming / painting it. The interior to the windows are raised slightly away from the frame, so I decided not to attempt glazing. Being plastic and being open at one end, the structure was strengthened internally with some small wooden blocks hot glued into corners and hot glue was added to various joints. The internals were sprayed with red oxide primer, because I don’t like it and am trying to get rid of it, while outside was spray primed grey to help with mortar joints for the brickwork.

The windows were done with Vallejo Ivory, just to avoid using a harsh white.



For stage two, this has to match my yet to be built HO/OO rail line, which will be laid on a balsa wood base, so the engine shed needed to be mounted on a board that was the same thickness as the track balsa base and a track needed to run out from the engine shed to the edge of the base, to marry up with any rail track used in a game.

The track was partly hot glued down and then some Woodland Scenics ballast dumped on it and then brushed off gently with a wide brush, so that the ballast just remained between the track sleepers. Using a pipette, a very watery mix of PVA was gently dropped onto the ballast, to set it in place. Once dry it got two more repeat coatings. 



As a final touch and to help with a backdrop, some walling (from Javis I think) was added, together with some ground texture, including cardboard flag stones, which the photographs don't pick up , I think the flash blew them out. From the ‘bits & bobs’ box, a stack of pipes and a section of iron girder completed the dressing.

There are some lovely pre-painted resin engine sheds available, but they come at a price and I have had this one in the ‘to do’ pile for three years or so and once painted up, it doesn’t look overly plastic.

Anyway, the point is, for me at least, this is a pretty impressive level of productivity for a single month, which feels like a vindication for the hard culling that the collection has recently suffered to help focus attention on what remains. If this momentum can be kept up, then the pocket armies should start to yield some interesting games soon.

Time now to switch back to building some Wars of the Roses units as an action is scheduled for Piggy Longton as Lord Darcy, attempts to eject the Yorkists from his estates and reclaim the family home! (A link to the AAR of the last battle as to how we got here, is listed below).

As an aside, I am being plagued by a particular spammer and despite using the spam filter and contacting Google, the problem persists almost daily and so I am considering moving to moderated replies, something I would rather avoid, so will try approaching Google again to see if they can make their spam filter more effectively protect blogs.

Resource Section.

Here is the account of the last ‘Piggy Longton’ action. The battle of Longton Fields 1471 LINK.

http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2022/01/the-battle-of-longton-fields-1471-piggy.html

My sister webspace COMMANDERS is being re-configured to showcase various figure and boardgame systems that I am enjoying and give a flavour of where current ongoing projects are up to. Link.


https://commanders.simdif.com

42 comments:

  1. Impressive, Norm! Your Great Clear-Out focused your attention in laser-like fashion. Very productive month for you and all of your works are superb. Your StuGs are sublime. Handpainted or airbrushed?

    One particular Spammer shows up regularly of late but it is relatively harmless and I can easily delete when it appears. I really hate going down the comment moderation path if can be avoided. Will be very interested in knowing if Google can isolate this repeat offender. Not sure why the SPAM filter cannot nab it.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan, the StuGs were base coated by airbrush and then the camo was hand brushed. I don't normally do a progress type post, but it feels very much a part B outcome from the part A (clearing out).

      Yes, I will resist the moderation route and in any case, I will still the spammer each day as his / post will crop up in my 'to clear' tray, so I may as well just cleanse it each morning when I wake and do a site visit - the spammer seems to post 4 - 5 hours before I wake.

      If the spam button worked properly it would simply stop repeat visits, whereas now, it is just a glorified delete button. I will report back if Google comment.

      Delete
  2. You really have been productive Norm and the figures, Stugs and terrain items are all superb! Great to see that you clear out has had such a positive effect.

    On the Spammer front, a good few years ago I went down the moderated route as I was getting so much Spam per post it was annoying. Since then barely anything.

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  3. Thanks Steve, there is a bit of a hobby feel good factor going on at the moment, so I may just be riding that wave!

    It does seem odd that in my case, I am only ever seeing the one Spam King / Queen, I would have thought if I were getting one, then there should be others .... what's up? don't they like this blog! :-)

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  4. Blimey you’ve been busy matey - and the quality of what you’re knocking out is still top notch too. Love all of it. On the spam front - you should have a crappy little blog like mine…no one bothers to spam it at all!

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    1. Hi JB, I am enjoying the creative side of the hobby at the moment. I should introduce to my spammer, I might get a ten quid gift card off them for introducing a friend!

      Delete
  5. Lots of nice things there, well done you!

    I have been trying something similar, but applying it to games rather than painting; I have consciously limited my choices from my collections and scenarios to reduce 'thinking time' and it has paid off in increased gaming focus this month.

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    1. Hi, yes, I have noticed your own game ‘productivity’ is up and no doubt helped along by keeping to the one rule system over several games.

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    2. Yes: I picked a couple of miniatures' rules, a couple of board games and one RPG to focus on and I have ended up playing a lot more.

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  6. Oh, many, many excellent painted model sir!
    Best

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  7. Thank you Michal, I appreciate your words as you are such a perfectionist with your brush.

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  8. Some fine and productive output there Norm. I get the spamming pray every morning too, in the past you could message Google from the blog with spam mers details, but they appear not to care anymore, perhaps it would be different if we paid for our blogs?

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    1. Thanks Phil, yes I think several problems stem from a ‘free’ internet.

      Delete
  9. Lots of nice stuff Norm, another ACW scenario sound fun. I need to get them back on the table soon……possibly this weekend ?

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  10. Thanks Matt, always good to see your Blue & Grey.

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  11. Norm those Stugs are lean and mean looking! Outstanding and the mud just makes them ooze authenticity! I cannot wait to see them in action. Same for the ACW guys, but I'm a real sucker for the Stug III :) well done on all fronts, sir!

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    1. Thanks Steve, the StuG is just so distinctive, I’m sure its in most peoples top 5. I quite like that even in the early part of growing the pocket armies, there are games that can be had with small numbers of units.

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  12. The ACW figure are looking splendid. Good to see your pocket armies developing.

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  13. Thank Peter, I have, what I hope is an interesting scenario, to get the ACW pocket armies to the table soon.

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  14. Great work on all fronts Norm, I particularly like the ACW troops, they are very nice indeed! I have had the odd spammer but I just delete them, only takes two seconds!

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    1. Thanks Keith, the ACW have been sitting there for a while, so it is really nice to be getting the paint onto them.

      As for spam, I’m inclined to agree, I service the blog at least once a day, so doing the clean-up can easily be part of routine, I just fine these people suck the colour out of the day!

      Delete
  15. My word Norm! At this rate you'll be organising another sale pretty soon! :)))
    Love that fountain btw.

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    1. I would also like to put in a generic question. Since yesterday I am unable to post blog comments from my ipad and iphone. This and the comment above I had to post on my laptop. Does anyone else have the same issue?

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    2. Thanks Mike, the resin fountain is very cleanly cast and takes paint well, it should make a nice centre piece for small towns or even a objective. As for selling, I was only saying yesterday how nice it is to have stepped off the merry-go-round of e-bay selling.

      Delete
    3. Mike, I am posting OK on an iPad, I know one of the regular bloggers was having similar problems a few weeks ago, but I can’t recall how that was resolved. The only thing that springs to mind in this instance is that Apple updated their iOs a few days ago to 15.3 (I think), so there may now be some performance difference between iOs and Blogger.

      Delete
    4. Mike, depending upon which browser you are using, find your 'cross-site tracking' toggle in Settings and turn it on if it is off. This has worked in the past for me. A 'feature' of blogger since it uses two domains.

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    5. Still no luck. I don't seem to have the toggle you're suggesting Jon. And yes Norm, I too suspect the culprit is IOS15.3 because the problem started as soon as I upgraded. I will try to google for a solution.

      Delete
    6. Mike, I the terminology may have changed since I last looked at this, but I think it is accessible via Settings / Privacy / Tracking (which is switched on or off).

      Delete
  16. I think I 'need' one of those fountains but they are scarce and expensive. Roughly how many inches across are they?

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  17. Hi Richard, underneath the base is a tad under 4”. I know at the time that I bought mine, there was easy access to their other stuff in the range and that too looks harder to get, which is a shame as the sculpts are good.

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  18. Splendid to see so many new figures for the one true period. The other stuffs not bad either.

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  19. Hi David, you will be pleased to know that the next post is just about ACW goodness :-)

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  20. Vindication!!
    I’m glad that the purge helped clear up space both physically and mentally and allowed a burst of productivity! Reap the rewards! Soon the pocket armies will require very large pockets.
    And shame on me! bc I’m skipping ACWuary. Just got other stuff on the plate. Your ACW troops are looking good though. Along with all that other stuff that aren’t as cool as ACW. 😀

    I never really understand what spammers are trying to do by placing comments on a blog. Does anyone really click on those links?

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  21. Hi Stew, the purge did indeed do all of that. Just doing some final touches to the Confederate infantry regiment today and tomorrow and then they can march onto the table and then to do the less cool stuff :-)

    As you will have noted, my spammer arrived just before your good self, he / she said they really liked this post :-)

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  22. Nice to see the clear out has produced positive results and that you’re moving forward on these projects. I had to go to moderated posts a similar spammer attacked me - they’d even gone through posts from years ago leaving comments! A real pain

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  23. Hi Graham, At the moment I seem motivated to be doing a bit every day, which is the sure way of moving forward at a decent pace ….. I hope that continues!

    I go to my dashboard at least once a day, so can weed out spam posts, but it is a shame that the anti-social aspect of spam is not given a higher priority by Google, so that automated systems do the job.

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  24. A very successful hobby offensive! It all looks great from here.

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  25. Thanks Ross, my men in grey, rather like your Regulars and National Guard are just getting their final touches and will then be marching to the front! :-)

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  26. Splendid progress! Lovely ACW stuff and the engine shed is great! I've got a regular spammer,I hear about it and delete it,seems alright, don't think I could face moderating comments!
    Best Iain

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  27. Thanks Iain, I am working on rail track this weekend. I have come to the same conclusion about moderation as I think it interrupts spontaneity and flow, it is probably easier to weed out one spam post than moderate a posts worth of comment.

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  28. HI Norm, I'm late here as usual but actually read the post a couple of days back and was most impressed by your progress. I really like those Perry ACW's and your painting does them justice. I also very much like the StuG's (because they are my favourite tanks, well assault guns), great cammo scheme on those. The shed is another fine example of your modelling/basing skills and I'm looking forward to seeing the track. The hobby is clearly keeping you very busy :)

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  29. Thanks Lee, I have spent the weekend doing the rail track that will mate with the shed and it is going surprisingly well. A signal box is getting based and the train wagons are getting various cargo added

    ACW should be hitting the game table next ….. a reward for all that painting :-)

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