Monday, March 20, 2017

International Brigade Maxim HMG and crew


Just getting this in before the end of the challenge to fulfill my requirements in the SCW side dual of a squad, command and support piece for a game of Bolt Action although it won't be enough to pass either Nick the current leader or Curt so my congratulations to the winner for a job well done!



 The machine gun was invented American-British inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1883 and was used by just about everybody and is still even in use by some nations to this day. This model is likely the PM  M1910 used by the Russians and given to the Republican forces if I had to guess. It fired a 7.62mm round at 600 rounds per minute and was mounted on a wheeled tripod with a gun shield.



Although one man could technically fire the weapon the gun was so bulky and heavy it required a crew from anywhere to 3 to 6 to help move, reload and cool the weapon to function properly.



The miniature is of course from Empress and once again sculpted by that very talented man Mr. Paul Hicks. The painting was largely done using Vallejo colors.


In case your curious I painted the underneath part of the prone figure. Why did I do something as silly as paint the bottom of the prone figure you may ask......because it was there and yes I'm that OC enough to do it.:-)

Thanks for viewing!
Miniature Company Empress

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Abraham Lincoln Brigade command SCW



Many Americans living in the west were not content to sit idle and watch events unfold in Spain and so elected to join in the fighting with most ending up in what's is now called the Abraham Lincoln brigade which supported the Republicans although some Americans also did join the Nationalists although these were fewer in number.The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was composed of battalions from the 17th and later the 58th Lincoln battalions which were largely made up of American volunteers who were part of the International brigades( Foreign fighters in Spain) fighting on behalf of the Spanish Republican Government vs the Rebel Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.




The battalion while commonly called the Lincoln Brigade was actually made up initially of  the Lincoln battalion which was later was joined by the George Washington Battalion, Canadian MacKenzie-Papineau Battalions, some Irish, Latins and eventually a small amount of Spanish. The Lincoln battalion was formed in January 1937 of highly motivated recruits which after less then two months training were thrown into action with a rifle and some bullets and then used primarily as assault troops. Obviously this lead to the battalion having very high casualty rates indeed losing some 22.5% of it's strength by the end of the war.



In 1937 the Lincoln Brigade participated in the battle of Jarama losing 2/3 of it's number including it's commander in several fruitless assaults. After a short reconstitution the battalion then moved on to the offensive at Brunete where it was joined by the Washington battalion securing the town of Villanueva de la Cañada after a hard fight before eventually  attacking "Mosquito Ridge," in series of grinding assaults that failed to remove the Nationalists. The casualties were so high including the loss of another commander that the result was the two battalions were joined together to form one unit. The brigade then saw action again in the Aragon offensive fighting well yet again. They were later joined by Macenzie-Papineau Battalions for the fighting at Fuentes de Ebro again receiving high casualties in leading the action at the front. After Fuentes de Ebro the exhausted brigade was finally given a rest. In December the brigade fought in the battles around Teruel  fighting both defensive and offensive engagements to dislodge the Nationalists before ending in a stalemate.



1938 could best be described as a disaster as the brigade was caught up in what became known as "The retreats" which was basically a series of delaying and holding actions as Nationalists forces cut the Republic in two. The brigade was dispersed and reformed repeatedly during the retreats losing it's two highest ranking officers before finally consolidating at the Ebro river. The brigade then participated in the Ebro offensive which eventually stalled out after the Nationalists regrouped halting the offensive in it's tracks. At this point the International brigades were withdrawn from the conflict by prime minister Negrin in the vain hope that Franco's Nationalists would do the same with his German and Italian troops which they of course did not as they had the advantage at this point.


The brigade included 3,015 volunteers over the course of the war made up mostly of Americans and included some Canadians and small amount of Latins and Irish. Because the Americans were an independent bunch that preferred to vote on things rather then dogmatically follow orders the Spanish government  decided to add Spanish troops and commissars to the brigade for communications, but more importantly to insure loyalty to the government on the governments terms. The brigade was mostly white, but did include some African Americans making them the first American integrated combat unit. They were also mostly communists/socialists and ardent anti-fascists, but did include some who joined just for adventure or to escape a bad life back home.



The figures are of course from the excellent Empress miniatures SCW line and are 28mm. The very nice flag is from Flags of War. I painted the figures using mostly Vallejo paints, but did include some Foundry paints. They are organized for Bolt Action with a Captain/Lt. and two guards and Standard bearer and his two guards, but they can also be used with Chain of Command as well.




I still have more SCW on my near to do list to try and keep competitive in the SCW side challenge with Curt, Nick and Phil plus I'm starting to get close to a battle worthy force which is always nice!:-) I have a some more Republicans in the pipeline, but will be tackling some Nationalists pretty soon as well.



This is my latest entry for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge Bonus theme round found here.

Thanks for viewing!
Miniature Company- Empress

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

North American Blockhouse


The scene above is of a supply train trundling past a blockhouse bringing much needed supplies to a nearby frontier settlement.
 Since I'm American I wanted to enter something into the "home" bonus round for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge here that gives an image of my home and thought a North American log style Blockhouse fits that bill rather nicely as it conjures up that colonial feel of the frontiers of North America.




A blockhouse is a small fort intended to protect against enemy that probably didn't have any serious siege equipment . If a blockhouse was upgraded to defeat siege equipment then it was more of a redoubt or fortress. Some were fitted with artillery, but all had some form loopholes or window ports to fire out of.
It could serve as a small fort, barracks, store house, place of refuge or a guard post on the frontier.



This particular blockhouse is a typical North American log cabin style constructed of logs and boarding supported by a stone block cut base with gravel coating and the door is of reinforced oak wood. The window ports a large enough for defenders to lean out if needed to both defend the base of blockhouse or pour water on it if attacked by fire.




The model itself is from Grand Manner terrain which I happen to huge fan of and is quite large model and is intended for 28mm. You can fit an artillery piece plus several figures in the model itself which is nice. It's a resin piece so some clean up is required, but wasn't too much. I painted the model in mostly craft paints with some Foundry colors for the moss and a bit of Vallejo on the gravel. I always used a healthy amount of Mig pigments to give some weathering effects.



Well it was a tough week as I'd been dealing with a nasty case of man flu, but I'm happy I crossed the finish line in time to get this in for the bonus round as it was a bit dicey. I'm still 100% over the flu but doing much better now thankfully.

Thanks for viewing!
Miniature Company- Grand Manner








Sunday, January 29, 2017

International Brigade Group 3



I've entered a SCW side duel in the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge here with Curt, Nick and Phil. I've been wrapped up doing the bonus theme rounds I've neglected this portion of the challenge and decided I'd better get on the ball and get some points up in the duel to let them know I'm still in it.



Why the Spanish Civil War? Well for me I just really enjoy the equipment and atmosphere of the period plus you really get a wide range of troops to choose from offering many exciting opportunities for the paintbrush not to mention gaming tables just have a certain flare that really draws me.


I find both sides fascinating and plan to collect each of the antagonists. The politics of the war I don't really care about all that much other then understanding why they fought, but the fact that it's a civil war does interest me if  that makes sense. I don't exactly know why, but if it's a civil war then I'm usually interested be it ACW, AWI, SCW,RCW etc.


Just a quick line on who the International brigade were. They were primarily communist paramilitaries that fought on the Republican side vs the Nationalists and came from countries outside Spain like France, Germany, Portugal, US, Great Britain, USSR and others. They were generally grouped by their nationalities with clever nicknames for their battalions, but they did included Spanish contingents within the brigades for communications with each other and the Spanish army. For the most part they fought very well with high morale, but suffered heavy causalities due to lack of training, poor equipment and often serving as shock troops or rear guards deployed in fighting delaying actions.

Example of an International brigade unit



These four figures will finish off my first squad that I started a long time ago. They consist of a Light Machine Gunner totting a DPM28(Degtijarev of Soviet make), his loader, Squad Leader(Sergeant), and a Dinamiteros. What the heck is a Dinamiteros? Well they were basically dynamite throwers who used a slingshot to throw tin encased dynamite at bunkers, dug outs, vehicles etc. who became so hated they were shot on the spot if recognized as one by the enemy.  Needless to say those of slight of heart need not apply!

Dinamiteros
The figures are superbly sculpted by Mr. Paul Hicks as one would expect, but do require a fine brush from some of the detail that rewards you in taking your time. The colors I used are mostly Vallejo and some Foundry. Painting the International Brigade is fun because you get to mix a lot of colors as they were rather irregular in appearance. They they often went into combat in their civvies or whatever uniform the supply clerk had available or they could scrounge up here and there.  However, this of course adds time to the painting and sometimes wastes paint due to not requiring all of mix for a particular color. I pretty much kept to the browns which is typical for the Republicans. Anyhow, I'm enjoyed painting these and look forward to doing more soon! As a side note really happy how my new camera is working out for the small unit shots, but still need to learn more for big shot game pictures.




Thanks for viewing!
Miniature Company- Empress Miniatures 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Aftermath in the East Woods


I've had an enduring passion for the American Civil War since a boy really and just about every Analogue Hobbies  challenge I try and include at least one ACW piece somewhere and while I was reading up on Antietam again the idea came to me for the "East" bonus theme round here.



Just to set the mood I thought I would include the soundtrack "Ashokan Farewell" in the youtube clip below assembled by Curt Franz made famous by Ken Burns monumental American Civil war series. Enjoy the photo's in the clip and listen to the song while you read the post if you wish. Personally I find the song just seeps into your bones and pulls you right into 1860's America.





Antietam or Sharpsburg as known by the confederates occurred on September 17, 1862 and was the bloodiest single day of combat in the American Civil War resulting in a staggering 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing. This was the South's first invasion of the North and resulted in the confederates achieving a remarkable tactical draw when one considers the enemy commander had your plans and had considerably superior numbers of 87,000 men to your 38,000! That said, it was a strategic victory for the union as the confederates were forced to withdraw the following morning having not the men or materials to press the invasion.


So how does the East Woods fit into all this some may ask? The East Woods is where the first infantry engagements took place during the battle starting with the evening exchanges between pickets prior to the battle and moving on into a full on infantry slugfest in the morning between parts of Hooker's Corps and Jackson's division. This went on for about 3 hours with each side changing control of the woods until reinforcements of the union 12th Corps finally pushed the confederates out, but at high loss of men including their commander Gen. Joseph K.F. Mansfield.


"The shells crashing through the trees and fluttering overhead as well as the musketry… all contributed to mark the time, and place, fixed in one's memory forever."
Diary of Sergeant Charles Broomhall, 124th Pennsylvania Infantry

Ambulance Corps.

Other then disease and direct combat soldiers often died simply by waiting for medical attention while wounded on the battlefield. Wagons were employed to gather the wounded to cut down on losses, but the problem was that often these early wagons had issues with corruption of the drivers who required payment to carry wounded, stole from their passengers and some were just flat out to lazy to gather the wounded. Also it didn't help that often the wagons were so lightly constructed that riding them was very uncomfortable due to damage to the roads from weather and shells not to mention some even turning over causing further harm to the wounded.


The situation dramatically improved with Dr. Jonathan Letterman's system which increased the weight of the wagon, number of horses and increased passenger load. Additions were given to the wagon like compartments to store medical supplies, stretchers, water, and removable benches and seats that adjusted with the number of passengers. Also units started to train ambulance crews and have routine inspections. Letterman's system became so effective that all wounded were gathered within 1 day at Antietam and inspired the formation of the ambulance corps after the battle. The confederates adopted a similar system, but was not as effective mainly due to shortages of men, supplies and wagons.
 

The uniforms of medical officer/surgeon was dark blue frock coat or whatever coat he liked with emerald green epaulettes with "MS" inserted, emerald green sash and an 1840's medical staff sword. His stewards(NCO's) usually wore frock coats with inverted half chevrons of emerald green with yellow edging and a red sash. Privates typically wore normal union infantry uniform with perhaps a green trim on the kepi if at all.


The model itself is from Perry miniatures and has been on my to do list for some time. A bit tricky to construct and clean, but works nicely in the end.


I painted the piece using mostly Foundry colors with some Vallejo and MIG pigments for the stones. I decided to have some fun with the horse and went for a "painted pattern Appaloosa". Appaloosa horses are something quite American so I included one to round out the piece.


Thought I would include an old fashioned looking sepia picture to further add to the atmosphere.While this piece can enhance the look of a game it can serve a purpose like an objective marker or represent the high casualty marker for Regimental Fire and Fury.


I do really enjoy painting battlefield extras and look forward to the chance to do some more.

Thanks for viewing!:-)
Miniature Company- Perry Miniatures





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