Sunday 24 March 2013

Mexican Federales

 I needed a break from WW2 British - just so boreing :rolleyes:

So I returned to my "fun" Mexican Revolution project with a few pieces I`ve been planning for quite a while.

Limber and French `75
This is total mock-up, the limber is by Combat Miniatures, the horses are a mix of plastic Italeri and Tumbling Dice ones, the crew are Combat Miniatures Japanese vehicle crew with Raventhorpe heads :lol: The gun is Raventhorpe, but seems very large next to every other `75 I own (so has been sitting in a drawer un-used until now).
Close up of the gun with its crew ready to fire, crew are Raventhorpe WW1 crew with various heads
Mounted Federale officer (Raventhorpe)
12 Federale infantry plus officer (Raventhorpe)
Generalissimo Pedro Ramirez Diaz in his new staff car (car is a modified di-cast toy from lledo, the Generalissmo is a Britannia German, the driver and mate are both Raventhorpe)

These have been lots of fun to build and paint :D

Tuesday 19 March 2013

SOTCW Journal #78 has arrived!

As you may know I`m the editor for the SOTCW (Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers) magazine - The Journal and have been doing so now since issue #52.
Well Journal issue #78 finally arrived on my doormat yesterday :lol:

In this issue you will find -
Drive on Smolensk (a mini-campaign for Spearhead)
Tunisia 1943 (coastal naval mini-campaign)
Falklands Refight - a scenario/AAR for Shipwreck rules
Drive on Madrid (Blitzkreig Commander in the SCW)
Stalingrad & Stalingrad Revisited (game reports from Gauntlet 2012)
The Drive North (part 2 of Chris Stoesen`s Peace in Galilee campaign)
The Landings at Saafi (Operation Torch scenario)
Italian East Africa
2 x Cold War scenarios
A skirmish in the Ardennes 1944
Great War orbats for Rapid Fire! rules
And a few other interesting bits too :D

Plus all the usual columns.

This issue also announces the Great SOTCW Giveaway! So if you haven`t re-subbed or just fancy a chance at loads of FREE stuff, get your memberships in ASAP. You can join/re-sub via Paypal on the website

I`d like to thank everyone who contributed to this issue.

Tuesday 12 March 2013


These will become part of my 7e Tirailleur Marocain

Pack mules with handlers Retrokit resin
French officer & mounted scout (officer from Friend or Foe, scout - Retrokit)
Retrokit Goumiers (inc sous-officer in calot sidecap)
Friend or Foe Goumier LMG teams
Friend or Foe Goumier command
The group together

The Retrokit figures are very basic (think 1970s Airfix quality), quite brittle and difficult to clean with little surface detail. Friend of Foe are just excellent, I deliberately chose poses without helmets armed with rifles (LMG teams aside). I modified some figures to suit what i wanted as I want them to be useful as Moroccan Tirailleur or Riffi or Goumier depending on what and when we`re playing.

I don`t really have the skills, patience or eyes to do Berber robes  ;)

Saturday 9 March 2013

Published again!

Issue #34 of Battlegames magazine dropped through my door this morning. This for those of you who don`t know will be the last issue before Battlegames folds into Miniature Wargames to become a new "shiny" publication under the editorship of Henry Hyde.

I always enjoy reading BG and so was delighted to get my copy, you can only imagine my joy to find that Henry had published a short article of mine in this issue too! The article - An Ever Evolving Army is about my attempts to build a flexible French force which can be used (with additions and substitutions) from 1900 - 1943. Henry included some photos of my collection within the article too. I`ve got to say i`m very chuffed today :-)

This is my 23rd article/scenario published in a glossy, plus two in a Spanish online magazine and my Riff War Guide, not bad for a boy who left school at 17 with only 2 "O" levels.......... 

Wednesday 6 March 2013

French 43rd Colonial Regiment, Tunisia 1942/43

Well bits of it anyway :-)

Blitz Miniatures mortar team here posed as a AT crew (I`m over stocked on 80mm mortars), the gun is Early War Miniatures SA37 47mm (nice model)
Several packs of Friend or Foe 1940s French infantry
A couple of staff officers
Rifle platoon inc VB launcher
I`ve painted them up in lighter colours than the traditional Metropolitan Infantry, the basic plan being they can be used in Morocco 1918-35 or as Vichy troops in Syria/Lebanon as well as Operation Torch and Tunisian Campaigns. 

Sunday 3 March 2013

Figures for Riffi warriors

John Preece asked me about suitable figures for Riffi.

Moroccans/Riffi in 20mm
The problem when I started was there are no figures for this period commercially available in 20mm so I have been forced to improvise. First things first the Riffi are Berbers, All the photos and illustrations I’ve seen show natives dressed in whitish Arabesque wrap around robes with baggy knee length trousers and either barefoot or with sandals. Over these were worn the traditional Moorish calf-length overcoat “Djellabah”, or Moorish cape “chilaba” a distinctive cape with a large pointed hood which would be traditional native colours of brown with white stripes. Headgear would if worn be the traditional turban or “Rexa”.

After much thought for the bulk of my riflemen, I settled on using SCW Regulares figures (from Bandera, Irregular and Barcino Miniatures) with Rexa (my rational being these figures actually represent Moroccans and would do). My thoughts were to paint each warrior with a pale sand coloured shirt; the baggy pantalones would be either pale sand or shades of brown. I decided that these men would be an elite drilled Harka so wear the official “green” Rexa (a badge of honour). These figures had a very military and ordered appearance with all their webbing and equipment, not quite what I was looking for, so I began to think “outside the box”!

My thought shifted to other wars where Moroccans have fought and settled on WW2 – the famed Goumiers of France! Now several manufacturers now produce Goumiers, but the best of these are – Friend or Foe Miniatures & Blitz Miniatures. Now I know these figures are kitted out for Italy with British Helmets, SMGs etc, but there are some gems among them for the more discerning wargamer. Friend or Foe have three different figures wearing Djellabah and Rexa carrying rifles (one with a wicked dagger as if advancing on a sentry), one of their mortar crew is also without helmet as is the guy with the pack mules. I painted the Djellabahs in various shades of brown (using an ink wash for the first time to bring out the detail); I picked out any under lying clothes in pale sand and again painted the Rexa in green. Blitz Miniatures are my favourite 20mm manufacturer at the moment and do some excellent figures; their Goumiers are some of their best. They have four variants armed with Mauser rifles, I was cheeky and asked Stuart Clarke of Blitz (Battlefield Miniatures) for 5 of each rather than having to buy multiple packs of
figures I didn’t want. He was generous enough to agree, which gave me twenty Mauser armed warriors, a little trimming to remove grenades or other WW2 items of kit, then a paint job as above, hey presto – Riffi warriors!
Support weapons, Now the Riffi army had access to modern weapons, either stolen from the Spanish or bought off gun-runners, I would need some of these too. These were acquired as follows:

1. Irregular Miniatures do a Regulares figure in Chilaba standing holding a Hotchkiss LMG resting on the
ground (not a great combat pose!).
2. A Bandera Regulares Standard Bearer was given a Lewis gun (off the old Matchbox LRDG kit) to carry
instead of his standard pole.
3. Another Bandera standard bearer (this time with a bomb replacing his pole) & an Irregular figure
manned a mortar.
4. Blitz Miniatures do an excellent Hotchkiss MMG team, the gunner wears a Rexa, a quick head-swop and
so did the number two!
5. a couple of Irregular Moroccan gunners and a couple of Hat British WW1 Horse Artillerymen, with added
Rexas modelled on with putty, manned a Bandera 65mm mountain gun.

So there’s my Berber army, thirty-three rifle armed warriors, two LMGs, one MMG, one mortar and one
mountain gun. Now this obviously isn’t enough for more than a small level action and I wanted more than
that, so I began to look at Abd el-Krim`s Arab allies.

I wasn’t planning to spend a fortune and luckily I had a few boxes of old Airfix Arabs knocking around (bought off Ebay as a job lot); these provided 24 running, kneeling firing, prone firing and crawling Bedouin. A box of Esci Muslim Warriors added 22 more rifle armed Afghans, Pathans, Indians, etc. The Airfix set also gave me some lowland Arab cavalry, nine of them, to which I added four Mahdists from Waterloo 1815 though I replaced their mules for horses. The Arab allies were not the best soldiers El-Krim had so they got less of the spoils of war but B&B Miniatures do an Arab irregular Vickers MMG team in their Allenby’s War range, I removed the Vickers and replaced it with a Bandera Hotchkiss to give the Arabs a support weapon.

Since I wrote this when my Riff War Guide was published by TooFatLardies I`ve discovered several new sourses and added more bits to my Riffi Army.

Tumbling Dice do a whole range of WW1 era figures among these they have Arab Revolt figures in Bedouin dress both foot and horsed/camel mounted.  
The wonderful David Reasoner through his Moonlite Modelwerks do 65mm mountain guns and Vicker-Maxim 2.95" guns (and French `75s too) crewed by various Airfix Arabs and converted WW1 gunners, these add considerable artillery to my force.
Early War Miniatures (orginally Tom`s Tins) produce a small 5 figure pack of French Spahis cavalry, these with head-swops using Raventhorpe turban heads give you four rifle armed and an LMG - simples :-)
EWM Spahis Rifleman with Raventhorpe head

More EWM Spahis (I removed the magazine off the FM24/29 to make it look like a 1922 model)

Friend or Foe Goumiers (just painted)

Blitz Goumiers

Saturday 2 March 2013

Comandant du Tabor de Goumier

Lovely figure from Friend or Foe Miniatures, I`ve tried to get the Djellabah stripes and kepi detail (blue for Affairs Indigenes)