Dad’s Army – Part 1 (28mm Figures)

It must be getting on for more than a year now that I bought the complete set of Dad’s Army figures from Warlord Games.  The figures can be purchased indivdually or in to halves plus there is a bolt on.  In the complete set you get 18 figures, 8 representing the 8 main characters in military uniform, the same 8 characters in civilian attire and a bolt on comprising of the Vicker and the Verger, two lesser lights in the series.

I occurs to me at this point that overseas readers of this blog might not be familiar with Dad’s Army.  Without going into a lot of detail it was a light hearted TV series based around the trials and tribulations of a fictional home guard unit based in Warmington Upon Sea during WW2.  The TV series was extremely popular and is still repeated on TV to this day.  If you want to know more a quick Google search will tell you all you want to know and I am sure YouTube will have classic clips you can watch as well.

As it is now the summer in the UK, and as things currently stand we seem to be  having one this year, then I am up to my eyes with all manner of outside jobs and things to do which divert me from my hobby.  Fortunatley it is not too difficult to find the time to work on a few figures but anything bigger such as my Old West diorama has pretty much had to take a back seat for now.  I will return to the project when the weather changes, my holiday which is almost upon us is over and the jobs list has been greatly reduced.

So, with all that in mind I decided to dedicate myself to my Dad’s Army project.  I thought I would begin with the 8 main figures in military unform and so far have managed to get two of them done.

The keen eyed amongst you will notice the use of cotton reel bases once again.  Unfortunately I only have 16 to use so need to acquire two more before I can complete the entire set.  EBay is a possibility but so too is nicking some from She Who Must Be Obeyed’s sewing box!

Hopefully by the time I have got this little lot painted up I will be able to claim them either as neglected models or as a unit or something which will meet an Azazel monthly challenge.

First up we have Captain Mainwaring.  The Warlord Games flyer which came with the figures describes him thus –

“Captain Mainwaring is the prim and respectable local Bank Manager.  He is proud of his standing in the community, even if he is less keen for folks to know about his humble background.  His constant strutting and pomposity belies a leader whose loyalty to his men and country are equally boundless”.

Sorry for the rather dark photos.

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The second figure is Sergeant Wilson, described in the flyer as –

“Socially superior, public-school educated and urbane, Wilson is none the less a diffident character who finds himself working under Mr Mainwaring the bank manager by day, and serving as his platoon Sergeant as part of the Home Guard”.

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Hopefully by next week I will have a couple more done.

TIM

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Major John Howard – 28mm Stoessi’s Heroes

With no time to call my own this week the best I could manage was to finish this figure which had been sitting around half done for a good few weeks.

This is my fourth and final individual 28mm “Stoessi’s Heroes” figure for the Plymouth Model Club D-Day display.

According to “Stoessi’s” web site Major (Reginald) John Howard was a British Army officer who led a glider-borne assault on two bridges between Bénouville and Ranville in Normandy, as part of the D-Day landings during WW2. These bridges spanned the Caen Canal and the adjacent River Orne (about 500 yards to the east), and were vitally important to the success of the D-Day landings. Since the war the bridge over the canal has become known as “Pegasus Bridge”, as a tribute to the men who captured it, while the bridge over the River Orne later became known as Horsa Bridge after the Horsa gliders that had carried the troops to the bridges.

This figure represents a first for me in that it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted to paint a camouflage uniform.  Probably not the best person to say whether it looks authentic or not but from a personal perspective I’m happy with it as a first (and likely last) attempt.

Photos below.

TIM

PS: Not wishing to embarrass me (I’m happy to do it for myself!) John at Just Needs Varnish being the top bloke that he is very kindly emailed me to say Airbourne should read Airborne.  A case for less speed and more haste.  That said if I am being truely honest I would have most likely spelled it wrong even if I had taken my time!  Cheers John, I owe you one.

 

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Nancy Wake “White Mouse” – 28mm Stoessi’s Heroes

As I only returned to Blighty yesterday I’ve had no time to get any painting or modelling done.  Fortunately though I managed to finish this little number before I went away which left me with just enough time to write and schedule a quick post upon my return.

It is the third of four individual 28mm “Stoessi’s Heroes” figures for the Plymouth Model Club D-Day display.  I’m not sure if Nancy Wake  was in any way involved with D-Day but the French Resistance would have been and so I wanted to include a suitable figure.  I settled on this one because Nancy was quite a remarkable women and I felt she deserved a shout out in my blog!

According to “Stoessi’s” web site Nancy Wake was a hard-drinking, hard-fighting WWII special agent, saboteur, and Maquis commander who survived four days of Gestapo interrogation, saved over two hundred downed Allied pilots from falling into the clutches of the Nazis, blew up a couple German supply depots, had a bounty of five million Francs placed on her head, and then killed an SS soldier with her bare hands.

She was the Allies’ most decorated servicewoman of WWII, and the Gestapo’s most-wanted person. They code-named her ‘The White Mouse’ because of her ability to elude capture.

Some lady!

Photos below.

TIM

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Generalmajor Heinz Harmel – 28mm Stoessi’s Heroes

Painting has been difficult this week but fortunately I had most of this little model done before my back problem struck.  A couple of other figures were also well on the way so I’m hoping to complete those too and then all being well I can pick up on the numerous things I had planned.

This figure is the second of four individual 28mm “Stoessi’s Heroes” figures for the Plymouth Model Club D-Day display.  I’m not sure if German Brigadeführer & Generalmajor Heinz Harmel was in any way involved with D-Day, I suspect he wasn’t, but I wanted to include a German figure for a bit of balance.  I settled on this one because I liked the pose and felt that as he was holding a pair of binoculars it kind of leant itself to looking out and assessing just what an earth was going on.

For the record, and according to “Stoessi’s” web site, Generalmajor Heinz Harmel was at the age of 37 the youngest man to ever become a Generalmajor and lead a Waffen SS-Division. Harmel was given command of the 10th SS-Panzardivision “Frundsberg”, where he was warmly accepted by the young men in the 10th SS as one of their own. He belonged to them since he had moved up through the ranks and understood therefore how to assess the concerns and needs of his men.

Harmel is remembered for his defensive action during the Battle of Arnheim which resulted in the failure of the British airborne assault as described in the book and movie “A Bridge Too Far”.

The keen eyed amoungst you might notice the cotton reel!

Photos below.

TIM

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Captain Colin Douglas Maud (RN) – 28mm Stoessi’s Heroes

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this year’s theme for the Plymouth Modelling Club Annual show in June is D-day.  This year will be the 75th anniversary of the Normandy beach landings, an event which turned the tide (forgive the unintentional pun) in favor of the allies and brought the second world war to conclusion in 1945.

My main contribution to the theme was my “Road to Carentan” diorama …

https://theimperfectmodeller.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/operation-overlord-a-28mm-ww2-diorama-part-6-the-completed-diorama/

… which I completed at the end of last year.  In addition though I also purchased a few other figures from “Stoessi’s Heroes” with the aim of making a few smaller contributions and this represents the first of four, always assuming I complete the other three!

This figure represents Captain Colin Douglas Maud, a Royal Navy officer who during the Second World War commanded the destroyers Somali and Icarus and acted as beach master of Juno beach at the D-day landings. He “possessed the outward appearance of a latter-day buccaneer and was endowed with exceptional boldness and tenacity to go with it”. His blackthorn stick and dog Winnie provided an image when portrayed by Kenneth More in the film The Longest Day. He was described as “one of the most popular officers in the British Navy”.

Some of you will also recall that in a recent Musings post I made mention to a purchase of old-fashioned wooden cotton reels.  Now I know the article blew some of you away while for others the subject was lost in translation.  Well, in the hope of providing some visual clarity I decided to set the figure on one of my spare “wooden cotton reel plinths” .

Photo’s below.

TIM

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Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 6 – The Completed Diorama)

The Road To Carentan – US 101st Airbourne (02:00 D-Day 6th June 1944)

The various bits I needed to finish don’t really require an explanation.  They were either paint jobs or basic ground work, nothing I haven’t covered before in the previous posts on this diorama.  With this in mind and before I share with you the photo’s I have taken I thought I ought to give you the background to the diorama to set the scene so to speak.

The original interest in doing this period piece was driven by the Plymouth Model Club, of which I am a member, and their 2019 show which will have a D-Day display.  I fancied a diorama with a couple of buildings and decided in the end to go with what you have seen unfold during the previous 5 posts.

The 101st Airborne parachuted into Normandy France in the very early hours of D-Day, the 6th June 1944.  Their mission was to secure the eastern half of a town called Carentan from German reinforcements.  Doubtless they had other objectives along the way.  I figured their journey would have taken them through outlying villages en-route and this is essentially what this diorama sets out to portray.

The way I see the diorama is this.  France, although occupied was running as business as usual.  Street lights might or might not have been on in the small hours of the morning but a business such as a Baker would quite possibly have been baking at that time.  Noise and explosions would get people to put their bedroom lights on and of course some destruction would be inevitable.

An accurate portrayal?  Probably not, it’s a representation and intended to be nothing more.

Various images appear below, with and without lights on.  I hope you like the end result.

I wan’t able to submit anything mechanical for the November challenge, to committed to this project.  However, the December challenge set by Azazel lends itself to this model so with Christmas coming up and various time constraints with it this will be my submission.

TIM

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Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 5 – Base & Figures)

Patchy progress this week due to being told domestic projects take president!

Hopefully next week will see me almost there and I would like to get the whole thing completed before Christmas if possible.  I’m anticipating (like all of us I’m sure) that Santa will be bringing me lots of goodies that I will want to get on with instead!

I mentioned in Part 4 that the positioning of the buildings would require more work than I had originally planned to do in respect of rear gardens.  I decided each of the three buildings would require as a minimum a patio and some grass so I laid down some Milliput and rolled it with one of my textured Greenstuff rollers.  My next task was to fix the building in place but before I could do that I needed to pre-drill the base with the holes for the street lighting which would be installed.

Both the two undamaged buildings have lights in them so holes were also made for those light wires too.  I checked to see that they were working OK and then fixed the buildings into place.  Work then began on the rear gardens.

A textured finish using ground up plaster board was used to cover all the ground work not covered by the Milliput patio area.  Once dried the patio and ground work was given its first coat of paint.  I figured the two buildings adjoining would need a dividing line so I went for a wire fence made using twisted 0.5mm wire and drilled match sticks.  To draw attention to the rear of the buildings I thought I would need a center piece, something tall and decided on the obvious, a tree.  A couple of walls were also needed to close the rear gardens off at the sides where applicable.  These were done using plaster board which I carved to provide a weathered effect.

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You may have also noticed in the pictures above that the chip board base has also been given an edged finish which I will stain in due course.

The next task was to lay down some static grass and to put the smaller branches on the tree using Sea Foam.  Once the glued Sea Foam had dried the tree was covered in a mix of general filler and water/PVA and allowed to dry.  It was then painted and the leaves applied in various colours using a strong hold hair spray.

I also added a small flower trough to the patio area.  In my bitz box I had some old Tamiya 1/32nd scale sand bags.  Painted and used upside down they worked just fine as a trough.

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Sea  Foam also works very well for making shrubs and climbing plants so I added a creeper to the outside wall of the Brasserie.

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Next up was adding the street lighting.  Each light was tested to check that it worked but the proper wiring would be done later.

Finding lights on Ebay was easy enough but getting the right height and style was a little more difficult.  Getting English Victorian street lamps wasn’t a problem but I wanted something which I felt had a little more of a French feel and in the end I managed to find the ones you see in the photo’s below.  I reckon they look OK but just need to keep my fingers crossed that they all work once wired up.  They came from China and only costs a couple of pounds so I’m not getting carried away with the quality of them but as long as they look the part.

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Next up was the fountain.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big fan of the finish you get with MDF even when painted, owes more to my ability to paint it as much as anything else but I didn’t have many options in this instance.  For colour I added some red plants to break up the dull ground work.

Something still didn’t quite look right and I figured it was that the fountain wasn’t working.  In an effort to improve things I used some wire and water effects to try to simulate the fountain in use.  I’m not entirely sure that it looks that great but it might look a bit better once its fully dried and highlighted.  We will have to wait and see but for now its what it is.

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The next job was to start adding the debris from the damaged building.  Now before I assembled the original building I made an outline of the damaged sections so I could get a feel for how much actual debris there would be.  It didn’t need to be precise but I didn’t want to go completely overboard either.  The debris needed to be added a reasonable amount at a time and allowed to dry.

It isn’t clear from the photo’s I’ve taken but some of the debris had wall paper added to it to match that inside the building to help keep the thing looking reasonably authentic.  Wood was also needed in the debris and of course a fare few roof tile as well!

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During the piece meal process I got a couple more figures painted although the photo’s below leave a lot to be desired.  In too much of a hurry to get this post out, sorry!

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Not entirely sure where I go from here, need to sit down and reflect fully on where I am.  Off the top of my head I need to complete the remaining couple of figures, wire up the lighting, finish off the rear gardens, get the figures in situ, stain the edge and take some decent photo’s if I can.  Doesn’t sound quite so bad now I come to think about it.  Never know I might even get it finished for next week!

TIM

Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 4 – Base & Figures)

With the three buildings almost complete it was time over the last week to start thinking and working on the base and to begin painting some of the figures.  To be honest it made a welcome change.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed the buildings but it was nice to focus on something else for a while.

Let’s start with the base as there is a lot more to comment on.

Originally my plan was to have the three buildings positioned in a straight line, face on and square to the base.  However, when I positioned them and considered the figures it looked shit.  I then considered putting a road between the buildings whereby two were positioned either to the right or the left with one on the other side.  Although it looked much better it still just didn’t look right.  I then remembered one the of the rules of photography, the rule of thirds.  By splitting the buildings, two one side and one on the other, and placing them at right angles it was possible to position the buildings closer to the sweet spots.  You may not agree when looking at the images below but to my mind this looked much better and thus I made the decision to go with it.  The downside was that there was now much more space behind each building which meant I would have to make back gardens for all three buildings as well.

Another decision I made was to go with the two undamaged buildings on the left with the damaged building on the right.  Why?  You may well ask!

Now I’m no WW2 expert and don’t claim to be.  When completed this model is intended to be a representation and not an accurate depiction of a true scene or event so the way I see it is this.  France, despite being occupied, was for all intent and purposes operating as “business as usual”.  Putting the French Resistance to one side, the shops were open and the people generally went about their business.  All hell of course broke lose when out of the blue the Allies invaded on the 6th June 1944.  My idea therefore was to show business as usual with the two intact buildings on the left and the beginning of the end with the ruined building on the right.  Does it work?  Well I guess that’s for you to decide.

The next step was to draw around the buildings and glue a border of coffee stirrers lightly to the base.  This was to serve two purposes.  Firstly, it provided a clearer boundary line when it came to laying down ground work as pencil or ink would most likely get covered up.  Secondly, when removed the buildings would sit nicely into the recess leaving less ground work to be touched up later.

I mentioned in previous posts that my aim was to include some lighting.  It remains to be seen if this is going to work out but one of the things I needed to overcome was where and how to house the battery and the on off switch.  If I simply stuck it under the base then the base would have to be raised.  Not a problem if it only needed to be raised slightly but but as this was not going to be the case I thought it would look ridiculous.  I therefore decided to drill a FGH (Fucking Great Hole!) through the base so the two parts could be hidden away.  I also needed to make sure that the hole was central so that the wires from two buildings and from street lights which I planned to install would all reach.  All I had to do now was decided how best to cover up the FGH which neatly sat in the middle of the bloody board!

Fortunately I had a eureka moment.  The angles of the buildings gave me the impression of walking through the gap between the buildings and into a village square.  This being the case a lot of village squares have at there center either a statue, a fountain or both.  Fortunately I was able to find a 28mm MDF fountain which I could use, the outline of which was added to the base before starting on the ground work.

For the ground work I decided to go with a cobbled pathway in front of the buildings and a light gravel finish to the center and around the fountain and that’s where I am to date with the the base.  In the photo’s below the buildings have just been placed in situ to provide a first glimpse of how the layout will look.  There is still along way to go!

Now to the figures.

Currently I plan to have eight figures, seven US 101st Airborne and one German.  So far I’ve made good progress on four of the US figures.  Not a great deal to say.  The figures are all ironically from a German site I discovered called “Stoessis Heroes” and are excellent castings in my opinion.  Painted using a combination of Vallejo acrylics and Winton and Newton oils.

Photo’s of base progress and figures below.  The pictures of the figures are poor as I had little time to mess about with the focus which seemed hell bent on placing the focal emphasis on the clamp!

TIM

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Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 3 – Building No: 3)

Finally managed to make enough progress to post an update!  OK so it’s not the most interesting one but it is as far as I’ve got for now.

If you have been following my progress you will be aware that this is the third building in my planned diorama.  If you haven’t the the title of this post is a bit of a give away too!  It’s also the last building as I’ve decided there will only be three.  As you can see from the images below this building represents a bakery.

The building itself differs in a few ways from the other two.  Firstly, being a shop it has a large front window which can easily been seen into.  Secondly, bakers are up very early so I figure if this diorama is to be set around the early hours of the morning then the lights would be on.  Thirdly, it has a balcony with french doors which means it may be possible to see inside.  With these three points in mind I felt I needed to do a proper interior in some places.

Externally and internally I set about doing things in same way that I built the first two buildings.  Chinchilla dust was used for the external render and a colour printer was used to produce floor and wall tile images which I literally cut and pasted to the MDF interior floor and walls.  The counter with bread loaves and rolls was a very basic scratch build from Milliput.  Far from perfect but hopefully sufficient given the final angle of view.

For consistency I once again went for individual roof tiles, about 1200 of them to be a little more precise!  An LED light was fixed into place to illuminate the shop.  It’s been tested and works and will hopefully continue to do so when the time comes to assemble the building on the base and configure the wiring!  These things are so delicate.

Most of the painting has been done but there are still a few things to be done before I can call it completed (weathering, chimney, balcony and external brick flooring judging from a quick glance).

The time has now arrived to start thinking about painting some figures and getting my head around the base.  The figures will hopefully be straight forward, there are eight in total if I decide to use them all.  The base on the other hand requires a lot of thought.  The positioning of the buildings will be key, there is a need to conceal wiring and I’m toying with the idea of a fountain and street lights.  Some walls will also need to be constructed and each of the three houses will need a back garden.  All in all a long way to go.  Still, everything in good time.

Various progress photo’s below beginning with the basic MDF shell tnrough to where the build is currently.

TIM

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Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 2 – Building No: 2)

Work on the second building for this diorama is almost complete.  Some additional weathering to be done along with some base work once the building is in situ but that’s for later.  Overall an easier build than Building No: 1 – See link to previous post below – which I pretty much anticipated.

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The theme going around in my head has the diorama set in the early hours of the morning which to my mind means a Brassiere would be closed.  This allowed me to put blinds at the windows making the place look shut up, so seeing inside wasn’t a significant issue.  However, I did decided to have one window which could be seen through as I’m now considering the idea of lighting.  We’ll see how that idea goes!

I wont describe the build process in great detail, mainly because it was done along the same lines as the previous post.  Instead I’ll simply highlight the bits which were different and show stage development photos of the build at the end.

A bed was made and wall paper added to the “room” that can be seen into just to be on the safe side.  Just how visible any of it will be if it is lit up remains to be seen.

The “Brassiere” lettering was outlined on the MDF but needed carefully painting.  It went well but was time consuming.

Azazel reminded me of a good tip for tiling the roof, specifically to do so using strips instead of individual tiles.  I had been made aware of this technique a while ago but had forgotten about it so I was grateful for the reminder.  However, having done the first build with individual tiles I decided to go the same way again, fearful that the outcome might look odd.  It probably wouldn’t have done but once again I chose not to leave things to chance.

Probably the stand out feature for me, and certainly the most problematic, was the addition of the “Dubonnet” wall advert.  Painted wall adverts are pretty common in France, well they were back in the 1940s,  so I was very keen to add a simple one.  I ruled out free hand without some guidelines because I didn’t feel confident of getting it right, so I thought I would trace the words on.  Unfortunately the textured finish using a sample I made simply didn’t want to know. The idea of making a stencil crossed my mind but when I looked at doing one it was evident straight away that this wouldn’t work either.  Far to intricate.  I was stumped.  I gave YouTube a go but my searches threw up nothing until by pure chance I discovered a craft tutorial.

In the tutorial the artist took a stone, covered it in PVA and then stuck a picture printed on ordinary paper to it face down.  It was then left to completely dry.  Once dried water was rubbed onto the back of the paper which removed the paper slowly and left the picture, albeit inverted, on the stone.  Presumably the PVA absorbed all the ink and retained a very, very thin layer of the existing paper.  Not a technique I had ever come across before.  Anyway, I thought I would give it a go.

The first thing I had to do was print the word.  I chose to go with “Dubonnet”, a drink which has been around since 1846 so would therefore have been relevant in the 1940s.  I typed it out in Word Art on the PC and played about with sizing.  I then flipped the wording so that it would read the correct way around when glued face down.  Applied the PVA to the chinchilla render and left it to dry.  The next day I rubbed water onto the paper and what you see is pretty much what I got.  A bit of weathering and a few minor touch ups and I ended up with something I was quite pleased with.  Doubtless someone will say “all you needed to do was …”.

So there you have it, an almost complete second building.  Work will now start on the third building and probably the last one for this diorama.  This build may prove to be the more time consuming as I think much more of the internal building will be visible but more on that in a future post.

Development pictures below.

TIM

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