Posts Tagged ‘diecast’

Thanet Thrasher

October 19, 2011

There’s no certainty as to whether this vehicle for VBCW is a monster truck too far or not, as us loyal bunch of VBCW gamers do seem to have a unique strange arms race of our very British own. It’s one of the Slug Industries “Fred” vehicles, with some tracks from Ramshackle Games, plus the front off a steam roller which was just too damned small for 28mm. It’s early days with this yet, and I’m not sure it’ll be completed in time for the Very British Big Demo Game at Legion at the end of the month. What do you think?

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Battle for the Thanet Way

March 10, 2011

Here’s a selection of photos from a game of VBCW a few weeks ago in which the BUF attempted to take the Thanet Way in their push eastwards only to be beaten back by a combination of various motley groups including local coppers, choirboys, Anglican League Regulars and Irregulars plus some Communists who no one was quite sure about to start with. It was a cracking game dispite some ghastly behaviour from the Fascists. Rather hoping we could make a regular campaign out of it, but only after schooling everyone in the finer points of playing like a gent.

Pulpit Fiction

February 24, 2011

I admit it’s not quite finished, but aside from about another 30 minutes of effort it’s as good as – plus I had the camera to hand so that’s enough for me to bother you with these massive photos of yet another Anglican League prototype; the Mobile Pulpit. Designed to bring salvation to the ignorant brutes of the BUF, and words of comfort to right minded and god fearing folk this vehicle is capable of evangelising at up to 34 miles per hour!

The basis for this conversion, hack, mod or whatever you choose to call it is a Lledo “Days Gone By” 1933 Austin Taxi off that Ebay for under a fiver. This was taken apart and painted, the only “mechanical” alterations being a little bit of corrugated iron on the radiator and the lower windscreen, plus some barbed wire wrapped around the bumpers. The pulpit was scratchbuilt from plasticard, glued into place. Jewellers silk was stained with ink and used for the rope, and stiffened with liquid superglue.

The figure atop is a double for the St Johns (Margate) Choir Master piece I already had, but wanted to be able to mount/dismount the chap. The idea is the choir of nine can fit in the back. The driver and navigator are both those marvelous Bolt Action/Warlord plastic WW2 Brits which are ripe for such conversion. I’m very happy with the driver, who took a fair while to complete and place, but not so with the navigator who doesn’t look quite right to me.

Expect to see this morale boosting vehicle on a table near me soon. Onward Christian Drivers!

Toys ‘R’ Them

January 26, 2011

All hail the mighty Hornby Hobbies or as they’re still known around here, that’s the Isle of Thanet, the ever wonderful Rovex. There was a time, called the seventies, when an enormous number of Thanetians used to work here and they used to finish early on a Friday afternoon and bring the traffic on the main road outside to a halt as they flocked to the many buses waiting for them and a few cars for the wealthier workers.

Sadly there’s no production on site any more, it’s all made in China now so the only workers on site are marketing, research and design, and the visitor centre. It’s the latter I dragged the boys to just after Christmas.

Sadly you don’t get to enter through the main hall, but rather celebrate solidarity with the ghosts of the workers of the past in wandering in through this side gate…

…and in through this humble door.

This is where you’ll be greeted by the friendly and welcoming staff, and given what they must have to put up with it’s close to a miracle they can still smile if you ask me.

Now the first part of your experience is the humble but perfectly formed shop, it carries all the brands now owned by Hornby, their trains, and the much adored ranges of Airfix, Corgi, Scalextric, Humbrol and the less well known Bassett Lowke range.

One corner of the shop, above, is for the reduced priced items and it’s hard not to find a suitable bargain here, and I know because I’ve tried.

The shops open for the same hours as the visitor centre, however there’s no fee to come and shop and if you’re after a specific item then it’s incredibly likely they’ve got it in stock.

You do have to pay for the visitor centre though (£4 for adults, £2 for OAPs or Sprogs) and to start with I wasn’t too sure about it because the entrance to, and the exit from, are within six foot of each over. To me this suggested a very short experience but happily I was wrong as there’s a lenghty maze beyond worthy of Theseus.

The mystical journey starts immediately by plunging you into a dim environ with brightly light display of youthful totems.

There’s a tiny cinema showing fascinating documentary shorts.

More items of desire display tauntingly out of reach.

A lovely racing circuit, typically bigger than anything you ever got to set up as a child. Now if like me you take children you may have to prepare them for the wait involved to get a go on this mainly because there’s likely to be a pair of adults old enough to be your parents on this for ages.

Then onto the railway layouts, again typically so much better than your personal juvenile actuality, like a gold standard for aspiration.

There’s some limited interaction with these, pressing the odd button here or there but mainly it’s all about going oooooh.

There’s also a fair amount of temptation, given how you can buy all these pieces in the shop and then go home and make these massive layouts.

Here’s one piece which really grabbed me by the wallet. It’s their Jubilee clock tower which to you very likely just looks like… well a clock tower, but around here it’s a very special local building.  And for under a tenner too… expect to see it on a VBCW table near me soon.

Amongst all this are the shrine like displays like this one featuring a mould for a model which will have you waffling away to your children about “technical processes”, “injection moulding” and “scale drawings” until they fall over with fascination.

Others are pure nostalgia, and will have you wondering aloud about what exactly might have happened to your diecast JPS special racing car.

Predictably some will have you considering thievery to release the jewels beyond… for me it was this lot 1:50th-ish traction engines which I’m after for VBCW and can’t be found for love but can be for lots of money.

Overall the visitor centre is a crackingly brill experience, and for specialist anoraks should provide at least a solid hour and a half to two hours of unbridled joy. The only thing which surprised me was just how many times James May, aka Johnny Come Lately, featured in displays although I can understand why as he must be a solid fave with the shareholders.

I’ve deliberately not shown everything in the centre in the hope that a few surprises might remain but I highly recommend it as a great place to visit for a bargain price. Full details are here.

Jihad Enough?

December 23, 2010

As the year draws to an end grown men and juveniles eagerly wait to see what, if any, lumps of  metal they might get as Christmas presents. Dining room tables have to be cleared and as a result the hobby slows down as gamers and collectors twiddle their thumbs looking back at the previous gaming year. At 6mil mansions the boy Slug and are have reached a couple of major stages of ongoing projects. This is the Jihadistan project where we’ve put the final touches to the fundamental forces, Terry Taliban, Harry Haji, Micky Mujahadeen etc.

First up is this wonderful captured BTR. It’s a bit more 80’s Afghanistan than the ultra-modern this project is all about, but it shall play it’s part. I can’t claim any credit for this is any way, it’s part of a purchase I made from Uncle Crouchie.

It’s a lovely piece and beautifully painted in a peacock pattern by the man himself.

The whole thing was based on a photo from the conflict and Uncle Crouchie has replicated it perfectly. Originally I couldn’t find a copy of the photo to show you the connection, so thanks to Lowtardog who shared it with me via LAF.

I’m thrilled with this and reckon it’s the best vehicle in my entire collection, but of course you can’t just have a stolen BTR.

Here’s my second Technical but lucky for us all the photos are better than they were when I finished the first one way back in September.

These feature several Stan Johansen miniatures, the driver and the gunner and loader. The latter pair which have been slightly modified so they don’t appear as the same figures on different models.  The sitting RPGer is by Empress.  The one thing I will avoid in future is keeping the windscreen. It’s a severe discomfort in the posterior which I could have well done without. Vehicles look fine without it.

The vehicle is a boot fair find, costing a whopping 25 pence, and is a pullback and go. There has been a temptation to do this, typically from the Slug, but I have a vision of the thing shooting across the table and smashing into the wall and showering to the floor as a few hundred pieces. So we still don’t know what it might look like.

This picture gives you an idea of the detail in the back, since taking it I’ve gone back and put spent .50 cal shells on the floor to the right of the gun in the space. It looks much better but I doubt I’ll take another photo of it, so you’ll either have to take my word for it or use your imagination.

Here’s the third and final Technical, again using an diecast toy which has to be taken apart to be worked and painted, as well as having a few pieces discarded. The driver and spotter are both Stan Johansen, the other two Empress.

This one is a mortar carrier, the mortar coming from a 1/76th spares box.

It’s worked well and taken a fair amount of detail without getting too crowded.

The driver piece is average, but the addition of an AK on the passenger seat and a book on the dashboard helps to lift it. It’s interesting to see how some pieces, when photographed and blown up larger than the reality look really rough, like the driver.

You need a few miniatures as well, and here’s the bulk of our hoarde. A mix of TAG, Empress and Johansen, totalling just over sixty pieces. About half of them painted by either me or the Slug, and the other half painted by Uncle Crouchie and bought from him. A most welcome boost to the forces.

Here’s a few more who didn’t make the first photo, combines they’ll be imposing daft religious laws on a table near me soon.

The only other thing I figured we needed where some civilians, these all being Johansen.

So that’s the Jihadist done and dusted, although there are some goats still in the pipeline, but aside from that there’s not another single figure to paint for this project unless I get some for Christmas.

A very British motor pool

November 19, 2010

What Ho dear readers! My Very British Civil War project is in danger of reaching fruition as the heady combination of great miniatures, cracking vehicles, and scenics all approach the state of being finished with the alluring promise of much gaming ahead. Above is the Margate Section (St. Johns) of the Anglican League. I do seem to be in an unhealthy minority when it comes to VBCW, primarily it seems to be mainly my Northern and Scots cousins playing this game, secondarily very few seem to have embraced the Anglican League – either preferring the satorial elegance of the BUF, the self-righteous joy of all things socialist, or the simple nimby stance of militias. I’m left consoling myself with the truism of how God does indeed move in mysterious ways, and rather handily he’s let these photos be some of the best of models I’ve ever taken. Above is a BEF Miniatures Char FCM 2C, named “Charlie”, two Bolt Action TKS light tanks with 20mm guns, named “The Twins”, plus a converted diecast which is nameless because it’s effectively a staff car and staff are well known for having no imagination at all.

It’s a pleasant but simple conversion, plate armour added to protect the radiator and engine, another piece to protect both driver and passenger, with a handy slit with a hinged cover for the driver, various goodies dotted around and the small detail of a machine gun to clear minor traffic obstructions, tastefully finished in a dark Anglican blue.

Here’s the BUF’s vehicles, a much flashier collection as the Devil does seem to own all the best cars. There’s a BEF Miniatures Vickers Light Tank, a Sloppy Jalopy Austin Type 3 armoured car, an Airfix Gloster Gladiator in 1/72 scale, the home-brewed Pig based on a converted diecast, a converted diecast Mercedes and a converted diecast Bentley. One thing I’ve noticed in my recent foray into 28mm is how a lot of folk struggle to find suitable aircraft in the near matching 1/48th scale, but how easily the eye accepts 1/72nd models as fitting which I believe the Gladdy does quite agreeable and for a better price.

The Bentley is a conversion by the boy Slug, and rather well done I think. The driver was originally the same figure as that in the Anglican League staff car but it’s had a head swop to keep him in line with our decision to have the majority of BUF figures wearing caps just like their uniformed ranks did, bar the ladies. It has a nifty flag on the rear, an HMG for the passenger and a fascist black finish.

The Regulars of the British forces have a very humble collection which reflects the interwar budget, based on the simplistic premise of “If there’s not going to be another war then we don’t need an army”. The plane I can’t place, but there’s another another BEF Miniatures Vickers Light Tank, a simple conversion of a diecast van, plus a plain diecast “Travelling Library”.

Of those it’s the Travelling Library which is the real joy, I’ve done nothing to it, but it’s got my county on the side of it – all my VBCW games will (in the manner of the idea) be played in Kent which makes it close to the divine. It’s a humble model, but could hold any number of secrets or not.

Time for the weapons of mass transportation, namely my first VBCW conversion the armoured tram, two buses in East Kent Road Car Company colours (including decals!), and a delightful French Renault bus by Solido. The latter is also superb for WW2 games of course.

Finally private and commercial vehicles, two different steam driven lorries, Jones the Butchers van, a petrolium tanker (essential if you’re running a tank), an Austin taxi, a Bentley (same model as used by Slug for the BUF conversion), an Evening News van and a Riley sports car.   All in all it’s taken me just shy of a year to collect this lot together and aside from feeling very lucky to afford such a complete collection I think I’ve managed to reflect the type of vehicles you might get around the late 30’s even though I’m still totally lacking in horse-powered transport. The majority have been either off that Ebay or from boot fairs or market stalls at very good prices, which has left me a decent budget for the more militaristic gaming pieces. It’s been great fun getting these together, but I’d still like to thank both The Gentleman’s Wargame Parlour and the Lead Adventures Forum for their inspiration, advice and general chuminess throughout this project. Rah! Rah! Them!

Raiders of the bargain bin.

August 1, 2009

DSCF1733Although a total fiction created as part of Spielberg’s 1981 “Raiders of the Lost Ark” this lovely little plane became a must-have when the boy Slug pointed it out to me in our local Tesco. It is a trifle large when you think of the scale of it in that great scene, but instead of being an advanced fighter consider it as an advanced bomber, and as such an excellent model for a Commando or SAS raid game.

Now I’ve only ever seen this on offer as a model once before, custom built to order and at quite a price. This one was a mere £2, so worth having a quick look down your local town aisle for either the godly 6mm or the heathen 10mm. Okay the expected swastika has been hygenically removed, but hey-ho I’ve some 1/285th decals which will fix this polite omission.

DSCF1734It comes supplied with a well cast but poorly painted plastic base. May have to do a little work to remove the logo, but it’s no great deal.

DSCF1735As if the Gods weren’t perfectly wonderful to me with this find as it stands the base fits onto one of my standard scenic bases like hand in glove. Hurrah!