Saturday, April 7, 2012

Garrisoning the Collina Della Formica

You probably thought this project was dead and buried.  Well, it's still alive.
A pair of Tiroler Kaiserjager manning a Schwarzlose MMG on an improvised AA mount, defending the Collina della Formica against prying Italian reconnaissance aircraft.  In a small room behind them, a telephonist reports on enemy activity. 
I've had a very long absence from this project.  For one thing I was heartily sick of things by the time I finished the fort- and cleaned up the mess I made (I had pretty much developed a nervous tik at the mere sight of foamboard).  

Shortly afterwards, our gaming group here in Tokyo found itself getting heavily into Napoleonics.  The Napoleonic period is one of my favourites; but is always a major commitment, taking up a lot of time and effort in painting and modelling.  On top of that I was working on my sizable Soviet 20mm collection as we were also playing lots of WW2 games as well, so what with one thing and another my WW1 project found itself put on the back-burner.

However, and much as I enjoy Napoleonics, sometimes I need a break from colour and fussy uniforms.  As it happened, the Guild wargaming forum was running one of its regular group-builds, with the theme being flak guns.  And among all the Rapier missiles, German Quad 20mm Flakvierling AA guns, and other powerful ground-to-air nastiness being offered, I realized that the only thing I really had to work on for the Flak group build there was this AAMG.   Still, it seemed a good opportunity to get my ass in gear and kick-start the project again.
Models are from Scarab Miniatures. At first I was put off by a definite "goblinesque" sculpting style and huge mitts, but as I was painting them I found they grew on me, and I am quite pleased with the way they turned out. Once I decided on the colour scheme, they painted up quite quickly. 
I decided that these would be reservists called to the colours, and that they would still be in their "pike grey" pre-war uniforms.  From what I've seen and read on the uniforms, Pike Grey is in fact a medium blue colour with a violet cast to the dye, but after faffing around with colour mixes which always turned out too purple-ish.   I decided a simple medium blue worked out the best. 

Here's a short video of a Schwarzlose machine gun in action.  It also provided a handy painting reference.

And here are some shots of the top of the fortification.  

Now I have started on the miniatures for the project, I'm hoping that I may get back to more steady progress on it.  Basically I see myself putting on a small skirmish game with about 20 or 24 figures a side at most, although I'm not sure whether the Mud and the Blood rules will be suitable for a game that small.  I'm yet quite a ways away from having to deal with that issue, though.

Edit: I've decided on what I will be working on over the next while.  A small section of Kaiserjagers- including an MG team and observation stand- along with two transport vehicles (old Matchbox Models of Yesteryears destined for modifying and repainting).  This will make for a nice little column on its way from someplace to somewhere.

Note the Austrian officer.  Freiherr Carolus Anselm Svetigar von Talus auf dem Skree, accompanied everywhere by his faithful hound, Radetsky

These will be done while I continue to work on my Napoleonics, so I expect they will be finished in batches of two or three at a time.    

The vehicles will take longer to work on, but I'm in no hurry on those as first I have to source suitable drivers from somewhere, and which will probably require quite a bit of converting first.