SPECIAL THANKS. I would like to thank Paul Watson for his sponsorship of several lead figure collections on this blog. Having decided to clear his spare/surplus figures, he generously forwarded them on with no other requirement than they deserved to be restored. I would also like to mention George S. Mills, who kindly furnished a quantity of metal and plastic figures which allowed me to complete another five or six military units, serving in several collections.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022


Have just completed some additions to my 1930-45 Japanese army.

I had a number of Airfix figures with broken or badly moulded rifles. Decided to repair these with drilled lead additions, and see if they could form something interesting. Here they are representing a Japanese naval landing party. Milliput and a sharp knife did the work. Have taken a slight liberty by adding some special forces armbands.

Next up is a scratch-built 50mm TYPE 11 mortar with two converted crew.

I had a few charging figures and decided to raise an independent company with white fatigue/garrison uniforms.
Finally, some spares were brought together to furnish a supply horse, not quite a mule.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

NEW ADDITIONS (February 15)

Some time back I picked up this 1950s Lone Star Bren Gun Carrier in a job lot (£3.40?). The die-cast model had lost its three crew, much of its paintwork, and one pair of wheels was slipping. But its a nice model and it deserved some restoration.

Drilled out the rivets and secured the broken axil. Paint stripped the model. The original figures were described as 'modern British army'. They might represent WW2 Paras but could also pass as 1950s soldiers. but I wanted something that could operate with my Home Guard. Paul Watson kindly sent some of his own home-cast seated figures. By reducing the legs, then securing the feet again, these were easily converted into British Tommies that fitted the model.

Unfortunately, the drummer conversion, and spare heads, did not work out. Oh well, lose some. Found some better heads for the two seated figures.

Went to work on those old airforce castings recently sent by Paul. The first is a command base for WW1 RNAS and USAF pilots, with a mechanic. The second photo is some Britains Set 240 RAF pilots, I hope they look ok for the 1930s-40s.

At this point, would like to include some photos of re-enactors portraying the early years of the RAF,  kindly sent by George Mills, to help with my paintwork.

BELOW. George is second from the left..... Thanks George!

Some spare Airfix figures have furnished my Soviet Army, 1930-45, with a anti-tank rifle crew. The gun is a scratch-built item. Also included are a few lead extras just completed.

Some interesting artillery figures from Paul arrived with red uniforms. But I was keen to augment my Royal Artillery in blue. Here are the three figures repainted, working a garrison gun.

My Japanese Army 1930-45 have acquired a 14cm coastal gun. Its a combination of a spare artillery barrel, some curtain fittings, and a spray-canister lid.

Sometimes you see a flag or uniform and immediately want it represented in your collection, well here is something different, a horse. Perfect for this restored lead figure.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Ghibellines versus Guelphs (Medieval Wargame)

Its been some time since I've fielded my Medieval collection, and its the first time they have been used in a solo-game. To be honest, I quite prefer solo wargaming, no entertaining, the freedom to decide when to start, take a break, leave for another day, or conclude a game. It all works well with my primary concern: seeing my collection well used, and photographed. And with simple rules, its easier to prohibit gamesmanship disregarding historical conditions and methods. Both sides number approximately 140 figures, and their weaponry is also evenly matched. It was never planned that way, the collection just appeared, it was always the heraldry that caught my attention, the one exception being two opposing units of twelve mounted knights.

BACKGROUND For those unfamiliar with the conflict, Medieval Italy was a patchwork of small states. When a disagreement arose between the Papacy, and the Holy Roman (German) Emperor, the numerous governments declared their support for one or the other. For the record, neither was more inclined towards Italian independence, personal liberty, Christianity, or Italian nationalism. Both sides included warlords, aristocrats, clergy, communes, republics, money lenders, and mercenaries. The concept of nationality, as had already become evident in the British home nations, and later in France (with Joan d'Arc) existed only at a city level, if at all. And lets not forget, many of the city states had 'parties' or factions that would happily embrace the Pope or Emperor if they thought it would help them gain power! Concerning foreign participation, usually France backed the Pope, often using Swiss pikemen. While the Emperor used German mercenaries, later styled Landsknechts. The Spanish later sought control of the Two Sicilies, and were slightly Ghibelline. Strangely, both the English and Scots nations had sympathies with the Guelphs.

THE GAME Both sides advanced with resolution. Historically, they should have formed up into three 'battles' or divisions. But as the armies clashed while on the move, we can let this pass. On MOVE THREE many of the shooting formations deployed as skirmishers. On MOVE FOUR the shooting commenced, and the dice favoured the Pope, inflicting nine casualties for the loss of four.

MOVE FOUR, casualties due to bow and shot. 

MOVE FIVE, the heavy cavalry charged their opposite number. In the following melee the Ghibellines suffered two casualties to only one on the Guelphs. Shock, having lost the melee, they were obliged to test their morale (D1) and routed! This obliged morale checks on neighbouring units within eight inches, that were of equal or lower rating. Three more units broke and ran. The dismounted knights, of equal rating, held fast, with the Emperor in attendance.
In the centre, the Ghibelline pike block broke their counterparts on the Bridge, but the panic never spread to neighbouring units
On the far right, the Papal lighter horse took on and scattered their counterparts. Casualties so far were Ghibellines 25, with a further 36 routing. Guelph losses were only eight, mainly pikemen. For the record, I probably have slightly more sympathy for the Ghibellines (I like their heraldry), but the dice determined the outcome, let no one claim I cheat on the dice!
On MOVE SIX I really had lost all confidence that the Ghibellines could recover their position. I had already decided it was correct for the Emperor to move at all speed to the centre, and try to depart with part of his army. However, the Guelph cavalry now charged the dismounted knights guarding the Emperor. (Under my medieval rules, units wishing to declare a charge must test their morale first, the Guelph knights scored an eight, and charged. The dismounted had to now test their resolve to stand, they scored a D1, and also routed, with the Emperor. In the following melee the Guelph cavalry slaughtered three more. Concerning the Ghibelline centre and right wing, while they still had a fair force, their shooters had been reduced to eight, while the Guelphs could still muster near thirty. This game was over! I did calculate the Emperor would have been able to vacate the table before death or capture.
This was a quick and fun game, I really was expecting a twelve-move bash!

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

More Figures for the Collection (FEB.8)

Another batch of figures recently completed, for quite a range of nationalities. First up are Royal Army Medical Corps c.1900, two stretcher parties to add to my Surgeon. Made a point of giving them crimson facings, rather than red.

Next. My Spanish army c.1900 has also gained a stretcher team, and a surgeon. Actually, these are conversions of my previous British team, but the arrival of better castings has allowed me to go to work on these. A second unit for the Spanish is just waiting for a suitable pack animal to complete. Two other sources show armbands.

Those metal 1/35 WW2 Germans that Paul Watson sent have helped once more to add interest to my collection. Went to work converting two figures into a Signal Corps detachment. The Cable Reel was a bit fiddly to make but worth the effort, a quantity of fuse wire was then rapped round.

Paul also sent three Royal Navy figures. These are heavy lead castings. To be honest, I did not see the rifle and bayonets lasting long, so decided to replace them with some of my own pewter rifles, drilled into their hands. These will last much longer!

Finally. An odd lead figure of a WW1 French soldier. It was in a bad way, with a broken rifle. More useful to me carrying a flag. And completed my eighteenth Home Guard figure, with one of my home-cast heads.

PS. Not many posts lately, due to house decorating!