Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Collectors Showcase: New German Releases

Yummy, yummy, yummy. Having had a bit of a break from blogging, I feel refreshed and rearing to go and the release of figures like these from TCS makes me all the more eager to get going again

This company really has come on leaps and bounds in recent times and they are releasing some fabulous stuff. So far, I have only bought their vehicles because I think their foot figures look a little too different to blend in well alongside my K+C infantry. Such silliness stops right here, right now! There are figures in this recent batch of releases I simply must have!!

The first two of my 'must have' figures. I don't have any of their Berlin '38 figure sets at the moment but I reckon these two gents would look pretty cool standing at the steps of my Nuremberg podium! These will be selling in the UK for around £50 a pair

The rest of the Berlin '38 foot figures, none of which I'm particularly hankering after, but I have to say they look very smart and at around £25 a pop, very good value for money. On the subject of good VFM..... about these? Two more additions to my 'must have' list, I like these very much. K+C produce the MC combo, and the SS biker resting his foot on the floor, both now retired pieces, but here we have single MC riders in full flight! Does £70 each sound reasonable? Yes please! I can see them now, leading a small motorcade out through the gates of the barracks!

Still they come! Following hot on the heels of a very similar vehicle recently released by another well known manufacturer, is this little gem which comes complete with accessory pack, and a removable canopy and driver

The Raupenschlepper comes in a winterized version, too, as is customary with TCS, and will be retailing at around £120

You may have noticed the little gun being towed behind the Normandy version of the Raup. Needless to say, this isn't included in the price but comes as an additional set together with three crew figures, an ammo basket and some spent shell cases, all for around £125 in the UK. Gorgeous!

Normandy and winterised versions of the Pak 75 AT gun

Finally, here are a couple more £50 foot figure sets depicting some of those hard pressed Waffen SS panzer-grenadiers enjoying a moment or two of respite. I simply love the way these figures have been posed and sculpted

These are most definitely on my hit list. Woof, woof! Happy hunting!

King and Country Dispatches

What can I say, the demands of being back at work have meant that I've been persuaded to let one or two things slide, including the blog

K+C announced their latest batch of releases and retirements some time ago, just over a fortnight ago to be precise, so this is somewhat overdue. So overdue in fact that you've almost certainly seen it all already

Nevertheless, here we go again. Finally out and on the shelves so to speak, the Hawker Typhoon and accompanying ground crew, the AK commandeered Morris 15cwt truck, a handful of D-Day military police and general staff figures and the Luftwaffe conference set. Available later in the month, the Eisenhower staff car set and all the Berlin '38 figures featured in last month's post

Coming in October, 7 figures and an architectural feature heralding the arrival of a brand new series entitled 'Ancient Greece', 9 new figure and vehicle sets for their 'Back to Bastogne' series including a charming little vignette featuring a GI 'chef' knocking up a well deserved pot of stew, a second version of the Morris truck this time painted in a more traditional RAF livery,  a handful of reinforcements for the recent Gordon Highlanders range and a second bomb damaged building to go alongside the French cafe already released. Enough there to tickle most peoples' taste buds I shouldn't wonder!

Hoplite officer with sword

Hoplite advancing with spear at 45 degrees

Ancient Greek entranceway

The ubiquitous jeep, but probably one you've never seen before! Armour plate protects the front of the engine as well as three sides of the driver/ passenger area. A 30 cal. machine gun is mounted on a pole next to the driver.
 The vehicle has also been "snow" camouflaged with a rough coat of whitewash.
 Note the "snow chains" on the wheels... a nice little extra touch

Sitting by the cooker this GI prepares a hot meal for the rest of his platoon. He's taking no chances though... he still carries his MI over his shoulder. Is that because of the Germans... or is he worried his buddies won't like his cooking!!!

A great little vignette of a French Cuirassier capturing the Regimental Flag from a wounded officer, while a guardsman wheels around to attack the Cuirassier (or his horse)

This is the second release of the new Normandy Village buildings and, as you can see, this is taller than the SHOP HOUSE and has endured considerably more battle damage.
 These pieces are full of great detail and can be used in a variety of displays and settings for both First and Second World War figures and fighting vehicles

Finally, but by no means least for collectors like me who tend to prioritise these pieces, heading for the hills this month are the Eighth Army band, half a dozen Crusader figures, the Texan artillery set, a Napoleonic vignette and a couple of foot figures, the AK Panzer IV, a couple of ACW figure sets, as well as three HK sets, General Foch, and this little beauty, the motorcycle and side car combo from the Berlin '38 series

Three of these should be winging their way to me all the way from Canada within days of this being posted. Once here they will take pride of place at the forefront of my 'Nuremberg podium' shelf display!

That's about it, folks. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Latest Additions: Trees from JG!

I've been meaning to buy some scenic items from JG Miniatures for quite a long time now, and a few weeks ago, around about the beginning of August, I finally got hold of some trees courtesy of the good lady wife who agreed to buy then for me as a present for our 5th wedding anniversary. If you think that sounds like a strange present, there is a reason for it, other than the fact that I was desperate for some additional scenery for my dioramas, since the traditional material associated with 5th wedding anniversary gifts is, you guessed it, wood!

I've placed a small silver birch tree here to reflect the wood pictured in the scenic backdrop. I'm planning on putting a second one next to it

Here I've placed two trees, one a mountain ash and the other a bush oak, to mark the beginning of a small copse
Still lots to do before the Napoleonic diorama is complete. More trees to buy, some long grass and maybe some bracken to help blend everything together, and there are other dioramas, too, that I'm currently working on

John has been busy as well, designing more and more items to help us dress our toy soldier displays

A wood and earth defensive position for standing riflemen and artillery pieces

Universal telegraph poles for use on both rural and urban roads

A series of new pieces that together can be used to construct complex trench systems

I'll certainly be dipping in to my pockets for some of these for one or two street scenes I'm working on. Nice!
Happy hunting!

Beau Geste Digest

OK, time for some more news from Argentina. Thanks go to Martin Ainscough, BG's UK distributor, for the latest edition of his newsletter


New Delhi Durbar Sets from Gwalior

Dear Collector,

Well the wait is over, and the Gwalior Groups are ready!

These latest additions to the Delhi Durbar range consist of two Escorts & a Music Courtship group to accompany the exquisite Gwalior Elephant. The Gwalior State Elephant played a prominent role in the Grand Procession and was positioned on the left hand side of the parade when it formed up on the morning of 29th December 1902

Set number 317, Parasol and Emblem carriers, priced at £108

As can be seen from the above image of set No 317, these figures set new standards and will certainly enhance any Durbar collection in 54 mm scale. Sets 318 & 319, which feature the Escort Guards & the Music Courtship Groups, are equally impressive 

Set 318, the Escort guards

Set 319, the Music Courtship group
Like Set No 317 the Gwalior Escort Guards are priced at £108.00 plus the usual post and packing charges, while the Music Courtship set, being 10 figures in total, is slightly more expensive at £182.00. These three new sets continue Ana’s quest to reproduce the main procession from the Delhi Durbar in its entirety

As I hope you can see from the photos of the Gwalior Groups the bright and colourful uniforms of these figures add to the overall spectacle of the Durbar! Also for the very first time, and as an incentive to collectors, Beau Geste are offering a special promotion for the first 10 orders that they receive for all the Gwalior Groups (sets 317, 318 and 319). Two exclusive figures (pictured below) will be added to the order free of charge when the order is confirmed. I for one hope that this idea proves to be popular and that Beau Geste decide to do it again with forthcoming new releases!!

The bonus figures, free with the first 10 orders they receive for all three sets

The Parasol and Emblem carriers set displayed alongside the Gwalior elephant

 Happy hunting!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Airsoft Tour of Duty: Anarchy Under the Eagle!

It's September, and I'm back at work. Huzzah! So, back to the daily grind, the stress and everything else that goes to make up the life of a teacher. Not that I'm complaining. I'm not, 'honest guv', however, I've had very little time for blogging over the past few days, hence my failure to update the site

I'm starting the month with a review, of sorts, of the last WW2 airsoft game I attended. Rather than give you a blow by blow account of the game, Ive elected instead to reproduce my reaction to the game which I posted on the WW2 Airsoft forum shortly after the event, together with some visuals provided by myself and a number of other players

The game, called 'Anarchy Under the Eagle', was loosely based on the famous WW2 war film from the 1970s, 'Kelly's Heroes' and was played out at First and Only Airsoft's site over at Kinver, The Outpost, aka The Tunnels! Organised by a small collective of players, all regulars of CIA games and active participants on the WW2 Airsoft forum, known as Oddballs, it promised to be a memorable event

'Tiny', and The Tank.....

.....'Porta', his brother.....

.....and 'Oddball', the event organisers

This was my first 'full on' WW2 game for a loooooong time, and boy did it remind me just how much I love it, and should really get off my ares [spelling mistake, intentional!] and do more of it 

It was a hoot. Thanks Oddie, and Tiny and Porta [you completely mad son of a biatch] for organising the whole thing, coping with all the shit, thinking on your feet and making the day what it was. Thanks, too, to everyone who attended and provided so much entertainment 

It was good to say hi and speak to a few people I have only communicated with via this [WW2 Airsoft] forum lately, good as well to meet one or two folks I have never seen in the flesh before, like Oddball, and I finally got to meet and greet the famous Sherman tank. What a hoot that thing is and, as Chommers says, in the dark, and in the confines of the tunnels, it looked and sounded enormous. A bit like the 'fire breathing dragon' from Live and Let Die, or is it Dr. No?

OK, so it's not a real Sherman, but in the dark it doesn't half put the willies up you!
'Chommers', the 'driving force' behind the WW2 Airsoft forum
Like many others I thought the three sides played out very well, what with all the intrigue and double crosses going on. There was a bit of a lull in the morning, granted, but it was dealt with effectively and the riotous opening sequence with the Allies [Russinas and Americans] charging, suicidally, towards our defensive stronghold was a real blast. For the Germans, the end of the day was similarly exhilarating as we staunchly defended our scenario-winning stash of gold and fought off all attempts to raid our gold store

As we entered the site and approached our defensive barricade the Germans were greeted with this timely reminder of what would happen to anyone attempting to run away in neglect of their responsibilities to the Fatherland! This makeshift defensive structure was the one assaulted by the Allies in the opening sequence of the game

The site is awesome, and challenging, to play in in roughly equal measure. I've played there a few times now and I find it quite tiring on the old eyes trying your damnedest to peer through darkness and gloom, and I agree with Tosca that the amount of pyro let off didn't make life in that respect any easier. Felix [F+O site organiser] is also right, though. He did give us all fair warning about not getting carried away! Nothing like a well placed thermobaric for putting a spring in your step, though eh?


.....and Americans in the tunnels. In places, it's so dark in there you can't even see your hand in front of your face, let alone target the enemy. One of the reasons there was so many deaths due to friendly fire on the American side. True to form then, I guess!

Another reason for the quantity of deaths on the American side was the over enthusiasm of the gunner operating the fully functional 30 cal MG fixed to this very impressive looking jeep!
So many highlights, so little time.....the tank, the opening carpet of brown, the last ditch defense of the gold store, that ruddy Ruskie gun and the big ear-splitting bangs.....

'Porta', just about to let one off

In addition to the working AT gun, the Russians had this in tow!
.....Porta's crazy cossack-dancing commissar impersonation, Porta dying in a hail of 6mm plastic for the one hundredth time, dodging pyros lobbed with gusto by over zealous Yankees, riddling Snippy as he ran away from one of the two pyros I threw all day.....

'Snippy' before the game. Watching you run out of a pitch black tunnel opening in the hope of avoiding the grenade,  only to be greeted by the rattle from my PPSH, was a memorable moment. Soz, mate!
Roll on the next game. I'm certainly going to make more of an effort to turn up to a few more, and I will definitely come to the next one organised by Oddballs. Thanks for a great day, guys! 

Anyone who has ever played at The Outpost will know just how atmospheric it can be and for those of you who haven't, I strongly recommend you give it a go. Hopefully I've been able to convey some sense of just how good the game was but, in case mere words are not enough, here are a few more visuals to enjoy. I'm sure you'll agree that the overall standard of kit was extremely high, and a pleasure to behold!

A group of regulars from Fireball enjoying the WW2 experience

Never let it be said that Germans don't know the meaning of compassion!

'Yours truly' minus smock, helmet and PPSH!

Finally, but by no means least, I thought I'd make mention of the fact that the Germans won the game, just in case I hadn't already! Just in case you don't believe me, here's a picture to prove it!

A group of Germans posing with the winning stash of captured gold, oh and a dead Yankee, just for good measure!

See you on the skirmish field!