Saturday 31 December 2011

Latest Additions: TG Cavalry

Just before Christmas I happily took receipt of an order I placed with Maison Militaire for five Thomas Gunn SS cavalry figures, having already bought one of the set of six at the Birmingham Toy Soldier Show back in October

In this the last of my LA posts for this year I have decided to include a little historical background on the unit that inspired the figures alongside a few images of the pieces themselves

The figures represent soldiers from the Waffen SS Division Florian Geyer and the complete set is made up of four troopers and two officers. The first picture shows the figure I bought at the BTSS in October


The 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer was a Waffen SS cavalry formation during World War II. It was formed in 1942 from a cadre of the SS Cavalry Brigade which was involved in anti partisan operations behind the front line and was responsible for the extermination of tens of thousands of civilians on the Eastern Front. About 40% of the division were Volksdeutsche from Siebenbürgen (Transylvania) and Banat (Serbia) 

One of the two officer figures depicted as part of the set

The Training and Replacement Battalion of the 8th SS Cavalry Division was involved in suppressing the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In March 1944, it was named after Florian Geyer (1490–1525), the Franconian nobleman who led the Black Company during the Peasants War, and was destroyed during the fighting in Budapest in early 1945

A regular trooper with an assault rifle slung over his back

He looks a little lop-sided if I'm honest, but with careful positioning in a diorama this drawback can be very easily remedied

Soon after its formation it was sent to fight in the Rzhev and Orel sectors in central Russia where it stayed until the spring of 1943. The division was then moved to the area around Bobruisk, on internal security and anti partisan duties until September 1943. In September the division was moved to the Southern front and took part in the German retreat to the Dnieper river

Another of the regular troopers. This chap needed a little 'touching up' and you can probably see where I needed to apply a little TLC. Sadly, I didn't have quite the right colour paint so a trip to the shops in the New Year is called for!

The business end of his weapon could do with a bit of attention too!

The division was then sent to Hungary in October 1943, where the Panzerjager and Sturmgeschütz Battalions were combined and the Reconnaissance Battalion became a Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion. Following this reorganization the division was posted to Croatia. In April 1944, they returned to Hungary and took part in the fighting in Transylvania after the Romanian front collapsed

The second of the two officer figures, complete with mp40 and new orders in hand

A little more corrective paintwork needed on this figure also, to hide the glue line around the equipment bag and to cover a few hairline cracks on the bottoms of the horse's legs

The division was trapped in Budapest with the IX SS Mountain Corps when the Russians surrounded the city in December 1944. The 8th SS Cavalry Division was then involved in the fierce fighting to hold the city and was often engaged in hand to hand combat and fighting house to house. The Division was destroyed in the fighting for Budapest


    •    SS-Brigadeführer Gustav Lombard, (March 1942 - April 1942)
    •    SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, (April 1942 - August 1942)
    •    SS-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Bittrich, (August 1942 - 15 February 1943)
    •    SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Freitag, (15 February 1943 - 20 April 1943)
    •    SS-Brigadeführer Gustav Lombard, (20 April 1943 - 14 May 1943)
    •    SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, (14 May 1943 - 13 September 1943)
    •    SS-Gruppenführer Bruno Streckenbach, (13 September 1943 - 22 October 1943)
    •    SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, (22 October 1943 - 1 January 1944)
    •    SS-Gruppenführer Bruno Streckenbach, (1 January 1944 - 14 April 1944)
    •    SS-Brigadeführer Gustav Lombard, (14 April 1944 - 1 July 1944)
    •    SS-Brigadeführer Joachim Rumohr, (1 July 1944 - 11 Feb 1945)

Divisional Crest

Straight out of the box, leaving aside the odd bit of touching up here and there, these figures are very pleasing, and certainly well worth the £55 per figure price tag. They're weighty pieces, adequately painted for the money and very well posed. My personal favourite is this one, showing one of the regular troopers reaching out to give his steed a well deserved pat of reassurance, or thanks, and demonstrating the important bond that exists between man and animal in such trying times

Happy New Year, happy hunting, and happy collecting! See you again in 2012!

Belated Felicitations


Please accept my sincere apologies for the late arrival of this post but, as is customary the world over at this time of year, I'd like to wish all of you a somewhat belated Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. May you get everything you wish for, and more

Happy collecting!

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Beau Geste Digest

Hi there, and welcome to the latest installment of the Beau Geste Digest, keeping you up to date with the new releases from the Argentinian gloss figure masters. This month sees the release of a series of Delhi Durbar figures sets to add to their already extensive coverage of this most regal of events

Hello again
The New Durbar Group is ready: Two Escort Groups and Musicians for the Travancore Elephant. It took long, but they are finally here. So lovely :)

325 - Escort Guards from Travancore, Group A, Delhi Durbar, 1903

326 - Escort Guards from Travancore, Group B, Delhi Durbar, 1903

325, 326 and 200 - Escort Guards A and B with the Travancore Elephant

The Elephant of Travancore was in the Main Procession during the Delhi Durbar from 1903. The Maharaja on his elephant and his escorts were second in the right hand column, beside the Kashmir elephant at its left

The Kingdom of Travancore was a former Hindu feudal kingdom (1729–1858) and Indian Princely State (1858–1947) with its capital at Padmanabhapuram or Trivandrum and it was ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. The Kingdom of Travancore comprised most of modern day southern Kerala, the Kanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of Tamil Nadu. The state's flag was red with a silver, dextrally-coiled, sacred conch shell (Turbinella pyrum). Travancore was known for its relatively high literacy rate and its progressive government

The reign of Sri Moolam Thirunal Sir Rama Varma 1885–1924 saw the establishment of many colleges and schools. When Jawaharlal Nehru visited the area in the 1920s, he remarked that the education 
was superior to British India. The medical system was reorganised and a Legislative Council, the first of its kind in an Indian state, was established in 1888. The principle of election was established and women too were allowed to vote

 Several other reforms were also brought in by Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma in the fields of education, medicine, law and order, and the civil service. Sanitary Departments were opened and female education progressed. Changes were brought in the management of prisons and the Public Works department was reorganised

327 - Music Courtship from Travancore, Delhi Durbar, 1903

Sets 327, 326, 325 and 200 together: the Travancore Group in all its glory!!

Happy Hunting!

Saturday 24 December 2011

Beau Geste Digest: WW1 Special

Hi there, and welcome to the second part of the Beau Geste WW1 review which takes the form of a brief timeline of some of the main events together with some pictures of some of the WW1 figures sets produced by the company

United States:  At the start of the war, President Woodrow Wilson declared a US policy of absolute neutrality, an official stance that would last until 1917 when Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare forced them to enter the war on 6 April 1917. German submarine activity seriously threatened America's commercial shipping
As things stand at the moment Beau Geste don't produce any sets representing the fighting forces of the US

Japan: Honouring a military agreement with Britain Japan declared war on Germany on 23 August 1914 and two days later Austria-Hungary responded by declaring war on Japan
As is the case with the American forces Japan is currently unrepresented by any Beau Geste sets still in production although you may be lucky enough to get your hands on a couple of retired sets if you try

Italy: Although allied to both Germany and Austria-Hungary, Italy was able to avoid entering the fray in 1914 by citing a clause in their treaties. Italy was committed to defend Germany and Austria-Hungary only in the event of a 'defensive' war; arguing that her allies actions were 'offensive' she declared instead a policy of neutrality. The following year, in May 1915, she finally joined the conflict by siding with the Triple Entente
Beau Geste currently produce a number of Italian sets including the following

A Brief Timeline of the War

Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife assassinated in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip (June 28). Austria declares war on Serbia (July 28). Germany declares war on Russia (Aug. 1), on France (Aug. 3), invades Belgium (Aug. 4). Britain declares war on Germany (Aug. 4). Germans defeat Russians in Battle of Tannenberg on Eastern Front (Aug.). First Battle of the Marne (Sept.). German advance stopped 25 miles from Paris. By end of the year, the war on the Western Front has turned to one of stalemate and attrition and is being fought from a massive network of trenches

Belgian infantry.....

.....and artillery

German infantry

    German submarine blockade of Great Britain begins (Feb.). Dardanelles Campaign—British land in Turkey (April), withdraw from Gallipoli (Dec.–Jan. 1916). Germans use gas at second Battle of Ypres (April–May). Lusitania sunk by German submarine—1,198 lost, including 128 Americans (May 7). On Eastern Front, German and Austrian “great offensive” conquers all of Poland and Lithuania; Russians lose 1 million men (by Sept. 6). “Great Fall Offensive” by Allies results in little change from 1914 (Sept.–Oct.). Britain and France declare war on Bulgaria (Oct. 14).

German naval troops

Turkish infantry

German infantry with gas masks

Russian infantry and cavalry

Bulgarian infantry
Battle of Verdun—Germans and French each lose about 350,000 men (Feb.). Extended submarine warfare begins (March). British-German sea battle at Jutland (May); British lose more ships, but German fleet never ventures out to sea again. On the Eastern Front, the Brusilov offensive demoralises Russians and costs them 1 million men (June–Sept.). Battle of the Somme—British lose over 400,000; French, 200,000; Germans, about 450,000; all with no major strategic results (July–Nov.). Romania declares war on Austria-Hungary (Aug. 27). Bucharest captured (Dec.).
French Zouave infantry

British infantry

Romanian infantry complete with sacred bull in tow!
    US declares war on Germany (April 6). Submarine warfare at peak (April). On the Italian Front, Battle of Caporetto—Italians retreat, losing 600,000 prisoners and deserters (Oct.–Dec.). On the Western Front, Battles of Arras, Champagne, Ypres (third battle), etc. First large British tank attack (Nov.). US declares war on Austria-Hungary (Dec. 7). Armistice between new Russian Bolshevik government and the Germans (Dec. 15). 

British infantry cheering and raising a smile on their way to do battle with the enemy. This set is based on a very well known photograph from the time
    Great offensive by the Germans (March–June). America's first important battle role at Chāteau-Thierry as they and the French stop the German advance (June). Second Battle of the Marne (July–Aug.)—start of Allied offensive at Amiens, St. Mihiel, etc. Battles of the Argonne and Ypres panic German leadership (Sept.–Oct.). British offensive in Palestine (Sept.). Germans ask for armistice (Oct. 4). British armistice with Turkey (Oct.). German Kaiser abdicates (Nov.). Hostilities cease on the Western Front (Nov. 11).
And so, that concludes Beau Geste's whistle stop tour through some of the main events of the war. Altogether, they are currently producing around 70 sets of WW1 figures and further details can be obtained from the company website or from Martin Ainscough. Happy hunting!

Sunday 18 December 2011

Latest Additions

Hi once again and welcome to another installment of my 'Latest Additions' posts. This time I'll be showcasing a series of WW2 figures from K+C together with a number of bases from JG Miniatures

I already have quite a few of John's ready made bases including ten of his 6" square tank track bases which I have spread across two shelves on the top of two adjacent cabinets. The tank tracks, five per shelf, are laid in the centre of the shelves and I wanted something to go on either side of them

Initially, I thought of buying more of his 6" square plain grass bases with a very nice hedge across one of the sides but decided against this option for two main reasons. Firstly, I would need twenty of them and at a little over £25 for two that would come to quite a sum and secondly, the resulting terrain, whilst attractive to look at, would be very inflexible

The 'hedgerow' base. Nice, but pricey and inflexible!

After a lengthy phone call or two to John, I finally decided on some custom made bases. I now have eight 15" x 6" bases built to the same depth as the tank tracks and covered in matching green flock and very good they look, too. Altogether they cost me around £55 including postage and packing and they are completely plain, allowing me to add whatever additional items I like. You can get some idea of the full effect in the two images below

The fact that these new bases are plain means I can be much more flexible with what I add to them. Walls, fences, gates, hedges, shrubbery, trees, grass clumps.....

Another recent purchase has come in the shape of ten Waffen SS figures from K+C, all retired last month in one fell swoop and all participating in the 'halted convoy' diorama pictured above. I bought them all in one go from Toy Soldiers Club in Canada and am delighted with them. Here they all are in glorious close up

An NCO makes observations amidst the ensuing disarray

Striding into view, an officer and additional trooper from the same series of figures, bought previously

Three groups of combatants returning fire in the general direction of the assault that recently crippled the lead Panther tank. I particularly like the NCO wielding the 'Boxcannon' M712

The back story to this diorama is that a German armoured column has been halted in its tracks by a combined air and ground attack. The lead Panther tank has been crippled and is unable to move whilst all around the stricken armour accompanying Panzergrenadiers are trying desperately to return fire, take cover, and patch up and evacuate fallen comrades. Very much a work in progress at the moment. I have a number of other figures planned for it and quite a lot of foliage and additional landscaping features

You may have noticed a lone TG cavalry soldier languishing towards the rear of the column. I'm fairly sure he won't figure in the final display but for the time being it's somewhere to put him. I'm expecting to take delivery of the remaining five later this week so keep in touch. See you soon