Saturday 5 December 2015

Trip to Wellington - Part 2

As promised, I've assembled more images of our family visit to the Great War Exhibition and Te Papa in Wellington. The Te Papa exhibition focuses on a number of over-sized models of individual New Zealanders who served at Gallipoli, as well as some dioramas and inter-active displays...truly fantastic! The Te Papa exhibition and the Great War Exhibition compliment each other and visitors should set aside a whole day if they want to take in both in one day.      
Lt. Herbert Westmacott of the Auckland Infantry Battalion who was wounded at Gallipoli on the day of the landing. This Weta Workshop model at Te Papa is so detailed you can even see the sweat on his face

Saturday 28 November 2015

Trip to Wellington - Part 1

Way back in September the family and I travelled to Wellington during the school holidays primarily to visit the Great War Exhibition and the Gallipoli display at Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum. For the past year and a half I had been doing some contract work for WingNut Films, some of which has been used on interpretation panels in the Gallipoli Room of the Great War Exhibition. Unfortunately, my father died suddenly a week after our return from holiday and I've only now got around to updating my blog. The 'Old Man' had been a great role model, not just to me, but to many others and this was reflected in the 450 people who attended his funeral and after-match function. I'll certainly miss his sound advice and support.    

Brian Stack (1942 -2015) - All Black test reserve 1966 - R.I.P.

The trip to Wellington was fantastic, with the highlight undoubtedly being the guided tour of the Great War Exhibition by the Executive Director and recently retired Chief of the NZ Defence Force, Lt-Gen. Rhys Jones, a fellow wargamer and genuine top bloke. We were privileged to get a personalised tour of the exhibition where Rhys gave us several hours of his time to explain the background to setting up the displays and the vision that Sir Peter Jackson and his associates had for this world-class museum. Most of the original items on display were from Peter's vast  personal collection and I think the nation is very fortunate in having someone like him with the passion for its military history and philanthropic outlook to create what hopefully will become a permanent national museum.    

The consummate tour guide -Rhys Jones and 'yours truly' in the Gallipoli Room

Many others have placed photographs of the Exhibition on their blogs since it opened back in April this year and I apologise for the repetition  in what I've included here, but the exhibition is truly amazing and can only get better with the opening of the 'Trench Experience' on Anzac Day 2016.  

Scaled replica of a German Howitzer

The most common display photographed at the Exhibition

One of Sir Peter Jackson's London buses

Replica uniforms of participating nations with weapons made by Weta Workshop

1914 German infantry uniform

Original WW1 headdress from Sir Peter's personal collection  

British trench scene 1914-1915

Large British field gun in action - the historic Dominion Building had to be altered to house this.

Helmets from Sir Peter's collection

Western Front  trench diorama

Model of the superior German trenches

British tank in action, enfilading a German trench 

German trench mortar crew being overrun

Superb detail provided by in the Weta Workshop displays

A genuine Lewis Gun from Sir Peter's collection

Master Stack examining the colourised contemporary images taken at Gallipoli and supplied by Weta Digital 

A British howitzer and Maxim machine gun display

An example of some of my work displayed in the Gallipoli room

I've got plenty more photos of the Chunuk Bair diorama and the Te Papa Gallipoli display that I'll include in Part 2. Anyone contemplating a holiday in New Zealand must include visiting Wellington to view the Great War Exhibition and Te Papa to gain a true understanding of the New Zealand experience in the First World War.

Until next time!

Saturday 12 September 2015

18th Century Supply Wagons

Quite a few years back I bought some Front Rank wagons to use with my 18th Century armies. At that time it was usual to hire civilian contractors to do the general cartage of supplies, meaning that I could use these wagons and drivers with any of my armies of that period. The years went by and I kept saying to myself that I must paint them up...and of course that never happened, until a few weeks back when I finally made an effort. They were quick and easy to paint, and a welcoming distraction from painting up battalions-size units. I've still got a couple more to do, but these first two models are a start.

     Until next time!

Saturday 29 August 2015

Galmoy's Horse - Jacobite cavalry in Ireland 1690

I finished painting this cavalry regiment about a month ago but only just got around to photographing it this week. It's the second unit I've completed for my army of James II in Ireland and I'm half way through a dismounted unit of dragoons. These figures are all Front Rank and I chose to paint up Galmoy's Horse first as I was inspired by the same unit in the Front Rank web site gallery. I also decided to depict the regiment with figures with swords and pistols to make the regiment look less regulated compared to armies of the 18th century. The flag is from Warfare Miniatures who provide a great selection of flags for regiments of both Williamite and Jacobite forces in Ireland and Scotland. These flags are much larger than the GMB flags that I traditionally use, but are of equal quality IMHO. The foliage was made by the most-talented Rodger Wood from our Southern Strategists group.        

I decided to paint the commander in the same coat colour as the rest of the regiment, although many officers of grey-coated regiments were recorded as wearing red coats with red cuffs.
Until next time!

Sunday 24 May 2015

Jacobite artillery of James II in Ireland

I really enjoyed painting up the 54 mm figures for the Chunuk Bair diorama now on display at the Great War Exhibition in Wellington. They were quick and easy to paint, especially when using washes to bring out the detail. However, I've returned to my own projects which now includes collecting a 28 mm Jacobite force  to defend King James II's interests in Ireland, 1689-1691. As a result of family history research I became interested in wargaming the period, but thought it might be a project I would tackle in years to come. Alas, Front Rank recently had a sale on their superb range of 17th Century figures that I couldn't ignore, and in a moment of weakness I splashed out, initially buying four infantry and two cavalry regiments, along with mounted commanders and two artillery pieces. Since then I've added another cavalry regiment, as well as mounted and dismounted dragoons. Fellow Southern Strategists, Dave and Geoff, have also purchased sizable forces, mainly to portray the forces of the usurper, William of Orange. Dave is pushing for our group to have these forces all painted up for a demo game at Conquest in Christchurch in October this year, but this might be a bit ambitious given that Geoff and I aren't the fastest of we'll see. These images are of  the completed artillery stands which are the first troops I painted up for the project. Two squadrons of the grey-coated Galmoy's Horse are currently under the brush.

Sunday 12 April 2015

My last Anzac figures

There is less than a week to go before the grand opening of the Great War Exhibition at the Dominion Museum in Wellington. Over the past two weeks a group of volunteer wargamers have been tirelessly working with Alan and Michael Perry, along with the staff from Weta Workshop, in piecing together a massive diorama of the battle for Chunuk Bair at Gallipoli in August 1915. Included in the diorama are some figures that I had the privilege of painting up for the project, although I doubt I will able to identify mine among the 5,000 other figures when I visit the exhibit. Check out the 'Mustering the Troops' blog for reports from Roly Hermans of the work done over the last two weeks.

Here are my last batch to be painted up. I love the pose of these Anzacs which I had to individually wrap in bubble-wrap to protect them in transit from Christchurch to Wellington.
Absolutely stunning sculpting by the Perrys and I'm keen to buy some of these figures if they are ever reproduced for public purchase.

I painted the brass hat badges and buttons on the webbing but I doubt anyone will see such detail when the figures are on display 

Fellow Southern Strategist, Dave Houston, was a bit behind in reaching his quota but managed to paint 35 figures in two days! A massive effort.


Sunday 29 March 2015

Second batch of Perry Gallipoli figures

Time is running out for me to paint my quota of 40 Perry figures for the new Great War exhibition in Wellington...but I'm determined to do it. With Easter taken up with family commitments out of town, this leaves me only a few nights over the next couple of weeks to paint up another 20. I've promised myself before that I would never again find myself painting figures into the wee hours of the morning but I can see I might have to break that promise...again. Never mind, there might be some good programmes on the History channel for me to watch when painting while the rest of the family are sleeping. Here's a couple of snaps of the latest figures completed which include Turkish casualties and New Zealand troops loading their rifles.


Saturday 14 March 2015

54 mm Gallipoli Figures by the Perrys

On 18 April this year a new Great War exhibition is being opened in Wellington, New Zealand. The exhibition will last for the duration of the Great War centenary celebrations and it is very likely to become a permanent museum. This is a joint project sponsored by the NZ government and Sir Peter Jackson, with displays being created by Weta Workshop. Included in one of these displays depicting action at Gallipoli will be 4,000 54mm Turkish and Anzac figures made by Perry Miniatures. New Zealand wargamers have been recruited to paint these figures and I consider myself privileged to one of them. There have been issues with the distribution which meant that some blokes initially only received a few figures to paint up. My first five figures included 3 Turks and 2 Kiwis, which I have finished and returned. I love the poses which I'm sure will give a realistic portrayal of the action. Painters were supplied with a standard colour chart to follow, but I'm dubious about the accuracy of the Anzac webbing colour...although this doesn't detract from final result.
For more info check out the 'Mustering the Troops' blog at:        

Saturday 7 March 2015

French Arquebusiers de Grassin

I finished this unit a month or so back and thought it about time I included them on the blog. I must admit that it was the exotic name of the regiment/ legion that first inspired me to include them in my French army. I was looking for a foot unit that I could use as light infantry/ skirmishers as well being able to form them to fight in linear formation. Although the Arquebusiers de Grassin was only in existence from 1744 until 1749, playing a crucial role in the battle of Fontenoy, I figure I can get away with using them in SYW battles. These Front Rank figures proved ideal for depicting the regiment wearing the stylish Merliton hat, even if the gold- coloured fler de lys badge is not historically correct.