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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Unmatched: Houdini


We have him securely cuffed in the chest and he will never escape . . . BWAH HAH HAH!

This is the year of the big travel - which I didn't know when I put my hobby plans together! As a result of travelling I've been able to keep up with my watercolors with my travel kit but miniature painting is another story. In between trips, and also with traveling, I was looking for smaller and/or solo board games with miniatures. I discovered the game series Unmatched from Restoration Games.

"Nazi scum! No one can keep Harry Houdini imprisoned!"

Unmatched is a highly(!) asymmetrical miniature fighting game for two or four players. Each hero is represented by a unique deck designed to evoke their style and legend. Tactical movement and no-luck combat resolution create a unique play experience that rewards expertise, but just when you've mastered one set, new heroes arrive to provide all new match-ups. And then there is their Pulp set Tales to Amaze for solo and coorperative play that features . . . ahh, but that will be another future post.

The figures themselves are grey hard plastic that can be kept in their color marker stand or easily detached to provide a 25mm round base.

The best part - they are compatible with other 28mm figures. Above you can see the Houdini figure compared to "Sam" from Copplestone Castings. I've been impressed by detail and animation of the 8 figures I have acquired so far; I just wish I had noticed the mold lines on Houdini before I started painting. Oh well. With Houdini it appears he has been modeled with the famous "Daily Mirror" handcuffs which is a nice touch.

Every contemporary photograph I have found of Harry Houdini shows him in a dark suit; however, being the ultimate showman of his time, I decided to give him a bright green suit to really make him stand out. Plus I think it looks cool and is definitely a different color than any other Pulp era figure that I have done. Plus - it was my money!

I also decided when I painted Houdini that I wanted to give him a haggard and worn look on his face - reading about his escapes are incredible and he was clearly exhausted after many of them.

I'm not sure if the Great Escape Artist will join "The Search for Charlie" but he will be definitely be showing up in future games not to mention Unmatched.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Red Star Rising

Looks like Stalin has some reserves . . . 

Soviet Naval Infantry.

Soldiers of the Red Army.

Maxim Heavy machine guns.

Red Army Scouts.

T-34 obr 42 and T-34/85 main battle tanks.

KV-1 Heavy Tanks.

The famous pig sty Objective Maker or scatter terrain.

Soviet Command Post and/or objective depending on the rules used.

Casualty, morale and/or pin markers depending on the rules.

Dismounted tank crews.

Red Army light mortar platoon which is sometimes a proxy for heavy mortars.

SMG/Assault unit.


Friday, May 10, 2024

28mm British Airborne Squad from Artizan Design

I was a bit concerned at doing the Denison smocks in this scale but I must admit to myself (okay . . . I'm giving myself a pat on the back, they turned out pretty good!).  When I paint I have to remind myself that I am going for the look at gaming distance - not magnifying glass distance.  I might have to give Bolt Action or one of the other WW II skirmish scale games a try.

Monday, May 6, 2024

French Troupes coloniales


French Colonial Marines

The Armée coloniale should not be confused with the famous North African regiments of the French Army such as the Foreign Legion, the Bat' d'Af', Zouaves, Spahis, Algerian Tirailleurs (sharpshooters) and Goumiers, all of which were part of the Army of Africa. The North African units date from 1830 and were brought together as the XIX Army Corps in 1873, forming part of the French Metropolitan Army.

French Foreign Legion

Algerian Tirailleurs

The Troupes coloniales can be divided into:

1. French long service volunteers (or colonial settlers doing their military service) assigned to service in France itself or as garrisons in French West and Central Africa, Madagascar, New Caledonia or Indochina; and

2. Indigenous troops recruited in any of the above, serving under French officers. These were designated as Tirailleurs sénégalais, Tirailleurs malgaches, Tirailleurs indochinois, etc. according to the name of the colony of origin. Tirailleurs sénégalais was the name given to all West and Central African regiments, since Senegal had been the first French colony south of the Sahara.

All colonial troops (la Coloniale or the Colonial) came under a single General Staff. The troupes coloniales were predominantly infantry but included artillery units as well as the usual support services. At various dates they also included locally recruited cavalry units in Indo-China as well as camel troops in sub-Saharan Africa.

French regulars of the Colonial Infantry disembarking in Madagascar 1895. Unknown - Mus de l'Armee photograph, 1895. Personal photograph.

The title "colonial troops" was adopted in 1900, when all the Marine Infantry and Marine Artillery troops that had previously come under the Ministry of the Navy were transferred to come under the orders of the War Department.

The European Colonial Infantry regiments were, until 1914, uniformed in a similar style to their metropolitan counterparts (though with yellow fringed epaulettes and medium blue trousers instead of the red epaulettes and red trousers of the line infantry). On colonial service white, dark blue or light khaki uniforms were worn with topees, according to circumstances. 

Between 1895 and 1905 a light blue/grey bleu mecanicien uniform was worn for field dress in Africa and Indo China.

French Congo, c. 1905. Colonial Infantry bleu mecanicien field uniform.

Throughout their changing titles and roles the French Troupes de Marine or Troupes coloniales retained a reputation for toughness and professionalism. Whether French or indigenous they were, for the most part, long service regulars and as such comprised a genuine elite.

Figures by Artizan Designs.