Sunday, January 27, 2019

Warbases South East Asia Huts

Though I mainly field my Japanese army in China, I thought it was worth putting together some South East Asian terrain for jungle fighting. To start this project, I decided to purchase some of the MDF huts made by  

 While these are nice enough kits straight out of the package, I wanted something that would really pop on the table.  As such, I did some work upgrading my kits.

First up was improving the floor planking. While boards are etched on the external portion of the kits, for some reason they decided not to do the same on the internal flooring. Since you can see inside the buildings through the open doors and windows, I used a heavy utility knife to score boards across the length of the building's floor. I then lightly scored each board with an X-acto blade to simulate wood grain. Finally, I used the utility knife and a file to remove the hard edges on the boards.

Prior to gluing the floor on to the support struts, I painted the struts and coated the building base with rock, static grass, and various aquarium plants. I recommend completing things in this order, as there is very little room for tools and brushes under the building once the floor is in place.

While support timbers are etched into the building walls, I though it looked a bit flat, so I added wood strips obtained at the local model train store. I also included some on the interior of the buildings to give them a bit more texture when the roofs are off during a game.

The buildings come with nice plank roofing, but I thought thatching would really improve the looks of the buildings and further hide their MDF nature. As such, I used the hobby standard of teddy bear fur. Unfortunately, the fur I was able to obtain locally was rather thin, so the backing was visible when placed up against the wood trim running along the spine of the roofs.

To hide this, I ran a seam of white glue along the top,then added strands of fur cut off the backing.

Painting and gluing of the thatch was done in the following order: brushed on rinse of diluted dark gray, rinse of diluted pewter gray, Woodland Scenics' scenic cement (rub in with old toothbrush to work it into the fur),  dry-brushed dark gray, dry-brushed pewter gray, dry-brushed tan. I use the rinses before glue to try to soak color deeper into the fur.

First up is the Nipa Hut. This is the smallest of the huts in my purchase, but you could likely fit in a full squad if you really packed in the figures base to base. One thing to note is that the widow shades on each side hang at a different angle, so double check that you have the right support pieces before gluing (there are no part numbers).

This hut does not have the wood trim along the roof spine, so it was easy to hide the thatch seams with an additional strip of fur along the top.

Since a portion of the roof underside is readily visible on this hut, I scored planks and wood grain on that section as noted above. I had thought of reversing the roof panels to use the pre-etched planks, but unfortunately on this kit the peg positions did not allow for it.

Next up is the Kamalig Hut. This model has shutters rather than window shades, so I decided to only add the vertical wood strips in order to not obscure the shutters. The roof components on each side mirror one another, so I was able to glue them on upside down so the planking would be visible on the bottom. 

Size-wise, this hut is a little bigger than the Nipa hut, so I think there should be no problem fitting in an entire squad.

Finally, I have the largest of the kits, the Bahay Kubo Hut. From a size standpoint, it's basically two Kamalig huts attached to one another, but with different external trim. 

The kit has window shades for half the windows. Slots are pre-cut for the shade supports, so you cannot alter which windows have shades unless you want to do a bit of work. 

Painting of the wood portions was done using the pewter gray, dry-brushed with tan. I didn't apply the gray too thickly, as I wanted some of the natural browns of the MDF to bleed through and further add to the color variation.

Overall, I am very pleased with these kits and would recommend them. I was concerned that the raised supports would leave the buildings fragile, but they seem fairly sturdy.  I also like the way Warbases did their best to hide the holes for the support pegs under the walls; there are only a few minor peg holes visible around the porch edges. If I am to have any criticisms, it would be to burn in the planking across the entire floor and that the roof corners likely need additional support/filling if you aren't going to glue thatching on top of them.

I have a couple of huts on order from Sarissa as well, so it will be interesting to see how the two manufactures compare in terms of quality and size. I'll make a further post once those huts are completed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Indian 17th Cavalry

I haven't painted any WWI figures in a while, so thought it was time to return to East Africa. Up first are some troops from the Indian 17th Cavalry. I'm ashamed to say these poor chaps from Brigade Games have sat half painted in the closet for almost 3 years, but I'm happy they are finally seeing the light of day.

Elements of 17th Cavalry A and B squadrons were assigned to patrol the border region of German and British East Africa in 1915 and saw combat in the Moshi area (where most of my East African campaigning is set). Back home, the 17th Cavalry later served in the Third Anglo-Afghan War and in Waziristan before being merged with the 37th Lancers in 1922. So they will be able to pull double duty when I'm playing in Back of Beyond games.

28mm Brigade Games Indian 17th Cavalry Miniatures

As is standard with their WWI line, the Brigade figures are beautifully sculpted and well cast. There are 3 horse poses, 3 troop poses, and 3 command figures available.  Certain figure/horse combinations can be a tight fit and may require some filing, so I suggest you dry fit everything first. Rifle holsters and scabbards are cast separately and need to be attached to the peg holes on the horses. I would add these after gluing down the figures. Lances are not supplied.

I don't know much about Indian cavalry, so when I first started this project, Mike Blake on LAF was kind enough to research the unit for me and determine they used white and blue pennons instead of the more common red/blue and red/white. He also established the lungi (cummerbund) was dark blue with light blue and gold.

28mm Brigade Games Indian 17th Cavalry Miniatures

The command pack includes a British officer, a Dafadar, and a Lance-Dafadar.

28mm Brigade Games Indian 17th Cavalry Miniatures

28mm Brigade Games Indian 17th Cavalry Miniatures

The Lance-Dafadar can be seen wearing the lungi. I didn't know the exact stripe pattern, so just made a guess at it. For the shoulder boards, the only example I found was from the Mysore Lancers; I'm hoping the colors were the same across units (please feel free to correct me if you know better). 

28mm Brigade Games Indian 17th Cavalry Miniatures

Here are the three trooper poses and the horse variants. It appears that during this time lances were made of either bamboo or ash; I've opted to go with ash for my unit. 

28mm Brigade Games Indian 17th Cavalry Miniatures

For those who want to paint up some Indian Cavalry of their own, I've included my 17th Cavalry pennon image along with some of the color variants used by other units. All are free for personal use. 

17th Cavalry Pennon

Standard Indian Pennon

Bengal Unit Pennon

Mysore Lancers Pennon