Sunday 2 December 2018

New Figures - Sloppy Jalopy 1/56 Armed Cricketers

Just finished painting up a new set of figures a fully armed Cricket team! They were released quite a while ago but I only just saw them online recently so had to buy them! They’ll be useful in both my VSF and TGAA games!

You can buy them as a 'full' set of 12 figures including 11 players and an umpire or in subsets of six, one called the Gentlemen and the other the Players a bit odd as except for the Umpire they are all players!

Once I had them in my hands I was impressed, these are nicely sculpted miniatures with great character faces and good body poses. The guy bowling for example looks very good! My favourite is the Vice Captain in his Jacket nonchalantly standing with his SMG in a sort of gangster pose. The only thing a bit odd was a couple of the slung rifles sort of bend with the shape of the body of the figure (obviously these Enfields were made with softwoods...) All the figures required clean up with various amounts of flash here and there something that took me back a bit but once tidied up they were easy to paint.

Speaking of painting for these fellows I chose a brighter white for pants and shirts and a creamy white for jumpers and pads. Caps and jackets were a sort of Australian Green. The faces need finishing up, currently they are simply flesh with the only highlight being on the moustachioed figures, hopefully I’m catching up with a mate I game with over Christmas who is great at painting faces and maybe he’ll be able to impart some of his skills to me! The bases were simple, these chaps would be found on the finest ovals so as simple green flock mix was all they needed to represent the finely mowed playing surface!

Here’s some pictures...unfortunately the colour difference between the bright white and creamy white is hard to see!

From how I see it these figures would be left to right; the Captain, the Vice Captain, an Umpire and the Wicket-keeper

These figures would be left to right; two Fielders, a Bowler and a Batsman

 These figures would be left to right; a Batsman, two Fielders and another Batsman

Note I almost bought them through a third party but went to Sloppy Jalopy direct and their site was user friendly as was their shipping to Australia! Here’s a link to their site...

If you need some cricket miniatures armed to the teeth I’d highly recommend these!

Next Time; err more stuff!

Sunday 18 November 2018

New VSF Aeronautical Contraption – The Daley Brothers Attack Balloon!

It was late in the day as Flugmeister Franz Bottums-Upsch glided his Fokker Dragon Fly gracefully over the countryside of Kent, he was on his third mission of the day and looking for British Flyers returning to their bases and another easy victory. Flying over enemy territory Franz was alert and wary so continually scanned the skies above him whilst he sought another victim. Twisting and turning among the clouds he sighted a British Sopwith Blimp below immediately he started to bank to attack but then he heard several loud bangs as his machine shuddered. The Fokker lurched and there were awful grinding sounds as the flyer’s right two wings drooped limply. Franz found it difficult to maintain control as he anxiously looked about to see who had taken him by surprise! Then he spied his assailant, it was a craft he had never seen before! He noted its ungainly appearance, there was an armoured gondola below a large round balloon. He wondered how he could have been bounced by such an antique looking contraption...but his train of thought was interrupted as the other pair of his Dragon Fly’s wings failed and he plummeted to into oblivion in the ruin of his flyer!


Captain Darling was taking the latest British flyer, the Daley Brothers Steam Powered Armoured Attack Balloon Mk II for yet another test flight over the skies of southern England when he noticed a lone German skulking about between the clouds. He immediately thought, “Bloody Boxhead, on the hunt for some unsuspecting British Airman no doubt, well I’ll give him what for!” Against his orders to not engage any enemies while testing the newest British fighting machine he dropped altitude rapidly and was in a matter of moments on the tail of the Fokker. In the extremely responsive Daley he lined up his target quickly and once it was in his sights he gently pressed the firing button on his control column. The two auto loading Holland & Holland Elephant Guns barked into life and in seconds several rounds were fired buffeting Darling’s machine and smashing into the surprised German. “Take that!” Darling commented coolly as he saw the enemy Airman look around in shock as his stricken Fokker rapidly fell earthward...

The demise of Flugmeister Franz Bottums-Upsch ensured the secret of the new British fighting flying machine was safe!


The Great Steam War continued to rage and during September 1878 the Fokker Dragon Fly Scare was adorning the front page of virtually every news sheet. These menacing flying machines in the hands of expert Germanic Aces were scything British Flyers from the skies with ease. While the Sopwith Company worked on improving their Blimps another Company, Daley Brothers displayed their newest development to the British Government and the Boffins of S.O.E., the Daly Brothers Steam Powered Armoured Attack Balloon Mk II. It looked dated to all those who saw it but when demonstrated before the Queen's ministers and given to the best British Aviators everyone was surprised at its speed and agility. Its heavily armoured gondola and hard hitting weaponry in conjunction with its astonishing ability to quickly descend and climb (due to vents in the balloon and a super heater on the top of the fighting compartment) gave it characteristics that everyone believed could end the Fokker Scare that was currently decimating the Imperial Air Fleets. An order for 12 machines was placed and when delivered they were given to the front line Squadrons for the best Aces to evaluate before full production was to commence. The reports from top Airmen like Darling and Queensford-Smith were promising and so orders were placed and series construction was begun.

Captain Darling in the New Daley Company Flyer stalking a German Fokker...

The Daley Steam Powered Armoured Attack Balloon Mk II model

This scratch build was long in the making, I started it early this year but our overseas trip interrupted construction and I just got to it again!

Parts list
Foam ball from a fabric shop
Styrene sheet
Plastic tubing
Metal washers for port holes
Pins for rivets
Balloon super heater is a couple of LEGO bits
Smoke stack is part of an electric toothbrush head
Some wire
The Elephant Gun barrels, propellers, and bottom hatch are all old 1/35 left over model kit parts

Unfortunately I do not have many WIP build pictures just these...

Here’s the finished Flyer on its homemade stand....

Next time - some more stuff

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Captain Darling’s Grand Tour 2018

Hello Everyone, it’s been quiet on the Blog recently due to many distractions but I shall try to address this and get the backlog of posts I have planned up! First up, earlier this year Mrs Darling and I head off from Australia for a 5 week European holiday, while overseas we took around 3,000 pictures and spent too much money! I’ll try to give you a run down of the places visited that are relevant to the Blog with just a handful a pictures…

Okay here it is, the Grand Tour Summation!

First stop in Europe was Rome, it wasn’t our first stay here but there’s so much to see and this time we included a visit to Ostia, Antica. Well I stumbled across what for the person interested in modern military history a gem...We’re in downtown Rome just up the road from the Colosseum and Mrs Darling says “I’m busting for a wizz!” I said, “Well there’s Italy’s Parliament building there’s bound to be a public toilet there!” And there was the but also there was the Altare della Patria a sort of War Memorial come Military Museum. They have varied displays including such stuff as an MTB, a human torpedo thingee, a WW I fighter and the colours of many of Italy’s warships in very hefty chests (I never really wondered where ships colours were stored!). A very worthwhile stop!

Captain Darling and a Bleriot XI-2 at the Altare della Patria…

Second stop after a short train trip was Florence and some time in Tuscany...lotsa touristy stuff here but not much for the blog!

Third stop Vienna it was our first time here and ‘lordy be’ so much to see and do and only five days! Our first morning was following the steps of Harry Lime! Yes one of my favourite movies The Third Man was filmed in Vienna. We visited Harry’s house, the Josefplatz, the doorway Harry is first seen in (sans cat) and the cemetery, Mrs Darling even enjoyed it as I hammed up it for photos but she drew the line at a sewer tour though! We ended the day later with dinner at the Ferris Wheel! A major spot to visit here is the HGM – Heeresgeschichtliches Museum AKA the Army Museum, this place is the ‘ants pants’. Displays go back to the Middle Ages! The Napoleonic and WW I levels are pure pleasure. I think with all the 100th anniversaries the WW I section has recently had some work. I could easily have spent a day here! Be warned you have to pay a couple of Euros extra to be able to take happy snaps!

The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum...

Fourth stop on the trip after another overnight rail trip Berlin once again mainly touristy stuff here due to trade-offs that ensue when travelling with your partner! But squeezed in: visits to some of the Cold War sights i.e. bits of the Wall and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, we cruised past the Soviet Soldiers Memorial, checked out the Stasi Museum and spent a while at the Deutsches Technikmuseum (Museum of Technology). The Technology Museum was a real highlight as should any museum that has a DC 3 suspended over its roof! It featured plenty of military bits and pieces but the railway section was truly awesome!

World War II vintage graffiti on the Reichstag!

Captain Darling with a ‘cannon bollard’ at the Brandenburg Gate…

The DC 3 atop the the Deutsches Technikmuseum...

Fifth stop Brussels. Okay we only had 2 days here (luckily I’d visited before so had seen the excellent Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and its famous Russian Gallery then) so we did a day tour of the city and spent the second day at the Waterloo Battlefield (As most of the battlefield is privately owned and since I had trekked it previously we just stuck to the main visitor area this time). Now I remember the old set up there from 2005 and the new Visitor Centre is a revelation! I really enjoyed it and so did Mrs Darling in fact I had to drag her out so we could visit the Panorama and scale the Lion Mound (which seemed much steeper than when I ascended it last time!) before we had to return to Brussels. Waterloo is now a must visit location after the ‘spruce up’ (after my 2005 sojourn I gave it an okay rating).

Mrs Darling at the base of Lion Mound, for some strange reason she didn't want to ascend the 200 plus steps, Waterloo

Sixth Stop(s) Ypres, Amiens, Villers-Bretonneux and Lille with lots of touring. Now this was the main point of this trip with both Mrs Darling and I having relatives who served in France with the First A.I.F. we were on the ground to attend the 100th anniversary ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux. The Service was the highlight of the Grand Tour for both of us and well worth the freezing wait overnight! Kudos to the Australian Government Veteran Affairs Department for the work done organising this event. Now I am not going to list everything we did over the 10 days travelling the WW I Battlefields and points of interest but I recommend it to anyone who had relatives who served there or for anyone with a military interest in the Western Front. My Grandfather served and returned as did two of his brothers but Mrs Darling’s three Great Uncles served there and were all KIA in the space of a couple of weeks in 1917, fate is a fickle creature. When we visited the Menin Gate and Villers Bretteneux Memorial Mrs Darling saw the names of 2 relatives on the walls and then with the help of a guide we located the Vaulx Hill Cemetery where she became quite emotional visiting the grave of her third Great Uncle. This part of the trip was very sobering yet we still ensured we enjoyed ourselves, there was the brewery tours, finding great little shops in the backstreet of Lille, picturesque walks etc…
Hard to decide what pictures to select for here but here’s a few…

Mrs Darling and the Menin Gate!

Part of the memorial to animals for their part in the Great War near Pozziers…

The last resting place of  Second Lieutenant William O’Brien remembered with honour at the Vaulx Hill Cemetry…one of Mrs Darling’s relations.

The Australian memorial in Bullecourt….the slouch hat is a recent addition. Slouch hats are being added to many memorials around Australia too.

A live artillery round ploughed up by a farmer awaiting collection by the army! We were told this is a common sight!!!

The tower of the Villers-Bretonneux memorial at daybreak on ANZAC Day 2018…

Last stop London and for the benefit of the Blog there were only a couple of bits of interest. Firstly we visited the Imperial War Museum whilst there and it was a letdown! The old crowded and overloaded displays of my previous visits were gone and a Spartan like setup greeted us. The WW I display was the only real part we found up to scratch, it seems they have decided to modernise and open up the rest of the galleries and they are the poorer for it (just my opinion here!) there must be a hell of a lot of items now languishing in storage. Also I ensured we visited St Helens Church which Mrs Darling thought was a great idea as within its walls lay hundreds of years of history but actually the purpose of the visit was to see the bollard right by it which unlike most of the ones in London is made with a real cannon! Outside of London whilst still in Ol’ Blighty we encountered a couple more bits of interest! During our day trip to Brighton we saw the only VSF related sight of the 35 day trip! Along the beach we spotted two elaborately costumed Steampunk couples strolling with their dog. They were proudly promenading and looking quite magnificent until their dog decided it was whoopsie time! A Steampunk gentleman carrying a plastic bag of pooh managed to lose the participants all their majesty! Also we spent a day and a half at Hever Castle which we highly recommend, the accommodation was lavish and the breakfast was to die for and bugger me drunk literally we fell over one more little Military Museum! We discovered on the grounds the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum...this was a nice surprise. It is a very well presented little museum with some very interesting items and a Saladin Armoured Car and a 25lb field gun on site to boot.

St Helens Church London, a ‘real’ cannon bollard!

Captain Darling getting tea a Cabby Shelter, great food at a good price, we were invited inside for a look see and these are pretty cool little retreats for the London cabbies…

Captain Darling enjoying the sunshine in Ol’ Blighty…our trip of 35 days on mainland Europe we had 2 wet days out of 28 and for our time in England we had wet weather on 3 out of 7 days!

On the grounds of Hever Castle you’ll find the Kent & Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum…

…and there you’ll see some very cool displays!

Okay that’s Captain Darling’s 2018 Grand Tour wrapped up! 

Next Time - I have a new Flying Contraption completed, a couple of AAR's, a VSF scenario, more The russians are Coming action and some more figures plus some bio story lines…so much to post so little time!

Sunday 15 July 2018

The Evil Genius's New Lair! - Doktor Von Hades Discrete Retreat!

January 1877 and Doktor Von Hades was 'feeling the heat' as the forces of good closed in on him! After his aborted LASER deployment he was on the run and Captain Darling was hounding him. Harassed by his pursuers he was finding it difficult to enjoy his formerly relaxing morning teas on the roof of his Secret Lair and indulge in a little peaceful croquet with his Evil Henchmen on the front lawn! He needed to relocate his Evil Genius's Lair to a new even more secret location post haste! 

A new site was quickly confirmed and a great deal of preparation was taken for the move to ensure it was kept undetected. On the day of the relocation the convoy of the Doktors clock work automobiles was disguised as Harrods's transports maintain discretion! The transfer was completed without a hitch and his Evil Operations were interrupted for only a few hours!

The new secret and remote position of his Evil Genius's Lair was Carver Lane London, England. In a modest and inconspicuous two up two down his new hideaway blended in with the average Londoner's residence totally. He now felt safe again from the prying eyes of the worlds Intelligence Agencies!

Little did Doktor Von Hades know his every move was shadowed by S.O.E. Agent Edward Bigger and it wasn't long before photographs of the new Evil Genius's Lair were on the desk of Britain's highest officials and in the hands of Captain Darling!

Edward Bigger's photographs of Doktor Von Hades new and discrete Evil Genius's Lair....

Number 42 Carver Lane is a laser cut MDF kit supplied by Miniature Scenery fo the new Twisted Game Rules and Figure range...

Twisted Game Site

Twisted Buildings
Miniature Scenery
 A clear picture of Number 42 Carver Lane

The Set Up...

I'll write up a full review of this building soon suffice to say here it looks cool and is an excellent design! Unfortunately when I bought this at Little Wars Melbourne I thought it was 1/56 scale for 28mm figures but its actually designed for 32mm ones...DOH...this is noticeable in the pictures with some of my Sarissa buildings...I suppose it will be fine in solo settings but not so much in group shots! Not sure but I may offer it up for sale...or maybe not it just looks perfect as an Evil Genius's Secret Lair...

Next Time - a review of the Twisted Number 42 Carver Lane Building, or perhaps the scenario details or even the AAR of my latest VSF game, The Battle of Portaloo, 18 June 1880 Belgium oh or maybe a summary of the Grand Tour!

Monday 18 June 2018

The Heliograph, for when your Steam Powered Marconi Wireless is 'On the Blink'!

Somewhere in Belgium, June 18 1880...

Troubled and flustered Lieutenant Cartwright hollered over the din of gunfire to Captain Darling, "Darling the Marconi Wireless set is on the blink again! How can we summon reinforcements?"

Darling replied calmly while engaging in sword play with two rather brutish looking Imperial French Grenadiers, "Well that's rather unfortunate Cartwright, especially with all these damnable Frenchies trying to cook our bacon. Don't worry though ol' chap there's always the Heliograph! Kindly ask Sergeant Over and Corporal Under to fetch it forthwith!", meanwhile with a couple of deft lunges Darling put paid to the Gauloises smoking Frenchman threatening the Communications Post...

Captain Darling wielding his sword and Lieutenant Cartwright commanding a Heliograph team in the heat of battle, June 18 1880. This picture was taken after the action for the members of the Forth Estate for use in their publications...

Ironclad Miniatures Heliograph Team

Well here's another set of figures that have been left undercoated on my painting bench for far too long. I finally finished painting them up on the weekend and for even someone like me with basic painting skills they come up a treat!

The figures themselves are well cast with nice details. No prep was needed but it would be nice for one of the manufacturers of these Heliograph sets to include boxes for the equipment.

The big thing was basing so I decided to sabot them on a mini diorama base. I did this for too reasons casualty removal and also the kneeling and 'scribing' guys can be very useful as individuals in other situations!

The good thing about this set is they'll be useful in both my VSF games and the Russians Are Coming Campaign (where the Heliograph has already been mentioned in a scenario!)!

The 'Team' all based up...

The 'Team' unsbased...

The diorama for the in period photograph...

Close up!

Next Time: well there's a few things on the go now I'm back on deck but most likely it will be either; the  Grand Tour debrief or an AAR of a battle somewhere in Belgium, June 181880...

Friday 30 March 2018

British VSF Guns Crews & Generic VSF 'Scouts/Jagers'

On Salisbury Plain British Gunners with Infantry support train in the use of their new their Automatic Fire Twin Barreled 6 Pound Field Gun...

Well a final post before Kathryn and I start our 'Grand Tour'!

I've had some Ironclad British Artillery Figures on the painting table for quite a while so thought I'd get them painted up. These are the usual chunky Ironclad figures I expect and feature some nice details. Also I like any figure in a spiked helmet! Unlike my other Ironclad mini's though these had a bit of flash and and a few seam lines that needed tidying up.

Two gun crews totaling eight figures, nice faces and helmets on these...

Here's the overall picture of the Salisbury Plain set up...

I also painted up the last six Ironclad Postal Service figures I had on hand. These figures are a fanciful VSF unit of mine and they have represented Scouts in games hence their 'brown/tan jackets. When a Scout is attached to a section of troops it gives them movement and cover bonus's due to their dexterous abilities. They will still be used in this way but now I have ten figures including a commander they can be fielded as a complete Scout/Jager/Border Guard etc section...they'll be strong in action with their high ratings and being well armed with a Rapid Fire Rifle  (read LMG here a Lewis Gun in fact) and three Quick Fire Carbines (so SMGs, they are Thompsons with Drum magazines!).

My ten VSF 'Scouts'...

Note these guys could figure in TGAA as 'Brown Shirts' or some other obscure unit maybe a Forestry Ranger force! ☺

Next time, a summary of the Grand Tour I expect!

Friday 2 March 2018

Captain Darling’s Grand Tour & Some WIP Stuff

Greetings! It's been a bit of ‘All Quiet On the VSF Front’ here on the bally Blog for while ain't it...well a couple of reasons for that; firstly I’ve been concentrating most of my spare time on The Great Antipodean Adventure project recently and second; my partner and I have been planning Captain Darling’s Grand Tour a five week whirlwind tour of certain bits of Europe! My other half hitherto known as Kathryn is rather excited about the latter and decidedly unexcited about the former 😊!

I don’t usually like putting up WIP stuff on the Blog but just to show I’m still plodding along with my various VSF interests here’s some stuff I’ve been tinkering away on...

Buildings: Thanks to a small windfall from my mum at Christmas I picked up several Sarissa buildings which will work well not only with my VSF gaming but for my WW II and TGAA stuff. I got several dwellings, the double fronted shop, the end of row cafe, a third floor for an existing town house I had and the Victorian Pub. All go together well and with a bit of paint look the part. You could really go to town on these and really make them hum but they’re for gaming so I’ve kept it simple, I can always go back and detail them later...

The Derailer Tank: I was given this baby by a devotee and plan on turning it into Doktor Von Hades Super Steam Powered Armoured Fighting Vehicle...

Scratch builds: I’m getting back to my British answer to the French Santos Dumont  airship, here's the current status of the Daley Brothers Steam Powered Armoured Balloon MK III...added a 28mm figure for size...

Now onto the Grand Tour: We've locked everything a few trips and ANZAC Day stuff but most of this trip will be off the cuff roaming once we arrive at each destination. Thanks to overnight trains most of the travel will be relegated to nights to maximise our 'touristing' during daylight hours.

An image of Captain Darling arriving in Rome during his Grand Tour dazzling the ladies...
Sourced online didn't see any copywrite...

Kathryn and I arrive in Rome on Easter Monday and then its on! Most places I've been to before, Vienna being the major exception but this is only Kathryn's second European trip so lots of new sites for her! Here’s a brief summary...

  • 2nd April, Rome four days
  • 6th April, Florence three days
  • 10th April, Vienna four days
  • 14th April, Berlin four days
  • 18th April, Brussels two days
  • 20th April, Ypres four days
  • 24th April, Amiens four days
  • 28th April, London/South East England seven days
  • 5th May, Back in sunny Adelaide!

So lots of train travel and general tourist things but I have include some Captain Darling bits of interest, mind you this has cost me some trade offs in other locations but is worth it...

  • ANZAC Dawn Service at Villiers-Bretonneux & visit to new Sir John Monash Centre
  • Waterloo battlefield walk (second visit for me but first since the new visitor centre) and brewery at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm hic!
  • Some WW I battlefield sight seeing
  • Take in some The Third Man movie locations and Dinner on the Vienna Ferris Wheel as its one of my all time favourite movies
  • The Vienna Military Museum
  • Some Cold War sight seeing in Berlin

Luckily I've done a lot of the other military museums on previous trips so I can skip them, though Kathryn has shown an interest in seeing one of my favourite spots, the Russian Room at the Royal Museum of Armed Forces in Brussels.

Now if any of you know a must see ‘sights’ that fall within the itinerary please let me know I’ll add it to Kathryn’s list! Also any must visit eateries or drinking establishments!

Things will remain a bit quiet here for a couple more months but then normal transmissions will resume!