Thursday, 30 August 2012

Up The Workers!

One of the advantages of wargaming the VBCW, is that when you have enough miniatures left over from creating factions, you can scrape them together and invent a new unit. Thus the Joseph Arch Workers’ Militia is born!

A bunch of revolutionaries, deserters and general reprobates, this left-wing militia unit joins the CCCP as part of the Joseph Arch Workers’ Column. Figures are from a mix of manufacturers, including Artizan, Musketeer, Great War, Renegade and Foundry, with various headswaps and stuff from my bits box.

Joseph Arch Workers’ Column – a ‘History’

Founded in 1872, the likes of Joseph Arch led the National Agricultural Labourers Union (NALU) into battle against farmers, landowners and the clergy in the struggle for workers’ rights. Unfortunately financial problems and clashes of personality hamstrung the union, which eventually folded in 1896.

However by the 1930’s the lot of the agricultural worker had improved considerably since the squalid days of tied cottages, pittance wages partly paid in cider and long unrelenting labour; thanks to campaigners such as Sidney Box, working under the banner of NALU’s successors  (the Workers Union, National Union of Agricultural Workers etc.)

When the British Civil War erupted, many union-based left-wing militias were raised, some of which coalesced into the People’s Assault Column (PAC): a revolutionary body determined to turn Britain into a socialist state. While concentrated in the industrial areas of the Midlands and the north, the PAC also sought to establish leftist cadres in more rural areas such as Herefordshire – indeed a large left-wing force took part in the siege of Ledbury, whist an offshoot of this column sought to liberate their comrades in the Battle of Shobdon Instructional Centre.

The results were mixed, with many of the local population suspicious, if not downright hostile to the PAC’s socialist rhetoric. Even the lowly agricultural workforce, in theory the PACs chief recruiting pool, proved rather unresponsive to propaganda.

The PACs ruling revolutionary committee thus decided to reorganise and ‘rebadge’ the leftist forces in the county, appropriating the name of the National Agricultural Labourers Union for its own ends. Officially the newly named Joseph Arch Workers’ Column was not a band of Communist infiltrators from the West Midlands but a ‘protection detail’ for the re-established National Agricultural Labourers Union – a bona-fide trade union representing the rural proletariat, whether they liked it or not!

A Load of Old Bull

More reinforcements for the Herefordshire TA regiment now, in the shape of the ‘Hereford Bulls’ Veterans Association – a volunteer unit of old soldiers that I first postulated in my initial thoughts on VBCW Herefordshire.

Figures are mainly by Renegade, with one or two Great War minis thrown in.

Please also be upstanding for the commanding officer of the Herefords, along with his command group, including batman, standard bearer and volunteer nurse medic.

All minis are Great War, except the medic, which is a Jubilee-inspired Princess Elizabeth in ATS uniform figure, given away at the Partizan wargaming show earlier this year.

The flag is a copy of a picture of the Herefordshire regiment standard from a 1908 cigarette card.

Finally, every unit needs a dispatch rider – another great War mini with a TAG rifle stuck onto hhis back.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Steam support with namesake turrets

(The title will make sense eventually!)

After a bit of bartering and swapping, I acquired a Corgi 1:50 Sentinel steam lorry. Now a few folks over in the VBCW forums have been sticking bits of plasticard ‘armour’, guns and the like to these lorries to provide some armoured support for their forces, so I decided to do something similar.

However the lorry I acquired looked far too nice to plaster with plasticard, so I decided to go with a more home-made look, leaving the original model as it was (except for a bit of drybrushed ‘distressing’).

As you can see, it’s a flat-bed lorry, so I needed something to go on the back of it. Some cardboard, tape and a load of dressmakers pins later and I had myself an impromptu metal container, pressed into service as an improvised personnel carrier. So I had my armour, but what about the arms?

Now a couple of days after receiving the lorry, I also received a couple of resin turrets, made by the genius that is ‘6mil Phil’. He had named this particular model the ‘Price’ turret, named after me; so I had to get a couple!

One of the turrets came without a hatch, so I had to put someone in there to fill the hole – luckily I had just the figure lying around: an ECW artillery officer left over from my Roaring Meg piece. After cutting him off at the waist, filing down his cavalier hair and swapping his floppy hat for a tin helmet, he did the trick nicely.

All that was left was to stick the turrets on top of the container; add some biro tube for cannons and voilà! One improvised steam powered personnel carrier and support vehicle, ready to trundle into service. The rear of the vehicle is removable, so it can revert back to a simple flatbed lorry if need be, plus I have the option of adding other scratchbuilt stuff to the back!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Return to the Age of Sail

I waited patiently…

Waited until the day when the toy in my daughter’s Kinder Surprise egg was consigned to the bin…

Then I pounced!

The possibilities offered by this blow-along trike were immediately apparent to me when my little ‘un opened the egg; and so when she was done with it, I rescued it from the bin.  A bit of modification and a quick paintjob later, the first land yacht to sail the highways and byways of VBCW Britain was born!

After cutting off some of the extraneous bits, and gluing on some others (including some wire, a backpack, blanket roll and Lewis Gun), I added a ‘sailor’ in the shape of a spare Renegade Miniatures WW1 French machine gunner – kepi replaced with a backwards Milliput flat cap.

I’m not really happy with the sail, which looks more like a dirty tarpaulin than a billowing mainsail. When the paint dried I was sorely tempted to replace it with a new Union Jack sail (à la James Bond and in tribute to our Olympic heroes), but that would mean ungluing the sail, so in the end laziness beat patriotic fervour!

So in terms of scratchbuilding a qualified success; and in battlefield terms a woefully impractical vehicle which is largely useless unless the wind gets up and the roads are good. But all in all a fun conversion – and fun is what VBCW is all about!

The mast is also removable for ease of storage!