Tags : :
However, the purpose of this posting is not to look at the back story to what I might do with VBCW in West Norfolk (King's Lynn fallen to the BUF indeed!) but to talk about how VBCW might be done in 15mm. I entirely understand that a large part of the appeal of the genre is to be able to use the rather excellent looking figures from Gripping Beast, Musketeer, Copplestone Castings et al. However, the problem for me is that I am less keen to invest the hard cash into what might easily be a short term venture. The challenge of stretching my meagre painting talents onto the larger canvas of 28mm figures as opposed to my preferred 15mm can also not be ignored.
So before I take the plunge back in time to the alternative 1938 I have been looking at what is available in the smaller scale to see if it is viable at all. The listing below is my work-in-progress on which it would be interesting to learn if anyone has any further information or alternatives. You will quickly see that Peter Pig features large in this listing which is no bad thing as the figures are well detailed if, in my experience a little on the small side.
These are fairly straightforward to find, assuming you are looking at a mix of WW1 and early WW2 British troops. Peter Pig of course covers both WW1 with a large range and (thanks to PBI) very large ranges of figures for WW2, complete with light support weapons such as Bren guns and Boys anti-tank rifles. It is even possible to field the Guards units in greatcoats (as per one of the source books) using the relevant figures from the 8th Army range (yes honestly) or the Late War alternatives if you are happy with the camouflaged helmets (and why not?). The Home Guard figures should also prove useful but there is no picture posted on the website.
Essex too do a small range of WW2 figures and I would guess that much of their range could easily be pressed into service.
Minifigs have a range of British Great War figures although there are no pictures of them on their website. I have found with their range of Late Romans (one of my other interests but of absolutely no use for the VBCW!) that while they are not so well moulded as, say, Essex, they do mix in quite well.
There are also figures for WW1 and WW2 from QRF which could be pressed into service but I have seen none of these in the flesh. Pictures on the website suggest they are a little "basic" but it may be they paint up well. The Irregular Miniatures WW1 figures probably fall into a similar category.
Strangely I have not yet looked at the Flames of War range for early war figures and will get round to it at some point.
This is a little more challenging but still quite manageable. This is where the small scale and a reasonable paint job could work wonders. The Spanish Civil War range from Peter Pig includes some Assault Guards complete with peaked cap which all look ready for painting as black shirts. For a little variety but still looking for a uniformed force which does not look too British, the Republican figures in their distinctive caps could make a good alternative, again with the right painting. These could be fleshed out with SCW figures from QRF who do a small range.
I would also like to look at the SCW figures from the Danish company The Late Queen, but while they are apparently still trading they are currently off the web.
Anglican League, Militias and Armed Civilians
When we get to the militias and LDV it starts to get a little harder as I would imagine the forces being represented are likely to be less uniformly equipped or less closely based on an existing historical analogue. It is here I think we have to be a little more imaginative, leaving aside options for conversion.
Again looking at the Peter Pig range, the Carlist fighters complete with beret look tailor made for a workers defence force. Equally, the international brigade figures are likely to give a suitable mix of military looking figures. Looking at the WW2 range, the French resistance fighters could easily be pressed into service for the LDV. Taking a step back in time, the wild west range contains a number of gun slingers and armed townsmen (and women) who might not look too out of place in 1930s Britain provided they are painted in the right colours.
Still on the theme of using ahistorical figures, 15mm.co.uk maintains the old Pony Wars range from Tabletop Games within which there are a few figures who could also be taken forward in time - the bearded bloke with the shotgun looks rather useful as a disgruntled yokel from the back of beyond. Minfigs Wild West range may also be a good source, if you could only see some pictures on the website.
I have never seen any of Eureka's figures but the photos on their website (or rather Fighting15s) seem pretty clear. Their ranges have a number of interesting opportunities. The Russian WW2 partisans appear to offer a number of flat-capped armed civilians who would add a little variety, although I think the fur hatted gentlemen would look rather out of place in Norfolk or anywhere else in the UK (or perhaps that should be the disunited Kingdom). Some of their early WW2 US figures could also be used. The US cavalry of 1941 might not look out of place as a locally mounted force while the armed US sailors might be re-painted for use with the RN or if sensibilities are too offended, could remain as they are as a form of naval landing party.
For Anglican League forces I would expect these to be represented by a mix of militia type figures and, for the better resourced units, regular army figures perhaps repainted in more fanciful uniforms.
Police and Auxiliaries
This looked to be a little harder to sort until I read an article here on GWP (I like the Clarky the Cruel blog!) which then pointed me at the associated blog. Using colonial British infantry of the Sudan campaign complete with pith helmet but painted in dark blue uniforms they appear to look, from a distance, like the typical British bobby. Many of the ranges I've looked at model the infantry with packs and knapsacks (probably quite right if used in the intended period!) but the figures from Stone Mountain Miniatures in the US appears to show them with less accoutrements - and the figures look pretty good too. For all these figures, removal of the bayonets from the guns would make them look more like the SMLE the police might be expected to use.
For auxiliaries I think the best answer might be to convert some late WW1 figures with some glengarry hatted replacement heads from Peter Pig. As a slightly left field suggestion, the use of Essex French fusilier marines of the Franco-Prussian War in sheepskin coat might also fill a gap, possibly supplemented by the Minifigs naval infantry equivalent (less the bayonet).
One of the big attractions of VBCW is the potential to use all those eccentric adventurer type figures to add that essential period colour. These sorts of figures do not feature anything like as much in 15mm as they do in 28mm, but if you look hard enough there are some to be had.
Khurusan Miniatures has its Mystri Island range covering adventures in a lost world set in the time of WW1. While their dinosaurs may not be quite right, the three character figures of a German explorer, his British opponent (both characterful colonial types) together with a plucky US female adventurer complete with elephant gun would all fit in neatly Buried in their sci-fi range, the galactic dictator looks pretty good for a jack-booted female BUF leader, although the paired techno-ninja would be rather harder to fit in.
Hidden amongst the zombies and mummies of the Rebel Minis "pulp" range is a group of "Cairo adventurers" who could be useful for all sorts of uses. Elsewhere the urban ranges could also be plundered for a variety of figures, including hostages and "Irish hitmen" which, while all rather modern, could be pressed into service.
Some of the characters from the Peter Pig wild west range could also be pressed into service but in the absence of pictures it is a little hard to say. Likewise the gent (Sir Harry) with the elephant gun in the Irregular Miniatures colonial range might also be useful, if only you could see what he looks like.
The last element of this round up is the vehicles. These appear to be well-represented by the ranges of QRF, Peter Pig and Stronghold Miniatures, although the last might no longer be trading. There are several examples of soft skin trucks and cars from a variety of ranges, while T-26, FT-17 and MkVI tanks and infantry carrying vehicles are all covered by a number of companies together with some rather more ad hoc vehicles from the SCW ranges.
This has probably been rather long for a GWP posting but I felt the lack of 15mm coverage needed to be addressed at some point. Whether I ever manage to follow my own advice and set up some forces (I have plenty of painted and unpainted lead which never sees the light of day) I cannot say, but it would be neat to see what might be possible. If anyone has any follow up I would love to know!
Khurusan Miniatures Mystri Island
QRF C20th ranges
Rebel Minis (Cairo Adventurers)
Essex Miniatures WW2 range
15mm.co.uk Pony WarsFighting 15s Eureka WW2
Clarky the Cruel's blog