Friday, 20 March 2009

Weird World War I: 1919 - Part 3

(Clicking on all photos should bring up a larger image)

There's been a lot of interest since my last post on this subject, in the concept of a 'sequel', if you like, to Wessex Games/Brigade Model's Land Ironclads. (Thanks in no small part to the kind support of the Editor over on TMP!) I've had any number of people asking about what these 'new' dreadnoughts were.

I'm not presuming to improve on the already excellent ideas in this range and its rules, merely hoping to add some of my own into the mix. So if you'll indulge me, in this longer post and in some others to come, I'll be taking a look at some of the stuff I'm working on.

First off, we have the Land Dreadnoughts of the Weird WWI era themselves, as glimpsed in an earlier post, based on Irregular Miniature's IKSF26.
As you can see in the Work-In-Progress picture above, this mini can quite easily be converted into different versions - the addition of funnels made from those plastic tube covers for paint brushes, or a judicious filing down of some of the turrets can add quite a lot of individuality.

For the Germans, I wanted an 'armoured' look, so used the cap of a plastic vial of eye wash (!) to give a helmet-like superstructure, and then named the whole, in that style unique to the German language, a 'GepanzerteUberlandSchiffe' or armoured land ship, in this case, the Lutzow. These minis have a handy oblong flat surface to each side which is ideal for a national flag - hand painted here, but could be done by using a pre-printed flag stuck on. The colour scheme comes from naval Dreadnoughts at around the time of the start of the First World War, and the base here is the card backed by magnetic sheet that I normally use, dimensions 40x40mm.

I see these vehicles as 'land ships' in the truest sense, in that they are sea-going vessels, rather like the coastal monitors of an earlier era, mounting big guns, that can proceed onto the land using their gigantic tracks, crushing all before them.
We therefore see that Her Majesty's Land Dreadnought (HMLD) Indefatigable has a distinctly nautical flavour, with an added mast, and the top gun turret filed down to give a defined bridge:

Next we have the 'Grand Char de Rupture de la Marine' La Normandie; I added a tall superstructure made from electrical cable insulation topped off with some sprue, in imitation of the large fighting tops of French ships of the period, and her colours as well echo the original schemes.

These behemoths, of course, would be supported by a plethora of other vehicles of a smaller size, right down to the diminutive WWI tanks seen in my previous post. The conversion of miniatures to come up with new concepts is not something I can claim credit for, and principally this idea came from the work done over at Yours in a White Wine Sauce:

Here, in a variety of scales, but particularly to my eye in 6mm, many weird and wonderful ideas can be viewed. In the future, I'm particularly keen to have a go with Scotia's model of the A7V Uberlandwagen (the transport version of the tank), and also Navwar's tracked Karl Mortar of WWII vintage, to produce some giant SP guns!

Of course, as many navies were to discover, capital ships are vulnerable to air attack, and so some form of top cover is required for all this hardware. Now Brigade Models' Aeronef range is obviously the main contender here, although I feel that a lot of these minis are too remeniscent of ACW/VSF types for this later period. My starting point, therefore, was the 2mm generic Biplane available from Irregular, IKGW6. With some filing down of the tailplane or wings, or indeed the addition of a third plasticard wing, most types can easily be represented (Brigade are yet to release their tri-plane fighter - come on, you guys!).

As can be seen above, I mount these in flights of three on the widely available 1" flight stands, and they can do good service in providing cover for the ground troops.
Strike aircraft types, however, saw me heading back to Brigade, who have the excellent VAN-905 Four-engine Biplane Bomber we see below. Although these have a couple of more engines than the historical Gotha or Handley Page, the fact that the top wing comes separately with the engines attached, means that by reversing it, you can represent either type:

I mount the aircraft on the flight stand by topping it with a rubber washer, and then inserting steel stationery pins into this, which are then bent up at a right angle and to which the tiny 'planes are mounted using superglue. A whiff of some fluffy cotton wool disguises the washer, and adds a nice cloud! Sopwith Camels go Tally Ho! below after the Hun in the Sun:

The fun, of course, doesn't end here, I feel the VAN2012, Turkish War Balloon, should make an excellent armoured observation balloon, whilst VAN901, Small Dirigible, can fill in with some Hydrogen powered reconnaissance! The only thing lacking is a 'blimp' type barrage/observation balloon: perhaps someone can suggest a good way to scratch-build one of these?

I don't have a photo as yet, but next up on the workbench is a Revell Mini-Kit (06700 Snap-Fit) LZ129 Hindenburg, which is just the right size for a predatory looking Zeppelin, and retailing at around £2~£3 each, won't break the bank.

Finally a quick link for further inspiration on this whole concept, and a promise that as it develops, I'll do all that I can to bring you more photos and news:

Have fun!


  1. What great work - fantastic idea. I've posted a link at my blog here:

    Very much looking forward to seeing more!

    yours in a white wine sauce,

  2. Hey Tas, thanks for your support, (I'm not worthy!) appreciate the post at your blog, you can claim a big slice of the inspirational pie on this one; I hope to keep it interesting in future posts, more aviation on its way at the end of the week.
    Glad I can be a part of giving Land-Ironclads the profile it so rightly deserves, chin, chin, old Chap!

    Regards, SteelonSand