Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
"People often forget that it takes 10 men in the rear areas to support one infantryman on the front line. However, for the men of the port battalions, there were no front lines on June 6, 1944, and at times, they found themselves under heavy fire as well.
The author is the grandson of one such soldier, Cortland "Corty" Hopkins, from Schenectady, New York. Hopkins had a difficult time getting into the service because his job was considered essential by the War Department. However, after many attempts, he was successfully inducted into the Army in 1943.
Brozyna does a good job in describing the duties and experiences of his grandfather's unit during the D-Day landings, the fighting in Belgium, and the Ardennes Offensive. Without a doubt, the port battalions made numerous contributions in supporting the soldiers in the field."
If you are interested in learning more, please visit my book blog LonshoreSoldiers.com. I regularly post new articles and photographs relating to WWII supply work and wartime Normandy, Antwerp, England, and Schenectady, NY.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The Luttrel Village by Sheila Sancha is meant for children, but is equally illuminating for adults. In the 14th century the lord of an English village, Geoffrey Luttrell, commissioned an illustrated prayer book, now known as the Luttrell Psalter. It offers a rare visual depiction of ordinary Medieval people. The author studied the psalter's images, the village site's modern landscape, and referenced current (as of the 1980s) archaeology. She combined these sources into her own artwork and text. There are 64 pages of greyscale maps and illustrated scenes of the annual work and life in the village called Gerneham in Lincolnshire.
Recently a documentary film was produced, recreating the village of the psalter: Luttrell Psalter Facebook page. They made the video viewable for free online
Growing up in Viking Times was a happy discovery. The text is maybe at an 8-yr-old reading level, but the illustrations are by the esteemed military history illustrator Angus McBride. So, the book is basically eye-candy. There are 32 pages of color viking scenes: exploring, farming, and trading.
I've got a bunch of 28mm villager minis painted up along with 28mm animals. Right now I'm working on Zvezda's 1/72 Medieval Peasant Army models (see sprue scan). I'm using them to build a 9th century Saxon fyrd, but a few poses could be used as villagers at work on the farm. If you're in need of 1/72 livestock, check out this sprue scan of Pegasus Farm Animals.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The 1/72 scale oil drums, jerry cans, and block of supplies came from Sgt's Mess.
Finding suitable stevedore models in 1/72 was slightly more difficult. Really the only choice was a box of Airfix's U.S.A.F. Personnel (see the full sprue scan on PlasticSoldierReview). The working poses lacked helmets, so I chopped off the head of the MP model and glued them on the worker bodies.
Pictured above is my grandfather Cortland on D-Day (on left). His jacket showed no marks of rank. He's carrying an M1 Garand he picked up from a fallen soldier, because his carbine jammed during the fight. On the right is Donald H. on guard duty. One of the veterans I interviewed, Don served in the 284th Port Company, attached to the 5th Engineer Special Brigade on Omaha Beach. He carries the standard firearm for port company troops, an M-1 carbine. These are Italeri models.
My Book Blog has articles and photographs to supplement my book. Since publishing I have broadened my research to include port battalions and supply operations outside my grandfather's unit.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I found out why these birds are called, "Turkeys." Before colonizing America the English were fond of eating large game birds which arrived via trade routes through Turkey. Consequently, these birds were nicknamed, "Turkeys." When the colonists arrived in the New World they saw the similarly-sized native birds and gave them the same name.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
You can see my Strider and Gollum models in an old post. I painted the Copplestone Castings wizard as Gandalf a few years ago. I'll have to take his picture this weekend.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
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On Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog you can see he tweaked the rules to make all his infantry bases a standard 40mm deep. He does this to fit two ranks of troops on a single base, thereby creating more of a big army look. As for my vikings, I prefer to think of this as a raiding warband from a single ship—not a representation of a full army.
I didn't do anything especially clever with conversions except for the general's paper banner and the viking seen above with the red shield. This Emhar figure (painted in the yellow tunic) was holding a mace in his left hand. I trimmed off the weapon, glued on a Zvezda shield, and painted his fist to look like the iron shield boss.
My wife recently bought a new camera for her food photography, so I finally have a way to take some decent quality photos. Click on any of the images for a larger view. And you can see close-ups of some of these elements in this previous post.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Copies of the book will be sold for $20 this Thursday at Evergreen Commons, 1070 Luther Road, in East Greenbush. Cortland will be sharing stories and signing autographs from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A portion of sales will go to Evergreen Commons' activities & entertainment budget.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I'm glad these photos came out a little better than the last round. I should invest in some nice Silfor Tufts. The static grass has been getting everywhere!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
These five models here are from Indians set 1. The war paint and beaded strap & bag offer an opportunity for some eye-catching paint work. For reference I used American Colonial Ranger by Gary Zaboly and a brochure of Robert Griffing's paintings, which I snagged from a gallery in Gettysburg, PA.
See my painted Pilgrim set 1 from last October.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Airfix Kits is a sharp little book about the venerable British model kit company. It's a brisk 56 pages with oodles of color photographs. Written with experience and humor, it's apparent that the author is a long-time modeler. The book traces the hobby's history back to the first crude kits in the 1930s and brings the reader to the Airfix company in 2009. Pask writes about production technology, marketing, box art, logo & packaging, and Airifx's context within the broader model kit business. The most important and innovative models are picked out to chart milestones Airfix's history. An overview of Airifx's many other kits appear through the book's seventy color photos and captions.
There are more voluminous and focused Airfix books in print (these are referenced in the bibliography), but Shire Books' Airfix Kits fills a niche. Readable in one sitting, it's a concise history at a low price—an ideal book for the hobbyist wishing to save time and money for that next model kit.
P.S. Histoire & Collections is released the English version of Les Petits Soldats Airfix, by Jean-Christophe Carbonel. The Airfix Little Soldiers was a limited edition and is now sold out. Hopefully there will be a new edition soon.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Regrettably several descriptions of military equipment were in error. Roman swords were not at all like machetes, as the author described them. Armenian and Parthian Cataphracti were more typically armored in lamellar or scale, not chain mail. As annoying as these mistakes are to someone knowledgeable of ancient arms and armor, they have little bearing on the thrust of this book. Mayor intends to convey the general events of Mithradates' battles and their effects on his life. Although I would love to read a detailed description of his troops' armor, weapons, unit types, training, tactics, etc., this specialized subject is outside the scope of The Poison King.
P.S. For a military account of Mithradates' reign I plan on reading Mithradates The Great, by Philip Matyszak.
P.P.S. And what a brilliant book jacket design! You have to see it in person. I love the shimmering metallic ink, the coin's embossed hair is a great effect, and the overall classical imagery contrasted with modern typography is appealing. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award. That's lovely for the author, but the large ugly seal on the cover is an unfortunate distraction.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
When we visited last year we weren't able to see his war table, because it was covered in boxes from his recent move. Now it's all set up for display and fun. Dad's favorite genres are the French and Indian War, American War of Independence, Napoleon's wars, and the American Civil War. He has boxes upon boxes of plastic soldiers, but right now his table is covered with a FIW display. He says he games with unpainted plastic, because the paint would chip off the painted models. I've been trying to introduce him to acrylic varnish (It has a little bendy-ness to it, which is good for plastic).
Above are Montcalm's forces defending Fort Ticonderoga. His fort is vacuform plastic. The figures are a mix of Armies in Plastic's new 7 Years War figs, Marx reissues, Accurate, and Barzso.
His table is two 4 x 9 ft. custom built tables pushed together. They are topped with painted plywood. His old table in Pennsylvania was a sprawling six table wide. He had to leave behind a few when he moved to a place with a smaller basement. This current FIW display is appropriate, because he lives 10 miles from Fort William Henry, and an hour from Fort Ticonderoga.
Here are some of his painted soldiers. He goes for the classic glossy enamel look. Above are: 1.) Black Watch, Regiment of Foot Highlanders (pre 1758). 54mm Barzso; 2.) 48th Regiment of Foot. 54mm Barzso; 3.) Virginia militia, French & Indian War. 54mm Barzso.
Above are: 4.) Queen's Rangers, American War of Independence, 54mm Marx reissue (he cropped off the top of the fur cap to make a ranger cap; 5.) Montcalm's 37th Royal-Roussillon regiment, 54mm Barzso; 6.) French Troupe de la Marine, 54mm Accurate.
Friday, July 30, 2010
519th Port Bn in WWII: Longshore Soldiers released!: "Yesterday I gave final approval for the book. It was great to finally see the work in print. I'm waiting for my fist box to arrive, but the ..."