Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Desert Vichy (Part 2): Senegalese Tirailleurs Review

Since I have been casting French Artillery I have often been asked where to find French crew, and because I do this fairly well I also get asked where to buy other hard to find French troops. Senegalese Tirailleurs are an excellent unit in Bolt Action, one of a tiny number of Regular units with the Tough Fighters Special rule. They were one of the better regarded French colonial troops, with their trademark Coupe-Coupe machete and Fez.

Their are no models for them, at least not for WW2. When hunting for French models remember that the uniform changes very little between the World Wars, just paint them Khaki green instead of horizon blue. The ones below come from Gripping Beast's Woodbine Design range.

Senegalese Section Pack 

Gripping Beast do a rage 10 man section packs, generic WWI French bodies in campaign dress with separate head options. In addition to the Senegalese heads I selected they have six other options, many of which are relatively suitable for WWII. I had to cut down the rather chunky bases on the Senegalese for them to fit on the 20mm bases I use .
 Senegalese with Coupe-coupe

To add a bit more character to units they also do packs containing four one-piece Senegalese, one pack with rifles and sheathed coupe-coupe, the other pack has them waiving their blades. Half are wearing campaign greatcoats, half in garrison dress.

 Range Comparison

There is a bit of a scale difference within the gripping beasts range. The one piece models are somewhat chubbier than their two-piece counterparts. Not enough to make a difference from more than a foot distance, but noticeable close up.
Warlord Games - Gripping Beast - Perry Miniatures

Warlord's French look surprisingly slight in this image. In general the three ranges are close enough in scale to serve in the same army, although I would hesitate in placing them in the same unit. The webbing on the French troops appears to change between the wars, packs remain in the mainly the same places with significant stylistic differences, the cut of the coat is practically identical.

Overall the Gripping Beast Tirailleurs fill and important place in any French player's army. The models had  minimal flash which was easily removed, the two-part models fitted together nicely with a secure join. The thick, wide and chunky integral base is a minor nuisance given the overall quality.

My Score 4/5

For the sake of completeness I must add that there is another company that does two part WWI French in the same vein, The Forgotten & Glorious Company of Art, regrettably their Senegalese are somewhat caricatured (British understatement - Incredibly Racist).

~ Bob

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Making Hedges

The Hexboards I made a while back can be changed about quite a bit to make for varied terrain, but the sad fact is that there are a limited number combinations giving the need to link up hill, road and river sections. Also I have far to many hard cover buildings and not enough soft cover trees and hedges. To this end I have started making additional forest tiles and scatter terrain hedges. My Hedges are fairly cheap to make.

  • Sponge Scourers
  • BBQ Skewers
  • MDF Scraps
  • Sand
  • PVA
  • Clump Foliage
First cut and bevel the base for the hedges, these are roughly 8"x1", though half that length will do for shorter hedges. Holes are drilled every inch or so, just wide enough for the skewers.

Next the BBQ Skewers are cut into 1" lengths and sharpened at one end using a pencil sharpener. They are then glued into the holes with PVA.

The Sponge scourers are cut into 1" wide sections, the scourers tend to 4" long. They are roughed up with a pair of scissors.

 The base has sand glued to it and then painted up.

The sponge sections are rolled in green paint, I use an ice cream tub, a rubber glove and German Camo Dark Green.

Once dry the sponges are rolled in PVA and clump foliage and left in a airing cupboard for at least 24 hours. Flock is added to the bases, then the sponges are pinned down onto the skewer spikes.

All ready for gaming

~ Bob