Wednesday, 11 October 2017

...because sometimes, an artist just wants MORE paints!!!!

The entire new paint collection in all its heady glory!

I have been painting miniatures and models for almost 30 years... give or take a 7 year hiatus at the start of my 30's

One would have thought that by now I would be toting the same quality painted miniatures as Mike McVey himself but no. For me, the ability to paint at that level just isnt attractive to me. What really ticks my boxes is producing entire armies of miniatures that are just good enough to draw the eye and get people talking. 

Im satisfied with this.

However I am a bit funny about the quality of what I will paint and what I will paint with. I really have a snobby attitude to poor quality product!

Some people drink, some do drugs, some are into travel, some follow footballers and some others are into some proper weird pursuits. For me, its paints! I would rather paint than do almost anything else in life.

Anyway, so to cut a long story short I was sitting at my desk wrestling with another Zulu regiment (have I mentioned by the way how much I hate painting these little bastards?) and I said to myself 'Self; you need more paints!'

There is just so much out there now to play with and try stuff out that I decided to grab a load of stuff for the projects that I have on the drawing board so let me take you around my latest purchases:

German Armour Colour Combo triples 1937-1945
 As anybody who reads my blogs or is forced to listen to my relentless rambling about my collections will know, the next big army on the drawing board is my Slovakian Army 1939 - 1941. Backing up this all too small Axis power however is my ever expanding German army.

Has any of this been painted yet? Not a bit of it by God!

My interest is the early war period and in line with this the right hand colour combo is for the early war German vehicles. The Late War German Colour combos however are almost perfect for two projects on the board. Primarily the colours are almost perfect for Slovakian armour with one substitution. The Dunkelgelb will have to go and I havent decided what I will replace it with yet. 

It occurs to me however that these three colours would be perfect for my Fallschirmjager splittertarnmuster... time will tell! 

ummm... yup! Clear doped linen!
 I havent been able to reach my Napoleonic French naval squadron this year, and in any case I want to partner this project up with learning how to photoetch brass so that I can put deck crews onto these 1/1200 ships but as is my usual want I ruminate on these projects long long loooooooong in advance working through issues and problems to find potential solutions.

One of the problems I have with my previous napoleonic naval ships is the sails and the decks. I liked them 10 years ago when I did them but now I just think they look shite! 

So I figured that along with my other weathering and tinting products I would try the colours for Clear Doped Linen along with another couple of other steps I'll let you in on in a further post.

A couple of loose paints and a thinner to try out...
 One of the things that is a constant source of irritation for me is the way pigments group together when diluted with water too heavily causing tide marks and such like. I've tried other solvents like Flow Release but have had little joy. I just wanted to have a bash using a high quality thinner specifically for fine grade pigments and see if I get any joy... haven't decided what to try this on yet though. :D

The two loose paints are linked to my Slovakian project. The uniforms are very similar to my Polish army's khaki green but I need a way to differentiate between the two forces and photos of modern reenactors show a somewhat greener cast to the uniforms than illustrations in books show. I figured that an adjustment in the filter used along with a highlight of a slightly lighter and greener colour may provide what it is Im looking for. You guys will get to see the results of this experiment all too soon, Zulus notwithstanding.

German Panzer Grey paint set.
 The other German Panzer paint set is a limited three paint collection. For most uses this may be fine and dandy at 15mm, however if I'm not satisfied with the results I wanted something that would enable me to really open up with the big guns. If it doesn't go right with three paints and I cant get it right with six something has gone desperately wrong!

German Field Grey Uniforms Paint Set
 I have a bucket of German infantry now and some of the German infantry I've seen painted up on the Flames of War Painting Group has really set a standard for me so rather than continually tunnelling through 250+ paints that I have I thought I would just buy a decent set of tailor made paints that I could deploy every time I need a Field Grey set of clothing...

Weathering powders, pigments, filters and washes...
 For the last 2 years I have been building up my ideas and plans for a batch of Dropzone Commander scenery and I anticipate that by next year I should have enough space in my office to be able to actually store it all.

The scenery project I have planned is very dystopian which just ticks so many of my boxes I'm not actually sure there is a word for the pleasure it will give me.

This means that rampant verdant arboreal growth and decrepit and derelict vehicles and human detritus are the way forwards.

I have rather a lot of stuff in a couple of boxes that should, by now, provide me with almost everything I need to create convincing mini-vignettes of an old human dystopian city-scape...

These two medium sets are just icing on the cake...

Uniform Definition Filters
 When I started out painting my Polish army way back in the day I was never completely happy with the colours that I was achieving... until I took a punt and put a Filter over the figures. This figure literally transformed the colour to an almost perfect recreation of the Polish uniform colour from 1939, on top of which after a bit of experimentation with thinning the Filter, how much to wipe off and leave on I was also able to balance the colour with the figure definition that I was achieving. Now I'm satisfied with the fact that my Obrona Narodowa are probably some of the best 15mm WW2 figures I've ever painted.

Uniform filters it would seem are the way to go. As I am not yet decided on which colours to use on my Slovaks I decided to take a chance with this Uniform Filter set. It provides two different colours with one of the colours (the brown) in two different strengths. This should give me enough alternatives to nail the uniforms the way that I want them to be.

Old & Weathered Wood Volumes 1 and 2, and the Realistic Wood Effects book
Last but not least, it should be said that at the start of the year I set myself a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete this year. By year end I will, with some confidence, be able to say that I failed in this.

However this is in no small part due to the fact that I just cant seem to put my Polish army to one side and in line with this sad state of affairs I have been so pleased with my Obrona Narodowa platoon that I've decided to expand it to a full company... and this means horse drawn carts!

I really wanted the opportunity to paint these wagons to look old and beaten up but if there is one thing I am not too flashy at it is emulating wood. I decided to take the plunge and buy one of  AK Interactive's instructional books along with the two acrylic paint sets and see what I could wring from these wagons...

Oh yeah, and there is of course also the fact that I will be able to use it on my dystopian scenery for Dropzone Commander and of course all of the wooden buildings that one finds in eastern Poland and the Russian front in WW2

So there we have it! New toys and I feel reinvigorated again....

Fix Bayonets!!!!!!!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Zulu umCijo regiment in 10mm for Black Powder (& How to paint them)

So it took me a while to get around to my Zulu's... but get around to them I did!

A far more fascinating army than most people give them credit for. They were highly organised, highly militarised and highly trained. On the one hand you could just write them off as being a militia army where everybody had to serve... but if you look below the surface there can be found more than a few similarities to the old Spartan agoge system.

Its these similarities that I believe allowed the Zulu war machine to dominate South East Africa and crush the British army three times in as many months with a fourth catastrophe the size of Isandlwana only being avoided by a single lucky decision.

Having bought the Warlord rule set Black Powder with its expansion I was in somewhat of a quandary over how to base them given the huge regimental force disparity between the Colonials and the Zulu forces that were fielded.

Eventually I have settled on a base size of 1 1/2 inches by 1 inch to a base.

This size enabled me to make my Zulu regiments pretty packed with manpower giving a great impression of strength on the field and allowed me also make my British companies look well represented as well whilst all of the skirmish troops could also be put onto bases of these sizes and look suitable as well.

A full 15 base view of the umCijo (The Sharpeners) regiment (ibutho)

The first thing to be addressed was how to mix up all of the figures that I had so that a noticeable difference between married and unmarried regiments could be maintained whilst still giving a look of extreme variety.

This in itself wasn't such an issue. Where things become problematic however is that Zulu regimental uniforms were as rigid as those in the British army and there is such a variety of personal dress on the zulu miniatures that it became necessary to concede ground on how rigid one is willing to be with their uniforms.

Ultimately I had to resolve on a course of action that allowed me to field regiments with a good level of variety in their troops but which also at least flirted with uniformity. I took the plunge and decided to do my regiments based primarily on shield colours but to pay lip service to the uniformity of the regiment as far as the miniatures allowed and incurring as little cost to the aesthetic as possible.

The umCijo ibutho's Induna with his two wing commanders... 

With this in mind I separated the unmarried Zulus into ones that were sporting heavy ceremonial dress and those that were dressed in a somewhat more Spartan fashion and formed my unmarried regiments from these two piles.

As with many other wargamers out there I decided that the regiments in my army would be identified by their shields alone... thus allowing myself the luxury of grouping variously attired Zulu's into the same ibutho.

The Induna stands out because of his black Sakabuli bird headdress
and his white Crane feather, which the two wing officers also sport
If there is something that the guys at Warlord Games do really REALLY well, it is present books with exceptionally well painted miniatures in. Drooling over the Zulu War supplement one of the things that particularly stood out to me was the Zulu skin colour and the fact that neither their blacks nor their whites were pure colours but rather these areas were built up from Black to Dark Greys in the case of the blacks and from a selection of beiges to matt whites in the whites.

A more frontal view of the umCijo with their black izihlangu (war shields) decorated on the lower half with white spots
I, true to form, decided that I would accept no substitute and put myself through an artistic mincer whilst I worked out which colours worked...

But, fortunately I think I almost nailed it!

A look at one of the umCijo bases showing one of the rifle armed Zulus wearing a 24th Regiment of Foot soldiers jacket...
obviously looted from the field of Isandlwana, 22nd January 1879

That 'nailing of the colours' however does have one caveat; these were a LOT more time consuming to paint than I ever expected!

This one group of 90 zulus took me an entire week to paint when I estimated a total time of 3 days

It turns out that my estimations of time to paint this year have been wrong that the gulf between estimates would be the difference between turning up to a nuclear missile fight with a sharp stick!

A view of the rear of one of the umCijo bases showing the monkey tails and the
leopard skins and headbands that were so popular amongst the Zulu warrior culture. 
Anyway, on the whole I'm happy with the way the paint scheme has turned out with these so I will take you through the process now. 

The basing scheme,as of yet, I am undecided about due to the fact that South Africa can be an exceptionally vibrant area festooned with rich and intense greens, however nobody who was brought up on a diet of Zulu Dawn and Zulu can deny the attractiveness of the burnt out summer grasses of the Drakenfeld range of mountains in South Africa where Zulu was actually filmed so I'm trying to work out a scheme that will satisfy that aesthetic urge as well.

A frontal view of the base shown above
Ok so lets crack on with this.

Zulu Skin Colour
A base coat of Games Workshops Rhinox Hide
A 1st Highlight of Vallejo's Charred Brown (045)
A 2nd Highlight of Vallejo's Flat Brown (984) - and this one is the REALLY important colour as it provides the final tonality that general observation of the Zulus will give.

A good view showing the Zulu izihlangu war shields that were probably not actually that prolific in 1879
Zulu Weapons and Shields

Assegai (Ikwla) Shaft & Musket/ Rifle Body
A basecoat of Vallejo's German Camo Medium Brown (826)
A 1st highlight of Vallejo's Beige Brown (875) - This is used to paint the grain by painting streaks along the shaft of the Ikwla or Firearm

Ikwla Blade & Musket/ Rifle Barrel
A single coat of Molten Metals 'Steel'

Zulu Shield Colours
For Blacks:
A base coat of Games Workshops Abaddon Black
A 1st highlight of stippled Vallejo's German Grey (995)

For Whites:
A base coat of Vallejo's Iraqi Sand (819)
A 1st highlight of stippled Vallejo's Ivory (918)

A good shot showing one of Pendrakens rifle armed Zulu warriors running forwards with his izihlangu.
Rifles and muskets were actually VERY common amongst the Zulu soldiery by the time of the Anglo-Zulu War
Zulu Clothing

Leather Loincloth
A basecoat of Vallejo's Chocolate Brown (872)
A 1st Highlight of Vallejo's Flat Earth (983) - This can also be used to paint the leather thongs that line the top of the feather frills and that attach the front of the loincloth to the rear loincloth.

A good look at the skin tones aimed for with the paint scheme as described in the text.
Wardress and Decorations

Feather Frills
A basecoat of Vallejo's Chocolate Brown (872)
A 1st highlight of Vallejo's Ivory (918) - This needs to be applied lightly with a mix of drybrush and light paint strokes.

Leopard Skins
A single layer of Vallejo's Yellow Ochre (913)
The spots are painted using Vallejo's Black (950)

Monkey Tails
A single layer of Vallejo's Iraqi Sand (819)
The stripes are painted using Vallejo's Black (950)

A rear view of the umCijo ibutho in all its glory.

So there we have it. You can use whatever varnish you see fit, but for me I prefer to use Army Painters Anti Shine Varnish

These colours should stand your Zulu army in good stead...

Now; Eat Up the Red Soldiers!

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Post Human Republic get some more toys to bring the pain

Well, after what seems like serving a life sentence on the Polish Black Brigade I finally had the opportunity to consider knocking some lumps out of some of the mountainous list that I had set myself at the start of the year.

As my Dropzone Commander PHR are one of the most ball achingly protracted painting methods I have come up with so I figured that getting some of these out of the way can only serve to give me a peaceful retirement in the future...

I, naturally, have a predilection for dividing things into convenient blocks of 'stuff'' which allows me to set myself convenient targets to achieve and I figured that for my PHR this time around I would just try to knock out all of my tanks and land based troop carriers that I own in one go...

So here we are then:

Thor Bombards
I didnt really care how good these tanks, mobile payload delivery device, all round destroyer of armies and cities, looked... I just wanted an excuse to paint them!

As it happens the use of the Mjolnir artillery system is not to be underestimated... this is one vehicle where form and function achieve a happy medium.

If you need to destroy civilisations then look no further...

Thor Bombards... from the rear!

Thor Bombards from the nose...

Taranis MLRS Battery
 By happy coincidence when I purrrr-chased my Thor Bombards they were also supplied with the weapon system for the Taranis.

Not to be one to miss a trick I decided to mount a brass pin the back of the Thors bodies so that I could mount either weapon system when the thoughts took me.

In the final analysis I will probably just need to go by more as I am pretty enamoured with them anyway!

Taranis MLRS from the rear...
The Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) that these guys pack is quite an ordnance piece to have in your pocket as well...

Juno A1's
Already having a pair of these swanning around with my PHR I kind of look at these guys like the Magnolia of the Post Human Republic. Very vanilla and does exactly what it says on the tin.

Carrying a couple of infantry stands, it packs decent enough firepower to go toe to toe with the UCM and come out the other side... and in any case I needed at least one ground unit that is present in some numbers... so four should do!

Juno A1's... again

Angelos Jetskimmers
 I like the Angelos Jetskimmers. They can carry a few troops, which in the PHR arsenal is probably enough to win a battle on their own but they pack a serious punch with their RXs-120 smoothbore heavy cannon. That's the same piece that the Enyo destroyer of buildings totes!

Angelos Jetskimmers... again!

Yet more Angelos Jetskimmers

Angelos I need to say it?

So there we have it. Thats pretty much all of the tank-y stuff that I have for my PHR... now I have to decide whether to crack on with the air mobile units or to address my walkers....

Choices choices...

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Flames of War: Obrona Narodowa (National Defence) Platoon

So these guys are the somewhat unsung heroes of September '39. Along with the State Police (a.k.a The Blue Police) these guys were all over Poland fighting in almost all of the battles... but just like the Blue Police, nobody really seems to give them the credit they deserve.

For me they represent another opportunity for a funky modelling project where I get to put something together that looks a little different from the average so let me run you through a little bit of history and then I'll take you through how I put my ON (Obrona Narodowa) platoon together.

The History of the Obrona Narodowa

The Obrona Narodowa (ON) was a territorial military formation that existed between 1937 and 1939. It comprised a system of Brigades and Demi-Brigades which were each assigned to District Corp Headquarters where in times of need they would be subordinated to specific Polish army groups based on perceived local needs.

The decision to establish an organisation of National Defence units was taken in December 1936, with service in the ON units being based on the well known principles of our own Territorial Army. Initially the National Defence units service was performed exclusively by volunteers of Polish nationality, unrestricted reserve soldiers and the unemployed. The basic organisation was by the Battalion with varying levels of manpower depending upon which model of battalion you were serving in; Types I, II, III, IV and S (there was also a Cavalry ON brigade as well).

Formation of the first ON Battalions began in January 1937 with Reserve Troops populating the territorial system and initially formed on the instigation of each of the District Corps, depending upon whether or not there was a perceived need for more manpower at that time.

National Defence formations were equipped with a variety of uniforms and equipment, rarely modern at inception, although by 1939 many Battalions had been issued uniforms that were to a larger degree identical to the regular army with the exception of formation markings.

Formations of the ON were provided for the short term defensive activities of any given area whereby the ON would assist in the defence of their own homes and other short term defence tasks when under favourable field conditions, principally with the support of regular troops.

ON troops participating in the Zaolzie occupation 1938
It would seem that when the ON were deployed as envisioned they performed admirably though if, through events beyond their control, they were pulled out of their comfort zones and expected to operate in a wider tactical environment their lack of weaponry and training would start to tell very quickly, frequently precipitating a collapse in morale.

When the second world war started Poland was able to mobilise a total of about 83 battalions with a total strength of about 1500 officers and between 50-60,000 NCO's and Privates.

Sequence of Events in 1939

7th April 1939: A root and branch reorganisation of the ON started to take place with the issue of order L. 1022/Tjn which dealt with the theoretical strengths and mobilisation plans for the ON.

2nd May 1939: The start of the physical establishment of the ON Battalions followed soon after with order 1600/ Tjn. HE. and 1601/ Tjn.

New brigades were established and existing ones expanded and in place of the original organisational TO&E's 1,2,3 & 4 the following organisational TO&E's were introduced:

Brigade Headquarters (demi-brigade) ON type I
Brigade Headquarters (demi-brigade) ON type II
Battalion ON Type I
Battalion ON Type II
Battalion ON Type III
Battalion ON Type IV
Battalion ON Type 'S' (Fortress Garrisons. June '39 mobilisation of 12 such battalions was planned)
Company ON Type 'KS' (Cyclists)
Company ON Type 'K' (Cyclists)

The breakdown of a Type IV Obrona Narodowa Battalion

10th May 1939: The commander of Corps Area Command No. VII in Poznan issued order 2398/ Tjn.Org.ON outlining the creation of ON units in the Corps area.

31st May 1939: Brigadier General Kazimierz Sawicki was appointed General for Unit Affairs and Head of the National Defence Agency whilst also retaining the post of Director of the State Office of Physical Education and Military Training.

10th July 1939: The N ational Defence Department is legally separated from the M.S.Wojsk Infantry Department, and is subsequently integrated into the National Defence Agency.
Head of the Obrona Narodowa - Lieutenant Colonel Jozef Zoncyk-Bohusz
Head of Organisational Documentation - Capt Kazimierz Gustaw Czermak
Head of Budget - Captain Stanislaw Marian Bigo
Head of Department - Major Tadeusz Wiktor Rozek

27th July 1939: The Office for Units of the Army issued an order 136/ Tjn. for the formation of ON artillery platoons

28th July 1939: The Office for Units of the Army issued an order 182/ Tjn. for the formation of Gdynia ON Battalion III and the reorganisation of Gdynia ON Battalion II and Kashubian ON Battalion to the Type IV organisational structure

2nd August 1939: The Office for Units of the Army issued an order 183/ Tjn. for the formation of the Dabrowa ON demi brigade

25th August 1939: Brigadier General Bronislaw Regulski was replaced by the Minister of Military Affairs due to a combat alarm carried out by units of the ON.

29th August 1939: The Office for Units of the Army issued an order 349/ Tjn. outlining the change of command organisation for the Poznan and Podhale ON Brigades from Type I to Type II.

29th August 1939: The Office for Units of the Army issued an order 183/ Tjn. for the formation of the National Defence Brigades in Warsaw.

That brings us up to the war....

Owing to the precipitous collapse of the Polish front lines at the start of September the ON were frequently called upon to fight outside of their local environments in circumstances that were not suitable for their organisational imperatives. The most effective battles that the ON waged were when they were fighting for their 'little homeland'. 

This is labelled as an ON section launching an attack but I am almost certain that this is a Cavalry section.
The troops are all wearing cavalry boots and the soldier in the foreground still has spurs on his boots.
In the German overrunning of Army Pomerania (Armii Pomorze) to the west of Bydgoszcz on 2nd September 1939 the ON Battalion 'Koronowo' is a good example of what well led battalions could achieve when fighting for their homes.

With the Polish front line having been overrun by German armoured thrusts the Polish 'Koronowa' ON battalion was all that stood in their path. Without external support they fought off a succession of German waves holding back the entire German 3rd Infantry Division until all ammunition was exhausted. When the ammunition had run out Major Wrzesinksi took the decision to order a bayonet charge instead of a withdrawal. Nobody considered capitulation. They fought to the very end with only a few managing to escape the carnage.

ON soldiers... actually in Greatcoats!
Similar resistance was made by many other battalions throughout Poland although few will come close to the extreme valour demonstrated by the ON Battalions that fought with the Naval Rifle Brigades around Gdynia, most especially on the Oksywie Kepa where 15,000 troops dug themselves into a local hillside and forced the Germans to literally dig them out having to wage over 100 individual  battles over a 10 day period up to 19th September when the commander Colonel Stanislaw Dabek committed suicide and the remaining troops laid down their arms. Kazimierz Pindel wrote: "All Coastal Land Defence forces have been completely destroyed. There was no surrender at Oksywska. The struggle of the few Coastal Defence Troops in comparison to the German forces continued until their destruction by the enemy!" 

The troops did actually eventually surrender, but only when ammunition and food was exhausted, medical supplies were non existent, casualties had risen to over 40% and a complete organisational breakdown had been forced upon the defenders.

Despite what the world may think, Poland was no pushover!

Sadly a lot of the troops serving with the ON were murdered either on the field of battle, or most especially in prisoner of war camps where the ON's efforts to suppress German 5th Column activities drew savage reprisals from their captors. There were a number of officers of various battalions who actually suffered the indignity of being guillotined.


Miniatures portraying some Obrona Narodowa soldiers from 1939 in older pattern uniform items.

The outfitting of soldiers of the National Defence organisations was along the same lines as those of the regular army with the ideal kit being provided being the same as that provided to regular army soldiers.

The reality was somewhat more disparate however with the Brigades frequently, and especially at inception being issued with older pre 1936 military uniforms. As time went by and war approached however replacement of these older uniforms for the newer post 1936 model became more accelerated. Because of this I will only address the more outdated uniforms issued to the ON as, other than ON markings the modern uniforms bore no noticeable difference.

A fine artists impression of an older uniformed Obrona Narodowa soldier of 1939
There were small differences in the uniforms between the ON and the Regulars however, even with the most modern uniforms. So to detail the uniforms:

A typical ON uniform but with a wz.36 helmet
Headwear: Other than the rogatywka cap that the troops habitually wore the ON were issued with old world war 1 era French Adrian helmets. These were eventually replaced by the more modern wz.1936 helmet as war approached.

Upper Body: A standard 'kurtka sukienna' (cotton jacket) was issued. The more modern wz.1936 issue jacket would have been issued as war approached but for wargaming purposes there is practically no difference. Their cotton greatcoats or sleeping blankets would be worn rolled across the chest, over the shoulder and tied together with the other end just above the belt. 

Lower Body: The cloth trousers of the ON were typical of the era and were tight laced around the calves, ballooning out above the knee. One of the most identifiable things about the ON uniforms however was the leg wraps. As opposed to the puttees of most European armies by this time the Polish were still issuing long cotton strips of fabric that were tied around the legs, starting just above the ankle and being tied off below the knee. Even when newer uniforms had been issued many ON formations still retained the use of these wraps.

Feet: The ON were issued older black leather ankle boots. Nothing much to say here. Exactly as it says on the tin!

Equipment: The equipment issued to the ON, such as the webbing, harnesses, ammo pouches and rucksacks etc. was exactly the same as that issued to regular infantry. The older gas mask tin was issued as opposed to the newer canvas bags but other than that there is no practical difference for a wargamer to worry about.

Armament: As a militia organisation that was tasked with defending hearth and home the ON did not have access to the newest weaponry the Polish army was being equipped with. However they were not bereft of heavy weaponry and/or support weaponry that many suppose although much of it had been reallocated before the war started. Some ON Battalions were very well furnished, such as those in the Karpaty whilst others such as those up in Grodno were somewhat bereft.

Typically the personal weapons issued were old French Mannlicher rifles of World War 1 vintage with a smattering of equally unPolish lmgs, such as the French Berthier's. As time went by more BAR's were issued although they kept their French rifles. Ammunition on the field of battle was to be a perennial problem.

Insignia: The ON uniforms had no insignia on them other than the coat of arms of the Obrona Narodowa and a collar flash of white over red cut diagonally on both jackets and cloaks. The older Adrian helmets could also be found sporting the Polish Eagle, although the majority of these had been removed by the time war broke out. Ranks were carried on epaulettes just as with other arms.  

Modelling the Obrona Narodowa

Organisationally speaking the ON Type IV Battalions were a bit different from the average Polish company. Each company, as expected would contain three platoons each of three sections... but this is where the similarities end. Each section was only 15 men as opposed to the normal 19. There is questions as to how many LMG's the platoons would have access to as well although just for variety I've included a base in each section with a team.

So, I can obviously just choose to repurpose my normal piechoty for use as Obrona Narodowa should I choose but I just can't help feeling that I would be missing out on another modelling opportunity and a chance to field something  just this side of funky!

The full Obrona Narodowa platoon in all its undermanned and undergunned glory!

I decided that I would opt to model and field an ON platoon equipped with the older uniforms that were initially issued in 1937. That would mean the older Adrian helmets, leg wrap putties, rolled greatcoats/blankets and an assortment of weird and wonderful weapons (OK so practically this would just mean an alternative LMG)

A full section of 15 conscripts advancing, waved on by their NCO in the middle.

I cast my eyes about the wargames world to find some options. Generally speaking the armed forces of the world of this time period all wore similar uniforms that could be nicely done with a little nip and tuck. One option was obviously the True North National Defence troops which is a manufacturer I normally swear by but I just wanted to try something different, and in any case the True North ones have been sculpted without the leg wrap putties, in fact the only difference here would be the helmets and at the moment I am very taken with my chosen alternatives.

A closer look at one of the LMG bases

I settled on the Carlist range of Spanish Civil War miniatures by Peter Pig, whose heads I quickly removed. These were then replaced with Adrian helmet heads, again provided by Peter Pig and Czapka heads, also provided by the same. 

A closer look at the platoon command base.... complete with their very own Catholic, cross toting nutter!

It would be nice if they actually sculpted Rogatywka heads, which is what the Poles actually wore in the field as opposed to the czapkas which were actually chiefly worn with dress uniforms, parades and special functions... for a lack of an alternative I had to go ahead and use them anyway. 

An excuse to have a closer look at one of the Sergeants

The benefit of the Carlist miniatures is that with the exception of water bottles these miniatures wear the correct form of belt, harness and ammo pouches, have leg wraps, have the blanket/greatcoat rolled across the body and sling the rest of their bags in almost the same way as ON troops. They were an ideal fit once all of the heads had been replaced.

A look at the rear of the soldiers showing to good effect their rolled blankets, leg wrap putties, Adrian helmets and packs.

Given that the Poles are a bit Catholic nutty and I figured it would only have been worse in 1939, especially given the fact that they were having their own Jewish pogrom before the Germans even bounced across their borders I thought I would keep the Holy Cross touting Carlist and use him as a proxy banner bearer along with two officers. 

A decent view of one of the sections advancing straight towards the camera crew :D

Unlikely this would ever have happened in a real battle of course but I do like the idea of a hard pressed ON battalion being brought back to the fight by a lonely officer or NCO hauling a cross into the air, planting it firmly in the ground and urging his men to take not one further step backwards!

Anyway apart from that all of the painting was completed as with everything else Polish that I've done and just so with the bases!

The whole platoon viewed from the front, command in the background!

So Im left with the feeling that this particular little force went so well that I decided to go ahead and order one more platoon of Carlists, and enough weird and wonderful troops types and heads to allow me to create 2 HMG teams, 1 mortar team, 1 anti tank gun team and three horse drawn wagons of typically rural types... I just cant help adding these little projects!

Its no wonder I never seem to finish anything! :D