Thursday, 2 April 2020

Jacklex Egyptian gunners conversions

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I have had a go at making a white coated artillery unit for Jack's colonial army Egyptian force.  I am also making and infantry unit in white these to follow, along with standard bearers.  

In theory, this is relatively simple since it is just a matter of a head swap.   I used the Sudanese/Egyptian advancing figure for the head on the Indian gunner body because I had a set (i think they would look better on the British gun crew designed for the field gun, but I used what I had).  I decided to cut away the havelock which the figure is wearing whilst it was on the original figure, this was fairly simple.

Once I did this life became that much more difficult once I removed the head, as I drill into the head and body and attach them with wire and superglue.  The area of 'neck/head' I had to drill into and hold was very small.  Managed to drill my figure as the drill bit slid then it seem to take forever.  Eventually, I got there but not without doubting my own sanity for trying this in the first place. Probably the secret is a soldering iron or even some green stuff to join the head and body!!

Anyway, they work or pass the distance test.  I have to make an officer.  I am going to use the Naval Officer from the Gatling gun team as he isn't looking though binoculars.  Found it almost impossible to get a head of one of the standard Gunnery officer.  Ruined two figures trying it as the arms broke away.

The Naval Officer is less animated than the infantry officer with pistol.  This time I left the havelock on this gave me much bigger (but still small) area to hold and drill into once I removed the head.  THIS WAS MUCH SIMPLER - why did I cut the havelocks off first I ask myself.  Once in place and the glue had dried, cutting the havelock away was just as easy.  Sometimes stupid doesn't cover it!

The Naval Officer conversion.

I thought the uniform a little too white so I did a little bit of lining using brown ink. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

A couple more conversions for Mahdist Gunners

I felt that the Madhist forces should have one more gun and whilst the Indian gunners make an easy conversion, I also felt that the poses were a little too formal.  When he sent me some gunners Mark also included a couple of British Gunners the standing figure with the rammer and the other carrying a shell. I did a head swap for an Indian gunner head and added a bit of green stuff a little more successfully that before and think they ring the changes.  Wish my left eye was better as the painting isn't all that.  But I think they work.


I only had a mountain gun to show the figures against, but I think they will look better against the field gun.

I was looking at a clip of the Gordon of Khartoum film just to get an idea of the gun crews, mostly the Egyptian forces and noticed for the very first time that in the final battle scenes for the attack on Khartoum, the film includes a field gun being drawn into position by a limber team driven by Mahdists outriders.  Have seen the film many times before but never noticed it before! We have lots of gun teams in Jack's colonial army so I have ask Mark if he can send me a couple of Madhist mounted standard bearers (no shields or weapons to cut off) so I can substitute them for the British outriders on one team.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Mahdist Gunners

Some eagle eyed viewers of the post reviewing Jack's colonial armies spotted a set of Madhist gunners and I have had a couple of questions about them and whether they ever went into production.  The simple answer is 'no' they are my conversions.

I have to confess that once Bob laid out all the figures we started asking ourselves why Jack never got around to making certain figures, and why over all the years we hadn't noticed?  

We had gone over the thorny ground of 'Senior Command' command figures with him lots of times, but in Jack's wargames they really didn't count, so you only come across them in the ACW range.  Same with Standard bearers and the struggle even Stuart Asquith had trying to get him to make them for the colonial range.  I still remember Jack shaking his head and saying they never had them and finally bowing to pressure and making them but never casting or adding them to his collection.

Anyway, back to what struck us as missing.  On the Mahdist side we both felt they would benefit from some artillery. Guns were captured during the war and turned on the British and Egyptian allies.  From what I have read gunners were often Egyptian artillerymen captured and forced to work the guns or indeed deserters/converts to the Mahdist cause.

Having done lots of conversions for my S range armies I figured it must be possible to do the same thing for the Jacklex figures.  Looking at the figures on the table, I came to the conclusion that the simplest and quickest way to give the Mahdist some gunners (we had plenty of guns!) was to use the Indian artillery figures.  They have turbans after all so I was a good way there, Mark Lodge ( very kindly set me a couple of sets and I set to with my scalpel and sandpaper and removed all the belts and pouches, not to difficult.  I then added a little bit of 'green stuff' to hang down from the turban and already the figures looked different.  I them added more 'green stuff' to extend the jackets.  The paint job hides a multitude of sins as I can never seem to get it right with that stuff!  Jack always used 'Plastic Padding' so I am going to try that in future.  Anyway, in terms of conversions I made two crews, we didn't need lots and all eight figures didn't take very long at all.  The longest bit was waiting for the 'green stuff' to harden.  Yes, exactly like watching paint dry!  

This has spurred me on to do a set of head swaps to give the Egyptian/Sudanese contingent a set of gunners in white with red fezzes, should look rather fetching, using the British artillery figures as the basis.  I will post some pictures once they are done.  

Jack update

Just a quick update, Jack had his operation on his hip and is now doing rehab.  I am told he isn't being the best patient (polite) as he is fed up being in hospital and just wants to get home, back to his model making and no doubt his glass or two of Merlot!. Unfortunately, because of my chemo treatment I haven't been able to visit him but am keeping in touch with the family for updates.  They passed on all your best wishes which I am told he was touched by.  Many thanks.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Jack's Colonial Army

Jack has allowed Bob to take all his Colonial figures so we can have a game with them.  Bob has put all the figures on the table and whilst we have played with them in the past it has been with parts of the collection.  For the first time Bob has put out all the British, Indian and Sudanese and supporting artillery on the table together,  We both think there are some more floating about but even so they look impressive and it is the first time we have seen them like this.  So I went and took some pictures before they go back in their boxes.  

Bob also laid out the Mahdist forces.. Jack painted the overwhelming bulk of these figures over 40 years ago,

The really good thing is that these lovely figures are now available from

Mahdist Forces

Jack made the scratch built the fort.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Jack Takes a Tumble

At the age of 90 Jack decided to do a bit of housekeeping to mop up some water and whilst getting a mop and bucket took a fall and fractured his hip.  Fortunately, because he is an active soul his heart is good and they are planning to operate to support his fracture so that it can heal,

With any luck he will be up and about soon and back home with his family and finishing the wooden model ship he is working on. Once he has had the op Bob and I are going to see him in hospital.  I will keep you updated on progress.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Jacklex Miniatures - 1904 Russian Standard Bearer

For many years Bob and I had been on at Jack to make a Standard Bearer for his White Coated Russian army and it had always fallen on deaf ears.  Quite literally at times as Jack's hearing has a nasty habit of coming and going very dramatically!  At 90 you can't really moan.

When we met with Mark Lodge the new owner of the Jacklex range Bob, Jack and I discussed the need for various figures to finish this range and again top of our priority list was a standard bearer.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I return from a family holiday to Portugal to find a small package containing 6 Russian standard bearers.

Now I am still awaiting the operation on my cataract but I thought I would nevertheless give them ago.  Not my finest work but they do add something to Jack's Russian army.  The flags are a free download from the 1866 and all that blog .

Each regiment should have 2 flags but I only had 6 standard bearers for now! 

Needless to say my eye did let me down and I discovered that I had managed to stick one of the flags on upside down!

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

New Jacklex Miniatures Russian 1904 machine gun and crew

In a recent post on the new Jacklex Miniatures range due to be launched in the next few days, I mentioned that Mark Lodge had added a 1904 Russian Machine gun to the Jacklex range as part of a plan over time to fill in some of the gaps in the original range.  Although he kindly sent me a model, problems with the cataract in my left eye prevented me from painting it.

On his way back to Yorkshire, Mark called in on me yesterday and saw Bob and I and a very enjoyable time was had but, more importantly, he brought me a surprise painted Russian machine gun crew and crucially some Japanese reinforcements.

This set has been superbly painted and is a great addition to the range.  Jack himself was really impressed when I showed it to him.

The price of the set if to be confirmed.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Jack's Japanese Army

About 8 years ago Bob, Jack and I had a game using Jack’s 1904 Japanese, only we used them as Mexican regulars removing their Japanese flags and substituting Mexican ones.

For the past 8 years or so I have been asking Jack what happened to them as I wanted to take pictures of them for the this blog.  They must be in the loft was the common thought as we had looked everywhere else for them.  Jack even sent his grandson into the distant and dirty recess of his loft to try to find them.  He did find some lovely 54mm British colonials – not Jack’s - and a box containing some masters for wagon’s and guns but alas no Japanese!

Jack uses the conservatory at his home for his model making and it is where we sit and discuss the meaning of life, wargaming and from time to time the missing Japanese. Jack’s daughter decided things should be tided up – particularly the floor which was becoming a little crowded.  

Lo and behold, behind some books which were under a glass display cabinet she discovered the Japanese.  Over the years we have all sat next to this cabinet from time to time puzzling over were the figures could be and all the time they were within feet or even inches of our feet!

So I give you Jack’s Jacklex Japanese army.  These were originally available - UPDATE except for the limber teams - but didn’t all make it into the Spenser Smith site but hopefully should be available at some point through the new Jacklex website which launches on 30th September.

I painted them in Blue uniforms to add a little variety

As mentioned in the introduction, the last time these figures were on the gaming table they doubled up as Mexican regulars by changing the flags