Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Port Sunlight Company of Territorials

Tally ho chaps!

I've been rather busy on and off with other projects but I'm back in the Wirral now and working hard. Here's the latest addition to the factions fighting for control of Port Sunlight and the surrounding countryside.

I present to you.... The Port Sunlight Company of Territorials, ‘D’ Company, 4/5 Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment. At present I'm still waiting on some officer figures for the unit command and I want to add some more support in the form or a mortar and possibly an artillery piece as well.

Remember to click for large versions of the pictures...

There is more info on the composition of the force on the factions page.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Twilight Years: The Paradox of Britain Between the Wars

I picked up a copy of The Twilight Years: The Paradox of Britain Between the Wars cheap on sale earlier this week.

It looks like a pretty decent tome and I'll post a brief review once I've had a chance to read it.

There's more info on the bibliogrpahy page.

Starhemberg's Storm Company

A new faction has emerged in Port Sunlight! Starhemberg's Storm Company is painted and fielded by the most honourable of gentlemen, Cory of Canister and Grape.

Here's some background and you can find a detailed unit breakdown on the factions page.

Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg, one time vice chancellor of Austria and leader of the Vaterländische Front, was pushed from the Austrian government in 1936 for his anti-Nazi/anti-unification views. Forced to leave due to the impending unification with Germany, he was contacted by Emma Picton-Bryant of the British Fascisti, and was persuaded to come to the UK to form an anti-Bolshevik volunteer force from like minded Austrians. He gathered his closest supporters, collected what equipment he or his powerful friends still in Austria and Germany could find, and sailed to the UK.

The unit is rabidly anti-communist, anti-liberal and will happily fight any of these forces, on the other hand dislikes the BUF due to their pro Nazi stance. It is a close associate of the British Fascisti, more to do with their central European connections than any strong ideological links. Any LDV force with a significant Catholic membership could also probably count on their support if they were having problems with leftist forces. Starhemberg himself, particularly dislikes "Bully Boy" Boyce thinking he is a typical lower class rabble rousing bombast.

The unit musters a little under 70 men, it has 2 rifle platoons with attached LMGs, a HMG section, a AT rifle section and an assault squad of SMG and bomb armed troops. All troops have had some experience, even if for some it was guarding a important street intersection during the Austrian February Uprising of 1934. The assault squad, all the officers and NCOs on the other hand all have had a considerable amount of experience, ranging from service in WW1, various Heimwehr and/or Freikorps actions, to the February Uprising. They are familiar with both street combat and fighting irregular forces. The unit would count as trained regular troops except for the assault squad who would count as veterans. The unit's morale is uniformly high, but it likely to erode if the conflict continues for any length of time.

Starhemberg's Storm Company wears a mix of old Austrian and British uniforms, worn with peaked hats or Stalhelms. The Company uses the old Freikorp skull as a unit badge from Starhemberg's Freikorp Oberland days. It is armed with a mix of German and British equipment, the majority armed with Mauser rifles. The company is weakest in transport, with only a couple of cars and trucks, it's major coup so far though is that it has managed to capture a Rolls Royce armoured car.

The unit has been moved to a new base in Chester, after too many incidents with the BUF while being based in Manchester, and is currently being used in actions against the Liverpool Free State, and gasp! Port Sunlight.

Troubled times ahead for Port Sunlight it seems!

Millsy & Cory

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Port Sunlight Worker's Militia

After a long layoff I'm back to work and have finished my first troops - the Port Sunlight Worker's Militia or PSWM, seen here with borrowed transport from the Soap Factory. These are Musketeer Miniatures with a DIY flag and finial from Crusader. You can read more about them on the factions page. Remember to click for bigger pictures and feel free to comment.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Motor Pool III

I've been a bit on the quiet side regards poor old VBCW, spending more time painting fantasy stuff. Anyway, I'm back in the saddle for a little while at least and have knocked out a couple more vehicles for the motor pool.

Firstly, a BUF recon / post racer. Not sure how much use I'll have for this but I couldn't think of a better use for the car and it might provide some interesting scenario opportunities...

Secondly, an armoured car for my Royalists (or possibly others if captured). This is the Austin Type 3 from Sloppy Jalopy and very nice she is too. The machine guns are a little low meaning they might have some issues firing forwards, all adding to the chaos I suppose. ;-)

Comments welcome as always.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Thirties in Colour

Last night I started watching The Thirties in Colour (BBC DVD, 2009). I would not say I'm disappointed with the DVD but there are certainly elements that are less than ideal to my mind.

I was hoping for a general look at the period with simple background info on the footage. Stuff like, where, when, what, etc. There would have to be some interpretation to put the footage in perspective but this might have been kept to a minimum and simply factual.

Instead the DVD is a series of video opinions from a series of academic and "expert" talking heads, overlaid on admittedly spectacular footage. The commentators spend a lot of time explaining that the people taking to pictures are white and upper middle or higher class which is hardly earth shaking news to be honest. Everything is coloured (no pun intended) with the commentator's perceptions and opinions.

This doesn't detract from the footage itself but it does make you want to turn the sound off at times so you can absorb what is on the screen and take from it what you want, not what somebody else thinks you should. In the end the footage is worth the effort though. There is a good combination of subjects and places and the quality itself is quite surprising at times. Thankfully there is also little in the way of reconstructions which are fine in their own right but are often used to pad out a lack of genuine material.

Still worth a watch but not a DVD I'd be in any hurry to buy. I got mine from local library. More details are available on the bibliography page.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Port Sunlight Worker's Militia (PSWM)

Today I properly kicked off plans for the first of my factions - the Port Sunlight Worker's Militia a.k.a. the PSWM.

As I said in my opening post, the PSWM are more socialist than communist. They are composed of workers from the soap factory who have formed themselves into a militia to defend their jobs and homes and often "borrow" factory assets like trucks to further their activities. Whilst the factory managment don't directly endorse the PSWM they certainly turn a blind eye to their activities, happy to derive the benefits of their efforts whilst remaining in the background.

I've designed a flag for the PWSM to be carried into action alongside the unit. The sun and anchor represent Port Sunlight, whilst the red, white and blue are popular colours with the soap brand.

The initial strength will be a meagre 10 men composed of Leader, 2iC, Colour Bearer, LMG Gunner, Bomber and five Militia. They already have transport so it's time to get painting.

For more info see the factions page.

Cheerio comrades!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wheel meet again...

Gentlefolk, good morrow!

Here's the next batch of diecast repaints, hot off the production line. This set are Lledo / Corgi / Lledo from a couple of eBay auctions. Little in the way of modifications or repairs to these were required with the exception of the bus which had the wheels replaced with set of Lego ones ("liberated" from the kids).

Remember to click for bigger images...

Stately Saloon, Wirral Socialist Collective Bus and Lever Brothers Steam Lorry
The saloon was disassembled, rubbed back and given a spray of matt black. This was followed by a coat of GW Dark Angels Green and dry brushed in GW Snot Green. The wheels and tyres were left "as is" because I was happy enough with them.

The bus was disassembled, given a rub back and then a base coat of GW Foundation Red followed by GW Blood Red and a final dry brush of GW Bleached Bone. The wheels are a really old set of Lego solid rubber numbers from when I was a kid (yes, me). That makes em 30-35 or so years old and still going strong. Some cutting was required but they fit nicely and are much better than the tatty Corgi plastic ones. Signs done in Photoshop completed the job.

Finally, the steam lorry was once again disassembled, rubbed back and given a coat of matt black. GW Dark Angels Green followed with a dry brush of GW Goblin Green. The wheels were dressed up a bit with the nuts painted but nothing else. A new timber tray was added and stained / dirtied up and finally some more Photoshop signage added.

As with the first set these are awaiting only number plates and a spray of matt varnish but until the weather improves for a few days that won't happen.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

BUF Signs & Posters

I produced a bunch of BUF images, signs and posters for the diecast vehicles I repainted recently. A number of people have expressed an interest in a PDF version for their own use so here it is! At some point I will most likely produce a second sheet of material but I'll need some help with inspiration - slogans, images and the like so feel free to leave comments...

You can download a hi-res version or lo-res version depending on your needs.

It's also available on the resources page.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some light reading

I received my copy of 1930s Britain by Robert Pearce from Book Depository yesterday. I've already read through the first couple of chapters and it seems OK.

To be truthful I was hoping for something a little more comprehensive and with some info on the political situation in the thirties but there is a definite lack in that area.

Having said that it's a good general introduction to life in the period and certainly not money wasted. I will need to keep my eye out for something else with more detail on the political side though.

Full info on the bibliography page...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Soap Factory Lorry

Here's my second effort at repainting a diecast vehicle. This one is also a Lledo which I scored from eBay recently. In this case it's a BOC Gases lorry (sans gas tanks which will go to make a bit of terrain I think).

This one was red with black running boards to start with and although I've kept the red colour for the chassis I've switched the tray to black as much because I could as anything I suppose. To begin with everything was disassembled before rubbing back with a fine paper. The black parts were sprayed and the red hand painted using GW Foundation Red followed by GW Red Gore. Everything got a drybrush and the details were picked out before being put back together. As with the BUF vans the wheels were immobilised, a new timber tray installed and the Photoshop signage applied. A number plate and matt varnish will see the end of work on this little chap too.

Remember to click on the pics for full sized versions...

If anything I'm happier with this one than the BUF vans. The colours really work plus the posters add a nice touch and tie it in with the factory of course. I'll need at least one more factory lorry but I'm not sure about the colour scheme for the next one. More red and black would be in keeping with a livery theme but maybe not as interesting from a modelling perspective.

Next up? Not sure as yet, although I already have a saloon in pieces ready to start. Maybe I should paint some chaps to ride about in the completed vehicles first!


BUF Transport

Today I've just about finished my first repainted vehicles. The following are two of the Lledo vans I got from eBay (Dairy Farm Bakery and Marks & Spencers). The Dairy Farm Bakery van was missing the roof and was quite knocked about so I decided to armour that one up, plus rebuild my own roof. The M&S van is pretty much as it arrived in terms of structure. They will both (obviously!) be in service as BUF transports.

Both vehicles were completely disassembled, rubbed back with a fine paper and resprayed in matt black. From there it was a case of dry brushing and picking out details. The armoured windows are corrugated craft card a.k.a. corrugated iron. The wheels have been immobilised. All the insignia and propaganda posters were knocked up in Photoshop and printed on high quality paper. All that remains to be done is number plates and a couple of coats of matt varnish.

Remember to click on the pics for full sized versions...

Having never repainted a diecast before I'm fairly happy with these overall, especially the artwork. I'm a bit worried about the durability of the paintwork but only time will tell on that score.

Next up: transport for the stalwart factory chaps from the soap factory.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yesterday's Wirral

Huzzah! History books!

Something I've been very eagerly awaiting arrived in the post today - three books from the Yesterday's Wirral series published by Ian Boumphrey and available from (no surprise) the Yesterday's Wirral website. These are fabulous local history guides to various parts of the Wirral and include a tremendous collection of period photos, time lines and text.
Yesterday's Wirral. More inspiration than I could have hoped for!
I was extremely lucky to get my hands on some of these as they are OOP. I just happened to get lucky in that when I emailed Ian (lovely guy BTW!) he had a few copies which had been returned to him by another chap.

The one I am most impressed with is Port Sunlight: A Pictorial History 1888 to 1953 which runs to a massive 120 x A4 pages and contains nearly 500 black and white photographs covering all manner of things backed up by 1,200 odd factoids.

To say these contain more inspiration that I could have hoped for is a massive understatement. It's going to take a good few days to read through them two or three times over. Then the real task begins of restraining my enthusiasm! Just tonight I've found great ideas for two of my protagonists - The Port Sunlight Company of Territorials ('D' Company, 4/5 Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment) and the Works Fire Guard.

See the bibliography page for full details...

Toodle pip,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Motor Pool part II

My second set of vehicles arrived from eBay yesterday to add to the growing motor pool. This time around there was 9 in total, plus I also found a sports car I was given a while ago by friends.

This first photo is comprised of three Matchbox cars and a truck. There are the largest vehicles I've bought and although I'm not very happy with them in terms of size (they are on the large side) they are certainly nice cars.

Matchbox saloons and a van
The second photo comprises six Lledo cars and trucks. These are the most pleasing of all the vehicles I've bought and there are a couple (BBC radio van and saloon) which I'm tempted not to do anything to at all. Not only is the scale the best match to 28mm miniatures, the overall quality of materials and finish is supeior.

Lledo cars and trucks. Nice!
So there we have it. I'm going to hold off buying any more vehicles now until I've got the vast majority of these into a "finished" i.e. table-ready state. In most cases that will mean a repaint as a minimum. In several instances it will also mean some conversion work which will be fun. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maps, maps, maps...

As I start to plan some activity in and around Port Sunlight I need a decent reference. Fortunately there are quite a few decent mapping sites on t'Internet which allow purchase and download of a range of good period maps.

Today I purchased and downloaded a "1923-1924 Popular Edition" at 1:30,000 scale from Cassini Maps. This gives me a good idea of the higher level features and terrain in and around Port Sunlight. Here's a snippet:

Port Sunlight and surrounds - 1923-1924 Popular Edition by Cassini Maps
I've also got my eye on a "1938 Pre-WWII" at 1:10,560 from Old Maps. That's super detailed and will give me some much more specific info on buildings, roads and terrain for individual scenarios. Even better it's bang on 1938 so I don't think I can do much better than that.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

The beginnings of a Motor Pool

Having read a lot of material on using diecast vehicles in 28mm I decided to have a try at it myself. Given the considerable cost difference between these and resin / whitemetal scale kits this is a good place to start.

I got the following from eBay for about AUD $15 which was pleasing. They're a mixture of Lledo (x1) and Corgi (x4). The Lledo vehicles are a fair bit nicer, especially the wheels. The Corgi wheels have a very cheap look and feel about them.

Corgi, Lledo, Corgi, Corgi and Corgi.
So what to do? The Lledo van will get turned into something armoured, probably for the BUF. The two tankers might do for some sort of factory vehicles or army fuel tankers. The bus is trickier and I might give that some more thought.

I've got another nine vehicles of different sorts on the way, also from eBay. That should do me for a while I think given I still have to clean them and and repaint where necessary.

What ho!

Sourcebooks! At last!

Last night my first three source books arrived from North Star Military Figures and I've been madly reading and filling my head with ideas...
Core source book (2nd Ed) and background supplements 1 & 2
Published by Solway Crafts and Miniatures, the books are simply brilliant, chock full of interesting background, ideas and some marvellous pics of other people's miniatures and games. I'd highly recommend them to anyone considering gaming VBCW.

Now if only some miniatures would arrive from Gripping Beast...


It begins...

Where it all started! The iconic Sunlight Soap packaging
Hello all,

Welcome to "Port Sunlight 1938", a wargames blog about Port Sunlight and the Wirral in the UK.

The genre is A Very British Civil War (VBCW) in the late 1930s, so although the setting itself and much of the background is real, from now on things get interesting...

Port Sunlight is an ideal setting (to my mind!) for an ongoing struggle. The soap factory has a natural byproduct in glycerin, which has obvious uses in the manufacture of explosives. The workers of the soap factory, desperate to preserve their more or less idyllic working environment, struggle against outside influences who would invade, take over or otherwise infringe on the factory, the community and surrounding area. They are aided by and allied to the more formalised pro-Sunlight forces in the area (see below). The communists of the LFS, local BUF / fascist bodies and other militant forces would all dearly love access to the glycerin and raid frequently to that end.

My initial planning so far is heading this way...

Potential protagonists:
  1. Port Sunlight Worker's Militia (PSWM). More socialist than communist, the workers of the soap factory have formed themselves into a militia to defend their jobs and homes. They often "borrow" factory assets like trucks to further their activities.
  2. Leverhulme Local Defence Volunteers (LLDV). Raised by the current Lord Leverhulme and based at Thornton Manor, the LLDV are dedicated to preservation of the local area, including the industrial infrastructure.
  3. Others: Cheshire Yeomanry, Liverpool Docks Communists, Manchester BUF, Welsh, etc, etc.
Caveats of the project:
  1. At all times the memory and history of the original Lord Lever, his family and what they stood for should be respected. My "inner gentleman philanthrope" will not permit anything less!
  2. Anyone is free to suggest ideas, participate or otherwise enter into the fun provided they respect point 1.
So here we go. Post number one is out of the way.

Tally bally ho!