Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Arms Race Continues

Time to get back to work on some more toys for my 1914 game.

Since the biggest need was more ordinary infantry, I decided to start by fixing up some toy guns and figuring out what to do with the makings of some bicycle scouts.

Field Artillery and Bicycle Scouts in various states from conception to completion.

Repainting one of the Crescent 18 pdrs was easy. The 25 Pdr Howitzer Conversion is proving more problematic. The original plan was to replace the broken wheels and call it a 4.5" and perhaps that may yet be how it ends up.

Apart from the issues with how accurate a toy it would be, I started to wander when I thought it might be nice for my French friends to have their own artillery. Since I'm only planning on two allied field artillery pieces  and I have nothing like the famous 75, I thought perhaps they should have the Howitzer. Imagine my surprise that confidence in the capabilities of the 75 was so high that a field howitzer had been thought unnecessary. Quite apart from the completely different appearance of heavy howitzers, they wouldn't normally appear on table so it was back to a 4.5" for the British and I turned my mind to the pair of unassembled 3d printed bicycles. (Actually I think there may be more, including the second set of handlebars, I'm just not exactly sure where except that they aren't in with the steam engine kits, but two are all I need anyway.)

Originally they were going to be German but having seen a picture of a French Cyclist in natty red breeches I changed my mind, right up until I saw a picture of British cyclists and thought they might be of more use in other theatres of war in coming years. So I decided to look at OB's to see which would be the best fit for the scenario. By chance, my allied forces are almost all Colonial troops. Apparently, both nations had determined that bicycles were more useful on the paved roads of Europe than in foreign mountains, deserts and jungles. Neither the African nor Indian formations included cyclists. The German Jaegers did though and that is an easier conversion so Jaeger bicycle scouts it will be!

However, the same OB indicated that the heavy artillery for the Indian Corps consisted of 4.7" Guns not 4.5" Howitzers. ARGH!  I could swap in my Boer War era 4.7"  for a rather appropriate Wellsian Little Wars look but I wanted one Howitzer on each side!  I also want to convert that broken 25 pdr into something useful! After some more brain straining, I decided that the confused situation during the Race to the Sea would excuse having elements from the BEF being reinforced first by French Colonial troops and then by elements of the Indian Corps.

So, I am going to do the Jaeger  bicycle scouts first, then I'm going to get some better wheels, move the axle to lower the over all profile and  then shorten the barrel on the 25 pdr to better approximate a 4.5" howitzer. It still won't be an accurate model but it might be a more identifiable toy.

Image from Wikipedia


  1. Would like some 42mm bikes. There's this Middlesex Volunteer Regiment with natty grey uniforms and they will need transport...

  2. "Since the biggest need was more ordinary infantry, I decided to start by fixing up some toy guns and figuring out what to do with the makings of some bicycle scouts."

    Sounds legit! ha ha
    (perfectly sound hobbyist reasoning) :)

    1. Agreed. Infantry are way less interesting than guns and specialist troops riding bikes!

  3. Can't wait to see how the bicycle scouts turn out!

    1. Less exciting than they are in my head I expect but I'm looking forward too.

  4. That is some excellent planning there squire.

  5. Dear Ross,

    I also possess the almost inexplicable need to "get it right" on the table top. But, in reality, if you don't mention it at a game, who would know? Perhaps the French captured a German battery and are now turning it on its former owners. Or maybe the gun was presented by the King of Belgium in gratitude for great martial valor on the part of the French. Who would care, really?
    Your figures look smashing as usual and I hope they give you much pleasure going forward.

    1. Jerry, as a last resort I agree, after all my Germans use an almost cartoonish heavy howitzer, but I have barely looked at the possibilities so its too soon to give up.