Flats – two dimensions instead of three


Too many years ago for me to recall, as a callow twenty-one year old youth, I made my first overseas trip from New Zealand. This was during my first bout of enthusiasm for the wargaming hobby (my present involvement in the hobby was rekindled in my 40s), so I made a point of visiting some of the European shangri-la’s of miniature soldiers.

One of the most impressive of these was the Plassenburg Castle. This medieval fortress, nestled picturesquely above the beautiful Bavarian town of Kulmbach, houses a museum containing literally hundreds of thousands of flat tin soldiers, or “zinnfiguren” as they are known in Germany.

I couldn’t resist buying a few flat miniatures to keep as souvenirs. When I got back home to New Zealand, I painted the figures and arranged them onto bases. Since then these dioramas have accompanied me through the various flats and houses I’ve lived in, surviving my abandonment of the wargaming interest for twenty years, until my return to the hobby four years ago.

Over that period, they have survived remarkably well, considering their fragility. One halberd has snapped off, and the varnish has yellowed somewhat. But otherwise they are all still as good as new.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you too much about the painting techniques I used, as I’ve forgotten, it was so long ago. I’m not even sure if they were done in enamels or acrylics!

Here then, for your enjoyment and edification, are pictures of the flats in my small collection.


The first diorama, containing figures made by Maier, depicts a laboratory in the Plassenburg in 1677. The alchemist Krohnemann is showing Margrave Christian Ernst something that might just be gold (but probably isn’t!). There is also another gentleman and his lady friend, a priest, and an assistant. Even the table and stove are completely flat. As I recall, I made the bricks for the base out of Das modelling clay. The rather ugly title was made with Letraset (remember, we didn’t have PCs with printers back then!).


The next diorama depicts the great German writer Friedrich Schiller reading from his drama “Die Räuber” to his friends. He attended the Duke of Wurttemberg’s military academy, the Karlsschule, and was forced by the domineering duke to study medicine. After graduating in 1780 he became an army surgeon, attached to a military life he abhorred. He wrote “Die Räuber” in 1781, so perhaps this group of friends are fellow officers from the Wurttemberg army. The tree (also flat) came with this set, but I made the stone fence and the terrain from Das modelling clay. The ground has been covered with static grass.


The final group shows a princely travelling carriage, circa 1560. The carriage is accompanied by a horseman and two halberdiers. At one stage I did know who was in the carriage, but unfortunately I have long since lost those details. If I remember correctly, it was a wedding ceremony of one of the Kulmbach nobles. I never got round to basing this group (which probably accounts for the fact that this is the only group that has incurred some damage over the years – one of the halberdiers now has a broken weapon).

So, there we are, that is my small collection of flat figures. They certainly have a charm of their own. The animation and anatomy are perfect – the makers were true artists. Of course, they are of no use whatsoever for wargaming, but they certainly look nice in my study!

This article first appeared on the now-defunct Kapiti Fusiliers website on 10 September 2003. The story still holds true today thirteen years later, though I did have a wee  accident and dropped the top base, so it needs some touching up.  



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What is it?


Here’s a detail pic of my next modelling project with which I’ll unleash mayhem on my opponents in Bolt Action.  Know what it is?




Filed under Uncategorized, WW2

Good news and bad news

Let’s start with the good news.  May ’40 Miniatures have released production diagrams of the armoured car to accompany their forthcoming range of WW2 Dutch figures in 28mm. They’ve been hinting at this model of a Landsverk M36 for some time, but yesterday they finally released these pics.



The model will be  have a resin body and turret, and metal details. Not all the details are shown on these production images yet.

The M36 was a medium armoured car originating from Sweden, built by Landsverk as the L181. It was armed with a 37mm canon in a fully revolving turret, and three machine guns. The Dutch purchased twelve of these vehicles in 1936 and issued them to the 1st armoured car squadron. The Dutch later purchased fourteen M38 versions in 1938, which were mainly issued to the 2nd armoured car squadron.

Specifications (from War over Holland website)

Manufacturer: A.B. Landsverk [Landskrona, Sweden]
In service: 1936 – 1940


12 off M.36
12 off M.38
2 off M.38 command-car
Service: Cavalry, 1st and 2nd Squadron Armoured Cars
Role: Armoured reconnaissance, support, AT
Manufacturer optics: Nedinsco [Venlo, Holland]
Armament: 37 mm semi-automatic gun, Bofors
3 off machineguns 7.9 mm Lewis
Ammunition gun: HE and AP
Crew: 5 [2 drivers, 2 gunners, 1 commander]
Weight: 7 tonnes
Dimensions: 5.87 x 2.24 x 2.33 [L x W x H]
Chassis and engine: Daimler-Benz [M.36] and Büssing NAG [M.38]
Power: 150 hp approx.
Action-radius: 306 km
Max speed: 60 km/hr f.d., 40 km/hr r.d.
Armour: turret: 9 mm; balance 5 mm sloped



Now, the bad news. Unfortunately Eureka Miniatures didn’t get enough pre-orders to continue with their planned 1860s New Zealand Wars range.

Despite Eureka getting 23 respondents, which is very good for a project of this type, they only got pledges for AUD$3000 of the AUD$5000 needed to be raised  (a 40% shortfall in the revenue required). So they sadly decided that they couldn’t proceed with this project.

This is a real shame, as these would have been a very attractive and unusual range. It is perhaps that latter element that meant that these figures didn’t garner enough support.


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Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Eureka Miniatures, May 40, Uncategorized, WW2

Māori and British do battle at ‘Call To Arms’

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I played my first game of Sharp Practice 2 today at the ‘Call To Arms’ show in Wellington, NZ. It was a colonial New Zealand Wars game.


We had loads of scenery, but the game itself was a simple encounter battle that we played on the clearer half of the table. The left-hand side of the board, dominated by a massive Māori pa, was just decoration.


Three groups of the British 58th regiment, along with one group of Royal Navy sailors faced three groups of Māori warriors. Unfortunately the British diced to deploy straight into a forest, which meant they couldn’t get their groups into formation (see bottom left of the photo below).


The three Māori groups flitted easily across the plain whilst the soldiers were still struggling through the clinging supplejack in the bush.

The sailors managed to push clear of the treeline. But they were immediately dealt several volleys of withering fire from the three groups of Māori warriors, which almost annihilated them. The surviving tars fell back in disarray, passing though two groups of infantry and and disrupting them as well.


In a last ditch effort, the only remaining steady British group charged a Māori group that had entered the bush, but were dealt a smashing defeat by the doughty warriors. This was the final blow, and the game resulted in a stunning loss for the British … um …er … I mean, for me!

As it was our first game of Sharp Practice 2, it’s fair to say that we got lots wrong and were quite confused at times. But overall we enjoyed it.

The table and New Zealand setting received lots of really positive comments, too. As did the fabulous 3D printed Māori pa by printablescenery.com It was really nice to be able to present a game that reflected our own history for a change, rather than a setting in Europe or America.

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Besides the pa, we had a few other decorative vignettes on the board that didn’t play any part in the game, such as a colonial farmhouse, a military camp, a Māori carronade, and a huge naval cannon.





Finally, here a few pictures of the other games at Call To Arms that caught my eye. Firstly, a very attractive Napoleonic game that was also fought with the Sharp Practice 2 rules – though probably more competently than we did!.




This fantasy game included some marvellous 3D printed buildings from our friends at printablescenery.com.


Finally, I was rather taken with this Dystopian Legions game between steampunk British and Prussians.




Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Empress Miniatures, Uncategorized

Painted WW2 Dutch from May ’40 Miniatures


May ’40 Miniatures have released some nice photos of a few painted pre-production WW2 Dutch figures from their forthcoming 28mm range.

Dutch uniforms were a kind of field-grey with a slightly bluish tinge. The helmet had quite an idiosyncratic shape.


May ’40 aim to release these figures in November at Crisis in Antwerp, Belgium. I’m looking forward to getting a Dutch army together for Bolt Action.




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New range of Dutch WW2 figures getting closer


Some tantalising pictures of the masters for the new May ’40 Miniatures range of 28mm ww2 Dutch figures have just been released.  These are due for release in November at the Crisis wargames show in Antwerp, Belgium.


An aggressive-looking Dutch infantryman.  On this, and some of the other models, there are still some finishing touches to do before they go into production, for example rifle slings.


This lying down pose looks really natural, don’t you think?


One of the NCOs in this release.


I really like the old-fashioned shako worn by some Dutch officers. He is also wearing a huge ‘klebang’ (Indonesian style) sword.


Schwarzlose machine gun. The photo is set up incorrectly, as the loader should be on the other side for this make of gun.  Of course, that is just the photo – the models themselves are fine.


A Lewis gun being fired over the shoulder of one of the crew.


An 81mm mortar. This model is still missing its bipod stand.


A medic.  There is also a stretcher party in the range.

To see lots more pre-production figures from this first batch, go to the May ’40 Miniatures FaceBook page.

There are also hints of something else exciting that they are working on, which you would want for a Dutch army.  I know more, but sadly I’ve promised that my lips will remain sealed!


Filed under May 40, Uncategorized, WW2

Hurry, hurry, hurry, for 1860s NZ Wars range

Driving tour masthead

There are only a couple of weeks left in the campaign to get a range of 1860s New Zealand Wars figures sculpted by Eureka Miniatures. These 28mm figures woukd be a great addition for NZ Wars gamers, as well as being usable in other settings.

2003 Military Uniforms 40c A

The Forest Rangers, for example, would be useful for all sorts of mid 19th century types … probably at a pinch for the Maximilian Wars or even the American Civil War. The ‘westernised’ Maori could fit into Africa for all manner of forces.

But we’re not there yet.

This post is aimed at ‘stirring the pot’… please ask around or consider a new ‘small project era’ to get this one over the line. There are plenty of possible actions for 60-100 figures or so for rules like ‘Sharp Practice 2’ or ‘Muskets & Tomahawks’. Even just a modest force will do for many, many actions of this period.

Click here for more details about the campaign to get these figures made.


I’ve already painted a few of the Perry Miniatures 1860s British, which the proposed sculpts are meant to supplement. These are very well sculpted (as you would expect) and have a nice ‘bulk’ and clean casting. These figures combined with Alan Marsh’s sculpts from Eureka would be a great mix.

As part of the proposed figures, there’s a character figure of the charismatic Gustavus Von Tempsky. Here is a nice article on this interesting figure (click on it to enlarge).

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.53.44 pm

There’s also a full television documentary Von Tempsky’s Ghost here…excellent viewing! Grab a cuppa and enjoy!  Wink



Filed under Uncategorized, Colonial New Zealand Wars, Eureka Miniatures