A splendid box of Italian Desert Infantry arrived from Old Glory Miniatures UK this week. Very lively castings they are too, with much arm waving, shouting and gesticulating. Their jaunty hats and solar topees are most stylish, as are the scarves wrapped around their necks. We shall see if these theatrically martial descendents of the Roman Legions fight as well as did their forefathers.
Stage I : Involved a good deal of sorting out and parading on the divisional grid square to see where everyone should go. There is usually a lot of shuffling about and raiding of my bits box before ‘eyes front’ and calling the parade to attention. Some redundant Japanese and Dutch Piggies from a previous order were put into the 3rd rank to fill the 45mm mortar slots. The Dutch thought they were being shipped to the Far East!
Stage II : Fill in the missing bits. You can see the scratchbuilt grey-painted 81mm mortars filling a shortfall in the orbat in the front and back. Not OG’s fault – they sent what I asked for, but when the alternative to ordering a pack of 5 mortars is 50, then my razor saw and aluminium rod came out instead.
Stage III : Adjust headgear. This meant filing the ‘Jap hats’ to remove peaks and sun flaps, then filing a groove to turn them into ‘chip bag hats’. A couple of head swaps added pith helmets. Cork is my favourite basing material at present. It cuts and sands easily, is reasonably dimensionally stable and will accept pins stuck directly into it.
Stage IV : Undercoat. In this case, with a khaki Humbrol spray. I can now relax with a clear conscience that this division is no longer on the ‘lead pile’ and could, at a pinch, fight as a green formation tomorrow if called upon. The metropolitan division is now formed up, so the next step will be to finish the Bersaglieri and Blackshirt Legion regiments.
In the Good Old Days, I used to treat undercoated troops as green, upgrading them gradually as they fought battles, acquiring more paint detail until they eventually became veteran. It provided an incentive to finish stuff.