With a few exceptions, Italian Blackshirt Legionnaires did not live up to Mussolini’s expectations. Here is one of them! Read the stirring tale of how Legionari Mimi won his medal for bravery at the Battle of BIR HACHEIM over on http://notquitemechanised.blogspot.co.uk/
Tag Archives: Blackshirt Legion
Suzanne has been wondering how Mimi has been coming on.
Here he is …
… and again after a cursory paint job. I don’t think the whole Legion will parade in buff order for battle, but it was fun doing a couple of stands this way. “Andiamo ragazzi!”
I think that in future, a few Peter Pig headswops will be the way forward, now that he has an excellent Fascist Fez head (Range 6 – 94), even down to the jaunty angle of the fez and a curly fringe sticking out at the front!
By way of light relief at Christmas, it is time to revisit some of the more exotic troops on the Italian side. I wouldn’t quite call them pantomime troops, but they don’t figure prominently on the re-enactors’ radars, which is usually a good indication of perceived military ‘coolness’ amongst hobbyists.
Mussolini was enthusiastic about troops marching along with their shirts off to an extent that would raise eyebrows in these more politically correct times. Military fashions change, but in the search for 15mm Blackshirt Legion figures it occurred to me that a heap of Peter Pig ‘Japanese in Loin cloths’ figures that are currently unemployed ought to convert nicely.
Shorts, boots and a floppy fez – how hard can it be? I can hear professional sculptors chuckling already. The Blackshirts didn’t generally fight in buff order, but it should make the figures easy to spot without going down the whole fascist glamour route. From the shape of these smart chaps’ hats it seems obvious that the line legionnaire was just as capable of rogering a perfectly good piece of headgear in the field to annoy his superior officers as any modern squaddie. Is that a younger Mimi from Inspector Montalbano that I see on the left of the photo?
I’m not sure if this is the fez below with a higher crown that created a pouch hanging down the back of the head when worn. I chose to model these hanging to hide the ‘Jap Hat’ sun flaps, rather than ‘pork pie’ fashion as above. Photos of the little chaps in their shorts and fezzes to follow once I have scraped the Milliput off my eyebrows. Merry Christmas!
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.