Friday, 17 October 2014

WW1 naval fever & childhood nostalgia

Chas Stadden 30mm WW1 
Early German Infantryman.

Admittedly the last months of painting output and quite a few of my recent blog posts have been circling around the Scanian War and the showcasing of the Battle of Lund 1676 at the coming gaming convention in Copenhagen in a week's time from now. 

In need of a change and inspired by fellow blogger Jonathan’s post on his first wargaming memories, I decided it was time to go up to the attic, and break out some of the boxes with my childhood hobby collection.

Chas Stadden 30mm WW1
Early French Infantryman.

So with autumn holding a firm grip on a yellow and red-leafed Stockholm, I found myself up under the roof, surrounded by a mountain of old books and 1/72 Seven Year’s War boxes, flipping through the very same 1994 Revell catalogue that I used to study for hours without end as a kid, planning my next purchase (Dare I say some things stay the same – the internet have not made that less of a habit). I used to paint a lot of these small soft plastics when I first got into the hobby. Revell was the brand of choice then. Loved those figures and still do. There is actually a really nice 1/72 plastics site here for those interested.

1/72 Revell Seven Year's War Prussian Infantry.

At the bottom of one box I found an old cigar box with a few metal figures inside.
I had completely forgotten about these, but as I picked them up, I remembered it all again. I had been given these miniatures by my father when accompanying him to Copenhagen on a business trip in the early 90ies. Apparently his meetings went well, because I remember he wanted to get me something, and took me to the very best hobby shop Copenhagen had back then – Smith’s Hobby in Kompagnistræde. 

Charles "Chas" Stadden 1919 - 2002.
Sculpter, painter and collector.

It was a small crammed basement shop, with expo windows glittering of glossy Tradition and Stadden metal figures. I got a 54mm Frederic the Great by Tradition and a bunch of beautiful 30mm Chas Stadden WW1 figures.

The 30mm Stadden minis are very nice sculpts indeed.

Beautifully proportioned and with a good level of details.

As I already had a healthy sized lead (or rather plastic) pile back then, the Stadden figures went into oblivion after a while. Now, almost like time transported, they came out of a cigar box in an attic in Stockholm some 22 years later. After a closer study, realizing the top quality of the sculpting, and admitting to a small smite of WW1 fever, I decided these minis had to go directly to the painting table.

Found this old classic in the attic as well.

Following the Chas Stadden figures down from the attic came an old book that John, my scale model-interested uncle, once gave me for Christmas. It’s an amazing resource on the WW1 navies. Battleships of World War I by Antony Preston, published by Galahad Book New York in 1972. Each country’s fleet, the commanders and naval traditions are described along with the main ship building wharfs. Then follows a complete run through of every important ship-class of every mayor navy participating in WW1. 

The Preston book contains beautiful and detailed
technical drawings of each ship-class.

This childhood reminder of my love for WW1 naval warfare and dreadnoughts (I’m born and raised in Jutland) quickly got me searching for suitable models and rules for a WW1 naval project. 

The Battle of Jutland 1916.
The Royal Navy's Grand Fleet clash with the Kaiserliche Kriegsmarine.

I settled on GHQ and their 1/2400 WW1 range – which to me has the level of details suited to a painting style using washes and high lighting. Fellow blogger and Stockholm wargaming club member, Mark, recommended the Naval Thunder rules which he has for WW2. Thus the “Clash of Dreadnoughts” variation of Naval Thunder was subsequently purchased along with some “Kaiser-class” and “Iron-Duke-Class” (God I love those names) ships from GHQ, now presumably crossing the Atlantic on their journey to my painting table. Can’t wait to get started on these.

Thank you very much for reading!

19 comments:

  1. Nice work BP! Looking forward to seeing what you do with the dreadnoughts.

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher - I'm really looking forward to getting some paint on those GHQ 1/2400's - the level of detail looks amazing.

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  2. Ah, the joy of thumbing through catalogs and planning projects. Your Staddens are gorgeous! Your painting style is first rate, for sure. With your newly discovered plastic treasures, do you anticipate restarting a plastics project?

    Like Christopher, I await seeing the results of your WW! naval project.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan, appreciate it! Yes I'm giving it some serious thought. I found about 20 Revell boxes from their 1/72 Seven Years War range. There should be enough figures for a battalion based Black Powder collection (Or rather Last Argument of Kings). The only worry is that paint might flake off the soft plastics once gaming starts. But I think I might give it a shot anyway, and simply apply a thick matt varnish. While all my buddies were at soccer camp, I spent my summer holiday as a 12 year old reading about the reign of Frederich the Great. So, part of me would really love to do Leuthen in 1/72 :0)

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  3. Great paint job, beautiful figures...

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    1. Cheers Phil - just got the Osprey book on the Battle of the Marne in the mail. Love those early war uniforms, feels like the Franco-Prussian War but with machine guns larger artillery pieces. There will be much more early WW1 on the painting table in the future.

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  4. Some things just take a bit longer but your figures look superb as always! And for beeing pretty old sculpts they really aged well. Looking forward to your Dreadnoughts.

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    1. Yeah I thought so too - they are probably from the 70ies, so proportions are really natural and very close to what you'd see today in for instance Minden Miniatures.
      Thanks for dropping by for a read, I hope to have some WW1 naval models up very soon!

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  5. I remember painting Revell 1/72 too before buying 28mm. I have saved most of all the boxcovers and backsides I bought from Revell. I love the art on them. Especially the Union and Confederate boxes. And as you I too spent hours on looking through model catalouges and their range of 1/72 soldiers :)

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    1. Me too John :0) I have a binder containing all the covers of the collection. All kinds of things - from Conquistadors and Aztecs (those were also great sculpts) to the Thirty Year's War and WW1. The ACWs were really nice - Always wondered why Revell chose to launch a Confederate Pioneer's Box - perhaps and ode to Lee, seeing as he came from that branch of the army?

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    2. Perhaps. One pioneer for the Confederate and one artillery for the Union. Did they ever release any cavalry? :/ Someday I think I'll try to lay my hands on the TYW swedish cavalry and infantry. Such lovely sets and as a reminder of my youth and were it all started :)

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    3. Exactly how I fell John, reconnecting to the begging. The TYW boxes are a good place to start, they are really great sculpts. Hope to see some of those painted up on your blog then, I'll try to get a few pieces done here as well!

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  6. Lovely painting on those nice old school sculpts.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your naval project! I wish I had the time to join in on some games when you're ready as I'd really like to try some naval gaming, but I have my hands full ...

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    1. Thanks Jonas - hope you're well and everything is settling nicely after the projected arrival of an additional Möckelströmmare. Mark and I are building the naval range slowly but with purpose and direction. There will be 1/200 Langtons for Scanian War, GHQ 1/2400s for both WW1 and WW2. So, once you resurface to the joys of club life, you're more than welcome to roll some dice in any of the naval games you'd like.

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  7. Wonderful sculpts and tremendous painting - definitely worth taking your time with.

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    1. Thanks Michael, indeed they were better than I expected, and a joy to paint. After two or three decades of more bulky sculpting, it seems that the recent style on new launches in 28 mm is actually getting closer to the more proportioned and natural again. These Stadden figures almost reminded me of painting Minden Minis.

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  8. Nice classics! Those figures are some of the ones in an old book I still have - Color Treasury of Model Soldiers. I always thought they were 54mm.

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  9. Thanks Dean! Yeah, it seems much of what Stadden & Tradition did together was 54 mm, but these early war WW1s and some SYW prussian grenadiers I also found are all 30 mm and very very nice sculpts. Had there been more poses in the range, they would have made an excellent choice for a WW1 skirmish collection.

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