Sunday, January 21, 2018

'BFG' from RichardC: 28mm Figure & Big Gun

Hmmm, how to represent a large gun in a small scale? At first, I thought of going back to my childhood. In those days, my Napoleonic obsession had not yet consumed my interest in ancients and the World Wars, and one of the kits I coveted was a railway gun – well, they are certainly big (even in a small scale). I am lucky enough to work near the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson near Portsmouth. They have an 18” Howitzer rail gun – so at least I could get my research material right -

But no, the thought of small fiddly bits of plastic didn’t do it for me (my last foray into the Painting Challenge saw more than one 28mm plastic skeleton’s foot go ping and hurtling off the work area).

What about a Napoleonic cannon? Once again, cinema provided the answer. I recently acquired a copy of a movie from my childhood. Saturday afternoons on BBC2 were usually the home of westerns, but occasionally a film came along that was right up my street – I plumped for “The Pride and the Passion.”

Directed in 1957 by Stanley Kramer, it is based on the 1933 novel “The Gun” by C.S. Forester. In it, a Royal Navy officer (Cary Grant) is sent to Spain to obtain a massive cannon for British forces. First he must help the Spanish guerrilla leader (played by Frank Sinatra – stop laughing at the back!!!) and his moll (Sophia Loren) transport the gun 1000km to capture the fortress of Avila.

Actually, it is a pretty good film, although the uniforms do raise the eyebrows – the somewhat square bearskins of General Jouvet (a carpet-chewing performance by Theodore Bikel) being a case in point.

On to the model. I decided to use the 54mm English Civil War cannon made by A Call to Arms as it was a pretty close representation of The Gun – it is quite a rugged looking beast, and pretty close to the right size when used with 28mm figures. I didn’t find a Spaniard who looked close enough to Frank, nor did I find a suitable Sophia – the Victorian “lady of the night” from Wargames Foundry was just a bit too small.

I had a choice for the figure of Anthony Trumbull. Both Brigade and Capitan do rather nice RN figures. As I didn’t trust the transatlantic post over Christmas, I chose Capitan – BAD, BAD mistake. Over 6 weeks after ordering, they still haven’t arrived. A couple of emails ago, I got a reply saying they would get back to me (deafening silence) – they are off my Christmas card list!!!

Instead, I grabbed the French ADC from Gringo40 out of the lead pile, and set at him with scalpel, file and green stuff. From a distance, I think he works fine.

Now all I have to do is post this, and hope that the delights of the pub haven’t affected the Minion too much ;-)

Richard C, 1 x 28mm Gringo40s; 1 x A Call to Arms 54mm cannon - say 20 points?


  1. Oh wow, great back story! Had never heard of that movie! Sounds like a plot line rich with scenario ideas...excellent entry!

  2. Nic work on the gun and figure. My Dad lives near Portsmouth and I've had a poke around Ft Nelson too - gets a thumbs up here! The movie is way OTT but it's got Cary Grant, Sinatra and Loren. The book is a great read.

  3. If that doesn't fit the theme, nothing will! Splendid piece of artillery, well done that man!

  4. Nice gun, I remember the film and thought the book was good too.
    Best Iain

  5. Can't go wrong with Grant,Sinatra, and Loren! ;)
    That is a very fine cannon and a great bit of work on the mini. Looks like a very convincing RN officer with the big bicorn!