Diorama: For Valour

Morning people, welcome to a very festive-feeling post on Palladian Guard this morning.  Not festive because of Christmas etc, but festive because today marks this blog's first birthday!  Hurrah!  (The festive spirit is also somewhat dampened by me being at work over Christmas as well).

Anyway, on to business.  A few months back I used one of the scenic bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures to create a Sherlock Holmes-themed diorama.  It ended up making a nice gift, so I thought I'd do something similar for Christmas.

The base is the same from Secret Weapon.  I've not started a whole new army since the Palladians, but if I did I'd definitely get these bases to build my army.  Really nice - and dead easy to use.  The model is one of the PIAT gunners from Warlord Games' British Airborne range - there's no conversion and painting was fairly straightforward.  I used a similar process to my Army of Freedom from World War Two month.  The base used successive layers of drybrushing and a generous application of weathering powder.

This is meant to represent Maj Robert Henry Cain - a British Army officer who was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Arnhem.  He personally knocked out a StuG tank by calmly and persistently battering away at it with the PIAT gun, until he supervised the arrival of a 75mm howitzer which destroyed it.  The next day, he fought off three more tanks, eschewing cover to sit in open ground and get a better shot.  A few days later the Germans sought to crush the last resistance and launched an attack with StuGs and flamethrowers.  His trusty PIAT out of action, Maj Cain used a 2" mortar and fired it from the hip (!) directly into the enemy and forced him to retreat - and all this over a period of several days, with multiple serious injuries and a perforated eardrum.

It will end up as a gift for my Grandad who is interested in the history of the VC - in fact, when I did a presentation for my French spoken exam a few years back on Maj Cain, he helped me do the research for it.

So anyway!  A nice little distraction.  Work ploughs onwards with Mordian7th's veterans - hoping to get them in the post just after Christmas now.  And the St Adelphian Penal Company has reenforcements in the post from sunny Australia.

Everyone, everywhere, thankyou for the last year of comments, projects and gifts on the blog.  Hopefully there'll be many more to come.

The Colonel.


  1. Wow!

    Amazing man, wonderful sentiment behind the gift and a beautiful miniature too: marvellous!

    Oh, and very happy birthday too - keep it coming, eh?

  2. As I said before sir, bloody superb, a fantastic idea. Like you I still very much remember that documentary, that must be about 10 years old by now.

    And happy birthday Palladian Guard, thank you for all of the genuinley, thoroughly enjoyable posts and here's to many more!

  3. He is a freakin' badass, and should be immortalised as such.

    The model looks great by the way :D

  4. My Dear Colonel:
    A lovely diorama and tribute to a real hero (such an overused word today). I don't know much about the Airborne forces - was curious as to how widely issued the Denison camo smock was - your figure appears to be wearing a plain smock/jacket.
    From all I've read the PIAT was a nerve wracking weapon to use, especially because it used a spring to propel the charge, and had to be loaded rather like a crossbow, making the loader rather conspicuous. That Cain could calmly sit on the ground and use it was impressive but perhaps also necessary?
    Congratulations on your blog, one of the better ones in our hobby, me thinks. Looking forward to seeing your work in the new year.
    A very merry Christmas to you and yours.

  5. Excellent figure, Col S.

    obtw, you have mail.

  6. A very nice tribute sir.

    Congrats on the one year mark.

    I hope your holiday is less filled with work and more filled with time for family.

    1. Thanks for all your very kind comments.

      @Drax: Cheers, yep hopefully we'll be celebrating two years before long.

      @Headologist: 2003! Yep pretty much ten years. That was what I saw originally that made me want to do it pour le projecte Francais.

      @Narric: Thanks for stopping by! Yep if anyone deserves to be immortalised, it's him.

      @MP: You are startlingly correct my dear Padre. The Denison smock was (in theory) universal issue, but I went for the plain khaki version for this figure. That is how you reload it, and it's very VERY hard (I had a go myself on a replica once, it literally takes ALL your strength) but most people put their foot in the loops and did it lying down. That worked fine (eventually the strain would snap the loops though). I think the citation focuses more on the fact that he fired it in the open (it was really an ambush weapon, to be used from cover), and that he managed it on his own after his loader was killed. And the merriest of Merry Christmas to you and yours as well.

      @Zzzzz: Thankyou my dear fellow. Oh, you have reply as well.

      @Dai: Thanks mate. Same to you, hope work spares its wrath for the day on Tuesday.

    2. Hullo,

      I had a good shufti at the Wiki entry you linked to, and it seems his Denison smock is now preserved at the regimental museum.

      Also, where on earth did you get the chance to play with a PIAT - even a replica?

      I seem to remember reading recently (maybe it was on a Flames of War background page?) that once the thing was initially (finally!) cocked, the firing action would reset the mechanism making it far easier for subsequent shots. I certainly have no means of verifying this though, so don't shoot the messenger!

      What was the documentary to refer to? Is it about Cain?

    3. Ooooh, next time I'm over there I'll have to take a look. We did a training day at the Lydd ranges and there was a chance to muck about with some of the old stuff. I missed the chance to live fire an MG42 though :(

      Hmm you may be right there, I thought it was every shot but then I don't really know. It would certainly make a bit more sense. The documentary was broadcast in 2003, I think it was called 'Victoria Cross Heroes' and was presented by Jeremy Clarkson. Whether you love/loathe him, it was a brilliant documentary. It focussed almost entirely on Cain as I recall, since Cain was Clarkson's father-in-law.

  7. Imagine the sort of havoc Maj Cain could have done if had a bazooka. Lovely mini and congratulations on your blogoversery...blogirthday... annual celebration of the inception of your web log, too many words, anyway keep it up.

    1. Thanks Chris! Yeah, he could have cleaned up! Have to say, I'd have probably lost my temper if the StuG hadn't blown up after the second shot. Cheers, keep it up I shall!


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