Monday, 20 October 2014

Slaves To The Grind...

It is quite amazing how many wargaming companies there are in the world and a little sad that some of the smaller ones with some unique offerings slip under the radar. For me one of these was Midlam Miniatures who I discovered yesterday evening produce a great looking "old school" fantasy range amongst other things.

Needing some paint I whacked off an order for some bottles and a set of their Dwarf Slaves which look great and are highly original. I think they will be used for a "Free The Slaves" scenario for something like Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King's Hold, but you could raise a wonderful penal troop unit for a WHFB Dwarven army from them.

I spotted some great stuff on my peruse of their website and will no doubt be back...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Geheimkrieg: Der Verdammten

I've been having a bit of fun sticking together and painting the forty WWII German zombies I bought from Studio Miniatures a few moons back.

Despite there only being two basic models on each sprue, they are remarkably flexible and easy to convert with a sharp knife and some liquid cement. I have sailed through constructing and getting them block painted prior to dipping (which I hope to do tomorrow before having to spend the day looking after some French trade unionists).

It did occur to me that you could be quite adventurous with these plastics, mixing and matching with the Warlord plastic Germans to provide more variation, whether that be adding equipment or different headgear to the Studio figures, or zombifying the Warlord figures (you end up with enough spare zombies heads and arms to make it quite easy).

Whilst I have forty almost finished now, I am tempted to pick up some more for some crossover conversions. After all, you can't have too many WWII German zombies can you?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

To Stalingrad (via You Tube)

There has been a really bizarre couple of threads on the Bolt Action Facebook page about flamethrowers in the game centring on their impact in the game. They are far too powerful and used in an unhistorical fashion by many gamers, notably those entering the game from a 40K background (a point I noted that flamethrowers in Bolt Action seem more like 40K Flamers than WW2 flamethrowers).

Anyhow, this led me to wondering how other similar WW2 games handled them, with Chain of Command being the obvious comparator. I have to confess to then getting side tracked having watched an excellent series of introductory videos on the game, explaining the mechanisms. If you have any interest in WW2 platoon level gaming and Chain of Command in particular, they are well worth watching and other companies should take note of what the Lardies have done here.

The videos have led me to buying Chain of Command tablet version (essentially a PDF with really useful hyperlinks) to peruse. Whilst on the Too Fat Lardies website I also spotted a secnario supplement for the game called Winter Storm.

Containing 22 scenarios it covering the attempts by 6 Panzer Division to advance  towards Stalingrad and relieve the trapped Sixth Army. At just seven quid I considered it to be a must have and added it to my order. I have only had a quick flick through but it looks great value for money regardless of whether you play Chain of Command, Bolt Action or some other WW2 game.

Of course I still haven't found out how flamethrowers work in Chain of Command and whether they can incinerate an entire section with one shot...

On an unrelated note there has been progress on Orctober today, with the poleaxe unit drybrushed with Tin Bitz and Oily Steel. I have also block painted sixty 20mm WW2 partisans ready for dipping and undercoated forty zombies. All in all, quite a productive day!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Orctober: Second Orc Axe Regiment II

I managed to finish off the smaller of the Mantic Orc with axes regiments this lunchtime, painting the flag (made from tomato puree tube foil) and the movement tray (made from plastic card and rod).

As with the shields, the flag iconography is pretty basic, in keeping, in my opinion, with the Orc psyche (or should that be psycho?).

As I hope you can see, my rough and slightly shoddy approach to painting the Orcs does come together at the end when the unit is fielded en masse. On with the poleaxe unit now...

Painting Target: 517/1000

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs VIII

Hurray! We come to the end! The final two stages of painting the Mantic Orcs for Orctober. I have a few bits and pieces to do to finish off the whole unit, so hopefully tomorrow will see one of the three units finished off.

The basing technique is the standard one I apply to all my "temperate zone" miniatures whether they are Orcs, Vikings or Panzergrenadiers, providing a consistent "look" on the tabletop.

Stage Fourteen:

Having let the Beasty Brown paint dry overnight, the next stage is a quick drybrush of the top of the base with Buff or similar. Try and avoid drybrushing the foot of any of the miniatures as I have done here...

Stage Fifteen:

Apply some slightly watered down PVA to about 1/4 to 1/3 of the base and then sprinkle on some static grass. I am (still) using some old GW stuff which is a bit bright, but works well enough.

Painting Target: 507/1000

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs VII

Apologies for the boring nature of today's Orctober post but basing isn't that exciting...

Stage Twelve:

Paint the base with PVA glue and stick in a tub of sand (told you it wasn't exciting!)

Stage Thirteen:

Once the sand and glue have dried I paint the entire base with Vallejo Beasty Brown.

Tomorrow we get the flock out!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs VI

I managed to grab a few minutes at lunchtime to progress the Orctober Orcs.

Stage Eleven:

This is really the final painting stage, picking out some of the details that provide good contrast with a fine paintbrush. With the Orcs this was the teeth and eyes. The Vallejo Buff used for the teeth, was also painted n the end of the helmet horns and used for the skull design on the shields.

I may have said before, but I am not a fan of the John Blanche style of ornately painted orc shields, it seems so un-orcish. Can you really imagine an orc being of any kind of artistic bent or have the patience to paint some of the designs GW have inflicted on us over the years?

I have gone with a simple, crudely painted skull design here (I imagine Orcs use their fingers), which I think works well. I added a touch of Beaty Brown to the Buff for a rough first coat, then some swipes f Buff, before dabbing the Black eyes and nose cavities in...

Monday, 13 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs V

Horrid weather today really cut down on the natural light and so I only managed to progress a little further during my lunchtime on the Orctober Orc painting exercise!

Stage Ten:

Now the wash has dried I get a detail brush and pick out highlights using the same colour palette I used for the block painting in Stage Eight. This doesn't take that long and with the shading providing by the ink wash and the main areas stained by the wash and then the highlights, you get an effective quick and dirty three stage shading.

I had hoped to do the final detail work (teeth, eyes etc) today but that will have to wait until tomorrow, hoping the light improves.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs IV

Domestic duties got in the way of much painting today, so only one small step on the Orctober journey...

Stage Nine:

For Orcs (and other simple grubby types), a simple way of shading miniatures is to apply a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone ink. Normally I would only do this to the clothing and leather work, but I wasn't happy with the level of contrast on the flesh I painted yesterday, so I gave the flesh areas an ink wash as well. This provides the depth, tomorrow some highlights.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs III

Despite some bizarre weather outside meaning I had to turn the lights on to paint at 2pm before the black clouds disappeared at 3pm and the sun came back out, I have made further progress with the Orctober Orcs.

Stage Seven:

The next stage is the flesh. I have never liked GW's Orc and Goblin green, it is too bright, but I;m not a fan of brown orcs as the flesh areas don't stand out enough for me. Back in the early eighties I used to use Humbrol's French Artillery Green on my Orcs and Goblins and I struggled to find an acrylic replacement - until I discovered how Napoleon's troops made the paint for their artillery carriages, just mix yellow and black. A little bit of experimenting and et voila! as they no doubt said.

With these Orcs, I did a heavy drybrush of a darker green made with yellow and black over the flesh areas, then highlighted this with a little more yellow added to the mix.

Stage Eight:

Having painted the flesh, I now go round and block paint all the remaining non-metallic areas. I use a limited palette and this time restricted myself to Vallejo's Red Leather, Green Ochre, Luftwaffe Uniform WWII and Beasty Brown. Any wooden bits (here the axe hafts) are painted Dark Flesh as were the helmet horns and teeth.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs II

Continuing the "how I paint orcs" topic for Orctober, I am using a slightly different technique than that which I used a few years back, especially when it comes to rusting the armour where I am now using the techniques employed on the ArcWorlde Hobgoblins.

Stage Four:

The Oily Steel over Tin Bitz approach to metalwork is one I pretty much use on all Fantasy, Dark Ages and Medieval armour for rank and file types, to give it a slightly grubby look. With Orcs I now go one stage further as I can't imagine them sitting around the campfire drying and polishing their armour in the evening.

After allowing the metal pigments to thoroughly dry overnight, I apply a wash of brown ink. For rusty effects I use the Flames of War Brown Shade which is browner and warmer than the Army Painter Strong Tone ink. I don't wash it all over the armour, just paint streaks over areas and in recesses.

Stage Five:

I then add some top surface brighter rust by dabbing some bright orange paint in certain areas using a sponge. Normally for this I use a bit of sponge out of a blister back but today used a small piece out of a pack of Woodland Scenics bushes. A certain balance is needed between making the effect noticeable and going OTT so try in moderation as it is easier to add more than it is to try and remove.

Stage Six:

The armour is now pretty much done, so you need to repaint the non-metallic areas with black paint. With the Mantic Orcs is is sometimes unclear whether something is supposed to be cloth/leather or armour (especially across the shoulder blades). This doesn't really matter as long as you are consistent on the miniature. No one is really going to notice in a unit of them.

For the shields (which I dislike but couldn't be bothered to try and remove and replace with sensible round ones) I dabbed some black paint on over the metal and rust to give the impression of a badly worn surface. I have an idea for a basic shield pattern for the units which I will paint on later.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Orctober: Painting Orcs I

Back to Orctober today and I have started painting the first (smaller) Mantic Orc Axe Regiment. Whilst I don't normally do tutorials on the blog (mainly because I'm not that good a painter), as it was Orctober I thought I'd go through my rough and ready approach to painting Orcs over the next few days...

Stage One:

Undercoat models black (no I didn't take a photo!)

Stage Two:

Apply a heavy drybrush over all metal areas with GW's Tin Bitz (or whatever it is called now). Don't worry if you get it over the non-metal areas, we will go back to them later.

Stage Three:

After the Tin Bitz has dried, lightly drybrush a steel colour over the Tin Bitz (I used Vallejo Oily Steel). The key here is not to completely cover the Tin Bitz and to have bits showing through underneath. Again, neatness is not a worry at this stage.

The models now need to dry for at least 24 hours so we don't get any pigment bleed when we use some ink washes next, so more tomorrow...

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Yanks Are Coming...

"Over there, over there!
Send the word, send the word, over there!
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming ev'rywhere!"

When I started rummaging in Lead Mountain for WW2 Hungarian proxies, alongside the Brigade Games WW1 Germans I also found a pack of WW1 U.S. Marines, Now I can't exactly remember why I bought them (or the Germans for that matter), but they are lovely sculpts (Mike Owen I believe) and with the forthcoming release of Bolt Action WWI next year, 28mm Great War gaming is going to get a shot in the arm.

Brigade Games WWI US Marines (photo Brigade Games)
So, when putting my order into Scarab for some Germans and Austrians to play as Hungarians I ordered some Great War Americans to add to the Brigade ones to make up a little unit... :-) On the subject of the Great War, this was in today's newsletter from Warlord Games. Only £24 if anyone wants to buy one for me!

Warlord Games A7V (photo Warlord Games)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ostfront: Sourcing the WW2 Royal Hungarian Army

Having backed Mad Bob's Hungarian Tanks Kickstarter I have been putting my mind to sourcing a platoon of Hungarian troops to accompany the AFV's when they arrive. I have for a while been planning a 1941-42 Eastern Front project in 28mm as I have a pile of old Harlequin (now BTD) Germans and Soviets sculpted by Nick Collier hiding on Lead Mountain, as well as some plastic PSC Soviets, some of which  have already painted.

Great War WWI Germans (photo Scarab Minaitures)
Of course, as is the wont of the wargames industry, there are buckets of 28mm Germans and Soviets in the marketplace, but very little for major Axis allies such as the Hungarians and Romanians. However digging out my Osprey on the Royal Hungarian Army in WW2 and undertaking a bit of Google fu, shows that the most common approach is to use late war WWI Germans painted brown. Whilst not a perfect solution, and not without problems on the smg and lmg front, it is a reasonable solution.

Brigade WWI Germans (photo Brigade)
Digging through Lead Mountain I uncovered a pack of eight Brigade Games Germans in Stalhelms skirmishing. There are only two advancing poses and one of them has the model sporting the ammunition bandoliers used by the 1917-18 Germans which will need removing for Hungarians, but that gave me a start.

Searching for more late WWI Germans my queries alighted on the excellent Great War Miniatures line and their German Infantry in Light Equipment and Artillery Crew which will soon arriving through the letterbox at Bleaseworld. I also checked out the excellent Scarab Miniatures WWI range, whose Austro-Hungarians are lovely but have most of the figures carry an hand grenade sack that just wouldn't be right for WW2 Hungarians. However they do a lovely looking Schwarzlose Model 1907/12 machine gun that will pass as the WW2 model sans gun shield.

Scarab Austro-Hungarian Schawarzlose Model 1907/12 MG (photo Scarab Miniatures)
All in all, this is starting to look like an achievable exercise...

Monday, 6 October 2014

Orctober: Second Orc Axe Regiment I

The smaller of the two axe armed Orc regiments is now glued together. I used some of the Mantic orcs I had painted up a couple of years back to help bulk out the unit (though I seem to have lost one). I found I was short of plastic rod for the standard bearer but after some thought have glued a shorter left over piece with the thought of having one of those short staff Landsknecht ones. If it looks good, I might do the others like it.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Never Volunteer!

I made a school boy error this afternoon, forgetting the old military maxim of "never volunteer" and rule one in the husband handbook, don't ask "is there anything I can do to help?" An afternoon of planned orc construction and football watching ended up applying hobby skills in cupcake making!

So this afternoon I applied skills learnt with Green Stuff in moulding sugar paste and that of using  Vallejo acrylics to painting with chocolate! Here are some of our efforts...

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Orctober: First Orc Axe Regiment I

Still propped in an armchair and with SWMBO gone out, having fed me ibuprofen and beans on toast, I dug out the box of Mantic Orc Axe Horde to make up. The box contains 30 figures and remembering I had several I had painted up a while back I decided to spilt the box to make two regiments adding in the spare bodies I had over from the Poleaxe unit.

I decided on one 21 figure regiment and one 18 figure one, but after making the movement trays discovered I was two orcs short. To fill the gap I have included the mounted figure from Mantic's Orc Krudger's Gang which will fill the gap of two figures. The white metal model is nice but is going to require some serious filling with Green Stuff tomorrow. The larger unit is now constructed, the smaller one earmarked for gluing together tomorrow.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Orctober: Orc Poleaxe Regiment II

I'm feeling really sorry for myself at the moment. I've done something to my neck and cannot move my head or shoulders without being in pain (you'd be surprised how often you forget this and turn your head!). I've been told to take ibuprofen to ease the swelling and rest for 48 hours which means I can't get to Blast-tastic, which I am absolutely gutted about.

Propped in an armchair (with TV remote and laptop to hand) I decided to attempt a bit more work for Orctober, after all, how hard could it be to stick plastic orcs together without moving your head or shoulders?! Anyway in my decrepit state I managed to make up the remaining twelve Mantic orcs with poleaxes and even line them up without too much swearing! I also made a movement tray which helped with the latter.

The models are nicely detailed but not really thought out too well from a wargaming as lining up the unit is tricky with all the overhanging arms and weapons. There is also one glaring error on one of the left arms with the fingers having been sculpted horizontally not vertically. The painted unit on the box does not show this clearly but it is easily corrected with a sharp knife.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Orctober: Orc Poleaxe Regiment I

Well I have started Orctober! After an initial panic when I couldn't find the orcs, I have started on a Mantic Great Axe Regiment. The box contains 20 figures, but my unit will be 18 as I like 6 figure wide units for orcs.

As with most plastics there is a learning curve so much of my lunchtime was lost to working out the sprues. With only two body variants in the set I decided to mix in some bodies from a Mantic Orc Axe Horde box for variety. This meant that a whole lot wasn't achieved but the front rank is now constructed!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


The other day a fellow wargamer posted on Facebook that he had lost his hobby mojo. I kinda realised today that mine was a bit low as I have avoided starting painting the Partisans I base coated last week or based up the plastic Lion Rampant retinues I dug out.

However coming across a post on Erny's Place Blog I have decided to embrace Orctober and paint up some more orcs for my WHFB army. A while back I picked up some Mantic orcs in a sale so I am going to dig them out and paint them green! Orctober here I come!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Countdown to Blast(-tastic) Off!

Saturday sees the inaugral Blast-tastic SF wargames show in Bristol. I'm down to host an Aeronef/Aquanef game (with the able assistance of David Manley, hope he hasn't forgot!). It may end up being one or other as I'm not sure I'll have enough empty beer glasses for the show but it should be fun. Just need to dig the models and scenery out of the games room and set the alarm on Saturday morning! :-)

Monday, 29 September 2014

Winter Is Coming...

Another day lost to the real world but the latest Winter War Kickstarter post cheered me up. I volunteered to wait until everything was available in exchange for some free figures before my box of goodies ships, and it has been a long wait, but the long list of models that had to be made is almost done. In today's post the following photos of the aerosan and truck with Finnish crew. Can't wait!

Sunday, 28 September 2014


This weekend has seen me wearing my "Saul Blease Road Crew" t-shirt as he played two sets at the Summer's End X festival in Chepstow (the wonderfully acronymed SE X) so as well as lugging his keyboard and gear around I've been driving up and down the M5, M4, M48 and A48.

So sadly no painting or owt this weekend but here is the new video for Saul's cover of Where Is My Mind? I mentioned the other week that features B29's, nuclear explosions and some other fun stuff...

Saturday, 27 September 2014

World War II in Colour

I must confess I normally inwardly cringe when I see any history programme appended with the words "In Colour" and I had no intention of watching the Channel 5 series World War Two in Colour, currently showing on Friday evenings. However I was channel hopping last Friday and caught a bit of the first episode about the invasion of Poland and subsequent Blitzkrieg campaign.

Whilst the colourisation of the black and white film is not always perfect (and I do wonder why the Germans have brown jackboots), overall it is very well done and, although I don't normally see the need for it, some of it adds a little something to the footage. I grabbed some screen grabs to show what I mean.

The programme is also quite interesting for a generic WW2 potted history. Last night's episode 'Britain at Bay' was not just about the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, indeed that only accounted for half the programme. It also covered the first commando raids on targets in Norway as well as the start of the SOE and Resistance in Europe.

Whilst there are undoubtedly better history programmes available, I was more impressed that I thought I would be by the first two of this series and will continue watching. The current episode is available in Channel 5 OD here.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Magyar Steel

Bob Emmerson's Hungarian Tanks Kickstarter has been a resounding success, with numerous new vehicles being made available as the stretch goals tumble - and it still has six days to go!

To help expand my knowledge on the topic I ordered a copy of Mushroom Model Productions book Magyar Steel, which arrived the other day. A print on demand book, the quality is no different from anything you'd buy from Osprey.

With detailed text of Hungarian armour types and use in the war, a plethora of rare photos, 1.35th scale plans and full colour camo artwork, I'd say it is a must if you fancy trying a different looking Axis army rather than the "usual suspects".