Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Aeronef: Confederate Petrel Class Aeronef Gunboats

I painted up the four converted Irregular IKB04 Monitors today, they are now four Petrel class aeronef gunboats of the Confederate States Naval Aero Corps!

On the ball Aeronefers will no doubt be rushing to point out that the timeline has the first negative graviton aeronef being launched in 1884. The good thing about being the author is you can change such things and I have tweaked the background in the forthcoming Aeronef Omnibus so that Stockton's  invention occurs in 1864 not 1884, this allowing for aeronef to see action over the battlefields of the American Civil War and Franco-Prussian War.

Painting Target: 473/1000

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Aeronef: Confederate Aeronef wip

When Aeronef was first published back in 1999 there were not a lot of suitable models to use. There were the horrendous Space 1889 plastics, the beautiful but rare and expensive GameTech 1889 metals and the Irregular Heirs of Uranus range that inspired the basic rules.  Consequently when it came to debuting the game at Salute I had to scratchbuild a number of models, mainly from Peter Pig ACW ironclads.

These days the need to scratchbuild models is long gone with Brigade's impressive large range of 1/1200th models, but when I spotted the IKB04 Monitor in the Irregular 2mm ships range, I couldn't resist the idea of buying some and converting them into aeronef.

I've built up the underside of the hull with some plastic card and added an underhull engine and twin fins from odd bits of plastic. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to paint them.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Aeronef: Archie Batteries

I put an order into Irregular Miniatures on Friday eveining (which, of course, arrived this morning), for some more 2mm SF models for my Aurorean Martians. I also added some odds and sods including these IKA6 AA Guns from the 2mm C20th range to use as "Archie" batteries in Aeronef.

To be honest, there is not a great deal too the models and I probably could have made up something similar with some Green Stuff and a bit of wire, but they're decent enough and it saved me the effort. I mounted two each on a round base from some Warlord WW2 plastics and added a bit of scenery to tie in with the rest of my 2mm European models. I'm not 100% happy with the garish sand I used on the sandbags and may repaint with a more subdued beige colour.

Painting Target: 469/1000

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Leviathan Wakes

Although a fan of science fiction, I no longer read as much of the genre as I did as a teenager when I almost literally devoured it. These days I prefer my SF at the cinema, on the TV or or the wargames table. That said I decided to give the much touted "return to old school space opera" Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey (which SyFy are apparently going to make into a TV series).

A decent book, I really enjoyed it, the story mixing a police investigation plot line with another of the investigation of a mysterious SOS signal from a deserted ship. The story moves along swiftly and has a decent conclusion. Although marketed as book one of The Expanse series, you don't need to buy book two (or three) to find out what happens next.

The writing style is interesting with each chapter dedicated to a specific character and what is happening to them in the story but from a third person viewpoint. I thought this would be irritating but it works well. What I did like is the book's "universe". Whilst man has left Earth, he is still confined to the Solar System, populating Mars and various of the planets satellites, the politics between Earth, Mars and the Belters/Outer Rimmers is familiar enough, but there is enough SF to make it fun.

Overall, a decent SF novel, with some useful ideas for SF gamers. Onto book two now, Caliban's War...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Bolt Action: Winter War Soviet AFV's

I know I have decided to wait until everything was available from the Baker Company Winter War Kickstarter before receiving anything, but I am tempted to sneak a little order in for some of the new Soviet APC's, I so want to paint that little T20!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Jack The Giant Slayer

It was movie night in Blease Towers this evening, with family entertainment provided by last year's Jack the Giant Slayer (SWMBO likes fairy story films). Not Oscar material by any stretch of the imagination but decent enough family fare, especially if you have kids. The effects are a bit too CGI but the giants are fun and some of the ideas for a tabletop giant army would be great fun.

It's no Princess Bride or Stardust, but I've seen a lot worse...

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Thane Tostig: The New Adventures!

Last year I picked up a copy of the long oop Minot Thane Tostig fantasy rules and was quite taken by the background and the skirmish level size of the game. I did at the time moot the idea of using modern day figures as proxies but decided to check the availability of the original old Minot miniatures. Whilst they do come up on eBay periodically, they are not exactly cheap, so I have gone back to plan A.

The adventurers should be easy enough to find suitable miniatures from the likes of Gripping Beast and I have lots of plastic and metal skeletons that I can use, the problem was finding something for the Sprites. In the end I have decided that there is nothing quite like them so have decided to do with something quite unique in their own way - Brigade Model's Celtos Formorian Orcs.

True they do not look like the Minot Sprites, but they certainly don't look like the GW/Tolkienesque Orcs that saturate the market and have an old faerie/Celtic look to them, perfect for the Dark Age setting of the background. I'm thinking about painting them an extremely pale, almost albino, white flesh. An order went off today*...

Rules wise the idea is to use the forthcoming Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King's Hold create your own adventure rules, the game seems to be ideal for the kind of dungeon / underground tomb / haunted woodland adventures I have in mind.

* I also ordered a pile of aeronef models so there should be lots of VSF goodness in a few weeks...

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Battlefield Evolution: Panzergrenadier Zug Sd. Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D's

I managed to finish the three Sd. Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D's for my Panzer Greandier platoon last night...

As previously stated these are the excellent Plastic Soldier Company models, really easy to put together and a box chock full of accessories, crew and passengers (this is what all other manufacturers should be  providing).

Painting Target: 466/1000

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Battlefield Evolution: Panzergrenadier Zug Sd. Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C with PaK.36

Fifteen months after finishing the infantry for my 20mm panzer grenadier platoon I have managed to finish the first of the Sd. Kfz 251 half-tracks for them, the platoon command Sd. Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C with PaK.36.

This model was undercoated in April 2013 so it is nice to finish it. It is a combination of the Armourfast Sd. Kfz 251/1 Ausf C with /10 bits from the PSC Ausf D box set (those three should be finished tomorrow). As I said back then, the Armourfast kit is decent enough but PSC have raised the bar when it comes to cheap easy to construct wargames models in 20mm,

I decided not to paint any markings on the vehicle, as most photos I have seen of 1945 German AFV's show many to be unmarked.

Painting Target: 463/1000

Monday, 11 August 2014

Dwarf King's Quest: Back Down the Dungeon...

Mantic are back Kickstarting things, this time with Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King's Quest. I love the original game, it's great, so it took little to convince me to jump on board for the basic game, a move made all the better by the inclusion now of solo rules to make one side or the other card driven, with the player(s) working together (aka scheming behind each others backs).

What also appeals is that the advanced rules will allow you to create your own adventures beyond the basic quest and with a pile of unpainted Reaper Bones, this seems like it will be the answer to my tentative plan to create some dungeon delving game using the piles of odd fantasy miniatures to be found in Lead Mountain. I also had plans to use the original Dwarf King's Hold game to recreate some adventures based on  a very old school fantasy gaming background, so the new c.y.o. adventure rules should make that a whole lot easier.

Today has mainly been lost to work and helping son and heir set up student bank accounts but I did managed to slap a bit of paint on some 20mm WWII German half-tracks and do some more Aeronef work including finding an online source of an obscure C19th text I'd been after for ages! :-)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

'Neffing to Report?

It's hard to imagine but this time in five weeks my boy will have left home and living on the university campus in Cheltenham (on his birthday no less...). Obviously this will leave me with lots of free time (!)  which should mean clearing some of the log-jam of Wessex Games projects.

With this in mind I have been messing around with Aeronef today. The planned 2nd edition is some time away (Aquanef and Astronef have to come first) but the paper edition has been out of print for far too long. I had a bit of a 'Eureka' moment yesterday with the idea of combining both the original rules and Aeronef Captain's Handbook into one omnibus volume and printing that.

So today has been devoted to converting the text from Word into Pages and creating new tables etc. in the new Omnibus document. 18,684 words and 42 pages later that boring part of the job is done. Now I need to decide what to do about photos and what format the printing will take.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

ArcWorlde: Jungle Gremlins of Chaq-Itza I

A return to ArcWorlde today and the first of the Jungle Gremlins of Chaq-Itza - three headhunters!

Lovely models, I decided to paint them with the same black skin technique I used for the Black Trolls back in January.

I think this has worked well and provides a nice contrast to the red wooden masks and green jungle terrain.

Having "themed" the Hobgoblin bases to their background I had to continue the idea, so for the jungles of Chaq-Itza I bought some 'Aztec/Jungle' bases from Blitzkrieg Minatures, which are much nicer than they look in the photos and highly recommended.

Painting Target: 462/1000

Friday, 8 August 2014

Bolt Action: Stalingrad on the Yangtze

I weakened today and ordered a couple of books for the Kindle to investigate the Anti-Japanese War further and then see if I want to start it as a 28mm project. Rana Mitter's China's War with Japan should provide a decent overall account of the conflict, with Peter Harmsen's Shanghai 1937, Stalingrad on the Yangtze provide a more detailed snapshot of one campaign.

I also dug out the World at War Chinese Army Compendium, which, whilst written for Mongoose's defunct World at War rules, being designed for a platoon level game is very useful for other platoon level games like Bolt Action and Chain of Command. This really expands the ideas and armies beyond the one Warlord have released, being split into three parts (early, mid and late war) for the Nationalist army as well as including a Red Army Guerilla list. A lot of information and some great ideas in here, I had to restrain myself from planning various armies out here and now!

I did manage to return to the painting table at lunchtime and have made some good progress on some 20mm Hanomags and the ArcWorlde Jungle Gremlin Headhunters which I hope to finish tomorrow depending on orders from SWMBO!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Bolt Action: The Anti-Japanese War 1931 - 1945

Unfortunately I've not managed to get anywhere near a paintbrush today but the Chinese bug is itching away! :-) A little more research has uncovered a range of 28mm WW2 Chinese! Yes, Brigade Games in the States do a nice looking range of German equipped troops, including some useful 'Big Sword' types.

Of course whilst WW2 starts in 1939 for us here in the UK, the war against the Japanese started in 1931 for the Chinese (indeed they call the conflict the Anti-Japanese War). This means that the Copplestone Back of Beyond range comes into usefulness for battles between 1931 to 1937 (and probably beyond).

Japanese troops for the period are widely available but troops for 1931 wore French style Adrian helmets and as you can see from the photos below (taken from China in WW2), the Japanese marines would make a colourful and unusual looking unit!

Japanese Marines Shanghai 1932
Japanese soldiers in Shanghai, 1937
Japanese Type 89 Japanese tanks near Beijing, summer of 1937

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Bolt Action: First to Fight... Last to be Manufactured?

You may have noticed that on occasion I have a rant or two about the less well represented nations in WW2 wargaming, most recently the Chinese. So it was pleasantly surprising to see that Warlord have released an interim Armies of China list for Bolt Action, whilst work is undertake on a more comprehensive list. Ok, they haven't released any miniatures but we can live in hope!

My interest in the Chinese has been rekindled by Twitter of all places. I'm not a great Tweeter and normally only use it for the football gossip, but I discovered that Peter Harmsen, author of Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze, runs an account that provides news about the 1931-1945 Sino-Japanese conflict called China in WW2. He posts lots of interesting links and photos, some of which I've copied and posted below for interest.

Even if you are not a 'Twit', it's a resource well worth checking out (indeed there are some really interesting obscure military history ones on Twitter that are worth setting up an account just to follow).

Chinese motorcycle patrol 1940
Chinese soldiers using Hotchkiss M 1922 in AA mode
Chinese soldier with Czech-made ZB vz 26 machine gun
Chinese soldiers dismount M3 Half-track

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Rogue Trooper: Genetic Infantrymen

The first white metal models from the Mongoose Rogue Trooper Kickstarter arrived the other day and haven fallen woefully behind on other Kickstarters I have resolved to keep on top of this one, painting stuff up as it arrives.

The three GI's have been sculpted by Gary Morely and, as you can see above, fit nicely in with the one that was released in the Judge Dredd range. In deed, the models are better sculpted and have details such as the biochip on the las-rifle sculpted on (I had to paint it on the original).

I used the same base paint, dip, highlight approach I did earlier this year and it works well enough for wargames figures (the blown up pictures show the roughness of the technique but they look fine in real size).

Mongoose have shared pictures of half the Nort infantry squad on the Kickstarter so hopefully not too much longer before we get another fix of Nu-Earth goodness...

Painting Target: 459/1000

Monday, 4 August 2014

Rogue Trooper: Nort Hammerfire Pillboxes II

Here are the remaining four Nort pillboxes, these with the numbers slightly converted due to the number 9 issue mentioned yesterday...

I have made substantial progress on the three new Mongoose Genetic Infantrymen so hopefully they will be finished this evening or tomorrow lunchtime.

Painting Target: 456/1000

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Rogue Trooper: Nort Hammerfire Pillboxes I

After many delays Mongoose's Rogue Trooper Kickstarter has begun to deliver the goodies. Oddly the first delivery was something that didn't get unlocked in the funding, the Nort Hammerfire Pillboxes set...

The eight models are one piece resin castings with separate white metal weapons, two each of a Firebeam, Rotary Cannon, Missile Launcher and Barrage Mortar. I finished half of them today...

Whilst the models are very nice, Mongoose have dropped the ball somewhat. The pillboxes all have individual numbers (see picture below) whereas the model comes as a number 9. I appreciate that it would not have been cost effective to produce eight differently numbered models but surely the best option would have been to produce a model number 8 which would have made converting the numbers to 0 to 9 all the easier?

Painting Target: 452/1000

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Warlord Go World War One...

Today has been a day of paint it black, undercoating ArcWorlde Gremlins, Rogue Trooper G.I.'s and bunkers, as well as a couple of Redcoats on Mars British. So hopefully an interesting mix of miniatures over the next week or so.

In the meantime I thought we could do with some Great War eye candy, taken from Warlord Games, a couple of their forthcoming World War One tanks. Tempted? You bet....

(photos Warlord Games)

Friday, 1 August 2014

Sharknado 2: The Second One

No doubt like many households worldwide, last night in Blease Towers was Sharknado 2 night, as we sat down, celebrated, ate themed food and watched the premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One!

For the uninitiated Sharknado is an extremely silly disaster film (with lamentable effects) about a tornado that sucks sharks up out of the sea (a sharknado) and then hits Los Angeles. A modern day cult classic, its sequel (with two sharknados) is set in New York and creditably attempts to out do the original in all aspects possible.

Great silly fun, I couldn't help ponder the idea that this would make a great participation game at a show using zombie survivor figures, cheap plastic sharks and lots of random event cards for floods, sharks flying through the air, catching fire etc etc. Could be fun!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Tuesday. The sequel to 2011's excellent Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel picks up the story a few years after Simian Flu has devastated humanity and chronicles the first contact between the genetically evolved apes and the human pandemic survivors. It will be no surprise that this does not go well...

A hugely enjoyable film with some great combat sequences and nods to the original films, such as the ape cavalry, it is well worth making the effort to watch it at the cinema on the big screen if you can. The apes would make a great alternative enemy for any zombie survivors you have in your miniature collection...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Back in February you may recall I got rather excited over Shenandoah Studio's WW2 Strategy iOS games Battle of the the Bulge and Drive in Moscow. I hadn't played them recently but having to sit on a hot train to and from London today I decided to chill out in a virtual snowy Ardennes!

Much fun was had which reminded me that Shenandoah had released the third game in the series, Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein so a visit to the App Store was called for when I got home this evening.

I've just downloaded the game and may be gone some time!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

AirWar C21: HMS Fearless (L10)

No attempt to game the Falklands War would be right without any ships, after all the defence of the fleet was paramount to the RAF/FAA. Having decided to use 1/300th models for the planes, the issue was what to do about the ships. In the end I decided to adopt an element of forced perspective and use 1/600th ships with 1/300th planes, which seems to work quite nicely.

The first ship I have painted is HMS Fearless (L10), one of two Landing Platform Dock (LPD) class vessels to serve in the conflict taking part in the landings at San Carlos.

The model is the venerable old Airfx model, which I have 'waterlined'. From my research I understand that the model is not 100% accurate for the Falklands conflict, being based on what she looked like in the sixties when first commissioned. But if it looks like a duck etc.

I couldn't find a definitive painting guide for her in the Falklands either but from what I have found I understand she had grey decks in 1982, not the green on the Airfix instruction sheet, although my grey may be a litle too dark.

I understand that the serial and funnel markings were painted out when in service, so I have done this using a slightly lighter tone of grey to give the effect (from the photos I have found you can't really see this but I liked the idea).

Further I weathered the model with some rust and dirt smudging to reinforce the fact that it was winter in the South Atlantic and the fleet did not look pristine in action. The deck markings are hand painted but again I am not 100% sure of the accuracy for 1982.

I must say that after some trepidation (the model has sat undercoated for about three years now), I did enjoy painting Fearless and like the end result.

Painting Target: 448/1000