Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Aeronef Over the North Sea...

Last weekend there was an Aeronef event at Stoke Rochford Hall. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go, but Paul Pearce posted some photos on the Les Guerres Extraordinaires Facebook page, which show it was an event not really to be missed. Lots of lovely aeronef and some great terrain by Tony Francis of Brigade fame.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Miniature Mo’vember....

As Orctober comes to a close (and I need to crack on with the pole axe unit), it seems next month is Miniature Mo’vember...

 Mo’vember is a fun charity event when chaps worldwide are encouraged to grow some facial fluff and get sponsored for doing so. Sporting a fine moustache and beard (well I think they're fine), I miss out on this fun, until now.

Over to bloggers Blax the Kleric and Dick Garrison who came up with the following idea: "for a bit of fun that next month will be “Mo’vember” rather than November and that each week we have to paint up at least one figure with a moustache".

Sound fun, I'll have to have a rummage in Lead Mountain to find some suitable figures for Miniature Mo’vember - hopefully you'll join the fun...

Monday, 27 October 2014

"This Isn't the TIE Fighter You're Looking For..."

I caught up with the new Star Wars: Rebels animated series at the weekend. So far Disney XD have show the two episode pilot, plus the first two episodes and despite some reservations over bits of the CGI animation, they are a lot of fun.

Charting the adventures of a band of rebels on the spaceship The Ghost and set four years before A New Hope, there are many nods to the "classic" Star Wars trilogy which will appeal to older fans, whilst watching the series with younger ones! The only thing that is wrong with the series is that it is animated!

I don't have anything against animation and there have been some good Star Wars animated series, but Rebels is essentially Firefly in the Star Wars universe. Just think how awesome that would be as a live action series...

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Battle Academy 2 - the Eastern Front on iPad

You may recall I became a little addicted to Slitherine's hugely enjoyable Battle Academy iPad game earlier in the year! A great game, as I said it is rather akin to playing a 1/300th wargame on a tablet (or PC). Having fought through France, the Western Desert, Sicily, Belgium, Holland etc, I was excited to read that an Eastern Front version was planned.

The great news is that Battle Academy 2 - Eastern Front now out on the iPad...

I started the Barbarossa campaign yesterday and am having lots of fun, the great thing with this version is that, in addition to the four single player campaigns, there is a skirmish game where you set the parameters (terrain type, period etc) and the computer draws up a new scenario for you to play. Great stuff, if you have an iPad (or PC), this is a must have game...

Saturday, 25 October 2014

War Never Ends Quietly...

I went to see Fury today. Unless you have been living on Mars for the last year, you will know this is Brad Pitt's latest film based on the experiences of an M4A3E8 crew in the last month of the war, the geek factor enhanced by the use of Bovington's Tiger I in the movie.

Overall I really enjoyed it. The grubby campaign look of the Americans and Germans was excellent, the "gypsy caravan" look of late war American vehicles well recreated. The story is, well a bit Hollywood, but we don't go to the cinema for documentaries, we go for heroic stories.

If you take the storyline with a pinch of salt, most wargamers will find this an enjoyable film, the battle scenes are generally well done, the vehicles and uniforms accurate and it has a real-life Tiger in it!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Battlefield Evolution: Partisans III

Here are the third and final batch of Caesar Miniatures 20mm Partisans finished this lunctime, bringing the total to 60.

I'm very pleased with how these have come up given the limited time and effort expended on them,

I did a bit of book buying yesterday, on the back of these figures. For the Kindle I picked up the Osprey Campaign Vercors 1944 and in paperback, secondhand copies of Osprey Warrior French Resistance Fighter and Osprey MAA Partisan Warfare 1941-45. Hopefully they will provide enough inspiration between them.

Here is a photo of all 60...

Painting Target: 577/1000

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Battlefield Evolution: Partisans II

I managed to finish the basing on the second batch of 20 Caesar Partisans at lunchtime.

Service Ration Distribution (Hobby) - I guess this may be a pseudonym! - asked yesterday where there "any particular rules you prefer for resistance forces?" My plans for all my 20mm is to use the old Mongoose Battlefield Evolution: World at War rules which are a bit old school but I like them.

They did produce rules for Maquis, Partizan and Volkssturm units in Signs & Portents 57, with special rules for ambush, untrained and variable morale traits. However, the rules are only designed for adding irregular sections to regular platoons and I am not sure how they would translate into Partisan only forces.

The Bolt Action Armies of France and the Allies does contain a Partisan list with two theatre selectors. This allows for a fairly generic Partisan platoon with some support elements and could well help flesh out a dedicated Battlefield Evolution force.

I have thought previously about converting an asymmetrical warfare set of rules for WW2 Resistance warfare. It is strange that with all the modern sets embracing this, that given all the resistance warfare that occurred in WW2, this is overlooked. I have considered converting Scudbusters into a WW2 set, perhaps one day I will get the time!

Painting Target: 557/1000

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Battlefield Evolution: Partisans I

You may recall a few years back how Natasha Kaplinsky Led Me Astray... and I ended up buying Caesar Miniatures WWII Underground Resisters (Partisans) and WWII Partisans in Europe boxes of 20mm plastic figures for a Forest Jews project. I have now painted the first twenty.

The figures are really nice, albeit a bit of a hotch-potch of resistance types. Whilst painting them it did occur to me that whilst some are pretty generic, some are too specific to be anything other than Chetniks or Marquis etc. So when I finish all sixty I intend to separate out the obviously specific figures for the basis of a 20mm French/Yugoslav/Soviet unit to which I will add the more generic figures for specific games.

The generic figures will also be useful for forming the bulk of Polish Home Army and Volkssturm units, so there is a lot of useful interchange within the boxes. The only criticism is the lack of infantry support weapons such as anti-tank weapons and lmgs. However I think some of the spare WW2 Germans and Soviets I have my well cover this, painted appropriately, even if a few head swaps are required.

Painting the Partisans was very straightforward and quick. I sprayed half with a brown base coat and half light grey. I then base painted some colour variation on trousers, jackets etc with a limited palette of blue, green and dark grey, before picking out flesh, weapons and any knapsacks. I then painted them all with Army Painter Strong Tone dip and matt varnished.

I would have finished all sixty if I had not run out of Vallejo Beasty Brown for the bases, so hopefully that turns up today from Midlam Miniatures so the rest can be ready to fight the fascist occupier!

Painting Target: 537/1000

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Blitzkrieg: French Scale Creep?

I popped into Antics this lunchtime to pick up some Testors matt varnish and some black undercoat. Whilst having a cursory peruse of the shelves of kits and die-cast toys I spotted a nice pre-painted Somua S-35 of indeterminate scale for £12.50. It was certainly larger than 1/72nd and smaller than 1/35th so I bought it!

It turns out it is an IXO 1/43rd plastic and die-cast model that was recently available in one of those artworks collections from Eaglemoss called Military Vehicles Collection. There were 22 models in the collection and some nice looking stuff. 1/43rd is of course a common die-cast for cars and other vehicles and one I suspect many modern wargamers wish was the default rather than the nebulous 28mm given the tons of civilian models available in this scale!

I'm not quite sure whether I will be able to get away with using it with my 28mm French, but we'll see...

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...