Tuesday, 31 December 2013

That Was The Year That Was (or How I Painted Over 500 Miniatures in 2013...)

So that was 2013! Looking back at my New Year's Resolutions I don't appear to have achieved any of those listed so they may have to become 2014's!

However I have achieved two objectives I set myself at the start of 2013. First off was to try and post once a day on the blog and this I have achieved (this is post 365!). By and large I think the posts were worthwhile though maybe I pushed the boundary a bit on day when I posted about some paint I bought! :-)

You may also recall that I set myself a painting challenge at the start of 2013 to paint 365 miniatures (one miniature being one vehicle, figure or base of smaller figures). Despite being worried that this would be a bit of a stretch I hit the target in July and have managed to paint 509 miniatures (many 28mm) in 2013.

Here are some of the highlights...
British Land Ironclad
1/300th ONESS Panzergrenadiers 
Terminator Bikes
French Foreign Legion in Mexico
1/144th Ilya Muromets
20mm German Late War infantry 
Romno-British infantry
Romno-British cavalry
Knights of Chaos
Troupes Coloniales Umbongodwongolese Hafelins
Fantasy Tribe Gnolls (painted after 34 years!)
1/144th Blackburn Kangaroo
1/285th IDF Magach-3
French Foreign Legion in Dahomey
Empire of the Dead Gentlemen's Club
And of course there were lots of Gromits! :-)

Monday, 30 December 2013

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Extension?

Despite not being overwhelmed by The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey when I watched it a year ago, Saul and I are off to watch the second in the trilogy tomorrow. In preparation we decided to re-watch the first movie that Santa had delivered in the extended DVD format.

We haven't had an opportunity to watch the nine hours of extras that come with the two discs of the now three hour movie but the experience was not as bad as I was expecting. Maybe my expectations were lower this time, maybe I was ready for the bunny-sled this time.

The bunny sled and the whole Goblin Town sequence still suck but I'm less annoyed with the inclusion of Azog and some of the other changes.

The extensions only total 19 minutes and don't improve the film in the way that the special edition of Aliens improved the cinema cut and I'm not sure we really needed naked dwarves frolicking in a Rivendell fountain, but the extra material doesn't make the movie any worse and it does add to the level of distrust between dwarves and elves.

So it is The Desolation of Smaug tomorrow, fingers crossed...

Sunday, 29 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Vampire Clan I

I started on the second Empire of the Dead faction today painting the Consort and Bat Swarms from EOTD-02 Vampire Clan set.

I decided to paint the Consort in a green dress with dirty white gloves, the idea being she is some Victorian Society Lady that the Count has turned. I am pondering adding some blood around her mouth for a splash of contrasting colour.

The Bat Swarms come attached to gravestones which was a bit of a bugger as I wanted to base all the EOTD models on street bases so this necessitated a far bit of hacking away and some repair work, but in the end I got there. A bit of Google image searching led to me painting them brown rather than black/grey which I think looks a bit better...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Hawks Over Indochina?

I popped into the local model shop this morning in the hope they had a HaT FT-17 with 37mm cannon and French 75mm artillery sets for the Franco-Thai War but to no avail. I did however resist the lure of the Zvezda Cold War Hot models and the new 15mm T-35!

A bit of internet surfing to find photos from the war has led me slightly astray with some wonderful accounts and paintings of the short air war...

Air battle over Ban Yang
Bombing raid on Pailin and Sisophon
I also found this great model box illustrations of RTAF Hawk 75N's in action during the war from a Russian model manufacturer...

Friday, 27 December 2013

Thai Your Models Down?

So just why was I buying Vickers 6-ton tanks yesterday? Well I have got bitten by the "really obscure bug" again, the Franco-Thai War of 1940-41. A short sideshow in WWII I have been fascinated by the posts of the A Few Rounds More Blog concerning wargaming the conflict and with Elhiem doing their annual festive post free offer I have weakened.

The primary driver is the lovely Tropical French figures Matt has sculpted which I found looking for suitable Vichy North African types, but the AFRM blog started me off researching the Thai army which is much more useful than I first thought.

Elhiem Colonial French
As well as the French in Indo-China, the Thai army also fought for and against the Japanese, as well as against the Chinese and British Imperial forces. With plans in place in 20mm for the China-Burma-India front, the addition of an Adrian helmeted alternative to the Japanese in some games seems fun.

Elhiem Thai infantry
So I am ordering some infantry and tanks for both the Vichy French (who also fought the Japanese and could in theory be used in the Levant and Madagascar) and the Thais, to raise reinforced platoons for both. The plan is still to use Battlefield Evolution in 20mm, but depending on how that works with such early equipment, Bolt Action may get used.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

What Santa Brought...

It soon became apparent yesterday that I had been a very good boy in 2013! :-) Santa delivered lots of nice presents including a copy of the Osprey Of Gods and Mortals rules, the Forgotten Voices of Burma and the complete collection of It Ain't Half Hot Mum on DVD!

I also received some "white metal money" (the exact term used) as SWMBO refused to pay the postage one company quoted for an order (over a tenner for a £12 order) and said she would rather I buy it at a show and spend the postage on something else!

I have already decided what to spend my "white metal money" on, yes, a new project but one linked to something I was planning for 2014 anyway. Today's research into the matter has show that what I thought would be a rather specific (albeit fun) limited use project actually has a lot more use to it than I knew. More tomorrow, but here is a hint...

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hoping you, your family and friends have a peaceful festive period and that Santa brought you lots of exciting new wargaming presents and not too many boring clothes!

The miniature is Armorcast's St. Nick Bot with Machine Gun, which may be familiar to watchers of a certain animated SF TV comedy...

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Here Is The News...

Despite the hundred and one things I need to do before tomorrow (including rescuing the kitchen from the mess I have made cooking two meals before SWMBO gets home from work!) I grabbed a few minutes to finish off the last miniature from the Design 28 Miniatures V6 Jack The Ripper pack.

A simple but rather nice figure of a man with new sandwich board, it was a very straightforward paintjob, the only problem being to decide what to paint on the boards. Tempting as 'Mars Invades!' was I went with a Ripper theme.

Right, back to the festive prep!

Monday, 23 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club VIII

Blimey it's wet and windy outside! After braving the ravening hordes at ASDA to buy the sprouts and parsnips for Xmas dinner I finished the last of miniature from EOTD-01 Gentlemen's Club from West Wind. This set has been much more fun to paint than I expected as I hadn't been too taken with the initial four sets of Empire of the Dead miniatures and it was the Requiem Kickstarter that hooked me.

Here are the second batch of four Gentlemen...

And here is the Club ready to go into action and thwart threats against the Empire! Vampire Clan next Gad!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club VII

Bit of a busy morning today as I manfully fought against a runny nose and aching sinus to not only finish off my second Orcs in the Webbe Advent Calendar contribution (Sharke's Barsoom, should be up tomorrow) but also paint the seventh member of the West Wind Gentlemen's Club set...

This one is a right character in his hunting jacket and fez. I have seen some wonderfully painted versions of this miniatures in tartan trews but I'm not up to that level of skill so went with a green hunting jacket and brown lounge trouser look, which seems to have worked.

Ok, time for a Lemsip!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club VI

Happy Solstice everyone, grabbing a few minutes earlier I managed to finish off the sixth miniature from the West Wind Gentlemen's Club set, just two more to go...

Friday, 20 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club V

There were a couple of things I did not resort to the internet for that I wanted to buy SWMBO for Christmas so after dropping her at work I popped up to The Mall. Even at just gone 9am the car park was filling up with people and I was reminded what a miserable experience Xmas shopping can be. I enjoy hunting out, buying and giving the presents, I just dislike the lemming process of shopping. To make things worse the things I wanted to buy weren't there so in the end I went home and bought them off Amazon. They'll be here Monday...

So to cheer myself up I painted another of the Empire of the Dead Gentlemen's Club miniatures...

Thursday, 19 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club IV

Beautiful sunshine in Sunny Bristol this morning so I cracked on with the West Wind Gentlemen's Club with this wonderful masked vigilante type. As he is wearing a mask I decided to go with a largely black look, using blue to lighten the colour.

Half way through the set now, great miniatures...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Off to Donnybrook?

It was a bit too gloomy to do any painting today so I sat down with a cup of coffee and the latest copy of Wargames Illustrated. Amongst the tanks was an interesting article of a forthcoming set of skirmish rules for the period 1660-1760 called Donnybrook, not a period that normally captures the mind, but one I have had a passing interest in due to driving many times across the Somerset Levels through Sedgemoor.

The main reason I haven't dabbled in the period previously is the need to have lots of miniatures, but Donnybrook is an interesting looking set in that you only need to have 20 to 40 figures a side not the usual 200 plus. The WI article contains lots of details on the rules which are propelled by a random card turn sequence (a mechanism I particularly like and have included in the first draft of Darke Lands) and you get to use various dice types (D6, D8, D10 etc). I must say I am quite intrigued.

Of course as well as Sedgemoor, the first three or four decades see the English Army in Tangiers, fighting in the War of the Grand Alliance and the basic uniforms are such that many units can be used as regiments from other countries armies (eg. English Guards can be used in French, Dutch and Jacobite armies). Irregular troops can be used as mercenaries, rebels or bandits...

The release of Donnybrook is imminent and as soon as pre-order details are available I will buy a copy as even if I don't use them for their specified period, the core system is based on a Colonial game and should work for most pre-vehicle periods.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club III

The latest miniature from West Wind's EOTD-1 Gentlemen's Club set, inspired by some of the more colourful coats worn by the richer characters in Ripper Street I went with this fetching lilac coat. I did enjoy painting it but with hindsight it does seem a tad vulgar for a British gentleman, perhaps this character can be a guest of a club member, maybe visiting from America? :-)

Monday, 16 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club II

Having enjoyed painting up the first of the West Wind Empire of the Dead figures at the weekend I decided to paint another from the Gentlemen's Club set! I hadn't planned to paint them one at a time but it is fun. They are beautifully sculpted figures and it is enjoyable to paint something slightly different than the Copplestone school of Foundry (not that I don't like this particular sculpting style, but a change is as good as a rest etc.)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

(Victorian Month) Gentlemen's Club I

Despite a host of festive preparations needing doing I was determined to grab some time to slap a bit of paint on something despite the horrendous light today here in Bristol.

As Victorian Month had ground to a halt I picked on one of the undercoated West Wind Miniatures from the EOTD-01 Gentlemen's Club box.

A nice simple figure I went with a green-grey coat to contrast a slightly red-brown beard, with odd splashes of colour like the blue-grey scarf. Hopefully I will be able to grab some time to paint the rest of the set by the end of the month.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dwarf Schutztruppen!

I undertook the Great Christmas Present shop today. After ten minutes on Amazon(!) I checked my emails to find Bob had sent through photos of the first three packs of Darke Lands miniatures - the Dwarf Schutztruppen! There are a couple of tweaks needed but I am very happy with these. I better get on with the rules writing...

Friday, 13 December 2013

Books Are The Best Medicine?

After a week of nagging pain from a toothache no amount of Sopadol stopped me being in agony at 3am this morning so it was off to the dentist and I am now one wisdom tooth and fifty quid lighter (I thought the tooth fair was supposed to give you money!)

Banned from hot drinks, solid food and a medicinal brandy for 24 hours I have tried to ease the ache in my jaw with some retail therapy on Amazon with another book for next year's Torch and beyond project...

...and an interesting looking book on the 43 Group which I saw reviewed in the latest Labour Research Magazine at work. I'm not hugely taken with the VBCW background but this might see me dabble.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Fall of Denmark

Today was the first of Saul's university interviews necessitating a trip to Southampton. Whilst he regaled them with music technology mumbo-jumbo I sat in the Uni cafe with a cup of coffee and my iPad, onto which I had last night downloaded Oliver Hayes The Fall of Denmark 1940, one of the Bretwalda Battles series of short e-books.

At around fifty pages it didn't take long to read(!) but was quite interesting although it would not have taken much research to flesh it out a bit more. Hayes refers to the Danes using 20mm and 37mm guns, it would have taken minimal effort to note these were 20 mm L/110 Oerlikon and 37 mm L/37 Bofors anti-tank guns... That said the e-book only cost 75p so perhaps I am being overly pedantic.

From a gaming point of view  the invasion and capture of Denmark may seem to have little potential but there was some notable resistance from the army, notably by the Royal Life Guards at the Amalienborg Palace, at Sølsted and the military base at Harderslev. That the German invaders suffered over two hundred casualties, lost six armoured cars and had six others along with four tanks damaged demonstrates that the shortest military campaign was certainly not just a parade into Copenhagen. For gamers interested in the mass armour 'car park' games like FoW, the invasion of Denmark offers nothing, however platoon and section level battles using Bolt Action or similar have potential.

20mm Danish infantry in action at Salute 2012
Aside from the historical fighting there are also some interesting hypothetical possibilities which could make it an interesting theatre for gaming from the Danes not surrendering so quickly with the King following General Pryor's recommendation to keep fighting until the British or French could land troops to the German raison d'etre for the invasion (to forestall an Anglo-French invasion which would threaten the northern German border).

Danish infantry April 1940