Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Reading Material (and NewFoundLand)

As part of the preliminary work on the 1973 Arab Israeli project I have acquired a little reading material...

In addition to these Osprey Campaign books, I picked up a couple of the Duel series that seemed pertinent.

I also found an old issue of Born in Battle magazine in my collection, picked up another cheap on eBay and the PDF of a Yom Kippur special off the internet. Published in the late seventies and early eighties in Israel they are well worth trying to get hold of as they contain lots of interesting material and many rare photos.

Gromit of the Day:


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Painted - After 34 Years! (and Zodiac)

Another fit of "Attack the Lead Mountain" enthusiasm saw me tackle a regiment of old Citadel Fantasy Tribe Goblins. Indeed at 34 years old some of these miniatures were actually Fantasy Tribe Gnolls before they were rebranded in 1982.

These are pretty much the oldest fantasy miniatures I have in my collection (aside from some odd adventurers) and whilst one regiment was painted up in my teenage years, for some reason this second one was not.

The Fantasy Tribe range are still some of my favourite miniatures and collecting the "bad guys" I have Fantasy Tribe Goblins, Orcs and Trolls, but unfortunately no FT Dwarves (and to my mind they were pretty much the definitive dwarf look). The great thing about the FT range were the random figure variants so your units had a distinct rag tag look to them.

Gromit of the Day:


Monday, 29 July 2013

Back to Bas(e)ics (and Hound Dog)

I have always thought that basing vehicles was, well, a bit weird. I don't know why, but the thought of tanks having bases seems a bit strange. Of course there is a logic to it, especially as your figures are based as it will ensure they are the same height but it just doesn't seem right.

This personal logic even extends to 6mm, even though it is clearly less of a wargaming faux pas to base your micro-armour, I have never based any of my vehicles, no matter how tiny (and 6mm jeeps can be a bit on the small size), until now...

First off I'm blaming Big Lee and his ongoing 6mm North African project. Lee has been basing his vehicles on small FoW bases and I must say it looks blooming good. Secondly have you seen how thin the barrels are on a GHQ Centurion? They bend if you look at them funny. Yes, basing the Arab-Israeli stuff will be the way to go.

With Lee's collection looking so good I thought I'd copy him and use the small FoW bases, picking laser cut MDF ones from Warbases to save time dicking about cutting up plasticard. Just before I sent off an order I decided to play with my test piece Sho't Kals on some card cut to FoW size. Good job I did...

The small FoW bases are 1" x 1 1/4" (or 25mm x 32mm in new money), the Centurion measures in from rear to tip of the barrel at 34mm. Given I want to protect the barrels this clearly wasn't going to work. So I've been having a Pooh Bear "think, think, think" time...

A base depth of 40mm will solve the overhanging barrel issue and ensure they are protected, the question now is base width. Of course 40mm x 20mm bases are a wargames standard so very easy to get hold of in either plastic or MDF. However having played with the FoW bases I like the slightly wider 25mm. Of course 40mm x 25mm is no-one's standard size.

I now have to decide over convenience and go down the 40mm x 20mm route or head out on my own and go with the 40mm x 25mm?

As you can see I knocked up a couple of bases one 20mm wide, one 25mm and am playing with my unfinished Sho't Kals on them to see which looks best...

Gromit of the Day:

Hound Dog

Sunday, 28 July 2013

When Aliens Attack! (and Butterfly)

Watching the third series of Falling Skies on Fox the other night I began pondering on the gaming possibilities the series offered and then why, from a wargaming point of view, that SF is well and truly rooted in the future. Ok, SF films and literature is largely futuristic but that does not have to be the case and there are enough examples of SF set in the past or present that would indicate the potential for it...

Take Falling Skies for example with its basic alien invasion/occupation storyline, you have a standard insurgents versus technological superior asymmetrical warfare scenario, the twist being that the Americans are the technologically inferior insurgents! What struck me watching the programme is how easy it would be to re-use Modern troops and survivor miniatures from zombie games against SF models. With them you do not need to specifically re-create the aliens out of Falling Skies, I think any futuristic SF types could be used, especially anything with walkers, maybe even Eldar.

Alien invasion stories such as Independence Day or Turtledove's World War book series show that modern (or even WW2) regular forces can be used to fight alien invaders in pitched battle, and even if the human equipment is inferior, as Stalin said "quantity has a quality all of its own". Taking Turtledove's background, the Race were small four foot tall lizards so 15mm SF armour can be used against 20mm WW2 collections.

Of course, as Turtledove has done, there is no reason why alien invasions have to occur in this time. Turtledove used WW2, but the film Outlander pitched Vikings against a Predator like foe and of course there is the more recent Cowboys v Aliens. Really the only limit is your imagination and your miniatures collection, asymmetrical warfare does not just have to be the Taliban against NATO...

Gromit of the Day:


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Painting Target Broken (and Carosello)

Back on January 6th, faced with eighty white undercoated zombies, I wrote this: "I have posted in the right hand column my 2013 Painting Target for the year - one miniature for each day of the year. Obviously this doesn't mean one must be painted each day (otherwise I'm six down already!) but a target of at least 365 painted miniatures in 2013. I'm not differentiating between model sizes or scales so a cavalryman is the same as an infantryman which is the same as a tank (the only exception will be 6 or 10mm figures where one base will equate to one figure). We'll see how it goes..."

Well, you might have noticed on Tuesday that, with only 56% of the year gone, I passed that target!!!

I wasn't sure how this was going to go, after all I can recall years when painting would be lucky to hit double digits. Trying to put some paint on something each day (no matter how little and for how short a time) has certainly helped and it is a habit I would encourage others to try. I admit I haven't managed to pick up a paint brush every day this year, but so far I have most days and certainly once a week.

Of course a quick look at my New Years Resolutions has seen none of those attained so celebrations will be a tad muted pending a review of activity!

Gromit of the Day:


Friday, 26 July 2013

For King and Country... (and The King!)

Wandering around Bristol taking photos of Gromits there are many historical sites of interest and I took a couple of photos that may be of interest to English Civil War buffs, especially as it is the 370th anniversary of the Royalist storming of Bristol today.

Christmas Steps (pictured above, known at the time IIRC as Queen Anne's Steps) was a key area of the fighting once the Royalists breached the Parliamentarian defences at what is known as Washington's Breach (the area at the top of Park Street these days). The Royalists streamed through the breach towards the old medieval city walls and the Fromegate down these very steps. There is very little in Bristol from this time but the steps (and once you get across the main road at the bottom) the gate still remain to give an echo of the past.

Colonel Henry Lunsford, leading one of the Royalist regiments, was shot dead at the top of the steps and there is a small plaque commemorating this on one of the walls of the buildings, but there is very little else in the city to indicate the battle.

If you want to know more about the battle a synopsis can be found here and Iron Mitten posted a wonderful picture he painted of Lunsford on his blog earlier this year here.

Gromit of the Day:

The King

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Halfling Colonial Troops (and May Contain Nuts & Bolts)

A little while back I supported Black Hat Miniatures WWI French Halflings Kickstarter which they had undertaken to help beef up the WWI Goblin range they purchased from Frank Hammond. Whilst I did not want them for a WWI fantasy game particularly, I wanted to support the venture and thought I could find a use for them in Panzerfäuste.

Enter the Troupes Coloniales Umbongodwongolese Halfelins! With the Gnome homeland of Dûn-Nomin invaded by the Boche Dwarves, the Gnomes turn to their colonial possessions in the dark continent of Umbongodwongoland to provide troops for the fight.

There are a number of native races in Umbongodwongoland, one of whom are Zulu like halflings, some living in the central rain forest areas and are now ruled by the colonial authorities of Dûn-Nomin. With this in mind I decided to paint the Black Hat halflings as these.

The uniforms are based on the 1940 French Colonial Troops uniform, with the beige trousers inspired by the look of the Army of Levant. They are not 100% historically accurate, but then the French did not field Zulu halflings against the Germans so I am on fairly safe ground.

The figures are quite nice and easy to paint up, the good thing about the Kickstarter is that it allowed Black Hat to produce a full basic range with support weapons (still to be painted). Whilst Kickstarter is mainly used for big projects in the gaming industry, this does go to show that it is of value to the smaller games company and the fans of off the wall concepts and ideas.

Gromit of the Day:

May Contain Nuts (& Bolts) 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son... (and Nezahualcoyotl)

Saul came across this trailer the other day and whilst I appreciate that you shouldn't judge a film from its trailer, Seventh Son looks like it could prove a bit of half-term fun in October.

The film is apparently based on The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney, a kids fantasy books series (eleven in the series so far) that I am not familiar with but seem popular enough and might be worth investigating for the fact that places in the books are based on real places in Lancashire.

Gromit of the Day:


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Devil (Dogs) Made Me Do It! (and Why Dog? Why?)

Earlier this month I posted about Empress Miniatures interesting looking Devil Dogs and Dragons Kickstarter with contemporary US Marines, Chinese PLA and Austrian infantry. What can I say? I am  a weak, weak man...

Empress Miniatures US Infantry
One thing that swung it for me (aside from a great idea to write a ColdWar: 1983 supplement called Red Dragon Rising) was the offer of a 20% sale on their existing moderns miniatures for backers. This also included the recently acquired vehicles by Imprint Models and yesterday evening turned out to be rather expensive (thankfully SWMBO was distracted by some Royal baby news on the TV).

Empress Miniatures British Infantry
Of course I will now have to do some serious research on the forces being purchased and that will mean checking out what Ospreys are available. Weak, weak man...

Gromit of the Day:

Why Dog? Why?

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Malnificent Seven? (and Canis Major)

I finally finished the last two models from the old 1984 Citadel Speciality Set 3 - Knights of Chaos. Two of the most untypical Chaos warriors you will see in the form of Tomar Spogh - Warrior of the Divine Tuluk and Rechgrundle - Warrior Maiden of Dim Ponn...

I really like both miniatures and they were hugely enjoyable to paint, even if I could not make my mind up on the colour for Tomar's coat (it was initially red, then plain blue before the final design).

It has been quite enjoyable painting up the odd miniatures individually for the sheer hell of it and has been a breath of fresh air after painting up units of troops. My initial plan for the miniatures was to include them in a generic mercenary/brigand unit for some Oldhammer games but they are so full of character I am formulating a different plan for them - after all there are seven of them... :-)

Gromit of the Day:

Canis Major

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Heavy Metal Mayhem! (and Bumble Boogie)

I came across three almost finished Battletech miniatures the other day and decided to finish them off despite having not particular use for them. They had been painted in enamels so I gave them a quick Strong Tone/Dark Tone ink wash and finished the bases.

I never really got into Battletech despite a desire to do so after reading William Keith's Battletech novel Decision at Thunder Rift. I really couldn't get my head around the rules and the level of combat they were pitched at.

I wanted battles of a dozen mecha a side which the rules didn't cater for. I did have a phase of collecting stuff including the excellent fanzine MekTek but gaming never really took off (I recently reaquired my copy of the OHMU mecha rules which might be an option).

I can't recall exactly what the models are, two are (I think) are a Warhammer and a Battlemaster but am not 100% certain. I haven't a clue what the third is.

It was quite amusing to see my ability to paint small lettering in the halcyon days of youth, with the name Death Wish painted on the cannon of the Warhammer. Couldn't do that in a month of Sundays now...

Gromit of the Day:

Bumble Boogie

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Saturday Night's Alright For Fighters! (and Hero)

I finished a couple of old (1985) Citadel fighters yesterday evening. They are from the same release as the female fighter I painted earlier in the month and I must say, equally as uninspiring.

This was the start of me (first) falling out of love with Citadel and into the arms of historical gaming. These releases, and many others over the next couple of years, were substantially below par compared to the pre-slotta figures sculpted (in the main) by the Perry twins as Citadel churned out quantity at the expense of quality as the eighties progressed. Still, they are painted now and will make useful unit filler.

Gromit of the Day:


Friday, 19 July 2013

Cursed Doomhandle and Doomed Ratchragged (and A Close Shave)

I finished another couple from Citadel's 1984 Speciality Set 3 - Knights of Chaos, this time Cursed Doomhandle - Apostate of Heinus Suth and Doomed Ratchragged - Priest of Wenwoch the Waylayer. You don't get names like that anymore! :-)

It's been quite relaxing painting these (nearly) thirty year old miniatures up one by one and makes a fun change from painting units up in batches. I have found a couple more in Lead Mountain, and hope to get them done by the weekend.

Rest assured old Citadel Miniatures are not the only things being worked on, there should be some more Dux Bellorum Arthurians soon as well as the IDF test pieces. I don't normally put work in progress shots up but I thought you'd like to see the detail on the GHQ Sho't Kal - yes, it really is 6mm!

Gromit of the Day:

A Close Shave

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Taking the Plunge... (and The Grommalo)

After reading through Daniel McCoy's Six-Day War FoW guides I feel enthused to take the plunge on the October War project, splashing the cash today on some GHQ Micro-Armour and the two Osprey Campaign guides on the war.

Miniatures wise I have started with a plans for a Magach-3 (M48A3) Tank Company and a Mechanised Infantry Company. I'm not quite sure why I went for the Magachs when I am doing a trial paint run on three GHQ Sho't Kals (Centurions) which I found in Lead Mountain but I did.

I am trying to make at least half the forces raise suitable for both the October and Six-Day Wars so I can do both with minimal additional outlay (I have been grabbed by having Amx-13's and Super Shermans and possibly Syrian PzIV's!)

Gromit of the Day:

The Grommalo