Saturday, 30 November 2013

(Africa Month) Bad Light Stopped Play

It has been a beautiful day here in sunny Bristol but it wasn't until after lunch that I got the chance to start painting. Unfortunately the sun soon dipped below the horizon thwarting my attempts to finish off the female Fon unit by the close of Africa Month.

Eight are 90% finished, just needing highlights and flock, with the remaining eight at around the 75% mark. A couple of hours of light and they would have been done, still Africa Month has been a success by recent standards with one unit of French and one of Fon completed, and a second within touching distance. Hopefully SWMBO doesn't have plans for me tomorrow morning...

Friday, 29 November 2013

Operation Black Friday Thwarted!

As an Englishman I must confess to inwardly cringing at the attempt by certain retailers to bring Black Friday to these shores, especially as no one is offering a public holiday and a turkey dinner the day before. However I would be a numpty to not take advantage of any offers from retailers who decide to sell me something I had been planning to buy at a cheaper price.

Enter Plastic Soldier Company producers of fine plastic kits and the Battlegroup Kursk rulebook. Following Tas' excellent review/AAR I decided to pick up a copy sometime soon, after all a man cannot have too many sets of WW2 rules.

Having had a hectic, and following a trip to the tyre dept expensive, day, I decided a bit of retail therapy was in order and the nice people at PSC were embracing the spirit of Black Friday by offering 25% of their products today.

Unfortunately their website decided not to play ball and allow me to place my order. For some reason it decided there were "no shipping options to your address". I know the Royal Mail has been privatised but surely folk in West Sussex can send stuff to Bristol! I gave PSC a ring but clearly they realised it was POETS day as no one was answering just after 4pm and I didn't get a response to my hastily sent  email.

So I'm not sure if I have missed out on the 25% saving due to the machinations of the PSC shopping cart, I'll be a bit disappointed if I have but I suppose I can wait until Black Friday 2014!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

SF Modular Terrain

Battles inside structures is a staple of science fiction, whether it is Marines versus Aliens or Judges raiding blocks. To date the only real options for gamers to play these types of action is to use 2D floor plans with the odd 3D door, invest in expensive resin items or scratch build. There is now a new option with Battle Systems pre-cut modular cardstock terrain which is currently entering the last three days of its Kicktarter. I have to confess to being tempted, it looks ideal for Judge Dredd and I've always had a hankering for trying some spaceship boarding skirmishes. The video below shows what they are producing...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

(Africa Month) Fon Female Warriors I (aka Amazons)

I finished the first four Dahomey Amazons today. The miniatures are from Dixon and as previously discussed some have had head swaps to increase the variety (though I can't rightly remember if this group includes any conversions).

Pretty good figures sculpted by Mike Owen before he went to Foundry, I used the same painting technique of block, wash and highlight as the male warriors for the clothing and weapons, with the flesh just being a heavy drybrush over black undercoat.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


The good news is that Bob Olley's Steampunk Scrunt Kickstarter has now exceeded its funding target. The GREAT news is that the Kickstarter includes Scrunt Steampunk vehicles!

The photos from the KS page are works-in-progress (the Dwarves need arms and in one case legs) but surely they are this year's must have wargames accessory?!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Empire of the Dead Compendium

A weighty (in megabytes) tome popped into my inbox today in the form of the long awaited Requiem Compendium for Empire of the Dead, including all the new rules and background for the lovely Kickstarter miniatures.

At 115 pages it has a lot of stuff crammed into it and I have had to stop myself sneaking peeks at Hell Division, the Clickers and other great ideas when I was supposed to be working.

With some many great looking period dramas on TV at the moment including Dracula, Ripper Street and even The Paradise (not that I was watching the latter per se but glancing up I was taken with the buildings and costumes) providing inspiration, it may be that I devote a month soon to starting the ball rolling on with the EOTD figures...

I have managed to slap a bit more paint on the Dixon Amazons today and if nothing unexpected happens at Blease Towers then I am hopeful the Fon Female warrior unit will be finished by the end of Africa Month!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

No Show...

Realising last night that I hadn't been to one wargames show this year I decided to go to Reveille today to get my fix. However having dropped son and heir to archery and picked up SWMBO from the supermarket I decided not to, after all I would only end up spending money on things I didn't need and didn't fit in with any ongoing project...

So this afternoon I put the first bits of paint on the Amazons and had a Google surf at options for building terrain for Victorian games using the EOTD Kickstarter figures. I have been caught between the want to buy the lovely but expensive 4 Ground or Sarissa Gaslamp Alley MDF buildings and the less lovely but darn sight cheaper printable building option. At the latter end of things I did discover a really looking nice printable option to stick on foamcore from Grekwood Miniatures which is a great price and looks pretty good...

I also came across some interesting looking pre-painted 7mm (railway) scale card buildings from Purple Bob's Hobbies, which may be a tad large at 1/43rd, but may work with a little bit of work on doors. This Edwardian Toilet block could be useful and Purple Bob also does some useful looking sign sets to add period ambience!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

(Africa Month) Dahomey Amazon Head Swaps

Well it was back to Cardiff this morning for the Uni Open Day, shame Saul was not overly impressed with the course after all that driving but at least we found out now... Good news however was that the Dixon Amazons arrived yesterday so I cleared a space on the workbench this afternoon to play with them! Unfortunately there are only nine different miniatures and some of those are obviously variants on the same dolly so I decided that in true Amazon style I would decapitate some of the models - and then do some head swaps to provide some variety in the unit.

Nine figures were converted and the swaps have worked pretty good. I also chopped the arm off one Amazon waving a decapitated head and repositioned the arm without the head...

Friday, 22 November 2013

(Africa Month) Riffi Warrior Test Piece

I decided to try out the same technique that had proven successful (and quick) painting the Fon on one of the Rif tribesman I bought off Richard Baber. I'm not sure who the sculptor is or why the range was not put into production, whilst not Copplestone or Artizan standard, it is decent enough and better than many of the Old Glory historicals.

I didn't do a lot of research on painting the figure, I used Richard's blog as my source knowing he'd done the donkey work. As with the Fon I block painted the figure, washed it with the Flames of War Brown Shade wash and then carefully drybrushed some areas with the original base colour. It is a really easy technique and produces decent enough results. My only reservation is with the tribesman's coat being a tad dark and I may use a lighter base colour next time to provide more contrast...

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Wargamers To Arms! Sign This Petition!!

It's not often that wargamers get a bit hot under the collar and organise a petition but with the Royal Mail have introduced some rather ludicrous restrictions on the posting of water-based paint that are not only going to be a pain in the butt for gamers who have little option but to order paint online (even living in a city like Bristol I don't have a decent source for the paint I use) but also adversely impact the livelihoods of small online traders who supply wargamers.

Please read about what the Royal Mail have done, sign the petition and encourage others to do so...

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Wargamer's Guide to the Rif War

It's been a pretty crappy couple of days at work so I cheered myself up with some retail therapy on the Too Fat Lardies website and bought Richard Baber's Wargamer's Guide to the Rif War. £7.00 well spent methinks...

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Victorian Ghoul

As part of my slowly fermenting Voyages Diabolique project, I have painted up a "test" Ghoul. I've had half a dozen of these lovely Mantic plastics sat on the workbench for some months now, fixed to Fenris bases and undercoated.

After some pondering I tried painting the skin purple then drybrushing with the old GW undead flesh colour. The end result seems to work reasonably well...

Monday, 18 November 2013

(Africa Month) Fon Male Warriors VI

I managed to finish off the final four Fon male warriors before starting work this morning... Once again they are Foundry miniatures, mainly tribesmen with muskets so not particularly exciting but quick to paint and the whole unit does look pretty good en masse. Just waiting for the Dixon Amazons now so I can crack on with unit two...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

(Africa Month) Fon Male Warriors V

Not quite sure where all the time went today but I managed to grab a few minutes mid-afternoon to finish off four more of the Fon. In my enthusiasm/rush to finish them off I somehow managed to throw one across the room into a radiator and now he has no nose (how does he smell? awful!). Anyway another four down, four left to go...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Doh! Doh! Doh!

I'm not doing very well with getting to a show this year. The regular visit to Colours was lost to Saul's 18th birthday weekend and today's planned trip to Warfare was lost to the University of South Wales open day. An early start but a pleasant trip to Cardiff saw us arrive around 10am... to find the open day is next weekend! Exactly... Doh! (I think Saul should get extra UCAS points for being extra keen and turning up a week early!!)

It does mean that I have a free afternoon and have almost finished four more Fon and progressed the final four, but the light here is really poor today so they won't get finished until tomorrow. Meanwhile the brain is pondering the Empire of the Dead (now based and undercoated) and Rif War figures (any Vallejo recommendations for the Spanish Legion uniform green?).

Friday, 15 November 2013

(Africa Month) Fon Male Warriors IV

The paints I needed to crack on with the Dahomey Fon arrived today, undortunately I was tied up most of the day with phone conferences, but did grab some time at lunchtime to finish these three Foundry types with the help of SWMBO's hair dryer to speed things up!

This takes the unit up to fifteen, with eight left to finish. I'm hoping my Dixon's order arrives soon so I can paint up some Amazons!

Thursday, 14 November 2013


With men across the nation doing their bit to promote Movember by growing facial hair on their upper lip it is easy for forget Dinovember! What is Dinovember you ask? Well, it is the wonderful attempts by a Mum and Dad to convince their kids that their plastic dinosaurs come alive at night, wreaking mayhem!

This website has some wonderful photographical evidence but the full effect can be found on the Dinovember Facebook page here. Great fun and a wonderful idea...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

I Smell A Rat!

My love of weird historo-fantasy is no surprise to anyone who reads this blog, so you will be not be surprised in the least by an impulse purchase to Khurasan Minitaures for some of their Rodent Civil War miniatures!

Bolshirat platoon (photo Khurasan Miniatures)
 Fantasy Russian Civil War between the Bolshirats and Menshimice might not be everyones cup of tea, but it is mine!

Menshimice platoon (photo Khurasan Miniatures)
Now I just need to work them into the Panzerfäuste background...

On a non-hobby note but just because I am really proud of him I'm sharing some news. Saul recorded a song he wrote recently called Falling about Felix Baumgartner, the Red Bull world record sky-diver. Yesterday Felix posted a link to the song on his official Facebook page and the song has now had almost 5,000 listens in 24 hours - Saul is well chuffed to say the least...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bits For Bob!

It's taken far longer than planned (my fault) but the master dollies of the Darke Lands Dwarf Schutztruppe have been cast and are now back on their way to Bob Olley for him to weave his magic with them. I took a quick snap of some of the castings before they went...

 The heads are separate and the pith helmet head is for a Dwarf big game hunter. Bob has also commenced work on the Zulu Halflings which will look a lot better than my rough concept sketch...

After the Halflings, it will be the Orcs (singing"Orcs of Horlicks" or some such music hall ditty...)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

"A Moments Silence..."

Seasons by Saul Blease

Winter sunrise bathes the mist,
white blanket on fields, that frost has kissed
Raindrops fall in a spring shower
translucent angels, dancing on a flower.

Seasons come and seasons go
Here I stand all alone
Seasons come and seasons go
Forgotten here, heart of stone

Butterfly’s flight on a summer breeze
gossamer touch is all we need
The hairline patterns on an autumn leaf
amber and gold beauty, so brief.

Seasons come and seasons go
Here I stand all alone
Seasons come and seasons go
Forgotten here, heart of stone

On a cold November morn
A moments silence, from those who‘re born
Red flowers laid at my feet
Remembrance of sacrifice complete
Seasons come and seasons go,
For one short moment I'm not alone...

Saturday, 9 November 2013

(Africa Month) Amazons of Black Sparta

Today saw another university recce, this time the University of Gloucestershire in very pleasant Cheltenham Spa, that is our investigations done, now Saul needs to get his personal statement written and his applications in.

Consequently that has meant little time for anything much else, though I have updated my Voyages Diabolique page with some new character types and tinkered with Saul's Bandcamp page (click if you fancy some rocking music).

I have however been reading an excellent book on the Fon and the Dahomey War in the form of Stanley B. Alpern's Amazons of Black Sparta. The title seemed a bit sensationalist but it is a very good academic work with lots of detail and information both on the Fon in the decades before the wars with the French and the wars themselves.

I'm about half way through but have learnt lots of interesting stuff and if you fancy dabbling in a more off beat colonial conflict that lasted considerably longer than the Zulu War then I recommend picking this book up (even if you don't fancy a dabble miniatures wise it still is a book well worth reading).

Friday, 8 November 2013

Thursday, 7 November 2013

(Africa Month) Meanwhile, Somewhere To The North...

Painting has come to a grinding halt as I have run out of a whole host of things including certain paints, bases and super glue, however alongside the big box of Victorian goodness that arrived from West Wind yesterday was a smaller package from darkest Wales...

You may have seen Richard Baber's posts of his blog about his 28mm Rif War project including this one showing off some Spanish Legionnaires and Rif Berbers. Richard said he was going to sell off any spare miniatures and I availed myself of the opportunity having been fascinated with the conflict since I first learnt about it in the Airfix guide to the French Foreign Legion!

I now have about thirty figures in total and will be looking to restrict the project to nothing larger than a reinforced platoon level game. I am short of Berbers but hopefully the likes of Askari will fill the gaps.

Not sure when I will start painting these figures, if I can make some more quick progress with the Fon for Dahomey (Amazons ordered earlier this week from Dixon), they might well get bumped up the painting line as I plan to use a similar technique to that I used on the Dahomey figures.