Thursday 28 February 2013

(FFL Month) Los Chinacas Rojas II

Whilst I have made good progress on the next batch of the Camerone set Foundry French Foreign Legionnaires I doubt they will be finished today without rushing them. I did however manage to finish the other five Republican Irregular Cavalry to join the three finished yesterday...

The same technique was used on them as the first three Chinacas Rojas...

Unfortunately I've come up a bit short on finishing the whole set of miniatures this month having lost last weekend to domestic pressures, however as there are only a few left I will keep them on the workbench to try and fit in between what is planned for March!

Maximilian Affair painted running total: 

17/26 Mexican foot
9/25 French foot

Wednesday 27 February 2013

(FFL Month) Los Chinacas Rojas

These are the first of the (dismounted) irregular Republican cavalry. They typically wore the vaquero Mexican cowboy costume but some uniform touches such as red lance pennants and occasionally jackets were seen.

Not all the cavalry will have red jackets but these three have. As with previous figures I undercoated them white before basecoating the brown, red and flesh areas before giving them a coat of Strong Tone dip. Then I painted the rest of the figures up using standard dark to light layering techniques.

I hope to finish the remaining five of this band this evening, they are 90% done now but the battle with the light for photos will be lost before they are finally completed.

Staying in Mexico, following on from the film drama I found on YouTube of the Battle of Puebla a couple of weeks back I came across this Discovery Channel documentary, 5 de Mayo - Un Dia de Gloria.

Again it is in Spanish but does feature lots of battle re-enactments showing a variety of the colourful uniforms from the conflict.

Maximilian Affair painted running total:

12/26 Mexican foot
9/25 French foot

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Projekt X: The Science of Evil

Three years back (oddly, to the day!) I posted some photos of my North Star 1/48th British infantry that had been used in some Gehiemkrieg Weird War Two games. Today I realised that whilst I'd posted these and the British Weird Science troops, I'd never posted photos of the German weird stuff so I decided to remedy that...

Meet Projekt X:

Sturmbannfuhrer Wunsche and Doktor Klaus.


More zombies... There are 32 in total.

Power Armour Soldats. At the time there was only one basic miniature so I had to convert some by chopping and repositioning arms.

Basic Power Armour Soldat and two conversions, one with underarm panzerschreck, the other with a flamethrower (David Manley kindly told me that they look like one has a leaf blower and the other a weed killer spray!)

The miniatures are now owned by Scarab Miniatures and available here.

Monday 25 February 2013

Flames of Yom Kippur?

Last year I mentioned the intention to get back into some 6mm WW2 or Modern wargaming. 6mm (or 1/300th or Micro as we called it in the old days!) was my first love and Big Lee's 6mm WW2 North Africa campaign has certainly made the mouth water.

Having checked out 'Lead Mountain' I had a number of potential options which I now think I have whittled down to the Arab-Israeli Wars 1967 and 1973. Whilst I don't have as much unpainted white metal for this project as I have for late WW2 or Cold War BAOR v WarPac these are both terrain heavy and the largely open terrain of the Sinai or Golan Heights is extremely attractive in this respect.

Ruleswise ColdWar Commander seems to make a lot of sense but I am intrigued by Big Lee's use of a 15mm set (Flames of War) for 6mm games. Some Google-fu has produced a lot of links for using FoW for Modern gaming including this page of material for the 1973 October War.

Whilst I've got too much on the go at the moment to start this now I am pencilling it in for the second half of the year. In the meantime I'll have to dig out the books I have on the subject including Quarie's old PSL Tank Battles in Miniatures volume on the subject.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Zvezda Armada Invincible Game

Following on from yesterday's post about Zvezda's modern Art of Tactic game, there is also news that they will be producing a naval version set around the time of the Armada.

A bit of investigation has turned up some interesting photos...

The models are apparently 1/350th scale which, I think, should put the ships in the 15cm long ballpark...

The planned releases appear to be:

6500 - Revenge
6501 - Great Harry (Henry Grace à Dieu)
6502 - San Martin
6503 - San Francisco
6504 - Armada Invincible starter set

Saturday 23 February 2013

Zvezda Hot War Game

Modern gamers will be pleased to see that Zvezda are building on the success of their WW2 Art of Tactic game with a similar modern version called Hot War. As with the Art of Tactic game it appears the models will come in different scales the infantry being 1/72nd (20mm), AFV's 1/100th (15mm) and aircraft 1/144th. Not ideal but as with the WW2 releases they all prove useful for different games.

Typical of Zvezda information is hard to come by and illustrations even harder, but by some clever detective work(!) and changing the digits on URL I managed to discover the following hidden on the Zvezda website:

7400 - T-72 (1/100th)
7401 - BTR-80 (1/100th)
7403 - Mi-24 (1/144th)

7404 - Soviet Infantry (1/72nd)
7405 - M1A1 Abrams (1/100th)
7406 - M2 Bradley (1/100th)

7407 - American Infantry (1/72nd)
7408 - Apache (1/144th)
7410 - Hot War game

7411 - Soviet Machine Gun
7412 - Soviet PZRK Igla
7413 - Soviet PTRK Metis

7414 - American Machine Gun
7415 - American Dragon
7416 - American Stinger

Friday 22 February 2013

40K Imperial Army Medic on Bike

Last year in a fit of Rogue Trader nostalgia I painted up a pile of 25 year old miniatures for the Imperial Army (as the Guard were originally called).

Alongside them I had a pile of vehicles from 1988 including a couple of original landspeeders, a rapier, a jet bike and a medic on a bike, the last of these I pulled out of 'Lead Mountain' and have slapped some paint and dip on...

The miniature is quite cool and lends itself to some great scenario ideas speeding its way through to the wounded, blasting orks out of the way!

Thursday 21 February 2013

Kickstarter: Brave New World or Extinction Event?

I came across a really interesting post on ¡bitzkrieg! blog about crowd funding the other day. A chunk of the post was from Andy Foster of Heresy Miniatures and his viewpoint on how crowd funding is impacting the hobby and to my mind he made a really interesting point...

Andy likened the hobby to a pool of fish (us gamers with our disposable income) into which anglers (games companies) would cast their hooks and catch tasty orders from us throughout the year. Then along comes the Kickstarter trawler scooping lots of fish out of the pool. Some of the anglers realise they need to get onboard their own trawler to catch some fish so there are more trawlers casting their nets in the pool - and a few anglers on the bank not catching very much at all...

An interesting analogy which Andy backed up with evidence of his own orders drop off. Now this evidence of order drop off may not be as a result of crowd funding grabbing customers money, there is a recession on and much as I like the look of some of Heresy's stuff I consider them a company supplying miniatures for collectors not wargamers so they are not a normal point of call for purchases.

However, when I consider my own spending patterns over the last year I can see I have been caught in the nets of Kickstarter trawlers large (Reaper, Mantic) and small (Black Hat) and have not been spending much on the anglers (Folorn Hope Games were the first in a while).

This leads me to ponder the impact of crowd funding on the hobby and whether they are over fishing the pool...

The smaller crowd funding projects, such as Black Hat's WW1 French Halflings, are I think relatively harrmless. They are in essence what crowd funding is about, help financing a project and realising it quicker as the company shares the financial risk of the venture with the crowd funders. If adequate funds aren't raised then the project should not go ahead (Matchlock Miniatures War in the Pacific Kickstarter being an example).

It really is the big trawlers that are potentially overfishing the pool. Just look at some of the amounts raised through Kickstarter by some of the larger wargames companies: Sedition Wars $951,254, Zombicide $781,597, Dreadball $728,985, Reaper Bones $3,429,235!

Previous business practice would see the companies take a loan or finance these projects themselves . They might take a little longer to realise but they would get there. Crowd funding gives them a big cash injection up front whilst minimising the risk (and having an additional benefit of creating a community of pre-order customers).

Now there is nothing wrong with this, hell if I was running one of these companies I'd do it, it makes commercial sense big time. The problem, as Andy alluded to, is that a lot of gamers disposable income is now spent and whilst they wait for their product to turn up (six months and counting for Reaper), they no longer have the capacity to buy stuff elsewhere.

I'm not sure what impact this will have on the hobby in the long run, but certainly crowd funding will change it. At the very least it will cause it to evolve, at worst anglers like Heresy Miniatures are driven out of business.

Food for thought?

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Myths and Legends: Dragonslayers

You may recall that I was a little excited by the 2013 Osprey Catalogue and some of the new releases. Amongst the items that caught my eye were the new Myths and Legends series. Three volumes are listed as coming between March and May, Jason & the Argonauts, Dragonslayers and The War of Horus and Set.

I must confess Dragonslayers looked the least exciting of the three, I couldn't imagine much more than a collection of well known folktales, all very similar. I've read dragon myth collections before and they are fairly generic. However Osprey kindly sent me a review copy and I must say that I am somewhat blown away by how good it is.

First off the illustrations by Peter Dennis are amazing. He has brought a historical perspective to the subject with many of the heroes in the 'correct' period costume and armour. Indeed his 'historical' St George has the dragonslayer in 3rd/4th century Roman cavalry armour fighting a large crocodile. Whilst the other dragons follow more regular mythical descriptions there is nothing silly here in the artwork, you could well believe this was a regular ancient history Osprey if dragons had been real.

However, good as the artwork is, this is a book and the meat of the product is the text and I must say that Joseph McCullough has done a cracking job in bringing together a disparate and varied selection of tales, summarising and then analysing them. The tales range from the well known such as Beowulf, St George and Hercules to the lesser known like Dobrynya Nikitich, the Lambton Worm and Japanese dragon slayer Agatamori, with many more besides. I have had my head stuck in this book and keep picking it up to re-read bits!

As I said I thought this would be the weakest release of the three and probably would not have bought it but have been more than happy to have my preconceptions proven completely wrong. If you have any passing interest in the subject I seriously recommend picking up a copy.

Of course this has resulted in my wargames juices going into overdrive! The dragonslayer (and dragon) is a fantasy archetype but I can't ever recall seeing this the subject of a miniature wargame. Thinking about it all you really need is a hero miniature, some companions (aka dragon chow) and a dragon (and there are lots of cheap, decent toy ones available in addition to some lovely wargames models in metal, resin and plastic). Hardly a major cost outlay. The "eureka!" moment came when I was pondering rules and the lightbulb went off - Tusk! The mammoth hunting game could easily form the foundation for a good dragon hunting game and I am now drafting a dragon hunting variant to playtest.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

(FFL Month) “We’ll Die Before We Surrender!”

I managed to finish the first batch of Foundry Camerone French Foreign Legionnaires last night. To make the process easier I split the 25 models I have into three smaller batches with the intention of completing each in turn.

The models are truly wonderful and ooze character and whilst I would not use the expression "they were a joy to paint" (painting is not that much fun!) they did paint up nicely.

To add a splash of colour I decided to paint a few of the kepis uncovered and this helps avoid them looking too much like the much beloved classic 1908 Legionnaire in Algeria.

Researching the uniforms was interesting. Many illustrations have the Legion fighting in red trousers like the line infantry (indeed this was regulation) but the Osprey book states that the Legion still wore their old white North African trousers (white trousers were worn in summer anyhow). I decided to go white so, if and when. I raise some regular infantry, they will have red trousers and that will make them easier to identify on the table.

Maximilian Affair painted running total: 

9/26 Mexican foot
9/25 French foot

Monday 18 February 2013

Terminator Heavy Weapons

The em-4 and Copplestone robot ("Terminator") infantry are a bit light when it comes to heavier weapons. em-4 do a couple of decent heavy machine-guns but that it about it. Enter Forlorn Hope Games who, whilst stocking em-4, spotted a gap and have produced some of their own robot infantry in a similar design to em-4's.

Whilst they are not as good as the Mark Coplestone em-4 models and they do appear a bit soft detail wise (to the extent that I was wondering if they had been drop cast) the range of five models does contain very useful missile launcher and flamethrower figures.

I painted them up using my black undercoat, drybrush Tin Bitz, drybrush Boltgun Steel over, approach and added some red eyes and that was it. Simple and effective.

They were a pleasant change from the Camerone Legionnaires, the first seven of whom are almost finished. Typically the French, even whilst on campaign, seem to have lots of fancy jacket trim etc.

Sunday 17 February 2013

A Steampunk Bonanza

As regular readers will know I love Victorian Science Fiction, however as a general rule I prefer that it is based or inspired by the scientific romances of the period rather than the more modern OTT "steam and rivets" Steampunk approach. That is not to say that I don't like Steampunk, just that I tend to like it more in graphic novels and book as opposed to on the tabletop (to my mind Dystopian Wars owes more to Moorcock than Verne or Wells).

However that may be about to change with both West Wind and North Star dangling the carrot of a plethora of wonderful looking 28mm Steampunk miniatures for 2013 in front of me!

Lord Curr's Company (photo North Star)
North Star are producing the miniatures for Osprey's forthcoming In Her Majesty's Name Steamunk rules. They are currently running a pre-order scheme (amusingly called "Nickstarter") with some exclusive freebie figures thrown in with orders over certain amounts depending on the total amount of pre-order funds raised (essentially a self-run Kickstarter). The miniatures previewed are sculpted by Steve Saleh and there are some interesting looking figures there.

West Wind already have their game out, Empire of the Dead, and whilst I haven't bought it I have heard good things about it. I must confess that I was not overly taken with the first miniatures releases, West Wind already produce an impressive Gothic Horror line so I was baffled that two of the four initial factions were vampires and werewolves. However they have now launched a Kickstarter for a supplement called Requiem and miniatures wise things look like they are going to get really interesting...

Not only is there a new faction in the form of Scotland Yard's Supernatural Branch, there is the promise of a number of fictional characters from period literature including some of Holmes' foes such as Moriarty, Colonel Moran and Irene Adler and a number of Victorian vehicles including a Black Mariah and a Time Machine (YES! A TIME MACHINE!!!).

Given West Wind's demonstrated capacity to support and develop product lines I am really looking forward to seeing the new Empire of the Dead models this year, but North Star's In Her Majesty's Name line has promise and, even if it isn't as numerous, it does have some interesting stuff such as The Black Dragon Tong (with Yeti) and Servants of Ra (with Mummy) both of which would seem to fit in with Empire of the Dead.

Hopefully the two lines of miniatures will be compatiable!

Saturday 16 February 2013

(FFL Month) The Frustrating Scale Creep Dilemma

A little while back I picked up a few blisters from Foundry's Maximilian Affair miniatures to help expand the Camerone set from the same manufacturer that I am currently painting. Amongst them was a blister of Contra Guérillas however as with most packs in this range there was just one sculpt duplicated eight times.

This is a major irritation with Foundry's line, especially as it means that there is no variation of pose and there are no command figures. Enter Gringo 40 with their new 28mm scale Maximilian Affair range including... Contra Guérillas and command figures! Unfortunately there are only two other ranks poses but between the two manufacturers it seemed a small force of the colourful Contras in 28mm scale could be raised.

My order from Gringo 40 arrived yesterday, unfortunately they are massive compared to the Foundry miniatures... Further, upon checking them, the Foundry Maximilian figures are actually smaller than their Camerone ones which seem to fall somewhere between the the original Perry sculpted Foundry and the new Gringo 40.

This has on the horns of a dilemma. The Gringo figures are just about compatible with the Camerone set. I picked up some of their Mexican infantry and they fit in with the Militia I have already painted (ok, they are slightly larger but they work). Unfortunately neither range has enough Contras for a reasonable sized and varied unit (and of course now I want a Contra unit!)

I'm also now not sure what to do with the remaining original Foundry blisters (a mix of Imperial and Republican). I bought I'm thinking of experimenting by raising the smaller figures by 1mm with a coin between the figure base and slotta base and hoping the paintjob helps disguise the slightness of the original Foundry miniatures.

Whatever it is very frustrating that given the limited amount of 28mm scale miniatures available for this conflict, that here is such as size difference between them...

Friday 15 February 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

I went to see Zero Dark Thirty yesterday. Saul had been going on about it for a while but I wasn't overly enthusiastic expecting some chest thumping "ho-rah, we got Bin Laden!" Call of Duty jingofest. What I hadn't realised was that it was by the same team behind The Hurt Locker so I had a very pleasant surprised with what is a high quality film.

The main focus of the movie is the intelligence operation run to find Bin Laden and this fascinating. Much has been made about the fact that the film makes no bones about the fact that pertinent intelligence used was gleaned from suspects who had been tortured. I didn't get any impression that the film makers were making any political statement one way or another here, it happened and it is included, end of.

The raid on Bin Laden's compound is extremely well done, especially bearing in mind we know the outcome. The lack of suspense music and footage interspersed night vision green footage is extremely atmospheric. I'm not sure there is anything much here for the wargamer per se but it is interesting stuff nevertheless.

Overall I was really very impressed with the film and glad I went to see it. If you have the opportunity make sure you do, it is well worth watching.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Temptation: Eisenkern Stormtroopers

North Star have a pre-release offer on the 28mm plastic Eisenkern Stormtroopers from Dreamforge  Games that are currently sailing across the Atlantic and I must confess to being tempted...

They are pretty much SF Germans and would make for a decent OpFor for the Defiance UAMC Marines I picked up in the North Star January sale.

The infantry range is petty much complete with heavy weapons and an accessory pack which not only allows you to optimise the conversion potential but includes three excellent mechanical mules.

The models have been manufactured by Wargames Factory, which given their recent excellent track record means they should be top quality.

Perhaps a little Valentine's Day present to myself as I didn't get a card? :-(

Wednesday 13 February 2013

(FFL Month) The Battle of Puebla

Looking for some online uniform information on Republican forces during the Maximilian Affair I came across part of a Mexican drama entitled Batalla 5 de Mayo about the Battle of Puebla, when the Republicans defeated the French interventionist army.

I won't vouch for the accuracy of the uniforms but the film does have a nice feel to it, even if I couldn't understand most of it (my Spanish is very poor). It is quite inspiring and it is a shame that the war is such a poor relative of the War Between the States across the Rio Grande from a wargames point of view (the uniforms are much nicer!)

Tuesday 12 February 2013

(FFL Month) Mexican Republican State Militia

The first miniatures out of the Foundry Maximilian Affair set I decided to paint were the Republican State Militia who, in their traditional peasant dress, could easily double as Guerillas or Bandits.

I used the same approach as the Artizan Legionnaire test piece, undercoating white, coating with Soft Tone dip, then painting layers on top. I think it has worked quite well.

The rest of the Mexicans in the set are dismounted irregular cavalry in their vaquero costume and I am busily researching colour schemes (various shades of brown seem popular). In lieu of the lack of regular Republican infantry I have placed a small order into Gringo 40 for some.

Maximilian Affair painted running total: 

9/26 Mexican foot
0/25 French foot

Monday 11 February 2013

Rogue Trooper Kickstarter Underway and Funded

Mongoose's Kickstarter for their Rogue Trooper Miniatures Game is underway and the basic level already funded. Of course the detail is in the stretch goals with projects like this and as a fan of the blue-skinned GI every since he burst onto the pages of 2000AD I shall be watching them with keen interest.

The only question now is what level to pitch in at?!

Sunday 10 February 2013

Orc Legionnaires

Ok, not the legionnaires I expected to be painting, but as I have run out of white undercoat I've been trawling the workbench for more things to finish off. The latest miniatures to be rescued are these Pax Bochemanica Orc (Roman) Legionnaires, the opponents of the Germanic Halflings I painted up last year.

As with the halflings they are sculpted in a similar large Flintloque style and they tower over other companies Orc models which is a shame as it limits their use somewhat. That said, they are nicely sculpted and detailed and paint up well enough.

As with the halflings I didn't want to spend ages on them so went with the block painting and dip approach which has worked quite well and has provided some useful pointers for when I eventually get around to the pile of EIR plastics I have squirrelled away.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Four More Years!

It's four years since I started this blog...

500 posts, nearly 250,000 page views, 223 followers and over 1400 comments later, I must say it's been hugely enjoyable, extremely motivating on the hobby front and I have made some new (real and virtual) friends because of it.

Thank you all for your support, views and comments. I don't say it enough but I do appreciate it!

Here's to the next four years!

Friday 8 February 2013

World Exclusive - Darke Lands Dwarves

As this is post 500 at Bleaseworld I thought we should do something momentous to acknowledge the fact so I bring you a World Exclusive!

Darke Lands (a colonial game set in the fantasy realm of Umbongodwongoland) has been a bubbling under project at Wessex Games for rather too long, so last year I decided to bite the bullet and approach a professional figure sculptor about sculpting some miniatures for me to kick start the game.

Bob Olley has been beavering away on sculpting some dollies for the Dwarf Schutztruppe, one of the first four races that will be released for the game (I have plans for more) and before they went off for moulding I was so excited I decided to take some photos and share them with you.

Obviously they need arms adding, beards finishing etc but I was so impressed with the level of detail Bob has sculpted I felt that it was worth showing them off, even at this early stage.

I'm not sure when they will be commercially available, probably near the end of the year, but consider your appetites well and truly whetted!

Thursday 7 February 2013

PacFed Mechanised Infantry Platoon

You may have seen that Brigade are currently releasing a new range of 15mm Pacific Federation (PacFed) armour. My 6mm PacFed force (with a LOT of tanks) resurfaced the other day whilst rummaging for something else. These models were originally used in an Iron Cow participation game at Salute many moons ago called "The Battle of the Mouths of the Fly River", a riverine inspired game with PacFed and Indonesian grav armour fighting over land and sea in C22nd Papua New Guinea.

Originally I used Heroics and Ros C20th Rebel Insurgent infantry for my PacFed infantry but I decided to paint up some old NavWar SF infantry to replace them as they fitted in better with the newer figures from GZG and Brigade that I have used with other forces.

The APC's are old Copeland's Models, which should now be available from GZG. Paul Copeland had a great eye for SF vehicles and he produced some great models.

I'll dust off the tanks soon and take some photos as they are nice models.