Monday 31 March 2014

Donnybrook TV? New Worlds on C4

Channel 4 is showing a great looking new drama series tomorrow, set on both sides of the Atlantic during the Restoration period. A sequel to their ECW series The Devil's Whore (available to watch on 4OD), New Worlds is smack centre in the Donnybrook era and the trailer looks like it will provide lots of inspiration. All I need now is some free time to do some more painting...

Sunday 30 March 2014

Blitzkrieg: From Lillehammar to Narvik

Back in October I ordered copies of the SkirmishCampaign scenario books for the Winter War in Finland (to go with the Baker Company Kickstarter) and the invasion of Norway from Caliver. The Finland one turned up pretty quickly but Caliver had to wait some time to get fresh stock in of the Norway book.

It arrived a couple of weeks back but I hadn't really had a chance to sit down and read it.  Having done so now I must say it is well worth getting hold of and great for any platoon level WW2 game.

The variable nature of the forces generation gives the scenarios great re-playability and I'd say that on the strength of the Finland and Norway volumes that any of the SkirmishCampaign series for your particular theatre of gaming, has to be worth getting hold of.

My only disappointment is that they are not available in downloadable electronic format, that said maybe that is for the best otherwise I would be clicking the mouse every five minutes!

Saturday 29 March 2014

Things That Go Bump In The Night...

I really should keep off Facebook... So tempted by these Nightfolk miniatures from Northumbrian Tin Soldier!

Nightfolk (photo Northumbrian Tin Soldier)

Friday 28 March 2014

Blitzkrieg: Laffly S20TL

I really enjoyed painting up the 15mm French models for Watch Am Escargot, especially the Laffly trucks which I think look great. As you may recall I also have plans for some 28mm Blitzkrieg skirmish gaming and 'Lead Mountain' contains some 28mm French infantry bought with this in mind. I hadn't planned to dig this out this side of the summer but "Temptation" fluttered her wings in the form of a photo of a 28mm scale Laffly on the Bolt Action Facebook page.

3D rendered then cast in resin by Bob Emerson I just had to have one so I PM'd Bob and he invoiced me. He also sells some interesting artillery pieces (French and Japanese) and some other AFV's which is the Laffly is as good as it looks in the photo will probably be ordered too...

Thursday 27 March 2014

Donnybrook: Scratch Building Woodland Indian Dwellings

Scratch built huts from Wargames Illustrated
I've been pondering scenery for the Tribal Native warband as I don't have any suitable buildings and with son and heir off to university potentially a lot less money as the year progresses. Much as I like the Grand Manner buildings I can't justify the cost for a small skirmish project so have been considering scratch building some.

Google hasn't turned up a lot as yet, but it did uncover a really useful article in the Wargames Illustrated archives on the Flames of War website here and it looks like it will provide a good excuse to eat lots of Easter eggs! I just need to find a UK alternative to Treewrap...

If I can, then the template for a paper Iroquois Longhouse here could also prove useful too...

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Donnybrook: Algonquin Tribesmen II

I finished the second test piece Algonquin tribesmen for my Donnybrook Tribal War Party, this time a Huron from Galloping Major Wargames.

Again the main reason for the test paint was the flesh, this time I added a brown ink wash and I think the end result is slightly better. Now I just need to decide on my unit compositions and get on painting the rest up.

 2014 Painting Target: 153/1000

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Donnybrook: Algonquin Tribesmen I

One of the more fun looking factions in Donnybrook is the Tribal War Party, which can be any tribal types encountered by European forces from North American Indians to Moors to Central African headhunters... Recently I picked up a couple of blisters of Crusader Miniatures Woodlands Indians, ostensibly designed for the C18th French-Indian Wars but equally usable for C17th actions and an Algonquin Tribal War Party.

I've not painted a Native American for many years and not in 28mm so I worked on a couple as test pieces, finishing one today. The flesh is the hardest part and I have read so many different ideas on getting something that looks right. For this miniature I have used an old pot of Citadel Tanned Flesh with highlights in a mix of Tanned Flesh and Vallejo Flat Flesh, the end result being reasonable.

A rummage in "Lead Mountain" found some more C18th Woodland Indians from the likes of Conquest, Eureka and Galloping Major Wargames, most of which have now been based up and undercoated.

2014 Painting Target: 152/1000

Monday 24 March 2014

Carry On Trucking Comrade!

Although I have yet to receive my Baker Company Winter War miniatures (I elected to receive everything at the end in one big box and qualify for some extra toys!) I could not resist getting on board for Gav's new Kickstarter - Russian Trucks of World War Two...

As any fule kno you cannot have too many trucks but some of the GAZ variant designs are pretty cool looking and ooze with scenario ideas.

I'm really hoping we get to the SU-1-12, that is too cool for words! :-)

Sunday 23 March 2014

Gangland: Prohibition

Despite suffering from a terrible bout of Manthrax I bravely painted the flesh on some Algonquin and read the latest Wargames Illustrated today! The latter has a really interesting article on 1920's gangsters and it has got me wondering where the old Grenadier figures and Lledo cars I bought in the nineties. Each time Boardwalk Empire is on TV my brain gets to thinking about converting Gangland to the Prohibition era and this might just be the prompt needed...

Saturday 22 March 2014

The Good Old Days...

I seem to have contracted the dreaded lurgy so plans to paint some Algonquin for Donnybrook have been put on hold as I sit under a blanket, sipping Lemsip and feeling sorry for myself! To cheer me up a non-wargaming friend sent me this picture - obviously the days before health and safety, the kids are using lead and one is smoking a pipe whilst casting toy soldeirs! :-)

Friday 21 March 2014

Aeronef: Shed and Warehouse Targets

Happy with the Tri-Ang Storage Tanks I painted up as Aeronef targets yesterday, I popped back to Antics and picked up the (M839) Customs Shed and (M840) Warehouse blisters, both containing two die-cast 1/1200th models for under three quid a blister.

As with the Storage Tanks I toned the pre-painted models down with some Army Painter dip and painted the building sides to add a bit of contrast.

Nice little pieces and useful for Aeronef and other air wargames.

2014 Painting Target: 151/1000

Thursday 20 March 2014

Aeronef: Storage Tank Targets

I popped into the local Antics model shop yesterday with the plan to pick up some Zvezda Bedford trucks for Watch Am Escargot to be confronted by a big blue display stand of Tri-ang 1/1200th die-cast model ships.

Some of these are new models but some sets are re-issues from the original Sixties line, amongst these some harbour accessories including these (M838) Storage Tanks. As they were 1/1200th scale and only £3.50 for two pieces I decided to pick up a set to use as Aeronef targets.

The models are pre-painted (in this case just the pipes) but I decided to tone them down slightly with some Strong Tone dip and London Grey paint on the bases. The end result is quite effective and I might get another pack to make a bigger target (and get the trucks which I forgot...)

2014 Painting Target: 147/1000

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Watch Am Escargot: French Armour III - Somua S35 Platoon

I managed to get hold of a can of Matt varnish and finished off the platoon of Somua S-35's for Watch Am Escargot.

The models are QRF and dipped with Army Painter Strong Tone after being base painted. The dip has done a good job muting the colours Battlefront suggest for French armour which look far too bright in the Flames of War Blitzkrieg book.

2014 Painting Target: 145/1000

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Watch Am Escargot: French Armour II - Somua S35

The bulk of my French force for Watch Am Escargot comprises of QRF Somua S-35's and I have managed to finish off the first.

The model was a bit rough with some pitting along the right hand side, but after being painted and dipped it does not look too bad. The Battlefront decals certainly help.

The bulk of the platoon should follow when I get hold of some more Matt varnish (hopefully tomorrow) and here is the A&A card for the tank.

2014 Painting Target: 140/1000

Monday 17 March 2014

Watch Am Escargot: French Softskins II - Laffly S20TL's

I managed to finish the other three Battlefront Lafflys yesterday evening...

I was very impressed with the models which have painted up well with use of dip. All the models come with a couple of soldiers to sit in the truck and an optional AA MG gunner (I decided to use him for the HQ truck, but not the rest of the platoon's.

Next job, finish the Somua S-35's and start work on the Germans (I suspect need to order some more infantry from Peter Pig so will pick up the odd French I need at the same time).

2014 Painting Target: 139/1000

Sunday 16 March 2014

Watch Am Escargot: French Softskins I - Laffly S20TL

Back to the 1940's French and the first of the Laffly S20TL trucks. This is the Fusiliers Portes platoon HQ vehicle and a one piece casting from Battlefront.

As with the Hotchkiss H-35 tanks, I base painted the models and then painted Army Painter Strong Tone dip over them. The end effect is very pleasing and a simple process even if you have to wait 24 hours for the dip to dry.

The remainder of the platoon's trucks are almost finished and the dip drying on a platoon of Somua S-35's, so expect more 15mm Watch Am Escargot goodness soon.

2014 Painting Target: 136/1000

Friday 14 March 2014

Spaceship Away!

I received a belated Christmas present last night(!) but it was well worth the wait. Haynes are best known for their series of books detailing the ins, outs and workings of cars which were indispensable back in the day (I remember using one to help change the shock absorbers on my Vauxhall Chevette in the late eighties) but in the past few years they have expanded the range to include things we are unlikely to be mechanically tinkering with, such as a Spitfire or the Death Star!

The Dan Dare: Spacefleet Operations Manual is a little different from previous volumes in that rather than looking at one particular machine it covers a whole range of them, many illustrated in the cutaway fashion so popular in the old Eagle comics.

It is a lovely book and anyone with any interest in Dan Dare will find much in it. As well as a large number of spaceships, the book also covers prominent characters and aliens from the stories, space bases, propulsion systems and a whole lot more. Great stuff...

Thursday 13 March 2014

37 Days

I've just caught up with the three part BBC drama 37 Days about the period between the Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination and Britain's declaration of war on Germany. Given we know the failed outcome of the diplomatic efforts to avoid war it is a very well constructed and tense period drama and well worth watching if you are a history buff.

Unfortunately it is only on iPlayer for a couple more days but if you get the chance, have a watch.


Wednesday 12 March 2014

Ramping Up The Medievals?

I know I have only painted the Romano-British for Dux Bellorum and that the Saxons sit on the painting table glaring at me, but I have to confess the wargaming butterfly stirred when I saw this on Amazon today...

Something to make use of those odds and sods medievals sat in Lead Mountain?

Tuesday 11 March 2014


Most of today was spent on the train as I had a meeting in Basingstoke, but it did allow me to get another battle in Normandy on the iPad! On the subject I forgot to mention I downloaded Slitherine's Legion for the iPad as they had it on offer at the weekend. A mix of a strategy campaign and battle simulation it looks a bit like the original Total War: Rome. Should be fun once I've got the Battle Academy bug out of the system...

On the miniatures front, some more progress on Watch Am Escargot with the Somua S-35's coated yellow tan and the Laffly's 80% base painted in their green/brown camo. Hopefully all should be done by the weekend.

Monday 10 March 2014

Battle Academy Goes East!

I am having a LOT of fun working my way through Battle Academy and the various additional campaign expansions on the iPad most evenings (the tension when the first Tiger turned up in North Africa was amazing!). At present I am part way through Rommel in Normandy having just successfully beaten back the American attack on the Channel ports and smashed Operation Epsom (all praise the might Hetzer!).  However as much fun as I am having in the Desert and North-West Europe I was given to wondering where the Russian campaigns where? I wonder no longer...

Slitherine have just released an Early Access Programme version of Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front for the PC. I'm content to continue working through North West Europe, after all I've not started Market Gardens, Metz or the Bulge campaigns yet, or the Blitzkrieg and Sealion ones so still lots to play, but the screen shots from the Eastern Front look just great. Hopefully we'll be off East on the iPad sometime later this year!

Sunday 9 March 2014

Bolt Action Trumped!

SWMBO had me on domestic duties for most of the day so hobby activity has been restricting to sticking the QRF Somua S-35's together - not the easiest job bearing in mind they are only four piece models. Hopefully they can get undercoated tomorrow.

In the meantime my attention was taken by a new release from Warlord Games - Bolt Action Top Trumps! I remember playing the original Top Trumps (the Tanks set of course) at junior school and the newer sets with Saul a few years back so will probably splash a fiver on a set as they look a bit of fun. I am wondering whether they could have use as activation cards or hidden units... :-)

Saturday 8 March 2014

International Women's Day: Britain's Great War Woman Soldier

Following on from last year's post on International Women's Day I decided that I would make this an annual event on the blog, posting about women at war. With the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War this year I thought it would be interesting to post something about this conflict and Flora Sandes, the only British woman officially to serve as a soldier in World War I.

Initially she served with an ambulance in the Serbian Red Cross but after she was separated from her unit during the retreat into Albania she enrolled as a soldier with a Serbian regiment. Promoted to Corporal she was seriously wounded in 1916 by a grenade whislt engaged in hand-to-hand combat at Bitola. She received the highest decoration of the Serbian Military, the Order of the Karađorđe's Star and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant major (and to Captain after the war)

She published her autobiography, An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army, which is available on Kindle for under a quid and a proper biography; A Fine Brother: The Life of Captain Flora Sandes by Louise Miller is also available describing her life (including being captured by the Gestapo in 1941!)

Friday 7 March 2014

Watch Am Escargot: French Armour I - Hotchkiss H35's

I managed to finish the first French AFV's for Watch Am Escargot today, a platoon of three Hotchkiss H35's. Two are early model H35's and one H35 model 1939 (more commonly known as the H39).

The models are from QRF and in this day of injection moulded plastic and 3D rendered quite charmingly "old school". They might not be up to the straight line standards of the latest releases, but I like them and they fit nicely with the Peter Pig infantry. The tanks are quite small at 42mm long and I am pondering basing them.

As the main bulk of the force will be Somua S35's painted in the more common three colour 1940 French camo pattern, I wanted the light tanks to look a bit different...

In the end I opted for a two colour green pattern based on the Heller 1/35th kit box illustration (below). I am not sure of its historical veracity, but there was so much variation in how the French painted their vehicles in 1940, it is quite possible that this "Dark Green" over pre-war "Army Green" is accurate. Whatever, I liked it...

The models were base coated and then painted with Army Painter Strong Tone dip. The decals are Battlefront, and despite the oddity of the blue circles in the French roundels being separate from the red and white were very easy to use and not as fiddly as some 15mm decals can be.

2014 Painting Target: 135/1000