Sunday 31 August 2014

Soviet Storm: WWII in the East

I caught the second half of the second part of Soviet Storm: WWII in the East on H2 channel yesterday lunchtime. About the 1942 Siege of Sebastapol, it was more interesting than most documentaries of its type in that it was Russian produced and had a lot more information about the Soviet side than normal.

H2 have episodes 7 to 10 on this week, but is seems that they are missing out a number of them as there are 18 in the series. Fortunately You Tube is our friend as it looks like they have all been posted there, here is episode 1:

Saturday 30 August 2014

The Yan'drassi Invasion

After their successful Chuhuac (15mm Space Raptors) Kickstarter, Loud Ninja Games are back with a new 15mm SF one in the form of The Yan'drassi Invasion!

Whilst I was happy with the Chuhuac miniatures I was less happy with the import duty and Post Office fees I ended up paying as well, which added almost 50% to the bill. Consequently I wasn't going to back the latest venture, much as I like what Eli at Loud Ninja does and the concepts he comes up with.

However they have addressed this and all EU backers will have their Yan'drassi pledges shipped from Scotland avoiding any import costs, so I have decided to support the venture as I like the idea of a multi-race alien army. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with them (I have plans for the Chuhuac) but I do have a filing drawer of old Laserburn and Traveller figures sat around and Gruntz looks fun...

Friday 29 August 2014

October War: Jordanian M52 Self-Propelled Howitzer Battery

A new addition to the October War project is this battery of Jordanian M52 self-propelled howitzers. The M52 was an American design that entered service after the Korean War but was replaced by the M109 prior to Vietnam. The only other users I am aware of are Turkey and Jordan, with the Jordanian vehicles seeing action in the Six Day War and presumably with the 3rd Armoured Division in the Jordanians limited participation in the October War.

Surprisingly given the plethora of manufacturers producing no end of obscure AFV's, many of which have never seen action, I have only found one manufacturer that produces the M52 in 6mm and that was Irregular Miniatures. Quality wise it is not up to the standard of GHQ which I am using for the bulk of the project, but it's the only horse in town so I purchased six to form a battery.

Painting Target: 494/1000

Thursday 28 August 2014

Maximillian Affair: Mexican Republican Infantry

It's been a little while since I painted anything for the Maximillian Affair project, but when ordering the 2mm SF from Irregular Miniatures, I noted that they had just released a 28mm Maximillian range. There were no photos at the time (there are now) so I ordered three Jurista infantry to see what they were like.

Ok, they are not as good as the Foundry models I have, but I was not expecting that. However, for 90p a figure, they are more than acceptable, being at a level with much of the Old Glory range. They will provide a cheap option for bulking out Republican units, especially as Irregular offer discounted unit packs.

As you can see from this photo, size wise, they are fractionally taller than the Foundry figures I painted last year, but not to the point that they cannot be mixed.

Painting Target: 488/1000

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Dungeon Delving...

The Mantic Dungeon Saga Kickstarter is coming to an end this weekend and is looking really good with a ton of useful stuff at what is a very reasonable price (especially as the pound is doing quite well against the dollar which for some reason Mantic have chosen to run the KS in).

Along with the basic game they have now funded two interesting looking expansion sets which at $25 each are really good value, I especially like the look of the Infernal Crypts expansion with its denizens from hell!

Also on Kickstarter at the moment is Battle Systems Fantasy Dungeon Terrain, the perfect accompanying item for Dungeon Saga or any fantasy skirmish underground. Their SF terrain is wonderful so I made sure my finger was poised to grab an Early Bird on the fantasy project when it went live last Friday! I'm not 100% sure about the new Mines of Minerva add-on, it doesn't have a lot of track for one, but the basic Dungeon pledge looks great. Let this video whet your appetite!

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Land Ironclads: Aurorean Martian Land Transports

The last of the 2mm Irregular SF models are these IKSF10 Alien Transports.

Initially I planned to use them as an older type of land ironclads, with hull mounted werpons firing out of the sides, but I don't think they look quite right for that, they are a bit too civilian... I haven't decided quite what to use them for, maybe they can be supply trains?

Painting Target: 485/1000

Monday 25 August 2014

Land Ironclads: Aurorean Martian Indra Ironclads

Staying on Mars, I painted up these three of Irregular Miniatures 2mmm IKSF7 Alien MBT's and Aurorean Martian class 5 Indra land ironclads.

Still not quite sure what models to use for the larger classes, but I quite like these as the smallest class of ironclad for the Auroreans.

Painting Target: 482/1000

Sunday 24 August 2014

Land Ironclads: Aurorean Martian Contraptions III

The last of the Aurorean Martian contraption bases , this time using IKSF8 Alien SPG from the Irregular 2mm SF range.

I really like these 2mm models, I just need to find something similar in 6mm to use for the larger Aurorean land ironclads...

Painting Target: 479/1000

Saturday 23 August 2014

Land Ironclads: Aurorean Martian Contraptions II

Continuing with the Martians and the Irregular 2mm SF range, I have painted up a number of IKSF9 Alien APC's as some different (as yet unnamed) Aurorean contraptions.

The models are slightly larger than the scout vehicles, so I mounted them two to a base.

Painting Target: 478/1000

Friday 22 August 2014

Land Ironclads: Aurorean Martian Contraptions I

Back to Mars as I try and finish off the remaining models for the Belgian Land Ironclads supplement. Following on from the trial models painted in January, I have bought a pile more models from Irregular and have painted up another couple of bases of Martian Camros contraptions using the Irregular IKSF11 Alien Scout vehicle model. I really like these designs and would love to see them made in 6mm as well as 2mm.

I forgot the exact colours I painted the original base but think I cracked it (Iraqui Sand over Red Leather wash for reference). The slight difference is, I think, due to using a white undercoat this time, not black. Here are all three bases ready to bash the Belgians!

Painting Target: 475/1000

Thursday 21 August 2014

Lion Rampant Pre-ordered!

Well I did get a little excited earlier in the year when I spotted Dan Mersey's new Lion Rampant rules on Amazon, but I got very excited last night reading Dan's article in the new Wargames Illustrated about the game. So much so that I've now pre-ordered a set off Amazon... (currently just £8.39).

I know I have the Dux Bellorum Saxons still sitting on the painting table (actually, balanced on an open drawer to one side covered by an envelope!) but this will give me an excuse to buy some of the Fireforge plastics! Foot units have 12 models in them and cavalry 6 (with some foot) and you need six units for your force.

Sounds doable, I just need to have a ponder whether to go slightly predictable Baron's War or early HYW or maybe something more off-beat and exotic from the continent...

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Aeronef: Confederate Petrel Class Aeronef Gunboats

I painted up the four converted Irregular IKB04 Monitors today, they are now four Petrel class aeronef gunboats of the Confederate States Naval Aero Corps!

On the ball Aeronefers will no doubt be rushing to point out that the timeline has the first negative graviton aeronef being launched in 1884. The good thing about being the author is you can change such things and I have tweaked the background in the forthcoming Aeronef Omnibus so that Stockton's  invention occurs in 1864 not 1884, this allowing for aeronef to see action over the battlefields of the American Civil War and Franco-Prussian War.

Painting Target: 473/1000

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Aeronef: Confederate Aeronef wip

When Aeronef was first published back in 1999 there were not a lot of suitable models to use. There were the horrendous Space 1889 plastics, the beautiful but rare and expensive GameTech 1889 metals and the Irregular Heirs of Uranus range that inspired the basic rules.  Consequently when it came to debuting the game at Salute I had to scratchbuild a number of models, mainly from Peter Pig ACW ironclads.

These days the need to scratchbuild models is long gone with Brigade's impressive large range of 1/1200th models, but when I spotted the IKB04 Monitor in the Irregular 2mm ships range, I couldn't resist the idea of buying some and converting them into aeronef.

I've built up the underside of the hull with some plastic card and added an underhull engine and twin fins from odd bits of plastic. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to paint them.

Monday 18 August 2014

Aeronef: Archie Batteries

I put an order into Irregular Miniatures on Friday eveining (which, of course, arrived this morning), for some more 2mm SF models for my Aurorean Martians. I also added some odds and sods including these IKA6 AA Guns from the 2mm C20th range to use as "Archie" batteries in Aeronef.

To be honest, there is not a great deal too the models and I probably could have made up something similar with some Green Stuff and a bit of wire, but they're decent enough and it saved me the effort. I mounted two each on a round base from some Warlord WW2 plastics and added a bit of scenery to tie in with the rest of my 2mm European models. I'm not 100% happy with the garish sand I used on the sandbags and may repaint with a more subdued beige colour.

Painting Target: 469/1000

Sunday 17 August 2014

Leviathan Wakes

Although a fan of science fiction, I no longer read as much of the genre as I did as a teenager when I almost literally devoured it. These days I prefer my SF at the cinema, on the TV or or the wargames table. That said I decided to give the much touted "return to old school space opera" Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey (which SyFy are apparently going to make into a TV series).

A decent book, I really enjoyed it, the story mixing a police investigation plot line with another of the investigation of a mysterious SOS signal from a deserted ship. The story moves along swiftly and has a decent conclusion. Although marketed as book one of The Expanse series, you don't need to buy book two (or three) to find out what happens next.

The writing style is interesting with each chapter dedicated to a specific character and what is happening to them in the story but from a third person viewpoint. I thought this would be irritating but it works well. What I did like is the book's "universe". Whilst man has left Earth, he is still confined to the Solar System, populating Mars and various of the planets satellites, the politics between Earth, Mars and the Belters/Outer Rimmers is familiar enough, but there is enough SF to make it fun.

Overall, a decent SF novel, with some useful ideas for SF gamers. Onto book two now, Caliban's War...

Saturday 16 August 2014

Bolt Action: Winter War Soviet AFV's

I know I have decided to wait until everything was available from the Baker Company Winter War Kickstarter before receiving anything, but I am tempted to sneak a little order in for some of the new Soviet APC's, I so want to paint that little T20!

Friday 15 August 2014

Jack The Giant Slayer

It was movie night in Blease Towers this evening, with family entertainment provided by last year's Jack the Giant Slayer (SWMBO likes fairy story films). Not Oscar material by any stretch of the imagination but decent enough family fare, especially if you have kids. The effects are a bit too CGI but the giants are fun and some of the ideas for a tabletop giant army would be great fun.

It's no Princess Bride or Stardust, but I've seen a lot worse...

Thursday 14 August 2014

Thane Tostig: The New Adventures!

Last year I picked up a copy of the long oop Minot Thane Tostig fantasy rules and was quite taken by the background and the skirmish level size of the game. I did at the time moot the idea of using modern day figures as proxies but decided to check the availability of the original old Minot miniatures. Whilst they do come up on eBay periodically, they are not exactly cheap, so I have gone back to plan A.

The adventurers should be easy enough to find suitable miniatures from the likes of Gripping Beast and I have lots of plastic and metal skeletons that I can use, the problem was finding something for the Sprites. In the end I have decided that there is nothing quite like them so have decided to do with something quite unique in their own way - Brigade Model's Celtos Formorian Orcs.

True they do not look like the Minot Sprites, but they certainly don't look like the GW/Tolkienesque Orcs that saturate the market and have an old faerie/Celtic look to them, perfect for the Dark Age setting of the background. I'm thinking about painting them an extremely pale, almost albino, white flesh. An order went off today*...

Rules wise the idea is to use the forthcoming Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King's Hold create your own adventure rules, the game seems to be ideal for the kind of dungeon / underground tomb / haunted woodland adventures I have in mind.

* I also ordered a pile of aeronef models so there should be lots of VSF goodness in a few weeks...

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Battlefield Evolution: Panzergrenadier Zug Sd. Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D's

I managed to finish the three Sd. Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D's for my Panzer Greandier platoon last night...

As previously stated these are the excellent Plastic Soldier Company models, really easy to put together and a box chock full of accessories, crew and passengers (this is what all other manufacturers should be  providing).

Painting Target: 466/1000

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Battlefield Evolution: Panzergrenadier Zug Sd. Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C with PaK.36

Fifteen months after finishing the infantry for my 20mm panzer grenadier platoon I have managed to finish the first of the Sd. Kfz 251 half-tracks for them, the platoon command Sd. Kfz.251/10 Ausf. C with PaK.36.

This model was undercoated in April 2013 so it is nice to finish it. It is a combination of the Armourfast Sd. Kfz 251/1 Ausf C with /10 bits from the PSC Ausf D box set (those three should be finished tomorrow). As I said back then, the Armourfast kit is decent enough but PSC have raised the bar when it comes to cheap easy to construct wargames models in 20mm,

I decided not to paint any markings on the vehicle, as most photos I have seen of 1945 German AFV's show many to be unmarked.

Painting Target: 463/1000

Monday 11 August 2014

Dwarf King's Quest: Back Down the Dungeon...

Mantic are back Kickstarting things, this time with Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King's Quest. I love the original game, it's great, so it took little to convince me to jump on board for the basic game, a move made all the better by the inclusion now of solo rules to make one side or the other card driven, with the player(s) working together (aka scheming behind each others backs).

What also appeals is that the advanced rules will allow you to create your own adventures beyond the basic quest and with a pile of unpainted Reaper Bones, this seems like it will be the answer to my tentative plan to create some dungeon delving game using the piles of odd fantasy miniatures to be found in Lead Mountain. I also had plans to use the original Dwarf King's Hold game to recreate some adventures based on  a very old school fantasy gaming background, so the new c.y.o. adventure rules should make that a whole lot easier.

Today has mainly been lost to work and helping son and heir set up student bank accounts but I did managed to slap a bit of paint on some 20mm WWII German half-tracks and do some more Aeronef work including finding an online source of an obscure C19th text I'd been after for ages! :-)

Sunday 10 August 2014

'Neffing to Report?

It's hard to imagine but this time in five weeks my boy will have left home and living on the university campus in Cheltenham (on his birthday no less...). Obviously this will leave me with lots of free time (!)  which should mean clearing some of the log-jam of Wessex Games projects.

With this in mind I have been messing around with Aeronef today. The planned 2nd edition is some time away (Aquanef and Astronef have to come first) but the paper edition has been out of print for far too long. I had a bit of a 'Eureka' moment yesterday with the idea of combining both the original rules and Aeronef Captain's Handbook into one omnibus volume and printing that.

So today has been devoted to converting the text from Word into Pages and creating new tables etc. in the new Omnibus document. 18,684 words and 42 pages later that boring part of the job is done. Now I need to decide what to do about photos and what format the printing will take.

Saturday 9 August 2014

ArcWorlde: Jungle Gremlins of Chaq-Itza I

A return to ArcWorlde today and the first of the Jungle Gremlins of Chaq-Itza - three headhunters!

Lovely models, I decided to paint them with the same black skin technique I used for the Black Trolls back in January.

I think this has worked well and provides a nice contrast to the red wooden masks and green jungle terrain.

Having "themed" the Hobgoblin bases to their background I had to continue the idea, so for the jungles of Chaq-Itza I bought some 'Aztec/Jungle' bases from Blitzkrieg Minatures, which are much nicer than they look in the photos and highly recommended.

Painting Target: 462/1000

Friday 8 August 2014

Bolt Action: Stalingrad on the Yangtze

I weakened today and ordered a couple of books for the Kindle to investigate the Anti-Japanese War further and then see if I want to start it as a 28mm project. Rana Mitter's China's War with Japan should provide a decent overall account of the conflict, with Peter Harmsen's Shanghai 1937, Stalingrad on the Yangtze provide a more detailed snapshot of one campaign.

I also dug out the World at War Chinese Army Compendium, which, whilst written for Mongoose's defunct World at War rules, being designed for a platoon level game is very useful for other platoon level games like Bolt Action and Chain of Command. This really expands the ideas and armies beyond the one Warlord have released, being split into three parts (early, mid and late war) for the Nationalist army as well as including a Red Army Guerilla list. A lot of information and some great ideas in here, I had to restrain myself from planning various armies out here and now!

I did manage to return to the painting table at lunchtime and have made some good progress on some 20mm Hanomags and the ArcWorlde Jungle Gremlin Headhunters which I hope to finish tomorrow depending on orders from SWMBO!

Thursday 7 August 2014

Bolt Action: The Anti-Japanese War 1931 - 1945

Unfortunately I've not managed to get anywhere near a paintbrush today but the Chinese bug is itching away! :-) A little more research has uncovered a range of 28mm WW2 Chinese! Yes, Brigade Games in the States do a nice looking range of German equipped troops, including some useful 'Big Sword' types.

Of course whilst WW2 starts in 1939 for us here in the UK, the war against the Japanese started in 1931 for the Chinese (indeed they call the conflict the Anti-Japanese War). This means that the Copplestone Back of Beyond range comes into usefulness for battles between 1931 to 1937 (and probably beyond).

Japanese troops for the period are widely available but troops for 1931 wore French style Adrian helmets and as you can see from the photos below (taken from China in WW2), the Japanese marines would make a colourful and unusual looking unit!

Japanese Marines Shanghai 1932
Japanese soldiers in Shanghai, 1937
Japanese Type 89 Japanese tanks near Beijing, summer of 1937