Saturday 28 February 2015

Weathering Spray Advice?

Always on the look out for ways to improve my painting speed I came across some cans of Weathering Spray from the Plastic Soldier Company yesterday and intrigued I bought a can of Dirt Brown.

Having now read the instructions it is not quite what I thought and appears to be some kind of wash in a can. Apparently you basecoat the model, spray the  Weathering Spray over and then with a damp cloth wipe off the excess. The end result is rumoured to be decent enough and the process pdq.

Before I attack something with it I was wondering if anyone has tried it and had any advice? If not an innocent Sherman tank may be "getting it" tomorrow...

Friday 27 February 2015

Batman: Enter the Bat-tank!

Been a busy work day today so I've not managed to do anything other than buy a load of cans os spray paint in the local models shop! However, the Eaglemoss Bat-tank arrived today so I have quickly snapped a picture of it next to an unpainted Knight Models Batman...

Thursday 26 February 2015

5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

So, Modiphius have launched a Kickstarter to produce a boardgame based on one of the most inconic of British TV science fiction series. Tempted...

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Batman: Reading Material

Bearing in mind Batman first appeared in comic book form in 1939, it can be quite a daunting prospect to decide when and where to get on board given the volumes and volumes of material and the fact that Bats has appeared in a variety of different titled comics, many published at the same time.

Back in 2011 DC Comics decided to revamp and relaunch all its comic book series, including the Batman comics, launching fifty-two new series in September of that year (the New 52 series). Of these 11 were Batman orientated titles, including Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: the Dark Knight and Detective Comics.

Unlike some series, the Batman reboot was a soft one and classic tales like The Killing Joke and A Death in The Family remained canon, however the New 52 series make a decent starting point, even if some of background might not be immediately explained (like who the current Robin is!).

The comics are regularly collected into graphic novel format and if you are seeking for inspiration beyond the films and animated tales, this is a good way of getting into the universe.

Batman volume one starts with The Court of Owls storyline, concentrating on Batman's discovery of a secret society in Gotham City that dates back to the time of Gotham's founding.

Batman and Robin volume one features the new Robin, Damian, Batman's son and an assassin called NoBody (he leaves no body behind).

Batman: the Dark Knight volume one, starts with a breakout from Arkham Asylum and features a host of popular villains. It also includes one story from the Court of Owls story arc (DC have a habit of crossing stories over into different titles, telling episodes from different perspectives).

Detective Comics volume one contains two stories, one involving the Joker and Dollmaker, the other the Penguin. Not as good as The Court of Owls storyline, but decent enough.

As I said the New 52 provide a good jumping on point for anyone interested in Batman gaming and the collected volumes will provide lots of ideas for scenarios.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Batman: A Couple More Batmobiles...

Following on from Sunday's purchase of the Bat-Tank (when this arrives I'll take some photos up against a Batman figure) I decided I needed something a little more "regular" for opponents less challenging than the Mutant army!

Back to eBay and I managed to pick up one of the Eaglemoss Batman the Movie Batmobiles (ie. from the Tim Burton 1989 film). It featured in The Dark Knight Returns as well, albeit as something for Batman to lift using his power armour suit!

Of course eBay being what it is I also won a cheap bid on an Eaglemoss Batmobile Tumbler as seen in the Christopher Nolan films. Not my favourite design but it was cheap and makes for a useful contemporary Batmobile.

Both have apparently been posted, so I better hurry up and paint my Batman miniature up!

Monday 23 February 2015

ACW: Confederate Infantry III

The ACW flags I ordered from Solway Crafts arrived this morning allowing me to finish the command group for project's the first regiment...

I am really very, very pleased with the flags. Pete Barfield has done an excellent job with them and they are suitable muted to fit in with the campaign weary look I wanted from my Confederates.

Here's the full regiment with command group - the 3rd North Carolina...

I know it is not 100% accurate for Confederate regiments to carry the battle and state flags into action, but I like the variety provided by including the state flags so I'll be doing this with all my Confederate regiments.

Painting Target: 42/1000

Sunday 22 February 2015

Batman: Enter the Bat-Tank!!!

One of the iconic images from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is the Batmobile...

More of a Bat-tank, it fits perfectly the dystopian background Miller paints of Gotham and is pivotal to the Dark Knight's confrontation with the mutant gang.

I didn't imagine in a month of Sundays that this monstrosity would be available as a model, but Eaglemoss released it with a special edition of their Batman Automablia magazine and thanks to the wonders of eBay I've now managed to acquire one.

Watch out Mutant gang, the Bat is coming!

Saturday 21 February 2015

The Dark Knight Returns

Son and heir popped home from Uni today, not sure if it was to see us or catch up with The Walking Dead! When SWMBO fell asleep in front of the TV I dug out the two The Dark Knight Returns DVD's, an animated movie version of the excellent Frank Miller graphic novel of my youth.

I must say that I was really impressed (as I usually am with WB animated films) and they have done an excellent job of recreating Miller's superb tale. If you have any interest in Batman games, this is well worth watching with lots of scenario ideas. Son and heir, who has not read the comic book, was impressed too...

Friday 20 February 2015

ACW: Confederate Infantry II

Three more bases of Perry Miniatures Confederates were finished today, that just leaves the command base for the first regiment. That will have to wait until the Solway flags arrive, but once they do that'll be the first unit completed.

Back to working on the Union troops tomorrow. Not sure if the colours are too bright with them, hopefully the dip will solve that! :-)

Painting Target: 38/1000

Thursday 19 February 2015

ACW: Confederate Infantry I

Today hasn't gone as planned but I did finish a couple of bases of Perry Miniatures Confederate infantry. For what was supposed to be a quick project, these figures certainly have taken a while to get to this stage.

As you can see I have gone for a grubby campaign look to a wargames standard, en masse they look ok. I tried the same face technique I did on the Scrunts but with much less success, the next regiment will be painted flesh first them dipped. Hopefully I can get some time to finish the remaining bases tomorrow.

Painting Target: 26/1000

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Victory in the Pacific?

Well, the Confederates are 90% complete... I just need to drybrush the bases, add some flock and add the flags to the standard bearers when they turn up. They're not looking too bad so I have started the block painting on the first Union regiment. Hopefully they won't take as long...

Playing the Imperial Japanese Navy in Pacific Fleet reminded me that many moons ago I flirted with the idea of playing some WW2 Pacific naval battles and inspired by an article in Miniature Wargames(?) I bought a load of Skywave 1/700th planes with the idea of basing them  about 3 to 4 inches high and using a false perspective effect with 1/3000th ships below.

I think the idea was stillborn after attempting to paint some 1/3000th Soviet Moderns for Harpoon (I know...) but struggling with the deck markings. Presumably someone does decals for 1/3000th aircraft carriers in this day and age so maybe this experience should not put me off.

I might dig out Victory at Sea if I can find my copy and see if the bug strikes again. I must confess to having a preference for the Pacific (the Med coming in a close second), though historically desire to use battleships is pretty moot given the dominance of the carrier in daytime battles.

Something to ponder whilst painting the boys in blue tomorrow...

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Dipping Day...

Not a lot to report to day, however, the first regiment of Confederate infantry have been dipped and are currently drying/curing (whatever dip does) in the conservatory. I also got round to ordering some flags off Solway, unfortunately I was a bit tardy and the 1st Alabama disappeared from their eBay store between me gooing "ooh nice" and clicking the button. In the end I've ordered a couple of Tennessee regiments and a couple of North Carolina. I have no idea if they fought together and don't really care, I just like the flags.

Hopefully I should get some time tomorrow to matt varnish the regiment and possibly base an element or two up. Fingers crossed...

I also completed the Pacific Fleet campaign as the Americans and have now switched sides and am serving the Emperor - not as easy!

Monday 16 February 2015

Batman: Joker Van

One of the great things about the Knight Models Batman figures being 35mm is that they not only fit in perfectly with the thousands of 1/43rd / 1/148th die-casts cars and trucks on the market, but also the licensed Batman ones!

The main source for most things vehicle wise for Batman is the Eaglemoss part work which has practically every version of Batmobile you can think of, and many you can't! :-) However there are other sources including ETRL who aside form some Batman vehicles produced a useful Joker van, one of which I have just picked up off eBay for a snip...

In other news I finally, at long last, finished block painting my first regiment of Confederate infantry, so I'll be digging out the dip tomorrow!

Sunday 15 February 2015

Consumer Warning: 50 Shades of Grey

Well Pacific Fleet is so good I found myself still playing it at 2am and subsequently missed most of the morning and the time I planned to paint my Confederates!

On the subject of the Confederate Army I have it on good authority that the film 50 Shades of Grey will prove disappointing for ACW buffs as it is not about CSA uniforms...

Saturday 14 February 2015

All At Sea...

Ever the romantic I spent St Valentine's Day with SWMBO in Currys PC World looking at cookers, washer dryers and dishwashers and then treating her to a Big Mac meal for tea! :-) This, again, meant I was not able to finish the last bit of block painting on my Confederates - maybe tomorrow...

I did manage to get some "gaming" in on the iPad with a new game recommended to me by a friend in the States. Where Battle Academy is my iPad vice, Pacific Fleet is Tommy's, so I thought it worth trying out the free Lite version, which led me to splashing the cash (all £4.49 of it) on the full game.

I'm only a few missions in as the commander of the SS Gato but have found this to be a great game with wonderful graphics (here are a couple of screen grabs from two of my games). If you have an iPad (or an iPhone there is a version for that), check it out, it is great fun. The invasion of Poland with Panzer Corps is now on hold whilst I sink the Imperial Japanese Navy!!!

Friday 13 February 2015

Cthulhu Wars Arrives!

A very wet UPS man today delivered a very big parcel containing... Cthulhu Wars! Gibbering tentacles it is a big box and chock full of high quality goodies.

I only managed to give the contents a cursory once over, but the miniatures look really good, especially the large gods figures. A couple of the smaller figures (one of the Nightgaunts especially) looks like it will need to be dipped in hot water and reset, but that isn't a major worry.

Hopefully I'll get time to do a proper unboxing over the next few days...

Thursday 12 February 2015

Vorwarts Panzer Korps!

Yet another day lost to work and synthesizer shopping (though when you get reviews like this, I can't begrudge son and heir the time). So sitting down this evening I dug out the iPad and had a look at my latest iOS game, Sliterine's Panzer Corps.

This has been around for sometime and has a solid reputation. In some respects it is similar to the Shenandoah Games I enjoyed as well as Wars and Battles, but the campaign scope in the basic game alone is epic (you fight the war as the Germans from 1939 through to 1944).

I've only played the first couple of tutorial games, but it already has me hooked and I can see that there is going to be fun balancing the need to blitz the Allied forces, whilst keeping units reinforced. Ok, off to invade Poland, wish me luck...

Wednesday 11 February 2015

The Flames of War App

If any wargames company is really embracing modern technology, it has to be Battlefront. I've already discussed how they are pushing the envelope with electronic version Wargames Illustrated, so I was looking forward to the promised Flames of War app.

Whilst it is obviously early days, I think the app is pretty user friendly and intuitive to use. Battlefront have only started populating it so there isn't a lot of material available yet, but it still worth checking out. The third edition rulebook is available for free download along with the two Art of War painting guides, which are really useful for 20mm gamers as much as 15mm.

A couple of the campaign books have been made free to download as well, Bridge at Remagen and (the expanded) Fate of a Nation. A nice touch is you can decide whether you wish to scroll vertically or horizontally through these. There are also a number of German unit briefings (army lists in old currency) from the Devil's Charge, Panzers to the Meuse campaign book free to download.

There is also material you can purchase, including the Barbarossa campaign book, with the promise of more to come.

Even if you don't play FoW, I think their products are pretty useful, so if you have an iPad or similar, I would recommend downloading the app and grabbing some of the free stuff to have a look at.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Battle for the Baltics

Over the last few months I have been watching the pile of Greatest Tank Battles episodes I recorded last year. Despite the basic CGI there have been some really interesting ones, the Tunisian and Canadians in Southern Italy being especially interesting.

Today I finished watching the one about the Battle of the Baltics in 1944 and again found it fascinating. It inspired me to warm up the old Kindle and start reading  Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II by Prit Buttar, which I picked up for 99p in one of the periodic sales on Amazon.

The initial Soviet campaign is set in January 1944 and I now want to game this in 1/300th on snow covered terrain.

Given the amount of games I want to play on snowy wastes, I really need to come up with some solution for the terrain tiles...

Monday 9 February 2015

By Crom!

...said my credit card! Well, with less than 48 hours to go I took the plunge with the Conan Kickstarter, the amount of freebies makes it pretty much irresistable to a Howard junkie. The quality of the miniatures looks superb and one can only hope the end product matches this kind of quality...

I have though restricted my pledge to the basic game and the KS exclusives. Yes, I want the expansions and the artists boxed sets but the discounts on the rrp's don't look that much less than the likes you'll get from 3rd party retailers, so I resisted the urge to bend the credit card too much now.

Better get on with some painting now...

Sunday 8 February 2015

The Great War Coloured In...

Browsing the internet today, this photo caught my eye...

It is one of a selection of "colourised" photos in an article on War History Online. Whilst I don't think it is necessary for photos to be in colour to be interesting, there is clearly something about this extremely well "coloured" black and white photo. The article details the work the likes of Doug Banks and Royston Leonard are doing, and I must confess I found it fascinating.

There is also a Facebook page, WW1 Colourised Photos that feature many more, not always as good, but often of interesting subjects, not just the Western Front. If you have any interest in WW1 it is well worth checking out.

Saturday 7 February 2015

Tusk: A Load of Aurochs?

SWMBO does like to watch some unusual TV programmes, tonight it was Hitler's Hunting Experiment on More 4 (previously shown on Channel 4). The programme is about Nazi plans to bring genetically manipulate cattle into extinct Aurochs, which they could then hunt.

Half watching it, it got me thinking about using Tusk for some games of Nazi prehistoric big game hunting, developing the premise further that once the Aurochs experiments were successful, the Nazi hunters re-created other prehistoric mammals for their forest safaris.

Could be fun...

Friday 6 February 2015

Command & Colours : The Great War

A number of you have, over the years, raved about Memoir '44 and the Command & Colours system. I'm not great lover of boardgames, but given the ravings of the Command & Colours fans and the fact that Plastic Soldier Company are rapidly becoming my favourite games company (I need to pre-order Battlegroup Blitzkrieg), I have decided to support PSC's Kickstarter for The Great War.

It looks pretty cool with a load of 15mm WWI plastics, and hopefully if the funds are reached some cool expansions including tanks.

On the painting front I did manage to make some fair progress on my first Confederate Regiment, I seem to be getting some of my painting mojo back!

Thursday 5 February 2015

The Moscow Options...

I finished The Moscow Option yesterday whilst sat at CDG and have been pondering it since. I didn't think there would be a lot of alternative gaming potential in it, but I was wrong.

(Ok, there are spoilers ahead if you are going to read the book, so stop now).

The alternate 1941 offers little, the battles being extensions of what happened historically, 1942 though is a different matter...

Whilst the invasion of Malta may have little different to that of Crete, other than the opposed Italian beach landings, the fall of Egypt has some limited involvement of a rebellious Egyptian army and the battles in Palestine have some fascinating actions between the Germans and a combined Anglo-American army. The fall of the Cacasus to the Germans leads to a German invasion of Iraq and Iran, with Soviet units fighting alongside the British, whilst in the Far East, the Japanese army gets a bloody nose when it invades Siberia.

All these scenarios are easy to play out using mid-war kit, but will give you a realistic background to what you are doing if you fancy. A really good book, it is a shame Downing did not write the sequel, especially as him tantalisingly mentions a German Civil War between the SS and the Heer at the end!

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Mars Attacks: Hardback Compendium Lands

It's been a long day today starting with a series of meetings in Paris and just making it back home to see Liverpool score the winner in added time at Bolton! An additional pleasant surprise was a padded envelope from Mantic containing the Mars Attacks Miniatures Game hardback compendium.

I hadn't realised I was getting this but having had a quick flick through I am glad to have it, it is a really nice looking product. I'll have a proper look at it tomorrow, off now to see if the Chinese is still open...

Tuesday 3 February 2015

"We're Safe Here, Right?"

Universal have released a new trailer for Jurassic World. I think I am getting my head around the concept of trained raptors...

Monday 2 February 2015

Prussian Scrunts VII

Painting progress has been very slow this year, but today I managed to complete something new, the Scrunt with Dachshund Dogs from the Olleys Armies Dwarven Prussian Army Scrunt Miniatures Kickstarter.

As with the previously painted models in this project, the figures were block painted before being "dipped" with Army Painter Dark Tone dip.

Painting Target: 18/1000

Sunday 1 February 2015

Batman: Ack! Ack! Ack!

Well, after some prevarication and watching my favourite animated Batman movie (Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero) again, I have taken the plunge and ordered some of Knight Models Batman figures.

For Bats himself it had to be the Frank Miller model. I know the all black movie look is popular, but Miller managed to make the Adam West Batman look the business, so I had to go with that.

For the bad guys there is far too much choice... I love The Joker, Two-Face is great, Bane (the comic book version) awesome and even new ones like Victor Zsasz appealing, but if I wasn't going with The Joker, there was only one other villain I could start with - Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot aka The Penguin!

To reign in the temptation of miniature range I am restricting purchases to just one character and one crew pack which must be painted before I buy anymore. This has worked well with the Rogue Trooper Kickstarter and I wish I'd taken this approach on other subjects. Let's see how it goes...