Projects line up for 2013

Assuming the world doesn’t perish in a great fiery cataclysm tomorrow (although with the paucity of posting you could be forgiven for thinking that I had already gone that way), the following are the wargaming projects I have earmarked for completion in 2013.

1. The French Revolutionary Wars. This is my ongoing 15mm project that I hope to have completed and ready to game with by the end of January. A month ago I was on track for this, but then I just got so busy that my production line of painting halted completely.  I’m looking at solo gaming this using an adaptation of Neil Thomas’ rules in his Introduction to Wargaming book. I love the basic simplicity, but I have altered the structure to make it simultaneous phases allowing all units the opportunity to move and fire. I’ve also added a command structure with a purpose, so I’m looking forward to trying this out.  I plan to game out the Battlegames tabletop teasers and scenarios out of Charles Grant and Stuart Asquith’s Wargames Scenarios.

2. Star Wars. I’m pretty happy with the adaptations I’ve made to the basic FUBAR rules and the lists I’ve created. I’ve had several games now, but I keep forgetting to take my camera, so no battle reports I’m afraid. Anyway, I’m just painting up all of the bases unit by unit at the moment, and this looks due to be finished  at the beginning of next year. I had considered repainting the old prepaints, but it has occured to me how much less stressful it is not to worry about chipping paint jobs. I have no qualms with handling the figures indelicately and for that reason I don’t think that I will bother. It is not, at least, a priority.

3. Superheroes. I’m just getting more and more into this project, despite the fact that I am still not sure exactly how the rules will work. I have Supersystem, but to be honest, I’ve read through and had a couple of trial solo games, but the rules just don’t work for me. I like simple, and although many people have commented that these are simple, I don’t find this so. I’ve discovered some rules written by Pete Jones of Freewargamesrules which, like FUBAR are written on one sheet of A4. I’ve read through them and find them very elegant. I have some ideas to add to them which I’ve been dreaming up over the last few days, although I haven’t yet put pen to paper.  I’ve also been building up a cityscape terrain and repainting the odd character here and there. Below are a couple of my efforts.

Confronting Magneto 1

And a close up of the figures. Recalling the first issue of X-Men, it is the original X-Men vs Magneto. Although versus the modern versions of the most uncanny teens of all I think the master of magnetism is in a bit of trouble. Then again, the odds are pretty good that Jean Grey will actually be dead within a few seconds, as is her wont.

Confronting Magneto 2


4. The Yom Kippur War. This is all painted now, with an accumulation of 21 lovely T-55s. The terrain is done too. So all that is left is to actually playtest the lists we have for 3rd edition. I’m determined to do this in 2013, along with writing some scenarios based on the fighting in the Sinai.

T 55s charge

‘So Shmuel, another boring day sitting on this hill… Hang On! WTF!’

Yes it is a T-55 parking lot – so actually quite realistic for some of the Egyptian tank attacks in 1973. Still, I wouldn’t want to be in one of those two Sh’ots. Quite impressed I got all of the T-55s into the picture actually.

5. The Three Musketeers. Unless it is sci-fi or superheroes I am making 15mm (18mm) my scale of choice, basically because of the interchangeability of scenery and the swiftness of painting. I purchased all of the different packs in the Blue Moon Miniatures Three Musketeers range because I couldn’t resist the figures or the idea of gaming it. I’ll be using Flashing Blades from Ganesha Games and these are the first few figures that I’ve painted.

Three Musketeer fight

‘Ah Monsieur! You giggled! Your giggling is an insult to my honour. Prepare to fight to the death!’ 

Yet again our heroes skewer their enemies over an insignificant matter which would be indefensible in a court of law today, but which was apparently a perfectly reasonable incitement to kill in the France of Louis XIII. Anyway, they are the cardinal’s men, and obviously baddies that deserve it.

Close up of Aramis dueling away.

Aramis en garde

6. The Great War. All based up and ready for undercoating, these are the 18mm Blue Moon Manufacturing British and German Late War figures. This is a major project, not because of the figures, but because I am going to construct a detailed 4′ x 4′ trench system for them. I’ve weighed this up a lot. My favourite period to game is 1918 where the lines were much more fluid, and for that modular free-standing trenches would be sufficient. But I might want to fight out earlier battles, and in 1918 there were still trench lines that were the old ones from the battle of the Somme and the Hindenburg line which had been reoccupied and were fought over. So I am going to go the whole hog and construct a system.  I’m looking at using the Too Fat Lardies rules – Through the Mud and Blood, and have recently made up a series of cards for them.

Also Great War, but a departure from the norm, is the construction of naval fleets for the Germans and the British in 1/3000. I just love Dreadnought Battleships,  especially in this period and so earlier this year I purchased to starter packs from NavWar. I’ve been surfing the net looking at possible rules, and it came down to a choice of Naval Thunder or Victory at Sea (WWI version). After reading several reviews I came to the conclusion that I will go with Victory at Sea, because everyone has said that they are simple – and so am I.

My first completed Battleship is below:

Royal Sovereign side Royal Sovereign stern


HMS Royal Sovereign, ready to set to sea.

So those are the aims for 2013. I have plenty of other projects kicking around which I may get to next year as well, but for now I want to keep it modest and achievable. Then anything else will be a bonus.  More to the point, I want to make sure that I actually play the games that I am working on. Too often my plan is to build and paint a project and i don’t really give the gaming a fair go. The one exception was the Marlburian period where I played a series of solo and opposed games in a linked campaign. The aim is to do something similar with the French Revolution (again set in the imagi-nation of Frankenberg) and the Superheroes (a linked series of adventures).

Well, have a happy end of ages when the long count finally gets to where it is going, and hopefully over the Christmas holiday period (we get 6 weeks in NZ), I can post a little more often.






Foreseeing future frolicking in Frankenberg

When last we heard from Frankenberg they were in the middle of the War of Spanish Succession. There is still more history to be written in regards to that epoch, but we now focus our attention on another era in the life of that rather special Principality-Archbishopric.

In 1794 Frankenberg joined the First Coalition to challenge the chaos taking place in France. Austrian troops were sent to the Principality-Archbishopric which soon found itself on the frontlines of the great Revolutionary mission to liberate all of Europe – whether they wanted it or not. Internally things were not as they should have been. Fed up with centuries of extravagant and wasteful excess from their rulers and buoyed by the writings of Rousseau,  there was an element in Frankenberg prepared to support the French in their quest to make Europe freer and Frencher.

This is where the new tales of Frankenberg will take off, as a French army moves into the lands of the Holy Roman Empire and the valley of the Frank river.  To play it out I have been putting together 15mm French and Austrian armies for the Revolutionary period using figures from Lancashire Games and Battle Honours (via Old Glory 15s). By and large the French army is Lancashire Games and the Austrian army is Battle Honours, although there is some crossover as well. The completed forces so far are as follows:

IR4 the Hoch und Deutschmeister regiment. These are all Battle Honours figures.


Here they are close-up.

This is IR25 Brechainville, composed of Lancashire Games figures, but with a Battle Honours standard bearer. The Lancashire standard bearer is holding the flag a little too low for my tastes, but I really love the officer in the long coat.


Grenzer regiment 73 (the pink regiment). Not pictured but complete are Grenzer Regiment 63 (they’re orange).

On the French side I’ve completed six battalions and have another four to paint for the first phase of the project. Among them are the following (all are Lancashire Games figures):

The 8th Legere represent the early French as they go through the amalgame. A mixture of uniforms, some blue, some still Chasseurs green with pink cuffs, some in bicornes, some in Tarletons. Stripey pants, breeches, and white culottes all looking tattered and makeshift. The French of this period are an atmospheric bunch.


This battalion of the 75th Line is much more uniform and is composed of figures from Lancashire Games’ most recent release for this period. These are French with Backpack:


Before the release of these I had made backpacks out of green stuff for all of my French figures.  When I mentioned that the French usually had backpacks to Alan at Lancashire Games he went and sculpted some figures. Fantastic! Here they are from the front:


The rules that I am using are a modification of Neil Thomas’ rules from Wargaming: an Introduction.  These are simple but capture the feel of the very first old school type Napoleonic games that I played with plastic figures as a kid. The Revolutionary War campaign in Frankenberg should be ready to kick off before the end of the year.






Wargames Factory Spanish Succession Cavalry

I thought I might go through with these guys step by step as I put them together and paint them with the white undercoat, just to go through my techniques and to make comments on the figures themselves.

First up, the horses go together very easily, but when attaching them to the bases that they are supplied with, they do not necessarily stand comfortably. Two out of the four horse poses are fine, the other two lean quite a bit. To fix this I cut a small piece of thin plasticard – 1mm I think, and glued it under one of the hooves.

You can see the plasticard inserted here

The rest of the figures are absolutely fine and go together very cleanly. I’ve used some pieces from the infantry set to construct a standard bearer as there isn’t one in the cavalry set.

Six dragoons awaiting the next stage

One of the things that I took away from my test paint figure was that I need to paint the rider and horse seperately, as there is just too much difficulty trying to manouevre the brush for fine detail like the lace loops on the jacket when the rider is attached.  So today I sawed up a couple of pieces of wood and drilled some holes in them. I then drilled holes into the bottoms of the riders (I’ve done this plenty of times before with pinning cavalry so it no longer makes me wince). I then grabbed some wire from a pack of Old Glory spears that I never put together and used blu-tak to secure the riders onto the wire and the wire into the wood. This enabled me to spray the undercoat on them and get all around coverage. I plan to use the wire to hold the cavalry figures while I paint them – we will have to see – I may simply be able to hold the wooden block and they will stay in place. I will reveal the result in the next post.

With this project I am tempted to sell something and fund a bulk buy of everything that I need (eleven boxes of plastics and a few metal figures from Front Rank and Old Glory), but I think that it would be too overwhelming.  there is a lot of construction time with plastic sets, no matter how user friendly they might purport to be (even Perry Napoleonic French infantry take a bit of time, and they would be the most user friendly kit). I think that I am better off just buying a box set once a month and trying to get it completely built and painted before the next one arrives.  At the moment that is my plan of attack. If the pattern works and I can stick to it, I might follow this up with a similar Napoleonic project using Perry minis. Although, the twins are apparently unveiling two new sets at Salute this weekend for a totally new period, and if it is Franco-Prussian War or Seven Years War then I make no apologies for revising my plans once again!


The new Marlburians take shape

It was in November that I last did anything with my 28mm Marlburians. As things got more hectic I put them on the backburner and got my US and Soviet Flames of War finished instead. Well, now they are back, and ready to be a main project for the next year or so (alongside my 15mm French Revolution project).

The last time that you saw these guys there were 16 of them and they were all individually based. Well, I decided that I would revive my original plan to use the Wargames Foundry 1644 rules, needing units of 20 figures ( it could be more for the French and less for the Allies, but I like 20 as a number).  These rules have individual casualty removal, but I like having multi-bases to move figures around with, so will simply use mini dice to keep track of hits like I do when using Black Powder.  They may yet end up being used with Black Powder anyway.

I’ve left the figures on their washers and then based them on balsa. I find that this gives them a nice heft so that I won’t accidentally send them flying across the room with a careless sleeve getting caught on the bayonets.

The Regiment Tourville.

I like these Wargames Factory figures – I’ve written before that they seem to be the Spencer Smiths of the 21st Century and I hope they remain around for a long time ( well at least the next year while I’m building my armies).

If you think that the drummer in his livery looked onerous to paint, you are wrong. I really enjoyed doing the detail on his coat, probably because I knew that he was the only figure in the whole regiment that I would need to lavish this much attention on.

I have also glued one cavalry figure together and experimented with painting him up as one of Coynyngham’s Dragoons. I think that I am getting the idea with white base coat painting, in that if your paints are slightly watered down they give a thick wash which provides natural highlights. I still have a tendency to want to paint everything in opaque colours and mix highlights. I’m not sure I’ve got white base coat quite right, but I’m pretty impressed with the results. I also quite like the effect of black-lining, although it is a rather long-winded process.

I also did a final coat of Army Painter Strong Tone just to accentuate the recesses.

The only thing I am thinking to myself is whether I want to go with my traditional matt finish or a more ‘toy soldier’ shiny finish. Comments would be welcome.


Irregular games last Friday

On Friday night I was able to head out to John’s for games night, and was joined by Chris, Terry, Paul and Jordan. That was good because it meant that we had even numbers to play with. We paired off with Terry and Chris playing Afrika Korps vs Kiwis and Paul and Jordan playing Afrika Korps vs British armour. John and I decided to have a game of Napoleonics using Black Powder, as we hadn’t played either of these things in several months.

The Battlefield looking down towards the French ourtflanking movement after Turn One – John has already turned his line to face the threat. Grrr!

John set his British up on a ridge in Spain somewhere, preparing for a French attack. I decided that it was folly to simply assault the ridge head on, and brought the French on in two wings. I would contest the church with the infantry and try to bust through the British cavalry and loop around behind the British infantry. Meanwhile I would take my other infantry brigade down the extreme flank to try and cross the river and upset his balance. It was a fine plan on paper, but was fouled up in the first turn when John rolled three moves for the brigade on his left and simply turned his line to face the river.

It was now not going to be a single head on fight anymore, but two separate head-on fights. Hoo-bloody-ray.

The British Line patiently waits while the French deploy to cross the river.

The attacks went slowly after that. John occupied the church before I could get there and the cavalry just eyed each other for far too long. I tried to bombard the Church to soften up the defenders prior to assault, but my attacking troops kept getting shot up. In the end the British came down off the ridge and drove the French infantry off. At the same time my cavalry finally wiped out the British cavalry, but it was too little too late.

Artillery pounds the church but little softening up is happening. After their first clash the cavalry rallies and prepares for the next round. 

On the other side of the table the French and British went tit for tat as John’s general suffered paralysis of command while the French crossed the river (we house ruled the river would take three turns to cross unless by bridge). In the end, though, the French Brigade simply lost too many battalions and broke before the Brits did. The French army was broken and the battle ended with the Brits victorious.

The French cross the stream slowly – but the British just sit and wait.

I have to say I had rotten luck with the dice, failing the break tests at the end of the game quite spectacularly with aq series of 3s and 4s. And John getting three moves with his left hand Brigade in the first turn was also a rotten piece of luck, but then ’twas ever thus in the Peninsula.

The motivation for this battle was to see what sort of game I will get when I have painted my Peninsular War armies – 8 battalions and 2 cavalry a side. I may have to work towards 12 battalions for each, as I felt that there just wasn’t really enough to play with in the end. I also think that the scenario would probably have benefited from some late arriving reserves.

On the other table battle raged in the North African Desert. The final verdict was a triumph for the Afrika Korps, but it was hard work. The British armour under Jordan fought literally to the last tank, and Chris was giving as good as he was getting for large parts of the game.

Chris’ Kiwis, already burning up.

Terry’s Afrika Korps. He hasn’t quite got around to putting together desert PaKs. The Infantry are a commission I did for him, using Command Decision figures. Their Afrika Korps are very nice and I enjoyed painting them.

Stukas say hello to some Portees. The objective is, of course, the only piece of grass in the Desert..

Above is an example of Paul’s resin dug-in markers. He sculpted the originals and then cast them in resin. They are perfect for Flames of War and can meet up to form a trench system if you want. If anyone would like to purchase some, just let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Lastly, nothing whatsoever to do with games night. I thought I’d paint up some of my Wargames Factory Romans (this is pre-baby) and construct a light box to try photographing them.  The result – fail. I may not be using enough light for my box or maybe the paper is too thick. Back to the drawing board.

I’ve hit painter’s block at the moment, as happens every year. This year I think it is a combination of starting back at school and having a new baby at the same time. I’m hoping I’ll feel a little more settled in a couple of weeks and get back to the brushes.


The new Marlburian project begins

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing time and again and expecting a different outcome, then I must be mad.  Not content with painting up loads of figures for the Spanish War of Succession in 15mm, I sold them and decided to start on something else.  That something else, was, of course, 28mm figures for the War of Spanish Succession.

I’ve been looking at the Wargames Factory plastics since they were released, and stayed away, mainly because I already had armies in 15mm, and there was no conceivable reason for starting again in a different scale.  Well, that isn’t a consideration anymore, is it?  They have had mixed reviews.  For a start there are the WF ‘haters’, but I pretty much ignored those.  Then there were those whose opinion I respect, such as my old mate Scott (link in side bar), who were a bit concerned about the googly-eye complex.  But what the heck, at $30 NZD a box I thought I’d give them a shot.  I’m happy to say that I am not disappointed.

The first two test figures are above.  Yes, yes, I cocked up the chap on the left and cemented the wrong body on so he has his crossbelt going in the wrong direction.  It was too late to cut him in half again by the time I realised, as the cement had set overnight.  Never mind that right now, there are more important things to talk about.

This project is going to be my Old School Wargaming endeavour –  my chance to get into the spirit of Charles Grant and Don Featherstone that inspired me as a junior novice wargamer.  Now, I have thought long and hard about Spencer Smiths, but they aren’t available in plastic anymore, and frankly, they are not all that inspiring.  Not too mention that although I like the War of the Austrian Succession, my true love is 35 years earlier.  I saw these guys described on TMP today as the Spencer Smiths of the 21st Century, and I agree.  They have a real old school feel about them while still being nice figures in their own right.  But no 48 figure battalions.  Just too big for my 4′ x 8′ table.  So 24 figures they will be, all individually based on 20mm diameter washers.  The rules will be the Rick Priestly 1644 book from Foundry.  The latest version has lists for the Marlburian period, and I have worked out my forces at roughly 1,000 points each.

The next question was painting.  I’m dying to get into white undercoat and black lining with ink.  But I’m also lazy.  So this first battalion – the Orleans regiment, have been my guinea pigs.  I started with a wash of Vallejo London Grey.  It was too dark.  So I mixed up a magic wash and this flowed much more freely.  I will now declare myself happy with this part of the experiment.  The only problem is that in places the plastic detail is not as raised as it would be in metal, and the wash does not give defined outlines.  So I decided that I would have to line in these areas with London Grey.  But the contrast wasn’t strong enough.  So I have now relined them with black.  So that attempt at being lazy was totally unsuccessful.  Never mind, the next phase to make things easier/quicker was to turn to my new friend, Mr army painter quickshade.  I realised that strong tone would be too powerful on white coats, so I went with the soft shade.  Result?  It didn’t make much impact at all on the face, cuffs or belts – again, the detail was too fine – but managed to be too strong on the coats for my liking.  The one positive was that it tinted the white coats a dirty creamy-brown – what I would consider the perfect colour for ‘white’ coats in this era!  So the dip stays, but only a very light coat and preventing the excessive pooling at the bottom of the coat.  Oh, yes, and before varnishing the figures I dropped them on concrete from a height.  They bounced, did not break, and the dip protected the paint job!  I will be returning to the old techniques of three layer flesh painting from now on though.

So overall, I’m pretty happy with this project.  I plan on buying a box a month and having all of the figures painted before the next box arrives, so that it doesn’t become another monkey on my back with a pile of figures sitting there just looking at me.  Should be totally finished by half way through next year I reckon.

And as for the googly eyes – you be the judge:

‘Hey Thierry, did you see that les Tricolores got into the Rugby World Cup Final?’

‘Oui, Maxime.  By the way, what are you doing with your cross-belt?’


Oh, and Go the All Blacks!  Big semi-final tonight.

Army Painter dip on brightly clothed figures

This is the first time that I’ve tried the dipping method on anything that wasn’t in drab colours.  This is a comparison of two Front Rank figures, the one on the left has been dipped, the one on the right painted in the more traditional base coated – main coated – washed – highlighted way.  I have to say that I am very happy with the dipped result, especially as I look to build 28mm Marlburian armies in a relatively quick way.  Let me know what you think.


Army Painter saves my sanity

I don’t know whether I’m getting lazier or just more impatient, but whichever it is, the saving grace has been the use of the Army Painter dipping system.

I fancy that at my best I am a pretty good figure painter.  Not in the Kevin Dallimore or El Mercenario league, but certainly not a hack with the brush.  Trouble is, my best was probably a year or so ago.  Since then I have been finding more and more ways to paint fast to a good gaming standard that I am happy with.  This has seen me experiment with black lining technique letting black undercoat show through, and with spraying my tanks with Tamiya colours and using dip or home-brewed magic wash to shade them.  This has worked and I have churned out my FoW modern Egyptians and Israelis, piles of WW2 Germans and Soviets and now I’m starting the Italians.

The question has always been whether I would be irritated when I was finished that the troops I have painted are not my best possible work.  However, I just finished my second squad of 28mm US troops today using Army Painter dip, and thought I’d put up a photo comparing identical figures with one of the totally hand-painted figures that I have done.

The figure on the right was painted with a base coat followed by washes then highlights.  It involved drybrushing and paint mixing, followed by a satin varnish and then a matt varnish.  The figure on the left had base colours painted on, followed by a brushing of Army Painter Strong Tone.  It then had a spray of Matt varnish followed by the eyes being painted in.  There is a visible difference in the figures.  The ‘dipped’ figure has deeper shading, the highlighted figure is more subtle.  I haven’t painted in the 5 o’clock shadow yet, but this will take 5 minutes for the whole squad.  To be honest, there isn’t that much between them as far as I’m concerned.  But here is the key thing: The ‘dipped’ figure took a third of the time to paint as it did to paint the figure on the right.

It might be cheating for some, it may be lazier, it may be settling for second best.  But it means that I have a show of getting way more figures painted up for gaming.  That has to be a good thing.  Let me know if you think that I’m fooling myself and that ‘dipped’ figures are really a horrible abomination in the gaming world.


Tangent to Warmachine (25pt Cygnar Force)

Well i’m on another tangent; getting a small Cygnar force up and running. It has been painted enough to get it on the table top and will get more love once i have played a few more games. I will finish a project one day…

25pt Cygnar Force lead by Hayley

I spent the weekend building a bit of MDF pre-cut terrain but mainly painting Space wolves.
I had put these guys on hold as i had other impulses to follow, however Marcus was keen for a game to test his Nids so i got the bug again (no pun intended).
I had a complete 1750pt force painted for the last edition of the Space Wolves Codex but with the change in Codex came a change in army composition and a bit of meh. Things change so i decided to embrace the change and came up with a new list to try out, tweaked it a bit and was quite happy. Well that meant dropping two squads, two Dreadnoughts and a LRC which meant a big points vacuum and a lot of models to paint (which pains me) hence the hiatus status.
Now i am dead keen to get into them again (in small doses) so they don’t go to war in black armour. Pics up soon of the Wolves Project, wait out.