Quick Catch Up

It has been an age since I last posted here, mostly due to it being exam and reporting time, so what little spare time I’ve had I have devoted to painting. There have been a few changes and some new projects, first and foremost in the Star Wars field.

A couple of weeks ago I went out to John’s for Irregulars night and took the Star Wars figures complete with all of the Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition modifications. I was quite tired but I also felt that the expanded numbers of figures had resulted in a really bogged down game.  Now I am quite often a bit drained on games night and like to play games with nice simple rules that are intuitive. One reason that Flames of War and Black Powder have been such a hit I guess. So I started writing my own simple Star Wars rules. Then I realised that I was writing the Lord of the Rings/Legends of the Old West rules out.  So I stopped writing rules and started writing stats. I will publish them on here when they are complete.

Some pictures from the game:

In other news, new projects include:

15mm Seven Years War. Yep, I swapped my US FoW army for 2 unpainted armies of Prussians and Austrians.

Dux Bellorum Arthurian in 15mm. I’ve put in my order to Splintered Light minis and my pre-order at Book Depository. Really looking forward to this.

That’s all I have time for now, but I’ll post again very soon. We have another games night this Friday, so I should be able to put up a battle report for Flames of War.



Another momentary diversion

I just felt like painting something different, and had a hankering to do a World War One figure. So I dragged out this old ICM 1/35 figure and started putting some colours on him.

I used a base coat of Vallejo Grey Green and then mixed it with Green Grey in several lighter shades. The ammo belt is desert yellow lightened with buff and the grenade bags are yellow ochre. The helmet is a mixture of dark green, brown violet and yellow ochre, with the final yellow ochre applied with a sponge from a blister pack.

The final highlight on the puttees is straight green grey and I haven’t weathered them with mud spatter yet. The blanket roll on the back pack is a curious experimental mix of brown violet and yellow ochre which turned out to be a pretty good shade.

It was quite enjoyable just spending time painting one figure and it is an interesting exercise to see how techniques learned painting much smaller figures work on something larger. The final product still suffers from the strong contrasts of shade and light that characterise 28mm and smaller figures without much subtlety in the transitions. There are techniques, like blending, that I’ve never really been successful with, but haven’t needed with small figures.  I don’t know if I really have the patience to master them.  maybe when the wargames armies are complete and I’m just painting dioramas? By then I will probably be so old that I won’t be able to see anything anyway.


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.


Post Apocalyptic project

I have a number of homeless figures sitting around with no real purpose. This includes a whole pile of Warzone figures and a number of things like Foundry and Copplestone future wars figures.  So I’m constructing an idea around some of these figures, while painting up a few at a time as a pleasant diversion from army building (it gets me back into things when I have painter’s block).

First up, the Lone Stranger, his trusty sidekick Pronto and feline friend Whiskers:


Next up, Greta the Vampire Queen of the Nazi Zombie Empire and her trusted bounty hunter Gary:

Finally, for random pop-up appearances, the Doctor (in Tom Baker – ie THE Doctor – incarnation):



The French are revolting

I’ve come back to my French Revolutionary Wars project and completed another couple of battalions. I’m quite taken with the Songs of Drums and Shakos Large Battles rules, and this is what I am building my French and Austrians for. Only 12 figure battalions, buts as a solo project this is a good thing so that I can get them up and running quicker.

And a close-up:

I am currently thinking through whether or not to give anybody in the Revolutionary period skirmishers. In game terms skirmishers give a +1 combat die on the approach. But I’m not convinced that the ‘skirmish’ tactics of the french in this period really rate a bonus in this instance.  Something to ponder.


Games night 30th march

John has gone to India for work for three weeks, so before he went we quickly organised a game at his place. It turned out to be only myself, John and Terry in the end, with 3000 points a side on an 8′ x 4′ table.  the plan was to have Chris there as well, and everyone would bring a 1500 point force – John and Chris would provide the allies and Terry and I the Germans. Then we would randomly draw for which army we played with. But Chris had the flu, so we ended up with John and I taking the allies against Terry with all of the Germans.

The scenario saw a British armoured regiment coming to the relief of a Para company, and was the first time I have ever played bocage. If I had known at the start of the game what I know now, I would have deployed a lot differently.

Lines up in the bocage – I should have massed the armour nearer to the camera if I had known that there would be no way to fire from one hedge to the next…

I had two platoons in the centre of the table – John’s paras are in the town.

The Paras deployed with the German assault massing on the far side of the river.

The German Panthers advance –

– and set about wiping out the Shermans in the centre.

Terry attempts to get his forces across the bridge, but only succeeds in getting his trucks set alight (along with most of their passengers)

While John blows up his support on the far side of the river.

My tanks resemble the parking lot that so many purists insist Flames of War becomes. But it is because of the Mexican stand-off at the bocage (were the Mexicans in World War Two?). Who will blink first?

Me of course! After all, I have numerical superiority – I should be able to get at least half my tanks across and that will be enough… D’OH!

John’s paras launch  counterattack and whack the remaining Germans pretty convincingly.

With nothing left to lose (actually, pretty much just nothing left) I launch a desperate infantry attack on the advancing Panthers. My infantry didn’t even manage to make a decent speed bump. Sigh. This is Terry’s revenge for the walloping my Russians have given him the last couple of times. Set me up in the bocage and watch me flounder around!

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing I’d designed a pretty solid 1500 point army list…

This was the situation before my infantry did their death or glory charge. It was a very short trip to the objective for the Panthers once they were disposed of.

So, a lot of fun (especially for Terry), but it was quite a slow game without Chris there as well, as terry had to effectively fight two opponents. Next games night we might try this switcheroo again.


US tank company support

I haven’t had a chance to post anything over the last month, due to a hectic work schedule and, of course, the new baby routines. I’ve managed to sneak a little painting, but haven’t been able to get into the shed to do any photos. So the holidays are here and it is time to catch up, starting with the support options for my US tank company. I’ve also finished the 76mm Shermans for 1944, but have no decals for them so will leave the tanks themselves until they are totally complete.

The artillery staff team (Command Decision artillery crew with leftover Battlefront Italian staff team table)

6 Priests (all Command Decision)

A tank destroyer platoon with 2 x M10 (Battlefront)

Armoured mortar platoon (Command Decision)

Armoured rifle platoon (Battlefront)


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.


Desert Terrain

I completed my desert boards a couple of weeks back.

I borrowed some paint off John because I am colour blind and have had real issues trying to come up with decent desert colours. I bought a sheet to spray paint but it was way too green by the time I got it on the table. I bought some paint but it was too light. I don’t know what colour this is, but it works perfectly.

Desert terrain is important this year as I build my WW2 Desert Italians and aim to playtest some army lists for the Yom Kippur War using Flames of War 3rd Edition. I’m now waiting on the Battlefront big desert building and some Pegasus palm trees to complete the set.