Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Flames of War - Late War British Commandos

Flames of War late war British commandos:

Black undercoat
Uniforms: Foundry 12a Drab + GW Graveyard earth
Packs: Foundry 26A Forest Green + Foundry 26C Forest Green
Skin: GW Bestial Brown + GW Vomit Brown + GW Dwarf flesh
Hair: GW Scorched Earth + GW Snakebite leather
Rifle wood: GW Scorched earth + GW Bestial Brown
Berets: GW Dark Angels Green + GW Woodland Green
Boots & gun barrels: GW Black

Update - 22/12/7 - although the pics dont show it (they are a little dark), I was not too happy with some of my colour choices.
I toned down the berets which looked too bright, so these were just GW Jungle Green over a black undercoat.
The webbing etc was also slightly gaudy I thought so I switched this to Foundry 27A followed by Foundry 27C. Its a "flatter" pale green than the slighty brighter 26 shade I had originally done.
I am now happy with the result and will press on to finish the platoon.

Platoon finished and based Xmas '07. Base was textured with a layer of polyfilla, and fine gravel/sand. This was painted GW scorched brown and gravel inked with brown ink. Dry brushed then with GW Vermin Brown then Foundry 12c Drab. Finally static grass added with thinned PVA glue.

Picture shows two full 13 man platoons (the 6 teams on the large bases), plus company command base with bagpiper, and 2iC command base. Also in front, sniper to left, and two PIAT teams and a light mortar team - all the toys a commando platoon needs! ;-)

Flames of War Commando Briefing available here.

Also a possible Dieppe Briefing

Pressing on with Platoon #2

Update: 6/2/8.
Second Platoon completed and also finished Commando Weapons platoons including 3" mortars and Vickers HMG. Also first section of 6pdr anti tank gun divisional support platoon.

Commando 3" Mortar platoon with 3 teams and platoon command and spotter teams.

Close up of Mortar team

Commando Vickers HMG platoon with platoon command

Close up of Vickers HMG team

6pdr anti tank gun from divisional support. First section of 2 guns painted - still have to do second section and Universal troop carrier. Will probably sub a spare commando platoon command team to act as their command. They will be accompanying the commandos, so makes sense to have some commando "advisers".

Update - March 08.
Finished off the divisional support options that I currently have: The 6pdr anti-tank gun section, complete with 4 Loyd Carriers and a Universal carrier for platoon command. I have also added the option of one up gunned section comprising two 17pdr anti-tank guns, with M5 Half Tracks from the "lend lease" agreement with the US, as towing vehicles. Interestingly, although the M5 were supplied fitted with 50cal machine-gun, the Brits took them off before entering action. I don't think the Brits envisaged using them in the same way as the Yanks.

6Pdr anti-tank gun seciton with Loyd carriers and UC command.

17pdr anti-tank gun section with M5 Half-tracks.

Close up of Loyd carrier.

Close up of Universal carrier.

I have not got round to adding the vehicle markings, I need to get a pack of decals from Battlefront.

This gives my little force just over 1000 points worth of troops for FOW. I would like to add another Commando combat platoon pack and a Typhoon flight for air support. That should take my force up to 1500 points or there abouts.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Warhammer English Civil War - Parliament

This project started late 2005 / early 2006 (I think?), shortly after I had first moved to New Zealand. The small town I had moved to, Whakatane, did not appear to have any local wargamers, but after doing a bit internet surfing I came across a chap in the next town over, Rotorua, called Nathan Ward.

I was interested in playing Warhammer Historical, at the time I was finishing off a medieval army. Nathan was considering Warhammer but for the English Civil War supplement. So we mutually decided to give this period and rule-set a whirl. I had previously picked up a set of rules from E-bay, but not done anything with them at that point.

Next we had to get some miniatures. My first port of call normally for figures is Foundry. However, having checked out the Foundry range I was not overly impressed with some of the poses; the musketeers looked oddly crouched over which did not appeal. Also the price of Foundry figures plus postage to New Zealand, was prohibitive.

Yet more internet searching revealed Renegade miniatures, who had at the time, a post free worldwide deal on their army deals. I gleefully ordered the foot and horse army packs. These came through a little while later and I set to work; filing, basing and undercoating so that we could get a feel for the rules, with based figures. The figures were nicely sculpted and slightly larger than the Foundry figures I was used to.

The only problem at the time was that Renegade were only offering the foot and horse, with no other figures available; no artillery, dragoons and other desirable figures. More internet searching revealed that compatible ranges in style and scale were Bicorne and Redoubt. I liked the look of the Bicorne figures and found helpful responses from Andrew Barrett at Bicorne, with questions about the ranges on offer.

I have to say I was put off going with Redoubt, who may have had a wider range but a lot of their figures came with separate heads and to be honest I couldn't be bothered with the hassle of having to glue them all into place.

So Bicorne won my business and some artillery and dragoons and militia etc were finally ordered.

Just as things were starting to progress nicely, our plans for New Zealand changed, and my family and I moved south to Kapiti Coast. Not finding anyone playing WECW locally, but meeting up with guys at the Wellington Warlords who were playing Warhammer Ancients, I decided to start an ancient germanic barbarian army.(See separate post for full details of this venture!)

So my poor old WECW army got put on the back burner...

During the time of painting up my Barbarians I had met with the local Kapiti Fusiliers and Fusilier Steve Sands was interested in the ECW period and had an army, although based for WRG. Over time, Steve very sportingly decided to give these WECW rules a go, and gradually re-based his army and off I went again with my WECW painting project.

I still have a ways to go but heres whats done so far (Dec 07):

This is the first regiment of foote I painted. All Renegade, painted in acrylics, on magnetized bases and movement trays. The pikes are 100mm Foundry spears/pikes, and very sharp they are too! The flag is hand-made and painted, but I may replace this with a commercially available one from GMB.

The second regiment of foote painted. Again all Renegade. I still need to sort out the flag for the ensign of this regiment.

Some spare Renegade musketeers were painted in general, non-uniformed colours, to act as a separate Forlorn Hope, or add some extra figures to the other foote regiments shot sleeves.

It was at about this point that my ECW painting stalled to go on to the Barbarians.

When painting finally resumed, I decided to "let myself in gradually" to the period again (and not be scared off by having to face painting big units!), and started with some artillery and crews. These are Falconets, light guns, from Bicorne.

These are Sakers, medium guns, again from Bicorne.

Well I guess an army needs someone to lead it into battle, so here are the Parliament Commanders. From left to right, William Waller, Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. Figures from Bicorne.

There was no putting it off any longer. I had to make a start on the cavalry. I tend to prefer painting infantry to cavalry, as the individual models paint faster. Consequently I tend to find cavalry a bit of a slog, but there was nothing for it but to press on. These are heavy horse, with breast and backplate and gauntlet on left arm. Figures from Renegade.

And then I decided to place another little order with Bicorne to fill another few gaps in my force. A mortar and crew duly arrived and were painted up as a nice interlude to the cavalry. The mortar, shells and red jacketed crew member are Bicorne, the other crew are spare cannon crew, also from Bicorne. There is a nice little pair of mortar crew I am still busy with who are carrying a mortar shell between them. I'll post a picture when finished.

Having decided to turn our ECW games into a campaign, where armies would march with baggage trains, I needed to get some carts and wagons to represent this on the table top. Again Bicorne came through with some nice figures. This is their cart and driver. This was a multi-part piece that needed assembling. The parts were well sculpted but a little fiddly to assemble. I used Araldite for glue (a two part epoxy) and used Blu-tac to hold pieces together while glue sets. I prefer Araldite to super-glue as it makes a stronger less brittle bond, although does have the nuisance of taking a little while to set. The base is several GW cavalry bases glued long edge to long edge, and the sloped edges filled with glue and sand.

And finally the four wheeled wagon again from Bicorne.

Of course it has to be said both cart and wagon are empty of supplies! I will have to sculpt some sacks with Greenstuff, and add them later.

No doubt these carts and wagons will see a lot of service in my future gaming as they will probably do service in many armies, medieval onwards, either as baggage trains or perhaps just battlefield decoration.

Well thats enough distraction, back to painting those horses!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Design of a Gamesroom

When the chance came for my wife and I to design and plan our own home, one of the things I had always wanted, was a purpose built games room.

Most of us have to make do with setting up battles on the dining room table, and then having to clear everything away after each game. Others are lucky enough to have a spare bedroom which can be made to fit the bill, although unless its an especially spacious bedroom, will still be a little cramped to fit all the gaming paraphernalia into it; table and space to move around it, painting area, storage for models and terrain, seating, bookshelves for reference literature and rules, the list goes on and on. Some can utilize the garage or shed, but these may be cold and damp in winter.

Through my gaming "career" I have worked my way through these different levels, monopolizing the dining room table while at home with my parents, to finding a small spare bedroom in my first home.

Our house was designed (and subsequently built) with our input, by Homecreators here on the Kapiti Coast. Dave Smithson was great to deal with in the initial planning stages and made the whole process very easy. As the build progressed, our main contact switched to Daves brother Ben, who helped work through all the "nitty gritty" of the build itself, and loose ends that needed tidying up afterwards. If you are on the Kapiti Coast, and want a house built, I cannot recommend them enough.

The gamesroom itself, started out as an addition to the garage. It then went through a couple of design changes including being made into an "attic-truss" type configuration, where the games room would have been above the garage. However, this would actually have cost more to do, and given me less space. So the plan reverted to being on the ground floor, located to the side of the garage. This worked out simply because we had the ground space to do it on the section of land we had.

The gamesroom is accessible through the ranch-sliders at the front of the house to left side of garage doors. This means the gents can call to the house and enter the gamesroom without disturbing the rest of the house. An internal door connects to the garage, through which you come to the utility/laundry, and then on into the main house hallway for access to the the toilet.

We thought about having a separate toilet for the gamesroom, but this reduced space in gamesroom and increased costs, so the idea was scrapped.

The gamesroom measures 4.5m in width and 6m in length. It comfortably contains my 12' x 6' games table, and all its space underneath for storage, and also space to move around all sides of the table. There is space for book shelves and a work area and importantly a beer fridge ;-).

Our home, the sliding doors to left of garage door allow access to the gamesroom from the front driveway.

A shot of the gamesroom from open front sliding doors, showing table, with space underneath for storage, and shelves, work area and beer fridge on left wall.

Another shot of same. Since this shot was taken I have "temporarily" added two wallpaper pasting tables to allow a bit more space for terrain making (always a messy process that requires a fair bit of space to spread yourself out!) I hope eventually to include a sofa for those tired out from gaming and in need of liquid refreshment, and comfy spot upon which to recline and mull over the tactical implications before them! ;-)

My inaugural games night; a Napoleonic battle using General de Brigade rules. Pictures show myself to left, then Roly Hermans (our clubs esteemed "General"), and Brian Smaller, Steve Sands and Greg Simmonds, some of the founding members of the Kapiti Fusiliers. If I recall correctly, the game was a win for the French over Russians holding a village who were awaiting reinforcements.

One final point about the chosen position of the gamesroom means that, God forbid!, should I every have to sell up and move on, this extra room to the property has many uses that would appeal to many prospective purchases; a rumpus room, extra workshop, home office, or extra garage...

...but I ain't movin'!!!!! ;-)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Kapiti Fusiliers Napoleonic Battalion

Our local gaming club, the Kapiti Fusiliers, are very keen on their historical wargaming, and in particular, the Napoleonic era. They also have a high reputation for the standard of their painting and the quality of their terrain and display games, and have won prizes at local wargames conventions over the years.

At the time, a lot of recent gaming had involved a number of Napoleonic battles, as part of a greater campaign, using the General De Brigade rule-set. This had seen several exciting games.

During this time our "General" of the club; Roly Hermans, put into action the idea of having a club battalion as initially proposed by Fusilier Mike McGillivray, which would be painted up by volunteer members of the club. Then when games were played, the club battalion could also participate and win some battle honours.

A poll was conducted to choose a scale, figure manufacturer, and paint scheme for the battalion. This resulted in a choice of 28mm figures from Front Rank, with an appropriate historical french uniform, for our battalion of Napoleonic French fusiliers.

The nice thing about this idea was that not only could local club members take part, but so could the many "virtual" club members who join us online from around the world.

I volunteered to paint some figures and was designated 4 voltigeurs and their command figure. For those not "in the know", the voltigeurs are a type of light troop type that would protect the flank of a battalion. The idea also of doing a command figure would allow those who wished, to do a little conversion work, and add their own character (portrait-wise) to the miniature figure!

I must confess at this point I am an absolute "newbie" to this period of wargaming, and other than knowing that Wellington won at Waterloo, I do not know a lot about the period.

This resulted in a great many pleading emails to Roly, for accurate information of the correct colour scheme and uniform details for these figures. Those "in the know" would be able to tell if a collar or cuff were the wrong colour, and I didn't want to make a mistake. For this information, and help, I am most grateful to Roly.

The figures were all painted up and varnished by the individual painters, then sent to Roly, from around the world, to be based in a uniform manner so the battalion would look right on the table top.

The figures I painted were done using GW & Foundry acrylic paints, starting from a black undercoat. Varnish was brushed-on polyurethane gloss, followed by a spray coat of GW satin spray.

The pictures below show the figures I finished before being submitted for basing. So I hope you will forgive the fact that they are still perched on their painting stands.

First up, the command figure. This guy is supposed to look like me. OK so he's got brown hair, and if you look closely a slighty malformed lip, which I left on the model, as I always seemed plagued by dry lips despite almost eating lipsalves! That was enough "characterisation" for me

Next up was the cornet, or musician. This chap caused a bit of difficulty, as they typically have a more flamboyant tunic top than the regular soldiers, I guess to make them stand out on the battlefield. However, checking this model closely, the tunic seemed fairly normal, apart from large epaullettes. After a couple of paint schemes, the model was finished as you see him.

The remainder of the figures are presented in various types of dress, as I wished to present them in a "on-campaign" appearance rather than a dress parade uniform. Consequently there are mixtures of colours for trousers and greatcoats being worn, and also Shakos (hats) both covered and uncovered, and of course, scuffed and dirty shoes and trousers.

After I had completed these figures, a second batch of figures were sent for my attention. These would represent the "Tete de Colonne" (head of the column, or command group) of the second regiment. Unfortunately I didn't get round to photographing these figures before hand, but more can be seen following the link below.

You can see more of the Kapiti Fusiliers Battalion here.

Painting Plastics - Zvezda 1/72 Greeks

A little while ago, whilst awaiting my house build to be completed, and being a little restless at not having anywhere proper to wargame in the rental property we had at the time, my mind went back to role playing games (D&D) of my youth. You don't need a huge table and space for roleplaying, afterall, and with the right game and group of people, its great fun.

I joined an online forum and found some local players. A guy was about to start an ancient Greek setting, and when it turned out he had some figures for it, I volunteered to paint them.

There I was looking forward to some nice Foundry sculpts, (or something similar), but lo and behold I was presented with plastic toy soldiers. Not really my cup of tea, I really consider them children's toys, not really wargames / rpg figures, especially when you consider the quality of metal figures available nowadays.

But I had promised to paint them so off I went. I cleaned the figs up; trimmed off excess mould lines with sharp knife, (filing just leaves an annoying burr - a reason I don't like plastics ), washed the figs in mild detergent, rinsed and dried.

I then tried to find a glue that would stick the spears and shields on. Super-glue didn't work, plastic cement didn't work, bostick was too thick. In the end I used PVA. It seemed to hold OK but not sure if I would trust a lot of handing. (another reason I don't like plastics).

I decided to try painting them in my regular method - acrylics, and undercoated black to start.
I then dry bushed on a bronze colour for the armour, and inked this with a dark brown ink. I then did the usual two layer paint job. Obviously at this scale I didn't bother with the eyes!

When finished I varnished in brushed-on polyurethane gloss, then sprayed over this with GW spray satin finish. Finally I sanded and flocked the bases.

I know people talk of painting them first with thinned PVA, and doing the same again once painted (to try and get paint to adhere to the plastic figure, then try and stop the paint from peeling off afterwards as the plastic flexes - another reason I don't like plastics), but i thought this would clog the detail of the figures, and I figured they wouldn't be getting a lot of handling.

They turned out OK I guess, but I wouldn't rush to paint them again...

1/72 scale Zvezda plastic Greeks...

... and with a little background terrain to make it nice!

PS the role-play session wasn't my style in the end, too much "acting and accents" for my liking, I am more the "knock down the door, kill the monster, steal the treasure" kinda guy :-). Simple but fun and effective.
In a similar, humorous vein, if you like(d) "knock down the door, kill the monster, steal the treasure", then you've gotta try Steve Jackson's card game; Munchkin. Its an absolute scream! :-)

PPS just in case you hadn't noticed - I don't like plastics! ;-)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Warhammer Ancient Battles - Germanic Barbarians

This was a long project from the outset. I wanted an army that I would be able to use against in-period ancient opponents (as my medieval army didn't really look right lined up against Romans!). I also wanted an army that could realistically go up against several armies of the ancient period and that could be "morphable" into a few varieties. Lets face it barbarians are barbarians, and with a few subtle tweaks, could be made to cover tribes from all over ancient europe.

I chose figures from the Foundry collections, and picked up many through their horde deals, and some from E-bay. In the end I went with the germans (as opposed to celts) as I liked the greater "hairyness" of the figures which matched the image I had of barbarians in my minds eye.

The one downside to this range is that for some reason, Foundry didn't offer a musician model for the germans. I considered using their "wailing women" models as an interesting substitute, but in the end couldn't face a unit with civilian type women in the front rank. It just wouldn't look right now would it. So out came the greenstuff and I sculpted a load of simple animal horns tied around the necks of suitable figures with a length of cord. I think they worked quite well.

Well back to the daunting task of painting them. Pointswise, barbarians are cheap, so that means big units and painting loads of the little buggers ;-). When I started this army, I was actually half way through painting the first regiments of my ECW army, and had got a little bored painting all the same uniforms. I was relishing starting the germans. However I have to say it was quite a hard slog, the reason being trying not to do two models alike. This meant constantly checking I hadn't selected two paint schemes the same, and individualising all their shield designs. This took a lot more time and thought than I imagined.

Balanced against this was the "easy part" of ploughing through acres of flesh... Flesh is the one colour I always do as three shades (as opposed to the two I normally
do for most other clothing colours). So this was therefore more work for me.

However, I have to say after roughly a years painting time, I am pleased with the result. The army got its first proper outing at the Wellington Warlords Call to Arms tournament in August of 2007, and gave me some fun games.

The army can still be added to later as I choose to tweak it. We'll see what happens. Current project is to go back to my ECW army and try and finish that.

The whole army arrayed for battle as they emerge from the forest. Skirmishing and light troops armed with javelins to the front. Centrally the main warbands with shield and throwing spears. To the flanks, noble and light cavalry units.

A main warband led by barbarian chieftan. Big warband units mean you can keep rank bonus for longer during attritional fighting and also gives you the chance of warband auto-break if you charge the enemy and win in the first round of combat. Loading the front rank with "beefy" characters can help this.

Noble cavalry to drive off weaker enemy cavalry and hopefully co-ordinate a flank attack with the warbands to smash into the enemies main infantry units.

Fanatic warbands, subject to frenzy, truely wild barbarians that build themselves up into a frothing frenzy. Very colourful for the barbarian army, but quite pricey pointswise and can be led round by the nose by a wiley opponent due to their requirement to charge any enemy in range.

And finally the Generals main warband, accompanied by army standard bearer (another hard case character) and the Shaman - a terrifying figure causing fear in his opponents and hatred for the enemy in units he accompanies. A real killer unit and if you can get it in the right place at the right time, a pleasure to behold! :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some Warhammer 40K stuff from the late 80's / early 90's

After raking about in my collection of figures, now that I have a bit of space to unpack and have a look at them, I thought I might add some examples of my earlier paintwork on figures for Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K.

First up is Ghazkull (spelling?), Ork Warlord. I can't remember all the fluff, but I think he had a pretty tough head, and was always accompanied by his battle standard bearer; Makari (spelling?)
Painted in Citadel acrylics and inks. Basic flocked base with coloured saw-dust.

This next figure is a prototype, that I do not believe was ever released. It's a cyborg-squat or "cy-squat". Aimed at giving the squats a bit of hard up front melee ability. Sadly they never saw the light of day as GW scrapped the squats from 40k! BooHoo! Still, I guess with a move of 3 they never could get anywhere!
Still I did have some fun with my squat bikes and guild trikes with multi-meltas! :-)

Ah yes, a deathskull-loota, scavenging the battlefield for left overs to make interesting weapons with. If I recall correctly; roll artillery dice and times by 10 for range, then roll again for strength of hit. Cover wouldn't help you!
Just don't roll a misfire though...boom!
They could also allow you to field vehicles from other other races (or was that the bloodaxes?? - I cant remember). Needless to say I got a few imperium tanks and orkified them :-)

A bloodaxe commando - great melee troops and special rules allowed infiltration into battlefield during ( or after?) deployment. Models even had a "swiss army knife" sculpted on their belt at rear. Cool!

A Goff ork; basic ork - bolt pistol and axe. In theory great for swamping the enemy with numbers and if you get them close will do some damage. In reality never make half way across board - mown down in droves.
Hopefully, your gretchin screen might save them for a round or two...

Zodgrog Wortsnagga I think. Great at keeping your gretchins in line, and an interesting up close melee weapon.
The back banner is a cut out (or provided with model, cant remember which).
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