Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Wehrmacht and the Professor.

Several projects got finished this weekend;

Stuka - JU87G

My inital German forces have been themed mostly for Normandy, where the Allies had air supremacy and German aircraft in the skies were rare as hens teeth... so I had never bothered with getting any German aircraft.

However, since my group is shifting focus, to include the Eastern Front for both MidWar and LateWar, and the Mediterranean, suddenly I find myself able to field ground attack aircraft. So I grabbed myself a Stuka, the JU87. This could be equipped with Bombs, the D model, or cannon, the G model. I went for the later, preferring the accuracy of the cannons...

It had quite a good outing against Paul on Friday night, making a bit of a mess of his MidWar Canadian Sherman company. Certainly scratched the paintwork at any rate... Paul hadn't equipped his Shermans with 50cal AA guns so the stukas could pretty much roam free. They just had to be wary of the wave off distance to friendly troops.

Aircraft have become more effective in the V3 rules, with auto range in for targets caught in the open. It has made the use of anti-aircraft guns necessary for most forces.

'Shot down' - showing the underside magnetic attachment for display pedestal.
Next up...

Marder III H

Another ubiquitous platoon for the Wehrmacht forces, the Marder - a self propelled Anti Tank gun, rather than a tank. It mounts the fearsome PaK40 7.5cm anti-tank gun on a small panzer chassis. Capable of knocking out even heavy tanks, and often used in an ambushing role where possible, mission and forces dependant - often leading to the term; "I got 'mardered' !" ;-)

This variant is the III H, used from MidWar period onwards.

A small platoon of two vehicles, at this point, which will be increased to 4 once my Maelstromgames order arrives.

A platoon of 4 Marders will give me quite a handy unit for the table, giving me good tank killing ability at a cheap points costs, and maneuverability, compared to the regular PaK40 gun.

Professor Erazmus

The last of my current batch of Empire of the Dead figures; Professor Erazmus. The professor is an interesting 'hireling', that may be recruited to your faction, for a suitable fee.

He brings with him a wealth of technological and arcane know how!

I look forward to giving him a whirl in the game...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gentleman's Club - Empire of the Dead

Finally got my Gentleman's Club finished for Empire of the Dead.

Here they are all arrayed in readiness to venture forth into a dark and sinister tale, where Infernium exists and the dead walk the earth in their many guises!

Soon to do battle with Vampires and Werewolves and all manner of unsavoury creatures...

The Secretary

The President

The 'American'

Vice President
I kept the paint jobs simple yet effective, I hope, with characterful faces with monocles I was compelled to do the eyes as best I could. I gave a little highlight to the flesh tones, but was happy with a shade and mid tone for most other areas. I even wimped out of trying plaid. Sorry! I just wanted to get them done and tabletop ready! The tricky bit was filling the recessed base with greenstuff to sculpt the paving stones - took far longer than I imagined!

Gentleman's Club
I have played a few simple games to get the hang of the rules, often with my son and his friend from next door. It seems these days Vampires etc are all the rage - just look at the latest series of Lego kits - "monster fighters" - so they had a blast!

Gentleman's Club against the Vampires
Thus far the Gentlemen have had the best of it as they pack greater firepower than the Vampire faction who need to get into close combat where the Graf and Consort shine.

Most battles have been fought over a nice selection of rural hamlets, as I dont as yet have any suitable Victorian city buildings. That is going to be the lengthy part of the project. Just hope I can stay focused.

I plan to add the Lycaon faction to my collection and all the special characters, and 'the Mob', zombies, police and Inspectors, and civilian towns folk, The Ripper and Holmes and Watson, all available from WestWind Productions... As yet I am undecided on the Brotherhood though no doubt they will arrive in due course...

I'll try and get a pictorial battlerep ready for you soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kapiti FoW Gamers

I have recently set up a new 'club', blog and contact source to get a focal point set up for Flames of War gamers based in the Kapiti region.

We hope to encourage new and existing players in the region to come out of the 'woodwork', and start playing...

We will post our exploits in terms of battle reports, league activity, and hobby and gaming tips including tactical discussions, modelling and painting tips etc etc.

Stay tuned for the action!

Friday, September 14, 2012

PaK 38 Platoon - Wehrmacht - FoW

So far I have played most of my FoW gaming set in the Late War period; January '44 onwards, but recently my gaming group have been looking at exploring the Mid War theatre too; which is roughly '42-'43, set on both the Eastern Front and Mediterranean Front, from the Desert and on through Sicily and Italy...

Not wanting to have to buy and paint a whole load of new tanks and vehicles to fit the period, I have looked at using what I already have where possible... For example, when I looked at switching my Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers to this setting, I found the army lists features the half track as the SdKfz 251/1 Ausf C, rather than the Ausf D that I have already assembled for LW.

However a little web research (thanks to wikipedia) showed the Ausf D variant was introduced during '43. Also, the painting guides in the back of BF's Eastern Front book show a good range of vehicle paint schemes, including the three colour style of later war German forces, again probably being used from '43 onwards, most likely in time for the Kursk offensive.

Kursk has always been the big WWII battle on my mind for sheer scale of the action, so having my forces suitable for this event already, is a bonus.

Consequently I assume the same will apply to the Mediterranean theatre, so my forces should be suitable for '43 onwards through Italy, though would look out of place in a purely desert setting no doubt.

 The other thing about MidWar, is that a lot of the weapons of the period are a bit 'smaller' than the Late War era; lighter tanks more common than the super heavies, and same goes for the AT guns to knock them out.

Consequently I picked up this set of 5cm PaK 38 guns to add to my MidWar forces. Smaller than the renowned PaK40, with a lower penetration and range, yet with a higher rate of fire, they should be useful at taking out light tanks and half-tracks etc., and a useful point defense for defending objectives.

They may also get used in late war as a defense upgrade option for the Nebelwerfers.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Here's a few Zulu models I did several months ago.

 I bought a box of Wargames Factory's Zulus, probably inspired after watching Zulu, with No.1 son..., and had a go at getting the first 'test sprue' assembled and painted to see what they were like. I have to say I was not very impressed, it has put me off getting on with the rest of the box...

The open hands don't look like they are gripping the spears, the heads sit oddly on the torsos, giving a strange 'hunch-back' look from the rear, two of the bodies are a bit too obese for my liking, I can't see them running as fast over the savanna as they were reputed to be able to. They also come with rifles, and one pose would be a shooting pose with two hands cast holding the rifle, but I failed to get this option to work using any of the available torsos from the sprue. Really bad form!

I guess they will look OK en-masse, if I ever get round to finishing them off.

 They could be a useful little darkest-Africa-style colonial contingent for my Prussian GASLIGHT forces, which is what made me have another look at them in the display case the other day. Hmmm....

Who knows I may get round to finishing them off to help fend off Joe's Colonial Brits..., though how they would react upon seeing 'Gargantua' is anyone's guess!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jabberwocky - GASLIGHT?

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: 
All mimsy were the borogoves, 
And the mome raths outgrabe...

A bit of a blast from the past this one...

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  The frumious Bandersnatch!

Looking through my display cabinet I glanced up this creation of mine from many moons ago, a Jabberwocky ! I am not sure but I think its an old Citadel miniatures figure... To give you an idea of size, its mounted on a GW 40mm square base.

 He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

It always reminds of that rather weird and quirky 'Python' movie - Jabberwocky, with Michael Palin;


And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!

A rather characterful Beastie, I love the leering head and oddly vestigial wings...

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
  He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
  He chortled in his joy.

I wondered if I might be able to ally it in with my Prussians for GASLIGHT, or maybe use it as a proxy for one of the weird and wonderful EotD hirelings...?

Grrrrrr !

I can't quite recall when I painted this, probably some time back in the 90's... I have a feeling I got it to add to a planned Chaos WFB army that never materialized... I don't think its ever seen the tabletop in anger, hopefully that may change one day...

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe. 

 from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872
Lewis Carroll

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dark Elves - BloodBowl

Well the NFL season has kicked off for another season, and I have rather enjoyed reading about the Laughing Ferret's -  'Ape' Bloodbowl teams exploits over here.

 It had me rummaging in the display case to grab my Dark elf team, from way back when... A couple of pics for your enjoyment:

I think I probably painted these up in the early 90's... A few mates and I started a little league which ran for a wee while, though it was really me and a mate who had a dwarf team that played each other the most. I had a star Witch Elf that could back flip and somersault her way across the board, with ease... until the swine dwarf player , played "Peaked" on her. Damn!

Fun memories... slightly different angle to next picture. The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a tiny paint chip on the knuckle of one of the linemen, I'll have to get that fixed up...

I have been a Grid-Iron NFL fan for many years, and this game was always a great way to have some Grid-Iron style action on the table top. I could be wrong but I think its one of the games that GW has relegated to "Specialist" role, and the rules are probably freely available as a download. The pitch would be easy to make, and a few range markers for throwing wouldn't be too hard to make. You might even be able to get the appropriate dice from somewhere?

In the meantime, the NFL team I have followed for years, the Miami Dolphins are probably destined for another disastrous season... we seem to have been in a period of 'rebuilding' ever since Marino retired... and this year we have a new head coach and QB, I'm not holding my breath...  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vampire faction - Empire of the Dead

Over the weekend I finally got my first faction finished for Empire of the Dead; the Nosferatu, or Vampire Faction. I present some pictures of how they turned out here:

The whole Faction arrayed, led by the Graf, with Consort and Guardian following, backed up by three Thralls and two Bat swarms.

I must admit I painted this faction first , thinking it would be quicker than the Gentleman's club, as two of the elements to paint, the bats, were pretty much just a quick grey dry brush and black wash and done!

The Gentleman's club is next on the painting table...

The Graf...

The Consort...
The Guardian...
The three Thralls...

The two Bat swarms

And a comparison shot, (for 'the Baron' as requested on Lead Adventure Forum, sorry for delay): just showing how the Brigadegames Paroom Station Prussians, match with the WestWind sculpts:

The Prussian is mounted and a simple steel 20mm washer. I will probably get some of the WestWind 30mm round bases to use as a sabot base while using the Prussians as Zendarians for EotD.

I have so far played a couple of simple games of EotD pitching the Vampires against the Gentleman's club, and they have been great fun. Looking forward to more, and I'll post some pictorial battle reports once the Gentleman's club figures are done.

Just to get enthused for more games I watched a couple of great movies over the weekend;

Van Helsing

Set in 1887, a classic Gothic horror monster bash, embellished with modern day CGI to bring the genre kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Jackman plays a great and solid part and Beckinsale is always a pleasure to watch her strut her stuff across the screen. I liked the pseudo 'JamesBond' link to set the ball rolling with the 'Cardinal' playing 'M' and David Wenham as the friar 'Q'.
I was really impressed with the versatility Wenham has shown in his acting, from the brooding warrior Faramir in LOTR, to this small scurrying terrified friar. Great stuff.
Vampires, werewolves and Frankensteins monster in one movie - whats not to like. I could even watch this with my young son, who wasn't scared by the monsters who has 'seen it all before'...

From Hell

Set in 1888 London, Depp plays inspector Abberline, trying to solve the Ripper murder case as it progresses through London's Whitechapel area... A much darker and sinister movie than Van Helsing, and not one for the younger viewer. I enjoyed this for it scene setting stuff and inspiration for Victorian London terrain making. I have always enjoyed Depp in the various roles he has played and Robbie Coltrane is another favourite, he plays a great sidekick role.

Two great movies, though differing in style, to enthuse you for a bit of Empire of the Dead gaming!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Wet Pallette

Is your palette wet? No? Then it should be!

I can't claim any credit for this as I stumbled across it while blog surfing the other day. I was going to link back to it , but can't find the original post now...(I think I had clicked on a linkwithin widget at the bottom of a post I was looking at).

Here it is;

It doesn't look much but you are looking at a wet palette...

Ever got tired of endlessly flipping open pots of paint, while you work through the colours on a figure, especially when doing all that tidy up work? Or maybe you use a palette but the paint dries out fast on it? OK so you can use some paint-drying retarding agent, but that's another product to have to buy and mess about with...?

I tried this wet palette out this afternoon and was so impressed, I had to write this quick post...

It is easy to do, its just the metal cap lid from a glass food jar; something like pickled onions, or whatever... but I guess any slim lid type thing will suffice...

Pack the lid with toilet tissue (bog roll), and soak it in water, and drain off the excess. Then get a piece of grease-proof paper, cut out a circle to fit over the top and press it down on to the damp surface. And voila, a wet palette...

Just put out the paint colours you are working with direct onto this surface, and they will stay workable for hours without drying off. I spent a couple of hours easily with the above small dollops of paint working through some base colours on some FoW Germans, and even left it as it was time to go and pick up my son from a playdate, came back and the paint was still fine to use, and I dare say it would be for hours more...

Just not having to keep opening and closing pots of paints, dramatically reduced my painting time, and simply saved hassle... all the paints I wanted were right there, and quick swish in the water dish to clean brush and I was easily switching back and forth between colours.

Amazing, wonderful, so simple yet I had never come across it before in over 20+ years of painting...

So there you go, give a whirl if you haven't tried it before. I think you'll be impressed.

Oh and just to finish... when I had finished with the above, the excess paint could still be scraped up with a brush and put back in the paint pots, so no waste either!

[if it was your blog post I was looking at, you are more than welcome to add the link in comments below, and thank you again!!!]

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Grille my Stummel !

A couple more additions for my FoW Wehrmacht forces...

Grille H

First up a pair of Grille H self-propelled infantry guns. I got these some time ago to add some fire power to my German half track forces. My regular Brit opponent had an annoying habit of hiding his Para's in buildings, close to objective markers, so I sought a solution, and found the idea of the 'bunker buster' grille would do the job quite nicely.

For those not familiar with the rules of the game, this allows the weapon to fire on troops in the building, if it hits, all teams in the building are hit, and with a firepower of 1+, and no saves allowed, that means dead troops...

The Grille also has the ability to fire a bombardment from long range, landing with a mighty thump.

Sounds great eh? Sadly this mighty beastie is effectively castrated in the game - it only has a 16" range when fired directly, which means 9 times out of 10, it will be dead to enemy anti-tank fire long before it gets in range of using its behemoth cannon...

OK so stay at range and bombard I hear you cry... well, with only two weapons firing in the platoon, this means a fairly ineffective bombardment too on average...

I tried them out anyway in a game against my regular foe, though this time playing MidWar vs Soviets... predictably they sucked big time and were effectively; 'chased off the board'... I feel they will remain display pieces in my cabinet from now on... Shame as I think they look rather cool!


Next up a pair of SdKfz 251/9's better known as the Stummel.

These half tracks sported a 7.5cm short barrel gun for direct fire support for the mechanised half track platoons. I got these to either start the ball rolling for a cannon platoon for my Lehr forces, or use to fill up the GPG 'Heavy' platoon, adding them to the half track mortar carriers and HMGs I already have.

Again they got a try out against the Soviets , and once again didn't do a lot, though to be fair I think I was  rather timid and indecisive in my approach against a foe and scenario I was unsure of how to deal with...

The problem with both these units is that despite being 'armoured' they are also open topped and any half decent artillery has become the bane of my half tracks lives...

Consequently after Friday nights experience, I am going to retire my mechanised force, and start my force composition afresh, based around a core Infantry company, rather than mechanised, and add in as much armour (tanks) and artillery as I can cram in. It sounds cheesy and geared to winning tourney games, but the truth of the matter is, many games are defensive battles and when this is the case, infantry will defend against mech and armour, and a 50/50 vs other infantry, and in a defensive battle, all the defender has to do to win is just hang on to the objectives, and hope to hang on, till time runs out...

Tournaments and Rankings

On the tourney scene, the Rankings were updated on 1st of September, and my performance from 'FRACAS', appears to have earned me a debut on the rankings table of 116th out of 159 registered players. Not too bad for a first crack at it.

There are still the results of the CTA to add in, and though I didn't fare terribly well there, the more games you play the further up the rankings they may take you. I don't fully understand how it is worked out, but I guess it's some formula based on games played / tournaments attended, and wins, loses and 'draws' and points scored in the process...

As yet I am not sure when or where the next one will be that I will chance my arm at...

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Prussian Maxim HMG - GASLIGHT

Finally got my Prussian Maxim Heavy Machine Gun team finished for my prospective GASLIGHT games.

As much as I would like to equip my Zendarian Gentleman's club with it for Empire of the Dead gaming, I fear this may be beyond the scope of the rules... shame though as I love the idea of mowing down zombies, werewolves and Nosferatu with it!

Now its just as well this is a 'sci-fi' setting, and not strictly historical, as I have to come clean with the set up of the team...

Obviously there were no instructions in the blister pack, and I messed about with getting the right fit for the gun and crew. Everything looked OK, until I went to the web for some colour reference material for the gun, found what I was looking for then then realised the belt feed goes in the other side of the gun... bugger!

What I had not contemplated was that the loader would have his back to the action... that and the relative heights of the gun and tripod to the loader seemed a good fit for where I put it. As it was I had to entirely cut off the cast base from the loader otherwise the belt feed was just too high... greenstuff also was used to join feed belt to the gun.

Ah well I still think it looks pretty cool. I'll just have to come up with some fiendish new gun to explain this alternative feed mechanism... maybe some 'infernium' enriched rounds... who knows!
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