Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Letting it all hang out

The latest unit to be finished for Eagle Rampant is the Gaestati. I've tried to put a bit of effort into the shield designs as patterned clothing wasn't really an issue when painting them.
For Gaul and nudist colonies everywhere!
'A strategically placed shield is so much more tasteful than the exhibitionist to my left... and right'
The first of these guys were painted before I received the Painting Wargaming Figures book, and as I want this project to be consistent with painting styles, I will continue to use the darker saddle brown base-coat for painting flesh. This is for all of the Gauls and the Romans too. Where I will use the guides in the book for this project is in painting the horses for the cavalry and for my colours such as red, blue and green.

On the painting tray right now are some Black Tree Dr Who figures for Geoff, some 15mm Afrika Korps HMGs for Terry and another unit of Gallic Warriors for myself. I'm just about to sort out the pins for the shields on the latter.


The KuK rises

Finally I've finished the test paint element of the 'good guys'* in WWI - the Austro-Hungarian infantry.
From the front
From the left
From behind
And from the right. No fancy animations this time - I didn't want to make myself dizzy again.
The uniforms are a base of Vallejo Luftwaffe uniform highlighted with a 50/50 mix of Luftwaffe uniform and grey-blue. These are nice figures to paint. Equipment is pretty much brown so they are relatively easy to finish.

* This might be a slightly contentious statement...


Sunday, 28 June 2015

The sand of the desert

Lion Rampant author Dan Mersey is working on another ruleset to be published by Osprey for the Colonial era entitled The Men Who Would Be Kings. Being a self-confessed fan-boy of his work, I had been planning to collect forces for the North West Frontier so that I could have some armies ready to go by next year when they are published. I purchased one unit of Artizan British infantry (12 figures) as a beginning. I figured I would use this as my first experiment with the triad recommendations from the Painting Wargames Figures book.
Loading his faithful Martini-Henry
A rear view
And a side shot showing the offending helmet flash.
The colours for the uniform were Russian Uniform WWII, highlight mixed with tan yellow, second highlight with more tan yellow, third highlight with Iraqi Sand added. All white is light grey with white over the top. Flesh is Light Brown, mixed with Sunny Skintone for first highlight, Sunny Skintone for second highlight and Sunny Skintone mixed with white for final highlight. Rifle is Hull Red with the grain painted in Mahogany Brown. Mess tin and metal on rifles are gunmetal grey washed in a black wash.

I'm really happy with how he came out. I've discovered that the helmet flash shouldn't be there for the Second Afghan War or the Sudan campaigns, so I've cut and filed it off the other figures. This chap won't be part of the army, just an experiment.

I've also decided that rather than NW frontier, I'm going to concentrate on the Sudan instead. The reason is that I'm quite taken with the idea of using the Perry figures range and I want some camels! Also, the main enemy come in plastic, which makes them a cheaper proposition than all metal Afghans! 

My plan for the British force is to have an infantry unit in Indian pattern uniform (the Artizan unit that I have), a unit of Sikhs, a unit of Highlanders in grey, a Naval Brigade Gardner gun, a unit of Bengal Lancers and a unit of the camel Corps. Three boxes of plastic Ansar and a couple of units of cavalry and camels will make up the Mahdist forces. I may even add in a unit of Naval Brigade for a bit of blue. There is no historical OOB that matches this, but I'm not particularly perturbed by that.

I'll start to accumulate more of the necessary figures next month. In the meantime, I just made an impulse buy:
Will Austria-Hungary finally win?
I played the first edition of Axis and Allies a lot, and when I saw that local on-line shop Mighty Ape had reduced the  price for this it was a no-brainer. Time to host a board games night methinks!


Friday, 19 June 2015

Painting Wargaming Figures

This isn't a full review as it only dropped into my letterbox today, but this book is fantastic! I've already used the suggested colours to paint the red on my Marlburian Brits tonight.
Buy this book. Can't put it any clearer than that.
It hasn't really taught me any new techniques as such, but has given me some great colour combinations that I can use as standardised triads in my painting.The thing I love most about it is that it uses Vallejo as the paints range of choice, just like I do. No trying to match colours from other ranges incorrectly with my colour blindness! I'll try and do a more meaningful review a bit later in conjunction with showcasing the finished Brits, so probably next week some time.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Waffling on about Belgians...

...I can't beer it.
Alan from Lancashire Games sent me a few Belgian WW1 samples to paint up.
Belgians in a static position
A more static rear view
Greatcoats are black mixed with Dark Prussian Blue and then highlighted with Prussian Blue.  Everything else is pretty straight forward.
Considering their inestimable contribution to high culture - chocolates, beer, waffles and the Manikin Pis - I would support Britain's decision to fight for them every time!


Fools Russian...

A test element of Lancashire Games 15mm WWI Russians.
The view from the Austro-Hungarian front
The view from the German front
To be honest, the idea that the Germans always beat the Russians who always beat the Austrians is pretty unfair. There were plenty of defeats for all the players on the Eastern Front in 1914.
The Russians are painted in Vallejo khaki pants and khaki mixed with light brown for their gymnastiorkas. On reflection I might use khaki-grey for the latter. All is shaded with Army Painter strong tone ink. The cap badge was white , orange and black, and I've painted it red... oops. I'll fix that up tonight.


Monday, 15 June 2015


Having not painted as much as normal while still trying to paint for other people has put all of my projects on the backburner for the last couple of months, so it was nice to finally finish a small unit of Gallic slingers for Eagle Rampant.
Should have put the guy with the tartan in the front...
They are mostly painted in two shades as opposed to three tone, and I guess it is noticeable, but I just really wanted to get them completed. On reflection, I might go back and highlight a couple of areas, but I can't imagine any complicated shield designs happening on their bucklers.

So with that unit complete I thought I'd treat myself and paint something else completely different. My eyes fell on my test unit of Paraguayan 15mm, which are all based and undercoated ready for painting. I picked them up and studied them, thinking about what colours I was going to need - some of them are wearing full uniform and others just have a kilt - and then put them back down. For the first time ever it felt like painting these little fellows was going to be too hard. I've been painting a lot of 28mm recently, and have enjoyed them, but I've also painted a lot of 15mm in the past and never had a problem. I'm not too sure what this painter's block is about, but it made me reconsider my next subject.
There's a fairly decent size differential there. Is that why I couldn't face painting them?
Instead of tiny Paraguayans, I pulled out a unit of Ebor Miniatures 28mm British from the War of Spanish Succession and put the base coat of red on them. This is the only unit of WSS infantry I have, but for a couple of days now I have been contemplating finally doing the WSS in 28mm. It has been my dream project, but for some reason I've never been able to kick it off, always getting distracted by this and that. No more. I ordered another unit last night, of French infantry this time. The plan is not to buy a new unit until I have the other one either painted or in the process of being painted. Then, hopefully it won't seem too overwhelming. One issue I have with this, though, is that the New Zealand peso is taking another dive. Two weeks ago it was two for one with the pound. Now it is 2.5:1. Good for the farmers, they say. Sorry, but I don't give a crap - it is seriously hindering the amount of lead I can accumulate. I hope the dollar bounces back soon - it has had a good couple of years being pretty steady at 50% of the pound, and it would be very annoying if I had to try and put together this project in the bad old days of three dollars to the pound.

In other news, I've made the decision to get the last of the big five for WWI. Austro-Hungarians will round out my armies so that I will have 1914 forces for them and for France, Germany, Britain, and Russia. These 15mm figures don't seem a trial to paint at all, maybe because they are quite large? Or is it the subject matter?


Friday, 12 June 2015

Nine Years War Huguenots

Finally the next commission is ready to roll. Here is a Front Rank regiment of Huguenot foot for the Nine Years War. Beautiful figures in my favourite aesthetic period - you can't go wrong!
First few officers. Geoff will add the standards and spontoons himself.
So many feathers!
Ahhh, the rank and file.
The firing line
A bit of a close up.
Some line troops loading
Geoff didn't want them based - he'll do that himself. Photos are from my phone and don't have the lamp set up on them, which gives a what you see is what you get effect I think.

Having finished the first of I don't know how many regiments Geoff has planned, I'm beginning to think about starting a collection for the Monmouth Rebellion using Front Rank figures. I'm not too sure whether to indulge this or to purchase the 15mm Austro-Hungarians next. The Austrians are the last of the big five that I need for 1914. Leave a comment and convince me which way to go!


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Great War Commands and Colours

I may be last to the party but there is an unboxing review on the Wargames Soldiers and Strategy website here. Given my recent interest in Commands and Colours and that my major military interest is in the First World War, how inevitable is it that I will soon own this?
Promo shot of the game.
I don't support kickstarters I'm afraid (I like to have something tangible to order), or I would have been all over this. I am happy that it has been produced though, and my money will still go to the right place.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Winning ways continue

A month after my last post pimping his give-away, here is a post showing what I've won from Ray.  8  fantastic Victorian era figures. They shall undoubtedly be painted up very soon. 
Thanks Ray!
How soon is quite a difficult question. In the last month I have managed to do very little painting indeed. I painted a dozen Lord of the Rings figures for John, but didn't get a photo of them before he picked them up (I was still gluing on the static grass when he arrived). That was the last completed painting I have done. On the tray at the moment are two things - half a dozen Gallic slingers that have been sitting there for 2 months now, and 2 dozen Front Rank late 17th Century figures that I'm painting for Geoff as Huguenots.
The slingers have been bumped to the rear - again.
Painting has slowed down so far because the real world has just kept getting in the way. We have had mid-year exams which came at the same time as about 70 internal assessments to mark (bad planning on my behalf there). Then we've had to write reports. My wife's grandmother passed away at hte ripe old age of 87, and I was pretty close to her so that was difficult. The next day I was diagnosed with some carcinomas on my face, which is just bloody fantastic. I'm currently using edufex in an effort to burn off half of my face (not necessarily a bad thing in my case). These last issues don't stop me painting, but it has all resulted in a bit of a loss of my painting and gaming mojo, possibly linked to the fact that I am still trying to restabilise after last year's panic attacks and depression (yep - I'm a head case as well). As the marking load starts to ease now, I'm looking to reignite my painting spark tonight, and if anything can do it, it will be painting Front Rank figures from my favourite aesthetic period.

I've also been having a bit of a clean out as I continue to readjust my toy soldier collections to reflect the periods/genres that I am most interested in. Gone are the 28mm World War Two figures. What has appeared in their place?
na na na na na na na na... Batman!
First of all the rulebook and some reference material for the Batman Miniatures Game. I haven't invested in any of the lovely Knight Models yet, because I already have the figures I need in my Heroclix collection.
Bats and Rob, Commissioner Gordon and GCPD and the Joker Gang - all on the cheap.
I figured I would try playing the game before I invested in any new models. It means converting a few of the Joker's thugs to fit the profiles that already exist, but that is a lot cheaper than buying $50 worth of models for a game I don't know that I'll like. All of the stat cards can be downloaded from the Knight models website, and this has duly been done.

Next up, in the same vein as the Batmania, another old comic book favourite:
The Mega-History might be 20 years old, but it is a very interesting behind the scenes read
I already have Dredd, Anderson and the Dark Judges from Heroclix, so I bought the rulebook and a gang of punks. Again, I'm not over-investing until I've played the game and work out how good it is. I'm keen to get the East Meg Judges set, because the Apocalypse War is one of my favourite comics storylines ever. I may get them anyway just because they are so cool.
Dipping the toe in as cheaply as possible.
These little skirmish periods are not the only investment I've been making. I love the Napoleonic era but have not managed to complete an army for it since I was a teenager. I just get sick of the repetitive painting involved with large numbers of figures and can't find a set of rules that I like. But then I read some reviews and was inspired by Conrad Kinch's blog Joy and Forgetfulness to acquire this:
No painting, but I did have to put stickers on a lot of little blocks.
I haven't played yet due to the commitments outlined above, but I'm looking forward to its first outing.
Going the whole Commands and Colors hog, I also acquired a second hand version of:

Two games in one, but I'm really only interested in one of them.
I've got my 15mm figures for DBA, and the plan is to use these instead of the plastic 1/72 in the box, which were bloody painful to put together and quite brittle. I'll use mini-dice to record strength rather than removing individual figures.
Even more plastic to glue together
The forces for the Lion Rampant Wars of the Roses project have been accumulated now. Both sides have 1 foot knights, 1 mounted knights, 1 light cavalry, 2 archers and 1 billmen unit, and I have some peasants and carts etc. I've chosen to portray my forces as those of the Duke of Somerset (because the portcullis badge is cool, and he comes across well in the Conn Iggulden books I've been reading) and the Duke of Norfolk, because that is where one side of my grandmother's family originate from and I fancy they may have fought in his retinue (or at least shovelled dung for him). The livery badges are decals from Citadel 6.

Noble stromtroopers
I've also expanded my Star Wars collection so that I now have decent forces for the rebellion period as well as the Clone Wars. I have to thank Geoff for sourcing these extra figures for me:
Rebel Scum
They still need their bases finished.
The Star Wars cabinet - rebellion and X-Wing on the top shelf and Clone Wars below
I've reworked the FUBAR rules to be card driven and include actions. We'll see how these work out. The last games night we had at John's we played a couple of games of X-Wing. It's a brilliant little game and I'm going to try to convince my 8 year old daughter that she would like to play it.

I've also ordered a 15mm WWI Russian army from Lancashire Games, and the commission money from the completed Huguenots is ear-marked for Austro-Hungarians. I have scenery and Perry figures on the way for Ronin as well. All in all plenty going on - just not much gaming, painting or blogging. Hopefully that changes today.