Saturday 30 June 2018

A Games Workshop FREE Giveaway?

If you go down into the woods today you might be in for a FREE surprise .. from Games Workshop (OK .. I have mixed feelings too, but they are interesting FREE figures .. "I think I have just failed an attribute-based saving throw"). Yes, they are giving sample FREE figures to "newbies". Well I popped in and used two of my children as qualifying this demographic (no lies as they will have first refusal on the figures). I got one of each of the two on offer, the "big" [Sci-Fi] Space Marine (see below, ostensibly for my older teenage son): 

The "big goodie" [Fantasy] Stormcast Eternal Liberator (eh?) was [perhaps] for my daughter (see below: Again the first refusal principal in play - but it's all in how you word the question):

Who I had completely forgotten about was my youngest (to be fair - a bit young for the fiddly brush work) but he was the one most interested .. so he got 'dibs' the big Space Marine. It comes assembled and undercoated black [nicely jumping over the first - "how do I do it" - hurdle for the kids]. However we needed a lighter undercoat because we were being different and going "white" instead of "blue" as recommended on the box. Full marks! He did a good job undercoating it grey (using Vallejo Game Colour Stone Grey) and then applying a Vallejo Black Wash. '

Note: He specifically asked "Can I paint it?" Actually adding a poignant "This time?" Implying I had 'taken control' over other past projects. My wife gave me a quiet smirk on hearing that!

As mentioned he even took the initiative with the colour scheme, opting for his own creation as opposed to the Ultra Marines box cover art and other "standard possibles" I showed him [Internet and some second hand books I got cheap from a charity shop]. In the end he liked the look of the "White Scars" but wanted 'Black Trim' instead of their red. OK, I like the kid's style, he has "hutspar"! We watched a how to paint a White Scar video or two on YouTube and used Google for other ideas [it has to be said he was very patient watching them - but he is tuned in to watching YouTube for all sorts of things, but it is still a little novel for me]:

How to Paint a White Scar: Google Search
Painting Video Part 1
Painting Video Part 2

We then started proper on our painting journey. I took an old "Space Marine" I had already primed and washed (albeit with a Vallejo Brown Wash) from the "ready use rack". My dude had the classic "pointy nose" mouse helmet. I took the lead from the tutorials and raced ahead but my youngest got stuck in. 'Junior' eventually got 'tired' (after about 10-15 minutes) but made it to the Black Wash stage [he also had some 'reading homework' to do] and asked me to carry on. I had kind of got a little bit tired myself with my 'mickey mouse helmet figure' so moved on to his and started the grey undercoat highlight after the wash dried (see below, "Dad and Lad" WIP Space Marines):

Interestingly form the videos I picked up some nice tips. Keeping a wet pallet and thinning down the paint to apply in multiple layers were stuff I typically don't do. I mix paint on thick, which I guess makes me 'old school'. It also explains some "rough textured" paint jobs. I managed to half-paint the Space Marine until my eyes got tired (see the big dude in the background above). Using your thumb as a mini painting pallet was also an interesting technique he used. Thin layers of grey to white are definitely 'the patient way' forwards!

At which point junior reappeared [after reading homework] and gave me his critical seal of approval after inspection and said "Stop please as I want to do the rest later" .. again my wife laughed as I must have looked a little crestfallen - ownership rights had been re-invoked ;)

Painting Steps to date (before I took a break): 

  1. Undercoat Grey
  2. Black Wash
  3. Highlight block areas in Undercoat Grey
  4. Start mixing in white to layers and progressively get lighter
  5. Use Black to fill in the Trim areas
  6. Mix Black with Gun Metal to base coat shiny metal area 

To be continued ...

Friday 29 June 2018

Late War Allied "Odd One": British Crusader AA Tank (SHQ)

With still some superglue spare I decided to fix up and construct the next metal monster. This time from the later part of the war. Attached to the Command HQ of a British RTR was a nominated AA tank, converted from an obsolete model. One such tank was the Crusader chassis, although I remember seeing a picture of a Light Vickers Mk VI having four BESA upward pointing machine guns in an old encyclopedia. This Crusader has twin 20mm Oerlikon guns (see below, Note: There was a Bofors 40mm version too, but I think that requires me cutting up an additional Airfix kit!):

A much nicer professional fit and it went together no bother. I positioned it with an "open hatch" so I need to fit a sky scanning commander in it. I was thinking of the Airfix Bofors spotter figure. Just a matter of finding that particular needle in a haystack ;)

This leaves my resin Britannia Miniatures ARV the last element if my 1944 [British in Normandy] Command Decision RTR project as a must do model. Yes I have lots of painting still to do!

Thursday 28 June 2018

Dutch Ersatz Panzer 1940 - Carden Loyd Carrier

I have had this little beast for some time, As I was rooting through some stuff for the 28mm Romans and Ancient Britons I had also opened up some cheap superglue which I had to use it up as it would not keep. This was a perfect little project. Maybe not crisp lines but plenty of character nevertheless (see below, note I went for hoods up so everybody could see where they were going):

The Dutch had a some total of five of these, some of which were used against German Paratroopers. Now there is a scenario to start thinking about ;)

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Monday 25 June 2018

Lardistan Battles: Part 1 - The Village Setting

They call it Lardistan.

A fictional place that does not too look fictional IMHO, with a very modern asymmetrical war theme that produces more than one moment of of reflection during the course of play? But we played it and I feel honour bound to report the game. Let's start with the scenery which is a work of art, all lovingly hand crafted from plasterboard and 'acquired' house hold objects like doormats (see below, a kitchen table is transformed - please see following for the creative genius behind the scenery and Renko his co-conspirator

The central canal ditch that splits the village effectively in two with its reflective water is a "work of art" in itself (see below):

Local crops (don't ask what) in enclosed fields to keep them sage from wandering hands (see below):

Trees alongside the watercourse offer some shade from the oppressive heat (see below):

Notice the rickety footpaths that cross the waterway at various points. Their use or avoidance will be interesting to follow in the skirmish game (see below):

A beautiful sleepy Lardistan village whose inhabitants are about to go about the course of a 'normal' day as the sun rises and spreads its warmth down the valley (see below):

The setting for a standard operation for a Modern Chain of Command scenario.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Fascinating YouTube Video on Wargaming Magazines

Please click on a link to view (first one is Tiny Tin Men Blog with the post.and then click on the YouTube link, second one is just direct to the YouTube link)

Fun fact: And my wife thought I had a large collection of Wargame Magazines until she saw this little lot ;)

Saturday 23 June 2018

28mm Warlord Games Ancient Britons

The Warlord Games 28mm Early Imperial Romans will need some opponents and where best to start, your Warlord Games 28mm Ancient Britons. It also tied in nicely with my youngest son's school project. The Ancient Britons are a mixture of (mainly) plastic and metal distinctive metal heads - with spiky limed hair and metal shields. A mixture of plastic glue for some parts and superglue for others is always an interesting combination. From raw plastic/metal they get a Airfix acrylic white undercoat (see below, note I am using light "The Works" 30mm bases that I superglue the figure to, this works as the metal parts can make an unbalanced final figure - the crazy centre of gravity making it tumble):

As soon as the undercoat is dry I gave then a Vallejo Brown/Sepia "dip" or rather "heavy wash" (see below):

So far so good but now I am faced with the daunting task of painting Celtic/Briton multi-coloured stripes and checked patterns. Time to hit the Google engine for some painting guides!

Note: The basing is individual (at the moment) with the thought of being able to "bunch things together" - however depending upon the final rule-set used I may have to rethink that!

Friday 22 June 2018

Panzer Leader Arras Scenario

I managed to play another 1940's Panzer Leader scenario, although I must confess to have been a bit of a laggard with the photography. Although this picture sums it up, as the Orange British counters met the German 88mm Flak gun (see below):

A graveyard of British Mechanised counters. The British started with six Matilda I's and three Matilda II's, two Bren Carriers carrying a two pounder AT gun each and four lorries. The British town with a combined infantry/armour force but were worsted when they got within killing range of the 88mm Flak and 105mm Howitzer firing over open sights. 

Thursday 21 June 2018

OK Yes More 15mm Panzers (and Armoured Cars) and some PSC Shermans

Please don't judge me. Another massive Ferdinand? I now have a pair and so will have to fight Kursk (?), makes sense to me; plus these little German 222 Armoured Car 'runarounds' plus a friend to go alongside my other Russian BA-10 armoured car (see below, note the 222's caused me the first bit of real heartache I have experienced with Zvezda kits - some filler will be required before I paint one of them):

Then I decided to make up a bog standard box of 15mm PSC Shermans I had hidden away in the loft (see below, I fell love with them, blame "Fury" which I already have made from the US 'long barrelled' PSC box):

They come in "fives" so I made three up as British - well apart from the one with the British Commander they could be US as well (see below, "30 XXX" style going to Arnhem [without Fireflies]):

An experimental US one (see below, with side-skirts and US Commander):

The a 105mm Infantry Support model (see below, suitable for US or British use):

I am thinking the Fury "Shermans v Tiger" engagement - which means I should really make up a German Tiger I. The premise of all this is still "What a Tanker" but I could be brought into an experimental game of Flames of War (Don't Judge me) or be useful for CrossFire (but that is mainly infantry and all these tanks would be overkill methinks).

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Sci-Fi Additions

Post 'Star Gruntz' it was time to make a quick pass through the "old discarded toy-box" or rather the toys that the wife thought I had bought for the kids. Some "French PAV looking" cheap knock-off Matchbox/Dinky toys for example (see below, generic APCs IMHO waiting for "space" customisation):

Seen from a slightly different angle. Yes they are in the process of being undercoated Airfix Primer Grey - when I last had some! (see below):

Primed and all ready for a black or brown "Vallejo Dirty Wash". This is my cheap way on making the Yaeter 'land mobile' as well as 'air mobile' - er, on the very cheap. Perhaps I am suffering from 1940's style "Star Tank Fright", if such a thing exists (see below):

A "Star Wars Bi-Ped Walker" [soft plastic toy] gets the same treatment. Yes, nothing is sacred from the kid's toy boxes - you just have to be very quiet when you take them or play "swaps" with a video game (see below):

The "Clone Wars" Revell "Republic Gun Ship" was at least mine but despite being not 15mm I invoke the "anything flying can be smaller" wargame rule. I don't like the Republic colour scheme and it also needs a bit of filling - and it I am doing that I might as well go the whole hog and repaint the whole blooming thing (see below):

The Yaeter vehicle colour scheme is as per the "infantry suits": Satin/Gloss white with a dirty black/brown wash. If anything dirtier looking than the infantry - perhaps even with a bit of weathering rust courtesy of the Revell Weathering Pack!

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Father's Day "Toys"

I gotta say this choked me up. We were away with friends on Father's Day so I thought my presents were going to be either forgotten or delayed, but they surprised me (see below):

My own "Tanker" ruler and "Tommy Style" enamelled Tea Mug, perfect additions for the Painting Tray Area!

Monday 18 June 2018

Hungarian Toldi Tank (20mm)

This wee beastie from IBG Models caused me no end of heartache. Whereas the other recent builds were "fast-builds" this brute was an intriguing subject but as a light tank was by definition small. Sadly it was old school, as in "many, many parts - including the tracks". I persevered, but where I would contemplate making other Panzer III Ausf As or Panzer II Ausf As,the Toldi Mark 1 will be a lonely child. It is definitely a "modelling project" *see below): 

The assembled product is seen below. I could have made the other three IBG Models kits in the same time as I made this one and probably caught up on an episode or two of a Netflix favourite. The suspension is the most interesting part to me from an engineering sense. The rear wheel is flat to the floor unlike other German and Allied tanks. After the delicate wheel and track assembly was put together I had to take my heart in my mouth and press the whole thing to the floor to make it look like the picture on the box lid. Thankfully it did not break in the process otherwise an grown man's sobs would have filled the internet (see below):

It will be a long, long, long time before I get three of these for a game of "What a Tanker!" First I need a Jack Daniels and Coke! In words from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: "The Horror! The Horror!"

PS: Looking back it's "a very nice to have" but what a problematic birth. I need to get my hands on some Hundarian WWII Infantry now. Surely HaT should be able to help ;)

Sunday 17 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 5) Meat grinder and the Locals Bug Out - New Kid on the Block (Yaeter: Top Dog for Today)

Missile after missile hits the tank to no apparent effect. It's retun fire is getting dangerous as there is only so much punishment even hi-tech armour can take. Then much to the surprise of the Yaeter the Zard forces show hidden capabilities. The 'Zard Tank' in fact turns out in fact to be an APC as infantry de-bus (see below, the Zard Commander was one ice-cool dude as I thought it was purely a big old fashioned gun bus):

The inevitable happens, a Yaeter Trooper is dropped. The problem with small squad sizes is that morale can be brittle, so one fail can scupper you. The Zards despite their losses are holding firm. Thankfully the Yeater pass their first morale test! The "pinned and pinning" element of the Yaeter plan is starting to unravel. There are half a dozen Zards down but they are have a persistent gun-line with reinforcements pouring in (see below):

To the relief of Alpha Squad the de-buse Zard infantry shots "miss" and they find themselves exposed and are picked off  by a combination of Omega sniping and Alpha shooting. The Gamma Commander orders Beta Squad to close with the enemy's flank (the pivot part of the operation) but this is risky as it means a bare-assed run across open ground. The Zard hold their nerve and drop two Yaeter - another tense morale test is passed [helped in no small way by the Omega Commander's iron resolve]. The Yeater retreat back to cover. They seem to be in a no win stand-off where extraction will be problematic (see below):

Then Delta Squad comes in with a hard punch to the deep flank an rear of the Zard occupies Shanty Complex. Unhindered by a very quiet and defensive New Pole force who seem to be very content in watching these interesting events unfold they 'double timed' across the brojen ground and occupied excellent shooting positions in parallel Shanty buildings. The rounds of laser fire came as a complete surprise to the Zards who were fixated to their front. A careful Omega Sniper Team (Two) took care to take out the NCO. The resulting failed morale test put the Zards on a very defensive footing (see below): 

This was ruthlessly exploited, as while the Zards were rallying, a second round of flanking fire decimated the original Zard and reinforcement infantry. Effective resistance dissolved (there was nobody left to take a morale test) and the vehicles "bugged out" (see below):

The Yaeter took the ground and advanced on the landing pad (where the Attack Shuttle had previously been) and searched the buildings for intelligence. The Zards escaped by virtue of their faster movement on vehicles while in the words of the New Poles leader, "I give the Yaeter this day, tomorrow may be another matter".

Great game, loved the figure collections on display and yes I would like to play another game. I do have the urge to expand the Yaeter arsenal and equipment roster .. in a low-budget controlled fashion. 

Final Word: A big thanks to Renko for putting this on. His blog is well worth a visit :)

Saturday 16 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 4) The Firefight Starts

The Yaeter are a little put off by the appearance of the "Zard tank". Still the Yaeter are missile armed (AT and AA) so they "may" make short work of it and turn it into scrap. There is only one plus a scout car that looks like a crazy Beach Buggy (see below):

Yikes here comes the tank, rather too confidently for my liking (see below, nice paint job, beautiful weathering):

Yaeter's "Alpha Squad" come under fire but weather the storm of  long range 'normal kinetic' and 'magnetically accelerated kinetic' rounds (I am getting to dislike that Zard Tank and its upgraded infantry weaponry). However this action seems to come as an unpleasant surprise to the Zard as they expected much better results. One has to think that they would have killed the New Poles by now, but the hi-tech armour of the Yaeter has defeated their "Frontal Attack Option A" (see below, the Yaeter go "prone" and 'hug the dirt' like a pro):

The return Yaeter fire is even more of a concern to the Zard as an Omega Ream (One) pulls of an impossible shot and takes out a Zard Squad Commander. The round is not kinetic and burns straight through the Zard Personal Protective Armour (ZaPPAr) patent protection against all be the heaviest New Pole "shots", as if it wasn't there (see below):

The Yaeter Gamma Commander takes stock of the situation: Alpha Squad is in the process of either "pinning the enemy's attack" or will be "pinned by the enemy's attack" (aka somebody has to be under the guns), Beta Squad with himself should "pivot" in the middle to 'flank the enemy' while Delta Squad will angle in to "punch" into the rear of the enemy formation. Looks good on paper but so does any bold combination of arrows and circles. The question is can they pull it off before attrition goes against the Yaeter small squad size (see below, bottom left: Alpha (pin); middle left: Beta and Gamma (pivot) and top left: Delta (have to scamper across to throw a punch) .. well that's the plan, but will anybody be left by the time Delta show up?):

The Zard infantry scamper through the 'Shanty Town' making good use of its cover, however the Yeater advanced weaponry still takes it toll and pins them behind heavy cover, whereas the Zard Tank brazenly rolls up the Yaeter position (how many Starship Troopers can hide behind a rock?). Rather than suffer another exchange of cannon fire the Yaeter Squad Leader instruct Missile Man to let loose the 'bang stick' (see below):

Hoping for a spectacular explosion the Yaeter troopers are sorely disappointed. Rather than a mini-HMS Hood style magazine explosion there is a "whimper of a fizz" and a puff of smoke. Critical damage perhaps? No, it almost immediately starts firing back. This seems to be an old fashioned tank with hardened armour, plus reactive charged panels and ECMs. The Yaeter missile seems to be suffering from a little bit of space fatigue and is adjusting to the new aerodynamics of the planets atmosphere. Still the Zard finds this anti-armour capability an unpleasant surprise in itself, which is a not a bad thing, as it may make them more cautious and buy a bit of extra time for Delta Squad to move up (see below, nothing more than a ricochet, also note the military beach buggy in the background):

Next: Hard Rain Gonna Fall .. but exactly where?

Friday 15 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 3) Yaeter dispositions, almost ready to start "Shooting" sir!

The Yaeter right flank, Alpha Squad of Star Gruntz advances: 1 NCO (hand waving), three Troopers, a SAW Gunner and a Missile Man (see below, and what a bonus two rocks for cover, advancing towards the 'shanty town' - anyone remember "Precinct 9"?):

Beta Squad (as per Alpha composition) and the the Gamma Commander advance in the centre, almost to touching distance with the Shanty Town (see below, tactical tip -shoot the man in the middle he looks important):

Omega One (Sniper Team) sets up on the high ground immediately behind Alpha, Beta and Gamma to give long range covering fire (see below - they look the part IMHO):

Delta Squad (as per Alpha Squad composition) take the extreme left which has noticeably less cover (and less enemies so no sympathy here); understandably they have the "urge" to move fast to get to behind some nice rocks (see below):

Omega Two (another Sniper Team) "have Delta's six" on the high ground immediately behind them(see below, notice the "ah hoc" Star Wars style communication equipment alongside them - I love Sci-Fi, with a bit of imagination you can use anything and everything - I don't know what it fell off but it looks the part):

In the far distant the 'New Poles' Command Team take stock of the situation. Everybody and everything is far too distant to shoot at [or so I think/hope]. They look 'low tech' in comparison to the Yaeter (for example the Yaeter Command Team numbers "two" for the same price of the New Pole six). There seems to be a lot of confused chatter over the air waves as the communication spy software intercepts a weird guttural message "Bok de Duk Essie Dat?" [Ed: Google Translater = "Honourable Commander Sir I detect strange white suited "men" [alternative translation: "things"] in the distant who look like "undersea divers" [alternative translation: "dental nurses"] what tactical formation should we adopt?" (see below, nice hair cuts):

The main swarm of New Poles gather in the lee of the protective ridge-line (see below, a milling mob or an all round defence?):

Meanwhile closer to home in the 'Shanty Town', sinister shadows slip between the buildings carrying heavy duty ordnance. These seem to be the more "clear and present danger" to the Yaeter. The Yaeter Commander switches his tactical focus accordingly (see below): 

Action now seems imminent: "Laser batteries ready to discharge! Setting locked to kill."

Thursday 14 June 2018

Sci-Fi: Start Gruntz 15mm (Part 2) Things Start Rolling

The Yaeter recon probe detects a "Mechanical Mobile" response unit approaching and initiates a "recall protocol" (see photograph below), evidence of a higher level of technology than expected with a disturbingly quick response from the local inhabitants (see below, unknown high specification APC identified - I am envious to own one of these beautiful beasts from GZG but am also fearful of the cost of "meching-up", my 15mm Sci-Fi is low budget at the moment):

Humanoid troops deploy, obviously trained but looking relatively lightly armed with kinetic weapons (see below):

The Yaeter Attack Shuttle "assault jumps" the landing pad acting as a large noisy distraction exercise as the probe is picked up. The attention seeking "Attack Shuttle" masks an off-table deployment of a Yaeter light infantry tactical unit (see below, a Star Wars - Clone Wars model in 15mm [approx] got from The Works for a tenner a few, few years ago - I knew it would come in handy one day [another model fulfils its wargaming destiny]):

First stage extraction complete "signal lift off" by traditional officer hand-wave (see below, "Combat Technical Staff" re-embark):

Meanwhile small APC drop-ships [aka Star Wars Republic Gunships] deploy three sections and a command team off-table (see below - the Yaeter OoB laid out: Alpha, Beta and Delta Light Infantry Assault Squads, Omega One and Omega Two Sniper Pair and the Gamma Commander):

The game board. Three sided. The Yaeter advance from the bottom upward, strung out in an "advance to contact" linear formation towards the disorientated Zard "Mobile Technical Column" (anything they could get moving filled up with troops packing ordanance). Meanwhile the 'New Polish' faction have deployed to the top of photograph on high ground and on the reverse slope. Their viewpoint seems to be rather "targets of opportunity" as the as yet unidentified White Suited Travellers (Yaeter) seem to be causing their local adversaries some welcome discomfort (see below):

The mission for the Yaeter Commander is to test the mettle of the local inhabitants, discover their preferred tactics and minimise "combat trauma" to the precious resource of Yaeter Light Infantry. As a secondary objective, the Commander is mindful that there might be potential local Allies as well as belligerents present.

Next: Fire and Movement - Combat School