Russian Forces: My main force of Soviet 28mm Chain of Command figures are the highly detailed plastic Warlord Games (Winter Infantry and the ones  that came with KV1 tank kit), some flame-throwing and LMG specialists from Black Tree, but as a supplement I bought the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) infantry range (which means I have the same figure molds in 15mm, 20mm and 28mm). The 28mm allow for some conversions with spares left over from the Warlord Game sprue (see below, the sharp stereoscopic end of a Soviet 28mm Chain of Command sniper team):
The Soviets always seem short of a few basic rifles .. so rather than been drawn into the "just another box" syndrome I converted some PSC SMG boys into basic rifles (see below, a Soviet NCO demoted to a private but remembers his heroic pose past):
A couple of basic PSC 28mm rifles heading for Stalingrad (see below, primed in classic Airfix Acrylic primer, waiting for base texturing and "brown wash dipping" before painting):
Working through the process before a factory style assembly production line begins (see below, the soldier on the left is a prototype and the one on the right a "wanna-be" soon to be):
You can never have too many soviet infantry - no matter what scale ;)
Tuesday 28 July 2020
Friday 24 July 2020
Well even if nothing more than morale support facing the waves of dreaded T-34's in deepest Russia the PaK 36 AT Gun is waiting to be made for my 28mm Chain of Command early war German Infantry (see below, good luck Hans as Ivan is coming in a tank):
It is looking earnestly from the safety inside its Rubicon packaging and wants a bit of the action.
It is looking earnestly from the safety inside its Rubicon packaging and wants a bit of the action.
Sunday 19 July 2020
Usually this conference takes place F2F but Covid-19 required it to go virtual on the 10th to 12th July. Rather than letting this poor wordsmith try to describe it, take a look from these trusted bloggers instead:
Bob Cordery: Wargaming Miscellany
Martin Rapier: Games We Play
The irrepressible Tim Gow:
Mr Ed M's Wargaming Meanderings:
VCOW Conference Blog: VCOW
More blogger's comments to be added later ;)
I thought it was truly brilliant, especially in these Covid-19 times - a real shot in the arm ... "the most fun I've for a long time with my pants on!"
Wednesday 8 July 2020
As part of the Covid-19 lock-down activities I (like many wargamers I suspect) have been going through their collections musing over past, present and twinkle in the eye projects. You may also be like myself who nervously hears their beloved spouse mentioning "de-cluttering" in bewitching tones. Palpation and cold sweats follow as I hurriedly tidy piles of things, one of which being old tattered "but loved" magazines, that flip open at beguiling pages. One of which was Wargames World #3 dating back to 1989 (see below, in classic [now faded] yellow but still in relatively good condition - not my original I may hasten to add but one picked up either from a Wargames Show or cast-off from a friend):
It has several great articles, one of which is by Ian Drury entitled "Where was the Navy?" in 1914 - that is the Royal Navy, when the Germans (HSF) were shelling Scarborough, which has inspired me in several ways to invigorate my flirtation with WWI naval gaming - again, as I have had several "false starts" (see below, the title that got the wheels of my mind turning - good question I thought, read on I thought, to find out more, and I did and I was happy):
It also came with an uncomplicated map of the North Sea theater of operations (see below, and remember that these were the days before the Internet, Google Maps and indeed desktop publishing; wargaming aids like these were gold dust - you can almost imagine the fleets of armchair admirals salivating with "map pins" primed in sweaty hands):
With a certain spooky serendipity a long standing naval wargaming enthusiast friend had also just emailed me with a solo lock-down battle report using David Manly's recent WWI rule-set (1918) which he had found 'very playable' (he had done the Jutland "Run to the South Scenario" with his Hallmark 1/6000 ships) - these newer rules were used over the default venerable General Quarters 2 (GQ2) set (see below, "Si Vis Pacem" - to my shame - I still have "not read" despite having printed them out two years ago):
It was just too much fro me to take and I launched (literally) into obsessively thinking about my fleets of 1/3000 Navwar battlecruisers in the loft, the ladder came down and up I went in "search and rescue" mode (see below, although I flinched when I saw "how I did waves" back in the day, there was a wave [unintentional pun] of nostalgia as these tiny ships took me back well over twenty years when I first started collecting them - amazingly they are cheaper per ship that the Hallmark ships a quarter the volume, I am a fan of the chunkier chaps - even wanting to go so much bigger and have a go at Fletcher Prat in 1/1200 at CoW [Conference of Wargamers] someday [are you listening Tim Gow?]):
Not satisfied with the toys I turned once again to the book shelf. A useful addition to my naval library was an Osprey title called "British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser 1914-16" which covered Dogger Bank and Jutland battles (interesting leaving out Falklands, but I guess you could say [although covered by a seperate Osprey Campaign book] was British Battlecruisers vs German Armoured Cruisers) in some detail (see below, I am a sitting duck for a book with battleships or battlecruisers firing at each other on the front cover):
Reading through the Dogger Bank section gave me great delight (a copy of The Rules of the Game by Andrew Gordon also nostalgically winks at me for another read from my bookshelf) and the urge to re-fight this classic stern chase (although it could have ended up so many different ways if you incorporated map moves in it too). As Ian Drury pointed out in his 1989 article most of the major naval actions fought in the North Sea started with meeting engagements and clashes of battlecruisers with more of the "threat of" battle fleets of dreadnoughts appearing over the horizon (see below, my fevered scribbled notes after reading The Duel's section on Dogger Bank - it has to be done, even solo):
Although I have an unread (as yet) copy of Castles of Steel by Robert K Massie sitting on my shelf, Ian Drury also makes another good point about excellent "of the time" sources available, i.e. Marder's volumes of "Dreadnought to Scapa Flow" and Julian Corbett's volumes of "Naval Operations". That seems at odds with my spouses desire to de-clutter but the magic of a Kindle may come to the rescue as certainly Marder's volumes are available electronically. Watch this space as I think this project has yet to run its full course!
Sunday 5 July 2020
I have had these original metal Gripping Beast Saxons, as stated before, going back to last century. When the Gripping Beast metals first came out they set a new standard and took the show scene by storm, certainly for the Dark Age period. I remember they came packaged in what seemed to be old video boxes and I with a friend split a pack, so we got twenty each! My collection's ranks have been swelled now with some plastic Wargames Factory troops as well as the Gripping Beast plastics, including some pesky [expensive metal] archers before plastic alternatives were available (see below, repeating the angry Saxon Hoard look from a previous post):
A very useful acquisition from the Gripping Beast Plastic range, some twenty four archers (the metals I bought still have not been painted), nominally Saxon but they could easily be loaned out to other factions (Normans even Vikings). Three repetitive poses (I may be inclined to do some later head swaps) but they quickly bulk out the army with some nice clean lines (see below):
All that is required now is a stint of "Dark Age" figure painting! Vikings and Normans for 1066 beckon!
Saturday 4 July 2020
It's time to talk dirty, soft ESCI plastic dunked in PVA .. 50/50 PVA to water mix, approx (see below, the Soviets have that suspicious PVA gleam - despite my initial reservations about glooping PVA over nice figures this steps seems to work well):
The Soviets then get the remains of the grey primer .. it almost covers .. but runs out. Time to head off to the shops (see below, about 70% covered but the bases [sand peaking through] tells the true story):
Fully primed (see below, up to full Soviet military standard ):
If it'd good enough for the Soviets the 'big boy' Saxons [28mm of pure Gripping Beast fun and fantasy] want some of the action (see below, note the Humbrol Acrylic spray dries really fast which is impressive):
Well job done. Although I think it is much heavier on the paint than brushing it on - because no matter what I try half of the paint seems just to coat the tile - it certainly saves time!
Note: That this took place outside, based on family complaints of the garage being "stunk out".
Thursday 2 July 2020
This is a very old project of mine [started last century, ahem - now that makes me feel old] which looks like it may be finally heading towards the finishing line. Yes, I started it prior to the year 2000, I kid you not, for a collaborative "Dark Ages Skirmish Game" club project that required each member collect, build and paint a small warband of Saxons or Vikings .. I went for the brave Saxons. I also went halves with a fellow club member for half a pack of Gripping Beast 'metal' Saxons, twenty for a tenner .. absolute bargain in hindsight. Sadly, I left London before completing the project and even playing a game. However I did continue painting them, albeit it slowly, using Warhammer Historical Shield Wall as a painting reference (see below, I obviously had great fun with the shields - in the background are more 'plastic' Gripping Beast miniatures recently [as in a couple of years ago] purchased for Saga - then Saga II - again another false start):
The warband set above is for Dux Britanniarum rules from the Two Fat Lardies stable of games. Third time lucky perhaps. The original pack allows for eighteen for a "warriors" block and a leader, twelve unpainted plastics for a group of twelve elites, three more leaders and a champion - with four "archers" the final group (see below, being based alongside a bevy of 20mm Esci Warsaw Pact Infantry in the foreground):
A close up of the Saxon Elites and the Saxon Archers (see below, going through PVA basing and rough sand mixture experience for an uneven terrain look):
Old and new, in the foreground 1970/80s Soviets [20mm], while in the background a millennium earlier, Saxons [28mm] (see below, despite the time and scale differences they still share the same 'basing sand and undercoat'):
More close views of the Saxon Elites (see below, I am already trying to think what patterns the shield will have):
Next: Comes the primer .. usually a case of time consuming dabbing on of Airfix Acrylic Primer, but I have been recently converted to the art of priming with an aerosol can - it's a lot quicker ;)
Wednesday 1 July 2020
Modern being a relative term (see below, my old Esci 1990 buddies - these boys are the HQ and Support MG Teams in the HQ Stryker, and a Sniper Team attached doing the rounds in a Humvee):
Coming into the spotlight. I have started experimenting with dry brushing the terrain (see below, and this is also when I discovered my "solid Citadel Paint Pot" - just when I needed a slight, finishing-off white highlight - hmm):
Up close and looking good (see below, there is quite a lot of detail that is being picked up here so I am quite pleased):
Especially considering that I had previously (and quite heavily) laid a a layer of watered down PVA over the whole of the figure (see below, the follow on from the PVA "hardening layer" [by virtue of the fact the PVA shrinks and contracts when it dries] was a primer spray undercoat, when dry was given Vallejo Brown Dip Wash treatment, and this worked well):
Some of the figures had detail obscured by the PVA (it's a learning process) but all have a certain character too them. Two vehicles almost done, but another three to go!
One consequence of the dreaded "Home Schooling" arrangement (and I for one will argue that 'this concept [home schooling] does not really exist' or for what it does, it is as much use as 'home dentistry" - all pain and no gain) - is that by the time a "computer comes free" it is always too late into the night for a "good productive stint" .. by which time my butterfly-like attention has drifted off into many others things (such as fixing sand-grit onto miniature bases [useful] and other less fruitful things like washing up [but it is a household "brownie point"]). So posting to my blog has become a rather hit and miss affair .. ho hum, you do your best in such times. On other matters a "universal bane" of mine reappeared .. a dried up pot of Citadel Paint, solid in its pot (see below, rather ironically from their "Dry Paint" range - or rather more looking like Feta cheese, hmm, feels a little like ground hog day):
Into the bin it goes. I was experimenting with dry brushing the bases of the 1980's US 20mm troops, the light brown dry brush "kind of worked" but not quite it needs a light highlight and maybe a bit of flock, before lashings of varnish