Thursday, 29 June 2017

Back in the Air!

My mate and occasional gaming opponent Matt recently returned back to the UK after a few years teaching English in Japan (welcome back, sorry we appear to have broken the country in your absence!).

We managed a meet up a couple of weeks back to catch up, chew the fat and generally see how the world was treating us.  We also managed to get a quick game of Aeronautica Imperialis in, on the basis that it's fast, there's not much to pack, and it's simple so we could both relearn the rules quickly as its been a while!

As we haven't played for a bit we went with a straight combat air patrol, with two side of equal points facing off.  I took my usual 4 'vanilla' Thunderbolts and two Lightning Interceptors.  Matt took what looked like a swarm of Barracudas, plus a Tigershark Drone control aircraft and two drones, for a bit of variety.  He deployed his entire force together more or less in the centre of is table edge, while I deployed my four Thunderbolts together on my far right flank and the lightnings facing his aircraft,travelling at full speed for a quick slashing attack.

Matt's squadron split as it advanced, with the barracudas taking on the Thunderbolts and the Tigershark, Drones and a covering barracuda taking on the Lightnings.  The Lightning's sped towards the tau and then past, damaging the Tigershark in the way, before looping around for another pass.  Meanwhile the Thunderbolts kept formation and blew one of the Barracudas out of sky with concentrating bolter and lascannon fire, before taking hits from the Barracudas as the two formations mixed.

"Come into the cone of death little fish!"

The Tigershark found itself caught between a tailing Lightning and oncoming Thunderbolts and bit the dust, reducing the effectiveness of the drones, whilst I lost a Thunderbolt (or two) in a dogfight with the other Tau (including one shamelessly gunned down as it tried to retire damaged and low on ammo, typical aliens!).

"He's on my six, can't shake him!"
A Thunderbolt is about to finish off the Tigershark in the background

In the end the honours were about even in terms of aircraft lost and damaged, although Matt pulled out some of his aircraft off the table out of ammo.  With the victory conditions for the scenario including points for surviving aircraft without ammo getting off the table, this made Matt the technical winner, but I like to think that as I was left in charge of the sky with fuel and ammo to spare I was the real winner ;-)

Good game, with a great opponent.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Bolsover Knights (picture heavy)

We're lucky enough to have Bolsover Castle on our Doorstep.  Spent some lovely family time at the weekend there at the annual 'clash of knights'.  Basically two teams in 12th century amour beating seven shades out of each other with a mix of swords, maces and rubber batons.  Here are a few piccies of the event in case they are of interest as reference for armour etc.

But first up, here's our own little knight taking a break.  Working hard to indoctrinate her into the right interests early ;-)

More (including previous events) on my Flickr photostream.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Old Man

The trouble with painting historical WWII stuff is that it can get a bit tedious, doing the same uniform and colours time and time again; hence the recent host of piccies and musings on other things.

I have been trying different models, and different techniques, to give myself a bit of interest and contrast to the whole units.

The lastest effort is some practise on painting older skin, using Hasslefree Miniatures 'Old Man' as inspiration.  I started as usual, White basecoat with black wash to show texture; then Kislev Flesh, washed with GW Agrax Earthshade.  The face and hands then got an additional wash of GW Leviathan Purple, paying particular attention to the folds around the eyes.  Finishing touches were a grey glaze for the stubble; a red one for nose and cheeks, followed by a Kislev Flesh/Light brown mix dabbed on the top of the head as Liver Spots.x

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Johann the Knife

One of GWs old Mordheim figures, who's been lurking in the unpainted pile for far too long.

Pleased with the shading and highlighting on the shirt sleaves.  The cloak could be tidier though and the trousers are a bit of a mess.

I aimed to keep the colours fairly muted, as befits someone used to lurking in the shadows a lot, but still fairly 'normal' (no full on ninja black); I figure he'd want to be able to pass as an ordinary citizen (albit one with a suspiciously bulging cloak) at a moments notice.  A splash of colour with the red hat, but still keeping it toned down overall.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Frostgrave Knight

Feeling the need for a little nostalgia (of sorts), so I decided to return to my roots as it were and paint up a nice, old-fashioned knight.

This one's from the Frostgrave range.  Nice solid sculpt and very reminiscent  of old school models.  Straightforward, not masses of detail obscuring the basics.

I was going to do some heraldic design on the surcoat, but in the end was pleased with the shaded look.  I may add a shield on the model's back with something suitable in the future.

My shading is improving, but it's still a bit ragged in places.  The surcoat has a base of old GW Snot Green, shaded with GW's old green wash, then successive highlights by adding Iraqi Sand to the Snot Green.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

"Just another Darn Bridge"

A while ago I promised myself that I would try to get more actual gaming in.  Of course with a toddler in the house getting the time (and space) to actually get the toys out is the main problem.  Then an occasion around Christmas got me trying something new.  The other half arranged to go out with schoolfriends but, not wanting to be away from the little miniature for too long, we decided I would tag along and we would stay overnight in a hotel.  I’d then be on Dad duties while she was out and we’d take the opportunity for a nice day out afterwards.

That left me with an evening in a budget hotel with a sleeping toddler to plan for. So I decided to take pen and paper, and Nordic Weasel’s Five Men in Kursk to try out.

Then a bit later I found the time to take some photos to go with the game that played out.

Here’s the Scenario:

It’s the morning of D-Day, small units of paratroopers are ranging across Normandy trying to seize their objectives, find each other and generally making a nuisance of themselves.  One such group has been sent out to seize a small, secondary road bridge.

My hastily scrawled map

US: 7 paratroopers including an NCO with Thompson, 2-man .30cal Browning team and four riflemen with Garands and Carbines.

German: 4 riflemen with Kar98, one NCO with MP40

The Germans deployed to riflemen overlooking the bridge.  The NCO and another rifleman took position on the opposite side of the road.  The final rifleman was perched in the top of the church tower with a good view of everything.

The US entered from the left.  The squad advanced along both side of the road using bounding overwatch.  As soon as possible the .30cal team and a extra rifleman, for security, split off to the north side of the copse to set up their MG  on the edge of the woods overlooking the bridge.

.30cal taking up an overwatch position

Good job too, as the Germans overlooking the bridge opened up on the US NCO and a rifleman as they reached the edge of it. As the two yanks took what cover they could at the far end of the bridge, and the remaining riflemen took cover in the copse south of the road, the Browning opened up using Reaction Fire (a new feature added to the rules).  This successfully pinned the germans and, when the initiative switched back to the US, aimed fire from the MG soon put the first two germans out of action.

 The view from the US perspective
And now the German

Supporting fire from the main body of riflemen in the trees then occupied the German NCO and his comrade as they tried to get into a better position to fire on the two soldiers at the bridge.  The relief from fire allowed the two US paras to leave their cover of the bridge and get within grenade hurling range of the Germans at the other end of the bridge, resulting in one more German down and the enemy NCO scurrying off.

Fire in the hole!

With more than half of their unit out of action, the remains of the small garrison decide enough was enough and headed off, leaving the bridge and hamlet to the US.

All in all a short, but fun game.  The rules are working nicely; the introduction of reaction fire helps move things along, and encourages more tactical thinking.  Activation is diced for each model now, giving a greater chance of getting a scurry or firefight result, but I think I prefer the original method, which gave a nice structure to whole turns  I’d still happily recommend them to anyone.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Strumpet... Hasslefree Miniatures

First attempt at painting sheer material over skin.  Good bits and bad.  I need to go back over the skirt and tidy it up, adding some edge highlighting.  Pretty pleased with the skin tones though.

And yes, basing needed!

Comments always welcome!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Bases, lots of 'em!

Models always look much better when their bases are done.  The problem is, it's a chore I just struggle to muster any enthusiasm for!  The downside of that is I end up with a pile of minis in various states of 'almost complete'.

However a quick look into the 'work in progress' file box revealed quite a bit that had reached that stage.  Time for a bit of a concerted effort!

Just PVA, sand, dark brown, drybrush with medium brown and bone. Then more PVA and static grass.

Also added a couple of resin bases to some civilians.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


And now for something completely different...

Narg the Torturer, from Hasslefree minis, completed over the last two nights as a change from olive drab.

If some interrogators consider themselves 'artists', Narg's more your painter and decorator.  Nothing fancy, but he'll get the job done!

Nice, simple palette and highlighting.  Needs a scenic base.

Friday, 10 March 2017

US Stuarts

I'm on a roll!

Finished of the other two PSC Stuarts from the box, this time as US vehicles.  Bit of a quick and dirty finish to be honest (could do with serial numbers and other odds and ends).

So many spare parts still in the box though!  Especially tops of hulls and track assemblies.  If I could be bothered to works out the measurements and build it, some scratchbuilt lower hulls could make for some nice turretless Recce Vehicles.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

PSC 25 pounder and Quad

I've wanted to add the iconic 25 pounder to my British/Commonwealth collection for a while, so just couldn't resist when PSC ran a kickstarter for one last year.  It did pretty well, but didn't quite make the stretch goal for a Sexton (pity).

Recently I finally found time to build it.  As usual for PSC it was an incredibly quick, simple build and looks good (apologies for the poor lighting in these photos).

Typically for PSC, there are loads of options on the sprue, including alternative desert crew.  In fact, although on paper there are the parts for two guns and quads, if I can find some suitable spare wheels there are more than enough parts to build at least two more guns (provided I'm not bothered about limbers).  I also have a spare quad thanks to one of the stretch goals, so at least one might get painted in a desert scheme, just because!

The crew are pretty good too.  They're all interacting with the gun or limber realistically, and have sensibly left their webbing in the truck.  My only criticism (and it's a teeny tiny one), is that they're a bit neat and tidy, and have decided they need lots of scrim on their helmets despite likely being behind the front line.  That said, the desert crew are all in short sleeves with bare helmets, in exactly the same poses, so I feel a little simple conversion work could give a more varied look to the crews.

It also came with a white metal battery command.  This is my first time painting metals at this scale, and I must say I'm impressed.  The detail is crisper than typical on plastics and they don't loo ktoo chunky by comparison.  I may have to resist temptation!