Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 - A gaming and painting review

Seems only right that as one year rolls to its end that I look back at the years gaming and modelling and see where I have been spending my time. Luckily this is easily done by going back over my previous posts.

It is clear that 2 games/periods have dominated 2010 - Ambush Alley and Zulu's. Both have have plenty of run outs and are largely completed projects, but ones that I can tickle along with new models to keep things interesting and fresh.

One other game that I have enjoyed this year is 'Memoir 44' from Days of Wonder, an excellent game with easy yet subtle mechanisms and a endless supply of expansion and scenario packs.

Unbelievably this was a recent starting hand of Memoir 44, replaying the Omaha scenario as the Germans. I couldn't believe my jammy luck which held out for the rest of the game.  Sorry Ade!

So lots going on, plenty of new projects started, hopefully 2011 will see more projects finished than started.

December painting update

I have not managed to finish my second box of Perry ACW plastics, they will be finished over the next week but I have managed some other bits and bobs.

First up are the AT-43 plaque zombies from Rackham, alas they are no more and their whole catalogue of games and miniatures have an unknown future. I bought these in November and have just touched them up a little and done some urban style basing.

Next are more Zombies from Studio Miniatures, I struggled with a few of these, not being able to get inspiration but in the end I thought 'hey they are only zombies' so slapped some Devlan Mud on and carried on.

Due to a packing error I had a duplicate miniature, the girl in the business suit and the not quite in focus figure with the glasses is the George A Romero figure which was free if you bought the 16 figure deal.

I have some more figures to paint as zombies and will do these in 2011 once I have some more of these 30mm slotta bases.

Next up is a small start to my Warhammer Fantasy Chaos army, an army I had not done before. First up is the troll from the old starter set.

Next up is the test figure I painted up for my chaos marauders, I have around 80 of these to paint so want something quite straightforward.

Finally we have two groups of chaos hounds, a nice and easy start to the project.


Back soon with my review of 2010.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Un-boxing day!

Well I have not posted for a couple of weeks, the snow cancelled the last club night and the figures I painted especially for the game still remain unseen. Perhaps later in the week I will photograph them. In the meantime I have been dabbling on eBay again, I have a plastic troll for my fantasy chaos army and a box of Mantic Dwarfs just to see what they are like.

You might recall I had a couple of free ghouls, which remain unpainted at the moment. I will paint them as zombies when I do the Heresy ghouls. The dwarfs seem to have polarised opinions but you can't argue with their value for money.

Mantic's approach is simple plastic models with little assembly enabling gamers to assemble their armies quickly. The set I have here "Ironclads" seems to be the basic troopers and came via eBay for just over £7 post paid. There are considerable savings to be made by buying the various larger sets available, bring the model cost as low as  44p each. GWs dwarfs are triple the price.

All Mantic sets come in plastic storage boxes, which they suggest you store the models in once painted. The cases are pretty study and ensure the figures come in tip top condition.

Inside the case, a foam lining, 2 sprues of figures, a sprue of bases, a leaflet and a "Mantic Point". You might, if you are like me be of a certain age, remember than all Action Man stuff came with points on the boxes, you saved them up and exchanged them for goodies, this is the same. There are things for 10 points and 25 points.

Here is a close up of the sprue which holds 5 troopers, a casualty, a bulldog(!) and a severed Orc head. I'm pretty sure they could have squeezed another trooper on there but at least they are putting extras on the sprues. The bases are round which then fit into 20mm squares, this helps rank models up.

Whilst catching up on the festive telly, I have cut the fugures from the sprue and stuck them together. I have done some with the two handed hammer the rest have either smaller axes or hammers. I would have preferred round shields, reminding me of the old Imperial Dwarfs.

Here's a couple of shots of the ten assembled models. I might try and get these undercoated tonight if the snow doesn't get too much in the way.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Damn Weather!

Well this weather saps at the enthusiasm for painting, but I have done some more on work on the next batch of Perry ACW 28mm and had the airbrush out to basecoat the 6mm Germans.

In front of the TV I also started making up some more 6mm tree bases using the Noch pine trees and the Chinese trees I bought from eBay.

Last night, my Sci-Fi force got its first outing. The figures are from GZG and the infantry are from the NAC New Anglian Confederation range.

Now strictly speaking, figures usually lose on their first outing. Dane and I played a game of Imperial Commander by TTG, now available from, these rules are almost 30 years old, they do have charm but show their age as modern developments have outstripped science fiction!

I may have more than my share of troops and Dane found that I was able to take out all his transport APCs and then start off on his infantry. It will be nice to try something with Tomorrows War from Ambush Alley in the new year.

I  have just listened to myself get name dropped on the Bad Dice pod-cast, for my dettol stripping suggestion. Wear gloves, take it steady and the stuff will strip paint from plastic and metal in 24 hours or so.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Getting back in to the swing of things .........

Managed to get a good start on things today, did some undercoating before driving to work which meant tonight despite being later home I have managed to move on three projects.
  • Added some basing to the Virus Zombies
  • Painted the base colour on another 48 Union figures.
  • Stuck newly undercoated 6mm German infantry on to lolly sticks.
Tomorrow I hope to move all these on further tomorrow to the next stage.

Monday, 22 November 2010

"The Sparks of War"

Well I haven't managed to complete anything since the last post, although having a couple of sick days left me looking for something simple to keep me occupied. I chose to begin the base work on my Soviets for Cold War Commander.

Well I ripped through the rebasing then the weeks of playing Memoir 44 begain to catch up with me, I had taken my old WW2 Russians and began those too. Well that led to thinking as I had Russians and Americans then I should get some Germans.

So I find myself at Warfare on Sunday picking up some Adler WW2 Germans, they are currently in the garage with the undercoat started. I have also managed to drag others down this path, I hope to insert odd units in between painting ACW figures.

The other purchase of the day was a box of At-43 Virus Zombies, with the collapse of Rackham recently, one of the traders was selling boxed sets off at 2 for £10. I had wanted a set of these for a while, so a quick deal with Garry and we both have a box for a fiver, previous retail price £18.

I see these as either the product of some evil faceless corporation in a zombie apocalypse or perhaps as opponents in a near future sci-fi game. They look pretty good out of the box, I shall add some stuff to the bases and give the trousers a dry brush.

Tomorrow I hope to start getting some paint on my second batch of Perry ACW plastics and turn over the 6mm Germans and give them some more undercoat.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Remember, remember the fifth of ........

So what have I have been up to lately, playing Memoir 44 has left me with a desire to do some to WW2 some time soon, perhaps 28mm with TW&T or / and 6mm with Blitzkrieg Commander or FoW? Walking Dead started on FX and to celebrate I painted a zombie.

I painted this one as it is a pretty unique, a zombie in a chicken suit. I also need to add some more stuff to the bases. I have also finished but not varnished the dozen Zulus with rifles. I have also done some basing work on my cold war soviets on a whim.

Tonight we played another game of Sharp Practice using our Zulu collections. We refought "Sihayo's Kraal" a classic attack on a kraal uphill.

Here's the table, the NNC are able to climb the slopes, the British have to use the track, all of the Zulus are armed with rifles and the seemed to be pretty good shots too.

Charge! The NNC charge home clearing a cave and destroying two Zulu groups after they received the only decent British volley of the game. Alas the British were unable to force on further, we'll get them next time.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

Not been too busy a week so I have been taking it easy on the painting front, I have some Zulus to finish for next weekend but as they are started I thought I would indulge myself by spending a little time on some other projects, I also did a bit of basing - finishing some movement trays and the Perry plastic ACW cavalry pictured here.

I was wanting to move my Chaos army on a little so I completed the assembly of the Marauders and got them ready to undercoat - then found I had run out of black! I can pick some more up tomorrow. I have 87 Marauders, 25 with each of the weapon options and some spares, by rearranging the figures I can have all the units armed the same or combination of unit sizes having made four command groups.

As it Halloween weekend I popped on 'Day of the Dead' - the third of the Romero trilogy and grabbed my Studio Miniatures zombies. I had recently undercoated these white and the details popped right out, I had to add some small pieces of plastic card into the tab slots so they would fit snugly.

Since I took the photo above I have done the basing, my usual sand mixture but in two tone greys. During the week I shall carry on with the zulus and might start a couple of these.

I also played a few games of Memoir 44 this week, a great game which is loads of fun. Looking forward to some more games this week meanwhile as everyone else does I look at the game and think Hexon and micro armour!

Monday, 25 October 2010

More Zulu's!!!

At the last club we rolled out the Zulus once again, this time to test drive Sharp Practice - we were looking for a game which would give us a cinematic feel with officers doing stuff rather than being faceless models with no personalties.

We had a pretty good game, we just need to tweak the levels of Big Men and possibly the size of some of the units, we are having another go next club, so possibly some more photos then.

Here's a couple of groups of Zulus, they have some shock and maybe a casualty or two but are about to charge the lone group of Naval Brigade in front of them.

I have spent the last few days finishing the box of ACW cavalry, once they are matt vanished I will post them up here, I have done some undercoating and basing - some stuff about to be painted and others that were simply in reach when I was grabbing stuff.

This shot is a little dark, we have a second box of Perry ACW plastics, some dismounted cavalry, CMG 15mm Power Armour, Zulu riflemen and a pack of Foundry Pygmies. And no Mark this lot won't all be painted by next club!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Introducing the 76th New York

I would like to introduce you to the 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, a regiment raised from the small towns and farms of central New York State, was also known as "The Courtland Regiment" after Courtland County from where many of it's recruits came. This regiment served for three years in the Army of the Potomac and saw action in most of the actions in the eastern theatre, it did see action on the first day at Gettyburg where if suffered terrific casualties due to being one of the first units on the field.

The figures are from Perry Miniatures plastic set whilst the standard is from the Flags for the Lads range.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Hearts of Oak

Events in the Nineteenth Century where much like they are today, with budget and defence cuts. Armies are expensive luxuries, and Britain needed peace so that her commercial interests could prosper. Armies needed bases, bases needed defending and supplying, all these things are expensive and an alternative was to use the Royal Navy.

The Naval Brigade were a hard fighting, skilled bunch able to turn their hands to wielding a rifle or manning a field gun, manhandling the piece through swamp and across veldt. The Naval Brigade were used across Asia, Africa, Central America and the Middle East during the latter half of the century with little change to their uniforms and armament.

My collection of figures are from Perry Miniatures from their Sudan range and their Martini-Henry rifle lasting 30 years in service.

Here are a couple of shots of the figures with a smattering of Officers and NCOs.

Here's a Nordenfelt Gun, its performance was said to be impressive but was eventually outclassed by the invention of the Maxim, shooting a maximum 600 rounds per minute through it's five barrels, it's effective range was about 400 yards.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Investigating the lead mountain

I have not managed to do any painting this week at all due to work and other commitments, hopefully I will remedy that tomorrow and make some progress on my ACW cavalry.

Briefly this morning I flirted with the idea of entering the Cold War tourney at Gripping Beast in January, alas the theme of the army was 'Dark Ages', up to 1066 no lances or crossbows. My existing Norman army could be used but this would have been an opportunity to upgrade the army. I have since changed my mind as I want to paint Napoleonics and ACW for Sharp Practice as well as finish my 6mm ACW.

I have brought the box of fresh WAB lead from the garage, I do have a bunch of Foundry blisters stacked away in another box, I thought I would take a little to see what I had in for a rainy day.

For Roman based games/armies, I have a unit of GB Praetorian Guard as well as a good number of A&A Numidian Foot and Mounted, which could be an allied force or perhaps a foe in a skirmish game.

Over the past few years I have collected a bunch of Spanish and Arab type figures to 'upgrade' my Norman army into Christian Spanish or Andalusian. The figures are from Artizan, Musketeer as well as Gripping Beast, and includes plenty of easy to paint Moors.

I also have a good sized bag of Dark Age figures from GB including Vikings and plenty of civilians for skirmish games as well as a even larger bag of mainly Foundry ECW foot.

I must try and get through some of this pile next year, it would be good to get some more skirmish games with the Romans and also to introduce the Normans to the club.

Reading wise I have been ploughing through Ralph Peters 'The Red Army', the only WW3 novel where the Soviets win, this has turned my mind to my 6mm Soviets languishing in the cupboard part painted and Cold War Commander. Of course not seeing Timecast's new 6mm petrol station would have helped but I suspect I will end up buying one.

Monday, 4 October 2010

And here's October!

Played CY6! again last night, my four Wildcats got bounced by 6 Zeroes on the limit of the flight time, here's a Wildcat with some improvised smoke!

Paid a visit to Derby at the weekend, brought home some more Perry ACW infantry and some dismounted cavalry for Terrible Sharp Sword, the supplement for sharp Practice now available from Toofatlardies. I'm getting my interest fired up for the period and will be getting my 6mm Confederates finished soon too.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Gondor Ascendant

Well I blame watching Lord of The Rings whilst painting! And eBay. The last of my successful lots came this morning and I now have roughly (because I might not have counted too well) 88 Plastics (Warriors of Minas Tirith and Men of Gondor), 2 Metal Minas Tirith Command and 6 Knights of Minas Tirith. Roughly working this lot out at retail would leave change from £120. Second hand cost from eBay has been £22.96 with £9.49 postage.

The latest figures are all being undercoated, then I will break then down in terms of bow, spear etc. I will paint the Men of Gondor and use them as Warriors although they belong to an earlier age - these are the figures I believe came with the original Fellowship version of the game, I waited for the Two Towers box, which was excellent value with 12 Riders of Rohan and 24 Uruk-Hai. Alas I sold these.

I do like the Uruks, I am not so keen on the plastic pikes - far too fragile, this was a quick photo just for eBay, the depth of field wasn't long enough hence only the rear ones are in focus.  

The Riders here were painted literally in a 24 hour period. I bought the boxed game on the Saturday afternoon and there were in a game the next evening. Yes they could have been tidier but were quite an achievement for the time.

I have had a good look through the garage and dug out a set of the original Fellowship with Gandalf painted and oddly Grima Wormtongue and King Theoden. I will take my time painting the characters whilst I keep an eye out for my characters and Knights.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Painting ACW Part Three

A quick update on the ACW and other bits I'm doing at the moment, first off here's a WIP of last six Naval Brigade and the first of the eBay Gondor figures. The idea with the Gondor figures is to buy them all second hand - I might have gone mad, I spent about £20 and got nearly 100 foot and 5 mounted. Some of the figures have paint on, the really bad ones are bound for the bin.

The ACW foot have had a coat of Army Painter and I have started basing them. The cavalry have been started, the horses have the basecoat and the riders started, they may be finished by the weekend.

I do like the Officers in the ACW plastics, here's a shot, shame there is no bare head option so I could impale a hat on a sword. There are bare heads in the Victix so perhaps I could do a headswap.

Finally on another whim I have made up an Officer from the Victrix French Infantry box I bought at Colours.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Projects Update

I was thinking about my current projects this morning, particularly thinking of what bits and pieces I would be picking up at Derby this weekend.

The project I should be painting is my ACW Confederate 6mm army, this will be lots of fun, particularly with Black Powder. I must admit I choose Confederate on purpose knowing that I wouldn't power through it like a Union army. I must knuckle under and get these done.

Now this is the project I am currently painting, ACW 28mm for Sharp Practice. My aim is to have the first box painted before Derby and that will certainly happen they are almost finished, then come the Cavalry. At Derby I shall buy another box of Infantry, a cannon and crew and some mounted officers. For now this will be all, next year I may add dismounted cavalry and perhaps a box of plastic zouaves.

Another project with plenty to do is my 28mm Napoleonics, again currently for Sharp Practice. I have British Highlanders, French infantry and dragoons to paint. To conclude this I will need some cavalry for the Brits and some artillery.

A project with hopefully not too much work required is 6mm Soviets for Cold War Commander. Finishing the armour is a quick task, but painting the infantry will take more time but easily achievable given a couple of weeks to dedicate to it.

I decided to paint an army for the new version of Warhammer, I had never painted Warriors of Chaos before, having Bretonnians, Vampire Counts and Dark Elves before. I have collected most of these models, need to complete assembly and start the mammoth painting.

And to add to these projects I have started another! Clearly I do have other projects, which are 'stalled' awaiting inspiration such as Modern 28mm Mogadishu, 20mm Cold War and 28mm WW2. These projects will no doubt get their moment in the spotlight, but for now I am revisiting another project I sold off, this time Lord of the Rings. I am focussing on a force for Gondor using only 2nd hand figures from eBay, so watch this space.

I have finished 3 projects so far this year, all which will be revisited in time.

6mm WW2 Pacific Air War - crying out for more planes and Japanese bombers

15mm Sci-Fi - Looking to get a game with these, perhaps with Tomorrow's War before I start making plans to add to them.

28mm Anglo Zulu war - Would like perhaps the Perry Gatling Gun and some more infantry in the future.

Must be time to do some more painting .........

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Painting ACW Part Two

Managed to grab a couple of hours over the last few days to do the flesh and to paint the muskets.

Next colour is black, my plan is to have these, as well as the last 6 Naval Brigade, finished before next Saturday when I am going to the Derby Show. Will be keeping the shopping list short, another box of infantry, an artillery piece and perhaps some mounted officers.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Painting ACW Part One

Many years ago I bought and painted many hundred Dixon 25mm ACW figures, along with friends staged a number of re-enactments at Shows in the Midlands including Halesowen, Warcon and Derby - more by the efforts of others for terrain building and general organisation we won two best of shows.

My painting style has changed loads since then, my interest in ACW waned, but I wanted to put together a 6mm army and that is currently under way. More recently TooFatLardies have posted some excellent battle reports in their blog using their forthcoming expansion to Sharp Practice called Terrible Sharp Sword. This was all I needed and recently I bought a box of the Perry plastics.

Watching Merlin on  the telly I soon had the figures clipped from the sprues and the few separate bits glued on, a few thin coats of paint sprayed on later and the figures were glues to bases. As I had good feedback from the painting of the sailors I decided to paint the tunics of the Union in a similar way.

Stage One

I painted the tunics in GW Regal Blue using a 'wet brush' method, making sure that I got paint in all the right places. My style tends to start messy and then gets tidier as the figures progress on.

Stage Two

Now drybrush the figures using GW Fenris grey and once dry wash the tunics with thinned down GW Baddab black.

Stage Three

The trousers were painted with GW Shadow Grey taking care not to get paint on the tunics. Whilst painting these I have also squeezed in the 6 extra Naval Brigade I bought at Colours.

Hopefully tomorrow I will base coat the flesh areas which should bring these figures to life. Even though I will give these models a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone, I will still do some highlighting, particularly on the face as it blends nicely under the tinted varnish.

I bought a random standard for these, the 76th New York which unknown to me, were one of the first union infantry regiments to engage the Confederates at Gettysburg.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Battle of Myer's Drift 1879

We decided to bring out our Zulu Wars figures and replay the scenario from the Black Powder rulebook.We used our gaming mats to create a 12 x 6 table, we didn't need it quite this big but in the end it probably helped the British.

Some historical background can be found here. Basically natives ambushed a supply column which was poorly set up, straddling the river, a few stragglers managed to get away and find refuge in a nearby farmhouse. The Zulus were set up on the table whilst the British relief column came on the table in march column.

The officer commanding the Naval Brigade brought them on in good order, along with the volunteer cavalry.

The 88th commanded by Sir Marmaduke Surridge had difficulties coming on the table, rumours of the column being halted, as the officers best tableware were mislaid have so far been unproven. The Zulu impis previously looting the game surge forward to meet the British. The cavalry brigade form a screen at the farmhouse in an attempt to dissuade the Zulus.

The Zulu right horn charged and hit the cavalry who choose to stand and fire. The cavalry were driven off and the Zulus charged Sgt Booth and his stragglers in the farmhouse. Luckily for the plucky Brits the farmhouse was solidly built and helped keep the Zulu out.

The Naval Brigade turned to face and bring fire of the Zulus causing casualties as the 88th finally moved on to the table, to find Zulus charging towards them.

The Zulus pulled back from the farmhouse unable to break in, as the Royal Impis charged the 88th.

After much fighting only one company of the 88th remained and after breaking an Impi surged forward and then found itself outnumbered and surrounded.

In an effort to take some of the pressure from the 88th, the NNC and volunteer cavalry charged in. The cavalry found themselves charged in return.

Finally after a firefight with the Zulus, the stragglers leave the farmhouse under the cover of the Naval Brigade and begin the retreat from the table.

The game took us about five hours to play, both sides took casualties both the Brits got the stragglers out, so we happily called it a draw. It is clear that the Zulus particularly can be quite brittle and need the 'generals' to remove their casualties. Now we have played a game this size, we can certainly certainly do this on a normal club night. We will  be trying the rules with Sudan 15mm, Napoleonic 6mm and eventually ACW 6mm too.