Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Hoplite Shields in 15mm

I wanted to do a good job on the shields of my Athenian hoplite DBA army, the Xyston figures are probably the best on the market. I certainly wasn't going to attempt to paint them so that left decals.

You have two choices either conventional waterslide decals from VVV or the more tricky decals from Little Big Man Studios. In the end I choose the LBM decals as the VVV sheets are in a single colour meaning I would have to buy many more to get a reasonable selection, the LBM decals were just a single sheet.

The LBM decals are tricky, you cut them out, peel off the front clear plastic, place them on the shields, add a drop of water and after a couple of seconds the backing paper slides off.

Now as the shields are bigger than the decals getting them centered is a nightmare. Once on they can't be moved only scratched off so take care, and have lots of patience.

In the end hopefully they will look like the cover art on the box;

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Copplestone Bio-chem troopers

Mysterious figures have been seen roaming around the city, these dark clad figures with their faces covered by gas masks are armed with a variety of weapons. As yet their motives are unknown.

The figures are from Copplestone Castings Bio-Chem squad available here, the range is well sculpted, easy to paint and delivery is quick.

Similar figures are also available from em4 who own the original sculpts, these are slightly different, on slotta bases and a little cheaper. I have also finished 16 early war British for WW2 and VBCW, these have been painted with 'Army Painter Strong Tone' and are looking a little shiny, photos once matted.

I have been feeling guilty lately for not attending the local history events near me, yesterday I visited "Wartime in the Vale" - mainly a show for enthusiasts of period military motor vehicles, with some WW2 re-enactors based at the local Ashdown Camp. There are plenty of photos, I'll split them over a few posts.

Next up is the Battle of Tewkesbury  re-enactment in a couple of weeks, entry is free and is well worth of visit, after that I have a  mind to walk the site of the Battle of Evesham as near as I can to the anniversary as I can.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Armed Forces Day

Today is Armed Forces Day in the UK, events are being held across the country to remember veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces.

We all have friends and family members who have served, today is our day to remember them.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Weekend Painting

I have had some painting inspiration this week so with DVDs on the PC, I have been painting a variety of stuff as my fancy struck.

I had a package from North Star this week, 4 packs of early war British infantry. These will add some much needed firepower, in the form of Bren Guns, to my Home Guard. I also had the last of the VBCW source books giving me some more inspiration for our mini campaign.

To start with I have given the uniforms a thinned down coat of Vallejo British Uniform, and I will add another coat tomorrow.

This week I have also been adding paint to my 6mm ACW forces. I will have some Zouaves complete soon.

 Last year I also bought an Athenian DBA army from Xyston. I undercoated these last year and got them out last night a slapped some flesh on them. I will tidy them up with some tunics later. They are more expensive than other 15mm ranges, fiddly with separate shields and spears but they are fab and a army is quite small.

 Must start the control tower tomorrow, it will be a simple box, with big windows on one side.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Museum Weekend

This weekend I got the car out and visited friends. In Oxford I popped in to the newly(ish) revamped Ashmolean Museum for a couple of hours. It is very impressive inside, I took the decision not to take a camera this weekend but I still have a handful of shots taken on my phone.

Saturday saw me on the train to London, we called in on the British Museum, again like Fridays visit to the Ashmolean, there is so much stuff to see I went for some of the big exhibits and other things which caught my eye.

Here is the fabled Rosetta Stone which led to great advances in translating Egyptian hieroglyphs.

An Assyrian statue.

One of many panels in the Parthenon room - many showed Greeks fighting with centaurs. Part of the famous 'Elgin Marbles'.

A Corinthean helmet and arrowheads from Marathon.

Another helmet, all the Greek helmets we saw looked small.

A Roman Legionary's helmet.

Full face cavalry helmet.

This is the legendary Sutton Hoo helmet, below is the modern reconstruction.

Shown with the Sutton Hoo helmet has this massive shield used to display the various remaining components, the shield boss on the other side but this side shows the detail of the hand-grip.

Both these museums have so many things to see, you need to pick some things you want to see and then just go exploring. What was interesting was how many of the exhibits were familiar from their use in various books. A definite must for wargamers if only to put our historical games in to context.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Modern Vehicles - mini reviews

I am always on the look out for alternate sources for modern vehicles particularly if they don't need assembling. First up is the Battlefield Evolution WZ-551 from Mongoose Games, these are produced to a scale of 1:65 and were one of the first ranges of pre-painted miniatures to come out of China. The initial release of miniatures disappointed many with the actual product not living up to pre-release samples.

Mongoose don't seem to be actively selling this range but the models appear regularly on eBay. This one cost me £3.71 plus the postage. I have shown the model, straight from the box with one of my Copplestone Bio-Chem troopers. In real life, this is a large vehicle, nine and half feet high and nearly twenty two feet long, however as its all closed up so that makes it a little more flexible scale wise.

I shall use this as a scout car perhaps with a four man crew with my Neo-Sovs but I could also see it as a security vehicle perhaps repainted blue.

When I started putting my Ambush Alley collection together I made a list of all the models needed for the scenarios and needed a LAV-25. Alas Dragon didn't make one of these which left me with the prospect of making the Trumpeter kit. eBay came to the rescue and I bought a LAV-25 AT and of course it was a LAV-AT equipped with the hammerhead TOW launcher and not the turreted 25mm. The model was a diecast from CDC Armour, it has a good weight and detail but not what I wanted.

The "Bravo Team" range is produced by Unimax who produce the Forces of Valor range, these much cheaper and are more toy styled than their other range, the models are retailing at around £7 each in the UK and I have seen them both on eBay and in model shops selling Dragon and Forces of Valor.

Here;s the model next to a Liberation Miniatures 20mm US Marine. The scale is right and it compares well size wise with the CDC model. Detail is softer and both the cannon and the frankly laughable machine gun seem to be made of a slightly softer plastic. The model has a ok paint scheme  but could do with some weathering up, I certainly wouldn't wouldn't worry about sticking it on the table for a game, but ultimately will replace the MG and tart up the paint job.

Here are the two models together, placing the wheels together the match up quite well. Best see them in the flesh if you are curious, the painted models are thought to be the best.

Monday, 7 June 2010

The heat of Africa

Last night saw another game of Ambush Alley, this time in 28mm and part of Stu's campaign set in Africa. I won't spoil the after action report, he's writing that one up for the club page.

The figures are a mix of TAG and Mofo with an occasional Copplestone figure in there too. Buildings are Crescent Root, Hovels, Snapdragon and scratchbuilts. Scenery is fish tank greenery and plastic palm tress intended for cake decorating. Cloth is Mat-O-War.

Seeing all the pristine cars reminds me that I could do with a whole bunch of rusted wrecked cars for 28mm games, I have one, a resin from Old Crow.

Adobe buildings really are amongst the most versatile buildings you can buy for gaming. Pretty timeless over several millennia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Wild West and even parts of the Iberian Peninsula.

In 28mm, it is important to double move distances in Ambush Alley otherwise the regulars will get destroyed by the waves of insurgents. Luckily Mark didn't have that problem.

I think the secret is maintaining good interlocking fields of fire and overwatch. Once you start to take casualties then it starts to get messy fast.

Do we knock or are we expected?

The excellent centerpiece with the roofs removed. Gatecrashers, always causing trouble at parties.

I have also been looking at the price of putting armies together and decided that I would compare the cost of a similar size of army across various scales and manufacturers. I was looking at Napoleonics and at basic infantry and cavalry only. If command figures were separate (like OG) I ignored them, also I ignored any special offers or army deals.

I must confess to being a fan of 6mm figures for large 18th and 19th century games, lots of advantages so log as the units to become too small. Make up your own basing and use the 15mm moves, which is what we did for Napoleonics using General de Brigade. We have had great games with players having divisional size forces each.

Some people like to use smaller figures with bigger bases and packing out the bases, that looks good but then you lose out on several of the advantages of 6mm figures which is cost and playing and storage space.

Here's a shot of a game from way back, see all the room you get - no more anchoring your line at the table edges. Cavalry come into their own when the have room to move.

Ok, enough of that I really need to get my ACW painted!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Off the Boil .......

Well it has been a couple of weeks since my last post. My last game of Napoleonic skirmish went a bit flat in my opinion, the others might have enjoyed it but I misremembered the rules so there was far more musketry in the game than should have been, Mark alas paid the price with his riflemen taking a beating.

As with these things my attention wavers, I have spent a little time on my robin hood project, reading a couple of books and watching DVDs whilst painting. I have been painting some old Battle Honours partisans mainly for VBCW, these are getting the Army Painter stain, they are currently very shiny and once matted I will photograph them. Hopefully before long I will have some more British Infantry from Crusader to flesh out my Home Guard and provide some much needed Bren Guns.

VBCW is the topic of our next big game, set around the battle for Perdiswell Airfield, I have volunteered to  make a control tower, there are loads of photos on the internet, but none survive of this one, giving me carte blanche to make it how I want! Some plastic windows are currently on their way then I shall start drawing up the plans on foam core.

We may have a contingent visiting this event, I am hoping for a Hadrian's Wall detour!

I am also painting up a set of Copplestone Bio-Chem Troopers, like the ones below although mine are grey and black and I have a number of plans for these in the pipeline. All the Copplestone figures are easier and fun to paint, I have a fancy to paint some more of this range as opponents for my Neo-Sovs.