Monday, 24 October 2016

10mm Seven Years War progress 2

Old Fritz
The first step after PVAing the figures to the combination MDF and steel bases was to texture the bases. I used a cocktail stick to apply PVA not only to the MDF surface but also onto the figure bases and around the figures' ankles. This is essential to hide the figure bases. I then poured over a mixture of bird sand and model railway ballast, shook it off, and repeated the application. (For 15mm figures I build up the bases with filler and then apply PVA. For 6mm figures I use bird sand without the ballast.)
As the figures for this project are packed very closely together, it wasn't possible to get right to the centre of the bases. This doesn't matter as this area will end up dark brown representing deep shadow.

With the figures so tightly packed, the ArmyPainter spray undercoat (Leather Brown) also didn't get between the figures too well so I had to  go over them with a generous wash of matching AP bottle paint.

A unit of Prussian Musketeers based, textured and undercoated.
I thought I'd have to add some coat colours before rendering the figures distinguishable and thus usable on the table, but I've now added temporary labels to tell the armies apart and to keep the appropriate bases in each unit together. I'm very glad I've never dropped these or muddled them up as it would have been a very tedious job to distinguish, for example,  Prussian, Austrian and Hungarian line infantry.

The unit duly identified from the rear.
For the benefit of those who haven't seen earlier postings, these are 10mm Pendraken figures for use with Maurice or maybe Might & Reason.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Might & Reason: Mollwitz

 The Austrian defence viewed from the Prussian end:
infantry to the left and cavalry to the right.
My club comrade Chris put on and umpired an introductory game of Sam Mustafa's Might & Reason. The game was an abridged version of the Battle of Mollwitz (1741) scenario. The real battle was fought between Prussia and Austria during the early part of the War of the Austrian Succession. The Prussians had to dislodge an Austrian scratch force sitting on their supply line. The game featured Chris's balsa block armies which were enhanced by authentic flags and worked very well. My fellow club member, Kim, was given command of the Austrians, a difficult assignment, while I got the Prussian killing-machine and an exceptionally lucky run of high dice throws.

Monday, 10 October 2016

My Irregular Wars Colonial Portuguese and Hollanders

General with Dutch East India Company flag
My 15mm Colonial Portuguese and Hollanders are finally finished. I first posted about these back in April 2014, i.e. two-and-a-half years ago!

The figures are mostly Grumpy's Miniatures and designed to be interchangeable between Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish colonial forces where appropriate.

As the figures came out rather dark I went light with the bases which looks good for the Tropics.

If you look closely you will see there is no facial or much other detail. The figures are designed to be viewed at playing distance. The 'realism' is achieved by (a) staining, and (b) the ground. The latter requires little time or effort but adds a great deal to the look. IMO this approach provides the most economical balance between effort and effect.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Blogger problem - list of favourite blogs disappeared!

A number of 'Gadgets' - including my list of favourite blogs - have suddenly disappeared! No, I wasn't editing the blog at the time...I saw some notice in the browser saying "invalid blog list" or something of the sort, and when I looked at the Layout in Design view the blog list and a number of other list gadgets were simply missing.

The blog is backed up and I have searched the backup but the blog list content does not appear to be included. This means I am going to have to recreate it from scratch. The list was a long one and, regretfully, I can give no guarantee that I will be able to recreate it in its entirety.

My apologies to any or all bloggers whose blogs are missing. Please bear with me while the list is rebuilt. I will start with those blogs kind enough to link to this blog.


It seems that I am not alone and that Google are working on the problem. If you also have this problem, Google your blog's name and click on the little triangle to open a cached copy. You can then save the page.


Topic on Blogger Help Forum: Link


I'm pleased to note that the Blog List and other list widgets have been restored and sooner than I thanks, Google, for sorting it out. Despite the glitch, seeing this get fixed does promote my confidence in the Blogger system. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Gruntz 15mm: Sci-Fi skirmish

Although I spend half my time thinking I should focus on a few key games, I spend the other half musing about expanding into new 'periods'. My current fad is 15mm Sci-Fi skirmish, something that has been gnawing away at me since April. Despite the plethora of 15mm SF stuff at the Salute show, it was only when surfing the web a  few days later that I actually got bitten. That was, I admit, very bad timing.

Anyway, a review of the rules options led me to Gruntz 15mm which seemed to be  the most attractive and promising. I've studied the rules and I've read reviews and explanations, but I haven't actually played them. I expect they're fine, but what has captured my imagination is the army-building aspect.

Although Gruntz offers its own very wide universe and backstory, it is a completely flexible system which allows you to plug in any models you want. Although the armies I'd like to create would have SF technology like power armour, mechs and grav tanks, my current interests are based around near-future terrestrial factions rather than extra-terrestrials.

I have three in mind: a mid-tech 'RussFed' army  using ArmiesArmy models, a hi-tech 'US Marine' army using mainly GZG models, and maybe a lo-tech 'Caliphate' army using Khurasan figures. There are other possibilities, but I don't want to over-extend before I even start.

Gruntz has the advantage of being playable on quite a compact table (say 4' x 4') and requires only a modest collection of figures and vehicles for each army (say 300 points in game terms). I've been thinking about a number of scenery options - a ruined city, oil refinery or shanty town - but my current favourite is a recycling plant and scrap yard which will provide plenty of loose clutter.

As I don't seem able to shake this fad off and with the SELWG show coming up shortly, I am highly likely to go into purchase mode.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Other potential 20thC projects

Pendraken 10mm early WW1 British
I've recently written about doing the Mexican Revolution and Chinese Warlord Era in 10mm for use with Red Actions, but I have also long been interested in doing the Russo-Polish War or other aspects of the Russian Civil War for which RA was of course specifically designed, and for which 10mm figures are readily available.

Another conflict that has previously captured my interest is the Chaco War, but given the current availability of figures and vehicles, this would be much better tackled in 15mm.

Pendraken 10mm Colonial Egyptians
The other 20thC projects in which I've previously taken an interest are early WW1 and the First Balkan War. These would be for both Square Bashing and for Bloody Big Battles! For 1914 I have considered 6mm in order to cut down on the work. However, the aesthetic appeal of 1914 for me is the distinctiveness of the British caps and German Pickelhauben which IMO are just capturable in 10mm but somewhat lost in 6mm.

The appeal of the First Balkan War lies in it being an offbeat precursor of WW1. The armies I would do would be Bulgarian (using WW1 Russians) and Turkish (using Late Nineteenth Century Colonial Egyptians) and Zouaves. The Turks would be doable in 6mm, but WW1 Russians are available only in 10mm.

Finding appropriate artillery is an issue but there are options which most people wouldn't be knowledgeable enough to question!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Chinese Warlord Era in 10mm

Pithead Miniatures Chinese Winter Infantry Korea
The Chinese Warlord Era is another potential 10mm project that was originally going to be for Square Bashing but which I would now do on a smaller scale for Red Actions. I have certainly not given up on SB, but more on that in another post.

Pendraken RJW Japanese
Once again there are no dedicated ranges in 10mm but I think the prospect of filling the ranks with acceptable proxies is marginally better than with the Mexican Revolution discussed in a previous post.

I would use Pendraken Russo-Japanese War Japanese and Pithead Miniatures Korean War Chinese in winter dress for Northerners; WW1 British and Russians, particularly the dismounted British cavalry in caps (BP41), for Southerners; and Vietnamese for irregular types.

It might seem inappropriate to have only one side in winter dress, but AFAICR this was in fact the case and remarked on in contemporary accounts. I haven't actually seen the Pendraken BP41 pack or even a photo of it, but I understand it should fit the bill.

Pendraken FT-17
The Pendraken FT-17 tank will also be appropriate, though I'll have to check which version.

Pendraken SCW Assalto
The one big gap is the distinctive, sword-armed Dare-to-Die units. Spanish Civil War Assaltos with SMGs could be used, but something more distinctively Chinese would be a boon.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

10mm Seven Years War progress

Prussians: looking remarkably like the Austrians
My 10mm Pendraken Seven Years War Prussian and Austrian armies for Maurice were destined to be based-before-painting and used-before-complete.

I've now finished basing them and the sight of the shiny silver castings has made me realise how difficult it is to tell them apart! I will need to get at least a basic coat colour on them before they will be usable on the table.

Austrians: looking remarkably like the Prussians
I've also been reassessing my painting approach. My last army (15mm Portuguese and Dutch for Irregular Wars) came out a little dark, so I need to reconsider my methodology, especially for 10 mm and 6 mm figures which need to be lighter/brighter.

Now I've always been impressed with the painting skills of Nic Wright (author of Irregular Wars etc) and he was recently persuaded to reveal some of his secrets.

Nic Wright's eye-catching approach. Our bases look 
similar but Nic's figures stand out much more clearly.
Drawing on his approach, my plan now is not only to save paint layers and time but, more importantly, to create a better effect:

1. Texture the bases with PVA and sand.
2. Spray-undercoat with ArmyPainter Leather Brown.
3. Paint in the main colours, leaving the brown for guns, shadow etc.
4. Wash with brown ink.
5. Reapply the main colours to partial areas as a highlight.
6. Etc.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Mexican Revolution in 10mm

I have more than enough stuff to paint at the moment, but I recently picked up a copy of Villa And Zapata: A Biography of the Mexican Revolution by Frank McLynn so I thought I'd post something about my potential future Mexican Revolution project.

I already had the Osprey title The Mexican Revolution 1910-20 by Philip Jowett and Alejandro de Quesada. There are many general histories about the Mexican Revolution but McLynn's book looked very readable.

My interest was originally prompted by seeing the respective army lists in the Square Bashing rules but I didn't want to commit to full-sized SB armies.

However,  I subsequently discovered Red Actions which I think could work well. If not, I would still plan armies on that scale of game,  i. e. a few units per side, each of about five bases with various supports. In RA the units would be companies and the bases platoons, but under other rules the units could higher or lower level formations.

SCW Andaluz Militia
This would definitely be a 10mm project. Although there are no dedicated ranges in that scale, the Revolutionaries can be recruited from Pendraken Boers and Spanish Civil War Andaluz Militia (right), and the Federales from Russo-Japanese War Japanese. Nevertheless, there are some bits and pieces missing (Revolutionary HMGs and artillerymen) and it would be nice to see some dedicated figures.

I would put the figures on 30mm square bases to be consistent with my other 10mm 20thC armies, but whereas my 1918 and WW2 infantry are mounted 3 to a base, I would  probably do 1914 and earlier armies 4-up.