Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Storage Project = Pain

Oh, I really should get around to that.

Is what I'd said for months regarding the storing of my Conan miniatures; you see the game comes with some 170 models, and a whole separate box to store them in.  But unless you want to keep the plastic inserts that only work when distributed across both boxes, no effective storage system.

Cue a trip to the arts store for some mounting board and a session building and gluing an insert.

A process that took some ten hours o_0

Looks nice, yeah
So most models are in groups of five or ten with some pieces individualised as they were larger or oddball shapes.  This meant laying out all the models in the bottom of the box and then custom measuring and cutting suitable partitions.  The shorter models are on the lower layer with 45mm of clearance whilst the taller models live upstairs with 55mm of ceiling!  

The biggest models went below, but the upper tray has cut outs to allow them to stand proud!  The two blank boxes turn out to hold all the dice nicely, and next to them is the various furniture and treasure pieces.

This one was a labour of love that left me feeling arthritic and frazzled.  Still the product is sturdy and means no further storage is needed.  So I'm glad I bit the bullet and got it done.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New 28mm Cavalry from HäT

On a rare visit to my friendly local model shop - Well it's about 15 miles away, but that's still pretty local, especially for my American readers - I was caught off guard by the appearance of some new figures from HäT.  28mm Napoleonic British cavalry:

Two sets no less
 I wasn't aware these were in development, or at least, close to production, so this was a surprise.  £10 gets you a dozen cavalry models, a full regiment for most people, and half the price of the equivalent Perry or Warlord models.  Not to say, around a third the price of typical metal miniatures.

That said...

One of three identical sprues in the box
There are points that will dissuade some gamers, including perhaps myself.  Firstly, unlike previous HäT 28mm sets, these are in a soft plastic, much like their 20mm output, and unlike all other 28mm plastic figures.  How bad this might be off the sprue I couldn't say, but on the sprue they felt a bit bendy to me.  I know that suitably cleaned and prepared, holding paint wouldn't be an issue, but it is still the sort of thing that makes many gamers turn their nose up at soft styrene models.

Secondly, they are very slight models.  They'll scale well to other HäT figures, and are nicely proportioned, but next to even Perry's they will look slim.  Compared to Victrix or Warlord they may well look tiny, Indeed I feel the box actually calls them 25mm.  They will however sit very nicely with classic ranges like Hinchcliffe, Foundry or Eagle.

Thirdly, and only a minor gripe, each set includes four figure poses, with some variable arms and heads; but only two horse poses.  HäT do this a lot, and I think it's a little lazy, give us four horse poses please!

Concerns aside, the photo's on their website do show how well these models can paint up:

(C) HäT
I don't think they will find their way into my British forces, but I may consider them as conversion material for some Portuguese or Spanish horse.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Old War Reports 1

I'm terrible at writing AAR's  I know I used to do it more, but each one would take so long.  I just don't have the time to commit to them at the moment, so it feels.

Nevertheless I usually take photographs, and I can post those up well enough.  If I get caught up I may even feel more inclined to writing a few battles in more detail!

Going way back to May for starters I had a game of Kings of War against Matt:

My Goblin and Troll alliance

In serried hordes

Versus a kingdom of men allied with an evil Necromancer and his minions

A general advance for the Goblins 
Against a more cautious Human advance

Vast numbers would tell, as the Goblins could block every pass

The Necromancer tries his might against numbers untold

Battle is joined

Pikemen attempt to stay the waves of greenskins

But too few Humans survive
From what little I can recall now, it was a very one-sided affair, in my favour; I think we called it after four rounds, as Matt was making no headway, partly due to misfortune, partly due to being out maneuvered.  The balance of goblin hordes and Mighty Trolls made for a potent combo.

Hopefully more reports later this week...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Star Wars : Legion - Scale and Cynicism

Firstly the news you may be interested in is the latest release from Fantasy Flight Games; on the Heels of X-Wing and Imperial Armada.  Star Wars: Legion is the game we all hoped for, tabletop battles between stormtroopers and the rebellion with hordes of miniatures.

From the company that already brought us Imperial Assault and its' masses of miniatures this sounds like great news.

But there is a catch.

Rather than inclusively welcome owners of Star Wars Imperial Assault to the new game, by scale matching the range of figures, SW:L has scaled up, to the new kid on the block '32mm Heroic'; or as it could be known, fantasy games that don't want you using any other shit in your games.

It may not sound like a huge march on 28mm, but the reality is I doubt anyone is going to be too pleased with the size disparity up close.  Take the difference between the two 'Luke Skywalker' models featured in the base games:

SW:L on Left, SW:IA on Right
Now, apart from the fact only one of them actually looks like Mark Hamill, it is obvious that there is a huge difference in relative size.

Couple this with the Fantasy Flight - boardgame derived - approach of providing all the supplemental rules for models, with the models themselves only - and you realise that pretty extensive collection of Imperial Assault models you built up will not really be of much use to you in games of Legion.  You know, it probably would not of hurt their bottom line to throw that bone to the fans; given the expense of building up a figure collection for SW:IA.  I know my complete collection for the base game, and the handful of extras I've bought to date has cost me upwards of £150 (Even typing that gives me the hives.)  But instead, they've taken the cynical business choice to more or less guarantee incompatibility between the two mediums, presumably in the hope that the fan base will continue to throw money at the franchise.

Who knows, maybe Disney stipulated it as a contractual obligation.  Such things have influenced games in the past, such as the various commitments GW had to make around existing licenses for the Lord of the Rings Games.

But Scale creep didn't need to be imposed on miniatures manufacturers, it was invented by them; Hell, it's not even exclusive to fantasy gaming anymore.

And whilst it may be the company who jumps to mind for this, and they certainly did the most to propagate it in the modern age; I'm not even going to blame Games Workshop, even though they obviously are responsible for this sort of thing:

 By comparison, how about the slowly growing size of '20mm' miniatures over the years:

L:R ESCI (80's), Matchbox (70's), Pegasus (00's), Revell (90's), Valiant (10's)
 Or 15mm.  Where 18mm is now a thing in its' own right entirely:

Until presumably the snake eats its' own tail, 12mm models become an average of 15mm tall and 18mm models stand 20mm high.  None of this even makes sense any more.

Oh wait yes it does...

I mean, if the audience is happy enough to buy larger and larger models because companies tell them it is an improvement, so be it, throw your money down that hole.  Whether it is Games Workshop flogging you true scale Space Marines, Fantasy Flight with 32mm Heroic scale Star Wars models, or certain Wargames snops trying to tell you 40mm is the new true scale for real aficionados of the hobby; it's all the same dog and pony show.  What it all really boils down to is built in redundancy of your old collections.

So you'll buy more of their shit.  Keep the cash generator running.

Beware.  Beware.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Get your own Giants...

In lieu of a better way of doing it, here is a photo of the barcode and other details of the models I used for my Frost Giants.

Good luck hunting them down for conversion or litigation purposes!

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Frosty Welcome

I'm a big fan of toys for fantasy gaming; snobs and purists be damned, the point of fantasy gaming is it can be what you want.  Gamers who refuse to play against unofficial models can get lost frankly.  Sure, I'm not going to use wildly unhistorical miniatures in my fact based forces, but these are never going to be on a table facing Austrian Hussars, US Marines or Roman Legionaries, so none of those concerns apply.

Point being, when I spotted a range of toys in one of the local bargain shops, I was struck with inspiration.  The models looked nicely detailed - well enough to make one presume, correctly, they were copied from/inspired by something else - but pretty averagely painted.

Branded as 'Orcs'  they could fulfill only one role in my mind, given their size.  Giants.

 Stan, the standard bearer, for scale...
 There was a fair amount of work to tidy up the models, cleaning the worst mould lines and filling gaps.  As a first stage I based the models on MDF to make it easier to work on  them; each model was taken apart and reassembled with superglue.  A little light conversion was undertaken and an extra weapon was knocked up from the bits box.

Finally the figures were given a good coat of spray undercoat.

 Now in the past I have had issues with undercoat on soft plastics, and I thought I would again here.  The models were initially tacky to the touch.  But I put them to one side whilst other projects were completed. A week of monitoring the models revealed the tackiness gradually disappearing, until after about six days it had gone entirely.  So I can conclude the problem in the past has been haste; the oils/chemicals in spray primer takes maybe a week to cure out of the paint, but perhaps painting over it with other paint seals it in and keeps the sticky effect more or less permanently.  Patience is a virtue!

Painting commenced and other than working on much larger models than normal, it was all very simple.  Given the scale of the models I went for five layers of progressive highlights on the flesh and some of the other big areas of detail.  It took a while, but not too long, about the same as a normal unit of 20-24 figures.

It was only natural to finish the models on some wintry basing, given the final paint scheme...

 An army of five
 A clan of Frost Giants from the icy north thus arrived in TML towers.  A few close ups should give the right impression:




 I was particularly pleased with the flesh tones, and decided on a generally muted palette for the rest of the figures, so as not to detract from the impact.  A look of cold was carried through into the bases, relying on the old Bicarbonate of Soda trick.  Yes it might yellow with time, but if push comes to shove I can always paint over it!

Finally a a little scale comparison to a WIP Reaper Evil Knight.  He clocks in at a modest 38mm high...

Thus, these five models make for a complete 24 point Dragon Rampant army, on the basis of Reduced figure units; Alternately, they could reflect an allied contingent of giants in Kings of War, perhaps worth a 1,000 points.

Either way, at a total sum of £5, I can't really complain.

And so, onto projects new...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Rebellious Faction

Well, having not painted any for the best part of four and a half years, I finally got back to the Jewish Project and thoroughly enjoyed turning out a couple more units.

Firstly a third unit of 'Heavy' infantry; veterans, well practiced at fighting in close order and with the best - often looted - equipment:

These models are an improved mix of poses and equipment, thanks to the introduction of some Victrix Carthaginian spearmen.  More particularly, their set is a supply for a good number of oval shields and different helmets.

 Realising that human and animal designs were prohibited in the Jewish faith at this time, I've limited the shields to plant life and inanimate designs, so more accurate I think than the last unit I did.  The Mantles are much better here, with a more natural flow; thanks to the use of olive oil and a plastic rolling board to allow me to get the Greenstuff extra thin.

Next I did a unit of lighter guerrilla's, made only from the Wargames Factory Numidians.  At this point I would note I'm glad I bulk bought a 150 or so of these guys five years ago, as to date their new owner, Warlord Games, has not chosen to re-release them.

 These chaps use mostly the javelin arms, with only a couple of large shields, and a bunch of hide covered, wicker shields, I made simply from some etched plasticard.  I tried the classic Arabic head cover, using the mantle, on several models for some variety.

 These chaps would not lead the fighting line, but favour skirmishing, though they can support the mainline from the rear.

Whilst into it, I decided to produce a General, based on the Carthaginian Infantry commander in the Victrix set, he looks the part.

Johnathan, and a chubby priest!
 I'm not so convinced by his portly pal.  I wanted to do a Jewish Priest, but I certainly hit my sculpting limits here trying to put robes over a Numidian torso.  The finished figure is disappointing, but he'll have to do.  The Perry's can rest easy.

At last this is something like a battle array, with three units of heavy infantry, and two light, plus a commander.  Not a full army by any means, but progress is being made.

 About the size of a Warhammer Ancients army, i.e. too small by far
And a colourful force they are too!  Something I really like.

But now I must decide what to add next, and then do some more sculpting.  I think there is enough heavy infantry for now, bowmen and slingers seem to me to be the next choice.

Monday, August 07, 2017

And now for something completely different

I do not know if the following will ever find a purpose.  They were something of a whim.

One of the very first things I painted three years ago after my hiatus from the hobby, was a batch of Reaper future police from my Bones Kickstarter; a set of models I felt would be good to practice on and were of no particular use to me.  They ended up sold on eBay for a pittance.

Now I've dipped into  the same unending box of toys to paint a handful of new models, with at least a notion they could serve in some of the small scale Sci-fi miniatures games Osprey, among others, seem to have been churning out of late.

Choose your poison!
My general view on Sci-fi warfare remains unchanged; I hope to goodness that in due course it will become an artefact of history, at the very least, technology will surely bring conventional warfare to an end, as the technology becomes terrifyingly autonomous and ever more potent.  Not much of a game really, and one I'd hope wouldn't exist by then*!

However at the human scale of handfuls of individuals, the position may well be different, with the same old lusts for wealth, power and revenge.  Whether 20 minutes into the future, 20 years or 200; these elements may remain unchanged, and perhaps excuse a game.

Consequently, I plucked a set of miniatures out of the horde for a quick paint job, creating a special forces-esque, police or corporate security team:

 The group is led up by a couple of detectives:

 I think these may have been meant as Steampunk or modern fantasy models, but I think they painted up suitably together.  Straight out of a futuristic buddy movie.  Only quickie paint jobs, and as a result the male figure looks a little chalky under the flash; but not bad for the limited time invested.

Supporting these are the security team, including a range of heavy weapons:

Sniper, Flamer and Minigun
 As well as more conservatively armed members, including their sergeant:

These were done in a bluish green base, a slight variation on one of my favourite colour schemes.  The beauty of these was that a good 90% of the model could be done with this scheme; this being furthered by multiple layered highlights simply over-brushed on, and augmented with contrasts and small details.  If anything I like the security squad the most.

This little collection could fit a variety of narratives, but whether they ever see any service, only time will tell...

*Of course Star Wars does not count as it clearly happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Holy Land

I managed to pick up a copy of a book I'd been after for quite a long time on eBay, Peter Connolly's 'The Holy Land'

 This book is a real treasure trove of information, but it is an odd creature.  The history is brief and almost simplistic; somewhat at the level of a Readers Digest/Popular History feature; but it distills the key facts in an easy to read form as a result; the use of extensive photographs and illustrations on every page gives the impression of a children's textbook more than anything.

Historically, the book begins with Herod the Great, and carries on through to the end of the first Rebellion, so covering about a century of increasing Roman subjugation.  The real strength of this, personally, are the reconstructions in the illustrations, suitable inspiration for my long idle Jewish Rebellion project.

That said, in an effort to make my Jews look unique, I did decide to give them the Mantle, shown in some textbooks,but in few contemporary illustrations - including Connolly's - of Jewish warriors.

So, I guess the book worked for me, as I've been busy assembling new miniatures.  Given I've the sprues for some 150 or so infantry it was about time I got back to these guys.  Above are a nascent unit of light infantry, armed with javelins only.

My green stuff skills have taken a step forward here with the use of a plastic palette rubbed down with olive oil to flatten out sheets of it on.  This gave me thin enough strips to get nice folds in, and to allow a more Arabic headdress use of the mantle, as shown in some illustrations to be experimented with.  These warriors, not being part of the well equipped fighting line, have mainly no shields or simple wicker and hide affairs, and only a few helmets; no Roman equipment.  Hopefully I'll get a couple of units created before I get sidetracked or bored!

As to the Connolly book, it is hard to find, I paid about £15 second hand for my copy, but it is worth it if this is a period of history you are interested in, and if you would like quality reconstructions of the buildings costumes and artifacts of the period.

Suitable inspiration for this wargamer at least.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Austria again...

So far as blogging,  I'm struggling with motivation.  Part of the problem is that I'd like to write more interesting thought pieces, but I don't really want to deal with the negativity I've had from people in the past if I've had the temerity to dislike something.  It seems to me one ought to be able to express ones' point of view, but maybe I'm too sensitive to say f*** it to the inevitable backlash.  There are a lot of things in life trying to bring a brother down, without volunteering to put yourself in the line of fire, yes?

So, in the mean time.  Here's some Insurrection Hussars I did to add to my 15mm Austrians

 Such is the distribution of Warrior Miniatures cavalry units, I needed to add an extra commander figure to this regiment, so one of the models is a dashing cavalry captain in Bicorne.  I don't think this looks at all out of place in the unit though.

Scratching through the figures I still have for this project, I could add another regiment of Cuirassiers, and a battery of Horse Artillery.  But not much else; I think I may need to order a smattering more models if I get going on these again as 6 Regiments of Infantry and 5/6 of Cavalry doesn't seem quite enough.