Friday, July 26, 2013

Finished Tanks & Ruined Factory

Well, by "finished" of course I mean they need a coat of Dullcote to really finish them off, and the tanks need a coat of Future Floor Polish over their decals to seal them, but "artistically", these are all done!  Yay me!

First up is the 6mm ruined factory from Gamecraft Miniatures, with a roof added on by me, as well as doors and ruined walls made from Gamecraft's ruined floors.  This is the front, complete with Nazi eagle.  The front pillars etc. were painted as being fancier than the basic walls, and show up a big grubbier looking in real life, the white reflected the flashbulb well in this pic:

Here's an interior shot, the office area is where the turquoise walls are, the rest was factory:

Another view of the interior, showing the one problem area I had, what to do with the reverse side of that fancy entranceway.  It was either try to paint by hand the windows and door, or...

Build a pile of rubble to put in front of the blank wall to cover up that it doesn't match the exterior.  This is what I came up with, a wooden base with some cork bits, tin foil paper, a pin or two, and the sprue from a set of Shapeways aircraft I'd recently prepped.  I also used some cardstock as roof/upper floor pieces.

A close-up of it.  I'd built it so one side, that would go up against the wall, was supposed to be tall and cover up the blankness, but as you'll see in the next pic, somehow I misjudged the height and it's still short.  Not sure what I'll do, either make another or keep adding to this.  I do like the bits.

The rubble in place - as you can see, the wall isn't really covered at all.

The temperature and humidity around here finally broke this week, after 3 weeks of high temps and humidity that meant I didn't really want to do any critical painting or decalling.  But with this window of opportunity, I finally decalled up some tanks that have taken way too long to finish. 

This is the whole collection, although the American halftracks and armored cars still need final detailing before they get their decals (I also have to figure out where the decals go on them!).

British Comets to the centre and left, one of those American halftracks on the right:

ISU-152 up close:

More ISU-152s!

On the left a couple of T-34/85s, I did a pack of 5 (all of these are GHQ), 3 in one platoon, 2 in the other.  The T-34/85 up front is obviously a hero of the Soviet Union with all those kills on the barrel!  Decals here are a mix of GHQ and I-94.

The other platoon (2 tank platoon) of T-34/85s.

My fleet of JS-3s!  These heavy tanks were in platoons of 2, so my five-pack gave me 2 platoons and a HQ tank.  The red numbering and star didn't show up as well as I'd hoped, but within historical reality.

Another view of the JS-3s.

 As always, clicking on the photos brings up bigger views of them, although these small scales aren't necessarily prettier the closer you get!

Monday, July 22, 2013

3 & 6mm Paintjobs in Progress

Hehehe, I said "paintjobs".  Here are some of the things currently on painting table #2 now that the big German factory is finished (pictures to come).  First up are some 3mm wood churches for Terrible Sharp Sword ACW gaming, the miniatures are from Bay Area Dockyards:

 Most of the painting is don, now I'm in the touch-up cycle, correcting all my mistakes from the first pass!  The pieces are ok, these ones didn't need any fixing, I have a lot of other Bay Area Dockyards that need sanding after I patched some pitting in the resin.  Not tragic problems, but two extra steps in the process.

Next up is a 6mm bridge from what used to be Simply Six - I think Picoarmor carries the range in the US (at least he carries the 3mm stuff from Simply Six).  This is actually DONE!  Yes, believe it folks!  It just needs sealing:

It's a really nice piece, none of the Simply Six stuff ever needed fixing, just a wash and straight to painting.

These 6mm ruins are also from Simply Six:
These are still a work in progress, I usually dabble with them when I paint left over from one of the other pieces, I add a bit to the rubble piles, and now just need to focus on finishing them with some grays and browns.

Finally, here's the Stalingrad Grain Elevators in 6mm from JR Miniatures:
The bulk of the painting is done, just have to do the gravel on the roof, drybrush the green and blue roofing, and do the metal tanks and pipes (and latticework on the one side). 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reapermas Arrives at Twothreesixmm

Last night I came home to find a large, large box left on my front porch by UPS - my Reaper Bones Kickstarter package had arrived!  Reapermas at last!  I had pledged at the Vampire Level (all that that ended up entailing is in the picture below - click to see the whole thing) and picked up some extras:
  • Cthulhu (a huge, huge figure!)
  • Undead (Bone) Giant
  • Clockwork Dragon
  • Mythos Monsters
  • Deep Dwellers
  • Extras of the IMEF Marines and Nova Corps
  • Carrying case for figures

When I originally pledged, my plan was to use some of the Lovecraftian figures for pulp gaming, the non-fantasy Zombie Hunters and Chronoscope for pulp, VSF, and/or modern spy gaming, and the sci-fi figures for topping up Star Wars.  The clockwork dragon is for VSF as some mad Prussian science project.  Some of the fantasy I'd paint myself to top up my collection of plastic collectible pre-paints and 1980s-era metal for Warhammer Fantasy-universe and Conan/Kull skirmishing, with some also being set aside for my young nephew as his first painting projects.

However, since then, despite my best efforts, I started three new projects this winter - and without really planning it this way, Reapermas actually supports two of those projects better than it does anything I outlined above (other than getting my nephew started at painting).

One project gathering steam has been Mythic India, and a ton of the figures above will work for it - the familiars, a couple of the necromancers, the skeletons and mummies, swamp things, owlbear, griffon, and the female storm giant (imagine her painted blue as the avatar of an Indian goddess...).  Even the spiky dark heroes and elves can work in the setting with the right paint job and mindset.

The other project is gaming with miniatures in the world of the Feng Shui RPG - for those not familiar with it, it basically encapsulates the best of 1980s and 1990s Hong Kong movies in one grand setting.  So Chinese eunuch sorcerers with Shaolin monks with gun fu mobsters with strange science fiction.  I'm not sure of what rules to use yet - Osprey and Ganesha Games have announced a Hong Kong set based on the Song system that will be my first stop - but I've started collecting minis for it.

Reapermas helps with some gun-toting heroes, including a perfect figure for Furious George, second in command of the Jammers faction (yes, I know Furious was a chimp and that's a gorilla, but I'll work with it).  The IMEF and Nova can work as Buro soldiers/police, perhaps the Wheel too.  Some creatures will do as demons for the 69 AD timeline too, although I have some other figures (in metal) from Reaper that will be better (and work as cyborg-demons, aka abominations).

My third new project is the Monster Hunter International setting in 15mm, so theorectically out of scale for this, BUT that giant head monster (can't remember its D&D name), the green and fire haunts, the vermin, the swamp things, and the specials I got - undead giant, Cthulhu, Mythos monsters, deep dwellers, ALL will work for 15mm too!

It's like I'm a genius but don't even know it.  Of course, it's probably 50 years of painting to get this all done, but I'm looking forward to it.

There's been good threads on how to work with the "Bones" material circulating around, so I now have to read up on that, certainly some of the figures need a bit of re-shaping after their travels.

Friday, June 14, 2013

6mm German Factory Ruins WIP

This is a 6mm scenic project I've been working on for a while (too long - why am I so slow?), a ruined factory from Gamecraft, which came in acrylic plastic and had two optional ways to build it - as a German (eagle holding the globe symbol over the door) or Soviet (star symbol over the door) building.

It took a couple tries to find a good glue for the acrylic (Gorilla Super Glue won in the end), and I probably should have set the big doors at the back of the building, rather than the front, so they'd look like train doors that could have the track running through the whole factory. Although when I looked at the image on Gamecraft's site, they built it the same way.

The roof and interior floors and walls are all add-ons by me. The interior walls/floor are actually from Gamecraft's other ruined city sets, which come with ruined floors. I flipped some of them 90 degrees to make the walls. The roof bits are cut from heavy cardstock, out of the box it has exposed girders. I also used some thin cardstock for doors on the interior walls, and for exterior doors.

I'm getting to the end of the road for this, just some final touch-ups, finishing the external doors and windows at the main entrance, painting a gold eagle and globe, and then distressing the whole thing with soot stains.

I also have to deal with the interior side of the front entrance - because the fancy doors and windows on the outside are added on, the inside shows nothing to match them. My plan is to make a base of rubble heaped high enough to cover up the fact that there are no doors and windows along that part of the interior wall.

And if you're wondering about the turquoise - I wanted something with some contrast. I'm saying the turquoise is all the office space, and then I used a paint pen to add the outline of an interior wall and floor where it fell away; I'm hoping it looks better when distressed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

2 x Modified Sharp Practice at Hotlead

Saturday night and Sunday morning I played two games of "modified" Sharp Practice (the Toofatlardies game) with the Kent Essex Gaming Society (KEGS) fellows. About half the players Saturday night were KEGS members, the other half newbies; Sunday's game was mostly newbies. Each side (French, British) had seven players, each with a unit of cavalry, infantry, or artillery (British only). I was the British artillery Saturday night, on Sunday I was an infantry platoon.

The goal of the game was to seize and hold various objective markers on the map, each marker was worth a hidden number of victory points - once you grabbed a marker you knew what it was worth, and there were fifteen points available spread over five markers. The main modifications from Sharp Practice seemed to be that there were no Big Men cards or factors, you moved as your unit was drawn. The play was also streamlined a bit for that many players, although to be honest, it did bog down a fair bit - but that may have had something to do with the fact it was Saturday night and people were more into having a good time than speeding through the game.

As a wild card in the game, there was a British rocket battery under the umpire's control that would fire when its card came up, but where the rocket would go, nobody knew (usually it'd screw the British up, including sending most of a troop of cavalry diving off a bridge!).

Here's the table on Saturday night, my artillery's in bottom right:

I got my artillery into a nice position quickly enough, but sort of buggered my infantry protection in the process (got in their way). I fired off one shot with the field gun at the French light infantry advancing on me, and had a beauty of a shot with the howitzer - right in the middle of the French cavalry - but the stupid fuze failed! Then I hammered by the light infantry and grenadiers, and my guys either died or ran away (but they did come back again eventually!) - here's after running away...

One other random element was that once your unit's card was drawn, you had to roll for a random event - sometimes this meant getting a special card to hold onto (e.g. ammo resupply, fast movement, good shooting) or something weird. In this photo, the officers and NCOs from two separate units are all taking a leak behind some trees!

This is from Sunday's game - my infantry platoon is getting onto a bridge and victory marker. As it turned out, the whims of war would keep them on that bridge the rest of the game, but as a result of having the best marker on the table (5 pts) we were able to tie the French, who had two markers, but only 5 points too!

Some of the action in the town.

More of Sunday's fight around the town.

Saturday and Sunday's games were pretty light, but a nice way to end the convention, particularly as I was on my way down with the flu, and wasn't fully functioning. Can't wait till next year's Hotlead!

ACW Naval Action at Hotlead - Union Triumphant!

Real-life work has dampened my ability to post often, plus, as I think I've mentioned before, Blogger's stupid interface has dampened my enthusiasm to load picture-heavy posts. But anyway, here's my Saturday afternoon battle from Hotlead back in March. It was a 1/600 ACW river action, four Union ships vs. three damn Rebel ships and three shore batteries.

The battle started with the Union fleet set up in the middle of the stretch of river, not knowing which (or both) ends of the river the Rebs would show up in, nor knowing where the shore batteries were. So we (Union) started in the naval equivalent of a square, facing off every which way. Turns out (lesson learned) that doesn't really work for ships. Once we started peeling off to engage the Rebels, we were a bit disorganized for a while - it was sort of like that fire drill you aren't allowed to mention in polite company any more. I won't mentioned that I accidently rammed a fellow Union ship in the process - luckily it was bigger and ironclad, so I didn't do any serious damage.

So here's the Union at game start:
I'm the USS Switzerland (the "all brown" ship), we also had the Benton (my ironclad friend), the General Price, and one other ship I can't remember - but it was the "one that sank".

Once we got sorted out, I started heading upriver, only to find the CSS Webb, with a lovely spar torpedo on its bow, aiming for me. The game ("Steam and Sail", I think) is broken into two movement phases (part of the reason I rammed the Benton was because I hadn't quite figured that out), so with the initiative, I begged our CinC to go first so I could dodge the danger.

I did escape the Webb, and then found on the second movement phase that I had a lovely shot at the CSS Indianola, and I took it! She sank like a rock (I rolled a crazy number of criticals) and I was the hero of the moment.

Here's the fast-sinking wreck of the Indianola, and me stuck (and gloating) beside her, with zero movement.

And now the Webb is coming back for me, angry over missing me the first time, angrier for me having sunk the Indianola, and not sated after sinking a Union ship along the way (the "can't remember").

Luckily the Webb was also slowed by sinking a ship, so I was able to get my speed back up and started roaring around in circles to avoid her, while looking for another target - the rest of the action had been going on downstream, where a Union and Rebel ram had been taking potshots at each other. The Rebel ship had also been avoiding our slow but deadly Benton as well. The Rebel shore batteries were taking pot-shots whenever they could.

Our other ram, the General Price, finally got to nail the CSS Queen of the West, but wasn't able to sink her - and you can see the Webb lurking and waiting to get its shot in.

And so after the Price rams the Queen, and gets turned sideways, in comes the Webb with another spar torpedo!

But the Webb misses! The torpedo doesn't hit and the Webb glances off the Price.

After some more maneuvering, the badly damaged Queen of the West gets nailed again by the Price, and finally sinks. At this time the game gets called - the Rebels were down to one ship, we had three (two of us in good shape).

One more shot of the game at the end:

This was a fun game, the rules were relatively easy to pick up, and we were helped a lot by our host, Glen B. I'm not sure I'd use the rules for my own ACW gaming, as I have a couple sets I think will work, and these ones were heavy on damage tracking, but for real rivet-heads, they'd be the cat's meow.

As a result, I promptly spent about another $300 on 1/1200 ACW ships to add to my collection, although I'm sure it will be 2019 before I get to painting them!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hotlead Game Photos #2 - I Ain't Been Shot Mum

For Saturday morning at Hotlead I got into another game with Too Fat Lardies's rules - "I Ain't Been Shot Mum", their WWII company-level rules. This game was in 6mm and was the "A Canadian VC" scenario from the rules, although we didn't know that at the start. Keith B. and Brian H. ran the game as a double-blind game, which was pretty cool - we (I was German) couldn't see the Canadian table, and they couldn't see ours. Both tables were set up essentially identical in terms of layout, with just minor visual differences.

The additional fog of war came from us not even being able to see their blinds until we spotted them, and then when units were out of our line of sight they'd either disappear or just sit there until we spotted them again and realized they'd moved. At one point they gained almost 1/3 of the town without us realizing it, as we didn't have anyone looking in that direction. We were also convinced (and were right) that another unit was completely unaccounted for and we were spotting everywhere to try and find it. Then later in the game we kept having mortar fire landing on our heads and we had no idea where it was coming from.

I'll save the best bit of the double-blind situation for further below, I have to say that that Keith and Brian's ability to keep straight faces as they moved from one side of the blind to another was a key to the game!

There were five players aside in the game, on the German side that meant three of us had seriously understrength infantry platoons, in my case I just had a section of 8 men and a MG42 MMG. Another player had two PZ IVHs, and Ana had a Panther and a Tiger. Our goal was to hold the bottom end (left side) of the town, protecting an off-table bridge from artillery observation.

As always, you can click on the photos for bigger versions.

One platoon and the two IVHs were our only forces on the table to start - on blinds on our side. The infantry was set pretty far up, actually on the far side of the town from what we needed to hold, and while our IVHs started at the crossroads at the back of the town, over the first two moves they jumped up to firing positions in an orchard on the other side of town. Both decisions ended up costing us.

Now we finally see the enemy coming over the bridges towards us - looks like Fireflies in both platoons!

The first reinforcement we got on the table were the two German cats. The Tiger set up at the crossroads at the back of town where it had great lanes of fire down both roads.

Unfortunately Ana rolled terrible - I'm not sure if she got in any kills before the Firefly the Canadians held back just on our side of the river killed it. Basically it was all over for the Tiger in one turn (turn 3 of the game).

BUT - the Tiger didn't burn, it just died in place. So the Canadians thought it was still alive and kicking, and spent the rest of the game shooting at it! This was the best and funniest situation from the double blind set-up. Ana had to keep rolling fake piles of dice just to keep the other side honest every time they put a licking on the Tiger.

After Ana's cats, we got Joe's "platoon" - two sections with a Panzerschreck team - on the table and he advanced on the left side (top of this pic) of town, grabbing a building with one section and the 'schrecks, but his other section was caught in the open on a road by a platoon of Shermans who spent much of the rest of the game machine-gunning the unit, until the 'schrecks finished them off (see a few pictures below).

In the pic above you can also see our initial on-board infantry platoon has retreated back to the big stone building in town, but has been followed closely by Canadian infantry in the orchard. While it took two assaults (Joe's infantry was on overwatch and laid a beating on the first assault), our platoon there was soon done.

You can also finally see my unit - still on a blind, but stalled at the crossroads. I think I spent two or three whole turns just sitting there - luckily no one spotted me.

If you look at the last pic (far right), you'll see Canadian infantry and armour still sitting by the river - and that's all we knew of them until suddenly they were close enough to auto-spot in the town. And then we realized they'd grabbed a chunk of it and had nothing in front of them (and nothing really to the side of them), except for my ditherers poking around at the crossroads.

Finally I get to bloody move, and after one spotting check (still trying to find the mysterious missing Canadian unit), I run along the road and grab one of the key town blocks with my unit. At that time I find the Canadians had advanced even further through the town and actually got a bit too focused on the wheatfield, and were now stuck in the open in front of me. Who would get to go next?

Shortly after my move, a tea break (turn end) card came up, so now everything was re-shuffled and my platoon gets pulled before the Canadian platoon, and I open up on them. I got two more shots at them, although they eventually got some of their guys into cover and were firing back; I was down to about 6 guys all told when the game ended.

But at least I knew where the stupid mortars were!

Meanwhile, on the Canadian side of the screen, Brian had been taunting one of the Canadian armour platoon leaders about his failure to utilize the Heroic Leader card. As Geoff (the player) later said - "You can call me chicken once, but not twice!"

So Geoff now made his move, and rammed his tank into the stone building in which German troops had been hiding. Unfortunately for Geoff this was a unit that was down to two guys with seven shock and had long "lost their bottle". So he lost his leader and his tank for very little. Of course, we had very little left on the table at this point too.

A shot from near the end, Joe's still dealing with Shermans gunning his infantry, our surviving Panther has had its main gun knocked out and is temporarily dueling with a Sherman with its MG (later the Panther pulled back into town).

Joe's dealt with the Shermans now (see the pillars of smoke!) but I've taken my hits and the Panther's not much help now.

An aerial shot of the German table at game's end - a Canadian victory.

The Canadian side of the table - hopefully someone from there has pics of how their game developed.

I played in Brian's IABSM game last year (in 15mm) and had a good time - just need to finally finish off some of my 6mm and get it on the table so I can play my own games of IABSM. Getting to that point is my goal for 2013.