Saturday 28 July 2012

Warhammer Dogs of War Light Cavalry

Thank goodness these are finished! The horses have been painted for quite a while but the riders have been giving me a savage case of painter's block..

The riders are a real kit bash. The legs and torsos are from the Empire Pistolier box. The arms are from the Empire Knights of the White Wolf box. The spears are from old-skool Empire spearmen. Helmets and shields are from various Mordheim sprues. Helmet plumes are from High Elves and the cloth helmet bands are green stuff. All up I think they come together OK.

I've never used light cavalry before but supposedly these are one of the better Dogs of War units. Whether that is the case for me remains to be seen. Now these are done I've got a full 1000pts completed. Not sure what comes next although it really should be one of the Regiments of Renown pike units followed by more knights I suppose.


Friday 27 July 2012

Scratchbuilt Rustic Barns in 15mm

One of my main focuses this year is to dramatically improve the size, quality and variety of my terrain collection. I have loads of nicely painted (and even more UNpainted) lead but it always looks better when the background is up to scratch.

These two buildings were knocked up in about 2 hours, made entirely from cork and card. They are intended to represent typical barns from eastern Europe where a thatch roof wouldn't be strong enough to cope with the weather. They will fit nicely alongside my scratch built Russian church and JR timber buildings you can see in this post.

I really must get my finger out and do some better grassed hills, roads and rivers now. And some plowed fields. And bridges. And...


Thursday 26 July 2012

HQ Transports for FoW MW Grenadierkompanie

Last post for today! This is a couple of wagons for lugging about the mortar section from the HQ of my Eastern Front MW German Grenadierkompanie for Flames of War.

They've been lurking in my odds and sods box until a reason came along to paint them up.
The horses are a bit oddly sculpted by comparison to other vendors but they look OK from a distance.


Saxon Napoleonic Commanders in 15mm

As promised in my previous post here's a couple of command stands for my 3rd Saxon division under Generallieutenant Polentz (with a high-speed French ADC!). These are a mix of Eureka Miniatures and AB figures. Lying in foreground are a couple of French light cavalry casualty markers from AB.

I must say the Eureka Saxons are the absolutely lovely miniatures. Everybody (quite rightly) raves about the quality of AB but IMHO these miniatures are just as good in terms of sculpting and animation and they mix beautifully. Alan Marsh both designed and sculpted these and he deserves plenty of credit.


10e/15e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval

These are the 10th and 15th regiments of Chasseurs à Cheval for my French army based on the OOB from Friedland in 1807. They will form to core of my light cavalry brigade commanded by Colonel Pierre-David de Colbert-Chabanais, in Général Brun's 3rd Division, within Ney's VI Corps. I still need to paint the 3rd Hussars to complete the brigade but otherwise the division is entirely complete.

10e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval with crimson facings

15e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval with orange facings

I found a pile of conflicting information when doing my uniform research, mainly around facing colours and the trumpeter uniforms as a whole. In the end I went with what seemed the most correct  and looked OK at this scale.

Next post has some Saxon commanders and then I'm going to start the Saxon line infantry. There's only about 140 of those so that'll be a doddle... ;-)


Saturday 21 July 2012

Song of Drums & Shakos French and British Project Part III

All done now and I think they look better for the dip and the basing. Sure they are not great works of art but are solid and more than enough to have some fun games with. You can see the effect that the dip has made the white and obviously it works better on colour. But for these Peninsular veterans they now have their 'knees brown' or more specifically their trousers dirty!

Going British and French may be a bit clichéd but I have traditionally steered toward the 1809 and 1812 campaigns with Confederation troops to back up my French so the Brits are a new direction. Besides a redcoat is always good to try and recruit players who are only really familiar with Waterloo.

Just a broader comment on gaming supplies I have to say that my mind is most boggled with the variety of gaming supplies available these days. Again perusing a WSS I saw some decals coming out for Highland kilts, sock tops and dicing for the bonnet! Amazing what you can get these days and that is before we even consider the range of figures for even some of the more eclectic periods. All great stuff.

The next big step is the game of course and I will have to organise one of those soon.


Song of Drums & Shakos French and British Project Part II

So after my model building session I have completed the painting step. I used Vallejo and Games Workshop paints and did just basic block colours - no highlighting and no shading. The figures painted very well and it helped that they were mounted on individual bases. Not having really painted British before I didn't realise how much easier they are to paint than the French. The French always look great with the colour, plumes red piping but I seem to have a love hate relationship painting them. I love the finished look but struggle with all the details sometimes getting bored quickly. Worth it in the end though as a unit of French infantry always looks good to my mind.

I have become a convert to the Army Dipper method of painting and have been very satisified with the results so far. I did around 150 War of the Roses figures (Perry) with this method and was very happy and have also used it extensively on my 15mm Flames of War armies. This will be the first time I have used it for Napoleonics though and this will be interesting as there is a predominance of white which of course my other figures did not have.

I have only read recently in WSS 59 I think that there is some sort of debate whether the 'dip' method is sort of cheating and a easy way out. Having painted eyes in my youth, done the three layer method and spent eons lavishing effort on figures I have come to the conclusion that I can't be that bothered anymore! That and my eyes are not as good as they used to be. If I have a philosophy on painting these days it is very simple. I like bold colour, I try to paint as neatly as possible and I standardise the basing of my figures.
Being a gamer with vast hordes of figures I also want to get my armies on the table to use so the dip seemed a good option to me. Having used it now for at least 3-4 armies I am a strict convert.

Some things to remember though. Even with a new tin, I use the middle tone, make sure you give it a good stir to get the pigment well mixed it. Don't just shake the tin but give it a good stir. I had an experience with an Orc that I dropped into the tin, I have have done that 3 times now!, and even though I gave the tin a really good shake the figure was caked in brown mud.

Secondly I now paint on the dip with a old brush and before I do that I use turpentine to thin the mixture a little. The give the figures 24 hours to dry before hitting them with Dull Cote or other matt to suck the gloss out. I am not a fan of shiny figures.

As you will see from the pictures the painting is very basic and I have shown the flat faced British as well as a comparison to a Frenchmen for head size.

So the figures are quite dull and not that great so we will see next what the dip and some attention to the bases will reveal.


Tuesday 17 July 2012

Springtime for Hitler - FoW MW Grenadierkompanie Part II

Hi All,

I'm still plugging away at my MW German Grenadier company for Flames of War. Since my last post I've finished some infantry and more support weapons.

You know the drill about clicking for bigger pics. Here they are...

HQ with 8cm mortars are light support weapons
Heavy infantry guns with command and observer teams
Full black pioneers with goliath and flame throwers
Another view of the pioneers
I won't ever use the AT rifles in the HQ so along with some ordinary grenadiers I mixed them into the pioneers to bulk them out to the full ten bases. I think they look cool in there

So that's all the support units complete now along with the HQ. I'm told it will be at least another two weeks til I get my combat and weapons platoons so I'll be painting other stuff for a while I guess.

For those who have found their way here from the Battlefront forums there won't be any more posts over there. I've decided to go with Forged in Battle miniatures for the combat and weapons platoons so I'll be showcasing them here only.


Saturday 14 July 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Undead

A tale of six gunmen and a whole mess o zombies...

On Friday night the lads (minus Nug) gathered at Chez Millsy for a western skirmish using a modified version of Shootist.

As it was Friday the 13th we decided to forgo the usual straight up gun slinging duel and play a last man standing zombie apocalypse, wild west style. The premise was that Gutless Bob found a horde of Aztec gold and brought it back to the saloon in San Jauntonio. Little did he suspect the gold was cursed. Duh! When is it NOT cursed? The inevitable followed and so began The Good, the Bad and the Undead.

Remember to click for bigger images partners!

We started with a handful of zombies on table and every turn added up to d6 more. In order to survive the six lonely gunmen would need to kill zombies faster than they could wander in from the badlands. The zombies moved at half speed and could only melee although they were quite good at it. Any successful shot to the head or body by a gunman would kill a zombie, anything else and they just keep on coming.

All gunmen started with a full load of ammo and could reload from any of the crates scattered about town. The problems really started when ammo ran low and the crates were in areas loaded with the walking dead. At the height of the game we had 40+ zombies shambling and moaning their way about the table, eager for gunslinger brains. One by one the gunmen fell but not before each took their fill of undead...

First to die was Angry Earp (Cory). Armed with a heavy pistol and a knife he would hit but not kill when shooting. Eventually he disposed of 4 zombies including 1 in hand-to-hand. He died from having his head torn off, was reanimated as a zombie and then killed a second time by Gutless Bob.

Second to fall was Dangerous Dan (Russ), toting a shotgun and pistol. He killed 8 including 1 in hand-to-hand before having his heart torn still beating from his chest. Unlike most he went to a peaceful grave.

Third to go was Black Bart (Millsy). An ambidextrous gunman with two pistols he too was prone to hit but not kill when shooting. He fell alongside Angry Earp and the zombies used Earp's entrails to strangle him to death. Before he went he killed 5 zombies all by gun. He also came back shambling.

Fourth down was Corporal Punishment (Ian) with his rifle and pistol. He killed 8 including 1 in hand-to-hand before being ripped to shreds by a large horde. He also came back to haunt his fellow gunslingers.

Fifth to die was Gutless Bob (Bob!), the cause of all the trouble in the first place. Armed with a heavy pistol he killed 10 zombies including 3 in hand-to-hand. His was to be pulled in two like a human wishbone in a zombie tug-of-war. Justice of sorts...

Last man standing was Coyote Smith (Graeme) with his two revolvers and a knife. He killed 7 including 1 in hand-to-hand before he was cornered against a building and had his short rib drawn out the hard way.

And so the inevitable happened. All the gunmen died but not before they killed a total of 42 zombies between them. Great fun for all with plenty of laughs, usually at the misfortune of others. Credit to Russ for a genius idea in putting a Friday the 13th twist on a western gunfight.

Til next time...

Millsy and the lads

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Milestones: 20K visits and 35 followers

Whilst doing a couple of new posts this morning I realised we've ticked over a minor milestone on the blog and passed the 20,000 visits mark. Along the way we've also accumulated 35 followers.

To quote a famous figure from the past "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

A massive thanks to all who have dropped by, got involved with comments and advice and especially those loyal few who follow our blog.


Song of Drums & Shakos French and British Project

One of our allies in the West is getting into Song of Drums and Shakos which the same system we use for Napoleonic skirmish games. Adam is going to do an ongoing review of his forces as he builds them up. Here's the first instalment...

I have received my copy of the Ganesha Games 'Songs of Drums and Shakos' and decided I would finally crack on with a couple of small forces to play with as it looks like a fun system.

For those of you who are not familiar they are a skirmish set of rules which are about 400 points a side which translates into roughly 8-12 figures per side obviously depending on the quality. Eg a basic French and British Line infantryman are worth 33 points each. There is the rules set called Songs of Drums and Shakos (which has the rules a couple of scenarios and lists for the big nations of France, Austria, Britain, Russia and Prussia) and a supplement called More Songs of Drums and Shakos which add lists for the rest of the nations and a few more scenarios and rules.

I bought the rules from Lulu ( which was the first time I had ordered from this mob and altogether the rules cost me a total of $35 for the both of them. I ordered them while in Melbourne and was very pleasantly surprised to have them arrive quite quickly. I also really like the look of them and have pored over them since getting them.

So I had the rules and I know from Mike and from Mark, my other mate, that there were a pretty good set of rules and of course they won an award at Origins so they are highly regarded.

I had of course a substantial collection of figures already painted and would just need re-basing but I decided that I would start from scratch as I not only want some French and British but I had some of the relatively new Victrix figures which I had bought some time ago.

I decided that I wanted to light infantry forces for both sides and I had also purchased the Light Infantry heads blister from Victrix. I have seen the pictures of the painted Victrix stuff and they look really good and of course they are very good value for money compared to the metal ones.

After a basic white undercoat I will do the basic colours and then intend to use the army painter dipper which I have become a big fan of. I can still do highlighting and shading but these days I am far more inclined to use the army painter dip which I have been more than happy with. I used the Army Dipper white primer and I am not happy with it. I found that it sprays a bit spotty even after a good shake and is a bit gritty in application - you can see the spots in the image. Love them or loathe them I find the Games Workshop white primer the best and would not buy the Army Painter primers again. I have the black as well and that is slightly better but will change back to GW. No saving in price these days anyway.

I built the British first and used the Peninsular War Flank Company box to get the right shoulder decorations. The various bits came off the sprue easily enough with a set of clippers and not too much in the way of tags to trim. Flashing was very minimal being just a touch on the backpacks and water bottle strap. In terms of the arm placement on the sprue the matching left and right weren't too bad but think they could be better placed as the pairings are not that obvious - to me anyway. The left and right are separate and I must admit to a bit of fiddling get them to sit right which was irritating. I much prefer the Perry Brothers style with both arms and weapon all attached together. Less variation but not as frustrating glueing together.

The metal heads were cut of the sprue and with just a little flash they were ready. I tended to glue all the plastic together and then put on the heads. I used Liquid Nails but you can use superglue. One thing I noticed with the metal heads is that they seem to be small compared to the figure and this seemed to stand out particularly before they were undercoated. They don't seem as bad undercoated but they still small. This was particularly noticeable when compared to the French figures which seem big headed in comparison. The British heads also seem to make the figures chinless which again makes them stand out from the French. Perhaps the normal line plastic heads will look better.

One thing in the rules that you need is a Sergeant and Victrix does have two figures which can be used for the command. In the British box one is obviously the officer in hessian boots and the other in trousers which is the one I used for the Sergeant. The only problem I see with this figure though is that they have a sword moulded onto the left leg which is not appropriate for the NCOs. I should point out that I have the Centre Co box as well and this has a left arm with pike. You could choose a normal figure for the NCO but you would not have the sash on the figure. The Light Infantry Sergeants didn't carry a pike though so I have given mine a musket which you can see second from the left. In the blister for the heads you also get the left and right arms for the Light Co bugler although they only come in one pose.

When doing in the French I found the left and right arms match not very intuitive and had some fiddling around to get them right. It should be pointed out that the French box has 60 figures in it including the Elite Company figures unlike the British range which has separate boxes for the flank and centre. The selection of head is good and you have about a dozen Grenadier bearskins and the same of long plumed shako heads. Being a Voltiguer section I decided to give my boys all tall plumes as they look better than way. Given the body of the figure is more of a campaign figure I should probably have gone with a more basic shako but I like plumes! As I mentioned earlier the French heads are bigger than the British metal ones and are much better proportioned. I could rip off the metal ones and put the plastic ones on but they are the wrong design having a shako plate not the bugle.

Aside from the arms I found the briquet (hanger and bayonet combo) on the sprue frustrating to get off. It is a thin piece of plastic and yet has been attached to the sprue in a tight spot with some 4-5 attachments. I managed to get them off OK but they could have been made easier to do. One thing to note is that with the limited number of figures you will end up using non elite company bodies for them. You can tell this as some have the crossbelt which had the briquet off it and some don't. I didn't do a separate French Sergeant figure as he will be painted differently to make him stand out.

The poses of both sets are OK for the skirmishing poses that I want and I am sure they will be better for the centre company marching pose. But I have 12 figures per side with Officer, hornist and Sergeant and 9 privates/soldats. The few kneeling figures I quite liked though.

Building just 24 figures though was a slow and fiddly business and one that I would lose a bit of patience with if I was doing larger units. On that experience alone I would opt for the metals but I will wait until I have my figures painted before offering a final verdict. Having built a heap of Perry War of the Roses figures (120 or so) I can say that experience was a better one and much prefer 3-4 pieces to glue rather that the 5-6 with Victrix. Yes they are value for money per figure but glueing them together too some 3-4 hours for just 24 figures. Maybe I am just too slow doing it but cutting off fiddly bits of the sprues was not as easy as the Perry or GW stuff I have done. 

So that was my initial impression and the next steps will be painting. As I said I will do basic colours and then brush on the Army Dipper. This worked very well for the Perry War of the Roses stuff so I am happy with the method.

Next instalment will be painted figures and I will measure them up to some of my other ranges for a size comparison.


Springtime for Hitler - FoW MW Grenadierkompanie

This is the beginnings of a Mid War Eastern Front German Grenadierkompanie for Flames of War. I've been wanting to do one for years and finally decided it was time. Not much else was interesting me and it was good to find something to spark my enthusiasm.

I'm kind of going about this backwards as my combat platoons are on back order and my HQ has only just arrived in the post. At least once I finish them I'll have the whole army done I suppose because I won't be able to play until I've completed the minimum requirements...

The crew figures for the guns are something of a mishmash. I've had some VERY unusual packing experiences with these including a wounded Russian in an 8cm mortar pack. At least he found a home in the bailed crew for the armour. ;-)

So here we have some regimental and divisional support platoons. Remember to click for bigger images.

PaK36(r) platoon
PaK36 platoon with transport
PaK36 with transport
I know the Kettenkrads are not legal in the list but I had them hanging about so they got painted...

Nebelwerfer battery

Nebelwerfer and command / observer
leIG18 light infantry gun platoon
StuG F/8 platoon

On the painting table at the moment I have the HQ, heavy infantry guns and some black pioneers. On back order I have two grenadier platoons, an MG platoon and a 12cm mortar platoon. I've got a couple of weedy lookin' Marder I's as well.

All up I should be able to do an easy 2,000pts with plenty of options for supports. The pioneers can morph into an Assault Group with various guns, flamers, MG, etc as options and the other support options can change in and out for plenty of variety.

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