Saturday, 2 June 2018

Black Powder game with small units

Here are pictures of a game we played recently at the club.

Black Powder, but with little differences. We played this AWI game as a kind of skirmish game with 8 figure units. None of us have enough figures to do a game like this with 24 figure battalions, so I suggested a skirmish type game as I thought all the mechanics would still work. And they did. We had a great game on a 6 x 4 table.

The other thing I suggested using was the Quick Start rules from the Waterloo boxed set. This is a simple 7 page easy intro to the game and was perfect for what I wanted to do. We were all rusty on the rule mechanisms as we'd not played BP for a long time. 

The scenario we chose was Freeman's Farm from the BP rulebook. Here are the British on the road. In the distance are the British skirmishers being surprised by the Americans emerging from the woods. And, to my eye, this looks fine as a game of BP. 

And here are the first American die rolls, needing 4+ to hit.  Hilarious.

The British advance over the river. The British advancing along the road have hits and are disordered. The Americans in front have hits. The British are about to take their break test. 

And some time later the British advance over the river in the opposite direction. The British attempt to move around the left of the wood may show some success.  

Same view from a different angle. Near the back of the table are Americans who showed an amazing ability to fail their command rolls. 

On the British left flank, three American units are advancing while the Hessians on the road stand and watch. 

At the end of the night is was looking like an American victory.  It was a great game, and to the chaps who played, the game played well and looked well.

We'll return to this simple version of BP again and probably with the same size units. Though next time we may try the full BP rules. 

The other thing that's come out of the game, is my decision to keep my 28mm plastic Italians and Waterloo box set and my own AWI/imagin-nations stuff.  

The reason behind this is a couple of weeks back I had a game of Sharp Practice 2.  I've never really taken to SP and while the game was OK, I just got fed up of the writing style and trying to find stuff in the rules. And to me, the SP rules are not well written. I seemed to spend more time figuring out how many actions this officer or unit could perform and checking charts and tables than I did playing the game. I came away from the game somewhat down-hearted and thought about selling off my 28mm stuff.

But then my mind turned to Black Powder and what I regard as the elegant simplicity of it's mechanisms. There seemed to be no reason not to play this as a skirmish style game with smaller units.  And it worked.  Particularly with the Quick Start rules. And so I'm happy and looking forward to another game, and I'm going to keep my 28mm figures. 

As a final note to fellow gamers, if you have or can get the BP Quick Start rules, try to have a game as a skirmish. It's great fun, and the rules need minimal tweaks.

And a note to Warlord Games; please consider doing a skirmish version (or supplement) of Black Powder using the Quick Start rules as the basis.  It may not sell a lot of figures, but as an intro to BP for those without huge armies, it would be great. 

More later. 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

ACW wargame tokens - part 2

I was at the annual pilgrimage to the Carronade games show in Falkirk yesterday. A grand day out. Good conversations with lots of friends and more purchases than I intended, though no photos of tables. I'm sure other bloggers will have stuff out there.

Here's the follow up with the 'finished'  ACW figures. Apologies for the rough and ready photos. 

At this stage it's been blue and greys wash, flesh faces and hands, rifles brown and barrels metal, a couple of more substantial beards brown wash, and a black wash on some hats and cap peaks. I also painted the officers' sashes and trim on the drums and added flags and loose flock. Not painted were straps, belts, packs, boots or the metal bands on the muskets. 

Here are two shots with figures just over 2 foot from the edge of the table. The camera is at my normal eye level when sitting, so these are roughly the 3 foot test. 

For the second shot I dropped down a bit, as we sometimes do, but still about 2 to 3 foot away. 

Now I've come to about 1 foot or 12 inches away.  

And lastly, about 6 inches away. 

Now it's not the best photography, but in all these shots, I don't really miss the straps and belts n stuff. Or at least, I can't see them. However, I 'know' they're not there and that might niggle at the back of a pedantic brain. 

Certainly good enough for the games table. And a good test of what's actually needed to get something on the table. 

Will I continue to paint more ACW this way or sell up? Therein lies the question. I've not decided as so may other  projects are bubbling under.  

More later. 

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Wargame tokens vs painting masterpieces

Recent thoughts have turned to the number of 15mm figures I have and the number that are still unpainted. I thought about painting or selling. 

I also remembered a while ago, a friend posed the question - "when did our wargame tokens start having to be painted masterpieces?"

It's still a really good question for me to ask, particularly as last week when we had a great 15mm ACW bash at the club using my figures. Several thoughts went through my head during the evening, including do I want to get more figures painted, or should I keep the painted ones and sell the unpainted, or should I sell the lot after our current campaign. For the record I have over 2000 15mm ACW figures, and just under half are painted. 

After some thought, my friends statement came back to mind and I then thought back to the old wargame adage of - the 3 foot test, i.e. what can you see on a figure 3 foot away in the middle of a table. If you cannot see it at that distance, do you really need to paint it in detail.

Then I thought of all the boardgames I have, such as Commands and Colors, Squad Leader or any number of Russian front or Bulge games, where I'm quite happy to play with wooden blocks or cardboard counters. 

Now there's also the aesthetic side of a game and seeing nicely painted figures, but I guess I'm questioning the need for me to do detail on 15mm figures.

So, my solution to test is just basic colours, and here are some photos. In a sense, I'm thinking of these figures as we did back in the days of good old Airfix, where we happily accepted blue and grey plastic and pushed them around without a care in the world. 

These have all been undercoated white for ages. I splashed on some washes. At the back left is Army Painted green shade. In the middle is Vallejo blue wash, and at the front right is a mixture of Army Painted blue shade and Citadel fancy-name wash. I noticed the Army Painter and Citadel shades are more indigo and the Vallejo more blue. Not pictured was a test with Vallejo inks and their blue is a beautiful striking colour.  

Just a closer view of the Vallejo blue. On a first try, I think I'm happiest with this tone. At the back are some chaps where I'd previously painted the faces, and was wondering how fast and casual I should be with a blue wash over them. I've decided to leave them for the moment and go back later.   

And now with the confederates in shades of grey. The Vallejo wash was a bit light so I went back to my old DIY ways of doing washes and used 3 or 4 different greys. I worked very fast with these and didn't bother if paints were mixed or not. 

I then took some half-painted figures and quickly painted a wash of earth on the bases. The end results look OK. 

And a closer shot of the Berdan Sharpshooters in green with the bases given a wash of earth. This gives and idea what the 'finished' figures may look like, though I may want to add a couple of touches like rifles and faces.  

At the moment, I think I'll carry on with this experiment and see what they look like with the minimum painting necessary to look reasonable from 3 feet away.  They would certainly do as rear rank chaps, supporting fully painted chaps in a front rank.  I'll also have to think about flock if I'd want to add it.  At the moment I'm thinking yes.

Also, as far as I can remember, this took an hour or so.  Not bad for 60 bases. 

A little progess on the Italians front

A couple of pics on progress with the 28mm Italians.  

I did some shading in the folds and creases, then tidied it up with white.  The chaps at the back right of the big group picture have been done, the rest are still waiting with their dark greys shading. 

A closer shot of the chaps where the shading has been tidied. Looking not too bad. 

Now I just have to keep the momentum going here. More later ... 

More Raging Heroes resin

After I had done the initial painting on my previous Raging Heroes resin, I took the opportunity to get some more.  I did wonder if I really wanted to mess with resin and mould release agent again, but decided to go ahead. Thankfully, the new batch came with a guide on how to clear and prepare them, so I'm hoping things will be easier this time around.  

Packs of horses and riders and 10 foot, plus a couple of bonus figures.  

And spread out before lying for a while and then heading for a soapy bath (per the instructions).   

Another batch of figures I picked up had been assembled and undercoated.  However, I think on a couple of models the previous owner may have had the same issues with the mould release agent as I had, as the paint is peeling in a couple of places. It's not much and will be easy to fix. 

I'll see how I get on assembling and starting painting these. The assembling stage may be a bit of a chore as some of the bits seem fragile, but I'm looking forward to painting them. More later ... 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Tanks. You're welcome!

I got the 28mm tanks finished.  And thanks to the Marx Brothers for the title of the post.  Here's the photos. 

The armoured car got it's three colour finish. For a long time I thought I should leave it as just the dark yellow and green, but finally resolved to make it like the others. 

A long shot. Basically most of the painting is done.   

A close view of curly, larry and moe, before they go to their vehicles.  

With transfers (decals) attached. They are a bit bright, but I left them as is. I also did very minimal weathering; not more than a dusting of earth on tyres and tracks as I'm not a fan of heavy weathering. 

A front view of the 3 stooges or 3 amigos in their vehicles. In any vehicles I do, I always try to have a figure to give them a personal touch. 

And a view of the Panzer IV with the skirts attached with blu-tak. I decided to leave the skirts loose to allow for representing different models in games.  (Apologies for the slightly fuzzy, shaky hand photos here).  

And that's them. I reckoned that if the chap who agreed to buy the tanks, wanted heavier weathering he could easily apply some more, or glue the skirts on to the Pz IV.  

They were passed over to their new owner, a chap at our club, who kindly agreed to contribute something to a friends justgiving page, where she's baking cakes and raising money for cancer research.  In case you may be interested, her page is here;

More later, as I try to progress the 28mm Napoleonic Italians or the 15mm Seven Years War stuff, or another of the projects on the go ... 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

and another ongoing project ... tiger tiger

I got these 1/56 (28mm) German vehicles when I got my British for Bolt Action. I've decided to see if I can get them finished.

I bought these as a painting exercise, not for a game. I'd always intended to sell them once finished. I wanted to use the airbrush to try the two or three colour camouflage that was used from the mid-war onwards.  I also wanted to do the summer scheme, as I've always preferred it to the much darker green and brown used in the winter scheme.  

Anyhow, here's where they were several months ago. Only the Panzer IV had a test of the green camouflage. The colour is German light camouflage green. 

And all three with the green. My thoughts at this point were maybe I should have put thinner lines on the armoured car.  

Now with the red-brown added. I actually used a Vallejo air mud colour for this as I thought the panzer red-brown was still a bit dark.  I deliberately wanted to do much lighter tones on the vehicles, always thinking I could darken them later with paint or a wash if I wanted. The skirts on the Panzer IV are loose and may leave them that way, allowing for them to be used as different variants.  

Not too bad at that point. I did tidy up a couple of overspills. Then I went on to do the tracks with Vallejo dark rubber. This is a nice dark grey, and this and Vallejo back-grey have become two of favourites to use instead of black. I also did the crew figures; two in field grey and one in traditional black (... guess which tank gets the commander in black!). 

And finally a close-up of the crew. I tried to give the armoured car commander figure a yellow trim, to hint at someone clining on to their old cavalry traditions.  The chap in black was given pink trim and collar patches.

Overall, not too bad at this stage.  Next to be painted will be the various tools and cables on the vehicles, the exhausts and more on the treads and wheels.  

More later,