Sunday, 8 January 2017

Bolt Action British underway

Over the Christmas and New Year period I've been gluing bits to other bits and to my fingers. But I've made some progress and yesterday I got a whole bad undercoated white.

The first picture shows gluing in progress. The two standing figures on the left without heads are the command figures. One is standing holding a mug of tea and the other is advancing  and will have a brolly in his left hand. The brolly is a little homage to the irrepressible Digby Tatham-Warter at Arnhem. And the tea drinker is there just because we're British and it's what we do.

At this point I want to give these characters Tam o' Shanters to represent the Black Watch, but the metal heads I bought from Warlord seemed a bit over scale. I decided to cut the bonnet from the heads and then attach them to the plastic heads. It was a bit of work but I got there in the end. 

Undercoated infantry. There are now 3 sections of 10 men.

And the undercoated others. At the left are the figures for the machine gun team. At the top left are the spotter team, including a rather spiffing looking chap in the RAF uniform. I could try to paint him to represent a good friend who served in the RAF, but the metal figure is a bit slimmer.  :)   

I've also changed the Tam o' Shanters, putting them only on the tea-drinking commanding officer and his sergeant-major escort. The more junior officer with the brolly has a camouflaged helmet.

At the right of the picture are the figures for the vehicles.

And a closer look at the command figures. I think all these deserve names and any suggestions are welcome. At the moment, the CO is Colonel Sir Archibald Bogle of Auchtershoogle and his escort Tavish McTavish. 

And the vehicles so far. I left the front off the bren carrier because after several dry runs, I found I couldn't fit the driver into the vehicle at a later stage if this was glued in place. And I wanted to paint the figures separately from the vehicles.

More later. I'm hoping to do a spray session on the infantry this afternoon.

British Light Dragoons

I got these finished this week. I had hoped to complete them by the end of the year but other stuff got in the way.

These are all Men at Arms, Napoleon at War 'big' 15mm figures.  There are three units in all, with facings of red, yellow and crimson.

I've almost completed the British forces for a friend. The remaining 3 infantry are well on the way and that leaves 2 artillery batteries. Hopefully I'll finish everything this month, but we never can tell what new game fads may distract us from targets we may set.   

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Games review of the year

Here's a quick review of the games I've played in 2016.

The pleasant surprises of this year were Lion Rampant and Bolt Action, Lion Rampant more so. It's just brilliant fun. After my first game in August I bought the rules and Perry plastics for the Wars of Roses and have had several great games since.

Here's the list for the year. Overall, not a bad year for games. 

Dystopian Wars     9 games.
ADG ancients.       8 games.
Maurice                 7 games.
Lion Rampant       7 games. 
Bolt Action            3 games.
Black Powder       1 game.
Flames of War      1 game.
Commands and Colors Ancients   2 games.
Board games                                10 games. 
Turning Point: Stalingrad               2 games over 6 meetings.    

The amount of Dystopian Wars was due solely to the new Fast Play Fleet Action rules. They are just far more fun than the previous versions.  Before we started playing them I was on the point of selling all my Dystopian stuff other than a couple of basic fleets. 

The ADG games were mainly our club competition. And other than the final against a hardened competition player who cheated a bit, the competition was fun.  It also highlighted a part of our club which has two types of players. There are those players who play BHGS competition games and who argue a lot about any rules, and the other group of our side of the room who are much more sociable and play for fun. We're still competitive but we laugh much more and can work through any rules questions or misunderstandings. 

The Maurice games were mostly fun.  I say 'mostly' because I did experience one game against a competition-head who wanted to try them out. Other than that all the games were good and still a whole lot of fun.

Later in the year was Lion Rampant. Just a whole lot of fun. We've even started a mini-campaign which will continue into 2017.

I tried Black Powder, which I found just a bit dull, despite all the gloss and advertising. It was OK, and I'll play it again if the chaps at the club want to.  

We had one game of Flames of War, and for no other reason that there were so many other games to play. Too many games and not enough time.

Then at the end of the year was Bolt Action. I was not planning on yet another game to get into, but the big models looked so good on the table and the games were fun so I got some stuff. I've had three games now, and all good fun, though my British force is still on the workbench. I hope to field something early in the near year. 

The boardgames were generally good.  A new game of Waterloo was a waste of time, as was, sadly, a Battle of the Bulge game amended by a friend. Wings of Glory was great fun, Squad Leader was as good as it ever was - still a brilliant game. Then there was Blucher, which can be played with miniatures or cards. It was OK, but nothing special. On the anniversary of Jutland we played two games of the old Avalon Hill classic - Jutland. Both good games, which goes to show that sometimes, old vintage games like Jutland and Squad Leader are still better than more glossy newer products. We also played the Napoleonic naval rules by Osprey which gave a very good and fast paced game. We'll see if we'll play this or Sails of Glory as the naval game of choice. Maybe we'll do both if there's time.

I had two games of Command and Colors Ancients.  Both good games. Then I played Turning Point: Stalingrad over several club meetings. This was really good. We recorded the positions of the pieces at the end of each evening and picked up the game at the next club meeting. It was good to give a game like that the time it deserves, and we had great games.

And that's about it. I'm now aware that ACW and Napoleonics have taken a back seat for a while. Hopefully I'll be able to play them some time in 2017.

But next year will definitely see more Lion Rampant and Bolt Action. I'll try to continue with my games clear-out, but who knows what the next fad may be. I know that old-school imaginations horse and musket stuff is just bubbling under. And there is The Pikeman's Lament due in January. This is a set of rules based on Lion Rampant, set in the 17th century and going up to include the Great Northern War.  We'll likely play this because of the fun we've had with Lion Rampant.         

Here's to 2017. May you all get to play many good games.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The WW2 stuff that side-tracked the Napoleonic painting

I have now had three games of Bolt Action at the club. It's been a lot of fun and as a result I bought some stuff. Almost all of it from ebay. Here's some boxes.

I got a decent deal on these kits, hence why I bought more than I intended. I'm going to paint the German vehicles as a painting exercise in using the airbrush to do the late-war camouflage patterns, then I'll sell them or give them to chaps at the club. I may also end up selling the Firefly and maybe the Stuart.  The Stuart is a resin and metal kit while all the others are plastic. 

And here are the British infantry which I'm about to start putting together. I'm sure there's lots of fun to be had sticking bits to other bits, to my fingers and to yet other bits (and all the time trying not to swear too much...)

I'm working here on top of a small white notice board so I can see all the plastic bits clearly.  Also, though not visible here, is the card sheets I put on the floor under the table so that any small items I dropped would fall on the card and be visible to get picked up. I didn't want to be crawling around on the floor trying to track down some small but key item. 

And some part assembled vehicles. The Stuart is at the back with the Sherman and a bren carrier in front. Also, at the back is a Dystopian Wars objective marker. I'm keeping it here as a reminder to undercoat it at the same time I do the vehicles.

More later ...

progress on the Napoleonic British

Progress has continued on the British, but slowly due to other games and related side-tracks. But here are some photos.

British infantry. Most of the coats and facing work is done, just the dark grey / black mix for shako's, packs and all that stuff to do. 

And a view from the British commander's side. Packs and shako's still to be done.

The Light Dragoons. Again, nearly done with the dark grey / black mix for the shako's and the white belts to be done.  

This is an early picture of the horses for the light dragoons and the artillery. Just one semi-wash coat over the white undercoat.

A picture of the finished horses, with legs, manes and tails and the furniture done. At this stage I've also given the bases a coat of khaki.  This will followed with a dry brush of sand and a highlight of a cream colour.

The finished horses awaiting the riders. 

And the Light Dragoons, one step nearer getting finished.

And that's it for now. I had hoped to get all these done by the end of the year, but only the light dragoons may make it. More later ...

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Old school versus new school

Fads come and fads go, but ever since the Master of Tradgarland explored his old school ACW, I have been thinking about doing something similar involving tricornes and muskets and all that.

See the Duchy of Tradgarland post here,

So I got the Introduction to Battle Gaming by Terry Wise and The War Game by Charles Grant, both vintage and influential books from many, many moons ago. I started to wonder what I could do and had a look for figures.

And here now comes a dilemma. On the one hand there are the vintage classic Spencer Smith miniatures.  Very basic sculpts but having a charm all their own. 

And on the other hand are modern sculpts like these Perry miniatures.

What to go for, if indeed I do get some figures?  The Spencer Smith used to be cast in soft plastic, but are now metal. Metal is OK, but with 50 plus infantry or 25 plus cavalry in a unit, expense and weight become influential factors. Especially weight. Plastics seem the better option at the moment, particularly the Perry minis.

Maybe my current rambling thoughts will not result in any purchases or painting, but it's fun to think about the possibilities of using old school classic rules with either vintage or modern figures.

Dystopian Wars French fleet

To get away from red tunics for a bit, I decided to do a basic French fleet for Dystopian Wars.  Blue and white were the main theme, with a bit of grey for variation.

Here they are not long started with an undercoat of yellow for the bits to be painted brass later, and the basic grey and blue camouflage market out.

Paint splashed on the air units.

The pocket battleship. The yellow and orange donut at the front is a heat lance.

The cruisers at the back are surface skimming models and will be mounted on bases, hence why they don't sit flat. At the front are some frigates.

And more frigates.

The fleet.

The big red planes are heavy fighter bombers and will be mounted on clear plastic bases.

The little chaps are fighters. 

I have to go back and tidy up some odd splashes and overspills of paint, but overall, not too bad. 

Back to the horse and musket era soon ... and more red coats.