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.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Two more British units

I managed to finish off two more British Napoleonic units. Here are the pictures. Facings this time are white and buff.

And a view from the British side of things, because we rarely see photos of the backs of figures. 

And a closer view of the units. 

I'm not sure what will be next, if I'll move on to artillery and light dragoons or try to finish off the remaining three infantry units.  I don't know about you when you paint lots of the same uniform and if a colour fatigue creeps in after a while. At this moment, I may want to move away from red uniforms for a bit.

More later ...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

back to normal and some finished or nearly finished stuff

These were nearly done last week and I was able to wrap up at the weekend.

First the Inniskilling Dragoons I'm painting for a friend's 18mm British army. This completes the Union Brigade and I'll try post a picture of the whole brigade later.

And the 28mm WW2 British. The figures are done, but I'm still deciding on some static grass. I have some of the grass, but it's not that long and I think these figures might be nice with some longer patches or clumps of grass that come to mid-calf or knee. The sniper could really benefit from hiding in long grass or bushes.  I'll have to have a look at what tufts and clumps are out there.

More later.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

And more on Warlord Games Bolt Action as sanctimonious gits

Apologies to regular viewers - this is a bit of a rant.

As part of my Bolt Action purchases I got a British machine gun and crew.  I couldn't quite see from online pictures how it all went together.

Luckily in the box there was card which said go to their webpage for instructions.

However when I tried to go there I got the message.

"This is somewhat embarrassing isn't it. .... Either it as been moved or you typed a wrong address." 

And I thought is this a message for me as if I've made a mistake, or about them not having the advertised page available. But if it was them, then I'd expect an apology for it not being available and a redirect. Then I thought, what a bunch of arrogant smug sanctimonious gits. You provide a guide to a page then insult people who follow that guide.

At the moment I'm not sure whether to buy anything else for Bolt Action, or from Warlord Games. Maybe I'm just being too reactionary, but stuff them; I'm a customer and I expect an advertised service. Bah humbug!

Rant mode off. 

Normal service will be resumed soon. 

And just when I thought it was safe ... (again) ... Bolt Action

Some chaps at the club have been getting into Bolt Action and we played a game a couple of weeks back.  It was a good game a good to see 28mm figures on the table. 

And so with the voices calling and the waves dragging me down into another project, I went on ebay and bought some British stuff.  The plastics will take a while to assemble and paint, but I was lucky enough to get 8 metal figures, so I thought I'd base them and do them as a paint test exercise.

Here's what I got (so far...)

Here are the metal figures based and undercoated white. I don't know the manufacturer but they are nice sculpts.
And here they are after being sprayed with Vallejo air golden brown.  I reckoned this was a reasonable starting point.

Then I applied a different wash to each figure just to see the effect for shading. Black was just a little too dark and the Army Painter stuff a bit too light. About right was Devlon Mud / Agrax or the Vallejo Umber so I reckon these will be used on the rest of the models. 

And a last pic for now with better lighting showing a start on highlighting and painting the faces and packs and all that. Turning out not too bad so far.

And just to show another project slightly delayed by all these new things. I hope to finish these Napoleonic Brits in the next week or so. 

More pics later.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

update on stuff for Lion Rampant

Here's just a little update. Mostly this is just me finally settling on colour schemes and the like.

First up are the horses and armour choices. Picture 1 has the horse at the back left in Italian armour and the other two in German.  At this point I changed my mind on the Italian. 

So I replaced the Italian armour with German.  And now I'm thinking German will do.  I've also decided that only 3 horses will be armoured. I was going to do 6, but I reckon now I want to see more of the horse.  

Here are the test examples for the bows.  Livery of blue / yellow and white / blue for one unit. I'll make a start on actually painting them soon.  

And for the second unit, blue/ red and red/ white. They should make a decent show on the table.

The armoured chappies. I regard the armour as pretty much done. Just the boots and belts and other colourful stuff to do.  

The standard bearers. I wasn't too sure about a colour for the jacks on the two chaps on the outside. Eventually I decided just to go with basic metal plates.  Colour on the figures will come from boots and belts and eventually from the flags. 

This Thursday at the Perth club will see us kick off our Lion Rampant campaign. As always it will be interesting to see if there will be a slow start to grab territory or if players will just get 'stuck-in' for the games and the potential glory.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

painting continues

I have two projects getting painted just now, the Napoleonic British for a friend and the 28mm Wars of the Roses stuff.  I'll post pictures of British when they have some more paint splashed on them, but for now here are the horses for the Wars of Roses / Lion Rampant forces. 

I always start with a white undercoat then apply different shades as something between a wash and a normal paint coat.  The idea is to get the paint flowing freely so it settles in the folds and creates it's own highlights and shadows.

I still use the Colour Party horse paints I bought many moons ago as my main paints. Then I just add whatever other browns are on hand.  I start with the lightest bay colour, add a little darker bay or chestnut colour and do another horse or two, then add more mid or dark brown and do another horse, and so on.  Gradually I work though the horses with each slightly different.

At this point I don't care about the horse furniture as it can be painted over later. My focus here is always to get a good looking finish to the coats.  

The next stage is to add the shading to the legs, mane and tail. I used commercial washes this time instead of my usual DIY approach.  I had to apply several coats of washes to get a good effect.  Umber was a good wash, sepia was not, and black was the best.  The idea here is to get the darker hair effect with the wash but to still allow the base colour to show through. 

The next stage is to add the leg and face markings. From a Historex catalogue I had years ago, I've always remembered them saying that horses rarely had 1 leg or all 4 with markings.  So I tend to do my horses with two or three legs with markings.

And believe it or not, that is essentially it. There are little details to finish off.  I have to go over some of the looser strands of manes with a smaller brush to make sure they get painted darker. Then the eyes and then the hooves on the legs with markings will be painted lighter. 

I don't know how long all this took because I paint other things and do different bits on different days, but these 11 horses probably took less than an hour to get to this stage.

And I'm only working on 11 horses because I'm going to replace the head on horse number 12. I thought it was smart to have a head with fancy armour and plumes, but then when I came to paint it, I changed my mind and wanted something more simple.

More later.