Monday, 1 September 2014

SAGA Summer [9]

I have to say that I'm disappointed with the way these turned out today, after the wash in Quick Shade Strong Tone. I may have made the wrong decision and perhaps should have gone for the Soft Tone option but either way, they ended up a bit slurred and blurred. I'm sure I could have done a better job using layering and shading but that's the trade off for a relatively quick finish.
The Little Big Man decals have saved the day to a degree, adding a bit of flash to an otherwise average finish. They really are a joy to use and a very effective way to make a bit of a visual impact. The horses are half way there but need a wash and brush up to be finished. I'm hoping to get them done tomorrow after work, so that I can wrap the basing up by the end of the week.

Wings at War - A Mighty Fortress

I spotted an ad in Wargames Illustrated yesterday for a new game in the Wings at War series, available as always through Tumbling Dice. It's a second WW2 variant of the rules and aptly titled A Mighty Fortress (Defending the Reich 1944/45).
As usual, you don't just get the rule booklet but also a selection of 1/600 scale aircraft for both sides to use, although I'm not sure exactly what's included in the pack. At £10 a pop, it's extremely good value for money and a simple yet effective rules system as well.
I've ordered a copy to go with the other games in the series, which I have yet to actually play despite having based up more than enough planes for MiG Alley. It's about time I gave the system a try out, so yet another quick project to think about!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Royal Blood

This is out now and it's great, if you like this sort of thing? A bit off topic but we all need something to paint along to, do we not?

The best track by far is Little Monster, which is little short of perfect:

Chain of Command Japanese Platoon [10]

I been thinking of ways to adjust the Japanese platoon for Chain of Command to something more manageable, as the workload assembling and painting four thirteen man sections is nuts, let alone the support units with their five or six man teams. This seems fine for 1942 but, as I'll be gaming against a later war Chindit force, I think it's a little unrealistic and probably unnecessary. I can't see the need for the extra cutting, gluing and swearing, so I've been looking for a way out.
Thus, rummaging through the TFL Specials for something else, I came across an article by Richard Morrill from Christmas 2008, in which he sets out his organisation of a Japanese rifle platoon for TW&T. This is a platoon level set of rules akin to Chain of Command in scale, so I read on. The long and the short and the tall of it, is that I can reduce my rifle sections and grenade launcher section to a modest ten men each.
A quick calculation later and I realised that I have all but an LMG team to add in order to fill out the three rifle sections. This will leave a ten man GD section to be assembled, together and the HQ team of two figures, in order to complete the full platoon ready for painting. This is more than achievable and will free up some time and effort for more support units too including a couple of Chi Ha tanks and another engineer team.
Banzai indeed!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Citadel Paint Clearout

We got home a couple of hours ago after the usual thirteen hour journey, which wasn't too bad as we had a cabin on the boat and slept our way through the worst of it. Anyway, I was unpacking my paints and decided on the spur of the moment to get rid of my extensive collection of Citadel paint pots, none of which had been packed for the holidays and which have been gathering dust on my workbench paint rack for yonks.
Not that they aren't nice shades or that I haven't used them in the relatively recent past but, ink washes and naval grey shades aside, they have been pretty redundant for a long time. When I got back into wargaming about fifteen years ago, they were my first choice as they were readily available and, at that time, in a limited but versatile range. Now, however, there are much better alternatives, which has meant that I rarely make use of them.
Instead, I have been a big fan of the Foundry three shade range, which has made it much easier for me to produce some reasonable results when layering and shading. Add to that the massive Vallejo range, especially for aircraft which I paint a lot of the time, and the Citadel fantasy shades look decidedly out of place. I've also been sucked into the Army Painter basecoat and dip approach,  which means that I really don't need sixty pots of paint designed for elves, dwarfs and space marines.
I'm not chucking them away but have boxed them up for the times when I really need some Camo Green, Kommando Khaki or Bestial Brown, all of which have been really useful in the past. I also have some really old pots of Jungle Green, Horizon Blue and Imperial Strike Green , amongst a few other shades, which are vintage colours that I'm loath to abandon. I'm also keeping a selection of the new inks especially Nuln Oil, which is a favourite way to wash and define tiddly planes and ships.
A bit radical...but I'm pleased to clear the decks and look forward to the impact it'll have on my painting!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Au revoir!

It's the end of the holidays and we're heading home over the next couple of days, so there will be a short break in posts until I get back. Bye for now.

Thursday, 28 August 2014


I've been looking for a simple squad level skirmish set of rules for WW2 for a while, as an alternative to Bolt Action!, which is fine but not really historical enough for my taste. It seems that most 'skirmish' rules are platoon level rather than squad or section based, so it's not easy to find something that you can play using a dozen or so 28mm figures a side.
Anyway, I was following some threads on TMP today and bumped into NUTS! (ooh er), which I'd heard of before but didn't really know much about, aside from the dodgy name. It looks like a roleplaying / wargaming hybrid, with plenty of flexibility to scale up or down depending on what you want to do. In other words, it might work very well for what I'm thinking of.
I'll give it a look over and see how it works.

SAGA Summer [8]

I've almost got the Normans ready for the Quick Shade but haven't quite managed to wrap them up before we head off home. They're a bit rough and ready but I'm pleased that sticking to a very limited palette has made the painting more challenging and, therefore, less of a pain on the bum. I need to add another layer to the flesh and pick out some details, then I'll tackle the decals and give them a dip.
I also need to paint the horses, not to mention the other two units, but this can wait until I get back to civilisation in a couple of days. Unfortunately, I'll also be back at work which means time will be at a premium, although I plan to complete the SAGA Normans in the first couple of weeks of term. When they're finished I'm going to set up a game at the club, where they will almost certainly be wiped out to a man. 
I have a sketchy idea about how the SAGA rules work and I'm tactically impaired at the best of times, so it'll be a walkover for whoever takes up the challenge. However, I've enjoyed the painting side of the project and hope to get the Viking warband done as well, once the Japanese are out of the way. The limited palette approach has given me some painting ideas for them which I'll have to try out.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Chain of Command Change of Scale

I've been thinking about this for a while and have decided that, once the Warlord Japanese are finished, I'll be switching over to 15mm for Chain of Command, leaving 28mm for squad level skirmish gaming and Bolt Action. This makes a lot of sense to me, given the relative cost and time factor involved with 15mm compared to 28mm, even when plastics are taken into consideration. 
I'm also more comfortable painting in 15mm and, therefore, can work much faster than in 28mm. The ground scale in Chain of Command is also closer to 15mm than 28mm and I have plenty of late war Peter Pig British figures to get me started. In fact, the old 5th Battalion DCLI project that I originally did in 20mm would be perfect as a historical starting point.
It would also allow me to do some decent NW Europe / Normandy style terrain, especially as there are now plenty of really nice mdf buildings available from Sarrissa Precision and 4Ground, amongst others. I originally intended to use the 15mm stuff for IABSM but I also have 14th Army and Japanese in 15mm for this, so the late war British and Germans are surplus to requirements.
When this will happen is another question but it would be a good way to reduce the leadpile and have two 15mm platoons with support sorted in a fraction of the time it would take me in 28mm, for a fraction of the cost. If the object of the exercise is to actually game rather than paint, then this makes sense to me, especially as it means I can game at home as well as at the club.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Wreck of Vorpostenboot 721


This time last year I had a brief glimpse of the wreck of a Kriegsmarine Vorpostenboot, VP 721, that had been run aground in the Bay of Audierne, after a one sided and less than successful battle on 22nd/23rd August 1944 with Force 27 during Operation KINETIC:
At the time, the tide was rapidly rising and the dark was descending fast, which made it impossible to get up close to the wreck. This morning, we went back to have another look even though the tide wasn't as low as before. This time, however, it was daylight rather than early evening, so I managed to get up pretty close and took reasonably detailed pictures despite the impressive surf. 
It would appear that the bow section has been tipped over to port by action of the waves, leaving just two of the hull bulkheads extant. The boiler has remained the opposite way up, perhaps due to it's size and weight, whilst the structure aft is, I think, a surviving section of the hull plating. It's difficult to work out what's what, so I'm hoping to be able to return next year when the tide coefficient is really high.