sci fi

sci fi

Monday, 30 April 2012

Gladiators [3]


I finished off the skin tones this evening, despite starting late and having a thumping headache. It looks a bit slapdash at the moment and I had to do some blending to make the highlights less obvious but I think it'll be fine in the end. I'll probably do some sort of wash to line things in a bit later on. In the meantime, I'll move onto blocking in the colours and the metallics.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Gladiators [2]


Another very busy Sunday but I have managed to basecoat the gladiators with skin tones in Foundry Flesh Shade, Bay Brown Shade and Dusky Flesh Shade, with a mid-coat of Foundry Flesh on half of the figures. I'm hoping to finish off the skin tones tomorrow and move onto the leather and cloth shades, assuming I can find an hour or two in the evening. It's all a bit'ho hum' at the moment but will tidy up well in a few days...

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Gladiators [1]



I've picked out the gladiators from the ones I prepared last Summer and added a couple more from the extras that I've picked up on ebay since then. It's a bit of a random selection and there are no noxii or tyros  but they're the figures that I like the most, so never mind.

I've also pinched a lion from the Darkest Africa collection and hope to get hold of some less exotic animals too. All in all, a good start, which I'm going to continue tomorrow with the first stage of painting, which will be the flesh tones and some blocking in.

Richtofen's Flying Circus


I was looking for some updates and extra rules for Warhammer Gladiator this morning and bumped into this new set of WW1 aerial rules. They look interesting, especially as they are designed for hex less movement and 1/72nd scale models, using what look like telescopic flight stands.


As I have a good selection of aircraft models in 1/72nd scale and hex based flight stands like the ones illustrated in the sample pages, I may well get a copy of the rules, if I can find them for less than £18 on Amazon or Ebay. The sample pages look really good and there may well be some good stuff in the book that I could use either with the rules or with the club set Knights of the Sky.

Gladiators Redux


I seem to have got into a bit of a painting rut over the last month or so, partly as a result of too much work and not enough time but also due to the holiday break and the building work on the house, both of which have stopped me using the garage. I've also lost my painting mojo, which has been exacerbated by the sight of lots of tiny Italians staring at me from the shelf above the workbench.

This has been really off putting and, I reckon, has been the cause of my bout of painters block. So, this morning I decided on some radical remedial action by packing up the Italians in a big plastic box and moving them onto the side of the bench, where they will wait to be finished off when I feel up to tacklling them, one unit at a time.

In the meantime, I'm going to re-charge the painting batteries by completing the 28mm gladiators that I promised to get done earlier in the year. Now that I have a clear workbench shelf, I'm feeling much more inspired to crack on with these and get them done for a game up at the club sometime in May. The Italians can then be tackled as and when I decide to deploy them in the campaign, rather than all in one go. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Normandy Firefight British Extra Bits




This was a originally supposed to be a low cost, use up what I've already got, make do and mend type project but it seems to have bulged into something all together more sinister. However, I am now calling a halt to my 1/35th scale plastic deluge with the final, definitive and absolutely terminal aquisition of some assorted figures for the British fireteam.

These will round off and balance out the three forces that I'm hoping to put together for Normandy Firefight.

...plus some snipers...

...and a tank..

..or a half track

..or two?

Oh dear.


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Normandy Firefight Terrain Ideas?


One of the things that's been bothering me about the Normandy Firefight thing is exactly how to go about the terrain side of the equation. If I'm going to spend time and effort on the figures then at the very least, I should produce some decent terrain for them to fight over. I really like the idea of 1/35th scale skirmish gaming but the terrain is a bit of a challenge, to say the least.

I don't think that I can afford to construct some bespoke terrain as it would need to be 4' x 4' and I have nowhere to store such a large piece of real estate. I thought about a model railway style chicken wire and wooden frame approach to this but I don't think that it would be flexible enough to warrant constructing something permanent, unless I can make it apaptable to different scenarios.

However, I have a cunning plan, which revolves around cheap stretched canvas frames that you can find in The Works and other discount craft shops. I reckon that I can produce some modular terrain using one of the larger sizes of deep canvas frame, with surface texture rendered in a PVA / Polyfilla / sand mixture, using layers of polystyrene tile sheet to bulk out the contours.

It's one idea that I can follow up unless I can devise something better...?

Monday, 23 April 2012

Normandy Firefight British


I worked right through the weekend and ended up with a massive migraine headache as a result, which thankfully has now receded to the point at which I feel vaguely human. Anyway, I thought I deserved a cheer up, so have given into the inevitable and ordered a couple of packs of 1/35 scale Dragon Late War British 'Normandy' infantry figures.


They were a bit pricey but will give me enough figures for half a section at least, along with whatever I can salvage from the box in the loft. They're destined to be 43rd Wessex Division troops and will, no doubt, have 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Regiment shoulder flashes, assuming I can find the decals or paint them on with a very, very small brush.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Normandy Firefight Bits and Bobs


I've worked out that I have enough German infantry in standing, kneeling and prone poses to build a fireteam of four figures, one NCO with MP40, one rifleman, one rifleman with a Panzerfaust and one sniper. I may have a figure with an MG34 instead of the sniper but that depends on the whether I can convert the prone LMG figure I have into a marksman or not.

If not, I'll find a figure for the sniper elsewhere, as I need one for one of the scenarios in the rulebook. There's a rather nice Zvezda set with four snipers including one prone and one kneeling plus two spotters that I could get to fit the bill, although I'd have to convert one of the spotters into a standing figure. I'm also going to make a medic figure, which you get in some scenarios but only in kneeling and crouching position, as I don't have any prone figures left.

To kit the figures out, I have found a pack of Tamiya German weapons and equipment on Ebay for a fiver, which is about the retail price if I had to find one in a shop. This includes some panzerfaust, a sniper rifle and various other bits and bobs which might be useful to differentiate the figures and add a bit of individuality to them. When I get round to actually sticking the figures together is an entirely different matter though!?

BKC Aegean Campaign Strategy


The first orders for the club BKC campaign have been sent in, with the outcome to be decided by the umpire and the success or failure of my pre-game planning will then be apparent. The initial orders are largely political which is ideal for me as I haven't finished painting my Italians yet.

Anyway, I've decided on a cunning plan to win friends and influence people, using a combination of sneaky frogmen, speedy destoyers, daring aerobatics and some Italian homecooking, all washed down with a bottle or two of decent Chianti.

I'm hoping it'll look impressive for my German and Hungarian friends, put the wind up the Allies and infuruate my Italian rival over on the next island. At the same time, I can sit back and avoid any heavy engagements with my valuable troops, whilst claiming all the glory and a few extra medals.

It probably won't work but it's worth a try!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Stash in the Attic


I finally got the time to have a good dig in the kit boxes up in the loft today. I was sure I had some 1/35th scale stuff up there somewhere but I was surprised to find that what I thought I had was completely different from what I had actually stashed away. We moved in to our house nine years ago, so I'm not surprised that my memory has faded a bit since then.

Some of the stuff I uncovered was originally bought for peanuts when Beatties shut down back in the late 90's. I know a bloke who worked for them when it all went pear shaped and he told me they closed down all the shops, packed up all the models and toys then trucked them to a warehouse in the Midlands, after which everything was burned at a waste disposal site.

Apparently, this was the most cost effective way to liquidate the stock. Sad but true.

Anyway, I found a Tamiya Hanomag, an Italeri M4A1 76mm Sherman, a Tamiya Sug IV and some US infantry amongst the stash, along with several other Dragon, Tamiya, Zvezda and Italeri kits outside the scope of the project. These have been added to the kit pile on the workbench, along with a bits box of various equipment and weapons that I can make good use of.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Normandy Firefight Yanks




As I'm missing Salute tomorrow, I thought I'd make up for it by adding some cheap(ish) figures to the 1/35th scale Normandy Firefight plastic pile. I'm sure I have some of these in the loft somewhere but, as they weren't expensive on Ebay, I thought I'd get some reinforcements to add to the existing collection. 

This means that I now have the nucleus of a U.S. infantry squad, with at least three or four figures in prone, kneeling and standing poses plus some spare bits for less than twenty quid. This may sound like not very much for quite a lot.

However, it's at least comparable to the equivalent in 28mm or 1/48th scale lead, assuming you can get figures in all three poses or could be bothered to convert them. I think I prefer the plastic option, especially as I can do some judicious chopping and changing to squeeze a figure or two out of the box.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cut Price Cuththroats


I spotted two packs of Brigade Games pirates for sale over at Northstar yesterday for £2.50 each, so thought I'd press gang them as a cut price addition to the leadpile. The first pack has a crew armed with a selection of boarding weapons while the second has open handed crew figures which are great for a whole range of jobs.

After a chat the other day, it seems that there may be a renewed interest at the club in pirate games, so I may set one up sometime soon. I have enough figures for a decent size skirmish or even for a multiplayer game, so a game would be easy to run. I really need to scratchbuild another ship though, if I'm going to have any boarding actions.

As I haven't scratchbuilt anything for quite a while, apart from a rather pathetic wooden bridge, I have the urge to do something new. This might be a gladiatorial arena for my Warhammer Gladiator project but it could be a ship for the pirates, probably a bit bigger than the sloop that I scratchbuilt last year. I need to find some pictures for inspiration first but a brig or a schooner would be a pretty cool!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Back of Beyond Big Game











This turned out to be a bit of a disaster in more ways than one. I overcooked the defences for the Bolsheviks, making it virtually impossible for the coalition forces to achieve their objective. I also made some soggy tactical decisions in the game including driving my Garford Pultilov over a wooden bridge with the inevitable result, thanks to a double six on the breakdown dice.

In the end it was a tactical wipeout for the Americans, French and British but a strategic draw if the relative points totals are taken into consideration, with the Bolsheviks taking just over fifty percent casualties compared to the less than fifty percent inflicted on the counter revolutionary forces of capitalist imperialist repression.

Anyway, here are some pictures...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Back of Beyond Bridges

It's the Back of Beyond campaign big finale multiplayer game tomorrow up at the club. I was supposed to have finished my armoured train and built some railway tracks for it by now but real life has caught up with me over the last few weeks and it's all gone a bit pear shaped in the scratchbuilding workshop.

In a last ditch attempt to bring something a bit different to the game, which is a scenario pitting the Bolshevik defenders of Kashgar against a multinational force of oil prospectors, dinosaur hunters and desert explorers, I've knocked together a couple of bridges out of scrap balsa wood and PVA.

These will span a gully that runs across the table in front of the Bolshevik defences, thereby adding a bit of a challenge to the opposition, especially as they have a lot of vehicles. They're not great but they'll do the job.

Normandy Firefight Figures


I got home early this afternoon after picking up the kids from school, so had a quick rummage in the loft for suitable 1/35th scale figures for Normandy Firefight. I knew I had a box of 1/35th scale kits stashed up there somewhere but only managed to locate a couple of packs of very old Tamiya German infantry, the Assault Troops set and the Panzergrenadiers set.

There's quite a bit more up there but it's stashed down the back of a pile of junk and will require a major exercise in cardboard box removal to locate. Anyway, these two sets of figures look like an excellent place to start, so I'm sure the rest can wait until I feel brave enough to dig my way into the far corners of the loft space.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Normandy Firefight First Impressions


I arrived home yesterday to find my copy of Normandy Firefight on the doorstep, so I've had a quick flick through this morning. To use 1/35th scale figures is an interesting idea and there's a lot of potential for some great modelling both of terrain and figures.

The rules themselves look pretty straightforward and remind me a bit of the old Laserburn system, which also relied on percentile rolls for firing, hit location and so on with various modifiers to add detail. The production values are up there with similarly priced rules sets and there are some very atmospheric photos together with diagrams, rule explanations and examples.

The four scenarios have plenty of re-play value and could easily be modified to add an extra element of variety. As details are included for British, Japanese and Russian small arms there is also plenty of room to break out from Normandy and cover other theatres, providing the terrain is suitable for skirmish gaming with lots of cover.

An interesting set of rules with only one downside. You need three figures for each combatant - one standing, one kneeling and one prone - which makes it hard to adapt the rules to other scales (1/48th springs to mind) if you can't find a range with all three figure positions.

I was looking at 1/48th scale, for example, using the Northstar range as a starting point but reckon I'd need to get four or five packs of figures to field only three or four actual individual soldiers. The German and British range have the necessary poses but there aren't any prone figures in either the American or Russian ranges.

Hmmmph! 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Map of Cornwall 1699

I was rummaging through the bookshelves in the spare room in my parent's house yesterday, in an attempt to find soemthing to read, when I found a boxed set of Joel Gascoyne's Map of Cornwall, which was produced in 1699 for Lord Robartes.

It's at a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile so has lots of detail and covers the whole county on half a dozen large sheets. I've borrowed the maps for that cover the Eastern half of the county as a potential basis for a campaign map, which would be perfect for my 1644 solo campaign.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

1644


We got back from Brittany yesterday via Roscoff and are now at my Dad's in Cornwall for a couple of days. Today we went down the local pub for lunch and I took some photos of the bridge across the Tamar that originally inspired my interest in the Civil War in Cornwall.

Although of very little significance in the Lostwithiel campaign, there was a minor skirmish between the Parliamentarians and Royalists at Horsebridge in July 1644. On 26 July, the Earl of Essex crossed the River Tamar at Horsebridge with 10,000 men and advanced into Cornwall, arriving at Bodmin two days later:

'... his Majesty came to Exeter, and Prince Maurice being join'd, had a general Muster of his Forces, and so advanced after Essex into Cornwall. On the 29th, Essex being at Bodmin, sent out a Party of my Lord Roberts's Brigade, who had a Skirmish with Sir Richard Greenvile's Army at Horsebridge and took some Prisoners'

From: 'Historical Collections: The Earl of Essex's march into the west, June 1644' (1721)
 
The bridge itself is a quite impressive and would make a splendid centerpiece for a 28mm semi-skirmish game. I already have a massive stockpile of figures for a potential 28mm Cornish 1644 solo campaign, which might be kick started as yet another option for the big 2012 project over the Summer holidays.
 
The new Pike and Shotte rules look interesting too, so who knows?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Cogito Ergo Sum..thing or other?

Errrr..?
I've really missed my usual wargaming activities over the holidays and, in retrospect, wish I'd taken something to prepare and/or paint over the last week or so. However, the break from painting has given me some time to reflect on my projects for the rest of 2012, which is looking like a bit of a wargaming wasteland for the next three months or so given my current work commitments.

First of all, I need to clear the 10mm Italians for the BKC campaign from the workbench, so that I can progress with the things I actually intended to do this year. I've given myself until the end of the month to knock them on the head, which I need to do anyway as the campaign will be kicking off by then either way.

When the Italians are sorted I have limited scope for anything else until the end of June due to work, so it's going to be a case of finishing off things that I've already started or that can be completed over a weekend or so. The current front runners are the 28mm figures for Warhammer Gladiator, for which I have a club opponent ready and waiting, followed by the 1/600th Bag The MiG planes that I have finally almost finished magnet basing.

After that, I'll be counting down to the Summer holidays when I'm determined to start the BIG project for 2012. I have several things in mind for this, from 1/600 WW2 coastal warfare to 15mm IABSM and on to a 28mm In the Heart of Africa Expedition or SAGA Norman warband but have yet to decide which one to opt for, given my usual attention span and propensity to jump on the nearest wargaming band wagon (I really need to stop doing that...).

On the plus side, it looks like I have a potential opponent for the long neglected PITS Dervish army, with the incentive to get them finished being some new games up at the club. It won't take me long to finish them off and, perhaps add a few extras, especially if I use the time I have in Activity Week to get the details painted in. That's if I don't get sucked into yet another new thing or shoot of in a completely pointless direction...?


Monday, 9 April 2012

Magazines


We're off home in a couple of days so I've been compiling my regular collection of French wargaming and military history magazines while I have the chance. There are far more military history and aviation magazines in France than in the UK and some are really very good.

First up is Vae Victis Issue 103 which includes a useful article on WW1 wargaming rules as well as the usual board and computer game reviews. I think VV has gone down hill in the last couple of years but it's still worth picking up once in a while.

Second up is Trucks and Tanks Issue 30, which has replaced VV as my 'must get a copy' magazine of choice. This issue has an excellent article on the VBL and the Panzer 35(t), including some great profile artwork, techincal drawings and photos.


Last but not least is a special 100th issue of GBM, which is packed full of profiles of every conceivable vehicle that the French army deployed between 1914 and 1940. It even includes developmental family trees for armour, reconaissance and transport / specialist vehicles, which is quite impressive.

There are a couple of other magazines I might get hold of before the end of the holidays, partcularly some naval and aviation ones, but these are great as reference material and as a good read, despite my rubbish French!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Beyond Band of Brothers


I finished reading Forgotten Voices of the Falklands yesterday, which was a worthwhile read but did very little to shake my preconceptions about the conflict or the British military establishment. All a bit sad really but not something to be forgotten, despite the title of the book.

Anyway, in search of something a little more uplifting, I'm now reading Beyond Band of Brothers, which I bought on the ferry coming over. I enjoyed the TV series Band of Brothers, although I'm not a fan of the Steven Ambrose approach to historical writing, prefering a more academic and less popularist approach to the subject.

However, this is a different take on the whole Band of Brothers phenomenon and so should be a little less subjective and a lot closer to the actual events themselves. It's also quite a quick read, so I should work my way through it no time at all.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Quick and the Dead


I'd read some mixed reviews about these coastal forces rules but, as they were reduced over at Wargames Vault, I thought I'd take the plunge and order a set. I thought the card based turn-less approach looked interesting, along with the emphasis on fast play and 'off the cuff' decision making, which seems to me to be pretty much what it's all about. I think they're in the same vein as the TFL Coastal Patrol rules, which can't be a bad thing in my book.

The rules themselves are well presented and clearly explained, although with a bit of a homegrown production value about them, which I actually quite like. There are some good scenarios included although they're all from the Med so a bit limited in scope. However, I think the rules themselves might be rather good for a bit of fast and furious coastal warfare.

It's one of my supposed projects for this year as well!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Indochine 1946-1954

I found this in a bookshop today and thought it looked really interesting, even if my schoolboy French isn't quite up to a fluent translation. It consists of a series of chapters each written by a veteran based on their own experiences and involvement in the war. As a result, it's a very eclectic but detailed text with lots of unusual photos of things that you don't normally see, as they're from personal collections. I was particularly interested in a chapter all about the improvised armoured trains and ones detailing the various armoured units that were deployed at various stages in the conflict.

Northstar Bargain Bucket



I picked up a few bargains in the Northstar sale this morning including King Charles I, who will probably end up as a conversion into one of the Cornish Royalist commanders, a petard assault team to add to the one I already have, again good for conversions, and some unarmed noxii prisoner types for the gladiatorial games, when I eventually get round to it.

All for half price or less!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Bully Able Leader

This is the latest addition to the reading list for Bag The MiG, although I have a few more books to add to the pile and to read before the shelves are full. I've enjoyed reading Crimson Skies, especially the chapters on the B29 raid on Namsi, which include an extraordinary account of a crew member actually walking out of the aircraft bomb bay as it plunged vertically downward. Anyway, I'll be picking up where I left off after the holidays, with some more Korean War related research.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Got here at last!


We finally arrived at the in-laws on Saturday after another thirteen and a half hour journey, most of which I'd rather not dwell upon. Anyway, we're now reunited with the offspring who, as part of the reward for beign abandoned in France with their grandparents, have now received some new additions to their Warhammer collections. The eldest got a box of 40K Space Marine Assault Terminators while the middle one got some Fantasy Black Orcs.

I have little interest in anything related to Warhammer Fantasy Battles or 40K to be honest, as I can't stand the IGOUGO mechanisms, the cartoonish sculpts, the over the top gore and the ridiculous price tag of most of the GW stuff. However, I have been persuaded by the number one son to get a box of Tau to oppose his Crimson Fist space marines, so have splashed out on a box of Fire Warriors as the cheapest option. I'm not planning to get anything more than that, as I'd rather spend my hard earned cash on something historical!