Sunday 31 October 2010

October Review

Well, that was a pretty hopeless month in painting and gaming terms, despite my best efforts to crack on with the backlog of stuff to do. My only real achievement was to build the pirate sloop from scratch. Other than that, I singularly failed to finish anything that I set out to do at the start of the month.

On a more positive note, I have started the pirate gun crew which hasn't made much progress yet but has to be finished for the 9th. I don't think the holiday painting plans were very realistic but I now know that it's feasible to paint away from home without too much hassle, although decent lighting is essential. I'll take some figures to France at Xmas to continue the experiment.

It looks like November is going to be pretty busy at work, to say the least, but I'm definately going to finish off the pirate gun crew and try to start and finish the Rapid Fire! Tommies by the end of the month. I also have several games lined up so at least I'll get to enjoy a few evenings out instead of marking!

Pendraken Norse

I arrived home a couple of hours ago to find a little parcel from Pendraken on the doorstep containing the 10mm Norse 500 point (ish) army that I ordered a while back for WMA. The figures are great although the variety of poses leaves something to be desired and I'm going to have to do a bit of arm bending and leg twisting to create a bit of variety in the units.

Nonetheless, I am suitably encouraged so will be adding a 10mm Norse / Early Danish army to the ever expanding list of things to do next year. That's assuming that we don't end up doing Romano-British stuff instead? I'm going to take the figures along to the club on Tuesday which might drum up some further interest in mid-Saxon era armies for WMA.

Saturday 30 October 2010

Bag The Doodlebug!

I've been flicking through the Bag The Hun 2 rules today in preparation for the game against Andy on Tuesday. I'm a bit worried about the firepower of my Me109F's against his Kittyhawks but, other than that, I think we'll be fairly well matched, at least in aircraft performance terms.

We're playing the introductory scenario which is very straightforward so I'm hoping  it won't be too much of a steep learning curve? It can't be that different from the original rules so I'm fairly optimistic that we'll get at least two games in to the evening.

I also re-discovered another scenario in the rules as a 'game within a game' which I'd completely overlooked the first time I read through the rules. It's a Bag The Doodlebug mini-game, pitting RAF fighters against low flying V1's in 1944. The V1's are controlled by the dice whilst the lone fighters are flown by the players.

It looks like great fun and cheap to set up, so I've ordered a couple of Tempests and Spitfire XIVc's together with the eponymous doodlebugs from Raiden. It shouldn't take long to paint them up and so yet another mini-project is on the cards for 2011.

Friday 29 October 2010

Pirate Ship Plans Update

A bit of a disaster this evening as the youngest decided to stick a toy bead up her left nostril half an hour before the guests were scheduled to arrive for dinner. A few hurried and apologetic phone calls later and we were on a forty mile round trip to Accident and Emergency in Plymouth. We finally got back home three hours later having failed to locate the bead despite the best efforts of the very nice NHS people.

Anyway, no painting of any sort tonight as I still haven't had my supper. However, on the plus side, I did find a copy of this paperback in a second hand book shop for a measly three quid. It's packed full of line drawings of rigging and fittings with explanations for the construction of everything from belayign pins to cat heads. I'm no ship modeller, so this will come in very handy for the pirate ship scratchbuild. 

Pirate Ship Ideas

I enjoyed making the pirate sloop so I've been thinking about scratchbuilding a larger vessel to use either as opposition for my pirates or as their next part exchange trade in, assuming they move up in the world of skullduggery.

I have the Gary Chalk plans for a pirate frigate type ship in the Foundry Compendium and probably in my stack of old wargames magazines somewhere. It's a good looking model as you can see:

However, whilst I may follow some of the excellent guidelines, especially for rigging and sails, I may try to do my own hull design and construction using the balsa sandwich method that worked on the sloop. I already have some medium sized cannon from Crusader, so that bit's sorted but I'm on the lookout for other useful bits and bobs.

I thought I might use some old  long handled paint brushes for masts, so those are on the list of things to pick up, preferably for free or for next to nothing. I also need something to make railings out of and some small scale cannon barrels for swivel guns, plus anything else that might be useful.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Pirate Gun Crew [3]

I painted the first stages of the skin shades on the pirates this evening, using GW Dark Flesh as a base then Foundry Flesh Shade as a first layer. The two black figures were given a basecoat of Foundry Bay Brown Shade followed by Bay Brown highlights. It doesn't look great but it never does at this stage anyway! 

If I have some time I'll finish off the flesh shades tomorrow, although we're busy all day and have some friends over for dinner as well, so painting is going to have to be squeezed in as and when. The lighting in the kitchen, where I'm exiled for painting purposes, is pretty rubbish so I may have to find another venue.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Pirate Gun Crew [2]

I finally got around to cleaning up and basing the gun crew and extra pirate figures this afternoon, in between running around all over the place on various family related missions. As you can see, I based up the gun crew on 1p coins with stripwood planking so that they fit onto the limited deck space of the sloop. I won't be using them ashore so this made sense and looks quite good I think. 

I also added a fourth crewman, using a Foundry figure with his rammer cut down (ooh er) to match the one carried by the Crusader figure. This makes it possible for a full two gun broadside to be fired, assuming two crewman per light cannon as a basic mimimum. I need to undercoat this lot but otherwise they're ready to go.

I'll pack up some paints, brushes and so on tonight and hopefully find the time over the next few days to get some painting done. I have the other two pirate figures that I've already started to add to the new ones, so there's nine figures in total, which shouldn't be too much to handle? 

Holiday Painting

We're off to Cornwall tomorrow for a very brief stay at my Dad's house while he's off in Germany. The original plan was to look after his three mangy dogs but they're going into kennels now, so it looks like we'll have plenty of time to get out and about.

For some reason, my eldest son is into Merlin, the BBC series on Saturday nights, so we're planning to go to Tintagel if the weather isn't too bad, as well as a few other places linked to the Arthurian legend. There's a place called Dozmary Pool not far away in which Arthur is supposed to have found Excaliber, so that's on the list as well as Lydford Gorge, which is very atmospeheric in a Celtic sort of way.

Anyway, I'm taking something to paint with me and hope to get at least a bit of brushwork in over the next few days. As I've been pretty useless at getting anything done recently due to overload at work, it's a good excuse to tackle the pirate gun crew for a start.

I have two pirate games lined up for November, along with the Bag The Hun try out, so I need to get the guncrew sorted as a matter of urgency, otherwise my pirate ship will be a bit if a sitting duck. I'll take something else as well, just for good measure, but haven't decided what yet.

Monday 25 October 2010

Flashing Blades

I was browsing through RPGnow in the search for some downloadable card building kits for pirate games, when I bumped into this. I used to play in a Flashing Blades campaign when I was at college many, many years ago until the chap who was GM lost interest. It was a great set of rules and I really enjoyed the scenarios that we played, based on the Parisian Adventure module that came with the rules.

Anyway, when I saw the rules for less than the price of a pint of beer, I thought why not? I also picked up some of the scenario supplements so now have a very nice collection of .pdf's to while away the winter evenings on a nostalgia trip.

I have no idea what I'm actually going to do with them but they be good for skirmish gaming background material at the very least. I have some of the Redoubt Three Musketeers figures somewhere that I could dig out for this but I have more than enough to do without any more skirmish diversions.

Nice :O)

Saturday 23 October 2010

Rapid Fire! Ready To Roll Carriers

I got the Raventhrorpe Ready To Roll resin carriers through the post yesterday. As you can see they scale perfectly with the Valiant Tommies, which isn't surprising really as they're sculpted by the same bloke.

I ordered a Lloyd carrier for the 6pdr AT support platoon, a 3'' mortar carrier for the mortar platoon and a universal carrier for the PIAT platoon. I also ordered a scout carrier and bren carrier for the FAO and HQ platoons, although they could be used for other things as well.

I'm now ready to get started on the Rapid Fire! British Infantry after the half term holidays, although I still need a 6 pdr AT gun which I'm hoping to get at Warfare later in the month.

Friday 22 October 2010

David Spender

I apologise for not posting anything yesterday but I didn't really feel like it. One of the founding members of the club I attend lost his battle with cancer a couple of days ago. His name was Dave Spender and, although you've probably never heard of him, he was a real driving force in the Wessex Wargamers Winchester club and an inspiration to all of us.

I have to acknowledge a personal debt of gratitude to Dave as he was the first point of contact for me when I decided to re-join the wargaming fraternity a few years ago. In a twist of fate I was teaching one of his childeren at the time and had no idea, when i met him at various parent's evenings that he was a fellow wargames enthusiast.

If anything sums up Dave, enthusiasm has to be a defining phrase. I have at least half a dozen half completed projects directly inspired by his love of the obscure and interest in all things of a less conventional format, including my extensive aeronef collection, my PITS Dervish army, my Victorian ironclads and my ARVN batlegroup.

In return, Dave was always ready to take on any new project that I proposed with genuine interest and total commitment, in many cases beating me to it in painting up of new armies for games that I was in the early stages of only just thinking about.

I greatly appreciated the time and effort he spent supporting my various campaigns and diversions, and deeply regret that we only managed to try out a fraction of the games that we talked about over the last few years. The ones we did manage to play were some of the best games that I have enjoyed.

A thoroughly decent chap and true gentleman.

What more needs to be said.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

The Revenge of Carlos Plynkes

This blog struck a chord, especially the bit about being diverted from the thing that you really should be doing onto the multivarious things that looked really cool before you bought all the figures then thought about painting them up but ran out of steam , so I thought I'd post a link here:

It even made me feel moderately virtuous.

Anyway, it's a very interesting and inspirational site, with a suitably spicy Darkest Africa flavour that's just the sort of thing that makes me tick, so well worth a look.


I got in late this evening due to a very long and tedious meeting to find one of those padded envelopes sitting on the doormat. It was full of 28mm Foundry Gladiators that I found on ebay a week or so ago to add to my existing handful of Crusader figures, with which they match really well. 

I was inspired by my trip to Silchester a couple of weekends ago to pick some more figures up and, for the very reasonable price of just over a fiver, I now have a dozen new recruits for the arena. I had to retire a couple to start with as they were the fantasy style dwarf versions, while another female one is destined to be a figurehead for the next pirate ship I scratchbuild.

This left me with nine very cool figures, minus shields which I'll need to pinch from the spares box, but otherwise ready to be painted up and based for gladiatorial combat. There are two duplicate figures but I think I can convert them, so that they look different enough to be used together, using a combination of head, shield and weapon swaps

I may even take them to Cornwall next week alongside the extra pirates as a little mini-project, leaving the Valiant Tommies for my return.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Warmaster Ancients Ramblings continued...

I posted a query on the WAB Forum and TMP the other day with regard to the viability of 500 point armies as a starting point. The general response was that 1000 points was the usual way to go but that 500-600 was ideal for starters, especially when learning the rules:

''...we began with 1000-1500p army lists but soon found that we needed to understand the core rules better. We then played five or six games where we each had 500p (and a free general) - this guaranteed quick games with plenty of manouvring and few enough untis that you really learnt what each can and more importantly cannot do. I really recommend small games - it teaches you the rules quickly and with a bit of luck you can fit in two games in an evening. And they are really fun as well - we had a great time each evening (which we of course also do with the larger games, but we often talk about doing a small battle again.''

So, it looks like 500 - 600 points would be a good place to start and make a lot of sense in terms of time, effort and outlay. At the very least, it'll get me half way there!

I've also managed to win a brand new copy of the Warmaster Ancient Armies supplement for a fraction of the normal price on ebay. It has a lists for Carolingian Franks and Romano British Arthurian armies as well as some interesting campaign rules and rules additions, which will be interesting reading.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Pirate Guncrew [1]

I looked at the VBCW stragglers today, in the five minutes I had to myself, and thought  'do I really want to finish this lot off now?'. The inevitable answer was a bit of a no brainer, so I've decided to cut my losses and move on to the pirate gun crew in the futile hope of actually painting them up by this time next week.

So here they are, in all their shiny metal glory, including a couple of hangers on for good measure. I've also got two more pirates in a half finished state that I'll do alongside these new recruits. I'm hoping to re-negotiate the game for the 9th November from VBCW to LoTHS to make use of the scratchbuilt sloop and these extra figures, so at least I'll have something to aim for.

Saturday 16 October 2010

What's on the Workbench?

I thought I'd do a bit of background reading until the Pendraken Norse turn up, so had a root around in the loft and found a copy of Paddy Griffith's The Viking Art of War, which I picked up in a second hand book shop a few years ago.

In the meantime the workbench is in a bit if a hiatus, with several projects on the shelf ready to either start or finish off. I need to get the VBCW Reds finished, as I have a game on the 9th November, but they shouldn't take too long. I also need to paint up some gun crew for the pirate ship as I may well get to use it for a game in the second half of the month, either on the 16th or 23rd depending when it gets finalised.

I've decided not to do the extra planes for the Bag The Hun game as I don't have the time and, as Andy so succinctly put it, I already have an 'air fleet' or stuff ready to use. Instead, the Valiant 20mm Tommies really need to get started, so I may take them on holiday with me to Cornwall over half term, if only to get them based and undercoated.

And...finally, I still have plans to get on with the BKC2 Italian battlegroup, although thus far I've only managed to clean up and base the armour. If I get the Valiants sorted in November, I'm hoping the crack on with the Italians as soon as I can, with a deadline of the end of the year as a target.

Too much to do and not enough time!

Friday 15 October 2010

Yet More Warmaster Ancients Ramblings

I had a crack at pointing up an army from the Norse list today, using the minimum number of units I could get away with. It looks like this:

1 unit Hirdmen (3 bases/unit = 3 bases) @ 75 pts/unit = 75
4 units Bondi (3 bases/unit = 12 bases)@ 50 pts/unit = 200
2 units Archers (3 bases/unit = 3 bases) @ 40 pts/unit = 80
1 unit Berserkers (3 bases/unit = 3 bases) @ 50 points = 50
1 General (1 base) @ 100 points = 100

Total bases = 24 + 1 command / Total Points = 505

Assuming an average of 6 to 8 Pendraken figures per 40mm x 20mm base (I've tried it and that's about right) then this lot equates to around 150 - 200 figures or so.

I reckon this is manageable and the Anglo Saxon list is very similar in unit terms and points values too. I suppose you could pack more figures onto a base but you'd be pushed to get more than 8 in the space, although a shieldwall would require something like this to look sufficiently wall-like.

The eventual goal would be to build 1000 point armies but this seems like a sensible starting point and one which would keep the cost down to something reasonable?

Pirate Game

My boys asked me if they could play a pirate game, having seen the figures that I painted up for Legends of the High Seas and the scratchbuilt pirate ship that I finished a few days ago. As a result, I set up the X Marks the Spot scenario yesterday afternoon after school.

The two pirate crews consisted of a Captain and two Cutthroats each. Alex chose Captain Blacksword (pistol / sword) as his hero, with Spotty Jim (pistol / sword) and Stinky Pete (blunderbuss) as back up. Thomas chose Captain Crossbones (pistol / sword), together with Black Bill (pistol / sword) and Dangerous Dan (musket). I thought the nams they came up with were pretty cool!

The game opened with Thomas's crew splitting up to search for the treasure while Alex's lot stuck together for mutual support. In the end Thomas located the treasure, thanks to a bit of dodgy umpiring, whilst killing off Stinky Pete with a well aimed musket shot from the bushes.

There followed a desperate race for the table edge, leading to a fire fight in which Desperate Dan got his comeuppance, in a fusilade of pistol shots fired at close range by Spotty Jim and Blacksword. It was too late to save the treasure, though, as Crossbones and Black Bill hefted it off the table to their waiting pirate ship.

It was a fun game with only a few moments of upset on the part of Thomas, who isn't yet used to the concept of losing or having his figures killed off. I'm sure he'll get there after a few more games, especially if he continues his winning streak.

Aaaargh Matey.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Warmaster Ancients Ramblings

I've been drumming up some interest at the club for a bit of informal Warmaster Ancients gaming for next year. There seems to be a fair level of interest with about four potential opponents signed up to the idea at least. I suggested an early medieval focus and this also seems to be a potential vote winner.

It looks like 10mm is the popular option, so I've been looking into available early medieval ranges. These boil down to four front runners:

Pendraken - cheap, nice figures, good deals on ready made army packs

Magister Militum - more expensive, wider range, army packs very pricey

Old Glory - nice figures, limited range, only in bulk packs so wastage.

Kallistra - bigger than the rest, nice figures, fairly pricey but limited range.

As a starting point, I'm going to order some samples from Pendraken to see what they're like. Unfortunately, it seems that you can't mix figures ranges due to different sizes, proportions etc. However, there's no reason why individually we couldn't go for whichever manufacturer we liked.

There will have to be some mixing and matching using figures from various Ancient and Medieval ranges to fill in the gaps, especially for the Welsh, Irish and Scots, but these may not appear as armies anyway. I'm sure most people will go for Anglo Saxons or Danes / Norse, both of which are well catered for.

Anyway, if the early medieval option proves to be too restrictive, there are plenty of other options instead e.g. Late Roman, Imperial Roman, later medieval etc.

In the meantime, it's on with the VBCW Reds, followed closely by the Valiant Tommies...

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Return of the Red Workers Militia

I was looking for a game to finsih off the month but instead have set one up for the 9th of November, after the Bag The Hun 2 try out which is pencilled in for the 2nd. It was a choice between another pirate game or a VBCW skirmish so, in an attempt to shift the Red Workers Militia off the painting back log, I've opted for the latter.

This means I have this weekend and a couple of days next week to get them finished, before I go on holiday and before the start of November when I plan to start the 20mm Rapid Fire! project. As the figures are 90% complete, this shouldn't be too much of a tall order, assuming I'm not tempted to add some extras.

I'm looking forward to signing this lot off and using them against Jon's Anglican League, although they're not exactly well equipped for a stand up frontal assault. I'll have to make maximum use of the machine guns to lay down some suppressive fire and hope that my FT17 doesn't bog down, blow up or throw a track.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Pirate Sloop - Finished!

I've finally finished the pirate sloop this evening and, given that it's made almost entirely out of stuff I already had in the bits box, I'm pretty pleased with the end result.

I stuck the ship to the sea base with PVA then added some GW snow effect flock around the bow in an attempt to make a bit of a bowwave. The end result looked like a coconut fairy cake so it was quickly wiped off and the hull re-stuck down before anyone noticed.

I then painted up the 15mm Peter Pig cannon which will stand in as light guns in 28mm. I painted the barrels in GW Brazen Brass then washed them with GW Flesh Wash. The carriages were painted in Foundry bay Brown Shade and Bay Brown then covered with the usual black/brown Klear wash. I finished off by painting the trunnions and metal bits with more Brazen Brass before spraying on GW Satin Varnish.


There are a few extra bits I could add but I think it's now time to move on to the next project. It has got me thinking about gunboats, dhows and dugouts for Darkest Africa though....

Monday 11 October 2010

Pirate Sloop [6]

I'm getting toward the end of the Pirate sloop project and only have the cannons and a few extra details to do before it's wrapped up. Not too bad for a little over a week, if I say so myself.

This evening I had a go at painting the sea base that I knocked up yesterday, using an arty farty slap it all over approach. I used a basecoat of GW Enchanted Blue then splodged on a topcoat of GW Hawk Turquoise, followed by random spreads of GW Ice Blue and GW Shadow Grey.

I then varnished the base with brushed GW Gloss 'Ardcoat (who comes up with these moronic names) but didn't like the resulting soupy effect, so sprayed the whole thing with GW Satin varnish. It's now drying off in a corner, awaiting a final verdict tomorrow morning, once it's dry. If I keep it, I'll add a few highlights and may even try out some GW snow effect flock as a bit of an ersatz bow wave.

I've also cleaned up and undercoated the Peter Pig cannon barrels and carriages, so they'll get painted up tomorrow. After that I'll add a flag and some other knicknacks before clearing the decks. I'll need some crew for the guns but they can wait a little longer, as I have other things to crack on with in the meantime.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Pirate Sloop [5]

I painted the masts and spars this evening in an attempt to add a bit of contrast to the overall look of the ship. I wetbrushed three layers of Foundry Base Sand over the existing Bay Brown basecoat with a final light drybrush to finish it off. I then gave it a wash of GW Gryphon Sepia ink to tone it down a bit. It looks OK but might need a bit more fiddling around with to get spot on.

I've also had a go at making a textured sea base to stick the ship onto so that it looks a little more nautical. I cut a sheet of 2mm plastic card to shape then drew around the hull to mark on it's position. After that I scored the areas to be textured so that I could apply a stiff mix of PVA glue and filler in the area around the hull. This was then stippled a bit as it set to make something that (hopefully) will look like a rippled surface.

It might work but I'll have to wait and see what it looks like when it's dry and ready to paint. To finish off I now have to clean up, undercoat and paint the cannons then add a few extra details, not forgetting a jolly roger for the top mast. I need to finish this lot off in the next couple of days if I'm going to have time to sort out the 20mm Valiant British Infantry by the end of the month.

Pirate Sloop [4]

Here's the ship after it's hull and deck have been painted. I spray varnished the whole thing first to seal the card and balsa, then undercoated in black using GW spray. Next I wetbrushed Foundry Bay Brown Shade and drybrushed Bay Brown over the hull and masts. This was followed with the usual Future based black / brown wash.

Next, I washed the deck to soak out all the planking and hide any chinks of balsa that were showing through. I then drybrushed three layers of Foundry Buff Leather with a final light dusting of Foundry Boneyard Light to finish it off. It's not quite right but it'll do.

Next I'll paint the masts to add a little colour, probably using Foundry Base Sand or similar, although I'm not sure exactly what. I thought about painting some strakes along the upper hull to make it look less monotone but I'm not sure this would work and might make it look a bit out of character for a glorified fishing boat!

Saturday 9 October 2010

Calleva Atrebatum

I persuaded the wife that it would be a nice idea to visit Silchester today, rather then go down to the New Forest with the rest of the weekending horde. She was a bit dubious but it turned out to be a great day out, depsite the less than tropical weather.

I've meant to visit the place for years, as it's only half an hour away, but somehow never got round to it. In my distant youth I was an archaeology student and I even attempted to make a living out of it before I saw reason and joined the teaching profession, so it was a bit of a busman's holiday for me.

The kids loved it too, especially the amphitheatre which really captured their imagination, despite the alternative distractions of acorn throwing and running about in circles. It's a very impressive site even though on a provincial scale compared with the one I visited in Trier many years ago.

It got me thinking about the 28mm gladiators that I found the other day mixed up with the various pirate figures that I've just painted up. I really should do a gladiator project, as the Crusader figures are really well sculpted and full of character. If only I had the time...

Friday 8 October 2010

Warmaster Ancients?

I had one of those ebay impulse bids the other day and ended up winning a copy of Warmaster Ancients. It looks really good as a quick and fun set of rules. I also like 10mm as a scale, so put the two things together and it could be a project for next year? Oh dear...

I was thinking of using the Anglo Saxon, Norman and Viking lists as a model for specific armies, basing the troop types and composition on the lists in the Shieldwall WAB book. This includes lists for the various AS kingdoms, the Welsh / West Welsh, the Irish, Scots, Danes, Norse etc, giving proportional figures for the relative mix of troops and units within each army.

It shouldn't be difficult to convert these over to the Warmaster format? On his Warmaster site, Rick Priestley even has a couple of relevant lists, including an early Saxons and early Danes:

I quite like the idea of mid-Saxon battles i.e. late 8th to early 10th century. There are some interesting and varied armies e.g. West Saxon, Mercian, Northumbrian, Welsh, Strathclyde, Cornish (West Welsh), Danish, Irish and so on...

There are also some humdinger historical battles like Brunanburh (937) Ashdown (871) and Hengestdun (838). The location of the latter is only a mile or so from my parent's house in East Cornwall, so I've always had an interest in replaying it.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Pirate Sloop [3]

I scrabbled some time together to do the masts and spars on the pirate sloop this evening, having decided to keep things fairly simple and easy to transport. As you can see the spars are fixed to the main mast with magnets, while the jib thingy is permanently fixed at right angles.

I decided to leave off any sails for the moment as a) they get in the  way, and b) I can't be bothered to fart about with PVA glue, tissue paper. pins and bits of thread. However, I have added a slightly dodgy scratchbuilt hatch cover made from an mdf base and some strips of thin card.

I think it looks OK thus far but the proof of the pudding will be when I get to paint the whole thing it up...

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Rapid Fire! Update

I've been putting things in place for the Rapid Fire! project today. I've ordered some Ready to Roll bren carriers and a single Lloyd carrier from Chiltern Miniatures, so that's the transport element sorted. I'm still looking for a 6 pounder AT gun, having compared the 1/76th Airfix kit with the Valiant figures and fallen off my chair laughing.

I posted an enquiry on TMP and have picked up a couple of leads, with the front runners being Platoon 20 and Raventhorpe. I'll need to chase these up but may have to do a bit of scratchbuilding or kitbashing to get something that looks OK with the Valiant figures. It's not a big deal but it would be good to get it sorted, otherwise it's down to the PIAT's.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

New Rapid Fire! Project

The Rapid Fire! idea seems to have struck a chord at the club and I've now commited myself to painting up a British Infantry battalion for Normandy using the Valiant figures that I had in the plastic pile. This means that the 10mm Italian stuff is going to have to be postponed until next month.

My plan now is to knock off the fifty or so figures that make up the HQ company, the four rifle companies, the support company and FAO team, by half term. I could add an attached machine gun company from the brigade but I think I'll leave that until later. I'll also need a 6pdr AT gun from somewhere and a couple of carriers.

I'll also be doing a squadron or two of Shermans to add a little armour support, using the Armourfast kits that I have set aside for this, although I'm going to keep the tank support to a minimum to avoid overkill. The Armourfast kits are very simple but should be easy to detail up a bit and paint in my usual drybrush method.

I've been wanting to a Rapid Fire! unit for a long, long time so I'm really pleased that Andy, the chap who came up with the idea, has signed himself up to do some Valiant Late War Germans so that I'll have some opposition. We'll see how we get on but, hopefully, they'll be some fast moving, enjoyable games at the other end of all the effort.

Anyway, I have to finish the pirate ship first and, if I have the time at half term the extra planes for Bag the Hun 2, so there's no time to hang about!

Monday 4 October 2010

Rapid Fire!

Over the weekend a bit of a Rapid Fire! craze seems to have swept through my local club, inspired by one of the regulars who fancied doing something 'skirmishy' in 20mm. The idea is that we all have some old Airfix kits lying about that could be used, so why not dust them off and have a bit of low level gaming with Rapid Fire! as a probable ruleset.

This suits me fine as it means I can use my existing boxes of Valiant Tommies and Armourfast Shermans to build the 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry, as originally planned for 28mm, plus a squadron or two of Shermans from the Sherwood Ranger Yeomanry. I'd need to get a couple of carriers and a 6pdr Anti Tank gun but, apart from those, I have everything that I need.

I may move the 1.285th scale North Africa planes to one side and tackle the 20mm stuff alongside the 10mm Italians this month. It depends what's decided about the direction the Rapid Fire! thing takes when it gets hammered out at the club tomorrow night.

Sunday 3 October 2010

Pirate Sloop [2]

I got some serious time in on the pirate ship today much to my surprise, as weekends are usually completely mental. The boys both had birthday partys to go to, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so we had a relatively child free day. This meant I had almost a whole afternoon to crack on with the cladding on the sloop and the detailing of the hull.

The end result isn't half bad if I say so myself, although I still have a way to go to complete the thing so that it can actually be used in a game. I need to add a grating and the rest of the rigging bits, the mast detaches by the way, as well as some general fiddling around with extra fittings and fixtures. It also needs a sea base of some sort.

I had a bit of a *&^% up with the gun ports as I ended up making them too low for the 28mm Crusader Miniatures cannons that I was supposed to be using. However, I found a pack of Peter Pig Pieces of Eight 15mm medium cannons that will make pretty good light guns instead, unless I choose to cut down the 28mm ones to fit.

I'll see if I can finish off the remaining things to do tomorrow then slap on some paint and hope for the best.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Pirate Sloop [1]

I got stuck into the construction of a pirate ship for my Legends of the High Seas project this afternoon, deciding on a simple single masted sloop as the easiest option for scratchbuilding.

In the rules, you start off with a small vessel of two guns which is supposed to be no more than 6'' to 8'' inches long. I thought this was a bit on the tiddly side so mine ended with a hull of 9'' and a deck width of 3'' at widest point.

As I had a load of left over balsa wood from a school project a few years ago, I decided to sandwich three layers together to produce the basic shape, before sanding it down into a nice smooth hull shape. Next I'll add cardboard sides to the hull and stern, together with decking out of scored card or wood strips.

I'll also cut two gunports in either side of the hull for the cannon, which I already have in my spares box. I think I'll stagger them, so that one gun is fore and one aft on either side of the deck, giving me plenty of space to place the crew figures.

BKC2 Italian Battlegroup [2]

I started on the Italian battlegroup for BKC2 this afternoon by cleaning up and basing the M13/40 medium tank battalion and attached Semovente 75/18 SPAT company, together with their respective HQ's. I also added the AB41 recce armoured car platoon for good measure.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to undercoat them as it's raining like crazy outside and I don't fancy spraying them indoors.Hopefully, the weather will clear up tomorrow so that I can get them undercoated and start on the three stage drybrushing bit, although I haven't yet decided on the exact combination of paint shades to use.

Friday 1 October 2010

Pirate Ships?

The Pirates seem to have gone down well with the club and generated a bit of interest, so that's a job well done. In fact, one of the other 28mm skirmish enthusiasts has some pirates of his own that he's interested in trying out for a game, so it looks like it's not going to be a one hit wonder.

Apparently, he bought a pirate ship from the Minimi stand at Colours a few weeks ago, which probably explains why they had sold out by the time I got there on Saturday afternoon!

If, as I suspect is inevitble, I decide to get a ship for Black Jack Trelawney, I may well scratchbuild rather than buy one off the shelf. I had looked at the Games Of War ships but can't help thinking that I could build one myself for less than the £50 plus price tag.

There is a small ship, the Sea Dog, in their range but by definaition it's a bit of a glorified rowing boat rather than a full on sloop or brig, so less than impressive even though it's only £15:

I think I'll have a crack at scratchbuilding something possibly unsing the Gary Chalk plans from the Foundry Compendium before I wimp out and go for the easy option. At least I have the crew and cannons already!


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