Monday 28 February 2011

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [25]

I decided to concentrate on the tanks for the 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards this evening. This meant tackling the camo netting with a basecoat of Coat d'Arms Olive Drab followed by a 50:50 wash of GW Devlan Mud and Thraka Green ink.

The end result looked really good until the ink dried out at which point it looked a bit flat. To lift it up a bit, I added a final drybrush of GW Camo Green, which seems to have done the trick although a bit more fine tuning will probably happen before I'm happy with it.

I also basecoated the tracks in Vallejo 304 Dark Rust, to be followed by a wash of gunge and some highlight drybrushing in various lighter rusty, metallic type shades. This is the plan for tomorrow, along with some detail painting of the tyres on the roadwheels, the stowage and other fiddly bits.

Warlord Games Firelock Storming Party

These were on special offer at roughly half price over at Northstar so I ordered a pack to add to the plastic mountain that's stacked at the back of the workbench. I already have a few of these figures but thought it would be worthwhile acquiring some more, especially as the two metal command figures that come witht the set are rather good. The felt hats that are supplied on the plastic sprues will also be useful for kitting out my early war Royalist regiments.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [24]

I squeezed in the first stage of painting on the tanks and carriers this evening, which involved a simple drybrush in three stages of Foundry Phlegm Green. It looks a bit over the top in the pictures but will be toned down with some further drybrush weathering, a bit of a wash and some matt varnish at a later stage. I'm hoping to crack on with this tomorrow.

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [23]

 B Company

 D Company

Reconnaissance Platoon 

Headquarters Company

I finished off the divisional insignia tonight, using GW Golden Yellow instead of GW Macharius Solar Orange this time, as it looks more like the actual colour of the Wessex Wyvern patch. As you can see, I now have another two infantry companies, together with the recce platoon and the HQ company. I still need to do the support company and the (optional) fourth rifle platoon but it's onto the vehicles now.

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [22]

I had a bad head yesterday but managed to get the regimental shoulder flashes painted on the figures, although the divisonal patches will have to be done today. This means that, fingers crossed, the bulk of the infantry will be done by the end of the half term holiday. Not a great deal of progress but a bit of a milestone nonetheless.

I also found these amateur but otherwise quite decent paintings of the 5th DCLI on Hill 112. I found them via Google on some sort of Bangladeshi military forum of all places. They capture the scene pretty well, especially the threat of the German armour which pretty much overran the position backwards and forwards, with little real opposition as the 6pdr AT guns and PIATs of the Cornwalls were knocked out early on in the battle.

Scary stuff. 

Friday 25 February 2011

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [21]

We got back home early today so I snatched a couple of hours in the garage to make up for time lost over the last few days. I've painted all the boots, metal bits and hair with a 50:50 mix of GW Black and Black Ink, followed by a drybrush of GW Boltgun Metal on the rifles and automatic weapons.

I also repainted the mortar and PIAT ammunition canisters in GW Gretchin Green to tone them down a bit. I finished off with a bit of tidying up ready for the insignia and divisional patch painting tomorrow. They definately won't win any prizes but they'll do as rank and file.

I also had a surprise delivery in the post, consisting of a lost parcel of Raventhorpe resin vehicles that I ordered back in December. They went to the wrong address but have now turned up. Anyway, the key items are an FAO carrier and a jeep for the 5th DCLI reconnaissance platoon. Very handy!

When I've finished off the infantry I'm going to tackle the AFV's and carriers as a bit of a change, leaving the infantry support weapons and crews to the end, whenever that turns out to be. The recce jeep and FAO carrier will be added to the vehicle park and painted up as and when.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

A Postcard from Sunny Cornwall

Not a lot to report on the painting front at the moment.

Actually, nothing at all to be honest.

I've had my hands full scratchbuilding a (roughly) 1/20th scale Anderson shelter for the sprog's half term homework project, so any time I would have had for painting has been well and truly hijacked. The scratchbuilding has gone quite well but I have a sneaking suspicion that his 'I made it all myself...honest guv' ploy will get rumbled by his teachers.

Anyway, I have picked up a couple of good books and even a board wargame of all things in the last couple of days. It's a wierd thing but the two nearest one horse towns both have model / wargaming shops. In Launceston I was amazed to find a new model railway and model kit shop with a decent selection of GW and Mantic Kings of War stuff. At the same time, in Callington there's a shop called Zaggy Games, which has a mix of roleplay and GW wargaming products!

Spooky or what?

I think East Cornwall must be in some sort of 1980's wormhole in the space time continuum thingy or something? I hope they both survive long enough to be there in the Summer when we're back down this way again. It's great to see small retailers up and running again after years of disappearing games shops, even if they're predicated on GW and CCG products and completely in the middle of nowhere.

PS The internet coverage here is a bit 'patchy' so this will probably be the last post for a couple of days.

Monday 21 February 2011

Patrols in the Sudan continued

I was given a £30 Peter Pig voucher by my sister for my birthday and have been holding on to it since January, but have decided to use it to re-vitalise my PITS forces for 2011. I have already got the British Heliograph and Screw Gun sets, so any  more infantry would be a bit over the top. However, I have no Anglo Egyptian cavalry or camelry, so one or the other seemed like a good option.

In PITS you can field either an infantry force or a mounted one for the Anglo Egyptians, which seems a bit odd but there you go. The latter units need both mounted and dismounted bases, together with casualties, horseholders and so on, which makes them pretty expensive, especially as they aren't great in terms of points values.

As a result, I've had to pull out all the stops to build a force that totals the required 360 points, but I think I've done it for around £30, with the voucher taking the other half of the financial strain. The cavalry force I've number crunched will consist of the following:

1 x  Veterans - 4 bases (swords / carbines) + 1 sergeant base + 1 officer base.
2 x  Veterans - 4 bases (make do lances / carbines) + 1 sergeant base + 1 officer base.
2 x Average Mounted Scout bases.

This equates to a total points value of 358.

It doesn't sound like much but, with the various mounted and dismounted versions plus the horseholders, it's actually a shedload of figures to be painted, when and if I get around to it. I think at least one infantry force will need to be sorted beforehand but it will be interesting to try out the cavalry as an alternative in game terms.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Holiday Reading

As usual I've taken a book or two along with me for my holiday reading. This time I've chosen Chris Peers' The African Wars from the bookshelf, a copy of which I aquired a few months ago with a book token that was given to me as a present.

I have a long, long term plan to game Darkest Africa but have yet to get it off the ground, despite having everything plus the proverbial thunderbox ready to go, so this should give me a push in the right direction.

I've also brought along Black Powder for a decent, in depth read through and my copy of Patrols in the Sudan, a good few games of which I have actually played using my very nearly completed Dervish army.

As you can see, they only need a flick of paint to be done but have been languishing in the 'to do' box since the tragic and untimely death of my stalwart opponent Dave. I really should finish them off and add at least one of the Anglo Egyptian or Sudanese forces that I have stockpiled, so that I can run games either solo or for other players at the club.

I hope 2011 will be the year in which I get my colonial projects underway once and for all...

Saturday 19 February 2011

Iron Cow Ramblings

I've been wondering what to do with my very cool 6mm Power Armour troops for a while and think I have come up with a possible solution.

In the British Combat Team that I bought from Brigade there are six Prometheus SPG's which I could convert to heavy APC's for the PA troops. This would allow me to field an optional Mech PA Infantry Platoon in place of the standard Mech infantry platoon in the generic regimantal orbat.

All I'd need to do would be leave off the gun barrel and fill or block off the aperture into which it fits. This would be a simple conversion job using greenstuff and/or plastic card. To replace the SPG artillery battery I can use the three Hydra salvo rocket launchers that were supplied in the army pack, so there would be no problem in terms of fire support.

I think this is a neat solution and would give the force an extra bit of punch for minimal effort.

Holiday Painting

I've packed up the Rapid Fire! stuff into two plastic boxes to take with me to Cornwall. I'm hoping to get this lot painted up by the end of the holiday, which would mean that I will have met the deadline of the end of February for the project, especially if I can knock off the tanks as well by this time next week.

I've decided to leave the Iron Cow stuff at home so that I can tackle it fresh, once the Rapid Fire project has been wrapped up. It shouldn't take long as it's 6mm and I'll be taking a fast approach to the painting and basing. That's the plan anyway.

Holiday...about time!

It's been a very, very busy week with two late meetings and loads of associated work to do, so the wargaming output has ground to a halt. In fact, I haven't picked up a paintbrush for more than two weeks, which is really bad for morale. However, it's now half term so I have a week of catching up to do.

We're off to Cornwall (not France for a change!) so I'll be taking something with me to work on, if I get the chance. It'll probably be either the 20mm Rapid Fire! infantry that have been gathering dust lately, or the 6mm ONESS force for Iron Cow, which is now complete bar the assembly and painting.

To finish off the ORBAT, I've aquired three Wespe aerospace ground attack planes from Brigade's German range. There are no equivalents in the British / English selection so the Wespes will have to do. They're quite nice models although they'd benefit from some underwing stores of some sort. They also need a new name, although I suppose Wasp will do.

I'm hoping to post some updates on my progress (?) during the week.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Belated Black Powder Birthday Bundle

I finally got the other half of my wife's birthday present yesterday, which had been held up in the post but arrived safe and sound if a month late. I had put it on my Xmas list, along with a handy web address for Warlord Games, so I was really pleased to get the rulebook and a couple of boxes of Victrix French and British Napoleonic infantry to get me started.

I'm not sure why if or when I'll get to try out the rules but they're jolly good as a general source of visual inspiration regardless. I have some Redoubt ACW figures knocking about, which might be a possible way in or I could go down the 28mm Napoleonics route with my initial boxes of figures and the couple that I already had for Sharpe Practise. Whatever, it's yet another project to be tackled when I get the time.

Monday 14 February 2011

Harpers Pictorial History of the ACW

I found a copy of this in the local Oxfam bookshop on Saturday and spent some time yesterday skim reading through the text and oogling the pictures. When I was studying for an MA in York many years ago, I enjoyed reading through the copies of the originals in the university library, as a break from researching medieval lime burning and lime kilns for my 25000 word dissertation.

It's surprising what you can write 25000 words on.

Anyway, the pictures are great and very atmospheric, so I was pleased to grab a copy of the reproduction for a tenner. However, I have now well and truly stalled with the Rapid Fire! project as I have a shedload of work to do and very little time left before half term. This week is a right off due to meetings and marking. Next week, we're off to Cornwall so they'll have to wait until I get back to be tackled again.

In the meantime, I'll try to get something done to shift them forwards or switch over to the Iron Cow stuff as a quick mini-project in the next couple of weeks. I can then get back to the Rapid Fire! figures with renewed focus. That's the theory...

Sunday 13 February 2011

Rapid Fire! Tiffy

I've had a busy weekend so no painting today (yet). My workbench has also been hi-jacked by Alex so that he can build his Mantic Undead army, which is coming along very well for an eight year old. He's done all of the cleaning and assembling of the figures himself, with only a little help from me to build the catapult and tidy up the odd bit of excess plastic.

On the plus side, I took the boys to Modelzone in sunny Southampton this afternoon while the other half went to John Lewis to complain about the faulty cupboard that I spent nearly three hours trying to assemble yesterday.  I'll never get that time back but at least she'll get a new cupboard to replace the crappy botched one. I have, however, now aquired some ground attack assets for the Rapid Fire! project in the form of an Airfix Hawker Typhoon.

I had one of these in the loft somewhere but it's buried down the back of the kit pile, so I thought I'd get a new one. It's one of those classic 1960's kits that are built to last and have very definite raised panel lines, which make the rivet counters nervous but look great when painted up for wargaming. It's also a very simple, quick kit to construct so I'm going to tackle it this evening. It definately brings back the memories!

Saturday 12 February 2011


I haven't had time to get any further painting on the Rapid Fire! stuff today, or get the Iron Cow tanks and AFV's cleaned up, as I've been pestered by the younger son to make up some GW Space Orks. This was a result of the eldest son getting his Mantic Undead in the post the other day and proceeding to wave them in front of his disgruntled little brother. Great.

Luckily, I remembered that there were a load of leftover Orks in the Assault on Black Reach box set that I bought for Alex last year. He wasn't interested in them, or the Space Marines really despite a few days of enthusuiasm, so they have now been donated to the sprog to keep him happy. We (I) cleaned up and based the small gang in the picture this morning and he's keen to paint them up tomorrow.

There goes my weekend. 

Friday 11 February 2011

Colonel William Ruthven's Regiment

I've been reading up on the 1642 - 1643 campaign in Cornwall and have been thinking about the options for the Parliamentarians. There are a number of specific units that should be included in any force including, for example, Lord Robartes redcoat regiment and the greycoat regiment of Sir John Merrick.

However, the unit that caught my attention was the Scots mercenary force of Colonel William Ruthven, the Parliamentarian commander of Plymouth by default:

''In early December 1642, Hopton secured the Cornish side of Plymouth Sound by occupying Mount Edgecumbe and Millbrook, but his attempts to blockade Plymouth itself were thwarted by the spirited defence conducted by Colonel William Ruthven, the Parliamentarian military governor. Ruthven commanded a regiment of Scottish mercenaries, which had been raiding rebel-held territory in Ireland. When the mercenaries put into Plymouth early in October, they were hired to defend the city pending the arrival of Lord Robartes with three newly-raised regiments. Ruthven mounted two amphibious raids across Plymouth Sound against the Royalist outpost at Millbrook.''

Now, it just so happens that my grandparents lived in Millbrook for over fifty years and my mother, uncle and aunt grew up there as a result. So, in the interests of family history, I think it would be only fitting to raise a regiment of Ruthven's Scots to battle it out for what is otherwise a completely insignificant village in the middle of nowhere.

I'm thinking of using the Warlord Scots Covenanter boxed set as a starting point for Ruthven's regiment, given that they have a distinct 'north of the border' appearance and would be an interesting unit to field alongside the conventional pike and shot regiments that I have planned. I doubt they looked very different from any other regiment at the time but, in the interests of period flavour and unit identity, I think a little imagination is allowed?

Thursday 10 February 2011

Off Topic

This is completely off the radar but worth a look nonetheless:

I have a very keen PGCE student taking one of my classes at the moment and he used it as an element of his lesson the other day.

Nice idea. Not sure the kids got past the bike bit to the actual Geography though?

Bah humbug!

Whatever happened to chalk and talk?

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Iron Cow ONESS Extras

The other day, I ordered a few extra bits from Brigade to round off the ONESS Armoured Combat Group including some infantry support weapons, some more tanks and a flight of Hestia VTOL's. The package arrived today so will be added into to the existing units that I have already got, to create a not quite complete regiment size force. The VTOL's are especially nicely done.

On a related tack, I'm wondering what to do with my power armour troops, as they are a bit at a loose end. I could upgrade the Mech Infantry platoon to be PA equipped but this seems a little excessive. Another option would be to use them as an attached PA equipped assault engineer section or even a full platoon, perhaps with their own APC's and HQ?

They're really nice figures so it would be a shame to not make use of them.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Renedra Bases

I got the Renedra plastic bases in the post today, which was a nice surprise as I only ordered them a couple of days ago. As you can see, I've had a go at mocking up a Brigade Models ONESS Apollo hover tank on a standard 20mm x 30mm base, to see how it looks.

I think it looks pretty good, so I'll be cracking on with this mini-project in the next couple of weeks.

The advantage of having hover tanks is that I don't have to worry about bedding them into the bases, as you would do with conventional tracked or wheeled AFV's. This leaves me free to texture and paint the bases, whilst painting the armour seperately using a quick undercoat, stipple, drybrush and wash approach.

Not only that but the bases are a nice matt light brown colour, so that any unpainted bits can be easily blended in to the overall effect. Result!

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [20]

I've finished off the flesh tones this evening with a light wash of GW Gryphon Sepia. I've also painted the base shades on the PIAT and 2'' mortar teams, using a three stage Foundry Phlegm Green approach. I really like this shade, even if it's a bit too green and not quite correct.

I still need to add a final highlight to finish off the ammo containers and pick out the detail on the PIAT, so I'll tidy things up before I go onto the next stage of painting.. It's on to the black bits tomorrow, which is the only evening I get home at a reasonable hour, so I'm hoping to get the bulk of the boots, hair and guns done by the close of play.

Monday 7 February 2011

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [19]

Not a lot to report on today but I have added the Foundry Flesh highlight to the thirty or so figures I'm painting, with the GW Gryphon Sepia wash to follow, once it's dry. I haven't taken any photos as you can't really see the difference until the wash has been applied. I'll do this tomorrow then crack on with the black on the boots, metal bits and hair.

I'm getting close to finishing the bulk of the infantry for this project, minus the heavy weapons and one company, so I'm going to start on the tanks and carriers soon. I need to decide how to go about this but it'll probably involve a few stages of drybrushing over the basecoat together with some judicious use of the gunge wash to add some definition.

Hopefully, the end result will look something like the Firefly in the picture?

Sunday 6 February 2011

Rapid Fire 5th Battalion DCLI [18]

I have finally got around to painting the next couple of stages on the Valiant figures this evenig after a very long interval of unavoidable inactivity. I've painted the rifles, water bottles and entrenching tools in GW Dark Flesh with a subsequent GW Flesh Wash to define the details. This was followed by a basecoat of Foundry Flesh Shade on the faces and hands. I'm hoping to get the skin tones finished off tomorrow.

Iron Cow Camouflage Ideas

I've been giving some randon thought to the camo scheme for the ONESS hover tanks, APC's and SPG's over the last couple of days and have been googling for inspiration. My first thought was to go for some sort of modern Swedish scheme, with contrasting shades of green or grey in splinter pattern. This is very cool but also very tricky to pull off in 6mm, as I'd need to do some unfeasibly fiddly masking to get it right.

So, the Plan B option was for a fractal pattern type approach, simplified down to some creative stippling in various NATO type shades. The idea would be to replicate something not unlike current German pattern camouflage, as seen on the latest AFV's. Again, a bit of a tall order but not as tricky as the splinter.

Finally, I was thinking of a fall back wash and drybrush approach, to create a faded down effect that could work well in 6mm. This would be the easiest but might end up a little bland. I'll probably just dive in and make it up as I go along but at least I can use the various pictures that I've found as inspiration.

There are a lot of computer game based images available and they give quite a range of potential schemes that I've pinched as reference material. I'm sure that whatever I end up doing will probably be more off the cuff than palnned but at least I've got some direction to head in.

Basing for Iron Cow 2103AD

I had a rummage through the various boxes of basing materials this morning to decide the approach I'm going to take for the ONESS vehicles and infantry. I usually base with either pre-cut mdf or plastic card, but I didn't have anything in the right size for the 6mm Brigade Iron Cow vehicles. These need a 30mm x 20mm base, which is the one size I didn't have.

I could cut existing bases down to fit but, to be honest, I can't be bothered to do this for fifty odd tanks, APC's and SPG's. So, instead of doing a botch job, I turned to the plastic bases that came with my 28mm Pike and Shotte figures. These looked like a great option until I realised that there were no 30mm x 20mm bases on them either. Bugger!

A quick check on the Renedra site and my problems have been solved. They do bags of 30mm x 20mm bases for £2.50 each, together with 15mm x 20mm ones that I can use for the infantry and heavy weapons teams. You can even have them in different colours, so I chose a natty light brown for mine, which will allow me to go desert or temperate for the camo scheme on the vehicles. And there's no wastage in unused bases that you would have if you bought the multi base sprues.


Saturday 5 February 2011

The Workbench is dead. Long live the Workbench!

We had an upright freezer delivered at 7.30am today, which meant I spent the rest of the morning and quite a bit of the afternoon shifting the garage about to fit it in. This has meant that the tumble dryer has now joined the little fridge on my side of the garage, at the expense of the good old workbench.

This was an old coffee table top that I salvaged when we moved house a decade ago and didn't need anymore. It had a laquered birch veneer surface which was great for keeping things nice and clean for painting while providing a nice stable base for cutting, trimming and scratchbuilding. It had seen better days but it was still going strong.

However, it was too long to fit in the space between the dryer and the fridge by about six inches, so it's now been recycled as a base for the big fridge and upright freezer on the other side of the room. I'm making do for the moment with a couple of mdf squares that I had lying about but it's not perfect, so I'll be off to B&Q at some point to find an alternative.

Anyhoo, I've been sorting out the new workbench and tidying up my paint collections, so at least that's something worthwhile out of it all. I've decided to re-organise the paints by manufacturer rather than by colour too, as it seems to make more sense that way.

I've had hardly any time for painting or modelling let alone gaming recently, so things have fallen behind schedule in a fairly serious way. I need to get on with the Rapid Fire! Tommies and want to start on the Iron Cow 6mm stuff and 28mm ECW project too, so I'll have to try to find the time from somewhere if I'm to move things along and get going again.

Friday 4 February 2011

Iron Cow ONESS arrivals

I was very pleased to get the ONESS British / English Armoured Combat Team in the post today, which was a bit of a surprise as I've had to wait a little longer for stuff in the past, although I've never been disappointed with the Brigade stuff when it does arrive in the post.

I'm thinking that this could be a weekend project, as the individual vehicles are simple two piece castings in most cases and have lovely details that would be great for a bit of drybrushing and washing. I reckon I could get the whole lot done and dusted in a couple of days, especially if I cut a few corners.

On a completely different tack, I followed a tip on Steve Blease's blog (very cool!) and tracked down some 28mm plastic Daleks in WHSmiths this afternoon. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them but they may very well end up as allies for my VBCW BUF in some sort of alternative interwar scenario of some sort?

Who knows?

Wednesday 2 February 2011


I saw this set of rules on Ebay the other day so put in a tentative bid and ended up winning a copy this afternoon, although I think I paid over the odds as a result.


Nonetheless, they look like an interesting diverision into rotary winged low level aerial ground attack gaming, with lots of potential for some interesting modelling and painting. I used to play hours of Apache / Havoc in my erstwhile pre-offspring youth, so the thought of some helicoper v. helicopter combat has a certain nostalgic appeal.

My initial thoughts were to use them with the 1/600th choppers from Oddzial Ozmy and Tumbling Dice. I already have a box full of tiddly planes and choppers destined for my Alto Cenepa War Airwar:C21 project but, as there are no rules for helicopters in C21, I've been at a loss for how to go about gaming the conflict.

On the other hand, I quite like the idea of scaling up to 1/144th and using plastic kits for the helicopters and pre-painted AFV's from the likes of Takara as ground targets. This would have some visual appeal and allow me to get some games up and running for a minimal outlay and effort.

I'll see if the rules and any good before I decide if and/or when to give them a spin.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

There was an interesting thread on TMP today, asking for moderators to post their links in order to spread the word and build some sort of catalogue of wargaming yahoo groups. It got me thinking about the future of yahoo groups in general, given the proliferation of wargaming blogs and the anti-yahoo group sentiments that are rife on TMP and other similar sites.   

In the past, I've occasionally linked to 'my' yahoo group when there has been a relevant topic under discussion, only to receive a response along the lines of  'not another yahoo group, I have enough of those already'. It seems a shame that this has become more rather than less common recently. It's also happening with blogs as well, which suggests that some sort of saturation point is being reached.

Anyway, to redress the balance, here's a link to the blog I set up for Saurian Safari way back in 2006:

It's currently running at 325 members, give or take the odd lurker, although I should really devote more time to it than I do, given the interesting subject matter and the hardcore of enthusiasts who tend to post on a regular basis.

If you fancy a bit of dinosaur hunting, feel free to drop by...


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