Friday 30 November 2018

Making Tracks

I have undercoated the desert off road tracks with Halfords Camo Khaki spray, having left them for a couple of days to allow the acrylic paste to completely dry out. I have just now base coated them with Homebase Cashmere emulsion paint, so that I can do the dry brushing and weathering tomorrow. I also still need to add the base texturing to the various T junctions, crossroads and Y turnings that go with the curved and straight sections, as I didn't have the space to do them last weekend. I don't intend to take too long over this as I want to get on with the 1/600th scale planes for the Football War project.

Thursday 29 November 2018

The Sterling Submachine Gun

I pre-ordered a digital copy of this new Osprey title in the Weapon Series and it popped onto the Kindle this morning. It's going to be a brief but really interesting read and obviously relevant to my ongoing Sandbox Skirmish post colonial project, even though only one of my Peter Pig squaddies has had a Sterling added as a personal weapon. I wish they'd sculpt some AK47 range professional figures with a Sterling as it's such an iconic Cold War piece of kit. There's a great little article here too, which give a fascinating introduction to the weapon:

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Alive and Kicking

I've singularly failed to get any more painting done on the 1/600th scale aircraft for the Wings at War Corsairs and Cavaliers project, despite my best laid plans and intentions. I am still keeping them on the workbench, however, so that I can get them finished off once I've stopped being distracted into terrain making for the Sandbox Skirmish project. In fact I was thinking about tackling them this weekend, once I've completed the road sections and the desert ruins. So, don't give up all hope, they will be done sooner rather than later. I'm still waiting for some feedback from Chris Russell on the rules adaptation but that shouldn't stop me from playtesting them myself, so the Football War project is still very much alive and kicking!

Our Friends Beneath the Sands

I bought a second hand, hard back copy of this book yesterday for a fiver, which is a bit of a bargain assuming I actually sit down and read it? I already have a digital copy but I prefer 'proper' books, not only because they are things of beauty but also as they can be opened up and read through, alongside all the other books that might be relevant to your particular project of interest.

This book is clearly relevant to French colonial actions in hot locations and I am really intrigued by how it might crossover with the Sandbox Skirmish terrain project as well as 'Darkest Africa', in which I have had a long term interest. I was particularly fascinated by the photos of the Rif War and by the 'classic' 1920's and 1930's imagery of the Foreign Legion in North Africa. I think I'll save it for the festive season when I'll have time to read it on holiday. 

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Rebel Transport

No, not Star Wars but a clapped out old lorry for my rebels to smuggle their arms through the British (or French) road blocks, assuming the usual camel convoy doesn't get there first. I figured that as I'll have a road block checkpoint for the troops to operate I would need to have some rebel vehicles to be stopped and searched.

A quick rummage in the lead pile turned up this Peter Pig French WW2 truck, to which I retrofitted a load of barrels, pinched from a Skytrex Vietnam truck which has long since been converted into an AK47 technical. I quite like the resulting mash up and it will definitely be used for a scenario at some point. I reckon they could squeeze an entire fifteen man squad into there!

Jungle Skirmish Terrain Board Finished

I had a go at painting the small skirmish board that I textured the other day, using a combination of cheap artists acrylic paints, some almost empty rattle cans and a lot of dry brushing. The end result isn't too bad and not far off what I was aiming for but it needs a coat of ultra matt varnish to tone it down a bit I think. This may or may not get used for jungle themed games including lost world safari and dinosaur hunting expeditions, or for historical skirmish actions in Vietnam and Africa. It's now going to be set aside, however, so I can get back to the Sandbox Skirmish project.

Dirt Track Terrain

I've started on the dirt roads and tracks for the Sandbox Skirmish project, using the straight and curved laser cut road templates from Supreme Littleness Designs. I have applied a skim of acrylic paste then textured the edges with a brush, before dragging a sculpting tool across the road surface to make ruts and ridges. I finished off by lightly sprinkling a bit of sand and grit along the verges. There's a blown up section of road too, made by gluing a resin crater from The Scene onto a short road section, blending it in with acrylic paste then mashing in some grit and sand to create a blast effect. I'll do the junctions next and possibly another blown up road section too.

Monday 26 November 2018

Desert Towers, Dirt Trails and Railway Tracks

I have been rushed off my feet today, so didn't get any wargaming stuff done at all. However, I have had a good look at all of the laser cut mdf bits and bobs that I got from  Supreme Littleness Designs including the ruined desert fort and road templates. I've unattached the parts for the fort from the frame, which was very easy as they just fell away with no need for cutting, then undercoated them in Halfords Ultra Matt Camouflage Khaki as a key for later texturing and painting. This really is  lovely little model and I'm looking forward to gluing it together soon. I've also had a look at the road templates, which are the contents of three of the 50mm wide packs, so there's plenty of sections to configure. 

I want to make some dry gullies or stream beds, so have matched up the crossroad piece with some hedge row bases from ERM, which I'm hoping can be made into the gully sections, while the crossroads would form either a ford or a bridge. I'm also planning to do at least one blown up section of road, using resin craters from The Scene, and a checkpoint using the Peter Pig set, which includes some sandbags and a barrier for starters. I've even thought of using some of the straight sections for railway lines, based on the method I used to build a section of track years ago for AK47. I only made up one of these, based on a strip of cork floor tile and using some old TT gauge model railway track I salvaged from the local dump, but it would be good to have a decent stretch for the rebels to blow up!

Mini Skirmish Terrain Board


On Saturday I found a boxed picture canvas in the local charity shop, very similar but much smaller than the one I turned into a desert themed terrain board a couple of weeks ago. This board is only a fraction of the size, at 55cm x 47cm or just under 2' x 2', so only really useable as a skirmish board or for smaller scale games. I decided to texture it but had to remove the stuck on felt circles and stitching first. The felt circles just pulled off but the stitching had to be sanded down, as it just wouldn't unpick and had to be left in place. I managed to cover it up in the end but it was a bit of a saga and hasn't completely disappeared from view.

To cover it up, I added a thick coating of acrylic paste, followed by a mashed in coating of sand, small stones and scenic dead grass fibres. It has now set and will be overpainted once I've added a bit more texturing. I haven't decided how to paint it yet, with several possible options on the table including tundra for 15mm WW2 Commando raids, 10mm 'Cold War Gone Hot' in Norway and 15mm Frostgrave. I also thought of No Mans Land for 15mm trench raiding or jungle for French Indochina and Vietnam. I was even thinking of the latter for Saurian Safari dinosaur hunting, which is something I've done before in 28mm but would scale down really well to 10mm, using the Magister Militum dinosaurs and Pendraken figures.

Sunday 25 November 2018

Scenario Sketches

I reckon it's now time, almost a month after I started the Sandbox Skirmish project, to start thinking ahead to plan the actual game aspect of the thing....putting the wheels on, so to speak?
It's an 'imagi-nations' project so the options are completely open, although I have already decided to use No End in Sight as the core rules. There's an excellent scenario and campaign generation system included in the rules but I thought it would be good to devise some potential scenarios that I could focus on, if only to work out what sort of terrain I'd need to build to fit the bill. 
So far the list looks a bit like this, with all missions being set for the British platoon but with matching objectives, victory conditions etc for the rebels:
- Setting an Ambush.
- Intercepting supply lines.
- Capturing arms caches.
- Hearts and Minds.
- Escorting a supply column.
- Night patrol.
- Night raid on rebel camp.
- Rescue the downed pilot.
- Blow up the downed aircraft / damaged vehicle.
- Mine / IED clearance.
- Escort the visiting politician / journalists.
- Rescue the ex-pat oil workers / missionaries / journalists.
- Helo Air assault on rebel held village.
- Find the rebel leader.

- Get that sniper!
- Protect the civilians villagers from rebels attack.
- Set up a road block traffic search.
- Punitive raid to confiscate livestock / crops.
- Stop the rebels infiltrating across border line.
- Link up with / insert / extract Special Forces.
- Infiltrate across border to set trap / mines.
- Blow up a bridge / railway / road (not sure why but why not?)
[or as above but protect the sappers trying to repair it.]
- Capture prisoners for interrogation.
- Defend supply dump, forward base, oil refinery, radio station...
- Amphibious raid on rebel coastal strip.
- Field test the new bit of kit (Scorpion tanks!)
- Find that camel!
…and whatever else you can think of to fill in any gaps that I’ve missed.
Any ideas would be very welcome.

In the Service of the Sultan

I'm on the way to a rugby match this morning and won't be back until later today, so there will be a brief hiatus in workbench activity. However, I have started reading this book, which has some excellent reviews and should give me something to think about for the Sandbox Skirmish project.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Project Update


I have had a bit of an avalanche of stuff arriving in the post, much to the annoyance of SWMBO, who has now banned me from ordering anything more until after Xmas. I pointed out that I haven't actually bought that much and haven't spent much either, but to no avail. Anyway, I have more than enough stuff already to get on with the Sandbox Skirmish project amongst other things, so it's not a problem. I also have lots of other projects in the pipeline for which I am fully equipped, so 'Bah Humbug' to her indoors! (just don't tell her I said that).

First up, the road sections and terrain templates arrived today from Supreme Littleness Designs. The road pieces will take no time at all to texture and paint, so that I can have a whole network of dirt tracks for the 15mm armoured vehicles to patrol along, with some of the templates possibly being used for stream sections or dry ditches as well, if I have enough. I also now have a 15mm version of the desert ruins that SLD produce in 28mm, albeit actually an 18/20mm version. I think it scales really well with the Peter Pig figures, however, so a big thank you to Michael for re-scaling and cutting it for me. Brilliant!

The 1/100th scale Italeri Westland Wessex diecast model helicopter also arrived at the same time, albeit with one broken rotor blade that I will need to fix and reinforce so that it doesn't snap off again. It wasn't obviously broken when you looked at the packaged model, so it's not the sellers fault that he missed it. I'm sure it will be fine once I've sorted it out. I also found another box picture frame in the charity shop this morning, so now have a smaller terrain board to texture and paint being only 55cm x 47cm in size, so I think I may prepare it either for my 10mm Aliens project or for 10/15mm French Indochina games.


Thursday 22 November 2018

Three Little Pigs

This is Cyprus but very much the 'look' that I'm after!

Well, two little 15mm Humber Pigs and an SWB Landrover, to be precise have finally arrived from QRF. I ordered these way back at the start of the month, so it's been quite a while, but I can now assemble them and add them to the other British vehicles. They're rather good but there's also quite a bit of flash and I will have to do some cleaning up before they can be undercoated ready for painting.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Sudan Skirmish Plans

I've been re-reading the excellent Go Strong Into The Desert as some background research for a potential project next year, using 15mm Peter Pig figures and The Men Who Would Be Kings skirmish rules. I have all the figures in the lead pile and now also have my desert terrain board, so I just need to get the lead painted and I'm ready to go. 

The idea would be to do the Beja first then do either a naval landing party or a unit of infantry, probably Royal Marine Light Infantry or the 2nd Battalion Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry, the former for the Suakin Field Force and the latter for the river column in the Gordon Relief Expedition. After that I could branch out and do other add on units and extras like heliograph teams, engineers or mounted infantry.

It's all just an idea at the moment but could be good fun and would tie in nicely with my current post colonial Sandbox Skirmish project. I like the fact that the tribal contingent would be quick to paint, having painted some very similar figures for AK47, while a British 24 point force would only require about forty figures or so to be painted up. As I'm a slow painter and not particularly good at it, this would be a real bonus.

Desert Village

I've only just sat down after a bit of a hectic day but have set up the terrain pieces for the start of a desert village, albeit without any clutter or painted buildings to really set the scene. I think the fields came out alright in the end, although I had my doubts along the way and probably need to make a couple more of the big ones to have a viable settlement. I'll need to source some more of the synthetic wire wool pads to do this but I think I can get them in Homebase, at least according to their website, so I'll pop up at the weekend if I get the time.

Apparently, these also used to just fall off and arm themselves if you went over a bump 
(which is easy to do on a rough airstrip in the middle of nowhere)

I also need a well or pond, some haystacks (just thought of that!) and perhaps a grain store, which my grandad used to tell me made a spectacular target for a few well placed 20lb Cooper bombs, even if they didn't always go off being vintage 1917 and twenty years past their use by date! I also have some assorted Museum Miniatures livestock, chickens, goats, donkeys and the like, which I can decorate some terrain templates with, if I can find them?

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Standard of Power

Another second hand book for the overloaded book shelves. This covers the entire Twentieth Century in a broad sweep, which is quite a task in itself, but I'm sure I will be able to gather some inspiration for those naval aspects that I'm particularly interested in including, for example, the immediate post WW1 actions in the Baltic and the WW2 campaign in the Mediterranean.

Fields Finished

I abandoned the Javis grass mat method on the fields, as it looked terrible, and instead found some old artificial wire wool pads that I cut up to make crops. This was fine apart from gluing them down with PVA, which is when I wished that I still had my hot glue gun, in the end resorting to my daughter's hair drier to get them to stick. One of the ploughed fields ended up in the bin after a matt varnish disaster but the other two came out fine.

Village Field Crops

I've now pretty much finished the painting on the village fields and garden plots, ready for planting some crops on the ones that aren't ploughed. I think I'll cut some strips of the Javis grass mat to make rows of plants for some of the bases but just do a whole rectangle of the grass mat for some of the others. I was also thinking of turning the big base into a wheat field, if I can find something to use as the standing crop, leaving some parts of it as flattened or harvested areas so that I can stand figures on top of it?

Monday 19 November 2018

Village Fields

I have been side tracked into terrain making again but this time it's fairly straightforward and painless, I hope. These are small fields and garden plots for the Sandbox Skirmish project, designed to be placed around the Red Vectors village buildings that I have yet to construct, although some of the smaller Blotz buildings can also be used for rural areas.

I've used acrylic paste and sand to texture them but will add a few stones as well around he edges, as my grandad used to tell me that the Pathan farmers would pile them up then use them as cover for sniping at his plane! I have some Javis grass mat that I got from somewhere or other (?) which I will cut up and use as crops for some of the fields, with some of the others as harvested or fallow ground. 

Colonial Conundrums

I dug out my old, half finished Patrols in the Sudan Mahdist army yesterday and set it up on my desert terrain board to see how it matched up. As you can see, the figures are half painted but wouldn't need more than a bit of blocking in, a wash and some colour patches to be ready to deploy. I'm not intending to use PITS again, although I did enjoy the games that I've played, but did think that I could use this army for The Men Who Would Be Kings instead or for Death in the Dark Continent?

I would prefer to have individually based figures for TMWWBK and have already set aside some 15mm Peter Pig Beja and Egyptians for just the purpose, but as a fall back I could re-use these multiple based units as well, using counters or even individual wounded figures to track casualties. A quick check of the army lists (5.River Arabs) and it looks like I have more than enough bases for an army, although I would need to have five base units of fifteen not sixteen infantry, as they are based in threes not fours. 

It's worth a thought and, if I do just go down the individual figure basing route, at least I have an alternative option. It would be a shame just to shove them back in the box to gather dust.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Kicking Off The Football War

I've neglected the Wings at War Football War project over the last couple of weeks, so will be cracking on with painting the Honduran aircraft over the next couple of days, followed by the Salvadoran aircraft if I can squeeze them in too. I've been in touch with Paul from Tumbling Dice, who is keen on the Corsairs and Cavaliers version of Wings at War that I have drafted, so there's a chance it might end up in print, although he's very busy at the moment with shows, orders and other business. I'm hoping that the Wings at War mastermind, Chris Russell, also gives it a thumbs up and I've heard via Paul that he's now got a copy to check over. Watch this space.

Roads and Tracks

It's about time I sorted out some roadways or tracks for the Sandbox Skirmish terrain building project, so I've taken the easy route and ordered three sets of 50mm wide roadway templates from Supreme Littleness Designs. These aren't cheap but do take the effort out of cutting my own road sections from cork tiles or some other material, as I originally intended. They are a bit on the narrow side for 15mm but if I use them as dirt tracks rather than paved roads that wouldn't be a problem.

In theory, all I will have to do is texture the sections with acrylic paste or a PVA and filler mix, then just paint them. I may join some sections together beforehand, however, in order to avoid the pieces shifting about too much on the terrain board. If I have any spare sections, I might even make some streams or irrigation channels, although I do have some hedgerow bases from ERM that I could use for this instead, only having to cut some corner pieces to make them useable?

Palm Tree and Oasis Features Finished

I've managed to finish the palm tree cluster bases and the two oasis features this afternoon, adding some dry brushing to the trees and some gloss varnish to the ponds, having scrapped the acrylic sheet as it didn't look very good. I'm sure if I was making 28mm oasis terrain the acrylic sheeting would be fine but in 15mm it looked overscale. I also spilled some PVA onto it by mistake which spoiled the water effect. I may add another coat of gloss varnish to the ponds later on to give a bit more of a reflective surface but I think like look fine as they are.

The tree cluster bases came out okay in the end but I suspect that they will shed their green paint if they get handled too much and will need to be repaired as a result. I ended up with eleven of these as some of the tree trunk prongs snapped off, so I've saved the broken ones for other things. I will be making some more arid acacia type tree bases to match these ones anyway, so if they play up I can use those instead. I have had enough of terrain making for the moment, so will be doing some figure and vehicle painting next instead.

Palm Tree Painting Progress

I've painted the bases and the oasis templates this morning, so that they are ready to be assembled and then have a few finishing touches added. The bases have been drilled for the trees to be attached but I'm a bit worried that they might snap off if handled roughly, so will go overboard with the glue to make sure they are firmly attached. I may also add some flock or static grass to bed them in and relieve the monotone sandy effect. The oasis ponds have also been painted and I'm waiting for them to dry so that I can drop in the acetate sheet. In the meantime, I'm dry brushing the tree trunks and palm fronds, so that they are a little more interesting to look at.


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