Saturday, 24 September 2016

Review: Lost Patrol - Part 1

My initial thoughts on this rather splendid looking game. More to come once I have taken it for a spin a few times. 

Where has the summer gone?

My last post was in July. The reason for this quiet spell is simple, I went to California to get married to the lovely Lady K, and as a result have done nothing wargaming related in the interim. So what follows is a short of "What I did on my holidays" post, and then some thoughts on wargaming plans going forward, I hope this isn't dreadfully dull.

Once school was over in July, I flew over to Bakersfield, California and began preparing for the wedding. Family members and friends started arriving a little before the big day. The first arrival was my favourite cousin who lives in Australia, she treated me to my first ever NFL game. It was a preseason match between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys. She is a Cowboys fans, hence our t-shirts. I am more of a rugby man, but being at the first game the Rams played after moving back to Los Angeles was something special. Additionally, the game finished in spectacular fashion with the Rams clinching it in the dying seconds. I would definitely go again.

We were only four rows back!

The Memorial Coliseum is worth visiting any time. 
We then headed up North to San Francisco, to meet my then future brother-in-law, who is a massive San Francisco Giants fan. He arranged for us to go and see the Giants play the Pirates at AT&T Park. After the intense excitement of an NFL game I worried that a sedate baseball match might prove a little dull in comparison. However, I was happily proven wrong and I thoroughly enjoyed my first encounter with "the national pastime." Between hot dogs, "Take me out to the ball game", and "rally caps", it was a fantastic evening out. As a lover of cricket, baseball isn't too far from my chosen sport, but different enough to be interesting in its own right. 

My dear friend Lydia has flown into San Francisco and came to AT&T Park directly from the airport to meet us. After the game we set off for Stockton where we crashed for the night before moving to Yosemite National Park. Now anyone who has ever used a Mac will be familiar with the vistas of Yosemite, they are often used by Apple as desktop backgrounds, but nothing can prepare you for the true scale of it all. 

"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods." - Theodore Roosevelt
After this bachelor party getaway, we headed back south to Bakersfield for the wedding. Still more foreigners with thick South African accents descended upon the city and met with the raucous hordes of Greeks and Arabs of the local Orthodox Christian community as it was all hands on deck to make the arrangements for the big day. 

In our jam-packed little church I got married to the lovely Lady K, whose father married us. As with most of these sorts of things it is a blur, and the very next day we headed off to Los Angeles to fly to Vancouver for our honeymoon. Vancouver airport is absolutely amazing, and the city didn't disappoint either. We spent the next week going on Zodiac rides, going to various waterfalls and I even managed to haul myself up Grouse Mountain one morning early.

After an early morning Grouse climb, I enjoyed a coffee in the early morning chill before all the cable cars brought the hordes of tourists up. 

Awesome views from the top, and the cable car ride down was stunning.
 I would definitively visit Canada again, I think that Vancouver is a perfect destination for outdoorsy type people and I thoroughly enjoyed walking and running in the various city and national parks. Sadly we didn't have long for our honeymoon and head to head back to Britain because I started my new teaching job in London. However, before we did leave, I managed to get a picture of the world's largest tin soldier in New Westminster.

Lady K is smiling because, thankfully, none of my "toy soldiers" are this big.
That is all for now gentle reader, I am afraid I am very much still in the "adjusting to the horrific London commute" phase of the new job, and haven't even looked at my miniatures since arriving back from North America. 

Friday, 8 July 2016

Some French Line Infantry Completed

I finished these fourteen line troops recently. They had been sat just awaiting basing, which has now been done.

As you can see, three bases of four, which are nominally "companies," plus a couple of skirmishing Voltigeur. I'll need another box of those fine Perry French plastics to round out my 24 man battalion. With another box I should get this battalion up to full strength of six companies/bases and then complete another battalion too.

Gains. Small, but nevertheless there.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Some 40k Progress

Behold! A completed 40k miniature!

I finished this scout over a short while, no major effort really.

I was inspired to play my new Lost Patrol game, and rather than paint the plastic minis in the box, figured that I could use my Dark Angels scouts instead.

Next up is a Heavy Bolter wielding chap.

Beginning of a US Infantry Platoon

I completed my first lot of US Infantry today. These fine fighting fellows were bought for me by the lovely Lady K, and so I have enjoyed painting them up and sharing the experience with her. 

I am building my platoon to the guidelines in I Ain't Been Shot Mum, so three squads of ten men. These squads are made of two big bases with four men each, plus a small base with two men. As you can see I am a little shy of the full platoon at the moment, the six two man bases are on the desk and getting attention. Once done, I will do a proper shoot of the whole platoon.  

I like the way they troops look and I am pleased with the basing scheme. These chaps will eventually land in Sicily and fight their way through Italy. Of course opposition will need to be purchased, but this project is not very high on the priority list and painting these figures is more a labour of love for me. 

Heer and Gebirgsjäger Paint Scheme Tests

The painting bureau is currently covered in a whole bunch of Poles and progress is good. I have almost completed the figures required for the Operation Squad game I have planned. The Poles will, however, need an opponent. To that end I have started thinking about the Germans. 

Now, I have never painted German infantry before, so this is new territory for me. That said, of all the belligerent nations of World War II the forces of the Third Reich are well provisioned with painting guides and I have saved myself from the insanity of painting awesome looking, but suicide inducing, German camouflage! 

Luckily the Early War German army has a sharp and simple colour scheme that shouldn't prove too time intensive. The most useful resource in this instance was from the Flames of War website, who have this rather handy pictorial guide:

Copyright Battlefront
I decided to do one Gebirgsjäger trooper (a Black Tree Design figure) and one regular Heer infantryman (from Crusader Miniatures). The Crusader fellow is a tad taller and bulkier than the Black Tree fellow, but they seem happy enough alongside each other. 

The Heer chap is sporting the standard tunic, while the mountaineer is wearing his reversible anorak. This was white on one side and grey on the other. The cool thing about the Gebirgsjäger is the variety of their uniforms. They are quite an "ally" outfit, as the photos below attest:

During the research phase for this project I spent an awful lot of time trawling for photos or drawings of German mountain troops. And I found a few colourised ones. The one above is from the Caucasus, so after Barbarossa was launched.

The photo below is from Austria in 1939. It is clear that these chaps weren't much for regulation kit, and I love the way that colours change almost randomly. 

The drawing below is a helpful painting aid for the wargamer keen to field Gebirgsjäger

Additionally, I used this fine little volume to help me along.

Using all the information I had gathered I had a go at painting both the miniatures and ended up with this:

The photos aren't that great, just some quick snaps on my iPhone, but I think it get across the idea of the uniform. I am quite pleased with the results, although the basing isn't done yet. Once they are complete I will drag out the lightbox and take some better pictures. 

I will cover my method in a separate post later, but in simple terms I simply blocked the colours, then washed with black ink, followed by a highlight. I did a little lighter highlight on the green of the collar, helmet, and gas mask canister. I also realise that I haven't highlight the black yet, but that is just a case of completion really. For the purposes of a test model I am quite happy with the results I have achieved. 

I have decided to stick to do the bases of my Germans similar to those of the Poles, though I think the Gebirgsjäger will likely be a little more rural. As usual, the author is grateful for the opinions of readers.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Review: Agema Miniatures Velites

I purchased this plastic boxed set some time ago from Northstar, during one of their sales no doubt.

Having painted up a pair of miniatures I thought I would share my thoughts on these figures. YouTube video below:

Here are some pictures of the painted miniatures for the record. Apologies for not light-boxing it.