Saturday, 30 January 2016

Review: Forgeworld Legion Mk III Power Weapon Set

Another video review from the humble scrivener of this electronic rag. We present, yet more Forgeworld resin!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Review: Forgeworld Legion Mk II Crusader Armour

I did another review video. I hope these closer look and talk-through videos are helpful. Suggestions  and comments are always welcome.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

This Week in the Hobby: January 24th 2016

I've had a rather productive week, as the record shows. Two battalions of Napoleonic infantry and a few loose chaps for Sharp Practice amongst all the building I have been doing. Not bad at all. Here are some of the things on my table at the moment:

U.S. "Big Men" for I Ain't Been Shot Mum, these are being based, basecoated and then painted.

More Frenchmen done. Just basing them and they will be good to go.

More U.S. Infantry for I Ain't Been Shot Mum. The bases are now painted so I can begin work on their uniforms.

Near complete Ultramarine. I am just working on his shoulder pads now, but otherwise, done.

I'm rather busy this week with work. Amongst other things I need to deliver a paper on the latter days of Hannibal Barca, so I'll be working on that in the evenings. Sadly my hobby time is likely to suffer, however, I am confident that I will be able to complete at least some of the above. 

Review: Forgeworld Horus Heresy Ultramarines Upgrade Bits

I did a video review of these bits today. Have a look below:

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Mid-War American Infantry Test Scheme

I painted up a quick test base this morning, just to get a sense of how they will look and what painting time is likely to be per base. I'm building a company of American infantry given to me as a gift from Lady K, for the Allied invasion of Italy, starting with Sicily. As a basis for my plans I am using Robert Avery's excellent Sicilian Weekend supplement for I Ain't Been Shot Mum.

After a quick ink wash these chaps look a bit drab.
As such, I am aiming for a nice arid looking base and those lovely washed out brownish American uniforms of the period. It took me almost no time to paint up this base, the only impediment is waiting for the shading wash to dry. After which the fellows were given a quick highlight using the same colours as before. Actual brush time for these guys was less than an hour. Now that the method is nailed, I'll be able to crank these out at pace.

A quick highlight makes them pop.
I'm satisfied with the result. However, I do think that I shall rebase the Big Men from Flames of War rectangular bases to circular ones so that they are more immediately apparent. I did this with some of my Soviet Big Men, and I think it works well. Basing isn't complete, A bit of dry grass and some paint around the edge will finish them off neatly.

In due course I'll pop a tutorial on here for those who might find it useful. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

24e Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne

Another unit of French infantry complete. This time the 24th Line Regiment. Figures are Perry Miniatures plastics, blocked and dipped, standard by GMB Designs. 

Again, the dip gives them a weathered look which I quite like, settling into the folds of their trousers. On this unit I highlighted the cross belts just to retain their dimension.

Again, six bases for the six companies, but this unit is lacking a mounted officer. I might add him later, but based individually.

These figures look good from a distance, but don't hold up under close scrutiny, but for generic line troops, that will do. Another 24 miniatures added to the complete list!

Some French Napoleonic Spares

As I have been building up battalions of French foot, I have ended up with a few spares, here and there. I decided to base these on 20mm round bases for use as skirmishers, or sentries. These will be particularly useful for Sharp Practice, where a few of these miniatures interspersed with the rank miniatures can give the sense of a less orderly body of men. 

These were blocked and dipped, like most of my Napoleonic stuff and are a mixture of Victrix and Perry, all plastic. The Victrix kit is particularly good for making up skirmishers do to the highly customisable nature of the kit. 

The Perry Voltigeurs look particularly shiny in the photos, so I might take another pass at them with the matte varnish, but otherwise these chaps look good and grimy.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

9e Regiment d'Infanterie Legere

I finished up another battalion of French infantry yesterday. The 9th Regiment of Light Infantry in Napoleon's army. Six bases, one for each company.

The miniatures are plastic Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers, with line infantry heads, so that they have the epaulettes and sabres. The Victrix kits are highly customisable, which adds to construction time. Sadly many of the arms and extremities are quite spindly with several bayonets meeting their ends during painting by the lightest nudges. This is because the plastic is rather brittle compared to that of Perry Miniatures. 

The only metals in this unit are the mounted Colonel and Sappeur, also Victrix. This metal range is now discontinued, or sold by a U.S. company, but I got a pack before Victrix stopped selling them. I like dropping some extra miniatures into units just to  break up the uniformity across the army.

The standard is from GMB Designs. I would highly recommend their flag sheets, easy to work with and a good selection.

As you can doubtless see, the paint job is simply a block and dip, which results in some nice "dirt" toward the bottom of greatcoats, and also on the Sappeur's apron. A highlight might not go amiss just to neaten up cross belts and the Colonel's whites. I also think that the unit might benefit from another coat of matt varnish as parts of it still look a bit shiny. 

These fellows will take their place alongside my Battalion of Old Guard Grenadiers in the 1809 Campaign against the Austrians. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Some Basing Tests

I had a go at painting up two bases today. The first is for my Heresy Ultramarines, and is based on Sidney Roundwood's World War I basing scheme

I'm happy with this scheme. I plan to paint the helmet in the colours of the Sons of Horus, the legion of fellow Dark Pact member Craig, and then once that is done to get a bit of grime on the duckboard and helmet. Painting time was incredibly fast, and really easy. 

I also painted up a quick urban base for my Deathwatch Kill Team. These are made of cork for the most part, so the texture naturally drybrushes well. I used some photos of real world examples to guide my colouration and ended up with this.

I did the road marking with a little masking tape and some yellows. I think it is a little luminous, so I am going to try and tone it down a little, but other that that I am quite happy with it. Again, painted up in no time.

I would be curious to know what readers think, so please do comment. Once I have refined the method I will post a tutorial for those who would like to see a step-by-step guide.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Arrival: Some Heresy Toys

This evening the UPS man surprised me at around 18:00 with a box full of Forgeworld goodies. Pride of place goes to this gorgeous tome that weighs a tonne and is more beautiful in person than I could possibly have imagined. It is, simply put, a piece of art, and worth every penny in my opinion. I haven't even read it yet, so I am talking about it purely as an object at this stage.

Also in the box was a whole bunch of accessory pieces, such as shoulder pads, torsos, heads, bolters, weapon packs, and command upgrades. Alongside these bits and pieces were my captain and standard bearer, and five Mk II marines. 

In the next few days I will get on with washing these so that they are ready to be used as I build my forces up. In many ways this is a milestone for my Horus Heresy Ultramarines as I can know write up a list and paint to that rather than sort of aim for something without a sense of cohesion as a whole force. I am rather excited. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A Rather Productive Weekend

As Sunday draws to a close on a freezing weekend where we have had a light dusting of snow, I think back to Saturday morning and am struck by how much I got done. I started my day with a trip to town to pick up various supplies, and having done that, set about doing some modelling amongst my various other chores.

I made some bases for both my Deathwatch Kill Team and my Horus Heresy Ultramarines using various materials, and made some painting pegs and a crude stand for them. I made a video about it:

I then set about getting some painting done. I decided the other day that I would quite like to try playing Dreadball. So I began painting another Ork blocker, to go with the one I had painted ages ago. I finished him this evening. In truth, I can't stand these miniatures, they are poorly detailed for the most part, but I paid the money for them, so I might as well paint and use them. 

Latest addition is the chap on the left.

Of course, as soon as I uploaded the photo I realised that I had forgotten to paint his claws, but a quick coat of Ushabti Bone will fix that. Other than that, I got some undercoating done with the airbrush this afternoon. A platoon of 15mm Americans for World War II, half of my Deathwatch Kill Team, and five Ultramarines, as well as the bases I made, are all now undercoated. I even managed to get a start on the Ultramarines and a Deathwatch brother.

The plan is to do the Deathwatch one at a time, as a well as grind through a Dreadball Ork a day, depending on how much hobby time I get. The orange is a pain since neither tones of it cover particularly well, but I'll just have to push on through to get it done. The Ultramarines are pretty well defined in terms of painting line troops now, so I batch paint those. It has been great to get a win, even if just for a weekend, but I felt as though I got a fair bit done. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Planning ahead and getting things done

I was catching up on older episodes of the Fools Daily podcast (@fools_daily) the other day when Mike Marshall (@OldManMyke), a notable of the wargaming community, made an interesting comment. He said that he unboxes and assembles everything that he buys as soon as he gets it home so as to actually see what he has and to avoid that "I think I have some boxes of those in the loft" situation. It struck me as a simple, but profound idea. I know that I buy stuff all the time, "Oh great! Askaris on sale, well I'll need those for the Colonial project I have planned!" It arrives, I have a quick glance at it, declare myself satisfied and then immediately box it away since I am busy with other things.

Things have gotten so far out of hand that I worry that I don't actually know what I have. So I decided to mirror Mr. Marshall to an extent, and began assembling miniatures on the weekend. There are three immediate benefits that I have experienced. Firstly, I have more room. Yes, oddly enough I am actually storing vast quantities of sprue plastic, and additionally, once I clip the spares off and put them into my bits box I am gaining space, millimetre-by-millimetre. It might not sound all that impressive, but I live in a small house and every box of miniatures that is rendered into little soldiers that stand on their own two feet is a small victory. The one thing I will now have to start sorting out is a better storage solution for my miniatures than bookshelves, but at least I am getting a sense of the scale of the project. I had always assumed that keeping my miniatures in mint condition in their boxes was space saving, it is not. It does however mean that these boxes are no longer "collectible", so much for flogging a plastic wrapped copy of Space Hulk! But these miniatures were bought to be painted, games to be played, not hoarded.

Sitting and building miniatures is a great, low energy, way to unwind after a long day.
Secondly, I am beginning to comprehend the scale of Lead Mountain™and can plan where I want to go in discrete stages. For instance with my Polish World War II project, I want to put together a section first, then do some Germans to match, and then upscale both so that I can actually start playing some tiny patrol actions. A similar thing exists with my Napoleonics. I have now completed three battalions of French, along with some loose foot, but I have nothing for them to go up against. It is difficult to find motivation when the prospect of painting several battalions for both sides is a prerequisite a actually playing a game. What this means is that I need to try and achieve an element of parity, which means I need to get amongst the boxes!

Finally, there is something therapeutic about just sitting glueing miniatures together of an evening. IT differs from painting in the sense that it is easy to pick and put down, and it requires far less concentration. It is also creative in a totally different way from painting because one is essentially composing the subject which will be painted later. I noticed that I gave far more thought to the overall look of the miniature, adding grenades and holstered pistols to Space Marines for instance, than I normally would. Especially since I normally paint my marines in about three parts, I am hesitant to add grenades and such because they often stop the arms from sitting correctly. The last thing you want to do, having painted a miniature carefully, is to get glue all over the place as you try and wrestle arms and accoutrements into place. Don't get me wrong, I still think certain parts of the model benefit from being added at the last, but certainly composing miniature almost entirely then allows little extras to be added during construction. In fact, I have done just this with my Deathwatch Kill Team that I started assembling on the weekend.

A Deathwatch Kill Team takes shape.
I suspect that composing bases at the same time might also be a good idea, especially if the bases are more complex than sand, paint, and static grass. It allows, I think, a great deal of interplay between the base and the miniature. I suppose that I had better explain what I mean in more detail, but Mr. Marshall has certainly changed the way I think about assembly. I always considered it a rather mundane and irritating process that got in the way of painting, when in fact it can be creative and actually highly motivating.

Go and listen to the Fools Daily, the chat is good and the hosts very knowledgable about all things wargaming related.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Return to Ultramar

I have been feeling rather under the weather for the last few days, and last night I was restless. I decided to visit my happy place at the hobby desk. However, painting wasn't going to happen, coughing and generally feeling rough precludes pretty much everything except basecoating. Instead I decided to assemble some more Ultramarines for my Horus Heresy Army. 

I must confess that since the release of the Battle for Calth boxed set I have been reticent to "waste" my resin on Line Marines. But at the end of the day, the miniatures I have are essentially just line bods anyway, besides converting a few as nuncio-vox operators or standard bearers. There is little virtue in dwelling on the resin-plastic gap and feeling sad about it all. 

I am in the process of a little bit of a reorganisation with my Ultramarines. Firstly, I have decided that I simply cannot afford to give everyone a moulded shoulder pad, it simply isn't cost effective, so decals it shall be. However, I have decided that Veterans would get moulded shoulder pads, so as to elevate them above their line infantry peers. The results will become clear once units start taking shape. At present I have two veteran squads planned, and two tactical squads. 

There is also the matter of base sizes. Games Workshop's decision to move Marines to 32mm bases might be met with cynicism some, but I think that the aesthetic pay off is worth it. For now I will not rebase my miniatures, I don't think I have the heart to pry them off of their bases just now, but all new built miniatures will use the bigger bases. The added space leaves me with the ability to do a little more with their bases, so I have been thinking of ways in which I can decorate them to look more interesting. 

This leads me to theming. At present I do not own a Heresy sourcebook. At £80, I was keen to wait for the Ultramarine one, and it is now here. In due course this will be purchased, but this pause gives me a moment to consider what I want the shape of the force to be. I have been thinking about it for some time, and my thoughts consistently wander back to a trench war/siege force. I ostensibly want an infantry force, and I think a trench line theme would look pretty awesome. 

To that end I will be using Sidney Roundwood's excellent technique for painting World War I Western Front bases, which I have used with my Polish. I have the corrugated iron and trench boards, I just need some bricks, which I'll get off eBay. The varied colours one the bases should hopefully give them some dimensionality. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

2015 In Review

Well, it is over. It often helps to take a moment to pause and reflect on what has been achieved over a given period, so that changes can be made, if necessary, but also to rationalise why things went the way they did. Hobbywise, 2015 was the year of not getting much done for me. It started very promisingly and then devolved into nothingness towards the tail of the year. On a personal level it has been a year of immense change. A new career and a lovely lady who spends half her time living on another continent have certainly required some adjustment on my part. One thing I have noticed is that, because I am in the United States for my holidays these days those periods are utterly lost to me in hobby terms. Perhaps this can be remedied?

So, enough reflection, what was the damage for 2015?

- 35 Finnish Infantry (15mm)
- 7 Polish Infantry (28mm)
- 1 Dark Angels Apothecary
- 2 Ravenwing Bikes
- 1 Ravenwing Attack Bike
- 3 Terrain Pieces (28mm)
- 1 WWI BEF Infantryman (28mm)
- 2 Horus Heresy Era Ultramarines
- 10 Vikings (28mm)

Hardly a great showing, but then I never really had much traction after January. However, it isn't all bad news, there are several miniatures that are on the verge of completion on my painting desk, so a solid weekend of effort should get those into my 2016 completion list. Another positive is the fact that I am now based in an environment where I can paint with less hassle, meaning I can actually get it done.

Here are some pictures of completed miniatures:

Poles defending their homeland. 
I've really enjoyed painting these fellows.