Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Gladiators WIP

Well I promised some work-in-progress (WIP) pics of the 1/32 (54mm) Gladiators so here they are. First of all some photos as they came out of the boxes. This first photo shows the Italeri Gladiators; there are two identical sprues in the box, and the photo shows one of them. On the one hand it seems a bit of a waste to have two identical bears and lions, but I figured, I'll use one of each with my 40mm greeks as giant/legendary examples of their breed, so I'm not too disappointed. I'll just have to get the knife to the identical gladiators.

Next up is the single sprue contained in Pegasus Hobbies Gladiators set 1. For some reason, Pegasus have decided to make their figures seperate from their bases. So I happily used my normal glue for plastics - Revell 'Contacta Professional' - only to find that it doesn't seem to work on these figures! This was a real shock as it's worked a treat on both Wargames Factory's Zombies and Mantic Games Ghouls, as well as the Amera plastic buildings that I had ... I guess it's a different kind of plastic! Anyway, here is the sprue:
And here is the sprue of bases and weapons for this set:

Finally for the sets this is the contents of Pegasus Hobbies Gladiators set 2. As you can see, some of the gladiators had seperated from the sprue before they got to me - no damage though.
And again the seperate bases and weapons.

Each of the boxes had photos on the back showing how the figures should be assembled, so I've kept those and binned the rest of the boxes.

I got the figures from, placing my order about 8pm last tuesday and was pleasantly surpised when they arrived on friday morning! No fuss or quibbles - the boxes were listed as being in stock, and given the speed of delivery they must have been! When I order stuff in future I shall be sure to check their site. I had done some research on price, and if they weren't the lowest, they were definitely close.

So over the long weekend we've just had, I got the figures washed and assembled and have stuck them all on 60x60mm MDF bases that I had in 'stock' from an abandoned Polemos project. Adding some metal bases I had to add a bit of weight to the bases, I used DAS modelling clay to hide the weights and smooth out the figures bases. Then I painted them all 'Sand'. When finished I intend to give them a couat of diluted PVA, stick some real sand to them and then varnish. For the real sand, I was in Tesco's the other day and saw they do 10kg bags of playpit sand for £2 so I bought one of them - beats sivving (sp?) out sharp sand which is what I had been intending!

With the clay dry and painted, I started on the figures themselves, adopting a production line technique - i.e. the same colour on all the figs using it, then doing the next colour and so on. Sometimes though, I find that disheartening as it seems that you're not making any progress, so I'm going to switch to one figure at a time.

Here is an overhead group shot of the progress so far. One thing to note - I undercoated them with my ususal spray paint of choice - Halford's matt grey primer paint - but given the size fo the figures I found this too dark, some colours (e.g. white and tanned flesh) needing 2-3 coats to stop the grey showing. I now have some Halford's white plastic primer for the rest!
And the same group from a lower angle. I'll post individual pics as I make more progress.

One final note, having finally watched 'Salute to the Juggers' over the weekend I realise that these figures won't do for a Qwik team, so it's only one project! Need another solution for Qwik ...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

News to share

Two things I wanted to share with you all ...

First - and most important - is my step-daughter's exam results came through today; she got four A's and six A*'s!  Apparently her English teacher is unhappy with an A and is going to query it as well!! (I don't know if that's Eng. Lit or Eng. Lang).  Well done her, and I am sooo proud of her!! She's worked damn hard at school and it's great to see the investment returned!!

Secondly, I've got another project to add to my list ... well it might count as 2 not sure ...

I bought Qwik from Two Hour Wargames a while ago and have done nothing about it, and I've had my eye on their Red Sand, Blue Sky for a while ... when I was a kid, my Dad had a set of gladiator rules - Rudis IIRC. I never played them and can't remember what they had in them or were like, but I remember wanting to, and have had a hankering to do a gladiator game ever since. Many is the time I've looked at Steve Barber's ampitheatre and almost convinced myself to buy it ...

Anyway, then I read the The Qwik Project post on Irqan's blog and its follow-up Las Vegas Show Juggers displaying how he is converting plastic 1/72 Mayans to be Qwik figures. I hadn't considered using plastics before, but had enjoyed hacking my Wargames Factory plastic zombies about and had a hankering to do some more plastic figure destruction conversions ...

So ... putting this altogether and adding in:
  1. a dose of wanting to try my hand at larger figures (never done aything with figures bigger than 28-32mm scale or whatever it is now ...)
  2. my employers paying me a bonus this month (woo-hoo!!)
I took the plunge and ordered some 1/32 (54mm I believe) plastic gladiators from Model Hobbies. Not one to be unaffected by shiny toy syndrome (STS), I ordered 3 sets:
hoping that this will give me a good selection of gladiators and enough for some Qwikers ... although I did manage to resist STS to avoid getting some WW1 kits to play Wings of War (picked up at the Bring&Buy at Eastern Front last sunday) with my new altitude stands and a 1/48 medevac blackhawk I want for an ATZ game I am semi-planning ...

So, the order was placed about 8pm on tuesday just gone and I've just had an email saying its been despatched. When I get it I'll get some piccies of them up.

All in all, this is entirely the fault of Irqan for doing such a fine job with his Mayans - curse him!!


and is it 2 projects or 1?

Postscript - just forked out for 'Red Sand, Blue Sky' and 'Adventures in the Lost Land' for my VSF stuff as the bonus was burning a hole in my pocket!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Aeronef Model Conversions

Well, work progresses on the altitude bases - I'll do another post on them later in the week - and more aeronef models have arrived from Brigade Models to use with them.

A couple of the models I've got I'm converting and I thought I'd put a post up on them and one conversion that I've done that I'm changing.

First the Rochefort Class Heavy Merchant. This is a pic of the 'vanilla' model from Brigade that I got from here:
 and this is what I've done with it so far:
The broadside guns are from Brigade's Russian Secondary Gun Mounts pack, the turret at the nose is from the US Single Gun Turret pack. As you can see I've moved the superstructure to the front and using plasticard as the surround am building up a rear deck to be a flight deck. The crane in the pic is going to be mounted there and am toying with the idea of suspending a wingcraft* from it.  The model is going to be a combined carrier/sea-wingcraft tender for my Greek 'nef squadron. I'm pleased with how it's going so far, but need to get a better glue! I've knocked the turret off the nose twice already!

Second is the Ottoman Barbaros Heyreddin Battleship; again a 'vanilla' photo of the model that came from here:
You can't see it in the above pic, but the model has 2 turrets on the underside. They are a bit too close together for the altitude stands I intend to use, so I'm changing the model to have the turrets on top:
There are also some gaps between the superstructure and the dig balloons which I filled with DAS clay. I've also used the clay to create a platform for a turret at the front of the model and lengthened the superstructure with plasticard to add the second turret at the superstructure's rear. I'm liking the way it looks so far.
And finally the conversion I'm changing. The base model was the German Köln Armoured Cruiser, a 'vanilla' pic follows, from here:
In the pic below you see the conversion as was on the left and on the right how I've changed it:
I changed the turrets and added a bit of MDF as a flight deck for wingcraft* but was never really happy with it - it didn't seem long enough and the model wasn't deep enough to be a convincing carrier. With the acquisition of the Rochefort I no longer needed the Koln to be a carrier, so I've removed the 'flight deck' and it will now simply be a cruiser.

*- wingcraft is a term introduced in Nick Hawkins' Full Nef rules;I like it and it seems, IMO, to have a more period feel than 'aeroplane' and 'aircraft'

So, that's it for this post. Already got the next couple of posts lined up - Altitude Bases 3 and Another New Project; until next time ...

Monday, 22 August 2011

Eastern Front Game with Zombie Ad

So, as I promised earlier today, I've got the pictures I took yesterday at the Eastern Front convention - well the ones that weren't completely blurred anyway! In the pitcures, the layout is all Zombie Ad's hard work - Zombie Ad of The Lead Will Walk The Earth - while the miniatures are mine.  There was one guy, called Doug, who was talking to us - he said he only came when saw there was a zombie game on, which was very gratifying. Anyway, he took a stack of photos and said he'd send them to Ad, so hopefully some more pictures might emerge eventually ...

The layout created by Zombie Ad

The newscrew has set-up and eagerly awaits blood ...

The first victims survivors arrive and start shooting

Closer view of the 4 cowgirls

After fast-moving away from the Hummer

the girls split into 2 pairs; unfortunately all the zeds followed one pair

and it wasn't this pair!

hmmm ... was Shane drunk when he 'turned' perhaps?

ahh ... the zeds have found lunch ...

and they start! in the centre of this slighty blurry pic (sorry!)
is a feast marker ... scratch 1 cowgirl ...

one of the sneaky pair got over-confident just outside their
objective ... oops! Only 2 make it to Andy's ...

zeds have finished lunch ... what happened to dessert?!
you can see that the newscrew have relocated
as they were too far away from the gore ...

discretion being the better part and all that, the last 2 cowgirls took
the back door out of Andy's and found a Merc sitting in the street ...

but they weren't entirely alone ... probably the best time to run out of ammo,
if there is such a thing! [dunno what happened to the colour in this pic :(  ]
The girls managed to reverse off the board and escape - just!!

Layout cleared ready for game 2... initial zeds are placed

At this point some guys came up and asked when the next game was starting - they thought it was a participation and not display game! Always eager to help, I said, 'why not? sure you can have a go' and then, just after they started, I wandered off to spend money I haven't got ... it might have seemed it, but it wasn't deliberate, there was no cunning plan to drop Ad in it - honest!

Ressurected by the mystic power of Zombie Ad, the cowgirls try again ...

Due to my wandering, there are few photos of this game ... the next one has the cowgirls at their target.

the cards were not kind ... there were 3 zombies inside

Hmmm ... I have no idea where the cowgirls were when this next pic was taken ...

and one less cowgirl afterwards ...

the remaining cowgirls made it back to thier hummer, but it proved
difficult to start and they seemed to be attracting an audience ...

They managed to get away in the end ... I think!

I left at this point, but Ad was about to start another game with one of the players from game 2. It was fun and considering that Ad and I had just met, I think we put on a good show ... well Ad did - I heckled more than helped I think!

One thing that came up though ... if a character is in a car and a zed is trying to get them out of it - how is that handled?

The Ethics of Wargaming ...

I attended the Eastern Front Wargaming show yesterday and inflicted my presence - and Zombie Horde - on Zombie Ad's display ATZ game. Having turned it from a display to a participation game for him - by saying to some observers "d'you fancy a go?", I wandered off and looked around the convention.

Pictures of the game will be in my next post!

But while browsing I saw an advert for a new range of Brits in Afghanistan and that got me to thinking, should this current conflict be wargamed? is it ethical to be playing a game, where the potential exists for someone to come up to the game and see something they have partaken in being played out on a table?

I don't have an answer, and I'm certain everyone will have their own opinion, but I think it is something that should be considered by anyone who could be in that situation. For instance what do you say to someone in a wheelchair put there by a situation like that on your table? I wouldn't know what to say them ...

I've never asked a combat veteran what they would say or think ... and. for that matter, I do game world war 2 wargames and although getting smaller, the potential for a veteran seeing me gaming it certainly exists.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't game current wars - it's not for me to tell people what to do! It is my personal choice not to; if you choose to, I won't say you are wrong either. I just think you should consider what could be the consequences of your choice ...

Friday, 19 August 2011

Altitude Bases 2

A couple of days ago, I posted about buying some telescopic pick-up tools to try and make some altitude bases for my aeronef models. Ove the last couple of nigts I've been experimenting with this and thought I'd share some pictures. To the right you'll see the weight I used in some of the pictures below. It is a track piece for a 15mm T-35 from QRF. It must be about 10cm (4 inches) long and much heavier than any of my aeronef models. The small piece of magnetic sheet was easily enough to adhere strongly to the magnet on the end of the tool and I held it onto the track with a bit of sellotape.
From my previous photos of aeronefs you'll remember (I hope!) that I used hex bases for them. I wanted to carry this forward to the new bases as they can be used for both turning and fire arcs. To the left you'll see my inital ideas. TBH I'd rather not use coins, but the cost vs weight is much better with them than anything else!

So here on the right is the thing assembled and held together with blu-tac and mini bulldog clips. As you can see, even with that small amount of magnetic sheet, there is a good amount of tip that can be applied without the weight falling off.

On the left is exactly the same thing, but with the telescopic part partially extended. What I did find, though, is when it is fully extended the stand feels very woobly and unsafe, although there is no evidence that it is - more of a perception than a fact I think ... but as they say, perception is everything!

Anyway, I decided to get some washers from B&Q to help and I think they have.

Here is the final version that I am putting together as the first base. It has 2 washers, 3 layers of pennies and 3 mdf bases - a 60mm square at the bottom, a 30x40 in the middle and a 40mm across flats at the top. The mdf bases give a real tight grip on the stand. I drilled 8mm holes in them and then forced the stand through; a tit fit, whereas the washers, with a 9mm hole in the centre were loose and shaky!

I grabbed this photo on my mobile phone this morning as I rushed out the door. It shows the stand, having glued overnight, with a toy plane from my local sainsbury's (for 74p) on top. I'm pleased so far!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Pictures Demanded - Pictures Delivered

In my last post I described the size of my zombie horde and how I intend to put it to use on Sunday at the Eastern Front show and I was asked for pictures of said horde ... well here they are! Below is what I plan to take with me and below are pictures of some of it in more detail.

First up we have a group shot of the corpses I have made from the Wargames Factory plastic zombies, along with a close up of one that, I hope, shows the detail - or lack thereof - on its face. I'm not saying I could do any better - in fact I doubt I could do this well! - and I'm sure it would be better if I did a better paint job ...

Now we have 4 zombies that I got from Monarch Military Books at a Salute a few years ago, that I refer to as the wierdo-zeds. I think they were from the Occult Wars range but that page on Monarch's site has nothing listed ... anyway, I don't really like these figures as zombies; I think I'll repaint and use as aliens or something

Next up are the 30 Wargames Factory plastic zeds I've made into zeds. As I said withe the corpse above, not my favourites, but they'll do to fill out the ranks and create a horde 'feel' - I hope!

To help with the horde impression - and moving it when needed - I've got these trays - I think they came from ... not sure ... anyway, warbases have always given me great service, so I'll get more from them, I expect.

And here are all the multibases I have populated with the plastics and the 4 wierdo-zeds

Now it's time for some of the zeds I prefer. First, Copplestone's FW4 Plague Zombies. I like these, very nice.

Studio Miniatures Tiny Terrors set, which is the next pic, brings home the horror element that should be a part of all things zed-related, more than any other zed figures I have.

Penultimately for the zed-pics; a group shot of my other Studio Miniatures and Cold War Miniatures zombies. These are all really nice figures and I've enjoyed painting them, which contrasts with the plastics, which were a real chore ...

Last, but not least for the zeds today, a group shot of the entire 'happy' zed family ...

So, onto the other stuff I'm taking. First are the game markers. On the left of the composite pic below, are the feast markers - showing the dice to indicate the number of turns left for the feast, and on the right are the PEFs (Possible Encounter Figures) I made, with a dice to indicate the PEF's rep. Since I put photos of the PEFs on my old blog, I've painted 'PEF' on the back of the figure, but it didn't really come out in the pic .

I'm sure Zombie Ad has enough survivors so I wasn't going to take any, but I really like this little 'gang' of Copplestone's FW33 Urban Cowgirls so I'm going to take them along.

The newscrew below, I'll hoping that Zombie Ad will let me put them on a roof as decorative/observers. Bill & Ben the bodyguard men, can look after the other 3 after all

I don't know how much 'street furniture' Ad has, so I'm taking this little lot along as I'm sure there'll be a use for it.

I made up some jungle markers for my 10mm vietnam stuff, and they double as bushes for the 28s quite nicely I think, so they'll be coming along as well. One of the cowgirls shows what I mean here.

In the street furniture are two of Ainsty Castings' 8051 Shot Up Car. Last time I mentioned Ainsty (on my old blog) the range had been sold by Old Crow but no mention of who to. It seems Ainsty is back up and running which is very good to see - I have a lot of their stuff and it is consistently excellent. Anyway, I've painted these models differently - one with black windows and the other with silver. Which is better do you think? I'm not sure and need help to decide as I want to keep them consistent ...

And that's it for this long post ... let me know what you think!