Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Disaster ...

In 25 years (or thereabouts ... perhaps longer, I really don't want to think about it too much!) of painting miniature figures, I have only once knocked over an open pot of paint.

Until last night that is. It also had to be when I was still wearing one of my white work shirts (and not a cheap t-shirt that I normally wear in the evenings) didn't it?  So I scrubbed out the paint as quickly as I could and put it in the kitchen sink to soak.

Of course, I did not swear loudly or repeatedly - honest! - well ... maybe just a little bit ...

Anyway; I also managed to increase my total of finished Gripping Beast plastic Anglo-Saxons to 32 - all of  whom have been magic-dipped, and now have another 12 of them left to do, along with a couple of metal figures. These will be used with SAGA as Anglo-Danes (as the Anglo Saxon details have not been released for it yet) against my Gripping Beast plastic Vikings - so they will be next onto the painting table.

I have also managed to get a bunch of my 1/300th Baccus War of Spanish Succession infantry done (a couple of pics were in my last post), and have got the Black Powder rules (a late birthday present from my step-daughter) and C'est la Guerre (fast play rules ordered from Caliver Books) on their way to me.  But before they can be played I'll need to get substantially more figures ...  Meanwhile, I've found Ian Croxall's Blenheim 04 rules on the warflag site which seem good to me.

That's it for this update; pictures in the next one!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Army Painter Quick Shade - aka 'Magic Dip'; part 2

Been a while since I posted, but I have been busy painting my Baccus 1/300 War of Spanish Succession (WSS) infantry, and then after SAGA finally arrived, I switched to my Gripping Beast plastics to create the warbands for that.

Way back in this post I posted on my first results with 'Magic Dip' and negatively compared it to the mucky wash finish that I normally use. Last week, I decided to give it another go, using my WSS 6mm stuff as the experimental figures. I have tried to use the wash on 6mm minis before but have been very dissatisfied with the results as it made them too dark, hence I wanted to try the dip.  So here are some photos of the tests:
strip of Baccus WSS line inf painted
same strip just after dipping
same strip approx 12hrs later
The photos above show my first test with just one strip and I am very pleased with the results. Unlike the wash I previously tried, the dip gives a lighter overall effect, whilst still creating the shadows and depth I wanted. Its effects are also much more even and consistent than the wash has ever been and its also a varnish! Even the gloss finish it gives - I think - is good for these tiny minis. Once I've done some more I'll put up a group shot of bases to show you all.

I'd painted around 30 or so of these strips and the others were all stuck to bases so I was holding the base with a pair of pliers while dipping the others and as I was doing so, I was wondering how I would be able to retrieve the base if I dropped it in the tin of dip ...

Of course, no sooner had I thought about it, than it happened ... my base of painted British grenadiers:

slipped from the pliers and plunged to the bottom of the dip! :( I eventually managed to fish them out with the pliers and they seemed none the worse for the experience, although the MDF base had soaked up the dip:

When I started I was dipping the whole figures in so that just the green painted strip was showing, but experimenting with how much to dip showed me that I only need to dip them to about the waist - as they stand to dry, the dip on the top half flows down (slowly!) and covers the bottom half.

I've also tried the dip with a 28mm Gripping Beast plastic and I am very pleased with the results! I'll put some pics of them up next time.

All-in-all I have now revised my opinion of magic dip completely - no more washes for me as the final step. It will be magic dip from now on!

PS - this post told how I had been making a model plane for my Dad's 70th and mentioned I had lost the canopy parts for it - I found them yesterday!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Friday's game ...

I was going to post yesterday on last Friday's game, but didn't have my camera to get the pictures from it, so I thought I'd post today ... and forgot my camera again :(

So I've only got the pics from my phone. To be honest there weren't that many pics on it as when I got it out at the game (ooh-er missus!) the battery was completely flat :(

Anyway, first up is a blurry - sorry :( - pic of most of the club; there was a Flames of War game off to the left of the pic that I couldn't get in frame ...
You can just make out that there are 7 games being played, which with the one out of shot is a total of 8 - a good total for the club. As well as the FoW and our NT Ancients, there was a Polemos game of 1866 Austro-Prussian war, a 'Check Your Six' game featuring B17s in formation, FoG Ancients and another NT Ancients. Don't know what the others were though ...

The hands in the photo below are those of Monsewer Cull, my opponent in our four-handed game which was late carthaginians (them) vs pyrrhic (us). He had me very concerned at the start when he lined up a whole bunch of cavalry to loop round to the right of the wood at the right of the picture ...

and in this photo you can see them after they stopped and lined up opposing the light infantry I had scrambled into the wood. If he'd carried on and flung them round the wood he'h have been behind my phalangites and I've have been in a world of hurt ...

But Tim didn't see things that way obviously! and below are some of the aforementioned phalangites - very nice they were too!
It was a fun game, enjoyed by all four players, ending - IMO, I'm not sure the other side agreed! - in an (appropriate) pyrrhic victory for us!

Thos familiar with NT Ancients rules maybe surprised at the number of units in the first photo as the rules are designed for armies with 8 units per side.  Well, one of the guys at the club - Monsewer Allan Hobbs - has been using FoG army lists to give points values and more options to the NT armies. This game used the late carthaginian and pyrrhic lists that Allan developed, and I think it worked pretty well.  The idea behind this is to enlarge the simple game that is NT to FoG size without the complications of FoG rules.

I don't know if he will share said lists (but that's only because I haven't asked!) but if anyone is interested I can find out.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Tonight's Game

And another club night rolls around ... tonight I will be joining some other members for a 'big' game of Neil Thomas' Ancient & Medieval Wargaming, a rules-set that (like so many others) I've read but not played so I'm looking forward to it.

IIRC, the rules are designed for forces that are 8 units on each side, but apparently one of the guys has done some work using various Field of Glory army lists to create bigger armies ....

Anyway, as the guys are using 15mm and my only ancients are 6mm, there will be none of my figures in action, but I'm going to take the camera along and try to get better pictures than last time!

Oh, and it's my birthday on Sunday ... 41 this time ... oh dear ...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

15mm WW2 Burma; Part 5: The Rules

As I have mentioned in other posts, I had originally intended to use Two Hour Wargames' Nuts! rules, with the War Against Japan add-on. but I was unable to summon up the motivation to re-read the - to my mind - complicated rules that surround the reaction system that is at the core of all THW's rules.

Don't misunderstand though; I have read WAJ and it contains some fantastic ideas and I do want to play them. but I think I should play some solo games first to get the mechanisms down pat.

Anyway, I had heard good things about the simplicity and fun of Too Fat Lardies' "I Ain't Been Shot Mum!" WW2 rules, but to be honest, I had previously been put off by the title. Those of you unlucky enough to live in a place other than Britain, may not realise that this is a play on words on the title of a BBC situation comedy from the 70s called It Ain't Half Hot Mum set in WW2 India.This had led me to believe, erroneously as it transpires, that the rules were comedic in some way.

Then I read an interview with the authors in Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy issue 58 about version 3 of IABSM which convinced me to give the rules a try - so I duly bought them as a pdf.

And - I feel constrained to relate - that I'm very glad that I did. They are not comedic in nature at all, but are a fun, perplexing and more involved than they seem at first glance set of rules.

At the first read-through, the turn-of-a-card activation sequence and the roll dice for movement system, both put me off, but I resolved to at least try them, and they work much better than I had feared.  I've been against rolling dice for movement for a long time, believing that it slows down the speed of play un-necessarily, but the uncertainty of knowing whether your units will get to where you want them to be is really quite fun! And the unpredictability of the cards - especially when the pack includes a 'tea-break' end of turn card - is another plus point I had not expected.

These, combined with the 'fog-of-war' simulator that is the 'blinds' (a piece of card to represent as yet unspotted troops), produced a more fun and enjoyable WW2 wargame than it has been my experience with other sets of rules, and that is without mentioning one of the main parts of the rules - the 'Big Men'.

I have played Command Decision 3 quite a few times, and some other WW2 rules and would categorically state that IABSM beats them all for an enjoyable wargame  (I make no statement regarding the rules' position on the simulation/playability axis and add the caveat that we only had 2 platoons a side for what is a 'company-level' game).

I think the best place to leave this mini-review of IABSM is to state that both Tim and I are looking forward to playing them again and adding in bits that we left out of our initial 'test' game - i.e. indirect fire, vehicles (both land and air), etc.