Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dipping the Toe in Colonial Waters

Inspiration can come from many directions. Usually it's a book, or a movie. Or just seeing some nice new line of minis. Or it can come from the attic in the garage, where I found these old Essex 15mm Sudan minis.

I have no recollection of buying them, or what I might have bought them for. But I do seem to remember trying to sell them on ebay a while ago, without success. I uncovered them again last week while looking for something else, and decided what the heck, I should paint some up.

I'm not 100% sure I got all the colors right, but I think they look decent. I based them up separately - and in a group of 12 - because I have a notion I might try The Men Who Would Be Kings with them. I don't have a lot more of the British, but enough for a start. And no enemies, fuzzy wuzzies or whatnot. I'll probably create some kind of magnetic tray or something at some point - they are mounted on 1/2 inch washers.

Basically, I know precious little about the period. I've heard of Gordon (who hasn't?) and know the bare basics of Khartoum, and Mahdists, Fuzzy Wuzzies, Omdurman, etc. Looks like some Osprey purchases might be in order.

At the moment I'm thinking of getting some more Essex to add to the British for consistency, but might go with Old Glory 15s for "targets." These Essex figs did paint up rather easily. I know there are a lot of very nice looking 28s out there, and a skirmish game like TMWWBK might look better at that scale, but with 15s already started, there you go. Of course for terrain I also have nothing.

Because another period and more figs is just what I need, right?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Start of a Qi Army

A while back I posted about backing a Kickstarter from Watchful I Studios for some ancient Chinese from the Warring States period. It's really something I know very little about, but having seen an exhibit on the Terracotta Warriors, and with my daughters' interest in all things Chinese, I jumped in. My Kickstarter experiences have been hit or miss, but I am pleased to say this one is a big hit!

While I settled on a Qi army early on (that's one of the seven warring states - I should probably do a post on that one of these days) for no particular reason, it took me a while to settle on a color scheme. Info from the period is a bit sketchy, and I saw different color combinations mentioned in different sources. In the end, I decided no one could tell me I'm wrong (a refreshing change from my norm), so I went with a primary color of green, with blue accents. I think it looks pretty good!

The figures are 28mm metal, well cast. They come in multi pieces, allowing some combination of heads and armament. Overall, though, they are pretty much all in the same marching pose. The designer says he is impressed by the sight of huge multitudes marching, as apparently seen in movies. I'd prefer some more "action" poses, but nonetheless these are painting up nicely and I'm sure would look good en masse.

The goal here is to use these with Lion Rampant, or "Fu Dog Rampant" as the variation I have been working on is tentatively called. (Dragon Rampant being already taken!) One key difference is unit size. Lion Rampant is based on units of six or 12. Watchful I provides figures in packs of five, which historical units of the period are based on, and is considered a lucky number in China. Right now I'm thinking of just fielding units in groups of five or 10, and allowing them to shrug off the first and second hits, respectively. Obviously some testing is required. Watchful I says its goal is to create a set of rules, with units based on units of five. So five it shall be.

So far I have a unit of heavy infantry, one of light infantry and a light cavalry unit done, with some archers and another light infantry on the bench. And more to assemble and paint! Paint is the usual mix of Vallejo and Testors, with Citadel ink washes, which I really like. Banners are also from Watchful I.

 Watchful I also has a great lineup of items with a more fantasy bent, including Terracotta Warriors come to life, and other undead. I picked up a set of the Fu Dogs that have come to life. There was also mention in the Kickstarter of a Dragon. Dragon Rampant might come into play yet!

Friday, September 9, 2016

You Shall Not Pass... or Enter!

I've had some time lately (long story, despite the lack of blog posts), so I have been resurrecting some long-ago terrain projects.

First up to show are a bridge and stockade from Acheson Creations for use in 28mm Dark Age games. I've set them up with a few of my Saxons. Just try to get across this bridge, Viking! Or enter this stronghold!

Oh, who am I kidding. A few bad rolls of Saga dice, and they will probably run away!

These are very good pieces, though I must learn to clean them better. I don't know what Acheson uses for release agents, but it's the toughest on any resin I have encountered. These, especially the stockade, were particularly tricky getting paint to stick.

I've seen some people will actually run them through a dishwasher, but I'm fearful of that. But regular hot water and dish soap doesn't seem to cut it, either. I have a few other crates and barrels I just finished up (no photos yet) that I doused liberally in Wesley's Bleach White Tire Cleaner and let soak a few days. That seemed to do the trick, and primer and paint went on those better.

Regardless, Acheson has a great variety of goodies, and the design and casting is top notch, and the prices very reasonable. They are well worth the extra time and effort to prep them for painting. These should look great in a Saga game. Come and get us, Viking!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Achtung Panzer!

I've been a bit of a roll (blitz?) lately on finishing up some vehicles that have been languishing. Here's the last of the recently finished bunch, a Pz IIc from Warlord Games.

Like the others, this was a crisply cast resin piece that went together nicely. My main hangup on this one was the turret number decals. I thought about going large, but getting them to lie down over some of the protrusions looked like it would be tough. So I opted for small - but I didn't have any! I ordered these 1/285 scale numbers from I-94 Enterprises, and they fit perfectly.

Paint was easy - Tamiya German Gray spray. Then simply wash, drybrush and voila. I do have a crew figure, but haven't finished him yet.

I may actually get another one of these - or three - to use in possible France and Belgium scenarios. One of these days I will actually get a game going!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Meanwhile, in Belgium

Here's a little gem, a Belgian T-15 from Warlord Games. That should scare the Germans!

Actually this is a very nice little kit. I painted it with Testors Olive Green, then gave it a wash of dark brown to give it the brownish green tint that seems to be uniquely Belgian. The turret roundel is a 1/144 WWI aircraft roundel decal. I had to paint a white circle underneath in order for the colors to show up. I hand painted the license - close enough. No idea on the number. The white "blob" insignia is also intended to be somewhat generic. Looks like the Belgians had several different insignia types.

I have yet to locate a T-13 model, which is based on the Carden-Lloyd carrier. I did get one of the 47mm gun carriers from Warlord, and have that on the bench as well. And I have an ACG-1 coming from Mad Bob's French vehicles Kickstarter that will be pressed into Belgian service. (I have much more faith in that Kickstarter, BTW. His Hungarian tanks are awesome!)

Also from Warlord I have painted a civilian truck, one squad of Chasseurs Ardennais and one of regular army. I'd really like to see Warlord finish up some support troops (machine gunners, especially) and officers to round out the line.

Monday, August 8, 2016

GAZ Trucks for the Invasion of Finland... and More

Some of you may have heard of the Winter War Miniatures Kickstarter run by Baker Company. Well, we're coming up on the three-year anniversary, and I have yet to see a single mini despite a rather significant investment. I've only backed a handful of Kickstarters, and this is by far the worst. No minis, no communication, nothing. What's worse, I even placed an order with Baker shortly after the Kickstarter ended for some Vietnam minis. Never got them. At least he answered my emails and said they were shipped and must have gotten lost in the mail. Still never got them. That's the ONLY time I have ever had a problem ordering from a company "across the pond." All in all I think I'm out about $300. That does not make me very happy. And I really wanted those field kitchens!

Rather than delay the project any more, I ordered some Russian trucks from Warlord. IF (BIG IF) I ever get the Baker ones, they will simply be added to the motor pool. You can never have too many trucks. But for now, my foot weary Battle Honors Russians can take a break, and the political officer can get out of the cold to operate the radio, assuring those in Moscow that all is going well...

These were painted with a simple coat of Testors medium green, then washed with a dark green and drybrushed field drab and earth. I didn't put any marking on them, one because I couldn't really find what they would be, and two because I wanted to keep them fairly generic.

Of course these will also see double duty on other areas of the eastern front as later war Russians get painted. The lack of canvas covers makes them a bit unsuitable for Finland, but they will have to do.

I also have a T-26 from Warlord in the works, since those from Baker are still in limbo. (And a T-34/76 and a T-34/85 and a BT-7....)

Now I have my eye on some buildings from Sarissa for use on the eastern front. Squirrel!

Friday, August 5, 2016

How the West Was Won

Work on Tranquility has slowed a bit, what with the Mustang project, kids' activities and just summer in general.

But there's always time for a wee project. Or pee project. Aw, forget it.

I got a set of eight of these from GCMinis. And they are nice. Looks like this fella just finished digging the pit.