Thursday, 16 July 2015

Flames of War (again!) and painting Spaniards.

While I continue to enjoy playing Memoir '44 games (and will keep this on my other blog), it has become apparent to me that in order to really enjoy a more accurate simulation of WW2 battle, and in particular tank warfare, I would need to find a second set of rules to play alongside Memoir. I have kept this in mind as I continue to rebuild my FoW forces using Peter Pig metal figures instead of the plastic Battlefront figures.

I'm rebuilding using the 'Open Fire' late war lists, adding a platoon of heavy tanks (Tiger 1 E) and artillery to bring  the Germans up to 1500 points for example. I have found recently that I retain much of the basics of the rules in my head, once you get used to the concept of a target needing to 'beat' the AT of an incoming shell by adding it's own armour rating to a modified D6 throw, (it's normally the other way round!), everything seems to fall into place. The  initial rolls 'to hit' are straightforward, this time depending on the skill and training of the target as they attempt to avoid the incoming fire, with only basic modifiers such as target over 16", target concealed or gone to ground.

Of course I will need to build some conventional terrain. It's very odd playing a game without hexes after so many years. FoW are very forgiving in these regards, for example infantry move 6" as standard with no deductions for rough terrain etc, and as you might only be playing with say five or so platoons there is no mass maneuvering of large armies of model soldiers, so the game flows fast and is easy to keep track of.

I thought a few shots of my WW2 collection as it stands would be good, I'm far happier with the Piggy soldiers, they have a character of their own, especially the faces. I keep looking at the Russians, I know I can't hold out much longer! I'll be adding the small command bases next week.


Allies (so far).

More Spanish infantry.
With the 30th Foot now returned home I have started on two more battalions for Tony. I think these may be units nine and ten?  not sure but I know it took a few units to find the best way to paint these white uniforms and I'm much happier now I have established a reliable method. I know the first few battalions were painted over a white undercoat and then built up from there, but I HATE having to paint black over the white u/coat, infact when I paint over a strong black undercoat I rarely re paint black at all, just a slight black grey to highlight.

The key for me has been Foundry Arctic Grey Shade. I spent a lot of time trying to find a grey that would give the right kind of subtle contrast with white when used as a base coat for uniforms. I now use a fairly dry brush to apply the grey over all of the uniform and belts, straps etc, carefully avoiding the black areas of course and the musket. It's a quick but steady job and once done it really helps the white to stand out by adding contrast.

Below are a couple of 'production shots' (ie unfinished!) of the first battalion so far. I think they illustrate well the perfect contrast between the Arctic grey base shade and the white overpaint. The white will get a further pure coat later to try and add more highlights. Bit to do yet, collars need piping, brass/gold for buttons, musket bands, plume clips etc, but they are coming along nicely.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Fall in the 30th Foot.

Completed and satin varnished, here are the 30th Foot ready to be packed up and posted. I'm straight onto more Spaniards now for Tony as I'm in a pretty productive painting mood right now. I enjoyed painting the flags, was a challenge with lot's of touching up of stray lines etc!  The engraving in the flag was extremely helpful.

These are all vintage Hinton Hunts I believe, and includes the lovely officer of the Guards who stayed far too late at the ball :)

Things have settled down on the domestic front and Mum in law is comfortable in a very nice care home with a full funding package in place so for the time being it's relatively normal.

Today in Dymchurch 'our' Martello tower will be open to the public, it's a rare thing these days, only been open a few days over the last few years so I'm going to brag some photos of the interior for the blog. I recall the original musket racks were still in situ and it's very atmospheric inside.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A peep at the 30th Foot!

About done, saved the two flags for last and all just need a final detail check and varnish. I need to check the shade of officers sashes. I'm pleased that they will make it in time for Vintage Waterloo, British Napoleonics are always a challenge to paint but I'm pleased with these I must say.

I'll do a last pic with close ups once all removed from the caps etc prior to packing them up.

Edit: Flags painted and figures satin varnished, a couple more shots outdoors added.

*Edited to add: no brass or steel bands on the Brown Bess barrels as I believe is correct? Not sure quite how but the Bess barrels were 'pinned'.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Recent comments.

I have only just noticed that I have loads of unpublished comments awaiting moderation and that I have not yet replied to. Thank you to everyone who has sent comments etc, I will reply to them all individually but in the mean time your words are much appreciated and all info and links will be followed up :) Also thanks to those who emailed links and suggestions, I now have some good ideas going forward for the colonial period. Sadly, Martin at Peter Pig miniatures does not make a Zulu range (I wonder why? I must ask him), otherwise I would begin there. So I think Egypt is the place to begin as it offers much painting diversity. Meantime I'll get my head screwed back on and have removed moderation to see how it goes.

It's been another busy week that has seen little painting, but I continue to make slow progress on the 30th Foot and am currently painting the command group, which includes the lovely casting of the Guards officer in bearskin. Ian has provided a nice little tale to explain his presence in the 30th Regiment of Foot, namely that he stayed far too late at the Duchess of Richmond's ball and was unable subsequently to rejoin his own regiment. I have given him the blue facings of the Guards, which contrasts nicely with the light yellow of the 30th Foot. I won't post pics until all is completed.

As my interest in the late WW2 period continues to grow I have decided to stick with it for the near future. The more I learn the more I want to wargame the period. I have everything I need now to play through the Memoir '44 scenarios, and I'll continue to do that on my dedicated memoir blog. I'm starting with the Pegasus Bridge scenario and working through in order.

And some late news, it's been a scorcher in Dymchurch today, far too hot for a certain 'large' cat of our  acquaintance who has spent the morning asleep on a chair in the dining room. It's 'Kenco' who for some reason has turned into a somewhat overweight cat, while her litter mates both remain slim and agile. I had to grab the camera for this one. Portrait of a happy cat!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

An alternative to static grass!

As I have now decided that my future direction is the hybrid board game/miniatures combination I wanted to find an alternative to using static grass on my bases .Of course there was a time when you barely ever saw static grass on bases, but I could not remember for the life of me how we used to do it! A bit of experimentation produced this simple mix that looks pretty good to my eyes and means the end of loose of grass left on the boards after a game. Above all I think it works better with the flat playing surface. I have made it two or three times now and it comes out the same shade, so I thought I had better record it.

The mix is simply: 1 part sand, 1 part PVA and 1 part Olive Green. It dries out leaving subtle highlights as you can see.

Base is a layer of fine grit/sand followed by a 'magic wash' to seal everything. I then add the grass texture as above, and once dry I over paint the 'earth' areas using Vallejo light brown German camo. Final touch is a dry brush of a light tone (I use Baccus basing kit 'midtone'.

I updated my 'memoir '44 'blog yesterday and was looking through the tiles contained in the 'Terrain' expansion set. I noticed one stack was of desert terrain, and remembered that I do have the 13 x 17 hex 'Breakthrough' board in desert sand so I unfolded it for the first time and laid a few of a the tiles. Immediately my thoughts turned to the wonderful Peter Pig 'Colonial' range 'Sudan 1885' and another opportunity to do something fresh and new, as I have never played this period before. Like my Memoir project this offers a chance to paint small forces and really enjoy working on them. I'm sure it won't be hard to find C&C N 'variant' rules for this period, as lets face it, there's not much that has not been covered. I'll post this project up here as it progresses.

Aside from this my next post will feature the 30th Regiment of Foot (led by a wonderful Hinton Hunt officer of the Guards in bearskin, who has been unable to rejoin his regiment due to staying late at the ball). After that I have another two Spanish battalions for Tony to paint, I'm taking my time, and obviously domestic issues are taking toll of spare time, but I like to keep painting daily if I can.

Friday, 19 June 2015

New 'Memoir '44' page added.

Well, the Waterloo anniversary has come and gone, great to see it well covered by the media. Funny enough I have found my own Napoleonic interest has waned somewhat over recent months as I have gradually become drawn into the late WW2 period. I'm pleased really as it has revived my interest in playing wargames again, and the pleasure derived from painting figures and vehicles of this period is not dependent upon painting vast numbers but rather individual pieces. This suits me well for the time being.

As my 'Therapy' blog has taken so many twists and turns along the way ( it actually started with 28mm Perry Austrians and must have covered just about everything since!), I have decided to start a dedicated 'Memoir '44' blog. It can be found in the links bar at top, so if you are also into Memoir you can follow along this separate project blog.

I must thank those who sent me messages of support during recent domestic events, very much appreciated. Mum in Law is stable and being well cared for, and family life must go on. I'm still working on the 30th Foot for Ian, taking my time, as and when I can. They are vintage Hinton Hunt castings and it makes a real change to be painting some redcoats again! I hope to have them finished and on the blog next week.

Meantime here are some replacement German infantry, all of the plastic 'Battlefront' miniatures have now been replaced with Peter Pig metals as they are so much more robust. Note that I'm also'static grass' free for the first time in many years as the bases look better this way on a gameboard.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Getting back on track.

It's been a busy few weeks on the domestic front, mother in law slowly recovering from her fall and eldest daughter back home after a spell in hospital with gall bladder infection. Of course we still have to deal as a family with mum in laws terminal illness, but she's remarkably upbeat as she approaches her 80th birthday. We have a special treat lined up for her, a couple of nights at the beautiful Port Lympne Safari Park, staying in one of the very popular 'Safari Lodges, that has magnificent views across the Romney Marsh towards Dymchurch. It's set in rolling hillside and is only about twenty minutes drive away, so no long journey involved for her. We're all booked in together, should be fun, all three of our daughters grew up with regular days out at Port Lympne so will be nice to spend a bit of time up there again.

As far as painting time goes I have managed to get a bit done here and there. I managed to complete the final Prussian unit for Vintage Waterloo, I'm pleased with them, they are of course for Roy. In addition I have started a 24 figure British battalion for Ian and I'm finding painting redcoats most enjoyable again after so many 'blue' units, both French and Prussian.

A new direction?
One thing I have been doing a lot of recently is thinking, about many things, future plans, is it time to move house etc, and this has included my hobby. I said a few months back that I'm no longer a wargamer, but it's very hard to shake off  something that does bring so much pleasure. I know that I'm done with painting large armies for myself again but having recently discovered WW2 wargaming I'm feeling a real pull towards 'Bolt Action'. I may also be becoming a 'tank geek' having watched and listened to hours of YouTube tank related videos whilst painting I have a new found fascination and respect for those guys who crewed the tanks!

Currently my WW2 stuff is 15mm for modified Memoir44, but Bolt Action uses 28mm figures (and tanks!) to play skirmish level actions with small forces. The rules do not seem any more complex than Flames of war to play but obviously at a lower level command level ( so you can target an individual soldier or officer figure). The simple activation system of placing all the unit dice into a bag and drawing them one at a time works so well, so initiative can suddenly swing about between sides creating real tension.

If you are into WW2 and have not seen a Bolt Action demo game this video is well worth a watch, the figures and terrain are stunning , and not a hex in sight!