Tuesday, November 16, 2021

A mid week update

Time for an update on the current progression of Russians across the painting bench. A bit slow over the last 2 weeks as I've been on jury service which does take its toll with the long periods of focus on the less than palatable subject matter at hand ("grim" and "sad" would be my descriptors)

So this week I have done 2 horse artillery battalions, 2 Cuirassier brigades and a pile of command stands.

 I textured the command stands with a coarse texture gel as they didn't look quite right. Again the Divisional commanders have 2 figures, the corps commnders 3 figures and the army commander 4 figures. The Cossack escorts stand out well.

Looking at the texture gel gave me some ideas for (yet) anoter project. I've thought about doing some armies for the late war eastern front in winter (1944/45 in Prussia) and this seems to tick few boxes as its not overpoweringly white and is matt with some sparkle in it (like the real thing). Its a bit coarse so I'll have to see if theres a finer option that works visually as well.

And from the "odd crap I've picked up from work" files: One of our instruments at work uses deuterium lamps to generate UV light in a detector. They tend to have a fixed lifetime and then get swapped out. Recently the curent one failed its annual qualification and I then discovered that the previous one had been kept as well (kiwi scientists never chuck anything out. I think its some thing to do with living at the end of the worlds supply chain and that "it might be useful". At least thats what we tell ourselves). Anyway, heres a couple of pictures .

2 1/2 grand for each of these. Does that make this the worlds most expensive terrain?

I think they will make a nice centerpiece for a mad scientists lab.

With the end in sight for the 1813 project (well, in a hazy way with some swedes and spanish to add) I might sit down over the next week or so and have a think about a list of projects for 2022. This is going to involve investigating the project piles from 2020.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Friday night update

 I'm trying to keep the updates coming. This weeks painting was 4 battalions of Russian artillery.

I've added commanders on horses as the Baccus Russian command pac comes with figures using spyglasses. They the only ones I've seen so far in all the Baccus command packs which quite honestly appear to me to be interchangeble. Maybe my eyesight isn't up to it any more and I should go straight to 54mm.

I've been on paperwork at work for the last "whenever" and so have been taking the chance to digest some podcasts to relieve the mind numbing boredem. as well as Godsownscale (which is a long listen but interesting, and I'd love to see some local gamers on there), I've come across "Anything but a one'. Its 3 guys who chat about different topics in 40 minute bites. While this doesn't seem on the face of it to be that interesting, I'm actually enjoying it for the philisophical side. This may surprise some of my friends.

 I'll contrast this with the mad axeman podcast which I was directed to from the latest episode of Godsownscale. What I got was the equilvilent of  listening into a zoom meeting of a group of friends giving each other beans about what they had painted this week followed by an esoteric  discussion of a new version of ADLG. Quite honestly there was nothing there for me. Keiths group chats (we should do them every couple of months or so) are far more interesting beause I know all the participants. I don't really care what a random group of strangers are apinting on the other side of the planet.

With that I'm off  to paint Russian horse artillery,  cuirassiers and command stands with a side order of Swedish cavalry.

Saturday, October 30, 2021


 No update last week sorry. Its taken a bit longer to grind out 4 brigades of Russian jagers than I thought it would. They are based now and its on to the divisional artillery. It seems the Russians liked their artillery 2 centuries ago and not much has changed.

I thought I would do something a bit different for a topic and look at something that never gets talked about by wagamers as its the one thing thats never planned (well, even less than the purchases of lead). We spend lots of time painting and basing figures and less time building terrain, but when it comes to storage we just amble off to a shop and buy whatever plastic system is on sale cos its easy. It doesn't matter if the space is optimised, just as long as stuff fits and its cheap. I thought it might be instructive to share my thoughts on storage by way of illustrating my journey.

Gaming wise I cut my teeth back in the 1980's with WW2 navel (1:4800 local casts) and 1:300 moderns from H&R. As I was playing WRG 1950-1985 rules the AFV's had no bases. For storage I brought some 1/2 inch foam rubber and cut holes in it for the models. The layers were stored in a small suitcase. I have no recollection of where this idea came from (everyone else had chocolate boxes), but it worked, and was expanded to a larger suitcase as I slowly purchased more models. These went into storage in 1989ish.

When I got back into wagaming in the mid 1990's the local flavour was DBM (version 1.3 I think) in 15mm on 40mm wide bases. As I was working at a university at the time that was downsizing science there were lots of old wooded instrument cases that were heading off the building loading dock just waiting to be intercepted. Not as many as I would have preferred but I did have limited space in those days.

 Now back in the 90's a typical wargamers transport system was a metal toolbox and figure bases with fridge magnet material. My first decent transport box was a wooden instrument box with steel sheet trays. The trays were cut on a large guillotine in the department workshop. This was used for 15mm medieval DBM

Now the first thing that should be obvious is the less than optimum utalisation of space. A bit of pencil sketching gave me a plan for a mk1 storage box. At the time my preferred/only mode of transport was bus and a large box was not optimal. The box was designed to fit in a backpac (along with the terrain). Again the department workshop came into play and I managed to knock out a job that had my name all over it. The door was even held shut with a rubber band. Despite the small footprint there is enough space for a large 400pt DBM army with baggage.

About this time I was introduced to MSH and started rebasing the 1:300 troops. Since they would no longer fit in the suitcase, I needed to come up with a new box with larger layers. And while I can't recall why I chose perspex that was the material of choice at the time. I think I built 3 of the mk2 but I can only see 2 in the room today.

While these boxes were very nice they were not overly cheap and they were still quiet large. Cutting back on the number of layers and headspace while going back to MDF. Not shattering, just an evolution.

 The next step was a sidetrack of sorts, but quite an interesting one that deserves mention. One of our "group" was somewhat of a pedant when it came to gaming "detris" on the table. A trip outside the box one night came up with a tray that could be mounted on the gaming clubs 6' by 4'chipboard tables and used to store all the wargaming bits and dead stands (which our group had a tallent for producing in large numbers). As its not a box it was named after its muse and so we have the mk 1 Harrod here shown attached to the workbench.

 It was a short step to using them for storage. 

This was also the first time that I moved away from magnetic bases. I had never really noticed any "shifting" during transport of my SH and MSH troops and moving away from steel gave me more options. Around 2008 we were seeing the sunset of the VHS tape and local video stores were getting rid of them. It turns out that they were the perfect size for 1.25" stands (6 by 4). I carried off as many as I could in my backpack on the bike. When I went back the following day they were all gone.

The boxes on the right came from the lab. They are boxes that an organic chemstry lab consumable comes in, and we tend to go through about a box a month. Theres enough space for 6 by 6 stands. They also fit in a microscope box

The cardboard trays were hand made to fit and also hold 36 stands.

Moving to my 1813 Volley and Bayonet project I quickly generated a pile of stands and so a new box design was required. Using full sized bases the ideal size was 3 by 3. This seems to work well for typical divisions. Below are 2 Britsh infantry divisions with 3 brigades, skirmishers, command stands and artillery.

 The layer height was chosen to account for the flags. A box is 12 layers thick. So in this box we have the French and friends and the British.

 The second box has Austrians and Prussians.

So there we have it. A broad summary of 35 years of 6mm figure storage without recourse to plastic trays.

I'll close tonight with my 25mm figure storage. Wooden boxes were not the only thing that I aquired in my time at Vic.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Friday night update

So after a week of painting, this week has been a week of basing. I've been using Dopeydog laser cut bases (and hes local to me). I also had to knock out 27 commanders as well.

After the glue dried, 8 brigades of musketeers, 4 divisional commanders and a corps commander. I'm almost out of ground cover so I'm just doing the figure bases at the moment. The flags are next but from my initial readings its all a bit of a crap shoot. I've made a start on the jager brigades but I'm tempted to paint some artillery stands or some cavalry at the moment instead.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Friday night update

Things learnt this week:

Painting 380 6mm figures at once might be just a few too many....

Its a bit of a grind painting 380 of anything (quite honestly you have no idea) especially if its something like belts. still, I seem to have broken the back of it and theres only the silver bits and the kiwer cords to do.

And for an update for castng/shippingtime from theUK. Today I recieved an email to say that a Baccus order had been posted to me. "Not to bad I thought" as I had only placed the order last week. Nope, having a look at my email this order is from September 11th and is Prussians not Russians.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Friday night

 Time for a weekly update. Not much painting this week after finishing the Byzantines. I've been re-reading Prit Buttars book on the Russian attacks arround and after Stalingrad,"A Knifes edge". Again a good read with rubbish maps. And a reminder that the Russian victory was not only due to superior numbers but also superior operational art and the willingness to learn from their mistakes. 

And for a change of scenery I pulled out the 1813 Russians which is the last majr army to be finished for the project. As always when approaching an old pile of lead theres the whole "now just what was the plan again?" monents, followed by looking at the army lists. Theres then the "Hmmm, there doesn't seem to be the correct trrops here followed by the "leap online and buy the spare bits. And since they are coming from Baccus its anyones guess when they will turn up (or be cast for that matter). And then the wife asks "where did all that lead come from" to which the silent reply is "If only you knew how much is really stashed in boxes in the room..."

The next job is to put them all on sticks.

So, 500 foot, 8 guns and 20 mounted officers and thats enough for only 8 brigades. I must admit that I've never really kept track of how many figures I've painted over the years but after hearing one of my friends tallys (20k according to him, and I've no reason to doubt him) mines probably not far off that.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday night update

 A week on from the last post and I've made good progress. The Trapezuntine Byzantines are done apart from some base work and the flags. First up, 2 elements of 4 Bow.

2 elements of 3 Auxilia.

2 elements of Psiloi.

And to finish up the knights.

And the whole army lined up.

 Its been a bit of a challenge with the colours. Given that most of our knowledge is based on snippets of first hand accounts and surviving frescos where we have no idea how limited the artists access to paint pigments were, and how well they age. So green and red are popular and I've gone with blue/red white striped sheilds as they seem to be popular in Byzantine  armies.

Oh and the limits of working in a scale with limited figure options.

Friday, September 17, 2021

One down

 On the finished pile this week, I've finally got the DBA Ottoman Turk army done. I had to finish some more Akinji LH and an artillery stand.

Ottoman artillery always seems to be represented on table with huge fixed bombards as used at the siege of Constantinople. This has never made sense to me, not least shifting a fixed emplacement round the battlefield. In my last Pendraken order I asked for some western medieval atillery pieces to replace the 16th centr atilley pieces. I am assuming that the Ottoman army would put any guns captured back to use against their former owners. Unlike modern weapons with fixed ammunition, all you need is a metal ball of the right diameter and gunpowder and Bobs your aunties live-in lover. The base needs a bit more greenery and I'm also going to put some pavises out the front. when the next order turns up.

So heres the finished army. Its missing the Serb Kn, but I can live with them missing at the moment.

I've also been working on the Trapezuntine Byzantines. So far I've finished the LH and the spear stands.

The LH are from the TB range which has the mounted figures cast in 2 pieces with the dividing line being at the riders waist.

This gives flexibiity on the basing.

And a base of spearmen that actually looks like a body of men and not a boy band. I managed to squeeze 18 figures on the base without really trying.

At the moment I'm working through the Kn, Ax and Ps stands and these should be done next week.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Wheres the month gone?

 A month on from the last post and while I've been panting cosistantly there doesn't seem to be much to show for it. I have basically completeed the Prussians (bar the grenadiers) For V&B and made a start on the Trapizuntine Byzantines for DBA. Time for some pictures.

The Prussians are all organised for the "Road to Glory" scenario system. So 6 infantry divisions (3 brigades with regular, reserve and landwher troops) with artillery.

 2 cavalry divisions plus the brigade of Heavy cav for the yet to be purchased guards

Finally the commanders. Based up with 2 figures for Divisions, 3 for corps and 5 for the big cheese.

I must sit down and do the research to allow me to put names on the bases.
Apart from this there's been online meetings organised by Keith again during our countries lockdown, though being essential it's not much different for me apart from masks at work.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Two in two

 A part two to last nights post.

The other project in the last few weeks has been another IHMN company, but one I still have to come up with the details. The start of the project was when I came across some interesting figures which are from an unlikely source.

 These figures are Front Rank Napoleonic Spanish Militia in top hats. How much more suitable could figures be for steampunk. First up some leaders.

Anyone with a sword will do. Then some sub comanders.

 What realy sold me was the figures with short blunderbuses.

They are handy short weapons which with few modifications could become anything else like arc weapons etc.

As for a company theme something came into my mind surprisingly fully formed. The old Etonians are English private school oldboys, fearless with erudite wit. The rest is just filling in the gaps. The colour patern is the school coat of armsbackground and any ties or cravats will be painted Eton blue (which is a pale green, go figure). I also have to add a white lily on the legs.

Theres a stack of figures out that can be used, all it needs is a bit of thinking outside the box.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Painting update

 Only 4 weeks between posts, not too bad I guess.I have at least been busy with the brushes.

I've worked on a couple of projects in his period. First up....

My DBA project has now taken form. Not a big leap in the end and the choice is 10mm figures on 25mm bases. I have however largely tossed out the suggested number of figures on the bases for "what ever will fit". My interests have always been the 15th century, Romans or hoplites have never really captured my interest. However I did not see the point in replicating my 15th century western european armies.

Back in the day I painted up a Later Muslm Indian army and had some succes with it in competitions (even winning NICON DBR one year using them as Rajputs). I still can't remember why I picked it but it might have been the elephants. I then started painting more Persian horse armour to expand my armies (as the base cavalry all looked alike) untill I had had enough to never touch another 15mm figure. So, having sworn never to paint middle eastern cavalry the army I picked first was Ottomans. There was some method in my madness as the Ottomans had 24 different opponents. 

The figures came from the Pendraken Renaissance Ottoman range (I brought some horse archers from the TB range but the horses were obviously too large so I couldn't mix them)

Spahi's. I managed to get 11 on a base with a mix of barded and unbarded horses wi some horse archers at the back.

Genneral element. I must do some flags for the second rank.

The horde

Jannissaries. Historically recorded as wearing blue, green or red, I've just stuck to one colour. Maybe if I paint the rest of the pack.

Azabs. The horse archers are on order.

I must admit that I have enjoyed painting these and that 10mm is a better choice for DBA than 6mm for this base size. I've ordered the figures for an opponent which I'll discuss when I have painted them.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Friday night

 A request from a friend during the week inspires this post, and apparently I owe him for making my dice look good last weekend (and he really outdid himself).

During the week I've had the 1:600 aircraft painting bench out. Among the pile I picked out the F4 Phantoms. Once described as proof that with large enough engines you could fly a brick, The F4 served untill the late 1990's with the US and some are still operational over 60 years after the prototype flew.

Surprisingly few NATO nations used the F4, prefering something cheaper like the F5 so I was somewhat limited in options for the paintschemes. So what did we get? (and sorry its so dark,I'm seldom home in daylight in winter)

Left to right we have the Luftwaffe splinter camoflage, At the back the Euro one (also called the lizard scheme), the front is the South East Asia scheme worn in Vietnam and then in US based F4 units untill the late 1980's (and hence a possiblity in Europe) which is also my favorite. Finaly on the right is the RAF verson.

Its been quuite fun painting a varity of schemes on the same aircraft. Not overly easy on aircraft from the 1980's.

Update: heres a couple of slightly better photo's.

Luftwaffe and RAF

Monday, July 5, 2021

The most normal of times

 Over the weekend I participated in the rarest of pastimes in these times.

They even washed...

 An honest to god in person wargaming convention, the Warlords Call to Arms in Wellington.

So, the day started at 6, out the door at 6:45. Had to defrost the car, and the groundfog in places was down to 30m. Sunrise around Paekakariki and it wasn't till Porirua that someone tried to kill me on the road

The game was Spearhead and the scenario was the German counter attack at Kurstin in 1945 outside of Berlin. The Russians had bounced the Oder in a last gasp seizing jumping off points for the final attack on Berlin. The Germans assembled every tank left on the eastern front (well, its what it seemed like) to throw back the invaders.

So whats holding the rest of the front.

The Russian defence was based around 2 villages. The railway line was a visual break. 

The Germans sweped forward and made short work of the Russian defence, aided by some spectacularly bad dice rolling. Several times we even checked the dice to see if there were numbers higher than a 2.

The Russians then organised an armoured counter attack. 

On my flank IS-2's and Su100's. They were faced off by a collection of dross which did have teath.

On the other flank and covered from the Tiger II's by the railway embankment was a thined down armoured regiment with T34/85's.

Once again the Russians took a beating but this time managed to hold the line.

The Armoured regiment traded blows with the germans but eventually broke

The Germans claimed a victory, the Russians called it a draw and said they would be back tomorrow with fresh troops and where were the Germans going to find those? A sacrifice was selected to go and talk to Stalin and the rest of the commanders vowed not to discuss the day again.

A great day out (if somewhat long annd I was driving on autopilot by the time I got home).