Sunday, 3 May 2015

Salute: The Games

I realise I'm a week late on the Blogoshpere, but here are the games that stood out to me as I whisked around the Salute hall. I didn't take down the details and don't have a programme to consult so few credits here I'm afraid. Having seen everyone else's, I clearly missed some corkers!

The hall before the crowds descended...

...and the crowd - quite a queue snaking in a whole unit.

7TV's lovely Ghostbusters game

An awesome AWI fort game, with six gorgeous ships. It won best in show I believe.

Beasts of War's Assault on Hoth game - looked a bit unfair on the Rebels!

Napoleon's Last Gamble(?) - the Assault of the Guard at Waterloo. A very striking table and lots of very well painted 28mm Napoleonics. 

Wargames Illustrated (easy one to credit :-) ) Simon De Montford must Die!

A striking fantasy naval game: I liked the choppy seas that they'd modelled. 

The Wyvern Wargamers/Kallistra game that I helped to run for the day. Is was the First battle of Ypres, 1914, the assault of the Prussian Guard on the British positions.

And from the German perspective. As the game played out, the Germans penetrated the British slit trench in three places, with much lighter casualties than historically.

Simon Miller's To the Strongest!, table, Bloody Cremona. Great terrain and miniatures as always.

A demo table of Osprey's Black Ops

Two Blitzkrieg Miniatures tables for their upcoming ruleset 'Panzer Battles'. Bit heavy on the tanks for me (what is this, FoW?) really nicely painted though. Desert Rats vs Afrika Korps

And Battle of the Bulge

Hawk Wargames display game - a lot of lead on the table

A VBCW game? Nice scenery

Oshiro Modelterrain's gorgeous Japan table - a highlight every year.

And that's your lot! A good show, but as with most, it feels like there's too much to see. That's for a paying punter, manning a table meant a very long day, though we each managed to get away a few times to whisk around the hall. Worth going once again, thanks to the a Wyvern lot for the offer, I don't think I'd have made it otherwise.

On a separate note, Ray of 'Don't Roll a 1' has a rather smashing giveaway going, so head on over there if you don't like any of the dame stuff as me. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

More Commanders for the Sudan

With the focus on the SCW platoon, it had slipped my mind that I'd offered to put on a game at a Operation Market Larden 3 at Wyvern in early June. Not only that, but I've the esteemed Mr Roundwood playing  one of my sessions. A panicked list of what I should get done in the six or so weeks before that set me off: it was time to get cracking.

I started with a couple of 'nice to haves': two more Commanders or 'Big Men' in Sharp Practice terminology. The first being a mounted Egyptian officer.

Fairly standard stuff and a quick paint, I gave him a darker blue uniform that my officers in units. When I get around to him, the Egyptian C-in-C will wear black.

I'm also a bit light on Mahdist emirs, so fished out another from the lead pile. This was probably one of the original packs that I bought a few years ago, no idea why he hadn't then painted yet. 

Not much to say: he's in a colourful patched jibbeh that's sculpted on the Perry emirs.

Next to paint are some more Bazingers, then I've quite a bit of terrain for the rest of May. I would have liked to finish the highlander unit, but I just can't see me having the time.

After the creeping worry hit, I also got started on the necessary cards and Blinds for Sharp Practice. Using an excellent free texture from borealnz on Flickr (thanks for the tip, Mr Roundwood!) and some era-specific images, voila:

They'll be printed and laminated. I've finished the generic cards, it's pretty quick once you have a template made up. Next up is to make the cards for each Big Man.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Salute: The Loot

So another year's Salute finished - what was my haul? Quite an odd one, all in all. 

The big buy was Star Wars Armada, which I've had my eye on and already racked up a few fun games using my brother' core set. It's not cheap and the core box isn't really enough for a game, but with two of us collecting, we should be able to split the new waves of releases between us and keep the cost more palatable. The Troll Trader had it at £55, an excellent price considering the rrp is £80. Even at that price, I'm glad I know what I getting myself in for. 

Three 15mm 4Ground buildings - Wyvern chaps split a preorder which made the max 25% discount, so I supplemented the farm I've already got with the beginnings of a town. I also grabbed more Landmark walls as they are heavily discounted and may vanish off the market. 

Renedra terrain - desert accessories and sandbags. Also a TFL/Warbases chicken coop (I couldn't resist)

Stocking up on paint (replacing some dried up old GW paints with suitable vallejo), as well as bases and tufts. Also some black primer that avoided the photo. 

Some markers for status effects and vehicle damage (the latter in the Troll Trader bargain bin for £1). - always come in useful. 

Just a few miniatures: Artizan Designs 'tea time' colonial officer for the Sudan and Hasslefree 'not Last of Us' survivors. I was sorely tempted by Lucid Eye miniatures simians and cro-magnons, but I just don't have a use for them at 

All in all, mostly hobby supplies and terrain. No substantial impulse purchases. No new projects. Barely any miniatures. Oddly that feels like a good thing - I've enough to paint already!). 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Salute: Bravo...

...Mr Perry and Mr Perry. Their new plastic set(s) announced at Salute were:

Colonial British infantry - yay!

I eked out of Alan that there will be two separates boxes covering the conflicts as above. No ETA, these will either be before or after the HYW French infantry, whichever is finished first.

More photos of some great games when I'm less ruined from a very, very long day.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Chain of Command: First Carlist Requetes

Humm, April. April was meant to have me bursting through the Spanish Civil War project to get some games of chain of Command at Wvvern: most of the club have their forces painted. That meant blitzing a section of Carlist Requetes and then onto some support choices. Then for May I'd be free to focus on some odds and ends for the Sudan to put on a game at the Club's Lardy day, "Operation Market Larden 3: A Bridge too Lard".

I suspect it will surprise few of you to learn that those timescales are slipping, but I do have some small progress to report. Frustratingly, I haven't been able to source a colour that I'm happy with for the Carlists' beige shirts (vallejo recommendations warmly welcomed). I would have used the old GW favourite Khemri Brown as a base, but as it's discontinued and a fairly key colour for the Sudan project, I'm rationing it to essential uses only. 

Still, a couple of the Empress Carlists aren't wearing shirts, like this chap in a natty jacket. 

I settled on grey, which is so 1936, using the gent on the right as inspiration:

I'm also led to understand that the Requetes wore colourful civilian blanket rolls over their shoulders. Further damage to my hopes of a quick job, so I went the whole hog with this stripey number. 

I've also decided to put more effort into my unit markings - something I rarely bother with. But this has turned into a bit of a showcase project for me and as I'm trying to develop my painting, it feels like these touches are worth it. On the downside, they add more free handing (I need to practice, these took a fair while) to each mini. So this Sargento has his green chevron on his sleeves, which is appropriate according to Balagan. I won't fully mark them up, it'll depend the sculpts and me being able to decipher source material on how they should look.

Next up was this chap in a more traditional uniform. So a bit of googling around to figure out what colour I'm after for the  Nationalist uniform: 'greenish tinged khaki', apparently, but I this seems to manifest in many shade in people's collections. Spain-based Miniarons kindly offer the painting guide from the back of their sets on their website gave a vallejo shade: 70.822 US Uniform.

Duly used, but even used as e highlight, it appears to be rather less 'greenish tinged khaki' and It looks a bit brighter in real life too. Hummmm.

I like it, but it doesn't seem right (or is it?!) for when I move onto the Nationalist infantry on the prep table. Once again, thoughts of those more steeped in SCW and with better reference material would be very helpful.

On the rank markings, may be able to see his two stars (ahem blobs) on his sleeves and 'galetta' on his left breast, ranking him as a 'Teniete'. And what else should a Teniete be doing but scrutinising the lay of the land?

All in all, pretty chuffed with how these two Empress sculpts have come out. But that's just two of 24 done and I've still not got a colour for the uniform of the rest!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Highlanders for the Sudan: The Black Watch

The first five of my Black Watch for the Sudan are finished. 

The Black Watch or a Royal Highlanders were among the first regiments to land at Suakin, deploying from Egypt in early 1884 and fought at the second battle of El Teb, as well as Tamai in 1884 and as part of the River column the following year, the less well-known part of the Khartoum relief expedition.  Their strength at El Teb was 750, more than twice the size of the KRRC. 

My Sudan collection has what I'm calling a 'Heirarchy of Pose'c  The quality (usually British, but not 
always, for instance the XIth Sudanese) troops are in firing line, where's the poor troops are marching. When I decided to get some highlanders for the British forces, I was originally going to do the Gordons or even the Camerons, the latter I could do in red jackets for the 1885 battle of Ginnis - the last time a British regiment wore red in combat. At the last moment, I changed my mind: while the Black Watch are a bit of a cliche'd favourite, but I just couldn't resist the dynamic charging poses over the firing line of the Gordon/Cameron sculpts:

Image from the Perry website

Still, I can look forward to doing the Camerons later! Yay, more tartan (a more interesting tartan, at least).

It isn't event the first time I painted the Black Watch: here they are through the ages: 28mm Victrix Napoleonic painted a few years ago and 28m Perry Sudan. 

The tartan method is broadly the same but I made some refinements for the latest version - I think it works better and is more subtle, I toned down the green and didn't bother with the horizontal black lines through the colours - a devil to get neat considering the angles you're working at and they further complicate an eye strain-worthy pattern.

I wonder what the Mahdists thought when they saw loons dressed like this charging at them

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge V: March

First up for February was my entry fee or 'Curtgeld'. I pondered awhile potential antiheroes to send Curt for this year's challenge. I was initially tempted by Dirty Harry and few others from Kev White's excellent Hasslefree range, but nothing quite appealed. Those of you who followed last year's challenge will know that Curt and I share a love of Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont's Malazan Books of the Fallen (MBotF), and epic series of fantasy books. Might these offer inspiration for suitable Curtgeld?

The MBoTF have an extensive list of Dramatis Personae, with many more antiheroes than true heroes. After lengthy consideration and searching for suitable models, I settled just a couple of weeks ago on Ben Adaephon Delat, better known as 'Quick Ben'.

When we first encounter him, Quick is a Squad Mage in the 9th squad of the infamous Bridgeburners, the grognards of Empress Laseen's Malazan Empire. Squad mages are petty magic users rather than the powerful members of the High Mage cadre, being capable of mere illusions and deceptions to aid their squad mates. Hailing from the Seven Cities continent, he is described as dark skinned, tall and lean. Erikson doesn't go in for much more description of characters than that, so I had some flexibility in choosing a suitable miniature!

Except Quick Ben isn't all that he seems, which becomes clear as the series progresses. He seems to know the most about what's going on, vanishes off on unspecified errands, turning up again at all critical junctures, usually with a solution to some problem or other and vague hints of what the heck is going on. It transpires that he was previously a High Priest of Rashan, or Darkness, before burning his vestments and adopting the warren of Meneas or Shadow as the source of his power. But that's just the start of it - there are plenty more reveals as the story progresses when Quick is concerned.

So why an Antihero? Well, the Bridgeburners are pretty heroic, particularly the noble but naive Ganoes Paran and the roundly respected Whiskeyjack. But there's a darker side to both Adaephon Ben Delat and Kalam Mekhar, the bearlike ex-Claw assassin and Quick's closest partner. To avoid spoilers I'll just reference the events of the pursuit across Raraku, the Holy Desert, and Quick's support for Kalam's mission regarding the Empress in Deadhouse Gates (my favourite of the series, by quite some way).

The cover art for Deadhouse Gates

This miniature, 'Karick-Dar, Apprentice' is from Australia-based Guild of Harmony miniatures. I'm not stoked by how he came out, it just didn't quite come together how I imagined. No fault of the mini, I just didn't quite nail the colour scheme and can't quite decide how I went wrong. I wanted to use a lot of grey, but in hindsight perhaps i should have bitten the bullet and done him in full greyscale in Curt's style. I also failed to find a suitable mini for Kalam Mekhar to pair him up with. Still, I hope Curt likes him 

Continuing the theme of single minis, next up was one where it did just 'fall together'. Tradition dictates that each Challenge, I make an offering at the Altar of Sarah, by finding a suitable female miniature to compete for the 'Sarah's Choice' award. Happily, Pulp adventuring has provided a rich seam to mine and I've done quite well in this little niche. This year I had this quite exquisite miniature from Hasslefree, "Madge".

With the months of the challenge nearly gone, the time came to promote her to the top of the painting queue. I was actually away in Wales at the time, but took a little hobby box along. The weather was pretty wet, which meant plenty of painting time, though the table I set up at was a little dingy in the evenings. She came together just how I'd imagined, you'll note I even brought out the tartan and flowery-headscarf-effect paints. Phew!

This Kev White sculpt is just so excellent. The tartan worked nicely (more tartan coming in my next post too - I'm on a roll!) and flowery headscarf pretty well too, though a bit more 'cheery tulips' than 'Cath Kidston'. I gave her a moorland base using some lavender flowers, which I really like but hadn't found a project to use on. She'll join the tack of misc Pulpy miniatures. 

Oh dear, two miniatures in a month's worth of challenge? Not great. For the final straight, I was working on what came to be a real bugbear - highlanders for the Sudan. I bought them ages ago and have had the prepped for a year, so the challenge offered an opportunity to have a crack at them. Unfortunately, it was a little too much to ask in the time I had. Still - they were nearly done - just three colours to go as of submission and coming together nicely. 

A fortnight later and they're finished up and will be posted up in all their angry-charging-Scots-in-tartan glory in the next few days. Oh, then I'll get on with the second half of the unit!