Thursday, 21 January 2016

Sixth AHPC - December 2015

I managed two entries into the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge in December - not bad going considering I had some bits to finish off before it started, and the Christmas festivities with families. Well the second wasn't posted until January, but I'll claim it for adember as 95% of the painting was done then. 

First was a trio of Nationalist officers for my Spanish Civil War project. First, a figure of unknown provenance in a Germanic uniform, that I did in the khaki of the Condor Legion. Not someone who would usually grace a platoon level action in Chain of Command, though perhaps he might stray too close to the front while surveying the abilities of the Nationalist forces or the effects of experimental tactics by the Condor Legion. The uniform isn't strictly right, I think, as the tunic should be open necked and worn with a shirt and tie. But never mind. As a corpulent fellow, I couldn't resist giving him the flushed look of a man who loves his Riesling and Rioja. 

Also, a Nationalist officer who was actually was the show freebie from Partizan this year, meant to represent the actor and producer Sir Donald Wolfit in 'Lawrence of Arabia'. Sculpted by Bill Thornhill. This seemed my best use for him, as he looks a bit like he is giving a facist salute. He has the 'galetta' showing the three stars of a Colonel, so again not someone to grace the table as a combatant in Chain of Command. 

Finally, a Carlist Platoon Sergeant, hurriedly painted in a day to try to match Juan's swift pace. From Empress miniatures once again. 

The second entry was for the 'Nostalgia' theme round - a deftly chosen round with some reall touching entries. I almost entirely paint and game historicals these days, but like many of my generation, I got into this hobby in my youth via the juggernaut of Games Workshop. It has been a long time since I've had much enthusiasm for GW's products or games, but I look back fondly on those formative years, and have maintained a smidgen of interest in what GW have been producing (and perhaps perverse fascination with some of their more outlandish business practices). Personally, I  don't appreciate much of their design aesthetic, but occasionally I find they do still nail it with impressive miniatures. 

But GW's recent replacement of the classic Warhammer world with 'Age of Sigmar' has brought Gharak back into the miniatures hobby after a couple of years hiatus; certainly unexpected.  And his enthusiasm to do some kind of AoS/Realms of Chaos mashup with warband-based narrative games has piqued my interest a little, I admit. What could be more nostalgic for me than painting up some Games Workshop minis? 

So, for this theme round, I presented seven Games Workshop plastic Plaguebearers, the lesser Daemons of Burgle, Lord of Decay and pestilence. 

I didn't take the theme as far as the classic, Oldhammer style sculpts, preferring instead these recent offerings. GW are refreshing a lot of their Chaos minis for AoS, but the Nurgle stuff, which I think is a few years old now, is holding up well. I quite liked this kit for giving Plaguebearers a scarier look, as for a few years they were the naff cousins of the other lesser daemons. Though I did find it a bit light on options. I avoided the usual green-hued skin in favour of a sallow grey. 

Seven is the sacred number of Nurgle in GW's old lore, so a fitting number to paint up (absolutely nothing to do with that being how many I thought I could paint this week, and a number that didn't include the goofier standard bearer or musician).

A wildly different topic meant I could mess about with some new techniques - including GW's 'Typhus Corrosion' paint from their new 'technical' range. A bit odd, like mid-brown wash with added grit, that dries very matt. Something to experiment with in combination with pigments, sometime. 

I also tried to do some new bases, using a strange method of dripping superglue onto PVA - it dries in odd, naturalistic patterns, that I painted as some kind of pestilential swamp. It's glossy, but doesn't come out very well in these photos. 

Of the seven, this one ended up being my favourite - I liked his pose, cute chipped front tooth and the fact he has such a wide mouth you can see his tonsils. Who knew plague deamons had tonsils?!

This should just be a dalliance, I cannot see myself investing in mounds of pricey plastic kits. In fact, I've already been hard at work on the historicals...

Gaming-wise, the first club of January, Stu had his copy of 'Zombicide: Black Plague', the fantasy version of CMoN's miniatures board game juggernaut. 

It was lots of fun for a light evening's entertainment. I got to play the wizard, hilariously hurling magic missiles into my own teammates because I hadn't found, nor would anyone lend me a sword. 

The first attempt was something of a disaster, as we had to improvise a new plan when an un-killable abomination emerged very quickly. It was looking ok here, as we passed and were conducting a fighting withdrawal from the zombie spawn point, but a few card turns later, dozens of them appeared and we were overwhelmed. 

We replayed the same scenario, with a somewhat better understanding of how to play and a new plan. All was going perfectly swimmingly - I was even the proud owner of a sword. 

We were making our way to the final objective in the same bottom right corner when the same thing happened: a few spawn cards and many zombies:

Maybe this corner is where all the cool zombies hang out. 

But by this time we were tooled up and spoiling for a fight. With Dane, Hendrick and Stu heroically  sacrificing themselves/being eaten, Paul and I could fireball and hack our way to the objective and claim the win. 

Oh, and finally, Gharak's sent me an awesome belated Christmas present, which might foreshadow some of this year's gaming activities...

The Prof heads to investigate the unearthly blackish standing stones... 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

2015 in Review, into 2016

(This post published a week later than planned, due to a Blogger posting error) 

I don't think I normally do an annual review post. But I did cast my eye back over the year's productivity and was quite pleased with myself so thought I'd indulge with a brief post. 

2015 was a year of two projects, both jolted forwards by the AHPC, as usual. First, bringing the Sudan project to a good place to pause, with 'enough' painted to play either Black Powder or other rule sets of choice. Then I was pleased to put on a game at the Wyvern Wargamers Too Fat Lardies event. 

Most of the year I've been working on forces for the Spanish Civil War. They've only seen the table a couple of times, but I think they are shaping up to be one of my best painted projects, and I'm taking my time to add extra details. 

Painting over the summer stuttered due to the purchase of a PS4, but picked up again in the autumn. 

Games-wise, 2015 was a bit intermittent. Chain of Command has been by far the most played rule set, in WWII, the Spanish Civil War and AVBCW. I always enjoy games of it, it offers challenges and excitement. Beyond that, I invested in Star Wars Armada, which I do like, but hasn't seen the table enough to earn back the steep buy-in cost (but...Star Destroyers!). 

I made it to three gaming shows: Salute, The Other Partizan and a local show. None saw excessive shopping or dramatic lurches into new projects - probably for the best! 

In other highlights, I was pleased with my 'er Madge' entry for the AHPC:

And some of the terrain bits I knocked up:

So, what will 2016 bring? Firstly, finishing up the SCW project to three sections of infantry and a range of support options. And a big sort out of the terrain, focused on the Iberian peninsular for both SCW and Napoleonics. Rework or replace pieces that are out of favour and add some new, most urgently large hills and maybe a river. I've sourced another cloth that I aim to pimp up and am hopeful will at last the boards/terrain tiles/cloth debate for me and give me something to tie my terrain collection to. Plenty to be getting on with. 

Other than that, I reckon Pulp will feature, perhaps with a Lovecraftian edge. Other than that, we'll see if new projects take off, or perhaps revisiting old - Gharak and I have talked about dusting off the Napoleonics again, which haven't seen the table in an age. I'd like to get to. A show I've never been to before, and for once will probably give Salute a miss. I'm hoping I can get games in more consistently too, either up at the club, with Gharak and friends, and even just bring some of my favourite board games to the table more often. 

Here's to 2016! 

Friday, 25 December 2015

Finishing up Before the Challenge, pt.2

More accurately, finishing up during the challenge. 

Aye, more Spanish Civil War to show you, that I didn't quite manage to finish for the Wyvern all-day game, but worked on slowly this month. With two sections pretty much done, I'm working on support options at the moment and this Army Hotchkiss machine gun team should do the job nicely. From Empress, fine sculpts with a head swap to give both helmets, if a bit fiddly to assemble the gun. 

Also this Bilbao armoured car to support my Carabineros. A fine resin model, also from Empress miniatures. This featured in the all-dayer, though true to form for freshly painted miniatures, didn't really achieve much. 

As Gharak pointed out, it did need some weathering. I think I got a bit carried away. 

This served as a test piece for a pot of pigment fixer from Vallejo that I picked up. Previously, I was happy with the subtle effects that I could get, but unfortunately they were rubbed or blown off when dullcoting. The fixer seems to work well at what it should do, but instead I struggled to get the same subtlety of effect with it: it tended to clump where the fixer was placed. I think I need a lot more practice, and looking back at the result, it does need a bit of tidying up and re-application.  

Finally and belatedly, a shot of this year's box of miniatures prepared for the painting challenge:

A whole range of stuff to get me to my modest target of 300 points: plenty of SCW, a bit of Sudan, some Pulp single miniatures, 15mm WWII Germans leftover from last year's challenge, 28mm Napoleonic Cacadores that have featured in at least three (!) previous challenge boxes (and still not even started!) and a couple of surprise entries. 

Now, what to paint next? 

Merry Christmas to all.

Dearly wishing a very Merry Christmas to friends, bloggers, followers and all your kin. I hope you all have a happy and contented festive season. 

Thank you to my blogging Secret Santa, who generously chose me a selection of nefarious armed cultists from Artizan Designs. Very useful antagonists for Pulp adventurers, including one toting a flamethrower! Now, to do them as a Lovecraftian cult or the classic Pulp purple robed style? 

And thanks once again to Ian and Cath for organising the event, which never fails to give a cheerful surprise on Christmas morning. 

Monday, 14 December 2015

Finishing up Before the Challenge pt.1

As the start to the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge approaches, I join many of my fellow challengers in clearing half-finished projects off the hobby desk. So a motley collection of minis to update you with. Like this 50mm mortar team to support my Requetes:

Empress miniatures as usual, and one has a head swap for a jaunty red beret. 

One of the great things about the SCW is the fine collection of flags on offer. I felt my Carabineros should declare their allegiance, another head swap for the full effect:

The flag is from the excellent and very reasonably priced Flags of War range of flag sheets. I rather dislike flagging, hence why I've recently used Flag Dude's pre-assembled offerings. I completely naffed up the first attempt at this one, ruining my preferred Republican. And I even made a couple of errors  on this second attempt, but managed to recover it. (Damn flag is upside down, will fix it in due course - thanks for pointing out).

And I found a half-finished Sudan casualty marker in the painting box, so finished tidying him up:

Im looking forward to the challenge start next week, but will ideally find a bit more time, and drive if I'm to put in a good showing in my three (!) side-challenges. Best of luck to my 85 fellow challengers!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Wyvern Wargames All-Dayer

Last weekend Wyvern Wargamers held the annual winter all-day club. Three of us, plus my visiting brother Gharak got all of our toys it to play a game of big Chain of Command Espana. We played the Battle of Seseña October 1936, an excellent scenario kindly posted by Gaming with TooFatLardies.

Following the fall of Toledo to the hands of the Nationalists forces in late September 1936, Madrid became now the next objective of Franco’s Army of Africa columns. These approached the capital city almost unmolested, as the morale of the Republicans crumbled and by late October they were to less than 100 km away.

After the arrival of Soviet tanks and advisors,  a short period of training and concentration, the first Republican tank unit was operational and the Soviet advisors  pressed the Republican Government to put it into action sooner rather than later as the risks of Madrid falling to the enemy were evident.
A decision was taken and the objective was to cut the road connecting Madrid and Toledo with a main attack in the South through the Seseña-Esquivias-Illescas  axis, supported by a secondary action in the north aiming to pierce the front at Griñón. A spearhead of 15 T-26 tanks made for Seseña on the morning of 29 October. 

Ian and Matt took two platoons of infantry to represent Lister and Burillo's Republican columns, equipped with light support weapons and a mighty three T-26s for their assault. Defending Nationalists comprised of a platoon of Moroccans (kindly lent by Wyvern Stu, cheers!) garrisoning Seseña and Gharak's Civil Guard in Esquivias. If we were lucky, a column of Armoured cars might turn up too! (standing in for the Italian tankettes present on the day).

As on the day, the scenario had the T-26s charging forwards into Seseña and on towards Esquivias.

The experienced Moroccans, caught by surprise, seek what cover they can.

But where are those T-26s heading now? They scatter for cover in the face of a single antitank gun. 

Emboldened by the armoured thrust, Republican infantry slowly make their way forward, but come under fire.

Meanwhile Gharak's Civil Guard emerge quickly from their garrison and into the countryside to  face Ian's infantry. 

A brave (or, foolhardy) Moroccan tank hunter team makes a dash for an unsupported T-26. Amazingly, their grenades and molotovs cause the crew to panic and bail out! What isn't pictured is the first team, that tried the same, failed to make the dash and were cut down in moments.

From the Republican side  - good progress on the left, where a bloody me lee has cleared Gharak's paramilitaries but stubborn resistance continues from my Moroccans.

Lunchtime brings stalemate and the end of our first game. The Republican forces hadn't managed to capitalise on their surprise and take Esquivias but keep a foothold in Seseña. The Moroccans are battered but remain an effective force, but of course two of those T-26s remain in a commanding position. Honours even, but a strategic Nationalist victory. 

After a break for lunch, we set up a second scenario to continue the Republican push, moving the battlefield westwards and each side bringing up reserves. We ran a patrol phase and the attack and defend scenario. 

Game two saw the appearance of my Carlist Requetes. Viva, Cristo, Rey! 

Once again, the experience of the Army of Africa is telling, having fallen back from Seseña, they quickly take up defensive positions outside the town...

...and lay down a heavy fire with their light machineguns. And the Natuonalist airforce is scrambled to provide close fire support. 

Game two saw Matt and I's infantry grinding away at each other from range, my Moroccons having the edge, but  three wounded leaders bruising their morale. 

Meanwhile on the Republican left, Ian Column, better supported by armour that we were unable to draw a bead on and neutralise, managed to maintain up relentless pressure, eventually shattering Gharak's platoon. Game two, a clear Republican victory, but at quite a cost. 

All in all a great scenario for the day. Taking the Nationalists, I expected a battering from all that armour and us to be able to do little to mitigate them. But I had Moroccan firepower, six command dice and a sprinkling of luck in my favour. Gharak's platoon suffered the worse, but I gather he enjoyed a day back at the historical gaming. 

There were three other fine looking tables taking advantage of a wet Sunday afternoon, a massive 14' AWI game using Carl's huge collection. This was still going on when we'd packed up and left but looked like a close game. 

A smaller game of Sharpe Practice, hosted by the esteemed Rich Clarke himself, using a work in progress second edition of the rules. 

And a fabulous WWII game using Ade's extensive collection. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

Yes, a sure sign that 'Winter is coming'. No, not the sudden turn for the colder in this fair isle, our favourite Canadian blogger's announcement that once again he is going to run the annual painter-blogger extravaganza, the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

If you've not heard of it already - where have you been hiding? Three months of a packed roster of great painters applying their craft to lead, plastic and resin. I heartily recommend it as a fine way of passing the winter months with cameraderie and just a little friendly banter. So if you fancy it, get on over here and sign up!

It's been quiet around here, but how's the time to get industrious. After a summer with limited painting, I feel fairly well prepped, both mentally and in undercoated lead and plastic. But there's still a bit for me to do in the next four weeks, including finishing off everything that's part-painted!

Right, now where did I leave those brushes...