Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Capitan painting competition: Milicias Provinciales Ciudad Real

My entry for the Capitan Miniatures painting competition. I went for the classic Spanish 'Milicias Provinciales' in their white with red facings. Given it is a competition entry, I even did the eyes. I've not done eyes for years, these aren't perfect but a passable effort.

The standard is hand-painted and an approximation of the design for the Milicias Ciudad Real. Though Capian offer free downloadable flags on their website (which is good of them), my printer just wouldn't give out a decent colour, so I had to make my own.

I find the Capitan miniatures a bit slight compared to Perry. These were test shots, I've seen a few minor things which I might tidy up before I enter him.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Wall Art for the Hobbyist

I've continued to work up some 10mm WWII, here we have some more punch for the poor bloody infantry - two 6pdr AT guns and one 25pdr Field Gun. A quick job as I only painted and based the guns themselves - the crew were already finished (mostly borrowed from a 17pdr actually). Note there is space on the back of the 25pdr base for a Morris Quad to drag it around. I've since noticed that the late war Europe list in BKC doesn't allow 25pdrs as on-table support, which is a bit annoying. So I've painted a pretty paperweight (or useful reminder of my off-table guns).

I mentioned the Capitan painting competition some months ago and as the deadline looms realised I haven't even started. Seeing Curt's lovely entry here, I've primed my entry and turned him around in no time. Looks like i wont evem need their recently-announced extension. I'll post a pic up in the morning. It was a welcome change to do just one Napoleonic - it seems like an age since I painted some!

I've also been doing quite a bit of sightseeing and thought this might interest in one of the room of Hampton Court Palace:

Can you tell what it is yet?

A closer look at one wall

Yup, this is wall art made of pikes, muskets, pistols, armour and so on, covering four walls with thousands of pieces. It was in fact was the first formal room of the Royal court of William III (1689 - 1702), a Guard room and something of a display of England's military power for the dignitaries visiting court. All of them were working firearms and were cleaned annually. Interesting stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

A long overdue rebrand

I've been meaning to give this blog an overhaul for ages, as I started out with one of the blander templates. I've added a bit more colour with the background and some definition to the gadgets.

You may also notice the new Title, 'Diary of a Gaming Magpie'. I was never really happy with my blog name, 'Infrequent Wargamer' felt more an acknowledgement of circumstance than a anything else. So I thought I'd 'rebrand' with a new Title. I pondered this for a while and decided:
-To keep 'Diary of' - this very much feels like my diary and project notes (in fact, I wouldn't claim it was anything else!)
-A slight tweak to 'Gaming' rather than 'Wargaming', given my interests aren't purely Wargaming, on occasion I also touch on board games, computer games and other things.
-To be a Magpie. Why? I'm sure my longer-term followers will have already noticed my merry-go-round of projects, so it should come as no surprise that I like shiny things. Particularly new projects, new miniatures, new board or computer games or anything a bit shiny.  A bit like a Magpie, in fact. 


I've kept the same URL - purely because I've no idea what would happen if I changed it! I'm struck by a fear that my followers disappear into the ether!

Let me know what you think. Personally, I'm not sure on the Title and Intro text - too much?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

More progress

With a very real chance of getting a game or two of Blitzkrieg Commander in at CLWC, I thought I'd finish off the few bits I bought at earlier in the year, at Salute and before. To support my Late War British, more armoured might: three Shermans including a Firefly, an Achilles Tank Destroyer and a pair of Staghound armoured cars. Bring on the German Armour - plenty of 17pdrs here!

I'm starting to really like 10mm as a scale for WWII, the tanks look really dinky. These are mostly Pendraken, though the Staghounds are from Pithead miniatures. I didn't realise how massive Staghounds were, nearly as big as a Sherman. And its not that classic issue of different manufacturers - they really were nearly as big! The tank commander was converted from a Pendraken radio operator, that will serve as a command tank as required.

They didn't photograph particular well, but they are mostly a dull green/brown colour so not that interesting! I also used plenty weathering powder to grubby them up nicely. You may note the lack of markings, I may add some later, or just leave them as they are.

Oh, look, another switch of era and scale.

I've also finished the second batch (of four) of the secret project. So some considerable painting progress in a week!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Brink of Battle playtest/Review/AAR

The first reveal (didn't take long...) is that the Secret Project will probably use the Brink of Battle skirmish ruleset. The idea of a ruleset which covers any era while retaining some flavour of each is intriguing. A concept which Gharak has considered before and I've shown healthy scepticism about. But I'm happy to try these things.

So, to test the rules I dug out the below miniatures and terrain to give BoB a try with Samulus. This is not the secret project! It's just something I threw together with the miniatures and terrain on hand. A British Commando raid (Me) against either another short-lived Indian mutiny (Samulus), or perhaps some post-WWII war games! Set somewhere suspiciously like Spain, using the terrain I've built up for Napoleonics. Humm, pity I had no Germans to hand really.

The Commandos advance through the rough rural terrain (Blue tokens denote ambush, where concealed miniatures in can't be attacked from a distance)

The forces (six commandos against eight Sikh infantry, with a variety of weapons and profiles on each side) hunker down in cover and trade shots. (Red tokens are for assigned orders which haven't been used yet).

Surprise! Late in the day, in a desperate push for victory, a Commando rounds the corner to face off against a Sikh veteran.

Game end came shortly after, with two surviving commandos melting away, having inflicted four casualties on their opponents. I suspect my aggressive tactics and bold moves (to test the rules for grenades and combat, honest!) were to blame for my defeat.

And what did I think of BoB? Perfectly serviceable actually, I like the alternating orders system, and Break (interrupt) and Edge (initiative) mechanics well enough. You need to keep on your toes as there are a lot of opposed rolls, but I'm used to that having played Infinity. Combat worked fine, though it produces quite a lot of variation given it is opposed roll with a D10 plus stat and modifiers. I am tempted to try more variety in the profiles next time, but they are pretty easy and quick to cost up once you've got a handle on the skills.

And my one gripe? No quick reference sheet and no sample or blank profiles. I had to spend an hour or so knocking a template up on the computer, including weapon profiles for each force. Made things easier as I could et the profiles neat and easy to review in-ame, but as I say, it would probably take 30 minutes to an hour to do it with each new force.

I think it will work nicely, you do lose some flavour but the rules are perfectly fun and run quickly once you've played a few turns. I should be able to write a range of scenarios which will work with the system and vary the game length by scenario as well as the force sizes.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A mystery and interesting hobby news

First up, things might be quiet here in terms of me posting recent painting, there is a good reason: I've a new mystery project. All will be revealed when the painting is nearly finished. In the meantime here are some hints:

-it's a skirmish game using an intriguing new ruleset.

-it will be a narrative campaign (Samulus, Gharak, I hope to play through it with both of you at least)

-it was inspired by a recent issue of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy magazine

-half the work is already done with minis I've already got and painted.

-the minis are primarily from one of my favourite manufacturers.

-of the minis I've bought, most are also useful to another period I often play (bonus value for money)

Any guesses from my more attentive readers?

Hopefully not as much of a headache as this causes

Anyway, I will still beaver away at my more public projects and post them up as and when I get stuff finished.

In hobby-related news, Tamsin highlighted controversial announcements by two relatively big players in the historical Wargames market - Battlefront and Slitherine. The former seem to be getting a GW-esque superiority complex and are banning the use of non-Battlefront miniatures at all official Flames of War tournaments. While it doesn't affect me directly, I think this is one step too far to . I wonder what the backlash will be. I did have some respect for what FOW did in terms of making WWII more accessible, but can't quite understand their logic to preserve market share amongst what is by-all-accounts a relatively small number of tournament gamers.

Next up, Slitherine, (publishers of Field of Glory which I've eyed up a few times times) have announced that the long-awaited second version of their ancients and medieval rules will be digital-only, with no option to print a PDF. While I can see it plays to their strengths as a digital publisher and it could improve the rules and balance through easy application of updates, it has caused quite a stir. While I do generally applaud innovation, there are clear issues of portability (not everyone owns a tablet or small laptop) which might seriously damage the prospects of V.2 being used as widespread tournament rules. I myself prefer hardcopy rules if possible, I've got Gruntz only in soft copy and must say it is a bit of a pain to navigate even when gaming at home. What do you think?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A swift project switch later...

I seem to have a very short hobby attention san at the moment. I'm hopping around eras like crazy, but doing a good job of clearing things off the painting table. To make space for more minis, of course!

I bought these Flemish Mercenaries from Gripping Beast to join my Saga Vikings, but only half-painted them before moving on to another project. I couldn't resist because they are awesome minis in their mail coats and kite shields (should have collected Normans, really). The chance to play some more Saga at CLWC was a good excuse to dig them out and finish them off.

They also give an interesting tactical option for my Vikings. In Saga, Vikings are play almost entirely aggressively, with very few defensive options on their Battleboard. Which means they hit hard, but take a lot of punishment themselves too. These chaps are very different - tough as old boots but can't load up on abilities. They strike me as useful as a screen or for taking and holding objectives. I'm looking forward to giving them a whirl, especially against those pesky Normans and their crossbows!

And in close order

Shield transfers are LBMS once again, though I paint over them to take the sheen off and bring some of the colours into line. They just need a burst of Dullcote (weather *sigh*) and a few Mininatur tufts to finish them off.

I don't know what's next to paint, but doubtless I'll be back on it soon.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Minoan Raiders; Weeping Angel; CLWC

First up this weekend, my finished Minoan Raider infantry. These are converted Wargames Factory Greeks, I whipped off the torsos and replaced them with naked ones from the WF Zulu frames. They all have wicked curved swords and the horsehair on their helmets got a trim too, to further differentiate them from Gharak's Athenians.

These Minoan Raiders are the mainstay of roving Minoan warbands, lightly armed and armoured but swift infantry. They just need shield transfers to finish them off. I also tried photographing on a blue background, borrowing some of the missus' card making card. Seemed to work well.

For a bit of variety, I spent this afternoon painting this small 'terrain feature', courtesy of Crooked Dice:


Scary, eh?

She was a cinch to paint. The base was GW Adeptus Battlegrey mixed with black, highlighted with the same mixed with Fortress Grey. I dry brushed carefully and used black wash to tidy up any errors and give more definition in the recesses. I tried to highlight more on the face and arms to really bring them out. Then I used watered Devlan mud (always seems to feature these days!), gryphonne sepia and heavily watered catachan green to add faint shades of colour to the flat grey. Especially so around the head and arms, I was trying to give that faint hint that she just could be alive....

I actually enjoyed the chance to paint a miniature all in one colour, like a very simplistic version of Curt's impressive Greyscale project.

Painting aside, I had the pleasure of joining Central London Wargames Club (CLWC) for a few small games of Saga on Thursday. They were a friendly and welcoming bunch (cheers Tamsin!) and its always nice to get some games in. Saga seems to have really taken off among those 'Saga Louts' so I hope to dust off my Vikings and join them on a regular basis.

Not looking good for my Vikings, fighting as usual under their Crow banner

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Launch of the Aegeus the Game Blog!

As I've mentioned before, my brother (Gharak here on Blogger and elsewhere) and I have started playtesting a skirmish game set in mythical ancient Greece. The game will be called 'Aegeus: Age of Mythical Battles'. The idea is to create a set of rules for heroic combat between opposing warbands as well as to all you to play scenario-based games from Greek Mythology.

Gharak has started a Blog to spread word about the game and share concepts, sculpts and some design notes. Check it out here:

While we've been playtesting with miniatures we picked up from various manufacturers, but Gharak intends to have a line of miniatures sculpted for the game and has already had some awesome concept art done. He is looking at hiring some excellent sculptors for the line.

Check out the concept for Theseus:

And a generic Athenian hero:

All images are Copyright Aegeus the Game 2012

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Gruntz - second playthrough

Another 15mm SciFi post before I move onto a fresh topic. I got a second game of Gruntz last week, with Samulus once again. I won't write a full AAR, after all they say a picture tells a thousand words, right? (Samuus - youre welcome to pull together a more detailed writeuo). And do please forgive the unpainted terrain, it's one of many things I'm working on!

Deployments from the New Vedith perspective. Simple objective: capture the industrial complex, particularly the central storage tanks

'Robots, sir, faaaahsands of 'em'

Jus' chillin'. Chillin' in our wood

New Vedith shock troops take a pasting from their Autosentia counterparts

Endgame: huddle round the objective. A tight-run thing and could have gone either way: we called it a draw

We tried Gruntz with some modifications, notably:
-more detailed command system (which I liked)
-double wounds for infantry in cover (made them nicely survivable, but really reduced the impact of vehicles)
-modifications to the jump packs special rule
-some common sense tweaks, such as no dismounting infantry from fast-moving vehicles

Although it was fun, it was pnt quite righ and needed further tweaking. Samulus and I agreed to revisit again when 1.1 comes out, or try out some other systems.

On a final Gruntz note, there is an awesome Web-based force builder, available for free here:
Recommended - made making a force on a printable PDF a complete doodle. However it is restricted by the current Gruntz rules, it prevents bending them when designing units.

Monday, 2 July 2012

15mm SciFi - Power Armour and support weapons

Samulus has just started posting the background to the universe we've been working on to add some flavour to our 15mm SciFi forces. His post includes some pretty stonking artwork (not his own, he admits). I'll post some background to my home system, New Vedith, later.

In the meantime, I've more 15mm SciFi to share, first up is my first unit of Power Armour - five suits by Khurasan. I say Power Armour, but they clearly aren't as I can't see how a human would fit inside the torso comfortably. So, to me they are remote-controlled humanoid battlesuits. Still, they are awesome sculpts, a real pleasure to paint.

They form the shock infantry of my 'New Vedith' forces - heavily armoured, agile due to their jump jets and equipped with the latest plasma weaponry. With their pilots hundreds of miles away, they are also relatively fearless. To encourage audience participation, comment below if you've any ideas for naming them. I came up with the 'Armoured Assault Brigade', but I was having an unimaginative day as I think it's a bit bland.

'Big Stompy Armoured Suits' would be descriptive, but inelegant

To finish, a little extra I finished at the same time: some squad support weapons for my infantry platoons, one tripod-mounted heavy laser and one portable missile system. All GZG, magnetically mounted to metal bases.

In other news, the first issue of my WS&S subscription arrived last week. I did say I wasn't going to subscribe, but after some thought (and a discount) I did. I'm glad of that, getting a magazine full of hobby ideas popping into my letterbox every other month is nice. If expensive for the potential it offers for hobby inspiration!

EDIT: I've also just got an email notifying me that I won a digital subscription to one of WS&S's other magazines, for filling in a survey (I vaguely remember doing to). They've given me a voucher code which I can use on anything on their store - an extension to my WS&S subscription is in order, I think. That's the first thing I've won in ages, which is nice.