Friday, 7 March 2014

Progress.... of sorts

So you probably notice that this doesn't start with any lovely pictures of painted Fallschirmjager. It's rained, I've been unproductive and so on and so on. As I type this however it is glorious outside and about 30% of my chaps are sitting in the sun drying after their first light coat of PSC's Field Grau spray paint. Hopefully after this weekend I should be able to start blocking them in and get going.

Whilst I haven't achieved what I'd intended there was  some hobby progress this week. I put together two Zvesda Opel Blitz trucks and an Sdkfz 222. I'd initially been very wary of Zvesda's kits as they were cheap and looked low on detail. Having finally bit the bullet and, managing to get the kits at a more than reasonable £2.75 each, can say I'm impressed. There is a good range of parts and the whole thing goes together well and without glue. There are some parts that feel fragile whilst you're building them: the wheels on the opel blitz being particularly unnerving as they push on (the axel is relatively thin and the fit is tight) but when together you've got a robust and charming little kit for an excellent price.

The two blitz' are going to be fiddled with; I want to add tarps or make the bench seats in the back rather than rely on the moulded tarpaulin cover. There's nothing particularly wrong with the one supplied, it's maybe a little boxy, I just want to see what I can do.

My SdKfz 222 with tarp and jerrycan rack. Simple but adds character nicely to make it a unique little vehicle.

The 222 however seemed a little bare so after a very brief bit of googling (mainly at 'proper' modeller's conversions) I decided to add a few simple touches to make it a bit more unique. I used some jerrycans and a rolled tarp from the PSC 251D pack my opponent bought me for my b'day. the simple addition of some procreate straps and detailing to the end of the tarp (the moulded end is very plain, almost conical and certainly too neat for something that has been stowed in the field).

I also had a rather unfortunate accident moving my kampfgruppe around the house that saw my FoW Stug, Tiger and 250/9 come off quite badly. Needless to say they did not fare well and may be used as destroyed vehicles or objectives and replaced with plastic ones instead. The 250/9 is still serviceable, having just bent the gun, and I will rescue it as it's one of my favourite vehicles. It's infuriating but entirely my fault and at least I'll now have some objectives (optimism).

One of my original dungeoneering dwarves with classic cardboard floor tiles. May not even re-paint him as he's an ok example of my early work. Sadly many of his compatriots were lost in a series of disasterous house moving incidents.

Whilst vainly trying to tidy part of my hobby kingdom I came across the dwarf above, a mass of untouched fantasy lead and some other models that started me off on another tangent. A friend I did some painting for, had paid me in unused models and these included the skaven clan rats from the Island of Blood Warhammer Fantasy boxed game. Whilst I don't (currently) play WFB in 28mm I do love 28mm fantasy models and have a good and relatively varied collection, from my youth and more recent eBay'ing, stockpiled in my lead mountain. These are all intended for Advanced Heroquest.

This awesome box cover spoke to the 8-9 year me. And it said get a sword and be awesome...

If you've never heard of it Advanced Heroquest was the follow-on (in the loosest sense of the word) to the collaboration between GW and MB that bought us Heroquest in 1989. Heroquest was the first mainstream gaming product you would see outside of White Dwarf or other specialist publications. It was the first, and only, game I ever played with my whole family and I wholly enjoyed every chance I got to strap on a sword and go adventuring. In a very square dungeon. Perhaps rates were high, or it was a starter dungeon for monsters wanting to get onto the property ladder.

Sadly I found it wasn't really enough and I wanted more. Then I saw Advanced Heroquest and an obsession was born. Strangely I never owned AHQ as a youngster but regularly played with a friends copy and loved the increased freedom of the dungeon tiles and possibilities for adventure that it provided.

Images like this are scattered through the rule book and really helped visualize the dungeons and their denizens.
Obviously the first thing I did as a fully grown and serious hobbyist (encountering eBay for the first time a while ago) was to buy myself a copy in the attempt to recapture my youth. I say one copy but in reality it is two boxes with one game and three sets of dungeon tiles and the expansion Terror in the Dark (In the same way that to my wife I have only one mighty fortress; they originally came in five boxes as standard didn't they?)

Terror in The Dark added some new rules and some excellent irregular  cavern board pieces, sadly it can fetch a ridiculous price on ebay.
Having re-read the rules and found an excellent 2.0 version by a fan online I was still endeared to the good old fashion dungeon crawl. And moreover I think I can get my 7 year old niece to play it with me, and she's awesome.

The plastic skaven are perfect for this. They've got more character than the one piece, two dimensional ones provided originally (they may become skaven slaves) and should work very well. For nearly any other use I'd find them frustrating as there would be little I could do to convert them and would prefer the old WFB multipart chaps, but for AHQ they're perfect. So in my spare time (whilst it rains or my artistic temperament/insubordinate body stop me painting tiny WW2 germans) I'm sticking card flagstones roughly to slottabases and scraping mould lines off of lots of angry little rats. The paint jobs will be simple and I hope it'll help ease me back into my painting groove; as the marder was hard going at times as I slowly readjusted after a lengthy period of not touching a brush.

So hopefully soon I'll have more actual progress to show you and less wittering. Thank you if you managed to get through that.


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