Saturday, 21 March 2015

Panzers and Caravans.


     The picture really says it all but just a quick update: I finally received my Jagdpanther and Panther plastic box set (GBX84) from the new Battlefront Nachtjaeger line. So far I've put one of each together with the intention of making 2 Panther G's and 3 Jagdpanthers. The kits are a breeze to construct, although I wish you got a instruction sheet inside (rather than having to rely on the exploded diagram on the back - I think I spotted a mistake and am waiting to hear back from BF). They fit together well with a minimum of fettling. The detail is crisp and plentiful and the sprues come with plenty of additional parts. Included are the IR sights to add them to a 251 UHU platoon (thus the Nachtjaeger link). You also get decals, a sprue of plastic crew and a sprue of metal crew (I think for the Jagdpanther looking at the hatch).

A great dual build kit which makes robust and detailed vehicles.
This Panther will be covered in additional track.
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Apart from the instructions - I'm still not sure about some parts like, what I think is, the ammunition bin on the back of the Jagdpanther (It says it's part on the instructions but none of their completed models have it). The only other thing I didn't like was the moulding marks on the bazooka shields for the sides.

Irritating mould marks on the bazooka shield.
A beneficial side effect of the current deluge of plastic dual-build kits is the ability to use the un-used hull for secondary projects. With the spare panther hull and a bit of hacking you can make dug in tanks for the fall of the reich era.

Simply remove the rear deck (presumably the engine was removed as it was surplus to requirements) and add a few bits of plasticard. More of this to come.

Dug in at a crossroads as a final line of defence - imposing but tactically flawed.
Overall I'm really pleased with them and even though they are more expensive than their PSC counterparts the ability to build the two different vehicles, the ease and robustness of construction and the level of detail makes them superior in my opinion. Last thing is the two die-cast (approx1:87) caravans I got for a quid at a local market. Perfect for scenery in 15mm zombie and modern games. 

Thank you for taking the time,


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Finecast and why it's awesome. And Samurai.

     Yes I actually wrote that. Finecast is awesome. This will make (what the internet tends to portray as at least ) a large group of people angry. It's ok though, listen to my reasons. I'm not talking about whether it's a suitable material for G'dub to use, whether it deforms or bends over time or in heat (I live in South Wales. It's a temperate rainforest at best except for the odd week of summer) or whether the casting quality is unsatisfactorily poor (not something I've personally experienced - everything I've dealt with has been minor cosmetic stuff). I mean as a sculptable resource.

     My AHQ peasant/poacher had been in a box of random scrap for a good 20+ years until half an hour with some finecast sprue furnished him anew with a mighty bow. It was simple and easy.

Poacher and (Chaos) Dwarf with new weapons and a new sense of purpose :)

     Here's an Empire Greatsword champion I picked up for 50p. His Flamberge was not only ridiculous to start with, it was bent all over the place. Quick snip, suitable bit of finecast sprue and half an hour and he was better than new. I know the blade is daft and a little oversized but it's the equivalent of the original and feels right. I may decide to reduce it further but it's unlikely. Nothing in Warhammer should be sensible in my mind. GW started to lose me when they moved away from the humour and tongue in cheek style of the Oldhammer I grew up with. Pictures aren't great as they are smart phone snaps but they are enough to get the idea.

A ridiculously big, almost spatulate blade just screams Warhammer and AHQ to me. Wondering monster of unknown make.

     Next up are a couple of 28mm samurai from Northstar's Ronin range and Perry miniatures. Once again the original blade or weapon was removed, a piece of finecast sprue cut to size roughly using clippers. I then drill a small hole (usually 0.8mm) into the centre of the piece and insert and glue in suitable brass rod. I then use file and a scalpel (in a scraping motion) to shape the piece. It takes a little time but is a therapeutic past time like whittling. I'm not totally sure about Finecast health issues regarding sanding (Forgeworld's is nasty) but always recommend doing it in an open, well ventilated space.

A Perry samurai who suffered in the great stairs incident of 2014. Perry's Katanas are much smaller than Northstar (often rightly so) so I increased it slightly to aid mixing.
A Northstar bandit who originally wielded a Kama (sickle). I removed it and used the handle of a Perry katana with a finecast blade to make him a little more fearsome.

     It's an easy and effective method for replacing damaged blades. With the addition of the the super glue and rod they are more resistant to bending and seem to be stronger overall (haven't broken them yet) than the original and it allows you to add some new weapons into the mix if your feeling creative.

     My 28mm samurai are all Perry or Northstar and I intend to use them just for skirmishes on a couple of small, purpose built boards. I have 25 armed and based chaps from traditional non-armoured (hakama wearing) retainers, various swordsmen, peasants, bandits (various states of dress and armour) and a few more waiting to be fettled. I replaced a few other weapons to add a bit of variety. I also wanted some Yari wielding miniatures so bought my first ever lot of wire spears from Perry miniatures (like an initiation ceremony into 'proper' wargaming). Brilliantly simple to fit and solid things. Good enough to draw blood at least and no bending, then re-bending ad infinitum. A Northstar bandit lost his Teppo (I don't want guns in my Japan) and gained a simply crafted Tetsubo (Big club) made of carved sprue and pro-create putty.
Fearsome and Yari appropriate wire spears and miniatures from Perry.

Out with the high tech Teppo in with the big bit of wood with iron rings. A truly deadly, crushing weapon that would need great coordinated skill (dai-sabake) to use.

A (perry) monk like fellow with a Bo staff. If you think a stick isn't much threat, think again. In trained and practiced hands it's a lethal and infinitely controllable weapon with an astounding reach.

     That's it really, the others are based but just as they come and so not interesting yet. They'll get packed in the move as I want to tackle some other 28mm painting first as a painting refresher, as traditional patterns are often complicated and I suspect will need patience. I'm going to check out the available 28mm appropriate scenery from Sarissa and 4Ground at Salute in April. Thank you for taking the time,


Friday, 13 March 2015

Pictures from our games of Chain of Command

     A few more pictures from our January gaming binge. Probably not in any order. I've only just got the rules square(ish) in my mind, remembering to take photographs and make notes instead of being excited about tiny metal men is still a problem.

     Set up for a head to head match to check we had the rules straight. The little red dice are the russian's patrol marker and the large orange d20's are their JOPs. Unhelpfully I seem to have removed my dice and put some scenic JOPs down. Extremely close together. Had it gone wrong I was risking a cascading collapse in force morale if over run. Stereotypical German efficiency (and stunning generalship - of course) however meant the Germans were victorious. Their ability to concentrate withering (if not always that effective - Nuffle be praised) fire on a tightly concentrated front can hold back a numerically superior foe like the russians - sometimes.

Russians swarm over the outnumbered but staunch germans. Urk! an unpainted  bit of scenery - the shame

Disbelieving flapping of rule book fails to reward my opponent with the rulings he was looking for.

     An interesting and contentious moment. Playing the probe scenario I managed to sneak a patrol marker out on a flank. By the time my opponent noticed it was too late. Slight grumpiness and much angry shaking of the rule book later, plus some measuring and thinking and I managed to prove that he could have stopped it but would have had to react straight away to effectively deny the flank. This was the first time either of us had used such "game legal" but unsporting behaviour so I wasn't too shocked when he didn't see it coming. I deployed my recon 250 asset and with the second phase drove it straight to his table edge achieving my forces victory conditions. 

     Brilliant moment of gaming genius - absolutely rubbish game experience, especially for him (at least one of my miniatures had made it onto the table), we'd spent all the time setting up for almost nothing. It was a campaign ladder game though, and my focus was on getting as many chaps to the next scenario alive.

A cross between a deep rumbling noise (what I think a tiger sounds like) and the Jaws theme tune are playing in my head at this point.
      I actually spent all my 10 points of assets on a Tiger. Neither of us are power gamers and the only reason I have it was because it had a schwimmwagen with it and I'm that obsessed. I was faced with what I knew would be an overwhelming Soviet force containing at least one tank and chaps dug into a building complex that I'd have to take and hold. In a desperate gamble I select my undercoated kitty. We don't tell each other what we've selected as we don't see that the opponent should know until they turn up. I stated "vehicle coming on at point y and performed all necessary rolls/movement/noises as I placed it in the edge of the treeline behind a vast range of soft cover from the occupied buildings".  A few more phases and the kitty was moving up with infantry squads in support.

The Tiger opens up and my opponent realises his mistake.
     A russian ATR pops up by the wall (using a CoC dice) and completely fails to hit. Ivan's predilection for fortifying liquids has left him lucky not to have blown his own leg off. Armour values aren't asked after and the tiger rumbles slowly on. Another russian phase and a squad appears by the wall and proceeds to hose the approaching grenadiers waiting at the hedge line for the command to assault. The tiger's mmg opens up on them and they suffer some shock. I declare I'm going to fire the main gun. My opponent points out I'd have to had pivoted my "Stug" to do that and accept the modifiers, and in a gentlemanly way asked me if I'd like to take back my turn and re-do it including the pivot. I am bewildered, then realisation slowly dawns. I reach forward and slowly rotate the turret slightly to the left. My opponent says "Ah" and "Sh%t". 

     The 88 spanks the squad and goes on in further phases to batter the other defenders in the surrounding buildings, supports the charging infantry and ultimately tips the scales in my favour. At one point my opponent nearly closes with it and attempts to demo charge it. His rolls come up short (even I was hoping he'd do it - it was very cinematic and russian) and the reds are done for.

     His fault wasn't in mis-identifying the tank (although it is, quite rudely, just a dunkelgelb blob) I think he was just so engrossed in his own troops and plans that he'd assumed I wouldn't squander all my support on one thing (and we'd been playing for almost three days straight - never play on the home ground of an insomniac).
      This meritorious action has accelerated the kitty's position in the painting motor-pool. Thank you for taking the time,


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

And I can reach my computer....

     Many weeks of back breaking toil, dozens of injured or perhaps worse, simply missing dwarven labourers and engineers and I have a path. It's narrow and precarious but it will suffice. I've done some random things but mainly my focus has been elsewhere due to the mundane nature of life. Until I can produce something worthwhile anyones time to look at, here are some old, thought lost photo's from my previous phone and the early part of my return to the hobby:

     Painted for my friend overnight (note the professional thumb nail palette - something I often forget to remove) this was the first large piece of fine cast I got my hands on. Unfortunately I didn't get to assemble it though, so I don't know whether the disquieting angle and pose is due to the sculpt or assemblers (there was more than one - never a good sign). My first reaction to finecast wasn't the flexibility, or the errors in casting (not that I've seen anything major) it was how light such a big model had become. In my hayday of bedroom gaming with my school friends such a big model would have been a lethal, incredibly heavy, pointy object. I nearly threw it at the ceiling as I automatically over compensated. I added quite a lot of slate (at my friends chagrin - as he'd wanted to show people how light it was) and Old-Schooled it up. 

     It was a pleasure to paint and he was pleased with the result. Then it all turned ugly....... For the next couple of weeks as I built games tables at the store I was exposed to something of a personal problem. The poor thing got abused. It didn't belong to them so as far as the gamers and punters in the shop were concerned they didn't need to pay much attention to how you handled it and as you probably know Finecast doesn't get a lot of love. I know I'm obsessive but it was a real eye opener  (luckily they weren't ultimately my models - mine are all safe somewhere behind me, I think). The tables looked awesome by the way: the kids destroyed them too.

The first piece of Finecast to be sent to the store. It was missing a head. I painted up the second and was given this one as a fee. I made him quite a bulky rogue trader style pro-create head and gave him some 40k weapons. Just can't find a colour scheme I like for him.

Fimir I knocked up overnight (again) for my friend on the release of the storm of magic book. The lower  arms and hands, and the legs are plastic orcs, the rest is pro-create putty.

WIP Terrorgheist. Best looking, hardest to put together kit I've done. I wanted to paint it before attaching to the base and so had a terrible time getting the exact placement if the rocks it stands on. It is however a beautiful kit and was the first herald of some of the frankly amazing (even if not to my taste) large plastic kits to come. Shame I'm not really interested in them in a gaming sense.

Battlefront (FOW) OH-6 I've converted into a MD500 (ish) chopper for near future gaming.  I was being all scratch buildy but then discovered those Tau bits in a random plastic spoil heap and couldn't see a better way. Needs some Hurlbat rotors. I have more 15mm helicopters than modern or near future AFV's.
Nice random one to finish. Check out this van parked up near a bit of woodland I was thinning. Looks like bricks doesn't it. Zoom in. Yep that's bread. Welcome to South Wales.
     That's about it. I've got some more pics and ideas and can now at least get to the computer. Thank you for taking the time,