maanantai 29. joulukuuta 2014

Painting Challenge entry 3: 15mm Airpower

Some action on the challenge front again with a small entry of 2 15mm airplanes for the fortnight challenge. An Early War Stuka to support my Barbarossa Wehrmacht troops and a Flying Bathtub to support my Paras in their Late War efforts.

Originally I had planned to paint up a 1/72 scale airplane to use in WW2 skirmish with my Red Devils, but alas the cheap plastic kit proved to be my undoing. I struggled to find a kit of the Typhoon and when I finally found one at a store I went for it even though the unknown brand and 8 euro price tag should have made it obvious that the quality was going to be far below average. After about 3 hours of work I just gave up as nothing fit together and a lot of the parts were warped. But at least I learned that I'll never buy anything from Brengun again. Should have stayed to the brands that I know and that have proven to be of good quality :)


I nearly gave up on the fortnight challenge, but then remembered that I had these two little kits stashed up in my cabinet. The Stuka is a Zvezda kit that is extremely simple and is a bit lacking in detail, but on the other hand it's very robust and only took me a couple of minutes to put together. The P-47 is from Revell's Microair range and is far from simple and fast. Considering that these are marketed as perfect first kits etc. it was horrible to put together with a lot of flash and cleaning up left to do. Certainly not a good thing for your first kit. Still it wasn't as bad as the Brengun kit so I soldiered on and got it set up. A bit flimsy for gaming so we'll have to see how it holds up. There were some good news though as the decals with the Revell kit were excellent. Too bad they never sell any of them separate.

Painting wise these were really quick jobs as I had less than two hours to finish them. Basecoats with an airbrush and quickly brushed any details as I didn't have time for masking etc. This was followed up by decals and a coat of varnish. They could do with a wash, but I just didn't have time for that. Should have started a tiny bit earlier I guess. From an arms length away they are OK, but these close ups are quite brutal. At least now I can quite safely say that my low point has been reached in the challenge quality wise so that's out of the way :)

 

sunnuntai 28. joulukuuta 2014

Thank you Santa!

Christmas is over as is the short painting break caused by travel. I didn't finish the Panzerschützen in time for friday as 10 halftracks was apparently too much for one day. They'll be up next week then. I did manage to paint up two 15mm planes for the fortnight challenge though so not completely silent on the Challenge front.

Luckily we finally got snow as it was first looking to be quite a dark Christmas. The weather has been quite nice with roughly 20cm of snow and temperatures staying low enough to keep it dry and soft. This year I was particularly lucky with the gifts as I have been extra nice. Then again buying gifts for myself helped boost the amounts quite a bit :)

Secret Santa was very generous and quite thoughtful too! Not keeping to just a box I received a Warlord Games Universal Carrier with extra bits and instructions to convert it to a captured version with a German PaK36 stuck on top. Should prove to be a fun project and will be seen later on in the challenge. Thank you to who ever it was that sent this nice package to me!

The lady of the house got me some wargames related reading in the form of a book called "Lion of the North" which details the reign of Gustav Adolphus from a Finnish point of view. Haven't gotten very far with it yet, but should prove an interesting read as it won the Finnish literature award for non-fiction books this year. Important character for both Sweden and Finland so I can't wait to get through this.

Seeing Caliver Books' list of new second-hand books in the beginning of Christmas got a bit out of hand. I had wanted some new Napoleonic reading so I decided to buy some. But with the postage rates being crazy I thought why not buy a few at the same time and here we are with 5 books to go through. Should keep me occupied for quite a while. The books include The Letters of Private Wheeler detailing the British campaigns in the Peninsula and beyond from a soldiers point of view. Then In the Peninsula with a French Hussar by Albert Jean Michel de Rocca detailing the same campaign from the point of a French hussar officer. And the third memoir is With Napoleon in Russia 1812, by Heinrich Vossler a Würtemberg cavalry officer. Finally I also bought David Johnson's Napoleon's Cavalry and it's Leaders and a Historex Masterclass book by Bill Ottinger called Napoleonic Plastic Figure Modelling.

Next up a frantic few days of painting to finish more miniatures for the challenge before the year ends.




maanantai 22. joulukuuta 2014

Happy Holidays

It's that time of the year again when a home invasion by a funnily dressed bearded man is seen as normal, so it's time to cease all gaming related activities for a while and go visit family. I was originally planning to take some minis and painting equipment with me, but then the lovely missus caught wind of the idea and put an end to those dreams. Still a few days without paints might do wonders for motivation! I did manage to sneak in a few suitable history books in the bag though so not all is lost :)


I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  

And hopefully you have all been nice enough to warrant a visit from Santa! Though he is not so picky. He's a Finn after all and we tend to be a bit naughty all the time :)


Santa has brought gifts to the trenches. (c) SA-Kuva

lauantai 20. joulukuuta 2014

Painting challenge entry 2: Infinity Nomads

After a short break it's time for my second entry to Curt's painting challenge. A bit under 2 weeks on the painting table for 4 minis is an embarrassingly long time especially considering that they did get paint on them nearly every day.


The minis are 3 Alguaciles and a Mobile Brigada from the Nomad faction of Infinity. They came with the new Operation Icestorm starter pack that Corvus Belli released this Autumn. I'd been looking at some of the great looking minis for a few years now and as it's been getting very popular at my club the start box offered a great excuse to get in the game. I was also supposed to submit their counterparts from the PanOceania faction, but I messed up some edge highlights and in combination with frustration from trying to paint up all the details they went to the back of the queue until I gather more motivation.

I did have a couple of Infinity minis already before this, but never really got around to buying more before this. Even the older ones were of great quality, but these guys really are the best 28mm miniatures I've seen quality and detail wise. Designing the miniatures on a computer and then producing masters with 3D printing does yield amazing potential. But it does have a downside as these are already being borderline too detailed for gaming miniatures.


Of course there is no need to paint all the tiny details if you don't want to, but hell seeing the amazing work by Angel Giraldez awoke the inner perfectionist in me and I had to give it a try. After days of cursing after trying to create perfect blended highlights etc. I finally gave up and came to my senses when I had started individually highlighting all the tiny hexagons on the underarmor of the Mobile Brigada. It probably would have looked great and I might actually have managed it given enough time, but my sanity would probably have gone with it. In the end I went for something a lot easier and just decided to use drybrushing to pick out all the black details.


I did the preliminary painting with an airbrush applying a dark red basecoat followed by a few layers of lighter highlights to give smooth transitions especially on the armor. This was followed up by painting some stronger highlights by brush especially on the cloth areas on the Alguaciles and applying edge highlighting with ivory paint on the armor. As mentioned before I started trying to do smooth blended highlights on the black parts which inevitably lead to much cursing and finally resorting to an easy way out with a few successive drybrushed layers followed by a black wash to pick out detail.


The bases came from Micro Art Studio's Hangar and Warehouse lines. Should be quite suitable for the Nomads who are a faction that lives on three giant spaceships. Simple paint jobs on them followed by the application of some pigments to give a bit of variety before pinning the models on bases. Finally I decided to paint a 180 degree front sector on them to make it clear where the model is looking during gaming.


They were pretty tricky to photograph as there's quite a lot of blackish and dark areas on them and trying to bring out things lead to some areas maybe being a bit burnt out which hides some of the detail. Might have to figure out some other background for these miniatures. Or then learn to photoshop better :)

Next the German invasion of Soviet Union continues with the core of the Panzerschützen Company being about half done at the moment. I'm also planning to submit a plane for the next Fortnight Challenge. I now just need to source some suitable stand to use it as support for my Bolt Action forces.






torstai 18. joulukuuta 2014

Challenge progress

Not much to show for progress as painting motivation seems quite elusive. Rainy weather at nearly 0 degrees and less than 6 hours of light every day isn't exactly helping as it's always dark when painting time comes. Nevertheless there is some progress and I might actually be able to achieve an entry on Friday!



I've gotten quite frustrated with the Infinity minis. I wouldn't have thought that I'd complain about some miniatures having too much detail, but these guys are incredibly slow to paint if you really want to paint them up nicely. I've decided to put the PanOceania minis aside for a while as I messed up some of the edge highlighting and it'll need fixing. The Nomads are progressing quite nicely now that I decided to simplify things a bit and do some of the highlights etc. just by drybrushing. Trying to individually highlight every single tiny hexagon on the Mobile Brigadas armor was too much and I just decided to stop trying to imitate the studio models too much :) Only minor details left like the hair etc. so these should be finished tomorrow.

With the frustration building up last weekend I started on some Panzerschützen. 2 full platoons and company command are on the line with one platoon just waiting for a wash and basing. I'm planning to have the 2 platoons, command and their vehicles done by next week. Not too joyful to paint though as these are absolutely the worst Battlefront offerings I've seen. The moulds are really starting to show their age with horrible amounts of flash and quite messed up detail on many of them.

torstai 11. joulukuuta 2014

Secret Santa comes knocking

I had a mystery package arrive at my door the other day and having a couple of deliveries coming in I went ahead and opened the box up to find a package from some mysterious benefactor! I took part in Secret Santa held by Ian of The Blog With No Name fame and I have now received my package with plenty of time left for Christmas! The package has now been hidden by my better half to minimize any urges to be a naughty boy and open gifts before time. Now there is definately something to wait for this Christmas :)

Thank you for the wonderful gift and I wish you Happy Holidays back!

I've also been making some christmas decorations after finding these Star Wars themed snowflakes by Anthony Herrera. Wonderful stuff with plenty of different designs. Nice details too like the small Ewok throwing a spear next to the AT-ST :)


Painting progresses slowly with the Infinity stuff. Skin details have now been painted, but I did have a small setback with one of the arms coming of during painting. Especially the female figures were too delicate to be able to pin very well and it's coming back to bite my arse. Hopefully it will stay on now, but in the meantime I guess I'll have to try to be extra careful with how I hold them to avoid any further breakdowns.




keskiviikko 10. joulukuuta 2014

Painting Challenge entry 1: Barbarossa German AFVs

A bit late on this blog, but better late than never :) I managed to open up my challenge with a quick set of 6 Early War German AFVs for my Barbarossa era Flames of War army project. I had wanted to take the first place in the challenge for at least a short while and succeeded in it! My glory lasted for a few hours, but now Finnish honour has been upheld on our independence day so all is well in the nation.


So I present to you 2 Sdkfz 231 8-rad reconnaissance cars and 4 Panzerjäger I light tankhunters. The 8-rads will probably not see too much action as after a few revisions they have been dropped out of the list. Still they are cool models and I had already bought them so decided to paint them up anyways. Maybe with another revision of the list they can make the cut again :) The Panzerjägers on the otherhand will play an important role in providing fast moving AT assets to act as mobile reserves boosting defences and taking flanking shots or go and take on enemy artillery etc.


Paintjob wise these were fairly simple with a Panzer Grey basecoat followed by two successively lighter drybrushes. This was followed up by an enamel wash meant for panzer grey followed by slapping on some mud to make them look like they've actually driven somewhere after coming out of the factory. I didn't really want them to look too worn as I'm planning to have my force present something from the beginning of Barbarossa campaign.


At the moment I'm working on some Infinity miniatures. Progress is super slow as there is just so much delicate detail in these guys that every shade takes ages to put on. I also decided to copy the style of the studio painter which is causing some problems as I don't usually do much edge highlighting etc. and can't really seem to get the effect to work like I want. Definately won't make it before Friday so I'll have to wait until my next appointed entry publishing date.

 

maanantai 8. joulukuuta 2014

Sturmpioniere Vorwärts!

I got around to finishing some of the lingering projects on my table on sunday. With Rammstein now available on Spotify I queued up their production and got around to finishing the Pioneers that had been sitting on the desk for nearly two months already. After these there is only the 40k Hellbrute left, but I doubt I'll ever finish it as it was only for airbrush practice and all the airbrushing part is done already. So from now until the end of March only challenge entries :)


I really bit of more than I could chew with these guys as painting up 15 infantry at the same time was just too much. One of the reasons it took so long to paint was that the table just seemed so full all the time and painting one shade at the time on all of them seemed like nothing really progressed. Add to that the fact that these were the first 28mm Germans I did so I had to decide paints and do a bit of research to at least get the shades somewhere close to the originals.


They are all Warlord plastics and metals from the Pioneers box and some kitbashing with left over parts from our club German army and additional metal heads from Warlord. Unit composition is far from historical as I basically just picked 10 guys and the command from my prepped minis box and when building I couldn't resist using all the metal extras that came with the minis :) The 251 was already painted up in September, but the crew was being painted with the rest of the minis so took a while to finish it up as well.


I tried to keep the paintjob simple with only a couple of layers on the uniform and most details just done with one layer and a wash. Works well enough, but maybe still bit too slow to do. Funny enough painting the camouflage uniform models is a lot faster as you can get away with just a wash and no highlighting. With the basing I went for a more late autumn look for a change. Looks quite nice and it's a bit different from what I normally do.










sunnuntai 7. joulukuuta 2014

Winter War Campaign begins

We played the first game of our club Winter War campaign a week ago coinciding with the 75 year anniversary of the start of the Winter War and Soviet Union attempting to invade Finland. The pics took a bit longer to get set up as I've been out of home for most of this week. Still better late than never :)

I functioned as the Umpire running a scenario depicting some of the delaying actions fought by the Finnish covering forces that delayed the Soviet advance so that the majority of the Finnish army could get into position at the Mannerheim line defences.

The scenario saw a Soviet company advance along a road supported by a small T-26 platoon being ambushed by Finnish defenders at a road block. The Soviets were superior in terms of manpower and equipment, but the Finns were far better positioned and just had to delay the Soviets for a long enough time.

The set-up was actually quite close to the Jungle Ambush scenario on Warlord Games website with the addition of 2 minefields for the Finns. Soviet forces included 2 command teams, medic, Comissar team, 6 full strength Infantry squads, a MMG team and 3 T-26's with one of them being the twin machinegun A variant. The Soviets were also able to bring back destroyed infantry squads as Reserves on the next turn after their destruction. The Finns on the other hand had 4 eight man squads supported by a light antitank gun, a MMG and a sniper team as well as their command and medic.

The game started with the Soviet Vanguard of 2 tanks, 2 infantry squads and the company command deploying on the road with the Finnish heavy weaponry at the crossroads on the end of the table and the rest of the forces laying in ambush surrounding the road.  All forested area was regarded as Rough Ground. The Finnish Jägers could deploy 4 units in the woods using markers that could be revealed when the Ambush was sprung or when the enemy got within 8".




The first volleys of the Finnish ambush were deadly with many Soviets losing their lives immediately. With mounting casualties the T-26's started moving up to fire at the offending Finns who didn't understand that they were just bringing them freedom from capitalistic oppression.
 



A furious shooting match ensued with the Soviets trying to oust the Finns by shooting. This proved futile with 3 squads being wiped out in quick succession and no progress being made in clearing the minefield and roadblock.




With the Commissar and more troops showing up on board the T-26s finally gather enough courage to move up the road and clear the Finnish troops from the nearby forests that had kept the Soviet infantry at bay. However this put them on the sights of the Finnish antitank gun that suddenly started hitting it's shots putting one tank out of order and immobilizing the other.



All in all a fun game, eventhough the far more numerous Soviets took a serious beating and only managed to disable a single minefield and not make any headway along the road. Some atrociously bad dice rolling on the part of the Soviet player saw the Finns come through the shooting match almost unscathed and nonexistent co-operation between the infantry and tanks in the beginning of the game didn't make things any easier for them either. Fire support and mobile cover for infantry was nowhere to be seen so they were quickly cut down.  Still this was the case historically too with the Soviet tanks advancing alone while their supporting infantry was moved down with machine-gun fire leaving the tanks alone and vulnerable to close attack.

perjantai 5. joulukuuta 2014

The Challenge Begins

And the race is on! 5th of December marks the date of the 73 year anniversary of Great Britain declaring war on Finland in 1941, but also the date when the 5th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge begins! Between now and the 20th of March 72 painters are battling for domination and the bragging rights that come with all the side challenges etc. I'm going for 1000 points this year and trying to focus more on finishing some projects rather than participating in all fortnight challenges.

A bit slower start now that I only had about an hour for painting this evening with some more time tomorrow. I'm trying to be clever with an early submission of some Flames of War vehicles in a bid to take the first place for at least a single time during the challenge :) A quick coat of grey and a light highlight with my airbrush has them ready for decals and painting of details before a finishing wash that I'll hopefully manage tomorrow morning. While I had my airbrush out I also painted the basic colours on 8 Infinity miniatures from the Icestorm starter pack.

I also still have some Germans to finish that have been on the desk for ages. I'm trying get them done after the Flames of War stuff so I can concentrate on challenge minis for the rest of the 3 months :) I was planning to paint them during last weekend and this week, but unfortunately a massive hangover on the weekend and an unscheduled 4 day business trip got in the way of more important things.


tiistai 25. marraskuuta 2014

Painting Challenge preparation

With the start of the fifth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge drawing closer preparation is ramping up. I haven't picked up the brushes for over a week, but that doesn't mean nothing has been happening. Last week I got a game of Flames of War in and on top of that I've been prepping quite a few minis.

I have two main projects that I'm trying to tackle during the challenge. A Barbarossa era German Panzerschützen army for Flames of War and 28mm Napoleonics for Waterloo. Roughly 1800 points of Flames of War and 8 battalions of Napoleonics with some cavalry regiments should keep me occupied quite nicely indeed. After learning from last year I'm not going to really plan what I'm painting as I'll get frustrated with some project anyway and things will get pushed back :)

To counter this frustration I've prepped quite a few other random projects as well like a band of Samurai to use in Ronin, some more SAGA  miniatures and 28mm German Bolt Action minis. With the fortnight challenges this should definately keep me busy and give some variety between the two main projects.

Before the challenge begins there are some projects to finish up so I can have my table emptied. I have a bunch of Pioniers for Bolt Action about 80% finished as well as some single minis like the Helbrute that I used for Airbrush training. Somehow these seem to take ages, but hopefully they are finally gone soon :)









torstai 20. marraskuuta 2014

Finnish Jäger movement 100 years anniversary

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the formation of the Jäger movement in Finland. The movement and the men who took part in it proved to be instrumental in Finlands struggle for independence from the Russian Empire and later during Second World War fighting against Soviet Union.

The Jäger movement began in late 1914 from University circles in Helsinki with the aim of providing military training for Finns to aid in gaining independence from the Russian Empire. Although Finland had broad autonomy as part of the Empire tensions had been rising since the beginning of the century with tightening Russian control and what was considered oppression by Finns. The birthdate of the movement is usually considered to be 20th of November 1914 after a meeting by nationalist university students and lecturers where it was decided that passive resistance was not enough anymore and treason was the only way forward. Thus a people's army was needed to enable Finland to gain independence.


The Jäger sign

The movement was aligned towards the West and especially towards Germany as was much of the University circles at that time. As military training could not be conducted in Finland the movement started seeking ways to enable for Finns to take train abroad and if possible gain combat experience. Talks were held secretly with both Swedish and German representatives and finally in January 1915 Germany announced that it would train 200 Finns and the recruitment process began. Recruitment was carried out in great secrecy and 200 men moved secretly to Sweden and through Sweden to Lockstedt Lager in Holstein, Germany to participate in what was in the beginning called Pathfinder training to mask the true purpose of the camp. This was further enlarged in the Autumn of 1915 to include roughly 2000 men and recruitment started in earnest. The unit was to be of battalion strength and consist of 4 rifle companies, a machine-gun company and a pioneer company.





Jäger recruiters pose for a group shot sometime in 1915.


This increase in recruitment also changed the demographics of the unit from a mainly university educated force of men who were able to speak German into a truly mixed group with personnel also from the working classes. With the growing number of men in the unit and the lack of German language skills with most new recruits it became obvious that instruction manuals would need to be translated into Finnish. This would result in the formation of the Finnish military lexicon with terms being decided that are still in use today. As a result even today our rank system is mainly German and many of the terms are based on German terms of the time.


Jäger battalion marching in Libau, Latvia during 1917.

At this point the recruitment also became known to the Russian authorities in Finland. The authorities naturally started a crackdown on the movement and many recruiters were captured and jailed. There were also some shootdowns between Jägers and Russians soldiers and policemen coming to arrest them. Some prominent members were also jailed including Aarne Sihvo who would later on become a General and the Command of the Finnish Armed Forces.




Machine-gun training somewhere on the Eastern Front in 1917.


The unit would end their training period in May 1916 and it was designated as the Königlich Preussisches Jägerbataillon Nr. 27 and given the German green Jäger uniforms. As the goal was always also to gain some combat experience to aid in gaining independence the unit transferred to the Eastern Front to fight the Russian army. The battalion spent the years 1916-17 on the front in Latvia around Riga and Libau and took part in the fighting. Casualties were fairly light with only 14 dead and roughly 40 wounded. This was partly due to the fact that the unit only took part in smaller fighting and defensive actions to limit the risk of personnel losses and spare the unit for fighting later on in Finland.


Finnish Jägers somewhere on the frontlines in Latvia.

With the Russian revolution in 1917 and Finland gaining independence on the 6th of December 1917 members of the unit started returning to Finland with the first 60 already arriving already in 1917. They had trained to fight against the Russians, but the situation in Finland quickly started changing with a Civil War breaking out in early 1918. The jägers found themselves fighting against not only the Russian troops still in the country, but also against newly formed Red Guards consisting of mainly workers etc. With most of the Jägers being with a university background or independent landowners and farmers they sided with the Whites that included the government and White Guard. However due to this situation roughly 900 Jägers chose to stay in Germany and only returned to Finland later on.

Jägers on parade in Vaasa during early 1918.


The arrival of the Jägers on the side of the Whites is usually considered to have been a turning point in the Civil War as they provided some much needed professionalism on the side of the whites in a conflict that was mainly fought between amateurs on both sides. In the end the civil war ended in May 1918 after roughly 4 months of fighting. This fighting took a heavy toll on the Jägers as roughly 10 percent of all the Jägers were killed and about 20 percent wounded in the fighting.




The frontlines at the beginning of the Civil War.


In the years following the Civil War and independence many of the Jägers went on to study more in foreign military academies and many would rise into prominent leadership positions both in the Finnish Army displacing the officers trained in Russia and also in the Finnish society as a whole. There were 49 Jägers who reached the rank of a General and most of the command of the Finnish Army during Winter and Continuation wars in 1939-1944 had a background in the Jäger movement and the education received in Germany.


A memorial stone for the Finnish Jägers in Hohenlockstedt in Germany

The movement is still seen in the traditions of the Finnish Army with units being designated as either infantry (Jalkaväki) or Jäger (Jääkäri) with the Jäger units usually being better equipped and often having more specialized training like the mechanized infantry (Panssarijääkäri), airborne (Laskuvarjojääkäri), border guards infantry (Rajajääkäri) etc. Jäger is also being used as the lowest rank of enlisted personnel instead of private in most peacetime infantry units.

The Jäger March composed by Jean Sibelius. It is the honorary march of most Finnish Military units and also the first song to be played at the Independence day reception. Version performed by the Polytechnic Choir from Helsinki University of Technology.