keskiviikko 30. huhtikuuta 2014

More Red Devils

Just managed to finish off most of the remaining WIP minis on the desk before the end of April. Still far from my goal, but at least now I've got most of the special weapons and command done. I also bought two more boxes of of these guys as they were 60% off at a local store. So at least I have enough figures to take these to full strenght and beyond for Chain of Command. And I've still got one rifle team that has been trying to make it's way from England to Finland since the beginning of February.

All in all 29 Red Devils and 55 101st painted so quite a good effort considering that I've been away from home for over a quarter of the month on holidays.

The first two minis are a medic and an officer from Warlord games.

These 5 guys are from Artizan designs. Excellent sculpts with a lot of character. The faces are maybe a bit cartoonish with very strong jaws. A few casualty figures and paras with German equipment to add a bit of variety to squads. The two officer figures are also brilliant, with the umbrella toting officer really living up to the cliche look of an English officer.

The rest are from Warlord again. Sniper, Flamethrower and 3 inch mortar teams.

I also had a few minis that I just didn't have time to finish. Hopefully getting them done during the weekend. The two recon jeeps still need stowage and weathering and the AOP needs identification stripes and windows done as well as some minor weathering.

maanantai 28. huhtikuuta 2014

101st Airborne Mortar Platoon

Finished off another support platoon for my 101st. This time a mortar platoon with and it's bazooka teams. Only an Antitank platoon and a glider artillery battery left and I should have a bit over 2000 points worth of them painted allowing me to vary my lists a bit. I've already got started on the antitank platoon, but I'm still waiting for two thirds of the artillery battery as they Battlefront really seems to be bad with their shipments. I ordered the stuff already in early February and they are still missing.

On another note Airborne April is drawing to an end with quite a few goals still left unfinished. I still have the recon jeeps about 15 minis nearly finished for the Red Devils, but even after them I'm woefully lacking in finished minis. Still quite a good push and it really did allow me to focus on getting a few projects forward faster.

sunnuntai 27. huhtikuuta 2014

Preparing for Modern May

My painting output has been a bit low lately, mainly because I tried to paint too many things at the same time and started losing interest. 14 28mm with a few cars and two platoons for Flames of War at the table at the same time just seemed to look like nothing is progressing at all. So to get a break from painting the same camo pattern over and over again I decided to prep some minis for next month, which will be Modern May.

These are some of the USMC minis from Empress Miniatures Kickstarter from last summer. I bought into the deal with 3 platoons and some extras like the Oshkosh and some special forces. Splendid minis with amazing detail all around. Today I put together the Boonie toting USMC platoon to paint them up as a recon element for use in pacific themed games as well as an Oshkosh M-ATV to be used in Afganistan scenarios.

I've also got a platoon of them with helmets which I'm going to paint up for Iraq/Afganistan. They will be supported by two Oshktosh M-ATV's. This bad boy is a pretty impressive resin kits from Empress, but boy are they pain in the ass to build. Mine needed quite a bit of sanding to get parts to fit. And even when they fit together trying to glue everything together really caused some issues. I don't know what it is with super glue, but it never seems to stick when parts are correctly aligned, but when something goes on a bit wrong it sticks in a millisecond and makes it impossible to correct mistakes. So now I have a front bumper that is slightly lopsided and one part of the back carriage that just doesn't stick whatever I do with it.

Anyway I was a bit optimistic with my painting output for Airborne April so I'm scaling my goals down a bit for May. I'm starting with the marines meant for the pacific theater and if I seem to have too much time on my hands I'll try to get some desert uniformed marines done too.
  • 20 USMC in boonies and woodland camo
  • 4 Devgru
  • 5 USMC divers
  • 2 Oshkosh M-ATV
  • 20 USMC in helmets and desert camo

maanantai 21. huhtikuuta 2014

Red Devils Vickers HMG team and PIAT team

Finished up the next few units for the Red Devils. A Vickers HMG team and a PIAT team. And at the same time I noticed that I actually don't have a 2inch mortar team, but two PIAT teams. I guess I have to go shopping a bit. The horrors of life I guess :)

I got some good tips for basing from Lead Adventure forum, though I haven't implemented anything yet :D I need to visit the local crafts shop to get some thin brass rod to make shell casings on the bases and then add some broken glass and torn newspapers and propaganda posters. Any good tips for where to find some posters that the Germans had in the Netherlands would be welcome!

The bases are Sarissa weapons team bases to allow for casualty removal as I'm not that big of a fan of dice as casualty markers. They come in three sizes of which these are the smallest with two removable bases. Too bad the Vickers is modeled like it is as it doesn't really allow for the loader and gunner to be separated, so that base only has the team leader as a removable model.

torstai 17. huhtikuuta 2014

Progress on all fronts

Well I didn't manage to finish the next batch of minis before going off for Easter holiday. I've been lagging behind painting schedule now and watching the final season and the first playoff games of NHL hasn't really helped. I guess I have to speed up a bit if I want to have any chance of achieving my goals for April.

Anyways I've been simultaneously working on a HMG team and PIAT team for the red devils and a mortar platoon and an air observation post for the 101st. The red devils are nearly finished with only the last details on the bases needing paint and the miniatures needing a wash on their uniforms. The mortar platoon has only the basics done with the first few layers of the uniform painted along with the ground and scenery. The AOP has just the base colour and a highlight applied with my airbrush at the moment. It needs a bit of masking to paint the recognition stripes before I can continue with it. Though my two thirds of my artillery platoon are still trying to make their way to Finland so there's no hurry with the AOP.

lauantai 12. huhtikuuta 2014

Red Devils Rifle Squad

Finished up the first squad of Red Devils. The next one might take a while longer as it has been on order for two months now... At least I have time to paint the special weapons then. Though a local store has a few Red Devils box sets going for -50% that are quite tempting. I have no need for more MG's and PIATs, but hell the rifle squad is cheaper than through Warlord. Decisions decisions...

These guys had quite a lot of flash to clean up and quite a few spaces between arms and weapons had been cast shut. I had heard that Warlord sometimes has pretty bad quality, but didn't really expect this as all the previous ones I've had were a lot better.

It was quite nice to paint a camo scheme. Surprisingly easy especially due to the way the original jacket material was made during WW2. Simulating random paint strokes is a lot nicer than simulating geometric patterns :) I didn't paint any rank insignia or patches on these guys as I'm still waiting for decals to test on them. Need to see if I'll go for hand painted or decals then.

I'm not really 100% sure about the bases yet. The ones with only bricks look a bit bare at the moment and might need something to make them come alive more. I'm still trying to decide between some foliage and grass or more rubble. Any tips on urban basing are really welcome.


maanantai 7. huhtikuuta 2014

101st Divisional Recon Platoon

Next up is a small recon platoon for the 101st. The armoured jeeps aren't exactly historical for them, but the kit isn't really designed to be built without the armour plates so I decided to use them. Plus it made the whole thing faster to paint :)

Simple paint job with a green basecoat with an airbrush followed by dark yellow highlights on the top parts of the armour plates. After that just a simple job of adding edge highlights and painting the crew. I didn't have any American decals available. Might add them at some point in the future when I manage to procure some.

I've now finished most of the bases on the brits and undercoated some of them so I'll try to get some of them painted up next.

keskiviikko 2. huhtikuuta 2014

101st Company Command and infantry stands

Finished off the first stands for my Airborned April challenge. These buggers have been waiting for paint a long time now and have graced gaming tables embarrassingly many times with only a black basecoat. These are the command teams with the three attached bazooka teams and three rifle/mg stands to take all my infantry platoons into full strength.

The resin bases are once again from Kerr & King. Wonderful products, even though they do have a lot of blowholes and the such. Luckily most of the surface is ground anyway so you don't need to fix that much and the worst parts can just be covered with static grass.

I once again painted the flags and 101st insignia on these guys. Last time I forgot the band above the eagle saying "Airborne". Pretty basic stuff with the US flag being basically two rectangles, few white dots and 2-3 lines and the insignia just a small black band with a black spot underneath. These then got a white line to represent the eagle and some thin yellow line to represent the text. Doesn't complicate the paint job too much and only takes a minute or so to apply to every mini, but it really does make the whole unit pop out better.

Donnybrook test and other past games

I've been a bit lazy in posting pics of past games as finally finishing my master's thesis took first place in priority :) 6 years it took to get through Uni and graduate as an engineer. Been working as an engineer for the last 3 years already, which didn't exactly speed up the progress, but at least it's finally done!

Also welcome to David F, the newest follower of the blog.

Last week we had a Donnybrook demo game at the club pitching rampaging mountain men against hapless town folk assisted by some Indians and US Army.

The pillaging mountain men didn't really stand a chance as they were outnumbered thanks to quick reinforcements for the townsfolk and also quite outclassed in quality. Still a fun game with really nice and simple rules. I really do like these 'Beer & Pretzels' style games more and more as its a nice way to get a quick game in during the week without having to commit a lot of time from the already short evenings.

Rules wise they are pretty decent, though far from perfect. Either we had misread some rules or some stuff just doesn't work out that well and needs a bit of tweaking. Already after one game all of us agreed that some things needed to be changed. Especially the close combat phase can be abused a bit by just attacking with a character or small unit from one edge killing a few guys and forcing the other side take a morale check due to no one being in base contact anymore. We had a few units "explode" after taking only a few hits because of this.

Also the save rolls for the characters are a bit weird as being wounded is actually far better than being knocked unconscious. When you are unconscious it will take a minimum of two turns to get the character back in the game and even then only after a successful skill test. Taking a casualty on the other hand just reduces your class rate by one, which isn't too bad for the D12 and D10 using characters.

Also the use of skill dice didn't always seem that systematic as only some of the tests are taken with a skill dice and some with a D6. I'd expect for example more skilled soldiers to be able to use cover more efficiently testing with a higher dice than simple rabble. Not 100% sure on this though as I didn't read the rules myself for that part and went with what the Umpire told us.

The random events are great and add nice character to the game. Units getting hold up digging for treasure or a random animal attacking makes for fun side stories. However they did come up quite often and we did think that maybe limiting the amount of events happening would be a good idea.

Few weeks back we also had a small Saga tournament/game day. I ended up losing the two first games and coming second on the final brawl. The first loss came in Clash of Warlords after I had killed off more of my opponents guys and was confident of a win. But I had totally forgotten to take into account the Jomsviking ability of pulling enemy units out. In my opponents last turn he pulled my Warlord into range and moved his support away and finally attacking with a few moves with a unit of Hearthguard. I managed to fail the last save roll and literally lost with the last roll of dice. On another game I forgot my Warlord too close to to the enemy and lost him with really bad dice rolls, which eventually lost me too many command dice and points in Sacred Ground.

 We also got the first game of our Gettysburg campaign done by fighting the battle for MacPhersons Ridge. A change to the historical outcome as the Union troops suffered losses and were forced to retire from the area. The battle started out well for Union with them being able to inflict losses by shooting against the Confederates. However fortunes changed when the confederates closed into bayonet range. Even after inflicting huge casualties against the attacking units the first Union line broke with many fresh regiments breaking and running away from battle. This forced the commitment of all the reserves from very early on in the game and finally allowed for the more numerous confederates to claim the day.

Our house rule gave the confederates +1 combat resolution in the turn they charged which lead to a few shaken confederate units managing to win the close combats. This followed by a few snake eyes rolls for morale caused quite heavy losses for Union. For me this is usually the main issue with Blackpowder. With too few units on the table a few extremely bad dice rolls early in the game can make life very difficult as there is nothing to fill in gaps with. But that's true in real life also so not much you can do. Except maybe paint more minis to be able to field something larger than Division sized :)