maanantai 23. helmikuuta 2015

Painting Challenge entry 9: Toilet Humour

Entries for the Comedy themed Bonus challenge are now up for voting so head over to the Challenge blog to view the other entries and cast your votes! Comedic themed entries

Time for another entry to the bonus challenges. I've been planning to do more, but time has been quite limited and I wanted to focus on things that are actually needed or at least remotely useful in gaming. However with this mini I just couldn't resist the temptation and as I had just finished the Beutepanzer and had a few days time so I decided that some change from painting historicals was needed.

Enter the fabled Chaos Toilet sculpted by Aly Morrison and produced sometime in the 80s by Citadel. This is by far the most random miniature that I've ever owned and I have no idea what went through the sculptors head when he figured this would be a good miniature to make. Still I am grateful for the use or lack of performance enhancing drugs that lead to the creation of this as it's a wonderful little piece. Plenty of character and this thing is guaranteed to be an eye-catcher with the absurd theme. Too bad they don't make stuff like this anymore with all this business nonsense coming in the way of good old fashioned laughs.

I'd seen the miniature before on some Oldhammer blog and it caught my eye back then. Fast forward some time to last summer when I was browsing Ebay for some Oldhammer chaos warriors and spotted this guy up for auction. I didn't need much encouragement and placed a bid, eventually winning the miniature at what I'd consider a bargain price of about 20 euros after shjpping to Finland. Unfortunately it did get pushed to the back of the painting table to wait for inspiration and some idea of where to actually use the mini. With the second last bonus round being Comedy themed I figured a man-eating chaotic toilet would be the perfect thing and with it only being a nice single mini it wouldn't take too much time to paint up, but would provide enough change from the normal historicals.

The base was done quickly with greenstuff to resemble a stone floor suitable for the toilet of some deranged wizard. I wanted to paint this with brighter candy colours, partly because with the WW2 stuff I've been doing I have to stick to quite dull colour pallets and partly because everything from the 80s just has to be so colourful that it's on the verge of hurting your eyes. I went with a mix of light greens to make it look sickly and added reds and pinks for contrast. As an afterthought the snotling probably should have been painted with some different colours as the purple tinted green isn't different enough from the arm of the toilet. But otherwise I think the scheme works great. To add some extra detail I used the newish GW effects paints to do blood splatter and streaks and add some slime streaking down the water basin.

Great little bugger to paint up and provided a nice little change before going back to more WW2 stuff. And with only one evening of painting needed after the base was done it also didn't take up too much time. Now that I got it finished I'm really starting to feel like painting some more Oldhammer stuff though. Gotta fight the urge as I really need to finish some Germans and there's still 8 Napoleonic battalions to paint before June.

lauantai 21. helmikuuta 2015

Painting Challenge entry 8: Converted Beutepanzer

After some mishaps the looted Universal Carrier is finally finished. First looking for suitable readymade rivets, before settling on using putty, delayed it a bit and then right when I thought I was done I noticed I had forgotten decals... Well here it is in all it's glory

But first I'd really like to thank my mysterious benefactor for this Christmas gift! It was definately a very thoughtful gift and there must have been quite a lot of thought put into it with all the bits and pieces gathered with the instructions! So a big thank you for an extremely fun build and a great model that will definately stand out on the gaming table!

The kit consists of a plastic Warlord Games Universal Carrier with a PaK36 and it's crew from one of their 251 sets. The gun actually doesn't require too much modification with only a small part being cut off from it's mounting and a gun shield being built from plasticard. The driver and machine-gunner are both the original British crewmen with just a headswap. The uniform looks remarkably same as the German one even when checking it close up.

As my other German stuff is painted with a soft tone 3-colour camouflage I decided to do the same on this one. I just painted it randomly with my airbrush trying to leave about equal shares of each paint shade showing. After adding chipping I applied a gloss coat followed by a few different enamel washes. The washes were allowed to set in before being wiped off vertically. This already provides nice variation to the paint scheme, but I decided to add some streaking with rust and oil shades. When removing the shade I had some issues with the basecoat peeling off again. Vallejo grey primer doesn't really seem to bind very well to flat surfaces. Luckily all of the areas where this happened were in the bottom part of the model so I was able to hide them with the final muddying up.

torstai 19. helmikuuta 2015

All done... or not

I've been happily working on the looted Universal Carrier doing all the weathering over the last couple of days. All the time I had a nagging feeling in my head that there's something I've forgotten, but going through the model multiple times I found no unpainted spots. Well now I've got all the weathering effects done and I was just going to apply a final coat of matt varnish when it hit me. I had forgotten the bloody decals!!

I had planned on putting massive Balkan Crosses around the tiny tank as recognition for friendlies, but now they seem to be rolling out all camouflaged. Oh well a few steps back as I now have to apply decals, another coat of gloss varnish, do weathering over the decalled areas and then varnish everything again... Just as I was happy that I finished something in only a few days and then I have to go back and redo stuff. And it will take some time too as the enamel washes take 4-5 hours to dry before anything can be added on top...

Being annoyed at my mistake I decided to work on something completely different. I've had this 80s Citadel Chaos Toilet sitting on my desk for quite a while now waiting for some excuse to paint it up. I've skipped most of the themed challenges until now, but this was too good to skip as it should be a quick paint job and I reckon a chaotic man eating toilet suits the Comedy section quite nicely.

sunnuntai 15. helmikuuta 2015

Santa's gifts are on the table

A week or so back I finally finished building up my Secret Santa gift of a Universal Carrier and conversion bits to turn it into a German looted PaK36 carrier. I had originally planned to do rivets with plastic rod, but I was unable to find any of the right size at my local stores. So I finally I abandoned that and went with Tamiya Plastic Putty drops that were shaped into something that remotely looked like rivets or bolts. Finally some additional gear from my various German left over sprues. I've now finished most of the basic paintjob. Still some stowage to finish before applying a gloss coat and starting the fun part that is weathering and muddying the tiny vehicle.

As is usual with my hobby workflow I'm unable to just stick to one project. The 15mm German project is going forward as well with 4 Anti-air halftracks based and the first paint layers and drybrushes applied. I've also started on 2 objective markers for the army. And finally there's a Sarissa Chateau that will be needed for my clubs Bolt Action game day where I'm hosting a Commando inspired scenario. I've also got a squad of Wehrmacht soldiers standing guard and some Feldgendarmerie lined up and waiting for a basecoat.

The Chateau is mostly finished and now I'm just adding extra detail in the form of Warbases roof tiles. Half of the roof is done, but still left to do is the most time consuming side with 3 windows that will require quite a bit of cutting and trying to match up all the rows of roof tiling. Extremely time consuming, but it really makes the building look much more realistic compared to the totally 2D roof tiles on the normal MDF roof.

lauantai 14. helmikuuta 2015

Painting Challenge entry 7: German support weapons

Back to my Barbarossa German project again with most of their support weapons. An infantry gun platoon and two anti-tank platoons of two guns each. I'm probably going to run the PaK38's as one platoon of 3 guns, but they are sold in blisters of two so I painted the extra anyway.

My local hobby store finally got a restock of clump foliage so I added that to the bases to get some variety. I've also been going back to the previous Panzerschützen to enhance their bases too and add some foliage to the trees that were on the bases. I really hate going back to stuff that was already finished, but didn't really have a choice this time.

With these done I've only got 3 platoons of Germans left to finish. I've got 4 Sdkfz 10/5 anti-air half-tracks on the way and some smoke launchers prepped which should be quite a breeze to paint up. The final missing platoon is a large motorized pioneer platoon, with 10 infantry stands, 9 vehicles and one motorcycle team so there's quite a lot to paint up still.

lauantai 7. helmikuuta 2015

N&T Talvisota tournament overview

Final update from last weekends tournament, this time with some overview shots from other Flames of War tables and from the other game systems as well.

First some shots from other Flames of War games during the day.

There was one epic Berlin themed Flames of War army which had every single base individually sculpted with loads of extra details put in. In addition to that a lot of the vehicles had amazing added details like all the winches etc. on the recovery vehicle. He ended up second in the "Best Army" painting contest only losing out with one vote to the eventual winner. More work from him can be seen at his new blog Achtung Painter

The small Infinity tournament had some pretty epic tables set up. Our club has a small, but extremely active group of players playing Infinity and they've accumulated a lot of terrain with only a small portion being shown here.

Warhammer Fantasy saw some quite nice conversions and stand in miniatures. Especially the flying shark which counted as a Skull Cannon was a funny idea. There was also a great looking Chaos Dwarf army with a massive mechanical bull.

Finally the entries for the best painted army competition. One army was selected from each game system for a final voting round. As mentioned earlier the voting was very tight with the fabulous Fantasy Battle Lizardman army edging the prize with only one vote compared to the Flames of War company. The  Flames of War army ended up getting a lot more votes than there were actual FoW players so it says quite a bit about it the work as there is some tendency always to vote an entry from your own game system :) Still the Lizardman army deserved the win. I'd guess it was a very nice trophy for the winner who had come all the way from St. Petersburg in Russia to take part in the tournament.

torstai 5. helmikuuta 2015

N&T Talvisota Flames of War Tournament, Day Two

After some rest it was time for the second day of the tournament and I would start the day by playing against a Soviet horde of 21 T-34's, SU-85's and SU-100's backed up by Spetnatz and mechanized infantry. The scenario was Breakthrough and was played over a table with quite heavy terrain.

I chose to focus my troops on one quarter with the plan of controlling access to the hedge protected corner from the town and hedgeline.

To start the game off the Spetnaz infiltrated a T-34 platoon closer to one flank and moved themselves next to the town that was occupied by one of my Hellcat security sections that was waiting to pop up there to block any attempt at movement on that flank.

The Spetnaz managed to block off my Hellcats by moving next to the security team on their turn one, while the T-34s double all the way over to closest objective before my infantry and AT guns had had enough time to get into position. Artillery achieved little and only bailed one tank.

Next turn I got my reinforcements and felt like I needed to strike back hard to gain the initiative. One Hellcat platoon springing up from the security section in town and another coming in to the rear of the T-34s from reserve attacked with 4 57mm guns and the whole artillery blasting away at the Russkies. I rolled horribly and killed 3 tanks and bailed 4. Things were not looking very good.

All the bailed out Soviet tanks remounted and promptly backed up and faced the Hellcats that had showed up in their rear. A short firefight later all the Hellcats were destroyed.

At this point I had lost the game so had to go salvaging some points. With both Soviet infantry platoons in and near the buildings I decided to assault with one infantry platoon and support them with my remaining Hellcats. The Soviet trucks were blown to pieces limiting return fire and some infantry teams received machine gun fire cutting them down. My arty hit the defending troops causing pins, but didn't cause any casualties. Easy win for the Paras, but both Soviet platoons passed their morale tests.

Return fire was as heavy as expected and the SU-100s took out one bogged Hellcat and a single flame-thrower team finished off the rest.. With things going south fast I went in for another close combat to finish off the Soviet infantry that was now backed by T-34s. Another close call with defensive fire, but the attack went in and I promptly wiped out both platoons. With my victory being highly unlikely we decided to stop the game at a 4-3 loss for me.

As a hindsight I should have deployed my Hellcat security section so that I could have popped the platoon behind the hedges. Now they were put out off the game for one more turn by the Spetnaz moving in. I was also too cautious with the leftmost infantry platoon in the woods and should have deployed it in the buildings. Still I did manage to get the 3 points from the game against a much more experienced opponent.

Even with the loss in the previous game I was still tied at second place and only 2 points from first place. So a clear win in the last game could easily put me in the lead. However the final  game was going to be a tough one with me playing against a Finnish infantry company in Dust Up. I'm not a big fan of the scenario and definately not with two infantry lists with artillery and loads of open space and clear lines of sight.

I got to decided the table quarters and picked the most covered one for myself and forced my opponent to pick the wide open one with a swamp and a river going through it. I placed my own objective in the town for easy defence and the other one as close to my deployment as possible. I put an AT platoon, 2 artillery platoons and an infantry platoon on the table with the rest hopefully coming out of reserves in time.

The Finns deployed their heavy artillery in the corner, AT guns guarding the bridge and a Pioneer and an infantry platoon near the crossroads. The first five turns were pretty much uneventful with my artillery pounding the Finnish positions constantly causing some damage. My AOP got immediately shot down by the Finnish Stuka which then turned it's attentions onto my AT guns guarding one objective from flanking T-34s. At this point my tournament weariness started to tell as I forgot I had zeroed in with arty already and actually missed couple of turns of artillery fire when I couldn't spot the infantry. This would come to bite me in the ass later in the game.

And the second time tournament weariness really bit me in the arse was when I realized that the river was half an inch too far and I had to deploy all my reserves to the wrong side. That's what you get for being too tired to actually check it instead of relying on your superior guestimation. So into the river the infantry platoon went to get a refreshing swim after their flanking march. Artillery caused some casualties, but they rallied and got over.

Luckily the river was less than 8" wide and I could deploy Hellcats to the other side with ease.

At this point one Finnish observer had made it's way into a position from where it could actually spot something. I was having none of it with 4 Hellcats and an infantry platoon opening up and killing the poor bastard.

At this point the game got heated up very fast with the arrival of Finnish reserves next to my objective. In the heat of the game I forgot to take photos, but a large infantry platoon supported by T-34s arrived and attacked the defending AT guns that I had neglected to reinforce with infantry. Once again it would have been beneficial to check the area where reserves could deploy as they were able to show up almost in front of the objective.

To salvage the situation I came in for a counter-attack with two platoons of Hellcats moving in to offer fire support while the infantry moved in to attack. I killed off two T-34s with a combination of artillery and some shots from the Hellcats and the last promptly failed their 3+ morale test and left the field. The Finnish infantry was too clumped up to be able to fire effectively and were shooting through terrain that gave bullet proof cover. My assault went in pushing them off when the Finns failed to counter-attack.

The Finns counter-attacked only to be beaten back and destroyed leaving my flank secure. At this point I hear that the other game had ended 4-3 and a 5-2 win would see me tied for first place. However time was against me with 20 minutes left and a time out leading to a mutual loss with a 3-3 draw.

I quickly gunned down what was left on the flank to start forcing my opponent to take company morale tests. However this was not to be as he seemed to be able to pass all of them with ease.

With less than 10 minutes remaining I got desperate and went in for the kill assaulting the lone 2 infantry stands defending the objective. Next turn my opponents pioneers assaulted and my platoon took enough hits to be force a morale test which I failed with rerolls. So there went the 5-2 win. I still had time to take the win and rushed my Hellcats on the objective destroying the Pioneers and taking the objectives.

So a 4-3 win after a very frustrating game. Dust up with two infantry lists is rarely that much fun. Still the cliffhanger in the end made it worth it in the end. The result was an utter bloodbath with pretty much all the combat units wiped out from both sides by the end of the game.

Forgetting that I had ranged in on my opponent in the first 5 turns cost me dearly as both the defending infantry platoon and Pioneer platoon had been reduced enough to force morale test which they first passed. After that I wasn't able to hit them with artillery and they stayed on the table. If they had been gone earlier I could have forced him to take company morale test longer and he might have failed one. I would also have been more free to move units into the area to cap and force his AT guns to move there or prevent the attack by his flanking force. I managed to keep my opponents observers out of sight from my units for most of the game keeping me safe from artillery, which really eased my situation.

With my 4-3 win I just missed being tied for first place by one point and ended up tied for second place. However as I had lost more games than the other player I was dropped to third place overall. The only players I lost to were placed first and second so I guess I can't be too sad about the result especially since this was my first ever Flames of War tournament. I also hadn't played a 2-day tournament in over 10 years and generally don't play in tournaments so it was a nice experience for a change. At least it really got me even more excited about FoW so I guess you guys will be seeing a lot more of that in the future.

Huraaay! Our improvised podium