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Thursday, July 28, 2016

TANKS!


My club has their annual campaign for Bolt Action about to start ( first match up is next week! ).

With that, more than a few members have stated that they might not be able to play due to not having enough tanks or especially transports available to play properly or competitively.

So it got me to thinking how many tanks and transport have I collected so far for Bolt Action in the past 2 and a bit years.

Seems there are quite a few.. with it being about 70 in total ( some not built or shown ) and then the bikes. Damn.

Thankfully I have a understanding wife.. else this could be quite dangerous.

In total we have the following:

For transports we have:
- 4 Sarissa trucks
- 3 M5 halftracks
- 3 Cargo trucks
- 2 Bren carriers
- 3 M3 scout cars
- 4 Jeeps (mmg/HMG)
- 2 251/1 (1 not built)
- 2 250/1 (1 not built)
- 1 Opel Truck (not built)
Russian
- SU85 (NOT SHOWN)
American
- 4 Sherman 75
- Sherman 76
- 2 M16
- M10
- Pershing
- 3 M20
- M8
- Stuart
- 2 Chaffees
Brits
- 3 Crusaders
- 2 A10
- AEC
- 2 Otters
- VIC
- Humbler mkII
German
- 5 Panzer IIIs (1 not built)
- Sdkfz 222
- 2 sidecars
- 3 motorbikes
Japanese (in case someone doesn't have an army and wants to still play!)
- 3 Chi ha
- ShinHoTo
- Chi-NU
- 2 Ho-Ro
- Ho-Ni
- 2 Type 92
- Ke-Nu

For the campaign I will run my Americans as it has the most variety, and cause no one else is really playing them at the moment. That and my Japanese forces would be too powerful in this campaign... 

So that leaves quite a bit left over that allows other to supplement their forces as and where required. So most likely I will set the transports that I don't normally use aside for them to be picked up by club members, and the Brit/German sections made available since we have quite a few players of those nations. 

The Japanese could be used by someone is they wished to join but don't have a force to play with. These are just the vehicles I have, but I also have the 200+ infantry and artillery pieces that can be put forward as well. 

Now to figure out my list for the first game and post that up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review - Warlords SdKfz 222 for Bolt Action Germany


Quick little review here today. As we move forward with the German forces in Afrika, one of the kits that came with the deal back when it was released was this little armored car. The SdKfz 222.

One of their older kits as it is still available in resin and metal.


The assembly of it is pretty straight forward with the majority of the kit a solid piece of resin. The wheels have the trademark of old where they fit onto cylindrical spacers and have the appropriate groove marked out for them to sit on. The front bumber, and lights have separate holed premade ( though they required a bit of drilling out ), but fit easily enough.

The hardest part was probably putting the gun turret together, and that was mostly taking the flash off the pieces.


No real instructions needed as it is shown on the back of the box, but you can see that the pieces in general were all laid out in a decent manner. All wrapped in bubble wrap inside the cardboard box itself.


I do like the ease of resin kits as they go together very quickly, with minimal fuss or troubles. Though they do lack the variations that the plastics offer, but I think the lack of swearing while assembling or mold line removal is a major plus for me.

Now to get to painting this little kit for the battlefield.. but also thankfully the other kits I have came with enough decals to cover this as well. Once of the few things it was missing overall to complete the kit.

Monday, July 25, 2016

DAK Germans incoming...


So over the weekend I was almost catatonic with regards to doing pretty much anything. Not cause of the weather or anything, but more just have the house to myself with very little life duties being pressed upon me. So aside from a few extended naps on the couch, I painted up a "few" models.


To kick things off, late last week I had gone out to the garage ( will miss that when I move.. again ) and primed up both my German Afrika forces, as well as my American Confederate army ( or what I have assembled at the moment ).

From here you can see that I have a lot of armor once more for my new German force ( with more incoming ). I think this will be more a Tank War force than anything else, but for now let's see how it goes.


To kick things off I selected 10 models and began to block in the main colors that I would be using.


Surprisingly I was using Japanese uniform colors for them since I do not have any German colors within my paint selections. Like.. none.. at all.. never figured I would paint Germans I guess...

But what I went for here was that I wanted to have all officers to have green jackets, and all line troopers to have yellow outfits with green helmets. Just so that it has some variety in the painting ( can't be arsed about the reality of historical aspects at times ). I also painted up the special weapons or variations from Rifles in green as well. My hope is that this will make it easier for me to understand and see them on the board and know who is what. A major problem for me when playing my Americans as they are all wearing the same colors, and from a few feet away they all look the same.

With liking this style a bit, I would carry on with the remaining soldiers assembled and on my desk..


Surprisingly this only took the majority of the afternoon ( with a quick/long dinner break ).. but when all finished on the based, and given a mild drybrushing they fit the business for a game on Tuesday.


At this point you can see them at the post wash phase, and almost complete. The last portions required here was to just do up the basing colors a bit further. Which for me was to pull out the Modelmates Sand colors, and basically drown them in it.


The bases themselves were simply covered in Sandy Paste from Vallejo ( pre-primer of course ) and then painted with the Iraqui Sand. Then covered in unequal parts of Light and Dark shade Sand Brown by Modelmates. Waiting about 5 secs for them to dry ( thank you hair dryer.. knew you were good for something ).. and you would get some really random coloring throughout the bases. This doesn't look so good at this point, but a quite drybrush of Iraqui Sand and Deck Tan though, and it comes out ace.

Actually I have to say that they based came out so well, that I will be using this for other such scenes in the future! I think the sandy paste on its own is a bit meh.. but toss in some rocks or gravel to it, and BAM it does the business and then some!

Heck, I was so motivated with this, that I even carried on and finished up ( almost ) the motorbikes for my DAK forces.


Here you can see the photos of the bases with the modelmates pigments, and drybrushing in action. I don't have any decals for the bikes, which I am sad about, but it still worked out as it is. I just need to now dust up the wheels and undercarriage a bit, and I think I can call these sections finished. Oh and obviously paint up the additional riders for the 3 motorbikes in the front. But I have more bikes incoming, so I will probably paint them in a big batch once those arrive.

Now I just need to tackle the vehicles and see how I can get them out and along now. So far I have started in on 2 of the Panzer IIIs..


But really did not get very far. Too many last minute things that were needed to get finished around the house before I collapsed on the bed last night. But I do hope to have at least these 2 finished before the game tomorrow.. will see how far I can get on them!

Overall.. a nice, quick army to paint up and hopefully play at the club on Tuesday. Let's see how my meagre beginnings can do here..

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: Warlord's Continental Starter Army


So I have already shown the start of building up the force, but why not have a bit of a review of the boxset as well!

Right off the bat I have to say that this boxset is huge. Massive even. And rightly so when it is to contain 120 Regular/Irregular Soldiers, 40 Militia, and a sprue for the Cannon/Generals. Not to mention all the flags etc alongside it all!

And my copy came with an extra cannon/general sprue as well due to the 4th of July sale that Warlords was having when it was released.


So the instruction leaflets contained within are split between the 3 different sprue types available within the box. The field artillery includes the general ( and dead solder ), the Infantry sprues, and the Militia sprues. Plus a bit of explanation on how they can be all assembled there within.

The assembly is set up to have certain pairs work well or better with each other. If you look at some of the ones that I assembled I disregarded this for a majority of it, and some of them now look quite strange. But ranked up and painted I hope no one will notice too much, and I began to focus on the instructions more closely after seeing some of them with fresh eyes the morning after!

But nevermind that now.. here is what the contents of the box looks like on my table though!



Perhaps having more light on my desk would also help me see things better.. but that aside.. this is an insane amount of sprues. Thankfully the rule set that we plan to use means I do not have to assemble, and paint all of this. Though I will have a lot of options available for later one.

Quite the selection of options to be fair with many different head types to represent different types of troops using the same body stances. So your Regular Line troops with the Tricorn hats or even capped hats available, to the steeped hats of the Irregulars is available. To the wool or skinned toques available for the Militia troops.

Below are the full sprues, both sides, available within the kit.

First up is the Field Artillery / Officer's Sprues. Here you have the options to build a general on horse, along with a variety of different head options to represent different historic commanders available ( Like George Washington ). For me I am not sure if they difference is enough to tell who is who, but it is a nice feature all the same.

You also have enough parts to build 2 cannons except for the wheels. So I will try my best to source something out for those to give me an advantage in larger battles :) Plus the crew here, though I suspect that regular soldiers from the other sprues can be representing this also.

There is also a famous woman cannon operator. Molly Pitcher who took up the cannon when her husband died at the red coats hands.



Then you have the officers sprues. Making enough troops to do 2 sets of command units per sprue available with 4 such sprues sitting within the box.

Though the options for the flag bearer are slim with only one real arm choice for it, and the other more like he is running away. So that is not as cool, but can be worked with.

For musicians, you have both the flute and the drums available. Need to really watch which one you take with which as to ensure that you don't mix them around ( not that I did that.. twice.. or anything while assembling mine! ).



With the core soldier sprues, you have plenty of options here. One thing I haven't mentioned is that there are also heads for Washington's guard with their capped or rounded hats.

The variety of poses is good, but since it is a historical army, they are mostly standing or aiming. So although many poses available, they can come out a bit static. Though the instructions state that since they are plastic, the conversion opportunities are limitless, and this is true.



No idea why I did not get the other side of the Militia sprue, but it holds quite a few options within itself as well. Including the choice of 2 body styles available. The trapper and the civilian styled ones. I prefer the trapper ones, and I think they would work nicely as Canadian Militia also, but the civilian styled ones are almost cowboy-ish? Could be something to that also.


In the end it also comes with a mega ton of bases to use for the models. Along with some gap at the bottom for those that want them to be more rank and file styled, you could add magnets for easier set up and transportation.



All in all a great kit. What I don't mention within the sprues themselves is that they all have a load of extras. Extra muskets, or tomahawks, or heads, or whatever.. tons of them that can be added to scenery or objective markers as/where needed.

Honestly for me at this time, I don't think I will be requiring any more models for this any time soon, aside from maybe some Indians in case I want to run them as French/Canadian forces for the rules of Muskets and Tomahawks. But aside from that, there are a lot to get on with from this box alone.

Now I just need to paint up enough to get in some demo games with them!

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Time for Rebellion!


Considering all the politics that have been put out there these days, it is only fitting that I start an army that rose up against their oppressors ( be they real or self imposed I guess ).

Another day and another army.. my Bolt Action armies are still in full swing, and still having fun playing them ( even if my last 2 games opponents say otherwise ). But with that the idea to start a new game system is abound, and another club member had some models ready for American War of Independence. And since he sits over here in the UK, he has the mighty Red Coats going ( and has been for a bit it seems ) so it was only natural then that I picked up the filthy colonials to rise up against him.

Of course it is only after I order up the starter box from Warlords recent sale that I realise in the rules we will be using ( Muskets and Tomahawks ) that the French forces were on the side of the Americans, and filled their ranks with Canadians! Damnit! Oh well.. some shifty proxing might happen at some point then :) ).

Starting off, I do what I always do, and that is to jump off the deep end for collecting. I picked up the Rebels starter army box, that had a deal that it came with an extra cannon.


As you can see there are quite a few models available here with 120 Regular/Irregular infantry near the top, 40 Militia at the bottom, a Cannon, and an officer ( mounted ). But with the deal I also got another cannon/officer sprue so I can make 2 mounted Officers, and 2 Cannons. Though with some conversions I think I can make a total of 4 cannons with crew ( as the cannon types are separate but use the same wheels ) and could maybe make some Light Troop Officers on foot instead of always being mounted.

So far however I have assembled enough to get in a 200 pts game ( there about ).


Mounted Officer - 25 pts for the American Officer, 2 pts for the mount, 1 point for the Cavalry Sword.
10 Continental Infantry ( Regulars ) - 80 pts, but have the Firing Line ability ( better abilities when formed up ).


10 Continental Light Infantry ( Irregular ) - 90 pts and have the scout ability ( better movement in woods ).

It scares me that this is enough for a game at the moment, but I am very curious how it will all play up in the end though. But that won't happen until they are all painted up though so that it is more interesting for both sides ( and nice photos can be taken as well! ).

I tried to model the Line Infantry to be more stoic and static.. like they were in a firing line. Whereas the Light Infantry I see them moving through the woods etc, and thus more cautious or prepping for the right shot.


As a quick update this morning, I did get another 20 models assembled last night to go with the force. Doubling the Line and Irregular forces within the army. Giving me a good 4 units of 10 to play around with, and giving me a bit more variety to play with.

As for colors however though is where I need to settle on. And that will mean having a look at the different regions and colors that were available for the uniforms.

Having a look on Perry Miniatures webstore, I can see a variety of colors, along with a reference to where they might have originated from. Of course I could just ignore this all, and just paint them blue.. but having an idea of where they come from will make the painting more interesting as well.






It seems that the traditional Blue with White pants comes from the NY region. And this would be where most of the fighting might have taken place, but I really do like the 5th Connecticut Regt colors. It allows me to have the blue coats, but add a bit more interesting colors into the pants with them being green. Red undercoat also makes the painting a bit more difficult maybe, but more interesting all the same.

I also like this as I plan to be quite heavy on the Militia. Although they are piss poor for stats, and morale and blah blah.. I do like my Horde formations. And I think having a good collection of them popping out of the woods supporting the Irregulars later on ( when bigger games happen ) will make for some interesting match ups. And I plan on them being able to harrass the line units while the Irregulars and Regulars go and focus on trouble spots or smash through a line.

Will see how it goes.. but at least basing for this force will be easy. Some dirt, and a lot of static grass will be applied throughout the army.

For now, let's see when I can get these painted up and get started with a demo game or 2 with them. Very curious how the rule set will be or if we will switch over to one of the many other versions available out there covering this era and period.

But for now.. the weekend! Huzzah!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Not dead.. just consumed with gaming..

Specifically with Star Ocean 5 on the PlayStation 4.




Although there are some things happening for the miniatures in the background.. all my time outside of assembling or basic painting are a bit amiss at the moment.

Hopefully this will slow down a bit soon enough, and I can get back to writing articles of things that are needing to be reviewed, as well as painting up some of my larger projects where the deadlines are starting to become a bit more pressing now.

Also with the family heading off for holidays soon, I suspect my hobby time might increase as the distractions around the house simmer down ;)

At least I have some gaming tonight, so maybe a battle report will grace the blog soon.. I would do one for last week but it was a wee bit one sided.. and would not make for the best of reading.. Let's see how tonight goes though.. especially with my bringing the Imperial Japanese Army out of retirement!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Diorama scene for Tanks


If you haven't been noticing that I have been fascinated with tanks of late, and it is now moving onwards to making small dioramas alongside them.

The first of what I suspect will be many small dioramas started a week ago, and took off at quite a quick pace.

You can see one of the final photos of the piece shown with a soon to be talked about vehicle. And I still feel that there is more to go on the scene itself ( such as maybe a few troops up on the hill perhaps? ).

How'd it all start though?


Actually it started with a trip to John Lewis of all things to be honest. It was there that I saw a black picture frame for 7 quid, and thought how cool would it be to have that as a base for a scene for my tanks. So on an impulse buy, that is what I did! I had seen this trick made from other scale modellers before, so this is not something that I can say is a piece that I thought up ( though I wish I had! ).

From here though it was a matter of filling up the void, and laying out my scene. I had a look through some of my diorama books at home, some photos of tanks, and finally settled on a forest-esc like setting.

First step with filling the void was finding the appropriate sized cork needed to do just the job. And then planning out which direction I was looking to have the scene push. A left to right scene was decided, but with the height of the setting to be on the top right, with sight lines to push you back down to the middle.

The front left would be broken up a bit, and maybe some water tossed into it to give it something else visually.

Both of these I tried to set up with the rise and fall of the cork, and then tried my hand at filling or sculpting the rest with milliput around it all.

The tree twigs were added to put some weight on that top corner of the base as well, though I probably should have sculpted on them a bit to give them a bit more texture than what they provided.. but I still had plans to correct that even.


Once the plan was set ( milliput drying makes things a bit more permanent ) I then began to add some sand, gravel, and larger stones to the base. Again to break up the base a bit further. I also began to add dirt to places throughout the base, and give the whole thing a bit more texture..

Sadly no photos of that before I went on to prime and paint this. Honestly I was still unsure if this whole idea was going to take hold, and not sure what direction this was going. So at points I just kept going instead of stopping for photos.. so apologies there..


First layers of paint.. and this is where I was having a lot of fun with the piece. Because at this point I was not using acrylics on the base, but instead doing the entire base in oils to get a rough sketch and idea of where it was going.

It gave me a great idea of the feel for the piece and really invigorated me on how it would be looking later on, though without the foliage happening right away. Although the above photo was very wet looking due to the oil not dried yet, I would give it a day or 2 to set before I would cover it in varnish and start in on the other colors and next steps.

But first.. some photos of other vehicles on it to give it a go at how it can work for more than just a single piece ( which is the intent to have it work for of what I am working on over time ).




Without the foliage the desert camo pieces were still looking ok ( though a bit dated already compared to my newer paint jobs ).

I would even see how it would be within my photo booth and with my proper camera instead of my cell phone..






I had posted these photos online, and asked which people liked the most. The SU85 and the Halftrack were voted on the most overall, with the others not even mentioned.. says a bit about my paint jobs on them perhaps ;)


With some photos tests happened, and me liking it more and more, I began to add the other elements to the base. Water effects to the bottom left corner. Foliage to the base in different areas.

The first parts for foliage was some scatter grass in areas, and the moss on the trees. I had taken the floral sponge flock, mixed in some dark green, and varnish, and used that as a paste to cover sections of both of the twigs. Once dried I did drybrush it with some off green oil colors to give it a bit of a lighter look overall.

I will say that at this point it was quite bright, and out of place as well. But I had plans to add some bushes a bit more. And the plan was that this would help to solidify the colors and make it get tied in a bit further.


Thankfully I think the addition of the more solid green bushes did help quite a bit. I would then go and lay down some darker washes via the airbrush to the shadows of the bushes, and soft tone wash spray on the top section.

Helped to tie in the colors a bit further and kill off the brightness of it further as well. Which moved me to take more photos of the scene both with the SU85 and the M10 on the scene to see how they fit on it.



I think overall they both can fit nicely ( though the tracks on the M10 need doing, and the SU85 could have some updates as well ). But I do believe that the overall look, and feel that I was aiming for has come through on this piece. And I did learn a lot on how to set up scenes a bit better for larger projects. Something that I hope to move onwards with on my larger display piece as well. Hopefully I can make more of these kind of scenes as well for other projects. Such as maybe an urban setting, and a desert feeling. Something that will allow me to play around with different tanks and have more scenes for me to take photos of them in.

One comment I did receive about this, and I will seriously consider it for later on.. is to make or paint up a backdrop for the scene and remove the back background even further. I see pros and cons for that, but need to do more digging around on it before I commit to it at all!

Hope you enjoyed this, and hopefully I will have more things to post up about as the week progresses!
If you liked the post, become a follower, comment or email me at mr.lees.painting.emporium@gmail.com.
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