Thursday, May 31, 2007

Photo update...

Well, I thought I'd throw on a few of the other photo's I took, whilst the old PC was lamely hobbling along.

Firstly a response to Paul, of the Grimsby Wargaming blog; below is a size comparison of the valiant plastics against 20mm figures (on the left) and 28mm figures (on the right). Personally I know which I think looks like a match.

Speaking of the Valiant figures, I painted up the battalion, as defined in the box and placed them on e-bay. They sold the same day to a regular customer of mine for £60; a handy return!

Otherwise it has been a fantasy/Sci-fi heavy phase for me; still practicing with acrylics I did a necromancer and vampire thrall for my undead army. The first figure is from Games Workshop's Mordheim range; the second is from a (now defunct, so I understand) company called Spyglass Miniatures.

Also I've been churning out some 40K space marines; my cheaply bought army, as mentioned last week has been in need of paint. These scouts are certainly the nicest of the painted bits so far...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Club Game - 40K Marine Vs Marine

Well we're back at full operational performance! The PC was replaced with a shiny new laptop (and then most pleasingly, thrown into the garden, to rupture into several dusty chunks of worthless beige electronics - next stop the recycling centre); and to celebrate I have a suite of photo's.

First of all a battle report of my friend Chris' Blood Angels against a club members vanilla marines.

Generous sort that I am I arranged a game for Chris and a guy called Tim; 1500 points each of Space marines as it turned out. Chris Brought his Blood Angels, including some rather finely painted new models, his Chaplain was particularly nice...

Tim was sporting vehicle heavy Vanilla Marines (i.e, representing no particular chapter):

We played a six by four table, which was reasonably evenly balanced (by me) I perhaps could have done with a little more terrain, but I didn't want to slow things down too much. The mission ended up as a Seek and Destroy. Tim won the deployment phase; and initial dispositions were as shown...

Early on the Blood Angels had the best of it, assault marines acting as a vanguard for the Death Company in a Rhino APC. On the first two turns they destroyed a Dreadnought, and swept away a small squad in the woods:

After a slow start, the Vanilla order got going, charging and wiping out this squad of scouts...

The Vanilla Marines armoured superiority started to show, although they couldn't rely on holding their right, they were mauling the Blood Angels right in a similar fashion...

Crucially, the Blood Angels had absolutely no luck dispatching the enemy armour, although they did some damage to the Land Speeder squadron, they failed to destroy the Vanilla Marine Whirlwind, Razorback, or second Dread'. The result was more one sided than it looked, the Blood Angels encircled the Vanilla marines but only as a result of their natural instincts. In real terms they were making easy targets of themselves for the firing line of the Vanilla Marines. Points wise they'd been hammered.

As I thought, the game ended only when the allowed turns had run out; you can rely on Space Marines not to run, and it is seldom worth a SM player conceding.

Friday, May 25, 2007

What you doing?

I'm working on a Space Marine army for Warhammer 40k at the moment.

It was one I bought second hand off a kid for the Princely sum of £70. At the time I decided only to keep the bits I liked, and sold on a variety of bits and pieces from it (rule book, non-space marine bits, scenery, units I didn't like, etc) I sold those off for £85 in the end, so by the time I'd bought a few oddments I wanted (some quite pricey) a 2000pt army had cost me about £25 all in.

The down side of buying a child's collection is the state of the models. On the one hand you have a lot of things still unpainted, or even still on their sprues, great! On the other, where paint is applied, it is done with a two inch brush or the figure is simply dipped in a pot of acrylic paint and allowed to solidify. It's a technique I recall from my youth too.

Some of the poorest figures spent two weeks in a Pine-oil based cleaner, before most of the paint came off. When I am able I'll have some photos to show the sorry state of one particularly bad model.

Anyway, although I did paint one unit from them over a year ago, they had languished for some time. Motivated by a defeat of my Orks by Space Marines, yet again! I was inclined to start on them again.

'Footage at eleven...'

More shocking was the value of this little force.

at today's prices, my 65 figures and three vehicles worked out at...

Wait for it...


Yes, £258, I nearly fell off my chair at that one.

Games Workshop, eh?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Book Report

Just recently, I finished plodding through Thucydides "History of the Pelopenessian War", something of an epic for the lunch break and evening commute, six hundred pages of rather heavy going. I also dread to think how much longer it might have been if Thucydides had actually finished it; the two page summary of the war in the back of my Collins Atlas of Ancient Greece was much snappier (skimped on the details a bit though).

As a rule I don't read many narrative military histories. Not enough time for them, seeing as they have to compete with reference books ("Osprey's" and the like, so much more useful for a wargamer/military historian), books on general history, archaeology, science, the paranormal, novels and magazines. I maybe manage one a year, and this was it for now.

T'was a good read mind, lots of detail on naval engagements, and a few choice battles. It highlighted the rather distant passive nature of the Spartans, which is a good counterpoint to any opinions formed solely by watching/reading '300'. Generally it's pretty balanced too. Thucydides writes in a recognisably modern historical style. Indeed he is cited with inventing it, not for him musing on the gods influence in the affairs of man.

Incidentally, last years' book was Robert Harveys' enthralling "Liberators: Latin America's Struggle for Independence, 1810-1830 ". Another doorstop of a book that kept me ticking over for months. When looking for Napoleonic style warfare on an addressable scale I picked this up (and the relevant Osprey book too), as South American history is another area of interest for me. Lengthy it may be, but it's a rip-snorting read (as people in the thirties would probably say). Simon Bolivar was an incredible general, and Harvey does justice to his and other commanders' talents (and gives wings to the inspiration of wargamers - with excellent accounts of the actual battles) in the narrative. The real revelation of the book, for me, is Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald however, a disgraced British naval captain, who invented every trick in the book, and Harvey argues (in another book on the man) was the inspiration for the entire genre of naval daring-do fiction.

Two good books, worth a go if the periods are of interest to you.

In other news, the home PC is still up the swanney, so no pictures. The Valiant figures I bought last week are now all painted and ready for EBay. No club this week either, so time for even more painting; some Vikings to finish - which I wish I'd never started - and then I can get on to better things...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Where your Council Tax goes...

I 'm trying to keep this blog more regular than it was in the 'winter season', but it's not helped upgrades to the home PC kill your internet connection. Still work has its uses!

It was a 'Bank Holiday' here in Britain yesterday, so extra time off all round. To be honest I seldom work a monday between late April and June anyhow, but that's council work for you.

No games to report, but I did get some painting in, when not cursing my computer. I managed to finish a Necromancer, who'd been sat on the painting table for 6 months awaiting some attention. I'll post shots when I can, as he's pretty nice. Commendable work from the Acrylics again.

I also knocked off a dozen Ork warrios for 40K. Recent battle experience has shown I just can't field enough Ork Boys to make classic Orky tactics (charge, accept huge losses on way in, once in contact, beat all comers to a bloody pulp) work. I'd intended painting them quickly, but not 'speed painting'; so they ended up with three layers of wet-brush to dry-brush highlighting, and extra detailing. Frankly more labour than cheap plastic figures bought off E-bay to bulk out my forces really warranted. Oh well.

Also over the weekend I picked up a set of the new Valiant Miniatures German infantry. You can tell that even as '20mm' plastic figures, these guys were put together by wargamers. They are hard plastic, multipart, chunky and tall. Average height foot to eye is 23.5mm. On the plus side the box contains all the parts to make a full Rapid Fire battalion of infantry, plus a force roster showing you what it would comprise (no points values, but hey, they ain't giving you the rules for free are they? Well actually they do on the rapid Fire website!). You get enough spare figures to assemble a couple of dozen other figures too. Plenty of heavy kit too - MG42's on sustained fire mountings, 80mm Mortars, Panzerfausts. Some of the posing is a bit static, but overall the best way to start a force. Only £9 a box too.

Check out their website here:

Personally the battalion is going to be painted up and stuck on E-bay; that still leaves me all the mortars and machine guns my Germans could ask for.

Now, if only I could get my home PC to work...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Photo Bonanza - Thracians

My Thracian army is one of my favourites.

Assembled over a few months in 2000-01; It comprises at present 132 infantry and 18 cavalry; along with three general stands. It was assembled for playing armati, but works well for DBM and Warhammer ancients too.

Above are Thracian slingers, typically from the shepherds and farmers of the society. These are converted Hat Spanish slingers.

Other skirmishers; most of the army is sourced from the Hat Thracian allies box, supplying virtually all the infantry.

Part of the mass of the infantry. The guy front and centre with the wicker shield is Zvezda (from their Greek warriors set) the rest are all hat.

The painting technique is my usual speed style, using flat colours and a varnish glaze; the only variation is that I used brown as the shading mix at a proportion of about one part Humbrol German camouflage brown (pot: 170) to 30 parts Humbrol mattcote varnish. Obviously, sing flat colours did not preclude me including plenty of patterning on these figures. The Thracian's loved colourful and complex fabrics, apparently!

The overall general, based on Angus McBride's image of King Kotys (Men at Arms book 360). To look the part, Zvezda's Alexander (from their Greek Cavalry set) underwent a head swap with the javelinman next to him.

Light horse of the plains, Again figures from the Zvezda Greek cavalry set supplied all my needs. Thracian's aped and looted Greek armour styles with just a few indigenous features.

More light cavalry, with noble horsemen to the rear.

One of these days I'm going to get round to ading more horse and massed infantry, the figures are already there; but as it stands, this is a complete force.