Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Imagi-Nations: A Gebrovian Ally is recruited

Gebrovia's early successes in the border disputes with Clementia were greatly beneficial to the nation as a whole, giving a patriotic boost to the population, and making it appear stronger in the eyes of it's two other significant neighbours; The Bellephron Empire, and Ionia.

The latter, a sometime adversary of the Gebrovians, had also in the past been allies of a sort, and Ionian warrior clans have frequently sought service in the ranks of the Gebrovian military.   With heightening tensions between Gebrovia and Clementia, the state coffers were opened to procure new servants to the cause:

First to arrive were a number of skirmishing troops, along with a dashing mounted Laird, in the company of an interpreter, an engineer and a member of the Gebrovian diplomatic emissary.  Shortly after a full company of clansmen arrived at the front.

Marching under the Ionian flag, of a red cross on the green field of their homeland.

Elsewhere, Gebrovia rallied a regiment of Kopritze Hussars to the cause, augmenting the raiding abilities of the troops at the border.

Kopritze was always well know for the horseflesh of its' rolling country, and these troopers have a glamorous panache to both their way of fighting and their style of dress.

The Clementians of course would also be recruiting their own reinforcements too, stung by a series of defeats on their border, and with a sense of the situation slipping into a general confrontation...

As with previous additions to our Imagi-Nations campaign, these miniatures are all from Warrior Miniatures, although in this case with some wider trawling of their ranges.  The Ionians are from the Jacobite Rebellion range, although some of the models here are from a pack I'd had in a box for over twenty years, and probably out of production now.  The Hussars are from their Napoleonic Spanish range, which I suspected would provide the oldest looking models for this cavalry type.

Next up for the campaign will hopefully be another battle report.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

New Tools; New Tricks...

Well, it finally happened.

After many years consideration - at a level only of 'should I?' mind you - I finally decided to give airbrushes a try.  I was able to pick this package up for under £100 on Amazon; a Compressor and three beginner Airbrushes.

This set is sold for a variety of generic functions, mostly make-up, temporary tattoos and that sort of thing, but the basic kit is what one will need.  One brush is the type that modelers and gamers will really want, but the other two are potentially useful for bigger jobs.  The main piece of kit here really is the Compressor though; this is the part for which the money is really invested, and I was pleased to find that it both worked, and was relatively quiet in operation.

So far I've only used it for a few jobs, but I aim to get practice in with the basic tools here before I decide whether to invest in a better airbrush, a decent one would cost more than all this set, but many users on Youtube give high praise to cheap kit for learning and carrying out the most routine jobs with.  I think that is borne out when one sees the attempts at undercoating here:

These will seem familiar
this is the result of a black undercoat followed by a first layer of thinned white.  Pretty incomplete, and it shows my lack of experience.  But you can see how much finer the spray is as compared to an aerosol rattle can.  It is also a lot simpler to get into all the nooks and crannies with an airbrush, and with suitable ventilation, painting indoors is not an issue.

We will see.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Bavarian Additions

It seems sensible to combine recent output into a single post, I've come back to working on the Bavarians after a bit of a pause over the summer, when other topics diverted me.

First of all, I took an easy option, in so far as it required less figures painting, and did a couple of artillery batteries; plus a limber

I'll run two guns as a battery
The guns and crew are of course from Warrior, but the Limber is I think a Minifigs piece, one of several I picked up at a show a while ago.  It was tagged as a Prussian pack, but I'm not too much of a stickler to be concerned by that.

Latterly I just finished a Light infantry battalion and Divisional Commander:

This is a representation of the 1st Light Battalion; Gedoni.

Whilst the General is formed from a spare cavalry figure and a French General (who looks suspiciously Austrian to me) with suitable paint jobs.  Placed on an artillery sized base, so to be easily identifiable on the battlefield.

That makes for 5 infantry units, 3 cavalry, 2 artillery and 3 generals so far.  As a minimum I think I need another infantry and cavalry unit to get to an actual game, but the end of stage one is in sight...


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

More things Star Wars


I've had another game of Imperial Assault in the last (*ahem*, some time longer than is worth reporting), but mainly I have been adding to the variety of troops available for gaming.  Notably a mixture of Mercenaries and Imperials:

Weequay Pirates 
I'll admit, I had to look these guys up, I thought they may be an addition from the Prequels or one of the Disney cartoons, but in fact they come from the Return of the Jedi; in a blink and you'll miss it role:
Oh, hi there....
Yes they come to a bad end on Jabba's Skiff, which just goes to show, being a Mercenary is not all fun and games.  Anyhow, I liked these as more variety to the rank and file of the Mercenary faction, so picked them up on eBay, for around £4 each.  Not cheap, but tolerable.

Also from eBay, I picked up a half dozen more Stormtroopers.  These set me back about £15, which is not too bad.  One group are actually the Reinforcement pack, and so I also got the mission and bonus cards.

As usual, they're all shooting in different directions
I found these a little easier to than on the previous occasion (four or five years ago now).  Practice makes perfect I guess.  These give me 15 basic troopers, accompanying heavy and command troops to build what in IA would be a substantial force.

There are still a handful more models to finish off, but I now have a good variety of models for all three factions in the game.

All good.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Quick thoughts on Contrast paints


As this appears on the blog, I am actually in Spain, more on that another day perhaps.

A few weeks back i had an opportunity to try out the GW Contrast paint set.  Oh the joys of being late to discuss a new trend!


 How did we find them?  Well, some colours were great, whilst others were pretty bad.  To be fair, the range of mid to dark shades, with highly saturated colours, worked best.  I was taken with the greens and browns, and these could easily do the whole paint job for those not looking for a complex project.  The most disappointing in my view were the flesh tones, none of which succeeded alone in making for a convincing colour.  To that end I tried creating a red-flesh blend to get more colour into it, which I think looked better.

A couple of hours playing around
There are no metallics in the range either, and for many that would be an issue.  Overall, I doubt these are the one-stop solution GW suggests, but, I do think they can provide interesting effects; and as part of a fully considered scheme, on the right figures, will be of great use in speeding up a process.  These would glaze well over light base colours for example.

But I don't think they are really for me.

Still, thanks to Gav for giving me a chance to try these for free.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

German reconnaissance and communications


Another set of vehicles for my 'Maximum Effort'  German WW2 Project are completed.  These representing support elements to the 243 Infantry Division, operating on the Contentin Peninsula:

These are by no means the best models of course, being bought many years before this intention came to fruition, but it does show that basic materials can be elevated by a good paint job!

SDKFZ 222 
This and the Kubelwagen below are from the Airfix reconnaissance set, an ancient and basic model; but a charming one too.

To be super critical of myself, I'm not satisfied with the canvas tilt here, it needed slightly more contrast, but it is okay for what it is.

Horsch radio truck 
This is from the Grubby Tanks range, and I have doubts about its accuracy, I think the integral spare wheels have been eliminated for convenience, and the radio rig mainly swapped for a canvas cover
Still, it may be my favourite in the group, as there is so much detail to hang from.  Being a resin model, the glass was solidly moulded in so I had to paint it in, I decided on a dark blue tone lightening up towards the bottom, as I've assumed the glass being transparent, what you actually want is an impression of the interior light not the exterior, the latter would imply you were only seeing reflections off the glass, not through it, and any flat colour would appear wholly false.

All these models feature modulated highlighting, an acrylic pinwash, water and petrol stain effects, weathering powders and so on.  As discussed in this post.

More practice, making for more, well - not perfection yet, but improvements.

One thing these models raised, was a dissatisfaction with the working time of acrylic effects when they were on the models.  And so there was a trip to a local art store for some oil paints and thinners, for some new effects.  More on that when I've had some practice with them, but it is the sort of thing that 1/35th scale modellers are well versed with.

Oh and finally, I was able to pull a photo from another source of the infantry to go with these vehicles; some scout troops and an artillery observer/senior officer:

A right mix of makes...


Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Gods of War-tership Down


Additions to the War Rabbits army.

Al-Araiah and Fitch are gods in physical form to the war rabbits, and their influence is what gives their race it's form, twixt beast and man.  They are as you no doubt can tell, not gaming pieces, rather the one on the left is a resin statuette, and the right is a childrens toy, both were purchases for under £5.
As for the bolt thrower, its a scratch build, from a mixture of coffee stirrers, some small plastic parts and some thread.  I added some spare mini's including some limited conversion of a bow armed rabbit to a crew figure.

On a roll with the scratch building, I fabricated up a version of everyone's favourite siege engine:

No prizes for guessing the inspiration:

It is simply made from scrap; strips of card to emulate planking, over a foamcore frame, with a card roof, covered in in thick paper cut to irregular shapes to represent hides.  The battering ram is a twig with some tinfoil glued to the tip.

I only need to do another 18 or so more models to finish this project, but it may be a while yet, as they've slipped down the schedule somewhat.

I'll try to get to them before the end of the year!


Monday, October 07, 2019

Levelling up - Wet Palette



So the improvement in all things painterly continues.  One thing I'd stuck to for years and years was using a simple plastic tray palette for working with acrylics.  And it simply wasn't going to do anymore.  Wet palettes are something you will soon learn about on painting sites or youtube, but for the uninitiated, it is mixing and keeping your acrylic paints on a permanently moist surface.  This extends working time of paints to as much as a couple of days, if sealed between uses, and certainly several hours where paint is exposed to air.  compare that to a few minutes for a normal blob of paint...

Now, a wet palette is a doddle to make:

My palette in use
To make this one, I picked up a metal hinged pencil box from a craft store; it of course came with a dozen pencils in it, which I added to my traditional arts supplies; you can probably find empty ones in some stores too, but at under a fiver I took the free pencils into the bargain.  Inside it I placed two thin sponge washcloths, the sort made of a dense foam rather than a open sponge, these are dampened down with water, and it is best to keep these topped up but not so wet water sloshes out of them.  Finally you need a barrier layer of paper to hold the paint, and for this cut a section of either tracing paper or baking parchment to fit.  I began with tracing paper, but baking paper/parchment has since proved to be far superior.

Then simply apply paint to that surface, and wonder at how long it lasts, and how easy it is to get all Bob Ross on those shades and go blending crazy.

You'll notice above that I still have the tray palette out.  There are three reasons for this; firstly, it is good to have additional clean water to hand for thinning paints on the palette.  Secondly, metallic paints are not advised to go on a wet palette, as the mica flecks that give the sparkle will pass through the paper and into the foam, from where they will soak back in to other colours thereafter.  Lastly, large mixes of paint, such as undercoats and basing tones will still need a larger space to be mixed, and would flood the palette.

While we are about it, as you may notice, there is a GW paint handle in the image above.  And I have to say, what a great little tool it is.  Sure, bits of dowel, or old paint pots do a similar job, but it is a really nice ergonomic fit, and allows for a really secure hold.  I got one for a treat, and am glad I shoved a rare £6 GW's way.

Anyhow, the first model I painted with the new set up was this Cyclops, I'm really pleased with the ease this came together, and the wet palette allowed for the job to be much quicker too.

This chap got a glaze over a basic dark flesh tone, followed by a reapplication from the palette, and two simple highlights.  All the other details are simple blending and layering.  I think it looks pretty grand, certainly a bit Wargames Standard, but not bad.

If you don't use a Wet Palette, and paint in acrylics, you really should.


Sunday, October 06, 2019

Warbases Pigsty...


Just picked up to tip an order of bases over the free postage level, this Pigsty was a breeze to assemble and paint. 

The simplicity of the design worked with the laser-cut MDF and I felt no urge to make any changes to it.  Along with some other upcoming pieces this expands my medieval/fantasy village.