20 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Its the time of year I enjoy most with two very excitable young children and me on my annual break to enjoy the build up to the big day.
I have been rather busy preparing Vikings to paint in the coming evenings, I decided to get the Foundry purchases well and truly underway (tanks are boring) and will post a proper update between the Christmas and New Year period. Also I have a sneaking idea that I have Anglo Saxons and Normans on the way soon ;)

So I hope you all enjoy the festivities and will catch up with you soon.

13 December 2011

What is it about this hobby?

I have been trying to decide what makes this hobby so interesting for me. It all started a long time ago, on a heavily patterned front room carpet and a few boxes of Airfix plastic figures one Christmas. Those figures were a box of Napoleonic Highlanders and French Line infantry. Along with the box was a simple set of rules and that was the start of a long journey.
Not content with bare plastic I sat for hours painting them into some resemblance of the pictures on the boxes. More Napoleonics followed until I got a few years older then started to collect lead figures again it was Napoleonics from Minifigs to start with. The gaming was always between me and a few selected friends.
It was my teenage years that really saw me get absorbed into the hobby fully, painting, reading historical books and role playing. However aside from the regular Dungeons & Dragons sessions very little other gaming although the collections of painted miniatures kept growing.
Early adulthood saw me drop off of the role play and back into wargaming always finding the local gaming club whenever I moved to a new area.
I regularly painted figures throughout and sold my 15mm collections to fund 28mm collections which along with a lead mountain that I hardly had room for I had to sell to start up a small business.
Now I have come full circle and in the main I am painting 15mm figures again, having decided that large collections are best achieved with smaller figures due to cost and skirmish games played with 28mm scale because they look more impressive.
Terrain has always figured in the journey too, after all it is now how I make a living or at least try too after having sold everything to fund it.
Having said all this and thought hard about what I enjoy most , for me it was a difficult decision as gaming at the club has the benefits of fun and good company, reading history expands the mind and always encourages me to build armies, terrain is very important to me as I like a good looking table to play on.
However it has to be the painting first. I certainly am not a great painter but overall I am always happy with the end result of my efforts, I use the painting as my bit of space and really enjoy making a figure come to life.
So now I ask the question which part of the hobby do you enjoy the most?

11 December 2011

DAK work in progress

I have to admit to not having put much time into the DAK project recently. Partly due to the time of year and a pre-occupation with wrapping up my business affairs for a month. However I havent been idle, working on more terrain for the club and starting a couple of Saga tables for Craig and Kelly (more on those later).

I have chosen to finish the tank company by using models that save a few precious £'s.
Using the newish Zvesda 1/100th plastic kits.
These are near enough for me to use as Pz-IV E as the actual differences are minor.
These are the exact model required for the weapons platoon. I intend these to be a similar colour to the rest of the force but have areas of grey visible to represent older vehicles as they were retired to recon work mainly.

So how do they paint up, actually they take paint well with one major difference the acrylic needs to be very dry before applying the next coat or it lifts a little. Because these are ABS plastic I will be giving these a few extra coats of varnish once completed to ensure the paint stays put. The major plus side is the low cost and good detail on each model, much crisper than the resin metal mix efforts.
As you can see they are very much in progress but I like to think about extra details and plan what and where to place it. These should fit in very well with the exisisting models I have already completed.

29 November 2011

Target what Target

Well as posted earlier in the month, I had to concede defeat on my target for the month and have not put a brush to anything from that point forward.
The rest of the month has been spent working slavishly towards my goal of having December off work and I am very much on schedule for that with only one order to complete in the morning.
The only break to this routine was spending an evening with Craig and Kelly two good friends making a start on their new Saga tables (expect some blogging to follow on these as they progress). Also the regular thursday evening at the club, playing a full game of warhammer fantasy and a bit of Saga.
I dont have a definate target for the month ahead, I am having some well earned family time although I will try to get my DAK panzer army up to speed and ready to play in the new year.
I am hopeful that Santa will bring me some usefull items this year because as yet I havent found a game that requires socks or hankies as playing items and they arent that useful for making any terrain with either (I have tried).

17 November 2011

Back to DAK

I have abandoned this months target. With the reorganisation of my painting cupboard, I have been thinking about the actual progress I have made this year and frankly am disappointed. I have painted a lot of figures but actually achieved very little. With the notable exception of the Vikings I have not completed any other armies to a level where I can use them. So to cure this I am re-focusing my efforts.
I have 90% of the models I need to complete my Flames of War DAK tank company, the other 10% are part of a Christmas present so realistically this can be completed to a stage of having 1500 pts by the end of January. Especially when 30% of the force is painted already.
My focus will now solely be put into completing this force before I continue with anything else.
My Dak Panzer company in full will be relatively small:

1 panzer IV f2 (completed)
1 panzer III G

240 points

Combat platoon
2 panzer IV f2 (completed)
1 panzer IV E
1 panzer III G

495 points

Combat platoon
2 panzer IV f2 (completed)
1 panzer IV E
1 panzer III G

495 points

Weapons platoon
5 panzer II

250 points

this will give me 1470 points I may add a recovery half track to the HQ for an additional 5 points. So all I have to do now is paint up 7 tanks by Christmas. Leaving me the 3 panzer III's to complete by the end of January which should be an easier target to achieve. Any additional painting will be directed at the Dwarves which is another project that needs a good hard kick to get to being usable and will follow on from the DAK mission.

15 November 2011

Saga side tracked me.

With the clubs first event interrupting this month painting schedule a little and the amount of extra preparation needed. Our SAGA event Winter is coming needed some additional terrain making to ensure we had enough, so a few evenings were given up with the assistance of Craig and Kelly to produce 6 large marshes and 6 large woodland sections. My apologies but I actually forgot to photograph these. However I did manage to take some pictures of 3 Dark Age buildings I constructed from scratch for the event, and personal use after the event. The thatch was completed the time consuming and tedious way of using Das clay and a cocktail stick it takes a few hours but the results are nice.

13 November 2011

A little night music

I have the Winter is coming UK Saga tournament to attend today. It would have been good if I was well rested for this but alas my body clock always fails me and the innate fear of oversleeping or the alarm failing to go off kicks in. I did manage 3 hours broken sleep but could not lay in bed awake any longer and so at 4 am decided I may as well have a cuppa instead and start the day.
One real benefit of such an early start is I am up before the kids for a change, they are normally the ones to wake us. This means I get a few hours to myself without interruption, but means I also cant make to much noise so perfect for a little quiet music and painting whilst having a couple of cuppas.
This months target is progressing nicely and I will take this opportunity to post an update as the Night Goblin unit is completed. I have not based them as yet as I want to theme all the bases at the end of the painting so the entire army matches.
Meet the Crimson Moon Tribe

 Overall I only had some minor work to carry out on this unit to get it ranked up, a few figures into a better position and a couple of minor alterations on the standard bearer and musician from how they were purchased. The whole unit meets the approval of the boys who these are for. and should make a good opponent for my Dwarves in the future.

12 November 2011

Clearing the mess a little

I have made a decision that will probably impact on this months target but something had to give. Tiny is not a word to use for my painting area, its really an old pantry and its not very tidy with a painting area of just 84 cm wide by 60 cm depth. It is a concrete ledge and a few shelves above, housing the electric for the house too. In an effort to improve the appearance as it drives my wife mad when she looks in, and it drives me mad that I cant find anything. I am by nature a little disorganised and untidy and nothing has a proper place in here.
This is the cupboard before work commences not too bad but disorganised so in an effort to tidy it up to aid me better let work commence. The first part of the job is to create a full sized paint rack and make the concrete shelf level as it is very lumpy and cold. For any one that has visited my workshop they will know I have lots of mdf and offcuts of wood, being a hoarder nothing is thrown away until I am sure it has no use at all. This hoarding proved to be a good tactic as I had all the components I needed to complete stage one of this on going project.
After a hard few hours work I now have a new level work surface cut from a sheet of 6 mm mdf, I decided to place a rail at the front to stop things rolling off onto the floor and added a nice section of timber to the front face which will get painted in the future.This now also serves as a handy feature to rest my arm when painting. The biggest bonus is the paint rack at the back that now houses most of my paints. I made this from beech ply and timber batten offcuts giving me a six step rack. All this rack enables me to lay them out so I can see the colour I want at first glance, and I have been able to colour group them for my preferred three step system. I now get a feeling of space in this small area, the area on the right is for my water, brush cleaner, mixing tray, varnish and most importantly my mug of tea. To the left is a nice space for me to place work in progress which until now had to sit on my painting board. The centre of the area houses my painting board an old friend that I had thought of replacing, but I have used this for over 20 years and it is still in good condition, it even bears the scars of my clumsiness. So I decided that although not great to look at too much sentiment to dispose of. The next step will be some decorating of the walls and improving the shelf space above.

9 November 2011

Upside Downside or Downside Upside

One serious negative aspect to buying secondhand units / figures is not being able to see the figures up close.
The bargain Ebay purchases have a serious negative in relation to speed.
Firstly having painted the test models and got approval from those in control of the colour schemes, I have now got to cut every figure off its base to get them ranked up into useable units. They have just been glued carelessly to the base and as a result I have gaps of 5 and 10 millimeters between the bases. The second downside is none of the figures were cleaned, they all have mouldlines and chunks attached from the sprues (a big no no in my eyes). The biggest drawback though is I also have to disjoint and reposition limbs in order to position the units together in ranks. I am expecting to have to use a lot of pinning as a result of this surgery, to give the figures some durability and strength. In particular the Savage orcs in a running pose as they are not stable once cut from the base.
The major positive of all this extra work though is I saved at least £200 on the cost of buying new figures. So a little extra work to put it all back together and onto the table will be worth it in the end. The second bonus is the Night Goblins only need the mould lines taken off as they do fit together by removing only 6 figures from bases.
The Aracnarok spider is built but the sprues are un touched for the options so that bodes well.
I havent included a picture with this post as a pile of body parts and bases is not insipring at all

1 November 2011

Orc kinds of madness

Well having concentrated on Vikings for a fair while these are going to the back burner for now. I spent all month being harrassed by two little boys who's levels of patience are not great and want their army painted and like yesterday.
So on this months menu are Greenskins galore. In fairness I now have so many thanks to a fortunate purchase through Ebay that I cant possibly paint everything in a month so am going to split it into bite sized chunks.
The Army consists of:
  1. 30 spider riders
  2. 20 savage orcs
  3. 20 Black orcs
  4. 40 orcs (although one is minus an arm)
  5. 20 night goblin spearmen
  6. 1 rock lobba
  7. 1 Aracnarok spider.
I need to purchase a couple of characters for this army but have plenty to paint to get it off and running. This month I am going to paint the Savage Orcs and the Night Goblins. This should be a challenging month as I have never painted either type before, predominantely due to me being a historical painter. I also have two supervisors that are fairly insistant on what colours I have to paint their figures being aged 4 and 5 expect the un-expected as I do.

I have painted a sample figure of each type of Orc to the given directions to assist me painting this project.
Savage Orcs
Night Goblin Spearmen
Orc Boyz
Black Orcs

31 October 2011

October comes to a close

Having given away the vikings I had previously painted to a friend I had to start over with my 6 point warband. Again its been another busy month here and I met my target as detailed in the previous post. So as not to repeat myself I shall explain the modifications I carried out on a few archers.
The chap on the left is the standard figure,in the middle I added fur trims to the arms (can be seen better from front in the next picture) the one on the right had a nice bit of fur added to the cloak top and bottom.
Again as above on the left is the standard figure.
This set again the left figure is un-modifed the centre figure was modelled to have a sword and scabbard all from milliput. The right most figure the cloak was modelled from milliput again.
Overall I am happy with these simple modifications and they change the appearance of each figure nicely.
As I met my target earlier than expected this enabled me to complete the baggage elements for Saga early so without further ado here are my valued livestock.
Two Highland cows and a couple of Wild Boars I picked up at the Derby show from Irregular miniatures.

20 October 2011

Warband at the ready

Well that's my target for the month achieved, I have converted, painted and based all the figures needed to complete my 6 point Gripping Beast Viking warband.
The warlord had a small conversion making a cloak with fur trim around out of milliput.
The first point of hearthguards, the second figure was gien a fur trim to the cloak and the standard bearer underwent a little surgery to enable him to hold an axe behind the shield.
The second point of heathguards, all these had to be modelled to have hair as they all had mail face and neck protection. The last model received a fur timmed cloak as an extra.
Third point of hearthguards, nothing major here just the addition of hair instead of mail.
The first unit of warriors, the only extra work on these were the spear conversions, blogged earlier.
The second unit of warriors, only the spears converted here again.
The last point 12 levy archers. A bit of conversion work went into these as the figures only come in 4 identical poses I shall document the changes to these in another post.

9 October 2011

Bloody Big Viking

I got bored during the week and have been suffering with a heavy cold, so needed to cheer myself up. I got lured into the recent foundry purchases and had no option but to have a look at some of the figures in more detail.
I then figured I may as well paint one to break up the painting of the Beast figures. I choose to paint one of my Warlords. Now the only way I can describe this fella is he's a F**king big bastard.

With character figures in particular I like to take my time and make them stand out from the crowd. No problems with this guy at 38mm high he is huge. I started with the undercoating and mounting the figure on the base. I then did the mail armour using vallejo gunmetal over black then highlighted with mithril silver. Next up I touched up the undercoat on the non armour areas I had hit and worked all the flesh areas before starting on the clothing. I decided to add some pattern to the trims in a simple Celtic inspired design.
Next up came the beard and helmet at this point the figure starts to come to life for me.
I decided the pink only diminished the colours and patterns of the tunic so changed that to a darker green, I worked the leather items and then base coated the cloak with desert yellow.
I then worked the cloak up to an off white using thinned washes of desert yellow mixed at differing ratios with bleached bone.
Finally giving a highlight of vallejo off white on the highest points.Next up was to work the fur and Raven perched on the shoulder.
Next up was adding the details, painting the weapons and adding a border to the cloak, Sealing with a coat of Gloss varnish and two matt varnish coats before basing the figure up.
The Final result :

7 October 2011

Warband broken in ..

I finally got around to playing Saga last night and had two excellent games with Trev.
The first game we played a six point head to head, My Vikings against Trev's Anglo Danish, The dane axe combined with the battle board abilities make them a lethal combination and a very tough nut to crack.
Viking levies in comparison I found out are almost useless, and in all rounds of shooting I failed to even hit a barn door, but they make a great sacraficial target.
The first game ended when I managed to catch Trevs warlord in the open without any support to take casualties and using his fatigue to increase my armour and another to lower his meant I had enough hits to kill him.

Game two we decided to do a four point game, I choose 1 point of beserkers 2 points of hearthguard and a point of warriors. Trev took 2 points of hearthguard (with Dane axe) 1 point of warriors and a point of levies. Again The hard part was countering the Dane axe (Valhalla does have its uses). The game was very much one of attrition but my hearthguard got the better in this contest and Trev was reduced to a Warlord with only levies left again I attacked his Warlord and as levies cant take the kill shot for the lord i pulled out another lucky victory.
Looking forward to next week as we are going for a four player session of Saga

6 October 2011

October target update

Things are progressing nicely and having modified all the spears, I have completed the 2 points of warriors.

8 of them still need there proper bases and I am just waiting for the wargames emporium to tell me they have arrived. So I can base them all up.
I have also finished the 12 levy archers, I have done some modifications to these figures as they only come in 4 identical poses, I will make a seperate post on the modifications once the unit is fully based.
I have based up my warlord and am quite pleased with the final result. I have used my own blend of flocks and some very nice Silflor tufts to set it off. I now have the Hearthguard to paint and to base everything up for the end of the month.

5 October 2011

Spear modifications

I have had the Gripping Beast vikings many years in fact the figures were bought on the release of WAB shieldwall and at the time they came with lead spears. Now these things really dont stand up to much once they are on the table, and bend badly so I have made use of some wire I have and done a simple conversion to save me buying wire spears.
One bendy lead spear, so how do we fix it on the cheap.
 The tools needed, some wire, a scalpel, a pair of side cutters, superglue gel, a pin drill and the lead spears.

Using the scalpel remove the spear tip.
 Take the pin drill and carefully drill a hole in the bottom of the spear tip.
Now you should have a nice hole ready to insert the new spear shaft. Place a drop of superglue gel into the hole and insert the wire.
Thats it job done all that remains is to cut the new spear to length with the side cutters.

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