Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Painting Challenge Submission 14 - Something New - 28mm Crusaders

28mm Crusading troops from Perry Miniatures

The Crusades have always fascinated me, and the notion of gaming the period has captivated me for a long time. But I have avoided diving into the period for a variety of reasons over the years - the more I studied, it felt like the less I knew, and I wasn't sure where or how to get started figure wise, and the hesitation was enough to keep me avoiding it.  Some cool submissions in this edition of Painting Challenge (like Stephen S's Hospitallers), however, finally inspired me and decided to jump in.  After pondering some different scales and rules, I figured the quickest route to getting a game in would be a skirmish game.  With that in mind I thought I would start with SAGA.  For figures, I opted for the wonderful 28mm sculpts from the Perry twins.

These figures represent the beginnings of a four-point Crusader warband for SAGA. There are eight warriors and one knight (the test model).  These figures arrived on a Friday night two weeks ago and I was pretty keen to get started so I spent that night and the next day preparing and priming the figures, with paint beginning on the Sunday.  For the foot troops I used some flattened steel spears I had lying around, while the Knight retains the cast pewter lance which came with him.  I love the steel spears, and I can see why folks go for them...

While SAGA is a skirmish game, I based the figures on squares/rectangles so they could slot into movement trays to take part in games of "Hail Caesar" that I hope to do sometime well down the road.  That will be a long, long time away, but a guy can daydream, right? :) In the meantime, my focus will be to get enough stuff painted so we can try SAGA with the Thursday night gang at Dallas' place.

Some fun freehand painting on the shields - tried to do some very simple mono-coloured ones to match some more complex ones as well

Painting fellows wearing chain mail is relatively straightforward, but as I had been contemplating this project one major stumbling block in my mind has always been the shields - specifically the patterns on them.  I hoped to work around that using decals from LBMS, but my order of shield transfers had not yet arrived and I was so fired up by the surprising success of the Winnipeg Jets two weeks ago I didn't want to wait to get started, so I just did the best I could by panting freehand.  It turned out OK.  I have still have no idea what the story is with the patterns on the shields, but for now, I'm trying to "fake it till I make it."

How did this happen? The Jets racked up a rare win a couple weeks ago against the struggling Habs...good for painting movtivation, but bad for the Habs...

I find preparing the Perry castings can be a chore, but as Curt has often said to me it's worth it in the end, as these were a real joy to paint and I absolutely love the sculpts.  It's always a great feeling when a new project offers such a nice jolt.

The spears are flattened steel - this is the first time I have used them, and I see why people prefer them...

While these figures are meant to take part in games set in the Crusades, I suspect they might do for a variety of different settings where Normans were involved, from battles in Italy and Sicily to service as mercenaries for a later Byzantine force, among a few options.

The star of any Crusading setting - a Knight! Can't wait to finish more of these fellows.
This submission has eight 28mm foot figures and one mounted 28mm figure. The painting minions kindly chipped in a few extra for the hand painted shields, so I netted 54 points in total for this submission. This assortment represents about one third of the Crusader Warband and I have been working to finish the balance during this Challenge. I hope I can make a start on their Saracen opponents as well.  The Hobby Gods will it!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Painting Challenge Theme Entry - "West"

Marder IFV and dismounts - 1/100 scale/15mm from Battlefront

For the fourth bonus theme round of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge the theme was "West".  I thought "West Germans" would do nicely for this submission.  Unfortunately the hobby logistics didn't come together so well prior to the deadline so the submission didn't have a lot to it - a single Marder IFV in 1/100 scale, a plastic kit from Battlefront.

Full marks to the West Germans for coolest-looking IFV in the period...man those Marders look sleek

I had been working on my own group of Bundeswehr forces for Battlefront's "Team Yankee" game, but finished only infantry, as a variety of logistical hiccups (no bases for the vehicles, no material for the bases, blah blah) have cropped up to slow and prevent any real progress.  Plus, as you can see elsewhere in this blog, Dallas has already assembled an excellent assortment of West German figures (and we have played several games with them already).  So the impetus for me to crank my own West Germans out became pretty low...

I like to have the MILAN teams dismounted, but you can model them on the vehicle if you prefer

Nonetheless, I got this one vehicle done! A platoon needs three of them, and the whole company will probably call for six or seven of them in total.  Sounds like something I will try and get to in the spring.  Byron has been showing me how to use an airbrush, and I hope to put that to work on some West German vehicles. Stay tuned for more on that at a later date...

As always, some incredible talents have submitted Theme entries.  Check them out here.  A special mention of some continued awesome work by Byron, see here.  With theme entries, you can vote for your favourites...just saying...


If you want to try "Team Yankee" and you live in or near Winnipeg, be sure to come out to the "Legions Maxximus" gaming and hobby event on March 17th and 18th.  We will be putting on a "Team Yankee" demonstration game pitting the Bundeswehr and British allies against the rising Red Tides! "Team Yankee" is a fun, easy-to-play tabletop game set in the (thankfully fictional) cold-war-gone-hot of 1985. We really enjoy it, and we think you will too.  Burning tanks everywhere by the second turn! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Painting Challenge Submission 13 - Empire Handgunners for Warmaster

A unit of Empire handgunners for "Warmaster"

I was away last week, so could not get very much painting done for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I did get home in time over the weekend to crank out one more unit for my Warmaster Empire forces.  This is a unit of handgunners, very useful "missile" troops in the game for the Empire player in the Warmaster game.  Their shooting is harder to stop, and any wounds you can stick to the charging units of your enemy will really come in handy.

Astonishing variety and character in these small sculpts - incredible stuff.
The colours are really loud as before, and they are from the province of Hochland, red and green.  Once again I went with brighter colours to really make them "pop" (I hope).  And although they are of course imaginary, these troops are clearly inspired by the forces of Renaissance Europe, and I believe some rather bright colours were often employed in that era.  So the province of Hochland may have to deal with dark, brooding forests and the scary Middle Mountains, but dammit, their contingent in the army will look bright and fun when they march forth!

GW's Warmaster figures are a joy to paint, these were no exception.
In an ideal world I would include several of these units in my Empire force, as the stopping power of the handgunners is very useful, particularly when confronting cheese-bag overpowered forces such as those marshaled in the name of Chaos (*cough* Chaos Knights *cough*).  The Warmaster game, however, is long-cancelled, and the figures are found only in online aftermarkets.  Handgunners in particular figures seldom appear on Ebay, so this unit will remain a little lonely for now, although fellow Challengers have suggested several alternate sources for 10mm troops which might be useful, so I will check those out.

The yellow feathers...maybe too yellow? Oh well.

Once again I must rave at just how awesome these sculpts are from GW.  Just frigging brilliant, a true joy to paint.  Man, I can't wait to get a game in again with this stuff...haven't played Warmaster in like eight years or something...

The handgunners take their place in the ranks...not to worry gents, I'm sure those Knights behind you will hold off and not trample you or anything like that.
Of course I have to include the obligatory progress shot of the overall force, which has grown from a neglected little smattering to a healthy-sized, full force ready for a game! I'm fortunate enough to have a few more units to add (included some nice recent Ebay scores, even if I can't find many handgunners) but I think, for now, this will bring my recent Warmaster painting run to an end, although with my butterfly attention span, who knows what next week might bring?

The Empire forces for Warmaster! They even have  house to defend now! I wonder if Byron could be convinced to 3D print more of that village stuff...

I'll conclude with a photo from our visit to California last week.  We visited the Palm Springs area, and while much of the trip was taken up with important activities like relaxing by a pool, sipping drinks and shopping, we also went hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, home to a surreal and mesmerizing landscape.  What an amazing place...can't wait to visit again next year.

The Barker Dam at Joshua Tree National Park in the USA...there had been some rain two weeks prior, so there was water behind the dam...it was a peaceful and beautiful place to visit, and a lovely hike...

There 24 castings 10mm in size for this submission, so this should get me 24 points.  Trudging toward the goal of 1000 - still a ways to go, but the goal is in sight. Stay tuned for more next week (I hope).  It's another "theme round" weekend and those can be a little dodgy for me...

Be sure to check out the ongoing excellent entries at the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, including more stuff from Byron, who is apparently running a painting factory...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Painting Challenge Submission 12 - Deredeo Pattern Dreadnought for the Alpha Legion

"The Alpha Legion wants you to MOVE YOUR CAR..."

I'm on vacation this week, but still managed submission number 12 for Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge before I left. This is a Deredeo Pattern dreadnought battle armour, painted in the colours of the Alpha Legion from GW's Horus Heresy setting.

I can't top the quick explanation of dreadnoughts that JamieM already offered in his submission featuring Thousand Sons Space Marines.  The dreadnought is a power armour unit driven by the ruined remains of a fallen Space Marine.  As Jamie said, if you are going to exist solely in a coffin covered in guns, you might as well do it in a fully pimped out ride.  The Deredeo Pattern suit delivers...it will provide serious firepower to support the requirements of Alpharius' lads.

The marine-helmet-style head gives a good connection to the Marines and 30k setting on an otherwise very unique sculpt that echoes a number of sci-fi themes

I love the look of this sculpt - it fits with the other 30k dreanought suits, but evokes things like the crazy Macross destroids or the "ED 209" from Robocop, among other things.  The guns, the armour, it's all over the top - and that makes it ideal for 30k in my books!

Assuming the autocannons and missiles don't wipe out whatever the problem was, there are a pair of heavy bolters in the hull...total overkill
Steve B is a genuis, and he used magnets on the build, so I can swap in the heavy flamers if preferred (see above). Since this is an Alpha Legion unit, I assume the flame throwers would be used to burn documents and evidence...

This thing is armed to the teeth - and the teeth probably explode or something too. Features such as the Anvillus autocannon battery, Ailos missile launcher and body mounted heavy bolters all ensure enough firepower to wipe out any inconvenient loyalists or witnesses the Alpha Legion would care to obliterate.  There is an option to equip this model with flame throwers in place of the heavy bolt guns on the hull, and I'm able to do it in this case because of: MAGIC.

A view of the ammo containers on the back

Well, actually it's magnets.  The magic comes from Steve B.  He assembled this beast for me.  Steve is a great guy and he has the mind of a hobby engineer.  Since I tend to encounter catastrophe with magnets, I asked Steve to help me out once again. He has already assisted me with a number of tricky kits from Forge World (see here for his ace work on a Fellblade super heavy tank). This kit is a tricky one indeed, with the belt fed weapons hitching up to the pack, an approach the Forge World sculptors love to employ, but the casting quality is not always so easy to work with on the gaming end.  But Steve not only assembled it, but he frigging magnetized the whole thing so I can switch out the weapons! All of them! So if I wanted to, I could order the plasma cannons...funny how I say "if", like that's a variable...

The model is a big sucker, bigger than the other dreadnought models.  Seems fitting to me, as it is carrying enough weapons to fight its own war.

The tactical Marines give an idea of the size of the model...this is a big sucker

So a huge, huge, "thank you" to Steve B for his help and skills, and I hope my painting does his efforts justice. I am super psyched to have this model finished, and can't wait to take it for a stroll on the gaming table.  As a newly painted model, I'm sure it will dominate the table, right? See you all next week for more Painting Challenge mayhem!

Challenge Theme Submission - A Home in Hochland

10mm medieval home, courtesy of 3D printing by Byron!

The third bonus theme of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge was set for this past weekend.  The theme was "Terrain: Home", and I was expecting between my intense dislike of painting any kind of terrain, a travel schedule and the fact that I didn't really have anything to fit the theme that I would end up missing this theme round...that wouldn't be the end of the world, but would have been a bit of a bummer, as I have started to enjoy them. 

Enter Byron, who joined us for our Team Yankee game last week.  He handed me this model, which he created with a 3D printer.  He had noticed all the Warmaster stuff I had been painting in the Challenge, and thought it would go well with the Empire forces. Wow!

Empire commanders review the battle plan outside of their cottage in Hochland...

I don't know about 3D printers at all, or at least, I know enough to know that I should just stay away from them.  But this is an example of the sort of cool stuff you can get when clever folks get hold of devices like 3D printers.  This particular model had some odd texture here and there, but overall it's bloody amazing.  I think there is some kind of set of files out there for "medieval village" or something..? However that works, the explanation is best left to Byron.

Meanwhile, the wizard is out back practicing spells...maybe he shouldn't stand so close to the house?

I threw some colours associated with the Empire province of Hochland on the model, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out! When the time comes for a Warmaster game, I look forward to placing this on the table as part of the action! A big "thank you" to Byron for this great little gift!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Team Yankee Battle Report: Flanking Attack

A couple weeks back we played the third and final scenario in the campaign contained in the "Leopard" expansion for Team Yankee. The first two games had not played out spectacularly for the West Germans but they had been close-run and we were looking forward to a good finale to the campaign. We posted a report on the first one, "At the Forward Edge of the Battle" (must have been translated direct from the German, eh?)

The scenario was called "Flanking Attack" and involved the Germans catching a Soviet battalion mostly unaware, laagered in the box at centre-upper left. The German objective was to hold one of the two markers - one just visible above the trees at centre left, the other in the treeline at top left. The Germans deploy in the box at top centre right, with reserves coming on the table at bottom centre of photo, along the long edge.

The West Germans - three Leopard platoons and HQ, Panzergrenadier platoon with three Marders, and two BO-105 attack helicopters.

Soviet forces - yikes!! Look at all the T-72s!!! Fortunately they all start bailed out except for the Carnation battery.

Commissar Greg surveys the battlefield.

Soviet deployment. As noted, all vehicles are bailed except the Carnation SP guns at top left. Leopards have deployed at top right, headed straight at the Soviets.

"Da, it is good. Decadent Western Leopards are no match for Soviet steel."

Here come the Leopards...

And here's what they're facing...

Contact made! Leopards light up the BMPs along the irrigation ditch line. T-72s enter action at top right.

T-72s get some flanking shots in on the lead Leopard. Ouch!

Meanwhile, the T-72 crews begin to mount up and move out.

Bailed Leo in the background - first Leo platoon swings to face the main threat while second platoon lines up shots through the woodline.

This was a pretty good roll but I can't for the life of me remember what it was for!!

Over to the southern front - the last Leo platoon and Marders have come through from reserve and rolled up to the objective.

Milans and 120mm Rheinmetall guns blaze away and light up the T-72s ... but there are too many, too close to the objective.

One turn too late with the big push. Swamped by numbers, the West Germans prepare to sell their lives dearly in defence of their fatherland!

End of game - The West Germans came close to securing the objective (just visible at short table edge centre top left) but are overwhelmed by Soviet numbers...

This was a fun game with lots of back and forth swings. At the beginning the Leopards rolled across lighting up BMPs and T-72s at will, but as the Soviets started to remount their vehicles but by mid-game the Soviets had awoken and were making things tough for the Bundeswehr. The last two turns in particular were a bit of a slog with every Soviet hit on a Leopard causing a distinct wince... Even one tank knocked out created significant problems in German morale - the two- and three-tank platoons are quite fragile!

In the end the German reserves came on just a turn too late. If they could have held the objective while the Soviets were still mostly bailed out, they could have gotten the win. As it was, a few more gun tubes in the right spot might've made the difference but there were just too many Soviets!  

Monday, February 6, 2017

Team Yankee: British Infantry and Lynx Helicopters

The latest Team Yankee escalation involves the British. Conscript Greg very kindly presented me with the infantry component of a British mechanised platoon for Christmas, knowing that I intended to fire up a troop of Chieftains. So I've now completed painting the infantry (see below) but wanted to add an aerial component to the small force as well. Enter the Westland Lynx helicopters.

Battlefront sells a great kit. The box contains two models, which can be built as either "Helarm" (TOW missiles in racks on either side of the fuselage, shown above) or the unarmed "transport" variants.

It's a good-looking helicopter! Rotors are one-piece and attach to the body with rare-earth magnets supplied in the box. I painted the helicopters in the same colours as the Chieftains - primed black, all over Catachan Green, then camo stripes of Abaddon Black mixed with a skosh of Mechanicus Standard Grey, then Vallejo German Uniform for the lighter green bits. Follow with a wash of Nuln Oil. Missile racks were drybrushed with MSG for highlights, and the tubes painted Steel Legion Drab.

Decals come in the box as well. Strangely, the models used in Battlefront's own propaganda shots (box front and in the Iron Maiden "codex") don't have applied decals. I had to search out the proper placement on the Internet (I know, wah wah wah)

Close-up of the TOW missile rack. Being indecisive and cheap, and wanting maximum flexibility out of the kits...

...I magnetised them! You can see the disc-shaped neo-dymium magnet in the picture above, directly inboard of the centre support of the missile rack, between the two supporting "legs".

This magnet adheres to a disc magnet superglued in the appropriate position inside the fuselage, on either side, before assembly. With magnets attached to the missile racks, they can be clipped on and off as you please. Just make sure to use magnets that are strong enough to grip each other through the plastic hull. The missile rack assembly is very light so it doesn't take much of a magnet to do the job.

Presto - just remove the missile racks and you have the "transport" variant.

Now on to the infantry - the mechanised platoon comes with seven large stands and one small one for the two-inch mortar.

Here's the platoon commander, identified by flowers on the base.

I love the poses and sculpts of the Battlefront infantry but just wish that the casting was better. There are still a few slipped molds and mangled faces/weapons in the lot.

Here's the British contingent so far. Next up will be sourcing some FV432s for the mech platoon, and maybe getting some guys with MILAN ATGWs, but I don't see the British force growing much beyond that. It's intended to be an allied contingent for the West Germans in "narrative" games and will do fine in that role.