Monday, December 31, 2018

From Honour, Cometh Iron - Further Iron Warriors Escalation

Taking advantage of a few things today - the push to get a few final models done for the big New Year's Day game (Siege of Terra part 2), plus a day off from work and a chance to do some photography and blogging. Gilles (seen above) is helping too - so let's get at it!

First up is a Rapier Laser Destroyer and crew.

The crewmen's armour sports the markings of my IV Legion artillery troops - a single chevron on the right pauldron.

The Rapier carriage was done in the same style as the rest of the Legion's vehicles (and indeed the infantry models too) - Leadbelcher and Brass Scorpion basecoat with an allover Nuln Oil wash, followed by Reikland Fleshshade on the gold. The chevrons are Averland Sunset heavily weathered with chipping (black and Rhinox). Earth tones on the model are drybrushed Mournfang Brown and
Steel Legion Drab. Tracks are finished with a diluted rust powder wash.

The Master of Signal will stand in as a techmarine for the force. The communications gadgets on his armour are pretty cool.

Narik Dreygur also got done in this batch. A pretty cool character model.

Of course, one always wonders why these guys don't wear their helmets. What do the think they are, 1970s pro hockey players???

The main bunch of models I wanted to get done, though, were the Breacher siege troops. How cool are these guys? MKIII power armour and giant shields! I was torn between leaving the shields black-faced with a "IV" Legion decal, or doing the hazard-striping. Industriousness won out over laziness, for once.

The poses are great, with the Marines really leaning into their shooting. The models were pretty easy to assemble, too - the bolters rest nicely on the shields giving another purchase for adhesive.

Painting the viewscreen was a little tough given the close quarters. It would've made more sense to paint the shields before assembly, I guess.

Weathering on the shields turned out pretty well, black-brown followed by Leadbelcher sponge chipping.

A few closeups from the group shot.

Really looking forward to fielding these chaps tomorrow in the Siege game. Mike's bringing his giant Terran Wall terrain (no word on who paid for it, though :-) and I think the Breachers will be right at home... "breaching" it!

And as that's likely it for my blogging activity this year... Happy New Year to everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Painting Challenge 2018-19, First Entry - Franco-Prussian War 28mm

28mm castings from Wargames Foundry's Franco-Prussian War range.
Greetings and holiday well-wishes to all out there! I hope everyone has had, or is having, a chance to relax, enjoy some spirituous beverages and time with friends and family. 

Of course, when Christmas comes, another annual tradition arrives with it - the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, overseen by our friend Curt in Regina. Through the winter the participants in the Challenge tackle their respective piles/mountains/hoards of unpainted lead and plastic gaming figures and models. You receive points related to the volume of work you complete, and while it has a sense of a contest, since you set your own points target, it is really a race against yourself :)

There is also a well established tradition of "side-duels", competitions among sub-groups of Challenge participants to focus on a particular scale/setting/points target, what-have-you.  This year I have joined in a side duel to paint as much stuff from GW as possible. Given the...substantial accumulation of 30k stuff which has built up over the past little while, I'm hoping this ninth edition of the Challenge will spur completion of new forces for my 30k collection. 

With that said, my first entry to the Ninth Edition of the Challenge goes nowhere near the year 30,000.  Rather it picks up from a theme from my body of work in the last edition of the Challenge, and a recurring theme on this blog for different stints over the past 16 months - namely the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 in 28mm.

It was just over a year ago that I plunged into this period and setting, tempted by the amazing uniforms, cast of characters and compelling setting I found reading about the period.  I have pursued this project at two different "levels" - a collection of individually-based 28mm figures for skirmish gaming, and a collection of 28mm figures based in groups to represent battalions/regiments with the goal of, at some point, playing a small battle using the "Black Powder" rules.  The items in this submission are part of the latter effort - two command bases for the Prussian forces, and an artillery piece for the Imperial French Army.  The figures are all from Wargames Foundry's excellent collection, which was sculpted by the Perrys.

French Artillery

French 12-pound artillery piece and crew from 1870 in 28mm. 
The Franco-Prussian war occurred at the very end of the "Black Powder" period.  Rifles and artillery were starting to achieve much longer effective ranges on the battlefield, such that having artillery on the table for a 28mm-scaled game is a bit of a stretch.

Nice animation on the gunner figure, ready with the lanyard. 
Or, at least it is for the Prussians, perhaps. Not so much for the French. This French 12-pound piece with four crew looks like a formidable weapon, but the French artillery, particularly in the opening "Imperial Phase" of the Franco-Prussian War, was ineffective-bordering-on-useless.  Time had passed these muzzle-loading pieces by. Toss in the dud fuses, lack of percussion-triggered shells etc. and you have yet another chapter to add to the "All The Sh*t That Went Wrong In 1870" book for the French.

Great sculpts from the Perrys...little things, like the one crewman with the rag wrapped around his head, an example of the great stuff you see in Perry castings. 
The uniforms of the French gunners bear a striking resemblance to the uniforms of the Union Army in the US civil war - the blue cloth, the kepis...thankfully the gaiters set them a touch apart, as does (I hope) the red piping on the pants and kepi.

"Vive l'Empereur!" (sadly, basically a flag with the word "bang" will be all that happens...if they are lucky....
This piece will represent a French battery on the gaming table, perhaps getting one or two shots away before the Prussian breech-loading guns blast it to vapour.

Prussian Command

Like the most "Black Powder" players, I usually represent commanders on round bases - the more figures on the base, the more senior level of command being represented. There are two bases, and two levels of command represented here in this entry.

"Over there sir!"
The mounted officer, based together with a foot officer, will represent a "Brigade" commander for the Prussians ("Brigade" in the general, Black-Powder-Rules sense, not necessarily an actual brigade).  It is fairly similar to another command base I painted in October - there is only one casting for the mounted Prussian officer in the Foundry collection, so I use different foot officers to give some variety.

"You know, from up here on my saddle, I really don't think that is such a big deal..."
I like the combination here - the infantry officer is pretty animated, gesturing with his sword (like, "The French are dug into the ridge straight ahead!"), while the senior commander is fairly indifferent to whatever information is being relayed ("Don't bother me with excuses. Forward!"). It strikes me as a nice encapsulation of the command attitude that sent a sizeable portion of the Prussian Army into the teeth of the French Chassepot rifles during the battle of St. Privat (which, of course, the French still found a way to lose, but anyway).

Prussian high command vignette from Wargames Foundry.
The larger round base with the three figures and the table will represent the "Army" commander for the Prussian side in my "Black Powder" game.  Again, I love the spirit conveyed by these castings - the senior officer has reviewed the latest dispatches brought in from the cavalry scouts (the fellow in green is a Hussar).  He is utterly perplexed - surely the French couldn't be doing...that? Better smoke my pipe and think it over while my ADC (the Uhlan rocking the long red coat) deals with this messenger.

"Latest dispatch from the front sir!"
Overall I continue to absolutely love this period.  The sculpts from Wargames Foundry - cast in proper metal, like all real, true and honourable wargaming figures should be - are an absolute joy to paint.  The high-command vignette in particular was a treat - I love the beard on that senior officer! It's so serious, it almost made me think it could have been the Prussian King himself - but there are no Iron Crosses or other frippery on the figure, so I expect he represents another one of the senior Prussian echelons instead of a royal persona.  The pose, chilling with his pipe, with the awesome table, covered in dispatches, a Prussian picklehaube and a sabre...just brilliant, great stuff from the Perrys.

"But where are those lattes we asked for? Are we in France, or not?"
In terms of points, this submission was good for 62 of them - a small downpayment toward my target of 1200 points worth of work to complete before the spring of 2019 arrives.  While I will continue to share work here of course, you can track my efforts (and those of two other Conscripts - Byron and Mike F - Byron already has two excellent submissions) over at the Challenge blog. Marvel at the scope, breadth and diversity of entries, as well as the bonkers skills of the many participants - they are a fun bunch!

Cheers for now! If I'm going to do a GW-themed side duel, I suppose I best get on with a few GW models...stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Kill Team, Heresy Style

A couple Thursdays back we decided to dust off the Heresy armies for a game of GW's new opus, Kill Team. For those who've been living under a rock, KT lets players field real skirmish forces of 3-20 models and is a skosh more detailed in its gameplay than 40K. In truth, it's meant to be a gateway drug for new players... collect and paint a Kill Team and you're on the way to having a 40K army, or something like that... Of course, for grognards like us, Kill Team is more a matter of picking out some models from the 10-or-more 40K armies we already have, and playing a game with those. Not much danger of KT escalation hereabouts.

Anyway, Conscript Greg and I ended up picking very similar Kill Teams - his, Sons of Horus and mine, Iron Warriors. The scenario involved a very lost Herald of the Warmaster who needed to be picked up and "protected".

I laid out a congested urban table 4 feet square. We deployed in opposite corners. Four markers were placed near the centre of the table as possible locations for the Herald. The Kill Teams were tasked with finding the Herald and escorting him off the table. Above you can see some of the initial Iron Warriors deployment. We also placed a Marine with Missile Launcher on the third storey of the red-brick building at upper right.

Sons of Horus deployed on the street ready to rush the objective markers/tune up Iron Warriors...

View from the SoH side. IW missile dude is in the building at centre top.

The battlefield as seen through the sights of an IW missile launcher.

The first turn saw the ML score a counter-sniper hit on SoH heavy weapons Marine hidden in building behind their lines.

Iron Warriors rush to check markers in no-man's-land. Unfortunately for them the SoH had set up in overwatch and after a furious gun battle the Iron Warriors were down!

The other three markers having been confirmed as duds, the remaining Iron Warriors close in on the confirmed location of the Herald. SoH Marines are all around - on overwatch at top centre and out of sight by the wall at centre left and behind the building at centre right.

SoH boss closes on the objective, with a minion just behind the building in support. IW trooper did not live long but help was on the way!

Oooof... that didn't work either as the SoH boss took out the "help"...

Never fear, here comes the IW boss... but the SoH leader took him out too.

Sons of Horus escape with the Herald in tow!

That was a fun game with a real ebb and flow of fortune. With only 6 models per side, taking out one or two models really makes a difference! Note the "flesh wounds" being carried by the SoH boss in the pic above... I got pretty unlucky with Greg's wounding rolls but them's the breaks! I really enjoy Kill Team as a skirmish game as the departure from strict IGO-UGO is really fun.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Zouaves! French Zouaves in 28mm

28mm Zouave infantry from "Eagles of Empire" 
Do you ever get into painting/collecting a period or setting with one specific type of troop or unit in mind? I mean, yes, you are interested in the whole period and the whole setting, but there is one particular thing - a tank, a uniform, a character a certain unit - something that will come along in the course of painting, and bring the whole thing together...?


NCO on square base, regular troops on round bases. 
I first saw Zouaves on a wargaming table a long time ago, like 25 years ago, in an American Civil War game.  I was captivated immediately - and also totally confused.  WTF was up with those incredible outfits? And...why were regiments in the Union army garbed in this fashion? Helpful gamers tried their best to explain it to me, and kept mentioning France. Which, at the time, made even less sense!

Some incredible character on these castings. 
At the time I was ignorant of the relevant history and related inspirations. Reading more about France, and finally about the battles in Crimea, in Italy and finally the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 - as well as visiting the Pont de l'Alma in Paris - finally put these super-cool looking troops into the right context.

Unit officer on hex-shaped base...NOTE - I made a mistake in his uniform - I missed the gold trim on the front of his coat - this was corrected subsequent to these photos being taken.
The Zouaves began as North African troops, and the unique cut of the uniform is inspired by that climate, region and culture - the short coat, the baggy trousers, the fez and turban caps.  Of course, the snappy facing colours and lace patterns...well, that's France for you! Over time the Zouave regiments became "European", although North African troops continued to make a very important contribution to the armies of France in the form of the feared "Turcos", the notorious Tirailleurs Algeriens (and also the mounted arm - the "Chasseurs d'Afrique").

I love the fluid nature of this casting! Such elan, such spirit!
The Zouave and Turco regiments were front and centre amid the ill-fated campaign against the Prussian assault in 1870. They battled tenaciously, from the opening engagements around Wissembourg, to the doomed envelopment at Sedan, and subsequent abdication of the Emperor.  When I started my Franco-Prussian War painting project in 2017, I looked forward to stage in the painting where I could turn my brushes to some of these remarkable soldiers.

These are 28mm castings from the incredible folks at Eagles of Empire. Soren and the group released these figures back in the summer of 2018.  Sculpts from this company have a very unique look and feel - for 28mm figures they are kind of tall, very slender...but SO much character.  The Zouave infantry are not only extremely cool, with their super-funky outfits, but they are sporting a heroic amount of pots, pans and tent stakes! Not only are they ready to fight hard, but they can also whip up some soup when the time comes!

Group of Zouaves - ready for action. 
As with my other Eagles of Empire figures, I have based these figures on individual bases for skirmish gaming set in the Franco Prussian War.

Check out all the stuff on those packs! Ready to fight, AND to cook & camp! Vive la France!!
These castings come with separate head sculpts for you to choose from - you can make the models up as either Zouaves or "Turcos".  In this case, as you can see, I went with the Zouave look (stay tuned for more work featuring "Turcos", however).  I salute the efforts of the folks at Eagles of Empire for trying their best to offer us gamers flexibility, BUT I do find separate heads can be tricky sometimes - and as you can see, one or two of the fellows are showing the side effects of those challenges - some of the figures look like they are "looking down" instead of forward.

Second group of Zouave infantry - two "squads" of 8 models each. 
Another small quibble is the bayonets...these miniatures have the incredible sword-style bayonet cast right on to the ends of their Chassepot rifles.  But I am not a fan of casting bayonets on to rifles using the thin/slender style of Eagles of Empire - the reason being that they bend off and break during shipping :( That is why you only see 17 finished figures even though I had two boxes - a number of broken bayonets :( 

But for all these small troubles, these figures were still an absolute pleasure to paint. Just so much fun! The style of sculpting at Eagles of Empire is very different from a lot of other sculptors out there, and I love it, just love it! If you are interested in this period, you need to get some of these figures, just to have the pleasure of painting them yourself!

As Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge approaches for another run, I hope to be posting & sharing more stuff from this period.  Thanks for visiting, hope you have a great day!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Team Yankee BMP-2 Company and TTCombat Buildings!

Another update in Team Yankee escalation - this time on the Soviet side for me, as I finish up my Soviet Opfor to use against my British and Bundeswehr Bunch (tm).

Last time the update was massive, covering my Hinds, Acacias, Shilkas and Motor Rifle company. As alluded to in that post, this one will add the "motors"...

These are BMP-2s from Battlefront - two boxes worth. The BMP set comes with hulls and turrets to build either -1s or -2s and I opted for the latter, mainly because of their somewhat better in-game stats and concomitantly higher points cost. This can be important because of the disparity between points values for most Soviet vs. NATO stuff (USA, GB and West Germany anyway) - those sexy tanks are expensive and you need a lot of Soviet stuff to balance that.

The BMPs are all injection-molded plastic kits and are very well designed and easy to build. My only gripe is with the tiny searchlight as it is easily broken.

Such a sleek-looking APC - you know this was a trend-setter among the world's armed forces. Building two boxes (10 models) when combined with the two I built from the Yuri's Wolves set gives me 12 - enough to outfit the Motor Rifle Company. Sorted!

A project of an evening this week was painting these Shops from TTCombat's 15mm "World War" MDF scenery range.

I really can't praise these models highly enough. They look great, are easy to build and paint, and are inexpensive to boot. Compare the cost of your favourite resin or pre-painted buildings from MBA or Battlefront to these... it's only 8GBP and change for what you see here :-)

Scale looks good with these Bundeswehr troops defending their town.

The buildings all have removable roofs and constructed second floors as well for easy model placement inside. I did a pretty basic paintjob on these and I expect they will do yeoman's work on our Team Yankee tables for a long time to come.

TTCombat are a great bunch - I emailed them with a compliment on including chimneys with these models (the Townhouses I have from them don't include chimneys and that's a bit of an oversight) and I quickly got a message back saying that they'll be adding chimneys to future cuts of the Townhouses. Can't ask fairer than that!