Wednesday, November 27, 2019

More Random WW2 Painting - 20mm Soviets

Some random 20mm WW2 Soviets.
I haven't posted in a while, but I have been managing to keep the paint brushes going.  For some weeks now I have been really stuck into WW2 painting subjects - this isn't so unusual overall, as I really enjoy gaming the period - but given that interest, output on that topic has been extremely sparse over the past few years.  I feel like I have been trying to make up for that in the past six weeks...and here are some more products from those efforts - some 20mm WW2 Russians.

As with the random 15mm Germans I posted earlier in the month, these models were all sitting in a big pile in a box (see photo), a thing that passes for "organization" when it comes to my hobby hoard.  I was probably "just about to paint" these back in 2015 or 2016 or something, but then tossed them suddenly away as my squirrel-like attention span was swept up into some other project.

Part of my WW2 "Pile Of Shame" - a mix of 15mm and 20mm figures and vehicles. I'm trying to clear up at least SOME of this backlog!
One thing when I move on to something and leave a project behind is that I often forget what paints I used and in which combination I used them.  So these were kind of "test models" to see if I could get back on the Soviet WW2 wagon.

A BA-64 armoured car (from SHQ) and a messenger (from PSC).
The wee BA-64 (sitting primed on my desk for years!) is an all-metal model from SHQ Miniatures. I think the scale of the vehicle is probably more 1/76 than 1/72, but I'm not 100% certain, and at any rate it is hard to tell as the BA-64 is such a wee vehicle! This little vehicle will help with scouting and some light fire support on my gaming tables.

The Russian uniform came out a bit too dark, but I was happy with the green on the armoured car.
There is also a single infantry model - this is a 1/72 plastic figure from the Plastic Soldier Company. He is not armed, but can serve as a dispatch/messenger, which can have a specific application in games like "Battlegroup" or just serve as an objective in general in many of the other systems we play.

I was trying to figure out the mix of colours I had previously used for the Russian khaki...this came out too dark.  I think I have the right colours, but not the right mix.  I'll need to keep experimenting - and write it down after I get it right!!!

T-34/85s from PSC - prepared to crush the fascists!
The T-34s are 1/72 plastic models also from the Plastic Soldier Company.  PSC had a sale a few years ago, and I must have really stocked up, because I found I have like four boxes of these things! Oh well, in just about any scale of WW2 Eastern Front game, you can always use a lot of T-34s...

I rough my tanks up a lot...maybe too much, but I like the battle-worn look.  It seems right for the Eastern Front!
The PSC models give me heartburn at times - why, oh why, are the tracks in multiple pieces?!?! But I suspect that's just me. Most people (any non-bot reading this) will not have the same challenges I routinely encounter...overall, these are EXCELLENT kits, a great value and a great way to build up a big Soviet WW2 armoured force. If you look closely, you will see I mucked up on the tracks...but, that's me - with some common sense, you'll avoid those issues easily.

And hey, paint them and muck'em up, and they're good to go!

As a bonus, these models come with two turrets, so you can use them for the earlier, more classic T-34/76 variant.  I have not painted the 76mm turrets yet, as my interests are much more late war than mid-war for now.

Curt will often refer to painting in this scale as "God's Own Scale". We all laugh - of course, all of us have our preferences for scales/periods etc - but he does have a point - I find painting the WW2 figures in this scale very, very fun! While my 15mm collection is much larger, my 20mm WW2 collection is growing slowly-but-surely.  These were great fun, and I hope to do more during the approaching Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

WWII Skirmish Gaming


The Conscripts play WWII infantry games in several scales (28mm, 20mm, 15mm, 6mm) and using several sets of platoon to battalion or larger sized rules (Bolt Action, Chain of Command, Crossfire, Flames of War, Spearhead, Blitzkrieg Commander, plus home brew).  I realized long ago that I am not going to be able to build up larger forces like several of the other fellows. The last couple of years my figure gaming has been focusing on skirmish gaming, of the science fiction variety.

Lately, I have been collecting rules sets to fight very small scale skirmish actions, from a fire team to maybe a couple of squads a side. Such rules include:

  • the updated version of Donald Featherstone's classic Skirmish Wargaming; the original book had scenarios from the Dark Ages to WWII, and the new edition includes a Lord of the Rings Third Age fantasy scenario and a sci fi scenario!
  • 5150 Star Marine; fast play sci fi rules, up to and including units of powered armour
  • Nuts! 4th ed.; WWII man to man combat, squad level and up
  • Rogue Planet; cinematic science fantasy 
  • Snipers! Duck, Dodge and Shoot; close up and personal, with one side a single sniper team or MG crew and the other side a single squad
  • One Hour Wargames; 8 sets of very simple rules for various periods, from Ancients to WW2, with 30 scenarios
  • One Hour Skirmish Wargames; diceless (uses two regular playing card 54-card decks), with historical scenarios ranging from the Napoleonic era to Cold War Afghanistan, and including Pulp Science Fiction 
  • Song of Blades and Heroes; fast-play, skirmish-level fantasy miniature system; it uses an action-point system that requires no book-keeping
  • Song of Drums and Shakos ; using the Song of Blades and Heroes engine, fast-play, skirmish-level Napoleonics

So, I have bit the bullet and started with some WWII infantry. The header photo and the one below are a 28mm female sniper team, for a small WWII Soviet force. A squad or two of infantrymen, and maybe a MMG team. These nicely sculpted figures are from Bad Squiddo Games. They have some very nicely sculpted female figures from several historical periods. From what I have read, Soviet women served in various specialist roles (medics, snipers, tank drivers, pilots) throughout the war. I used Vallejo acrylics and GW washes for 95% of the painting, with a little bit of artists' oils for details. 


Ottawa Conscript Sean traded me three squads of painted German troops for some Warmachine figs. The were long-serving toy soldiers, with some chips and dings. I fixed up the damage with the appropriate Vallejo acrylics, applied some GW washes, and re-sealed the figs with Tamiya (TS-79) semi-gloss spray. I now have a full squad of early war Germans (mostly from Foundry), a separate LMG team, and a small command element.



I have yet to paint some Artizan Designs Soviets in great coats that I have, and ordered more figs from Bad Squiddo. There's some late war Germans from Sean that also need some touching up.

Other Periods

I have a "battalion" of 24 painted French Napoleonic figures that I got when Pendragon Games closed down. I can base them on 25mm round bases. I recently ordered some 28mm plastic Prussian Line Infantry and some plastic French Hussars (some of whom will become Prussians with shako head swaps from the Prussian infantry box), from Perry Miniatures. 

Also in the long-term queue are some Fireforge 28mm Templars I purchased awhile ago, both mounted knights and on foot, that I will convert to the Order of Santiago.

I look forward to trying out some more historical periods, in small, bite-sized chunks!

What a Tanker! at Game-iToba and with the Conscripts


Game-iToba 2019

Lately I have played a lot of What a Tanker! I love its simple rules, concentrating on the confusion of fighting a tank as 3, 4 or 5 crew get in each others' way. Also, there's the low bar to entry (one tank per player).

I ran three sessions of What a Tanker! at the Game-iToba game convention (in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) back on November 9th. I brought out 1941-era tanks. Simple scenario: capture objective markers n the ground for 1 VP, and be within 6" of a fixed objective (the knocked out armoured car and command tank) for 2 VPs. I was scheduled to run two 2-hour slots, but there was interest, and the table was free, so I ran an third impromptu game! Yet again, talked myself hoarse. People seemed to have a really fun time.

Game One

Russ and Don go head to head, pitting a StuG III against a T-34 (76)

Below, Russ' StuG III moves past a disable Pz. I command tank as Don's T-34 crashes through a fence to seize an objective.


General view of the table:


Russ moves forward his second StuG; I allowed re-spawning like in a video game.


Don, having seized two objectives, moved his (Fast) T-34 toward the German command tank objective. However, by this time he was reduced to only 1 Command Die! The game ended in an exciting  draw.


Game Two
Andy, Cole, and a couple of other kids slug it out.

Below, Cole moves his T-34.


Below, Andy's Pz.IV E seizes an objective marker.


The kids in the fray.


Cole rams Andy's tank, destroying it!


One of the other kids moved his T-26 (1933) past his friend's knocked out Pz. 38(t).


Game Three: Four more bystanders got introduced to the game.

Below, the T-34 rides again. In the background is a well modeled Frostgrave table; the GM ran her game a couple of times while I was there. 


The smoke of defeat.


World War I What a Tanker!

Last Thursday, just a few days after Remembrance Day here in Canada, the Conscripts played a WWI scenario loosely based upon the tank on tank action at Villers-Bretonneux in March 1918. Dallas hosted and I facilitated the game. The rules we used came from WillieB's gaming group on the WaT! forums:

The Mk IV’s just could not stand up to the A7V’s, with their thicker armour. My own Mk IV was reduced to one Command Die, LOL!

Below, the German players; their mission was to exit the opposite (short) table edge.


Club member Frederick painted up three of the 1/56 scale tanks just that week!


Another one of the new models.


Hugh’s A7V advanced to point blank range, just before passing Dallas’ damaged tank.


Me contemplating the futility of action with only two command dice. Little did I know.


Below, Bill’s captured Beutepanzer poured a ton of fire into my hapless Mk IV.


A7V’s can be seen exiting the table...

Untitled the Germans win the scenario!


For the future

I have been collecting die-cast or finished, built-up models. The beautifully painted StuG III seen above came from FloZ. The great KV-2s below came from modelers in, respectively, the US and  the UK.



Thanks to Conscripts Curt and Dallas, I have unbuilt model kits for another Bandai T-34 (1941) and a Tamiya SU-122, both in 1/48 scale. There are even variants online for Arab/Israeli War and Warhammer 40K! I look forward to playing and running more of this game.

Cars - Gaslands and Formula De

A couple weeks back, I ran a Gaslands game at Game-itoba, a local convention (our game is 27 seconds into the video). Of course I already have loads of cars painted, but I'd just bought a couple more and was wanting to try out a "fast-painting" technique I'd seen on the excellent Sho3box blog.

Basically you take your Hot Wheels cars, glue the wheels in place, add and basecoat paint the conversion parts. You can pick out a random panel or two and paint it black, then stipple your colour of choice over that, to represent a replaced panel. I did that on the driver's side fender and passenger quarter panel on the Camaro, above. Then give the car an allover wash of Nuln Oil.

After that's dry, go over it again with a wash of Agrax Earthshade.

Next you sponge a dark brown over the lower part of the car, followed with some drybrushed silver over the replaced panels and guns, and some regular sponge chipping. Final step is to paint in the lights, matt varnish the model, then go back over the lights with gloss. Done!

Here are the two rally cars I did - VW Scirocco and Ford Sierra. As with the Camaro and Beetle seen above, the weapons I used were from the excellent "Implements of Carnage" sprue produced by North Star.

The "wings" were black plastic, repainted with Mechanicus Standard Grey.

MSG was also used on the windows to represent armour plate, with black slits for vision.

And now for something completely different...

I'm a big Formula 1 enthusiast and from time to time in the past I've been able to convince the lads to play a game of "Formula De'. Of course, we can't use the lame plastic cars included with the game - I bought and painted pretty much a whole grid of cars for us to use.

This bunch is based (mostly) on the 2005 Formula 1 world championship season. The first pic above shows Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (M. Schumacher and Barrichello) and BMW Williams (Webber and Heidfeld). Immediately above (left to right): West McLaren Mercedes (Raikkonen and Montoya), Mild Seven Renault F1 (Alonso and Fisichella), Panasonic Toyota (Trulli and R. Schumacher)...

...Lucky Strike BAR Honda (Button and Sato), Sauber Petronas (J. Villeneuve and Massa), Red Bull Racing (Coulthard and Klien), Jaguar (Webber - 2004 season).

Here's Michael Schumacher's Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro car.

And Mark Webber's BMW Williams.

These cars are tiny. As they say, small but perfectly formed. I'm thinking of getting some more to paint up in some historical liveries. The mid-1970s and early '80s were great times for F1, not to mention the early '90s with Senna and Prost at the wheel. Fun!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sedition Wars - Commodore Grist


(Click on photos to enlarge.)

I have mentioned before the cool heavy armour of the Sedition Wars universe, the Gnosis Battlesuits. In-game, such equipment is issued to the elite of the Vanguard. These suits are like little tanks; they're immune to nasty things like acid and fire, and when finally wrecked the pilot can climb out to continue the fight!

Back in 2013, Studio McVey released a high quality resin sculpt for Salute 2013, Commodore Grist. I managed to find one over the summer online, and just finished painting it up.

I used many very thin layers for the zenithal highlights. Only 5 drops of colour (4 white and one green) in the small metal cup in the airbrush, 5 drops of thinner, and the rest water. You don't see the "dots" of the spray as much, just a smooth transition from dark to light. See the shoulder pads and gun in the photo below.


I did most of the head/face in Vallejo acrylics, with some oil paints to smooth out transitions.

I augmented the usual glazes of Coelia Greenshade (the green parts of the armour) and Fuegan Orange (shoulder pads) with actual painted colour layers in acrylics. The armour and shoulders used the Vallejo Yu Jing paint set. However, Seraphim Sepia continued to work well on the gun and the "plumbing" of the suit. I used artists' oils for blending, point highlights, and special effects such as chips, scrapes and impact damage. Vallejo powder went on the lower part of the boots. I airbrushed the base separately with Secret Weapon Stone, and weathered it with oils.


Below, the nominal light source for painting highlights and shadows was above and in front of the figure's forehead.


The rear parts of the figure fall into slight shadow.


I also debated painting Vanguard insignia on the shoulders using freehand techniques. Decided against it. The Vanguard don't seem to use insignia on their Gnosis armour. Maybe their connection to the Tac-Net precludes the need for visual identification? I can always go back and add some markings.


I debated using OSL to make the muzzle of the plasma gun glow, but decided against it.


Below, details of the power fist and its damage.


Comparing this to previous Vanguard figures, the armour colouring  is deeper and richer, I think because I am not just relying on glazes over white for the highlights.

Just one more figure, the big boss Cthonian, to complete phase one (the Battle for Alabaster boxed set) of the Sedition Wars project.

Kara Black's sword in NMM

Back in September, I attended a great painting seminar put on by Polish master modeler Michal Pisarski, winner of both the Crystal Paintbrush and GW Slayer Sword. The seminar was all about skin tones and non-metallic metallics. The figure we used was a large scale bust of a vampire. At the end of the seminar weekend, he shared some tips on painting wargame scaled figures.

He completely repainted the blade of my Kara Black figure from Sedition Wars. From Michal's POV, at this scale less is more. He painted the blade flat black. The hottest highlight is at the tip of the blade, in pure white. IIRC, he added blue to the mix as he worked down the blade toward the hilt. Note also the very fine scratches and irregularities along the blade's length. Michal's brush control is superb; this was all done in about 10 minutes with watered down acrylics.