Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Bolt Action Winter GIs

As noted in my recent Sherman post, I've been working on some winter GIs to face off against Conscript Greg's newly painted winter Germans. In this post I'll show off the Bolt Action winter US Army HQ pack and rifle squad boxed set.

The Bolt Action HQ figures are a mix of models wearing the drab wool double-breasted overcoat, and the light-green mackinaw coat. The officer pictured above wears an M43 field jacket under his overcoat. the overcoats were painted Rhinox Hide / Mournfang Brown and the mackinaws and M43s are Catachan Green with a heavy Camo Green overpaint.

The medic with stretcher is about my favourite model from the pack, pictured here with a greatcoat-clad officer with M1 carbine.

Here's an NCO with mackinaw and light green trousers holding an SCR-536 "handie talkie" radio along with a private, also armed with an M1 carbine. I gave the all the figures gloves painted grey, basically following the webstore illustration.

Warlord also offers a boxed set with an entire metal rifle squad. The figures are armed with a mix of M1 Garands, M1 carbines, and BARs - two of 'em for an extra firepower boost.

Here we have the NCO squad leader and three privates - two with Garands and one with BAR.

Another group including a rifle grenadier, a soldier preparing a grenade for use, and two soldiers with Garand and carbine.

Here's the last two figures in the squad, armed with BAR and Garand. All of the models were painted following the box illustration.

The models in the squad are all very well kitted out with packs and suchlike, really some veteran campaigners here. The Bolt Action models also come (mostly) with separate heads, which is handy if you're building multiple squads from the same boxes. It just allows a tiny bit of variety. The only awkward fit was the head on the rifleman aiming his Garand. No matter how I tried to position the head, it just looked awkward - you can easily pick him out in the pics above.

The Bolt Action stuff is generally good though, and I recommend both of these packs wholeheartedly. Most of the rest of my winter GIs are from Artizan though, and as such they're slightly beefier in build than the BA boys. You'll see soon... I'll be posting some pics of the rest of the platoon (and some support in the form of a .50 cal) shortly!

Winter StuG III

1/56 scale plastic StuG model - kit from Warlord Games.
As Dallas noted, I have been on quite the painting tear with a 28mm WW2 project.  I got started on a late-war winter German force last December, and the project has come along nicely, starting from zero figures to include a platoon of infantry, some support and even some Hanomags to ride around it.  It's more than enough for a nice game of "Bolt Action" - but there is one element missing - some AFV support.  This new model will address that.

An iconic piece of WW2 kit...the unique front silhouette of the StuG.
This is a plastic StuG III from Warlord Games - it is a 1/56 scale kit (sigh).  I have painted it up in winter colours to match the rest of the force that I have put together so far.

The plastic kit has lots of nice detail, but if you look closely at the bottom right I could NOT get the hull sections to sit together smoothly...f*cking plastic models...I always mess them up...
I don't plan to do a lot of tanks or anything in 28mm - I play other scales for that - but they still needed at least one to feel like my first phase of this new project was truly accomplished. So here we are!

Dallas does seem to have a lot of Sherman tanks, so I might need to add another AFV of some kind...

I left the schurzen plates off of the model, as there was no reasonable way to mount them and expect that they would not be immediately snapped off on the gaming table...
This kit was relatively straightforward to assemble, although I still found a way to struggle with it. That's just me...any normal hobby human will find this kit easy to build. BUT there is one exception to that statement: it's the schurzen plates. I really wanted to have those on the StuG, but as you can see, the Warlord model has flimsy plastic connection points. These closely mimic the real way those plates were mounted, so model is realistic. But in terms of wargaming-table logistics, this approach is delusional, as they would snap off the second someone tries to pick up the model.

Anyway, it looks great without the plates, and I might figure out a more robust solution later.  So I built the plates, but have left them to the side for now.

75mm gun will help take on enemy armour...
I threw my usual painting recipe for winter AFVs on the model...as I have said before, I like my winter vehicles to look like a mess, because winter IS a mess - a total f*cking mess. F*ck winter. Snow is pretty on Christmas Cards (and there are days like that), but anything that drives or moves through the winter will be mucky in no time at all. I like my vehicles to reflect that.

Here is the vehicle along with a couple of the infantry models painted during the recently completed AHPC X.
I wanted to start with a StuG for the Germans because StuGs look cool and they were a pretty common AFV (insofar as AFVs were available to the Germans late in the war).  I tend to neglect StuGs in my WW2 collections in other scales, so I thought I would start with this iconic vehicle in 28mm. My late war Germans now have some AFV support, and are ready for a game...whenever that might be possible...

Ready for action on the table! I'm sure it won't get knocked out on the first turn or anything like that...I mean, when has that ever happened to newly-painted vehicles, right?
As you have seen elsewhere on the blog, Dallas has been really beefing up his collection of 28mm US forces in winter kit, so at some point we'll be able to have a really awesome game of "Bolt Action" set during the Battle of the Bulge, which is something I've always wanted to try! Who knows when that game will take place...but in the interim, collection escalation is always a lot of fun. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope all are safe and healthy out there.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Winter Whitewash: Tamiya 1/48 Sherman M4A1

Readers will have seen Conscript Greg's copious updates on progress made with his winter WW2 Germans. He's amassed quite a few models in his project. And as these things go, his progress inspired me to assemble some opponents to face those Germans, if the coronavirus pandemic ever allows us to get together in person again, of course...

Fortunately I didn't have to go far for this Tamiya M4A1 kit... it was in the "Model Kits - Unbuilt" box in the basement, and went together very quickly. I built it as the later version.

I also used some resin stowage bits on this kit - the pile of stuff on the rear deck as well as the spare track links etc. on the front of the model are both from "Value Gear", an ebay seller offering tons of 1/48 stowage bits.

I painted the model Catachan Green and applied decals, then started in with the whitewash treatment. This consisted of stippled Rakarth Flesh to create a nice light base, followed by more stippled White Scar. I left a margin around the insignia markings as you see on most period photos. The vehicle was then mudded up with Rhinox Brown and Mournfang Brown.

I used a synthetic broom bristle for the antenna - these seem to work well and are pretty hardy.

Here's a better view of the Value Gear stowage.

Ready for some winter battles against Greg's Germans! Of course, it will likely be summer by the time we're able to get together...! But in the meantime, stay tuned for some more winter US Army content...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Star Wars: Legion - Rebel Scum, and more Imps


Rebel Alliance and more Imperial forces for Star Wars Legion. The Rebels were commissioned from Cody (FB @coldpaintingtable, Insta @havok100). In general, the sculpting is pretty good, with an interesting mix of male and female humans, and aliens. I like the variety of skin tones and alien features that Cody used.

Above is Luke Skywalker, as he appears when he confronted Darth Vader on Bespin in the movie The Empire Strikes Back.

Below, the first squad of Rebel Troopers, with a couple of optional heavy weapons at either end of the rear line.


Below, another squad of Rebel Troopers. Also, better views of the heavy weapons, a gatling blaster and am ion grenade launcher.


Below, some crisp Fleet Troopers (basically, shipboard marines). They were the crew we saw on Princess Leia's ship in Star Wars, and who held off Darth Vader on the Rebel command ship, at the cost of their lives, in Rogue One.


Below, some Rebel Pathfinders. These special forces types were featured in the assault on Scarif in the movie Rogue One. One the left are two alien named characters, Pau and Bistan.


Below, an R2 unit, a Rebel Officer, a Commo specialist, and a medical droid. They provide various leadership and support roles for the Rebels.


Below, an AT-RT walker. Basically a light tank, it's a 20+ years old relic of the Clone Wars. Typical gear for a rag-tag group of rebels.


Ironically, I now have 70+ figures with no way to play multi-player games with them, during the current COVID-19 emergency.

I guess some solo gaming will be the order of the day for awhile!


More Imperials

These models are the final commissioned pieces painted by Steve Brown. Below, another squad of Imperial Stormtroopers.


Below, Stormtroopers from the Stormtrooper Upgrade set. The sculpting is a little crisper than for the regular Stormtroopers shown above. Also, take note of the heavy weapons.


According to the Internet Movie Firearms Database, all the Stormtrooper firearms (and the other blasters in the movie) are based on real world weapons. For the basic squad guys, the heavy weapon is an MG-34 and the regular blasters are Sterling SMGs (I think the rocket launcher is based on a Bazooka variant). For the Upgrade guys, the heavy weapons are, respectively, a Lewis Gun and an MG 15.

Star Wars: Legion - The Mighty Chewbacca


I painted the mighty Chewbacca for Star Wars Legion. The neat parts of this were researching and then rendering the various fur colours.




From various images I gathered, Chewie's fur definitely has a pattern, but the colours may vary depending upon the  source.

So, I settled on reddish-brown fur, with greyer patches, and lighter fur around his face.

I airbrushed Golden Titanium White zenithal highlights over GW Chaos Black primer. I used various acrylic washes for the fur: GW Reikland Fleshade for the reddish fur, Agrax Earthshade for the darker fur, and Seraphim Sepia over MSP Blond Shade and Blond on the face. I used some artists’ oils for blending and details on the rest of the figure.

It's a large, imposing figure, standing around 45mm tall. In-game, he synergizes very well with Han Solo and with Princess Leia. He's also pretty tough, shooting a big gun and basically ripping off arms in close combat. I look forward to playing with him in future games.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

More Dredd: Cadet Judge plus Chief Judge Cal and Retinue

The one (only?) advantage of being forced to stay home is that it has increased production of painted figures here at Conscript Towers. Fortunately I'd just received a mail order from Warlord Games and along with some Bolt Action Americans (which have also been painted and will be the subject of a future blog post), Stallard & Co sent me a Cadet Judge from the Judge Dredd range.

The box includes a Cadet mounted on a Lawmaster Mk 1, which is significantly smaller than the MK 2 that comes with the Dredd and Anderson box sets. I love the aesthetic of the bike and rider, looking like the Cadet just pulled up to a crime scene, or is conversing with a civilian or another Judge.

The bike is a super little model, cast with separate handlebars and shotgun holster. It painted up fast and the casting was particularly conducive to edge highlighting, which I seldom do nowadays...

Since in the game rules, Lawmaster bikes have AI and can operate independently of their riders, I didn't glue the Cadet in place.

Looks good eh??

The box also includes a Cadet Judge on foot. While both models are composed of Warlord's new resin-plastic material, it works much better on vehicles than on foot figures. The Cadet Judge's daystick was warped and wavy, so it was cut off and replaced with a length of wire from the hobby box.

Another pretty nice model from the modern Dredd range.

And now for a throwback to "The Day the Law Died"! This group of models depicts Chief Judge Cal and his retinue of SJS Judges and bloodthirsty alien Klegg mercenaries from 2000AD progs 89-108.

Judge Cal was the power-hungry (and apparently insane) boss of the SJS (Special Judicial Squad - basically Internal Affairs for the Justice Department) and took the Chief Judge's chair in a coup d'etat, supported by his Praetorians in the form of the SJS.

Mongoose made two SJS judge models - one male and one female. Although they're cast in metal, I was able to convert the pose of the leftmost model slightly.

I should also note some potential controversy regarding the SJS uniforms... as 2000AD strips were in black and white only, it's not super-clear whether the SJS uniforms were navy (as we presume regular Judges wore) or black... likewise the eagles and buckle badging could be depicted as silver or gold. I've copied the colour scheme depicted on the excellent Sho3box blog, which is a great source for 2000AD/Dredd painting inspiration.

"Slicey-slicey, oncey-twicey, claw and fang'll kill Dredd nicely!"
Another key to Cal's successful usurpation of power in Mega-City One was his employment of the Kleggs, alien mercenaries who worked for Cal and were paid in... meat (you can see where this is going)

These are also Mongoose castings from the Kickstarter and, truth be told, aren't very good, with lots of awkward flash and miscast areas. To be honest I was pretty lazy cleaning them up too so don't be too hard on them.

"Meaty-beaty, chop 'em neatly, death or glory no retreatee!"
The leader wields a pretty fearsome cleaver as well as the standard Klegg rifle.

The weird rocket-thingies on their backs are straight from the comic, but I have no idea what they are supposed to represent.

Front-and-back of the Klegg trooper. Mongoose apparently made another version of this model that had a better looking rifle, but I haven't been able to track one down yet.

Kleggs have reappeared in subsequent Dredd storylines as well. Notwithstanding my tepid enthusiasm for the rhyming football-chant mania that informed Dredd stories in the late '70s, I actually quite like the look of the Kleggs. In fact, I have even bought some other not-Kleggs (Khurasan's Garn)! So I am a Klegg fan... I just wish these ones were better cast and offered some variety in poses.

Now for Warlord Games to give us game stats for Cal and the Kleggs... I think that gaming the insurrection against Chief Judge Cal would be fun indeed!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Final Painting Challenge Submission - 10mm FPW Bavarians

10mm Bavarians for the Franco-Prussian War. Figures from Pendraken.
The tenth edition of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has concluded. I had big plans to finish AHPC X with a bang, some big-time entries but world events have not cooperated, as work has been a bit of a scramble running into the final hours of the Painting Challenge (it ended at midnight last Friday).  But I did manage to finish these little fellows - these are 10mm Bavarians for the Franco-Prussian War.  The figures (and flag) are all from the excellent Pendraken.

The sculpts from Pendraken are really incredible...I just can say enough good things about them - I wish I had ordered more before the government "shut" the borders...

Infantry in cornflower blue tunics. You can't miss the Bavarians!
When war broke out between France and Prussia in the summer of 1870, the Kingdom of Bavaria sent a major contingent to join the forces of Prussia and the North German Confederation.  From the initial battle at Wissembourg through the seige of Paris and many battles against the stubborn French Republican regime which replaced the fallen government of Napoleon III, the Bavarians played a major role in the Franco-Prussian War.

Command group in the middle...depending on the system, each base could represent one battalion from the regiment...or the three bases together could represent one battalion...all depends on the rules.
In terms of approaching ways to game this period in any scale, I would like to start out "small". The Battle Wissembourg fits that bill, in the sense that it was one of the smaller encounters in the War.  It was also one of the first battles. A division (and more) of Bavarians were part of that engagement. These figures are meant to represent part of that force, representing a regiment of infantry and a regiment of cheveauxleger cavalry.  There are two individually-based mounted officers as well to represent relevant layers of command, depending on the rules system being used.

Chevauxlegers - Bavarian "light" cavalry.
The Battle of Wissembourg saw an understrength French division hold off elements of one Bavarian and two Prussian corps for the better part of a day.  Had any of the nearby French forces come marching to the sound of the guns, the engagement may have turned out differently, but the lethargy shown by the French command would turn out be the rule, not the exception, in the summer of 1870...

Again, these could represent one regiment, two regiments...it all depends on the rules being used.
There are several different sets of rules for gaming the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 at larger scales.  I am hoping to use the "1871" rules, and will probably also try "Black Powder", and maybe even "Polemos".  It will still be some time before we get to the table, as even the "small" Battle of Wissembourg still calls for something like 44 bases of infantry, nine bases of cavalry and 21 bases of artillery...the war in 1870 was short, but the battles were big!

Mounted officers to serve as command markers.
The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge was a lot of fun - I should not here that moth Mike F and Byron M also participated, painting lots of really cool stuff.  I encourage everyone to head over to the AHPC Blog and scroll through the entries to check out their work!

Certainly current events may now allow for more time to paint, even though the crippled economy may not allow for much money to buy paints or figures (not that I "need" any more figures)...I'm fortunate enough that my job is still holding up for now.  But I know Thousands and thousands of others are not so lucky, so I hope everyone out there can stay healthy and safe, and I hope our collective governments get their sh*t together in time.

Cheers, and stay tuned for more "social distancing" painting efforts...