Monday, October 31, 2022

Bolt Action German Pioniers

 The latest project off the Dusty workbench is a box of WWII German Assault Engineers from Warlord Games. The contents of the box includes the same five sprues that come in the Blitzkrieg German Infantry box, along with an array of metal parts and an extra figure to make a total of 31 assault engineers, plus a Goliath tracked mine. The extra parts, which include arms and heads, allow you to equip the men with a number of specialty weapons such as the Flammenwerfer 35 flamethrower, the GrB-39 grenade launcher, and the Sturmpistole, or a variety of engineer equipment like the Wien 41 mine detector. You also get four each of three different versions of the engineer backpack, along with arms carrying things like a wire spool, a Teller mine,  or a satchel charge, plus a variety of captured submachine guns.

Here's the whole array of the final product.

Vorwärts, Pioniere!

 The assembly of the figures was very much like the German Blitzkrieg Infantry box, with the following exceptions. The engineer backpack comes as a single piece cast along with all the other field equipment (bread bag, canteen, gas mask canister, etc) worn on the back. I often found that the side pouches needed to be squeezed a little closer to avoid a large gap between the body and the pouches. Also, there were a few cases where the contours of the pack and the soldier's back resulted in a gap. These were filled with epoxy putty. Also some of the metal arms that were carrying submachine guns didn't fit nicely to the shoulders. Again the gaps were filled in with a bit of epoxy putty. I had some bits left over from my Soviet Infantry boxes, so I was able to give those men carrying PPSh 41s the appropriate pouches for either the drum magazine or the box magazine. Once all the figures were assembled, sand was glued to the bases with PVA, and everything was primed flat black using a rattle can.

 I liked the look of the early war German uniform that I had done with the Blitzkrieg German Infantry, so I did a similar paint scheme on the pioniers. Tunics were painted German Field Grey followed by a wash of Biel-Tan Green, trouser were painted light grey followed by a wash of Nuln Oil, and faces and hands were painted Flat Flesh followed by a wash of Reikland Fleshshade. The bread bags and Zeltbahn ponchos were painted German Camouflage Beige, and the pioneer backpacks were painted in one of Iraqi Sand, Camouflage Olive Green, or Grey Green. Those painted Iraqi Sand got a wash of Agrax Earthshade, while the other two colours were given a Nuln Oil wash. Gun stocks and shovel or spade handles were painted Beige Brown. I used Luftwaffe Camouflage Green on all the gas mask canisters, as well as the Teller mine, wire drum, and grenade heads. Helmets were painted Charcoal Grey followed by the two side decals. The collars and shoulder straps were painted dark green with white Litzen on the collars and black piping on the shoulder straps appropriate for engineers.

Here is a close up of those carrying a Mauser Kar 98K rifle. The fifth man from the left is equipped with bags of hand grenades, while the man on the right with his rifle slung is carrying a 3 kg satchel charge.

Rifle armed pioneers

Rear view of the different versions of the backpack.

Side view of the different versions of the backpack.


 And now a close up of the men carrying some form of submachine gun. The man on the left is  equipped with a PPSh 41 with drum magazine, while the man second from the right is carrying some version of a Bergman. The rest have MP 40 submachine guns either from the plastic sprues or some of the metal parts that come with the box.

SMG equipped pioneers

 Next we have a two-man sniper team with metal heads that came with foliage tucked into a rubber band made from an inner tube, a GrB-39 grenade launcher team, a modified version of the Panzerbüchse 39 anti-tank rifle, and a MG 34 light machine gun team.

Snipers and support weapons


 Now we have those carrying out special engineer tasks. From left to right, a supine figure using a pair of wire cutters, a man with a PPSh 41 and spool of electrical wire, a man with a geballte Ladung (7 grenade heads tied together), a man with a gestreckte Ladung (a series of nine grenade heads sandwiched between two boards to act like a Bangalore torpedo), a man carrying a Teller mine, and the last one equipped with a Sturmpistole.

Pioneers doing pioneer stuff


 The last group is a Goliath tracked mine and operator, a man with the Wien 41 mine detector, and a Flammenwerfer 35 flamethrower team.

Goliath, mine detector, and flamethrower

Rear view of the flamethrower and mine detector


 While I still have a number of plastic kits of German tanks to do, this is the last of the early war German figures in my 'Pending' bin, with the exception of three German cavalry figures that I got as a sample bag from Crusader Miniatures as part of a larger order. They will have to wait until I decide if I want to get any more. 

Thanks for reading. Feedback is always appreciated.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

"Guns and Butter" - Star Wars Game 7 (Season 2 Premiere!)

Star Wars Campaign - Game 7 (Season 2 Premiere - Guns and Butter)

Last month, I hosted the latest in the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts’ ongoing Star Wars campaign, using Galactic Heroes 2nd Ed. 


Emperor Palpatine is dead! 

The galaxy is in turmoil as Imperial governors and officer vie for control of their sectors. 

Both the Rebels and Imperials seek arms and supplies to help in the ongoing struggle.

In the Both system, on the planet Bothawui, a small Imperial cargo ship has landed at the spaceport near the capital city of Drev’starn, with a cargo of small arms to resupply the far-flung garrison. Rebel Alliance forces want those arms for themselves.

The victorious side would be in a better position to plan their next move, with the ultimate goal to win over the system’s inhabitants.


The Rebels were led by Mandalorian heroine Sabine Wren. Accompanying her were two small squads of Mandalorians (armed with, respectively, pistols, grenades, and flamers, or blaster rifles and rockets), and a couple of squads of infiltrating Pathfinders. 

Below, Sabine and some of her Mandos.

The Imperials were led by former TIE fighter pilot Jeela Brebtin. She personally commanded a squad of Naval ratings and a medical droid. A couple of squads of veteran Sandtroopers, and a squad of Snowtroopers with a flamethrower rounded out the force. 

The scenario rules awarded Victory and Renown Points for controlling the cargo pallets holding arms and ammunition. Victory points were also awarded for putting out of action enemy combatants. Negative VP’s would penalize any side wounding or putting OOA any of the civilians wandering around the battlefield. 

The Imps had a video game to entertain them in their HQ.


Early game, the Pathfinders seized the easternmost pallet, while the Imperial Navy crew moved towards the western pallet. 

Two different fights erupted as Sabine and her Mandos came into close quarters combat against the Navy ratings, and the Stormtroopers engaged in point blank firefights against the Pathfinders. 

Grenades are great when they land where you want them to.

An Imperial trooper with a flamethrower got a bead on a couple of Rebels hiding behind some crates, but a wandering civilian Priest was also in his LOS. Despite the scenario restrictions, that player opened up and flamed all three individuals, putting the Priest and a Rebel squad leader OOA immediately. Typical Imperial disregard for collateral damage. 

Collateral damage!

To the west, savage combat erupted as the Mandos fired off their special weapons and then Jumped into literal knife fighting range with their vibroblades. 

“Men of the Match” were certainly the Imperial Navy, who managed to put OOA both Sabine and one of the assault team Mandos, and they managed to contest a weapons pallet.  The Imperial pilot Jeela fought bravely to the end, even putting a Mando OOA by pistol-whipping them with her empty blaster. She finally succumbed to another’s flamer shot. 

A single trooper from each side contested the central pallet - respectively, a Mando and a Snowtrooper. Both troopers were subjected to a storm of fire. The Mando passed the only successful armour roll made all game, while the Imperial trooper went OOA to a Pathfinder’s blaster. 

Sabine went down swinging.

Karmic justice for the bloodthirsty Imperial with the flamethrower.

It sucks to run out of ammo.

Carnage around the westernmost pallet.

Final positions of all forces.

It was another fun, tense game, decided by clutch die rolls on the final turn! Very cinematic on all counts. 

With the captured cache of arms, the Rebels on-planet will be able to mount a raid against an Imperial facility next game.

Thanks to Rob, Craig, Bill, John, Frederick, Dallas, and Kevin for playing.

I got to wear my new Wiley Games T-shirt.

Some of the other dead soldiers from the night's festivities.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Bolt Action Blitzkrieg German Infantry

After numerous fits and starts, I finally got this project completed - the boxed set of 30 Bolt Action Blitzkrieg German Infantry from Warlord Games. The box consists of five identical sprues each with six figures of which four are standing, one is kneeling and one is prone, along with a wide variety of weapons and different load outs for field equipment. 

In the end, I assembled the figures to form three 10 man sections each consisting of two SMGs, one LMG team (gunner and loader), and six riflemen. Having assembled several boxes of Russians earlier this year where the two arms and the weapon were all separate, I used many of the parts from the sprues that had the arms and weapon all as one piece to minimize the frustration I experienced when trying to glue and align three parts simultaneously.  

I was impressed by the amount of detail on the uniforms and equipment. All the figures came wearing their gas cape bag across their chest, and their Y-straps had all the correct buckles, hooks, and studs. For those who want to super detail their miniatures and paint all those tiny bits, the opportunity is there. The field equipment is separate from the figures, and  provides lots of variety for the arrangement of canteens, mess tins, spades, rolled up ponchos, and gas mask canisters. As with most of the Bolt Action multi parts sets, all the head are separate, and there are lots of variations to chose from. The only big criticism that I have is that the sprues don't provide for a pair of binoculars or an MP 40 as a separate piece. Both are molded as part of a right arm, so having a figure carry both is a bit problematic. In the end I solved the dilemma in two different ways, One was by using a set of binoculars left over from one of the Russian boxes so they could be held in the left hand while the MP 40 was slung over the right shoulder, and the other was by carving away the hand gripping the SMG and placing it in the left hand while using the binoculars held in the right hand. Another minor bug is that all figures come molded with the standard ammo pouches for a rifleman, so if you want to give a figure an SMG or LMG with the correct pouches for that weapon, you have to carve away the rifle ammo pouches first.

 Once all the figures were assembled, sand was glued to the bases with PVA and everything primed flat black with a rattle can. I used Vallejo acrylic paints as well as some Citadel shades. For example the faces and hands were painted with Flat Flesh and given a wash of Reikland Fleshshade. The early war German tunics were greener than later in the war, so after painting them with German Field Grey, they were treated with some Biel-Tan Green shade. And finally the trousers were painted with Stone Grey, followed by the application of some Nuln Oil shade. After painting the collars and epaulets dark green, the Litzen on the collar and the piping on the epaulets were painted white, the Waffenfarbe for Infantry. I also painted the appropriate decals on the sides of the helmets. (I know actual decals for miniatures are available, but I just find it easier to paint the designs on.) The rest of the colours were pretty straight forward from there. If you are looking for a detailed method for painting early war Germans, I highly recommend Sonic Sledgehammer's video on the topic on Youtube.

Here is the final result.

Group shot of all three sections

Number 1 Section

 Since Number 1 Section got the standing LMG team, they ended up with the prone rifleman wearing a wedge cap. The brown bands on the helmets are rings of rubber inner tubes, while the olive coloured bands are the straps from the canvas bread bags worn on the belt.


Number 2 Section

Number 2 Section got a prone LMG team, as did Number 3 Section. All sections ended up with one figure throwing a grenade, and one figure wearing a wedge cap, just for have some variety. 

Number 3 Section

Number 3 Section with the section leader pointing and his SMG slung over is right shoulder. The kneeling figure on the right is the section second in command, who would be in charge of the LMG team.

Solving the SMG binocular dilemma

I now have three sections of early war German infantry ready for either Fall Weiss or Fall Gelb. Next in the painting queue is a box of Bolt Action German Pioneers from Warlord Games with lots of special equipment and weapons. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 21, 2022

More (Doomed) Defenders of Terra

"To the walls!" - Space Marines of the VII Legion Astartes prepare to defend Terra.

The painting of Space Marines continues, this time, adding to the garrison on Terra, with another 10-man tactical squad for the VII Legion Astartes, the Imperial Fists. These are multi-part plastic figures from GW's "Age of Darkness", and they also have embossed resin shoulder plates from Forge World featuring the well known clenched-fist symbol of the VII Legion.

Painting yellow is famously tricky, especially for those of us who apply a black base coat to miniatures for  painting. This habit is deeply ingrained for me, such that the few yellow models I have painted over time have started with black undercoats - including the first squad of Mark VI Imperial Fists I had painted earlier in the fall. It worked OK, but in the end it was a bit underwhelming, and it is a real slog to build the paint from black to a highlighted yellow. It was clear that, if I was going to paint any more VII Legion figures, I would need to open my mind a little bit.

View of the rear detail on the armour - perhaps taken as they flee the walls in terror, unwilling to face the righteous might of Horus' mighty legions? Hard to say...

And I did want to paint some more of these guys...there is something about the yellow armour, and a temptation to have VII Legion Marines for games set on the Siege of Terra. So on this next squad, I experimented a little bit using some more logical paths to the colour yellow on these models. These experiments involved Army Painter spray primers, and GW's Contrast Paints, all to get a good base of bright yellow on the armour plating. Hopefully some pictures in this post can give you an idea of how it went.

Approach #1: Spray Army Painter Matte White as the base coat, and then apply a coat of Army Painter Daemonic Yellow to set a base coat of yellow.

Approach #2 on the right above, and approach #3 on the left.

Approach #2: Spray Army Painter Matte White as the base coat, and then apply a coat of GW's "Iyanden Yellow" Contrast Paint to set a base coat of yellow. Then paint GW's "Yriel Yellow" over top.

Here we have the GW Contrast Paint "Imperial Fist" painted over a coat of Matte White Spray from Army Painter.

"Imperial Fist" over Matte White Spray from Army Painter.

Approach #3: Spray Army Painter Matte White as the base coat, and then apply a coat of GW's "Imperial Fist" Contrast Paint to set a base coat of yellow. Then paint GW's "Yriel Yellow" over top.

So how did things work out? Well, #1 was in many ways the quickest path forward, as the "Daemonic Yellow" spray from Army Painter is very close to the colour of yellow I prefer on the VII Legion armour. BUT - and yes, it is a big BUT - this Army Painter spray is, in my view, much too thick/heavy. I only applied this on one figure as a test, and the results were enough to ensure I would never use "Daemonic Yellow" for anything else again. I was able to finish the figure to the point where he fits in with the others, but yeesh, it sucked. 

This officer gets a plain old bolt gun like the rest of his unit. Considering the Legion rules, this makes the most sense.

Approach #2 worked just fine. Again, this was done on a single figure as a test. There was no terrifying loss of details as with the Army Painter "Daemonic Yellow". In the picture you can hopefully see that this combination of yellows was a little warmer, a bit more orange, a shade of yellow preferred by many who paint this force. I only did one figure this way, but he fits in fine with the others.

Approach #3 also worked well - it ended up being my preferred approach, and so after testing one model, I painted the remaining seven models for the squad using this approach. The combination of the "Imperial Fist" base and "Yriel Yellow" over top yields a colour is a little colder and sharper, which is how I prefer my Imperial Fists to look.

As you can also note, I certainly did not scrimp on the weathering with these fellows, and that is just a matter of my own taste, and how I imagine the VII Legion Marines during the Seige of Terra, running from one battle to the next as Horus' forces hammer away at the defences. There would be little respite - and certainly no time to spend polishing up armour to remove damage and scratches (as opposed to, say, the Ultramarines, who would spend 80% of their time polishing their armour).

The Legion symbol on the shoulders...not so easy to paint...YMMV but I messed up on several of them.

One other note is that I have found the embossed shoulder pads to be quite difficult to paint. The detail on the resin is a bit soft, and I made a real hash of in on several of the shoulder plates. Normally I am used to the embossed shoulders being a real treat to paint (they certainly were for the Sons of Horus), but they are much trickier here. 

These are just ten blokes with bolt guns, but the Imperial Fists benefit from a (frankly absurd) special rule that gives them a bonus to hit when using bolt guns. This 10-man tactical squad will need all of the help it can get when confronted by the 20-man tactical squads from the XVI Legion... 

That's all for now - thanks for visiting! Hope to share more 30k stuff soon...