In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Trees Have Eyes!

Last Saturday, as the Mad Padre and I watched Patrick advance the big, nasty troll towards our quivering militia to open a big can of doomy-doom on them, I observed, "We need some Ents."
"I'd love to get some Ents" replied the Padre with an air of mild despair.
"I used to have one. Did a pretty nice job on him too. Sold it with my elves a few years back."
The Padre just sighed and watched the Troll get closer.

Yes, I used to have some old, first edition Warhammer plastic High Elves. I added a Games Workshop Ent, a few Old Glory High Elves and the Ral Partha "Scottish Archer Running" (long hair, flowing cloak, he looks a bit elvish). I sold them off however at a Hotlead Bring and Buy several years back, and returned the Ral Partha archers to my 11th/12th century Feudal army.

But it turns out I didn't sell the Ent. He's been quietly contemplating things on my book shelves under a display dome (thank goodness or he'd have a quarter inch of dust on him!) along with my attempt at an Elvish Queen/Sorceress.

As you can see he's a pretty old model. I think from before the Wood Elves were their own army list. When compared to the Elf babe he's not that tall by today's entish standards.

I think the Elven lady might be a Galadriel figure (aren't they all?). In an attempt to be original I gave her a blue dress to match the blue and silver theme of my army.

These were among my first attempts at shading with washes and dry brushing highlights. I thought her hair came out nicely (unless I'd meant her to be a blond). The braid with the jewel in the back is a nice detail.

I'm almost tempted to strip the paint off her and redo her in a white robe and golden tresses. But maybe just some Army Painter Meadow Flowers to pimp the bases is all that's needed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Miniature Therapy

The Black Dog had been humping my leg all week, so the Mad Padre prescribed some miniature silliness and came over last night with his long neglected Lord of the Rings armies and some baklava from the Kitchener Farmer's Market.

Mike has some Uruk-hai from Isengard and Riders of Rohan, from when his kids were keen on playing. Due to youthful impatience and enthusiasm the armies were rushed to the table with minimum paint and he's been slowly finishing up a few figures at time over the past year.

We threw some trees on the table, the Padre and I took the Rohirrim (adding my one and only official LOTR figure to the Riders) and Patrick and Wierdy-Beardy took the forces of a Morally Alternative Lifestyle.

Our Doom approaches.
Eowyn tries to get a new hanging for the Great Hall. She would have succeeded too if somebody hadn't forgotten the 'Charge' rule!
Gah! It's getting closer!
Riders make a cinematic charge across the screen to Theoden's aid
Crappy picture towards the end of the big, complicated, multi-turn dust up in the middle that all GW games seem to result in 
Gamling goes for the Troll
My one LOTR figure (rider on the white horse) posing with some of Mike's rather nicely finished figures
'Twas a silly game. I was really disappointed in the ability of the cavalry and then Mike realized he'd forgotten the 'charge' rule. After that the Orcs started dropping with appropriate frequency, but by then it was too late to get Aragorn and his big shiny sword into combat with the Troll who had ground Gamling and the militia into Spam.

I had never tried LOTR before but wasn't terribly surprised. It is a GW game after all and there's a horrendous amount of dice rolling to remove a figure or two. Plus an awful lot of rules for what boils down to a high roll wins sort of combat system. I was always drawn to the LOTR minis and almost bought more than the single rider many times, but always held back thinking "they're expensive, the rules probably blow and what would I do with them?"

But my "Green Knight" did finally hit the table and charged about quite a bit. Plus the baklava was very good.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Game Out with the Mad Padre

I had a pleasant night playing I Ain't Been Shot, Mum at the Mad Padre's chapel of wargaming.

He invited a friend of his, a recently retired Combat Engineers Colonel to join us. Col. Rod had played staff wargames but this was his introduction to hobby wargaming.

The Padre set up a table with some plausible generic Normandy terrain on it. Before the Col. arrived we decided who would be the attacker and who the defender, which determined orders of battle. We decided the Canadians would be attacking with a squadron of Shermans supported by a company of infantry to secure the roads in the valley. My only other asset was a FOO. If I'd been the defender then the Shermans would have been replaced by the 6 pounder AT guns and Vickers MMG platoon. The Padre commanded his evil, kitten-eating, 12th SS and had two platoons of grenadiers, a platoon of panzer IVs (the Padre doesn't have an STuGs or tank destroyers yet), a pair of Pak 40s and then several panzerschrek teams and some MG42s from the company HQ.

The last time the Padre faced my Shermans (and the last time I had the full squadron out), he defeated them bloodily, with much the same forces. This time out, with Col. Rod's professional advice, we cleared the valley quite handily with the loss of only 3 tanks.

We started by sending two troops with Sqdn HQ, the FOO and two platoons of infantry up the center. Tank hunters in the woods on the left and a section of grenadiers in the wheat on the right fired rockets at us, knocking out one Sherman and putting a bit of shock on a second. This caused things to log jam and I brought the infantry up on either flank forcing the Germans to scoot.

German trip wire
The Padre then made a big mistake and brought his Panzer IV platoon out from behind the bocage to start a duel down the road in the open. Weight of numbers on the Canadian side, plus some good shooting from the Fireflies soon had two panzers in flames and after some more rounds of firing the third was so damaged the crew bailed out. There is a Pak40 in the woods beside the Panzer IVs. It was quickly shut down by the Canadian FOO bringing in some 25 pdr fire onto him.

Tank duel, the number chits are identifying Big Men
Things were fairly exciting and I was busy explaining the rule mechanics to my team mate so I didn't take more pictures. The picture below is pretty close to the end of play. More Germans have revealed themselves lining the hedge rows. I have infantry platoons up on the left and right ready to be shot in by the Shermans firing HE. Over by Rod's elbow in the distance you can see our flanking force of two troops of Shermans (less one immobilized by a panzerfaust) moving around the wooded hill and making things untenable for the grenadiers there who had no AT support.

End game
The second Pak 40, which the Padre had forgotten about, revealed itself off camera to the right. It took a shot at the leading Sherman, missed and then limbered up and scooted away before the very surprised infantry could assault it.

Game over. Allied victory.

I had been worried about AT fire from the hedge on my right, but it never materialized so I concentrated on the threats to our front. In the post action critique, we thought that if the Padre had put his Paks behind the hedge on my right and the Panzer IVs hull down on the wooded hill he could have caught my troops in a nice killing zone around the open cross road and had more fire to deal with any force coming on the second road through the town on the Canadian left.

The Colonel liked the friction introduced by the cards and randomization of the dice. Staff games are IGOUGO, everything does what it is supposed to and the results are determined by tables of probability. They don't experience friction until they get out on maneuvers. I'm looking forward to playing with Col. Rod some more. He was quite intrigued by the Padre's weird war figures!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Poof! Instant Strongpoints! (?)

While digging out some of my Colonial buildings to use as background for the shots of my first 1/72nd scale fire team, I found some 28mm blockhouses I had made for ventures into the Boer War (which haven't happened yet, I've got 30 Boers painted and almost as many primed plus some guns...).

I thought they didn't look too bad with my 20mm Canadians.

The doors are perhaps a bit large, but not too bad. The roofs all come off. I could easily replace the tin roof on the smaller block house with a sand bagged parapet. Or just add a sandbag parapet to the roof as it is, and maybe a nice sun awning.

All set to guard Route Summit or the highway to Kandahar?

First Fire Team

As a bit of a Remembrance Day project I've done up the first fire team of Elheim's 1/72nd scale Modern Canadians.

Trying to paint arid pattern Cadpat was interesting to say the least. Google Image has been my friend, as seen here. I started with khaki tan, then gave that a wash to accentuate the details, then decided that was too dark. But it did match the mid-tone on the arid cadpat nicely (at least on some of the pictures I was holding my figures up too). I then dug about in my baskets of paints and found the Americana "Cool Neutral" was a nice match for the lighter tone. I splashed that over the khaki with blocky, right angled strokes (trying to make the mind think digital, instead of my usual splotchy approach to camouflage) to cover about 50% of the area. There is a mid-brown in the cadpat, but it's so infrequent, and in photographs it seems to disappear into the layer of dust covering the soldiers, so I opted to not bother. Odd blotches of brown at this scale would just make my riflemen look like some kind of dalmatian!

Making sure my 28mm Colonial terrain is clear of Taliban 
I also used the "Cool Neutral"  for much of the straps and webbing. Although I did vary that with some pale olive drab and some black to give a bit of variety. Boots should be a medium brown, but they are so covered in dust in the pictures I used as reference that I gave them a heavy dry brushing of "Cool Neutral" as well.

Back view
Weapons are black with Tamiya "Olive Drab" for the scopes and stocks, then highlighted. Ballistic eye wear was done with "dove grey" then a black ink wash and "cool neutral" reflective spots. The tactical green and black Canadian flag was done with a small rectangle of Americana "Leaf Green".

The base is fine sand, painted khaki and then dry brushed more "cool neutral".

For the second fire team I'm going to go back to my burnt umber base coat with khaki tan dry brushed over top and then blocking on the cool neutral for the camo.

And now some close ups. My macro skills aren't so good. I got in as close as I could.





Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Firm Base

Not a lot of hobby time this week.

But I have scraped the flash and glued all my Elheim 1/72 scale Afghanistan figures to 20mm washers. There wasn't a lot of flash, mostly just the bits from the venting in the mold.

Group shot
I got a bag of Taliban LMG gunners and three of the four had separate bi-pods that required attaching. One of the gunners was lying prone so obviously wouldn't fit on a regular 20mm washer.

I thought about just cutting out a 20x40mm piece of heavy card, but that would look out of place to have one square base among all the round ones. In an 'aha' moment I had the idea to use two washers to make a longer base. With washers there are always a couple that have a flat edge where the stamping die was too close to the edge of the sheet of steel, so I took two of these and glued them together at the flat edges. I also used white glue to stick them on to some heavy paper for extra support. Once the glue was dry I filled in the concavity on both sides with some cheap caulking and let the whole mess dry.

Taliban LMG gunners and base in process
 I then cut the result out, trimming the dried caulking flat and trimming down some of the lumps.

Hopefully I'll retrieve my painting mojo this week.