Friday, 9 December 2011

Canadian Engineers

Just a quickie this time, to show some Canadian engineers. I plan to use these guys as an objective / plot point in some scenarios, maybe something where they need to clear a road in front of a damaged tank that's returning to friendly lines while under fire, or where they have to be protected while they clear a roadblock.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

More Bolt Action reinforcements!

I have completed some support options for my 28mm Bolt Action forces. As always, I'm super happy with the figures and I think they look fantastic when they have been painted and based.

First, a mortar team for the Germans:

And of course, the Germans can't have a mortar unless I give one to the Canadians as well... it wouldn't be fair!

With these models, unlike the Canadian Vickers MMG I painted a while ago, I have created a textured base for them to live on. The figures are just stuck on with blue-tac right now, so if they need to rearrange in order to fit into a narrow space on the table, I can do that easily. The bases turned out nicer than I thought they would, and I may still add some details, like the crew's small arms and other things.

Also, since I don't yet quite know how I am going to use these guys from an organizational standpoint, I didn't give them the full insignia that I've done on my other models.

Next, I painted up a Nebelwerfer rocket launcher and crew:

The plan for this model is to use it more as an objective (silence that gun!) than as working artillery. Rocket artillery would never have been used (I don't think could have been used) at the ranges represented in a 28mm game on a 4x4 table. I will likely design a scenario around it. 

And finally, one of the sexiest beasts of the war, the SdKfz 234 Puma armoured car:

The Puma was fairly heavily armed for an armored car, packing enough heat (but not HEAT) to be a threat to some of the more lightly-armoured Allied vehicles, if not tanks.

The Bolt Action Puma was a lot of fun to build and paint, especially the weathering, though I wish I had done something different with the transfers... the 'transparent' part of the transfers is anything but, as you can see from the photos.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mordheim: Back to the front!

The game we most often play when I go home to the frozen north is Mordheim. It's easy, fun, looks good, and there are a million options for everything.

My regular game group here in Burnaby have recently (re)-discovered Mordheim and we have had a few games recently. Here are some photos of my Marienberger mercenaries facing off against Bryan's cavemen. The Marienbergers had a fairly easy time with the cavemen, due to some imbalance in the army lists and Bryan's newness to the system.

The mercenary force ready for battle

The mercenary force ready for battle

The cavemen sneak up on the right flank

Mercenaries advance up the centre

Cavemen falling victim to the hired sniper on the Mercenary side

Mercenaries advance on the left flank

More cavemen shambling out of the ruins on the right flank

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Dark Sun characters

When I'm not being a nerd by fighting wars with little army men, or being a mega-nerd by playing super-complex board games like Advanced Squad Leader, I like to be an ultra-nerd by playing good old Dungeons and Dragons. Right now I'm hosting a DnD game set in the old-school campaign setting of Dark Sun. The good thing about Dark Sun is that it's full of awesome background and flavour; the bad thing is that regular fantasy miniatures really don't suit the characters. So, why not go with some miniatures that were designed for the setting?

I bought these miniatures from a guy on The Miniatures Page, who threw in a pack of Dark Sun elves to go with them. Because they were made a long time ago, the miniatures are quite a bit smaller than the current, GW-fuelled standard of cartoony, 30+ mm fantasy figures. They are really cool sculpts with lots of Dark Sun style, though, and they work really well for our game.

Games Workshop Fantasy Fences

Fantasy fences? Wouldn't fences in a fantasy world look pretty much like fences in a regular world?

Well, you would probably think so, but in typical Games Workshop style, these ones have been pumped up with a bunch of extra, ostentatious details to let everybody know that these are fantasy fences. At various places you will find skulls, gravestones, strange holy symbols, and steel morning-stars bolted, for no apparent reason, to tree branches. Some of the details were a bit much for my games, so I snipped them off... the holy symbols and morning-star had to go.

Overall, though, the fences and walls are really nice models, with really good detail and lots of interesting character, even after the extraneous silliness has been removed. They will make a good addition to my gaming table for sure.

Nazi Checkpoint

I saw this model on the Warlord Games website and decided I needed to have a checkpoint. I'm not sure what function, if any, it will have in my games, but it was too cool to pass up. Maybe I can use it as an objective in a scenario, or just as window dressing on the Germans' board edge.

The two soldiers that came with the set are very Hollywood - one is standing by with his rifle slung over his shoulder, smoking a (no doubt terrible) German wartime cigarette, while the other examines someone's papers, with his SMG ready to hand.

Even if I don't use it for one of my wargames, I'm sure the set will make an appearance if we ever get back into Savage Worlds pulp role-playing.

Mechwarrior mechs

Mechwarrior, the sci-fi miniatures game that is just about as old as metalworking, went through a bit of a renaissance among our gaming group before I went away to South Africa for a month. I offered to Bryan, who owns the rules and miniatures, to paint a couple of us unpainted mechs. The results are below:

I had considered doing a bit of camo work with the airbrush I have on long-term loan, but I don't think I have the airbrush skillz to do something that fine-scale quite yet. I played around a bit with my weathering powders, with predictable results - they look okay for dust, but my attempts at rusting up the khaki-coloured mech met with limited success. I don't have a technique for using the powders that lets me get fine enough detail for models of this scale.

One thing that worked surprisingly well is that I tried to paint the glass fronts of the mechs several times, using different techniques, but I didn't get anything that made me happy. After I had painted them so many times, though, the paint was thick enough that I could scrape it down to bare metal with ease. So now the mechs have shiny reflective cockpits!

1920s Panel Board Truck

Well it has been a long time since I updated this site, so I have quite a lot to catch up on.

First, a resin and white metal panel board truck I picked up a while back at Imperial Hobbies.

The model is decent enough once it has been painted. I was going for a wrecked and abandoned truck to have on the street where my tiny little men are fighting, so I bent the front axle and added some bullet holes. 

I don't know what company made the model, but it came in a plain white box with a photo of the finished truck on the top. The casting quality was adequate, though nothing special. The model itself suffers from some warping, so that the box on the back doesn't really sit straight on the bottom, but because I'm just using it as a wreck, it's no big deal for me.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Bolt Action Canadian MMG and 2nd Squad

I finally finished some support for my lonely first squad of North Nova Scotia Highlanders. First, a Vickers MMG:

The Vickers was a water-cooled machine gun, and, while it's tough to see in the photos, the model even includes a little pewter hose to connect the gun's barrel to a water can placed beneath it.

Next, the second squad of NNHS troops. I added a couple of options to this squad that I left out of the previous one, namely one soldier is carrying a PIAT, and another has a 2-inch mortar strapped to his backpack. I have enough pieces left on my sprues to build a light mortar team, so I'm sure there's one of those in my future as well, but for now they are just packing it.

I'm still very happy with the Bolt Action plastic figures. Now I just need to get them on the table!!

Review: Precision Model Designs Ruined European Village

28mm gaming is not new to me. Before I moved to Vancouver the game I played most by far was Mordheim. As a skirmish game, Mordheim has the advantage of requiring little space and few miniatures to play: a 4'x4' table and 10-15 figures a side is plenty for a good game. After a long love affair with 15mm gaming in the form of Flames of War, I wanted to try some WW2 gaming at a larger scale. Thus, my recent project of painting up enough 28mm figures to do some skirmish-scale WW2 gaming.

The most difficult part of adopting a whole new scale, for me, is building up the terrain needed to fill a table. Some of the terrain I built for FoW can be re-purposed, like hills, hedges, trees, etc., but the (very nice) Tigerterrain buildings I have for 15mm obviously aren't going to work. The Mordheim box comes with a set of fairly nice plastic-and-card buildings, and they work well enough as a bombed-out French village, but I was coming up to the end of the miniatures I had to paint and I spotted the Ruined European Village made by Precision Model Designs for sale at Battlemart, so the time seemed right to start a new project.

The photos of the set on the PMD website look nice enough, with smashed roofs showing the rafters beneath, and detailed flooring that's more than just a single flat sheet: you can actually see the joists and subflooring. Nice!

How do the models stack up to the promo photos? Good in some ways, not so much in others.

The Happy News

First, the good: the models really are nicely detailed, with realistic broken timbers sticking out all over, bullet and shell wounds in the walls, and nicely weathered stucco showing brick beneath. As I mentioned above, I appreciate the floors having actual depth, showing off the guts of the building that are exposed when it gets damaged.

Most importantly, when the building is painted and detailed, it really does look quite nice. I had a happy accident when painting the stucco on the outside of the building: I put on way too much dark wash, decided it was going to look terrible, and dabbed most of it off with a paper towel, resulting in the nice mottled appearance I ended up with.

And finally, there is a lot here. The set really does provide a smallish ruined village, with several buildings and parts of buildings, a well, and tons of rubble.

The Sad News

Now for the parts I wasn't so happy about. First, the casts all seem to have been poured into flat molds, with the result that there is always one side of the molds that is a flat, often bubble-filled, expanse of unmolded resin. This isn't a problem for something like the bottom floor piece, but when it's a wall section, that means the inner wall surface is flat and glassy. I dealt with the issue by spraying the detailless sections with textured spray paint before priming them, but adding random spackle to a surface isn't the same as having actual detail there.


Next, many of the castings look as though they weren't filled all the way with resin - they have a lip or rim around the edge that's thick, and then they get much shallower in the middle (ie, there's a meniscus [thanks, high school chemistry class!]). For each piece I've had to spend quite a bit of time cutting and filing the edge down so it matches the rest of the piece:


Third, the rafters have the opposite problem. It looks like the mold was overfilled, and I'm left with huge amounts of flash to clean up. In the photo it looks like thin, flimsy resin that could be easily cut away, but some areas were thick and really hard to remove.

Also, in this photo, you can see another problem that plagues a lot of the pieces: bubbles. There are both "negative" bubbles, as in air bubbles in the molds where there should be resin, leaving a space, and "positive" bubbles, big blobs of resin that have to be cut off the pieces.


Finally, and most annoying, a lot of the pieces are significantly warped. This means that the walls don't all fit together properly, and the ground pieces don't sit flat on the table. This is bad news. The buildings are hard enough to assemble as it is, with fairly narrow points of contact between the pieces for the glue to glom onto, and having a first-floor wall curved, while the second-floor wall that's supposed to sit atop it not curved, is pretty annoying.



So how do I feel about the kit overall? Basically positive. There are a lot of flaws in the casts, but, aside from the warped pieces, they are all things I can deal with. The problems aren't deal-breakers, but they do add a lot of work to get to a point where I'm happy with the models. Maybe I've been spoiled by the amazing Tigerterrain buildings I got before the guy stopped making them, but the casting quality of the PMD buildings is pretty shabby in places. That said, the detail is nice, and the set is quite reasonably priced for what you get.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bolt Action 28mm

So here's my first post. I'm starting with a showcase of the miniatures I've been working on lately, some plastic 28mm Canadians and Germans.

I picked up a box of the plastic multi-pose Germans a few months ago to use in a Savage Worlds pulp RPG I was running, and I was so happy with how they turned out that I decided to paint up a full force of Germans and Canadians so I could have a proper wargame with them. Of course, not being satisfied with the Poor Bloody Infantry alone, I ordered a Cromwell tank to fight with the Canadians (as a British ally, as far as I have been able to determine the Canadians didn't use Cromwells) and a SdKfz 251/1 half-track for the Germans.

The Canadians are painted as members of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The NNSH were right on the pointy end of the Canadian invasion of D-Day and the German counterattacks in the days and weeks that followed.

Section 1:

The Germans are painted as non-specific Heer (regular army, as opposed to SS or Luftwaffe) troops. The Germans are really just there to get shot by the Canadians and lose the war anyway, no point in spending too much time on their background.

Squad 1:

Squad 2:

Cromwell tank:

SdKfz 251/1 Halftrack: