Sunday, 16 December 2012

1/35 Early Tiger

I have been painting minis for ages, and modern military stuff for probably 6 years. After finishing my Afghanistan project (mostly finishing, I should say, I still have a few bits and bobs to take care of...) I didn't need to paint any game-related models for upcoming games I had planned, so I decided to try my hand at a plastic scale-model kit. I visit scale model websites from time to time for inspiration on my miniatures, but I haven't built a model model since I was a kid. I've been working on a 3D early Tiger in Maya, and I wanted more reference, so I decided to get this 1/35 Tamiya kit a while ago. I've been working on it a bit here and a bit there for maybe 8 months or so, with long hiatuses to do different miniatures projects (like my Saga / Dux Picts).

I'm overall really happy with it. I went a bit crazy with the weathering and wear, but part of the point of this thing was to learn some new techniques and try them out on a bigger model than I'm used to. I learned some new tricks, got some valuable practice in with my airbrush, and used quite a few materials and media I haven't touched before, like photoetch detailing, hairspray chipping, mud splatters, oil washes (awesome, but the fumes!), and others. There are some problem areas, but I'm done. Time for a new project (and I have lots to look forward to).

Here's the result:

Monday, 22 October 2012

15mm Dux Brit: Movement Trays

I had my first game of Dux Britanniarum with Bryan this weekend. I may post some photos I took of the game in progress on Bryan's nice new custom terrain board, but I don't have them ready quite yet.

One thing that became clear in the process of playing is that using some movement stands for my miniatures would speed things up a great deal. When you're shuffling 5 groups of 6 figures around, that's a lot of fiddly little men to have to deal with.


I got a 3/4" drill bit and used some styrene card to make 6 of these stands. I won't say the process was fun, as cutting the holes was really fiddly and clumsy, and I ended up with a lap-full of tiny plastic shreds that stick to everything with static. Hopefully they will be useful though.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Market Day II

I had to scramble a bit this week to finish up the market stalls I built for my Afghanistan games. I'm pretty happy with the result.

The wares for sale are various seeds and grains bought from the bulk section of the supermarket, plus a sampling of different seeds given to me by Bryan. The rug merchant is selling little paper printouts of various Afghan rugs I found online. The bits of machinery are extra bits and bobs from the 1/35th scale plastic Tiger tank I'm building.

Force On Force: Bomber In The Bazaar

I finally got my moderns onto the table and into action last night. I've been working on my Canadians and Afghans, and the terrain for them to fight over, for months, so it was very satisfying to have a war with them at last.

We played the Bomber In The Bazaar scenario from the Operation Enduring Freedom sourcebook for Force On Force. This was only my second game of FoF but I'm really into these rules. The game lasted the full six turns and was tense the whole way through, with hard decisions required for both sides every turn. By the end of the game there were a lot of dead and demoralized Taliban, but they had managed to wreak enough havoc that they won on points. The suicide bomber managed to make his way across the whole board and ran right up between two Canadian units and a group of civilians, but couldn't get his vest to detonate, and was subsequently gunned down.

The Canadians had a hard go of it, feeling very hampered by the rules of engagement. There were a lot of civilians stumbling around getting in the way, and the Canadian sniper team in particular had a hard time making the PID checks required to engage the Taliban. One of the few times they risked shots near the civilian mobs, they accidentally shot a civilian, which did not help either their mob dispersal checks or their victory points.

I only got a few photos before the game started, and then I was too busy trying to send the infidels to hell to remember to take photos.

A group of Taliban looks over the bazaar, with a few Canadian Forces soldiers and their terps visible beyond.

The Canadians form up in preparation for their COIN patrol into the bazaar. 

A slightly blurry view of the Canadian sniper overwatch team looking down on the bazaar.

Gamecraft Afghan buildings in progress

I have finally completed my full set of Gamecraft buildings for my Afghanistan table. I had to do a lot of experimenting with techniques and materials before I found a solution I liked. I think the result looks good, but each building required a fair bit of messy work, so I'm glad I'm done. The stucco gel is not much fun to work with - it's really tacky, and the sand gets everywhere.

My process was as follows:

1. First coat of Liquitex Stucco textured acrylic gel - this doesn't have to be clean or even or nice, it's just there to provide a gritty surface for the following coat.

2. Clean out the corners, windows and doors of excess globs of paint.

3. Let it dry thoroughly.

4. Second coat of Liquitex, with a focus on applying enough to get all the corners a bit rounded. The walls themselves look better if the gel is applied a bit unevenly.

5. With a very wet brush, I smoothed out the walls and roofs. I don't try to get them perfectly flat, just smoothing down the parts that stick up, so it looks like a mud wall.

6. Clean out the corners and apertures again.

7. Let it dry thoroughly again.

8. Paint - I used cheap craft acrylics, watered down and with a bit of Pledge floor polish added. The stucco gel I used is white, and I only did one coat of paint, so the buildings came out very light.

9. Wash - I used a thin black / brown wash over the whole building, which I then blotted with crumpled up paper towel, which gave a slightly mottled look to the walls, while leaving the corners and recesses fairly dark.

With several different stages to do, I had a bit of an assembly line going with 3-5 buildings at each stage of the process.

The mosque was a special case, because it came with a dome. The dome was a coarse foam half-sphere, so I gave it several coats of plaster, smoothed with a wet finger, to give it an even enough surface for painting.

In-progress photos:

First coat applied.

First coat applied.

Second coat applied.

Second coat after smoothing.

For photos of the completed, painted buildings, see my next post!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Saga: Battle At The Ford

Saga: Battle at the Ford

I finally managed to get my 15mm Picts onto the table on Friday. Bryan and I have been making big plans for playing both Saga and Dux Brittaniarum with the Dark Ages figures we've been working on, so it was good to see them blooded at last.

I was in command of the Picts (using the Scots faction from Saga), while Bryan was in charge of the Anglo-Danes. We were "arguing" over a bridge and a ford that crossed a river.

Anglo-Danes arrayed for battle!

Picts arrayed for battle!

The starting dispositions - the majority of both forces set to contest the bridge on the right, with smaller detachments to attack the ford on the left.

We both weighted our forces more heavily to the bridge side than the ford side, maybe because the bridge looked more impressive than the ford. As it turned out, though, most of the decisive action was on the left, ford side.

The Pict left flank, with a large group of warriors skulking Pictishly in the woods!

The Anglo-Danes attacked across the ford first, which set the tone for the whole fight. The Scots faction in Saga is fairly defensive, and they can do a lot more damage when attacked than when they are the attackers. My warriors killed half the Hearthguard without suffering any losses, and pushed them back across the river. More back-and-forth followed in the succeeding turns, with that group of warriors suffering very few casualties but inflicting a lot of pain on the Anglo-Danes.

Anglo-Danish Hearthguard advance on the Left-flank ford, but are rebuffed by the Picts who catch them up to their waists in water.

On the bridge side it went the other way; I got the first charge in with my Thanes, but they got pretty badly beat up. The one remaining Thane ran away and hid behind the woods so I didn't lose his unit, which would have reduced my dice pool.

A lot more waffling occurred around the bridge until the final turns, when most of the Anglo-Dane manpower had been chewed up on the ford side and a crossing looked more possible.

The Pict warlord advances onto the bridge on the right, surrounded by his Thanes.

Anglo-Danes step forward to meet the Picts.

At the end of the fight both of our armies were still on the field, but I had a bunch of Picts on the far side of the river, earning me victory points, while the Anglo-Danes had none on my side. My warlord declared Pictory and we all had a feast.

Final dispositions: Pict Warriors and Levy across the river on the left, Thanes and Warlord across the bridge on right.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Market Day

One of the scenarios in the Operation Enduring Freedom book for FoF takes place in and around an Afghan market. I spent the weekend in a cabin in the woods, and after hiking all day I was able to get in some hobby time building these guys. They are all scaled for my 15mm figures and made of styrene. I didn't build these to a plan, I just improvised with each one.

I built them for FoF, but, being Afghan stalls, they should suit for anything from Dark Ages forward. Which is convenient, what with my having just finished a bunch of Dark Ages figures.

These are all works in progress. Obviously they still need paint, but I'm going to load them up with wares for sale as well.

The whole set:

A produce stall and a bin:

Multiple bins:

Some rugs on the ground, with a tent to give some cover:

A rug merchant's stall (rugs still to come):

Not sure what's going to go here, but there will be wares hanging on that backboard, with more in the bins and on the table:

This one was a brainstorm: a barbecue stall! I'm going to add some gratings on top, and maybe some meat grilling:

A shelf, some carpets, and a table:


Three produce stalls:

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


I have just finished some 15mm Picts for Saga and, eventually, Dux Britanniarum (I have both rules, just not enough time to play them all!). This is enough for a 6-point game of Saga, and more than enough for a starting force for Dux. I also have 8 horsemen and a mounted version of my leader that haven't been painted yet, but they can wait.

These figures are from Splintered Light and, in my opinion, super nice. The poses look good and the casting is as clean as any I've seen. They were a pleasure to work on.

On with the Pictpics!

12 Levy Javelineers:

24 Warriors with spears:

8 Hearthguard armed with misc stabby things (but they all count as spears in Saga):

And my mighty warlord:

Friday, 10 August 2012

More troops for Afghanada

More additions to my Afghanada forces:

Taliban commanders
These figures are decent, though the guy in the front center was missing his AK barrel. I had to drill it and replace it with a piece of wire.

Taliban with AK-47s
These guys are the same package as I painted before, and the complaints about the posing and detail I had with the last bunch hold true for this bunch as well.

More Taliban with AK-47s

Same as above, rear view

Talib sniper teams

Canadians with under-slung grenade launchers

And finally, one of my new Gamecraft Miniatures laser-cut wood buildings.
I ordered 20 or so buildings, everything from tiny hovels to large-ish compounds and a mosque. This is the only one I have opened, and I think it looks great! It's simple, but I have to spackle the whole thing so any surface detail would be lost anyway. The fit is great and I think it will be really sturdy and durable once it's finished. Lots more photos of these to come, I think.