31 December, 2016

Final 2016 Purchases

My final wargaming packages of 2016 both arrived Friday, so I thought I'd share the contents.  They should keep me busy for a while.

The first package was from Hasslefree Miniatures, ordered during their post-Thanksgiving sale and en route for several weeks.   Besides the two pieces of candy, it contained ten 28mm miniatures.

The top row (l-r) are for use in post-apocalypse or 7TV games.  The first is a steampunk mini that I just liked.  The second appears to be inspired by the Kate Beckinsale character in the 'Underworld' movies.  The third is an especially nice archer.  Most of my post-apoc miniatures have firearms, so it is good to have some different weapons.  The fourth is a martial artist, and will be used as a 7TV hero.

The bottom row consists of six miniatures in power armor.  I plan on using them with the This is Not a Test rules as the core of a Preserver force.  The third from the left, the one not wearing a helmet, will be the leader.  I really like this mini, seeing it on the website is what gave me the impetus to order the whole group.

The second package was from The Warstore.  I ordered it on Tuesday during their after-Christmas sale and it arrived on Friday; great service from them as always.  In the picture below are (l-r): 1. An issue of Wargames Illustrated from June 2012, they are giving away random old issues for free.  The theme is the Jacobite rebellion, so I'll have something good to read.  2. A set of Army Painter sculpting tools.  3. Some P3 brass rod for pinning.  4. Green stuff.  5. Three Perry Crusader knights (code CU6).  6. A bottle of Vallejo Rust Wash and a bottle of Army Painter Matte varnish.

In the past I haven't done much with green stuff other than filling gaps.  I want to experiment with it in 2017, hence the sculpting tools .  The Rust Wash will be used on some pieces of post-apocalypse terrain.  The  Perry knights will be added to my SAGA Crusader army, I like the overhand pose and have wanted this pack for a while.

Happy New Year!

Pre-Islamic Arabs

I painted this Pre-Islamic Arab DBA army in the early 2000s.  I chose them because they can be an opponent for several of my armies including Seleucid, Abyssinian, Early Imperial Roman, Palmyran, & Arab Conquest.  In the current version of DBA 3, they are classified as list II/23a, Later Pre-Islamic Arab (Nomad version).

The miniatures are 15mm Essex.  They do not have a lot of visual appeal as they are almost entirely in white tunics/loincloths.  They were not much of a challenge to paint, but they did go quickly.

Seven elements of infantry armed with sword and spear (Bd).  I varied the poses on each stand, as there are a good number of pose variants, though you may not be able to tell as they are all dressed alike.

Two elements of Light Horse.  The one on the right serves as the General (he is in red).

An element of archers (Bw) in the center, flanked by two elements of slingers (Ps)

Four elements of Archers mounted on camels (Cm), with an element of camel-mounted scouts (LCm) on the right.  I added a second camel rider to one of the 3 camels on each stand for variety.

The entire army takes the field, looking for a town to raid.

23 December, 2016

28mm Private Military Contractors

I bought these 28mm miniatures at Cold Wars 2015, after surviving the drive from South Carolina to Pennsylvania through a raging snowstorm.  They are made by Eureka Miniatures and come in a set of 8.  They are listed on their website as 'Private Military Contractors', though the set I bought was labeled as 'Blackwater Contractors'.  They are good castings, with little to no flash and lots of small details.

They are a useful set, and while I originally painted them for use in the post-apocalypse game Across the Dead Earth, they have also seen action in games of 7TV and Doctor Who.  I plan on using them for This is Not a Test as I start learning those rules.

Some of the poses are similar, but they are all different, with varied weapons and heads.  All have body armor.  I used a lot of khaki, olive and gray, adding some blue and red for a bit of color.

Fun fact: for games which require individual stats, I've given them names 'borrowed' from my old gaming group in Ohio.

First Squad: I really like the running pose (second from left).  It is the only one with facial hair.

Second squad: I gave the kneeling one on the left a Hawaiian shirt.  I use the second from the left (with raised hand) as a leader.

Objective in sight.  Move out!

21 December, 2016

Invasion of the Scarecrows

The Doctor Who stories 'Human Nature' and 'Family of Blood' (2007) feature animated scarecrows terrorizing a village in 1913 England.  At the climax, they attack an English boys' school.  I've painted a dozen scarecrows for use in a scenario derived from this game and for more general use in games of 7TV.

I bought 8 of them on clearance from the now-defunct Architects of War a few years ago.  They are Woodbine Miniatures made by Gripping Beast and listed as 'Scary Scarecrows' in their catalog.  Woodbine has a small range and include several other packs inspired by the aforementioned Doctor Who stories.  There are 4 different poses.

The last 4 are 'Corn Dolls' made by Crooked Dice.  These come as 2 different bodies, with separate arms allowing for more poses.

I painted them all at once in 2014 or 2015, using various shades of brown paint.  The straw was painted with Iron Wind Dun and highlighted with Musket Miniatures New Thatch.  They painted up very quickly.

The red group of Woodbine scarecrows, so called because they all have red neck scarves.  They have some nice details, with random tears in their clothing and straw sticking out.

The blue group of Woodbine horrors shambles forward.

These are the Crooked Dice corn dolls.  They have a bit more detail than the Woodbine ones, and the separate arms allow for more variation.

The entire horde approaches.  Stay out of the fields!

13 October, 2016

My Very Late Historicon Report

I started this post back in July then got sidetracked.  I'm trying to catch up on all my activities over the summer.

I left Thursday morning at 7 am and arrived at the hotel just after 1 pm.  It is a nice drive from South Carolina.  We stayed at our usual hotel, the Hampton Inn across the parking lot from the convention center; I like staying close in order to be able to make short trips to drop things off or take a break.  After checking in I made my way over to the convention center, picked up my badge and made my first circuit of the vendor hall.  I like to do a walkthrough of the vendors before buying much.  Although I bring a shopping list, there are always new things to be seen.  After taking a break for a work-related conference call, I met my friends who had arrived from Columbus.  We returned to the vendors and ran over to Wegman’s for a quick meal.  I found my first game, ‘A Hot Time at the Oasis’, using The Sword and the Flame rules.  It featured the French Foreign Legion defending a fort against Tuareg rebels.  It turned out that my friend Tom from South Carolina had also signed up, and we valiantly defended the fort until we were overwhelmed.  Fun game.  Played Seven Wonders afterwards in the hotel breakfast area.
On Friday, I skipped the SAGA tournament I usually play in and wandered around looking at games and buying things on my shopping list.  I had a table in the Flea Market in the afternoon and sold the most I ever have, paying for my trip and purchases; the only thing remaining unsold was a painted SAGA Viking army.  Anybody need one?  Friday night I played in ‘The Secretary Denies Any Knowledge’, using the 7TV rules.  This was a great game with beautiful terrain.  The players cooperated to stop a terrorist attack on the Canadian coast while the GM ran the terrorists.  We succeeded with minimal casualties.  After a late night visit to BW3 it was time for bed.
Saturday morning I played a demo of the upcoming Triumph ancients rules, a Romans (me) vs. Gauls battle.  They have some similarities to DBA but also a lot of differences.  An easy set of rules to learn; I’ll be keeping an eye on their development.  Saturday afternoon I played ‘Saving Prince Kishan – A North-west Frontier Adventure’.  This game was run several times over the weekend and featured hundreds of Pathans, fewer British and a visually stunning set-up by Bob Giglio.  My British held on for a while but crumbled under the Pathan assault.  After venturing into the vendor hall again, I played a Very British Civil War game using the Trench Wars rules with my friends Mike S. and Jenny.  I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are not interested in trying those rules again.  We rounded off the night by playing Seven Wonders a couple more times.
Historicon was a good convention this year.  It is always a pleasure to spend a few days with friends from back home in Ohio.  After going to Cold Wars instead in 2015, it was also nice to be back in Fredericksburg.  The loss of Architects of War was noticeable; I usually picked up a few things from their stand.  It was good to see Reaper there and there were some other new vendors with different stock.
So what did I buy?  Starting at the top (l-r):
Five 28mm trees in the flea market.

A MDF Cargo Ship and Police Station from TT Combat.  This is a new manufacturer to me and they have a lot of good, reasonably priced 28mm terrain.  I have wanted a police station for a long time and the ship will be useful in a variety of games.  Terry Jones at www.wargametools.com was very helpful in showing me the TT range and carries a lot of their products.  My friend Mike D. of http://leadlegionaries.blogspot.com also bought a Cargo Ship, for use in his Pulp Alley games.

Four Reaper Bones figures: Horace ‘Action’ Jackson, Ape-X (both for use in my 7TV games), Aina Female Valkyrie and a Female Centaur (both for my daughter to paint).

Congo Merc, a Decision Games boardgame dealing with mercenary actions in 1960s Congo.  A quick solo game.  It may be adaptable as a campaign system for Mike D.'s Modern Africa rules that he is finishing up.

Four packs of Blue Moon 15mm AWI I needed to complete my AWI project.

A free Warlord Crimean miniature given to attendees.

Ten of Brigade Games' new 28mm Post-Apocalypse range.  Great detail on these, I noticed a lot of details I didn't see in the online pictures..

Four 28mm deer and 3 dogs from Iron Wind.

A pack of 4 28mm North-west Frontier Afghan Riflemen by Artizan; I needed one for my 7TV SHIVA cast and failed in my attempts to find a suitable single miniature.  I am sure I’ll find a use for the other 3.

Not pictured: 8 bottles of paint that have already found their way to my painting area.

11 October, 2016

Recent Purchase from Black Cat Bases

I received a box from Black Cat Bases recently.  This is the first time I've ordered from them, though I've looked at their website several times.  The recent fall in the British Pound - US Dollar exchange rate has motivated me to make several purchases the last few months; Black Cat also had a sale at the time I ordered.  The package arrived quickly and the contents were packed well.

So what did I get?  Stuff for games of 7TV or Doctor Who, all 28mm scale.  Two large trucks (top left) and one small truck, all made of resin with separate wheels.  These are nice castings with no bubbles and just a few spots needing cleanup with a hobby knife. They'll be useful in my post-apoc games as well.  The large trucks have a good-sized bed for placing cargo.

The 8 miniatures are (l-r): 3 black panthers; a sniper; a priest with crucifix and pistol; a man (H.P. Lovecraft in the product listing) with large book in one hand and a choice of pistol, shotgun, flashlight or open book for the other hand; a mad scientist in wheelchair holding a cat/lizard hybrid; and a butler.  All are clean casts with good detail and minimal flash.

I am very pleased with the service and products from Black Cat and look forward to painting them soon.

28 April, 2016

Across the Dead Earth: All-Stars

The All-Stars are the most recent gang I've painted for AtDE (summer 2015), and the last for now as I have painted enough miniatures for the game and am ready to move on to other projects for a while.  I'll still be playing though, and do have one more completed faction I haven't taken pictures of yet.

The All-Stars are a group of well-known characters from television and movies that I put together for fun.  I bought them from Studio Miniatures in the UK in early 2015.  They shipped them quickly and the castings are of excellent quality with minimal flash or mold lines.  They have a lot of other miniatures available, grouped into 'Zombies' and 'Survivors'.  The 'Survivors' are a mix of generic and recognizable characters.  They have added quite a few since I ordered mine.  They were great to paint with a lot of nice details.

The All-Stars consist of (l-r):
Max (the Road Warrior series, Mel Gibson version)
Alice (the Resident Evil movies, seen here in her costume from Resident Evil:Extinction)
Snake Plissken (Escape from New York)
Daryl (The Walking Dead)
Michonne (The Walking Dead), accompanied by 2 pet zombies.
Ash (the Evil Dead movies)

In a pinch they could be assisted by Lara Croft from the Sisters of Acquisition (previous post).

Michonne w/zombies and Daryl:

Max and Alice:

Snake Plissken and Ash.  Ash's chainsaw came as a separate piece.  I had to bend his arm a bit for the chainsaw to clear the base.

15 April, 2016

Across the Dead Earth: Sisters of Acquisition

The Sisters of Acquisition are another of the gangs from the Across the Dead Earth rulebook (a post-apocalypse skirmish game set in Britain).  The miniatures are from the publishers (Dead Earth Games).  These are by a different sculptor than their other gangs and are unfortunately out of scale to their other releases.  They are so thin that to my eyes there is little sculpted detail, and I felt like I was painting most of the detail on myself.

Despite their drawbacks, I painted them in early 2015.  They may no longer be available and are not on the Dead Earth storefront.  Thankfully their other releases have been of much higher quality!

The whole gang.  From left to right, Lady Cara (Scout), Sister Sledgehammer (Assault/Scrapper), Bloody Mary (Leader), Penny (Medic) & One-Eyed Susan (Sharpshooter).  The knife in Penny's right hand broke off while I was removing flash/mold lines, so I made a new, larger one out of green stuff.  Lady Cara resembles a certain tomb raider.  You can click on the pictures for a closer look.

04 April, 2016

Dark Age Buildings

After painting multiple armies for Saga, I decided I needed some 25mm Dark Age buildings in my collection.  Enter Acheson Creations.  They produce a large range of resin buildings and terrain for various periods.  These are all from their Medieval Range.  They have a good amount of detail, are easy to paint, and to top it off are inexpensive.  I've listed the current prices below, but they were even cheaper when I bought them several years ago.  I painted them in 2014, at the same time as the Acheson bridge I posted pictures of in October 2014.

The 4 buildings in this post all have removable roofs.  I don't remember if all of their Dark Age buildings have them, but I like being able to place miniatures inside.

The first step was preparing the buildings.  I ran them through the dishwasher (gentle cycle, top rack) to remove any mold release agent.  Then I spray-painted them black.  Next I used a brush to paint black any spots that didn't get covered sufficiently.

On the left is the Timbered Saxon House ($16); on the right is the Thatched Wattle and Mud House ($15).  For the Saxon House, I drybushed the entire building twice with Vallejo German Camo Medium Brown, then did a lighter drybrush with Howard Hues Colonial Khaki on the wood areas.  For the thatch, after the brown, I drybrushed Ral Partha/Iron Wind Dun, then Musket Miniatures New Thatch.  I had bought that color years before but never used it until this project.  It is fitting that I finally used it for thatched roofs.

For the Thatched Wattle and Mud House, the wattled areas got a medium brown drybrush.  I painted the rest with several thin coats of Howard Hues Colonial Khaki, then a drybrush of off-white.  The thatch was done as described above.

I'm not sure which building this is as not all of the Acheson buildings have pictures on their website.  It was painted using the same techniques as the previous buildings, with the addition of drybrushing the stone foundation and steps with Ceramcoat Charcoal Grey, Ceramcoat Storm Grey and Vallejo Game Color Cold Grey.  This building has one difference to the others; it does not have an interior floor.  It doesn't impact gameplay though.

Last is the Viking Log Longhouse ($14.50).  I modified this one using an idea from my friend Mike Demana, terrain builder extraordinare.  He has many cool projects on his blog at http://leadlegionaries.blogspot.com/

I added dragon heads to the ends of the crossbeams on each side of the hall.  I bought a 'Toob' of plastic dragons at Hobby Lobby, picked out 4 I liked, then cut the heads off.  I used a pin vice to drill holes in the base of each head and in each beam.  I used brass wire and superglue to attach the heads to the beams, then painted everything as described for the previous buildings.  I think the dragon heads add a lot of character to the building and give it a Viking feel.

30 March, 2016

Saga: Anglo-Danes

A long-finished project that I finally took out for photographing.  There is a post from January 2013 when I was just starting this army, and my best guess is that I finished them some time in the first half of that year.

I chose to build the army to represent King Canute, as he is one of my favorite historical figures from this period.  He reigned in England 1016-1035 and Denmark 1018-1035.

The miniatures are mainly 28mm Gripping Beast, except where noted in the notes to the photos.  I began with a 4-point starter army from GB, then added more units to it to make a 7-point force.   They are a nice blend of Viking and Saxon styles.  The shields are a mix of Little Big Men transfers and hand-painted designs.

King Canute with his dane-axe.  I like this figure a lot, very imposing.

The first unit of 4 Huscarls (Hearthguard in Saga).  These miniatures are a mix of Foundry and Crusader Vikings.  I especially like the ones on each end.  The banner is from Little Big Men Studios.

The second unit of 4 Huscarls.  These are Gripping Beast and came in the army pack.

The third unit of 4 Huscarls with dane-axes.  These are also Gripping beast from the army pack.

The first unit of 8 Anglo-Saxon spearmen (Warriors in Saga).  Both this unit and the other spearmen are Gripping beast from the army pack.  There is a nice mix of poses.  Unusually for GB, the shields are cast-on.  I suspect these are older sculpts.

The second unit of 8 Anglo-Saxon spearmen (warriors).

Twelve Anglo-Saxon slingers (Levy in Saga) from Gripping Beast.  I was surprised that the slings had to be glued on, but they were very easy to attach with superglue and hav a good join.

Twelve Danish bowmen.  The 2 in the middle with mail are from Foundry, the rest are Old Glory.  This unit does double duty as archers in my Viking army.

The entire 7-point army.