26 September, 2021

28mm Rastafarians

In February 2021 I ordered new decals for my motorcycle gang from Studio Miniatures in the UK.  (see previous post).  I took a look around their website to see if anything else caught my eye; I already have a lot of their Survivors range for post-apocalypse gaming.  The Rasta Gang drew my interest as they would fit in with some scenario ideas I have.

Similar to the motorcycle gang (and the other gangs in the range), the Rastas included one leader and six bodies (three each of two different poses) with separate heads and arms.  There is also another leader available separately.

One of the things I like about these sets is the variety of weapons available.  The only issue I had was that the set of the arms holding a baseball bat broke when I was trying to glue them on and I could never fit them back together properly.  I didn't want to use the chainsaw since I had already used it in the motorcycle gang so I ended up using a spare set of arms left over from that set.  That is why one of the rank and file has sleeves.

With only 8 miniatures I figured they would assemble and paint up quickly.  I pinned the arms before gluing them but the heads fit securely.  I put them together in mid-July and primed them, then they sat on my desk until September 10th, when I finally started painting them.  One week later on the 17th they were finished.  They were fun and easy to paint.  I used a simple color scheme with darker pants and brighter shirts including a lot of  red, yellow, and green, with gold jewelry.  I used GW contrast paints on most of the clothing.  I experimented with skin colors, eventually using four different tones (two mid-brown and two darker brown), each shaded with a wash of GW Agrax Earthshade.  Pictures were taken on an appropriately warm and sunny day.

I wanted to use some Rastafarian symbols and after a quick Google image search I had several ideas.  For the leader (King Marley in the Studio catalog) I painted an ankh on the back of his coat that I think turned out well. The bag is from a set of accessories I picked up somewhere.

For the second in command, I checked my stock of decals to see if there was a star I could adapt into a Star of David.  I ended up finding a lion in a set of 15mm Arab muslim decals by Veni Vidi Vici that fit as a representation of the Lion of Judah.

Part of the fun assembling these miniatures is matching the weapons and heads.  I think these two are my favorites.

For the miniature on the right I used a set of leftover arms from the motorcycle gang set (also by Studio).  

The one on the right started out with an open left hand, I added a gun from the old plastic Wargames Factory zombie survivor sprue. 

The whole gang ready for action.  Note that the leader miniatures are taller than the rest.  I guess that is why they are in charge.

31 August, 2021

28mm Motorcycle Gang

Recently I was looking for a quick project.  I had just finished painting a Viking army for Saga and next on the list was resuming work on my successor phalangites.  In between I wanted to do something small that wouldn't take more than 1 week.  I decided to fix up my 28mm motorcycle gang.  

My motorcycle gang has a convoluted history.  Back in March 2020 I realized that my vision had started to deteriorate and my detail painting was suffering.  Just before everything shut down due to COVID, I bought a pair of reading glasses for use during painting and they solved the problem.  I also realized that some of my recent projects had suffered, the bikers among them.  I originally painted my bikers in summer 2019 and they were not up to my usual standard due to the aforementioned vision issue; this project gave me the chance to correct that.

A motorcycle gang is one of those groups that frequently appear in modern and post-apocalypse settings, so I would be able to use them in multiple games.  I started collecting the miniatures some years ago with the plastic Warlord Games Project Z Biker Gang sprues, which were originally made by Wargames Factory.  They have been out of stock for a long time as the game appears to have been abandoned.  I bought one each of the sprues; together they had enough parts to make 4 on foot and 3 on motorcycles.  One thing that disappointed me is that only 1 of the Warlord bikers is wearing a leather jacket.

The rest of my gang came via the 2017 Kickstarter for Turf War Z, which I received in early 2018.  These metal miniatures are now available through Studio Miniatures as a set of 7 and a separate leader; The set of 7 has 1 complete miniature and 6 bodies (3 each of 2 different poses) with separate heads and arms.   Included were extra heads and arms to allow for customization.  Most of the heads are clearly inspired by characters from the Sons of Anarchy tv show, which of course I watched during some painting sessions.  After taking stock of all the pieces I had and some test fittings, I assembled them all at once.  I pinned most of the heads and arms to secure them better.

The color scheme is pretty simple.  Lots of leather jackets and jeans, with shirts mostly in dark shades.  I added some different colors here and there for variety.  A lot of the Warlord minis are wearing leather chaps for some reason.  On initially painting these miniatures in 2020, I came up with a gang logo with the help of Google Images, then printed decals on white decal paper.  The design didn't come out as distinct as I had hoped but I used it anyway.

The repainting project consisted of redoing the areas that looked the worst.  This included removing the original decals and substituting Sons of Anarchy decals that Studio Miniatures now sells, re-lettering the backs of the jackets, repainting the eyes, and touching up anything else I didn't like.  When lettering the backs of the jackets I used 'Sons' for the gang name and 'Nomads' for the chapter.  Honestly I don't think I could fit more letters than that.  The minis with decals are full members.  those without decals are prospects or hangers-on.

I also made some additions as part of this project.  When I was assembling plastic zombies in summer 2020, I had some parts leftover.  I noticed recently that the Studio Miniatures zombie sprues had a body wearing a leather jacket.  I wondered if I could use them as living bikers.  I took three of them and added leftover biker heads, arms and weapons from the Warlord biker sprues.  To add some variety, I cut one body off at the waist and used the Studio torso with a Warlord lower body.  The Warlord sprue also had a female motorcycle passenger that I hadn't used.  I cut it at the waist and used a set of extra Warlord legs to make a fourth new miniature.  A quick paintjob later and I had 4 new gang members.

One week later and this project was complete and my 21-member motorcycle gang is ready to go on the table.  I am finally happy with how they look and already have some scenario plans.  It would be nice to have some motorcycles for scenery.  If you know of a source, let me know in the comments.

Three of the Studio Miniatures.  When I did the lettering I used the smallest brush I own.  It isn't perfect but at least it's legible.

The chapter president and a chainsaw-wielding biker ready for close combat (Studio).

The heavy weapons contingent (Studio).

The Warlord motorcycles had a lot of parts to glue together  but they turned out well.

Two of the Warlord/Wargames Factory plastic miniatures.

The ladies of the chapter are ready for a fight.  The one in the middle was originally a motorcycle passenger.  Those chaps don't look comfortable for riding!

These are the ones I converted from Studio Miniatures plastic zombies bodies with Warlord heads and arms.  The one on the right also has a Warlord lower body which made it taller than the other two.

I already had these 2 in my post-apocalypse collection and they fit right in with the rest of my gang.  Made by Project Zeke Miniatures which had a small post-apocalypse range but is no longer in business.

A size comparison: (l-r) Studio metal, Warlord, Studio plastic zombie, Warlord, Project Zeke.  The Studio metal is on a thicker base so the overall height looks better.  Note all the Warlord female minis are very tall.

The entire gang assembled and ready for action.

04 August, 2021

Review - Terrains4Games Terrain Pieces

I've been thinking about upgrading some of my terrain for a while.  In spring 2021 I did some google searches for terrain manufacturers and found the Terrains4Games (T4G) website:  


T4G is based in Poland.  Their products looked interesting, and after finding positive reviews of their products online I took a longer look at their website.  My specific need was to get a variety of fields, hills, woods and rocky areas that would cover all the possible terrain requirements for my 28mm Saga games.  I already have a good selection of buildings and marshes.  Of course, anything I bought would also be usable in the other periods I play.

T4G makes multiple types of fields and hills to choose from.  They produce 2 sizes of forest which consist of a base piece and separate trees.  They also sell the base pieces separately, which in addition to being less expensive, would also allow me to use my existing trees.  I realized that if I bought a few extra of the medium forest bases, I could also use them to represent rocky areas or ruins by placing some of the rocks, walls or fallen columns that I already have on top of the base.  With storage space at a premium, anything that can perform multiple functions is attractive to me.

Looking at the specs on the website, I noticed that the two sizes of forest base were slightly longer than the maximum size allowed under the Saga rules.  I emailed T4G to ask if they could make them slightly smaller and quickly received a positive reply.

I thought the prices were very reasonable and ended up ordering 3 fields, 3 hills, 2 large forest bases and 4 medium forest bases.  Everything would arrive painted and ready to use on the table.

I will note that the time between ordering and receiving my order took several months.  This is not a criticism because their website is very clear on their production and shipping timeframes.  Also, I asked for different-sized forest bases than their standard products and I expect custom requests to take longer.  Both times I emailed to ask a question they replied quickly and provided great customer service.

I received my package last week.  Upon opening the box, everything was securely packed with each piece tightly wrapped in several layers of thick plastic and packing peanuts filling all the open space.

Everything unwrapped and laid out on my dining room table.  The color on the T4G website photos is a brighter green.  I would describe the color of the pieces I received as medium green.   The pieces have varied shapes and each is finished differently with green and brown static grass, rocks, and bits of flock and vegetation.  Bare areas are painted with what looks to me like 3 shades of brown.  Most of the photos have a 12"/30cm ruler to show scale.

Two Plowed Fields: They are made from HDF/hardboard and are very sturdy.  You can see the material in the second photo where I flipped one field over.

One Rising Wheat Field: In addition to the basic fields, T4G offer fields with a variety of different crops.

Two Large Forest Bases: I am going to use these as large woods pieces with some trees placed on them.  They are also made of HDF.

Four Medium Forest Bases:  I am going to use these to represent multiple types of terrain with trees/rocks/ruins placed on them.  No ruler in this photo but they are around 20 cm long and 11 cm wide and made of HDF.

Size comparison between a large and medium base.

Gentle Natural Hill:   This hill has a central ridge running the length of the hill with an equal slope on each side.  The slope is able to support two 28mm Balearic slingers from Crusader without the miniatures sliding; a nice feature.  It is made from styrofoam based on HDF.

Tournament Hill: This hill has an all-around slope with a large flat area on top and is also made from styrofoam based on HDF.

Hill - Basic Version:  This hill is only made from styrofoam without the HDF base but was much cheaper than the other hills I bought.  Similar to the Tournament Hill but with less detailing, it has a slope around the edge and a flat top.

A mix of flower tufts and a bonus sticker.

Overall I am very happy with all the pieces, they are high quality and the price I paid was excellent for quality, fully-finished terrain.  They have a wide variety of other types of terrain pieces available and I highly recommend them.

14 July, 2021

28mm Cretan and Balearic Mercenaries for Saga Age of Hannibal

When planning my Age of Hannibal armies for Saga (Iberians and Epirotes), I took a long look at the mercenaries section to see what mercenary units were available and which I thought would work best for the two armies I was planning (Iberians and Epirotes).  

There are 8 different mercenary units included in the Age of Hannibal book, with armies only allowed to use those they historically employed.  For the Iberians, the only mercenary unit they can use is the Baelaric slingers so those were an easy choice.  If I don't use them as mercenaries there is an option to arm 8 Iberian warriors as slingers so there is a second option to use them.

The Epirotes can choose from 6 mercenaries, and I chose to build the famous Cretan archers.  They were used by most of the Hellenistic successor armies and should also be in the future Saga book Age of Alexander.  So in addition to providing support to my Epirotes they should be usable in some other armies in the future.

When ordering my Epirotes I bought part of the army from from Aventine Miniatures in Northern Ireland, including 2 packs of skirmishers to use as Cretan Archers.  They come with separate small pelta-size shields that attached easily.  This is the first time I have used Aventine and they are great miniatures.  The forthcoming Saga Age of Invasions book will include Sassanid Persians; if I like the battle board I will definitely be using Aventine to make the army.

I painted the Cretan tunics black since I have seen depictions of them in black, plus it gives them a distinctive look.  When trying to decide whether to leave their shields as plain bronze or to paint a design, I looked at the terrific Ancient Battles website by Jeff Jonas.  There is an article on Cretan shield designs, which heavily inspired the designs I painted.  You can find it and many other good articles on wargaming the Hellenistic period at:

Ancient Battles

For the Baelaric slingers I used the same color scheme as my Iberians; tunics in various shades of off-white with red stripes on the borders.  The miniatures are from Crusader, one of my favorite 28mm manufacturers for Ancients.