Why is this here..


A Lead Odyssey is about my hobby, collecting, painting and playing with toy soldiers. It will cover the various rulesets I use, the figures I am painting (very slowly), and some games. Thanks to Harry Pearson for the Achtung Schweinehund reference. The uniform jacket in the picture was adapted from a safari suit, the weapon is a wooden sub-machine gun made by me and my dad. Cool eh?

I play a range of scales, rules and periods.. scales are anything from 6mm, through 15mm to 28mm for little men, but I also use 1/1200 for Napoleonic Naval, and 1/3000 for Pre-Dreadnought period Naval.

My tastes are eclectic, but I have avoided most 'Fantasy' Games for a few years, as I couldn't get into the usual suspects for Fantasy Battles, and didn't have a decent group to play role-playing style games.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Sample Paints - 20mm WW2

I painted up some samples to get the colours and so on, and the feel for these 1/72 figures. The picture quality isn't great - but here goes.

 Rear view of the US lieutenant, and a Brit Bren Gunner, the green on the Brit needs to be darker.

One of the Armourfast/HaT Machine Gunners pack doing duty in a Sdkfz 251/1 of the 2nd Panzer Division. I am still waiting for numeric decals to arrive.

Front of the GI Lieutenant, still needs shading on the flesh and the webbing, plus the metallic bits.

And a close-up of the Panzergrenadier in Splintermuster, you can't really see the 'rain-stripes'. I should break out the good camera.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

New Years Resolutions

Ok, so here goes (and apologies for the somewhat indulgent length). As usual - Last Years resolutions were not kept.. though for me, I did rather well.

What did I resolve in 2012?

I am planning to not make any wargames purchases at all this year - ok, well - that failed...  but expenditure was way down on last year..  so I shall count that as a partial success.

I should actually finalise some of the half-finished projects - let's see how that went...

  • Finish the Sui Chinese for DBMM (required for Cancon in 24 days time..) - YES
  • Complete the bases on my Houstons Ships - YES
  • Finish the WSS British - NO
  • Get paint onto my SAGA Vikings and Scots - NO
  • Complete the Late War 6mm Germans for BKCII - YES. (Except I bought some add ons, so the add-ons are painted but still awaiting basing.)
  • Make up some new terrain - YES, did some hills, rivers, waterways, etc.
  • 15mm Sci-Fi - two forces for Tomorrows War - NO
  • 15mm Modern, finish up the US and Insurgent forces - NO
On the bright side, I completed a few other projects. So in addition to the ones above, I have completed:
  • 15mm DBA Rajput army
  • 15mm DBA Ottoman Turkish army
  • 1/3000 Soviet Fleet + air-power for 'Shipwreck'
  • 6mm BKCII DAK German Battlegroup
  • 6mm BKCII Commonwealth Western Desert Battlegroup 
  • 6mm BKCII North West Europe British/Commonwealth Battlegroup
  • Armoured vehicles for Chain of Command in 1/72 (20mm)
So what's the plan for 2014?

Well, I won't commit to NO wargames purchases, but I have been thinking (again) about the ones I have that wouldn't require too much effort to say 'finished'!

So here's the brief outline of targets for 2014.
  • 1/72 Finish the Chain of Command US, German, British and British Airborne companies
  • 15mm Finish the DBA Hebrews that are already started
  • 1/3000 Finish the Royal Navy for Shipwreck already started
  • 6mm Finish up the BKCII Late War Germans (basing only required)
  • 1/1200 Complete the rest of the Langtons French Napoleonic ships
  • 6mm Complete the WSS for use with Polemos or Maurice
  • 15mm Complete the Moderns (US, Insurgents and AK47 Africans)
  • 15mm Complete the Sci-Fi Nova Alba and Colonial Marine forces
  • 1/3000 Finish up the last couple of WTJ Pre-Dreads (destroyers and a couple of cruisers)
  • 15mm Finish the Splintered Light Picts for DBA
Other stuff that might get attacked: (Unlikely but possible..)
  • 6mm Additional FWC Sci-Fi Battlegroup (mainly walkers and infantry)
  • 6mm Additional 6mm FWC Sci-Fi Battlegroup Pax Arcadia
  • Finish up Japanese Full Thrust fleet
  • Do repairs and updates to UNSC Full Thrust fleet
  • 6mm New Early War French BKCII Battlegroup
  • 6mm New Early War British BKCII Battlegroup 
  • 6mm New Late War US BKCII Battlegroup 
  • 6mm Finish the CWC South Africans
  • 6mm Finish the CWC 1990's Desert British
  • 6mm Finish the CWC 1970-80's British
  • Use existing models to do some CWC Arab-Israeli Battlegroups
  • 28mm SAGA Scots & Vikings
  • 28mm Sasanians
  • 15mm TYW/ECW for DBR
  • 15mm Samurai for DBA
 And of course, there is always the rest of the DBMM lead-pile
  • Alexandrian Macedonians
  • Additional Ottomans to expand the DBA army into a full DBMM army
  • New Kingdom Egyptians
  • Thebans
  • Early Polish
  • Goths/Visigoths
  • Others  - pretty sure there are plenty of others, like DBA Byzantines, etc.
Wheeewwwww..    well, let's see how it looks from the perspective of Christmas 2014.

20mm WW2 - Hanomags completed

Now only awaiting crew and stowage - the crew are pending paintbrush following some hacking of the Armourfast/HaT German Machinegunners. The stowage is ordered and should arrive soon.



The Armourfast models actually build up very nicely. More than happy with these, and today I have also based up companies of British Infantry (51 HD) and Heer (2nd Arm'd Div.), plus a squad of GI's (2nd Arm'd Div. funnily enough).

Now waiting for the bases to set before undercoating. I reckon undercoat Panzer Grey for the Her without Smocks, a sand colour for the US, and 'mocha' for the Brits.

And I even sorted out my painting table and moved everything where it is supposed to be..  I really need to either invest in, or build a paint rack.

Monday, 23 December 2013

20mm WW2 - expanded vehicle park

A parcel at work today, containing the Armourfast Sdkfz 251/1 & Sherman M4A2 75mm kits, plus two packs of the Armourfast/HaT German Machine Gunners.

So firstly - very pleased with the machine gunners, they look like they will paint up nicely, and be compatible with my Caesar sets which for some reason (across three sets) contain not one single LMG or HMG.

Service - top marks..  at Christmas time from ordering Dec 10, arrived at work Dec 23. 13 days door to door from UL to Australia in the middle of the Christmas post. Excellent work.

On to the kits themselves. Rivet-counters may now look away. Firstly the 251. Grey plastic, went together easily, nice detail, looks the biz. Some have complained it is too long and narrow, but to me it really looks the part. 23 minutes to put it together. Only drama, other than the usual dropping of tiny plastic parts, the MG are MG42, so this is late war. The headlamps don't quite fit into the holes, burr these out. No driver compartment detail, but I think it is assumed you will be filling this baby with machine-gunners etc. And good grief - why are the vision slots moulded separately with no locating lugs?  Surely these could have been cast with the very nice upper body.

Armourfast - Sdkfz 251/1 & M4A2
Armourfast Sherman Sprue - 15 bits I think...
Armourfast on the Left, Esci on the right.


Now the Sherman. Went together very easily. Looks the part, quite comparable in size with my Esci version. Now.. just 5 slight issues.
1. The exploded assembly view contains a part that isn't on the sprue.. part no 6. turret hatch on the left hand side. I looked on both sprues, nope, nada, zilch, nothing...   doesn't exist.
2. The bit that is included on the sprue, but isn't on the diagram. I think this bit is an aerial mount for the rear of the turret.. equally, it could be a spare ball mg mounting..
3. +1 to Armourfast for making the turret hatches in two parts so they can be opened, but no crew member.
4. Rear decking detail is 'sparse' it works, but I think I am going to stack it with stowage to conceal the lack of detail.
5. No decals..    annoying. I am going to have to source some separately. I knew this when I bought it, but it would be nice even to have some generic Allied stars, (same for the Hanomag.. how hard would it be to include a few Balkan crosses?

I really reckon Armourfast could make a good thing out of an 'accessories' pack with tons of stowage, jerry cans, crates, rolled tarps etc. Throw in some decals, and I would certainly buy them.

But all in all, these are excellent little wargames models They look the part, and with a little bit of extra work in the paint shop, some customisation, and so on, will really look good on the table.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Megalomania - the Tank Park

So I have been building up the tank park, the latest additions; an Esci Sherman. What a pain. I complained about the Airfix rubber band tracks, but Esci have taken another tack. Each track is made up of 4 decent sized parts plus 8 single links. and they all have to be cut out and trimmed from the sprue (obviously). Glueing single track links is definitely not my favourite thing to do. 2 days hard labour later...   Apart from that, a lovely kit..  so here it is, ready for the main colours.

Not sure about the somewhat stiff tank commander...  or whether this one might eventually get fitted with loudspeakers and a barrel extension..   just for that .. edge.. ya know, man?

And here's the rest of the tank park. In the front is an Armourfast Tank Destroyer, just awaiting a crew. This one was pre-assembled and has just had a bit of a repaint. Decals are incorrect unfortunately, so I will have to attack this one again.



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Airfix Panther (Ernst)

I posted Bert a few days ago, so here's my take on the Airfix Panther. Now I know all about the defects of the model, but I thought a paint job, Milliput Zimmerit, and a commander might compensate a bit.

So here's my take...



I probably need to go back with Dullcote or similar..

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bert & Ernie (Or maybe it's Ernst)

For those who have been paying attention, I got back into kit-building with the Esci Churchill, and the Airfix Panther.

So here's some glamour shots...  Bert...


And Ernie - with his little Pal..   1/72 Airfix Panther vs 1/285 GHQ M3 Half track.


Guess which one is a more accurate model, has more detail, and requires less assembly ? Compared to the Esci kit, this is a woefully primitive model. But an hour or so with some modelling putty, zimmerit and stowage, some time in the paint shop.. a couple of figures maybe..   and it should look alright on a wargames table.

And the Caesar US and German sets arrived from Taiwan today...   really great service. All excited now, and all I have to do is sort out what bases I want to use.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Churchill Mk III Esci 1/72 Kit

So I constructed a plastic kit that Jason very kindly donated. The Esci Churchill Mk IV [Correction - the kit is Infantry Tank Mk IV, Churchill III]. It has been about 35 years since I built a model, and I also have the very inaccurate Airfix Panzer, and the Esci Sherman M1A1. As I am going to build US and German 1944 forces, I thought I would build this one as a practice run.
So the good...  the kit went together reasonably well, although the front and rear sprockets don't quite line up with the kit mouldings. It's a nice kit, plenty of good detail, and I reckon will paint up well. Getting a crewman was a bonus.
The bad?


The only polystyrene glue I have is thick, splodgy and strings everywhere. I spent for ever picking strings off with a pair of tweezers. Plus the turret moulding doesn't quite line up. (The kit has been in a garage for years, and perhaps warped slightly in the Australian heat?) Nothing that can't be fixed with some green stuff, once everything is solid.

The ugly..  anyone know how to get the tracks to go on? Horrible rubbery things, they seems too short. The final part is to put the track guards on, which I can't do until I can figure out how to get the tracks reasonably tight without breaking the bogies and sprockets. Oh well, some time to be spent on the various internet modelling sites.

Well, some staples, hot water and elastic bands later..

Saturday, 30 November 2013

'Eavy Metal

Excuse the 'GW' style post title, but some time back, I looked at my Late War German lead in 1/285 (6mm) for Blitzkrieg Commander II, and realised I was missing some of the iconic tanks for the late war period. A quick visit to the GHQ website.. (curse you internet for making this too easy..) and a short time later I had a parcel.

They have been sitting on the shelf in the man-cave for some time, but today I hauled them out, and reached for the superglue...

One has been set aside for Dave, whose LW Germans I played against on Thursday night with my LW British battlegroup. The British commander (me) set up with a cunning plan for the attack from the opposite edge, only to find the entire German army coming in on the table edge to my left.. oops..

Anyway, as you can see here, the group is led by three Sturmtigers, equipped with the 380mm mortar. (You are only allowed one per battlegroup in BKCII, but who knows when you might need another couple?)

Behind them are 5 Tiger II or King Tigers, for the defence of the Reich. And if Thomo uses his entire Guards Army, they will be needed. I also have the GHQ Sdkfz 251/C 2 & 9 half tracks with 75mm howitzer x 3 and mortar carriers x 2. Fiddly little things to build, as were the shell hoists on the Sturmtigers. Now on with 15 M3 half-tracks that will equip my Allied forces. (I figure I will base them all the same, and can use them either with my LW British, or with my LW US forces.)

Heavy Metal indeed...

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Jehoshophat!

So on the weekend (Sunday), I played in David Lawrence's 'Landwaster' DBA 2.2 competition. I was lucky enough to pick up 3rd place with my Ottomans. And coincidentally, David had a whole bunch of Essex army packs there, and with my 50% off voucher, I decided to add to the lead pile at bargain prices. The variety wasn't great, with a variety of Latin, Campanian and other Early Roman types, Carthaginians, and Knights of St John (KoStJ). There were also a few Hellenistic types, but I have the Tin Soldier Macedonians in the painting queue already, and they would be completely incompatible.

I didn't fancy the Early Latin types, all Blades and Spear, and looked at the KoStJ - but Essex had done one of their mix and match jobs, and the packs inside were from a 2-3 Century range, everything from c1200 Crusaders, 14th Century caparisoned horses, to Late 15th Century fully plate armoured dismounted knights. One to avoid I think. Anyway, I spotted a Later Hebrew pack - the I/34b List in DBA with 2-horse chariots, loads of Auxilia, (medium infantry that fight well in bad going, and are targets for everyone in the open), a couple of Psiloi (light infantry skirmishers) and a single element of Spearmen.
3Ax - Loads of them
Not world-beaters, but interesting. They have an aggression of '1' (it ranges from 0-4) so have a very good chance of being the defender, and have 'Hilly' as their home terrain. This is a bit of a two edged sword. Hilly terrain is likely to have a good amount of bad going, which is all good for the Auxilia, but the disadvantage of hills is that they block visibility, which affects the General's command range. As Auxilia have few combat advantages, they rely heavily on movement to isolate, surround and destroy enemy. That all takes PIPs - which is where the problem arises. If the General can't see his troops, then it is very difficult to manoeuvre.

4Ax - and 4Sp in the background

So I am trying a slightly different tack on the painting for these little guys. Monday night, they were cleaned up, spare shields and weapons added, then glued onto bases. Tonight, I used a commercial 'Mocha' tone enamel spray as a base, then a heavy wash of GW Badab Black. I figure with bronze, flesh and white, with a few blue touches, they will be very quick to finish.

Jehoshophat in the background...

Oh, and of course, in period..   968 CE - 800 BC, the best name for a King of Judah is Jehoshophat.  Right  - now off to check the books for some inspiration.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Final

So yes, the Ottoman camp is done. Couple of fly ropes, some tufts, and some work with paint pens. I am pretty happy with this, just wish I had a few figures spare to add.






Ottoman camp with sacrificial dice...

Guess What? - Pretty obvious by now..

Paint applied, this thing looks like it might fly by Sunday..   some more drybrushing, a few grass tufts..  wish I had some harem figures to put inside..


amazing what some paper, paint and cocktail sticks can make...  few more details, guy ropes and this thing is wrapped up.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Guess What - Part 2

I think it might be a little easier to guess now..  sort of taking shape.


PS.  I hadn't realised before how hard it was to drill holes in dice...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Guess What?

So I was playing around making something tonight...

Any guesses as to what it might become?

And the only clue is..  it's still incomplete..

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Intimations of Mortality & Wargames Executors

So, a question raised by my mate Thomo tonight had me thinking. I have a wargames executor named in my will. I guess it goes back to being about nine or ten, and walking to school, I spotted several cardboard boxes placed out for the bin men, (garbage executives or waste disposal operatives or whatever)..  and noticing dozens of immaculate 1/600 ship models being thrown away.. 

Now my assumption is that a lifelong ship modeller of excellent skills had died, and his partner or kids had not known what to do with a collection, and it had been simply put out for disposal.

And that seemed tragic..  not the waste so much, but that all that care and love and interest and dedication simply was lost.

So my Lead Odyssey as a wargamer has now reached a point where I look at the many projects, and wonder whether I will ever finish them before I am finished.

I am now 49 years old. By biblical reckoning (three score years and ten)  I have 21 years to go, and at the rate I paint - will I ever even finish the lead I already have?

Regardless, for anyone reading this blog, and I have to assume you are wargamers; as I suspect it would have only limited appeal to cross-stitchers, have a think about a few things..  will you finish it, who will get it..  what happens to it?

Just a thought.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Ottomans Done

Ok, I decided that enough was enough and I am calling it on these guys, as done.

I have a bunch more to do as the start of a DBMM army, but I now have these ones ready to go for Landwaster in two weeks time. Perhaps some kind of a record for me having them ready with so much time to spare.
The bulk of the army
Psiloi and Artillery
Janissaries

General with his Drummer
 
Cavalry


More Work on the Ottomans

Made some significant progress with the Ottomans. I am finding that they are a lot darker than I wanted though.
 The flags still need some work.




Monday, 28 October 2013

Ottomans, Villages and Bears

Some weekend painting was squeezed in between gardening and other such duties. More progress on the Ottomans, a Normandy farm complex in 6mm, and some 1/1200 planes for use in Shipwreck games.


Ottomans - starting to look the business
The General and his drummer
Spahis
1/1200 Su27, a Shackleton, Nimrod, Victor and others
Early Warning and a Bear

Normandy farm complex

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Ottomans in Progress

Some time ago, (several years), I won a Venexia DBA Ottoman army in competition. The Venexia figures were originally supplied by Vexillia in the UK. (A plug here, Martin who runs Vexillia is an excellent bloke to do business with, prompt, responsive and extremely helpful).

The figures themselves are more like18mm than 15mm - so quite large, and most require assembly, not just spears and shields but also whole weapons arms and some figures such as archers are split at the waist. They have loads of character, and paint up well though.

On getting them home (again; some years ago), I assembled them, based and undercoated in black. Since then, they have just been sitting around, getting in the way. David Lawrence runs DBA competitions locally, and one of these, 'Landwaster' is coming up very soon. I wanted to bring a new army, as committing to bringing something new is a very good way to get myself motivated to paint something. The Ottomans fitted the bill. So here's the work in progress.

Four cavalry, four light horse, one artillery, two 'Psiloi' (light infantry) and one Janissary bow.


Progress is patchy - because I keep seeing other bits I should do, but it's steady. These guys should be ready by 17 November, and the big test at the Austrian Club.

Later I hope to expand them to a full size Ottoman army for DBMM. Vexillia no longer carries them, instead, Sergeant Major Miniatures in the US are now the only supplier I know of. I am looking at what I might need to add to the mix.

Friday, 11 October 2013

NWE British - now with added Decals..

An evening spent peering over teeny weeny tanks later... 

Essential equipment..   sharp scissors, very sharp knife, brush and tweezers.

So I grabbed my humbrol varnish and varnished the relevant bits on the model - scared myself with how shiney they were. Then used scissors to chop the GHQ sheet into the relevant bits, scored the parts between the decals (because they are printed on a single film) grabbed them with the tweezers, immersed in warmish water for maybe 10 seconds.

Then used a soft brush to pick them up and apply them, blunt tweezers to move them about. Applied Tamiya decal set, and when dry this morning, sprayed with an artists matt varnish.

Here's the results.

Command, Recce, 6lb AT, Mortars, FAO, and Cromwells,

SPG & Shermans

Front on.
I am pretty happy. I also took a graphite pencil and really marked up the paintwork, tracks and wear points on turrets and hatches. I am now considering whether to paint or use the GHQ decals for British armour.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Lead Audit - 9 months in

So a little banter between myself and Thomo the Lost via email, and the subject came up about how much stuff I had painted/ordered, especially with Brigade Models sale now on. expected any time now for Christmas

9 months in, and looking back through my orders for the year..  I wasn't as good as I thought. The tally was as follows:

Rules & Other stuff
Maurice + Cards
Airbrush & Compressor
1/48 scale F111 kit (does this even count?)
Shipwreck rules
Litko Markers
1/300 decals (British & German tanks)
Miniatures
Medieval German army (eBay) –  but at least it was all painted, so didn’t add to the lead pile
Lancashire Games Goths for DBMM (sale price ;-)
Navwar - 3 Fleets for Shipwreck (and gave one away)
TSS & Magister Militum - planes & helicopters for Shipwreck
5 packs of GHQ (but 4 of those were on special) - 24 AFV
13 packs of Essex Chinese (so my Sui can do duty as Early Tang)

Ok, so my 'no new lead' pledge has kind of faltered, but I really do think I am going pretty well.  
I have painted up 44 x 1/3000 scale naval vessels, plus aircraft, in 6mm, GHQ, 62 x Late War German vehicles, 47 x Late War British vehicles, accompanying infantry for both, a DBA Rajput army, finished up the DBMM Sui in January, (did some more in June).

The plan is to do a DBA Ottoman Turkish army using the Venexia figures I have lurking around undercoated for Landwaster in November, and try to get started on the Goths. Interspersed with this, I will also try to paint up a 1940 French battlegroup for BKCII.

Overall, nine months in, not as disciplined as I wanted, but not too bad, by my standards.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Panzer Grenadiers Part 2

I had posts noting that the camouflage was invisible in the previous pictures.. hopefully these are clearer.