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.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Last of the Danes

Not Hamlet, but the additional bits and pieces I wanted to add to the Danish Cold War battlegroup.

I again went back to QRF, and added some dismounted TOW, some mortars, some 'Blowpipe' missiles, which double as 'Hamlet', the Danish version of 'Redeye', additional Landrovers and Unimogs for transport, plus the very charming Walker Bulldog M41 for reconnaissance.

So here are the reinforcements. I still have air assets in the form of a Tornado, a Phantom and a F16 to finish, but it seems like overegging the pudding.

Landrovers for the Redeye Teams

TOW armed Lynx
The QRF Lynx is a much later model, so I had a lot of hacking to do around the exhaust nozzles. Not an easy job.

Dismounted TOW in front, Hamlet (Redeye) SAM in the second row.

Unimog tows for mortars 
Walker Bulldogs & Mortars

The whole battlegroup
As always, a very simple paint job. My new airbrush got a work out, (yes, I cracked - ordered a new one on the Friday I broke the old one, it arrived on Saturday, thanks to Amazon Prime).

Green for vehicles is sprayed XF51 Tamiya Olive Drab over the black undercoat, and the 'Grey' is Vallejo German Grey. Infantry uniforms are sprayed Vallejo Russian Uniform - webbing is Vallejo Grey Green. I used Vallejo Military Green for some equipment (Mortars and 'Hamlet' launchers). Washes are by GW, 'brown' & 'black' (Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade... or whatever they are called these days)

Camo netting is old stocking with white glue and tea leaves.

And right.. that's it. No more to add. Seriously, I am calling this Battlegroup done.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Not a Good Day

So some time back, I picked up the Tamiya 1/100 model of the Il-28 Beagle. I love the look of this plane, and I had a vague idea I might pick up some of the PSC T55 and build up a Polish battlegroup as an opponent for my Danes.

So having assembled it... minus the 'glass', I put it aside, and this morning thought I would give it an undercoat of gray primer...

Now whether it was the humidity, or something else..  it went on like sandpaper..  gritty and horrible..

Yuck...  all gritty
Not much I could do about it at the time..  so I had to leave it. So when I did get back to it, rubbing it down did nothing, so the last resort was to scrub with white spirit.

And this was the result..  

Oh dear
Ok, so having got it back (almost) to bare plastic, I undercoated using black. Much better. And then I had a moment of insanity, and thought I would airbrush it silver..  with Vallejo Acrylics..  I knew it was a dumb idea, but frankly, the whole model was a disaster, how bad could it be?

Utter disaster.. the Beagle looks like it has been painted by Jackson Pollock, and of course I clogged the airbrush, several times, then trying to unscrew the brish to clean it, sheared off the front stem through which the needle passes, rendering the whole thing unusable, and I believe - unrepairable.

Not my best day. Down 1 Beagle and 1 Airbrush.  

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Defending Butter & Bacon

As I mentioned in the last post, I ordered some more Danes from QRF, and hey presto! They arrived yesterday. Great service from QRF.
Files, scalpel and glue at the ready, I've transplanted the MG from the Walker Bulldogs to make Recce Landrovers, added crew and stowage as necessary. Today will be the messy bit with stocking mesh, white glue and tea-leaves.

Generally speaking, the QRF models are easy to assemble and make good representations of the vehicles, while the infantry paint up quickly and look pretty good, but the Unimog is a real pain to assemble.

Post tea-leaves, ready for black undercoat
Now all I am wondering is whether to add anything further to the battlegroup. It's very tempting to grab a few more landrovers as transports for the SAM teams, and the dismounted TOW. Plus another couple of APC and some more infantry would give me basically a mechanised battalion plus supports. Hmmmm...

Monday, 12 June 2017

Danes Finished

Very happy with these, both how they have eventually turned out, and secondly, with how fast they have been to paint up.

The force is designed to be a small Danish All-Arms battlegroup that could be expected to operate defensively in Denmark itself.

The M109 are Zvezda 1/100 plastic models, the Harrier is by Revell, and featured in a previous post, and the rest are all from Geoff at QRF.

When I say these are finished, I succumbed to temptation and put through a follow up order with Geoff for some mortars, Unimogs as tows, more Landrovers, and reconnaissance in the form of M41 Walker Bulldogs..   utterly useless on a wargames table, but pretty.

A borrowed RAF Harrier

M113 APC

Armour Command, Centurion Mk 5/2 

M109 SPG, the FAO in his Landrover, and the Engineers' Unimog

AT capability, TOW on Landrovers

Battlegroup Command and the Forward Air Controller (I may give him a blue beret)

The PBI, conscripts mostly.

And the whole force assembled, small but perfect.
Rather fun to put together, I am hoping the nephew will finish up his East Germans for Team Yankee and we can get forces onto a table.

I also still have acccess to the Cold War Commander  battlegroups online tool, so I ran up 2000 points for each, and I am pretty confident I can play 90% without the rules (which are in storage). So if TY doesn't work* there's a fallback. And Plan C is to take inspiration from Chain of Command and write my own.

*Well - actually, I am pretty confident they aren't much chop, but I will give them a fair go.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Danes Blocked In

And here's the view of the Danes with the first colours blocked in...

I'm very pleased with how they are starting to look. Not too bad for a simple black undercoat, airbrushed green, and some highlights applied to the black.

Next step, tracks, green highlights, first base colours, then I am going to do a 'khaki' dust using the airbrush, flock etc, and see what else needs doing.

I am well pleased with how fast these are coming together.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Danish Centurion

Amazing what you can do with sprue, greenstuff, laminate, an old pair of stockings, brush bristles and some tea....

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Ball o' Kirriemuir

So this weekend, I took the short trip (30 minutes), up the road to Kirriemuir, to play at the Kirriemuir Wargames Club.

Attendance was a bit thin, primarily because quite a few of the members had been to Partizan in Newark with the 'Bloody Big Battles' Gettysburg game. So we were very fortunate that Dale made a huge effort to organise a smashing big game using some of his 28mm Napoleonics.

Now in common with most wargamers, there's a touch of Obsession, a soupcon of Megalomania and certainly an uncontrollable lead lust, so the game naturally was 'Big'  - in keeping with the Auld Alliance, I took the French, tasked with defending a vital river crossing somewhere in Spain.

The rules used were General de Brigade, which I have played before, and they give a pretty good game, though to be honest, the initiative roll seems to be absolutely critical. Late in the game, the British had a series of rolls to win the initiative, and I was virtually steam rollered in one sector.

All in all a great fun game, thanks to my opponent, Chris, and to Dale for doing all the heavy lifting (literally!)

A sleepy Spanish town, somewhere near the French border.

On my left, one of my battalions routs in the face of a suicidal British charge across the river, The neighbouring French battery does great execution though.

Chris moves up the Royal Scots in another suicidal attack, this time, French musketry drove it back.

On my right the Brigade of Guards shrugs off enfilading French Horse Artillery

French Dragoons hang about optimistically hoping to catch the Guards disordered by the river.
Lots of fun, classic style wargaming, and I am now keen to get my Napoleonics painted up, though as my basing is designed for Sharp Practice, it's not really compatible with these guys.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Cold War Gone Hot 1985

Number 1 nephew is all excited about Team Yankee, I think because of all the cool kit. Plus he's a bit of a tank nut (I foresee a trip to Bovington sometime in my future). Anyway, he's been buying himself a fair bit of East German kit to do Team Yankee in 15mm.

Regular readers of this blog (are there such creatures?) will know I did a whole lot of 20mm Cold War stuff, which is sadly, still in Australia. But if there's an excuse.. ok, 15mm it is.

Of course, being me, I couldn't just settle for something easy as an opponent, so I decided, rather than Brits, or West Germans, or US troops, I would do Danes..   they have cool kit, like Unimogs, Walker Bulldogs and even better.. that all time classic.. Centurion tanks! So an order has gone in to QRF.

So I have the softcover Team Yankee rulebook on order, some Zvezda M109 for artillery support, the QRF gear and an F16 all due to arrive in the post, but I visited HobbyCraft today, and there was the Revell 1/100 Harrier. Wrong version, a pre paint, dated 2010, but a Harrier none the less. Still one of my favourite aircraft.

It's quite a nice little snap together kit, I did use glue, and it went together in 20 minutes..

The observant will note a couple of minor differences, the nose cone got the bulges taken out, and the outrigger wheels were moved back out to the wing tip, Then it was paint out time...

An hour or so later, and this was the result. I have to go back and tidy up the paint job, especially the tail, add some further details, and  make a flightstand, but not bad for 1/100. If you squint your eyes, make some whooshing noises, it's pretty much "Good enough for Government work".

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Carronade 2017

Firstly. apologies - had camera difficulties, so no pictures. But Me and 'He' - aka First Nephew, took a drive to Falkirk for Carronade 2017.

I have to admit a certain fondness for Carronade. It is the first UK wargames show I visited when I got back (last year), it's large but not impersonal, great traders - big shout out as always to Warbases, and also to Lancashire Games, top blokes. When freedom comes a) 'don't piss in the water supply' (Alex Harvey), and b) I reckon we should ask for the border for the Scottish Soviet Peoples Republic to be about as far south as Manchester...   good people.

Ok, so the flea market.. 3 painted and based Irregular Viking longships - 1 squid, 3 sets of 1900 French legionnaire, tirallieur, 12  mounted Chasseurs Afrique, a Nordenfelt gun and a dozen naughty Arabs = 9 squids...   bargains! No idea what I will use them for, but can't resist at that price.

Then Renedra fences, an 'American Church' by Perry, and enough to do an AWI 16th Dragoons unit for Sharp Practice.

Good fun, and special nephew got all his 15mm Team Yankee East Germans...  now I need to source some 15mm Danes circa 1985...   I get to see how Centurions do vs T55.

Friday, 5 May 2017

AWI - British - or Webbs

Well, almost a year since I was at Carronade, the Falkirk show. While I was there I picked up some very cheap Wargames Foundry figures for the American War of Independence.

It has taken me almost a year, but I finally finished up the batch, and I elected to paint them very simply. My intent is to use the Too Fat Lardies 'Sharp Practice 2' rules.  These usually have between 30 - 50 troops per side, but as usual megalomania kicked in, and I added some boxes of Perry plastics, and the Warlord Games Woodland Indians & Artillery. Troops are organised into groups, of varying sizes ranging from 6 figures for skirmishers, to 8 for regular infantry, 10 for militia, and 12 for tribal troops. There are no set army sizes, but games normally scale for 5 or more groups.

I now have enough figures painted to field a decent sized British force, with Hessian grenadiers &  jager, British skirmishers, a group of Highlanders and 3 groups of line infantry. The poor old continentals have been somewhat neglected to date, but they are now a priority!

The last lot of troops I decideed to make 'multi-purpose' so they can double as British line, with one group retaining their laced coats. The other two groups are wearing the simplified coats without lace, and can double as the American Webbs regiment.

The pictures aren't the best I am afraid, I need to work on my photography.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Call of Cthulhu - miniatures

Out of the blue, sometime before Christmas, number one nephew announced that he loved the look of Achtung Cthulhu. So what is an uncle to do except encourage him by getting him the CoC rulebook and Achtung Cthulhu as a present.

Of course, as I was trawling teh Interwebs for content to encourage him, I saw a bunch of painted miniatures and was struck with nostalgia for the original Cthulhu I was playing in Glasgow in the early 1980s. Back then, I had a bunch of the Grenadier figures, which now retail for silly money on eBay, and thoroughly enjoyed painting them.

Temptation is never far away, and before I knew it, parcels from Moonraker and Northstar had arrived, hard-fisted pulp detectives and brawlers, clergy and lizard men. I rather enjoyed painting these, and I would like to think they have turned out a bit better than my 1980s efforts!

I experimented with oils on these guys. It's hard to see on this picture, but undercoated a brown, then oil that I then partially rubbed off.

Clergy, Detectives & Doctors

Diletantes, Explorers, Professors and Dandies

A Nightgaunt & Ghouls


Dread Mi-Go

Deep Pne, Servitor and Proto-Shoggoth

Tough Guys

More Tough Guys

More AWI in 28mm

As promised, I hacked away at another batch of figures for the AWI and got them to a finished state - though when I look at the close-ups, some of them make me shudder.

So here they are:
American Militia

American 'Regulars'

Big Men & Musicians

Black Watch & British Officers

British Light Infantry (Royal Scots)
Finally, I also received my decals, so managed to finish off some British armour for Chain of Command. 

Sherman by Warlord/Italeri, others are diecast

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Hessians in 28mm for Sharp Practice

So I have been periodically adding various AWI figures to the lead (and plastic) mountain since last year, but thanks to my jackdaw nature, not really getting anywhere with them. I finally knuckled down and tried to get at least a couple of 'squads' finished for Sharp Practice 2.

The figures themselves were part of a job lot bought second-hand for next to nothing at one of the Scottish shows last year, probably Edinburgh. I think they are 'Elite' figures, which looked pretty unprepossessing in the raw, but when painted I rather like them. They are from the Seven Years War range but can easily do double duty if you sort of squint a bit and ignore the Jager cartridge box being at the hip rather than belly.

So here they are, apologies for the lighting which has flattened the colours a bit:

I have quite a few other 'units' which are nearing completion, so with a bit of discipline, I should have a few more to post over the next week or so. What with the buildings that I have been working on, I should have a decent chunk of the forces I need to put on a game.

Friday, 6 January 2017

MDF Buildings from Hoka Hey

I was unfamiliar with Hoka Hey Wargaming, but thought I would provide a thumbnail review, as I purchased some MDF buildings from them this week. Firstly I was looking for 'generic' buildings that were re-usable, so I figured I would give their 'Animal Pen/Outbuilding' and 'Ruined Farm Building/House' a try.

  • Speed - Ordered 3 January, arrived today, so top marks for order fulfilment.
  • Cost -  £8.50 for the Animal Pen, and £6.00 for the ruined house. Top marks for cost as well. Note that the ruined building also had a 'debris' MDF sheet with some 'rubble' and rafters.
  • Overall package.. included instructions for the 'Timeline Miniatures' models, with image and build sequence,not really necessary, as I probably could have figured it all out, but handy.
  • Build quality - excellent...  everything went together well, though I found the points where the mdf was attached to the sheet were thicker than I was used to, and needed freeing with a knife if I didn't want to damage delicate parts.
  • Detail..  some nice little touches, so for example the ruined farmhouse included separate window-sills so the window frames were recessed properly.
  • Features - each of the buildings had a MDF base. Very much more convenient, some other companies could take note. The build surface is smooth other than a couple of locations with engraved detail showing bricks or blocks underneath a render, and engraved planking detail on doors and the 'pigsty' and pen building roof.
  • Criticisms? Hmm...  being very picky, the roof detail on the animal pen shows boards that are wider than you might expect. The gate on the animal pen appears to attach directly to the wall, not to wooden uprights, which would be unusual.
Overall, I am delighted with these, and as the ruined farmhouse contained separate window frames, I used some of the left over MDF frames to create 'wrecked frames to make some replacements, and liberated a couple of the window frames. I then used the 'double doors' from the animal/pen to create two end doors on the building, scrap MDF to fill in where the doors would be, attached the frames, and now it is a small dwelling with yard and animal pen. 


So for a grand total of £14.50, two usable buildings..   that could be pretty much 1740s on. I am now wondering how to finish these, and whether I could make them generic enough to do double duty from AWI to Northern Europe. The main issue would seem to be the construction methods and roofing. As I intend to update the roofing with cardboard shingles/tiles, it's just the underlying wood vs brick that creates issues.