Saturday 29 December 2012

Making Sea Bases

Some time ago, I decided I needed an easier method for sea bases than I have used up till now. It is mind-numbingly tedious adding layer after layer of varnish.

For this example I have some 1/300 Sui Junks I am painting up as part of my DBMM army. These are sold in Australia by Eureka Miniatures, and are part of the Grumpy Range, (Hi Vic!) You can find them here.

They come in a very simple kit and build up into a very nice little model. They thoughtfully include a separately cast cannon and gunner, which can be added for later periods. These were of course omitted from my build.

Firstly they are based on DBMM sized naval bases (for 15mm figures this is 80mm x 40mm). Mine are supplied with magnetised bases by Olympian Games, and are a laminate + magnet sandwich. Importantly - they don't warp. I haven't tried this stuff on cardboard as I am not sure how much they would warp it.

With the junks assembled (slightly tricky having to glue the sail on separately as the contact points are quite small) first they are glued down using cheap PVA glue, creating almost a puddle for the ship to sit in. Then undercoated using a cheap black spray primer.

The first stage was a rough mix of Payne's Grey plus French blue artists acrylic, not mixed too well, as when it is applied you get a good dark sea colour with occasional light streaks of the French Blue.  Then the secret weapon!

With an old brush (although it does seem to clean off very well) - apply a thick coat of Artists 3D Gloss super heavy gel. The one I use is from Reeves, and available from any decent artist's store. (I got mine at Eckersleys). Paddle it about with the brush to create ridges and peaks. If you want extreme seas, put it on really thick, and then give it 30 minutes os so and go back with the brush and tease it into more extreme peaks.

It is worth experimenting with how you apply the gel, and it is pretty forgiving. 

Don't panic about all the white at this stage...  that's before it dries clear.

Above, two bases completed this far...  As you can see, the acylic gel has dried gloss and clear...   Next bit...  highlighting.

A quick dry-brush with white... voila! Very quick sea bases.

The Man Cave Part 2

So with the Christmas frenzy now almost over, and in the brief hiatus between Ham and Hogmanay (that's Scottish New Year to you..) - I fled from the evidence of stuffed toy disembowelment into the Man Cave - and finally cleared the workbench so I could actually paint there.

View from the door, it's small..  and I am not going to show the view to the right, as it is monumental chaos.

But the painting desk is under a South facing window, and everything finally organised.. Hurrah!

Friday 14 December 2012

The Man Cave

For quite some time, there have been rumblings from the civil power regarding the degree to which lead, paint and all sundry appurtenances, chattels and otherwise attached 'bits' were taking over the house...

For some inexplicable reason, she seemed to think she should be able to open the door to the study and actually enter the room, without having to pick her way between tottering piles of magazines and 6mm tanks, as well as change the dining room tablecloth without having to move 43 pots of paint, brushes and a large chunk of an ancient Chinese army, or Corgi cars for Geezers, or Sci-Fi Grav vehicles (which of course should have floated off the table very easily...).

Despite having fought back for some time with various distractions, excuses and appeals to togetherness, ("you won't like it when I spend all my time in the shed..") - finally the resistance recognised it was doomed, and consequently I spent several hours carting various boxes, bits, shelves, toolboxes, spray-cans, flock, models, into what has up until now been christened the "Gimp Room".

So now I can barely squeeze myself in there after it all..  at one stage I had even hoped to fit a gaming table in there...  no chance!

And having carted what seemed like hundreds of kilos of lead, I suspect some reorganisation, and even rationalisation might be in order. At the risk of blasphemy....  Some periods and armies I have more figures than I could ever possibly need or even use...

More to come on this topic I suspect....

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Sui Paint Guide

So now I have painted my samples, and inevitably what happens is that I forget which colours were used where. So for my own sake, heres the paint guide for Sui Infantry...

Sui Infantry Paint Guide

As you can see, mainly Citadel, because of the convenience of the GW shop to my workplace, plus a leavening of Coat d'Arms.

Monday 10 December 2012

More Sui WIP

More work underway. I spent a productive afternoon drilling out the hands of some of the Spearmen, so I could add banners to each element. Then when I went to find some brass wire, of course the smallest diameter wouldn't fit the holes I had drilled. Doh! - back to the pin vice.

So now; undercoated, drybrushed light grey, and ready for some serious painting.

The 'heavy cavalry' supplied in the Essex 'Sui & Tang' line are not accurate, but I don't have the time to order alternatives and finish the painting before Cancon..  oh well.

Monday 3 December 2012

More Sui Heavy Cavalry

Another couple finished off. I suspect I will go back and rework these a bit though. Here's how they look for the moment. Also worked on some more cataphracts, just basic washes, plus the generals. I also think I may have miscalculated the original order, and I might need another pack of the heavy cavalry as generals' bodyguards.

Monday 26 November 2012

Sui Test Paints

Some more test paints, and I am starting to get a lot happier. The dynastic colour was yellow, and I am trying a very restricted palette for the dynastic troops. So here they are.

Sui Spearman, who will eventually be part of the Bow stands (DBx elements).
I am going to drill out the hands on a few of these guys so I can do banners for most of the stands.

Crossbow specialist, or Pu-Ping Bowman, who will be mixed with the Spearman above

Archer Specialist, (skirmisher)

Allied Light Horse

Cataphracts with some additional detail

Heavy Armoured Cavalry

Seven elements done, so maybe 10% of the army, plus the test foot elements. I also have some other Crossbowmen, plus the local light horse archers, artillery and ships. Other cataphract regiments are supposed to have been 'black' and 'white' so I will try two elements of each colour for a total of six cataphract stands (including a general), in red, black and white.

Sunday 25 November 2012


Just back from Landwaster.. a lot of fun and I think 16 or 18 players, using DBA 2.2, (even if those Sydney-siders did come and steal the silverware). The Inca chalked up wins vs French Ordonnance, Free Companies, Warring Kingdoms (Wei) Chinese, and Later Imperial Roman.

David giving the briefing..
All important first beer of the day circa 10.30am..
Part of the Sydney contingent
 Unfortunately - lost to the Poles being outdiced in combat and pips.. 

Mark Baker's very attractive Early Polish. My Auxilia couldn't kill spear in bad going, and my PIPs stalled me completely. Oh well.
 And then to Thematic Byzantine (felt I should have won this one.. 1 was 1 element plus camp up (Psiloi end run) 3-0 and then rolled disastrously in a series of combats to go down 6-3 (admittedly I was at a disadvantage in most.)
Psiloi End Run vs Thematic Byzantine..   shortly after this I looted the camp and then proceeded to roll 1s to lose my general then several others..  At least I earned my opponent the 'Executioner award.
 OTOH - can't complain as the previous game saw mano-a-mano General combat at 4s, and I rolled the 6, and he rolled the one.. first combat of the game. Sorry Gregorius.
Deploying vs the Free Companies.

Murray (Later Imperial Roman) traditionally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, being unable to flee a Psiloi (off table) with a Blade element, allowing me the time to have a fantastic combat round and finish up at 6-3 in my favour. Sorry Murray.

I think the Incas can now be retired, as I won a lovely Peter Pig Samurai army as the Magister Militum (highest placed by handicap). So maybe they will be the next lot to get painted.. after the Sui. Some sort of Eastern theme emerging here..

Friday 23 November 2012

Inca Finished

So with a competition looming on Sunday, I managed to discipline myself enough to be finished with a couple of days to spare.

These are a mix of Falcon, Minifigs and I think a Naismith Litter. I haven't done my best work, and I keep looking at them and thinking I need to add a wash to feathers, or more decoration, but they are perfectly acceptable for tabletop use.

The competition is for DBA, but these will also see duty in our upcoming 'Ozpocalypto' competition intended to mark the end of the Mayan calendar, and for which we are going to use DBMM 100. So rather more figures were needed than the standard DBA sized army.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Sui Drafts

Have been working on a couple of elements for the planned Sui army for Cancon. All Essex figures, I have reached a point where I am not sure what else I should do to them. I am tempted to try some characters on breastplates in yellow, and some trim, as Yellow is supposed to be the dynastic colour. But here they are anyway.

Sui Armoured Heavy Cavalry, Cv(S) in DBMM speak.

Sui Super Heavy Cavalry, Kn(X) in DBMM speak.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Inca Redux

So I had got distracted from the Inca, painting up a couple of test bases for Sui Chinese, planning a Battle of Britain game using 1/350 aircraft, some more SAGA stuff, you know how it is.. anyway..  look around and you suddenly realise time is getting away from you.

So the last day or so, I made a concerted push to get the Inca to the 'Satisfying' stage. (For me, the 'Satisfying' stage is where each colour you add makes the figure look better and better, instead of just being another block of colour on an unfinished masterpiece. Sort of the bit when you start to see the shape the building is going to be...)

And time is running out. Ozpocalypto to celebrate the end of the Mayan Calendar is sometime mid December, and I foolishly promised I would run Inca at the Landwaster DBA tournament on the 25th of November. What with party season, and having to go out of town next week, I am getting very short of time to polish these off - and of course when these are done, I hit panic mode to get all the Sui completed to play DBMM2 for 'The Worlds: Cancon' at the end of January 2013.

So while they are still a long way from finished, I am starting to really enjoy painting these guys. The bases are now complete except for dry grass flock as per the litter, (flocking comes last), and some of the simpler figures are now getting close to completion with things like some additional tunic patterns, headband and ink for the hair to go.

So here they are so far..

 The big Cahuna, with some of his elite regiments, in front the wildmen...

And now the lot...

Monday 1 October 2012

Inca Litter

So now I have been slogging away, Day 3 of the Inca work in progress, and all the little guys have now had their bases washed with the base colour. To distract myself, I had a play with the General's litter, got carried away and basically finished it.

So here he is: as always, click on a picture for a bigger version.

Sunday 30 September 2012

Inca & Ozpocalypto Part 2.

Nice weather, did a bit in the garden, then on to applying ink washes etc to the Litter.

And then some basing work.

I spread slightly watered white glue all over the base, then sprinkle some 'rocks' (actually, this is decorative gold-covered gravel that was given to us to go in the bottom of a candle holder thingy, but they are nice and evenly sized,)  then dip in fine sand (actually from the Baccus Basing Kit).

It is one of my least favourite things to do, so I am glad that's over with.

Saturday 29 September 2012

Inca and Ozpocalypto

With the forthcoming end of the universe (well, according to the Mayans at least), the locals thought we might go out with a bang and a last game. So over two nights in December, we are going to run one of our rolling competitions.

The way this works is we get a few people to build/bring DBMM 100AP armies in a themed group. The first game is a historical matchup at 100AP each, then the next game is winner of the first game as CinC with two commands, being their own army plus their defeated opponent as an ally general. The final game sees the same method generate two 400AP armies for a final showdown.

There are quite a few players locally with an interest in Pre-Columbian American, and so 'Ozpocalypto' was born. Hopefully, we will find 8 players each with a suitable army. Locally there are several suitable types, from Tupi, through Dog Peoples, Aztecs, Mayans and so on.

For my own part - I have had some Incan figures lurking in the lead pile for several years, so now is the perfect opportunity. They are a mix of Falcon minis, Minifigs, plus a Naismith general in litter. I picked up some Gladiator porters from Olympian Games, and have ordered a few Llamas from Bend Sinister Miniatures as well.  

So the Work in Progress....

The Commander's Litter..  Naismith (I think), with Falcon swordsmen converted as bearers, a Gladiator Porter and more Falcon Inca Spearmen.

The Inca Army, mainly (in DBMM terms) Auxiliaries, with some slingers, Coastal swordsmen and Indian archers.

The secret weapon. I am going to cheat and just undercoat the figures a leathery colour for flesh for the forest and coastal indians, and the Quecha, and a lighter Mocha colour for the Inca themselves. Then I reckon I will try a 'dip' or 'stain' and see how that works. I am almost sure there is some dip in the pool-shed... 

And several hours later.... 

Getting there... at the moment focusing on common colours. Next up I will probably do the basing, as it offends me aesthetically that the bases are different colours...   then hair..  then weapon colours.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Teutons vs Lithuanians

I have managed to get a few games of DBMM2 in down at the club in the last couple of weeks. This time it was against Tim. As usual we tried to get a reasonably historical match-up (look away now purists!) As it was, when I reviewed the figure availability, my Teutons were dated mid 1200s, whereas Tim's Lithuanians - led by Svitringalia, were 200 years later. As usual a fun game was had.

One of the nice quirks of the DBMM system is that it takes into account the weather and season, as well as the Aggression of their historical prototypes. The Teutons, or more accurately, their 'Livonian Swordbrother' forebears, together with their Holsteiner allies, (known, somewhat unkindly as the 'Pigheaded Holsteiners'), invaded Lithuania in early springtime, hoping that the cold weather would adversely affect their opponent's Light Horsemen *.

The scrappy terrain played virtually no part in the battle, with a river with dangerous ice floes down one flank, but a very useful dirt road transversely across the Teutons deployment area. (Apologies for the felt terrain... I have a very nice paved road and a very nice desert cloth, but we ended up using some club terrain.)

On deployment, the Right wing of the Teutons, composed of a few Bruder Knights supported by Order Crossbowmen, and with some Turcopoles as a flank guard find themselves facing a mass of elite Light Horsemen (Lithuanian allies - the Crim Tartars). Slightly to the left, the Hussite Allies of the Lithuanians roll their War Wagons forward...    (these were to puzzle me, as I basically had nothing to stop them. Knights merely bounce off, and trying to get armoured nobles to dismount is very difficult. **)

The other flank looked more promising, masses of Lithuanian Light Horsemen, with only a couple of wagons in support.

The Teutonic centre. Baggage is well to the rear, the Master just in front of the camp, with his vassal Knights, some Lithuanian peasants, a few Order Spear and a mobile reserve of the sergeants and lesser mounted, (known as Knechte). In front, the Holsteiners are to the left of the line, to the right, the other wing of Bruder Knights supported by more Order Crossbowmen and Turcopoles.

With a risk of their horses being affected by hunger (it's cold you know, and the springtime grass makes their mounts weak.. * ) the Tartars waste no time and crash into the Teutonic Right wing...

On the Teutons right, the massed chivalry plod forward, masked by crossbowmen to drive off or kill the skirmishing horse in front.

As the Teutons realised their centre was exposed, the Master used the high speed possible along a road to quickly shift his Knights and Knechte to the right, where that flank was in trouble versus the Tartars. 

The first impact of the Tartars had seen these horsemen quickly decimate half the Bruder Knights, and sweep away enough of the Turcopoles plus Crossbowmen to break the Teutonic Right.*** The Order General managed to keep his troops in position while the Knechte and Turcopoles of the Master came up to support, but now they were fighting at reduced effect. The Livonians of the Lithuanian centre came up to support the Tartars but now the Teutons had recovered enough to in turn, break their Tartar opponents. Now both commands were grimly holding on waiting for support.

The situation was getting very confused, and in the open centre the Hussite allies were plodding forward, with support from more Lithuanian horsemen.

At this stage things were starting to swing the Teutons way. In the foreground the Teuton right and the Tartars had both broken****, but enough of the Masters Knechte and Bruder had stabilised the situation. The Hussites were becoming isolated and the massed Livonian Knights in a great wedge had become isolated and virtually surrounded.

On the left, the Teutons had taken no casualties, and were whittling away at their opponents. The wall of knightly steel was more than a match for their lighter opponents, and morale in the Lithuanian ranks was tottering.

The next impact was enough to shatter the morale of the Lithuanians and coupled with their other losses was enough to see the army break and run.

All in all a great game. Yet again, very tense, with the Tartars scaring the living daylights out of me.

* In DBMM this is known as the 'Hungry Horsies' rule. Irregular Light Horse are disadvantaged in combat after their side's 8th turn as their mounts are considered to be weakened by lack of forage. In this case, it didn't affect anything as the game was over by the 8th Turn.

** issuing orders is controlled through PIPS with PIPS on a dice required to move single bases, or groups of bases, in some cases, doing complicated things requires more than 1 PIP. Getting the arrogant nobility off their horses requires 2 PIPS per element, and I never had enough to counter a very mobile opponent, never mind persuade the tin-cans to get off their horses and fight like the peasants.

*** The Tartars are graded as 'Superior' Light Horse, if they win a combat in their bound, (representing a 'charge') they get a bonus to their score, making them much more likely to destroy their opponents. While my Bruder Knights were also graded as Superior, the faster move of the Light Horse meant they were able to get the first charge in and do serious damage.. 

**** When a third of a command (measured in 'Morale Elements' which makes a Kn count as 4 times as much as a bunch of peasant slingers) is destroyed, it becomes 'Broken' and is virtually useless except as a roadblock. Except for the general, it wont move and all that can be done is to try and hold the remains there. My 'Broken' crossbowmen did however manage to shoot down some Tartars, and this was critical to holding things together on this flank.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Late War Germans - Test Paints

Did some test paints - Panther, Hetzer, various Armoured Cars and Recce elements.

They still need details done and a wash, but I am quite pleased with how they look so far. Command and Recce elements are on the round bases.

Mat Ready!!!

So, some time ago, I was doing some internet browsing, and saw some fantastic game mats. And of course, decided I needed a desert one (Ayyubids, Sasanians, Desert Storm, DAK etc..). They are all individually made, so I ordered one some time ago, Claudio is now telling me it is ready! Hurrah! All I have to do is pay...

Late War German 1/285

So after Thomo and I started comparing sizes, I thought I would haul out the lead and see what was there. I have already painted and based most of my GHQ/CinC Deutsches Afrika Korps, and that's a few thousand points. I also have an Early War German force all in German Grey, which a few substitutions can do either the 39-40 Blitzkrieg, or 1941 Barbarossa.

I started by looking at all the stuff suitable for Italy onwards. I figured I could get away with basing and painting them all sort of similar, and then swapping in and out things like Fallschirmjager and so on, to cover Italy, Normandy and the Eastern Front.

I picked up most or nearly all of this stuff in job lots off eBay or TMP, so there were a lot of oddities, to which I have added bits and pieces when GHQ has had their sales. I also swapped a lot of bits and pieces, because originally I had no intention of building a Late War force, (I didn't want wall-to-wall Waffen SS and Tiger II).

Anyway, I asked Dean at Olympian Games to cut me some 30mm x 30mm bases. Glued the models down using PVA glue, (I like the way that the model sits 'in' the glue, making it look like it has some weight and partially covering tracks and wheels).

For this lot I thought I would try a slightly different painting technique. So I spray undercoated very thoroughly with a cheap flat black spray can. Once this dried, I then oversprayed with a Testors 'Modern Desert Sand' - which is very light in colour. The results have more depth than a single solid undercoat.

Next steps are to apply a tan and a green ambush pattern using very thinned paint. Once this is done, tracks and any tools/details and so on. I will then wash with a very thinned dark brown ink. This will darken up the very pale yellow base to a much more realistic shade. I have in the past used GW Devlan Mud, but this is now hard to get hold of.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Lead Audit part MCCXVIII

Another attempt at working on the lead mountain this afternoon - this time checking out the 1/285 WW2 stuff. Thomo has been working on his Russkis, and my 1941-42 Wehrmacht just aren't going to cut it vs all those T34s and KVs. I knew I had a load of later Germans so it was time to figure out what was there.

So I have been busy gluing schurzen on to Pz III, Stugs and so on.....  Arrghh... Why do they mould them separately?

The real issue is that GHQ and CinC make things in multiple packs, so for example I have ended up with 15 x 8 wheeled armoured cars when I really only need 3 or so. Time to try and do some swaps I think...

Wednesday 22 August 2012


Well, after a flu, a stint in hospital, I finally got back to my figures. I can't paint as I am supposed to not be sitting up, so I cleaned up the metal Gripping Beast Vikings, and attached spears, weapons and shields.

 I had already attached them to round magnabases, and I rather like the look of them.  Next up some basic sand & rocks basing material, and they will be ready for the undercoat and the challenge of painting 28mm.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Death's Door & WIP

So I have been sick for the last 5 days with the most hideous cold/flu thing I have ever had in my life, and today, though I am still off work, I managed to put in some productive time. A few shots of the WIP. Figures have been cleaned and glued (mostly), although I have deferred adding some of the cast weapons to the Vikings till I sort out a source for spears.

Top to bottom, some junks (Eureka), Sui/Tang Bolt-Shooters (Khurusan), SAGA Vikings of various descriptions (Gripping Beast), and bottom, some Essex Sui Chinese. 

Bondi, Jomsvikings and Ulfedhnar (that's Berserkers to you..)

The junks and artillery, and a stray sailing ship.

Viking Warlord and Scots Chieftain. I really like the Scots Chieftain. I am not confident of my painting abilities in 28mm, but I am looking forward to painting this guy.

The only thing I want to source is some sturdy spears for 25mm figures. The cast ones that come with the Gripping Beast figures will get all bent out of shape in no time. Suggestions welcomed..