Friday 29 December 2017

Desert buildings completed

Some time back, I picked up some 28mm desert buildings as noted in a previous post. 

I wanted to get them finished before the end of the year so they could be added to my total in the TFL Painting Challenge, but had been holding off photographing them till the PVA in the well dried clear, and the palm trees arrived..    well. Finally!

These were 'Supreme Littleness' buildings from Michael, treated with a grout, then dry-brushed with household emulsions. I am very pleased with how they have turned out. Not quite the works of art that Michael has on the site, but plenty good enough for me.

The two- storey house has a particularly nice balcony, and lots of nice details. 

You can see the PVA in the well hasn't cured yet.. but it will.. it will..  the palm tree is a very cheap plastic one from China, I think they were from Gentoys and worked out at literally pennies each in three or so sizes. I got plenty to add interest to other buildings, wells, oasis, or similar.

After building the previous two, I liked the models so much, I purchased the bases from Supreme Littleness, and the basic one storey house.

I have some buildings on order from Warbases, but I would love it if Supreme Littleness expanded its range as well.

PSC 15mm T55 - Quick Review and Painting

Some time back, I saw that Plastic Soldier Company were advertising pre release pricing on company boxes of 15mm Cold War Soviet infantry.

I already have a Danish Cold War (c 1985) force, which is largely outclassed by most modern forces of the period, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to put together a cheap opposition force, representing a second line Soviet battlegroup, so that the poor Danish Centurions and M41 were not outclassed completely by Soviet T64 and WarPac T72. The plastic PSC T55 would be ideal.

Just a day before Christmas, a package came through the door containing the PSC Soviet Infantry and the PSC T55 plastic models. Excellent!

As is the case with all the PSC products I have purchased in the past, there is a simple instruction sheet, showing assembly in the form of an exploded diagram, and on the reverse, a colour coded sprue diagram which is matched to the various options to assemble the basic early Soviet model T55, the T55a, Polish, East German and Czech variations, and the modernised T55AM2.

I am no huge expert on Soviet hardware, but I would check carefully against published images to make sure you are selecting the appropriate turret hatches and snorkel arrangement. I found the colour coding to be unclear in a couple of places, and the colour variation not sufficient for me to be able to definitively decide whether I was looking at a pink or lilac component, or differentiate properly between a dark yellow and a palled orange.

If I was colour blind, I would have struggled to differentiate between parts. Bit of a black mark for PSC. The colour thing is a neat idea, but numbering them as a backup would make it more user friendly.

There were other downsides to the kit, that were unusual for PSC. I found it difficult to get the very nicely detailed one piece track assemblies to lock into place without strong clamps, as the peg and slot don't have a great fit, and this becomes a big issue if you are building the AM2 model, as the side skirts have a groove designed to allow the tracks to sit in. If the running gear isn't properly aligned, you will be in for a lot of cursing trying to get the skirts to sit in place.

Secondly, it wasn't easy to determine from the instructions, exactly where the left hand turret box and the smoke dischargers were supposed to sit. Again, photographs recommended. 

Finally, the hull top to bottom hull alignment is one to take care with, it is a butt join along the edges and while the rear sits into a recessed section, the front is free floating, and it's not hard to get it out of a straight alignment as there are no teeth or pegs to lock it in place.

Alright..  minor nuisances dealt with, I was delighted with the results. I built 4 out of the 5 as the AM versions, leaving one as a much older Soviet T55 so I had it for possible African conflicts.

Painting was a black undercoat beneath, a grey one on top, using my standard spray enamel cans from the local hardware place. Following that I pulled out the cheap airbrush, and gave a light undercoat of a much lightened Vallejo ModelAir Olive Green. Adding more white, I went back over three times to give some light and shade (modulation).

The effect is subtle, but otherwise - washes and highlighting would do a similar job. It was then a case of adding base colours for tyres, tracks and machine gun, and giving the gun a quick wash with GW Nuln Oil. Once that was done, I grabbed some old Battlefront decals and some Decal softener, keeping it very simple. I thought about extensive weathering, but these would be basically new vehicles, recently refurbished to AM standards, and it's the first days of a war, so not much time to get everything worn and rusty.

A spray of gloss varnish to seal everything, added lamps and headlights in dark blue, with Bavarian blue and white highlights, matt varnish to get a sort of 'Satin' finish, and dabbed some gloss varnish on the lenses.

Overall you could build these 5 from start to finish in a day no problem. So the finished product, good enough for wargames I reckon!


Wednesday 13 December 2017

Doings, mainly in the Desert

Over the last little while I have accumulated a few bits and pieces to go with existing armies. I also finally bit the bullet a while back, and did what I have been tempted to do for ages, purchase the Perry Miniatures plastic Desert Rats and Afrika Korps 28mm minis. Of course, a bunch of other stuff was then required.

Perry's assembled
Ok, so phase 1 was assembly, phase 2, glue them all onto 2p pieces, and add sand/rocks. Then undercoat black. At this stage I have just hit them with the airbrush for a basecoat, then gone back and added a highlight from the top with the airbush.

Incidentally, I have been having real issues with the airbrush spattering, clogging etc. To the point where it was a real pain to use. I disassembled it again, and then decided to visually check and use the nozzle and tip marked 0.5mm with the 0.3mm needle.

Hey presto.. it worked perfectly. It seems like some plonker at the 'Happy Airbrush Assembly Plant no 9' had mislabeled the components, and I was using a non-matched needle and nozzle.   I am a much happier air-brusher now.  Next step, will assembly line paint the base flesh tone on these guys.

Supreme Littleness designs desert buildings with a coating of Evostik grout.
The other stuff?

A shout for Michael at Supreme Littleness designs. I worked the Bring & Buy at Kirriemuir, and sold quite a few of his pieces. I also picked up some for myself, and added the single storey one via post. Lovely stuff. These have progressed a bit from this pic, and now only need detail picked out, and some tufts added.

One careful owner
So I have a few vehicles now, but was missing the iconic kubelwagen. As usual I put in a couple of ebay bids. This was th eresult. An immaculate 'Victoria' model, and a clapped out Schuco one, which I attacked with a hacksaw, milliput, and paint. Guess which is my favourite? These are a bit overscale for the Perrys, but it won't be terribly noticeable unless someone puts an actual 1/56 model down beside them.

Say it with markers
The Patrol phase means markers, so a few new sets, also from Supreme Littleness. Unfortunately, I went mad with varnish, and ended up with an interesting finish.. ah well..  I call it a patina.

1/100 Tanks
The nephew was showing off some Zvezda kit, so I threw these together for amusement. I rather like them. I must look out for their Panther. I will NOT do WW2 in 15mm.. I will not..

The getting it together box
I also decided I needed to try and finish up a few things before New Year, and there have been various vehicles hanging round for a while. I also took advantage of some sales to add a Crusader and R75 Motorcycle combo (Rubicon), Churchill & Stuart (Italeri), a diecast Sdkfz 231 8 rad AC, the Warbases Rolls Royce Armoured Car, and a Blitzkrieg Miniatures PzIII in resin/metal. It's a nice kit, but I am still not sure about resin.

Most of the rest of these just need some detail painting and weathering to call done. So there is a good chance of knocking these off very quickly.

And I am still waiting for the palm tress from China..   oasis needs some dates...

Warfare 2017 - One-Day..

Well, after the excitement of Targe, I took the Sasanians to Warfare in Reading, and enjoyed a terrific day out with them, winning my first two games against Peter Kershaw's Parthians. (another stunning army, although the lighting didn't do it justice), then Ray Briggs also very attractive Marian Romans.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play the second day. Which saved me money - as my purchases were limited to just the Dux Britanniarum rules and cards. I had intended to do some serious shopping on Day 2, but found myself doing the drive home instead.

Anyway, here are some pics:

Game 1 - The Sasanians charge forward, with the Daylami (in red) pressing hard.

And getting into it.. a column of cataphracts under Shapur is coming up in support.

The other wing. I am hoping my elephants clean him up rapidly to allow the Asavaran to exploit.

The view from over the hill. Some of those Parthian LH are actually disguised cataphracts. Oops

Swapping casualties, the Persian right is doing ok.
Peter's disguised cataphracts did a lot of damage, but ultimately, historical verisimilitude prevailed and the Sasanians ground the Parthians under their hooves. Or more historically, absorbed the great Parthian clans into the new Eran.

Game 2. Deploying vs the Marians
I must confess, I had th ebest run of dice ever in this game. I seemed to roll nothing less than a 5 or a 6 in combat, and very soon had picked off the warband facing my elephants as Ray hadn't had time to bring his Psiloi up till I was in combat. The elephant corps swept up handfuls of warband, although my Asavaran struggled horribly against his legionaries. Eventually though I managed to break through in a couple of places, and roll up his lines.

A respectable 37 points from 2 games. And great opponents, as always. I do feel sorry for Ray, as it felt like every single time I had bemoaned past combat dice was redressed in a single game.

Saturday 11 November 2017

Targe 2017

Apologies to all those waiting out there for the next exciting installment of my wargaming life.. what's that ? crickets?  Ok.

Well anyway, up to Kirriemuir today for a fun time, on the Bring and Buy stand..   and the highlights were:

  1. Sneaking off to speak to Martin at Warbases..   for once their quality control slipped up on the Roman Grain Store I purchased at Skelp, the variations in their supplies of MDF weren't picked up,  and the tabs didn't go in the slots.. arrgghhhh.. some filing later I still had a lovely model, and when I let Martin know, I scored a nice substantial discount on a tram. Thanks Martin. great guys to do business with, they really are good people. Go buy lots of stuff from them.
  2. Having a chat with some blokes who laughed at me being the overweight middle-aged/elderly guy with the humorous t-shirt that I posted on the Too Fat Lardies Yahoo group. Well spotted guys.
  3. Respect for the guy who bought the analysis on interred bodies at Towton, way to go for taking the hobby seriously.  
  4. Meeting Michael - from Supreme Littleness Designs, buying some of his stuff and being well impressed by the finished articles he had with him. Another good trader.
  5. Seeing some great layouts. My personal favourite was the Carlist Wars Sharp Practice layout, excellent terrain, great painting on the figures, and friendly guys around the table.
  6. The smile on the face of the East Neuk guy coming up to pick up not one, but two prizes for their table and layout - top effort, and the genuine delight in winning was lovely to see.
  7. The headmaster of the school getting schooled about wargaming. She did a really top job, utterly bemused but looked like she was having fun.
  8. Grabbing the box next to the door, chucking the French Aeronef and the Cold War Danes into the painting comp, and coming away with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in three different categories!
So here's the pics..

The winning (ok.. err.. second place.. Danish Cold War)

Monday 2 October 2017

My Rolls Royce

I have no idea why I would buy a model Rolls Royce Armoured Car. I suppose my best excuse would be some lame and circumlocutory explanation involving the Dad Army figures I picked up from Warlord Games. (It is really a WW1 model, but in the alternate war history, after Jones' van was disabled, Walker managed to source it for them, for a price... ).

Anyway, I have seen the assembled Rolls Royce model on the Warbases stand, and mighty nice it looked. It was also very reasonably priced at a tenner. And I needed some bases anyway, so it duly arrived.

Spot the dirty finger mark that needs cleaning
 Let me just say I am thankful that Warbases provides a PDF instruction leaflet on their site - although this still left me assembling a bit by trial and error. Essentially, I picked out the known bits, and what was left...  

The model itself was straightforward, once I had figured out which bits went where, and the card components seem fairly rugged. After undercoating and painting, then some decent varnish, it should be pretty sturdy.

There are one or two things to watch out for. The turret is a resin cast, and on mine there were a couple of bubbles underneath, so I had to replace the muzzle with a piece of wire (not shown on these pictures). Secondly, the mudguards and the curved rear body need the card rolled to make sure you get a good curve, and finally, the folds in the card need to be handled carefully, on mine the armoured vision panel that hinges down from the roof, and the boxes on the rear fenders were tricky to get a clean fold on.

The headlamps don;t appear in the instructions as far as I can see. 

Overall though, I think it builds into a handsome model, and I am going to spend a little time trying to find some suitable colour scheme.

Sunday 24 September 2017

General de Brigade with Charles Grant

Another fun day up at Kirriemuir, Dale had set up a straightforward encounter battle over control of a stretch of road between two chateaus. Each side was three infantry brigades, a cavalry brigade and an artillery battery.
Charles and Dale discuss the finer points of the rules...
My opponent was to be Charles, and we had a really fun game. I was delighted to have a heavy brigade of cavalry attached to the three infantry brigades, that included the Scots Greys,

First British Dragoon regiment goes in.. with little success
True to form, after the other British Dragoons had been seen off, (ok, retreated and reformed), the Greys then smashed through not one but two French Dragoon regiments in a series of charges, much to my amusement, and to Charles' chagrin.

The first French Dragoon regiment is shattered by the Greys, and is pulling back to reform on the left,, as the Grey horses get stuck into the second regiment.
This however was pretty much a sideshow, and on the other flank (my left) - the need to try and press home an attack against a fortified chateau costs me dearly. On the whole, the game was huge fun and a gentleman's draw.

British lines against fortified positions.. not good.
I do confess to feeling just a little sorry for Charles though; in GdB, each turn you roll for initiative using 2d6, I managed to win the initiative in virtually every turn after turn 4 or so, which didn't help him much.

Fasands of 'em
Another fun day, looking forward to Skelp and Targe. My only regret is that my good wargaming mate John is arriving from Australia the evening of Skelp, and I would have liked to have taken him up there.

Friday 22 September 2017

Need Help Identifying these

I picked up some bargains some time back at the Bring & Buy at Carronade, French Colonials, and sundry others.

Looking at the figures though, I am going to have to expand the selection, which means hunting down the original manufacturer.

So if anyone can help identify the figures, here's some pictures.
Legionn and Tirailleurs

More Detail
Nordenfelt - different manufacturer I think

Chasseurs d' Afrique

'Arabs' - I have a sneaking suspicion these may be form a Darkest Africa Slavers range 

Mystery men in desert kit - very much 'slighter' than the previous

More mystery men, again perhaps from a Darkest Africa range

Wednesday 30 August 2017


I'm really not sure whether Nephew no 1 gets this whole wargamer thing; oh sure, he plays, he has a drawer full of tanks, but the other day I caught him throwing out the remains of the Flames of War - Open Fire box..   including a few infantry, some Pak 40 and even 3 Stug III.

Throwing out!


What kind of wargamer actually throws things out? I mean, next thing he will be saying he doesn't need things, and then not buying new stuff. It's the thin edge of the wedge, the end of civilisation as we know it, unheard of, unthinkable. I just shake my head in wonder,

So naturally; despite the fact that in Oz, I have WW2 aplenty in 6mm and 1/72 or 20mm, and here I have been building forces in 28mm, I had to rescue those poor unloved figures & models. The Stugs had already had a basic paint job, but I thought that I might tart them up a bit. So - a lick of paint and accessories later..

Pretty happy with how these look, though looking at the pictures, I realise I need to finish the tracks, and add mud. But not too bad for some poor neglected models due for disposal...

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Fierce Foot - 28mm Gripping Beast

So the other day, I was lucky enough to get to play in a big game of Lion Rampant at the Kirriemuir club. The figures and terrain were all provided by club members, and were spectacular.

The Table... Norman Castle at Shrewsbury
The Welsh - a nautical people, complete with ladders

Let Battle be unconstrained! My Leader challenges his.. sadly, to no avail.

A lot of fun, and in the car I discussed whether the nephew and I could see ourselves collecting a retinue for the game.

At first I was thinking 'Dark Ages' using Gripping Beast, then potentially, Norman period using the Conquest Games plastics. He however, is keen to do something Scottish around 1300 for the Wars of Independence. If we were to look at the Fireforge plastics, then they could do for 1300.

Ok, the germination of an idea..   and incidentally, when I looked through the various sprues lurking around the place, I had acquired a single sprue of Fireforge Sergeants some time ago, that on close inspection, are ideal, in period and very nice models with tons of variety. But the 'Fierce Foot' from the Scottish list are a little more tricky.  I looked at the Frostgrave Barbarians... too hairy. So I then thought about using Gripping Beast Vikings as Islesmen.

Here's how they turned out. Basing I am still not decided on. The pictures are also somewhat washed out in artificial light.