Monday, 16 April 2018

Salute, 2018

Salute 2018 came and went. In all a very enjoyable show, if only a little exhausting. It's quite a different experience when running a game or stall and I'll be looking forward to being an average punter at Hammerhead and Partizan.

The "Druid" participation game we put on for Wargames Illustrated was enjoyed by both young and old. The table (by Dave Marshall) attracted a lot of attention in itself. As mate Chris mentioned, it was probably the busiest of all the games. At one point the prospective players were about three deep on all sides.

I won't publish too many photos, as I'm sure others will be putting up many of the same. Instead I'll just post a few eyecatchers. The amazing warlord aircraft carrier for instance, and the Bolt Action game next to us complete with Stuka's and an amphibious landing. Amazing stuff. Oh yes, and the WW1 replica tank!!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Upcoming Salute 2018 Game for WI

Once again this year myself and club member Chris are travelling down to Salute 2018 to run the Wargames Illustrated participation game. The offering this time is a Celtic Fantasy style skirmish game called "Druid" (not the old board game of the same name!). It involves tribes of fierce warriors led by a druid and champion who fight over resources with which they can weave powerful spells. Each tribe have different special attributes and weapons at their disposal, and certain sacred sites on the board which influence them. You can check out how the board was constructed in the latest issue of Wargames Illustrated (April).

If you're visiting Salute this weekend, drop by and have a go!

Friday, 30 March 2018

Bolt Action and a long overdue blog update!

I haven't updated the blog in many months, mainly due to my ongoing health problem. It had made painting a bit difficult, but now thankfully having had some time off work I'm feeling much better. The other day I decided to celebrate by getting out my Bolt Action Germans and US Infantry. I'd picked up a copy of the second edition rules and wanted to run through them. My work mate had intended to drop by and have a game but the weather that weekend was absolutely atrocious so I thought I'd lay everything out and take some photos (with my new camera! At last! No crappy phone photos!!).

 On top of this I also threw caution to the wind and entered a local Bolt Action tournament that's coming up in a few months. Sheer folly, as I don't usually do well at these things. At least it will inspire me to paint up an army or two, and get some more games in at the club.
 The buildings here are all Sarissa. I wanted to paint them to look heavily damaged, rather than leaving the bare mdf. They are situated on a battlefield after all. I managed this by spraying the models whilst still in the frames, then putting them together and smearing some old used cloths over them that I'd normally use for cleaning brushes.
 The foliage for the hedges etc was railway model litchen, and this stuff from the Easter section in poundstretcher and called "Easter Moss" - one pound a bag, and normally used in crafts to decorate Easter egg nests.
 Anyway, I've got a few other things in the pipeline which I'll post up when I can. Including some painting commissions that are long overdue!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

How to Make 28mm African Huts

I've been putting together some terrain for my Death in the Dark Continent project. A quick internet search for Matabele/Zulu type huts came up with quite a few resin cast ones. Very nice but a bit pricey (ranging from £6 to £15 each). Having already shelled out quite a bit on a Zanzibar slaver army, explorers and Matabele tribesmen, I wanted to keep my costs down. Next logical step was to make my own. So here's how.......

I bought several polystyrene balls, some plaster of Paris, foamcard, and air drying clay from the local craft shop. Then some hessian sheet and a small hand towel from a bargain shop. All this set me back about £10 and would provide enough for six huts (two large and four medium - a complete village). I started by cutting the balls in half.

Next I cut out some foamcard bases, leaving an extended bit at the front for the entranceway. I PVA glued the dome sections onto the bases and left them to dry for a while.

I cut the hand towel into small rough squares, making sure I snipped off the stitched edges and any embroidered logos.

Then I took the air drying clay and created the entranceways. I started by rolling them into small sausage shapes then flattening them out, then bending them into a small porch.

Again, I put these aside to dry for a while. I created these in the kitchen on a hot day, so everything was drying pretty quickly.

I grabbed a small plastic tray and mixed the plaster of Paris, making sure to fill the tray with water first then add the plaster (this and continued stirring stops it from going too lumpy). Too much water and it'll take ages to dry. Too little and it'll set in seconds!! I made it slightly thick but pourable. Even then I had to move fast due to the warm environment.

I soaked the small bits of towel in the plaster mix, then draped them over the polystyrene domes. Moving and shaping them as I did so. These began to dry within about 15-20 minutes, and were solid within two hours.

I did an undercoat of Tamiya Desert yellow (beware of aerosol on polystyrene!! Any exposed sections will melt due to the adhesive - you can use just artshop acrylics straight from the tube and use a large brush to apply). I next took some watered down dark brown and washed the huts - this brought out the towelling texture quite nicely!

I painted the curved wooden entrance, then added flock to the base.tooke may be happy to leave the huts like this, but I wanted a little bit more detail.

I cut up sections of the hessian sheet and stretched them out a bit to increase coverage and make them seem a bit more ragged. I then soaked them in watered down PVA, draping them over the roof of each hut. I used an old brush to add a bit more PVA to fix them in place properly. I then left everything to dry.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

2mm Wargaming? Madness!!!

That isn't a typo by the way, I really do mean 2mm!!

I happened to pick up the latest edition of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy this month and spotted Mark Backhouse's excellent "Siege of Portsmouth" ECW game in 2mm. In fact I kept the magazine on me for about a week and couldn't help referring back to it. "Does this work?" "Will it be just like pushing blobs around a board?" And most importantly "Can I sell this to the guys at the club, or will I be left a sad loner playing (*cough*) with himself?".

After some web research I discovered that there are in fact quite a few exponents of this scale of atomic level wargaming. They say it's not so much about dotting buttons and painting moustaches on those cheeky 28mm figs, but it's more to do with a broader view of a battlefield. In fact I agree, many of the photos of ACW and TYW era games really do lend themselves to what appears as an epic clash of arms. In some cases you can have every regiment represented on the table.

As for 'blobs' of metal, Irregular have units of ECW where you can see some fantastic detail. The command figures are easily discernable, with raised swords and other gestures.

The other things are price and painting time: £12.50 from Irregular miniatures for a big army pack of over 100 stands. The painting time for twenty ECW regiments yesterday was just under an hour. That's almost the entire parliamentarian infantry present at Marston Moor!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Cheap Aldi Grass Carpet Battlemats!! £6.99 each!!!

(Cats featured purely for scale)

Doing the weekly shop brought an unexpected surprise today. Aldi stores have their gardening range for sale, and I immediately clocked their "Artificial Grass Carpet" approx 6.5ft x 3.5 ft. All for the paltry sum of £6.99 each. The tuft length is very short, so suitable for 6mm to 28mm and beyond. The backing is non slip.

Given the bargain price I bought two of them in the expectation of doing larger battles. As with much Aldi seasonal stuff I expect there will be limited stocks. So grab a bargain, unless of course you're happy with paying £50 and upwards for exactly the same official battle mats available online?

Monday, 3 April 2017

Numidians Sir! Thousands of 'em!! least there will be once I've painted them all. I never intended to start a Numidian army, but I was visiting the TORM reenactors market near Coventry a few weeks ago and saw one of the stalls had some secondhand ancient plastics. After a bit of haggling I managed to secure two boxes of Wargames Factory Numidians still on the sprues, and a tub full of assembled ones. Mixed in with these were what I think may be Victrix Carthaginian. I'm going to use these as medium or heavy infantry.

The Numidians pictured above are the ones I've painted up from the tub so far, and are arrayed as slingers and javelin men to use as skirmishers.

The command stand is a medium infantry guard on foot, with a 1st Corps metal Numidian prince mounted. The latter is quite small when compared to Victrix or WF. But I've added some filler underneath him to raise the figure up a bit so the size difference is not as noticeable. I'm quite pleased with the end result. In fact I may use him as King Juba, especially since the recent Warlord Juba figure to me looks more like a Zulu warrior. I prefer to see him with a more Hellenistic or slight Roman influence in his appearance.