Friday, September 24, 2010

Two Projects Finished!

"Ha," you laugh derisively! "There is no such thing as a finished gaming project. You'll always be adding on to it."

This may be true but in the context of how I had originally planned these two projects, they are FINISHED! Besides, there's only so much room in the damn boxes. For those who don't know, my new approach is to make the project fit the box (see here). In an odd twist, I finished both projects in the same week (that was not planned). This week I was able to finish applying helmet decals to the rest of my 1940 German platoon and base them up. I also finished some reinforcements for my Carlist Wars armies. These were some add-ons to already existing units to bring them up to my standard unit sizes in multiples of six.

A couple shots of the 1940 project, as originally planned. On the left, a platoon of German infantry with support weapons and a couple platoons of armoured vehicles. On the right, their French counterparts. All figures are from Crusader (except a few gun crew figures from Bolt Action).

Although the 1940 stuff seen here is truly finished as planned, there seems to be a fair bit of room left over in the case. Hmmmm, what to do? I think that case is just calling out for some Fallshirmjaegers! Or some Tommies!

"Whoa, pardner!" you sputter. "Didn't you just get through telling me you were finished?"

"My collection, my rules!" I justify.

"Hypocrite!" spills from your gob.

"Who are you? My wife? Have another glass of wine."

The Isabellino army; cavalry in the rear, and British Auxiliary Legion to the fore.

The Carlist Army of the Centre, led by Don Cabrera (in the white coat).

Now this project can really and truly said to be finished. I have absolutely no room left in the case. And don't tell me to buy another case. Geez, that would constitute another project. Hmmmm.......

Thursday, September 16, 2010

new additions

I ventured to Cambridge last night to play with Vidal's little boats. Specifically, these tiny ships were 1/2400 scale Napoleonic from Old Glory. Vidal talked me into picking up the Spanish fleet for Trafalgar some time ago (a year or more?) and they've been patiently sitting on a shelf beside my desk since then (Vidal has the British fleet). We used Kiss Me Hardy rules from Richard Clarke at Too Fat Lardies, fast becoming my favourite rule developer and publisher. The rules are pretty fast-paced and bloody (meaning we didn't have to wait long for the fun stuff to happen) and use the familiar Lardies card deck. After the game, I came home and pulled out my (as yet) unpainted Spanish ships and started the planning process. Why is it that every time I go to Vidal's house to game, I come home with a new project brewing? 28mm Carlist Wars with Sharp Practice, 28mm WWII with Disposable Heroes, and now Napoleonic ships? Damn, but I have no self-control.

The Spanish fleet straight out of the box.

These models have several redeeming qualities. First, they are one-piece castings with bases included. This cuts down considerably on preparation time. Some may see the one-piece models as a detraction because of the way the masts and rigging are solid slabs of metal. True, as seen in their naked state, they seem a little bit chunky and crude but some judicious painting can resolve this issue relatively easily. Second, as part of the one-piece casting, the base is sculpted with waves etc. This eliminates completely the need to source and apply bases and spackle for the waves. Third, the small scale makes playing larger battles feasible, even on the dining room table. So, I'm off to clean these little boats up and start painting the sides in Spanish blood red. They need to look as scary as possible cuz the Spaniards sure as hell weren't the top o' the pile!

I was also able to finish up a few support teams for my 28mm 1940 Germans. I found I had enough helmet decals left to finish these up while waiting for the next batch from Company B.

These support teams should give my German platoon a bit of extra punch: 2 x 50mm mortar teams (on the left), 2 x Anti-tank rifle teams (right and center), and 1 x 81mm mortar team. Crusader Miniatures.

A close-up of the 81mm mortar team.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

1940 German infantry

After some unusual prevarication, I've finally finished up some of my 28mm 1940 German infantry. By prevarication, I don't mean I have been putting off painting them. Far from that, in fact. I have actually finished painting all 60+ figures in a fairly short time but I'm waiting on some helmet decals as the last addition (more of that anon). My hesitation or quibbling was directed upon uniform colours and details. You'd think that WWII German infantry would be fairly easy to paint. In my first first 28mm WWII collection, I had over 100 German figures; but that collection is long gone. In that attempt, I had concentrated on late WWII. This time around I've chosen 1940 and the German tunics (especially) are of a different colour than later. In fact, they were quite green compared to their other gear and later war uniform items. I spent more time than normal painting test figures and experimenting with paints and washes. I finally settled on a colour set that pleased my eye (and that's the final test, after all). I think I more closely approximated the colours in the Osprey volume on German infantry, seen here:
I also had to spend some time on the helmet decals I had acquired from Company B (see them here). In the early war, German infantry sported the tri-colour shield on the right side of the helmet and the German eagle on the other side. Strictly speaking, these had been removed or painted over by the 1940 campaign but I plan to eventually raise a Polish force for some 1939 gaming and the anomaly of tri-colours in 1940 is easily accepted (by me, at least). The Company B decals are quite small and thus fiddly to apply but I think they're worth the effort.

You can see the results of my efforts below. There are two squads and a platoon command here. Coming up (as soon as I get the next batch of decals in the mail) will be the third squad, a recon section, and some various support teams.

Platoon command and two squads, some 30 figures. All figures by Crusader Miniatures.

The platoon commander (with pistol)and his senior NCO (with SMG). I decided to model the platoon Fledwebel in peaked cap. Although unusual, NCOs sometimes did wear this headgear using this option sets him apart from the other SMG-wielding squad leaders.

The tri-colour helmet decals can be seen here. The are actually slightly over-sized but if they were in exact scale, they'd be almost impossible to apply.

And on the opposite side, the German eagle decals. There's no way in Hades I'd be able to reproduce these with a paint brush.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carlist Wars Fight at MIGS

Last Friday I was able to rope a few friends into playing with my Carlist Wars collection at the local clubhouse (MIGS). Again we tried a more open field battle using Sharp Practice with, I think, favourable results. The game sported perhaps 160 figures and was completed in three and a half hours with four players. I think we've become relatively conversant with the rules and a mini-campaign may be on the horizon. Thanks to Steve for taking the photos below!

Initial deployments.
The Isabellino force on the left, comprised mainly of the British and French Legions, and the Carlists on the right. The French Foreign Legion in the left foreground
would go on to see some heavy fighting in this battle. Most of the Carlist infantry is made up of regional battalions of 18 figures each, divided into a formed group of 12 and a skirmish group of six. Carlist cavalry can be seen in right background approaching the Isabellino left flank and the BAL rocket battery stationed there.

Initial deployments from the other flank.
The fields and trees were made (quite well) by Steve Thomson (you can see his blog

The Isabellino left flank was held by BAL rockets and lancers. The Carlist cavalry made a bee-line for these isolated units and drove back the lancers, seen here regrouping behind the rockets, which have just loosed another (useless) volley at their antagonists. The Carlist lancers went on to rout the rocketeers before being bounced themselves by the revived BAL lancers (led by a Level III Big Man, no less!).

The game at its midpoint.
The grain field in the center of the frame has caught alight and has become a no-man's land for all. This impassable obstruction caused a host of problems for both sides.
The Isabellino gun in the left center has unlimbered and begun to fire on the Carlist infantry but the burning field has limited its range of vision and usefulness. The fight for the rocket battery can be seen in the center-left background.