Monday, 27 May 2013

Miniature Wargames/Battlegames

We are away for a Karate training weekend so there is no painting for me. Instead the hours are spent either in the pool or watching my 10 year old doing drills or Kata for 2 hours/day.

However in order to help pass the time I was able to get the latest MW with BG from W H Smiths last Friday.

Having been a subscriber to Battlegames before it merged/was taken over by MW, I was cautiously optimistic about the relaunched magazine. Two issues in and I am contemplating a subscription.

I felt the old MW was somewhat 'tired' in appearance. I know nothing about publishing but the overall impression, format, font and cover now look a lot 'cleaner' and the articles are easier to read.

With paper or pdf periodicals now competing with online content the challenge is for editors to find articles that aren't either too 'newsey' or factual. There is no way that a magazine can compete with say TMP in terms of 'breaking news'

Some of the articles that Henry has brought to him from Battlegames seem to hit the nail on the head. In particular I am thinking of those by Diane Sutherland Jim Webster and Arthur Harman.

The advantage that MW has is that it is not perceived as a 'house' magazine in the way White Dwarf clearly is and Wargames Illustrated seems to be going.  I havent read the former for years and every month I am less inclined to the latter even though I have the elements of a Flames of War Luftwaffe Felddivision painted, being painted or bought.

Independence gives editorial flexibility and allows variety. As long as MW has a little something to tickle the tastebuds of most gamers I am sure the new format will allow it to prosper.  I have little interest in The Spanish Armada but the fact it was 'different' encouraged me to read it.

Additionally the scenario concept could be easily adapted and 'moved' to another period. Now is the ideal time for a Victorian Steampunk scenario I would have thought !

Henry is a nice guy and deserves success. I hope this works out well for him and Atlantic Publishing

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Broken pieces

I am not by any means a gifted 'figure converter'. I consider it a success if I manage a headswap without the recipiant figure looking as though it suffers from 'giraffe neck' syndrome.

However I have recently been forced into action. I bought the Musketeer Post Office Rocket Unit for VBCW at Salute and discovered to my horror that the 'rocket' had snapped from the launch rail when I got home. My first thought was to rebore the 'tube' and then pin the rocket head back to it.

All was going swimmingly. I managed to drill and pin the tube without any problems and was basking in glory when my drill bit snapped whilst drilling the hole in the rocket. Not only did the sharp end of the bit then puncture my thumb producing a nice 'blood wash' but the drill bit sheared off flush with the rocket meaning retrieving it was impossible.

After much cursing I decided to  glue the rocket to the existing tube and use the protruding pin as an armature for green stuff making the device look more like a conventional firework rocket.

It appears to have worked and is now 'curing' in my gaming cupboard. I have to say that I don't know how sculptors get such wonderful results with green stuff. It always seems far too 'sticky' to allow me to work or mold it properly. I suspect I am doing something wrong  but I don't know what.

I don't usually have that many breakages but in these days of reduced 'boys games' allowance I cant afford to waste money by simply buying another set. I learnt my lesson at the tail end of last year when I decided to clip fragile PSC pieces from sprues rather than wait for new scalpel blades to arrive and then spent the best part of the evening gluing arm parts back together again.

That is ,I suppose, one of the advantages of metal over plastic.

I have started taking WIP of the rocket troop. In a week or so I the images to the blog.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Basing Issues...

I was able to get a couple of hours painting in over the weekend despite being at work for the whole of Sunday. Mixed success as I had started on my German WW2 Aircrew and managed to 'balls up' the colour of the flight suits at the first attempt. Currently I have a couple of figures in green, a few in green with a highlight of green/brown and  some in a repulsive vomit colour.

 Either I strip them back to bare metal (pinching the girls nail polish remover in the process and then denying any such theft) or make good the error some other way.  I would normally start again but the green/green brown mix figures actually look OK. As I won't get the chance to paint again before Friday at least I can make a decision that is not based on frustration over hours of wasted painting time. Even worse I had already painted the hands and heads.

Mixed in with this I finished and varnished my milk churn markers. Kudos to Matakishi of Matakishi's Tea House for this suggestion which I pinched and will pass off o Ted as an inspired flash of inspiration.. I based mine on 1p coins (cue admission of defacing the coin of the realm) and tried a new basing technique on them. I am not sure which method works the best. Thus far I have tended to base as follows

28mm          Gale Force 9 basing grit. Figures based on  20mm round bases
                     Not happy with this, aborted, doesn't look right unless you are on a shingle beach

28mm 1.1     Figures on 2p coins, basing material is cheap wall filler with GF9 material pressed into
                     the filler
                     Looks OK and is relatively quick
28mm 1.2.    Figures on 2pm coins, used GWAdamantium textured paint

28mm 1.3     Figures (or most recently milk churns)  on Coins, PVA, fine basing sand, Watered
                     down PVA to seal then paint
                     Tried this out for the first time this weekend, downside is the drying time

15mm 1.1     Flames of War bases, filler only, no grit
                     Less fiddly than using grit, looks ok

15mm  1.2    Kerr and King Artillery Bases
                     OK so I cheated !
10mm.          ?????????

The conundrum is that I was seduced by Pendraken at Salute and bought a small army of SYW Austrians.  (Ooops another new period). I don't think my filler recipe will look as good on them as I am going to have multiple figures  per base. Additionally getting thick filler between the figures but not on them will be difficult.

I am, therefore, tempted to go with the extra fine basing grit and PVA solution as this can be applied with cheap and disposable  paintbrushes. The other issue I have to decide on is whether to use painting sticks again or revert to blu tack and 1p coins. I don't know how others do it but I find painting sticks a little awkward. It may be that uniform 'march attack' or 'advancing' poses are easier than individual 15mm or 28mm sculpts.

We shall see.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


I have finished varnishing some of the Gripping Beast Scarecrows. I like these for a couple of reasons not least of which is the fact that they are 'faceless'. It seems that no matter how much I try, my 28mm figures all seem to have a mad 'amphetamine induced' stare.  As these scarecrows just have hessian  bags full of straw for for their heads, there is no need to go through the aggravation of painting eyes.

I apologise for the quality of the image, as I  still getting used to this iPad malarky.

The 'crows' are for our Weird War 2 game and I will use them as a 'spoiler' when it is my turn to Umpire a game. No rules have been written yet but I am thinking that they might be 'activated' by a figure failing his 'hay fever' test. I'm also thinking that only fire and ripping them to pieces causes 'damage' and that movement is impeded if they are 'wet' as the straw becomes softer. This sort of ad hoc rule is not uncommon as we do tend to improvise and  'free style'. I accept this is not to everyone's taste and will cause ''grognards' around the web heart palpitations but, hey, I thought the idea was to have fun. Nevertheless  I will need to flesh out some basic rules, scenarios and contingencies. Something for the train journey into work them.

A quick wash of  GW Devlan Mud really seems to bring out the detail on the sculpts. Even for a painter of limited ability, such as myself,  the results look quite good. I am glad that I stocked up on the Devlan Mud and Badab Black washes before they disappeared from GW stores.  However it seems a little short sighted of GW to cease production of these washes (which were really useful,), all for the sake of renaming 'Skull White'  as something they could then slap Intellectual Property Rights on.

All that has happened is that  I've moved over toVallejo paints instead ( aside from the textured paints that I just 'had' to try!)?

Monday, 6 May 2013

First Post, hopefully not the Last

This is my first attempt at a blog. Having seen the quality of some bloggers I feel somewhat inadequate already.  I wonder how they felt when composing their first post.  Probably something along the lines of 'Why would anyone wish to read this ?'

A friend of mine has had two books published. He isn't an author by profession and I asked him what (at the age of 50) drove him to write his first novel and then go through the whole rigmarole of getting it published in the first place with all the 'grief' that entailed. He told me that it was the thought that somebody, somewhere might actually enjoy what he wrote that spurred him on.  I think he hit the nail on the head. In my case why now?

Last week I said goodbye to an old friend who emigrates to Cyprus this coming Wednesday. We were work colleagues,  friends and gamers together for over twenty years. In order to take advantage of tax laws (Income tax 5%) he is limited in the time he can spend outside Cyprus and as I am still working I can't just pop over to Paphos for a quick game of Wings of War!

The Internet though, is a wonderful thing. Through the medium of 'Face Time', Skype or whatever else will work between Essex and the Eastern Mediterranean, Spike can still be 'virtually' with us for Games Nights even if it does mean he will be reclining on a lilo wearing a pair if ill fitting Speedo's! The very high thought of that gives me cause for concern.

I had promised to post photo's of games, figures and evidence the poor command decisions Ted makes on the games table after one too many glasses of 'Old MA Bumslappers' finest ale, so here we are.

Should anyone have the faintest interest  in this I would advise that our little circle does tend to 'flutter'  between periods, hence the blog name.  Currently en vogue is  28mm WW2 with a twist. Sort of VBCW Steampunk I suppose. It is currently set in France but given the fact that Ted has just bought Foundry's  England Invaded figures, I have a feeling it is inexorably heading West across the Channel.  Don't expect Dickensian prose, good painting or superior terrain, we just enjoy having fn playing what my wife describes as 'Boys Games'.