Tuesday, 29 June 2021

New Recruits and Other Goodies

I'm back to painting Napoleonic's at the moment. I had a look at what I had on hand and realised that I don't have very many French. I have a good force of Prussians but not nearly enough French. So, last week I painted up a new regiment of legere and this week I did a horse battery. I also just started the first battalion of a new ligne regiment. 
These figures are from the Perry's and I've had them for quite some time. Each gun had 4 figures but I only used three which worked out fine because I could make each of the crews look little different. Nice figures and easy to paint although I'm never a fan of painting guns (or horses!)

And what are these other goodies that I'm referring to in the title of this post?

Well I bought a battle mat.
I got this from Warzone Studio which is a Russian company. I will admit that I was a bit apprehensive about the origins of this mat and wondering if I would just be throwing away my money but I was wrong. The mat is really well made in a thick material that feels synthetic. The print looks really nice with clear detail. They constantly kept me informed about shipping and just what leg of it's journey the mat was on. Also, the price was very good compared with other double sided mats I looked at. I'm really happy with it.
I didn't know what to get on the underside but I chose a desert type. It's more of a cracked/parched earth image which would work great for sci-fi, fantasy or similar scenario.
And to top the whole thing off... It came in this handsome, rigid felt case. It even has fake retro leather elbow patches on it for the discerning gentleman wargamer of bygone era. All it needs now is a beard and a pipe.
But there is one thing I'll say: As far as a desert mat goes I think I prefer my el Cheapo desert that was made with cheap white cotton, dyed with Tynee Tips Tea, and stained with International Roast Coffee.
It don't come much cheaper than that!

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Get it Orff! ~ Experiment in Stripping

 Greeting folks,

I bought an ultrasonic cleaner from Aldi. It's been sitting around for a while and I decided I needed to see how good it shaped up for stripping figures. I had a bunch of Perry French leger infantry that had been partially painted by a friend in an semi-aborted figure paining deal a few years back. 
So, into the supersonic cleaner they went. I watched a couple of youtube videos about doing this and discovered I needed to add a cleaning solution so I used plain tap water and added some Simply Green.

I needed to run the ultra-super-mega-cleaner three times on 6 minute cycles and gave them a final scrub with a toothbrush. Some of the paint was difficult to get out of deep recesses but that was mainly due to the figures. The paint remaining on the figures after the cleaning came of very easily. Overall they came out pretty clean with minimal scrubbing effort. I'm sure I still need to do a bit more experimentation.
I painted them up and they came out looking nice. It's been a while since I painted Napoleonic troops and it took a little time to get back into the swing of it. The way I paint Napoleonic's means that I need to be pretty precise with the brush. They're not the best brush-work out there but they look pretty nice to me. I like the clean look with bright colours and well defined lines which is how I first learned to paint them back in the late 70's.
Unfortunately I mounted them on the same 50x40mm bases that I've been using for my WW2 troops and they looked really nice. This made me start re-basing a couple more battalions onto these bases. Then it was a few battalions. Then I had to order more bases from Knights of Dice. Now I've done all of my French and I have to start on my Prussians.
Fool that I am.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Making the Wadi Shawaddywaddy

In my last post I mentioned that I was starting to make a wadi for WWII North African Desert games. I posted that to keep myself honest and get the project started and finished in good time without putting it aside for several months. So, I got started and I've 99% finished (I just need to add some desert type tufts but I need to buy some first).

So here it is: the Doo-Wop Shawaddywaddy Wadi:

I started with some pieces of black foamcore. The long pieces are 12" long and all pieces are 3" deep.
I then added some 5mm thick cork that I tore from some cork floor tiles. Each section had one long strip for the first layer and smaller pieces for the top layer. The cork is difficult to tear so I used pliers. I tried to keep the ends of the strips the same width so that they would match up (I was mostly successful). I also chamfered the edges of the foamcore and used making tape to strengthen them.
I got a tub of filler. This was the cheapest one I could find and it worked perfectly. I have a tub of a more expensive filler in my garage but it didn't work because it wouldn't adhere to the pieces.
All the pieces got a thorough coating. I left the edges of the cork intact on the rear edges because it has a nice rocky texture. I didn't worry too much about the front edges because I wanted a sandy effect out front.
The filler took a while to cure because I did this in my garage in the middle of a cold & wet Melbourne winter. When it was cured next came a coat of pva glue and a layer of wood flour to make a sand effect. I used the wood flour because I still have about 18 litres left over from making my own flock a few years back.
It looks like fluffy marshmallow and desiccated coconut.
Next up came the ubiquitous black spray.
Then all the sections got a coating of chocolate brown emulation paint. I check out the paint isle of my local Bunnings (a large Australian hardware franchise that also sells sausages!) which has a trolley full of returned paints. I can usually pick up various sample pots for a dollar.
Then came the first dry-brush coat - a sort of ugly creamy sienna colour. Looks good!
Then a bunch of various sandy/beige sort of colors with a final layer of "mango" yellow for the sandy areas.
An that was it. As mentioned above, I'd like to get some desert type tufts and add them to finish them off. 
And here they are set up. I made enough to span a 5' area with a front and rear or about 10' to make a single facing. It's not perfect and not a flat as I would have preferred but it will work if you just suspend disbelief and say that it doesn't obstruct line of sight. I also have some dusty looking grit and clump foliage that could be sprinkled in the center to create a better river bed effect. Overall I'm pretty happy with the result.
The 8th Army on their starting line, ready to move off and face Rommel's tough desert veterans.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

I made some streams.
(And some ponds.)
These are made using 12" vinyl floor tiles. After cutting the sections I painted them with cheap acrylic paints from Aldi (black, dark blue and green). They then got two coats of gloss varnish.The banks are brown caulk (the cheapest I could find) oozed directly on to the edge of the strip. After the caulk cured I added flock using pva glue.
These are about an inch and a half wide and I made a couple of sections that will enable me to join them to my wider rivers that are about 3" wide. The tiles themselves have a nice faux-stone texture (see below). When combined with the gloss varnish the texture gives a nice ripple effect. The tiles are very cheap at about $1.50 each and they give you about 4 to 5 foot of river per tile depending on how wide you want your river. They are also very flat and can be bent easily back into shape if they warp in storage.

If you decide make some of these remember this: Leave the paper backing on the tile.

And here's the start of my next terrain project. A wadi.
I've been wanting to make a wadi for a long while and in recent weeks I've been trying to think of a way to do it. I've had several ideas and none of them seem workable. The main consideration are:
    1.    It has to look somewhat like a wadi,
    2.    It has to be portable and versatile, and
    3.    It has to be reasonably flat so that it doesn't impinge on a flat desert table too much.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting this here now is that it might force me to start and finish within a decent time frame (instead of starting and then putting it aside for 12 months before finishing it off!).

That's it for now.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Desert and Church

I've been making some more desert terrain and I finally finished the big church I started over 12 months back.

I wanted more terrain that I can use for WW2 Western Desert games. I wanted this to be versatile so that I can also use it for Tunisia and Sicily. It looks pretty rocky and it will have to do because this is how it tuned out. They're made from high density foam glued to a foamcore base. I reinforced the edges of the foamcore with masking tape. The smaller pieces are covered with Sculptamold and the large piece is covered with that plaster of Paris bandage stuff.

Below are the new pieces next to some older ones that I made a few years back. I tried to get the same colours and paint scheme and I got pretty close. Not 100% but almost there.
And here it is with some 20mm figures for scale.

I go this church about 18 months ago (click here to see the original post) and it's been sitting around waiting to be finished. I don't know why it took so long to add the base. I guess I just got complacent.
It's a cardmodel and it's really nice with some fantastic detail. I really need to make some matching walls to go with it and while I was downloading these photo's I remembered some materials that I have stashed away that might do the trick. We'll see.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

The Great Re-Basing

 Never, in the field of miniature conflict, has so much been done for so many by just one fool.

Despite not posting on this blog as frequently as I was posting in the past 12 months, I have been very busy in my wargaming life. What happened is that the game 'O' Group by David C.R. Brown was released and I really like it. So the majority of my wargaming efforts have been directed, once again, towards WW2. And this, Dear Reader, involved a great deal of rebasing figures and painting up a shed load of new figures.

The figures below are a mix of Plastic Soldier Company, AB Figures, Italeri/Esci, Simons's Soldiers, Aldler and others that come form I know not where. AB make up the majority in most cases.

The first lot I rebased were my British. These were first because I had almost enough to create the full battalion with only a few additions that needed to be included.
These are not very glamourous pics. These were the first one's I took before I realised the enormity of the project set before me.
8th Army: I did these a couple of months back. I had a platoon of individual figures and they translated to one company. That meant I needed to paint two more companies or about 60+ more figures. This is the same pattern I had to follow for most of these battalions 
These late-war German infantry were the second battalion that I got ready. I wanted to try a game of O Group so I needed two forces. I had enough figure to make up two companies so I needed to about another 30+ figures to fill out the rest of the battalion.
Like with most of the other battalions I had a few heavy weapons already done. But it was a pain in the arse to have to rebase these. I some cases I just added their base to a new mdf base and added some flock.
Not happy with one German battalion I decided to make a Panzergenadier battalion too. These started out as a 1:1 platoon of Hermann Goering Division troops. Now I have a battalion of them. They have 18 MG34/42's. They have the potential to be lethal. I needed to paint up an additional 50 odd figures to get these guys up to speed.
You can't have 8th Army without the DAK to fight them. I had enough figures for a platoon, a pioneer section and a motorcycle section. I needed to add another 60 odd figures and I still have enough figures on stand by to make up a motorcycle company.
Soviets: I had a bunch of these painted but they were all disorganised and in various states of completion. A big order from Eureka and they were ready within a couple of weeks. Once again, I had about enough for a single company and I needed to paint up another 60+ figures to make up the rest of the battalion.
Some of the figures in this battalion were inherited from my friend Jim Lawrence who passed away a while back. His wargaming stuff went in many different directions into many different hands and I ended up with a whole lot of Russians (mainly tanks).
This bunch of Dog Face G.I's is the most recent battalion I finished. Once again I had a company but needed two more. This time I was able to visit Eureka and picked up another 60+ figures to get their numbers up.

Notice I said: Most recent? I'm just about to start on finalising a battalion of Fallschirmjager in Mediterranean kit. I have two companies completed and I just need to finish the third.

And last but not least:
One thing needed for O Group is Patrol Markers. These can be cards, disks, markers... What ever you want. In Chain of Command patrol markers are used pre-game and then they disappear when the fighting starts. In O Group they stay around and play a major part in the whole game. So I wanted nice looking markers. These were the first I made but now all of my battalions have them. That amounts to another 60 something figures that needed to be painted.

(P.S. These Russian Patrol Marker figures are some of the figures I inherited from Jim so I left his paint work as they are. They'll see plenty of battles.)


So that's a lot of painting that I've done since the start of the year. About 400 odd figures or somewhere around that mark. I used a lot of mdf bases too and I got them custom cut by Viv at Knights of Dice. So many thinks to you Viv.