Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Painting Challenge Theme Entry - Winter Tiger I in 15mm from Battlefront

Tiger I from Battlefront
One interesting aspect of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is the bonus theme rounds.  You can get more info on them here, but in short you are able to make a submission that matches a theme and score a few extra points.  Curt introduced these bonus themes last year, and while I only participated in a few of the rounds, overall they certainly captured the imagination of the participants (as well as some "creative" interpretations of the themes themselves). 

The base is meant to be chilly, but not full-on winter...
This year, the first bonus theme was "Cold", so I submitted this 15mm size Tiger I from Battlefront.  I made sure this beast was very heavily weathered (something I do to most of the tanks I paint).  I usually get carried away, but I like these suckers to reflect the heavy use they would have seen in near continuous action as they try in vain to hold off the hammer blows of the Red Army.

Lots and lots of muck
The winter has snow yes, but scads of mud too, and rain, then more snow, then wind, then sleet, and then of course a lot of enemy fire.  I figure that doesn't bode well for white-wash, and weathered the sh*t out of it accordingly.

Didn't spare any surface from the muck...
The base was not full-on covered in snow, as I am trying to paint some "winter-ish" stuff as opposed to full-on winter, to extend the "eligible" seasons for this model into fall and spring, as well as looking OK on a fully winter table.  I am painting infantry and other vehicles the same way to match this style of basing, and hope to add some frozen puddles etc. on future vehicles.

A lot of soot-coloured weathering powder went on the muzzle brake
I left all of the hatches open with crew popped out for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I intend this to represent a command vehicle on the gaming table, so the extra crew help with that.  But I also imagined that, even in the worst of winter,the crew would need a breath of fresh air, even a short one, especially if they have seen some protracted action.

Ready for Ostfront action
Be sure to check out all of the bonus entries from the "Cold" theme here (including those of Conscripts Byron and Kevin H - amazing stuff gents - I hope you post some photos up here as well too!).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Second Painting Challenge Entry - WW2 20mm German Infantry Platoon

20mm WW2 German Infantry Platoon

My second entry for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is a set of opponents for my first entry - a platoon of WW2 German Infantry.  With one exception, these figures are all from the Plastic Soldier Company's 1/72 Late War German Infantry box sets.  Some of these figures were painted prior to the challenge starting, but I finished most of them after I powered through the Russians.

The fellow in the front is a 20mm casting from Warmodelling - everyone else is plastic from PSC
There are enough figures for a full regular infantry platoon, three squads of 10 men each, each with a two-man LMG team. This PSC set has the same challenge as the Russians, in that the LMG figures are either prone (sigh) or marching merrily (useless).  But it is lacking in a figure that looks like a proper platoon commander/officer, so I ordered a metal one from Warmodelling.

One LMG per squad in this platoon of foot sloggers
The figures are based as the Russians, with NCOs on square bases and senior leaders on hex bases and everyone else on round bases.

Prone LMG gunners - a disappointing sculpt, but better than marching!
I find painting German uniforms to be the hardest part of collecting figures for WW2. Even getting the basic green/grey correct is tricky (at least for me), and once you advance past a certain period of the war a wide assortment of camouflage smocks and helmet covers start to appear.  Painting camouflage is tricky at the best of times, and with the Germans and their 700 different versions of camouflage, I go bonkers trying to figure it out.

Different base types visible in this shot
In the case of these figures, they are wearing later war boots/pants/gaiters, and many of them also have some sort of camouflage cover on their helmets.  On most of them I attempted a weak copy of the most "standard" German camouflage that I could find, and on others I imagined that perhaps these covers may have been improvised at times, so I painted them a dark yellow.

Decent modelling of the German kit on these PSC figures
For their overall uniforms I used a few different types of green, grey and green grey to try and vary the appearance a little bit, and washed liberally with GW's Agrax Earthshade, with a few highlights picked up again following the wash.

There are a total of 27 foot figures and three two-man LMG teams.  Of this, eight foot figures and one LMG team were painted prior to the Challenge, leaving a net of 19 foot figures and two LMG teams, which I think works out to 84 points. 

Not sure what I will paint up next - sensible people like Byron have a plan of sorts for the Painting Challenge, but I find that any painting I "plan" never gets done, so I'm just playing it by ear. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Panthers in Winter: 15mm Chain of Command Battle Report

Conscripts Hugh and Frederick are rapt as the Hand of Greg points back towards Berlin 
Last week I had a notion to play a game with a winter theme, so I imposed upon Conscript Greg to run a Chain of Command Eastern Front game on a wintry table. He obliged with a game using the "Big Chain of Command" (Big CoC?) variant.

The scenario was pretty straightforward - the Germans are being pressed back and need to relieve pressure, so a counterattack has been ordered. The German attackers need to seize the crossroads (pictured above at the centre of the table) and the Russians must stop them and keep the general offensive rolling.

Here's the objective, surrounded by a small farming village, woods, snowdrifts and a couple of icy ponds. And a knocked out Panther.

After the Patrol Phase (and I am so glad that Greg knows what he's doing with that because I STILL don't have a clue) we deployed our Panthers along the road. Off-road was pretty bad going and we knew time was of the essence.

Some supporting infantry (or "dismounts" as Conscript Hugh calls them with a tanker's disdain) deployed in the woods.

After taking a few shots at the T-34 that appeared at the very top left on the road, the Panther platoon commander ordered all ahead full and left his subordinates to deal with the enemy, which they, being good subordinates, did.

Meanwhile, some Russians deployed in the houses around the crossroads. You can see some Shock markers placed by German infantry fire.

Panther commander steams up the road as friendly infantry scrambles to redeploy to an open flank.

Here, some more Russian tanks have appeared (on road to left of building at top, and just above the woods at right) and the Panther platoon redeploys to address this.

Endgame. While the two T-34s at top left have deployed to face down the German infantry, the tanks have almost reached their goal - the crossroads. The combined fire of the tanks and the infantry (especially the section at right) finally wore down the Russian defenders to the point where the Germans could use a Chain of Command die to end the turn, and the game - if the turn ends while a unit has more shock than surviving members, it disappears.

I enjoyed the game a bunch - it looked superb with Greg's lovely models and swell terrain from Miniature Building Authority and the "Battlefield in a Box" guys, supplemented by a few Lemax Christmas trees - still the best value in wargaming ;-)

Thanks again to Greg for rolling out a fantastic game and to the lads for coming out. Oh and to Conscript Kevin for bringing out a 15-pack of Lucky Lager which we will continue to enjoy this week! :-D

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First Painting Challenge Entry - 20mm WW2 Russians

1/72 WW2 Russians from Plastic Soldier Company
Here is my first entry for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - a completed rifle WW2 Soviet rifle platoon.  The figures are all from Plastic Soldier Company's 1/72 range.  Some of these were painted prior to the Challenge, but the balance were whipped up over the weekend.

Officers on hex-shaped bases
I have painted a lot of WW2 stuff over the years, but 20mm is all new for me and I'm finding I quite enjoy it.  It is, as Curt and others have expressed, a great "compromise" scale between 15mm and 28mm. I don't think these PSC plastics are the best figures out there - some of the poses look a little odd, more "possible" than "natural", if that makes sense - but I was pleasantly surprised by the detail on them, and you get quite a few figures in each box.  I have enough for a rifle platoon, and I still have a bunch of extra fellows with SMGs to finish up. A good value, and a good way to get started painting a new scale.

NCO on a square base with rounded corners

There are enough figures here to represent a rifle platoon - three 10-man squads, each sporting a 2-man LMG team - and a couple of officers.  The basing will be familiar to anyone here who has followed Curt's system - 20mm rounds for the regular fellows, 20mm squares for NCOs and junior leaders, and 25mm hexes for the senior officers/commanders.  Having the different bases makes it a little easier to determine which figures represent leaders at a glance, important in gaming systems like "Chain of Command".

Ready to defend the Motherland!
My only complaint with these figures is the poses chosen for the LMG gunners - prone (and PSC is hardly the only ones doing this - it is very common).  I know lying prone is a very realistic portrayal and something that happened a lot/all the time in real fighting, but in toy soldier fighting, prone figures are lame, particularly at 20mm scale and above. Prone figures require alternate basing, often much large than others and looking out of sorts compared with the rest of the fellows in the unit.  Every time a prone figure is cast in 20mm scale or larger, I'm pretty sure a baby whale gets kicked.  The only prone figures on a table should be snipers!

PSC figures were surprising with the amount of nice detail for plastic figures; much better than their 15mm size figures
Of course, for skirmish gaming, the only worse sculpt than prone is marching - and sadly, the PSC alternative to the prone LMG team is a pair of fellows marching along like they are having a jolly time.  Again, PSC is not the only one that does this. The marching figures look even more out of place on the table, so they went into the spares bin, while the prone figures got the paint.

"Destroy the fascist invaders!"

20mm has been a lot of fun to paint so far, and I'm looking forward to adding more 20mm WW2 stuff during the Challenge and beyond.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

13th Annual Winnipeg Harvest Game Day - a Day of Good Cheer

Another year, another fun charity event completed.

Here's some of the mountain of goodies baked by owner Wendy Speary.

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Mike running some Warmachine action, with gingerbread steam engines (that the mechs ended up hurling at each other).

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Perry running a card game.

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Rick prepping for the Firefly RPG.

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As discussed last week, I ran a game of Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures.

My take on the Santa Claus (aka Darth Krampus) space sleigh, "Santa's Express" (the model below is a Hallmark Christmas tree ornament).

  • Captain Kagi — Lambda-Class Shuttle
  • Advanced Sensors
  • Ion Cannon
  • Darth Vader
  • Rebel Captive
  • Anti-Pursuit Lasers
  • ST-321


  1. Santa's Express will not attack another ship unless that ship targets it first.
  2. Santa's Express will not use its Primary Weapon unless its Ion Cannon is destroyed.
  3. "Darth Vader's" power simulates the pilot of the enemy ship being placed on Santa's "Naughty" list.
  4. The "Rebel Captive" simulates Santa's cargo of presents that no one really wants to destroy.
  5. The "Anti-Pursuit Lasers" simulate the feedback caused by colliding with Santa's sleigh.

Below, Conscript Frederick setting up some Imperial TIE Fighters.

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One of the gingerbread docking bays that Wendy graciously made; Darth Krampus was heading for one of these...

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First Blood to the Rebels! All the ships that got shot down re-spawned in their respective setup area.

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Santa's Express running a gauntlet of X-Wing fire.

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Jek "I've got a problem here" Porkins bites the dust.

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Darth Krampus kept colliding into TIE Fighters; it was only a matter of time before the Rebel X-Wings disabled his ship.

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Below, the players, from L-R: Matt, Paul, Graham, Bruce, and Frederick.

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Thanks again to Wendy and Pedro, and all the staff at Imagine for hosting the event. Thanks to everyone who came out to play!

For a list of the most-needed food items at Winnipeg Harvest, please see their website.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

13th Annual Winnipeg Harvest Game Day - Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014

From their site:
"It’s time for our annual Winnipeg Harvest Game Day! This will be our 13th year! Come on down Saturday, December 6 to play some games, and donate non-perishable food items to Winnipeg Harvest. Every $5 of food you give gets you a ticket for cheating! (which can then be used in the games you play, you cheaters you).

Plus we’ll have prizes! Baked goods! Candy!

Hope to see you out to do some gaming for a good cause."

Just a quick plug, I am running a Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game scenario at 11:30AM:
"Santa is bringing good cheer to the Death Star v.3.0. The Imperials are escorting him to a docking bay. The Rebels, in a perhaps misguided attempt to control the narrative, are trying to stop him!
Will Life Day be spoiled?
All miniatures, materials, templates, and dice supplied. Players will fly either Imperial TIE Fighters or Rebel X-Wings."

I remember helping plan the original event, back in the day. It was a Warhammer 40K mega-game, IIRC. Good times.

Contact info:
Imagine Games
246 Mc Dermot Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
(204) 452-8711

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Armies on Parade - 40K Chaos Renegades

Hobby projects have a funny way of coming together. A few weeks ago I made a deal to acquire an amazing set of trench terrain boards. I'd intended for the inaugural game on the boards to be a Great War trench battle, but I'd loaned much of my Great War collection to Conscript Hugh for display at the Millennium Library.

This caused me to turn to the unpainted lead stack for inspiration. It was easily obtained - I resolved to finish enough of my Chaos Renegades to have a game on the new terrain. I'd previously painted a section of Renegades (10 models), a penal squad (also 10 models) and two Leman Russ tanks to join a bunch of converted WHFB Zombies with guns (20) that I'd done in the early 2000's for a painting challenge at the local GW.

That just left the real donkey work - painting the rest of the Renegades platoon, two more sections plus platoon command, company command and attached heavy stubber teams. Oh and a force commander, and maybe finishing up the six Rough Riders/Chaos Death Guard cavalry that had been sitting in primer for over three years...

Here's the overall commander - you'll recognize him as an Astra Militarum "Regimental Advisor" with a gasmask head swap from MaxMini.

He's accompanied by another of the advisors, also with an MM swapped head. Both of these models are metal (yay!) but that meant the conversions were a bit trickier than they would be with plastic or resin.

The third member of the triumvirate is a Commissar, of course - a lovely sculpt too. I just added the breather to him. He represents an "Enforcer" character in the Renegades and Heretics/Lost and the Damned army list.

The platoon command element is lead by this rather frightening chap. He and his mates are from Forgeworld - the Renegade Command Squad. It's a nice pack that also contains a plasma gunner and autogunner (shown) as well as a standard bearer and vox.

Curiously, the platoon commander is the only fellow in the army (except for the mutants) who doesn't feel the need for breathing apparatus :-)
I have two of these Forgeworld Heavy Stubber Teams and they are fantastic models. The only minor niggle on them is a bendy stubber and the fact that once assembled, they don't sit level. You just need to shim under the left foot of the assistant and Robert's you mother's brother.

Here's the rest of the command squad, it accompanies the force commander. Standard bearer and vox from the Forgeword set and another heavy stubber team.

There are three ten-man sections in the platoon. All are armed with lasguns except one trooper with a flamer or grenade launcher. These models all have Forgeworld Renegade torsos with Cadian legs, arms, weapons, and kit. I did carve off the shoulder pads though as I like the look better without.

Here's a big fella - a metal Ogryn I converted and painted. I'd like to get a couple more, they are superb models.

Here's the fourth section in the platoon - the penal section. These models have torsos, arms and weapons from Victoria Lamb, heads from Lamb and MaxMini, and Catachan legs from GW. I also gave them minimal equipment from GW - just the odd ammo pouch and canteen. They are penal troopers after all!

A disgraced junior officer can lead the penal section.

There is a 20-model strong unit of workers/mutant rabble. These are GW Zombies outfitted with random guns and the very off bit of other kit.

Leman Russ Demolisher. The main gun and sponsons are magnetised for easy swaps.

Lastly, the Chaos Death Riders. These guys were fun to paint once I got my head back into "cavalry mode". Horses are GW from the WHFB Empire range. Torsos Forgeworld of course, legs are from WHFB Chaos Marauder cavalry. Some arms are Cadian; the explosive lances and other arms are from Victoria Lamb.

Here's the "musician" with voxcaster ;-)

Well, that's the crew for now. As with everything there's still a bit of an expansion plan. I have enough Forgeworld torsos left to do a heavy weapons section of three weapons and crews, finish out the Death Riders to 10 models, and do a couple vehicle crewmen for a third Leman Russ. There's also 10 more primed penal troopers ready to go. I'll keep chipping away at them but I'm rather pleased with the progress of late. It's always satisfying to get stuff done that's been sitting.

Oh, and they've already seen some action!