Monday, 30 January 2017

You, Ze American Army

Over the weekend I've been finishing off the bulk of my winter skirmish collection. The terrain was just about sorted a few days back, and yesterday I did the bulk of the winterisation and painting of my American AFVs and vehicles. Some final dry brushing and varnishing tonight and now they are all done. A set of worthy opponents for my battle hardened Germans, perhaps somewhere around Bastogne...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

In The Deep Midwinter

It was about a year ago that I started my 15mm Eastern Front skirmish plan, which began in earnest in March. After about 10 months I have finally managed to get figures, vehicles and terrain sorted and so I celebrated by staging a setup on the wargames table to see what it ll looked like. I must say I'm quite pleased with the results

At the time of writing my more recent US force is nearing completion (infantry finished today, whitewashed all the vehicles today as well, so tracks/wheels and detailing starts tomorrow), and I still need to sort out some roads and frozen river sections. I guess no project is ever complete :)

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Mad Max and the Thunder Boats From Hell

After thinking about this idea for a few months I decided today to crack on with my "Mad Max-esque variant on Dave Schueler's "ThunderBoats" hydroplane racing game. I've played the original for a while now and its a lovely game, but some of the locals at the BV club wanted something with more "risk" in it - by which of course they mean shooting.

So I'm working on an overlaying set of rules for various weapons such as rockets, mines, mortars and personal weapons with which boat drivers can do combat as they navigate around a course (I'm thinking "Death Race on Water" here), with a view to running this at the Naval Wargames Weekend in July, and maybe at Thornbury in August. And this morning saw me in the man cave knocking up the first batch of prototype boats. Still some way to go but I think thy are shaping up nicely....

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Something Different for X Wing

Tonight's painting drive has concluded with a bevy of new fighters for X Wing, but not what you'd call "regular" types. I had a small splurge on Shapeways just before New Year, the models arrived on Friday and painting has just completed. This time I thought I'd recreate some happy memories of sci fi TV series gone by, and some of my favourite SF starfigher types.

First up, a pair of Thunderbolt heavy fighters from "Babylon 5".

I'm not sure, but I think the Thunderbolt is just about my favourite SF starfighter.

Next, and coming close behind the Thunderbolt in terms of personal favourites, a flight of Earth Directorate Thunder Fighters from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century". Two of these are basic types, one is the 4 seater variant often seen in the series, the other two are additional variants that made occasional appearances.

Of course the ED fighters would be rather out of it without some opposition so I also have a flight of four Draconian Hatchet heavy fighters, also from "Buck Rogers"

All I need to do to finish these off is to raft some flight stands. All of them are fitted with rare earth magnets (in the photos they are sitting magnetised on top of 4" nails stuck into champagne bottle corks which makes them easier to paint). I suspect that nail based flight stands will be the order of the day.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Red Lion

About 25 years ago Liz and I went to a model railway show where my brother was exhibiting one of his wonderful layouts with his model railway club friends. Liz liked some of the buildings he'd made, especially brick building made using thin card "bricks" from punched computer cards, and half timbered walls mad by gluing the "timber" over a card wall and then infilling with plaster to get an authentic plastered wall effect. She liked them so much that she decided we would have a go at making something like that ourselves, and so she set about building a model of an old English country pub, half timbered, half brick (obviously extended sometime in the 1700s). We'd work in 15mm so that I could use it for wargaming when it was finished. We used clear plastic from easter egg packaging and coarse brass mesh to give the windows a leaded window look. 

After a cracking start the project languished once we'd finished and assembled the walls. It sat like a half finished Greek house for ages, and successive house moves saw it put away in a box and then forgotten about. Occasionally it would be found again, I'd thin about finishing it, and then it would be back in its box as other "priority" jobs came a long. 

As 2016 ended I found it again, and this time decided that 2017 would be the year that I would finally complete the project. A liberal application of Das modelling clay over a card roof saw the structure completed, and a new base was made from mounting board, painted, sanded and flocked, and hen a low fence and pub sign post made from cut down match sticks. The pub was christened "The Red Lion" with a sign made from a scaled down photograph. After 25 years the project was complete! I may do some more work on the base sometime, but for now the pub is ready to form the centrepiece of my 15mm ECW terrain collection. 

I think it was worth the wait.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

First Models of 2017

As the daylight wanes here at Cambridge HQ the first models of 2017 have been completed. To be fair these should have been the last models of 2016 but I ran out of time :)

The biggest is a renovation of the Skytrex Felixstowe that I completed some years ago. Alas time hd taken its toll on this model, several of the struts were dropping out and it was obvious that a rebuild was necessary. But I also had a spare Shapeways Felixstowe from when I was sent a damaged print a couple of years back, so I decided to cut out the central section of the Shapeways model and graft the wings and upper fuselage on to the Skytrex model in place of its original wings. All went well and the result was, I think, a success.

Of course now I had the nose and tail of a Felixstowe going spare, so I decided to make a vignette of a crashed aircraft, with thoughts to use this as the "objective" in a Wings of Glory rescue scenario. I may put some more work into this piece to add further details later but for now I'm happy with the result

The other four models left to finish were a pair of Spad XIVs and a pair of FBA Type Hs, all seaplanes to add to my burgeoning seaplane/flying boat collection. Lovely models, especially the FBAs, and I hope I did them justice. Still a bit of work to do on the Spads as I have mislaid my stock of aircrew figures.

So, 2017 off to a flying (ha!) start

2017 - The Plan

The new year is but a few seconds old, but here’s the plan for 2017. In true civil servant style, fully analysed and costed (and likely to go horrendously over budget and/or be tossed out the window at some point!)

Renaissance Galleys

I will continue to revise my squadron level rules, then work on the fleet action set to bring them to the same standard, and finally a campaign system catering for both fleet and squadron level games. No specific terrain or other bits and pieces needed except maybe an ornate fortification or two, and no need for any new models (any odds and sods I find to be finished off though). As a “stretch” target I may sort out some of my Valiant Armada era models as suitable Mediterranean roundships or visiting English and Dutch raiders.

Fast play 19th Century

Continue to develop the rules for pre-dreads and WW1. Possibly develop a set of ship stats and a campaign system for the pacific War between Chile and Peru (probably sits best with” Broadside and Ram”. Look to push the B&R system back to cover the 1850s, possibly earlier.

WW2 Eastern Front Skirmish

Now “Winter Skirmish” as I have a US Army to finish, so the objective here is to sort out the Americans, knock up the requisite play aids for Operation Warboard and then get some games in. Also, sort out a few more terrain bits and pieces (slushy tracks, icy rivers and a European farmhouse based on the old Airfix La Haye Sainte, one of which I have kicking about somewhere.

Form Line of Battle

Yes, I WILL get some 1/450 xebecs and galleys sorted out

Iron and Fire

I have uncovered some more 1/1200 models (plus there’s some new ones from Pithead to do) so aiming to get these all finished. Then to embark on a programme to pre-generate ship cards in I&F format for all my models

Coastal Forces

As last year, I intend to spruce up my existing 1/600 collection and get a few games in. A stretch target will be to revise my fast play 1/1200 rules.

Other Bits and Pieces

There is the distinct possibility that I may be involved in running a 75th anniversary Battle of Midway game

The Naval Wargames Weekend – I’m thinking “Stingray” and “Thunder Boats” this year. Possibly “Mad Max on Water” if I get time to find and sort out the models

Burma Skirmish is an ever present reminder of long term plans that don’t get anywhere so I may well push on with this. Mainly infantry to sort out here, and the Matchbox Japanese are already painted. 

I’d like to get my 28mm Roman racing chariot finished, and then get the BV club chaps to run some more games

 I’d like to finally finish off the 15mm old English inn that Liz and I started making about 25 years ago. The roof has remained unfinished for 23 of those 25 years. If I could get that done it would be an ideal centrepiece for my 15mm ECW collection

And I’d quite like to get some DBA, Fire and Fury and Napoleonic Fire and Fury games in too (oh, and my Sudan game too – been in the box for far too long!).