Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

Well, Hogmany has arrived, so it's only appropriate that I wish you all a Happy New Year and wish you all the best for 2013.

Sadly, we've had a pretty shitty end to the year, so we've ended up cancelling our plans and opted for a big night in: a big dinner with a few drinks.  Neither the Mrs or I feel like socialising at the moment, so with the mandatory visits from and to relatives tomorrow, this sounds like the best option.

Still, always looking forward instead of back, I've lots of ideas for gaming in the next year and have set some goals and targets that will appear here tomorrow.

Again, have a Happy New Year and I wish my readers all the best for the coming year!


Friday, 28 December 2012

You have got to be FRAKING Kidding me!

So my first proper day off today in about two weeks i.e. no work, shopping, in-laws or hangovers, just a day to do what I want.  Thought I could spend a bit of time with the Mrs, do a few chores and then spend the majority of the day in the Man Corner, getting in my first entry for the painting challenge.

Nope.  In fact, I didn't even get to breakfast before it hit the fan.

Turns out our boiler went on the fritz.  No big deal right?  Things happen, it's winter, won't be a huge deal to fix.  Not according to the engineer who came round, spent an hour poking around in there with some fancy bits of kit, then gave us two choices; expensive 1 or expensive 2.

Well, that's just fantastic.  We even got the bloody thing serviced about six weeks ago and it got a clear bill of health from the friendly (but obviously incompetent) engineer.  That's put a dampener on the day anyway. We've gone with expensive 2, which, at this time of year means no heating or hot water for at least a week.  At least the Mrs got a scarf for Christmas.

Actually, I can feel a long rant and moan coming on, so I'd better call this post done.  Hope everyone's day went better than ours.  S.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

2012 - A Hobby Retrospective

This time last year, I put up some plans for what I'd do in 2012.  As the year's almost done, time to have a quick look at how I got on.

Great Italian Wars

Ah, yes, my big project for 2012.  Well this started off well, as I painted up all the figures I'd bought and started on a couple pieces of terrain.  Sadly, this project didn't survive the decision of Venexia Miniatures to shut up shop, depriving me of the main range of figures I'd planned to use.  Now I could have gone onto another range of figures, but as I'd taken the time and effort to select the ranges and check their compatibility etc, I simply didn't feel like making the compromise on this.  Officially on hold, as Venexia's range have been sold onto an American company, but they've yet to see the light of day.

In the future, I think I'll follow my usual practice and load up on figures early on, precisely to avoid this happening again (although, I've mentioned a few time on here that our hobby has proven to be remarkably resilient considering how far up shit creek we collectively are.)

Improve my painting & Infinity, Hordes and Warmachine

Hmmm, bit of a fail here.  I painted about fifteen different miniatures, but haven't really managed to finish up any of the starter lists I'd written.  Fairly sure it's an ego thing holding me back here, the figures I paint aren't as good as I imagine they will be.  Things are definitely improving, but it's slow going.  Recently I've been enjoying the Iron Kingdoms RPG and I've seen some upcoming figures for Infinity.  I think this looks like a decent quarter two project next year.

Dystopian Wars

My aim was to finish up all the fleets I had without going crazy and buying more.  Mission accomplished as I finished up my Empire of the Blazing Sun fleet (and took it to a tournament) as well as a Covenant of Antartica and Prussian Empire fleet (both sent off to eBay.)  I've not had DW on the table in a while, but it's nice to have a fleet ready to go if needed.

Flames of War

Another success in that I've painted up the target 600 points of Fallshirmjager.  Again, I've not yet had a game with these yet, but I have all the figures I'll ever need so I'll keep plugging away at them.

So I missed a few of my, admittedly vague, goals this year, but in other ways, it's been an excellent years gaming.  In 2011 I played many more games in any year since my school days, while 2012 has been even more prolific.  I've branched out and gotten over a dozen RPG sessions in and picked up a few games that, in the past, I wouldn't have thought were really "me."  Definitely going to put up another set of resolutions/targets for next year, but this time, I think I'll schedule updates throughout the year to track my progress.  I also want to put up one of those painting checklists on the blog.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Only War 40K Rpg

Well I trust everyone's recovered from whatever trials you put your bodies through yesterday. Everyone one got what they wanted from under the tree?  The Mrs and I decided to go halves on one of these tablet computers (sharing hasn't caused any arguments, yet) so I thought I'd put it through it's paces on the 'ol blog.

My copy of Only War turned up on Christmas Eve and I've had a couple hours to flick through. The latest in the line of 40K role playing games, Only War sees you inducted into the ranks of the Imperial Guard, fighting in one of the Imperium's countless wars.

Are these guys from the Gaunts Ghosts series?

Setting aside initial concerns about how much fun playing a nameless grunt would be, FFG seem to have made a number of interesting additions to the 40K RPG system, most notably the squad mechanic and a dedicated set of vehicle rules (about time!)

The book itself is mostly up to the standards expected from FFG, the only criticism I have is that there is less artwork than in previous books and a lot of what is there is recycled from GW's back catalogue.

Proper vehicle rules.  Finally.

Only War is by far the best 40K RPG to be played with miniatures, but I still need to be convinced just how much role playing there is on offer here.  Still the book was a nice distraction over the last couple days and is a goldmine of background material for Imperial Guard fans.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone

Whether you're full of festive cheer or, like Nibbler above, rather non-plussed by the whole thing, I hope everyone has a great day!

We've been summoned to the In-laws again this year, so I'll have to be at least a little sociable!  They usually keep me fairly well fed and my glass is never usually empty, so I'll just have to struggle through!

Off to watch a classic Christmas film. . . Die Hard.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Hello insomnia, my old friend.

Ah, it's been a few months since we've last met, but there you were at three this morning, barging in like some drunken idiot determined to get me up!

Seriously though, I only get very mild insomnia from time to time  and long ago learned not to struggle, but instead to get up and do something (semi) productive.  So here I am Blogging away at ten to five in the morning, having spent the last hour doing some painting for the Analogue Painting Challenge.

Participation in the challenge so far has been minimal (just a few comments posted,) but this is my work's busiest time of the year and it was always vastly optimistic to think I'd get anything finished in week one.  Still, paint has been applied, hopefully with more to come.

P.S.  Might not have actually been full on insomnia, as I dozed off whilst writing this.  So now I'm shattered again and have to head off to work in 30 mins.

Sunday, 16 December 2012


Nothing planned at the club this week, but I still popped along for a blether and whatnot.  On the off chance, I stuck Quarriors in the bag, just in case anyone else felt like a game.  I usually take a game along every time I go after one notorious evening this year, when there were only two games on, but twenty four people had turned up!

Adam fancied a game, so we found a table and set up.  Quarriors is a dice-pool-building game.  The aim is to summon creatures (represented on some dice) who then attack the other player's creatures, before scoring points for their owner.  It's one of those deceptively simple/complex games;  I explained the game mechanics and turn order in about five minutes, we had a couple trial turns and then we were off playing.

Players start off with a fixed bag full of dice and take turns to draw six out randomly and roll them.  Players can then use symbols on these dice to buy more powerful dice from a central pool; creatures or spells for instance.  Most creatures have different abilities along with their own stats for attacking and defending and there are plenty of creatures to choose from.

What makes Quarriors such an enjoyable game is that the dice probability/luck balance is almost perfect.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I might have rolled well enough to buy two really powerful creatures, but the creature itself is only on three sides of it's particular dice. So you have to create a dice pool that gives you the best probability of rolling enough creatures and the cost required to use them.

The game certainly passed the "just one more game" test as we managed to squeeze in three games, despite only planning the one!

I wasn't really in the mood to write up a full review, particularly as there are the couple excellent links available, but just wanted to recommend Quarriors to you all!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

I'm Back Baby - Online, that is

Finally, after long delay, we're back online with a full, wired, proper internet connection.  Now, technically, I haven't exactly been offline since I picked up one of these mobile internet usb sticks.  But the limitations on it really hold back what you can do.  For starters, no Skype, iPlayer or gaming.  I also have to manually load pictures on every web page (something of a pain if you read a lot of blogs.)  Oddly, some plug ins like Disqus or Skylight don't work. Worse, it only works on the laptop, so no Xbox or tv internet access!

Since the idiots at my isp closed our account (idiots, they refunded us six months payment in compensation,) it kind of feels like I've lost, if not an arm, at least a finger!  It's had an impact on the amount of Blogging I've done; sometimes I can't face the hasstle uploading images.  So now I've a few evenings planned on Halo, as well as catching up on a few films.  Just in time for the holidays.

I'm well aware that this is a "first world problem" and that there are far more important things going on in the world, but my little world just got a bit better.  It also gives me an excuse to put this up:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Death Angel: Deathwing Quick Game Report

Brought out Death Angel the other night for a few solo games, wanting to try out the Deathwing expansion I'd picked up cheap (see here and here.)  I thought I'd put up a summary of one of the games and try and show off some of the hooks that keep me coming back!

I chose to play the game almost straight from the book, leaving out most of the changes I've made to the game.  This meant choosing three pairs of Terminators at random, then drawing their formation at random.  If I want a more tactical game, I choose both the squad and their formation myself, which I think is a sensible enough change.  The object of the game is to move through the four, randomly chosen locations and complete the objective on the final card.

So we entered the Space Hulk with a force of Techmarine Hephaestus (Red Team,) Sergeants Arbalan (Team Yellow) and Zaltys (Team Blue,) each accompanied by another Terminator for six in total.  Each pair have different special abilities they can use, but they only apply to the three guys named above - losing them hurts a lot more than losing their "goon" as we shall see.

The squad emerged from the Void (air) Lock to be immediately attacked by four Genestealers (GS.)  I'm not going into the mechanics too much here, but quickly, the Marines have a choice of three actions in a turn, move+activate, support or attack and they can't do the same action two turns running.  Combat is very simple and brutal, with only one dice roll determining life or death and the key thing to remember is that getting attacked from behind is waaaay worse than from the front.

Turn 1, so far so good.

Team Blue Supported the squad by placing a support token on him.  This lets him re-roll attack or defence rolls, but his special ability lets any marine use that token instead of just him.  The other two teams attacked, each taking down one GS.  Zaltys support ability was immediately needed to keep Hephaestus alive.  At the end of each phase, an event card is drawn that adds a random event, spawns more GS and moves the GS already in play.  This turn, we had a gun jam meaning Team Zaltys wouldn't be able to attack next turn.  Damn.

This turn saw two Support tokens enter play and Techmarine Hephaestus Activate the door.  Doing this lets you kill a number of GS when you move to the next location card - imagine the squad sealing a door behind them, cutting them of from the pursuing GS.  Lots of GS attacks this turn, as we couldn't thin their numbers this turn, one of which took out Sergeant Zaltys (and his handy ability.)  Brother Gabreal, Arbalan's goon, was then surrounded by all the GS in play.

Down one Terminator already!

So some sneaky manoeuvring needed this turn.  Gabrial moves and uses his ability to take one of the swarms opposite with him, leaving him facing four and Raphean against two.  Red team then attacked but both missed.  Team Yellow put another support token on the door. At this point there was only one GS card in one of the spawn piles.  If it came into play at the end of the turn, we would instantly move to the next location.

That was a bit harsh! Two down.

The GS attack, Gabriel surprisingly survived (needing a 5 on a 0-5 sided dice) but Raphean was killed.  The "Out of Thin Air" card put two GS behind Arbalan and, with no more GS cards left, we moved to the Black Holds.  Immediately another two GS appear behind Brother Jerico, but we manage to seal two of them behind us.

Two more Genestealers attack!

With all the GS spawned already, the squad should be able to move to the third location in two turns at the latest.  Red team then supported Jerico, who was up against four GS, and triggered Hephaestus Gun Servitor attack.  Unfortunately, it missed.  Jerico kills one GS while Gabriel missed.  Jerico dies and Gabriel moves into his position, only to be killed in turn by a second swarm of GS behind him!

Hmmm, not many Genestealers here. I'm a bit suspicious.

A secret route appears, letting the marines evade some of the GS attacking them.  The remaining squad members, Hephaestus and Arbalan, enter the Hibernation Clusters.  Not many GS to get through to the final location, can we hang on?  Following the rulebook word for word, the two marines would be overwhelmed by GS in a turn.  I use a little house rule to keep four "slots" in the formation; meaning that although there will be GS everywhere, the marines are never in a position, however unlikely, where they can't survive.  This turn Arbalan puts a support token on himself, triggering his ability to try and stop and GS spawning on him (he fails.)  Hephaestus manages to destroy the spore chimney, reducing the places where GS can appear this turn.  With his Quick Instincts, Arbalan attacks a swarm, but doesn't do any damage.  Only two GS appear, but that's enough to take us to the final location.

The Genestealer Lair.  Bugger.

No more GS will appear this game, but two Broodlords do. They draw all the GS in play to their location, fortunately the big swarm wasn't facing either marine.  Both attack, but only kill one GS.  Arbalan is then killed, leaving Hepheastus alone against thirteen Genestealers. I'm sure he went down swinging!

Some points:

We were put up against the hardest possible final card.  The other two can both be one on dice rolls.  The card we had here actually penalises you for rushing through the game. Maybe if we'd thinned the numbers against us a bit, we might have had a fighting chance.

The other two options for the final mission, both easier than the Broodlord card.

Even with all the GS against the squad at the end, there was still a chance to win.  The way the GS move around relative to squad means that the Broodlord may have been isolated and vulnerable.  That didn't happen, but there was a chance it could!

The Deathwing expansion is well worth taking.  It certainly appears that their abilities are much more effective than the Blood Angels from the base game.  In fact, I think I drew two of the weakest teams from the Deathwing; the Assualt Cannon and Librarian teams are both capable of taking out whole swarms at a time.  Next time I think I'll play with all six teams in a single game.

Well, I hope that made sense to those of you who've read this far.  You should get this idea that the game is very fast paced, very brutal and very difficult.  There's probably slightly too much random in there for some gamers, particularly when attacking, but I don't think that the game is ever decided randomly.  One of my 
favourite games, hope you enjoyed reading about it.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 2013

Over at Analogue Hobbies, Curt is once again running his annual painting challenge.  And in an act of extreme masochism, he's expanded it out to 47 entrants - to tie in with his Revenge of the 47 Ronin theme.  Given the amount of posts he put up last year, Curt certainly has his work out this time around.  I've managed to nab a place in the 47 to spur me on painting through the dark months.

The challenge runs from the 20th December to the 20th March and, although preparing and undercoating figures is fine, you can't put brush to paint until the start date.  So in the interest of full disclosure, here's what I currently have on the painting table:

6 28mm Romano-British Shieldwall - these are almost finished, just details and a decision on the shields left.
6 28mm Welsh Skirmishers - base coats done.
6 28mm Waffen SS - again, just needing the equipment and basing finished.
1st platoon for Easy Company - about 30 15mm figures.
24 10mm ACW Union infantry - just need some minor details and basing. These are from an abortive ACW army, I very quickly abandoned 10mm to switch to 15mm along with others from the club.

As none of these are eligible for the challenge, I'll try and finish off some of these (although I've no real drive to finish the ACW or SS stuff at the moment.)

So what will I be focusing on in the challenge?  Well it's historicals only, so over the next three months you should see:

28mm Dark Age Welsh/British
15mm Easy Company for Flames of War
15mm American Civil War Union
10mm Punic Wars - maybe, MAYBE

Oh, and a 28mm Samurai figure (the tribute all must pay to Curt for running the challenge!)

I've no intentions of winning or even being competitive, I just want to be involved in what is a highly entertaining community event.  Last year's challenge seemed to be everywhere on the blog scene and there were many wild and varied entries on show.  So thanks again to Curt for running the event again this year (47 entries?  He must be nuts!)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Ground Zero Games Offer

After waking up to find everything outside covered in the white stuff and an entertaining, but very minor, car crash on our road, I made the executive decision to hunker down today and do absolutely sod all.  Not that I needed much of an excuse, it's back to work tomorrow after a weeks holiday with an early, early start.

While our Chancellor busy giving us an update on how screwed we are and the shadow chancellor badgering him to borrow far more(!?!) I was summoned to the door by our postman, who handed me a wee parcel - and who doesn't love getting parcels in the post?

After some prompting from a couple friends, I went and placed an order from Ground Zero Games for some sci-fi figures (I'll talk later about what and why.)  What clinched the deal was the promotion GZG have on. I'll quote the release from their website:

Our 2012 Xmas Special starts from 00.01 (UK time) hours on SUNDAY 25th NOVEMBER and runs until MIDNIGHT (UK time) on Thursday 20th December. All qualifying orders (which are all those for over £30 of product, EXCLUDING VAT AND SHIPPING*) will get TWO specials included:

1) All orders for £30 or more of goods at list prices EXCLUDING VAT* get a FREE GOODIE BAG of extra minis and stuff - how much you get depends on the size of your order, and we'll tailor most of the contents to fit the kind of items you are ordering (plus the occasional novelty item or a sample that might tempt you into other ranges and scales...). What goes in the bag is OUR choice, so no cheekily asking for particular things please, but those of you who have had our previous Xmas deals will know that we give you a generous selection of items that you can actually use for your armies/fleets!
Sometimes we put in the odd special or unreleased item too, so you never know what you might get....

2) In addition to the Free Stuff with your order, all qualifying customers will also get a VOUCHER that you can use to get a generous DISCOUNT off a further order placed after Christmas - so you can get your pre-Xmas stuff now, and then use the voucher up when you have some gift money from all those relatives who have absolutely NO idea what to buy for you!
So the discount is nice, particularly as it runs to February, but the goody bag I recieved was really outstanding value.  I received two extra (big) packs which came to 25% of the value of my order AND they were from the same and similar ranges, so they'll both be of use. Excellent stuff.  Anyway, back to the couch!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Climbing Clachnaben On A Winters Day

Next to no painting or modelling this weekend as it was the Mrs birthday on Saturday.  She fancied going for a walk somewhere so we went up and around Clachnaben, taking the in-laws for company.  There's been snow lying on Deeside for a week or so, and it made for some very picturesque views.  Gave me some great inspiration for my Easy Company "Bastone" army, although the troops in the Ardennes certainly didn't have to put up with our north-east wind!  It was bitter.  Officially we were at 2º but the wind meant it felt much colder!

If you've ever wondered what a hunk of granite looks like, well here you are.

True story, a few years ago, Aberdeen were playing Lokomotiv Moscow in the Uefa cup and at the time I was managing a mobile phone store.  On the day of the match a group of Muscovites were in the shop and we all got talking.  They particularly wanted to know where they could get hats and scarves.  I said that as they were from Moscow, surely they could cope with a chilly day in Aberdeen?  They replied that they were used to a normal, dry cold at home, even though it was -20º, all you had to do was wrap up.  Here however, the cold just ripped through you, the wind and the drizzle came from every direction and seeped into your bones!  It wasn't even that cold for our winter at the time!  Great guys though, gave us some Roubles as a souvenir!

Doesn't really look as cold as it was.

Walking with the in-laws is a hell of an experience.  They took up "serious" walking a couple years ago and they're the kind of couple who throw themselves into something wholeheartedly.  Consequently they have every kind of gadget and piece of paraphernalia available; sun glasses, snow glasses, thick gloves, thin gloves, portable seats, snoods?, poles, some kind of Asian wool base layers, removable spikes, countless clips, straps and bags.  Everything.  Watching them unload themselves for lunch and load up again was a bit of a spectacle!

Yours truly, hiding from the in-laws...err, I mean the wind!

After that, I took the Mrs out for dinner and a few drinks.  That should keep me in the good books long enough for her to ignore the box of figures due to arrive this week.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Another New Army - Easy Company!

Well, I cracked and ended up ordering a couple blister packs of US paratroopers from Battlefront.  Looking at the Parachute Rifle Company list from Nuts, you can build a reasonable 1200 point Flames of War force with about five blister packs, so I figured "what the hell" and, as I'm on holiday for a week, I'd get straight to work.

So while I was doing the prep work on the first platoon, this turned up from the postman:

Nice, a week earlier than expected.  I suggest you have a look at the Flames of War page for an idea what's in the pack.  As I plan to use a Toccoa Sergeant in each platoon, I cracked open the pack and picked out my favourite guy from Band of Brothers, Denver "Bull" Randleman, ably portrayed by Michael Cudlitz.  How good a sculptor do you need to be to get a likeness in 15mm?

I decided to try and save a bit of time by basing all the figures before priming them.  Normally I like to glue them to wooden sticks in order to paint figures individually and then carefully base them afterwards.  It's a fairly laborious process, but it appeals to the obsessive-compulsive in me to get each figure painted properly.  However, with only four figures per base, that shouldn't be as much of an issue.  And, to be honest, I could do with worrying less about painting each individual detail, than actually finishing units.

Using the snow basing tutorial in the Nuts book should also shave off valuable hours texturing and flocking all the bases, so I'm anticipating fairly rapid progress (at least, rapid for me...)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Death Angel Expansions and Relationship Advise

So I had to spend a bit of time today in town after work, shopping for the Mrs birthday present.  Didn't find much, so I'm stuck tonight on t'internet trawling through websites, credit card at the ready!

And a quick aside for some relationship advice.  NEVER get yourself a reputation for giving good presents.  Not only will you have to do all the shopping for her relatives as well as yours, having that rep each year piles pressure on you to keep up your run.  Not sure what's wrong this year, but I just can't find what I'm looking for this year.  If anyone knows where I could get one of those big DNA/Molecule models (as seen on the Big Bang Theory) in the UK with 24 hour delivery, let me know.

On the way home I nipped in past the local comic-book-with-small-gaming-section store for a browse.  I don't spend too much cash there because, as I've mentioned in the past, it isn't that friendly a place.  Still, it's the only place we have in town and I like to support them when I can.

Today, I spied a bit of a bargain, two expansions for the Space Hulk: Death Angel card game.  For those unfamiliar with the game (you can read my review here) it is a card game recreation of the classic Games Workshop, Space Hulk.  It's a very tight, very taxing co-op card game that I find very rewarding to play.  How taxing?  I've probably beaten the game only on a handful of occasions, despite playing it at least fifty times!

The first two expansion packs released were in Fantasy Flight's Print-On-Demand range.  Essentially they were a small number of cards that complemented the base game (one was extra characters, the other new mission cards) without changing any fundamentals.  The following two expansions, those I bought today, are still Print-On-Demand, but are much larger and change how the game is played.

The Tyranid Enemy Pack adds a variety of enemies, replacing the original Genestealers, to the game.  As a fan of the Tyranid background material, I'm really happy with the range of cards and in particular the artwork on them.  Some of the enemy abilities are pretty mean however.  The Deathwing Space Marine Pack replaces the original twelve Blood Angel Terminators with Terminators from the Dark Angels chapter.  On offer are a whole new range of abilities, some look immense although I can't see the point of one particular ability.

I've wanted these for a while, but never got round to ordering them (actually I did, from Maelstrom....)  The clincher for buying them today was the fact that the store had gotten the price wrong on these two packs; they had them for £4.99 each, while the RRP if £11.99 each!  Sweeet!  Can't resist a bargain.  I managed a couple quick games this evening with the Deathwing, but I want another couple games before posting my thoughts.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Liebster Award

Now this is the kind of post that you'll either read or completely ignore.  Scipio over at Palladian Guard was kind enough to put Too Much Free Time as one of his five recommended blogs for a Liebster Blog award.  Now these kind of viral posts crop up on the blogosphere every now and then, sometimes not even as obvious viral posts (here or here) and if you keep in mind that they're just a bit of fun, no one needs to get too stressed about them appearing everywhere the last couple days (unlike this guy.)

The rules that turn up in all these posts are as follows:

  • Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it you.
  • Pass the award to your top 5 favorite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of there posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.
  • Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you have made someone's day!
  • There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but its nice if you take the time to do so.

So, without further ado, I'll get onto my five picks.  Although, to be fair, I don't think I follow any bad blogs, so anything on the blog list on the right should give an entertaining read.

Martin over at Fire Broadside.  Lots of sci-fi and whatnot, a nice mixed bag of content regularly updated.

Hendybadger at Tales of a Tabletop Skirmisher.  Again a sci-fi/pulp site I've been following for a fair while (back to the PP days.)

Too Much Lead by AKI (I think.)  The first individual i.e. not corporate blog I properly read, he has a great range of historical armies and posts some great battle reports.

Ben, Coops and DrCox who write Breakthrough Assault.  A great mainly Flames of War blog that is not at all like the many fanboy sites out there.  Also, Ben was suckered into the Normandy terrain deal too...

Lastly, and not just because he nominated me, Scipio of the Palladian Guard.  WW2 and 40K mainly, and you have to admire the commitment to background material (fluff to you 40Kers out there.)

Thanks Scipio, glad to know there are some out there reading my ramblings.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

More Shieldwall WIP

More progress on my first Shieldwall base today.  Managed to get the main colours on and apply some shading.  They're not yet looking quiet how I imagined them, but hopefully they'll even out as the rest of the figures come together.  I'm trying to picture them with their shields on and decide what to do with them, either a bold primary colour or, maybe, a decal or two. Apologies again for the poor pictures, lighting in our room isn't exactly the greatest for taking pics.

I also tagged along to our rematch Saxons and Romano British Dux Bellorum rematch.  Four of use playing with the same sides as last week.  The game went better for the Saxons this week, sneaking a solid win thanks to Ian's phenomenally fluky dice taking out the British warlord.  A win at last!!!

Not a tree or hill in sight.  Or a rulebook for that matter

Considering there were four experienced gamers playing, we managed to collectively turn up without either a rulebook or any terrain whatsoever!  So our battle was fought on the famous sandy plains of, errr, England and between the four of us, we cobbled together a rough summary of the rules.  Still, very enjoyable and we still found time for a pint and discussed what changes to the rules we'd like to make.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Romano-British Shieldwall WIP

Surprisingly for a Monday off, I found plenty of time to get some modelling and painting in. My West Wind Romano-Brits arrived on Saturday and I've managed to prep most of them. The first six have been undercoated, while there are another twelve waiting to get sprayed. Unusually for me, I've done a couple wee conversions with the help of GW's Liquid Green Stuff, a handy little tub.

I've only previously used West Wind's Secrets of the Third Reich range, which suffered from some rather poor quality control.  These guys are to a much higher standard; lots of nice crisp sculpting and a decent range of poses; the only issues I've had are with the shield hands, but as these will be obscured by the shield itself, I'm not to bothered about this. Separate spears are needed, so that bring these up to a reasonable £1 a figure with 20 figures in a pack.

So far I've painted the hands and faces, always the first job on a mini as I hate doing it.  I've also given the chainmail a series of drybrushes with some metallic paints, something I've not used in quite a while.  Next step is to get some proper colour on there, I'm thinking a mix of yellows and greens, and then the detail work.

Any historical project comes with the familiar headache of what basing system to use.  I'm not a fan of individual bases these days, so I've opted for 60x40mm bases with six figures.  If things go according to plan, I'd like to get some games in with both Dux rulesets, so some adjustments may be needed for Dux Britannarium.  We'll see what happens when the painting is finished, I may change my mind before then.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Battlefront Dunkirk House

Hot on the heels of my Bastogne Church post comes the latest of Battlefront's Normandy range, The Dunkirk house.  Much earlier than expected as it's not in the stores for at least another week.

This is the fourth house in the range and the first since the pause in the releases due, apparently, to the massive uptake of subscription offers.  It was probably a bit of an extravagance getting the sub deal, considering they've only been used on the table once, but I'm really happy with the quality of releases.

I'd say the Dunkirk house is the best quality of the four releases so far, there aren't any dubious colours there and the painting is both neat and effective.  Although, don't take this as a guarantee of universal quality, there are some notable bloggers who have had a fair few issues with the range.  Oddly, the house I've been sent isn't the same as that on the FoW homepage even though it is correct name.  I assume it's a typo on the site rather than the wrong product

At some point in the near future, I plan to spend a day or two pimping the houses out a bit. I've some ideas for ivy on the walls or window boxes etc, along with evening out the paint jobs on a couple houses.

Needless to say, I'll have to get a proper Flames of War game in with these.  My new Fallschirmjager is slowly goosestepping towards completion (man, German camo takes an age to paint,) but I'm quite tempted by a US force.  I would have thought that with the Band of Brothers/Nuts book that at least someone around here would have done the Easy Company army, no one has so far, so I might have to take up the challenge.  Although. . . that would be five new projects in the space of three months.  We'll see what Santa brings!