Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bolt Action SS - WIP 2

Just a quick update on the Waffen SS figures.  Camo patterns are almost all done, only the dots on the Pea Dot scheme need added, and I've started the detailing and equipment.

Mostly happy with how the camo looks so far.  The Oak Leaf looks the best to me, with a good bright green.  The Plane Tree looks really good up close, but from further away, the brown looks kind of washed out, I may go over the brown in a darker shade, but maybe not. The Pea Dot pattern still doesn't look right, the tan/light brown colour and the green both look off to me.  I'll see how it looks after the dots are added, but don't think it will make a huge difference.  So far this has been a decent learning experience, as I've mixed quite a few colours myself and tried a couple different tricks.

Next job is getting the equipment painted.  I really like mixing up the colours used on late war Germans; the idea being that with their supply problems, these guys will have picked up equipment whereever they could get it, so different helmets, breadbags, gaiters etc.  My new bases arrived so I can get to work on the next batch of figures, more riflemen and the squad LMG.  I'd like to get these finished at the weekend, but recent history suggests it'll be a bit before they're ready to go!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Doing my bit for the economy.

Or: man, I've spent waaay too much money this weekend.  And it's not like I'm twenty anymore and can drops loads of cash drinking for two days; it was waaay too much money on nerd stuff.

Firstly, I'm a sucker for a discount offer.  Maelstrom have an 18% discount offer on, so I went ahead and pre-ordered X-Wing from Fantasy Flight Games.  FFG put the rules up on their website last week and after a quick read through, there seems to be a bit of depth to the game.  Lots of customisable options usually mean decent replay value and, besides, it's Star Wars...  No release date yet, but there was a big event at a convention in America last week, so hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

Seeing as there was a sale on, I made sure to pick up a few hobby bits and pieces; some paints, some hobby barbed wire and a pack of bases.  All of which I would have ordered anyway.

Secondly, I caved in and preordered the new Warhammer 40K box set.  I know I said I was done with 40K, but to be honest I enjoy the background and fiction too much to resist!  Then there's the fact that I have bought every boxed game they released since about 1993, I can't break a habit that long lasting can I?

Then there's eBay.  Over the last few weeks we've sold a few bits and pieces, so I had a bit of cash sitting around in PayPal.  And as everyone knows, PayPal money isn't real money until you take it out!  So I picked up a decent hall of Flames of War figures for my Fallschirmjager army, including a couple 88s, and, although I don't strictly need them straight away, the saving on the RRP still makes them a bit of a bargain.

I've also realised that you can buy books on eBay.  Now obviously I knew that already, but looking through pages of books wasn't something I'd done before.  So, bored on a Sunday night, I'm now waiting for half a dozen military history books to arrive, all for 99p each (with the small matter of postage.)

I haven't even mentioned the bunch of miniatures I ordered last week, but I'm blaming the two Posties Rejects, Fran and Ray for that particular purchase.  It also deserves a post of it's own.  So, what are the chances of making it through September without buying anything?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bolt Action SS - WIP 1

Some WIP pics of the first seven Waffen SS figures.  Two NCO's with MP40s, two with StG44 assault rifles and three with good old Kar98 rifles.  I need a larger base for the LMG team, so I'm waiting for them to arrive; the rest are based on 2p coins.  I've managed to stick to the "do something every day" ethos this week and am relatively happy with the progress I've made.  There are another dozen or so figures prepared and based, but I'm only working on a few at a time.

The first job was to paint all the skin on the seven figures (I hate painting faces, I'm terrible at it,) before starting on the camo patterns.  I'm just winging it at the moment, using Google to get an idea of the patterns and an Osprey book for the colours.  The first two figures, in Oak Leaf Spring camo, taught me that I can't add shade very well, so now I'm working from a much darker basecoat and highlighting up before adding the camo pattern.  Hopefully it will turn out ok.

They are by Warlord Games and I have to say that they are really excellent sculpts.  Some very dynamic poses along side some great expressions on some of the figures.  Of course, as metal miniatures, they take an absolute age to prepare, too many mould lines and flash, but definitely worth the effort. 

Going forward, I plan to finish all the camo patterns before moving onto the equipment.  Still undecided whether or not to use metallic paints or to try my pseudo-nmm technique.  I think they would look better the second way, but for convenience they might get the old Boltgun Metal, wash, highlight treatment.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A day out and some Bolt Action... errr... action

As the big orange warm thing was in the sky again today (two days on the spin,) the Mrs and I decided to trek out to the beach.  The picture below is proof positive that you're never too old to go paddling, but not piddling, in the sea!

Without sounding too much like an old man, it was nice to see that families with toddlers still go to the beach, build sandcastles and run into the sea etc.

On the gaming front, I decided to go ahead and pre-order Bolt Action from Warlord Games. Having read the couple articles Rick Priestly has written and a couple reviews from play testers, the game has a lot of promise.  I like the pinning mechanic and the leadership tests needed to activate units, although I'm less sold on the random activation sequence.

The release is about a month away, so it seems perfectly possible to paint up a small platoon for some early gaming.  So I've started work on a first squad of SS Germans, with a view to having these finished next weekend.  Another squad, a command platoon and three or four support options should finish the platoon off nicely.  But we'll see how I get on, best laid plans and all that.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Rejects 20 Questions

In a move that is bound to spread across the internet like a plague, two of the Posties Rejects have put up one of those "interview yourself" lists. 20 questions, some about gaming, some not.  Considering the rain is tipping it down and that I'm stuck inside waiting for some prospective buyers to come look at the house, I've not really anything else better to do!  Make sure you read the answers Ray and Fran gave.

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?

Punic Wars, first period that got me interested in history, not to mention wargaming!

2. Next period, money no object?
When I was younger, we played a massive campaign for a sci-fi planetary assault.  Invasion space battles with Battlefleet Gothic, Massive land/air battles with Epic 40K and smaller skirmished with regular 40K.  If money was no object, I'd go for something on that scale; Africa WW2, Japanese invasion of Korea, Moderns maybe, but something BIG.

3. Favourite 5 films?

In no particular order
Empire Strikes Back
Terminator 2
Big Trouble In Little China
The Jungle Book
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

4. Favourite 5 TV series?

In no particular order:
Battlestar Galactica (newer series)
Star Trek TNG
A-Team Blackadder
Simpsons (Seasons 3-7, before and after are all crap)

5. Favourite book and author?
EEEAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Not a chance I can narrow it down to one.  Gun to the head I'd have to go for The Count of Monte Cristo as the favorite book.  No idea of favourite author.

6. Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!

Scipio.  Or, to give him the respect he deserves Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus.

7. Favourite Wargames rules?

No idea, probably Warmaster, considering all the variations it has spawned.

8. Favourite Sport and team?


9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?

Serious answer:  Go back to about 1988 and give myself a list of things to do differently!
Non-serious answer:  Eleventh or Twelfth century BC, ancient Greece, see Helen of Troy and have a shot.

10.  Last meal on Death Row?

Chili nachos with the works, all washed down with a couple bottles of Peroni!

11. Fantasy relationship and why?
A completely juvenile answer: Sophie Howard.  Not only would she be dynamite in the sack, but she'd give you a great big hug afterwards!

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?

Edward Norton.

13. Favourite Comic Superhero?

The Punisher.  Frank Castle is the man (except when he got beaten up by Daredevil. Git)

14. Favourite Military quote?

Not one for remembering quotes, so I'll go for the timeless "Veni, Vidi, Vici."

15. Historical destination to visit?

Rome, nuff said.

16. Biggest Wargaming regret?

Sold a heap of stuff a few years back when I wasn't gaming much.  Instantly regretted it.

17. Favourite Fantasy job?

Ooohh, any kind of professional sportsman.  Lower league footballer, county cricketer, domestique cyclist, anything like that.

18. Favourite Song Top 5?

In no particular order:
Fire Woman - The Cult
The Rain Song - Zep
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Live It Up - Mental As Anything

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?

Few years ago, few mates round at the house for the weekend, lots of games, pizza, crisps, good tv, banter, tunes, beers.  Perfect nerd weekend.

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?

Big government, small minds, straightforward things being complicated, people who don't do their jobs, media speak, Liverpool fans, celarrrrbrities, waste, broadcast news, the idea that everyone's opinion is somehow equally valid, vegetarian versions of proper food (veggie sausages? Get stuffed.)

Monday, 13 August 2012

A Monday Chore

I'm afraid I haven't managed to pick up a paint brush in the last couple weeks.  I could come out with a list of excuses; new job, friends visiting, some work needing done on the house, but the real reason is the picture above.

Now what has happened here is that I've broken one of the golden painting rules; make sure it's easy for you to start.  I try and do some painting/modelling every day and when I can't be bothered painting, I say to myself "I'll just do some base colours" or "I'll just finish one figure."  Usually what happens is that I'll end up doing a lot more than that.

If I have to move piles of stuff before I even sit down, I'm not even going to pick up the brush!

So after three (yes, three) hours of tidying the desk and the shelves above, it's looking pretty organised.  God knows how long it will stay that way!  Another benefit of the big clean was that I've found a bag of miniatures that I had forgotten I bought.  Result!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

London 2012 Adieu

One of my rare non-gaming posts today as, with the end of the marathon, my interest in the 2012 Olympics pretty much comes to an end.

Despite fighting against the erratic BBC coverage over the last couple weeks, I managed to keep up with the sports I watch year round (athletics, cycling, football and tenis,) the sports you watch because they are on (the swimming, canoeing and the rowing) and the freak sports you get hooked on every four years (handball, weightlifting and gymnastics!)

Scenes from the games will surely be replayed again and again over the coming years and I think that London can be justly proud of hosting a great games.  The array of great victories (and occasional great defeat) make this easily an equal to the earlier games I've seen (I vaguely remember Seoul, but clearly recall Barcelona.)

I could happily spend hours writing about the highlights from my point of view, but this isn't a sports blog, so I'll just put some pictures up from my favorite events.

Right now, I hope the country is bracing itself for a bit of an Olympic backlash.  Certainly, most criticism of London's hosting of the games has been all but ignored since the opening ceremony, but I strongly suspect that it will return to prominence over the coming weeks and months.

Fundamentally, most criticism was aimed at either the cost and at the location of the games, and I agree with much of what has been said.  In terms of funding, the London Olympics has been very 
successful in that, with only a couple alterations, it has stuck close to budget.  However, if you look at some of the funding sources (namely, charities, lottery and sponsorship,) how much funding has been diverted from other beneficiaries.  Funding from corporate sources comes with implicit tax benefits, would you rather Lloyds had paid more in general taxation than they gave to the Olympics?

Secondly, something the Lord Coe and others seem blindingly oblivious to, is that these are the London Olympics, not the Great British or English or United Kingdom(ish) Olympics. Although I have some faith the legacy of the Olympics will be felt across the whole country, there will be diminishing returns the further from the Southeast you are.  The vast, vast amount of benefit the games generate will be felt in London.  Throwing the football around the north and having the sailing on the south coast does nothing to mitigate this.  Saying that individuals will "get out of the games as much as they are willing to put in" struck me as a rather elitist and arrogant statement by Coe (does he know how much a week in London costs?)  I'd have liked to have had a bit more honesty from all parties, broadcasters included, on this.  So far, all announced post 2012 events are taking place in London.

For all that, I'm by no means down on the Olympics.  I made a concerted effort, once the games started, to enjoy them and watch as much as I could without grumbling.  I certainly see no contradiction in being generally positive about the games, but having some fundamental problems with their organisation and presentation.

Still, an hour after watching Stephen Kiprotich's fantastic marathon effort, the proper football season starts (I know I'm Scottish and our season started a couple weeks ago, but shut up) and  that's a different kind of enjoyment.  I've got plans for a couple trips to Stamford Bridge this season - with the Olympics finished, maybe I'll even be able to afford it too!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Another eBay bargain - Dark Heresy Flavoured

Another eBay bargain arrived today: The Radicals Handbook from the Dark Heresy RPG range.  I've been gradually building up my Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader collection, mainly because I'm a completionist and a big 40K background geek.

Although we're spending most of our RPG time on Black Crusade, I love the depth to the DH range.  The Radical's Handbook looks like a great mix for gamers, lots of ideas for GMs and plenty of new options for players, although I'd have liked to have a campaign included too.

I should also  mention the great quality of artwork on show, most of it I haven't seen elsewhere before.

The 40K roleplay range of books aren't cheap though, hence why I pick most of them off eBay.  You'd be surprised how cheap you can get them for in the right circumstances, usually in excellent condition.  I still pick up the new releases for full price though. . .

Monday, 6 August 2012

Cheerio Venexia, Hello Sgt Major Miniatures

Venexia have put up concrete evidence that they've closed up and, more significantly, that they've sold their range to US company Sgt Major Miniatures.

Production looks likely to resume by the end of the year (they say August, but pinch of salt and all that,) but it's too soon to hear about any distribution channels.  SGMM's range of 20mm figs are available in the UK from Elheim Miniatures, so hopefully they, or distributor Vexillia will pick the range up.

My Italian Wars project ground to a complete halt when I couldn't finish the units I'd started.  I'm looking forward to getting them back on the painting table.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Drum Castle and Some Loot

Glorious weather today, compared with the rain we've had all week, so the Mrs took the day off and we had a trek out to Drum Castle.  It's about twelve miles from our house and we can follow the old railway path all the way there (got the bus back of course.)

Drum Castle is one of those hodgepodge Scottish castles, an ancient 13th century tower with bits having been bolted on over the years.  Plenty of character though, and like most Scottish landmarks has a Jacobite connection (someone hid there for a couple years before the pardon - if you believe that kind of thing)  Although it's pretty small by European standards, I absolutely love going there, even on days like today when there were dozens of kids running about!

Sadly, the café was really busy, so there was no beer there for me after the epic hike to get there!

Also, rounding out the day nicely, a nerd package was waiting for me when we got home, White Dwarf, No Quarter, some Greeks and a Lord of the Rings Card pack.  These, and a couple cold ones rounded out a great Friday off!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Adios Amigo

Happy sad news today.  Gaz, one of my regular gaming buddies, and his Mrs (with whom he batting well above his average) have hopped it to work in New Zealand for a year.  Given the weather lately, can't say I blame them!

So I wish them all the best for the next year.  I was going to insert a random stereotypical Kiwi joke here, but I decided to take the moral high ground and put out an alert to all baggage crew in London:  There's a really expensive set of Magic: the Gathering cards travelling in his luggage.  Just saying...

Good luck mate.