Sunday, February 22, 2009

More Tiger and Sherman Photos

I was going to pack up the tanks after my last post but didn't. I'll just put on a couple pieces of tracks on the Firefly to see how they fit. Well I ended up finishing one side and then the other

All in all I'm pretty happy with the size of the 1/48 stuff.

The rubber tracks on the Tiger proved to be waaay more difficult to put together than the hard plastic tracks of the Firefly. I found the tracks of the Tiger to be way too short and the fit was very tight until I stretched them out a little. While I was stretching one of the tracks it ripped and I had to trim and join it, making the track almost 5mm shorter. It still fit, just a little tighter than the other side. And thinking about it now I'm not sure how painting the rubber track is going to go. Will acrylic paint crack and flake off? A little research is needed I think.

Anyway they look fantastic and for the price you can't go past them. Now if I can only find someone who sells the Tamiya "TS" range of spray paint. All the stores here have the PS range which apparently doesn't work well with model kits.

So what's next? Unless I can find something for the Americans that isn't based on a Sherman hull then it's probably this:

Firefly and Tiger I Update

I'm pretty much finished building the Tiger and Firefly kits. I haven't put the tracks on the tiger yet as I can't find a screw driver that's small enough for the screws in the kit. I've decided to glue them on anyway, mainly because I don't want the tank to move during game play. Also I think that if the tracks do move then people might be tempted to play with it and that's when stuff can get broken. Anyhow all that's left to do now is paint them.

Here's some shots of the almost completed kits. Remember to click on a photo for a bigger version.

The detail on the AFV kit leaves the Tamiya one looking quite bland. All the surfaces have pit marks and even the weld beads look fantastic. They even include some photo etched grilles which should look fantastic when painted.

Some shots to show the size difference between the Tiger I and the Firefly.

More photos once I start painting.

Where to Put Them All

I was in the checkout at Bunnings today looking for BBQ cleaner when I found this. $6.95 with four drawers large enough to hold a full platoon (and then some). Just perfect for my WW2 minis. I'll wait until the rest of my order turns up first but I'll probably end up grabbing another couple of these.

Since all of my WW2 stuff are mounted on washers I'll get some magnetic sheeting and stick on the bottom of each of the trays. This should stop the minis from falling over when opening and closing the trays and during transport.

The coloured handles keep popping out as the fit isn't very good but a bit of super glue should solve that. There were also some other units there with only 2 or 3 trays which should be perfect for all the tank models.

Big Win for the Little Guys

Made it to BADGA this Saturday and got the Halflings on the table for their second game of the season. I play young Liam H and his human team the Couronne Cats (TR 149). I had a player out this game so my Team Rating was 108 which afforded me a nice 410,000gp of inducements. I took star player Deeproot Strongbrach (250k), the ever faithful Halfling Master Chef (50k) and the all important Wandering Apothecary (100k).

The perfect BB weather attracted 27,000 screaming fans to the stadium and the Cats opted to receive. The Halfings started with the now standard three treeman center line up and braced themselves for the pain.

What actuall happened next suprised everyone, the Cats were completley caught off guard by "Muscles" Manglepie who had worked quite hard in the off season and managed to bulk up considerably, some are actually claiming it to be a side effect of certain steroids found in fast food chickens however this in completley unsubstantiated, although most likely entirely correct.

A strong hit by Manglepie followed up with the "pile on the ball" tactic found the Halflings within scoring distance by the end of turn 3. The treemen quick went to work ensuring that as little of the Cats team were left standing on the field. Next turn Halfling #86 Fritz McMuffin scored his second career touchdown. The kickoff for the next drive broke out into a riot and after getting everyone back into the stands the referee set the clock back one turn. Two turns later the humans answered with their own score, touchdown to Cats #10.

The Halflings moved quickly (well you know what I mean) and within three turns the had retrieved the ball from the Cats, thanks in large to Deeproot for almost putting Cats player #11 into a pine box and to Foggwick Shakebelly who showed that all the time spent on the treadmill can make a difference. It's not often you see a Halfling run, let alone run the ball into the end zone. Running and shaking Foggwick made it look easy.

At the big break the scoreboard showed it was 2-1 the Haflings way and even more suprising was the casualty count of a low 1-0 to the Halflings.

Second half started with the Halflings to receive. The next quarter of the game was your typical I drop the ball and you pick it up, you then drop the ball and I pick it up type of affair. A mere two turns we went from this:

To this, thankfully the catcher failed his go for it roll and even more thankfully the mast chef ensured that by this point of the game the Cats had no team re-rolls left.

On turn 12 Halfling #17 Bagwise Oddfoot found himself with the ball and ran for dear life towards the end zone, touchdown to the Halflings. The last three turns were highlighted by a superb break out to the right and pass the ball long play which was promptly intercepted the Cats player #11. Who then failed to dodge past a treeman and turned over the ball. A quick pick up and hand off found the ball once again in the small hands of #17 Bagwise Oddfoot. Touchdown number four to the halflings on their last turn.

Post Match Comments
I'm pretty happy with how the Halflings handled themselves. I was really impressed with Liam and his handle on the rules, I can see him being a coach to be reckoned with in a few years. Although I think he needs to work on his constant, incessant chanting of "fail, fail, fail, fail" every time I went to roll a die. It was funny at first, then not so much.

Favourite Moment of the Game
This wasn't really a part of my game but the one going on next to me between Steve and Brad. Steve was having a bit of a bad run rolling 1 after 1 after 1. He eventually vented his frustration by throwing the die in question away. The die flew across the room, bounced off the wall and rolled all the way back to his chair. The result: a 1.

The League
I dunno where this puts us but it should get us a few points away from the bottom of the ladder. I have now no less than nine players, including both treemen, who need 4 SPP's or less for their first/next skill.

Player #86 Fritz McMuffin skilled up with a nice double 4 so he now has Block. A Blodger, I have a Blodger, mwahahahahahaha. I just have to keep him alive now.

Next game I get Samin Finefettle back from injury. I still havent decided wether to retire poor Chundwise Windblossom who suffered a broken neck (-1AG) a few games ago. Good for the line of scrimmage when things are going bad I guess, but the little guy only needs 2SPP's for a skill.

This Season (W/L/D): 1-1-0
All Games (W/L/D): 3/3/1

Friday, February 20, 2009

British Sherman IC Firefly - Part 1

With the Tiger kit on hold until I can decide if I'm going to use a brush or spray to paint it I decided to start work on the Firefly. What can I say, not only do I have the ability to not finish projects but I can do more than one of them at a time.

First the good news. The model kit comes with a die cast base which in itself is a mixture of good and bad. It's great in that add adds a little heft to the model but the only superglue I had laying around was a gnarled up tube of Bostic Multi Bond which has been in my paintbox for years. Surprisingly it hadn't dried up and with a little coercion it went where I wanted it to. I think I'll get some more tomorrow for the wheel assemblies though as they have smaller surfaces and big blotches of glue will stand out.

(Remember to click on the images for bigger versions)

Interestingly enough the kit has all of the wheel assemblies glued to the die cast section but once completed it itself is screwed to the upper hull.

Ok, now the bad news. While I was trimming the other side of the muzzle (?) off the sprue it shot off to the other side of the room. I looked and looked for the dang piece but heck knows where it went. Not sure exactly what I'll do about it yet. I don't want to order a complete 'G' sprue just to get that piece. Maybe I'll make it out of greenstuff by the way of a press mold. Maybe, dunno. I'll have another think about it when I've calmed down a bit.

As for the kit itself I was a little surprised that a lot of the panels were smooth with only a few weld lines here and there. The kit cost the same as the AFV one but the Tiger has way more detail to it than the Tamiya one. I don't think it's going to show in the finished model and I'm only painting these for gaming purposes not display.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tiger I - Part 2 - It's how big?

I've started putting the Tiger kit together and I'm really pleased with it so far. I haven't put it all together yet as I want to spray most of the components first, that should happen this weekend. As soon as I had enough of the kit together I just had to see how it went with some miniatures.

(Remember to click on the pictures for a bigger version)

I have to say I think it looks good. The tank does look big but after all it is a Heavy Tank and those things were, well big. 9' 4.75" to be exact and if you work on the average human height being around 5' 10" then its close enough to work.

While I was picking up some glue and paint for the Tiger I thought that I should even the playing field a little and give the Allies something to fight back with. So I grabbed one of these:

A British Sherman IC Firefly, it's a Tamiya kit (32532). This should keep me busy up until my minis turn up from Black Tree, if not then there was a Mk IV Cromwell at the store...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tiger I - Part 1

With my last order to Black Tree I figured my Germans were starting to get both outnumbered and outgunned. This wouldn't do, so I picked up a little something that should even things out somewhat. It should also give the Piats something to fire at :)

It's been a while since I've built anything above 1/72 scale and I'm simply amazed at the detail on this. The metal plates have weld joins and the surfaces have a nice pitted look. The steel cables actually have the rope pattern on them, simply amazing. The kit even comes with screws to fit the wheels so they can turn.

I just hope I can give this the justice it deserves in construction and paint job. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I procrastinated over which scale to use with my 28mm. Turning to Google to give me the answer only confused me more. It seems no two people can agree on what scale is technically correct and also looks good on the table. In the end I figured I had either 1/48 or 1/56 to choose from. I eventually went with 1/48 as I personally would prefer my tanks to look a little too big than a little too small.

Now if I'd only remembered to pick up some glue...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another order to Black Tree Design

Thanks to a combination of an impending Birthday, my wife and my mother in law I was able to place another order for some WW2 miniatures from Black Tree Design. To be honest I was a little torn about placing another order with these guys as I'd read a lot of rumblings about them on the net. My experiences with them in the past have been pretty positive so I decided to go with what I know not what I've heard. I don't doubt that any of these people have had issues with Black Tree and I'm sure their reasons to complain are very real but any problems I've had with orders were quickly resolved by John Olsen who was very helpful and very prompt. Thanks again John.

Anyway back to the topic in question, the order. All up it comes very close to $200 but the great thing is that (for the moment at least) any order over 50 pounds is shipped for free.

So the breakdown of the order is:

British Squad (10)
British Infantry Snipers (4)
British Vickers Team II
British Mortar Team
British Infantry with Piats (4)
British Infantry with SMGs (4)
British Infantry with Stens (4)
British Infantry Officers (4)

German Platoon (30)
German Squad (10)
Wehrmacht Mortar Team I (3 + Mortar)
Waffen SS MG42 (1 Team)
Wehrmacht with SMGs V (4)
Wehrmacht Panzerschreck Teams I (4)
Wehrmacht Flamethrowers (2)

U.S. Para Platoon (30)
U.S. Paras with SMGs I (4)
U.S. Para with Rifles II (4)

I had to order a Waffen SS MG42 as Black Tree only had MG34s for the Wehrmacht range. All in all I'm pretty happy with the selection, I don't think I've ever procrastinated so much over a single order. I think I've got it worked to that there are very few left over or unused miniatures from any of the packs. Why on earth Black Tree insist on selling 10 man squads when there should be 12 (for the US) and only 1 SMG when there should be 2 (the Germans). I guess it's a price point thing but or maybe it's an eary war vs late war thing, I don't know.

All I can do now is wait...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One of these things is not like the others...

Most nights I get to sit down at the painting table around 9:00pm. Usually during this time I do more of the mundane aspects of painting, undercoats, basecoats and basing. I can usually just switch in to assembly line mode and god for it. Last night while I was working on my WW2 British my oldest son walked up to me and asked my why one of the miniatures was different from the others. I stopped painting and looked down and said something like "oh it's just because he's not painted yet" and then continued painting.

"No his helmet is different, is he from a different army?"

I looked again and only then could I see the difference.

Remember to click on the images for a bigger version.

Somehow this guy had decided to jump into my order from Black Tree, obviously a new form of reconnaissance. Why I never picked up on this before amazes me, after all I trimmed off the flash, based it, undercoated and painted the flesh, and I never noticed.

What this does mean is that I'm now one man down in my platoon, oh well just another reason to order some more :) And since I've already got one Fallshirmjager I'll have to get the rest of his squad, a platoon even.

It's been a learning experience in so many ways painting these guys. Working out new paints and a new paint scheme has slowed things down considerably, and at the pace I paint things are now at a crawl. Below is a shot of the colour scheme I've settled on. A lot of the colours are just blocked in right now with little or no shading/highlights. There is the temptation to put a lot of detail into these guys but there's a lot of them to paint.

I'll get some more shots up as soon as I have his section done.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tamiya Color

I tried to paint my WW2 minis using my GW paints, honestly I did. They looked shite. No the looked ruddy shite. It's just that GW colours look like, well, GW colours. I think it's the finish, you know that flat gloss look that just screams GW paints used here. I think that on any other miniature the paints are the way to go, but for WW2 stuff just don't do it.

So I went down to my local hobby store with a short list of colours I'd need to get my British platoon done: Khaki, Drab Khaki and Khaki Drill. I was torn: I wanted to paint these minis as quickly as possible so I wanted to minimise any mixing of colours. But to buy three pots of paint that were just variations of each other annoyed me.

So I walk into my hobby store and stand in front of the Tamiya paint stand. I grab the colours I need and yeah there's enough difference beween them to justify the purchase. Ok I think 4 colours plus a new brush should come to around $26-27. I sigh, walk to the counter and hand over the card.

It came to $13.30.

$2.70 per pot of Tamiya Colour.

I'm still in shock.

As for the paint itself:

The Good
The paint goes on so easily, even when thinned down it goes on evenly. It dries flat/matt and looks like cloth. You can buy the exact colour you need and usually by name. The paint dries quickly and fresh paint blends well with existing paint, you don't get that overlapping paint ridge you get a lot with GW paints.

The Bad
You have to paint in a well ventilated area. This stuff is acrylic and is water soluble but man it stinks. Paint near a window. The fast paint techniques like drybrushing and washing don't seem to work well with this stuff. Although I've had nice results with only one or two layers of highlights so I don't think it matters much.

I haven't tried mixing it with GW paints and to be honest I don't think I'll try. My gut feeling is the results wouldn't be pretty. I also have a feeling that this stuff will beat up your brush and steal it's lunch. I won't mind this so much as the price of a pot of this stuff and a brush is still under what a GW pot would cost.

The Final Word(s)
I'll be buying a lot more of this range.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

There's a hole in my bucket... err bases.

I thought was being really clever when I solved my problem of mixing 25mm and 28mm miniatures. By mount the 25mm minis on GW round bases and the 28mm ones on washers the height difference would be negligible. Oh so simple... or so I thought. What I ended up with was this (click on the images for bigger versions):

Easily fixed though with this:

Simply place a piece of sticky tape on the bottom of the base and plug the hole with spackling.

You can see the tape better in this shot.

Less than 5 minutes later I'd done my entire platoon and flamethrowers.

A quick splash of PVA and a dip in a sand/pebble mix and you have this:

All it needs now is an inkwash, drybrush and some flock... oh yeah and don't forget to paint the mini too.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Victory at Sea

This is another game I've been thinking of getting but I'm finding it really hard to find a good supplier of miniatures. I know the game comes with tokens for all of the ships in the game but I want to push little boats around the table not pieces of card.

I know is this an extreme long shot but if anyone knows of a retailer/distributor/online store in Australia that sells WW1/WW2 fleets then drop me a line.

World at War

WW2 has become a big of thing for me lately. I've always been interested in it the topic but recently I just can't get enough of it, movies, books and now wargaming. I've kept right away from Flames of War as the cost is just too much for a game that I'll play every now and then.

I've got Nuts! for skirmish level games and I have Fields of Honor and Blitzkrieg Commander for higher level stuff. so why do I need another set of rules? Well the answer is simply support. World at War (WaW) has been released with an Open Content License in a similar vein to the Open Gaming License Wizards of the Coast has with Dungeons and Dragons products. The amount of free and cheap content out for this game is impressive.

I won't try to compare Nuts! to WaW as they are so different on so many levels that I can't see one ever replacing the other. I have Nuts! for scenario based "play it like it was" games and now I have WaW for the "1000pts each" competitive games. And should I fall on my head and want to start playing modern era skirmishes then it's good to know that the core rules are similar across all of the games in the Battlefield Evolution series.

I'll get a battle report and rules review up once I get my British painted.