Monday, 30 November 2009

The Flash of Action, the Circle of Unity

Today I got home from work (via a meal out and a quick shop with my better half) to find a small package awaiting me. Well, that is to say, there were two Danish matchboxes, a clear plastic bag with two rolls of corduroy, a crumpled letter, and a savagely torn open paddy bag, with teethmarks. My 10 month old son had managed to steal the packet from my wife and, before she noticed, had torn it open with his hands and upended the contents!

Impressive, most impressive. Anyway, inside were 7 Empress (nee Anglian) Miniatures' Assault Guards painted by Al Front of the Gentleman's Wargames Parlour as BUF men in the Action uniform, a sten-gun wielding Captain Haddock, and a female pilot. The latter two are, I think, from Artizan Designs, but I may be wrong.

Together with my 5 BUF chaps, that gives me a group of 12. I can organise them into three sections of 4 - each of an officer, an NCO, and two riflemen. The BUF in London now outnumber their Anarchist enemies 4:1 - but the Anarchists have a Lewis gun...

I took photos of the contents, and you can see where, despite their packaging (cotton wool), they need touching up after chipping en route. They're really nicely painted and all I intend to do to them is rebase them to fit in with the grey 'urban' bases I plan to do the rest of the Police Action! figures with.


Hopefully I'll get to start working on these fellows tomorrow.

Post-Painting Musings

The SB men are nearly done. I just need to finish their skin and base them, then they can be shipped off home to join the other finished figs in the carry cases. They're looking quite good, but - as is always the way - every time I pick one up I either see a speck of completely unpainted metal (arrg) or a bit I haven't yet painted in a colour I've already used (arrrrrgh).

I've gone for simplicity and given them all black hair, and won't be bothering with eyes. These will be strictly tabletop standard, and are an exercise in painting a unit en masse and quickly - all in all I will have spent about seven hours on them once done, which is slightly less than an hour a figure (about 52-53 mins each, if my maths is right). Not bad!

Tonight I plan to post the first in a series of 'Projects To Do' - pictures of figures that are painted, semi-painted, or unpainted, which are part of a particular project. At first it'll be limited to what I have at home (Necromunda, Battletech, Warhammer 40K and Gangs of Mega-City One if I recall correctly), but as I both buy new things and pick up old ones from my parents' house, this will expand.

I may even shock and awe you all with a list of my projects at some point in the future... watch this space!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Painting in Progress

Normally, during my afternoon break (15 minutes) I try and do a little bit on one, or both, of these figures:


On the left we have The Red Witch, for my Vampire warband in Mordheim (female Blood Dragon (Reaper Minis), the Red Witch (Reaper), three Dregs (GW) and 10 Zombies (GW).

On the right we have a Chaos Marauder Hero(ine), from Hasslefree, for my putative Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Slaanesh-themed army.

If all goes well with the SB men, I expect to have at least one of these painted this coming week. The Red Witch is a testbed for translucent clothing, hence the apparently naked breasts, by the way.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Contact Lost

Today I went with my wife and baby son to visit one of my wargaming partners, a sound fellow called S Jellicoe, and his wife and baby daughter. Not only was a lovely time had by all, but SJ and I got in two games of Space Hulk. I lost both times (hurrah) but both games were tense and atmospheric, with moments of high drama and farce.

I took photos of the first game - Suicide Mission - which SJ won comfortably, mainly due to my throwing Genestealers away piecemeal and ignoring the objectives. The second, Exterminate, was much closer for a while, until I lost my Sergeant and Assault Cannon, then stupidly left my terminator 'square' open to attack by removing Overwatch from one of the three remaining Terminators. Oops.

Anyway, here, in order, are the photos of Suicide Mission:


Marine Deployment

Marine Turn 1

Genestealer Turn 1

Marine Turn 2

Genestealer Turn 2

Marine Turn 3

Genestealer Turn 3

Genestealer Attack! Three 'stealers jump on the Sergeant...

...with predictable results.

Marine Turn 4

Genestealer Turn 4

Marine Turn 5 - the heavy flamer opens up. The 'stealer dies.

Genestealer Turn 6

Marine Turn 7 - Victory!


The two standout moments from the second game were:

Hero of the Imperium (posthumous) with Tolling of the Bell of Lost Souls:
Sergeant Androchus, who sealed off a nest of Genestealers and destroyed 7 of the vile xenos in close combat before being overwhelmed.

And He Shall Know Fear: Terminator Quintus, who jammed his stormbolter attempting to destroy a door rather than remaining on overwatch. His error cost the lives of Squad Androchus.

Friday, 27 November 2009

In The Nick of Time

Ha! I just managed to save myself from not updating today, as it's now five to midnight, and here are the promised Painting In Progress (PIP) images from today:


Moral of the story? Tartan is hard! Despite the pictures, it does look very effective at a distance, i.e. from eye to tabletop. So I'm not too bothered, and next time I won't be painting as fast as I can to try and get 8 figures tartaned up in 25 minutes.

Also today, I made an order for some toy soldiers and recieved my copy of Song of Blades and Heroes, which was well worth the £3 I paid for it! The toy soldiers are Studio McVey's stunning 30mm Seraphine la Rouge, a voodooesque woman with python, and three Hasslefree fantasy female Nubians. They're going to form the core of a small SoBaH warband. Expect to see them next week if the post is kind to me.

And now - to bed!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Clan MacDonald, as Promised!

PICTURES ARE UP - check below for pics of Alice le Blanc, the feared bounty huntress.

Clan MacDonald during the Very British Civil War:

With the declaration of the Scottish Republic came the announcement that Dame Flora MacLeod was siding with King Edward VIII and rejecting the breakup of the Union. Sir Godfrey Middleton Bosville Macdonald, Clan MacDonald’s 15th chieftan, previously undecided about the path to take, saw a chance to sieze the whole of Skye for himself. Clan MacDonald threw in their lot with the new government, and backed Edinburgh. It was Clan MacLeod who made the first move, however, taking Raasay and Rona by boat, and pushing militia past the Cuilin Hills.

Skirmishing drove the MacLeod forces into the Hills, and the conflict settled down into stalemate. Clan MacDonald, while one of the largest Scottish Clans, is not strongly represented on Skye. The clan’s expeditionary force is led by the chieftan’s son.

MacDonald’s force is officially the 34th (Territorial) Infantry Brigade of the Scottish Army, and, although largely well-equipped with uniforms and rifles, is woefully lacking in automatic weapons. They do, however, boast two mortars – which have proven their worth in the Cuilin Hills – and two Vickers HMGs. The Brigade is are supplied via ferry from the mainland. Numbering just over 600 men, the 34th Brigade is organised as follows

HQ – 12 men
Support – 10 men, two Stokes mortars

Sleat Battalion:
HQ – 10 men
Support – 3 men,Vickers HMG

1st Company:
HQ: 10 men
A, B, C platoons, each of 30 men

2nd Company:
HQ: 10 men
D, E, F platoons, each of 30 men

3rd Company:
HQ: 10 men
G, H, I platoons, each of 30 men

Uist Battalion:

HQ – 10 men
Support – 3 men,Vickers HMG

4th Company:
HQ: 10 men
J, K, L platoons, each of 30 men

5th Company:
HQ: 10 men
M, N, O platoons, each of 30 men

6rd Company:
HQ: 10 men
P, Q, R platoons, each of 30 men

The few light automatic weapons possessed by the 34th are evenly spread throughout the force, with two per company. The mortars are attached to each battalion, depending on need, with strict instructions not to let them or the HMGs fall into MacLeod hands. Each Platoon is organised as follows

Lt, Sgt, runner, 6 men (rifles)
Cpl, L/Cpl, 5 men (rifles)
Cpl, L/Cpl, 5 men (rifles)

Where a Lewis gun is present, it is usually kept with the Lt’s squad.

The 34th are equipped with surplus WWI uniforms, and wear kilts in MacDonald tartan, khaki tunics, and either glengarry caps or large tam-o-shanters. Helmets and battledress trousers are also worn, but rarely. Rifles are ubiquitous, while officers favour the Webley service pistol. They are much more regular in appearance than their opponents, thanks to the proximity of the mainland and the Scottish government’s decision to legalise the various militias.

Their organisation also denotes the semi-professional manner of the 34th, with the British - now Scottish - Army organisation being followed, unlike the more organic MacLeod battalion.

The MacDonald force suffers, however, from a lack of aggressiveness and a hesitancy belying their large size. Despite outnumbering the MacLeods almost 3:1, the MacLeods have used the Cuilin Hills to keep the 34th Brigade at bay for almost three months while new arms, equipment, and recruits arrive via South Wales and Ireland.

Tartan is Hard

The customary lunchtime update!

In just under an hour of working on the SB men, I highlighted the base blue of the trews, highlighted the puttees, painted the webbing Scorched Brown, the rifle furniture Vermin Brown, and put the first, light green, stripes on the tartan. I still need to apply the yellow (!!) and red stripes as well as put in the dark green squares where the light green cross over each other.

Oh, I should note that I highlighted the tunics with Kommando Khaki, not Desert Yellow as previously stated.

If all goes well the SB men should be done early next week, as all that remains is:

1) Tartan Trews
2) Tam-O-Shanters - now going to have Dark Angels Green pompoms on black.
3) Flesh and hair
4) Rifles - gunmetal and black
5) Touch up boots and jackets
6) Base

I won't be painting anything seriously tomorrow as I have to go out for the Friday Lunch with my co-workers. I may get some done on the Red Witch in the morning and afternoon tho'.

On the photo front, I still don't have my camera. I think it's been hidden by my son, whose ability to crawl at great speed is becoming unnerving...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Finished Product and Further Work

In my last break at work today I painted the trews of the Skye Battalion men (hereafter referred to as SB) GW Regal Blue as a ba se for the Green tartan. They look very colourful already!

And here, as promised, is the bounty huntress for Song of Blades and Heroes:


I leave you with the teaser that on Saturday I will be playing some Space Hulk with one of my favourite opponents, S. Jellicoe. Full reports to follow on Sunday!

EDIT: PICS UP! Camera was located hiding down the back of the sofa.

Undercoats and Basing

Well, that was a particularly productive lunch hour. All 8 Skye Battalion men are now resplendent in khaki tunics and khaki-green puttees, with the officer wearing a private-purchase grey greatcoat and leather gaiters.

On top of that, I finally finished the bounty huntress for Song of Blades and Heroes, and created the 'template' for basing for that system: 25mm round slottabase, with static grass applied using emerald green paint and a nice, dull olive green edging. Fantastical!

I'll post a picture of her tonight.

For those of you who are interested, I painted the Skye Battalion tunics with Graveyard Earth (GW) highlighted by mixing Desert Yellow (GW). I sped up the painting by 'wet-brushing', which is like dry brushing but with more paint on the brush.

Now! A poll! Of sorts. Which MacLeod tartan should the Skye Battalion wear on their trews? There are two main types - Green MacLeod and Yellow MacLeod:


The Green is older (1831 but probably older still) than the Yellow (1841) and certainly more practical for the field in terms of camouflage, but the temptation to have soldiers with yellow trousers is quite strong, I must admit... thoughts, please!


Olley Painting Point Totals:

This week: 1
Total OPP for 2009: 4

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A Quick Progress Report

Today I based the 8 Skye Battalion men, the Anarchist Lewis gun team and the 6 BUF people. Then I undercoated - by brush, as work has an inexplicable ban on spray painting toy soldiers at one's desk - the Skye Battalion figs.

I aim to get them finished - or at least mostly finished - by Friday. Speed painting a unit ahoy!

In my afternoon break I'm going to try and finish off the female bounty hunter I've done up for Song of Blades and Heroes, to at least get one OPP this week.

Monday, 23 November 2009

See, over all the streets the Fascist banners waving

And now, my VBCW figures - so far...


From top to bottom, left-to-right, we have: 8 members of the Skye Battalion, who've been lucky enough to be issued full uniforms, 3 adventurers for the Back of Beyond (aka Wynd-Grator's forces, although I'm much more tempted to paint them up as, well, adventurers in the Empire for a more generic 1920s-30s Pulp style of game), an Anarchist Lewis gun team, and 6 members of the BUF including 'Flying' Fay Taylour, for once not on a motorbike.

You may just be able to make out the extra shiny leg on the BUF man 2nd from left - this is where I made a feeble attempt to file away his trouser and turn it into a jackboot. It failed, I gave up, and argued that the 'Action' uniform has been altered to make it more practical for fighting in.

These chaps (and chapesses) are accompanying me to work today, and I hope to make a start on them this week.

Oh, and for those of you who want some pictures of civilians from the 1930s in colour, YouTube can be an interesting resource. Searching for 'BUF Anthem' or 'Hunger March' is a good start.

EDIT: Finally worked out how to get photos to behave! Huzzah!

Mordheim (16/11/09-17/11/09)

Last week was rather truncated, with just two days' worth of painting-at-work (PAW) achieved, as my baby son fell seriously ill with some nasty viral infection and landed in hospital for three days. He's better now (hurray) and when I got back to work I found that my paints and figures were exactly where I'd left them, so I don't need to cart them to and from work at the weekends now. Hurray again!

So, what did I paint? Well, I have a soft spot for skirmish games, Mordheim and Necromunda especially. In that vein, I decided to go for a GW model of a High Elf mercenary. Only, now, in my hands, he's become Ilyian Singletear, Tor Sethain diplomatic escort, charged with keeping his lord alive in the ruined city of Mordheim while he hunts for a lost High Elf arcane item...


...and there he is in all his glory! I'm rather proud of the armour, which I painted following advice from Mike McVey in an old White Dwarf (192 or 196 I believe) to wash Mithril Silver with blue to show it as clean and polished, rather than poorly made or badly repaired.

His elven cloak, too, is something I like - despite the hideous mould line that I didn't notice until far too late - but I can't help but feel the sword could be a bit neater. Oh well. The face is well worth being pleased about, although the eyes! oh, sweet madness, the eyes! Why did I try and do eyeliner? Temporary insanity I suppose.

Also on the Mordheim front, I've been painting up The Red Witch (a Reaper model bought from Orc's Nest, an excellent - if small - shop in Covent Garden), with a Chaos worshipper from Hasslefree and the aforementioned High Elf lord in the pipeline. You should see some progress on those this week if VBCW doesn't get in the way too much.

Olley Painting Points for 15-16/11/09: 1
Total OPP for 2009: 3

A Lunchtime Musing

In my break at work today I had a little think about what I could do with my B&T figures. Then the answer hit me - Clan-based warfare on the Isle of Skye! It retains the local link - I'm a member of Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan, Skye - and means I can mix the B&Ts with militia figures to create a rag-tag bunch of clansmen to fight the representatives of the Republican Government in the name of Edward VIII and the Union...

So I bashed this out in ten minutes:

The Isle of Skye in theVBCW:

The clans are split, and ancient feuds have reignited. Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan has declared for King and Country, forcing Clan MacDonald of Sleat to back the Scottish Government. Aid, however, is limited and infrequent as the Republican Scottish Government has problems of its own, with Clydeside and other areas are simmering with revolutionary unrest, fascist insurgents, and cross-border raids.

For the most part, the fighting on Skye – with its population of just 9,000 people – is limited to skirmishes, raids, and tit-for-tat atrocities.

Clan MacLeod and the Skye Battalion

The Clan MacLeod forces are based at Dunvegan Castle, and led by Dame Flora MacLeod, 28th Chieftan of the Clan and the first female Chieftan. Her ‘army’, officially referred to as the Skye Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders by London and Edwards’ High Command, comprises some 280 clansmen with varying degrees of experience.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland is a powerful force on Skye, and it is represented within the MacLeod militia by no less than three ministers. They see Clan MacDonald, which supports the United Free Church, as ‘dangerous reformists’ and are keen to destroy the UFC’s influence on Skye.

The Skye Battalion is organised as follows:

Dunvegan Castle:
Battalion HQ: 10 men plus Captain Cameron.

Dunvegan Company:
1st Platoon – 30 men
2nd Platoon – 30 men
3rd Platoon – 30 men

Edinbane Company:
4th Platoon - 30 men
5th Platoon - 30 men
6th Platoon - 30 men

Portree Company:
7th Platoon - 30 men
8th Platoon - 30 men
9th Platoon - 30 men

The Skye Battalion has made its front line against Clan Donald the mountainous Cuilin Hills, with Raasay and Rona held by 5th and 6th Platoons to guard against any attempted sea landings.

Equipment is limited mostly to rifles and shotguns, with each Platoon in possession of an LMG (mostly this is the Lewis gun, but 8th Platoon has a Bren gun). Petrol bombs are common, with the force’s sole heavy weapon – a Vickers HMG – kept at Dunvegan for defensive purposes. Resupply is limited to the occasional smuggler’s run from England, and a regular army advisor, Captain James Cameron, has been attached to the force.

There are few cars on Skye, and the battalion instead makes use of horses, although not as mounted cavalry. The unit’s NCOs are all veterans of WWI, and the men themselves are a mix of hardy crofters and war veterans. Few speak English, but this is not yet a problem. Small boats and amphibious landings are commonplace, but neither the MacLeods or MacDonalds have the numbers to drive the other off Skye yet.

London has promised greater support if the Skye Battalion can take Kyleakin, from which point raids can be mounted against the mainland. It remains to be seen if this will happen before the reorganising Scottish Army can provide overwhelming support to the MacDonalds.

The Skye Battalion wear black or dark green tam-o-shanters, khaki tunics, trews in the clan tartan, and khaki puttees. Webbing is leather, usually brown or black, and boots are black. Greatcoats are often worn. Insignia is limited to the clan crest, worn on the right shoulder, and the Highland Division patch on the left. Rank tapes are white. Uniforms, however, are limited, and many wear a mix of civilian clothing and military gear. Steel helmets are rare, and limited to the ‘tin bowler’ of the regular army.

A Platoon is typically organised into three squads as follows:

Lt, Sgt, three-man LMG team, runner, 4 men (rifles).
Cpl, L/Cpl, 8 men (rifles).
Cpl, L/Cpl, 8 men (rifles).

Shotguns, pistols, and petrol bombs are common. Seanar MacLeod, the Dunvegan Company’s minister, has the only sub-machine-gun in the battalion: a Bergmann. Dame Flora has been promised a shipment of automatic weapons from America via Ireland, and Captain Cameron has successfully pleaded for more rifles which, in theory, will enable more islanders to be called to the Fairy Flag.

Suggested Figures:
Musketeer Miniatures – IRA, Worker’s Militia, Black and Tans and Brigands. British Militia and Anglican League packs also have useful figures.

This particular project will go by the name of 'VBCW' and will probably top out at 60 or so figures - a platoon apiece to fight across the Cuilin Hills. The MacDonald Clan troops will be slightly more 'regular' looking, with 1918 infantry to represent their improved lines of supply with the mainland.

On a similar, 1938-related note, it's hard to find 28mm resistants, partisans, or guerillas that aren't carrying soviet weapons. I'm trying to work out what models to get for the Angel Alley Anarchists who'll be fighting the Artizan Police and Musketeer/Empress BUF men in Police Action.

That particular project - Police Action - is now set out as follows:

3 with rifles, 3 with pistols, 3 with truncheons, detective. (10)


BUF Action Squad:
Officer with pistol, female driver, plainclothes security policeman, 2 NCOs with SMGs, 13 men with rifles and shotgun
Car: Officer, driver, BUF man with shotgun, plainclothesman
1st truck: NCO with tommy gun, 6 riflemen
2nd truck: NCO with SMG, 6 riflemen

Musketeer (officer, shotgun, 3 rifles, tommy gun NCO)
Artizan (plainclothesman and driver)
Empress (Assault Guards packs – command and rifles)

28 state forces (plus one car and two trucks

Angel Alley Anarchists:
20 anarchists with a mix of SMGs, pistols and rifles. Two LMGs.

Bolt Action (partisans – Western Rifles, LMGs, German Rifles – 12)

I'm also tempted to get some Natal Mounted Police and use them as Met. mounted cops with riot shotguns (as per a post on the Gentleman's Wargames Parlour). We shall see. Now I'm off to do some painting!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Olley Painting Points

A quick note on this excellent method of tracking one's progress through the unpainted pile:

1 28mm Inf figure = 1 OPP.
1 28mm Cav figure = 2 OPPs.
1 artillery piece = 3 OPPs.
1 small vehicle = 5 OPPs.
1 big vehicle = 10 OPPs.

On that basis my current total stands at 3 OPPs - Tau NCO, Varingr JNCO and Mordheim elf with bloody great big sword.

Ideally I'm aiming to get 8-10 OPPs a month, for an annual total of (roughly) 100-120 OPPs a year. That's assuming I only paint at work and in my lunchtimes...

London for Mosley - a Very British Civil War

Periodically, phenomenon periods sweep the wargaming community. I remember Darkest Africa, which was followed by Pirates, and the latest is 'A Very British Civil War'. This is an interesting grassroots alternative history, developed by wargamers who have looked - in many cases in great, academic, detail - to their local areas, and created a brave new war: the 1938 Civil War, started with the refusal of Edward to abdicate, the appointment of Mosley to PM, and the return of the International Brigades. It's a strange country, with a Republican Scotland, militant Anglicans, a Red Army, Communist city-states, Nationalist Wales, Fascist London, and more.

My contribution to this madness is, or so the plan goes, a small group of BUF 'Action Squad' men led by the redoubtable Ms Fletcher (Copplestone Castings), some armed police (courtesy of Artizan Designs), and a group of armed civilians (Musketeer Miniatures) to oppose them. I intend to get a load of '30s civilians to populate the streets of London, too.

This project will be called - drumroll, please - Police Action!

So far I've got some RIC men (Musketeer) which will get slightly converted to wear boots, and be painted up as BUF troops, and - again from Muskteer - a load of IRA men and some Black and Tans. Not sure what I'll use the Black and Tans for tho'.


I've just dug the above mentioned figures out:

BUF - Officer with webley, NCO with shotgun, three blokes with rifles
Black & Tans - Officer? with shotgun in greatcoat, Sgt, Lewis Gun team (3 figs), three blokes with rifles
Urban Guerillas - Lewis Gun team (3 figs).

I think I'll paint the B&Ts up as, well, B&Ts. I'm sure I can fit them in somehow, and it'll give me the ability to game the Irish Wars too.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Beginning (09/11/09-13/11/09)

Hello! Welcome to my humble internet log, chronicalling my efforts at painting toy soldiers for wargames (and the occasional RPG or display piece) during my lunchbreaks at work.

So, five hours' of painting a week, using Olley Painting Points to monitor my success or failure. I'll also be using this blog to try and organise my painting backlog and projects - and, hopefully, entertain and inform on the way!

And without further ado - the first week:

I concentrated on painting the test figures for my 40K Tau Empire army, with the emphasis strongly on Empire - Varingr (using Hasslefree Grymn), Kroot, Vespid, humans, and others. These are below - a bonded Firewarrior Shas'la with pulse carbine, and a Varingr JNCO with bolt carbine.

The army is based for FIBUA games (CityFight). Drones, Battlesuits, and vehicles will all wear Berlin Brigade (BAOR) camouflage as I think it's the best urban camo for vehicles ever devised! The Varigr wear similar clothes - although in varying colours, depending on the unit - but each Varingr personalises their armour with runes and paintings. Future Varingr will have much more complex paintings, but I'm proud of the flower.

Next week - Mordheim!