Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's on your painting table?

I had another few hours to paint last night and got busy on my Romano-British for the Dux Britainarium rules. I really love the miniatures from Splintered Light but for some reason, the Romano-Brits have not captured my imagination the way the Saxons did. I have been finding painting these to be rather tedious rather than fun. Anyway, it got me to thinking. How many projects is it normal to have on one's painting table at any one time?

First, I had what I was actively painting - My Romano-British Infantry. I have painted up 20 levy troops from Khurasan on a previous session. They still need to be based and varnished but are mostly done. Next are my group of 4 archers from Splintered Light. I like these guys ok and they were fun to paint. Last night, I spent my time on some command elements for this bunch. Two officer looking figures, a standard bearer, a musician and a priest. All Splintered Light. The priest actually comes from the Pict Command pack but David over at Splintered Light got me this figure without the Pict Command pack. These were very tedious to me. And I don't know why. The priest is a great figure with a big cross around his neck and a tonsured head. His hand is held up but you can't quite tell how many fingers he is holding up. That one was fun. The others are great minis. I like them now that they are painted but I hates painting them. I think it has to do with the shields. I attempted to do a Chi-Rho on them but ended up redoing it several times. Still not happy but I am not sure I can do better.

You should be able to make out what I am working on. The front row are the heavy infantry. These are barely started. The next three rows are the medium infantry - all spear and shield armed. Only primed so far. The next 4 rows are my levy infantry. Pitch forks, staves, cudgels, scythes and a couple throwing rocks are in this bunch. Next is the command set I worked on last night. Lastly are the four archers.

I want some more variety for my levy troops. The Khurasan pack was great. Five poses divided among 20 figures. But I want some more variety. Has anyone seen or own any of the Two Dragons 15mm peasants? see here I am thinking of some of these but they come in packs of 10. Are they the same pose for all 10? Some are rather specific such as the bald fat man with eyepatch. How many of those could I possibly want? Surely not 10 of them. Any other recommendations out there?

Next on the painting table are the rest of my Romano-British troops. I have a spare figure or two to round out the heavy infantry, a Druid/Merlin type figure and the leader in both mounted and dismounted poses. Splintered Light also has a Moorish looking fellow in their command pack. Was there a Moor in the Arthurian Legends? I must admit to not being up on it that well. Cornwall had a Moor following Arthur in his series. But I sure don't remember that from the stories when I was a boy. Not that I would remember anyway.

Anyway, I have not even gotten around to priming these guys yet.

Next up in the queue are more WWI Russians. These are Peter Pig miniatures their firing pack and their MMG packs. I just got these in last week and only managed to glue them to the painting stick last night.

Next up are some Saxon Cavalry. The middle row are figures from Outpost Games. The others are Splintered Light. Love these figures. The mounted Outpost command pack has a really nice banner that is suitably ominous looking with the skull at the top. Not sure how practical it would be for a cavalry banner as that had to get heavy fast. Not like they had vacuformed plastic back then to make it lighter. I have finished the two figures furthest away from the camera. The middle two are half way there. The front rank is undone other than priming.

Lastly are some figures that I received sometime last year. They are some Napoleonic Ottomans that I received from One Tree before they were sold. It was a sample pack that the owner threw in with the two books on the Ottomans that I bought from him. They have been sitting on a shelf since I got them. For some reason, these figures have just been calling to me and ended up on the painting table last night.

I have always wanted a Napoleonic (and WWI for that matter) Ottoman army. However, I will not be buying figures for it this year. I am still not sure which direction I will go for these. Old Glory has a good range in their 7 Years War line. Irregular has some. I think there is a French company doing some Ottomans as well. Anyway, that is a Sharp Practice project for 2013 when I get around to painting my Russian Cossacks and Jagers.

So tell me, how many projects do you tend to have on your painting table at any one time?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Impending Weekend

Well once again Friday is here upon us. I sit and examine the pile of work that needs to be done and just sigh. The painting table has my 80% finished groups of Romano-British Levy from Khurasan. There is something that is blocking me from just knocking these out. I did get in another two packs of Russian WWI figures from Peter Pig that are tempting me to go off track and do those instead. But I am trying to stay on target and not succumb to my "Oh Shiny" impulses. In terms of writing, I made some headway on the WWI East Front material. I found the autobiography of the founder of the Women's Battalion of Death. Very interesting story. Maria Bochkareva who was known to her fellow troops as Yashka, had appealed to no one less than the Tzar himself for permission to serve in combat. She fought against the Germans as early as 1915 and her stories generated two scenarios so far. The first is a rather brutal encounter where the Russians were ordered to charge across open ground against entrenched Germans that had not been properly softened up by artillery. They had to run over a half a mile from their trenches to reach the German wire that was left undamaged by the artillery barrage. She was awarded a medal for bravery as she rescued some 50 men who were wounded in the engagement. Of the 240 men and woman that formed her company prior to the attack 83 were killed in the charge and only 48 were combat effective once they made it back to friendly lines. The second scenario is based on her description of Russian and German scouting parties in 1915. She mentions conducting such missions on a regular basis and that in the void of no-mans land, occasionally scouting parties from either side would have their own small battles at night. Should prove interesting. I have much more to read and hope that I have the material to have at least one good scenario involving the Women's Battalion of Death. If for no other reason than the name of the unit. For some reason my writing inspiration has left me the past week. I find myself playing FreeCol in my free time rather than something useful. Hopefully I will snap out of it soon. Also, the Blog has now exceeded 15500 page views and 48 followers. I am amazed. Thank you for reading. I think I will post a scenario that I write from Maria's story here because of that.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Outflanked - An IABSM3 Scenario: Greece 1941 - Part 2

We last left off with the British tanks in the center of the table getting increasingly in trouble. A blind of British infantry were spotted and immediately fled to a ditch nearby for cover as they had several Panzer IIIs nearby.

The headquarters of the platoon was unfortunate and was not able to reach the cover of the ditch. The HQ of the platoon was beaten to a pulp by repeated machine gunnings from the tanks in the area. Their Boys AT Rifle was completely ineffective at stopping the Panzer IIIs. Meanwhile, in the village, a traffic jam was developing. The British sent two platoons of Mark IV tanks into the town. All were the C model equipped with machine guns.

This led to a point blank tank fight between a Panzer I, a Panzer II and several (6) Mark IVC tanks. It was an ugly fight with little real damage being dealt other than immobilizations all around.

The tanks kept piling into the town. Eventually we had two CS tanks join the Mark IVCs and behind them was a command vehicle with a tank ace. Interestingly, this vehicle had some real potential to cause damage but he spent his time leading rather than fighting. In an attempt to break up the near stalemate in the town, I deployed an infantry platoon in the back of the village. They promptly drew the attention of the CS tanks who fired on the house causing some mild shock.

Now, the cards had not been unkind to me. I had some excellent early movement and all of my deployed t

roops were routinely coming up. But the blind card (which was controlling my reinforcement arrival) was not coming up. I had several blinds that were just idle.

At this point I utilized the Skelton Gambit and deployed all of my on table blinds to get their cards in the deck.

This proved to be a good strategy as my tank company HQ was immediately in action the next turn. Now my tank commander was not an ace but he sure did act like it. He chose to fire and fire often instead of wasting his time activating troops. Turns out, he was an excellent shot.

This company commander would take a shot on a badly obscured target and I got some extremely lucky die rolls to cook a British tank, much to that player's chagrin. Admittedly, that shot was borderline gamey but not out of the realm of possibility. Back to the poor bloody British infantry. They continued to take a pounding. One of the surviving British tanks managed to kill a Panzer III. In spite of loosing a tank, the Panzer IIIs poured fire on the troops in the ditch and slowly mounted some shock on them.

Now the German infantry was not completely idle. Since firing from the buildings was not working, the infantry - one squad after another, began close assaulting the British tanks. In the process they managed to knock out two tanks of the eight in the traffic jam. This was likely an unrealistic attempt as the infantry began to take hideous casualties shortly there after. The picture below actually captures the swarm covering up two of the tanks quite nicely. And quite deservedly so, I might add. No wonder my little lead guys won't talk to me after a game.

While the RAF was truly "Rarer than Fairies" in the Greek Campaign for the troops, the Luftwaffe proved the same in this game. Their card came up very early in the game and they promptly missed their targets all together. The second time their card came up, nothing came of it either. But this was a cool picture that we can blame on them.

By now, the Second German Tank Platoon was able to recover some of their shock and began to advance down hill to dispatch the infantry in the ditch. The moved well on their way towards that goal.

The German Infantry Headquarters attempted to move to a vantage point where they could overlook the town and aid the heavily engaged tanks.

The German Tank Company Headquarters began to flank the town to finish off the remaining tanks in the town. It was at this point, I ran out of time. The British were able to delay the German advance but not enough to really claim a win. The Germans held the town but were heavily engaged. Both the British and Germans had more reinforcements that had not arrived on table yet. At best, I can claim this as a minor German win. I made several tactical mistakes but did not pay for them nearly as dearly as I should have.

Bottom line, this game was great fun and I wish I could have stayed to play it out to its conclusion. Thanks again Mark!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Outflanked - An IABSM3 Scenario: Greece 1941 - Part 1

What a week this has been for me. I have painted a little bit every night and got in a game of IABSM3 today. Mark hosted a game out of my Greek Supplement - Scenario 5: Outflanked. I had the chance to play the Germans while Brian played the British. It was great fun. I also happened to roll better than I have ever rolled in my life. That made up for some of my poor tactics.

The shop that the game was in was dominated by flying space orcs and the like on the various tables. The table next to us had a giant walking robot thing that dominated the table. The table itself had little other terrain. Nearly wall to wall toys.

Mark was able to once again create a beautiful table. It really gave the feel of the village that the scenario was trying to convey. Here are a couple of shots of the table from my cell phone.


The scenario started out with the Germans racing up the road to the village. The Germans were able to reach the town first and held it throughout the game. It was a large scenario and the fight for the town would prove to be very bloody.

The Germans also managed to dominate a small rise just to the right of the village. From there, the German 2nd Tank Platoon deployed in a hull down formation and was able to spot and then destroy several British tanks. However, the deployment proved to be foolish as the tanks were far too close together. When the British returned fire, several other tanks took shock from the explosion of their fellows.

The British advanced in a large column up the road toward the village. Since the Germans already occupied the village, they had the drop on the British column. The first blind was a fake and the second was a 25pdr gun on its limber. The gun and its truck beat a hasty retreat and their card never turned up for the rest of the game. The cards were there, just never drawn. In the background of the next picture, you can see more burning British tanks. Two platoons of British tanks attempted to move up the middle of the table off road. The tough going slowed them down and make them nice targets for the tanks of the German 1st and 2nd platoons.

Did I mention, I love how Mark's terrain looks.

After the British gun ran away from the German tanks in the village, it was a turn or two before the village was again challenged.

But that was not to last too long. Brian began to move a platoon up the road to challenge the defenders of the town. Meanwhile in the field, one British tank was abandoned, one destroyed and another immobilized. The second platoon also started to take damage and I think had also lost a tank by this point.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dux Britannarium Saxon

The two Saxon veterans stared down the hill at the village below. They knew their ship had been spotted and this confirmed it. A force of Britons had gathered in the center of the village. They were close enough that they could hear the speech of of the mounted officer in bright and shining mail. One of the two, Citrix, had been a foederati soldier for the Romans in Gaul. Using what he learned he attempted to interpret for the other Saxon.

Pointing at the officer he described what he heard, "You see the fellow in the armor, he is complaining about the pond below the town over there. He keeps talking about the Ducks Below Them. They need to get the men together to fight us off so they can deal with those Ducks."

Obelix looks looks over to his friend with a dubious expression, "Really?!?"


With the release of the play test rules of Dux Britannarium from the TooFatLardies, I was prompted to finish off my Saxon army. I really have enjoyed painting these. I finished basing all but seven miniatures. So I decided to post a few pictures of what I have done. All of these miniatures are Splintered Light minis. Click on the pictures for a larger version.

Starting with the missle troops. These are a pair of javelin throwers and a pair of archers.

Next up are the warriors. These are the generic medium infantry armed with shields and spears. I have 18 of these guys painted up.

OK, so that was blurry. Lets try again.

Next up are the companions or heavy infantry. I have 12 of these guys ready. All are armed with spear shield and some with swords or axes. I need to finish basing some of these. The ones that are not based need a coat of wash of some kind. I played with a home made magic wash on my WWI Russians. More on that later.

Here is a closer picture of the same guys.

Lastly are my big men and champion. The big, bare chested guy is the champion.

And the same again.

In the picture above, we have a glimpse of my two shaman that I painted up for my Saxon force. I have not figured out how I was going to base them yet. These figures are great. One guy has a big snake around his neck and the other is dancing. The Big men and champion figures are also fun figures as well. They are full of character.

Lastly, there is the leader of my Saxon force. I really like this figure. Not sure if the shield design is accurate for Saxons but I saw it on another site and really wanted to do the same thing. It was facing sideways but I dropped the figure and broke the shield off. When I glued it back on, I realized that I put it on sideways from how I had it. Oh, well. Still, my favorite figure of the bunch.

What about the Romano-Brits, well they are still on the painting table but progress is definitely being made. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Best Laid Plans.....

Well, I finished off the last of my Russian Front Italians to complete out my last two platoons. Quickly I headed out to the garage to brush on some Army Painter Strong Tone dip and what did I find? The stuff had congealed to a solid mass inside the can. 3/4ths of the thing was unused and it solidified. Convinced that it just must be the top layer, I poked it with a screw driver seeing if maybe I could stir it up. Nope. It was a solid goo that mocked my efforts.

Well, that put a wrench in things. So I looked at what else was on my painting bench and spotted my single pack of Peter Pig Russian WWI riflemen advancing. I have put these on painting sticks and primed them then shoved them to the corner of my painting table. I did not have a clue how to go about painting them. Some serious googling revealed that there was little in the way of paint specific instructions for these guys (at least not for vallejo paints. I had asked on the Lead Adventure forum and got great answers, I just did not own any paints that matched the advice.

What I did find was a couple of references to things that were close. Taking one of these, I just went to it. Well here are my results. Normally I would dip these but as you can see above, I can't right now. I am only a little bit bitter.

Front. You should be able to click on them to see a larger version.

And Back

I am not sure how close I got. I am none too sure about the equipment colors. If anyone has some suggestions, I am all ears.

Well, I have some more time before I decide to go to bed. I think I will base some Early Saxons for Dux Britanniarum.

Dark Ages and other musings

So Rich and the TFL crew have come up with their play test of some Dark Age rules. Very nifty stuff. I just got the rules last night and took some time to read them through today. I must say, I am excited about these. Excited enough to change directions in what I am working on.

I will finish out painting my Italians that I have done as they are so close. But as soon as those are off the painting table, out will come the Romano-British. My Saxon host is done enough to get a game in. I really need to get going with the Britons now.

Of course, even though I have a pile of lead just waiting to be finished off, I started surfing for more minis. What I really want are some casualty figures. The only place that I found 15mm Dark Age casualty figures was on QRF's website in their Freikorps range. They have some Viking casualties that would work for heavy infantry casualties and possibly the Pict casualty for any medium infantry figures. I really want some dead peasant levy though. Any ideas out there?

I also started to surf around to look for some foederati mercenaries as supports. I spotted the Khurasan German range and thought that they just might work. Based on the rules, I should be able to get away with just 2 packs (Spear & Francisca and chief with standard). Take a look. These are pretty nifty. Khurasan Miniatures' Late Germans

Anyway, I was starting to get a case of the blahs about miniatures. But once again, the excitement level is back up.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More WWII East Front Italians

Managed to get some more painting time in over the past couple of days. I have 32 more Italian infantrymen in the queue waiting for dip. That adds to the other 24 infantry and five artillerymen that are waiting for the same treatment and a lovely 65mm gun.

These are all Battlefront/FOW figures. I am mostly a fan of these particular miniatures. There are some poses that have some heavy flash on the rifle barrels that had to be dealt with. That has led them to have a couple of ugly figures in the mix.

I have another 24 miniatures to paint up before the Infantry company is complete. I hope to have a full company ready to go by the end of February or sooner. Hopefully this will motivate me to finish up my supplement.