Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 and all that.

2014 is a year I can look back on and be rather pleased about all the things that have gone off. Overall it's been a very positive year hobby wise. I finished within the bracket I wished in the Analogue Painting Challenge though overall I enjoyed that years Challenge less than the previous two I had been involved in, much of that being my own doing. A change of mindset and a much more open choice of projects is making this years the most fun for me.

Talking of projects, how can I not mention Project Quatre Bras which was completed and saw me involved with my first ever Display Game at The Joy of Six. It also saw me finish my commitment towards the French for Project Waterloo pictured above. I have also completed the Prussians and have yet to get a group shot of them but it will happen. 

So two large projects finished figure wise though I still have a good number of buildings to paint up but I am well on my way to achieving this. But how about other projects that got started ether late in 2013 or this year?

The WWII planes remain fully unpainted and will do for the short to medium term whilst the WWI bought in July still wait further work. Another project started in 2013 was the Roman army that is only just starting to get worked on again but I think this will be one of the main gains in 2015, so watch this space.

Another 2014 winner is my Saga no I don't have six points painted yet but it's coming along and will get more progress in January. The Cowboys also continue to progress though I have stalled on the buildings but again these will see work in January as I am hoping to get a few games in with Lee and or Matt in the coming months.

Talking of winners the 1/72 Russians have blasted into a good position with the start up infantry painted and the tanks about to get started within two weeks max. 2014 also saw Roleplaying become a not infrequent diversion with a number of sessions and a steady rate of monsters, NPC's and Characters painted up this year.

Figure gaming has been a bit like tides with me seeming to have a few periods where I have had a good run of games but then longer periods of nothing. Now I could have regular Thursday action at Kev's this has made the opportunity much better. However I still want to improve the number of games I have with Matt and Lee so if I actually get my arse organised I could have a bumper 2015.

So looking forward what can I look forward to?

That game of games our Waterloo game played out on a massive sculptured terrain board with every unit depicted down to Battalions batteries and cavalry regiments. It's going to be epic. Also taking the set up to Joy of Six, setting it up and just sitting back safe in the knowledge that were not actually trying to play it again.

A year of painting just what I want it's fair to say that Project Waterloo has been a tough one to get through but only once did I feel like a break and I had factored three such breaks in the planning of the whole painting process (yes I had a spreadsheet (ok 2)) and as such finished five months early. But the fact I am almost at a point I can paint what I want when I want is a great feeling and whilst I was not jaded regarding painting I am more fired up than ever before.

Aims for 2015.
Finish Matt's Zulu's before the end of February.
Get all the Waterloo buildings finished before the end of March.
Paint up at least eight points of Vikings in the year (including painted troops)
Get the WWI planes painted and get a few games in with the boy.
Get the Roman army finished before end of May
Paint up enough 6mm Ancients that I can have a game with them.
Buy and paint up a number of Celtic Warbands for Hail Caesar in 1/72, the buying is sorted.
Paint up the Arena Rex gladiators and get a few games under my belt.
Start a new 6mm Napoleonic Army, certainly the Poles but probably the Spanish as well.
Continue painting yet more Prussians, French and French allies in 6mm, no way am I finished with the two main forces I have worked on so far.

So a fair amount of plans for 2015 and whilst it may not be feasible to do them all I do think I have a chance of managing it if I don't add another tangent to my roaster.

Hope you all have a great New Year, I plan to paint  ;-)

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Macedonian Pike Phalanx Baccus 6mm

Oh yes yet another new project, though it may end up just being done by myself if I can't convince Lee into getting into it. I rally enjoyed the Hail Caesar games I have played at Kev's and think it could have legs for 6mm where you can get a nice mass effect. Whilst I am happy to use 28 figures for a Napoleonic Battalion I think you really need lots more to represent the ancient armies units so....

A pike block on a 60x60 base really needs to fill it so I used 97 figures! Baccus give you the option of cast with pike or open hands. I went for the open hands and glued brush bristles into place, thy really need cutting back as they are over long but I wanted to see what they looked like.

Each shield has the Macedonian star, though simplified down to eight lines rather than the sixteen I would put on a 15mm version. I would also outline in black and shape them but I am nither that skilled or mad to do it in 6mm.

This block has cost me £6 in figures, or for less than the cost of sixteen 15mm figures, less than half a block for Field of Glory/ So as I plan to have at least ten blocks I will still end up spending a fair bit but the difference will be something that looks like an army. I will look at what you get in a army deal and may go that route which would be between £45 and £48 and I could just add the extra bits later as the army deals are aimed at more sane customers.

The detail on the figures seems to be just right. Enough that you get to see such as the leather under armour and not so much that they take forever to paint. I spent the best part of a whole day painting these so I would say I could get them done in three to four standard painting sessions and another for basing. So if I was just working on this project alone I could see it ready fr a game in about two to three months. However that's not how it will work so maybe in time for the next lot of dark nights.

Now I am free from having to paint up 6mm Napoleonic's I will be soon, well painting up a few more 6mm Napoleonic's but whilst doing these I will also be finishing off Matt's Zulu's, they are in my ready box and will be started again after a short move into 28mm as my son is kicking my ass in reinforcing his Saga army, with a little help but that will be a post of it's own.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Essex Miniatures Dominate Roman Legions.

I started this army in last years Challenge but got no further than the first Legion. I then lost sight of them until it was time to prep for the 2014/5 Challenge and found a box with about 100 prepped figures for this army. 

So I set myself the target of painting up all the prepped figures from last year and prepped yet more to drive this project along. The original unit is shown at the back of the image above along with the 48 newly painted figures.

I have to be honest and say that I was not enjoying painting these but started to feel better about them once I was getting close to the end. I took the easy option with these and painted up the shields in Black Grey as I had seen images of shields as such though probably not meant for the main troops.

These guys are much brighter and will stand out on the table. Again I used the internet as my source for the shield design.

This gives me three units of heavy infantry and will be the main part of the infantry component. By this period the Romans did not rely on their foot so much and had heavy hitting cavalry and as such about half the troops will be mounted when I finish the army though I have yet to prep any mounted for this army.

Not brilliantly painted but they look OK and I think the army will come together quite well once I get onto the cavalry. I am close to finishing a small unit of slingers and have a bunch of bow armed troops on the table. I will continue to bounce from one period to the next as I have a lot of different projects calling my name.

The Christmas break did not see me get as much time at the painting table as it could but I did get a reasonable amount and have a few more submissions ready for posting in the Challenge.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Building of the Week Leven Church With Spire

Leven Miniatures supply a big selection of Church's this one is CHU04 at £2.50 and is typical of the English Churches on offer. I don't know if they are suitable for much of Europe though I suspect they can be used at least through France, the Low Countries and maybe Germany. 

I have had another go at stained glass windows and think these have come out a little better than previous and will use this style in future. This starts with Red and added Blue-Violet, Field Blue and German Orange. It needs to look quite dark as stained glass from the outside is quite dark and not really easy to make out. In reality these windows should b much darker.

I could not resist adding a weather vane to the spire which is in fact a Eagle from a Baccus French standard, just seemed to much fun to not do it.

Again lots of detail to pick out and a mix of ink washes and dry brushing does the trick. I think I like this Church more than CHU01 which I also painted up way back, possibly 2012!

Again Mike has done a great job and has the right balance between detail and overall look. The buttress work that make this Church stand out are well proportioned and detailed. I could have spent more time on these to add that bit more to it but went for the more simple paint job to show what you can d with a spare hour (less I would say). 

I will revisit when I have a base the correct size and then I will base it up with a graveyard and a few trees or something but that is down the line.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Three Weeks into the Analogue Painting Challenge

Three weeks into the Challenge and I have managed a very credible 298 points credited. I still have the Bonus Round points to be added which means over 30% of my target has been reached.

I have figures for the second bonus round all done and finished painting my Tuesday submission which will give me the most points so far in the Challenge for a single entry, just need to finish basing them on Sunday.

I have clocked up over 950 songs listened too so far in the Challenge, will I get to the end of the 5000 odd tracks before the Challenge ends? So far I have finished the one project and started two new ones, that's a real goal of the Challenge that Curt likes to see. 

So coming to the Challenge soon will be the Secret Santa present I received this year, these three will add some punch to my Chain of Command Russian's. I need to get myself some other support elements such as more MG's mortars and AT asserts.

I have made great progress this month reducing the mountain but I am planning on buying three boxes of Celts for action at Kev's Cabin. This will bump up the 1/72 section of the mountain and add yet another new project to my lists. Just a few months ago I was thinking I would be struggling for stuff to do in the next year or so given the limited interest I had in other area's, who was I trying to kid?

Friday, 26 December 2014

Santa Clause and Secret Santa THANK YOU BOTH

Whilst I had a quick look yesterday at blog land I have only today been able to post and I want to say a big fat Thank You to both by Secret Santa and Santa Clause. Both presents are great and will get some use.

My Santa Clause gave me this very nice Dio of a prospector and his trusty mule. These look wonderful and the colours are perfect. I really like everything about them.

Bags of character and detail, and as they are also on separate bases these can pop out and be used in games and split up allowing for much fun I am sure.

I can see the mule also making it into the roleplaying given the desire to carry so much equipment the two ponies they have may not be enough!!

If that was not enough I also was given this great Mexican. I don't think I have  mentioned it her but I was planning on putting together a Mexican force so this guy will fit right in and I cab see I will need to start thinking of suitable characters to go with him.

The figures are all from Blue Moon so I will start there as I really like the look of these figures. I know Spirit Games sells or has sold these ranges so maybe a visit to Burton is in order?

As you can see, he is packing more than just the two pistols he has by his sides :-) I think before the week is through he could wind himself in a shoot out as the kids try and kill Dad, something of a tradition in our house.

My Secret Santa was no less a welcome present. Three Plastic Soldier Company T34's which is just perfect as I am currently painting up the Russian infantry that will go with them. No I did not peek, just very lucky to be working on them on the run up to Christmas. 

My plan now is to finish them and also start the assembly and painting of the three tanks so that I have my fledgling force all done and ready for a game when I get the chance. Even so I will still need to add some support to the force being very light in this respect but that's all part of the fun. So I will be doing quite a bit of internet browsing as I rally want to do these guys justice.

Again thank you to both of you, both presents hit the mark and from reading some of the blogs I was not the only lucky one.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Bonus Round German's - It's Cold Outside

Another Painting Challenge so more Sniper Reminders. In this case twelve German's that were submitted for the Cold bonus round. I decided that I would only enter figures in the bonus rounds if I had something for it rather than get something in or divert from other goals. Last year I found I was painting a lot less of what I really aimed to paint and as such it kind of lost it's main drive.

Not really happy with the images, this was the third attempt, first buggering a memory card, second my camera and then the third with Cath's camera but the good idea of capturing the frost turned out to be a bad idea causing the camera to be fooled.

All twelve are Black Tree Miniatures and whilst I am a big fan of BTM I feel these are the worst sculptured of all the figures I have worked on from them. Not that they are bad but they are not good nor of the standard of other Black Tree sculpts especially the other WWII Germans and it's possibly why they have sat waiting a turn for many months.

Having said all that their is a few nice touches such as scarf's wrapped around faces and one figure has a bandage wrapped around his hand.

I used the snow effects I received from Cath for last Christmas and having more experience I think it came off better this time. The clumps of snow and the grass and tufts sticking through have the look of the thaw setting in.

Here we have me pouring on the Scenic Snowflakes from Deluxe Materials for £15.99 and you get a lot. It is best added post varnishing though.

It's essential to use a dust mask as the pack contains some REALLY fine powder which hangs around for quit some time. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Analogue Painting Challenge Week Two and New Shiny Through the Post

More good progress on the figure painting front and I continue to paint above my target but how long that will continue I don't know. I have not painted at all in the last two days though but hope to fix that this afternoon. 

I managed to finish two entries this week, the Prussians in time for Tuesday and forty eight 15mm Romans that will be presented on Tuesday. I should also get my bonus round figures also finished by then and be well on my way with figures from a new project but these won't make the deadline.

I got the trees over a week ago, the light green ons may need a little toning down whilst the darker ones are the same as the originals. Really happy with the service and price, got to get the more round ones next.

I also got myself a few Baccus figures. The last three new French Napoleonic cavalry just one unit of each so I can paint them up so I have all the new French, see what I do for you guys?

I also got some Ancient command figures and peltasts that will allow me to work on a number of bases for the Hail Caesar side project that I hope to drag either Lee or Matt into. 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Progress With Saga

As often happens, you get a game in and suddenly your all fired up for more painting for a particular period. Well with my son working hard on his Anglo Danes post game it only seemed right that I would try and match his output.

First I needed to finish off the 12 figure levy unit so added these four slingers to go with my 8 bow troops. These are yet more Black Tree Miniatures and I really enjoyed working on them.

Plenty of detail to work with and poses that worked. I have managed to get a brighter finish to these than the bow troops but I have decided I am going to buy more paints in the near future after taking a close look at Kev's work. He uses a richer pallet than I do and whilst I know brighter paint wont bridge the skills gap it will give me some punch for a few planned models of 2015.

This gent is from the Gripping Beast Plastic Viking Hirdmen boxed set. Cleaned up quickly and went together well. I still have a load of figures from that boxed set and I guess more will be made from it in the future I doubt I will use them all. Maybe my son will get them done?

The shield transfer is from Little Big Man and made for the boxed set. This one tore a little but other than that went OK.

Still Gripping Beast but this time a metal warlord and came in three parts. The arm with the sword the spear and the rest allowing a few options on the exact pose. As he is my warlord he has been put on a large base. I also went bright as he is too stand out on the table well he will do that!

As he is the boss I spent extra time on shading rather than using ink and the quality sculpting certainly made it easy to get a result I was happy with.

I have about 24 more Vikings all prepped and ready for painting and these will find their way onto the table in the next couple of months, probably sooner than later. Also expect another game or two in the coming weeks, well I have to keep the boy happy don't I?  :-)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Building of the Week - Seeing Double

Just a quick post for this weeks building of the week, will have some new work to show you next week but this week is just to show I actually was crazy enough to do not one but two Hougoumont's. The second one is for Mike at Leven Miniatures for his show display and has had a couple of changes to the aesthetics such as the material for the inner courtyard and trimming back on the flower beds. Other than that they are very similar as I painted them at the same time.

rare winter sun has made them look a little on the bright side but in reality the roofs are somewhat darker. 

Mike's version sits in the middle of the board whilst mine had to sit flush with the left hand long edge so that the gardens and orchard can by placed next to them. Next up will be playtesting the rules for the battle for Hougoumont as we may need a few special rules to keep this part of the battle a challenge for the French. Indeed some of the terrain will help make it tough as many of the attack routes will cause disorder for the poor lads tasked with the capture. The intent is not to make it impossible to take but rather to tie up a lot of troops and even if it gets captured it should have caused the French a lot of trouble getting the location. Why bother attacking then? well certain conditions for a win need to be achieved and as such my hand will be forced on occasion just as Lee's will be.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Secret Santa Progress To Report

Hopefully by now most if not all of us should have sent and/or received our gifts. Can I ask all of you to email Cath (if you have not beat me to it) to let her know if you have sent out your gifts and also if you have received yours. Also let Cath know if it was sent out direct from the seller. Cath can then tie them all up.

last year we had one parcel go astray and needed to let the dealer know so they could send it out again. Tis all part of the service folks :-)

Oh and for those who do not read Anne's blog (shame on you) I would like to share a little Christmas Cheer. One of our Secret Santa crew contacted me a few months ago asking if I knew any one who had had a tough year as they wanted to send out an extra package to someone just to give them a bit of cheer. I thought about it and supplied a couple of names and he took it from there and sure enough Anne received her own Secret Santa package end of last week and sure enough it brought a big smile to Anne's face and gave her a boost.

It was a class act and both me and Cath was moved by their thoughtful gesture and made this years Secret Santa even more special. So a big thank you to you know who.

Monday, 15 December 2014

New Baccus French Old Guard

A couple of months back I bought the newly released Baccus Old Guard Infantry (NFR28 + NFR29) and both the French Guard Foot (NFR33T) and Horse (HFR34S) Artillery. Finally I got round to painting them as part of my first submission to the painting challenge.

I just painted up the one Battalion for now as I do not need to paint up the Guard for Project Waterloo as they were in Lee's part of the plan. They are painted and just waiting on being based. Typical of Baccus they needed virtually no cleaning and were quite sharp.

They were a reasonably fast paint and the other three Battalions in the pack will at some point find their way onto my desk. I actually think these are slightly better figures than the other French infantry that have been released by Baccus. Maybe it's because the bearskins but I just found them that bit more crisp and with the moustache clearly visible I just felt they gave that little bit more. Not that I can fault the other new releases you understand.

I also don't actually have a use for yet more French Guard Artillery but as I planned to paint up all the new French releases I just had to get a pack of both the Foot and the Horse Artillery. I did stop at buying the howitzer options though. Again nice figures that will now sit in a box awaiting the further painting of the rest of the Guard sometime in the future.

The only issue with these is one of the crew is massive in comparison to the rest this being the rammer though not really noticeable on the table. The foot are 12ld's as seen in the above two pictures whilst the horse is 6lb and is noticeable.

The crew of the Horse Artillery have the sabretache which sets them apart from the foot crews. The crews and guns of both sets look good and are a nice addition to the range.

Baccus have already released three more Guard Cavalry designs I hope to have by Christmas and have a few more codes to release before they will call time on the expansion and re-sculpting of the French range but this should all be done in 2015 a fitting tribute to the anniversary of Waterloo.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Week One of the Analogue Painting Challenge Is In The Books

So the first week has now passed in the challenge and 27 of the 71 participants have now had at least one set submitted and with the Bonus round deadline around the corner you can expect that number to leap up further. 
For myself I got in a bucket load of 6mm (no surprise) and a few bits for Saga. Last night saw me finish off twelve more 28's that are for the bonus round, though the final work of adding snow is about to happen. This is possibly the best start I have had in the four years I have been involved. Not only that but I am off work now till Wednesday so should get more done over this week.

The end of the first week see's me in 7th place with 120 points, that has me ahead of target especially if you add the 60 points I will get for the 12 figures just finished and my second aim is to finish in the top twenty if possible. Time spent on this? In an attempt to keep track in a wacky way I am keeping tabs by music. A total of 324 songs have played whilst I have painted or prepped (not blogged) since the challenge started!

Another part of the first entry was these Prussian guns, all 12 will be needed for the big game and are added to the ones already painted finishing off yet another required part of the troops required.

Four each are Adler and Baccus and like the Landwehr I have quite a few left over in my Prussian to paint box so will revisit them when I continue on the Prussian army at some point next year. 

So what's next for the challenge? I plan to finish off the Prussian's then if I have done that fast enough will move onto a few 15mm fr the first time in a year before hoping onto the second bonus round. I think this challenge will be more the year of the larger scales though I don't plan starting the 32mm till post challenge as I plan to spend a lot of time on each figure.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Building of the Week Mont St Jean

So keeping the Napoleonic theme going I give you Leven Miniatures NAP02 Mont St Jean which is cast to order and costs £19 and comprises of eight pieces most of which are fairly long as you can see from the measurements given on the site. I have not used the small barn porch included and listed.

I have yet to base mine and it's possible that will not happen until we have played Waterloo, need to check what Lee want's to do. It's the first time I have questioned Mike's sculpting as I felt that the wall detail was a little flat, far finer than some of his models but once I had got into painting it up my view changed totally. You see it's the walls detail showing through deeper in some areas and flatter in others that really make this model and proves Mike is not somehow just churning out the stuff but putting lots of thought into getting the look right. My hat is doffed.

The tiles on the buildings roofs were individually fitted to the original models and this took an absolute age but it really adds to the overall look of the building and was a big part of why I went with the more worn look that it has taken on.

So a great looking building in my mind that can also be changed around and made into a number of other possible buildings,, especially if you add a few wall sections and possibly other buildings from the Leven range.

So a great Napoleonic building that may not share the iconic state of La Haye Sainte or Hougoumont but it does have the Leven touch and as such can not be ignored.