Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

WSS Mass Love In

OK maybe not love, but as my wife once said to me, it was fun. So quickly moving on, I decided to paint up the white and the grey foot regiments all at the same time after painting up the first one. This meant I seemed to be painting an endless supply of the same exact figure parts but it did have the desired effect of moving them on. I still have two regiments of infantry to do, one in blue and the other in red which I will be doing in a week or two.

I also painted up prior to the batch of six a blue coated regiment that being Gardes Frances which rather sticks out as it is. I have to admit I am looking forward to doing the two other colourful regiments as they tend to pop against the others. All six regiments got issued with grey coats and trousers by me as it helped make the white show better than the base of black. Same went for the hat lace, I painted all of these white before painting half of them yellow. The results I feel are better for it.

These will all be based and flagged by Matt, I still have yet to drop them off as I will need my painting sticks back. Each stick has the regiments name on it so I could paint them up correctly, so the last thing I want to do is mix them up.

48 figure regiments sure are on the large size. I am playing with the idea of making future French Napoleonic infantry regiments 36 figures with a skirmish screen of four figures. This adds 33% to the main body so will have a large impact on painting time but I think the result could well be worth it. Of course I have to sell some of the stuff at York this weekend to move forwards at all.

Here we have all eight regiments I have painted so far. The two infantry should take about three days and then the horse I think two to three weeks once they are started. I then have the 6mm Zulu army and at least three foot regiments in 15mm, one cavalry and three guns for Matt's ECW army so my self imposed time limit of three months looks very much possible. I plan to paint up a ECW regiment of my own in 15mm and do the corresponding regiments in 6mm for my own 6mm project. That should make it interesting. 

On the desk at the moment I have 37 WWII Germans in 15mm that I expect to finish the paint job tonight and sort out the AP for these and the 28mm WWII tomorrow whilst Cath is out for some much needed Brownie points. Then it's onto the pack of 40 15mm Yanks that I want to finish by Sunday. Given that I am out tomorrow night watching Les Mes, (a Christmas present from my Mum to Cath and me) an ASL game booked for Friday and hopefully Sunday this could be a paint job to far but here is hoping. 

Once these are done I hope to have bought the Russians which will be not to far down the line but first it will be something for me first. I have prepped the Adler command and Baccus Hussars for my French Naps and am keen to get these done. It's probable I will be working on Matt's cavalry at the same time so I need to clear some space.

I also have cleaned but not primed over 30 WWII figs to go with the 20 odd I have all ready to paint, these I plan to slip into the mix and as the 20 odd are partisans these will be done bits at a time to make sure they don't come out looking too similar. 

Plenty more right behind these that need to find a place int he queue and given my aim of starting my Romans before end of March I need to get a move on.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

50K Why Thanks Guys (and the odd girl)

Actually most of the blokes are rather odd as well. So a BIG thank you to one and all, it's been a blast and getting to the dizzy heights of 50K is not something I take lightly. It is made even better by my ASL blog hitting 75,000 on the same day. This one is getting more hits per day and a lot more comments so it will be fun to see if this one can beat the other to 100K. It's kind of caught me by surprise in that I got here so fast as I had a rather grand idea for such a landmark but no matter I have thought of another angle for how I can spin the idea.

At the moment I am very much aware that the Painting Challenge is taking up a lot of column inches which will not be to everyone's taste and as such I have tried to keep other subjects going between the painted rows of figures. I have to admit though that the whole challenge thing has become a bit obsessive. I originally wanted to finish in the top ten beating last years 11th place. Then of course the contestants went up to an amazing 47, a top ten just got harder. Well the lowest position I have had so far is seventh and I am really trying hard to keep up there. It's doing wonders for my mountain, though it's also fallen into the same time as my starting to paint a load of figures for Matt so the mountain has suddenly grown with little sign of my breaking it down. Worse (or better) still I am at York this weekend where I may well be tempted to part with yet more money to build on the mountain. My only saving grace is that I will be taking figures to off load including two whole armies and a lot of Napoleonic French who are made by Irregular. The plan is to replace them with a mix of new Baccus and Adler, the question is when will the French be ready? If not ready by Triples I can see my buying the French Guard from Adler and if I do sell my Irregular Prussians as well I will be buying lots of these as well.

I do not see much of a drop off on painting come March 20th when the Challenge ends, I can't afford to I might just get buried under the lead.

Monday, 28 January 2013

This is Das

OK hope you had fun, indeed I hope you digged it ;-)

Here we have the little devil as a spade. A button just along side the bottom side of the spade part is spring loaded. Press this in and you can change the way the tool is set. This position is just a straight forward digging tool. Good for fast close to the ground shovel work or lopping off parts of an enemy in close quarters. The whole piece is nice and heavy, after all you would not want to snap it in two when you needed it most.

This is the pickaxe position. The button stands out clearly here. Great for heavy duty hard surface or frozen ground. Again it could be used in combat like this but having hefted it in all possible formats I think the first would be the best if your life depended on it.

Set as the point and I think the least useful of all the settings. Better to have it at 90 degrees to the handle so you can get a good swing. It's also possible to have either the spike or the shovel at 90 degrees on it's own if desired.

Don't worry I'm putting it away now. I actually bought this entrenching tool about three years ago and for style points made the purchase via company expenses as a snow shovel for the car. Actually I bought two, one for me and one for my boss. The need was real as modern cars tend to be pants in the smallest amount of snow. I picked these as you can actually drive over them to gain grip if required and they will be as good as then you put it under the tire!

Back with it's holder. Unfortunately it's not a WWII German entrenching tool but it is a West German Entrenching tool from the 1960's. This one is dated 1965 and is the real deal. I think each spade was £14, I have seen them on e-bay recently for £40+ 

I still tend to keep it in the car and have had to use it a few times, but most recently it was liberating the Chickens!!

Well done on all the guesses, it's been a fun diversion away from the figures.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

What is Dass?

OK just a bit of fun. Who will be the first to tell me what the two photo's are part of. No prize but you can consider yourself the clever clog of the day. I will post the results tomorrow. I am also posting this on my other blog so bragging rights assured.

No painting done today, though I have cleaned up 42 28mm figs and finished off the clean up and primed 80 15mm figures. The aim is to get the 15mm's painted up this week and start the 28mm before getting to this point next week. I may have set the bar a little high but lets see.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

ImagiNation Diversion Finished.

Last year I did a deal with Andy McMaster of Another Slight Diversion fame. He gave me a rather nice hill village for my Iberian Napoleonic project and I paint up a few units for him in 6mm. The figures are Baccus Seven Years War originally but Andy wants them for his ImagiNation project. Andy has this great 28mm force called The Savage Swan's but for some mad reason wanted to reproduce them in 6mm. I got the job of painting up four infantry regiments to face these Savage Swans. Andy has about 100 figures per regiment so they really look something. 

I did the first one as a test to see if I could do them to the standard required by Andy. Andy highlights even his 6mm and they look superb so it was a bit of a stretch for me. For instance he paints his faces in red leather then dabs spots of flesh on the nose, cheeks and chin. The effect is rather stunning when completed but it's a style that can not be rushed. I took to it and enjoyed the experience and whilst I do not paint my own figures to that level I have taken some of the disciplines and made them my own. 

It's a bit ironic that today I have finished the equivalent to this lot for Matt who again will be basing his own and from the same rough time period of the War of Spanish Succession again adapting my style to another painter and again feeling I can take some of those skills to use in some of my other painting.

Around the time I was finishing the figs for Andy he hit a period where his mojo went on holiday and took it's time coming back. We have still met up at Cons and had a laugh and his interest was still there, just resting. This started to stretch out but with a new year it seems to be making a come back. Something that always helps with the mojo is finishing off a project or long waiting units.

I'm not just talking about these boys but also his excellent 1/300 micro armor  Nip over on the link above to see the detail of the models and skill with the brush. Andy also finished these units off with the flags and the command figures which are Adler.

So thank you Andy not just for letting me use these images but also for stretching me as a painter. And another BIG thanks you for finishing these guys in style, the basing, flags and command really lift the work I did and gives them the finish I felt they deserved.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

3D Snipers For ASL

I'm still running with the 28mm reminders and I still have loads left to either source or are waiting for me to paint up so obviously I need to be thinking about moving into another theme or idea to add to the list of things to do. Actually the idea came fast on the heals of Andy H's original Sniper Reminder. In fact it would be a quicker and easier job than the Sniper Reminders. The idea as the title says is a physical figure actually on the board. This one though will not act as a reminder of your number, no this one will help you locate where your sniper actually is on the board!

The figures shown are a couple from the packs I picked up the other day and are 15mm Forged in Battle 40 fig packs. I don't think I will need all 80 but you never know. As you can see from the two pictures above they stand out fairly easily. OK the map area is really small and counter clutter at the minimum but the typical game has 20-60+ counters and can go into hundreds so it's possible to occasionally loose track of the actual sniper counter when that SAN gets tagged. 

The actual finished version will of course be painted but it will also be mounted on a hexagon with the numbers 1 through 6 etched into it. I am having these costume made by warbases (who else?) which give the direction the sniper would move on a random die roll.

So if I start to moan about not getting anything finished or an army taking to long to make the table you can remind me about yet another project I have got into.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

WIP I Need Bases!!!!!!

Well with nothing actually finished that I can post I thought I had best let you know what is happening at the moment. I have quite a few 28mm WWII figures almost finished. Just AP or other wash to apply, then base them up and off to Curt for scoring for the Painting Challenge. The only issue is basing will have to wait for a week Saturday when they will be picked up at the York show. It's a little frustrating having so many figures this close to being finished but unable to get the last stage done. 

I actually have more done than the ones shown, these are the ones I have done in the last few days. A mix of Japanese, German and a few Russian. All Sniper Reminder pieces so I need the Warbases Casualty markers which have been ordered. 

So I got these out so I can do something in a different scale. Know what I am talking about? Well here is a clue, the figures are not me but a mate.

Here you go, they are of course Matt's WSS, not all of them but six regiments of foot or to put it another way 288 figures. These will be added to the two regiments already painted leaving just three more foot regiments to do. I am doing this group first as they have either white or grey coats and I am pleased to report that all six regiments now have their coats painted (except the drummers). I also have prepped but waiting till these have been painted five French Hussar regiments on sticks and a good number of French commanders. I hope to get those started before the weekend so I need to get a crack on with Matt's figures. Of course when I start my cavalry I will also be making a start on Matt's. My plan to get all Matt's figures done in a three month period looks to be well on track.

Monday, 21 January 2013

I Was Robbed

I have just got the last of my redundancy after being made redundant over a year and a half ago. Not that it was the full entitlement, oh no costs have to be accounted for. Anyone not aware of the process when your made redundant when a company is first bought out and then folded. All staff get via the Government any outstanding wages, holiday pay and a proportion of their redundancy capped at £400 a year. Any excess comes from the pot of money after the Government has had any money due to it. Other creditors only get a proportion of what is left AFTER we get our share so obviously we have a good chance of getting our dues right?

Not quite, in fact not at all. You see we are NOT directly behind the Government, the nice professional people who come in to administer the monies and asserts of the now deceased company get THEIR share before us and boy do they know how to get it.

Our Company still had over £40,000 in the pot when six months ago when they sent out letters to all the staff saying they had another £20,000 they felt they had a good chance of recovering and so was seeking to extend the usual twelve month action period. So in the letter I was given the option of agreeing to the extension or basically leaving it to them to decide if to do so (No I am NOT kidding!!!) Well given the number of staff we had that £40,000 would have paid all of us our dues. Now fast forward six months.

I got my cheque, but before that I received a letter stating if I wanted the break down I could go on line or ask for a copy in writing which they would supply at NO COST. My cheque was for a whopping £64 and change. Er rather less that I am owed, when I say less I am talking well over a thousand pounds short. The explanation partially comes from the two charges listed below.

Charge to send me a letter telling me they can supply information at no cost, £98 and some change
Charge to send me my cheque, yes you guessed it, £98 and some change.

Not that I was charged for this please understand that, no it was the fund. Now they did nothing wrong, nothing criminal, nothing that was morally right either. They have literally spent 18 months fleecing the fund at £98 plus change for every action they have taken. Be that a phone call, a letter or God forbid a visit. Even at such mind numbing charges they still could not spend the full fund so extended the period to guarantee they could take even more money. Understand this EVERY letter is just under £100 a pop, a phone call to check a store has opened was £100 bar peanuts. Of course that was about ten stores so in less than ten minutes we were charged around £1000. It was a small miracle that any money was left after the 12 month fleecing had passed. Oh just in case you have not guessed the £40,000 did not become £60,000 it ended at about £20,000 how ironic. Still you got to laugh, or so they would tell me if I paid them £100 to phone me up  ;-)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Morning Call

I got the family out of bed this morning, even Cath who had vowed to kill the next person to get her out of bed early without good reason. Well I am here to post so I guess she classed it as a good reason. I had come down stairs and started to open the curtains only to see a young fox on the road outside my house. I stood and watched it for over half an hour as it got lighter and lighter. It then came up the end of the drive so I went out to persuade it that going further was a bad idea. You see we have chickens and it was already past the time for me to let them out into their run and I did not want it to get the sent or hear them clucking their annoyance at the holdup. 

Well it just stood there when I opened the outside door and even when I stepped onto the drive it remained close to the drive, only backing off a little. Back in I went, got my camera and snapped a few shots and even with the flash going off it stuck around. At this point I went back in and woke up and got up the tribe (Only Cath was actually asleep). It was rather something to watch the fox moving around about six feet away. 

Cath came back in and grabbed her camera, by this time it was almost full light. The two pictures were taken by Cath, though both kids had a go at taking photos as well. It was a great family moment, though tempered by the sure knowledge that this young fox was obviously lost and separated from it's parents. We do live in the country and indeed seeing foxes is not unusual, just so close and in daylight is unknown. At dusk a few days ago the kids had seen a couple of foxes, time will tell if the same foxes are still alive to come back again, personally I doubt it.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

WSS French Regt Vermandois 6mm Baccus

This is the first of the Regiments that I am painting up for Matt for his French War of Spanish Secession Army. All the figures will be Baccus and funnily enough is not the first figures from around this period I have painted for someone else, and again they were 6mm and Baccus.

The first task was to make sure they matched Matt's other figures and style. Not so easy as Matt's style is rather different to mine. I base coat usually in white whilst Matt goes with black. I paint to the corners and whilst Matt is not anything like a blob painter he leaves a slight shadow of black around the painted areas. I have always liked the look of this style but had difficulty knowing really where to begin with it.

No this is NOT the regiment I painted up, rather it's the example Matt dropped off the other day for me to go by. As you can see Matt has a striking style and one that also works with his rather nice Russian Napoleonic's. Indeed one could ask why he would use someone else when he can do so well? Well two reasons, the usual time issue. At the moment he is building a 6mm British force to do Waterloo, not a small project and a subject he loves. The second reason has more sway, Matt simply does not enjoy painting. I know go figure?

So the picture above is of the first regiment I have done for him. For a period I have no knowledge or interest I am starting to get an idea about it. Hopefully this will not lead to yet another diversion, I need that like a further hole in the bonce. 

The plan is to work down the list of regiments Matt has given me, grouping them where same colours allow a faster pace. I have already done a second regiment so that Matt could see what I did with colour. Whilst he has yet to see the figures in the flesh he is happy for me to continue. I hope to do so early next week. In the meantime I am working on some 28mm WWII which weather permitting I will pick up the bases next weekend.

Matt will base and flag these guys at a later date, at this point they are sitting on my painting sticks. The idea is that once they are all done and based I can get a few pics to show you them ready for the field, you never know I might even get a game against them when Matt pits them against one of his other armies.

Friday, 18 January 2013

A Trip to Maelstrom..... Er Maunsfeld Gaming

The good news is that it is still there and open for trade. The bad news is that it still looks like they have not had any new stock and could well just be treading water until all hope has gone. They did have a reasonable stock of Flames of War and Forged In Battle though nothing like the full ranges. 

They also had a sale table that had a great deal of kit on either at £1 or Make Me An Offer which included part painted minis and lots of rule books and supplements. I bought myself a couple of packs of Forged in Battle infantry packs for the 3D Sniper Project. I pick up the bases that I commissioned  Warbases to make for me. I also got four of the Field of Glory Renascence army lists at £2 each and Check Your Six rules for just £1. The 15mm figs were the usual RRP less 10% so I was rather pleased with my haul.

Stock wise though they are looking really thin, Vallejo are extremely low, and much of what they do have is not much more than one item deep. I can't see how they are making it pay day to day and I doubt they are building any revenue up to purchase new stock. I would like to be proven wrong but I can't see how they can come out the other side. Again I looked for signs in the window or in the store declaring that they had gone into administration (as Maelstrom) but nothing. I still think they will be unable to just dump their debts and re-surface now owning the stock as a separate company. They launched Eye of the Storm (Mansfield) Limited on the 20th of June 2012 but the stock that was originally owned by Maelstrom is the exact same stock Maunsfeld is now selling.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Italian 6mm Baccus Napoleonic Infantry

These troops will pull double duty with my French Spanish Army and the ill fated Russian adventure. These look a lot like the Neapolitan's not just in that they were the same style as the French but coat colours facings and cuffs etc. Even the flags have similar attributes. However that is about as close as it gets, as soon as you talk about fighting ability and morale they are in another league.

Indeed both foe and friend held them in high regard and equal to any other regular line regiments. Napoleon made a wise move when he formed the Guard regiments in that you had to have a certain level of income to be able to join these regiments. This induced the sons of the rich to join up but Napoleon kept these regiments on ceremonial duties and away from the risks of the campaigns which earned the support of the rich who's sons were thus protected. So this lead to the typical lot getting the hot stuff, just how the ones in power liked it.

One elite regiment served in Spain being the Velite and have been illustrated wearing the bearskin such as the Grenadiers and as I have a number of these figures I jumped at the chance to use some here. However once painted and based up I found out this regiment did not actually have a standard. I was happy to ignore this fact and use one of the flags that would have been another Guard regiments colour.

The top of the bearskin was red cloth with a white cross on it. These should stand out on the battlefield  and will have a relatively high morale and cohesion.

Two regiments of Legere served in Spain, the 1st and 2nd and are shown here. These two regiments were a green base colour with different waste coats, facings etc. These will be given stats equal to French Light Regiments.

Five Legne regiments were serving in Spain in November 1808 and I have used the colours given in one of my sources to depict those regiments. I believe some of these were removed from Spain before the 1812 campaign and as such suffered the same fate as the rest of Napoleons infantry in the retreat. I have used on all the regiments flags originally given to the regiments and not those given them in 1813 to replace all the lost standards. The flags are all Baccus but be warned that no information comes with the flags to which are which. This could lead you into using 1813 flags by mistake. Not a big issue unless you wargame with some one who likes to point this sort of thing out. 

So one big step to finishing off the infantry in Spain and at the same time suitable for Russia. I have a few more regiments prepped and quite a few waiting in the wings, these will get used for the other allied troops whilst I wait for Baccus to bring out the new French figures. I may have to get some more before then but if so I think I will go with Baccus as some of these figures had lead between the legs and the detail is not that crisp.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

No It's Not Just A Post About The Snow

View From My Window
OK snow does have a place in this post, but only in the fact that it cut short the second session of playing the  Napoleonic game with Lee. We got through most of one turn but with ever roll of the dice it came down harder and thicker. The texts from home became more urgent. As it happened nothing that happened in the turn had worked out well for me, even though I had managed to get most activation's. Lee was happy to leave the game for another day but I felt we would get more mileage out of ending it there and playing a fresh game with the changes we discussed. No matter at least I got to go home and finish off some figures. Well once I got past the tanker and smashed up lorry on the road just down from home. 

Whilst with Lee we talked some more about our aims for 6mm. Lee will soon have all the British for Waterloo and is making his way through the Allies. Mind you he has all the French Guard, not only for Waterloo but Borodino as well! Well he has them unpainted and Adler as well no less. We can expect Lee to have his side of Waterloo covered within six months. In fact meanwhile he is starting his Russian Army via a painting service. Lee likes the idea over the next three to five years building all armies that ever thought in the Napoleonic period and I thought I was nuts!

So how about me. The French should not be too much of a problem, I still need to buy never mind paint the Guard but hey that's soon(ish). However the Prussians that's the issue. I have a load of Irregular with bits of Heroics and Ross. I really want to replace these with fresh figures, a mix probably of Adler and Baccus. This is both logical and affordable as my Prussians do look really good and the selling price would make more than the replacement castings so getting them is not an issue. The issue is just the sheer numbers I would have to paint. At least my French force for Spain is coming close to being finished. However the force required for  Waterloo and Russia is very much another matter. The question really is can I paint up enough French and Prussians to be ready to play Waterloo by 2015 (not a display game , just playing for kicks). The easy answer would be for Lee to bump the Prussians up the ladder, this would have to be after the Russians. If so do I still go after the Prussians or pick something else. I do still fancy the Spanish army under French control. Seems we still have as many questions as answers. What looks likely though is that come York I will have a Prussian Army up for sale.

View From The Drive.
It must be all this talk about Russia. I've started the figures for Matt and I like the style of painting more than I thought. I undercoat mostly in white, Matt goes for black. His method looks good and is way faster than my method. I could go with this style for the Prussians whilst keeping the French and allies the same as I have done to this stage. 

My plan for Matt's figures is to not paint any of the ones he has given me until I have painted more of his. So at this point I could paint up 48 figures of mine as that is the number I have finished of his. This way I won't get ahead of myself and it keeps me focused. I need to be, Matt has got the best part of 1,000 figures for me to get through. If that was not enough I have been approached by two other friends about doing some painting. I expect Matt's figures to be done in less than three months and I can slot other stuff in with my own, the change of figure types and scales is a lot of fun for me.

View just around the corner.
I am also happy to report I have finished one of the two larger Sniper Reminders and well on my way with the second. I have firm ideas of exactly what I want the base to look like and I think it's within my ability to pull it off. I have everything I need to do it and want to crack on with it. The texture gel I used at 5am though is still not quite ready for me to continue. So the second test regiment for Matt is on my table. I have even found the time to prep the five Baccus Hussar regiments and some of my Adler Command figures ready for priming which should be tomorrow.

We may get more of the white stuff between now and the weekend, if so I may even get more done. I had better get off, I have a Regiment to finish.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Building a Dream Part II

After my last spurt of activity on this project it was side lined by the Painting Challenge, I had the bit between my teeth. I knew what I wanted to do but needed the table clear. Now I have finished the Italians I jumped straight into this project again and rather embarrassingly finished it in a few hours. I have even started work on the other base and plan to have it finished and posted out to my mate before the week is out. Rather ambitious given the fact that the second base has more work on it that the first.

The wall is made from balsa  wood and a textured card outer sleeve. Also on the painting a plinth like stone section is at the base of the wall so again the balsa adds the detail. I used a sanding block to make the joint on the corner tidy and also sloped the top side of the plinth. So far so good.

The textured card once painted will be glued over the outer wall to show the brickwork through. This is to replicate the broken brick work on the wall. The picture above shows the sleeve just placed over, the finished version fits much better.

I papered the interior with a slight mottled look paper. Originally I was thinking to add it as rolls but reasoned at this scale you would not see the joins so left it as one sheet. The balsa again came in handy as I scored a piece to give floorboard effect and then stained it with Citadel Agrax shade.

Everything is muted on the base so I wanted to add something to clash with the whole war vibe. What could be better than a 6mm wizard?

No I was not kidding, the free wizard I received at Derby in 2011, I knew it would come in handy. As to what I did with the little fellow, well you will have to wait till the bases arrive at Baltimore won't you    ;-)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Wall Advantage ASL giveaway

Over at my other blog you have the chance of winning one of a pair of scenario packs from LFT, so if you play ASL why not get over there and go for it.

I only ask that you do not actually own the packs and actually either play ASL or at least buy ASL items to fondle as these items were given to me by Xavier (the owner of LFT)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

American Post Price Hike

Recently an American online game store Noble Knight warned it's customers of a forthcoming price increase. Domestic postal costs are set to rise early February along with international rates. Whilst the domestic should be fairly low by comparison international is expected to be much steeper and in some cases double. The main theme of the message was either buy now to beat the increase or consider surface mail as an alternative to Air Mail. 

To anyone who is thinking so what I don't buy from the States, consider this. Many American suppliers still post product out to foreign distributors rather than licence molds etc. in most countries. This means our providers costs will go up and as such these costs will be passed onto the customer. You can also expect the cost of posting to America to also go up, after all part of the journey will be dealt with in America. Other postal services I am sure will also be applying rate increases possibly hitting us with a double whammy.

Whilst I know postal services are in some countries making a loss, possibly no where more so than America but have the Governments though all this through. I will take my own case as an example. As you may have guessed I like to play ASL (never) and the main supplier is MultiMan Publishing (MMP), now already you have the situation where shipping is too expensive. MMP have a habit of charging for priority air mail even when it sometimes due to very low weight could be shipped for far less and still arrive at the same time. I have found it cheaper to order from a UK based supplier rather than use the pre-order system with the discount. Once it was not only cheaper but famously quicker!

Now MMP is really not the best example given their postage system. So lets look at the average, lets say I want a certain set of miniatures not yet available in the UK. I am sure some of you have been here before. The cost of the figures at $40, post is $15 so I pay my $55 safe in the knowledge that it's about £40 and only a bit more than if I had got them from a UK based company if that option was available. A knock on the door and Pat has a parcel just for me. Hold on, whats that slip of paper in his paw? Turns out I have to pay duty on it, forgot to factor that in, that's 20% more expensive than I had considered. Er think again, you also have a £8 collection fee as the Inland Revenue has 'loaned' you the money. So now the a bit more expensive has become "what the hell was I thinking?" and that is now. From sometime in February that postal charge could be $20-30+. I can see purchasing from America coming to a crashing halt. Already it's not allowed to send cash in dollars to the States, I can't think of better reasons to try to buy elsewhere. Also did you know gifts of over $15 are subject to tax and as such the £8 loan shark fee? I have bought a couple of boards from MMP a few years ago that cost $6-8, postage was $20 and tax was something like 60p and then collection fee of £8. Anyone see something wrong with this?

So whilst such moves in this one small hobby will not impact too negatively on the American export business the effect of thousands of other pinpricks from countless other hobbies and interests will lead to a fairly large hole in revenue. So what will you do, buy and pay up or seek alternatives?

Friday, 11 January 2013

Sniper reminders go to Stalingrad

What I could not include in yesterdays post was that the MoM figures had company on the way to Somerset. My mate had lamented some time ago that he had not waited till I had done a Sniper Reminder in an urban setting and now had rather a lot of meadow grass based figures. Well from that moment I wanted to surprise him with a nice pair just because. I have took far to long over getting them from concept to finish. What speeded the whole process up was when I realised the stone wall Linka molds I was using to make pavements out of would if painted red make far better walls for 28mm figures than the actual 20mm brick molds. Not only that but I also had some stone sections left over from the pavement. 

It's possible you may remember the Russian fellow above. I painted him up a few months back but was waiting for the custom bases from Warbases to arrive. At this point I was unsure I could fit much onto the standard casualty  base. I used a mix of railway ballast and brown flock for the general rubble. The bits of broken wood are windows again supplied by Warbases. 

The wall bits were a lot of fun to play with once I got the colour right. Originally I tried to cut the plaster wall sections, this did supply lost of rubble but did nothing for my required walls. Then a sudden flash of inspiration and I started to use my pin vice drill to make holes along the cut line and far faster than I would have believed (but slower than ideal) I had wall sections that just needed the ridges shaving off with a craft knife. I even added bullet holes you may notice in the wall above.

The painting of the walls was a bit drawn out but I found it better to fast damp brush through to dry brush and then with a very small brush paint back in the mortar in the areas it had been washed out. 

The German is a newly painted figure and I felt perfect for the urban setting. The rifle grenade came out well and the blue ring on the grenade is authentic. Both figures are Blacktree and I have rather a soft spot for them. I loved the window on this one but was worried it would not make the journey but the whole thing went inside a primer cans lid so that helped protect enough that it got all the way without damage.

 These figures have a wealth of detail, here you can see the water bottle, canteen and rolled up the camouflage cape. 

The interior of the wall was painted Dark Sea Green then brought up a few shades with dry and damp brushing. I got a rather disgusting grubby effect. You can just see a crack in the wall running behind his back. At the time I broke the piece of wall I was not impressed. Now it looks intentional and best of all from the other side it's tough to spot. Note the detail provided on the gaiters  that is a nice touch that is often missed by the sculptor. 

 I was really happy with these and was a bit of a wrench to give them away. The e-mail I got after they were received though made it all well worthwhile. So with them passing all the tests I plan to do some more this year so watch this space as they say.