Saturday, July 1, 2017

Blood, Sweat and Cheers

I have always been interested in "wargaming" gladiator combat but never found rules that I liked. Recently I purchased "Blood, Sweat and Cheers" by Nic Wright. Nic is the author of one of my favorite rulesets, "Irregular Wars" so I felt pretty confident I would like his take on Gladiator combat. BSC is a card driven game with two pages of rules, thats the type of game design I like! Next I needed some Gladiators, I preferred Crusader Miniatures range as they don't look fanciful and have a great style to the sculpting. I am not a fan of 28mm in general but these were very enjoyable to paint up. Here are my first three completed fighters:

 Hoplomachus on the left and Thraex on the right.

 My Murmillo on the left against the Thraex, a traditional enemy. I hand painted the design on the Thraex shield, which is from the North Star Jugula gladiator accessory pack.

Same pair, different angle. I used two white snake decals on the Murmillo shield, which is also a North Star shield. 

Blue Murmillo versus Purple Hoplomachus. Another traditional matchup.

The full lineup so far, more to come. Hopefully I can get some practice games in sooner rather than later.

...and now the Kaiser's Finest...

After finishing three French regiments (9 battalions) along with some divisional cavalry and artillery assets, I moved onto some Germans. The process for the Germans hasn't been quite as efficient or speedy as it was for the French. I haven't been prepping figures in advance during so I haven't been able to move from painting one battalion to the next. Right now I have six German battalions painted and based and am working on French regimental commanders and a mix of French and German artillery batteries. Anyway, here are some Magister Militum 10mm Germans kitted out for 1914:

Here is a battalion with four company stands, an HMG detachment and a battalion command stand.

Closeup of some German infantry in advancing pose. I used a Micron brush marker to paint helmet straps, red regimental markings on the helmet, red uniform piping and backpack straps. I added some mustaches to a few of the guys. I may add more later.

As you can see the chap in the middle has a neatly trimmed mustache.

Heavy machine gun detachment. Magister Militum HMGs are a single casting and very easy to paint and base. I like that.

 Battalion commander stand. The fellow on the left has a bugle and rifle. The officer on the right is gripping a sword and looking thru binoculars.

Magister Militum have two officer poses per pack, here is the other officer in a very martial looking pose.

A view of the backpacks, straps were "painted" on with a marker.

A few people have asked me why I use thick bases. There are three reasons: 1) I find them easy to move and handle, 2) I like the look and 3) It allows me to paint unit markings on the back of the bases in a subtle fashion. Here are two companies from "Red" regiment, the one on the left belongs to white battalion and the one on right is yellow battalion. A very easy way to know which companies belong to which regiment and battalion which is important for purposes of battalion and regimental morale for the rules I use.

I hope to have more updates with more pictures of painted artillery and officers and German cavalry!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pendraken, Magister Militum and Kallistra Comparison

Since deciding to go with the limited (but beautiful) Magister Militum range for my 1914 project, I've been trying to figure out ways to fill out gaps in the figures I would need. MM Crimean War Zouaves and generals should make decent enough counterparts for WW1. One item that I sorely needed were dismounted dragoons and uhlans. Pendraken have some dismounted options and so do Kallistra.

I ordered some Pendraken figures and was disappointed to see how small and slight they compared to MM. I then ordered some Kallistra. Well, they arrived in the mail today and, as I had promised, decided to post a comparison picture of the three ranges:

(L-R: Pendraken Dragoon kneeling, MM infantry kneeling, Kallistra Dragoon kneeling, Pendraken Dragoon standing, MM infantry standing, Kallistra dragoon standing)

As you can see for yourself, the Pendraken are considerably smaller than the Magister Militum and even more so than the Kallistra. I'd say the difference in difference is the same going from Pendraken to MM as it is to go from MM to Kallistra. The MM and Kallistra are virtually the same height kneeling, although the standing poses do show more of the size difference. I think I will probably go with the Kallistra dismounted dragoons and uhlans to complement my Magister Militum armies, however I will probably just stick to MM conversions for everything else I need.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Strelets 1/72 Napoleon in Egypt

I don't often paint figures bigger than 15mm and I rarely paint plastics, however I was intrigued with Strelets' "Napoleon in Egypt" range so I picked up a few boxes to make up some French, Mameluke and British armies. I plan to ultimately game with them using the Maurice rules. 

I had to travel for work quite a bit this past year and my hours allowed me some idle time. I wanted to be able to get in some painting time so I didn't feel like my work trips were a black hole for my hobby progress. I decided that the Strelets would be the ideal travel companion since they are light and don't really break to easy. 

Here are some of the "Light Infantry" which seem to be French in their tropical uniforms. I opted to paint these guys in pink because how many chances does one get to paint pink uniforms and be historically correct? 

Here is a closeup, the sculpts are good but some of the details aren't crisp. I primed all of these figures with a gloss black fusion primer. It really bonds to the plastic, and I should mention that I typically rinse these guys with vinegar prior to priming. I read someplace that it gives some bite for the paint to stick to. After priming with black, I drybrush with grey to pick out details and begin painting.

Another closeup of these pink-clad warriors.

Some French in the more traditional revolutionary-era uniforms of the 1790s. I added some striped trousers for revolutionary effect.

A shot from the rear showing off backpacks and the such...

Here are my four completes units. I tried to keep similar poses in each unit: marching, advancing, charging and firing. At some point I will finish up the French and tackle the British and Mamelukes.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Packages in the Mail...

No pictures of painted miniatures in this post, no pictures of partially painted or even unpainted miniatures. That isn't to say that I haven't been painting; I finished the painting of my 3rd and final (for now) regiment of 10mm 1914 French. I have also been working on my first two battalions of 1914 Germans.

This week I received a package in the mail, it had UK postage and I knew it could be only one thing: TravelBattle by the Perry brothers! I, like many others, have always been fascinated by the battle in a box or the portable wargame, Years ago in high school, my gaming mate Rob and I would play a portable wargame exercise in our high school classes, it basically involved us drawing our imaginary armies and battle plans on two halves of paper and deciding who would have won based upon our plans and layouts. I digress...

TravelBattle is an old concept but one powered by the Perry Brothers and Renedra to put together a portable wargame. 8mm plastic miniatures, hex boards and terrain. The rules are simple but you want a quick game when on travel. I look forward to painting, assembling and painting this little set.

Speaking of packages in the mail, I went on a bit of a spending spree this week. I haven't been able to find pictures of Kallistra and Magister Militum WW1 figures side by side so I decided to order some Kallistra dismounted French dragoons and German Uhlans. When I receive them I will post pictures of them next to Pendraken dismounted cavalry and some MM WW1 figures on the blog. I also ordered some MM French 75s and German 77s. Since I prefer the Pendraken cannons over the MM ones, I order Pendraken 75s and German 77s too; I also ordered some Pendraken vehicles, an armored truck and a lorry. Can't wait for these three packages to come in the mail. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

In Her Majesty's Name: The Brick Lane Commune

I rarely paint 28mm, really 15mm are typically the biggest figures I collect and paint. There are a few exceptions and these are for skirmish style games (In Her Majesty's Name, Frostgrave, or an upcoming gladiator project (Nic Wright's card driven "Blood Sweat and Cheers" ruleset). Here is my IHMN company, the Brick Lane Commune, which was an absolute bear to paint.

The full company. Because the Brick Laners aren't real scrappers and cheap in point value, I had to add a Walker to bring up the points and give them some extra punch and ranged combat ability. I labored on these guys and dragged my feet in finishing them. Whenever I played my buddy Rob, I was shamed by his excellently painted Lord Curr's Company. I enjoy painting, but I do not enjoy 28mm anywhere near as much as the smaller scales.

The Walker was incredibly difficult to assemble and came apart a few times. I believe there are about 5 pins and heaps of epoxy glue and crazy glue keeping this hulk together. It was also difficult getting the arms and legs of the machine aligned with the driver. 

Two knife-armed henchmen. The gent on the left had a miscast right foot so I built it up with green stuff and placed a bottle to hide it. I had grand plans on a complicated plaid pattern for him but I failed miserably in those endeavors, so I settled for a plain ensemble.

My working class hero and commissar (who looks a bit like Lenin). Simple color schemes again. The bases are resin and were purchased at my local gaming shop. I removed the bases the figures had cast on and used pins to secure them to the bases. The detritus you see on the bases (leaves, paper trash, etc.) are cast on.

Here are my ladies, armed with some brick lane grenades. I added a bottle on the base of the incendiary on the right. I believe they were from a doll house online shop. They are clear plastic and I painted them with glass paint and painted on labels. I am pleased with the result.

Two club armed anarchists. The purple fellow on the left is probably my favorite sculpt. I gave him a five o'clock shadow. He is in a rather sharp look suit and bowler hat but his face looks that of a thug. I envision he was a former pimp and became radicalized down in the alleys of White Chapel.

The final contingent are my shooters, armed with double barrel shotguns. Not much range but I will take what I can get with this gang. I opted for a rather drab color palette for the Brick Lane Commune: dingy blues, browns, grays and greens with a few splashes of purple or yellow. I figured these were industrial folk and would be wearing plain clothing. The only reds I used were for the Walker, the Commissar's book and the scarves the folk wear. So far my socialist radicals have yet to taste victory but they are fun to play with.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

1914 in 10mm

Its been a while since I have posted to the blog, this inactivity hasn't necessarily meant that I was inactive painting and gaming (and certainly not inactive making hobby purchases)! I have been a bit lazy in posting for quite some time. I hope to remedy that and post some photos on projects that I was working during my hiatus from blogging.  However for this post, I will focus in on my current project: 1914 in 10mm; specifically the opening months of the war on the western front when French still marched towards the battle in the blue and red uniforms of past glory. 

My plan is to collect and paint a division each of French and Germans and will hope to add some British and Belgians later. The figures are mostly Magister Militum; I love the sculpts so much. Unfortunately, there are some gaps in their range. Notably dismounted cavalry, higher command and some of the more exotic troops (German Jagers, French Zouarves and Turcos, etc.). I will probably fill these gaps with either Pendraken or Kallistra. The Pendraken seem much smaller and slight and I have heard the Kallistra are much bigger.

Here is a French battalion (sans Hotchkiss attachment), each base is a company and has three figures. The command base has two figures, an officer and a bugler, so a full company is 14 figures plus an optional HMG attachment.

Another view from the front. I imagine this is what the Germans on a hilltop would see...

 The same unit from the rear and including the HMG attachment. You'll notice the unit distinction. In this case, this specific unit is from "blue regiment, white battalion". 

My cavalry regiment, for the French they have dragoons with  the later metal lances.

Two French 75s with spotters. The bases comprise of Magister Militum crew with Pendraken artillery pieces. While I love the MM range, their 75mm left a little to be desired. It seemed a bit small, the Pendraken sculpt seemed a tad big but was more attractive and appeared sturdier and less fiddly to assemble.

Same artillery pieces differentiated by color with their respective spotters. I plan to make each battery two guns. Right now I don't have enough guns or crews. 

My painted force thus far: six battalions ("red" and "blue" regiments, "white" is currently being painted. Red and Blue are in advancing poses while White will be in firing/defending poses. I am also working on my first two battalions of Germans. For rules, I plan to use a set called "Take Action", which were designed by Steven over at the HAWKS wargaming club: The rules fit on a page of paper (front and back) and play is fun, fast and with period feel (at least for me). I have played them at various HMGS conventions and have a blast every time.

These little 6mm Highlanders are from another project but a fellow gamer asked me to post a picture of them so he could see how they look. Long live Bonnie Prince Charlie!!!