Saturday, September 29, 2018

Off Topic: A Dragon Ogre

In high school, I played a good amount of Warhammer. I owned an Orc and Goblin army. My buddy had Dwarfs (or is it Dwarves?) and Chaos. He had a few dragon ogres and I always thought they were really cool sculpts. Years later, I decided to pick some up on ebay for relatively cheap. One of the sculpts was missing a hand so I bought a cheap Reaper sculpt (kobold maybe?) and used the sculpt's clenched fist with shield as a replacement for the dragon ogre.
Anyway, here is the finished dragon ogre. I painted a simple design on the shield which was inspired by the "time is a flat circle" imagery of the TV series True Detective. 

I gave the upper torso of the dragon ogre a greenish flesh tone which was achieved with a pale green followed by a green ink and an over brush of pale green mixed with pale flesh color. I'm pleased with the result but I am less pleased with the ogre's eyes. I am never good at eyes and rarely paint them but with a model this big I couldn't avoid it. I hope to tackle the rest of my dragon ogres, I think I have 5. Ultimately, I'd like to make an oldhammer chaos army comprised of dragon ogres and centaur type beasts. They'd have to be all OOP sculpts but not necessarily GW. We'll see.

Palo Alto Update: 2nd Light Infantry and Tampico Coast Guard

I've had these units painted up for a while, but have been delayed in basing them. Finally got to that last night and snapped some photos of them today. First up is the 2nd Light Infantry.

I really like these sculpts of the Mexican Light Infantry in fatigue uniforms. In fact, these will form the bulk of the American forces as well. I will do some minor conversions to make them look more "American".
I hadn't yet attached the flags to these units when I took the photos. I will touch the flags up with some paint to make them look more unique and vibrant.

Next up are the Tampico Coast Guard. I wanted to make the Coast Guard look a little different than the regular line infantry so I mixed in sculpts of the 4th Light Infantry. They lack backpacks and some even lack shoes. I feel like they add some character and make the Coast Guard battalion a little more "rag tag" in nature which was my intent.

You can see the lack of backpacks on the 4th Light Infantry sculpts. Next up in this project is the 7th Line Cavalry, which should make a colorful contribution to the Mexican force with their red tunics and green facings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Palo Alto in 10mm

The Mexican American War (as well as the Texas War of Independence) have always piqued my interest as far as gaming and painting are concerned. I started off with 15mm, mostly Musket Miniatures and MiniFigs and even some Frontier. Then I also began collecting 25/28mm with Old Glory, Dixon, Cannon Fodder and First Corps....I ultimately sold these off and re-invested in 15mm when Old Glory released their ranges. Despite all of these starts and stops, I never really came close to finishing the project.

Recently Cracker Line released a Mexican American War range in 10mm called "So Far From God". 10mm is my preferred scale so I jumped in and bought some packs. After that, I picked a battle to model my armies after. I went with Palo Alto because the armies were small and can also be used for Resaca De la Palma. The armies should also provide me a nice starting point if I ever want to collect for Buena Vista. I picked up the book "On the Prairie of Palo Alto" to get in the proper mood. There aren't many books that focus on the first battle and this one is interesting because it also analyzed the geographical and archaeological aspects of the battle. 

Here are some photos of Mexican Light Mounted Regiment. I used the regular Mexican line cavalry in shako packs since the uniform was pretty much the same style.

They are based on 30mm squares with two riders per base.

Next up is the 10th Line. The unit had purple cuffs and lapels, I wanted a color that would stand apart from the dark blue coats so I went with a light purple. I like the look.

Four bases (all 30mm squares) with 6 foot per base. I picked up 15mm flags with an adhesive backing from Historicon. I repainted the red and green portions to give a little more texture and tidy up the cut edges.

So far, I have two line regiments (1st and 10th) and the Light Mounted. I have the 2nd Light Infantry partially painted and hope to upload photos of them soon.

Here is a picture of the 1st Line in column. As you can see the sculpts (Robi Baker sculpts) have alot of detail. They are incredibly easy to paint, I'm not sure why they seem easier than other sculpts but they paint fast for me. There are various poses in different types of shako and even fatigue caps. Give a nice varied look.

The 1st from the front. You can see the yellow lapels and red collars and cuffs from this angle.

 I also picked up some American infantry figures, they are nice but of a different sculpting style than the Robi Baker-sculpted Mexicans. While compatible, I decided to go a different route for the American army. The Mexican Light Infantry in fatigue dress have a very similar uniform to American regulars. Some small modifications should allow me to use Mexican Lights in fatigues as American rank and file. Unfortunately I will have to find something for the officers, drummers and flag bearers. As it turns out, Robi sculpted Blaze Away miniatures (now owned by Lancashire) ACW range. I paln to buy some Federal command packs and use green stuff to make fatigue caps suitable for the MAW. I may have to make a few more conversions to the figures but in 10mm, they don't have to be perfect. I plan to keep you updated.

As for rules, I have never really found one I loved. I think as of right now, I will try both Rank and File and Field of Battle II. R&F units can have varied numbers of bases depending on unit strength. FoBII uses a standard 4 base unit (which is how I am modelling my units). If I opt for Rank and File, I will probably add on additional bases to my units to reflect their strength at the time of the battle.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Clearing off the Paint Desk...

I often start working on a project or a random batch of miniatures, typically inspired by an impulse purchase, a movie or a book, and then I move on to something new...this means that I have several different batches of miniatures unfinished lingering on my paint desk.

Recently I started trying to work on those abandoned projects. I've made some progress but still have more to do. The first batch tackled were some 28mm Warlord Games WW2 Japanese veteran infantry.

Here's the squad. I added some plastic topiary  vegetation to make the bases more tropical and exotic. 

Painting 28mm isn't my wheelhouse, I am much more comfortable painting 15mm and smaller. I primed these guys and the primer was a tad fuzzy. I decided to push on. The uniforms are painted with Vallejo (or maybe Reaper?) Japanese Uniform. The undershirts are Reaper Stone Grey I believe.

I bought this pack as an impulse purchase. My local club played alot of Bolt Action. I bought these, let them linger and finally resumed painting them only to discover that nobody plays BA at my lub anymore. 

I think I am going to sell these guys off, I think I want to restart my Bolt Action Japanese army in 20mm. I still enjoyed painting these guys.

Next up are some 10mm ECW. I love pike and shot and renaissance armies but the ECW isn't a big interest. Lancer Miniatures had several 10mm ECW kickstarters that were awesome deals. I decided to jump in and over time bought some more second hand. Now I have a heap of 10mm ECW. I based these guys for Liber Militum's "Tercios" rules which look pretty cool.

This is a unit of Harqbusiers. I decided to paint them in a uniform look, based off of a color plate depicting Popham's Horse. Future units of horse will be much more ragtag looking. The base is 60x40mm.

And here is a unit of infantry in red uniforms. This is a parliamentary unit, as evidenced by the officer and ensign wearing orange sashes. Right now I have a "blew coat" regiment on the paint desk, half completed. I will tackle them and then probably paint a tawny orange coated infantry regiment for Essex.

I hope to make more updates in the future showing some more projects completed.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

15mm Hundred Years War Project

Years ago I bought some 15mm crossbowmen because I liked the sculpts; they were crossbowmen with "butterfly" pavises strapped to their backs. The figures came from Donnington's New Era Hundred Years' War range, only two poses but very cool. I painted a few samples and bought more packs but nothing more because I couldn't find a ruleset and basing system that I liked. I finally got what I was looking for with Kings of War Historical. I have never played the rules but I like what I see from reading them and watching demos online. They are very simple but allow you to customize troops with "drop in" characteristics. I will tweak them most likely but they give me a framework to begin my project. Here are the first few units:

Genoese crossbowmen with pavises. These fiures are Donnington and some Corvus Belli with Corvus Belli pavises glued on to their backs. I came up with the pavise designs from online samples. The imperial eagles are transfers from Veni, Vidi, Vici in the UK.

A view from the rear of the base. You can see the other pavise designs. I will probably hand paint some eagle designs for the next batch of crossbow/pavise bases. The bases are 80mmx40mm and considered "regiments" for the KoW rules. Also, in KoW, the pavises give the crossbow units a defensive modifier against missile attacks.

I tried to go with a red, yellow, green and white color palette to tie in the figures.

And here are two units of English longbowmen. All of the castings are Donnington. In Kings of War, longbow units can have stakes to aid in defense against melee attacks. The stakes are brass rod cut to shape.

A better angle here. The sculpts are really nice and easy to paint. Some of the sculpts have longbowmen taunting the enemy with a two finger V salute. I painted red Saint George's crosses on their tunics. I also painted some of the sculpts in white or green and white livery colors for the Tudors.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Visit to Denmark

I had the opportunity to travel with family to Denmark this past month. I was very excited for the the vacation and made sure my plans included some wargaming and military history stops. The first place on my list was Kastellet.

Kastellet was a 17th century fortification guarding Copenhagen. It featured heavily in the Battle of Copenhagen.

Its more of a park now, but the star design is still prominent along with the moats. It makes for a nice stroll and you can get some good visuals about how the English fleet approached the Danish fleet.

After Kastellet, we had lunch at Cafe Petersbourg. Its one of the oldest cafes in the city and is situated where the old Russian consulate was housed.From there we made a quick pit stop to Faraos Cigarer, the only wargaming shop I could find in the city. I was pretty impressed by the size of the shop. There were alot of boardgames and included your more common miniature ranges (Flames of War, Infinity, GW, Reaper Bones) and alot of paints and scenery items. I had to get something there so I bought a slightly overpriced boardgame called "The Grizzled". Its a co-op game set during WW1, the object is to survive the war. Cool!

Next up was Trelleborg, located on the other side of Zeeland in Slagelse. It is the site of the ruins from an old stone fort built by Harold Bluetooth (a noted Viking and the inspiration for the name of "bluetooth" technology). In addition to the stone fort, there were some replica Viking buildings and a small museum and gift shop.

Some replica armor on display, there was also a section that allowed visitors to try on chainmail, helms, shields and Viking replica clothing. I have those photos but they are much too embarrassing to share.

This was the replica Great Hall. Truly amazing, I walked in and sat on the throne. I felt like I was Ragnar Lothbrok ruling Kategat. I was informed by the nice woman working the museum shop that a group who still followed the old Norse gods would come out here for rituals.

Here is a model showing the layout of the stone fort.

Entrance to the stone fort, I am almost 6 feet tall and only came up about to about 2/3 of the stones on the sides. Truly massive.

 Standing atop the fort's walls. The stones laid out withing show the footprints of the buildings.

A well endowed Viking statue...The trip to Trelleborg really made me want to rush back home and break out my Baueda 15mm Viking army with Great Hall (still unpainted and in original packaging) and paint them up. I left the shop with some trinket souvenirs to hand out to coworkers and some mead for me...

My final hobby-related stop was the Danish Royal Arsenal Museum. I have to say I was blown away and I think any wargamer would be for all of the eye candy. Check it out below:

Some very early artillery pieces, I believe these were from the 16th century. You can see the museum shop in the background.

I believe this was a gatling gun...but I could be wrong.

A Danish armored vehicle which was destroyed by an IED in Afghanistan. They brought it back to Denmark and placed it on display. It left me awed. All of the occupants survived.

A ship model on display. I only included one picture of these but there were probably several hundred from the 17th century to modern ships. Truly awesome stuff.

The museum also had several dioramas of famous sea battles involving the Danes. The above photo was from a 17th century naval battle between the Swedes and Danes.

Look at these models! I think this was a Dutch/Dane fleet against Swedes. I believe the display claimed they were 1/1250 or something but they looked closer to 1/3000. The ships had rigging and everything. I couldn't tell if they were paper or carved or what, but they were amazing.

Another fortification and city, I think this was Copenhagen from the 17th century featuring Kastellet.

I believe this is a depiction of a naval battle involving Niels Juel, the great Danish admiral, but I could be mistaken.

 Battle of Copenhagen with the Danes on the left.

This was an interesting diorama depicting Danish gunboat galleys trying to attack a British ship of the Line. As I recall, the battle was a draw.

Damaged Danish galley, the victim of grapeshot.

Under represented in my photos but not in the museum were collections of arms, armor and uniforms. The displays included digital displays that allowed you to learn more about the specific pieces.The displays ranged from 15th century armor to 21st century uniforms...all associated with Danish military history.

Some cool flintlocks and matchlocks on display. There was even a small samurai armor collection! I ended up buying some English language booklets on the 1st and 2nd Schleswig Wars as well as a biography of Niels Juel. It makes me want to break out my 10mm Schleswig War collections and resume those projects in addition to my 17th century naval ships...That about wraps it up. Visiting Copenhagen was a great experience. Friendly people, great food and awesome places to visit.