Friday, 25 May 2018

TK421, Why Aren't You At Your Post?

As you may know, recently I bought a copy of the core box of Star Wars Legion. It comes with some figures to get you started, a force (excuse the pun) of Stormtroopers and a force of Rebels. So I set to work painting them. There are 14 Stormtrooper infantry figures and they were very easy to paint, with the use of white spray paint... Here they all are:

The Rebels took a little longer as they have a camo suit and a few more colours than just black and white! However, I finished them all of in good time.

You may notice in the back of the picture of the Rebels the scenery that I also created recently specifically for Star Wars Legion. I have had a few bits and pieces kicking around for a few years, so I thought I'd get to using them. I was given a couple of packaging supports by Dean, a few years ago and these are perfect as a small Star Wars style hut. I also had some polystyrene balls left over from making a Star Wars shield generator a long time ago. I used bits of the balls to make an entrance for the huts, but I also used the left overs and mounted them on some vinyl tile.

I gave the polystyrene balls a covering of Pollyfilla and sprayed them. However, the covering wasn't complete and some of the polystyrene melted slightly under the spray. But, faint heart ne'r won fair maid and all that, so, I have decided that these are some form of alien creature's nest, like an ant's nest or termite mound. The three that melted are ones that have gone out of use, whilst the smoother one is still in use.

And the huts were dead easy to finish, they just needed painting, basing and weathering really. These work well as junker huts or some native huts of an alien planet.

See? It's always worth hanging on to bits and pieces that most people would throw away...

Some of the links above go through to my Amazon Associates account and if you buy something through them I get a cut of the sale! 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

3mm Panzer Fours and 3mm Painting Guide

I have now painted a few 3mm tanks at this point, so I thought I'd show you how I do it. There are a few more tutorials online already, but this is my version and may help someone. 

I wanted to add a unit of Panzer IVs to the 3rd Panzer Division and this consists of three bases each of 5 tanks. In 1943 3rd Panzer had 22 Panzer IVs on paper, so 15 is a close enough number, counting for vehicles in repair or support away from the front line. 

The first thing to do is Superglue the tanks to coffee stirrers. I always grab loads of these from cafes and restaurants as they are always really useful, like in this case. The Superglue may seem extreme, but it easily snaps off when you come to take the tanks off the sticks at the end of the painting session.

The first step is to paint all the vehicles in white undercoat. This is to help to brighten the later layers of paint, with bigger figures I use black as an undercoat, but in 3mm, you'll just end up with little dark lumps. Also, at this point, I paint PVA onto the bases (at the back) and cover them in sand. You'll notice that I have also left a space for the base label that will go on later.

Then I paint the tanks in Vallejo Middlestone, which is a close match for the German Late war Dunklegelb. This is all done with a brush, but there's no reason why you couldn't use a spray gun. A spray can may destroy a lot of the detail, so proceed with caution! 

The next step is the paint the camouflage on the tanks. This is done with tiny stripes of Vallejo Chocolate Brown and Vallejo Reflective Green. These two paints are good stand ins for the German three tone camo Green and Brown. The painting is easily done with a small brush, and takes no time at all. In the background you can see that I have advanced the bases as well. Once dry, the sand was painted in Vallejo Intermediate Green. Once this is dry, I then wash them in a thinned down Vallejo Flat Earth.

Nearly done! When they are completely dry, I give the tanks a wash with Army Painter's Strong Tone. This is an excellent wash and really gets into the details and makes the vehicles look less flat. This will also cover anything you may have missed previously. Also, the sand on the bases is drybrushed with Acrylic Sunshine Yellow. This last stage is perfect for blending in the base colour and wash on the bases.

The very last stage is the gently drybrush the tanks with Vallejo Buff. This picks out the detail on the vehicles and really makes them pop, so don't neglect this at all! Once everything is dry, I then use Windsor and Newton's Matt Spray to varnish everything including the bases. This is without question the best varnish I have ever used, I have never had a single issue with it frosting and it works every time!

I then use a sharp knife to ease the vehicles off the wooden sticks and glue them to their bases. I then use PVA to glue down random patches of static grass and put a couple of grass tufts on to break up the bases. I then PVA glue the base label on the space I left earlier and they are all done:

All in all, it took about two days to complete the unit, with drying times and each stage took a few minutes, so you can easily get on with other stuff whilst producing these tiny tanks! Don't be intimidated by how small the minis are, you can easily ignore a lot of detail at this scale. You'll notice I didn't paint the tracks, this is because they are not very noticeable and the even if they are, the wash brings them out.

Thanks for reading and just so you know all the links above will take you through to the product pages and through my Amazon Associates account, which means I make a little bonus on each of your purchases. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

10th Brigade, 6th Division in 6mm

Another British unit that I was able to finish over the long Bank Holiday weekend recently was the 10th Brigade of the British 6th Division. This was one half of a mixed British/Hanoverian Division (the 4th Hanoverian) and was commanded by Major-General Sir John Lambert. 

The unit was composed of the 1/4th Foot, 1/27th Foot, 1/40th Foot and the 2/81st Foot. The latter was left in Brussels in during the campaign, but I have included them here as part of the Brigade's strength.

This unit had an interesting story, they had recently arrived from America to join the Allied army for the campaign. They arrived on the field at Waterloo at 10.30am and were held in reserve near Mont St Jean. Lambert had assumed command of the Divison as Cole the original commander was on his honeymoon!

Another part of the Allied Reserve Corps has now been finished and with a handful of units left the end is in sight! As I said before, all the information that I am using for building this project has mostly come from the excellent website Cent Jours, although it is in French (I don't speak it) it is a wealth of information on the uniforms of the Waterloo campaign. I am also using Mark Adkin's excellent The Waterloo Companion. This is packed full of information mainly about Waterloo, but has plenty about the whole campaign as well. 

That link goes through to my Amazon Associates account and anything bought either there or after clicking it will net me a little reward, so if you are buying anything off Amazon can I ask that you do it through that link? You'll be supporting this blog if you do!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

5th Hanoverian Brigade, 5th Division in 6mm

I've been making steady progress with my 100 Days Campaign in 6mm, and given the recent Bank Holiday weekend, I was able to knock out a couple of Allied units. Including the 5th Hanoverian Brigade of 5th Division, under Colonel von Vinke.

This is an average conscript unit of Hanoverians, but they were heavily engaged at Quatre-Bras and took heavy fire from the French battery on the morning of Waterloo and stood directly in front of d'Erlon's cavalry attack! 

The unit consists of the City battalions Giffhorn, Hameln, Hildesheim and Peine. In the absence of correct flags, I have reused the Hanoverian flags that I was able to source off a website I once stumbled on. I can't find it again, so I am glad I kept a copy of the flags...

Another one ticked off the list! All the information that I am using for building this project has mostly come from the excellent website Cent Jours, although it is in French (I don't speak it) it is a wealth of information on the uniforms of the Waterloo campaign. I am also using Mark Adkin's excellent The Waterloo Companion. This is packed full of information mainly about Waterloo, but has plenty about the whole campaign as well.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

500th Post and Star Wars Legion!

Welcome to the 500th post of this blog! Blimey, doesn't time pass fast!? 

I arrived home on Friday to find the new Star Wars Legion box set had arrived! I ordered it on Tuesday as I had come into a little bit of money recently. As with all Fantasy Flight Games it is excellent for its production values alone. Everything looks great and all the figures were sorted into separate bags so that their associated tiny parts don't get jumbled up together.

Obviously, as it has only just arrived I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but I have read the rules and it seems very similar to X-Wing, another great Star Wars game by FFG. Each unit has a unit card with its abilities. Units can be a group of troopers or an individual character (in the core set it is Luke and Darth Vader, obvs). The game takes place over six turns and in each turn players take turns in choosing individual units to act, in a slightly less clumsy IGOUGO system. 

Combat is decided by the players taking a pool of dice equal to the firing strength of the the unit and their weapons then counting out the hits, minus the defence dice rolled by the opposition. The number left over is the amount of wounds caused on a unit, with most troopers only taking one wound each. Pretty simple. There are cards to increase attack and defence dice, so that can change the landscape of combat nicely. 

Also, movement is handled very well, only the unit commander moves and the rest of the unit are placed within a certain distance of him at the player's discretion! This does away with lots of time consuming individual movement and is an excellent solution to moving large numbers of figures. Vehicles have their own rules as well, but work as smoothly as the ground troops, it seems. 

This streamlining of rules is a welcome relief as I have played Star Wars Miniatures Battles in the past and although it is a great game, it is very much of its time with a lot of bookkeeping. SWL does away with that by keeping the information in simple form on unit cards. 

So, what are the pros and cons of the game as I see it? Well, let's start with the cons: 

A lot of people have argued that the figures (at 32mm) are too big to use with other FFG games, like Imperial Assault. This may be true, but I don't have IA, so it's not such a great concern for me, but I did think the choice of scale is a bit strange when there is an already massive 28mm market out there that this could have been tapped into. 

Some of the rules mentioned in the rule book are online; this was slightly disappointing as I would like everything gathered in one place in the core box. That said, I understand the need for a 'living rulebook' and updates are easier on the net. It seems to be something FFG are moving more towards anyway, and I can only see other companies following suit in the future. 

The plastic figures are not very convertible and you get two sets of seven figures for each side that are the same seven poses. In the age of multipose plastics this was perhaps the biggest disappointment. In a skirmish game I like to see each figure in an individual pose, it also seems that expansion sets suffer from this monopose issue as well. Even Games Workshop have got this right.

And finally, people have said it is not a full game. It is, it is just a slimmed down version of the recommended 800 points game which seems to tap into the 'buy more plastic' market of collectible gaming. I'm not a massive fan of using points in games and prefer real life unbalance anyway, so this is not such an issue for me, but it may affect some people's choice of playing, especially as it also seems geared towards tournament play, which I don't like. 

Enough moaning, here's the pros:

IT'S STAR WARS! It's a fully licensed Star Wars game so that means no scouring wargaming companies for Star Wars stand-ins. Everything looks like it does in the films!

The figures are really nice sculpts, there are lots a detail and they go together really easily (use superglue though! Polystyrene cement will not work with the plastic). The poses are well thought out and look realistic, the Speeder Bikes in particular are excellent.

High production values. As mentioned, you get what you pay for with FFG, the price tag may be high, but you see where your money is going.

The rules are simple, well written and look like a doddle to hold in your head once games begin. This is great bonus for us hard-of-thinking folks who prefer to spend a game playing rather than looking up the angle of deflection of a particular armour plate versus velocity and trajectory of a HEAT round in cold windy weather at night.

It's an actual wargame, not a board game. I had been put off Imperial Assault as it looked too board gamey for my tastes. I like board games a lot, but it didn't seem to suit the Star Wars universe (you may disagree with me on this). I wanted to play a sandbox skirmish, so that is why I initially went for the more complex SWMB. Legion perfectly scratches that itch.

And finally, IT'S STAR WARS!! That can't be said enough.

I mentioned the figures and I was eager to get started with painting them, rather than reinventing the wheel, I watched a few tutorials by Sorastro on his YouTube channel (there's some great general painting tips there as well). I pulled out the two Stormtrooper commanders and they took me about an hour to complete. Here they are:

They are not perfect, but are a gaming standard and I'm happy with them. So, all in all, a highly recommended game, bursting with Star Wars goodies and what looks like hours of good times ahead. Check back in the future for some AARs and a better discussion of the rules. If you are interested in the game, you can buy it through this link:

Doing so will take you through my Amazon Associates account and I'll get a small cut, which will help me write 500 more blog posts! 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Book Review: Peter Hart, The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918

Image result for endgame on the western front 1918

Given the belter of a Bank Holiday we've just had, I took the chance to read Peter Hart's latest book: The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918 and as I was given a review copy of it, I thought I had better review it!

The histories of the last year of the First World War generally are preoccupied with the German Spring Offensives and if they do explore beyond this, it is usually an examination of the Battle of Amiens (8th August) which ushered in the final act of the war leading to the Armistice in November. The works that do concentrate on the final months of the war (Jonathan Boff's Winning and Losing on the Western Front (Cambridge Military Histories), for example) are detailed academic approaches. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but on occasion, they can make for dry reading. Peter Hart (the Imperial War Museum's oral historian) takes an extremely complicated period of the war from September through to November and ably distills the information into a very readable account in The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918.
The first portion of the book are given over to a background to the fighting that continued long after the 8th of August, including the political standpoint of the Allies, with their need for a concerted effort to finally knock Germany out of the war (spoiler: the Allies win!). The largest section of the study moves into the frenetic operations that typified the fighting in late 1918, each large set piece is examined in some detail, but with no loss of readability. This is where Hart's writing really shines through, he is able to take the strategic view and place it alongside the view of the men at the sharp end of the fighting with no loss of readability. Numerous quotes from British, Australian, Canadian, French, American and German sources give a full picture of what each army faced and how they overcame the problems facing them.

The war in 1918 was a world away from the one that had started in 1914, and Endgame demonstrates this by examining the changes in tactics, not only of the infantry, but the aircraft, artillery and the use of tanks in an all-arms combination that proved the modern era of warfare had truly arrived. For anyone seeking the old myths of futility this book is not the place to find it! Hart's revisionist approach is eye-opening and up to the rigours of modern First World War interpretation. I thoroughly recommend it.

If you are interested in buying this book, please use the link below which goes through my Amazon Associates profile:

Saturday, 5 May 2018

9th Brigade, 5th Division in 6mm

Staying with the small stuff that I have recently been working on, I went back to the 100 Days Campaign and the next Allied brigade, which is the British 9th Brigade of the 5th Division. 

This was part of the British reserve Corps (as indicated by the blank flag on the base) and was led by Major-General Sir Denis Pack who was wounded during the campaign. The unit has the 3/1 Regiment of Foot (Royal Scots), 42nd Regiment of Foot (The Black Watch), 2/44th (East Sussex) Regiment of Foot and the 92nd Regiment of Foot (Gordon Highlanders).

Although the brigade is classed as understrength and this usually means that I only have three units on a base, I couldn't let any of these famous units not be represented here!

Also, with an Elan of 7, this is a very good unit and will take a lot of pasting before it breaks. As happened at Quatre-Bras where the 5th Division was in the thick of the fighting.

I am spending my time between units for Rommel and units for Blucher, so there will be a bit of toing-and-froing between them for a bit, but stay tuned for more 100 Days updates!

Thanks for reading!
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