Saturday, 31 October 2015

It's Magnetic!

In our first game of The Great War, I noticed that the plastic figures that come with the game are a bit flimsy, so we used my Peter Pig figures instead. This is because they are not based together in groups, but singly. I had a think about solutions to this, I didn't want to base the figures in groups of four permanently, I wanted to be able to remove figures during a game to retain the board game aesthetic, however, I also wanted to be able to use the figures in other games such as Square Bashing

I asked around on TMP and settled on the solution of making bases with metallic paper and mounting the figures on small magnets. So, as a tester I bought an A4 sheet of metallic paper, which I found on EBay. Not only was it metallic, but it was also self-adhesive! I then took a bunch of Peter Pig bases that measured 30mm by 30mm and 30mm by 40mm (for the mortars) and stuck them down to the paper, one at a time. This gave me the exact template to cut around:

This was dead easy to do and in no time I had plenty of bases with the metallic paper already attached.

The next phase involved the magnets. I measured the bases of The Great War figures and found that they were about 12mm in diameter. It took a while, but I managed to track down some 12mm diameter magnets, which were also self-adhesive! Handily enough, the magnets are in a dark brown colour, which matches neatly with the colour I used on the base of the figures! Double win!

I tested out four figures with the metallic paper and base and found that they sit nicely on the 30mm x 30mm square.

The magnets were even strong enough to hold the base upside down without the figures falling off!

I knew that the magnets and paper worked without paint on, the next step was to test the base fully painted. I also added PVA glue and silver sand to give the base texture. I used the silver sand as it is finer than the usual sand I use for basing and I thought it would interfere less with the magnetic properties.

It worked like a dream. The figures still stuck down well to the base, there was little slippage and they still held on upside down!

They compare pretty well to the Peter Pig Square Bashing bases that I already have, you can see one on the right here, with The Great War base on the left. This means that I will be able to use the bases should I need to increase my Square Bashing collection.

With the success of the magnets and paper, I made enough bases to house all the figures of The Great War and as they dried they looked like freshly baked brownies...

As I said, I made two sizes of base, a 30mm by 30mm size for infantry, but also the 30mm by 40mm base which will house the specialist weapons, such as this bomber and his unit:

Also the mortar and crew fit well on the 40mm by 30mm base.

The Vickers MG and crew sit happily on the smaller base:

It didn't take very long to produce enough bases to house all the figures that come with the basic game and in cost only a little more that £10 including the magnets to pimp out the game. I'm looking forward to using these bases in a game and see how they handle being moved about and having figures knocked off during the course of the game. I think they will be pretty handy!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

More 'The Great War' Germans

Another month passes and I managed to finish off another sprue full of plastic Germans from The Great War board game. It's another twenty five to add to the ones I have already completed. As the basic game set comes with three sprues of figures, this is the second of three. I have decided that I am going to clear my table of the PSC figures before starting other figures from other periods, that way I will have completed at least another project! Here's the infantry:

The machine gun and crew:

Mortar and crew:

And the special bomber figure.

As mentioned, I have one more sprue of these figures to paint to complete the basic game's figures. I did, however, double up during the Kickstarter campaign for The Great War, so I actually have another seventy five Germans to paint after that! But that is definitely for another day and I am happy to have finished the original set...

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Any Landing You Can Walk Away From...

Another addition to my 15mm Star Wars Miniatures Battles project is this objective marker of a crashed TIE Interceptor. It started life as a snap-together Easy Kit from Revell, and is 1/100 scale, which matches pretty well with 15mm. Close enough not to notice anyway.

I pulled the wings apart and smashed the windows to make it look as though it had a very rough landing.I also left the pilot out and glued the hatch open to make it seems as though he either escaped or the body was recovered.

The ruts in the ground were built up with polyfilla and had my pre-coloured rubble added to make it look like clods of earth. I was going to add a spread of wing debris, but that would have made the base too long and I wanted to make as small a footprint as possible.I still have the bits I pulled off the wings, so I may make them into separate terrain pieces at some point in the future.

Also added was some battle damage in the shape of blaster shots. This was easily done with a metal spike heated up with a match and shoved through the wings. I then drybrushed the damage with German Grey.

Here's a close up of the damage.

I didn't paint the kit as it already comes in a bluish-grey plastic, it is an 'easy kit' after all. I did, however, inkwash the entire model in Army Painter's Dark Tone, this added some depth to the piece (and cut my work down considerably...). I also added static grass and grass tufts to the base just to break it up a little. Here are two 15mm Stormtroopers to give you and idea of the scale of the kit.

It will make an interesting Star Wars specific battlefield feature or an objective marker, maybe it contains some hidden plans for a certain space station? The actual kit took me no longer than about twenty minutes to build, it was waiting for things to dry that delayed it.

If you are interested I still have the pre-coloured rubble for sale here on EBAY. It comes in three colours and can be used for most modelling projects and basing wargaming figures:

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

2nd Nassau Brigade in 6mm

Whilst I have been busy in a galaxy far far away, I have also been beavering away on the 6mm Napoleonic project in the background. The latest of which is the 2nd Nassau Brigade under Major General Prinz Bernard von Saxe-Weimar. This unit is the first none-red unit I have painted and consists of three Nassau regiments (in green) and two Orange-Nassau regiments (in blue). The jagers are also present as the skirmishers at the front.

In Blücher terms this is an 'overstrength' unit, which is why I decided to model all five of the battalions that make up the brigade. This will make it easy during a game to spot the larger formations without having to read the information on the base.

It was a nice break to paint a different colour than red and this is also what makes the Anglo-Allied army of the 100 Days Campaign so interesting.

The figures are from Baccus, but are French line infantry, as Baccus don't do a separate Nassau range. At this scale no one will notice!

There are still a few more units to finish off before I have completed I Corps, but more about that in the future! I then may begin on the French I Corps, in order to have some figures to actually use on the table.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Villains of the Galaxy

Every hero needs a villain to battle and Star Wars Miniatures Battles is no different. Along with the heroes of the Rebellion, I also added the villains of the Empire to my 15mm Star Wars project. Namely Darth Vader and Boba Fett.

Both figures came from Highlander Studios, the Darth Vader figure is from their 'Kendo Masters' range along with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was pretty simple to paint, just a basic black base coat which was then drybrushed with black mixed with Khaki, to give a more 'organic' feel to his clothing. The lightsaber was painted red and I gave his eyes a red colour as well, just to make them stand out.

Boba Fett came with Han Solo and Chewbacca in the 'Space Pals' set from Highlander Studios. The bounty hunter was a bit  more involved when it came to painting. I found a great reference page on the 501st Stormtrooper Legion website and used that as a guide. He was then inkwashed with brown wash to give him a bit of depth.

These two will add more flavour to the game and will have their own stats as per the Heroes of the Rebellion. I also bought a bunch of Minions from Highlander Studios but you'll have to wait a while to see how they turn out! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Great War First Play

On Saturday, Ninjasuarus Rex and I had our first game of The Great War, the new(ish) First World War board game by the Plastic Soldier Company. I've had the game since my birthday back in July, but haven't had a chance to break it out since then. I am also in the middle of painting the figures, so we used my Peter Pig figures that I use in Square Bashing. This worked out pretty well as there are four figures on a base and we counted casualties with my usual red plastic tabs. 

We played the first two scenarios in the book, both of which were introductory games with the British attacking a German held trench. I took the attackers in the first scenario. The game is governed by Command Cards which allow you to move certain units in certain parts of the battlefield. This involves some tactical thinking as you not only have to think about reacting to your opponent, but also your future moves that are controlled by the limited number of cards in your hand.

The other rules are pretty simple, infantry can move two hexes and not battle, or one hex and then battle, machine guns and mortars either move one square or fire, not both. Certain terrain stops movement, weapons decrease in effect with range and there are special dice with various symbols to show the effect of fighting.

Despite getting across no-man's-land I failed to break into the German front line, being held back by a combination of machine gun and rifle fire. As well as the Command Cards, there are also Combat Cards which have to be paid with by HQ Tokens, these add extra actions in a turn or can be used to react to an opponent's actions in their turn. Examples would be counter attacks, gas attacks or halting movement.

In the second game we reversed roles and I took the defending Germans. This scenario also added barbed wire and shell craters to no-man's-land. Terrain has various effects in units, not only in impeding movement, but also adding to the defence value of a unit. Certain negative dice rolls can be ignored in craters and trenches, for example. 

Also in the first game I had misread the artillery rules. I thought they could only be used when you played a particular card. However, artillery can be ordered alongside other units (unless it is specified on the card) and this changed the dynamic of the game considerably. We both ate up a lot of HQ tokens dropping whizz-bangs and flying pigs on one another. It also cratered no-man's-land and cleared out some of the wire for Ninjasaurus' advance.

In this second game Ninjasaurus was able to get his men across the open ground between the trenches and infiltrated my trenches fairly rapidly despite stiff resistance. It seemed that all the artillery I dropped on him hit the mark and his units around the point of aim. This still didn't help me though as he gathered his six victory points by capturing four sections of trench.

In a few hours we had played two games and got a good handle of the rules. They are pretty simple and easy to hold in your head once you get the drift of them. I played a lot of Memoir '44 when I lived in Iceland and The Great War appears to borrow heavily from that game, so I think this helped somewhat. However, there is an extra layer of complexity with the combat cards and artillery (and HQ tokens) that Memoir '44 lacked. The former give you extra actions, but at a cost of HQ tokens. If your HQ bank is running low your choices become somewhat limited. As previously mentioned the tokens also allow for artillery and effective barrages can be costly! HQ tokens and Combat Card can be replenished at the end of a turn (and due to dice rolls in the case of the HQ tokens), but you have a choice of one or the other and this can be a tricky choice sometimes!

At the end of the day, The Great War is a board game and not a simulation of the First World War.  Look elsewhere if you want that, but if you want a great game that is playable within a few hours and has an exciting, tense and tactical edge to it, this is it.

I am looking forward to the forthcoming expansions, including Tank! and the hinted at aircraft expansion. I hope the latter will be sing 1/144th scale aircraft that can be also used in my Wings of Glory games (and at a much better price than the Ares pre-painted aircraft!).

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Heroes of the Galaxy

Along with the footsloggers of the Imperial and Rebel forces for Star Wars Miniatures Battles I added several of the well known heroes of the Star Wars galaxy to the mix. SWMB is a simplified version of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, so each of these characters will have their own record sheets and stats in a game. I can get these from the various roleplaying game supplements. 

First up is Princess Leia (actually a Geisha from Eureka Miniatures in their Samurai range). Although she is not wielding a weapon it is a very similar appearance to Leia in A New Hope.

Next up is moisture boy, Luke Skywalker. This figure came from Highlander Studios as part of their 'Kendo Masters' range. Although Luke's lightsaber in A New Hope is blue, I painted this as his later green one to make him different from Obi-Wan.

The Astromech droid R2-D2 came from Ground Zero Games and with a little cutting was a good enough stand in for the overweight glob of grease.

The waking carpet Chewbacca was another Highlander Studios miniatures. This time from their 'Space Pals' range.

And the charming scoundrel Han Solo came from the same range.

Finally, Obi-Wan Kenobi can be found in the 'Kendo Masters' set from Highlander Studios. It's the old Obi-Wan as seen in A New Hope.

For the painting I copied film stills and images from the internet and I think I got the colours pretty right. They were a joy to paint and are full of character. I was led to the Leia and R2 figure through the hive mind on TMP, so thanks for all the people who helped out in compiling a list of 15mm Star Wars stand-ins.

Whilst I was painting these little fellas I re-watched the excellent Red Letter Media reviews of Episodes I, II and III. If you have never seen them, all three are embedded below and are definitely worth a few hours of your time, even if just for a masterclass in film making:

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Men in White Part II

Another addition to my Star Wars Miniatures Battles forces is a full platoon of Stormtroopers. You may remember I managed to order some and bought enough for the full platoon. A Platoon of troopers is made up of four squads each of eight men in white, one of which is the commander and another the specialist.

The four squads are designated as Red, Blue, Green and Gold. I painted the bottom of each base to reflect this and here are the close ups of the four squads:

I like the figures, my only issue with them is that they are quite small compared to the other Star Wars figures I have. But apart from that they are full of character and really look the part!
Even Stormtroopers need someone to command them and I also added five Imperial officers to the mix. These came from Eureka Miniatures and are from their First World War Italian Alpini range.

The simple uniforms match pretty perfectly with the Imperial chaps. I may use these as commanders or even heroes in their own right.

There is more to come with this project so keep checking back for more in future!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Halkett's 5th Bigade in 6mm

In a break from the Star Wars Miniatures Battles project I completed another base for Blücher. This is the 5th Brigade under Sir Colin Halkett and consists of the 30th, 33rd, 69th and 73rd (Highland) Foot regiments.

The figures came from Baccus and the flags from NapFlags.The base is from Sally 4th.

The unit is a further addition to I Corps, under the Prince of Orange. I have positioned the 30th on the front right, 33rd on the front left and the 69th and 73rd at the rear.

I have also made my battalions smaller for this base, in order to fit all four on there. This makes no difference in game terms, but allowed me to have all the units of the brigade present.

I will be working on the Nassau soldiers from the same Corps as my next unit from Blücher, so check back in future to see them!

Thanks for looking!
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