Thursday, January 19, 2017

First German Units Report for Barbarossa

So the good news is that Madame Padre is back home and doing well.   And there's also some less important hobby news to report.

Amidst my Tolkien-inspired efforts of late, I took a small sideroad to get a start on a German early WW2 force in 15mm to oppose my Soviets.

These three models are by the Russian manufacturer Zvezda, sold as part of their Art of Tactic series.  They were kindly given to me by Steve Whitesell, the proprietor of an excellent blog with a WW2 and WW3 theme.

Zevezda kits are compatible with other 15mm models, and while they are less detailed, they are easy t assemble.  For these two tanks, the track and road wheel assembly is all one part that glues onto the bottom of the hull.  Easy peasy.

These two PZ 38s and the tiny tank (sorry, the SdKfz 222) armoured car make the nucleus of a recce unit (sorry, aufsklarungsgruppe) suitable for early war.   I was pressed for time, as I wanted to get an entry into the Armor theme bonus round of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  There were some fifty entries riffing in various directions on this theme, and it is well worth your having a look here.  If you look at nothing else there, go admire the talented Michael Awdry's wonderful Grail Knights homage to Monty Python.

My effort was paltry by comparison.  The German Gray is a base of  a Vallejo primer, brushed on as I did not have time to break out my airbrush.  When dry I hit them with Citadel Nurn Oil or whatever it is called (I far prefer Army Painter Strong Tone but am currently out) and then did some rust and chipping.  Most of the weathering got obliterated when I drybrushed on some craft store tan paint to suggest the dust of the Russian roads.  Bases are MDF, handcut, with some plastic wood texturing and then flocking.  The crosses are by Battlefront and the Pz38 turret numbers are by Dom's decals.

I have five Plastic Soldier Company early model PZIIIs assembled and painted, another pack of five PZ38s with the option to build as the Marder variant, also from PSC, so I may build a zug of three Marders for later war and give two of the 38s to this unit.

It's a start.

These figures bring my 2017 totals to:
15mm: Vehicles and AFVs: 3

28mm:  Foot Figures: 29;  Mounted Figures: 2

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Kindness Of A Friend Not Yet Met

So Madame Padre is in hospital again, getting a nasty bug flushed out of her blood so that she can get back to chemotherapy and kicking cancer’s ass.  She’s doing well and getting stronger again, though the bug knocked her flat last week.

One source of her recovery was a care package that arrived from England yesterday, provided by one of the nicest ladies I have yet to have the pleasure to meet.  Cath Willey.  Cath of course is the genius behind the Secret Santa project, and her lucky husband is Ian, who runs the excellent Blog With No Name where his small-scale goodies beg to be admired.  Cath and I were exchanging emails about Secret Santa and she learned that I had been delayed in my gift project because of my wife’s illness.  Tell me about your wife, Cath wrote, and what she likes.  Well, err, that’s very nice, I said, ummm, cats, plants, knitting, crime novels ...

In due course, an envelope containing knitting needles, yarn,  a pocket diary with a cat theme and a crime novel about a cat arrived.   Cath quite skillfully covered all the bases.  As you can see, Madame was quite delighted, and when I said goodnight to her was busy starting to knit.

Cath, you are a lovely and kind person, and we can’t thank you enough.  The extraordinary thing, in my experience of the war-game blogging community, is that this degree of kindness is not unusual.  Kay and I have received similar kindnesses since she started fighting cancer, and we are always moved and deeply grateful.  Kay said to me, “I can’t believe that someone who I’ve never met would be so nice to me.”   I can believe it.  We have already paid it forward.

Be kind to one another.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Pulp Project Work In Progress: The Rockies Ablaze!

Picking up on my last post, here is a preview of where my 1930s Canadian Pulp Project, The Rociies Ablaze, is going.   First, here’s what I’ve done thus far, artfully arranged on top of a roll of Christmas Village snow from the local craft store (Michaels).  It rather looks like dry ice at a rock concert, but it does give an impression of snow and thanks to post Christmas sales, I have rather a lot of it. 

 The Mounties mix well with the Bob Murch Yukon types I’ve painted so far.

“I’m telling you, Sergeant, it were a big balloon, and it passed south over Dead Man’s Pass."

 Here’s the big balloon (sorry, not a balloon, an AIRSHIP - step outside!).   Obviously it’s not to scale, but it will serve as a backdrop over the picturesque Rocky Mountains, if I can devise some sort of stand for it.

 The Zeppelin crew - Bob Murch Zeppelin Troop scrulpts/  They look a little more Imperial than Nazi, but no matter, they are darn cool, and they may need some sort of bridge mocked up for them to hang out in.

 Zeppelin troop landing party complete with oxygen tanks.

 Zeppelin troop landing party in gas masks.  Some sort of gas might be useful to allow them to secure their primary objective, namely capturing a werewolf to take back to the Reich for crossbreeding and research.  If I was tasked with capturing a werewolf, I would want to have lots of sleeping gas on hand.

 More Zeppelin troops in gas masks.  I probably have enough Zeppelin troops now.  There is a question of how they will get to the ground … either fast roping or perhaps some smaller airship that can tether to the zeppelin mother ship, in which case I need to scratch build something.   Perhaps my friend Dan H, the master of scratch building disaster, can help here.  Thoughts?   

 i picked these guys up from a bring and buy table earlier this year.  They are BEF early WW1 signal troops, which appealed to me because the Mounties might need aid to the civil power from the Canadian Army Permanent Force, doubtless Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry from the Calgary garrison.  Certainly a command and signals group would be useful in giving some admin support to the Mounties’ command post.

If I want to flesh this out a bit, I have some suggestions thanks to the stout chaps at LAF, including what look like early WW2 BEF Tommies in greatcoats from Gorgon Miniatures, or some minis from Tiger  Miniatures from their Winter War series, about the 1919 Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War - while slightly primitive sculpts, the troops have greatcoats and fur hats and look like they would fit in with the Pulp Figures stuff.  There is also a pack of late WW1 British infantry in greatcoats from Great War Miniatures which could pass easily for interwar Canadian troops.

 Finally, for no particular reason, but just because I adore Bob Murch sculpts, I felt the need to allow for a canoe chase between a mad trapper who is quite possibly a werewolf ….


… and the Mounties.  Note that neither Sgt. Prestown nor his amazing dog Cuddles are wearing flotation devices.  Terrible examples, Bob. 


Well, chaps, that’s the project for now, slowly taking shape.   Given that the last months have been pretty rough, I am not sure when I will have something playable, but as long as I have fun.   Now, where did I put my trusty shoeshoes?   <whisltles>  Come along, King, there’s work to do and bad men to catch.  Stay vigilant, chaps!



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Meanwhile, in Canada 2 - Moose Meets Mounties

Happy New Year!   I hope 2017 is off to a good start for you, dear reader.

Back in May, I offered a first look at a pulp project I was calling The Rockies Ablaze.   It will involve stout adventurers, occult investigators, mad trappers, werewolves, Nazis and possibly a zeppelin, and will be a tie-in or prequel to my Weird War Two project. It sounds like so much fun if I can get it off the ground.

During my Christmas leave period I finally finished the Pulp Figures minis by two-fisted Canuck sculptor Bob Murch.  This is the look I was going for, and this journal from 1934 is pretty much spot-on for the time period I am thinking of as my setting.

"Pardon me, folks.  Have you seen anything out of the ordinary?  Nazis?  Werewolves? " The second period illustration has the gauntlets that match Bob's figures.

Here's the whole group of finished work, plus four more winter terrain stands.

Bob's mounted and dismounted Sgt. Prestown figure.   His faithful dog sidekick has gone missing somewhere in the lead pile - chased after a Tomb King skeleton figure, no doubt.   I will find him in due course.

I am reasonably happy with the way the scarlet tunics turned out, thanks to the good advice I got in response to my last post on those guys.

Flashheart of the Mounted.  This is "Captain Krustache", Bob's Movember figure from 2015 - donors to the Movember charity got him for free as part of a very kind incentive to donate.  With the blond hair he looks a lot like Rik Mayal.   "Drop that gun now, before I decorate this snow with an interesting colour called Hint of Brain.  Woof!"

Flashheart and his comrades - the other figures are part of Bob's Scarlet Patrol pack.  I like the fact that half of these figures are packing Lee Enfields - it situates them nicely in the pulp era.

Constable Eddy Nelson.  Annoying prone to burst into song at any moment.

Mordechai Moose.  Thanks to Pete Douglas for the suggestion, which I like slightly better than Justin.  Moose are ancient enemies of werewolves, and I suspect that Mordechai will have a role in helping our brave heroes.  I'm treating him as a mounted figure for my own painting totals.

"Men, I have a dangerous assignment, but first I need you to stop singing the lumberjack song."
"Sorry, Sergeant, I have to report back to Fort Calgary for some top level shagging. You know I always get my woman."
"Shut up, Flashheart. You know you're missing part of your uniform."
"Hat.  I said hat, sergeant.  .... Git."

Thanks for looking.  In a few days I will offer some exciting previews of where the project goes next.

Blessings to your brushes!

These figures bring my 2017 totals to:
28mm:  Foot Figures: 29;  Mounted Figures: 2

Friday, January 6, 2017

Meanwhile In Isengard - 5: Yet More Vendel Barbarians

Here are yet more scruffy, nasty, flea-bitten, root in-tootin, cattle steelin, mean feel in, smelly, yelly and generally unpleasant barbarians, the last of the Vendel Hillmen from my big order this year, and my second entry in this year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

This group includes four more archers, including two of the feared Teddy Bear Guardsmen:

Eleven chaps with spears.  Included are some more high tech metal shields with the White Hand device supplied by Saruman’s quartermasters, though the Dunlendings, being conservative folk as are most barbarians, generally prefer their hide shields.

Stab for Saruman and a Free Dunland!

And finally a musician and six fellows that I equipped with choppy things.   After I upended a tray containing all the spears supplied by Vendel with the figures, I was inexplicably short six, and after multiple searches decided on raiding the sprues in my bits box to find some orc swords and a Gripping Beast axe.  It give the force a pleasing variety, I think, as I had already finished twelve spearmen from the original test group back in the fall.

Vendel figures are clunky and don’t have a lot of fine detail, but they paint quickly and with a little wash and dry brushing, I think they look fine en masse.   As I was saying on the AHPC site, I worked hard to give them some variety in terms of hair colour and the colour of the skins and furs they are wearing, rotating through a palette of five different base colours.  I think it worked fairly well.  I currently have some of these figures on my gaming table for a solo game of Dragon Rampant, where they are scampering through woods and kicking elven arse as Bellicose Foot.   I think Saruman will be very pleased with the money he spent to influence the election of the new President of Dunland, as it will pay dividends.

I am currently working on two personality figures from Heresy Miniatures who will be the leaders of this motley crew, and when they are done I’ll take some shots of the whole Dunland force.  Let Rohan tremble!

Blessings to your brushes!
These figures bring my 2017 totals to:
28mm:  Foot Figures: 22

Friday, December 30, 2016

Meanwhile in Isengard 4 - Or, Some Vendel Barbarian Archers

I think this is my final post of the year in terms of things what I got painted. These rude and scruffy archers are another step towards finishing the batch of Vendel fantasy figures that I ordered early this fall.  I started with 12 spearmen in October, with the plan of using them as proxy figures for Saruman’s barbarous allies from the hills of Dunland.


With 12 bowmen, the Dunlendings now have some missile capability.   The sculptor give them very primitive looking short bows, so I wouldn’t rate them overly highly as missile troops, but in Dragon Rampant terms I would allow them to work as scouts in groups of 6, with the skirmish and evade capability.

I am sure that there are a lot of fleas under those furs and skins.

I have been thinking lately of whether, at least in Dragon Rampant terms, barbarians and wild tribesmen types should be 6 or 12 figure units.  Six figure units are more brittle, and they increase the chance of failing an activation turn early and messing up a turn, since there are more units to activate.   It would seem to make sense that troops like these would prefer to fight in small bands, hunting or raiding, whereas larger 12 figure units would need some sort of formal training as a battle line - thus showing the advantages and disadvantages of trained vs irregular units.  The trained bands are used to moving and fighting as a mass, have more endurance to casualties,  and require fewer activation rolls for the army as a whole, but can be outmaneuvered and damaged by small irregular units if they get to strike first.   I need to give this some more thought.

Here Saruman urges his new hires to get to the archery range and practice their shooting before going up against Helm’s Deep.

Finally, among the figures just finished at year’s end, is this figure from Bombshell Miniatures, described in their catalogue as  “Thorga the Half Orc” and shown here in two crap photos.  Perhaps Saruman can use her as his close protection detail?  She will also make a useful and unusual command figure for the armies of Isengard.


I think I’ll save the other figures nearing completion for my 2017 totals.  I wish you and yours all the very best in the new year.   Thank you for all the views and support that you’ve expressed here for my lovely bride.  She has read your comments and has been quite moved by them.

Blessings,  MP

These figures bring my 2016 totals to:

28mm:  Foot Figures: 128; Mounted Figures: 10; Buildings: 3; Terrain Features: 2

20mm:  Buildings: 1

6mm:  Mounted figures:  36;  Buildings:  2

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Meanwhile, in the Elven Woodland Realms - 2

As 2016 winds to a close, and things get back to a new normal with Madame Padre back home, I have been able to revisit and finish some longstanding projects.  These five figures were primed and started back in June, and then life got in the way.    These minis were sculpted by Shane Hoyle originally produced by Wargames Foundry as part of their Realms of Faerie line.  I bought them direct from WF in blister packs, with kind assistance from the lovely Diane Ansell.  The figures are now sold individually on Foundry’s Warmonger Miniatures site.

These young ladies are a little more dressed than the last batch that I featured here, but still not terribly well armoured.  The one on the right has a crazy ex-girlfriend face - guaranteed to put fear into any marauding orc caught in the LadyForest.

Yes, the lady on the right is holding a golden bow.  I blame William Blake.  I don’t see these figures being in the main battle line but rather functioning in a SOF role, perhaps as scouts in Dragon Rampant terms, flitting through the trees, ambushing, skirmishing, evading and generally making life miserable for troops foolish enough to invade their woods.

 I quite like this mysterious character.  She’s one of several Shane Hoyle sculpts from this line carrying severed bits of men.   As for the head she’s carrying, I figure his mansplaining days are done.

As minis go, these are definitely on the pricey side, at 4 pounds each,  but they pay back with interest when it comes to painting them.  Some minis I just want to slap the paint on and be done with them, but these I want to sa four and get as right as I possibly can.  

Again, her with the bow of burning gold.

And here’s the entire collection thus far.  I am slowly assembling a female-themed war band of elves and allies, like the female tree spirit in centre left which is a Bombshell Miniature.   I have a few more packs of these ladies to finish, and have found some other suitable figures, including a lovely female centaur archer from Heresy Miniatures.    If you know of any other minis that would fit well into this little army, I’d love to hear about them.

Blessings to your brushes!


These figures bring my 2016 totals to:

28mm:  Foot Figures: 115; Mounted Figures: 10; Buildings: 3; Terrain Features: 2

20mm:  Buildings: 1

6mm:  Mounted figures:  36;  Buildings:  2

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