Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Special Guest Blogger: Too Lazy To Get My Own Blog

I, the youngest son of the respectable blogger, have decided to hijack this blog to showcase some of my newest work and incoherent ramblings.

I have had a very productive summer in terms of modelling. My 28mm WW1 collection has expanded exponentially over the last few months. Though I am not quite done the project, I am well over the halfway point having just finished the last batch of Canadian Corps troops this week. This leaves me with about 30 more German figures left to go, which will round out a full company for the dastardly Hun.

Without further ado, I shall provide you with some eye candy of my latest diabolical creations. Enjoy:

First off, I recently finished my last terrain board for my modular trench system. This board was half finished when I completed the rest of the project, and lay in that state until I finally got the motivation to complete it. I built it with building foundations sunk into the board, so that ruined buildings could be placed on top. I must give credit to Sydney Roundwood and his fantastic blog for inspiration. The effect is quite striking:

The center piece of the board in the beginning stages of construction. This are plaster bricks cast using Hirst Arts molds.
The same church, now with wooden planked floors and rubble. I lacked sufficient bricks to make the ruins more extensive, but I am happy with the end result.
Now with a portion of roof still intact. I chose to fortify the ruins with sand bags, as this church is only built to go on my modular trench system.

The finished product

One of the other buildings on the board. 

What used to be a building

The stained glass was a fairly intricate detail to add. I cut thin plastic sheeting into rough shapes then glued each piece to the end of a pin which has been stuck into foam. I then painted each piece with a random selection of colours, making the colours lighter towards the edges. Realistically there probably would not be any stained glass left on a ruined church like this, especially after the pounding it must have taken but, it looks pretty!

Next, I have decided that I want to move my WW1 project beyond the trenches. To do this, the first thing I will need is some sort of grass matt. I am a big fan of the old GW felt gaming mats. My father (the author of this blog!) owns two of these which have served him well for many years. What I like about them the most is that they have a lot of texture, what I do not like is that they are too drab. They look fantastic, but I would like something with a bit more depth than your standard grass mat.

This desire for depth sent me on a trip to my local Fabricland store. I scoured the racks for any material or cloth that looked greenish or brownish with the texture I wanted. Alas I could not find exactly what I had pictured in my mind. However, I was able to find a roll of faux fur that had a fantastic texture to it.

Sadly, the colour was not precisely what I wanted. Taking inspiration from various other gamers before me, I chose to paint and texture this fabric myself. Firstly I sprayed the entire piece with watered down PVA glue, then sprinkled a dark green flocking. This helped to give it a green hue as well as to give it texture. Next I took a variety of green spray paints and sprayed the mat. I went from darker to lighter and painted in a mottled pattern. Once this was done, I sprayed it once again with watered down PVA and water. Onto this i sprinkled a medium green/brown static grass from Woodland Scenics. Once this was dry I was quite happy with the results:

The matt has lots of texture and depth as well as flexibility, allowing it to be placed on top of hills.

Next, I played a rather large game last night of Through the Mud and the Blood, the wonderful set of WW1 rules from Too Fat Lardies. If you have ever played any rules from Too Fat Lardies, you will understand the basic mechanics, which transfer quite easily to the period.

The scenario consisted of a large company sized attack by the Germans during their Spring Offensive of 1918. To fit this scenario (and the number of figures I have), I gave the germans smaller sections (6 men) as by the end of the Spring Offensive German manpower was running dangerously thin. The German force consisted of 2 small rifle platoons and a stormtrooper platoon, forming an understrength company. This force lacked heavy weapons, apart from a couple MG08/15 light machine guns. The Germans did however have a pair of massive A7V "tanks". The Canadian defenders were given a variety of infantry and heavy weapons, giving them less than 50 men against twice as many Huns.

To portray the then revolutionary stormtrooper tactics employed by the Germans during the Spring Offensive, I chose to give the Hun a unique objective. The Germans were not required to take or hold any specific terrain or objective, they merely needed to exit 6 of their 11 units off of the Canadian board edge. This reflects the fact that stormtrooper tactics were based around avoiding strongpoints, taking the path of least resistance, and penetrating as deeply as possible.

Luckily Johnny Canuck was able to halt the dastardly Hun's evil plans, winning the entire war for the Entente in the process. The Canadian gunners were able to knock out both A7Vs with their 18 pounder over open sights, while machine gunners mowed down wave after wave of Huns pouring across the wire. Obviously the German preparatory barrage was not effective enough, as the Canadian barbed wire entanglements were left largely intact, along with the defending Canucks.

Enough rambling, here are some pictures of the game:

The table before the game

Canadian mortars firing from the basement of the church

The 18 pounder turns to engage the German "tanks"

The 18 pounder finds itself a target at the other end of the table. Note the piper in the trench in front of the gun.

Gas masked German infantry advance under cover of Cyklop

German troops moving up a communication trench past the body of the comrade

German flammenwerfer engages Canadian bombers at close range

German MG08/15 team supporting the advance of Mephisto

Stormtroopers attempt to rush a Canadian Lewis Gun inside a fortified building

After destroying Cyklop, the gunners move on to Mephisto

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mid-summer Update

So it seems this has become a monthly blog. Besides my normal lament that work seems to get fully in the way of my hobby, I seem also to have settled into a lengthy hobby ennui, at least in terms of painting. Not much to report there except a couple of experiments with the dip method. First, I tried out the method on a few Old Glory 28mm WWI Yanks and was quite pleased with the result. I had bought one pack of these figures with this experiment in mind. You can see the result below. Those with a keen eye (and who can see past the horrible photography) will notice that the green of the uniforms is a little too light and bright but this was a deliberate choice. I've always felt that the look of the figures at three feet is more important than at six inches (but that is, of course, just a personal opinion). Thus my choice to use a lighter green than was historically used. It provides a better representation at distance and also serves to give a better uniform to equipment contrast in this oh-so-drab period. I liked the result well enough that on my trip to Historicon last month, I picked up enough figures to finish an entire Yank platoon.

Old Glory 28mm Yanks. 
Not my favourite sculpts but the price point is attractive and they have a certain charm of their own.

My second experiment was aimed at my ImagiNation project. Given the slow pace of painting lately, I was looking to pick up the speed on this project as well. I chose some Crusader Miniatures SYW Austrian light infantry that would make up les Chasseurs de Chevrotin in the the army of Gourmandie. Originally slated for green uniforms, I had a slight change of thought and bought sky blue primer for the experiment. After the prime coat, I blocked in the other colours then proceeded to dip. After the dip had dried and before I applied DullCote, I highlighted flesh and red trim. I think the result as seen below is quite good. If I were to notice anything with my failing eyes it would be that the blue perhaps needs a highlight. However, the speed of production far outweighs any slight reservations about results.

Chasseur de Chevrotin. 28mm Crusader Miniatures. 
This regiment will eventually comprise two divisions of eight figures each, plus various command figures.

Besides these experiments with the dip method, I have played a few games, pictures of which can be seen below with short comments. Vidal and I also played a delightful game last week, of which I have no photographic evidence (probably a good thing since he once again gave me a good whuppin'). This was a Carlist Wars clash using ATKM rules and took place in my new permanent gaming room. We've been in our current house for four years and it's only been in the last month that I've taken the steps to get this room together (now that's just not proper commitment to the hobby, wot?).

The new permanent game room, shared with a 12-year old girl's botanical creations.

A couple shots of a WWI game played in Kingston recently with Daniel's superb game boards, 28mm figures and tanks!

A new addition to Daniel's WWI collection, one of two German tank kits found in the Flea Market at Historicon this year, with Daniel's usual fine brushwork. An almost completely useless vehicle but it will look damned sweet on the table!