Monday, 3 November 2014

[6mm Science Fiction] Building OPFORs

I haven't made a huge amount of progress this last month - too much real life.

I did manage to complete another three GZG Kivruzh Grav Tanks to add to my Imperial Marine and Unified Army Unit.

While ordering some decals from Scotia Grendel, I picked up eight Large Grav APCs from their 6mm Human Science Fiction range. I decided to use them for my Geithurian Republic Alien Legion force.

The vehicles are hollow-cast, which possibly explains why they are so inexpensive. I ended up putting a ball of DAS inside the body cavity of each vehicle, and then drilling a hole up into the DAS for the mounting peg. I quite like them - there's a vague M113 vibe about them. Each vehicle has a remote weapon mounted on the rear of the upper deck.

The Alien Legion is a Corp-sized mercenary fighting force deployed by the Geithurian Republic.

I have just completed an Alien Legion Platoon in 6mm.

Alien Legionnaires - from left to right: Onslaught Miniatures Sisterhood Minerva Squad; GZG Kra'Vak; GZG Alien Bounty Hunter; Foreground - Onslaught Miniatures Avian Braves.

From Darkest Star Games Ventauran Range, I completed a Tal'hiran tank troop,

and two squads of Zil'hiran Grav APCs. The Ventaurans will be used as Kalar-Wi in my campaign.

The Ventauran, or Kalar-WI, Infantry deploying from their transports.

The Zil'hiran APCs are a lot larger than the "Large" APCs from Scotia. I'm thinking that the Zil'hirans will carry a squad of Kalar-Wi infantry as well as a squad of Kiang sepoys.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

[6mm Science Fiction] Making Haste Slowly

After starting off with a hiss and a roar, my 6mm Science Fiction has become a little bogged down. A head cold that lasted three weeks followed by a huge project at work (not helped by my associate going on leave to Bali for two weeks), plus daylight saving (summer time for you Northern Hemispherians), has eaten up both time and energy.

I have managed to plug on, though, completing all my Ground Zero Games New Israeli Infantry - to do duty as the Imperial Unified Army for my Traveller campaign, as well as completing another eight grav APCs. It looks like I need a few more Marines and Infantry to round out my units, as well as some more grav APCs. I've also sorted out the basing styles for the Kalar-Wi (Ventaurans from Darkest Star Games) and the Geithurian Republican Ground Forces (Mid-Tech Ventaurans from Darkest Star Games or Epic Imperial Guard - if I can locate some more).

Imperial Marine Company with attached Armour (top) and two Imperial Unified Army Companies (bottom) - only one IUA Company is currently mounted. All figures by GZG except for the Marine Command vehicle (center) and Battalion Command vehicle (bottom right) by Irregular Miniatures.

Imperial Unified Army with Marines in support

Imperial Unified Army Infantry (from GZG) with Battalion Command Vehicle (from Irregular Miniatures)

With better lighting, you can see the Infantry unit shoulder flashes

Imperial Unified Army.

Friday, 29 August 2014

[6mm Science Fiction] End of the Week Wrap-up

The end of the week and my head cold is finally on the mend. Pretty much finished off the GZG UNSC Marines I've been painting up as Imperial Marines for my Traveller Universe and am now working on the GZG New Israelis who will form my Imperial Unified Army.

With two platoons of Marines, and a short platoon of armour, I can pretty much deploy a Marine Company. I have a command APC, another tank, and 5 other APCs left to finish to bring the Company up to full strength.

Two Platoons of Marine Infantry and a short Platoon of Armour; figures by Ground Zero Games

Platoon of Armour

Each Platoon of Infantry requires four Grav APCs - one more to go.

Marine Infantry Platoon - Command Team and Platoon Weapons Team in the lead.

Infantry Platoon and Armour Platoon 

Marines deploy from their APCs

Command APC deploys Company Command and Company Weapons Team

Sunday, 24 August 2014

[6mm Science Fiction] A Little More Progress

My head cold has now moved into my chest which has the lovely side effect of making me cough, especially as night draws on and the ambient temperature falls.

With little energy, I have made little progress on my 6mm Science Fiction figures, but they are beginning get there.

Marine bases flocked.
 The first Marine platoon is pretty much complete with bases flocked and tufted. I have added a comm aerial to the command stand (back right) but am still not certain if nylon bristle or fine wire is the best material.

Marine platoon with sanded bases.
 The Second Marine Platoon is now based and has its bases coated with sand.

Two Companies of New Israeli/Imperial Army.
 I've finished cleaning up the last of the GZG New Israeli infantry and mounted them on the painting trays - two Companies ready for painting.

Grav vehicle hulls based
 The hulls of three Grav Tanks and three Grav APCs were mounted on their flight rods. I need to tidy up the edge between the blue underside and the camo upside.

Grav vehicles from a different angle.
I'm quite pleased with the way the bases came out.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

[6mm Science Fiction] Some more progress

I've just had two days off work with a head cold and have managed to make a little painting progress (around bouts of lethargy and general meh).

I'm at the stage now where I have a bit of a production line going, with units at various stages of completion - in fact, the biggest hold up is waiting for things to dry so I can move on to the next stage.

Two platoons of GZG New Israelis on painting base. The platoon support squad for the right-hand platoon is on the left-hand platoon's base. The third platoon has yet to be mounted on a painting base.

Platoon of GZG UNSC Marines on squad bases

Platoon of GZG UNSC Marines on textured squad bases, awaiting flocking.

Bases for Grav Tanks and Grav APCs finished, painting the Grav vehicles undersides.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

[6mm Science Fiction] An update and a new diversion

I've managed to get a swag of 15mm Science Fiction figures completed over the last six to eight weeks, including a Ventauran Company and a Mid-tech Company. As I was expanding the Mid-tech company, I realized that of the figures I was using (A Flytrap Factory MERC pack, some Hardened Militia from Peter Pig, some Oddzial Osmy NVL from Pico Armor, and some Republic of Arden National Guard from Ground Zero Games), the Flytrap Factory MERCs and Peter Pig Militia worked the best together regarding equipment and general size of figure. The RANG troopers have more body armour and are taller. At the moment, I'm looking at splitting the RANG out as a separate force, though they are currently uniformed in similar colours to the militia and MERCs and could also serve with them as an elite unit. The Oddzial Osmy NVL fit between the extremes in both armour and size of figure, but will probably end up mixed in with the RANG.

All this painting is part of my Traveller project - painting up sufficient forces to be able to actually tabletop game some of the conflicts I have happening as part of the metastory of my Traveller campaign. And, as periodically happens, having been struck with a bit of painting ennui, I re-examined my project. I have an idea for a conflict that escalates, from either a civil disturbance or from a clash between rival colonies, into a major inter-polity war. I have copies of a variety of wargames rules with which to play out this scenario, but at the moment I'm seriously looking at Two Hour Wargames' 5150: Battalion Commander as a rules set, and 6mm as a scale in which to fight bigger battles.

I have a bunch of CAV plastic grav tanks I painted up a while ago, and which, along with some Epic Imperial Guard and Eldar Infantry, I used in a play test of the Command Horizon rules. Some of these figures will see action again as forces of the Outrim Alliance. For the Imperial side, I went to Ground Zero Games Dirtside range.

Work in progress DSM-111 Kivruzh Grav Tanks and DSM-123 Virnazh APCs from Ground Zero Games

Work in progress DSM-111 Kivruzh Grav Tanks

Work in progress DSM-123 Virnazh APCs - detail of underside of APC to left
For armour, and rides, I decided on the Kivruzh Grav tank and the Virnazh APCs. These are really nice models, with a lot of fine detail, such as the grav units on the undersides of the APCs. They are also the closest match I could find for my existing 15mm grav vehicles - the GZG High-tech Grav Light Tank and Light APC.

GZG UNSC Marines in the process of being painted up as Imperial Marines
For Imperial Marine Infantry, I picked up a pack of GZG's 6mm UNSC Marines. In spite of a couple of mis-casts, I was able to make up two Marine platoons with associated command and heavy weapons squads.

GZG New Israeli Infantry in the process of becoming Imperial Army troopers

For the Imperial Army, I picked up two packs of GZG's 6mm New Israelis to use as my Imperial Standard Tech Level-12 Infantry. This should give me four Infantry platoons, plus associated command and support weapons squads.

I had forgotten how quick 6mm figures are to paint, and how effective a couple of colours can be at this scale. I've got a few ideas as to how to make up an Aslan force, and how to recreate the Geithurian Republic Alien Legion in 6mm, so these will probably be next on my list of figures to get.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Updated my Modelling Log

Splintered Light and Eureka Miniatures Orcs

Having fallen a bit behind, I finally finished updating my Modelling Log tonight - lots of 15mm Fantasy figures from Splintered Light, Eureka Miniatures, and some from and Ral Partha Europe painted up over the last couple of months. Some of these photos you may have seen before and some, hopefully, you will not have.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

I've been Liebstered

Out of the blue, Sean of Sean's Wargaming Corner has nominated this blog for the Liebster Award! Which is rather flattering as nominating is the same as granting in this case, as there is no committee that meets to present the award.

The Liebster is a bit of Internet fun in the form of a Bloghop, where you can share links to blogs you have discovered and enjoyed. Having new readers suddenly discover your blog through the recommendation of one of your readers is always very encouraging for a blogger, especially if you are new to blogging, or your blog doesn't see a lot of traffic. The recognition of one's peers in the bloggerverse does tend to bring a sense of acceptance and accomplishment.

The conditions of the award are that a nominee must also nominate 11 other blogs, of under 200 followers, and link back to the nominating blog. I have linked to Sean's blog above, and have really enjoyed the Rally Round the King battle reports he has posted on the excellent Talomir Tales campaign blog as well.

In choosing my nominations for the Liebster, I decided that as well as having under 200 followers, I should also select blogs that had posted within the last two months. Therefore, I hereby present my 11 nominees, in no particular order. (and if I didn't nominate you, my apologies, I tried to get to those who haven't already been nominated and whom have posted recently).

Highlander Studios. Rodrick Campbell is a talented miniatures sculptor and his work is sold both through a webstore attached to his blog, as well as through such fine companies as Rebel Miniatures. It's always interesting to see what he is working on so I enjoy following his blog.

I Fly By Night. Clash Bowley designs roleplaying games. Like Rod Campbell of Highlander Studios, Clash has that wonderful ability to take an idea and bring it to life. Clash very much marches to the beat of his own drum, but I enjoy both the thought processes he describes in working on a game and its setting, as well as the game play descriptions of those fortunate enough to test his games.

Glue in the Carpet. GJD posts on both wargaming and painting. Always worth a look.

Crawdads and Dragons. Doc Grognard hasn't been posting as often as his want, but he still has his Traveller/D&D beta rules available on his blog for folks who like Traveller game mechanics, but prefer Fantasy.

Ancient Faith in the Far Future. Library Bob is a Librarian and a Traveller player/Referee. Recently, he has been casting a critical eye over the Amber Zone adventures that were a feature of the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society, back when it was an actual paper magazine. Very shrewdly, he points out both the strengths and weaknesses of each adventure, as well as exploring how he might change them to incorporate them into his Traveller campaign. Bob's insights reveal a lot about what works, and what doesn't, when approaching scenario design. Bob has had several of his own Amber Zone adventures place well in the annual Zhodani Base Amber Zone competition.

"It's Them! Blast 'Em!" Black Widow Pilot, as well as being an enthusiastic contributor on TMP, and an excellent painter, is an inspirational scratch builder. If you've ever wondered how to build space ships, landers, or tanks out of household offcasts and craft bits, check out this guy's blog.

Colony 13. Nicholas has recently started playing 5150: Fighter Command and has posted some battle reports. He also blogs about other THW games. Reading about other people's games is almost as good as playing them - almost.

Delta Vector. evilleMonkeigh is a very experienced table top gamer. His reviews of various rules sets are well worth reading in that he often succinctly encapsulates in a few short paragraphs what others take pages to write. I don't always agree with his conclusions but I have learnt about the style of game he likes from what he has written. He has also posted some excellent terrain-on-a-budget articles which are always worth reading.

Gypsy Knight Games. Gypsy Knight Games produce 3rd Party material for the Mongoose version of Traveller. While Gypsy Knight has a presence on both Facebook and G+, this is the site to follow if you want a headsup on material they are bringing out.

Jay's Miniature Enterprises. Jay is a painter and gamer and storyteller. There are at least two story threads running through his games, and I'm beginning to suspect that the threads will come together in the future. Jay is also a very nice guy and often makes positive contributions on TMP and in comments on other blogs.

John Bear Ross. You can't look far amongst 15mm Science Fiction vehicles without coming across John Bear Ross' work - particularly mecha. Most recently, his work with Critical Mass Games and Rebel Miniatures have been high lighted. John's blog is always worth a read and he often talks about the design work behind his creations as it is being released for sale.

My answers to this particular award's list of questions are:
Why did you start blogging?
To motivate myself to keep painting, and to share the fun things about my hobby. And sometimes, someone says something like, "wow, that's cool, thanks for the inspiration" and that makes it all very special.

If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
Accentuate the fun stuff - that's why we do this, to have fun.

What is best in life? Fame or fortune? 
As "Fame is but fleeting", I would have to opt for fortune - as then I could buy more shinies..

What miniatures are you most proud of having painted? 
Of the many figures I've painted, these Kaamados Dominion Draco Aganath Battlesuits are amongst those I'm most happy with.

How do you deal with burn out? 
I tend to try and do something else, and different - hence my current foray into 15mm Fantasy - though.too many projects can have its own negative effect.

Why is a raven like a writing desk? 
"Poe wrote on both" is my favourite answer, even though Lewis Carroll did state quite firmly there was no real answer for the question.

Star Wars or Star Trek? 
Star Wars - I still vividly remember the scene aboard the Millennium Falcon where Han and Luke man the turrets and fight off the Tie fighters. Star Wars, to me, is Traveller - the way I like it.

If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be? 
Most likely Ground Zero Games as I can get space ships, vehicles, aliens, droids and troops from one shop. And Jon's service is still the best.

What is your favourite takeaway?
We don't eat a lot of takeaway any more, but a steak burger and chips from an old style Fish and Chip shop is still my favourite.

Friday, 18 April 2014

[15mmFantasySkirmish] Ogres and Orcs

Khurasan Miniatures announced on TMP a planned expansion to their 15mm Fantasy range by showing off greens for an upcoming release of large Orcs. An interesting discussion ensued on the nature of Orcs which proved to me that Jon of Khurasan is a Tolkien buff and really cares about his source material.

Along the way, as you do, the conversation wandered off course and we began discussing 20mm scale, Angus McBride inspired, Orcs, originally released by Dark Hold Miniatures and sculpted by the late James Tharpe. These figures had then been produced by Rebel Minis, before ending up with Splinted Light Miniatures and rebranded as Armoured Ogres.

As it so happened, I had bought a set of these Armoured Ogres from Splintered Light recently, and had just finished painting them up. For some reason, I had originally thought that these figures were Hobgoblins - and it so happens that in this TMP thread from early April, Khurasan Miniatures announced the up-coming Mighty Hobgoblin Army, which I'm rather looking forward to - but once I realized my mistake, the Ogres' vaguely oriental style armour inspired me to paint them up in a vaguely bakemono fashion.

While I painted the chainmail black and silver, I went for a gloss black on the plates for that lacquered samurai look. As red always works with black, straps and clothes were painted various shades of red.

The second ogre from the right had a pre-quartered shield so I ended up painting it contrasting blue and yellow. The left and right ogres had skulls embossed on their shields so their shield designs were pretty straight forward. The second ogre from the left had a plain round shield with a central boss so he got a maltese cross design from a pack of Veni Vidi Vici 15mm shield transfers I bought from Spirit Games.

The second group of ogres - the second ogre from the right is actually holding his sword in an over-hand stabbing style.

These ogres all had plain shields. Greek hoplite shield designs work really well with this style of shield, particularly the hydra pattern on the second from the right ogre (looks a bit like a yellow blob from this angle).

In this group shot we have, from left to right: Splintered Light Orc, Splintered Light Ogre, Splintered Light Adventurer, and Ral Partha Europe Dwarf Veteran.

One question that was debated on the original TMP thread was whether the Ogres would work as large Orcs. This is where we move into the "vision" part of gaming.

Khurasan Jon states that he is developing a Tolkien-inspired line of fantasy figures. To this end, he is carefully following such descriptions as feature in Tolkien's various writings concerning creatures found in Middle Earth. This is why Khurasan's Orcs are crook-legged, stoop-shouldered, and less than man height. Even Saruman's Man-Orcs, as described by Tolkien, are still shorter than men, even if they can pass for men. As Jon pointed out, the James Tharpe Ogre figures are taller than man height, and walk upright.

In my opinion, the Ogre figures, while excellent, are too dissimilar in both equipment and appearance to be larger versions of "standard" orcs in a pure Tolkien-esque setting. And, if anything, these Ogres are too slight of body and lightly armed to be used as Olog-hai - the great Gorgoroth trolls that feature in the Battle of the Morannon. For Olog-hai, I would be inclined to use Khurasan's Trolls as they seem to have the heft and are armed with the massive clubs and hammers described in The Return of the King.

If we switch focus, however, to a slightly more generic Fantasy world, the Tharpe Ogres then become likely candidates for a large Goblinoid race, used by Dark Lords to stiffen Orc assault columns, or operating as apex bosses of goblin raiding bands. While your standard Fantasy Ogre tends to be rather brutish and primitive, this niche can be easily filled by various troll types. The Tharpe Ogres, with their relatively sophisticated helmets and body armour appear too advanced for the traditional ogre stereotype.

In conclusion, the Tharpe Ogres, with their Angus McBride inspired armour, are very nice figures. In a pure Tolkien-esque setting, they probably won't work as they are too tall (20mm scale), and too upright. In a more generic, Dungeons and Dragons inspired fantasy world, they would, in my opinion, make excellent large Goblinoids - either working on their own, or as apex bosses of smaller Orcs and Goblins - as, I think, their armour and equipment is too sophisticated for traditional Ogres.

Of course, this is Fantasy, and Your Mileage May Vary.

Ogres leading a band of Splintered Light Orcs. The Ogres are taller even than the Boss Orc (to right of center with the elaborate hair style).

A core unit of Ogres adds heft to an Orc warband.

A comparison between Splintered Light Ogres and various Splintered Light Orcs and Goblins.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

[15mmFantasySkirmish] Warriors of Reduced Stature

As I slowly worked my way towards drawing a line under my painting tally for March, I spotted a thread on Dwarves on TMP. Amongst the figures I had completed in March were a company of Dwarven Clan Warriors from Ral Partha Europe's Blight Haven range.

The left-most, vaguely Ostrogothic Warrior is an adventurer from Splintered Light Miniatures. He stands about 17mm from the top of his base to his eyes, so you can get an idea as to how tall the Dwarves are.

These Dwarves are equipped with chain mail or plate mail and appear rather Late Medieval or Early Renaissance, rather than the more usual short, angry Viking look that is more common for Dwarf miniatures. I like to think that this High Medieval look is due to the Dwarven smiths being ahead of the armour technology curve.

The shield designs are transfers from the Veni Vidi Vici range I acquired through Spirit Games in the UK.

The Ral Partha Blight Haven range has very nice figures and is well worth checking out.