Saturday, 29 November 2008

A Mixed Bag

This past week or so has been a real mixture of gaming stuff ... I've mostly been doing boring prep work for my EIR and Celts. I wanted to paint some Legionaries but found that I had none ready - not even trimmed up! So I set to and had a couple of big sessions of cleaning, trimming, etc. By the way - does anyone else wash their metal minis after trimming them? The Black Tree figures I have definitely benefit from a good wash and scrub with an old toothbrush.

I've also been basing up some figures and just generally having a bit of sort out of my gaming 'stuff'. Living in a very small 3 bed rental means I have to be much tidier with my toys than I would usually be - oh well. Only this morning I was looking longingly at the pics in the WAB rulebook of the Perry's gaming room. It's been many years since I had my own games room.

Warlord Games
Really impressed with these splendid fellows! I took advantage of their recent special offer to get some freebies by ordering a Celt army ... 3 boxes of Britons, a box of cavalry, a box of chariots, some characters, etc, plus a free box of Romans. The order arrived in less than a week! Opened the box only to find that my free box of Romans was missing, so I got straight on the 'old dog and bone'. They were jolly helpful and a few days later the missing Romans arrived. However, some days later I checked order more thoroughly and found some bits missing from the chariot set. Again I phoned and again the bits were sent promptly - this time with a few extra bits. Brilliant!

Friday, 21 November 2008

More Dipping

My daughters, aged 6 and nearly 8, were keen to try painting some models. So here's a Roman and a Celt painted by them - all their own work too. Although I applied the dip. Good aren't they!?

EIR and Celt
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The shield is a bit dull because I forgot that LBMS transfers need a white undercoat. However, I'm delighted with the results and, more importantly, so are they. The concentration as they painted was intense. What's even better is that they're keen to paint some more! Maybe I will get my army painted after all ;o)


Thursday, 20 November 2008

Oh Warlord!

Warlord have just released news of their next big plastic range for next year ... English Civil War ... oh dear. They look fabulous too. Then I watched a spiffing drama on C4 last night set during the civil war ... "The Devil's Whore". Lots of action both on and off the field ... more oh dear!

ECW has always intrigued me, both from a historical and wargaming perspective, but never quite enough to get me buying rules or miniatures. I've heard that a lot of gamers think Warhammer ECW is less than ideal, so perhaps Rick Priestley's 1644 might prove more suitable. I don't know really.

Of course, all this is getting rather ahead of myself isn't it? I've already got a very full wargaming agenda. So much so, in fact, that I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll probably never get around to gaming WW1. I have just 4 painted and 12 unpainted figures, no suitable scenery and - er - no opponents. The investment in funds, figures, scenery and time just make it a non-starter. Also, I have a veritable mountain of ancients figures to get painted - that will keep me painting for ages. Not to mention the eagerly awaited arrival of Victrix's placky Naps ... ! Don't mention Warlord's forthcoming "Blackpowder" rules either - or I'll burst!!!

Yet ... I still can't quite dismiss the idea that one day I'll start collecting ECW. Perhaps I should get around to joining the Mid-Somerset Wargaming Club and see what they like. Maybe that would give me a better sense of direction? Or maybe I'd just end up being more distracted.

One thing I'm determined to do (now that I'm a 'proper' historical wargamer) is to avoid the mistake I made when first getting in Warhammer Fantasy back in the 80's. That is, collecting a unit or two of one army, then a unit or two of another, and thus ending up with a rather motley collection of mostly unpainted figures that were rather less than an army. Don't laugh! Battles back in those days often had more scenic items on the table than painted figures.

So my motto has become ... Must Stay Focused!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The BEF are here!

Here's a few pics of my recently completed Late War British. All figures are Great War Miniatures painted in my 3-colour Foundry style paint scheme.

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An NCO and 3 privates

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NCO and private.

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Rear view

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Steady lads!

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Wait for it!

I've really enjoyed painting these fellows! It has made a nice change from Romans and Celts plus I've been able to use a rather different colour palette which proved quite a challenge at first.

All of the figures were painted from a black undercoat. For the uniforms two had a base coat of Foundry Drab Shade, the other two had GW Charadon Granite, highlighted with Drab Mid and Khemri brown respectively. The webbing is GW Kommando Kahki with GW Bleached Bone highlights. One of the figures has a leather 'surcoat' which I painted GW Vermin Brown, with GW Vermin Brown and Desert Yellow mix highlights. The puttees were the same as the uniform colour with a little extra mid-shade to give better highlights.

My recent visit to the battle fields of the Somme (full report to follow soon) has given these figures a particularly special meaning. So on the 90th anniversary of the guns falling silent ... please wear your poppy with pride.

Lest we forget.

Warlord Celts

I've been thinking about dipping figures for ages, so I thought that I really ought to purchase a tin of the stuff and give it a whirl ... here's the results ... hope you like 'em ... 'cause I do!

Dipped Warlord Celts
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Four Warlord Games Celts, replete with LBMS shield transfers, based in my usual style.

Dipped Warlord Celts
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From the right.

Dipped Warlord Celts
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Another view.

These chaps have been something of an experiment to say the least. This is my first attempt at 'dipping' and the results are quite satisfying. Here's the recipe ...

White undercoat. Then, base coat of colours - for the green and the red/brown I diluted the paint quite a bit to see if I could achieve some extra shading for free - it's worked well with the green (GW Camo Green), but less so for the red/brown. All of the colours are single coats, even the GW Chainmail for the weapons and armour. I decided that since 'dipping' is meant to be the quick way to paint figures then I should aim for optimum speed. Each figure took about 20 mins at most. Then the dip was brushed on - since this is supposed to be more economical. The dip made them look awful and far too shiny - but I had read that this would be the case and waited until applying the matt varnish before deciding whether to throw away the fiures!?

The varnish (Testors Dulcote - banned in the EU? - but other similar products are available) works wonders and I was really pleased with my efforts - especially since they were painted so quickly.

The addition of the shield transfers, plus basing them properly, made a tremendous difference. However, I have already thought of a few ways to improve things, without too much effort.

First, armour and weapons should be painted black and dry-drushed with chainmail. This will give a much better result. Second - the skin (Foundry Base Sand Highlight for these figures) would look even better with a simple highlight. I had to use the Foundry Sand colour as I have no GW flesh tones, only Foundry paints. Finally - other colours might also benefit from some very quick highlighting.

I avoided any Celtic woven patterns or tatoos as I wanted to see what the basic dipping effect would look like. Clearly, it's not as good as applying the full 3-colour technique but it's so much faster! The en-masse effect of 100-200 Celts painted in this style will outweigh the individual painting style and give a great looking army.

If you've never tried dipping then I'd heartily reccomend giving it a whirl ... you won't win any prizes but you will almost certainly end up with a decent looking army. If you love painting figures then it will be great for those groups of figures that you just want to get painted up quickly so you can play, whilst if you'd prefer to avoid painting (and do not wish to sell organs to pay for a painting service) and get on with gaming then dipping is the way to go.