Sunday, 20 January 2019

3rd Painting Challenge Entry: Reivers and a Bolshevik Banner

Now that work has resumed after the Christmas holiday, the time I have available for painting reduces quite dramatically. So this was quite a small entry - 5 Games Workshop Primaris Reivers and a Bolshevik banner bearer from Copplestone Castings.

First up are the Reivers. I got these as part of 'The Fangs of Ulfrich' box set for Kill Team, which included some terrain as well as five Reiver Marines. The box art has them done up as Space Wolves. Now, although I am a big fan of the Vlka Fenryka, I am not so keen on the powder blue 40K paint scheme, so I painted them in a sombre grey colour scheme. The armour is Vallejo Deep Sea Grey, washed with GW Nuln Oil. The shoulder pads were done in Vallejo Black Grey and the pouches were done in Vallejo Mahogany Brown, washed with GW Agraax Earthshade. For a bit of contrast, I did the right knee pad in red, the 'I' numeral marking them out as members of First Squad. Finally, the skull on the shoulder pad is inspired by the Punisher patch worn by some modern SOF soldiers, and this gave me the name for the Chapter - the Punishers Chapter.

The squad Sergeant was going to have a pistol, but whilst assembling these I watched Equalizer 2. There is a cool scene where Denzel Washington's character McCall takes out one of the bad guys with two knives and so this pose was born.

Two guys equipped with carbines - I really like the pistol fore-grip, so reminiscent of modern SOF. I also gave these guys reflex sights, suppressors and PEQ laser pointers. All of these were supplied by Anvil Industry and they are really nice, clean resin casts that are a perfect match scale-wise for the weapons.

Here you can see the reflex sight on top of the carbine and the laser pointer on the right side of the weapon.

A shot showing the suppressor

You will notice that this guy isn't wearing a helmet (clearly hard as nails!) and is missing his backpack. This is because he was attacked by the dog and so I had to replace his head - thankfully there are lots of alternative heads in the pack, but only 5 with full helmets. I will probably get a spare Primaris backpack off of Ebay at some point.

I love this pose! Pistol and big knife combo. This guy and the next only have suppressors and laser pointers added.

All of the Marines are based on GW Necromunda bases. I have never used moulded bases before, but I was looking for something that would fit the industrial aesthetic of the Kill Team terrain and boards and I must say that these look really good. They also were easy to paint, with a drybrush really bringing out the detail. 

Finally, we have a Bolshevik banner bearer to go with the Bolshevik infantry I did a couple of weeks ago. Like them, he is a Copplestone Castings figure and was very straightforward to paint. The banner comes from a site I found with flags for both Whites and Reds in the Russian Civil War - unfortunately it seems to have disappeared now. Apparently the text reads 'Freedom from White Oppression'.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

AHPC IX Bonus Round - Reconnaissance

Part of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is a series of Bonus Rounds, each of which is based on a particular theme and is worth an extra 50 points to your total if you get an entry in. Given that the theme of the Challenge this year is 'Fellowship', my aim is to enter each of the Bonus Rounds with something from the Lord of the Rings. I have quite a few of the GW LoTR figures, although not that many are painted, so hopefully this will get me cracking on cranking out a few more so that I can try out the new rules released by GW towards the end of last year.

The theme for the first Bonus Round was 'Reconnaissance', and straight away my thoughts turned to Uruk-Hai Scouts. One of my favourite scenes from the first movie was the Breaking of the Fellowship at Amon Hen and I have two boxes of the plastic Scouts, so I set out to paint as many as possible by the deadline; in the end I managed 16.

First up are 8 Scouts armed with bows.

These are joined by 8 armed with swords or swords and shields.

"Find the Halfling!"

Aerial shot of the group (plus Lurtz, painted many years ago!)

I wanted a dark look to the figures so they are finished in various browns and greys before being washed heavily in GW Nuln Oil. At some point in the future I may add some white hands to shields, faces and armour for a bit of variety and as a contrast to all the dark colours,but for now these are done and maybe I will get to finish the rest of the box by the end of the Challenge.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

New Toys for Conflict in Norway...and the Back of Beyond

The postie brought several packages of goodies today, mostly for the Conflict in Norway project, but also something very exciting for the Back of Beyond.

First up, Wonderland Models were selling this Leopard 1 and Bridgelaying tank by Revell for £13 - virtually half of what it is on sale for elsewhere, so I got two. The Leopards will be for the Norwegians and having two bridgelaying tanks means I can model one carrying the bridge and then have a deployed bridge as well. I just have to build the buggers now - why do the instructions say 'contains separate track links' as if that is a good thing!?

Image of 1/72 Leopard 1A5 & Bridgelayer Biber Model Kit
Next are a couple of diecast T-80 tanks from Jumblies Models. These were on sale for only £4.95 each so I grabbed the last two in stock. They are very similar to the EasyModel version (of which I have three) but are much weightier and have a few extra bits of detailing around the turret. These will obviously be for the invading Soviets.

Image result for atlas editions t80 diecast
Finally, my copy of 'The Miniature Adventures of Dunsterforce' arrived today from Caliver Books. This was only ordered yesterday morning, so Caliver get 10/10 for service and prompt dispatch of order! They are an absolute pleasure to do business with. The book itself is a lovely product - a glossy, 160 page A4 paperback, chock full of Back of Beyond goodness, all backed up with beautiful photos of the author's own figures. Although the 16 scenarios are written for the 'Setting The East Ablaze' ruleset, it would be very easy to use with other rules such as Contemptible Little Armies. If you are at all interested in the Back of Beyond, you have to get this book.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

2nd Painting Challenge Entry

For my second entry into the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge I embraced my inner squirrel with a trio of separate periods.

First up were 10 Bolshevik infantry in greatcoats from Copplestone Castings. I have long been intrigued by the Back of Beyond setting but have never taken the plunge, but the release of the Dunsterforce supplement for 'Setting The East Ablaze' rule set finally persuaded me to invest in some figures. So these are the first in what will hopefully grow to a decent force to take on all enemies of the Revolution, whether they be reactionary Whites or Imperialist British.

Next up is a squad of Space Marines from the Thousand Sons Legion. I have been a big fan of the Horus Heresy and WH30K setting since the days of Epic Space Marine, so, when GW released boxed sets for 30K, I snapped them up, and have finally got around to putting some paint on. Until more join their ranks, they will form the basis of a Thousand Sons force for Kill Team.

Finally, there are the first two members of Seal Team Bravo (possibly connected to a TV series!) I was going to do the whole team in one sitting but doing all that Multicam camo was too much to face. Hopefully their team-mates won't be too far behind. Both are from Spectre Miniatures and are absolutely outstanding sculpts, full of detail and character. First up is Bravo Seven (from Spectre's Task Force Operators line), a scout with a suppressed MP7:

He is backed up by Bravo 2, a DM armed with a suppressed SCAR-H rifle. He is from Spectre's US Rangers line and the suppressor was an addition made out of 3mm brass rod:

The camo pattern was painted following the guide on Spectre's website and I am quite chuffed with how it has turned out. Now back to the painting table as I am trying to complete my entry for the weekend's Theme Round - Reconnaissance.

Resources for Conflict in Norway

Although I was quite taken with the idea of gaming a modern conflict in Norway, my knowledge of the period was sketchy to say the least. However, thanks to the wonders of the WWW, I was able to quickly start boning up on the forces Norway and her NATO allies would have put in the way of the Red hordes. In the process I came across some really helpful resources.

First off, was a book called 'Red Star, White Lights' by Jason Weiser. It is available as a PDF download at WargameVault and is a pack of 11 scenarios set in Norway, Sweden and Finland against the Russians during the Cold War - perfect! 

The scenarios themselves will be very familiar to anyone who has played Ambush Alley/Force on Force, but are easily adaptable to alternative rulesets (of which more in a moment). They cover conventional main-force clashes, raids on LoC troops, beach landings and SOF operations, as well as ones including Norwegian Home Guard defenders, which I am very keen to try out. 

It also includes some suggestions for special rules to reflect the particular challenges presented by the harsh Arctic environment and sample platoon ORBATS for the armies most likely to find themselves slugging it out in the snow - British, Norwegians, Soviets, but also Finns and Swedes. For someone like me just starting out in this 'period', this is absolutely invaluable information.  Finally, there are suggestions for relevant miniature ranges in 15 & 20mm, and a bibliography for further reading. Thoroughly recommended.

I also came across two excellent blogs. Cold War Gamer has masses of info on the Cold War period, covering ORBATs. modelling, tactics, reviews and more, all nicely illustrated with plenty of eye candy! Cold War Hot Hot Hot is a bit more focused on the models but as a super added bonus Richard has come up with a Cold War version of the Battlegroup WW2 rules by Ironfist. I am a big fan of these rules and so finding this Cold War version was just fantastic. The Cold War version sticks closely to the core BG mechanics and I am looking forward to using them once I have enough troops painted up. Richard has several AARs posted on his blog to illustrate the rules in action. In addition, he has done a host of Army Lists to go with the rules, including Norwegian, Royal Marines and Soviet Arctic Infantry; basically, all the information I could possibly want! These two sites are essential visits if you are at all into Cold War gaming and I am finding them both invaluable as I start out and massively interesting.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The Best Laid Plans and First Painting Challenge Entry

Having set myself a target of 1000 points worth of painted figures by the end of the Challenge in March, I needed to try and plan out what I intend to do. But I also entered into the 'Squirrel' side duel, the aim being to paint up at least 25 points worth for as many different periods as possible. True to form, no sooner had I started to flesh out what to start painting, then I got distracted by a new project!

The genesis was coming across the Norwegian series 'Occupied'. The premise is that Norway decides to cease all oil and gas production due to environmental concerns, but this sparks off an energy crisis. The fossil-fuel hungry economies of the EU are less than happy and connive with Russia, who occupies Norway 'temporarily' in order to get oil and gas production going again. Although primarily a political/police drama, the background setting got me thinking about a 'what-if' Cold War-ish campaign.

Image result for occupied drama

Norwegian TV drama 'Occupied'

So the basic background is that Russia has invaded Norway for a variety of reasons - to distract from domestic political upheaval, to increase security for its ISBN fleet bases, to control of the sea routes opened up by Arctic ice melting, get control over Norwegian oil and gas resources, and gain easier access to the North Atlantic for its Navy. In theory, this should provoke NATO into enacting Article 5 (an attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on all), but in my setting North American isolationism and dismay at the thought of nuclear escalation and MAD leads to political efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution and only limited help is sent to Norway from Britain, the Netherlands and a rogue USMC MEU. This is all set in the early 1990s, allowing me to use a real mix of older and more recent kit i.e. buy more toys!

I mostly game at platoon level in 20mm, so aim to start by building a platoon of Royal Marines and Soviet VDV. This will then expand to include Norwegian regulars and Home Guard, Soviet Motor Rifle infantry and Dutch and US Marines. This led to my first entry for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - a Challenger I tank and the first section for my British.

Revell 1/72nd Challenger I

As far as I am aware, the Challenger was never sent to Norway. My justification is that the armies that were slated to send forces to Norway in the event of an invasion stored large amounts of equipment in Norway in advance. So this tank  is one that had been mothballed to Norway, 'just in case', as Challenger II started to replace it in the BAOR.

I wanted the tank to look as if it has been in the field a while and this was also an excuse to try out weathering pigments (Dark Earth from AK) for the first time. I am reasonably happy with the outcome, but like with everything I am sure practice will help improve matters. The snow in the running gear and across the front of the vehicle is a GW product (Valhallan Blizzard I think) and very good it is too, much better than the old snow flock. The commander figure is from Liberation Miniatures. I will probably add some stowage at some point but for now I am calling this done.

Liberation Miniatures 1990s British Infantry
(apologies for the abysmal lighting in the pics!)

My Royal Marines are actually all British Infantry in BACR (Body Armour Chest Rig) figures by Liberation Miniatures, from their 1990s range. As such they are equipped with SA80 and LSW, although I will be adding GPMGs and Carl Gustav MAWs as well, as after I painted these I discovered that Royal Marine sections are larger than the 8-man army ones. I like these as all of them are moulded wearing hooded jackets which can be painted in DPM camo or as a snow over-suit. I based the half and half clothing on images of Royal Marines on exercise in Norway, but obviously had them in earlier DPM camo rather than the more recent Multicam:

Liberation Miniatures are not as finely sculpted as Elheim or Underfire, but these are no shapeless blobs of metal. The casts are clean, requiring virtually no clean up and the figures themselves are characterful and you can clearly see what they are meant to be representing. The range is HUGE, constantly expanding, very affordable and service from Rolf (especially considering he is a one man band) has always been great (even if his website is archaic!). I really like these miniatures and they form the overwhelming bulk of my existing 20mm Modern collection; I will definitely be ordering more for this project and thoroughly recommend anyone into 20mm Moderns to check out the range.

I have the rest of this platoon and another Challenger to finish off and I have just ordered some Leopards from Wonderland Models for the Norwegians. Now, all I have to do is avoid getting distracted...

Sunday, 9 December 2018

And So It Begins...

I have been an admiring observer of the AHPC over the years but have never previously been brave enough to jump in and participate. However, this year's theme of 'Fellowship' was too tempting too resist and so I fired off and email to the organiser, Curt, and was duly enrolled. As well as being a bit of fun, I hope it will help me reduce (slightly!) the lead mountain and finish off a few languishing projects. I have set myself an ambitious target of 1000 points and this blog is going to record my efforts in reaching that goal. The rules of the Challenge allow you to prep, base and prime before the start date of 21st December, so I'm off to get a few figures ready for the off.

3rd Painting Challenge Entry: Reivers and a Bolshevik Banner

Now that work has resumed after the Christmas holiday, the time I have available for painting reduces quite dramatically. So this was qui...