Thursday, February 26, 2015

Haven't had much motivation to paint at night this week, so it looks like Saturday is going to have to be a marathon session if I want to get those British Regulars done by the end of the month!

I did work on a couple of terrain odds and ends. For the past few years most of the gaming I had done was focused on a "Lustria" setting from the Warhammer Fantasy background. In other words... Lots of jungle and Aztec/Inca/Mayan ruins. Some day I'll put some pics up. But at the beginning of this year I packed it all up and have been trying to build up some North American Wilderness terrain for the French & Indian War.

Some of this just involved sprucing up old pieces I already had. I bought 2 these Pegasus log cabins a while back and never painted the window frames. I've now added a bunch more to the group and painted the frames.

Some of the cabins are smaller than others... if you are buying these Pegasus kits to use with 28mm models (they are nominally 1/72) make sure to get the "Log Houses" kit instead of the "Farm Houses" kit! The farm houses are the smaller ones. My favorite one is the two-story cabin, which is sold separately. The others come in packs of 2.

Still debating whether I should base them up with some yards, or leave them as-is and do any yards from loose wall/field pieces when we set up the table.

Speaking of fields, I've had a minor obsession with corn fields this week. I finished reading "Death or Victory" and it was the first book I've read on the Quebec campaign that really described the type of terrain the Plains of Abraham consisted of. It was NOT just a big open plain!

One of the things mentioned over and over again was how the Canadians and Indians were constantly taking pot shots from the cover along the flanks of the British line. This included houses, woods, bushes, and..... you guessed it, Corn Fields!

I do not have any scale corn fields, so I set about looking for some... shopping for miniatures, books, and terrain online is my favorite hobby-within-a-hobby!

Unfortunately, it seems like the scale corn fields produced for model train layouts are ridiculously expensive - something around 30 stalks for 10 bucks. Considering that you need hundreds of stalks to make a decent field, this does not seem feasible.

I then started researching how I can scratchbuild some... but unfortunately it looks like any method of producing decently realistic looking corn stalks is extremely time consuming and labor intensive.

This is no good at all!

In the end I think I am going to have to "wing it" and just have a very abstract representation of the corn stalks, or call them generic crop fields. Below is a pic of some trial pieces of this "not corn." Hopefully it will look good once there are a few hundred of them in rows. These were easy and cheap enough to make that I can probably get to that number.

I'll definitely have to tone down the color somehow... the color on the web site did not look as garish as it does in person and in these pics!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I didn't manage to complete any miniatures this past weekend unfortunately. Spent a bunch of time working on those Conquest British Regulars, but they are quite slow to paint!

I did, however, have the pleasure of moderating my son's first ever wargame against one of his friends! It was great seeing the young 'uns getting interested in gaming. My wife is worried that I will turn my son into a gaming geek... too late, I'm afraid!

He's been interested in Mordheim and Warhammer for a couple of years now, and always wants to play. Until now I've been his only opponent, but this week marked a first as one of his buddies was interested in trying out a game.

I walked them through a "Song of Blades & Heroes" skirmish, and they loved it! The game is pretty simple so they picked it up very easily.

Now I just have to play the old bait & switch, and get them to try historical gaming too...!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I managed to get in some painting today because I took the day off from work. The kids are off from school so it's "daddy day care" around here!

The British Regulars that I primed this weekend are certainly not quick to paint. I did get most of the base coats on and started a few highlights though. I'm trying something a bit different with them after the Marines came out well; going to avoid using washes on them at all and see how it goes. I started the flesh with a darker shade than normal because of this. We'll see....

I have chosen to paint them as Otway's 35th Rgt, but I had to try out a bunch of different shades of Orange because I was getting annoyed that none of them would cover well! Even Macharius Solar Orange let me down (and I don't know any paints that cover better in one coat than the old GW Foundation paints). I went with Reaper Master Series HD Fire Orange in the end. The 35th anchored the right flank of the line at the Plains of Abraham along with the Louisburg Grenadiers so I'm sure these guys will serve me well on the battlefield!

Also, I was very excited to see that my Highlanders from North Star arrived. I have been waiting for these guys for a while. I hesitated about whether to buy them because North Star figures are generally a bit larger than true 28mm. Since I am going with Conquest for the majority of my FIW troops, I didn't want these Highlanders to look like giants. They just looked so cool though that eventually I caved in and ordered them.

Here is  comparison shot to see the size difference. From left to right it's a Conquest Regular, the Conquest Highlander Officer (promo model that came with "Last Argument of Kings"), a Eureka Highlander, and a North Star Highlander. As you can see, the Eureka is small even next to the Conquest model. He looks tiny next to the North Star one. My fears are confirmed! Oh well, they are awesome looking models though, so hopefully it won't be too noticeable once they are painted up on a table full of terrain. Maybe the Eureka guys will be the light company :)

There are not too many troop types I need to fill out my FIW collection at this point. I have French and British Regulars, Marines, Provincials, Militia, Civilians, Highlanders, Grenadiers, Indians.... The one glaring omission is Light Infantry. On the British side, the Regular Light Infantry had a distinct look and a particular role to play. I gotta get some! I'm thinking Old Glory for these.

Also, since my armies have grown to a decent size, probably going to get some artillery. Not much, but I had originally thought I'd avoid it entirely. I will probably get at least one gun for each side. Not sure which manufacturer.

I could use a few more characters / officers, and finally, I'd like to get some boats. The French & Indian War was fought along the waterways of North America, so I think it would be fitting to have a few Canoes / Bateaux / Whale Boats for certain scenarios. I have a couple of Indian Canoes but not sure how I'm going to address the others... Redoubt makes some. I'm not crazy about them but might be the only option!

Oh well, for now I should just finish these Brits! After they are done I will have more than enough troops to host some fun games of Song of Drums and Tomahawks. It will be a little longer until Muskets & Tomahawks is ready though.... hopefully by the end of this year.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I also primed some of those British troops that I put together last weekend. What an adventure.

My "go-to" priming method/product is to brush prime with Liquitex black Gesso.

As I mentioned though, I am on a constant quest to paint faster! The unfortunate side effect is that I often spend more time experimenting than if I had just painted things the "slow" way.

I was hoping to try a few spray primers on these guys, not only because Red is tough to paint over Black (although the old GW Foundation Paint "Mechrite Red" rocks!), but also because brush priming in general is a bit slow. The reason I usually do it is because I like the end result, and I almost always have to end up going back and brush priming the parts I missed when I spray anyway. Another benefit to brush priming is that you can do it inside so the weather is irrelevant, and I've had one bottle of this stuff last me for years!

But anyway, I tried a few different sprays on the British regulars, and was not crazy with the results.

White, Black, and a couple of Reds. The actual Red spray paint was the worst of the bunch. It was not flat (could only find Satin), and looked terrible.


My favorite was actually a brownish red called "Red Oxide," which was a dead flat paint/primer by Krylon.

This was what they looked like after a coat of this stuff:

At the end of the day I went with this for a bunch of troops, but then added a wash of Black Gesso with some matte medium and flow improver. It darkened it up and got into all the crevices, but still provides a better base coat for Red than pure black would be.

After all the futzing around with priming, I didn't get much painting done on them. I did test a bunch of colors to see which facing color I might like for the Orange. I've chosen to make these guys the 35th, Otway's Regiment. They were at Fort William Henry for the events depicted in "Last of the Mohicans," and of course were part of the Quebec campaign that I've been fascinated with lately.

I did finally spray coat those Marines from last week, and popped then off of their temporary bases. Here is a shot of them on one of the "woodland" unit bases I made up. I'm using the GW "War of the Ring" bases for my Muskets & Tomahawks units, even if it ends up only being for the display case.

Of course this meant that for the purposes of this shot, the Indians that had been residing there had to be relocated...

Guess it's time to make up some more of these tea bases!
So with all the "Bones" excitement this weekend, I didn't get much painting done. I did manage to take out all of the Bones models from their respective bags and ogle them for a while... but that doesn't really accomplish much!

In honor of my new Bones shipment, I did eke out one model from the last Kickstarter this week. It was a quickie paint job over the course of a couple of evenings, and ta-da!

A new Valkyrie is ready for my Norse warband for Of Gods and Mortals. I have been slowly working on some models for this game in between other things, as my son has been very interested in Greek mythology lately. Hopefully I'll be ready to get a test game in soon.

As of right now I've got Odin, a unit of Hoplites, a Greek Hero, Medusa, Harpy, and Hydra for the Greeks.

For the Norse I've got Odin, a Valkyrie, and a Storm Giant. I want to finish Fenrir, another Storm Giant, and a unit of mortal Vikings before we pit them against each other.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Reaper Bones 2 Kickstarter has arrived!

I feel that I am now vindicated from the last Kickstarter, when I received my stuff after everyone else on the planet had gotten theirs, haha.

Very exciting night last night when I saw the big box as soon as I walked in the door...

Here are some pics. The box was huge (especially in comparison to the first "Vampire" level box), but it turned out it was mostly packing material :(

The actual core box was much smaller than the first time around. Still plenty of stuff, 3 big bags of troops in there...

And here is everything laid out, including the main draw - Dragons Don't Share!

The small boxes contain new Reaper Master Series paints, and the bag is full of bases.

Couldn't help putting a few models together real quick just to see how they looked. Here are come of my add-ons...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday I actually got to do some painting...

I have been working on 8 troupes de la marine for a few weeks and decided to try something a bit different today.

My usual painting style is pretty subdued, and although I like the results I get when I look at the models up close I always think they look like muted blobs on the table or in the display case!

On top of that, I have been looking for ways to paint more quickly for quite a while. Years in fact. A long time ago I just stopped trying to get "better" and started trying to get "quicker."

So, as I stared at my little marines I figured I would try something crazy and NOT cover them with any washes or glazes. I had already finished doing my layered highlights on them, and the next step I would usually do would be a series of washes to bring everything back together. At times, I then end up highlighting again, but it depends on how things look after the wash.

But in this case, I felt, what the heck I'll just leave them and see if the highlights (which look way too drastic to me up close) can "work" at normal viewing distance.

So far I'm pretty happy with the results. I think I would have been a but more careful on certain parts of them had I planned on not doing the washes (I always think "oh well this will not be too noticeable after the wash goes on!"), but overall they are OK. One added advantage of this is that it was an entire step removed from the painting process! I can get used to this...

The one thing that I am really not liking is the flesh on the leader. I did use a wash on the flesh and the guns, and somehow he ended up much darker than the rest. I might have go back and highlight him again.

I included a couple of shots of an Indian I had painted in my normal way to compare - what do you think?

The basing scheme on my Indians and Irregulars is a made up of tea and coffee! I think it does a good job of looking like the dead leaves and detritus that would be on a forest floor. It looks better than flock for sure.

I am doing the regulars in a standard green flock with some tufts, to differentiate them.

At some point I'll post some pics of all the FIW troops so far.
Saturday was a rare treat... my wife, god bless her, took both the kids to my niece's birthday party without me. She took one for the team there. Hooray! Extra points for her, because it was my niece on MY side of the family, hehe.

This meant that I had 4 glorious hours to work on my French & Indian troops in peace and quiet. Well, not complete quiet; I did have Pearl Jam and Zeppelin going on the overhead speakers. And she had just stocked up on beer the night before. And right as I was about to get to work, a package from the Perry brothers arrived at my house. Did I mention it was a good weekend? I love it when a box shows up with the little blue "Par Avion" sticker on it... better than Santa!

So with that said, I did not get any painting done on Saturday. Why? Because the darn castings from Conquest / Warlord are atrocious! The sculpting is great but they take forever to clean up. Took me a full 4 hours to get them ready. It was 4 hours well spent though, because now I am ready to start painting up my British Regulars next weekend. I got a full regiment, 3 companies of 8 line troops and 1 company of 8 grenadiers, plus 2 officers ready to go... Nice!

I had been planning on finishing off my Compagnies Franches de la Marine this weekend, but after the past couple of game nights I realize I had better start painting some Brits to oppose the French if I am going to be hosting FIW games. Besides, looks like I am not going to the Muskets & Tomahawks tournament in March anyway, so no immediate need for me to build up my French army.

While I was in clipping/sanding/filing/basing mode, I did get a bunch ready though. So I now have 8 French grenadiers, 8 frontiersmen (to be used as "Coureurs de bois") and an additional 12 Troupes de la Marine ready to go on the paint table. The French Grenadiers are the first models in my FIW collection so far that will not be from Conquest. I think they are my favorite sculpts, but I am wondering if I should have gone with Crusader for my regulars. These French grenadiers by Crusader did not require much cleanup!

I also made up some hidden deployment markers that I can use in Muskets and Tomahawks or Song of Drums & Tomahawks.


Well as far as weekends go, this one has to go down as a good one. I got a Trifecta and was able to get some gaming in, get some painting/modeling done, and get some new toys all in one weekend... nothin' wrong with that!


Friday night started by getting together with Bill and Nino to run them through a few of the games in the "Song of Blades & Heroes" family. Of course we hadn't seen each other in a while so spent most of the time drinking and chatting but we actually did manage to get 2 games in.

We used the same setup for both:

The first game was Song of Drums & Tomahawks. I had come up with a scenario for the night but since they had never played before, we kept it simple and just had a few French Regulars go head to head with a few Indians in a pitched battle.

Nino took the French and was able to win soundly - mostly because Bill charged in his Legendary Warrior all by himself to a hail of musket fire.

Bill and I are roughly on par when it comes to tactical acumen. That is to say, we have none. Bill is however, the best painter in our gaming group so there you have it! Bill is also quite the armor modeler (hence his nickname - Panzer Bill). Check out his blog here:

Can't be good at everything though...

After this we switched it up to Fantasy and did the original Song of Blades & Heroes. We pitted a brave band of Heroes against a Marauding Chaos Warband who were intent on killing and sacrificing innocent children! The horror!

Bill actually won this one, although it was close. The Chaos band he was playing managed to capture a child, tie him up, and remove him from the table to take him and sacrifice him to their gods, while the rest of the party was fighting off the Heroes. This was worth 2 Victory Points. He also spent a turn burning down the farm, which earned him an extra VP. Nice job Bill!

The night was a solid victory for me, because I achieved by objective of getting the guys interested in this game... this was worth 100 Victory Points. Hehe. At this point Nino, Scott, Bill, and Greg are all interested in this game, which means we might have a good thing going here! I will try to suck the rest of you in at some point.

I like the "Song" games because they are pretty easy to learn and fast to play, and there are supplements for all different genres. I plan on using Flashing Steel to try out my English Civil War troops once I get some painted, and I've got a small collection of Pensinsular War troops to be used with Song of Drums & Shakos someday too... Bill just got Mutants with Death Ray Guns to paint up some small warbands of his old 40K models. Hmm.... now I have an excuse to paint up the troops from my Dark Vengeance boxed set that I got on clearance from Miniature Market, even though I had no interest in the game!!

One problem with using a mostly similar, but slightly different, ruleset for various genres became apparent during our games though. There are minor nuances between the games and it can be hard to keep them straight when you switch them up. For example, the "Forester" trait works slightly differently in SOBH than the "Woodsman" trait in SODT. Oh well, we just need to double check before we play and probably stick to one genre each game night.

On to Saturday...