Monday, October 9, 2017

SAGA Rus Princes & October Update

Wow, it's October already.  Where has this year gone?  I certainly haven't updated this blog as often as I intended too, and I certainly haven't finished off as many projects as I had hoped to so far this year.  I have a couple of months left to try to correct that and build momentum going into 2018, so here's hoping I can do that.

On the positive side, I just finished basing a new force for SAGA.  It is a Rus Princes army made up entirely of 28mm metal Gripping Beast models.  The figures were painted to a very high level by Andy K, an associate that I met via the internet.  He does great work and my pictures really don't do the figures justice.  The good news is that they fought to a bloody draw in their first game and got the win in their second game, so their tabletop career is off to a great start!  Shield transfers and banner by Little Big Men Studios.  Spears are brass wire that I made.  The army consists of a mounted Warlord, 4 units of mounted 4 Druzhina hearthguard, a unit of 8 City spearmen warriors, and 12 militia levy archers.
 More Druzhina
 The Last of the Druzhina
 Another angle on the Druzhina
 Levy Archers
 Warrior Spearmen
I have also had quite a bit of time taken up by acquiring a bunch of stuff for 40k...I started with Space Marines which I reconfigured after I had already acquired everything I thought I wanted, and have since acquired a sizable Eldar force and a tank centered Imperial Guard force. I really like the game and am glad I have gotten back into it. 
I almost purged the Kings of War Ogres that I had been working on...they are great models but I have grown sick of painting all of the straps and buckles on them, so much so that I just can't face painting anymore of them.  While taking pictures of them to sell I realized I actually had a valid army with what I had painted, so instead I am just getting rid of the partially painted figures.  I'm going to base up the army and look forward to getting it done.
I have several other irons in the fire when it comes to projects and hope to make some decisions on 2018 soon..until then, happy gaming!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 2017 Update

Wow...June 11th already...where has the first half of 2017 gone?  Part of me feels like I haven't accomplished much this year, but then I look at the number of games I have gotten in along with the time I have invested and the progress I have made on various projects and I may not be doing so bad after all.

One big thing I have been struggling with this year is Version 4 of Flames of War.  When this was first announced I was concerned that the change in the rules would put me off, but once I read through the rules and the freebie EW/LW conversion books and played a few games, the rules are actually good.  I like a lot of the changes (Recon got hosed a bit IMO, but I guess I can live with that) and the game flows well.  The issue I have with V4 is their army list model.  Battlefront has embraced the product model they first deployed with Team Yankee which is fine for new players (like I was with Team Yankee), but for players with large existing collections it stinks IMO.  The Afrika Korps and Desert Rats books contain only a portion of what the German and British lists in V3's North Africa book had, then they release cards with additional content that could have been in each for your $50 you get part of what was in North Africa for 2 of the 4 nationalities.  This is a step backward in army list options AND existing players are being nickle and dimed.  That said, the answer for me is to play the V4 rules for all periods using the V3 army list books; the games are fine and though some points may not be properly aligned to the V4 changes, it is all relative in friendly games.  Unfortunately I think Flames of War will be seeing a bit less table time in the near future as the local players figure out what is going to happen.

All is not doom and gloom though.  As Battlefront turns off some players, it appears that GW is pulling others like me back in.  I haven't played 40k since 5th edition and the failure that was 6th edition at which time I got rid of my armies.  I also haven't played Necromunda in years.  That is all changing.  GW has done a better job of marketing their product and showing the changes in the upcoming 8th edition IMO; so much so that I picked up the Shadow War rules, have some 8th edition stuff on pre-order, and started collecting Space Marine and Genestealer Cult forces.   I really like the 30k models from the Prospero and Calth sets, and got the Overkill box as a start on the core GSC force.  Now I just have to assemble and get painting (along with acquiring more stuff of course...).  I also got in a game of CAV: Strike Operations which I really liked.  Unfortunately I traded off my stuff from the first Kickstarter because I thought the game was never going to get off the ground locally, so I will have to reacquire some figures to play that game.

I have also been laboring on painting an Ogre army for Kings of War. I like how the army plays on the table, and I like how it is turning out painting-wise, but painting them has turned into a chore.  THERE ARE JUST WAY TOO MANY STRAPS AND BELTS ON THESE THINGS!!!!!!!  I have come to loathe painting all of the belts and straps and am forcing myself to paint them and not just blow through with a quick paint job.  I also got my stuff from the Shield Maiden Kickstarter that Shieldwolf Miniatures ( and these are amazing.  They will be the next fantasy army that I work on and I hope I enjoy painting them more than the Ogres.  Shieldwolf is going to run another Kickstarter later this summer which will include more heavily armored maidens along with Sci-fi options (think plastic Sisters!).

The rest of the year I will be focused on finishing the Ogres and getting a viable Space Marine force assembled and painted.  If I can do that and finish up a couple of other odds and ends, I will be happy.  Now, here are some pictures of what I have been focused on:
The start of my Space Marines
 Closer shot of the Beserker Braves and some Boomers
 Some characters, Boomers and Siege Breakers
 A couple of GW Mournfangs and some Fleabag riders used as Chariots
 Boom Wagon!
 Mirliton Mammoth with Shooters; Mahout and crew are not permanently attached - this will allow me to use the Mammoth with other riders for other armies
 Resin markers for Shadow War that a friend made and I painted up.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

15mm Cemetaries

Here are a couple of 15mm Cemetaries I just finished up.  They are from Monday Night Productions.  The price was good and they shipped quickly.  The only assembly required was on the arch on the ruined piece which had to be glued on.  The ruined piece will go with my rubbled 15mm city, and the intact piece will make it's debut today at Shifting Sands.  I will post a recap of Sands later this week when I have a chance.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Team Yankee - 15mm West Germans Completed

I recently completed the last of my 15mm West Germans for Team Yankee.  This included 2 more Gepards and 1 Leopard 1 that were painted to match the ones I previously posted.  It also included two platoons of infantry, so I won't have to proxy using my WWII models any longer.  These are Battlefront figures and painted up nicely.  Here they are with the company commander:
 I also painted up 6 stands of Fliegerfausts.  These are a nice, cheap anti-air addition for the force:
Next up are 4 Tornado strike aircraft.  These are actually 1/144 scale models from Dragon that came 2 in a box that is marketed as "Tornado ECR Lechfeld Tigers".  These come with all of the kit to do an electronic combat/recon version of the Tornado, but luckily for me they also come with the ground-attack munitions dispensers.  I simply built them to be gaming pieces, and left off all of the buzzers & whistles...the wings are glued in place for example, and I simply painted the glass for the cockpit instead of modeling with the pilot.  I purchased Litko flight stands and with those, these 4 aircraft cost me about 40% of what it would have cost me to get 4 of the Battlefront ones.
 Next up is one of my objectives.  This is a Battlefront M577 from the Viet Nam range that I painted as West German and put a West German crewman and a couple of infantry figures with.  The West Germans did use these as command vehicles.
And my second objective is a crashed Huey, also from the Battlefront Viet Nam range.  Painted up nicely IMO.
My West German force makes it's prime time debut next weekend at "Shifting Sands 2017".  It looks like there will be 20 to 24 players split between NATO and Warsaw Pact.  I will try to remember to take, and post pictures of the event...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back, Looking Ahead - 2016/2017 Edition

As I sit down to do my annual review of the state of my gaming hobby, I can only wonder where 2016 has gone so quickly.  Seems like it was just the summer and now 2017 is tomorrow.  That's life I guess...time flies when you are having fun so they say.

On the plus side for 2016 I actually had more painting time this year than last, though my production wasn't as good.  I chalk that up to all of the 15mm WW2 Soviet tanks and Team Yankee West German vehicles that needed cleaning and assembly.  The West Germans had a lot of plastics which I never really worked with so that took a bit of extra time for me to figure out how to best assemble them.  I am pleased that I finished the Soviet armor and Team Yankee Germans (still have to finish basing the infantry, but I'll get that done in the next few days...and update at that time..they will be done for Shifting Sands!).  It is always good to have something "complete".

I enter 2017 with a few things on my "to do" list:  a 28mm Mantic Ogre army which I have all assembled and primed, some 15mm terrain additions for my Team Yankee table, and to finish up a couple of 10mm ancients armies so I can begin using them.  The terrain additions will be done in a week or so.  The Ogres in a couple of months hopefully.  I will work on the 10mm ancients in between doing other things, plus I want to work on putting together a multi-player set of rules to use them.  There are a lot of good rules out there, and I know that no rules are perfect as we all have our own biases, but it always seems that a good multi-player set is the hardest thing to come by.  We'll see what happens with that effort...worst case, I stick with other rules, warts and all.

After those 3 things, I have plenty of other projects to chose from:  28mm WW2 Japanese SNLF, 28mm WW2 British, 15mm Flames of War Japanese, a 6 point SAGA Rus Princes force, 15mm Poles and Transylvanians for By Fire and Sword, more 10mm ancients, and some other 28mm Fantasy forces.  We'll just see what I'm in the mood to do.  I know I'll finish up a few of these projects in 2017, I'm just not sure which ones will call to me to be worked on at this point.

I thought I played more games in 2016 than I actually did; it turns out that I played a wider range of games in 2016 than I did in 2015, but the total number of games was less.  This is something I hope to improve upon in 2017.  As for what I'll play in 2017, Team Yankee is a definite, as will be Kings of War and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Mummy's Mask...I already have games lined up for these in January.  After that we'll see.

I hope to get in more WW2 gaming and ancients gaming in 2017.  All of the buzz recently has been about Version 4 of Flames of War and what impact the major rules overall will have on game play.  I'm taking a wait and see attitude at this point because there is just a lot of speculation and rumor and assumption going on at this point; I will pass judgement once I have the new rules, read them, and a couple of games under my belt.  Just in case they don't catch on with the guys I game with, I am prepared to stick to V3 or look into other games.   I am especially concerned about what will happen to WWI, the Pacific and Arab-Israeli as I have 2 armies for 2 of those periods and have invested in a Japanese army...yet Battlefront  has only said what they have planned for Early War and Late War, but have remained silent about these 3 periods.  I'd like to get in some more Bolt Action games too; I have the 2nd edition rules, but haven't read or played them yet...I hope to in 2017.

As for new projects in 2017...I'm not sure at this point either.  The only thing on my radar at the moment will likely be a Warsaw Pact force for Team Yankee.  I'm not sure if I'll do Soviets or use the upcoming East German book as a basis for a Polish force.  With Plastic Soldier Company announcing plastic T55s (5 for just over $30), that becomes a viable option as 5 Battlefront resin T55s is over $70.  Other than that I will just likely acquire some bits and pieces for the Kings of War fantasy armies I'd like to do...but knowing me, there will likely be at least one project I jump into that I currently have no plans for.

So to sum it up, 2016 was a pretty good year...I wish I could have gotten in more game, but that, along with completing a couple of more projects, is something to tackle in 2017.

Happy New Year!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Team Yankee - 15mm West Germans

When Team Yankee first came out I told myself that I wouldn't get into it because I already had so many armies for WWII plus two for WWI and two for Arab-Israeli (Fate of a Nation), then Battlefront released the West Germans and I caved!  The models looked great I had to commit.  Tomorrow one of the locals is putting on a small tournament which will be my first solo games...going to get destroyed probably, but I have to start learning somewhere!  Unfortunately I procrastinated working on this army for a while, so I haven't completed the infantry...I'll be using just armor.  I will post an update when I finish the infantry.  What I have completed are:  6x Leopard 1's, 6x Leopard 2's, 7x Marder, 4x Luchs, 2x Gepard, 2x Roland, 4x PAH helos, and 3x Jaguars.  I did the Jaguars as a bit of a hybrid since they come with both the HOT and TOW missiles...I may invest in 3 more hulls in the future, but let's see how they play first.  I may also add some air or mortars in the future...I just can see having artillery or rockets on the table as it goes against reality.  So here's what I've completed:
 Leopard 1's
 Leopard 2's
 Jaguar 1's
 Jaguar 2's
 PAH AT Helos
 Another view of the Helos

Next up will be the West German infantry and then some fantasy stuff for Kings of War!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

15mm World War 2 Soviet Armor

I have finally completed a large lot of 15mm Battlefront Soviet armor for the Early War period.  I purchased these a few years ago and finally got them completed.  It feels good to get them done and not have any more WW2 Soviets to paint up.  These will be used for Flames of War. I used "Yankee Green" from Battlefront as the base coat and then after detailing I did a wash with Army Painter Dark Tone and Minwax which did a good job of darkening the overall look.  Finally, after putting on a few decals, I dry-brushed them with a light cinnamon brown to give them a dirty/in the field look.  I think they came out pretty nicely. 
Here is the Battalion Commander in a T26 1939:
 Here are 6 Kh-130 flame tanks.  These are an option from the T26 1933 box.
 Next up are 5 early period KV1s.
 And here are 4 T28s; these are probably my favorite early period Soviet tank.
 One company of 7 T26 1939's.
 A company of 9 T26 1933's.
 And the last company with 8 T26 1939's.

After finishing that project I find myself actually in the mood to paint more tanks.  I was on the fence when "Team Yankee" came out; I wasn't sure if I wanted to start yet another period mostly since I already do WW1, WW2 and Arab-Israeli using the Flames of War system.  When the West German models were previewed, my resistance crumbled.  Here is my next painting project.  I plan on using this in Shifting Sands 2017 in January, so I better get moving...

Oh, and if assembly and painting of the West Germans goes well over the next month or so, I hope to complete this box of Mantic Ogres for Kings of War by the end of the year...wish me luck!