Monday, August 29, 2011
Well, I had hoped to get another post in again last week, but it wasn't to be. Following my last post the East Coast of the US felt the tremors of a 5.8 earthquake (centered near the GF9 office in VA) and the wrath of a Category 3-2-1 Hurricane (Irene). While the first event didn't impact my vacation at all (although I did feel it all the way on the Outer Banks of North Carolina), the second certainly did. It was quite the constant topic of conversation, and as it seemed to be growing in strength and proximity, NC was put on a State of Emergency, and we were under mandatory evacuation orders. This meant we had to leave our relaxing paradise a day early and try to prepare as best we could once back in Baltimore for the storm's arrival there.
There has been quite a lot of chatter about whether or not media outlets like The Weather Channel overhyped the dangers posed by the storm. Personally I felt like they pushed it a bit too far, but what else have you got to work with when you're a 24/7 weather channel?
Regardless of the actual severity in my local area (only one tree downed, no power outages) I know that a lot of my friends suffered various levels of deprivation (some are still without power after two days) and that the only road to our idyllic vacation location was cut completely (washed away), so regardless of the "hype" the storm has had a considerable impact all along the Atlantic coast.
Of course, all that time inside waiting for a tropical storm means quite a lot of painting. These shots are overalls of my three platoons of Panzergrenadiers. I went back to the first platoon you saw and repainted much of the webbing black, following the advice of John from Santa Cruz Warhammer (who buys and sells WW2 kit for a living). I then painted up my second platoon, all with the M40 uniform pants, which were the German Fieldgrey rather than the standard grey I used for most of my first platoon.
For my third platoon I assembled them from a donation gratefully received from my mate Brien. Even at 15mm I could tell these guys were a little different. The pants on some of the models were a little puffier, the boots shorter, and they had quite a bit more webbing. I'm assuming these are Mid-Late War troops, and I painted them to match my second platoon as best I could. Now that I have three platoons painted (the most I'll need for any one game) I figure that when it comes to building actual lists I can field the 1st and 2nd platoons first in my Early War lists, and the 2nd and 3rd platoons first in my Mid-Late War lists. At a push I could field all three in any period (which was always the plan).
To match with my "slightly different" troops from 3rd platoon, I figured I'd paint up the four Steyr Kfz 70 trucks that were a gift from my mate Rob. It seems these trucks were a later introduction to the war effort, meaning it was appropriate for my 1st and 2nd platoons to ride in the Krupp Kfz 70 trucks that saw service throughout the war. Again, at a push I'm sure not many folks would mind me using all the trucks together regardless of period. In addition I painted four Kfz 15 field cars for the command teams, although only three are needed at the moment.
As part of my final platoon I used one of the signposts from the plastic bases sprue to add a little bit of extra character. You can see here I've opted for the signpost that would never really exist, but it shows the potential targets for my army, it can be posted anywhere in Europe between France and Russia, that should be flexible enough ; )
Next time around I hope to have the Company HQ underway (if not completed) along with some photos of actual kit from John.
PS. You may also have noticed some activity in my "Hobby" tracker. I decided that if each of these 15mm guys was to count as a model, I couldn't leave it as it was. Back when I painted up the tanks for the Heroes of Armageddon project, I awarded myself "10 models painted" for each tank. I went back and removed all those extra points (counting each tank as a single model), then added back in a point for each FOW model painted (one for infantry, one for trucks, one for tanks etc). I feel much more karmically in balance now.
Monday, August 22, 2011
In my now traditional "blogging from the beach" post, I thought I'd start to get you caught up on some of the Tanith units I'm currently working on. These are part of a long-term, slow-burn commission. You can check out my other posts on the commission by clicking on the Tanith tag in my long list of tags on the right.
As I think I've mentioned before, the intent of this army is to create a "best of" army that will eventually include all the major and almost all of the minor Ghosts characters. They're being put on sandy/high desert bases reminiscent of the long march up to Hinzerhaus (from Only In Death).
Above are Meryn's squad. Meryn is the sergeant up front right, with the Maximini commando head, the camo cloak, and tube charges. To his left is Dalin Criid, acting as his vox-trooper (also sporting the beret that his "father" Caffran is/was famous for. Behind them are a mix of Tanith, Verghast, and Belladon troopers. Quite a few of them have their cloaks folded and draped over their backpacks (many of which are from Secret Weapon).
This is Domor's squad. Sergeant Domor was injured in an early encounter in the life of the regiment, and has since sported bulky augmetic eyes that look a lot like an animal native to Tanith. The Ghosts have since called him Shoggy (the animal he now looks like). Above he also wears his camo cloak unfurled, something that'll become a bit of an indicator you are looking at a sergeant (or officer). On the other end of the front rank is Rhenn Merrt. Wounded by Eldar on Monthax, Merrt's clumsy augmetic jaw has been his defining feature. It has caused no end of problems, including the loss of his marksman lanyard. (Spoiler alert: he may be getting that back in Salvation's Reach).
And finally, here are a few details of the four named characters from this batch. From left to right: 'Shoggy' Domor, Meryn, Merrt (with his famed 0E4TH punishment lasgun), and Dalin Criid.
There may be one more post this week, or I might be too busy relaxing with my family on the beach or poolside. I love the last week of August!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Time to knock out another quick, lunchtime post about my Germans.
Last night I painted up some examples of how I'm going about painting my Early/Mid/Late War Germans for Flames Of War. In my last post some folks were interested enough in my approach to basing to ask me for more info. Ask and you shall receive...mostly.
Above you can see the three and a bit stages I'm going through to paint up the plastic rubble bases (from Battlefront). These bases are quite cool, in that there's already a lot of detail on them that takes drybrushing well, but not so much stuff that they're threatening to detract from the miniatures. The "multi-hue" approach is something I learned from friends John Shaffer and Jason Buyaki. I typically use it a lot for terrain building, but not so much for mini basing (until now that is).
Step A: Paint the base with Vallejo Charred Brown (similar to GW Scorched Brown).
Step B: Drybrush Vallejo Dark Grey (similar, but a but darker than GW Adeptus Battlegrey). Pick out the things you want to be "red brick" with Vallejo Red Leather (no GW analog) and dust a bit of the Red Leather around the edges.
Step C: I threw in a base that is entirely drybrushed with Red Leather, obviously in the middle of a town square as there is no building debris (although I may bring some in when I put the modes on).
Step D: Finally, put down a light drybrush of Vallejo Pale Sand (also no GW analog).
By varying the colors as you build up the basing, you can add a lot more depth than you would usually get by doing the old "brown, light brown, lighter brown" progression. The light dusting of the Pale Sand at the end helps tie the colors together.
After this I'll be gluing in the finished figs, filling gaps with putty, gluing down some GF9 Super-fine Grit, painting it appropriately, then adding some very small tufts of Silfor Late Summer Buffalo Grass, just like in the pic below. Easy.
While I was at it I figured I'd show you how I'm painting up my infantry. As you can see, most of the guys are being glued to "popsicle/paddle pop/iced lolly/craft" sticks to increase the assembly line speed.
Step A: All the basecoats are applied. All colors are Vallejo unless specified.
• Tunic and pants - German Fieldgrey WWII
• Helmet - German Cam. Dark Green
• Rifle stocks and tool handles - Beige Brown
• Bread bag - Flat Earth
• Pouches and straps - Leather Belt
• Rifle barrel - Gunmetal
• Flesh - Tan
Step B: The entire model is given a wash with a mix of GW Devlan Mud and a thinned Charred Brown.
Step C: Highlights are added to the flesh (Dwarf Skin) and the tunic and pants (German Fieldgrey WWII).
If the wash has been too dark on some other areas, I'll go back and highlight them with the basecolor.
So, there you have it. That's how I paint my Germans.
Now back to work.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
So, I've been quite busy, painting up bunches and bunches of little mens. Thanks for taking my filler post about the awesomeness that is the pending Ogre release in the spirit it was meant. and yes... I'll post some pics of my existing Ogres when the time is right.
Anyway, last night I finished off the infantry for the first of my Panzergrenadier platoons. One command stand (front center), six Rifle/MG stands (rear), one light mortar stand (front left) and an Anti-tank rifle stand (front right). I'm pretty happy with not only the way they turned out, but also with the speed I was able to paint them despite coming to grips with 15mm again.
I used the plastic Rubble bases for all the stands (except the light mortar and anti-tank rifle), which gave me a good start. I painted everything separately (models and bases) then glued the infantry to the stands. This seemed like a great plan at the start, but it did mean that I used quite a bit of putty and additional basing grit to make sure that everything blended seamlessly.
Over the years I've learned that the key to painting up an army efficiently and effectively is to get into a rhythm with it. I'm pretty sure that by the time I'm finished my next platoon, I'll be in that rhythm and ready to share "the secrets" I've learned then.
With all the prone models in the figures I have, I found the guy holding the mortar to be quite amusing, with his butt sticking up in the air, apparently just begging to be shot in it.
In the comments on my last post JMHahn commented on the differences between certain things in different periods of the war (like the SdKfz251/1C and SdKfz251/1D). Check it out here. His comment was pretty much spot on, but it got me to thinking a bit more about my "accuracy" and the reasoning behind this whole project.
The idea for this is not to be "cheap". As we go along you'll see me spend quite a bit of money. Getting the most out of the purchases will be important, just as getting "reasonably" close to accurate will be important. Building a collection that can span all three periods (Early, Mid, and Late War) will mean that sometimes I'll come up against the 1% of folks who not only know their stuff back to front, but also care enough to call me on it.
JMHahn characterized it as being a 97:2:1 split (don't know the difference: know, but don't care: know and care greatly). Possibly because of the folks I know and circles I travel in, I suspect the ratio I'll encounter will be more like 80:17:3. I'm hoping that should I encounter too many in that 3% I can calm them by pointing out things I have done to achieve accuracy, and remind them, we're all just playing a game.
Of course, I also fully expect that at some stage in the not too distant future, I'll find an army that grabs me so much I'll want to build it as accurately as possible, with all the bells and whistles.
And here's a sneak peek at another project I'm working on at the moment. This is Commissar Hark, the next fig in the long-term, ongoing commission to build a Tanith army.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
All of the images in this post are borrowed from Dakka, where they were borrowed from The Ogre Stronghold and Warseer, and presumably they were ultimately "borrowed" from GW somewhere along the line.
I usually don't worry too much about "What's next?" kind of posts from the blogs, news sites, and forums I visit. Typically I'm working on a couple of projects at a time anyway, and getting too excited about new stuff would only derail those projects.
Anyway, over the past couple of weeks I haven't been able to avoid seeing images of the new Ogre stuff to be released "soon" by GW. As someone who has over 10,000 points of Ogres painted already, it does my heart glad to see so much new stuff, rather than simply a re-hash of the existing range.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a bunch of these models, although I think I'll take my time collecting them. No doubt some of the price tags will be a bit hefty, to match the pure awesomeness and size of the models.
More real posts later in the week : )
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Last year I assembled and painted a Flames Of War Early War Light Panzer Company, in around 20 hours from start to finish (over a week). I was quite happy with how they looked and with how quickly they painted up. So happy, in fact, that I resolved to paint up some infantry to go with them in my "New Year's Hobby Resolutions" post.
Well, I'm finally ready to get to the infantry.
Part of the Blitzkrieg book that I really liked (and immediately understood, as opposed to the rules, which I'm still learning) was the cool picture of the Early War German soldier (reproduced above). For my Light Panzer Company I used this scheme to paint the crew on my Bunkerflaks. It looks good, and it got me thinking...
...and a few months later I was chatting with Warren from Beasts of War at Salute. He mentioned hearing from a few folks that Flames Of War was a bit daunting to get into because there were so many options, starting with Early, Mid, or Late War, then German, British, Italian, American, Soviet, Finnish, Hungarian (etc etc), then Tank, Armored Infantry, or Infantry (and dozens of specialist lists). Where is a potential FOW gamer to begin?
This also got me thinking...
...then Battlefront released their plastic rubble bases, and I knew it was time to stop thinking and to start acting.
We all know that the really cool thing about WW2 15mm armies are the huge amounts of very detailed tanks you can put on the tabletop. For many armies (particularly the Germans), their tank technology evolved rapidly during the short span of WW2 and many new tanks were put into service in an incredibly swift arms race. There's really nothing you can do about that. For each period there's a slew of new tanks to have fun with. So I figure I'll just talk about the infantry.
My plan for this project is to build a collection (rather than a particular army) of German infantry stands and support that contains as many elements as possible that can be used across all three (or only two at worst) of the periods. I'm going to use the rubble bases for my collection, which means that I'll be building forces for the European theater. For Early War they could be part of the invasion of Poland or France, for Mid War they'll be invading Russia, and for Late War, they'll be back peddling all the way to Berlin.
As you may have already surmised from reading about the other armies I've built over the past few years, I'm usually all about the story of the army. But as you've also seen, most of these stories I've made up myself. History is obviously a little different, but as Flames Of War allows for some ahistorical armies to be fielded, I'll be putting aside the larger story and concentrating on having fun painting up the infantry and creating lists that are feasible and cross as many periods and styles as possible.
To get me well on the way, I stopped by the office today and picked up the bulk of what I'll need.
• There's the Motorised Rifle Company that gives me two of my Rifle platoons that will form the core of my army (useable across all periods). It also contains a Mortar platoon that is also useful across all three periods, an MG34 platoon that is good for Early War, a bunch of support AFVs (most useable across two periods), and quite a few trucks (also useable across all three periods).
• I added an MG42 Platoon, which replaces the MG34 platoon in Mid and Late War lists.
• And an Infantry Gun Platoon, using the 7.5cm leIG18 gun that was used in all three periods.
• And a Platoon of the famed "88s", the 8.8cm Flak 36 Anti-aircraft guns, again used in all three periods.
• You can see a bunch of trucks, thanks to my friend Rob who hooked me up with some figs he didn't need anymore.
• And in that brown box are 12 SdKfz 251/1C halftracks. Panzergrenadiers used these halftracks during the Mid and Late War period, but they'll also work well for the SdKfz 251/1 halftracks that were used during the Early War (or so I've been told).
I'm going to learn an awful lot about building and painting 15mm infantry, and a lot about building armies for Flames Of War, and an awful lot more about how the German army was equipped and operated during WW2.
Wish me luck, and please, be gentle with me ; )
Saturday, August 6, 2011
I thought it was about time you got to see the mighty Landship "Pious Glory". I finished it all off on the Thursday before Games Day with the banner proclaiming the ship's name (thanks to commenter Jason).
Anyway, feel free to ask any questions about her construction or painting in the comments below : )
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Early on in the Heroes of Armageddon project I knew that I wanted to have a couple of surprises that I could "pull out of my hat" towards the end of the donation period. A little something that would show everyone that we were serious about creating unique armies. One of the surprises I concocted for the Steel Legion army was the mighty Golgotha Superheavy Missile-Platform.
Following a discussion with Matt Bonders from Miniature Wargame Conversions, I knew I had someone who could create my vision in miniature form. Matt pulled together the necessary funds and bought the Baneblade and Reaver Missile Launcher required to put this bad boy together. Although there were a few hiccups along the way, Matt sent the finished tank off to Brandon Palmer of GMM Studios, who put the great paintjob on the tank as only he can do, swiftly, but with a lot of gorgeous detailing.
A big THANK YOU to both these guys for their contributions!
In my mind, a massive artillery piece like this would certainly need an observation post, a spotter of some kind. In stepped Jeremy Webb, who bought this Elysian Tauros Venator for the job. Jeremy shipped it off to Jeff Wilhelm (of Dragon Forge fame) who started on the assembly and paint job. As the deadline drew closer and Jeff's real life workload grew, he passed it back to me to wrap things up. In a collaborative project like HOA, it is vitally important that communication is regular and that expectations are met. In this case Jeff kept me appraised of his situation and we worked out a plan B before things got too late. Success!
Another big THANK YOU to both Jeremy and Jeff!
And finally, nothing this big would be complete without an Apocalypse datasheet from the master of Apoc datasheets, Larry Vela! (or Bigred from Bell of Lost Souls). I laid out my thoughts on the possible rules, then Larry went to town creating a very cool set of rules. You can download the datasheet from HERE.
THANK YOU Larry, for all your work on this too.
So, there you have it. A great part of the HOA project, and a cool datasheet to go with it. You now have all you need to make your own right? I know I'll be adding one to my Blood Pact army ; )
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Well, it has been a few days since Chicago Games Day, so I figured I should put up a post. I went out to Chicago with my wife and daughter, so it was quite a long trip (lots of sightseeing included) and I'm not fully recovered just yet.
All of that means this will be a quick one. More info to come later in the week, but here are a bunch of photo I took of Heroes of Armageddon stuff at the show.
Kirill brought his Commissar Yarrick to the show and he did not disappoint. With his yellow claw and subtle shading, he was a great match for Ghazghkull. Kirill entered him in the toughest category in GD, the 40K Single Miniature, and walked away with a Final Cut pin.
Here are a few photos of the table on the day.
Here's a friend of mine (and former colleague from GW Oz) Matt Weaver running the Armies On Parade booth at the show. In just a few short months, Matt will be running the triumphant return of Games Day to Australia's shores! Good Luck Matt, I hope it runs smoothly for you!
Ghaz and the Old Man face off on the causeway.
John Dickerman (left), one half of the HOA overlords, chats with Dan (right) from GW's What's New Today blog (that will hopefully be showing off some of my Empire army soon).
And finally, Jawaballs doing his best Vanna White impression, showing off the FOUR Pack 1520s kindly donated by Battlefoam.