Sunday, October 31, 2010

It always starts with the Zombies!

I couldn't let Halloween go by without another post, this time starting on my week-long rundown of the great figures and accessories for a fun game called Incursion, created by my mates at Grindhouse Games.

I've mentioned it a few times before, but Jim Bailey sent me through a boxed game, an Allied Starter Set, a German Starter Set, plus the Fenris Games resin accessories. I've finally finished painting all of these things and will run through them over the next seven days (then put the whole lot up on eBay as another charity Auction for John and Justin.

Above you can see the eight zombies you get in the German Starter Set. There are six Sturmzombies and two Bomberzombies. I chose a fairly simple "recently dead" scheme for their skin. It was:
• Dheneb Stone basecoat
• Ogryn Flesh wash, Leviathan Purple wash
• Dwarf Flesh highlight
• Dwarf Flesh/Skull White highlight

The blood splatters I saved til the very end, but used a combination of Gloss Varnish and Scab Red, applying it in a not completely random fashion.

The coolest thing about these zombies are that they are the re-animated corpses of soldiers from both sides. The figures had been carefully crafted to have recognisable remnants of Axis or Allied uniforms.

These first two (a Sturmzombie left and Bomberzombie right) are former Nazi soldiers. Rather than stick completely to historical uniforms I tried to copy the wonderful paintjob on the Incursion site. Unfamiliar with a lot of the Vallejo paints, that I knew would be up to the task, I experimented a little and decided these guys would look best in a basecoat of Chaos Black/German Field Grey. This was then highlighted with German Field Grey. The uniform was then washed with Badab Black. The jackboots were basecoated black and highlighted by mixing in greys. I know this isn't a completely historically accurate scheme, but then again... we are talking about Nazi Zombies here.

These three walking dead are former British soldiers, two Sturmzombies and a Bomberzombie (right). For their fatigues I basecoated with Beige Brown, quickly highlighted by mixing in Bleached Bone, and finally washed the fatigues with Ogryn Flesh then Devlan Mud.

For these three American zombies (all Sturmzombies) I had to dig a little further. My mate Brien showed me a cool blog where the blogger had laid out his paint plan for paint US troops for Flames of War, so I followed those recipes.

Armour plates (helmet):
• Olive Drab basecoat
• Olive Drab/Brown Violet highlight
• Brown Violet highlight

• Brown Violet basecoat
• Brown Violet/Green Grey mix highlight
• Green Grey highlight

• Olive Drab basecoat
• German Camo Medium Brown highlight
• German Camo Medium Brown/US Field Drab mix highlight

Some great practice for future infantry painting projects.

So, that's it for Halloween. Enjoy your trick or treating, vote in my poll, and I'll see you tomorrow for more!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Halloween (and please vote in my poll)

Happy Halloween! (for this weekend at least). Above is the Blitzhund model from Grindhouse Games' Incursion range of miniatures. Much more on these guys next week in the lead up to the next set of charity auctions.

So I decided to scour the Flames of War website to track down as much info as possible before I started on my Light Panzer Company. There are a number of cool pages, and some very interesting information as far as the color scheme for my army.

Of course, I figured that I would have to stick to the historical color scheme for my army. But which one to choose? Apparently the German Panzer divisions had orders to paint all of their vehicles with a two tone grey-brown camouflage scheme prior to the invasion of Poland. They were later ordered to repaint their tanks to an all grey scheme (the one that most of us with "Western European" schooling would most quickly identify) prior to their invasion of France.

So, would I want a Polish invasion army? Or a French invasion army? With the cool Polish armored train coming next year I figured that would be good, but a little more work.

At the same time, I'm keen to see how those Bunkerflaks do against the tough French tanks, so should I go for the easier scheme?

Then I read this article on the FOW site, and all bets were off. What do you mean there is very little photographic evidence that the two-tone camo scheme was widely adopted for the Polish campaign?

As I'm going to be off at Fall-In! this weekend, I won't have time to work on them either way, so I'll leave it up to you, my faithful blog readers.

Should I paint up my Light Panzer Company in this grey scheme? (tank painted by Chris Townley)

Or this two-tone scheme? (Tank painted by Mike Haycock)

The poll is on the right, have at it. You have until Monday.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Blitzkrieg! It has begun...

It was about a decade ago, whilst visiting a wargaming convention in Wellington, New Zealand, that I was first introduced to Flames of War. A lanky Kiwi by the name of Phil Yates was running a demonstration of a set of rules he was close to completing, and he was using a very cool collection of 15mm tanks on a lovely table to showcase it all. I stepped up to try it out (mainly as I'd recognized Phil's name from a 40K adaptation he'd written called Warhammer: Panzer Aces, or something similar).

10 T-34s against 4 Panzer IVs. I knew enough about WW2 to know that the Soviet forces relied primarily on their quantity to overwhelm the Axis armies they faced, pummeling them with simple yet (eventually) effective hammer blows. As I'm an Imperial Guard/Empire player through and through, I took control of the T-34s and proceeded to hammer away at the Panzers.

I found out soon after that these tanks were made by a company called Battlefront. I started collecting a Soviet force for the Mid-War period (the siege of Stalingrad to be precise), and over the next eight years I tinkered a little here and there, eventually painting up around 2000 points of infantry horde (and tank support).

Despite owning this sizeable force, and the rapidly growing popularity of Flames of War over that period, I really didn't play. Why's that you ask? Well, to be honest, I've never really been a gamer, or had a head that assimilates and retains rules very well. I had my three rulesets already embedded over 16 years of gaming (40K, Warhammer, and LoTR) and learning something new seemed like a big chore.

Almost two years ago now (my how time flies), I was fired from GW and three months later came to work for Battlefront, focused on the best selling historical wargames magazine, Wargames Illustrated. One of my strengths in this position is my breadth of knowledge of historical periods, allowing me to talk to many different contributors to the magazine and draw upon their knowledge to help evolve the magazine to where we have over the last 18 issues.
Our Flames of War Studio team in NZ have always provided our FOW content, so there really was no pressing reason for me to dive head first into the core of our business, someone else was taking care of that.

No reason, that is, until now. In August of this year Battlefront released Blitzkrieg, the first of their "Early War" books covering the German invasion of Poland and France in 1939-40. Although the rules are all Flames of War, the unit types/strengths/weaknesses make it essentially a new game, just perfect for someone like me, ready to get in on the ground floor.

Over the next few months I thought I'd do a bit of blogging about my adventures in the world of Flames of War. It'll be a mix of gaming, modeling, painting, and a dab of philosophy and history all rolled into one place.

PART ONE: The Light Panzer Company

I selected the German Light Panzer Company list for a number of reasons:

• Fighting with tanks is a great way to learn the FOW system, I can add in infantry later once I'm comfortable.
• Assembling and painting 15mm tanks is pretty straightforward, which means I can wrap my head around the scale a bit more easily before really getting some good results on infantry.
• There's a really nifty Army Box available, reducing the number of potentially confusing decisions I have to make early on.

Above you can see my roughly 1500 point army, 24 vehicles. The unpainted stuff is all from the one starter army box I mentioned. The other two primed vehicles are "on loan" from a friend, until my back-ordered "Bunkerflak" models arrive. While all my Panzers are great for taking out infantry and light vehicles, they lack the punch for easily dealing with the medium and heavy tanks I might come across. The "Bunkerflak" are essentially 8.8cm guns on the back of massive halftracks, just great for busting any tank that might roll into my line of sight.

Above is a size comparison shot. Left to Right: a Panzerbefehlswagen (command vehicle), a Panzer I, a Panzer II C (early), and a Panzer III E.

I took me about 7 hours to clean and assemble all the tanks from the box, including putting in rare earth magnets to allow the turrets to rotate, something that is apparently quite important in the game.

Next up, painting the Light Panzer Company.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

The 8th Edition Challenge

So, of course I'll start with the last thing first. Earlier this month my friend Jeff challenged me, and a group of mutual friends, to a Warhammer Army Building Challenge. The details of the Challenge can be found on Jeff's blog here.

The summary, however, is we basically commit to painting a new(ish) Warhammer army for 8th Edition over the next eight months or so, then gather from across the country for a round-robin tournament. The idea is to give us all something concrete to aim for, and something to discuss with each other online (as we're all spread across the country now).

Anyway, I'm going to build an Empire army (no real surprise there), and it looks like I'll be adding another 200 or so models to my collection of Empire models that already exceeds 1000.
What can I say? I love the idea of the stoic human fighting desperately to survive in the brutal and chaotic Old World. This time around it'll be a Marienburger army, taking a bit of a mercenary feel and mixing it with some opulence (from the coffers of a wealthy Merchant Prince). I also hope this means I can mix in some of the fun stuff that has already been revealed for Warhammer Forge (particularly that Land Ship).

So, what am I pledging to build? The current list looks something like this:

• 40 Spearmen w/command
• 40 Spearmen w/command
30 Flagellants w/command (I'll have a Warrior Priest in the list)
• 30 Free Company w/command
10 Handgunners
• 10 Handgunners
• 10 Crossbowmen
10 Crossbowmen

30 Greatswords w/command
• 5 Outriders w/Champion
• 5 Outriders w/Champion
• Great Cannon
• Great Cannon

• Helstorm Rocket Battery
Helstorm Rocket Battery
• Helblaster Volley Gun

Should be a lot of fun (and a lot of work).

To represent the Merchant Prince, I've decided to use the model of Marius Leitdorf. This figure is suitably foppish, but I'll have to come up with a more appropriate name for him.

I'm thinking of a Turquoise, Black, and Gold scheme, with the occasional splash of Red and Bone included. The bases will be as seen above, the Temple series from Dragon Forge Design, painted as the cobbled streets of Marienburg.

Wish me luck, I think I'll need it.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's a cornucopia of hobby goodness!

Well, although this particular post is lacking in it, you can expect to see plenty of new hobby goodness over the coming weeks. This exciting stuff will include:

• A full run-down on the figures from the wonderful Incursion game.
• Two more auctions to benefit my friends.
• My first real attempt to dive into Flames of War.
• A tutorial on creating feathered cloaks.
• A collaborative tutorial with Ron from From The Warp.
• The start of a new Warhammer army as part of an army challenge with some friends titled the "8th Edition Challenge".

Expect to see all of this, but not much more ; ), make it's way onto this blog by Thanksgiving.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Mechanicon! and some Tanith

The Mechanicon 40K GT is just around the corner, literally. In just under three weeks Tony, Jeremy, Jim and the rest of the crew will be running a growing Grand Tournament in the "old school" style. You can find out more about the show by checking out their website here.

This year the guys are running another charity auction. Last year I offered up painting a 28mm miniature of the winners choice. Jim Warrington won the auction, and I painted up this Vulkan He'staan for him. We are both pretty happy with it. So, for this show I'm offering up the same thing (a 28mm painted model of the winners choice that is). Get along to the show, have fun playing some great games of 40K, and bid early and often on all the prizes the crew will be gathering for the charity auction!

And here's an update on the Gaunt's Ghost project I've been pottering around with. Above you can see the finished Veteran squad, lead by Scout Sergeant Mkoll. The squad is equipped with two sniper rifles, a meltagun, and camo cloaks. Below is a closeup of some of their tattoos.

Below are the three sniper teams I did for the project. Although the snipers are from a Special Weapon squad and would typically be based individually, but the client and I talked about it and we figured I could tell more of a story on the larger, 60mm bases.

From left to right: Mad Larkin, Nessa Bourah, and Jessi Banda.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thank you one and all!

Well, as many of you might have seen, the auction for my (now former) Legio Custodes came to an end on Sunday having raised $3,800 for my two friends, John and Justin. Thank you to everyone who bid on the army, told someone about the auction, donated to Justin and John through their Paypal accounts, and sent messages of support through. Thank you everyone!

Thanks especially go to a great guy, Alec, who placed the winning bid on the army. I've spoken with him on the phone this week and I'm very excited that someone who is as passionate about 40K as I am will be taking up the mantle of "Custodian of the Custodes" (please, no janitorial jokes).

Alec is the guy behind the forums which are all about, you guessed it, Apocalypse gaming. In Alec's own words:
" is a forum for Apocalypse-sized battles in Warhammer 40,000. Some of the biggest Apocalypse groups in the country participate and discuss issues surrouding games sizes, rules, formations, DIY units and more. Battle Reports from World Record games and details on some insanely big armies are all part of this fun and informative forum."

I strongly urge those of you with a passion for the Apocalyptic to head to the forums and join in the fun.

As well as all that, Alec is donating a still-sealed-in-the-box copy of Space Hulk to be auctioned off. How cool is that? More details in the next week.

Anyway, I've been waiting a little while to show you these guys, a couple of conversions that are part of the last batch of commissions I've done. What you see below are some conversions done for a Ravenguard army. On the left is a "counts as" Sicarius. In the middle is a "counts as" Vulkan, and the metal chap is Lemartes with his Blood Angel iconography filed off. In the bottom picture you can see the feathered cloaks I did for Sicarus and Vulkan. I might have to do a quick tutorial on them.

Keen eyes will notice I have also modeled the two "counts as" characters with a style of armor first seen in the Index Astartes piece on the Imperial Fists. A member of GW France did some great conversions that have since spawned quite a few homages. One that I like a lot was done by blog reader Pulse, and his great work can be seen in this thread on Bolter & Chainsword.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Only one day to go!!!

Only one day left to go in the auction of my Legio Custodes army! As you can see above, I've received the tokens and templates from the guys at Gale Force 9, and they look great! The team took the eagle icon from the side of the Land Raider and used it on all the templates, turn counter, and tokens. Not only that, but everything is in a striking red/white or red/gold scheme, just perfect for the army.

Ebay seller, theplayerscove, has also offered up a $100 coupon for her store to the winner of the auction. Her generosity will reward the generosity of the winner of the auction! Thanks Kat : )

And finally, the latest on fund-raising efforts. Jim Bailey from Grindhouse Games contacted me last week to see if there was anything his small company could do to help out. We decided on him sending me a complete set for their great game, Incursion, that I would paint up and we could auction it off. Jeff from Dragon Forge Design donated the round-lipped bases (from his Tech Deck range) you can see underneath the Sturmzombies and Bomberzombies that I've started on already. The bases are fantastic, and really suit not only the Incursion setting, but also the quality of the Incursion sculpts. Excellent and a joy to paint.

Keep an eye out for the charity auction of this great set in the next few weeks.

For the Legio Custodes army auction, head here.

And for more information on what it's all about, head here.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Auction Update!


I have just heard that Gale Force Nine will be donating a set of themed tokens and templates for the army, and Battlefoam will be providing a P.A.C.K. 432 case and custom foam for this army. I have just sent the tracings of the army off to Battlefoam and hope to have the case very soon. Note: these two donations are added to this auction. It will greatly enhance the pleasure of gaming with this army (great tokens and templates, plus no worries about transporting it anywhere)

In addition, my employer (Battlefront Miniatures) will be shipping this army completely free of charge to the buyer, to any destination in the world!

THIS JUST IN! 40K Radio will be adding a Beer glass, t-shirt, key chain, and autographed hat!

Thank you to these three businesses, and everyone who has bid so far, for your support!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Doing the right thing

Update! Both Justin and John's paypal addresses are here now!

Well, things are going along very well with the auction of the army. Still plenty of time for those who are thinking of testing the waters. Check it out here.

I've had a lot of people ask me how they can help out (as they don't have the spare cash to buy the army), and that is just awesome! I've been bugging Justin (surfer) and John (father), my friends, for their Paypal addresses so that if you would like to help financially (and directly) you can send a few dollars their way.

John's Paypal address is: soundeagle AT aol DOT com
Justin's Paypal address is: mcconnelljs AT gmail DOT com

Over the years I've met a lot of great people in this hobby,and spent a ton of time talking about collecting, modeling, painting and gaming with toy soldiers. This has meant I have a lot of contacts who run very popular websites and blogs all about toy soldiers. Their help already has pushed this auction a long way, and garnered it a lot of attention. It would be wrong of me to let all that attention just fade away, so here come the preachy bits...

• Back in April I was involved in a car accident that totaled my car (I was completely unhurt though). The shortfall between the insurance money and the cost of a similar replacement car was going to be considerable. The fine readers of this blog stepped up and helped me out.

• In May I was approached by John and Mike from Santa Cruz Warhammer to participate in a collaborative army building project for charity that really developed a run away life of its own, the Storm Wardens Army Build. A group of 8 or so bloggers raised $16,000+ for Doctors Without Borders, a worthy cause indeed.

• In June and July, two of my friends and co-workers suffered tragedies. Both events not only left their own emotional and physical scars, but also quite a few of the financial kind. That's why I decided to get back on the charity bandwagon. It's a great feeling to do what you can for those who need help. If you know those that need help, then all the better.

So, I think the real answer to the question "What can I do to help?" is a two parter:

a) if you can help Justin and John out financially, then drop them a few dollars via the Paypal addresses above. If you know them and can't spare the bucks, drop them a line or give them a call. Support is always appreciated.

b) take a look around you locally, think about something you can do to make the life of someone around you a little better. Donating to a charity, helping out at a shelter at Thanksgiving, hosting a dinner party for friends, volunteering to cook the hot dogs for your block party, building some terrain for your FLGS, or giving your grandmother a call to chat about her week - there are plenty of things you can do to . I'm a big fan of small steps and beginning locally.

Preachy bits over.

Thank you all so much for your support.