Monday, February 28, 2011

Ramming it home

Just a quick one tonight. After painting some more of my Portuguese Çacadores (they paint up quick and I needed to keep my painting number in the right hand column high), I figured I'd spend a little time converting for a change. Having spent a lot of time in recent months painting modes reloading their muskets, I thought I'd try converting up a few Empire handgunners for my Nuln army that looked the same. It quickly struck me as to why GW never modeled any loading handgunners, despite the large number of historical enthusiasts who sculpt for them.

The handguns are HUGE!!!

It reminded me of a time when Tom Kirby pointed out why GW figures rarely have scabbards, well certainly the heroes at least. The swords are the miniature equivalent of five-seven feet long, many as tall or taller than the models wielding them. Same apparently goes for the handguns. it means that those guys holding them out like modern rifles are some of the strongest men the Empire could find.

Anyway, I pushed past this strangeness and now have two handgunners ramming home their powder and shot. I hope you like them.


PS. I'll be back on Wednesday (March) 2nd for "Old Stuff Day". A day where bloggers around the globe will hopefully link back to some of the great "old stuff" on their blogs that hasn't been seen in a while.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wait a minute Mr Postman!

The last couple of weeks have been fun on the "What's the postman going to deliver today?" front, with a few orders turning up, along with my copies of WI281 : )

First off I'll show you some stuff from Secret Weapon Miniatures. Earlier in the month I ordered some Raphael 8404 from misterjustin, along with some of is backpacks. You can see the three different types of packs below going onto the next batch of Tanith I'm working on.
From left to right you can see the small backpack, the large backpack, and the comms backpack.
They're all very nice, and will mix in well amongst the various GW packs I'll also be using.

Nice guy that he is, misterjustin also threw in a few of his very cool Oni Mask heads. Perhaps I'll have to use them for some Blood Pact models later this year? Now if someone just made backpacks like the ones I modeled for my Pact it would be much easier.

Last week I also received my order from Victoria Lamb Miniatures, in Australia. I first met Victoria many, many years ago when I lived in Adelaide, opening up the first GW store in South Australia. She's a lovely lady and one hell of a creative person. If you've got a bit of time, make sure you trawl through her website. Lots of great stuff there.

Along with the conversion parts for 45 Highlander Guardsmen, I also ordered her fantastic Imperial Noble and Billy Bagshot (Halfling Gunslinger) models. You can see the first model assembled below. I think these models will be modeled and used as an assault platoon of veterans for my Genswick army.

The final package to arrive this week was from a fledgling mini company in France. I've been emailing back and forth of the last six months or so with a former colleague who has been doing some wonderful scratchbuilding work. This work is about to see the light of day as Blight Wheel Miniatures edge ever closer to getting their webstore up and running (around late March I believe, I'll let you know once I know). Laurent is slowing building an interesting inventory for a post-apocalyptic universe. I'm looking forward to seeing more from them.

Thanks to my friendship with Stephane, Laurent was able to sell me a few early casts of the Staghound Mk4. The models are very cool, a little smaller than I was expecting, so I think I'll use them as Centaur stand-ins for my Blood Pact and fill them with nasty vets! The casts are incredibly crisp, and look like they'll be a real treat to work with.

Lots of fun on the horizon with all these great kits : )


Monday, February 21, 2011

Genswick 5th Armored Regiment, 3rd Company

Alrighty then, while my painting output has slowed a bit thanks to a persistent cold and my wife's business trip to Florida, I figured I'd finally get around to starting a series of posts on my 33rd Genswick Rifles army that people seem to be quite fond of (well, I know I am). I started this army at the end of 2003, just as the new Bretonnian models started to arrive in the US. By adding Cadian lasgun arms to Bretonnian Men-at-Arms bodies it was actually pretty easy to create and army that had a distinctly WW1 feel and a strong 40K aesthetic.

On to the first installment of an ongoing feature.

Strangely enough, I didn't start the army out with any tanks (proper tanks that is). After playing a bunch of games with it, including the 2004 Baltimore GT, I felt that this was an army I could keep adding to over the years. In 2006 I started work on the armored company you see below.

First up we have the Company Command Tank, a short-barreled Vanquisher, #301 or The Forbes (named after a friend and colleague who passed away while I was working on this project). I had shortened the barrel so that it could be comfortably be used as a Leman Russ in tournaments, without too much hassle. Other features include an extended hull and trench rails, all hand cut from plasticard - a common feature of the tanks of 3rd Company. A street light from the CoD sprues serves as a loud speaker for blasting the Imperial Creed as the brave boys of Genswick advance. When the Apocalypse command frame was available, I added the Imperial eagle radar dish. You'll also notice a number of triangles painted on the front, right track guard. This is the number of enemy armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) that the tank has taken out in combat (well... actually... not really in my battles, but just in my background story). Finally, the heavy bolters in the sponsons are Ork Big Shootas from the metal Deff Dreads, the same parts that I used for my infantry HBs.

Next up we have 1st Squadron of 3rd Company, tanks #311, 312, and 313 (or Saviour of Aexe Cardinal, Golden, and something starting with a G and ending with an F - if only I could remember it...). These guys are sporting a fairly standard Leman Russ armament of battle cannons, hull-mounted lascannons, and sponson-mounted heavy bolters (made the same way as the command tank. As with the command tank, I added the tops of armored sentinels to the turrets to switch up the profile a little bit. For this squadron without track guards, kill markings are painted on the side of their turrets.

2nd Squadron of 3rd Company are another trio of Leman Russ Tanks. #321, 322, and 323 are known respectively as Kratzenberg's Hope, Iron Gate, and Thracian Arch. This squadron obviously does not have the heavy bolters and so takes on a more mobile role.

And 3rd Squadron of 3rd Company are a set of Leman Russ Demolishers. I've always loved the Demolisher cannon, and three Strength 10 AP2 ordnance templates dropping down on something is always very tasty! Throne of Khan (#331), The Arbutus (#332), and Xerxes' Hammer (#333) are always a firm favorite! To all three I've added some of the old, old Chimera armored plating from back in the day.

So there you have it, a look at the 3rd Company of the 5th Armored Regiment. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any thoughts about what the name for #313 is, please leave it in a comment below.


Friday, February 18, 2011

More Greatswords and a new element in the sidebar

In amongst the coughing and spluttering of this lingering cold, I managed to get a few more models painted for my Greatsword unit, the Red Bears of Mecklenburg. Here are five guys who'll be taking their place on main base of models.

And here's the unit mascot (and musician). While looking through the Greatsword sprues I cam across the head of a grizzled veteran, sporting an eye-patch just like the bear. A quick snip and a little trimming and this perfect combo were born.

An finally, for this post at least, we have another Greatsword. It's actually the "Captain with Gory Blade" from the Empire range. As I want to include a lot of the characterful metal models in this army, I figured he'd do well tucked in amongst the big guys.

So, on to the new "Charity Efforts" section of this blog.

In the movie "The Big Lebowski" there's a great line delivered by one of my favorite actors, Sam Elliot: Sometimes you hit the bar, and sometimes the bar hits you.

Basically what that means to me is that life has it's ups and downs. My take on this now is that when your life is in its upswing, and you've taken care of your own, you can start to spread a bit more of the love around. So, when I see people who are helping out others (be they family, friends, or complete strangers), I'll try to put them up on the sidebar of this blog.

This won't be something where I'm asking everyone to do something for someone else all the time. Sometimes though, you'll be at the peak of that upswing (where you're hitting the bar) and able to do what you can.

Until next time, happy hobbying!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Final hours for the Deepstrike Radio Auctions!

Just wanted to remind everyone, we're entering the final hours for the Deepstrike Radio Flood Appeal Auctions on eBay. With billions of dollars worth of damage and thousands of people displaced, the floods that have ravaged Queensland this year are truly monumental in their scope.

The area flooded is larger than the area of Germany and France combined, or for my US readers, that's larger than the combined area of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, AND South Carolina.

Imagine all of that under vast amounts of water.

Enough of the geography lesson, here's where you can get in on the last-minute action:

Bid high and often ; )


Friday, February 11, 2011

The 74th Regiment of Foot

I realized the other day that I hadn't shown you some close-ups of my second Highlander regiment when I presented the "whole army so far" a few posts back.

This unit, the 74th Regiment of Foot, were one of five Highland regiment recalled from India during the first decade of the 1800s. These five regiments apparently struggled to recruit enough replacements from amongst the population of the Scottish highlands. The Army high-command were concerned and looked at ways to break down any barriers to recruiting lowland Scots into the regiments. After much deliberation it was decided, in 1809, to de-kilt the five regiments in question (71st - 75th). They were instead to wear trousers of their regiment's tartan. It seems that quite a few English officers thought that would be enough "Highland" for the highlanders, and enough "Lowland" for the lowlanders. Only the pipers were allowed to keep their kilts.

Seems like it might have been a bit of a kick in the balls to me. As the 74th were present at the Battle of Salamanca (the battle we've been building for) in 1812, I figured that they'd be wearing trousers similar to that of the rest of the army was by the time they'd been in Spain for three years. It has been reported that the tartan trousers would only last three months on campaign.

So there you have it, a bit of research on my part, coupled with a slight stretch, that leaves the 74th Regiment of Foot in my army with the bonnets of a Highland regiment and the trousers of an English regiment. I couldn't find any info of the bonnets, so I decided to keep them to create a unique looking unit in my army. The heads are from the Victrix Highlander kit and the bodies are from the Perry Miniatures set.

Of course, I could be completely off base. If so, please be gentle with me.

As with my 79th Regiment (Cameron Highlanders) I wanted to add a mounted colonel (also from Victrix) and create a bit of a scene on a "command stand". Here, the colonel and probably a captain are discussing the next move for the regiment, while the ensign, NCOs, and other troopers take an interest in their immediate future. One soldier on the right is calming down the colonel's horse. It's a fairly simple scene, but I'm quite happy with the way it turned out.

This shot from behind shows the kilted piper and the standards of the 74th. My friend Brien originally purchased these from Victrix (I believe) to give to one of his kilted Highlander units, until he read the terrible news (no kilts for the 74th). Knowing he had such nice looking flags just lying around was another factor that prompted my to put these guys together.

And here's another shot of the discussion between the officers.

Finally, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that my number of "Miniatures Purchased" has jumped considerably. Well I recently placed an order with Victoria Lamb Miniatures for 45 of her Highland Guard conversion kits. I'm going to add them as an "assault platoon" for my 33rd Genswick Rifles at some stage this year. Can't wait for the package to arrive!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flood Appeal Auctions and some Greatswords!

Well, I felt a bit better today. Well enough to get some photos taken this evening after the little one went to bed. But you get to see those later.

As part of Deepstrike Radio's Flood Appeal, Chris and the guys rounded up a bunch of donations from the 40K community and have now put up TWO Space Marine armies (New In Box) for auction on eBay. Here are the links:

Please check them out, and if you're in the market for a new Space Marine army, please buy it here. All proceeds go to the relief of the victims of the recent Queensland floods. And hey, the winners of each auction will get an HQ model painted by me ; )

I mentioned that I had started work on my Greatswords. I posted a pic of the guys above a few months ago. Of course, almost all of them had to come off the base for painting. Once I get the base painted, the bear and his handler get the paint treatment.

Above and below you can see the first six Greatswords that took just over a week to paint, thanks to the crazy cold-ridden weekend. With another 24 guys in that unit, I'll need to pick up the pace once I get rid of all this mucus ; )

So, thanks for checking out the progress on my Armies on Parade entry and possibly even placing a few generous bids on those Space Marine armies for a good cause.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Struck down again!

Armies on Parade logo from GW's website, used without permission.

Well, we had a completely different round of illness go through the household this weekend. As many of you with kids of your own will know, they make the perfect "patient zero". Sinus congestion, post-nasal drip, thick mucus-fueled coughing. Really cuts into the hobby time when whole family gets it. ; )

I did manage to finish off the six greatswords I started early last week (and they've been added to the tally), but I'm yet to get any photos. Hopefully I'll be able to shoot a few tomorrow night, if the energy levels have risen again.

Anyway, just thought I'd drop those who are reading a note on the Armies on Parade competition GW announced a week or so back. The new "rules" have now been posted and there are two great things to note.

A) The US Hobby Center Parade Day is June 25th. That should give me plenty of time to get 120 or so figs painted up, along with a kick-ass display board. Barring any further illness of course.
B) There is a "Second Chance" section of the competition! For those of you in the US who are going to Chicago Games Day, but don't have a GW Hobby Center nearby, you can still enter the first part of the competition, where you have the chance to be elevated to the finals. Not bad at all.

Well, I'm off back to coughing up a lung (don't worry...I have two). Hopefully you'll see some more pictures of my slow progress in the next few days.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Armies on Parade, and the Portuguese

Armies on Parade logo from GW website, used without permission.

Last Thursday GW posted details of its Armies On Parade competition to be held at Games Days around the world this year. On some internet forums this announcement was met with jeers of derision and mountains of scorn. "How dare GW run a competition that forces you to paint a new army!?! What a shallow and useless marketing ploy to prop up flagging sales!"

It was all I could manage to read he first dozen or so comments, almost all from "hobbyists" who had not read the entire posting themselves before bringing out the long knives to eviscerate what is actually a simple and wonderful idea. So, turning away from the vitriol, I started to think about what I liked so much about this "new event".

Two years ago, my friend (and former colleague) John Shaffer told me about a simple idea of his to add a new event to Games Day. An event that required few staff, and a little prep work, but would create quite the spectacle. Amusingly dubbed "Armies on Parade", I thought it'd be fun to support John's idea and put one of my own on display at the 2009 show in Baltimore. My Bretonnians hadn't seen the light of day since Adepticon '08 (where they didn't make it onto the table thanks to a debilitating illness that struck at the show) so they were due for a glimpse of the sun, or at least big-ass halogen lights. It was fun to see the two dozen or so armies arrayed and to hear some nice things said about my humble Brets.

At Baltimore Games Day 2010, the Armies on Parade event was made slightly more official. In addition to the public votes, the team from the Studio were also on hand to select their favorite. I decided to take my Blood Pact (they were my latest army after all). Dan Abnett was at the show, and I'm such a fanboy when it comes to Dan, so it made sense. Fortunately, others (including Dan) liked my army and I won the "Best Painted Army" certificate. There were about three other certificates to be won, with all of them appearing to be quite similar.

Alan Merrett was at the show, overseeing the running of the Golden Demon awards, and must have seen the response that John's little idea had. Now, in a sensible move by the "powers that be", are taking the competition global (well, semi-global anyway). A competition that promotes the clever presentation of well-painted (and possibly converted but certainly good looking) armies by a company that makes its money from selling toy soldiers? Sounds like the right thing to do to me.

With activity in our "8th Edition Army Challenge" somewhat stalled by "shiny object syndrome" and other things like real life, I've decided I'm going to enter the 2011 competition with my Artillery Train of Nuln. It is my hope that I can paint up about half a dozen more units to the same quality as Grundel's Defenders (above, winner of a Silver Demon) in time to enter at one of the remaining GW stores in my area. I'm hoping to win at the local level which will give me an automatic entry into Games Day, and the Armies on Parade competition at Games Day 2011 (in Chicago this year). Should I not win at the local level, there's always the "Second Chance" comp at the show, where your army might be good enough on the day to get bumped up to the final competition (or so the rules describe).

So, get ready for more Empire goodness over the coming months. I figure 120 or so models and a wicked display board should get me where I need to be.

And as I said time around, here are a few more of my Napoleonic figures. This time they're Portuguese Caçadores from the 2nd Battalion. The Caçadores (literally "light infantry") were Portuguese troops trained by the British to act as light infantry, which at the time meant they were really the elite. Not only could they perform all the tasks and battlefield roles of the line infantry companies, but they were trained to skirmish, scout, and other tasks that made for formidable units in the war in Spain against the French.

This base has three Caçador riflemen, equipped in much the same way as the troopers of the 60th or 95th British regiments (most notably with Baker rifles).

This base contains six musket-armed Caçadores. Some points to note about these guys:

• They wear the green plumes associated with British light infantry companies.
• They have the red cuffs of the 2nd Battalion.
• I've shaved off they little "6" found on their shako (on the Victrix models) and repainted a "2" for the 2nd Battalion.

WARNING - Shameless Plug Approaching!

If you want to know a bit more about the Portuguese Caçadores, then pick up a copy of Wargames Illustrated #277 and read the cool "Great Warriors" article in there.