Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fantastic Plastics at FlamesCon

FlamesCon this year was more than just about the gaming (and hopefully I'll get round to writing up an event report this weekend) with the weekend also being about showing off Flames Of War to the public, as well as bringing a few new secrets out for some of the players to check out.

I managed to grab a few pictures of the plastics that you can expect to see on shelves next year...

Plenty of new plastics coming!
T-34/85 and T-34/76 due out as part of Desperate Measures. Five hulls with ten turrets (5 76mm and 5 85mm)

German Panzer Grenadier Frame (takes two to make a platoon)
American Armoured Rifle Platoon (takes two frames again)

M3 or M5 halftrack (with some plastic crew figures glued in)
These new vehicle kits are a generation ahead of the Open Fire tanks, completely digitally designed and cut (like the M113 and Loach). Check out the .50cal on the M3 frame - it is wonderful!

There were also some images of some more work in progress plastics with component lists. Looks like 2014 might see me finally getting a Panzer Grenadier company built with the 251 and Panther on the list.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Painting Israeli Tanks

I posted this on the Flames Of War site, but thought I would put it here too...

When Fate of a Nation changed status from being a project that I hoped would one day happen, to an actual project with Phil working on it I found myself quickly volun-told to paint the Israeli vehicles. 

What colour is Sinai Grey?
The colour of Israeli tanks is the subject of almost as much debate as what is the correct colour for Dunklegelb (WW2 German tank colour). Over the years Sinai Grey has also changed numerous times to make it more appropriate for the battlefield and once you add in slight regional differences caused by local commanders and the effects of weathering it gives you a lot of scope to pick and choose. Trawling through books and internet sites (most of which disagree on the “perfect” colour) I’ve come to the conclusion that you should pick the colour that you feel is right and in our case we have chosen Green Grey or German Camo Beige as the base colour.  

Step 1: I undercoated the vehicles black and then put a basecoat of Green Grey (886) on the tank. I airbrushed the base coat on for speed, using a 2/3 to 1/3 mix of Green Grey to Mr Muscle glass cleaner (think Windex). The Vallejo went through the airbrush nicely, although it did need a good clean afterwards. I now have an almost empty spare Tamiya bottle of my Sinai Grey mix that needs topping up!
Step 2: Grab your biggest brush and give the entire tank a dry brush of Stone Grey (884). This will help the details pop out a little and give some early contrast to the model.
Step 3: Recently I’ve been experimenting with the MiG Productions and AK Interactive range washes. I carefully pin washed the model with MiG Dark Wash, then used a spare brush (with a little white spirits) and cotton bud to clean up any excess wash. I was quite rough with the clean-up as I quite like the effect of a little bleed around the areas you are washing because once you add a couple of layers of light drybrushes and a final weathering over the top it helps to give some nice colour depth. As you can see in the photo it really helps to define the detail of the model as well.
Step 4: Next I painted the tracks, road wheels, exhausts, .50cal and tank commander black. The tracks (and .50cal) were then given a light dry brush of Black Grey (862) and then Oily Steel (865) whilst the gun mantlet cover was painted English Uniform (921) The whole model was given another dry brush of Stone Grey. This helped to tidy up any spots where the wash had gone astray.

Step 5: On to the finishing steps, I painted the exhausts Flat Brown, and then stippled a little Light Brown. The tank commander was painted Khaki (988) and Leather Brown (871), whilst the Searchlight had a little blue and white at the top (I prefer the slightly more cartoon look for glass).

Step 6: Decals maketh the tank! I put chevrons on the skirts, battalion rings on the barrel, number plates on the right side of the lower turret and on the underside of the hull (below the spare track links) and a great big platoon/tank number on the rear of the turret. I didn’t put air recognition panels on as I have not seen any photos of Centurions with them, however I have seen Sherman tanks, Magach tanks and M3 halftracks with and without them so it stands to reason that some Centurions (or Sh’ots) would have had them.

Looking online there are plenty of places you could put decals, especially number plates and brigade symbols. I chose to put the decals in these positions as they seemed to be correct for 1967, but like everything to do with the Israeli army there is a fair amount of secrecy surrounding markings so you should feel free to have a look on the internet for inspiration and once again do what looks right (or cool) to you.

Step 7: This last step is optional. I chose to break out the airbrush and give the model a little weathering with Iraqi Sand, thinned down a little with glass cleaner. This helped to make the decals look like they were more natural as they were then covered in dust and sand.
All finished!
Close up of the Searchlight after a little gloss varnish
Platoon decal on the rear turret bin

Monday, October 21, 2013

Choptober 2013 - the aftermath

Local "organised guy" Dave Stent rolled out a new tournament concept a couple of weeks ago named Choptober. What made it unique was that he had enough players to divide the entrants in to two pools, the Shark Tank (or eChoptober) and the Paddling Pool (or pChoptober). Using Rankings HQ points he divided us up and through the divine hand of fate I ended up in the Paddling Pool. Looking at who was in each field I was very happy - the Shark Tank was filled with some very competitive players, whereas the pool had a way more laid back feeling!

I won't go into the details about the event other than a few key points from each game, suffice to say it was a heap of fun and (spoiler alert) I even managed to go 3/4 and take out 2nd position!
Local 40K 'ard man - Nikola with pVayl, big gribbles, Striders and solos
Boomhowlers in the middle as a tar pit, Stormwall and Gun Mages on the right
(Ignore the Iosan Cav...they are markers...) Hunters dish out the damage, Striders kill Boomy and his boys, Ravagore shoots Kara... and she dies from the Continuous Fire....
Gordon, old WHFB opponent at his first WH event with pKruger
We both rush the objectives, Boomhowlers try to contest while ATGM, Hunters and Stormwall go after the Gatormen on the right flank.
Kara feats, things die... a Totem Hunter gets the middle of the ATGM and causes some concern
pKruger gets down to 1 (yes 1) box for the 2nd (yes 2nd time), before I finally manage to kill him and win on scenario at the same time.
Reid gets his game face on with pMakeda, Molik Karn and lots of Nihilators
Boomhowlers get tar pit duty in the centre, Stormwall and Hunters to take on Warbeasts while ATGM take the scoring zone....
Kara feats, things die...
pMakeda feats, things come back...

Reid pushes up and carves a bloody swathe through my army, compounded by a couple of stupid mistakes by me, luckily for me though he times out before he can get the final blow in. Not a win that I can be proud of, but a win!
Andrew, a visiting American down in NZ to see family and hang at the office playing games. He was packing Gorten, 30 Forge Guard, 10 High Shields, Brun and Lug, Tactical Arcanist Corps and a few jacks
Wall o' Dwarves! Tar pit vs tar pit on the left, ATGM vs more Forge Guard and TAC on the right.
Stormwall and Hunters go to town on the Rhulic 'jacks using their superior range. ATGM go down to a hail of AOEs from the TAC.
Boomhowlers go down fighting (and contesting the scoring zone) whilst I secure the right hand one, eventually taking the win on scenario - 5 points to 4.
Dave look sleepy!
Victor's ATGM in trouble!
Something big this way comes (in the Shark tank)
Cool looking trolls (from the Shark tank)
Looking back at my games I was exceptionally lucky to place where I did, undeserving even. But, I had a pile of fun, learnt a few new rules (never having seriously played with such a big unit of medium base infantry before), and spent an enjoyable day out with the boys!

Thanks to Dave for running everything and thanks to Chris Baker and Victor for supplying me with tokens, objectives, flags and other bits after I suffered a complete brain fade and remembered to bring the army and cards, but nothing else (Chris' Dawnguard Destors have seen more table time as markers than actual models thanks to me!). Now I really must find the enthusiasm to get Boomhowlers, the ATGM and Stormwall painted before they go on another excursion!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Army Bag for Me!

As I mentioned in my last post, the guys at Slave To Painting held a sale a couple of weeks ago and I weakened and bought a few resin bases. I also made a serious investment and bought a Battlefoam Hordes Bag.

I’ve been keen to buy one of these for some time now as I think the bags are the highest quality (in terms of construction and finishing) of any bags on the market today. I have three or four of the Flames Of War bags and they are a great investment. What stopped me purchasing one before now is the cost – one of the downsides of living in New Zealand is that freighting anything this far to the other side of the world is a wee bit costly. Throw in the fact that you could easily spend the same amount again on foams and it was just not an option for me.

I thought long and hard about buying a competing case, but at the end of the day I wanted something that is rugged and can carry an army plus a pile of other things. I am not looking for a storage solution – the figures will go in the case the day before an event, and in theory come out the day after. I have plenty of document storage cases that are perfect for keeping figures in, however they are terrible when it comes to transporting them on an airplane or when packed in the boot (trunk) of a car. I also wanted something where I could fill half the case with models, and then the other half with a can of deodorant and a couple of days of clothes so that when you fly to a tournament I could take the lot as carry-on.

On to the case itself… it turned up in 3 days which is impressive to say the least. Ordered on Saturday, shipped on Monday and in my hands on Wednesday. It is quite a bit larger than the FOW bag and feels a little more rugged. It has all the usual pockets that you would expect, and came with an assortment of trays.

One of the really cool features is that the back opens up and contains a wealth of pockets for your cards, a set of ring binder clips and a spot for your markers. Disappointingly it does not have a sensible place for your templates.

In terms of trays it contained two each, of three different trays: 
Small base infantry tray
Medium base / light 'jack or beast tray
Large 'jack tray

As you can see from the photos I had no problems fitting my entire Choptober army (minus the Stormwall admittedly) in less than three trays, as well as fitting my Long Gunners, a few extra 'jacks and solos.

As a transport solution I am sold on the Battlefoam bag. I am going to have to save up for a few extra trays, such as a generic 120mm base tray, a couple of Iron Fang Pikemen trays and a couple of others, but the basic ones look like they will do the job nicely!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Secret Weapon Town Square Bases

Earlier this year I took a look at some of the resin bases that are available to wargamers in this post here. A couple of weeks ago the good guys at Slave To Painting had a nice sale and I purchased some of the Secret Weapon Miniatures Town Square bases. I’ve been eyeing these up for a few months but been reluctant to commit thus far, so with the option of a discount I finally weakened! Below are some sample images from their range.

30mm Bases (10 different designs)
40mm Bases (5 different designs)
50mm Bases (4 different designs)
120mm Bases (2 different designs)
For those of you that have never heard of Secret Weapon Miniatures, it was started a few years ago by Justin "misterjustin" McCoy and has grown to have quite a range of cool products including bases, pigments and washes. They also ran a very successful Kickstarter (who isn’t these days) for injection molded plastic table tiles which just look fantastic and I cannot wait to get my hands on the Urban Streets set!

After seeing the quality of these first bases I am seriously tempted to head back to pick up some of their Trench Works and use them for either my Khador or Rhulic army.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Britain and Sweden Go To War!

Over the weekend Wayne and I managed to get together for a game of Napoleon at War – a fun set of Napoleonics rules made by a small Spanish company. The rules themselves feel like they have a bit of a Flames Of War influence and are quite fast. Evan and the Palmerston North guys play them a lot and have nothing but good things to say about them (okay, they have a few not so good things to say, but more about that later).
I dusted off an old British army that I am in the process of giving a little bit of a tidy up, whilst Wayne brought his Swedes. We had pretty similar forces with a few Brigades of infantry, a Squadron of Cavalry in reserve and some artillery (Wayne had 3 Batteries to my 2, as well as an extra gun in one).

We both deployed centrally, with our reserves to fill in the flanks. The short version of the game is that I managed to grind out in the centre, where my infantry battalions shot the Swedes off the table, but on my left flank Wayne’s extra artillery battery took out my 95th Rifles and Portugese Cacadores, allowing him to start enveloping me. On the right flank my Cavalry came flying on, only the fail in a series of tests resulting in them standing around in front of another artillery battery. Eventually they got their act together and overran the guns and some of his Cav, but the damage was done and Wayne won the right flank. At that point we called then game a win to the Swedes, a very close win, but a win none the less…
The game was fun but one of the biggest frustrations was referencing the rulebook during the game (this being the main complaint that I’ve heard from players) and finding rules at the right time. We’ve downloaded the FAQ and are planning on having another go soon, in the meantime we are both going to need to read the rulebook another couple of times to try and get it to sink in!

Holding the Centre
British Cav sitting in front of the Swedish guns
Before finally getting it together and breaking the Swedish lines