Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tech Adept

This month's painting challenge from the Sheffield Irregulars was simply "Red". I had an old GW Adeptus Mechanicus model that had a pretty poor paintjob (I was younger back then), so out he came for a repaint. I wanted a look that suggested that the 'organic' components, including robes, were rather neglected, in contrast to antique but very well cared for technology. Hope that's how its come out!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Yanks are Coming!

Here's the first completed WWII US Infantry I've done. These are from an old matchbox set. A lot are missing, including the .50cal and mortar, although the set never had a very wide range of equipment in the first place (no BARs, carbines or Thompsons for example). They are nice sculpts however and were quick and fun to paint, taking washes well for shading. All in, when complete I'll have about twenty of these guys (some aren't based yet), barely enough for a severely understrength platoon, so I'm going to have to invest in some more, possibly the nice models from Italieri (although they're apparently a bit taller, so I'm not sure how well they'll mix).

I've painted them in something vaguely akin the the M1943 uniform (although a handful are in older style colours), so these guys are either late war or fresh arrivals to Europe post D-Day. US uniforms in this period are the cause of some confusion when it comes to picking colours!

I've also added a bit more German infantry, this time some old airfix models, and started detailing a couple of Armourfast Stugs (not happy with it yet, so no photos).

Monday, 8 November 2010

A bit of a preview

I blame the mother-in-law.

No really! If she hadn't gone shopping with my wife in Derby, I wouldn't have found myself in Modelzone in the Westfield Centre, contemplating what I could do with a 1/72 scale die-cast Sherman tank at £3.99! Or two...

Like many gamers I guess, the seeds of the hobby were probably sewn on childhood carpets, playing with soldiers from the likes of airfix and matchbox. And yet strangely enough I've never done any WWII gaming. Well thanks to those Shermans, and a pile of old model railway terrain inherited from my Grandad (and which has to come out of the attic soon anyway, so the builder can get to work) that's the plan. The aim (optimistically) will be that this will be a project with low time investment. Apart from buildings, I can mostly use my existing scenery collection; by using 1/72 scale figs (many of which are hang overs from those old carpet wars, plus some additions) I hopefully won't get too precious about paintjobs; and for vehicles I'm going to use a mix of die-casts (there's a good range out there these days) and stuff from the likes of armourfast.

I'm also going to try and keep that inner button counter under control. If I want to have a 76mm Sherman on the table and all I have is a model with a 105, I shall not give a fig!

Here's the first batch, the beginnings of a German infantry platoon (I'm working on two Armourfast StugIIIs for support). Next up should be some US Infantry.

Old Guard (of sorts)

Back in the old Rogue Trader Days I collected Imperial Guard, a follow on from my first army of pirates and mercenaries. At that time it was mostly bulked out with the first set of plastic guardsmen GW did, but I always wanted to fill it with the original Imperial Army models. Whilst not exactly realistically proportioned, they were models with great character.

Well I now have quite a collection of these models, some from my original army, some recent additions from ebay, and I finally got around to slapping some paint on. I succumbed to nostalgia and went old school with a mid grey uniform which, as well as looking pretty good, was also incredibly quick to paint. There are still some details to be done, like eyes and unit markings, along with the bases, but progress has been good. I'm going to do these minis in batches, a few at a time between other projects, so I don't get that jaded feeling that sometimes comes from doing whole units (and is why I haven't finished those Tau, and myriad other projects!).

And so, on to the obligatory piccies...

Catching up

While my painting area was squeezed by building work, large projects were out, but I did find time to catch up on some projects I've been meaning to do for a while.

First up was finishing my Copplestone Castings Neo Sovs. I'd already prepared a few of these, but had quite a few left to go, including most of the command models, and all the basing to do.

Here's a family photo. Mark Copplestone's figures are a joy to paint, nice chunky models that have simple but effective detailing. There's loads of character to these guys too, with some great expressions. The only problem I had was choosing the right camo scheme. In the end the last few got a different scheme to the first few. I may go back and change the old ones, but for now I'm happy enough, they're not dramatically different from 'table distance' and it just looks like some have had a more recent issue of kit. The front row includes the commanders and two snipers.
The guy with all the medals is probably only going to turn up on tables occasionally, possibly as an objective! The radioman on the right is a pretty straightforward conversion using a GW Tau backpack and green stuff (for the headset), and is wearing the 'new' camo. The 'political officer' (on the left) was a really quick model to paint, but has really effective (in my opinion).

Monday, 1 November 2010

First Impressions... um ... Last?

During August (was it that long ago?) Matt and I got a quick game of Warhammer in to try out the new 8th Edition at Warhammer World in Nottingham. Empire vs High Elves at 2000 pts each.

So what did I think? Overall I'm liking the new rules. The emphasis is definitely back on infantry, and I like the balance of the new magic rules. You really need an understanding of how your units will perform in different situations to help decide whether to take advantage of the 'horde' or 'Steadfast' formations. So what were the specific thoughts about how my Empire army was affected?

Infantry: The new steadfast rule really helps Ld 7 infantry, if you can fit in large enough units! The changes to Initiative and second rank attacks really help to narrow the difference between units as well, but without removing all the flavour. Still no solution to the problem of the Empire's signature weapon, the halberd, being bland and unattractive though.

Not sure I'll be taking Flagellants very often though. Now that they will be on the receiving end of more attacks (at least two ranks worth), that T3 and no save makes them look very expensive for troops that will inevitably die in droves as a speed bump (especially now most core infantry can effectively be stubborn).

Cavalry: Knights have taken a bit of a hit. The random charge move has reduced their ability to make sure of getting the charge in, and units sizes mean they don't generally get to benefit from the steadfast or horde rules. They're going to be less of a 'first strike' unit, and more used to throw in a tip the balance at a crucial point. Makes it tactically more interesting.

Pistoliers I'm undecided on. As fast cavalry they're still pretty flexible. Pistols are now longer ranged, but the negative modifiers for moving and firing at long range soon stack up to reduce their shooting effectiveness.

Artillery: One word - Mortars...

taken with iphone, apologies for quality!

And the High Elves?

I do think GW have got the 'Always Strikes First' rule badly wrong, allowing units to re-roll misses, combined with the change to initiative and extra rank attacking, mean that High Elf units can cause some serious damage (spears attacking in four ranks at WS4, re-rolling misses, you do the math...). It would have made more sense for this rule to simply mean that they acted in initiative order, reducing the number of attacks they would take in return, but not making them cause more casualties. This would seem to sit with the description better.

That said, they're not entirely unbeatable, but its trickier.

High Elf spearmen are quite scary now, attacking in 4 ranks! (and for less points than a Dogs of War pikemen, bit that's another rant...)

Another Age of Empires

Well it's been a while. Real life intruded recently in the form of a major kitchen rebuild and all the associated disruption, squishing my painting area into a tiny area of our spare room, surrounded by temporarily displaced furniture and crockery. Still, I've managed a few projects, so expect a few posts in a row.

First up, continuing the saga of my Empire army for WFB, are you sitting comfortably?

Right then... After a bit of a break form Warhammer while I was at Uni, I got back into it with a friend when I was living in Portsmouth. Initially using my old army and 3rd edition rules, I got repeatedly smacked by his Skaven. It was the decision to add some more spearmen and handgunners, my first trip to a GW in years, and discovery of the plastic sets that then got me back in the habit. Combined with meeting more dedicated gamers when I moved to Derbyshire (and found Warhammer World nearby) of course.

One purchase of the 6th edition rulebook and the Empire army book and I'd started a completely new army...

I'm not one for designing an army list and then collecting to it. I'm always adding models and units I like the look of or fancy painting, so it's more of a work in progress. I'd been sceptical about the landsknechte style that had started to appear just as I was dropping out of the hobby, but before I knew it, it had grown on me and puffy sleeves were everywhere.

Here's how things stand at the moment.

Depending how you calculate it, there's something over 6-7,000 points there.

Back Row: Steam Tank, 2 units of 5 pistoliers, 10 knights, 13 knights, 5 knights, 6 White Wolves, Mortar
Second Row: 2 (yes, 2) volleyguns, 20 swordsmen (usually used as detachments), 24 spearmen, 24 greatswords, 24 halberdiers, 20 flagellents, Great Cannon
Third Row: 14 archers, 40 halberdiers (formed in detachments of 10), 20 crossbowmen (formed in units of 10), another Great Cannon
Front Row: 3 mounted wizards (lores of metal, fire and heavens), 3 engineers, 4 warrior priests (one mounted), Mounted general, foot captain, Battle Standard Bearer, Grand Master, 4 foot wizards (heavens, fire, shadow and death), 3 more mounted wizards (life, death and beasts).

Since I took this photo I've added enough troops to bring my halberdiers, spearmen and greatswords up to units of 30 to get the most out of the 8th edition changes, as well as a mounted battle standard bearer (to match my foot one)

There's also a pile of part and unpainted lead and plastic waiting to be added, including a hero on Griffin (a chance to combine with one of my other hobbies, birdwatching, it's going to be part Osprey, or maybe Red Kite...), unit of free company (which will recycle some of my old models), several units of knights, including some of the metal Reiksgard and Knights Panther, and just a little bit more artillery (mainly because I prefer the older, metal models to the current plastics).

I have to admit though, the more recent releases (plastic flagellants and greatswords) have left me a bit cold. And don't get me started on the awful mechanical horse...

Be nice if they produced some updated knights though.

Of course there's also the Dogs of War army, but I'll leave that for another time...