Pax Germanica

At the last meeting we had a game of Sword & Spear – Romans against Germans.

Jeremey took control of the Romans and Stephen had the Germans (we were joined half way through by Andy (Romans) and Tony (Germans) once they finished their Saga game). We did the River Crossing scenario from the rulebook, with the Romans on the attack. Victory conditions meant that if the Romans had half or more of their units on the opposite side of the river during any End Phase of the game they were automatically declared winner.

The Germans deployed first with their warbands stretched out facing the river to oppose any Roman crossing. On the left flank they had the cavalry and skirmishers.

The Romans had their legions facing the river with auxiliaries on the Roman left and the Roman cavalry on the right, having to make their way through rocky ground before getting to the river.

Both armies moved up quickly (we realised after a few turns that we read the group move rules incorrectly, but at least it got us stuck in quicker!). The German (lack of) discipline made moving up in any kind of order difficult and it turned out enough tribal leaders hadn’t arrived, so they also had a few command and control issues since the warbands on the further edges were out of command range (you can see I’m getting in the excuses early).

It reached that point – the Romans lined up on one side of the river and the Germans on the other. There’d been some desultory bow fire but it was quite clear how this was going to be decided. The Romans were on the attack and the onus was on them to win. So Rome’s finest did what they had to do and started wading across the river…

The main fighting was in the middle between the legions and the warbands. It started going the Roman way. They created a bridge head and units were crossing the river. It looked like this was going to be over quicker than we thought. The Germans brought up their cavalry to plug some holes. Out on the right flank things were going a bit slower – the Germans struggling to bring enough troops up and the Romans refusing the flank with their archers pouring fire into the tribesmen. Meanwhile, on the left, the Roman cavalry also took time coming up through the rocky ground allowing the German archers to advance to the river with bows at the ready once the cavalry came into range and sight.

The centre wore away. In one clash the Germans managed to destroy one of the Roman units taking the Roman general with it! The tide of battle was starting to turn and it looked as though the Germans may have a chance of victory. This had come at a cost though – the German units were starting to get weak and fragile from the battle. Realising they would have to be bold and daring to secure victory the German right flank finally managed to get to the river and decided to charge across it at the Roman archers and auxiliaries in the woods on the opposite bank. A bold attack, indeed, and one that was repulsed.

And there things came to an end. In that brief glimmer of hope the Germans had taken enough of a pounding to force them to quit the field. It had been no easy victory for the Romans – they had taken the river crossing but they had also taken a serious drubbing to achieve their goal. A pyrrhic victory at best. But a victory nonetheless.

War Rig

John Lambert shows off his Gaslands mean machine

Here’s My War Rig ready for the Christmas Gaslands Game! I’m pleased with how it came out and here’s how I did it. I made it from a Tonka Articulated Lorry, which comes with a load of crates or plastic pipes.

Tractor Unit
I drilled out the rivets connecting cab to chassis. I covered the yellow cab with paint stripper and the next morning it was ready to go. I drilled a hole in the bonnet for the air intake, then added a new bonnet. The air intake was made from Plastic tube and plasticard. I ditched the plastic exhausts and replaced with aluminium tubing. Over the front wheel arches, I added armoured covers from platic strapping and secured them with lengths of chain. I added mesh for the windows and the radiator.
For the Chassis, I added spikes to the wheels using carpet tacks then used cross stitch mesh for the panels covering the rear wheels. For the ram, I built two ‘I’ section girders out of the front to support the ram fashioned from 30 thou plasticard.

Trailer Unit
Fr the chassis, I added spikes and armour as for the tractor unit. For the rear ram, I used an old cartridge from a razor which I covered with plastic strapping armour. I added a mesh surround for a lower fighting platform.

I used plastic waste pipe for the tank, scribing plastic circles for the ends and added strips around the pipe with 20 thou plastic card. I added a ladder from the cross stitch mesh and added details on the rear to simulate fuel unloading equipment.

I built the fighting top using Evergreen rods and girder sections and the front and back panels were from the plasticard I’d used for the tank ends. I covered the floor with panels from plastic strapping added randomly. The Gatling gun was scratchbuilt using plastic rod and tube and the crew figure was one I’d got from Marcus. I finished off the trailer with wire cut from mesh.

Finishing Off
I followed a method shown on U Tube by ‘Vengeful Raider’ . I sprayed Matt Black then applied several very thin coats of dark grey paint. The next step was a dry brush of Gun Metal followed by a dark brown wash. Finally I applied Matt black using a sponge. This gave a good beaten up look and helped break down the large surfaces of the tank and cab. I added a thin brown wash over the chrome exhaust system. For the chequer plate armour, I started with thin layers of red brown followed by a gunmetal drybrush. For the chassis armour, I dry brushed red brown and then Yellow Ochre for the rust. Finally, I painted on the slogans, though I might add some flags later.

Just got to think of a name, I’d thought of ‘The Ark of Redemption’ or ‘Destiny’s Child’.

That’s the end, and it will be for you if you suffer a Piledriver attack from this beast.

Painting 6mm Figures

We have a 6mm Napoleonic game at the club tomorrow and Mark has added a Brigade to his French Army for the occasion.

6mm figures are ideal for large battles, but many people think they must be difficult to paint – like anything it is easy if you follow some simple rules and don’t make the mistake of trying to paint them like larger figures.  Here is a quick guide on how.

The figures are 1/300 scale Heroics and Ros and the units are the 4th and 46th Line Regiments comprising GB Dalesme’s Brigade, belonging to GD Carra St. Cyr’s Division of the French 4th Army Corps in May 1809 as well as the General’s of GD St.Hilaire’s Division.

Here are the 2 packs of French Fusiliers (FN26), half a pack of French Voltigeurs (FN4), half a pack of French Grenadiers (FN27) and some assorted generals (from FN 17 and AN8) that need to be painted, straight out of the packs.

It always pays to rinse the figures in warm soapy water before starting to get rid of any mould grease, then work round the edges of the figures with a sharp hobby knife to get rid of flash and any casting mismatches.  There is some surgery on the general staff figures to removed unwanted plumes, marshal’s batons, etc, as they were all to be used as French generals.  The figures date back to when most people painted their flags and the old style metal flags need removing – good flags really do make or break 6mm figures, so this is worth your time – don’t skimp and put paper flags round the metal – the results don’t look good.  Small nail clippers are a good tool to nibble the flag off the flagpole.  Try to avoid the eagles, but you can always glue them back on with superglue if they break off!

FIRST TIP – Now base the figures, as they are easier to paint this way.  The bases are just mounting card with steel paper on the bottom (this comes in strips and is glue backed).  The infantry are on a 1″x.5″ base for our house rules, four bases to a battalion.  One battalion is on an open order base (combined Voltigeurs of the Brigade) and this uses a 1.5″ base.  There is one combined battalion of Grenadiers and four Battalions of Fusiliers.

SECOND TIP – Now undercoat all over with a black undercoat, making sure that every cranny is filled.  You can use spray, but for this size an old brush can be quicker and less messy.  DON’T USE WHITE FOR UNDERCOAT – if you do you give yourself a massive painting headache trying to cover the undercoat and then shade the figure to avoid it looking like a paint blob – this a technique for bigger figures!  Your black undercoat on 6mm means you have already painted anything black on the figure and you have already shaded it – don’t worry that all you have at this stage is a load of black blobs:

THIRD TIP – It is essential on 6mm to use lighter shades than the colours you are depicting.  This is partly to offset the black undercoat and partly to ensure the colour looks right at a distance.  Your eye perceives small objects as darker than they really are.  If you use dark ‘correct’ shades, all of the figures will simply look like near black blobs when you have finished.

There are three key colours we now need to add.  First Dark Blue for the coats and some of the horse furniture.  Citadel Ultramarines Blue was used, which is a middish blue pigment.  When you paint the coat use a fairly small brush (for these a 101 was used).  Work down the line painting the same feature on each base.  From the front do a stroke down the left arms of all figures, then the same for the right arm, shoulder to hand (don’t worry about paint getting on the hands).  Do another stroke to join these up under the chin, then fill in the lower chest, leaving the black undercoat showing in the crevices between the chest and arms.  Repeat round the back.  The horse furniture was also painted now (light crimson for the French generals, Vallejo Carmine was used) again don’t paint right up to the next colour – leave black showing around the furniture:

Second main colour is white (and white is – well white, Humbrol white here), for the trousers or breeches (both were used, so for a bit of variety I have done one regiment in each here), as well as coat lapels, which are a prominent feature on French line infantry.  Paint up the leg from above the footwear (all left legs from the front, all right legs, then reverse and do the back – a final tidy up to join the legs at the front.  Breeches are best done with a horizontal stroke around the leg as far down as the knee.  Leave some black showing between legwear and coat.  A simple stroke down the middle of the chest for the lapels.  Also touch in the drumskin on drummers.  To make the command figures stand out a bit better white scabbard and drum supports have been added, but you can omit this!   Regimental plumes and pompoms were also done at this point (a simple dob on the pompom):

Now for the last main colour; red/scarlet.  Before doing this the Voltigeurs plumes and epaulettes were painted (both regiments used green plumes with red tips and green epaulettes for their voltigeurs at this time) in Citadel Goblin Green – another strong middle shade.  Humbrol scarlet is used for the red here, which is a nice bright shade.  Paint a red line above each hand for the cuffs (again don’t worry if the paint slops onto the hand).  Then paint the grenadiers plumes and a dob on each shoulder for the prominent epaulettes.  A dob of red added to finish the Voltigeur plumes and the fusilier plumes are also quickly dabbed in (one base each of dark green, sky blue, light orange and violet for each battalion):

You are nearly there now!  Paint the back of the rawhide knapsack with leather – leave the sides black (this is Humbrol Leather) then a stroke horizontally along the back and a touch in from the front on each end of any grey you have to hand for the rolled greatcoat on top of it (shades varied enormously for this item)  Brass for the drum body and Voltigeur horns.  Masses of gold lace to finish the generals (worth taking some time over these as they are few in number) and the eagle on the flagpoles.  Optional extras are a small dob of brass for the helmet plate at the front and the visible sword hilts on the voltigeurs, command figures and grenadiers.  Senior generals horses are painted white with a black bridle.  The colour makes them easy to pick out.  Regimental command horses are painted leather and brigadier’s horses left black.  You can leave the underside of the horse as well as the mane and tail black for contrast, a few white flashes on the noses of some of the horses also make a lot of difference.

Lastly a stroke of silver along the top of each musket and any bayonet and drawn swords all over.  Leave the rest of the musket black (it really is not worth using brown for the woodwork – the black keeps it looking thin in scale and most musket wood was in any case quite dark, but you can paint the body brown first if you really want to).

Finally add a dob of flesh on each hand and a stroke of flesh across the face to finish the figure.  Don’t overdo the face and leave black around it.

Finally finish with an overall coat of matt varnish to protect the figures from handling (I use Vallejo which sets with a good clear finish):

FOURTH TIP – Don’t skimp on basing, as bad basing really ruins any figures and especially 6mm – you would be better off cutting corners on the figure painting.  Flock also is not good with 6mm – it tends to make it look like the figures are moving through a patch of dense scrub!  These figures are finished with Basetex.  DON’T USE TOO DARK A GREEN.  If you do it will kill the figure painting.  Use a light spring green for both the basing and the terrain.  Basetex green is way too dark for 6mm, so a mix of about half and half green and sand is used here, stored in a sealable sandwich box.

First work the green around the base of each figure with a small old brush:

Now use sand to cover the bases (and the sides).  A cocktail stick works well to pick up and poke the Basetex into place.  Make sure you ‘bury’ the sides of each figure base.  Some printed labels are added at this stage for the generals:

Once dry use a really old big brush with a few bristle left to work over the top of the sand with your light green mix – working quickly using a mixtures of dabs and strokes and leaving the sand showing through the green:

That just leaves the flags, which really finish off each unit.  The ones used here are adapted from those available free online from Warflag, reduced to around 20% size.  Print these on a printer using pigment (not inkjet ink which will run if it gets damp).  These were printed on an Epson printer as all Epson printers use pigment based cartridges.  Use thin 80g/m paper.  The flags are glued with simple PVA, which lets you work with the flag to line up the sides before it sets, then given a ‘crinkle’ to give the flag some life before the glue sets (easier with thin paper).  A pair of tweezers is useful to ‘pinch’ the flag around the pole.  Once dry it is well worth running round the edges of the flag with a matching colour to get rid of the ‘white edge’ effect – use a little thinned paint for this.  Finally flag poles are finished in a dark blue, covering up any glue stains.

Here is the end result:

Each battalion sits on a magnetic sheet (which is why the bases have steel paper on their bottom).  The four bases on each sheet can be re-arranged for the required formation (those above are in column).  Finally the whole lot sit on a brigade manoeuvre base (8″x3″), which is simply a sheet of steel paper with some Woodland Scenics Spring Green mat stuck on top.  This allows the brigade to be quickly moved until it gets into contact.

 

 

SELWG 2018

The club had another successful day at SELWG 2018, winning the Best Terrain trophy for the third year in succession. Here’s Phil looking suitably pleased with life 🙂

We’ve posted plenty of photos of the game in the past, but this is surely an excuse for a few more ! Photos by Phil Richards and also courtesy of the official SELWG photographer.

The Age of the Wolf – The Last Rites

With just one campaign season left in our Saga: Age of The Wolf campaign we are reaching the climax of the struggle for Britain in 1070AD. It’s been quite a year, with famine, recrimination, and sorrow besetting the North.

Our campaign has six players (well, seven, since one player had to pull out and a replacement took over):

  • Andy – Anglo Danes
  • Jeremey – Anglo Danes
  • Tony G – Normans
  • John R – Normans (had to pull out)
  • John L – Norse Gaels
  • Stephen – Welsh
  • Paul B – Vikings

It wouldn’t do to say what the rankings are at this stage (not least because I don’t know!) but I am pleased to say that, like a school sports day, everyone has had at least one win so far!

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our friends at Gripping Beast who have very generously provided a discount on a prize for the winner – the Saga 2 rulebook plus the Age of Vikings! Very kind and very generous. So, by the time Christmas gets here, the winner will not only have bragging rights over the others for the following year, but will also have an early Christmas pressie.

Keep an eye out for Turn 6 campaign stories and we’ll also be following up with a ‘Spoils Of War’ post, with stories about war trophies gained, blood feuds, murder, and worthy victories.
If you’ve not started your own Age Of Wolf campaign then we heartily recommend you do!

Again – cheers to Gripping Beast.​

Gaslands – Pimp your ride !

John Lambert provides some background and details on our Gaslands Christmas game, and give tips on converting Matchbox cars into post-apocalyptic racers:

As you are aware, one of our Christmas games will be Gaslands featuring a War Rig (I’m building one). For the game it is expected that participants will bring a Hot Wheels/ Matchbox “1/64 scale” vehicle to the meeting, there will be spares available though it’s much more fun and rewarding to build your own. Each vehicle build is points costed and the limit for each vehicle will be 25 cans (there’s a download file on the Yahoo group with basic vehicle costs and available upgrades). The best store to grab your vehicle is ASDA. They stock both manufacturers and are generally the cheapest.

With your prized possession safely at home, it’s time to decide what to do. Go to the Quickplay download sheet on the Yahoo group and determine the class of the vehicle you have chosen. This will give you the vehicle cost and the build slots available. There are build slot costs and cans costs for each weapon. Add it all together and get your total vehicle costs. If you have spare cans, there are perks available which can be added later.

Conversion work can be as simple or complex as you like, the key is to make it as cheap as possible so scavenge as much as possible and think about how you can use it. Do bear Health and Safety in mind though! Cable ties cut into pieces makes good side rams/armour or a minigun ammo belt. Paperclips make good gun barrels or mounts for electrical weapons. The insides of a redundant computer mouse can provide a number of suitable components. Plastic case strapping makes good chequer pattern armour plate and cocktail sticks or carpet tacks can be added as spikes, just use your imagination. There are numerous Youtube videos that do a really good job and provide lots of inspiration, J H Miniatures (James Hall) being one of the best contributors. When it’s done, superglue the wheels so it won’t slide down inclines, spray black and drybrush to bring out the details and you’re done.

If you wanted to do something more elaborate then you will need some extra bits and pieces.
Separating into components. Check the base of your car. If it’s screwed together you are in luck. If riveted you will have to drill the rivets out. Use a HSS bit as the metal is quite tough. Support the bonnet and boot from below an take it easy otherwise the bit will wander.

Stripping the paint job. Paint stripper will wreck the plastic parts. With the metal body separated you can strip off the paint to the bare metal. I used paint stripper from Homebase (TX10 for less than £4). You don’t have to remove all the paint and a good effect can be achieved by leaving part of the original paint on

Battle damage. Use a metal burr or the HSS drill bit to gouge the metal, use files to add more damage. For heavy damage I’ve used a plumbers wrench or club hammer.

Mesh Windscreens. Isopon aluminium mesh costs £2 from Halfords. Added inside or out, it hides the need for a driver.

Rust. I spray the metal body with Polyurethane gloss then apply Burnt Sienna wash to the rusted parts, then spray matt acrylic varnish from 2 feet away. This gives the rusted parts some texture which can be highlighted by drybrushing.

Weapons. If you have 1/72nd scale kits, these may supply suitable weapons. Otherwise this store has a range of weapons and bits:- http://www.sgtsmess.co.uk

Plastic Tubing and Plasticard. Evergreen supply a range of tubing and rod. Get a mixed pack, it’s all you will need and can be used to scratchbuild weapons.

Hope you find this useful, and see you at the starting grid sometime!

Meeting Photos

Andy K took a huge number of photos at the last meeting – here’s a selection:

Gaslands

WWI Naval

15mm Napoleonics

10mm Crimean War

SAGA Campaign

FOG Campaign

Dropship Commander

Defenders of the Shire

Tony F updates us on his latest painting efforts

I had a bit of a Middle-Earth break after the efforts of the Open Day game, but I slowly eased myself back into things in September. On the shelf next to my desk is a small row of based and undercoated figures, and I find that if they stare at me long enough I end up getting having to paint them – at the front of the queue were two trios of rangers.

The first threesome are a set of Dúnedain, descendants of the men of Númenor. Known as the Rangers of the North, they patrol the borders of the Shire and keep that peaceful land (mostly) free of the perils of the rest of Middle Earth.

The other set are members of the Grey Company, a group of Dúnedain led by Halbarad who accompanied Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead and went on to capture the ships of the corsairs – their arrival at Pelargir turned the tide of the Battle of Pelennor Fields. They’re distinguished by their grey cloaks fixed by star-shaped brooches.

The official Games Workshop model of Halbarad is currently out of production, so my rangers are lacking a leader. Over the years I seem to have accumulated quite a few different Aragorn figures, so I picked a spare one of those and painted him up as his father, Arathorn (there is GW figure of Arathorn but, like Halbarad, he’s been out of production for some time and goes for silly money on eBay). The ‘conversion’ consisted of painting Aragorn’s dark locks grey, but he’ll do for me unless or until GW bring their official Arathorn figure back.