BPM 97 Scratchbuild

John Lambert shares his latest Zona Alfa projekt.

I’d bought into Zona Alfa intrigued by the period, the campaign system and the terrain building potential. One of the mission objectives in the rulebook scenarios involves a broken down APC. I wasn’t going to splash out £20.00 for a resin cast model so what could I do instead?. Scanning the ASDA shelves for Gaslands stuff I came across this for £3.00.

Could I use the bits from this as a basis for a model ?

I’d remembered that this brand was secured by screws and not rivets so opening it up took a matter of minutes. I was left with a cab, fuel tank, wheels and chassis. I could use the fuel tank, cab and upper chassis as extra terrain pieces later. What about the lower chassis and wheels?

I’d got this plan off the internet and hoped it would work

The wheels were the right diameter but the wheelbase was 1cm too long so I’d have to cut the chassis and join the pieces with 2 x 30 thou plastic card – my go to modelling material for 45 years!. The track was a bit wide 2mm but I could live with that. I’d sketched out templates for the sides and front of the body, cut them out from 20 thou plastic card and quickly had the basis of the bodywork, which warped overnight!.
I decided to build the front wheel arches from strips of 30 thou card to provide better rigidity and to ensure a square structure. Referring to internet photos I found the bonnet top would be quite complex to make. I used 2 pieces of 60 thou plastic card and sanded this down with wet and dry to get the right profile.
On to the detailing, I decided to be systematic. First I added access doors to the rear and roof hatches from 20 thou plastic card then side access doors from 10 thou plastic card. Cupolas above the driving positions were from 40 thou plasticard. Hinges were from plastic micro rod and I made catches from microstrip and micro rod in long sections that I could then cut to size. These WIP shots show the detailing in progress – there’s more than I thought when starting this project!

I painted the body in dark green, dry brushing with lighter green and using a section from the packaging for the windows. The chassis I painted black and dry brushed grey and light brown before fixing to the bodywork.

Overall I was pleased with the results – a good project for isolation. More episodes to follow!

Forward To The Thirteenth Century

Stephen goes time travelling.

I decided to update my medievals. Actually, down-date might be a better way to think of it.

When I started collecting medievals I decided to go with early 14th century. If I’m honest, I really wanted to do 13th century (think Baron’s War of Simon de Montfort), because that’s where my interests lay. But there were few miniatures available for that and the ones there were I didn’t really like.

So I chose early 14th century (think Crecy and Poitiers). However, I recently made the choice to go with my heart rather than mind.

I’ve taken out the later figures that wouldn’t look right in the 13th century and they’ve gone into the ‘fantasy human army’ box. And I replaced them with figures more suited to the 13th century.

I asked around the club if anyone had some of the Fireforge plastics to have a look at. Andy did. And he kindly let me have a sprue to have a play with. I thought the details were good and the style of armour, clothing and equipment is right for the period.

Problem is, every time I see how people have put them together (and this is a general fault I find with plastics) they always have that crouching need-a-sh*t pose, head at 90° to body, and arms doing a double fist-pump. They just look like child’s toys.

Since they were plastic I decided I’d give them a bit of a chop. I thought I may cut the legs off and re-pose them. In the end I didn’t. In fact, in the end the surgery was quite minor. Generally, I replaced the weapons with better-proportioned spares from the spares box. One or two arms I cut at elbow and wrist. I also cut some hands off at the wrist to have them at different angles (due to the casting process I find that the arms on plastics tend to be ‘flat’, and it looks more pronounced once the arm is stuck to the body).

I think the key to the Fireforge figures (and, again, plastics in general) is to think about the pose rather than just stick them together. Maybe even stand in front of a mirror and pose yourself to see how they should go together (make sure you don’t get seen by the family or they’ll think you’re and even bigger bell end). It means you will have to do a bit of cutting here and there to make the pose fluid and as if that the limbs and head belong on the body. But plastic is easy to cut and easy to glue, so it’s really not that difficult.

In the end, I was rather happy with what I came up with. It made me re-think my opinion on them. Just minor surgery, and thinking about the pose, makes a great deal of difference.

Now I have what I wanted in the first place – 13th century medieval.

Mexican Reinforcements

Andy goes south of the border.

The fifth batch of figures completed this year are a few additional figures and a cannon for my Mexican forces for the Maximillian adventure.

These are made up of half a dozen Wargames Foundry ACW Union Artillery crew in shell jackets, a cannon and half a dozen odd Mexican officers, infantry and dismounted cavalry.

I’ve had the ACW Union Artillery crew for a while, these will serve as Mexican Republican gunners (some American troops did go south at the end of the ACW, with ex-Confederates joining the Imperial forces and ex-Union troops joining the Republicans). I’m going to be a bit hazy as to whether these are actually Americans or Mexicans, but I wanted to be able to field some “Well Drilled” field guns for the Republicans in “The Men Who Would Be Kings” games, so I wanted some uniformed artillerymen.

The Mexicans and the gun were bought from Colonel Bill’s at Cavalier earlier this year, so having these figures finished in less than a month after purchase is something of a record for me!

After cleaning up any mould lines, giving the figures and gun a wash in hot soapy water to remove any mould release agent and letting them dry, everything was undercoated with Humbrol grey acrylic primer. Paints are Vallejo unless stated otherwise.

The gun was painted Prussian Blue, with an AP Blue Tone wash. Metal plates were painted black and bolts Gunmetal Grey.

The foot figures were all given a Dark Sand base coat on hands and faces, followed by a Dark Flesh top coat and an AP Skin tone wash.

The officers and artillery crew had Flat Blue jackets, trousers were either Flat Blue or White. Anything Blue was given a good wash with AP Blue Tone. Artillerymen’s epaulettes were piped Flat Red.
A couple of the artillery crew had unbuttoned jackets, so I painted their shirts Deck Tan. One officer received a Golden Yellow waistcoat. Officers buttons were painted Brass, and other ranks buttons Gunmetal Grey. One officer had his boots painted Saddle Brown, everyone else had black boots.

Belts, other boots and pouches were painted black, as was all hair. One artilleryman had a water bottle painted Red Leather with German Camouflage Beige straps, a second had a haversack, also painted German Camouflage Beige, and one a ramrod painted Beige Brown with Buff wad.

The two Infantrymen had the same basic paint scheme as the artillery crew. Musket woodwork was Beige Brown, metalwork was Gunmetal Grey.

The two dismounted cavalry men are irregulars, so had a less uniform paint job.

The one on the left had Light Grey shirt with White undershirt, Saddle Brown vest, Chocolate Brown trousers, Mahogany Brown hat and Black boots. A bit of a study in brown! The other figure has a white shirt, Blue scarf, Dark Grey jacket, Black trousers and Saddle Brown boots. Carbines are Beige Brown woodwork and Gunmetal Grey metalwork. All the figures bases were painted Army Painter Banshee Brown and then patches of flock were applied.

Next in the Maximillian painting queue will be a dozen French Foreign Legion mounted infantry. The end is almost in sight!

Gaslands Geezers

Andy gets out of his car and walks.

Many, many, many years ago I bought some Platoon 20 armed civilians and SAS style figures. I can’t now remember what I bought them for, and they’ve been a small part of my metal mountain for a very long time. This range has changed hands a few times, but are now available from East Riding Miniatures. You can find the armed civilians here, and the SAS here.

Last year I got into Gaslands, and thought these might be useful as vehicle crew or aggressive bystanders.

I based them on 1p coins, built up the bases with 4Ground base render and undercoated them black. Paints are mostly Vallejo, with Army Painter washes. All bases were painted Grey Black and bare skin Medium Flesh.

First up are three ne’er-do-wells (top) in boiler suits and stocking masks (hence the ill-defined faces) a woman armed with a pistol, and two chaps one with a sawn-off shotgun and the other with an Uzi (or similar). The masks and hands were painted Brown Sand, the boiler suits Dark Prussian Blue or German Field Grey and boots black. Guns were, surprisingly, Gunmetal.

Next are a woman and a couple of men with handguns. These guy on the left has a German Cam. Med Brown jacket, grey T shirt and black trousers. The woman in the middle has a Grey Jacket and Dark Prussian Blue trousers. These guy on the right has a German Camouflage Black Brown jacket, white shirt and Army Painter Crystal Blue trousers washed with Blue Tone wash.

Another three figures, the guy on the left has a M3 “Grease Gun” SMG, and maybe a Flak Jacket. The trousers were Army Painter Crystal Blue with a Blue wash, shirt white and the flak jacket Brown Violet (which is green, go figure!). The guy in the centre just has a hand gun. His shirt is pale sand, trousers London Grey and jacket German Camouflage Black Brown.
The guy on the right is not from Platoon 20, I suspect he may be some sort of Sci-Fi figure of unknown manufacture, but I’ll treat him as (mostly) human and armed with a pump action shotgun. He has German Cam. Med Brown overalls with a dark tone wash.

Finally, the two SAS figures. I went with a camouflage pattern here, German field Grey base, with Flat Green, Mahogany Brown and Chocolate Brown patches. The Helmet and Flak Jackets were painted Brown Violet and the gas mask case German Camouflage Beige.

The Irish Rover

Stephen goes all Celtic.

Under Saga 1 the Irish were just too over-powered.

I always thought they’d be a good warband to play but the gross nature of some of their javelin abilities left them too powerful and, to be honest, it wasn’t fun playing them for that reason.

The good news is that under Saga 2 the Irish have been seriously nerfed, meaning it’s not so embarrassing fielding an army of them.

So I’ve revisited my Irish and the intention is to use them more often now they are a balanced force.

Fergal mac Amlaith’s mother is an Irish noblewoman and his father is a Viking Jarl.

He was brought up on the shores of Lough Ceagh where he looked after his father’s dogs. This love of animals has lasted into his adult life and now he has a large kennel of his own.

Since taking over his father’s lands he has demanded the fianna bondsmen swear fealty to him. They have all, both local noblemen and norse colonists, agreed to do that. This means that Fergal has a good many hearthguard to protect him and these men are led by Connor and Rory, the tribal champions – the feared curaidh.

The land tenants make up the rest of Fergal’s force. These bonnachts are well trained in how to use their javelins and hatchets and are prepared to fight to the death for their lord.

Looking over everyone’s pastoral needs is Father Padraig. He is a very spiritual man, though he is worldly too – he knows enough to know that peace is sometimes best achieved by knocking a few heads together.

They have all now sharpened their spears and swords and are ready to go roving.

A Tents Moment

Andy proves that there are no depths to which his puns will not stoop.

I picked up a frame of Renedra Saxon Tents a couple of years ago, and finally got round to finishing them.

There’s very little assembly to do, the ends of the ridge pole are seperate pieces that needed a little filling once put together, and the open tents have an upright pole at one end.

These didn’t take too much effort, the tents were undercoated black, including the inside of the open tents; and then painted Vallejo Deck Tan, Light Grey or Dark Sand. The tents were the washed with Army Painter Green Tone or Soft Tone (for the Dark Sand tent) and the wooden poles and tent pegs painted Beige Brown.

A coat of matt varnish finished them off.

Now some of my Vikings have somewhere dry to sleep!

Suspension of Meetings

Following yesterday’s government announcements the Committee has decided to temporarily suspend all society meetings for the time being. It is regrettable we have to do this but we must put everyone’s health above all other priorities.

The Committee also made the decision that Society will not be attending Salute with this year’s game. In the event of the show going ahead it is up to individual members if they still want to attend.

The Committee will continue to monitor the situation and update further as and when possible.

Barrels of Fun

Andy has us over a barrel…

I picked up a few packs of 28mm scenery from Frontline Wargaming last year; they’ve been sitting around gathering dust, so during one of the recent washed out weekends I sat down for a painting session.
There were a few pin holes that needed filling and filing before the brushes came out.

Paints used were Vallejo (V) or Army Painter (AP) acrylics.

I undercoated the scenery matt black, and then painted them a variety of shades of brown (V). Once thoroughly dry they were given a wash of soft or dark tone (AP), depending on the shade of brown paint, then varnished with matt varnish (V).

25WW6 – Water Troughs x3

The water surface on the horse troughs were Painted Dark Sea Grey and given a couple of coats of gloss varnish (AP). The pump was painted Gunmetal (V) and given a dark tone (AP) wash.

25MR2 – Table benches and chairs

25MR3 – Brewery / Vintner (4 vats,2 tubs, bottling table)

The metal bands on the vats / barrels was painted Gunmetal (V); the bottles in the crate were painted Luftwaffe Camouflage Green (V), and then given a coat of gloss varnish mixed with AP green shade. The water in the tubs on the table was painted the same way as the horse trough water. The contents of the large tubs were painted Dark Sand (V) and washed with AP soft tone wash.

Finally a pair of ladders, I’m not sure of the manufacturer, but they were bought at Rochester Games and Models. 28mm figure for scale.

A Small Start

Andy finds his painting mojo again…

First items finished this year are some reinforcements for my 6mm English Civil War forces.

We’ve played quite a few games of Sword and Spear recently, these are Ancient & Medieval rules, but on the publisher’s forum there were some discussions about adapting them for the Pike & Shot era, so I thought it might be interesting to try these out. To do this I needed to paint up some Commanded Shot, Firelocks and Camps.

My ECW forces are based for Polemos on 6cm wide by 3cm deep bases, either 24 foot (in varying proportions of pike and shot) or 9 or 10 horse to a base. I’ll be using these for the Sword and Spear try out, so needed to keep the same size bases.

The figures are from Heroics and Ros, painted with mostly Vallejo acrylics. Once painted they were stuck to the bases, labelled with unit description and flocked.

Commanded shot were detachments of musketeers taken from regiments of foot and attached to cavalry brigades to augment their firepower. Not always a successful idea, as the horse were slowed down by the foot, and if the horse routed or went off in pursuit the commanded shot were left on their own.

For the Commanded shot I decided to have 12 figures per base, painted as if they were from 2 or 3 different regiments (above).

Firelocks were foot equipped with early flintlock muskets rather than matchlocks and usually assigned to guard the train of artillery; lighted matches and gunpowder not being a good mix.
For the Firelocks I decided on 16 figures per base.

For the camps I bought some tents from Bacchus, and raided the spares box for various figures to add to the bases, some are from H&R and some from Irregular Miniatures. I built the camps on 6cm square bases.

I also had some carts and wagons, so did some baggage bases.

Finally some group shots, the Parliamentarian camp and troops.

And their Royalist opponents

Gael Force Norse

John Lambert gets his axe out.

I’d enjoyed using Norse Gaels in Saga Version 1 and was interested to know how they might fare under version 2 of the rules. I thought this faction was one that had changed the most under version 2 so decided on a new build based on the Footsore Irish and Viking ranges, taking advantage of the 3 for 2 offer they had running at the time. All figures painted using Artist’s acrylics.

Warlord – Hakon Maddadarson (The Hall Burner) – front pictured above

“Die bravely my slaves and I will take good care of your Dottirs!”

I mounted the Warlord on a piece of slate for a more imposing look. He has a rare and highly prized white Icelandic Gyr Falcon on his shield.

Daneaxe Heathguard

In version 1, there was an additional Saga ability bonus for taking Dane axes. This has gone in version 2 so only 1 point for this build.

Other Heathguard

I added 2 points of standard Heathguard. In version 1 Dane axe armed Warriors were the best option. In version 2 a powerful ability, Norse can only be used by Heathguard and Warlord so these appear to be a better option.

Gaed Gaedhil

These are fearsome mercenary warriors for which I used the Footsore Scots/Picts

Levy – Slaves

I used the Footsore Irish warrior range for these. Of limited use in Version 1 of Saga, they are a key part of my army in version 2. I painted 2 points of these.

The History of the Norse Gael Earls of Orkney is detailed in Orkneyinga Saga, an epic tale of bravery, treachery and Sainthood as rivals vie for the Earldom, raids in Russia, raids on Sicily, The First Crusade and an encounter with a Byzantine Dromon! How would the 28mm metal version fare on their debut?
The answer was rather well (see Jeremey’s battle report), despite misreading a SAGA ability and missing out on the chance to trap Andy’s Warlord, I really enjoyed the faction and the battleboard mechanics. Well worth a celebratory snifter or two of Highland Park ”Viking Honour”.