Sunday, February 19, 2017

Terrain boards for Afghanistan

A chance find of ten sample posts of a promising looking paint color at the local hardware store has prompted a weekend of terrain board building for my Afghanistan project. The idea is to build some fairly generic rocky desert boards that I can also for gaming WW1 in the Middle East.

Having tried my hand at terrain mats in the past - and finding attempts to built contours up under mats largely unsatisfactory -  I am going to try using flat terrain boards and add-on terrain for the various features. I'm using 6mm MDF for the base boards.

The paint I found was an acrylic 'suede finish' in a mid grey. It dries with almost a chalky surface. As mentioned, they were a series of unwanted color post being sold off for $1 a can - bargain. I'd never seen this finish before and I could see the potential for this use.
Few people would welcome that color sample as being of interest - rich pickings for a wargamer!
I started with a based coat on lightly sanded MDF and scattered some grit over the top while wet. I just used the sandy colored gravel I have use for landscaping, which you can see on my miniature bases as well - a lifetime supply of basing materials!
Once it dried, I knocked off the larger pieces of gravel with a scraper, leaving the more sandy textured finish. To this I added a second coat of suede paint - and a coat on the underside to overcome warping.

Leaving that to dry well - I then sponged on some yellow ochre craft paint and then dry-brushed with a 'sand' colored acrylic.

I finished the boards with a spray of a clear varnish I had at hand - the result is fairly good for an  unplanned project (which, let's face it, most of mine are!).

I couldn't resist taking a a few pictures of the growing collection of terrain and some of the completed Eureka USMC and Afghani 28mm miniatures. The compound design and technique is thanks to Matakishi. My terrain has a long way to go, but the boards are a huge step up from what I was using!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

USMC in Afghanistan

I am fortunate enough to have a 30 minute ride each way to work on the bus. This, coupled with the contents of the university's libraries at my disposal, makes for some good time to catch up on reading. Having read solidly on the Falklands for a couple of months, I was hankering for something new.

A recent visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra highlighted how little I knew about the more recent conflicts our country has been involved in - particularly the Gulf Wars and the counter insurgency efforts in Afghanistan. A new wargaming era to dabble in ... why not!

This led me, of course, to consider Eureka Miniatures release of 'Modern' US Marines and Afghan insurgents Sculpted by Kosta Heristanidis. Beautiful figures.

As per the advice on the Eureka Miniatures website for the Marines, I have used the following paint scheme for the Marines:

  • uniform is 60% Vallejo 321 Highlight British Tank crew (from the Panzer Ace range) and 40% Vallejo 951 White (Model Colour range)
  • The flak jacket is 50% Vallejo 923 Japanese Uniform WWII and 50% Vallejo 879 Green Brown
  • The light digitised camouflage used Vallejo 983 Flat Earth (Eureka article suggests 826 German Camouflage Medium Brown) stippled over the base colour.
  • Boots were a 50:50 mix of Vallejo 984 Flat Brown and Vallejo 317 British Tank Crew.
Here are some pics of the first batch with a little scenery:

Monday, October 10, 2016

'Yomping' - first 10mm Pendraken Falklands British

For a wargamer that cut his teeth painting medieval armies, turning my hand to Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM) uniforms in 10mm is quite a challenge.

Here are some hastily cobbled together pictures of the first figures off the painting table. That said,  they still need a wash and some highlighting. The yompers are accompanied by what will be a pair of Blues and Royals FV107 Scimitar light tanks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New scale and new project: Falklands War in 10mm

I have for some time harboured an interest to start a project around the Falklands War (Guerra de las Malvinas). As a 19 year old I followed the coverage of this conflict on these windswept, bare sub antarctic islands with great interest.

The images of the sinking of the General Belgrano and the Exocet missile strikes on HMS Sheffield  and MV Atlantic Conveyor left a deep impression - as have names like Mt Longdon, Two Sisters and Mount Tumbledown. Of course we can name many more moments when the world watched on in awe of the horror of modern warfare.
Anyway, I've had this project percolating away in the background until I recently happened across the inspirational work of Dougie with his first rate painting and basing of 10mm Pendraken miniatures - not to mention his great work on terrain. See:

Dougie's basing is something special too:

So, I've got myself a copy of Fivecore Company Command and a bag of Pendraken minis arrived today. Here begins my first 10mm project. There are many challenges ahead not least painting the camouflage uniforms of the British. Stay tuned for more updates.

... and just to follow up on Col's comments below about the Seacat missile systems used during the Falklands, here's a bit of promotional material I tracked down and an interesting link regarding Seacat missile aiming.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Three Headed Dog: HMVS Cerberus scratchbuild in 1:600

 The wreck of the breastwork monitor HMVS Cerberus sits in Half Moon Bay, Melbourne, Australia, where she was sunk in 1926 as a breakwater. She sits there, decaying away, despite valiant efforts to preserve what is one of the last of the monitors. See:
Since reading an interesting account of the birth of the Victorian Navy (eg. of the Colony of Victoria ... not the era) by Wilson P Evans - "Deeds Not Words: The Victorian Navy", The Hawthorn Press, Melbourne 1971 - I've longed to have a scale model I could do some "what if" naval gaming with.

Why buy, when you can build, I say! Here is the first steps towards bring the Three Headed Dog back to life again - if only on the gaming table. The scale is 1:600.

With the basic turret roof in place, the pile of PVC begins to reflect the Three Headed Dog!
Interior of the aft turret awaiting the gun ports to be cut and the main guns fitted.
Gun ports cut and barrels fitted.
With the upper deck sitting in place, it's not looking right - too thick? Maybe it'll improve when the superstructure, mast and ship's boats are in place.
Well, the Flying Deck did improve visually when I cut it to the correct width (original was 20 feet wide). Then I've added the mast, fighting top, funnel and rear access to gangway.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

First Balkan War: Deck plans for Greek and Ottoman ships

A quick post of some of the deck plans I used for the Ottoman and Greek ships for the First Balkan War scratch build project.

Just those discussed on another post initially, but will add more over time.

Greek ship plans:


Ottoman ship plans:

Muavenet-i Milliye ex German s-165 DD

Monday, August 8, 2016

Langton 1:1200 Ironclads - by special delivery!

Several years ago I invested in a fair number of Tumbling Dice 1:2400 ships with the aim of moving into some ACW naval gaming. They are nice little ships that come at a great price - but lacked the detail I wanted. In the end, they found a new home via Ebay.

Now, I find myself on the brink of a new era of ACW naval gaming thanks to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough! 'What the ...?', I hear you say. Thanks for asking, let me explain! :)

My first grand venture into 6mm was with a pair of the excellent War of Spanish Succession starter armies from Baccus. They were great little guys and I really enjoyed painting up my Anglo-Dutch and Franco-Bavarian armies. However, as so often happens with me, I have all the energy in the world with a new project right up to the point of gaming with the freshly painted armies. They sat for a couple of years and I recently decided to sell them to finance new projects.

Well, there was great interest on Ebay, but none more determined than a gentlemanly request from the east coast of the US asking if I would consider shipping these guys half way around the world (I'd said no international shipping in my listing). The short version of events is that I quickly warmed to this buyer in the US and happily offered to ship them if he won. He did, and I'm glad. The tale is eloquently told elsewhere, but let me just say that I can thank the Duke of Marlborough - or at least my new mate Rob's interest in the fine gent - for linking me up with a great new wargaming pal across the pond (the very big one to the east).

I quickly discovered that Rob was a decent and very generous guy, and hearing I was pining for some riverine ironclad biffo, he took pity on this penniless Antipodean and very kindly sent a care package from the most wonderful Langton 1:1200 ACW range (available from Waterloo Minis in the US).

In the weeks since, I've been agonising over painting techniques for these estuarine monsters and the various other gunboats included in my package from Rob. I make no claims of being any good at this style of painting as yet - for instance, sails somehow defeat me, despite many attempts. But, on the weekend I finished painting the ships to my initial level of satisfaction and based them in preparation for a trial run of David Manley's Iron and Fire rules for the Ironclad period (1850-1880).

I don't have any dedicated terrain for this scale of naval/riverine gaming, so I pulled together what I could with my usual naval gaming cloth (yes, the blue tablecloth from my buddy Elaine!) and some pieces of a cut up terrain mat. A few pictures follow.

Confederate ironclads sortie out from a river to intercept some of the Union blockading fleet that ventured too close. 
The CSS Merrimack (ACW1) and CSS Richmond (ACW9) steam out to intercept the Federals.

Elements of the the Federal blockading fleet - (L to R) a captured Confederate Commerce Raider (ACW25), USS Gen. Bragg (ACW53) and USS Cumberland (ACW2).

Langton 'Commercial Steamer (ACW25) rigged as a Confederate Commerce Raider
 Langton USS Cumberland (ACW2) - needing some rigging, a challenge for another day!

Langton USS/CSS Gen. Bragg (ACW53).
Langton CSS Merrimack (ACW1)
Langton CSS Richmond Class ironclad (ACW9)
Not pictured here were the twin turreted monitor USS Onondaga (ACW29) and USS New Ironsides (ACW42) that was also included. Thanks Rob, I love them! I can't wait to get out and start hammering' some iron!

Who says Ebay is a bad thing?