Saturday, 31 October 2015

FoW terrain, almost there.

I continue to build terrain items for Flames of War, Normandy campaign. Being free of hexes for the first time in several years has reminded me of how much I enjoy doing this again! I'm trying to create an integrated system of roads, fields, hedgerows etc, and I want to keep everything as tonally matching as I can. Set up a few test shots to see how things look, I'm pleased with it so far I must say. One thing I do mean to do is to ask Tony Barr at ERM if he can cut me some 3mm curved hedge bases to follow the curves of the road sections so that I can make up more sections, not sure how this can be done without wasting material, but if anyone Tony can:)

The photos are taken on my felt cloth that covers my painting table, the actual cloth I have for games is much better quality with a more varied shade of greens and browns. Sunday morning I plan to set up a small game of 3 platoons per side  to have a run through with tanks, infantry and anti tank guns on the board. As a side note I recently put the rules to a little test by facing off a single Tiger 1E against four Sherman V's as per the 'Fury' scene, and sure enough all four were destroyed before they could hurt the Tiger, even side shots bounced! Ok so I know they never stood a chance, but it's fun, especially those 3up firepower rolls ..... Boom. No wonder the Brits called them 'Ronson's' ('Always light first time'!). Only yesterday I was listening to a British Sherman commander describing how a Tiger's 88mm AP shot came straight through his frontal armour and passed between his legs before entering the engine compartment.... lucky man, he was unharmed and the crew bailed out on his command.

The pics, the German vehicle is a Jagdpanther tank destroyer with it's extremely low profile and thick sloping armour.

And finally, the first six 'Bolt Action' figures are finished. These represent about the only figure painting I have done for many weeks now, just lacked motivation, but hopefully that will change. They represent a small squad of three riflemen, an NCO with SMG and an MG42 team redeploying. The next six are undercoated and waiting for me to get my mojo back

Close up showing the amazing detail of these 28mm plastics.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Bocage sections & test paint.

The bases for my hedge sections arrived from ERM a few days ago and I wasted no time in getting them based up and decorated. The 3mm bases now bring my bocage up to around 30mm tall, so I guess that's around 12 feet in scale height roughly, sufficient to conceal any 15mm infantry figure and anti tank gun and it will even conceal my Sturmgeschutz,( the StuG's with their low profile), Jagdpanther and even my Shermans just about. Won't conceal a Tiger though, not completely, but given the 'at least half' rule in Flames of War, they still offer some cover. So I now have 10 feet of bocage completed and I'm still waiting on a few feet of stone wall and lots of trees from Timecast to finish off.

British 15mm PIAT team (Peter Pig) concealed behind the bocage. 
Having looked at the FoW rule book missions and watched all of the 'Boot Camp' videos as well as the dynamic duo of Warren and Dave from Beast of War, who's ' Flames of War For The Win' videos first got me into this period and game, I think I'm going to start with a purpose built table 5' x 3'6" (in old money!) as it's certainly a decent size for most games. I'm just keen to get going now with some games, been revising and testing the rules, but I just want to get a couple of small forces on the table to start me off. Now the plan is to teach this game to a couple of local friends who have expressed an interest, so I need a reasonable grip of the game before I do this. The slightly reduced table size will allow me to build a once piece board with raised wooden edges that I can use downstairs in the dining room or upstairs in the spare room where it can be left set up.

I have also painted a few of the 28mm plastic Warlord German infantry to see what I could do. I'm still not sure I want to go with this scale, I could do Bolt Action in 20mm and save myself a lot of money and painting time, as they work with the existing buildings and hedges etc. With some BA figures selling at £3.50 for a single 28mm metal 'character' (officers, NCO's etc) they are very expensive, but of course you don't need so many of them. I think for now I'll paint up some as display figures for my shelves and see how it goes.

Mostly done, they do need a magic wash followed by further highlighting and facial work before I'm happy with them, but it feels good to have painted a few figures again after an enforced lay off.

Plastic figures but nice.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Back on the wagon and getting on with things.

Trouble with being a bit of a 'nutter' is that things can suddenly explode in your head and you do the stupidest things. Just builds up that way, you are aware of the build up, but can't control it. A sudden 'high' after what had been a very flat couple of weeks, unable to find pleasure even in my hobby, saw me almost bouncing off the ceiling (as my wife described it), and drinking too much alcohol. It's hard to explain what happens during these up periods, but everything changes and I have to do something creative or go mad! Lots of loud music, Levellers mostly and AC/DC,  but Thin Lizzy's 'Live and Dangerous' got a play through at volume among many others, I even downloaded some old 'Sicknote' favourite tunes, crazy stuff :) Anyway, upshot is me on the wagon and feeling quite silly with myself, but nicely level headed again and tackling terrain. Keep taking the medication old boy!

I guess this blog has to continue to reflect my mind shifts and moods, it's nice to be able to jot just a few words down now and then.

Right then, to move on again here are some random pics of recent stuff for FoW. I'm starting to move into Bolt Action too now, but I want to finish all of the terrain for FoW before I start painting any BA stuff.

Another mention for Tony Barr at East Riding Miniatures who has cut most of my terrain templates and bases. Always a friendly and efficient service, Tony has cut these road templates to my requirements and will be adding them to his online shop. They are cut from 3mm MDF and consist of 60mm wide sections in straights,various curves and 'T' junctions and crossroads. As a 'kit' it contains all you need to create variations on road layouts. I simply applied a dryish mix of paint, PVA glue (to give a little flexibility), and fine stones, let it dry then edged them with a mix of flock and static grass. I used the same basic mix to base up my wheatfields and wood templates, as well as making a few sections of barbed wire. I used THIS from S&M Stuff as a quick and easy way of doing it. I'll drill and stick some wooden supports to finish the look.

Bocage sections are about to be built up more to reflect the density and height of the Normandy hedgerows, I have another couple of packs of the tree clump foilage to add plus some merit tress that look quite good to my eye. All will be based on 3mm mdf custom cut by Tony again with rounded edges. When completed they should easily conceal a Sherman, if not a Tiger!

Can't fault the assembled product, but they take a lot of patience. 28mm Warlord plastic German infantry.

More plastic 'Warlord' Germans in 28mm. They ARE lovely figures but I'd rather be able to buy metals. I no longer have the patience for sticking individual arms, belts, heads, weapons etc, it's a real pain. I'm aware I have been sucked into a clever marketing ploy here, with plastic kits selling at crazy prices, ( £18.00 for the StuG kit, and that was cheap as mostly it sells for over £20.00). A plastic 28mm 'multi part' figure now costing around £1.00 or more?

More FoW ruined buildings, awaiting a paint job.

Spend up? No, manic period, couldn't help myself!

PLeased with these I must admit.

View down the path through the wheat field, it offers concealment to any 15mm infantry figure behind it and in it, 

Just need to add the wooden support posts from cocktail sticks.

S&M's lovely barbed wire, very cheap and you just roll around a pencil or whatever to suit scale.

The 'East Riding Miniatures' 3mm MDF road set. 60mm wide for Flames of War.

Peter Pig MG teams shown for size.

Tigers on the move! I wanted this simple 'churned up road' look for the Normandy campaign.

More roads, quick and easy.

Wood templates made from the card terrain supplied in the 'Open Fire' box. Trees coming!

German air support.

British Typhoon air support.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

'Mat O War' a review, plus more 'Arcane' FoW houses.

With the Flames of War forces now finished for the time being, (The Eastern Front beckons next!), I'm finally trying to pull together all the terrain bits I need. I had been looking to replace my old Citadel 'Battlemat' but they are now so long OOP that I could not find one. It was purely by chance that I came across this 'Mat O War' whilst ordering some Mininatur scenics from 'Antenocitis Workshop' and it sounded the perfect game surface. I ordered the 2m x 1.25m green mat and it arrived yesterday. To say that I am pleased with it would be an understatement, it is actually an even better quality product than I had expected. The surface shade is very realistic of browns and greens that blends perfectly with my static grass bases, but above all it is incredibly tough and durable, being much thicker than the old Citadel mat. The cost of my mat (6'x4') was a very reasonable £22.00 and I cannot recommend this product highly enough. It can be steam ironed to remove creases and then rolled up, whats more you can go further and decorate the mat with spray paints and flocks etc, but as it stands it's perfect for my needs.

You can see how thick the mat is and the varied shade compared to the S&A Scenics felt mat behind it.

I doubt I could have achieved this finish without an awful lot of work!

More 'Arcane' houses.
My little Normandy village has expanded with further 'Arcane' MDF buildings, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of putting these together and getting a bit of paint on them, maybe somewhat 'Balamory' but I like it! The damaged roofs are very well modeled with the exposed beams etc, they are very simple to glue together.

German artillery battery.
I had finished these some time back but had been on the lookout for some tows to get them where they need to be  as these are 'immobile' guns. I found these five little resin halftrack tows on eBay for a snip at just £12.00. A repaint and bases took no time and finishes off the battery nicely. You can also see the staff team (table), command team and two spotter teams. I also got a template for them, useful device with all the ranging in and firing info printed on it.

Once I have finished some painting for John C this week I will start to put some games together at last. It's been a very long time since I felt so much enthusiasm for this hobby and I do for see Flames of War and Bolt Action occupying me for a long time to come.
A hint at the future direction, three earlier Panzer III varients at rear. The Tiger 1E in front will complete and expand my Heavy Panzer Platoon along with the ridiculously expensive Wittmann Tiger pack.
The story of Micheal Wittmann I found very moving, so I had to have this!

And finally, some FoW essentials gathered via ebay, loads of dice and markers plus the artillery template.