(still) cleaning off the painting desk!

This past week I’ve managed to get a bunch more stuff that has been living on the painting desk for months finished and made progress on some more. I have to move the table in a week so I’m really trying to finish a lot.

I’m also working on my friend Murph’s Panzer Grenadier army at the same time so I’ve been adding in some of those to the work flow.

First up: Germans!

I’ve had these Nebelwerfer crew half done for months now. They needed to have a wash and highlights done and then eventually basing


I also had three riflemen from Warlord’s late war German’s and a Fallschirmjager officer from Black Tree Design sitting around with just a grey base coat for at least six months. I am increasingly displeased with the rifles in this generation of Warlord’s plastics. They are thin and break WAY too easily. I actually have a pile of soldiers who’s rifles broke while I was painting them. I actually bought metal rifles from The Assault Group to start replacing the broken plastic ones and any new figures I put together will have them. They scale very well and fit into the arms almost perfectly. The newer generation of Warlord’s plastics, the ones with the weapons molded into arms, are fine. They are a little beefier and will actually bend before breaking. The German blitzkrieg, Fallschirmjager and Panzer Grenadiers and the American Airborne troops are all the newest generation.

 

My friend’s Panzer Grenadiers: An officers/spotter, two machine gunners (to make up for the two extra loaders I finished last time!) and 5 riflemen (Bolt Action doesn’t differentiate from the Kar 98 and the Gehwer 43 so I’ve made them randomly.

Next up: A small group of Americans!

I had a .30 cal machine gun that was only primed and eventually got embarrassed enough to take it out of the case and start painting it. Six months later it’s finished!

Warlord’s machine gun, loader and ammo bearer! I magnetized the base for version 1, it took me long enough to simply paint it I’m not bothering to re-base it becuase of the template rules…

I also made a number of ammo bearers from a combo of the Blitzkrieg Germans and American plastics. Bolt Action uses 3 man machinegun teams but Chain of Command has 4-5 man teams depending on the nation. I got tired of having to make a team up of 3 machine gun guys and a couple of rifle guys and decided to put these guys together so they look better when grouped up.

And two men from the Warlord observer pack. I already painted the third guy, who is kneeling with a radio up to his face. I liked how other people have been painting little maps on these types of guy and decided to give it a try. The photo is a little washed out but there are green and brown spots there and a couple of black lines for a road.

I also made some progress on some minis last week that I’m hoping to finish this week. Murph’s first army was an LRDG/8th army combo and I have had some of Perry’s plastics sitting around in various stages of completion for awhile now. These are ready for a wash and then highlight.

during one of my Black Tree Design binges I got a couple of packs of their ‘Airborne’ .30 cal teams. They’re wearing spats/gaiters so they’re clearly not Airborne, not that I’m a rivet counter. So they got put aside since I was rushing to finish some Airborne for a convention scenario I needed to get done. I’m generally pleased with Black Tree’s minis, being well worth the price even if the Fallschirmjager’s weapons are comically large. But I think theses need new molds. The detail is all soft and rounded and not up to their usual standards. I know that they have taken minis off of the store to redo the molds and these should be next on the list.

Of course clearing minis off of the table means getting more ready to go on!

But most of these are new additions, not old forgotten troops…

Chain of Command 2v1

Last week before the big Bolt Action event I played a game of Chain of Command with a couple guys that I meet up with occasionally. The last half of 2016 was a little rough and I hadn’t played anything for awhile so I was eager to get in a game when Dan suggested Chain of Command. I already had to pack up the car for the weekend so I just brought everything along and threw the table together while waiting. We did a simple attack/defend scenario with two regular German platoons defending against one American attacker.

 

Dan used his Americans, with a .30 cal and a mortar for support, plus an extra squad if I remember correctly. Howard and I had only a tripod mounted MG42 to back us up. The German counter attack came quick as I had a couple of good rolls and took three activation’s, locking down a side of the board with one squad and started throwing some pins around and kept the Americans behind a hedgerow with two squads taking cover behind a stone wall. Howard’s platoon took the long way around the board and eventually did some real damage to the American platoon by rushing a hedgerow and creating a crossfire, decimating a squad with a hail of grenades. The Americans eventually took the flank that I was holding down with a lone squad and threatened a jump off point, but had suffered some morale loss during the turn.

We had to call the game due to time, but the outcome was clear: The Germans were threatening two jump off points and the Americans had two broken squads (or what was left of them). I had a full Chain of Command die and could almost certainly end the game with a good round of fire and then use the die to end the turn, routing the broken units and cause a complete loss of morale. The Americans were at 5 morale and even good rolling on their part would have brought them to 1 or 2 morale, severely limiting their activation dice and just prolonging the end.

I’ve played several 3v2 games and the suggested balancing of adding a full CoC die to the side with fewer players worked well enough. I think Dan was simply out activated, an extra chain of command die wasn’t nearly useful enough to balance the game. I think next time we do a 2v1 game we will make the lone player elite, with six activation dice. I originally thought that an extra die of support would do, but without the dice to activate that’s not much of a help.

Big Bolt Action day at the Schenectady Wargamers Association

I’m participating in a large escalation league that includes groups in New Jersey and several locations in New York including my hometown club the Schenectady Wargamers Association. We had a large event at their monthly gameathon this past Saturday and it was a a huge success. We’ve tried getting the local Bolt Action community up and running and it’s been hard with mixed support from game stores and Bolt Action themselves. I got a buddy into the game a year ago and he finally got fed up with the lack of success and we teamed up to get something going. A new game store opened in the area with a group that was already trying the game out and we had a van full of people from 3 hours away come also! The tally was 6 tables with about 15 people playing at least one game each! It was a huge success and we’re looking forward to our next full day event in June, along with the escalation league days leading up to that.

 

We started the league off at 500 points, to get players used to the new version of the rules and changes to the missions. This gave us the added bonus of not having to fill 6 6×4 tables with terrain. I have a bunch of terrain that I use to fill out 6×4 tables for Chain of Command and Bolt Action and can put together a good looking table. But filling 6 tables up takes a trunk full of scenery! We were able to get the tables looking OK, although the felt clothes haven’t been painted yet and are bare. Next month at 750 we’re planning on using the same setup so I’m hoping that they’ll be spray painted and more of the bare terrain is painted!

Unfortunately the fantastic table my friend Ron set up, with 3d hills and streams and all scratch built buildings won’t upload for some reason. By far the best table we had.

The games went well, several players were experienced Bolt Action version 1 players and some had a couple of version 2 games under their belts. There was a lot of rules reading and lesson learning going on!

Here are some photos of the game play:

Cleaning off the painting desk.

So my painting desk is a mess. I’ve had some minis sitting there for almost a year. It looks like this:

It’s a modest 2 foot by 4 foot desk by a window that gets a good amount of light when it’s not sealed up for the winter. I had a day off so I decided to finish a couple of things off.

First up was a couple of SAS jeeps for my buddy. They just need some quick dry brushing and a coat of matte sealer, I had applied a wash to them yesterday and it was dry.

The bases aren’t done but none of the bases on the mini’s are flocked either so they’ll wait to be all done at once.

Next up was some German infantry for the same buddy. He’s doing a late war Panzer Grenadier army for the Bolt Action escalation league that just started so I made up about 30 guys to fill his projected list for 750 points and started painting them randomly. I want to emphasize the late war aspect of the army by changing up the uniform and equipment colors and I’m using ‘scavanged’ equipment in the form of spare gear from different sets.

Three riflemen

An observer/NCO, an officer with an assault rifle and a standard soldier with a machine pistol

A machine gunner and three loaders

I ran out of the washers we use to add weight to the bases. We’ve found that the plastic minis are so light that they simply fall off of hills. With the washers they have some more substance and stay where they’re supposed to. They also have the added benefit of usually;y falling with the base down, minimizing damage to the figure itself if dropped. I also mostly use galvanized washers which makes magnetic carrying cases usefully. I’m waiting to get a critical mass of figures done to flock the bases.

Lastly is a flesh golem for our weekly D&D campaign that I run for my boys and my girlfriend. I got this Reaper flesh golem once they found the magical manual to create it. I think they’ve forgotten about the manual but I needed to get this finished up and off of the desk anyways!

I generally put a little less effort into the monsters and sidekicks for the D&D game then I do, usually just a base coat and a wash and that’s it. Since this one might be on the board often, I gave it about 30 seconds of high lighting and called it done.

 

I cleared up a bunch of room, and of course filled it back up. I need to finish up some Gurkha’s which never got highlights and a matte seal so they went back onto the painting desk!

 

I need a little more practice with the light tent. The background needs to be ironed some more, I had hoped that the lights would blow out what creases were still left in there but in order to do that I wind up washing out the minis too much. Photographing on a white background also makes any dust on the sensor extremely obvious, and my sensor is filthy! So tomorrow I have to go in and clean all that dirt off of it.

A reader mentioned that the photos were small and sideways, which is odd becuase I rotated them in the WordPress software and they were showing up correct on my monitor. But once I visited on my phone they were all sideways. So I also figured out how to make the images clickable and rotated them before uploading. Not a huge learning curve, but its interesting.

 

New toy for photographing minis!

So I’m a professional photographer. I do mostly photojournalism and portraits. The newspaper industry is in the toilet and I’m retraining to get out, but that’s not the point of this blog… What I don’t do a lot of is product photography and until yesterday I didn’t have a very key tool for doing that, a light tent. I have everything else, flashes, strobes, hot lights, stands, tripods… Closets and cases full of stuff. I wanted to not only start this blog but also sell some stuff I’m never going to use again, so I bit the bullet and spent $20 on this.

I’m planning on selling the buildings/ruins I made here in a couple weeks after a large Bolt Action event I’m helping to run, so I figured they’d be my first subject!

 

These were all built to represent ruins (hard cover/obstacles) in Bolt Action for a very large multi-player game representing the battle in Achen. I donated a bunch to the club and don’t have the space to store these anymore.

First games of 2017!

So I started the year off with my first games of Bolt Action 2nd Edition for the escalation league I’m a part of. I played a lot of Bolt Action in 2015 and the beginning of 2016, but most of my year was taken up by ‘life’ happening non-stop in 2016. So with people getting their hands on the new rule book and things calming down for 2017 I got together at ToyWiz in Nanuet NY for their monthly Vets Night and got a couple of games in.

The two mandatory missions for this month’s league at 500 points were Top Secret and Manhunt. I’m not fond of Top Secret, but I think I had the perfect list for it, a six man squad and a two man LT group in a Stummel giving me that extra move to leap to the center of the board and grab that objective on turn two and use the first activation die of turn 3 to run back behind the Stummel for cover. My opponent tried desperately to kill my LT with the objective with withering fire from several squads and a machine gun. His fire was accurate on turns one and two, decimating a squad and killing the LT’s assistant. But once I had the objecting Lt Hans turned into Usain Bolt and was bulletproof! Turn 5 he ran off the board. I managed to get his sniper, since that is the bonus objective for this round of the league.

I had to proxy my engineer’s halftrack for a Stummel. I don’t have ALL the toys quite yet…

 

Game two was Manhunt against the Soviet horde! I was on the offense and had some bad luck on the preparatory bombardment. The objective is to capture the defender’s leader by assaulting and ‘killing’ him in close combat. Well my preparatory bombardment nailing him with a shell, killing him instantly and giving me a draw result before the game started! If we were a little more observant we would have read the part where it modifies the prep bombardment roll for the officer so he can’t be killed, but I guess we failed that perception roll! So I proceeded to fight for the bonus objective points and get more of my units to the center of the board than his. Considering he started off with more then I did and already had 4 of his 8 units there during deployment against my 6 units total, it looked like an up-hill battle. One unit of conscripts melted away on turn 1 to withering fire as the Stummel and a unit of engineers walked up to point blank range. Another unit of conscripts with AT grenades came dangerously close to my Stummel, but couldn’t attack it on the turn it came on. Lucky dice draws on the next turn had me sneak a squad of men behind the unit and force a morale check from casualties before it could activate. His Siberian veterans snuck in and SMG’d my LT to death and the rest of the game bogged down with me trying to dig the last units out of cover with withering point blank fire into the ruins they were ducked into. In the end a desperate close combat charge wiped them from the ruined building. His sniper fell to a Kubelwagon driving right up to him and machine-gunning him to death.

One win, one draw, two bonus objectives and two dead snipers for the tally at the end of the month! Not too bad for my first games in almost six months!

Time to get some more paint on these guys so there is less bare metal for the next games!

Just another wargaming blog!

2017 is upon us and after an unproductive 2016 I’m hoping to get a lot of hobby work done and document it here on my fancy new blog! Maybe if I’m lucky I can be massively successful and become independently wealthy on advertising revenue and stock my shelves with free product from manufacturers. Mostly I’m looking to finish several projects that have languished in 2016 due to numerous unexpected events.

My main focus lately has been 28mm WWII games, mostly Bolt Action and Chain of Command. I have a growing US Army that includes two platoons that I am planning on finally decal’ing up to represent the 29th ID and the 2nd AD, my main interest being the Normandy invasion and Carentan in particular. I also have a sizable amount Airborne (getting close to company sized) that I’m using to represent the 101st at Carentan. I plan on also doing the 101st in the Battle of the Bulge, but I need to start from scratch with winter troops so that will probably be a 2018 project.

My German forces include a couple of platoons of Wehrmacht, I’ve yet to decide what specific unit to represent with them for my D-Day forces. I also have almost two platoons worth of Fallschirmj√§ger to represent the 6th Fallschirmj√§ger Regiment at Carentan.

Both the Airborne and Fallschirmjager units are 90% finished for infantry and mostly only need support weapons and any characters or specialists left to do.

I also have several armies laying around waiting to be started. I have a sizable Soviet army along with a British army and a separate British Airborne army that I was luck enough to get on sales or from people who wanted to get rid of them cheap. These are all 2018 projects at the earliest though.

I’m also wrapping up one commission for a friend, a Desert Rats army, and starting a German Panzer Grenadier commission for him.

I got started wargaming several years ago with 15mm sci-fi and amassed several hundred troops and dozens of vehicles, but that got put aside when I got bit hard by the WWII bug and Bolt Action. I have had a number of 15mm walker-style mecha sitting around though last year and just didn’t get the chance to do more then glue a couple together. I’ve looked at a set of rules called Mech Attack and bought bases for my mechs and I’m planning on running a 15mm combined arms game at the local convention in October. So it’s also time to fire up the airbrush and get some stompy mechs made! I also have a couple of platoons worth of figures that got dropped and are in desperate need of repair and replacement.

Busy year ahead!