Archive for August, 2009

I’ll be Odyssey-ing You

August 31, 2009

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Like the general population of the Village in the cult TV-series “The Prisoner”, there’s something decidedly odd about the British, but being stuck together on this small island we don’t really notice it, but the wonderful part is even when we do notice we just grin and get on with it without a worry in the world and least of all we don’t get self conscious about it. It’s an honest eccentricity which makes us who we are, so just as well we’re comfortable with it. Big reenacting shows like Military Odyssey in Kent really are a magnifying glass on not so much what makes us tick, rather our happy acceptance that we’re nation of train-spotters and how we’re happy to share that with anyone who wanders past.

For those who’ve ever been to Military Odyssey it’s only fair to point out it’s a large multi-period reenacting show where you’ll find Viking camped next to Cowboy, Napoleonic Chevalier next to American Civil War Rebel, German Wehrmacht soldier next to British Para. The total selection is incredibly broad and with the traders and collectors stalls presents a day out with something to interest just about everyone with just the smallest interest in history.

This year we turned up pretty early and thanks to the organised ticketing were inside the County ground within minutes. As always we headed for the stalls first to see what’s on offer, and as we go to a fair few shows like this it wasn’t long before we started to bump into folk we know. Frenchie from AirsoftWorld was the first – running a sniper competition with an airsoft Barrett and an L96. Now big guns are very popular with airsofters so both me and the boy Slug joined the line, only to be disappointed. Sure the thing looks like a Barrett, but it handled like a dead dog and the trigger was heavier than most anvils and rather killed any concept of slowly squeezing it. Still I managed five shots on the target, appaling grouping, but Slug’s single shot hitting was worth gloating over. Not all bad news though, they’ve got an all steel Sten Mk1 on offer, which is under going some tweaking, and a lovely and simple little gun it is too.

Next bumped into Lee who supplies various Yank kit, who wasn’t having a positive sales experience, apparently hardly anyone was buying and the show hadn’t been as busy as last years. Here’s hoping it picked up for him.

Our biggest collective purchase for the day was by Slug in his quest for the US Airborne experience, in buying the rifleman webbing from Soldier of Fortune to compliment the kit he bought at War & Peace. Thankfully there was another Dad on hand with his Airborne obssessed son, and he showed us how to wear it.

Once the stalls were done and dusted, including finding two wargames going on in the pavilion, it was time to enjoy the enormous effort the reenactors put into their displays. Most notable this year were 4JAS, who had a nifty display and spent a good few minutes having a natter with the Slug, also the All American Pathfinders where one of their medic chaps gave a good short briefing on all things medic and answered some relevent questions, similarly in the woods were some Para reenactors with a very well equipped field hospital. We spent a lot of time with them, and to be honest we were so impressed with their surgical kit as to not have asked which group they are, but they were very good. Not only did they have a wealth of enthusiasm but collectively they looked and sounded like Para’s with twinkles in eyes and a vague reassuring feeling they could kill a man with their little finger.

Of course there was a wealth of good displays, and I don’t have the time to mention every single one, but the one which impressed us the most was that of Shrapnel’s Battery who for a humble fee will let you loose with black powder devices, so you can fire a musket, a cannon, or a mortar which is great fun, and really teaches you something about history. Well actually it teaches you just how loud a bang some things can make and  seeing how they let all us lads ranging in age from five through twelve to my forty-five have a go it was a lesson much enjoyed.

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Paint it black

August 27, 2009

DSCF2017Well not just black of course, I do like our greens and greys too. Just had a few figures painted by a local painter who doesn’t do the web so you’ll find this is probably the only example of his work on the web. Paul Harrison lives in Margate and specialises in very neat custom built wargames buildings, however he paints figures too so I cornered him a while back to do a small batch for me and above you can see what he’s managed with some Adler.

I’m happy with them especially as he’s a mite cheaper than most, my only gripe being they came back in the bags they left in with no additional wrapping so some of the paint has rubbed off the bases as you can see. If you fancy getting him to do some for you the only contact is by phone and his number is 01843 227292. Tell him 6milPhil sent you.

Dicing with Death

August 27, 2009

DSCF2019Dice can be incredibly dangerous as most seasoned gamers will tell you, more so if you game in 6mm. Picture the scene as your massed tanks with infantry crouched behind them get ready to cross the fields  into the enemy held village when suddenly from above tumble half a dozen regular sized dice, as they land they twist barrels, scratch paint and mangle figures, and regardless of the numbers your attack is halted as you sob without shame and refuse to come back out from under the table.

The answer is smaller dice, and I’ve got a few however over the years I’ve slowly lost most of them so it was time to track down some more which proved more difficult than it ever should. The nearby games shop had none, the local example of the power of deodourant (Games Workshop to most) shrugged, and at one Sci-Fi emporium I spotted how a pair of suitable dice were included in a Star Wars product and asked if they could get the dice alone only to be advised by some batty woman how they couldn’t but I could always buy the packs for the dice because at £2.99 a pair it’d be about the price I should expect to pay for the dice alone…

The answer proved to be on Ebay, packs of fifty for £3.25- so I splashed out on a nifty green for Allied usage, grey for Axis and Red for everything else. The whole lot coming in for around a tenner. The seller can be found here.

Inglorious Maquisards

August 26, 2009

DSCF2011I was wandering around the 6mm forum which Mike Angel has very generously created when I saw a stand of the Irregular Miniatures figures above. I can’t recall what they actually are, something Wellingtonic* I believe, but Mike is a regular reader so hopefully he’ll share via the comments.

Anyhow on seeing these I did think they’d make good figures for armed civilians from WW2 namely brave members of the Maquis, or Free French. Rather craftily I convinced the overwise over worked Mike to paint them up for me and include them in my latest order for more haystacks, which he’s done and rather well I think.

Of course I’ve yet to seperate them and base them, and being limited to a dozen figures I’ll base them four to a base as three bases is about all I’ll need in minor supporting roles for SOE and para scenarios I’m working on.

*Wellingtonic; An alternative name for the period often called Napoleonic, but named after the British victor rather than the French loser which makes much more sense to me.

Bases from Brian in Bedford

August 26, 2009

DSCF2013There’s not been a great amount of production at 6mil mansions this week, due to a big tidy up but also my running short of a few materials. Rather spookily I used the very last of my magnetic tape on the very last couple of bases, an act so perfectly synchronised to suggest to my fevered imagination how God must be a wargamer and 6mm his scale. This shortage hasn’t prevented me from talking or typing, quelle surprise, so it’s a good opportunity for me to mention a few favoured suppliers who you may not have discovered. For bases for miniatures my favoured supplier is a chap who uses the handle Panshyne on Ebay, who can supply custom cut bases in the hard thin green plastic seen above. There’s 130 in the package, plus a few offcuts supplied gratis, and all for a tenner including post.

Panshyne, or Brian as I prefer, is an incredibly patient chap. I spent about 3 months working out exactly, and I mean exactly, what size of bases I would use for my current WW2 project, and I tried samples of size after size to the extent of testing the patience of a saint but without a murmur from dear Brian. He’s very much one of the old school of gamers which can be eventually found thanks to the web if you’re willing to dig around a bit. Nothing seems to be too much trouble and it’s this joyous approach which really help micro-communities like the wargaming world flourish in the hi-tech world where it’d be preferred by mega corporations if we all just played X-box instead.

Military Mayhem

August 26, 2009

DSCF1984The Military Mayhem show at Farming World in Kent is a new one to us as it’s only a couple of years old, and takes place just a week before Military Odyssey at the County Ground.  Compared to that, or War and Peace barely a month earlier it is a small show but it’s perfectly formed and as such is a good day out. One advantage Mayhem enjoys is how it’s lack of scale allows much more communication with both stall holders and displayers, while at busier shows you’d be pushed to get a couple of minutes of their time. The chap in the photo is a good example, the moment he spotted my camera he was happy to pose, producing the near cover image from an issue of Signal above in a few seconds. The Slug and I also met Stuart of the newly launched WWII reenactors magazine, who was not only happy to sell us a copy, but also had time to chat with the boy Slug about finding a suitable group to match his taste for wandering around in US Airborne gear.

Base of brothers

August 15, 2009

DSCF1882Just a couple of bases of GHQ paras this week, one all attacking from being a row of bushes, the other frantically trying to focus a PIAT and grenade attack. Placed adjacent they make a fine wrecking crew.

DSCF1885Another development has been me finally getting to grips with the camera aided in part by having my old single bulb lamp die and me replacing it with a fluorenscent one which throws a much wider and brighter light finally revealling all the detail.

COMETh the tank

August 15, 2009

DSCF1874Okay it’s not the best known tank of WW2, seeing only really the last seven or so months of the war, but if you’re playing late war Brits it was there and so you need a few Comets and these GHQ ones fit the bill perfectly. Expect the usual sharp cut detail, but also the perfectly scaled but look at it too hard and it’ll bend barrel.

DSCF1877I’ve spent ages picking out the detail on these with various complimentary tones and not a hint of it shows up on the photos.

DSCF1881The basing has been kept simple, slight irregular surfacing to the base, two tones of brown, three types of flock and a couple of bushes.

DSCF1879Made one base decidely urban, but as it stands it looks too clean so I’ll be coming back and putting some rubble about and anything else I can think of, or that you might care to suggest. No I’m not making another piano.

Jeep into the unknown

August 15, 2009

buDSCF1865What’s that tearing through the countryside? Why it’s a tidy line of GHQ jeeps tearing into action in the style of the Para’s or the SAS.

DSCF1864Now the GHQ standard jeeps come in two basic forms, windscreen up or windscreen down and with just a driver who wears a yank style helmet. For me this is a handay variety, but not enough if you’re likely to be playing six tiles in close proximity. The first thing Ive done is filed those helmets to look like a beret, then I’ve added two or three more figures including one with a .50 cal, plus a couple of boxes here and there. The finished look is a quite threatening little convoy likely to worry just about any unit unfortunate to be set against it.

DSCF1907After Mike asked for bigger photo’s I’ve had a bash, and generally I’m not having a lot of luck with them. I’m at the limit of my camera’s ability which is far beyond my own, out of around 30 photos, two weren’t blurred but even with these ones (above & below) you can see how the rear third of the base is in focus while the rest isn’t. They did prove handy for revealing fluff and hairs though, and have been tweezered to perfection.

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Scene to be believed

August 15, 2009

DSCF1852No I’ve not gone all sci-fi this week just had a small order from good old Irregular Miniatures turn up this week and what a pile you get for your cash and what a glowing example of just one reason why 6mm is such damned good value. Left to right, top to bottom; a pair of hedgerows, six vine rows for your own vineyard, two poplar trees, a pigpen, a hay wagon, a base of pigs, some cows, a pair of gates, a cuddly toy, nine small trees and a windmill.

Most of these will feature in a scenic over the next few months, most need very little tidying up for white metal pieces, bar the windmill which like most Irreg buildings seems to come with a ton of flash and mould lines in the most peculiar places and typically quite difficult to remove if you like your buildings spotless, BUT I digress from my overall satisfaction and my point which is; Which other scale could give you all this for so little? A mere £13.20, or $21.85, or in those euro things about 15.33.