Archive for November, 2010

Verger on the edge of insanity

November 30, 2010

It’s time for yet another figure not quite finished but we like it so much we took a photo of it for the blog anyway.  Above is one of Musketeer Miniatures fine range of  VBCW figures, this one rather obviously the standard bearer from their Anglican League character set. Now before anyone feels the need to tut-tut let me confess to what still needs doing, which is decent dirty wash on the cleaner piece of the flag, a few passes by the flock box, and some gloss varnish on his spectacles and shoes.

He’s a joyful figure to behold and bears just a touch more than a passing resemblance to Mr Yeats aka the verger from Dad’s Army. The painting was done by the lad Slug, who briefly paused on his BEF Belgians, to help get this figure ready. Meanwhile I’ve been working on terraced houses so all I did on this one was the flag pole using florists stub wire, made the cross atop from green stuff and printed and attached the flag with a slogan which should rally any right-thinking Englishman.

I found this an exciting figure. Not having to paint it may have been some of it, but most of it is just what a lovely finished piece it will become and, like any decent standard bearer, what an immediate focal point it will become on the table. You can get a copy of the flag here.

Morris Dancer

November 25, 2010

Okay so it wasn’t a million years ago that I was parading my collection of VBCW vehicles with a warm smugness and a general feeling of completion, meaning I could stop buying motors for this project and get on with playing it. Of course I have stopped buying, but there’s still a few odd pieces left in the pipeline. This delicious model of the Morris CS9 LAC by BEF Miniatures is the latest. I’ve had this around for a while, and suffered  a slight delay in sorting out a crewman for it, finally got one from Bolt Action, and here it is ready to play.

It’s a lovely model but it’s suffered from my poor treatment of it to be brutally frank. In attempting to strengthen the gun barrel with superglue I made a bit of a bosh of it, and having seen these photo reveal my poor misty varnishing I’ve rushed back to the spray table and given it a decent coat. This usually remedies the problem.

All that over-analysis finished the model is a cracker. I liked it so much I actually bought two, this one is painted in a two-tone green pattern to match that of the regular army at the time. The other, which has yet to be finished, will be for the BUF faction – but enjoying a more experimental camo paint job. Tally Ho!

Bill Posters is innocent

November 21, 2010

Regular readers might recall I spent far too long being really nice to everyone by sizing up some BUF Flags for banners, armbands, etc, and putting them up here for all and sundry. Now I’ve put together a collection of posters and newspaper covers aimed at the VBCW crowd. Simply click on the image above and it’ll take you to a super hi-res version which you can save and print out for your own use. You may want to play about with the scale of your print out to get the exact effect you want for whichever scale you choose to play. Most of them are political, apart from the Bovril one, but I like Bovril so I included it. If you find these handy please leave a comment below, it let’s me know I’m not simply typing to myself and could lead to more useful posts similar to this.

Snipe shape and bristol fashion

November 20, 2010

I’ve been e-chatting with one of the chaps who’s fortunate enough to be the partner of one of the domestic godesses behind Empress Miniatures and I was looking for my post on their snipers to share with him only to realise how I’d painted them but not got around to sharing them on here despite having spewed forth on the other modern snipers I was working on at the same time. Their sniper team comes in two parts, an eagle-eyed spotter and the man behind the trigger. Now many folk base this pair together, but I chose to base them seperately, so I can use the spotter seperately as a forward observer. I’ve based him tucked behind a slight hill with grass upon it as these chaps have a habit of not making themselves stick out.

The sniper is in the lesser-known sitting position for snipers and comes with a drag bag for his weapon. Both are great fun to paint but beware, Empress Miniatures are the Uber-Miniatures when it comes to detail- and this can slow painting for two basic reasons; one is the natural desire to make the best of something – so if someone is generous enough to provide an incredible level of detail you tend to feel a need to equal that with the best paint job poss. The second is how that detail can be so sharp that it becomes difficult to paint, don’t mistake this comment for criticism, but for example the cocking levers on their figures with AK47s take the paint well, but any handling of a non-varnished figure tends to remove that very paint. This is more a comment on my rough handling than anything else but don’t expect painting them to be incredibly easy. Fun? Yes! Easy? Unlikely!

These figures do re-enforce a very positive development though, the production of top-notch miniatures to a high quality for a decent price from independent vendors. Empress is a very young company who has equalled the brilliance of Eureka, Bolt-Action, Artizan, BEF Miniatures et al much to the gamers benefit. Ain’t life great?

A very British motor pool

November 19, 2010

What Ho dear readers! My Very British Civil War project is in danger of reaching fruition as the heady combination of great miniatures, cracking vehicles, and scenics all approach the state of being finished with the alluring promise of much gaming ahead. Above is the Margate Section (St. Johns) of the Anglican League. I do seem to be in an unhealthy minority when it comes to VBCW, primarily it seems to be mainly my Northern and Scots cousins playing this game, secondarily very few seem to have embraced the Anglican League – either preferring the satorial elegance of the BUF, the self-righteous joy of all things socialist, or the simple nimby stance of militias. I’m left consoling myself with the truism of how God does indeed move in mysterious ways, and rather handily he’s let these photos be some of the best of models I’ve ever taken. Above is a BEF Miniatures Char FCM 2C, named “Charlie”, two Bolt Action TKS light tanks with 20mm guns, named “The Twins”, plus a converted diecast which is nameless because it’s effectively a staff car and staff are well known for having no imagination at all.

It’s a pleasant but simple conversion, plate armour added to protect the radiator and engine, another piece to protect both driver and passenger, with a handy slit with a hinged cover for the driver, various goodies dotted around and the small detail of a machine gun to clear minor traffic obstructions, tastefully finished in a dark Anglican blue.

Here’s the BUF’s vehicles, a much flashier collection as the Devil does seem to own all the best cars. There’s a BEF Miniatures Vickers Light Tank, a Sloppy Jalopy Austin Type 3 armoured car, an Airfix Gloster Gladiator in 1/72 scale, the home-brewed Pig based on a converted diecast, a converted diecast Mercedes and a converted diecast Bentley. One thing I’ve noticed in my recent foray into 28mm is how a lot of folk struggle to find suitable aircraft in the near matching 1/48th scale, but how easily the eye accepts 1/72nd models as fitting which I believe the Gladdy does quite agreeable and for a better price.

The Bentley is a conversion by the boy Slug, and rather well done I think. The driver was originally the same figure as that in the Anglican League staff car but it’s had a head swop to keep him in line with our decision to have the majority of BUF figures wearing caps just like their uniformed ranks did, bar the ladies. It has a nifty flag on the rear, an HMG for the passenger and a fascist black finish.

The Regulars of the British forces have a very humble collection which reflects the interwar budget, based on the simplistic premise of “If there’s not going to be another war then we don’t need an army”. The plane I can’t place, but there’s another another BEF Miniatures Vickers Light Tank, a simple conversion of a diecast van, plus a plain diecast “Travelling Library”.

Of those it’s the Travelling Library which is the real joy, I’ve done nothing to it, but it’s got my county on the side of it – all my VBCW games will (in the manner of the idea) be played in Kent which makes it close to the divine. It’s a humble model, but could hold any number of secrets or not.

Time for the weapons of mass transportation, namely my first VBCW conversion the armoured tram, two buses in East Kent Road Car Company colours (including decals!), and a delightful French Renault bus by Solido. The latter is also superb for WW2 games of course.

Finally private and commercial vehicles, two different steam driven lorries, Jones the Butchers van, a petrolium tanker (essential if you’re running a tank), an Austin taxi, a Bentley (same model as used by Slug for the BUF conversion), an Evening News van and a Riley sports car.   All in all it’s taken me just shy of a year to collect this lot together and aside from feeling very lucky to afford such a complete collection I think I’ve managed to reflect the type of vehicles you might get around the late 30’s even though I’m still totally lacking in horse-powered transport. The majority have been either off that Ebay or from boot fairs or market stalls at very good prices, which has left me a decent budget for the more militaristic gaming pieces. It’s been great fun getting these together, but I’d still like to thank both The Gentleman’s Wargame Parlour and the Lead Adventures Forum for their inspiration, advice and general chuminess throughout this project. Rah! Rah! Them!

Come Mr Taliban

November 18, 2010

My ultra-modern project plods along like an Arab thief doing a handstand often leaving me stumped, but plod on we must and every now and again something actually gets finished. I’ve been working on a few technicals using two makes of miniatures and toy diecast vehicles, the by-product of which has been a few more finished miniatures. These beauties are from the ever fragrant Empress Miniatures range, very nice they are too even if I’ve only managed to take one decent picture out of the three of them.

Shoody camerawork aside there’s something quite special about Empress. The Slug and I did plan to have a look at their goods at Salute 2010, but we literally couldn’t get near the stand. So we settled for mail order and have been really impressed, the level of detail walks a thin line between the divine and the insane. This is difficult to spot from the photos I conceed but bleeding ‘ell how many miniatures do you know of where the AK47s have cocking handles?

Another thing about Empress is how regular their releases have become across all of their ranges, so between getting my last order and having them painted more brilliant looking figures have been released. This reduces me to a dribbling credit-card waving fool each abd every time they announce a new release. Pavlov barely managed to scrape the surface of conditioned behaviour in comparison.

Christmas Steve

November 17, 2010

Just finished this little gem a Lead Adventures Forum miniature of Professor Witchheimer which I bought because I’ve a Christmas game coming up around at chum Steve’s mansion, he’s a new player and this looks just like him. Interesting to paint, even if his rucksack turned into a bit of a nightmare because it has a pile of goodies almost bursting out, including a gold pot, a dinosaur skull and a tentacle. I couldn’t really identify any of those details until after finding painted examples of it on the web

I’ve made a point of giving this charactor platinum blond hair, and blue denim jeans so he looks just like the real Steve. I do hope he notices the effort.

It’s all in the Eye… ties.

November 17, 2010

I was ordering one of those Lead Adventures Forum miniatures of Professor Witchheimer and couldn’t bring myself to buy just one figure especially as I was going to pay for postage from Germany anyway. The only other figure which really grabbed my fancy was the neo-Mussolini made by Old Grenadier which I hadn’t seen before despite behind available from quite a few UK vendors.

Despite the simple three-shades-of-grey paintjob he was a delight to paint, although I have returned to gloss varnish his boots and his other shiny bits since taking the photo above. He’ll be a VBCW leader either called Richard “Tinpot” Tayter, or be a visiting continental fascist called Fray Benitoss, two names but both funnier and with more charm than the slightly dodgy title of this post. Ciao!

Wargames Show Report

November 14, 2010

It was off to the Marlowe Academy today for the annual gaming show for the benefit of the Royal British Legion which took place for the first time in this modern and spacious building. Plenty of free parking, free cups of tea and coffee and a mere two quid to gain entry.  It was healthily attended and had a wide variety of games including WW1 and WW2 in various scales, modern and some fantasy too plus a handful of traders. Red Knight Wargames have put this show on for a good few years now, and slowly but surely it gets better and better so well done them!

Now you might have noticed how gamers are often regarded by non-gamers as a form of geeky lunatic, a stereotype often extended to mad extremes such as those playing WW2 Germans being de facto Nazis and other ironic delights from the historically challenged. The oddest thing about this show was how it took place in a public building with other activities taking place, but when the clock came to 11.00 the only folk standing in silence for two minutes were those at the gaming event.

The photos I took are literally thrown together below, reflecting how a good time was had by all. If any of them are your club, etc,  feel free to grab them and use them on your sites, etc, without any copyright concerns or any of that nonsense.

Westgate Games Update

November 5, 2010

A mite overdue but an interesting update on all things Westgate Games following a bit of confusion over it last year. The bottom line is it has been taken over by one Elton Waters, who’s an agreeable chap and the shop now carries a small but fair range of miniatures, and other gaming accessories including some modelling materials and tools. It’s an infinite improvement of what it had become over the years. The best of luck to him, may he roll nowt but sixes.

Given the rarity of proper gaming shops it’s deffo worth a visit, for those of you who don’t know where it is; it’s at 20 The Borough Canterbury CT1 2DR and can be phoned on 01227 457257.