Wednesday, 27 August 2014

King Edward I, Ebob Miniatures

I won this impressive figure in a competition run by Burkhard, a short while ago. His entertaining blog can be found (here). I've been fortunate to won quite a few comps this year but this may because I actually entered them in the first place. Now this may sound like stating the bleedin' obvious (it is) but I'm constantly surprised by how many people who don't actually follow that simple advice and then moan that they never win anything. The phrase "you've got to be in it to win it" is blatantly apparent.
This figure bares a strong resemblance to the late, great actor Patrick McGoohan, who played Edward I in the film Braveheart (a term that was originally applied to Robert Bruce and not William Wallace so the least said about that film the better). The figure is from Ebob Miniatures and is part of their Rebellion range. The detail on the model is excellent, especially the lions on the caparison.

Ebob make several interesting miniatures for this period including a number of options for William Wallace. In the same range is a 'Wallace of Ellerslie' figure which is based on the main character in the film Braveheart and is therefore only really suitable for a fantasy figure but there is also a set of figures, mounted and dismounted, called 'Sir William Wallace (Guardian of Scotland)' which are far better historically and aesthetically. The dismounted figure reminded me of a full size model of Wallace in Stirling (?), its been many years since I visited Stirling so this may not even exist any more. 
Burkhard kindly left the base blank so that it could be finished it to match my other figures.
This figure of Edward will (hopefully) see next see action putting the wind up any Welsh forces foolish to face him in future Lion Rampant games.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Call Out For Bolt Action Players

It's Ade's first serious venture into historical gaming (as opposed to Warhammer Fantasy or 40K). 

The competition/tournament will (hopefully) be played in the usual good humoured/social Wargaming For Fun environment (if anyone is a grump or takes themselves too seriously then Ade and myself will sit on them). The whole ethos behind Ade's approach is to provide an enjoyable environment for everyone to play in. Anyone how has watching his videos will realise he isn't a power player and doesn't play to win.

This event has the official backing of Warlord Games who will be providing a prize for the winner, I have no idea what it is yet but Warlord are usually quite generous in their sponsorship and support of the gaming community.

I should be present on all the days - if only to make the cups of tea and provide comic relief with my attempts at playing the game but please don't let that put you off.

If anyone is interesting in taking part, please contact Ade or myself via email or comment below.

Some of the technical details again:

The event will take place in Wem, Shropshire.

If you are interested in taking part you would need to attend one of the heats and hopefully the final should you win your heat.

The dates of the heats are;
Heat 1 – 18th October,
Heat 2 – 19th October,
Heat 3 – 8th November,
Heat 4 – 9th November,

With the Final on 7th December

Emails to []

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wargames Bloggers Quarterly

This week has seen the launch of a quarterly online magazine (or e-Zine as the youngsters call them nowaways), Wargames Bloggers Quarterly. This came as a very pleasant surprise as I hadn't heard any rumours about its release.

I have thought, for quite a while now, that blogging and online articles could be a serious alternative to hard copy (i.e. real) magazines and, judging by this new download, possibly a serious threat to their future. I no longer subscribe to any magazines, only buying individual issues as and when they have several articles of interest. The beauty of blogging is that you can, in effect, create your own online magazine and follow blogs that can be tailored to suit your own interests. You can be, more or less, certain of regular articles rather than once in a blue moon in a magazine. Wargames Illustrated seem to be aware of this challenge as they release relating articles online that compliment the magazine.

New items, (figures, rules terrain etc.) are often posted on wargaming websites a long time before they are official posted as 'news' which must make the manufacturers wonder if its worth paying for proper advertising. 

Since the demise of Google Reader I've noticed that I often miss blog updates, which probably isn't too surprising since I follow 500 plus blogs. A fair number of these are probably inactive, a feature on Reader allowed you to see this. I'd be curious to know the average 'lifespan' of a blog, probably less than a year I imagine. 

This e-Zine has very good production values. There are a number of blogs that I haven't seen before but also articles by bloggers that I do follow and have missed - which, as the editorial states, is one of the reasons for its existence. 

Wargames Bloggers Quarterly is available to download free (here).

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Battered/Casualty markers

Following on from a previous post - details (here) these are also markers for use with the game of Lion Rampant. These indicate a unit has been 'battered' i.e. one that has failed a courage test. Specific markers aren't actually necessary, you can simply use a small stone, die or something similar but I prefer the aesthetic of having a suitable looking model on the table.

These have been made from a combination of spare weapons from the FireForge Games Teutonic Knights plastic box set and the Gripping Beast plastic 'Dark Age Warriors' box set (one of the most versatile sets of figures I've come across in terms of time periods it can be used for).

The hands and arms have been removed from the weapons as I don't particularly want to represent the gore of a real battlefield. The abandoned helmets are simply spare heads from various plastic FireForge sets with any human element removed or hollowed out with a drill bit and scalpel.  

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Knight Casualties, Crusader Miniatures (Battered/Casualty Markers)

These figures, representing knight casualties, are from Crusader Miniatures (ref. code: MCF015).

In the forthcoming Osprey Lion Rampant rule set you require some form of marker in order to represent that a unit is 'Battered'. You can simply use a small plastic token, a stone or even a die but I have the nasty habit of picking these dice up and rolling them, completely forgetting their use as a casualty/pin marker. So using these dedicated casualty figures and markers I can't make this mistake again.

I'm usually not keen on displaying death and gore on models. There's enough real violence, death and destruction in the world without having to add to it on this blog. After witnessing a very unpleasant experience a few years ago I realised that most war, and even horror, films don't really represent the volume of blood that is shed when serious injuries occur to the human body. Saying that I have added small details to show that they are casualties but I like to think that these figures represent stunned or wounded figures rather than anything else.

I removed the original head and replaced it with a plastic version of the great helm from Fireforge Games. I also roughened up the edges of the surcoat and made cuts into the upper chest area. I have another set of these figures that I'll leave unmodified and once painted I will post photos of them side by side.

These particular figures doesn't come supplied with shields so spare plastic shields were added just to differentiate it from the other set. Using a scalpel I scored a few sword cuts to the shield just for good measure.

I've put them on round bases so that they don't get mistaken (hopefully) for real/active figures; all my regular medieval figures are fixed to square bases.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Messerschmitt Bf109G-2 Trop, Hobby Boss (1/72 scale)

As one of my (many) current projects is creating a DAK force for Bolt Action when I spotted this kit in a local model shop I thought it would be a welcome addition to my small force. I've since spotted a pre-painted version of the same model during a scale model show so it's worth keeping a eye out for it.
Box Art
Using the power of Google I found that someone had posted that these markings represent Bf 109G-4/Trop 'White Triple Chevron 4', flown by Hauptmann Gustav Rodel, Gruppenkommandeur Il./JG 27, April 1943, although there is some discussion that the colour details are incorrect but seeing as I known nothing about the subject I won't comment. 
Although obsolete by the end of the war the Bf109 was the main workhorse of the German Luftwaffe. Over 33,000 were made, second only in numbers to the Russian Sturmovik - a model of which can be seen (here).
The kit itself is quite basic (although not as basic as the Grafix models) and easy to assemble. The box art is slightly misleading as there is no pilot figure and you only have the option of the landing gear being down. There is also very little cockpit detail but as I wanted to use this simply as a playing piece to match my other airplanes for Bolt Action I wasn't overly concerned about these points. 

A small magnet was superglued to the underside of the fuselage so that the model can to fixed to 'flying' base (see photo). To help give the impression that the plane is flying I remodelled the landing quite up. This is was quite crude but it will hardly ever been seen especially as the planes are only really supposed to be seen in plan view.  
Landing gear up 
The quote from the HobbyBoss website the armament spec of the Bf109 (replacing the most obvious typos) was:
"Standard armament was the engine mounted 20MM MG 151/20 cannon with 200 rounds and a pair of cowl-mounted 7.9MG 17 machine guns with 500 rounds per gun. This could be supplemented by Rustsatze 6, a pair of MG 151/20 cannons in under wing gondolas."

I fixed the canopy of the model in place without a pilot as at 1/72 scale you don't tend to notice that the pilot is missing, especially as the canopy of the 109 was notoriously small. 
Interesting decal options
One final point about this model is that the Chinese manufacturer has included the option to add a decal of a swastika to tailfin, although this isn't immediately obvious. The decal comes in two separate parts so you have to overlay one over the other to make the pattern. I assume this is allow the model to be sold in the German/Austrian market where any depiction of the symbol is illegal (which is perfectly understandable). Even posting images online such as on the Lead Adventures forum (which I believe is based in Germany) can give them serious legal issues.

Although this may seem a contradiction, seeing as I won't purchase miniatures depicting SS soldiers (this is obviously my own personal choice) I do prefer to have the option of modelling a model correctly in the same way I will paint a hammer and sickle on a flag for use with my Soviet forces.

Below are photos from RAF Museum Hendon of their own airtime Messerschmitt Bf109G-2/TROP W/NR.10639 - `Black 6'/RN228/8478M/G-USTV.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Werewolf Cousins, AK miniatures - Part 4 of 4

Just a few more images showing the differences between the country werewolf and his townie cousin. Hopefully this exercise might provide people with a few ideas so that they will attempt modifying of their own figures. 

I realise this is stating the obvious but using a number of relatively simple techniques you can create your own unique set of models. Even trying a new basing method can transform the the overall impression of your collection. If anyone attempts something similar, please let me know as I'd love to see the results.

There will eventually be a video (released on both YouTube and the WargamingForFun sites I assume) that will show just how I made and painted this figure. This may be a while as Ade is extremely busy editing his own videos. I will of course repost a link via this blog as soon as it appears online. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Urban Werewolf, AK miniatures - Part 3 of 4

Following on from my previous posts about werewolves one of the reasons I bought them in the first place was that I had been recently rereading collections of old 2000 AD comics and one in particular that I remembered about Judge Dredd battling werewolves, drawn by Steve Dillon from way back in the summer of 1983.
Get down Shep!
In the preamble the authors, Wagner & Grant, mentioned that they wanted to show that the werewolves still had a trace of humanity and he indicated this by showing them still wearing fragments of their clothing. When I first saw the models I wondered if I could produce a similar effect with one of these figures (that's the reason I bought two identical figures in the first place). With this in mind I decided that I would make an urban werewolf.
Original model
Point (or Tail) of no return
In the Judge Dredd story the werewolves are shown wearing ripped and torn trousers but more noticeable is that they don't have tails (I'm not sure if werewolves generally have long tails or not), so obviously the first thing I did was commit myself to the idea and snip off the model's tail with my side cutters. I know I was going to use greenstuff to make the tatty trousers but I thought that rather than simply cover the fur I would file down the metal, hoping this would give the impression that the werewolf was actually wearing the trousers rather than just having them placed on it. With a Sharpie pen I marked the area of the clothing so that I didn't remove too much of the detail down the legs and waist and then filed down the fur detail in the appropriate area.

The greenstuff was applied and smoothed out using a rounded metal handle of my trusty scribe. then using the same scribe I added the seams and also created the shredded edges of the trousers. Once the main area of greenstuff had cured I added the pocket just to give an extra dimension to the model.

Comparison view of the two models 

The claw scratch marks effect were added to the door with a pencil.
As previously mentioned I wanted to give the impression that this werewolf lived in a ruined urban setting as depicted in the old Judge Dredd story. Therefore the base was painted in shades of grey rather than brown and added off cuts of plastic sprue and card to compliment the ravished urban look as opposed to the previous model which had a deliberate rural feel. Powders were used for the rust effect.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Minimum Monument

On this day one hundred years ago Great Britain declared war on Germany and in doing so changed the course of the country's history for ever. To mark the occasion Birmingham organised quite an unusual event that turned out to be unexpectedly poignant. It's not very often you can actively take part in a genuine art installation but the opportunity arose on Saturday for me to do this. 

The Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo produced 5,000 figures made out of ice to create a piece called 'Minimum Monument.' These were then installed on the steps of Chamberlain Square in the centre of Birmingham.
Individual figure - Minimum Monument

The clever point is that the ice figures were handed out to individuals to place them where ever they pleased. And, as odd as it may seem, this personal contact with a particular figure resulted in hundreds of people standing, quietly watching their figure slowly melt. Out of interest I placed my figure on its own. Other people quickly placed their own either side and soon the steps were covered.

Minimum Monument, Birmingham
With an emotional effect that often only art (be it poetry, painting or sculpture) can produce, a personal attachment had been created with a block of ice; thoughts soon wondered to loved ones lost not just in war but also life in general. How many times do we read names on a memorial for a few seconds, that we have no personal connection with, then quickly forget? I alone spent over 30 minutes simply observing the ice figure I placed down and the square was still crowded a hour after the installation started. There was something strangely moving about watching a small ice sculpture slowly melt in the sunshine and within a short time disappear without a trace. It seems to reflect the fragility of life that is so cruelly exposed during times of war, just as it is today as it was one hundred years ago.

Congratulations to Birmingham & Azevedo for creating a moving and memorable event that marks such a tragic episode in mankind's history.

Big Wolf. AK miniatures - Part 2 of 4

From the same sculptor as the werewolf figure detailed in a previous post (here) this could either be a werewolf or rather large normal wolf (although possibly too large for an actual wolf). To give you an impression of the scale of the model the base is approx 40mm dia. so hopefully you can tell just how large it is as the head and tail of the wolf overlap the base considerably.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Werewolf, AK miniatures (?) - Part 1 of 4

Whilst walking around a small wargaming show held in Stafford earlier in the year my brother noticed one particular trader selling quite unusual figures and models including the one shown here. Speaking to the trader it soon became obvious that he also created the figures himself and had already produced numerous different sci-fi/near future themed figures (dwarf bikers etc.) but as is often the case I didn't really take note of the company. I bought a few figures and then wondered off looking for other goodies to buy.
The models were bagged and simply labelled 'AK' and had a brief description of the figure but without any website or contact details. I have since been unable to find any trace of AK online so if anyone recognises the figure or knows more about the sculptor please let me know, if only to give him some more publicity.

This is quite a large model, the base is approximately 40mm in diameter as can be seen from the 10mm squares printed on the cutting mat.
Rather than just assuming how wolves appear (if asked I would have said just various shades of grey) I used Google Images and noted that real wolves are often multiple shades of grey/off white/cream/browns and black and painted the model appropriately. Note that I have deliberately finished the base with grasses etc. to give the model a rural setting, the reason for this will become obvious when Part 3 of this mini-series is posted.