Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dux Bellorum with Dux Homunculorum

I can't believe it's taken me this long, but I FINALLY got to play a game of Dux Bellorum on Friday night. I'll write up my thoughts on the game properly, but for the moment suffice it to say that the game gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

With the game coming up I had good reason to make a major push on finishing some more units for my Romano-British army. I've been trying as much as possible to make densely packed units with 14 figures in two rows on a 120mm frontage base. However, I also have a bunch of figures individually based on 20mm round bases for Dux Britanniarum and other skirmish games. A while back the good people at Warbases made me some custom movement trays, allowing me to get 10 individually based figures into a 120mm unit, with the slots for the figures being as irregularly spaced as possible. The problem is that on 20mm bases the figures are pretty top heavy, and kept falling out. So last night I set about mounting a rare earth magnet in each of the slots on the movement trays.

Don't forget the dust mask when drilling MDF. And note the awesome pink power drill I won in a raffle raising money for breast cancer

Each of the individual figures has magnetic strip stuck on the base, so this does help the figures resist some amount of wobbling, although certainly doesn't solve the problem entirely. With all the figures based, I now have a pretty reasonably sized force; more than enough for Dux Bellorum, especially when adding in the cavalry and skirmishers that aren't pictured here, and looking pretty good for Impetus and Sword and Spear as well.

One of the nice things about making a sub-Roman army is how well the figures from different ranges match, allowing units with loads of variety. Mine include Westwind, Black Tree Design, Artizan, Gripping Beast metal and plastic and Crusader miniatures.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

What's next for 2015?

As my RSI from the Painting Challenge recedes, it's time to take a moment, drink a mug of tea, and think about what's next. Like most of us, there are about 50 projects I'd like to be working on, and I don't feel bad about flitting around between them, but it is a good thing to have some general aspirational hobby goals. In no particular order, here are my top ten projects for the rest of the year.

1. Victorian Zombie Apocalypse

This is one of those projects entirely driven by a desire to paint some shiny miniatures. I really like the look of the fictional c.1900 female Hussars made by Hinterland Miniatures. Most miniatures of female characters in our hobby have traditionally reflected a rather sad adolescent male fantasy. You know, 'I'm a lusty barbarian wench with a massive sword, so big in fact that I don't need any armour apart from this chain mail G-String.' That kind of thing. The thing I like about Hinterland is that they have made a range of plausible female warriors that actually look like real women. I'd be happy to give them to my daughter to play with.

And they do make a pack of zombiefied Hussars.... Which got me thinking. 'Cos Westwind also have a pack of Victorian zombies.... And Northstar's 'Society of Thule' box contains some zombiefied Prussian Jaegers..... So I wrote to Nick Eyre at Northstar, and he was more than happy to just sell me 15 or so of the zombies.

People seem to like 'In Her Majesty's Name'. And there are rules for zombies on the IHMN website. But terrain.... hmmm. Well, I visited Wargames Vault, and checked out the 'Historic Olde Towne' from Stoezel's Structures. It's cheap, it'll be fun to make, and basically will give me a nice big Victorian city layout, with interior detail.

It seems the planets have aligned. I've got some cool minis on the way to paint, a nice terrain layout to build, and some rules to drive it. I reckon this will be fun.

2. Finish my Romano-British Army/b>

I'm looking forward to seeing this army finished. They are mainly destined for Dux Bellorum, but will also work for Impetus and Sword and Spear.

3. 6mm ECW Armies

Paul of the Man Cave will be back around the end of the year, and by the time he returns I must have two large ECW armies painted.... Large in numbers, that is.

4. Late War Germans, Soviets and Brits

I already have some armies painted for Battle Group Fall of the Reich, but I aim to add to them every now and then during the year. I particularly enjoyed making some urban warfare bases for some Germans during the Painting Challenge, and plan to do more of these.

5. Urban Terrain

For my Fall of the Reich games, I really want some urban terrain. It will be expensive to try to do something sizeable in MDF, so I'm thinking about making a board with lots of rubble and partial buildings, with occasional more intact structures, and maybe even adapting paper models to bulk out the cityscape.

6. Retreat from Moscow 1812

Another project driven by stunning figures, I plan to keep chipping away at painting the stunning range made by the Perrys for Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. No idea what rules they might be suitable for, but even if I never game with them, they are a privilege to paint.

7. Curse Agema Miniatures and their lovely Republican Romans! Curse War and Peace Games for that time they sold them for less than half price!! Curse my Lack of will power!!!

Nothing to add to that really....

8. Early War Germans

Add a few bits and bobs to my Battle Group Barbarossa army.

9. Western Desert

I reckon this will mainly be a 2016 project, but I'll be waiting eagerly for the new Battle Group supplements for the desert. I'm now pretty much like one of Pavlov's dogs, conditioned to buy whatever Plastic Soldier Company put out, so I'll pick up whatever desert armour they put out that I can afford. If they put out a box of Crusaders and I can't afford them, I'll rob a bank.

10. Something Shiny that I Haven't Anticipated But will end up dominating several months of my life

So there we have it: Some aspirations for the year. Should keep me out of mischief.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Fifth Analogue Painting Challenge

The Fifth Analogue Painting Challenge has sadly drawn to a close, so it is time to stop neglecting my humble blog.

It seems fitting to restart bloglife with a quick retrospective of my Painting Challenge, so today I got everything out on the table just to see what I had managed to paint in the course of the Challenge.

As you can see, it was a pretty eclectic bunch of figures I painted, with everything from a German dinosaur to 6mm ECW. Battlegroup predictably took some of my attention, with some German forces painted up for Barbarossa and Fall of the Reich.

The largest single subject I focused on were Islamic troops for use in such games as Crescent and Cross and Lion Rampant, but other early medievals also got a look in with Picts and Bretons.

Probably the most enjoyable parts of the Challenge for me were the Bonus Rounds, and I was chuffed to win second place with my Dino Rider in the rider and mount round.

The only figures I painted that aren't in the photo are missing because I ate them. I speak of course of the Viking ship cake I made for the mini duchess back in December, which won me 10 points!

All in all, the Challenge was a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring experience, in which i felt a great sense of camaraderie with similar lunatics all around the world. I finished in 8th place with 2032 points, which I'm delighted with ans I was keen to improve on my 13th place with 1349 points from last year. I also just scraped a win against Tamsin with our race to 1500 points, although I'm pretty sure she beat me with the number of points completed of 6mm figures.

So here's a massive thank you to Curt for organising the Challenge. What a huge amount of work he puts into it! Just reading some of the posts about the importance the Challenge has in some of our lives shows what a great public service he is fulfilling. It certainly does wonders for my mental health.

In my next post: plans for the rest of 2015.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Aufklaerungsaurus los!

For the 'Mount and Rider' bonus round of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge I submitted this figure from Eureka of a recce dino rider, somewhere in Russia in 1943. And blow me down if it isn't currently tying in second place in the voting, with less than 24 hours to go! I put this success down entirely to my decision to add a number plate to the dinosaur.

I'm chuffed that people like the figure, particularly in the company of some truly stunning entries. Check them out here!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Enchanted Dice

My Christmas present from the Duchess was this beautiful little wooden chest of dice. Since there are five of them, and Warlords in SAGA roll five attack dice, I plan to intimidate my opponents by only using the dice for that purpose. When the warlord enters the fray, the dice chest is produced. Mwahahhaha!

Happy Yule and Christmas to you all, and thank you for visiting my humble blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Painting Challenge So Far...

Curt's wonderful Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is off to a roaring start this year, and I've been having a ball getting my entries in and trying to keep pace with Tamsin as we race to 1500 points.

I'm away with the in-laws now until after Christmas and suffering painting withdrawal. I'll take this opportunity for a quick recap of what I've painted for the challenge so far.

I got some runs on the board early with a platoon of 15mm Volkssturm figures for Battle Group Fall of the Reich.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out, especially now that I've given them a second spray of matt varnish. Next up was my entry for the first bonus round, on the theme of 'Cold'. I painted Northstar's figure of Thor confronting Fenrir which was part of the Mini-Duchesses' 8th birthday present.

Speaking of the mini-Duchess, I cheekily entered the birthday cake I made her for the challenge, and Curt was kind enough to give me a few points. You might notice a theme here - my daughter has been getting into Norse mythology in a big way recently, and I couldn't be happier.

Sticking with the Early medieval period, I painted a unit of Breton warriors for SAGA...

...before doing up some Saracen archers, warriors and nobles for SAGA: Crescent and Cross.

That's nearly everything so far, and I'm currently sitting on 292 points while we wait on the scoring from the first bonus round. I've finished a couple of other things as well, but I can't reveal them yet. One is for a future bonus round, and the other is waiting on some decals to arrive from the UK until I can submit the entry to Curt.

As always, it is a real pleasure taking part in the challenge, and seeing the talent of the other painters out there as well as the great spirit that characterises the challenge.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

At My Signal, Unleash Paint!

School is done and dusted for the year, and the 5th Annual Painting Competition begins in just over seven hours. I've set myself the insane target of 1500 points, and have side duels going with Curt and Tamsin. This is going to be fun!