Monday 28 May 2012

Macchi c.202 “Folgore” in 1/72 from Matchbox

The next project for the gaming group is a participation game with a LRDG attack on an Italian airfield, as I have mentioned before.
I’ve made a couple of LRDG vehicles, and had a couple of more on my to-do list, together with a two Italian planes, ground-crew and assorted buildings.
It was with some hesitation I started with the first of the planes, a vintage kit I picked up at Hobbybokhandeln (a good place to find both good books and the odd models). I haven’t built an airplane since… well probably 35 years ago…
Anyway, this is an easy kit to put together, the only thing that gave me problems was the canopy. The piece didn't fit, and I had to fill in the gap with green stuff. Extra irritating as I had at that time already finished painting everything. Stupid, I should know enough to dry-fit everything…

Paints used (as usual Vallejo unless otherwise noted)
Interior: 906 Pale Blue
Sand colour: ArmyPainter spray Desert Yellow
Underside: 989 Sky Grey
Green Camo: 823 Luftwaffe Camouflage Green
Propeller hub and band on body: 883 Silver Grey
Propeller blades and wheels: black
Propeller tips: Citadel Golden Yellow
Exhausts: Vallejo Panzer Aces 302 Dark Rust
I painted all areas to have decals with gloss varnish, and then I used Vallejo Decal Medium under and on all decals when I placed them on the model. When dry I painted Vallejo Decal Fix on all decals.
Everything was then coated with matte varnish.

Soot was simulated with MIG Black Smoke pigment, and the whole aeroplane was given a light dusting of AK North Africa Dust pigment and Vallejo Dark and Light Yellow Ochre pigments.

I don’t have to be embarrassed to place this on the landing strip during the games this autumn. It wasn’t so bad to build and paint a plane actually, I’m rather looking forward to the Airfix Savoia Marchetti S.M. 79 Mk II kit.  

Friday 25 May 2012

Devlan Mud R.I.P. and Games Workshop – a rant

I had a very good relation with Games Workshop in the past. They had (and still have) a shop in Stockholm, nice crew there and I bought quite a lot of Warhammer and LotR figures, and even some Mordheim figs when they still stocked them. I bought into 40K, liked the space-orks, and converted a lot. Also read White Dwarf (as I had done when the magazine was young, my first issue was number seven or something one-digit) which was nice with god tips on painting and terrain-making.
But… a new version of 40K came, and an even newer version of 40K came, and the orks changed, and some of the vehicles I had were no good anymore. My interest for 40K waned. I still have my finished models, and a lot of un-built figs and vehicles, but I don’t think I will ever have another game of 40K, unless 40K transforms into something really good. (I like WWII, no-one will tell me that my Pz IV is no longer in the German codex!) I might use the models if I just find a descent rules-set to use them with.
White Dwarf became more and more concentrated on their merchandise. When they started to sell their own plastic terrain, then all do-it-yourself articles disappeared. So it was nothing left to read. The last issues of my subscription went mostly un-read.
How about the other figures then? I have a lot of GW figs, but as it is now I won’t buy another. Why? The answer is probably the same you have heard from so many other modellers and bloggers: Finecast. How on earth can you knowingly destroy your brand with shit like that? It is just not possible to comprehend. Why on earth would I pay more for faulty resin than I did for descent metal? I know for certain that it is possible to make excellent resin figures. I’ve bought them from Otherworld, Scibor, Spartan Games and others.
If it was just a short term problem, fixed after a short while, it would have been bad. But this… Oh, I forgot, there is liquid Green Stuff…
How about the way they treat their trade network then?
I buy a lot via internet. Really the only way to find most of the stuff I want, especially here in Sweden where we don’t have trade shows, and very few shops stocking anything interesting. But GW don’t seem to like to like their customers, as they seem despise anyone non-GW stocking their merchandise. Especially if that merchant sells over the net.
What are they thinking of? Don’t they want to sell? Don’t they know that they are not alone out there? Can’t they see all the other actors growing and greeting all the potential GW customers? I just can’t understand the GW business model. (Yeah, margins are better in their own shops…)
Ok, the paints. They are descent, but I do prefer drop-bottles. Anyway, I still have quite a few tins, but they do dry out uncomfortably fast.
But Citadel had one great product for me: Devlan Mud. The wash that changed my, and it seems a lot of other people’s, painting style. It was a product most companies would cherish and treat like a baby, a money-making baby. For me, I bought a tin now and then at the GW-shop, and while I did that I bought a couple of paints too, and even some figures (pre-‘Fine’cast).
Then they pulled all their old paints and washes and introduced a new line. They changed the formulation of their great product, and changed its name. I heard about the new line on a pod-cast, and after a couple of days I realised that a new line could spell trouble for Devlan Mud. As I work a couple of blocks from the GW store I popped by on my way home, and after some looking about, the shop-attendant found me the last two pots of Devlan Mud, and very enthusiastically told me everything about the new range of paints and washes. The new paints and washes that had nearly the same colours as the old, but not…
On my way home I decided to leave GW altogether. That was really it. A cheap ploy to get people to buy into a new range of products. A codex for paints, to be changed at a whim?
At home, fuming, I checked the market for washes. I had used the Army Painter dips, excellent but they are rather smelly. They sell washes with the same tones as their dips now. I had a choice, so I bought all three of the washes, and have started to try them out. There are more manufacturers making washes, I’ll probably check them out too. Congratulations GW, you just lost a long-time customer.
So I have cut my ties with GW. I really hope that they get their management philosophy back together, because then they can continue to evolve together with the rest of the industry. But that doesn’t seem to be happening now under the present management.
Until then I will spend my money with companies that appreciate me as a customer.

While I wrote this I read that GW pulled the plug for Warhammer Historical. It doesn’t really concern me directly, as I don’t play their games. But it irks me that they just drops the line with no chance of stocking up (at least not from GW) and a message that the IP will not be sold/transferred to any other company. Essentially – they don’t give a s**t about their customers. Case closed…

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Book Review – Sturmgeschütz III Assault Gun 1940-42

Sturmgeschütz III Assault Gun 1940-42, Hilary Doyle & Tom Jentz, illustrated by Peter Sarson, Osprey New Vanguard no 19, first published 1996, 48 pages.
Do you want to know everything about the early StuG III? Well, you will find some things of interest here, but I’m not sure if it is enough to warrant a purchase.
The book covers the Ausf. A to E, that is, the StuG:s armed with the short 75 mm L/24 gun. The later variants, with the longer (L/43 and later L/48) 75mm anti-tank gun is missing, but the title gives that away in a sense, since the Ausf. F entered production in the spring of 42.
It begins with a rather interesting chapter on Design and Development followed by one on Product Modifications. The latter chapter specifies the differences between the different variants, and has 1:76th scale drawings of all Ausf. Sadly only one of the drawings has side, top-down, front and back views, the others only get one or two views. One problem also, is the fact that 1:76 is rather tiny when you want to study details.
After this a very short chapter on Production History, followed by one on Capabilities, mainly covering its firepower.
So far so good, but the following chapters, on Operational History and Tactical Employment were rather disappointing, as they only contain excerpts from a manual called Instructions for the employment of Sturmartillerie. Just excerpts, nothing more, no analyses, nothing. Very disappointing. To be frank, one diagram was interesting, namely one that identifies the vulnerable zones on some of the allied tanks.
The chapter Organisation starts rather well, with interesting organisation on command vehicles etc. Then comes a couple of action reports, from France and Russia, which consists of original combat reports. Here, as above, nothing more, no analyses, nothing. I expected more.
Finally, as usual in Ospreys, you’ll get some colour plates, in this case eight pages in total, where one two-page spread is a cut-away view of a StuG and its interior. The latter was very informative, the others where, well, okay.
So, all in all, I wasn’t impressed. Some of it was interesting, but I think I could find it in my private library already. Other pieces were less so. I think that the internet can supplant books like this, if they don't provide more of expert knowledge.

My rating… I’m afraid I can’t give it more than a 2 out of 5 rating. Mostly disappointing.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Mantic Orx vs Games Workshop Ork

I got some orx in the box from Mantic, and I’ve just painted the first, a figure from the orx command sprue.

Paints used (Vallejo unless otherwise noted)
Undercoated white with a black wash
Coat – 988 Khaki
Kilt – 882 Middle Stone
Trousers – 977 Desert Yellow
Skin – 971 Green Grey
Leather – Formula P3 Bootstrap Leather
Metal – Citadel Chainmail
Face on breastplate – Citadel Blood Red
Washed with Army Painter’s new Quickshade Ink Strong Tone. A really nice water-based ink/wash, that is a worthy successor to Devlan Mud.

So how does it compare to GW orks, then?
Well, the orx is obviously somewhat different, as it must be to avoid infringing on GW:s IP. Anyway I like the orx, it feels more alive than the ork. Detailing is comparable, the body is a bit less beefy and it has a smaller head (not really seen on this fig). And it actually looks as if it walks/runs, and not as if it just had an...accident.
All in all, the orx is a much more price-worthy alternative, from a company that has great service, and seem to actually like their customers.

Sunday 13 May 2012

28mm Abyssal Maw from WotC Chainmail

This ugly critter was one of the monsters in the now sadly discontinued skirmish game Chainmail.
It needed quite a bit of green stuff to fill the gaps between the body halves.
Paints used
Skin - Vallejo Game Color 35 Dead Flesh, washed with Citadel Baal red and finally drybrushed with Citadel Rotting Flesh.
Mouth - Citadel Scab Red
Claws and teeth - Vallejo Game Color Bone White with a wash of Devlan Mud.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Flesh Golem from Heresy

Next from the painting table, a 28mm flesh golem from Heresy Miniatures. One of the models that needed some green-stuff.
Paints used:
Skin: Citadel Rotting Flesh, drybrushed with Citadel Elf Flesh
Trousers: Vallejo 821 German Camo Beige
Coat, outside: Vallejo 976 Buff
Coat, inside: Vallejo 977 Desert Yellow
Scars: Vallejo 835 Salmon Rose and 944 Old Rose
Mouth: Citadel Scab Red
Everything got a coat of Citadel Devlan Mud and matte varnish.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

10 000 hits and a nice postman

The postman has been nice to me the last week and a half:
Got a lot of magazines: Latest issues of Miniature Wargames, Wargames Soldiers and Stategy and Battlegames, and also a back-issue of WSS I wanted and more Knights of the Dinner Table (KotDT). I have laughed so much at the adventures of the Knights my wife has wondered what was the matter with me. Great fun for everyone who has ever role-played. If you haven’t seen them, then it is time. I bought my collections, Bundles of Trouble, from Leisure Games. Great service.

Got a few new fantasy minis that will be seen here, sooner or later, from Maelstrom Games and their latest sale. I can really recommend Maelstrom. I got a faulty mini in a previous shipment, and I was sent a replacement promptly. That is really what differentiates an ordinary company from a good one. Highly recommended.
Also a bunch of new paints in the Maelstrom shipment. New washes from Army Painter and some paints from Coat d’Arms. It will be interesting to try them out.
Today I collected a package from Mantic Games. They had a sale, Mantic Crazy Bundle, where you got 20 random plastic sprues for £20+P&P. I couldn’t resist, as I’ve been rather tempted by their figures, and I bought a skeleton command-pack a while ago and they were nice.

So what did I get?
Orx (space orcs, will go well with my 40K orks)
3x2  orx Marauders Command (i.e. three 2-man sprues)
1x3 orx marauders Troop

Elves (looks a bit like Warhammer high elves)
1x10 elves bowmen troop
1x10 elves spearmen command
1x1 elves bolt thrower
1x2 elves bolt thrower crew
1x2 elves scouts

Dwarfs (fantasy)
1x5 dwarfs Ironclad troops
1x1 dwarfs Iron Belcher (a gun)
1x2 dwarfs Iron Belcher crew

Orcs (fantasy)
2x3 orc ax troop

Undead (fantasy)
1x3 zombies
1x2 undead ghouls
1x10 undead revenant troop
1x10 undead skeleton command (the one sprue I already had)

Forge Fathers (space dwarves)
1x2 Forge Fathers steel warriors

Veer-Myn (space rats)
1 night crawler (one extra free figure)

Ooops, that was actually 19 sprues, and not 20... they missed one

So, am I satisfied?
Oh, yes! I will find use for it all, except the Forge Fathers, the lone extra Veer-Myn and probably the heavy weapons, but otherwise it was all just what I wanted. A little of everything. On the down-side… I have massively overbought myself. My idea is to paint more than I buy, and I have probably screwed that up for 2012…

And also, I celebrated 40 followers and 10 000 hits a couple of days ago. Great fun.

The nice people at Mantic sent me the missing sprue, another 3-zombie sprue. Excellent, as you can never have to many zombies.

Monday 7 May 2012

Hellbeast from Heresy

This demonic doggie is “Hellbeast (looking left)” from Heresy Miniatures. Great mini, but a lot of work with green stuff because it comes in seven pieces; torso, 4 legs, head and jaw. If you’re not discouraged by that then it really looks cool.

I was rather discouraged, as green-stuffing isn’t my strongest skill, but the other month I mined the tin-mountain for a lot of figs that I had put together but not green-stuffed. They tend to collect in the mountain…  I spent a couple of evenings kneading green-stuff and silently cursing... You have seen some of them painted already, and more will come in the next couple of weeks. Practice makes better, I guess, and I curse less now… 
Nice doggie!
Colours used:
Skin: Vallejo 859 Black Red with a black wash
Claws, teeth and spines: Vallejo Game Colour Bone White with a wash of Citadel Devlan Mud
Mouth and tongue: Citadel Scab Red with a highlight of Citadel Blood Red.
Eyes: Blood Red
Chain: Citadel Chainmail with wash of Devlan Mud.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Battle Report – On the road to Stalingrad – or “Hey, what’s the chance of me rolling another double 1?” - Part 3

Continued from Part 2

 The 222 has a slight accident…
…and halftracks assaulting an anti-tank gun supported by anti-tank rifles is…sporting…
 The anti-tank gun is still going strong…
 …but they are stormed by angry grenadiers and the AT-line is annihilated. Most German soldiers are wiped out in the process. Close combat is generally short and very bloody.
The German troops advance all over the front. The factory is burning from an early Stuka-attack. Russian troops are retreating, but they are up to something…
The devious Russian defender had inquired about the stack of drums behind the factory. In my mind they were filled with pickled cabbage, but our umpire said it was a fuel dump. The sneaky Russians had spent a good while rolling fuel drums towards the bridge. They didn't quite make it.
 One way to stop the enemy – set fire to everything and swim/ford the river.
Russians retreating behind a ‘smokescreen’.
Our brave defender declared the game over, as he had no anti-tank capabilities left and all his troops had either fled/retreated over the bridge or were in the process of fording it.

There was much rejoicing in the German camp as they celebrated their victory. But the victory was bitter-sweet as practically all German foot-soldiers had perished and several AFV:s were left burning on the battlefield. The crashed Hanomags where an embarrassment but could be salvaged, as could the other damaged vehicles.
All in all a great game, and we hopefully caught a couple of new players. I enjoyed myself immensely as ‘Propaganda Officer’ (i.e., snaring unsuspecting passers-by, explaining rules and troops, taking pics and eating biscuits).
Next Con will be the desert, 1942 and LRDG, and I’ve got a spiffy costume for that J. Tally-ho!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Battle Report – On the road to Stalingrad – or “Hey, what’s the chance of me rolling another double 1?” - Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

 On the other front there materialised a lot of AT-rifles.
 First panzers, a mixed platoon of Pz II and Pz 38 (t). The recce unit is having a hard time, the crew has bailed out in the first two vehicles. Those ATR:s are bad news to flimsy AFV:s.
A 45mm Russian ATG is really bad news to early panzers. One down…
 Next platoon of grenadiers to the rescue…
  .. but rudely interrupted by a 45mm shell. It’s getting confused and bunched up.
The PSW 222 ‘spots’ another anti-tank gun. Behind that blasted fence…
 More panzers- this time Pz III. At the same time the Hanomags pining for action and a shoot-out between an ATG and a PSW 222. It is tense around the gaming table. How to take out the enemies behind the fence. A tank shock, maybe. With a halftrack… that fence sure looks flimsy….
No problem going through a flimsy communist fence. A tiny chance of getting immobilised. Two dice, don’t throw a double one…. Oooops…. 
 Everyone is angry! Close combat!
 Run for your lives….
Picture this: You’re the commander of a half-track and you see the enemy retreating. They are on the other side of a flimsy fence. If you would also be on the other side of that fence you could cut them to ribbons. That would be nice… 
Picture this: The German player, incidentally the same player who had rolled those unfortunate double ones earlier, saying loudly “Hey, what’s the chance of me rolling another double 1?”
Picture this!
Half the Con turned around to look at us when we shouted with laughter.
The anti-tank-flimsy-wooden-communist-fence…

To be continued.