Monday 28 January 2013

CanCon 2013

I went to CanCon over the Australia Day long weekend, and had a blast. I only had an old phone camera, and didn't get enough pictures to scratch the surface of all that was there, but still hope I make the non-attenders jealous.

Part of one of the halls
I took part in the Blood Bowl tournament, giving my Lizardmen team a run.

Montezuma's Revenge- 'We go right through you!'
Day One I played against all greenskins. I blew off some rust in the first game to draw 1-1 against Lelrythus' orcs. In my second game against Oozeboss's Goblins I suffered under his chainsaw, but won 2-1. (Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of his team which won the 'Best Conversion' award with a troll chucking a gobbo). Finally, I played Thomsy's orcs- I had him utterly over a barrel but he got insanely lucky and pulled out a 1-1 draw in the final turn.

Lelrythus's Orcs- Brutomax Broots
Thomsy's Orcs- Blue Mountain Crushers
Day Two started against Sledge's Dark Elves with a convincing 4-2 win (I got lucky and caused two casualties with my first two actions, then things got worse for Sledge). My next game was a real struggle against Devil's Reject's beautifully converted and painted undead (he deservedly won best painted team, and also came third overall). I couldn't overpower his mummies or outpace his ghouls, and lost 2-1. I played Sun Tsu's High Elves in the last game, and won 3-2. I had to work hard to keep him from scoring as he had some excellent players.

Sledge's Dark Elves

Devil's Reject's Undead- Dead Evil

Sun Tsu's High Elves- Praetorian Predators (Heresy sculpts)
The seventh and final game was against Senexis' Orcs, and I had a satisfying 3-0 win, including a Kroxigor touchdown!

Senexis' Orcs- The Fabulous Zarsoff Brothers
Overall, I won 4, drew 2, and lost 1, coming 5th overall out of 54 coaches. I'm very chuffed about that.

In the evenings, I managed to get a few new games under my belt: I played a game of Nexus Ops, which was undeniably colourful! I'd do better if I played it again, now that I know what I'm doing...

Nexus Ops under blacklight (Picture from BoardGameGeek)
I also got a game in of DungeonQuest, which I hadn't encountered before. Here's a picture of my first turn:

Decisions, decisions...
Left turn: dead end. Right turn: Bottomless Pit- roll 3 or less on 2D6 or die. I died...

But the other players let me reset, and I got a few laughs out of the rest of the game. I was expecting some sort of HeroQuest dungeon hack, but it was more of a push-your-luck game- how far do you go into the dungeon before you turn around and decide it's better to live poor than die underground?

At CanCon itself some superb demonstration games were going on including Isandhlwana, Boxer Rebellion, Franco-Prussian war, WW2 Pacific tanks, ACW, a Cold War hypothetical, a WW1 aerial game with a huge zeppelin, and a retro old school HG Wells Little Wars game with massive shiny soldiers and buildings out of wooden blocks. I was too busy in the tourney to really get to explore these games or get decent pics, unfortunately.

650 Zulus!

Thin red line before Isandhlwana- unfortunately I didn't get the mountain in the picture!

Massive 1:214 scale zeppelin

With planes for scale

Distant RAAF Spitfires protect Australia from Betties

Boxer Rebellion

HG Wells Little Wars
I took a few pictures of some very nice tables for 'Infinity':

The Canberra Gaming Society were also giving away a lovely Mike Broadbent Australian Light Horse figure as a memento (to celebrate 100 years since the publication of HG Wells' 'Little Wars', I heard), which will eventually find a way to my painting table.

I picked up a load of Saga stuff, some Flashpoint moderns, rubber roads from Fernvale Specialty Scenics, and a few other bits and pieces. I don't know whether to feel faintly nauseated at the cash I spent, or self-congratulatory at the bargains I got, or smug at the self-restraint I exhibited in not getting much much more!

Here's a kitten photo, because the RSPCA were there for some reason:


Last but not least, I also got to exchange a few words with Paul of the Man Cave, who had a nicely painted Ogre team. Good to meet fellow bloggers!

Friday 18 January 2013

Larger than life Viking Warlord

I web-ordered this Reaper figure thinking he would make a fun tongue-in-cheek Viking warlord for 'Saga', with his utterly ahistorical gear and over-the-top pose.

He turned out to be a little larger than I was expecting! Still, I enjoyed painting him and will shamelessly use him whenever I can.

I don't have a name for him- I was thinking of Larger Than Leif.

He's on a 40mm base. The foliage is Army Painter Poison Ivy- a little adds a lot. AT some point I plan to re-do his shield so it is more bone-coloured and less yellow.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Two years in paintstripper!

I bought some Neomics fantasy football goblins in, I think, mid-2010. I basecoated them with paint-on white primer, but overdid it somewhat. This goblin shows where I scraped away some of the excess paint on the model's undersides, and also demonstrates many areas of excess build-up. Looking at this picture now, I'm amazed I didn't strip this one.

Some of the miniatures had too much paint on them to simply scrape off, so I put five of them in a bath of Dettol, and left them.

For over two years.

The longer I left them, the less enthused I was about opening that Pandora's tub. Today- for some reason- I decided it was time...

External examination reveals an opaque liquid with dense sediments.

I removed the lid, and wafted the air cautiously (as I was taught in high school science)- still smells like Dettol. I ran a hot tap into it to clear the Dettol out, which revealed a sludge of miniatures, paint, and softened Slottabases.

I scrubbed with an old toothbrush, which removed the worst of the sludge, but after a while it was just spreading the goo around. It has this wonderful tacky, stringy quality to it.

These are rubbery and soft now

After several minutes of scrubbing
Luckily, I had a small amount of mineral turpentine around, and that helped clean off most of the rest. I'm going to leave them to dry, then do the turps thing again to clear off any residual muck. Then I'll be back at square one! Maybe I should strip that figure above...
After mineral turps
Don't know what it's done to my hands, let alone the local drainage system...

FoW Soviet infantry army

This is an old army of mine which, to be honest, hasn’t seen action for several years. It was my first and only FoW force, and retains a special place in my heart.
Two full infantry companies
Artillery Battalion
Artillery Battalion
45mm AT guns
45mm AT guns

Artillery HQ
Artillery HQ
 The walls are from the sniper set. The horse is from AB's ACW range. I like the way the Battalion Commander is admiring the banner.
Artillery tractors
There are several reasons I liked this force:
  • First, it marked the addition of a new technique to my painting. I had seen some black-lined figures at a convention previously, and was determined to give it a go.
  • Secondly, it was the largest army I’d ever completed. It broke a psychological barrier- if I could paint that army, there would be no project too big.
  • Thirdly, it was my first foray into 15mm.
  • Fourth, it won a prize! I remain really chuffed about this. It was years ago, and it wouldn’t win nowadays, but even so…  (The Battlefront Staffer who presented it was quite surprised he made it through customs from NZ to Australia…)
FOW MOAB 2005 Best Painted Army

I have always had a soft spot for infantry and faceless hordes. I’m not so much of a tread-head. I was determined not to take vehicles, and only took the tractors because they were mandatory. These guys were fearless conscripts. I based them on the 92nd Special Brigade from a passage I’d read in Beevor’s excellent Stalingrad:

Despite being strengthened by Marine Infantry, the higher command of the 92nd Special Brigade collapsed under the German assaults. On 26th September, the brigade commander and commissar, followed by their staff, abandoned their men, pretending that they were off to discuss the situation with higher command, but in fact they withdrew to the large island of Golodny in the middle of the Volga. The following morning, when the soldiers learned that their commanders had deserted them, the majority rushed to the bank of the Volga and started preparing rafts for themselves. Some of them tried paddling out to Golodny island on tree trunks and pieces of driftwood, some just swam. The enemy, spotting their desperate attempts to escape, opened fire with mortars and artillery, and killed many in the water.

When Major Yakovlev, the commander of the machine-gun battalion, by then the highest-ranking officer of the brigade left on the west bank, learned that the brigade commander had deserted and sown panic among the troops, he took over command of the defence. He soon found he had no communications, since the signalers were among those who had escaped to the island. Aided by Lieutenant Solutsev, Yakovlev rallied the remaining troops, and established a defence line which, in spite of the shortage of men and ammunition, held against seven attacks over the next twenty-four hours. All this time, the brigade commander remained on the island. He did not even try to send more ammunition to the defenders left behind. In an attempt to hide what was happening, he sent fictitious reports on the fighting to 62nd Army Headquarters. This did him little good. Chuikov’s staff became suspicious. He was arrested and charged with Criminal Disobedience of Order No. 227- the ‘Not one step backwards’ order. Although no details are given in the report to Moscow of the sentence pronounced by the NKVD tribunal, clemency is hard to imagine.

The army had a few nasty surprises (I allowed myself a bit of beardiness, these are conscripts after all!):

Snipers- they were able to keep enemy artillery pinned and impotent.

Scouts- to cause some rear area havoc. Plus they look cool.

Flamethrowers- one shot, but a nasty surprise to enemy tanks or firmly entrenched infantry.

Vasilevsky's Blocking Unit, pour encourager les autres. IF one of your companies fails a motivation roll (3+), THEN Vasilevsky gives them another reroll- IF they fail that, THEN they get their commissar reroll- IF they fail that, THEN they take D6 hits that can be saved (3+) and are automatically pinned. My opponents were really happy to see me deploy this unit, and happy to see me (very rarely) gun down my own men, but when they realised that this means they never ever run away and your unit has to be killed to the last man to get it off the table, the horrible implications for them set in.

I liked the bald look, and was really happy with the 15mm faces.

I was really pleased with the command unit- the horse is from AB’s ACW range. I’d read about Zhukov parading through Berlin, and wanted a bit of that panache.

Despite my beardy tricks, I can’t say they were a roaring tactical success (I still reserve a special hatred for MG-armed light tank/ tankette armies); but I did enjoy watching more than a few opposing’s players faces change throughout a game as they went from ‘Closely bunched Conscripts! Here’s a gift to me’ to ‘Even if every dice is a 6 I still can’t kill enough…’.

I made some objectives. The statue was a 28mm Stalin- a lovely figure, I have no idea what company made him (if you do, please let me know). In hindsight, he needs a more square and, well, Stalinist plinth.
Comrade Stalin
Russians with vodka and accordion
Oh, and I wouldn’t want to be under my command. I recall one opponent grimly apologising for a forthcoming massacre as he set up a solid minefield across the width of the table. Rather than lose time clearing it, I used my commissars to 'encourage' the men to run across it. The surviving men used their flamethrowers with great effect against the defender before his reinforcements could arrive, who was somewhat startled…