Saturday 24 May 2014

15mm modern armour- BTR-80 Part 1

This is the Zvezda plastic 1:100 BTR-80. A little pricey for plastic, but effortless to assemble and nicely detailed. It comes with a sheet of individual number decals.

There are many different schemes for modern Russian AFVs. You can't go wrong with green/ tan/ black. Here's Part 1 of how I did mine, with the disclaimer that there's probably a better way. Probably involving an airbrush.

Paints used in this stage:
  • Flames of War War Paint SP02 Soviet Armour
  • Vallejo Model Color 70819 Iraqui [sic] Sand
  • Vallejo Model Color 70.995 German Grey
  • Jo Sonja's Black
  • Derivan MiNiS GI Green (~GW Catachan Green)
  • Derivan MiNiS Desert Stone (~GW Bleached Bone)
  • Army Painter Warpaints Anti-Shine

Green spray and black not shown

First, assemble your BTR. These are snap-fit, but I used plastic cement. I left the wheels on the sprue for ease of painting. Spray it all with 'Soviet Armour', ensuring you get under the underhangs etc.

Next, a drybrush with GI Green.

Then, paint on your camouflage pattern to taste with Iraqi Sand. I recommend several thin coats to prevent the base colour coming through.

Then add a few black accents.

Now lightly drybrush Desert Stone over the Iraqi Sand to bring out the sharp edges. This is subtle and probably unnecessary.

Apply decals. Master modellers will use a gloss varnish as a base layer, followed by a softener, but I'm a lazy modeller. Whilst the water's evaporating, paint the tyres German Grey.

Now apply the antishine to the decals. It will reduce the sheen, but not completely. Finally, take the wheels off the sprue, glue them on and paint over the bare bits where they came off the sprue.

Coming next: washes, weathering and details.

Thursday 22 May 2014

When Liebster comes to town

It's Liebster time again! I've been nominated by Natholeon, whose Kiwi Empire covers a variety of subjects, time periods and realities... all wonderfully painted and photographed.

Liebsters are passed from blogger to blogger to spread recognition of smaller, less well known but deserving bloggers and hobbyists.
Engage 'Smug Mode'
The catch is, I now have to choose a selection of blogs to nominate in turn, and also answer a set of fiendish questions.

There are so many great bloggers out there it is hard to sort out who to nominate (who hasn't already been nominated in the past few weeks!). Regardless, here's an even half-dozen for your consideration:
  • Grumpy Dad is an exquisite and prolific painter (who happens to live in the same town as me), with a variety of interests: 6mm Cold War, 15mm modern Africa, Epic 40K, and 'proper' scale models. Did I mention his exquisite and prolific painting?
  • Amateur Hour is a very recent 'find' I made- Blood Bowl, Song of Blades, lovely sculpting and terrain... He's already been Liebstered, but he can have another!
  • Pawn Cocktail has superb fluorescent alien jungle terrain and 15mm SciFi forces to match. He's also got great 15mm fantasy dungeoncrawl and 15mm modern Africa stuff.
  • Polemarch is the thinking wargamer's blog with a steady stream of weekly essays. Low on pictures, big on ideas and philosophy.
  • Sound Officers' Call has been blogging recently with a pleasing mix of modern AFVs and Napoleonics. Huzzah!
  • Xin's Lair has some lovely Lord of the Rings and fantasy miniatures, and a tendency to go overboard on terrain projects. Take a look at the X-Wing asteroid base game table if you don't believe me...
Check out these blogs, 'follow' them, and if you don't have a blog, consider starting one!

Now, I have to answer some questions... I hope I get them right.

Why did you start blogging?
Here's my first post, which answers that very question! It's grown into something quite positive for me, and I've really enjoyed being part of the hobbyblogging community.

If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
I've got to cut-and-paste both parts of Paul of the Man Cave's answer:

"I'd have more time to indulge myself in it.  The irony of young gamers having lots of time and no money to make the most of it with, and more mature gamers having money and no time to enjoy it, is rather frustrating!

OK I'm going to cheat and add a second answer to this one: I'd make more of the Hobby like the Hobby "Blogosphere".  How is it that we have a great online community around the various blogs, but suffer flame trolls on various forums and TMP, and a higher proportion of overly competitive asshats at conventions? Not sure.  So all modesty aside, I'd make more gamers like bloggers: tolerant, interested and fun to communicate with."

What is best in life?

Do you want to live forever?
Forever is a long time... but I do want to know 'what happens next' in history and science! And read the final A Song of Ice and Fire volumes when they get published...
Come on, you apes!

Fame or fortune?

What miniature are you most proud of having painted?
My first ones- what a slippery slope they were. It's uncanny how the simplest paintjob can transform a toy soldier.
Airfix Afrika Korps

How do you deal with hobby burnout?
As you may have realised, I have a variety of gaming interests. I flit from one to another if I'm struggling anywhere. Different 'tones' are refreshing to the palate/ palette: I love a bright cartoony look for Blood Bowl, then some boardgame pieces, then a horde army of historicals etc.

Why is a raven like a writing desk?
"Because there is a 'b' in both and an 'n' in neither." Aldous Huxley

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Damn if the prequels didn't make this a hard question to answer. But still, I play X-Wing and not Attack Wing...

If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?
Eureka. Their products and scales are as varied as my interests!

What is your favourite take out?
There's a gourmet pizza place near me that does a nice zesty smoked salmon pizza... Mouth is watering, I may get one this weekend...

Saturday 17 May 2014

15mm modern armour- starting a Russian force

I found Zvezda's 1:100 tanks tucked away in a corner of my local hobby store, and picked up three of each of the BTR-80s and T-72Bs.

You may be surprised to find out how few vehicles I have in my miniatures collection. I'm happy painting infantry, even horses, but I'm rarely happy with my AFVs. I can never get the effect I'm looking for.

So, whilst the inspiration was upon me, I decided to get my tanks done in a factory production line. After assembling the Zvezda miniatures, I put together five Battlefront T-54s I had picked up in their recent Vietnam sale. The plastic tanks are much, much easier to assemble than the resin/ metal ones! One of the T-54s was missing a gun barrel, but I'm too impatient to wait, so I assembled it anyway. I left the wheels off the second and third BTRs.

The project so far

I've got a Matchbox diecast I threw into the spray queue as well (it's been sitting around for two years!), which will be my test piece to experiment with. It's already got a few coats of paint on it, having had an earlier aborted paintjob.
Matchbox Rocket Launcher straight out of the box

Friday 9 May 2014

Pride & Prejudice & Paranoid Penguins in the Pub

So I played some boardgames the other weekend:

Marrying Mr Darcy

It is a truth universally acknowledged that my Mum is a fanatical Janeite. I'm going to give her the card game Marrying Mr Darcy, but had to test it with my friends first.

This is a crowdfunded card game for 2-6 players based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, in which you play a single young woman trying to improve herself and get married (and nobble her rivals at the same time!).

(Some of) All the single ladies
Events such as going to balls and learning the piano give you Character points (Wit, Beauty, Friendliness and Reputation). When the Event deck runs out, the suitors (Darcy, Bingley, et al.) may or may not propose to you, based on your Character attributes, Dowry, and a die roll. You can also accumulate Cunning, which stymies your rivals and lets you have first pick at the menfolk. But beware! If you reject an undesirable suitor hoping for a better offer, you may miss out altogether and end up as an Old Maid... The winner is the lady with the most points scored from her husband and character.

We had a six-player game (five chaps, one chapette), and I was Elizabeth Bennet! I had my eye on Mr Darcy, and was working to increase my Wit so that he would notice me. About halfway through the game, to my surprise, I eloped with the caddish Mr Wickham! But, through a bit of luck, I recovered my Reputation, Mr Wickham lost interest, and I was able to start after Darcy again. In the end-game Proposal phase, Georgiana Darcy married Colonel Fitzwilliam (who would have been my Plan B), and then I put all my eggs in one basket and flung myself at Darcy. Alas, he didn't propose to me! But! I had the 'Obstinate, headstrong girl' reroll card, and, Reader, I married him. Huzzah!

Charlotte Lucas married Mr Denny, Jane Bennet married Mr Bingley, then Caroline Bingley turned down Mr Collins to become an Old Maid, and so did Lydia Bennet. Despite my ending up with Mr Darcy, the overall winner was Charlotte Lucas, whose sensible marriage and well-rounded character set her up to be the most happily satisfied woman overall.

It was great fun to play, with Scandals and Balls and sisterly intrigue making this a different sort of gamer fare. There wasn't much (if any) backstabbing, as all us girls were too focused on improving our attributes than in stymieing our rivals. It was well received, and I hope Mum likes it!

If this genre doesn't entirely tickle your fancy, there is an optional Zombie Event Deck...

I just have to quote the final rule:

If questions or discrepancies arise, discuss and agree upon a resolution in a ladylike manner.

You can download a pdf of all the rules and cards for $US6.99 from here.

Hey, that's my fish!

I played a couple of games of this new purchase. Good, quick fun. I was, of course, interested in the delightful penguin figures. Here are my newly painted penguins; I think there's a Blood Bowl team in there. I'm going to make the team colours more noticeable on the bases.
Red Dragon Inn

We revisited Red Dragon Inn, where your fantasy adventurers drunkenly divide up the loot after a successful dungeon crawl. My Enchantress quickly became too drunk to contend, and (IIRC) the wizard took the lot.

Saboteur and Resistance

The other new games I was introduced to were the bluffing/ deception/ social deduction games Saboteur and Resistance. In Saboteur you play dwarf miners trying to find gold, with some of the players secretly trying to misdirect you and steal the gold themselves. I won this one through luck, and with one of the saboteurs not realising he was a saboteur...

The Resistance provided a devilishly good time- your rebel cell has been infiltrated by spies and you have to work out who they are. We had a large group of nine playing this, with three hidden spies, and there was an incredible amount of paranoia, finger-pointing and suspense! The rebels won, but we were still surprised to find out who all the spies were in the end. Who knew there were such two-faced actors amongst us...

Here's a very watchable video of this game, with people almost as good looking as us:

All up, a fun afternoon's gaming!

Sunday 4 May 2014

X-Wing- Paint it black

[Original post Oct 2013.]

I've never been 100% happy with the X-Wing flying stand bases. I thought the clear plastic was too shiny and noticeable, so I sprayed one with GW Chaos Black- what do you think? I also used a black marker to colour in the edges of the ship card.
Paint the nubbin under the ship as well
Black-lining the ship card insert

[UPDATE May 2014: I've done the rest of the rebels- here]

X-Wing: Back in black

In celebration of Star Wars Day, here's the follow-up to my previous test of black X-Wing flight stands. I've only done the rebels so far, the Imperials will have to wait. Here's a token TIE fighter to show the difference.

Whilst I was in the mood, I fixed my B-Wing based substantially on this video by GameTime. I used 2mm magnets from ModiFX. I did it a bit hastily and it's not as neat or secure as it could be, and I'll do it with more care when I get more B-Wings.

The background starfield is a Warboard from Warsmith's Kickstarter. Finally, here's a neat mash-up:
Luke Racer by Jason Chalker