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Sunday, 16 October 2016

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...



It has only been a few short months but WOW! I became a father for the first time early August and it has just been an amazing roller coaster ride since then... Hobby time has quite rightly taken a back seat as I've enjoyed our new family time.

However, I did manage to make some progress on a few hobby projects over the last few months, basically by paying other people to do the work!

Earlier in the year our gaming group fell in love with the medieval wargaming rules 'Lion Rampant' written by Dan Mersey. The Dux and I decided to build up some War of the Roses forces using the Perry brother's lovely miniatures. The Dux has already gotten his Yorkist forces painted up and they are looking very lovely indeed. You can check them out here.

Now, I knew that I was not going to get mine painted up anytime soon, and really didn't want to leave him hanging. So I got in touch with Paul over at Advance Miniatures Studio. Paul did an amazing job on the figures, as you can see from some of the photos he sent through to me.




It was the first time I had used his painting service, and the results speak for themselves. Paul was very professional, there was plenty of correspondence and he replied to emails promptly. He kept sending through plenty of WIP pictures and offered great advice. I can't recommend him enough and if you're in the market for a painting wizard, he is definitely worth checking out! The whole army was mailed up, painted and mailed back down in under three weeks! All the miniatures arrived safely and look just as amazing up close.

The army is a Lancastrian force led by Sir Richard Tunstall of Thurland. Despite not being one of the big names, he was a good character to choose as he was at all the major battles from Wakefield to Bosworth. He also helped lead the defence of Harlech Castle which was being besieged, coincidentally, by the Dux's character. We haven't even started a campaign and already our rivalry is hundreds of years old...

Gaming time might be a little harder to come by at the moment, but I hope to get these guys down on the table very soon. We all know that freshly painted miniatures never survive their first battle. So I hate to think what will happen when two freshly painted armies clash on the table for the first time...

Monday, 1 August 2016

Shaking off the cobwebs!

Ah... That feels good. Finally hitting the 'blogosphere' again. I'd like to say I've been away with my feet up, watching the sun set somewhere exotic with a drink in hand. However, with our first baby due any day, it's been utter chaos. At one point I couldn't even access my computer or hobby gear as we crammed several rooms worth of furniture and accumulated crap into one. The dust has now settled though. Literally, as floorboards have been laid, a 7 metre floor to ceiling bookcase has been installed and the newly created nursery has been painted (and filled with baby related items which may or may not actually be useful).

The last few months have not been a complete hobby wasteland. I have found time to get a wriggle on with my Milites Christi force for SAGA. I have finished up a unit of hearth-guard and a unit of warriors to go with my warlord, with another unit of warriors close to completion. Unfortunately, the lighting is worse than usual due to the rather cramped conditions at the moment...






I've also managed to get a few games in at the local club. Last week saw a return to Battle Group Kursk in 15 mm. I have to say, I like these rules more and more each time I play them. I won't be surprised to see 15 mm WWII hitting my painting table soon, for Battlegroup: Overlord. In the mean-time, I'm very lucky that the Dux agrees to share his lovely figures with us.

In the game, the Germans managed to dodge the very inaccurate off-board mortar fire along with the worst of the dug-in infantry and anti-tank guns to affect the beginnings of a break-through. The Panzer III's suppressed the infantry and anti-tank guns while the Panzer IV's backed up by a Tiger, were able to pick off the T-34's being rushed in to reinforce the Soviets. While we ran out of time, the Soviets were very close to breaking. However, I doubt the Germans will be able to exploit the breakthrough, as their reserves looked to be thin on the ground. We rolled a '1' every single turn bar one, for the number of reinforcements available to the Germans...

The Soviets dig-in!

The German spearhead arrives.

A lone Panzer III is all the German high-command could commit in the second wave.

Some much needed firepower arrives. This might prove to be enough to tip the balance, if it can get to the battle...

The Germans did take casualties.

But used the burning wrecks and the hills to shield themselves from the guns out on the Soviet's left flank!



I was also able to get the first game in of a SAGA campaign the club has going using the new 'Age of the Wolf' book from Gripping Beast. My Anglo-Danes fought a bloody, but inglorious battle, as the Scots avoided my ambush by running away and escaping off-board. It was really interesting to experience how the campaign system effects the game play. As losses can be carried through from battle to battle, I found myself weighing up the positives and negatives of a potentially game-winning, but very bloody, final charge. I decided discretion was the better part of valor on that particular day. My warlord is still obviously making a name for himself, as the post-game fallout saw more warriors than I could fit in my roster flocking to my banners.


Well, I'm about to experience this hobby of ours through the lens of a family man for the first time, a path I know many of you will have experienced yourself and something I'm very, very excited about! All I can do in the final count-down is stock up on sleep, and put all of my toys out of reach of a small child... =)

Saturday, 26 March 2016

What a blast!

Well, the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge VI is over...

At the start of the challenge with three months of non-stop painting stretched out in-front of me, I had run all sorts of calculations to determine how many models I could paint if I just really applied myself... While I didn't reach any of the lofty targets I had set myself, I did complete a marvellous 53 miniatures and punched through my target of 500 pints. Most importantly, not only was I inspired to paint a lot more figures than I would of otherwise, I had great fun doing so!

Here are some shots of the rest of the models I managed to finish during the challenge.

'Last of the Mohicans' -  L'amour bonus theme

Milites Christi warlord for 'SAGA'

Kriegsmarine Kapitanleutnant - Naval bonus theme

Pony Express Rider - Risk-taker bonus theme 

'Curtgeld' 

British Regulars for 'Muskets and Tomahawks'

Kriegsmarine squad for 'Bolt Action'

Group Shot - minus the Curtgeld

Next years models, already thoughtfully prepared...  :)


However, what I enjoyed most was being welcomed into, and participating in, the community that has been built up around the challenge. I can't recommend it enough to anyone wanting a little inspiration to break out their brushes, no matter their skill level.

Thanks Curt, and all my fellow challengers, for a fantastic three moths! Until next time...

Cheers,

Steve

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Painting Challenge Update

The challenge is now into its fifth week and I've been painting away madly! I've managed to get most of my lead pile assembled and undercoated, and have managed to get quite a few (by my standards) miniatures painted over the last month.

My first completed project were ten Veteran German Grenadiers from Warlord Games which will be used to bolster my Bolt Action forces. I'm trying to build a 1945 Last Levy List, so these guys will give the Kreigsmarine and Volkstrum squads some much needed backbone!




Next up was a challenge round based on the theme of 'nostalgia', For that I painted up these lovely 'Dad's Army' miniatures, also from Warlord Games. These guys were a real treat to paint up, great fun! Hopefully you can recognise the characters from the television show!




Production has since slowed down and I've only added 6 models to finish off my Imperial Assault board game figures. These are all from expansions for the main game.





Then I broke new ground and painted up my first Napoleonic figures! I did this little piece for the challenges 'Epic Fail' round, representing the French retreat from Russian in 1812. This was a little tough, especially trying to get the snow to look realistic. I'm happy with the results, but the figures definitely need some weathering and maybe some paler skin tones.




You can check out all the brilliant entries being added by a great range of talented hobbyists on the Analogue Painting Challenge page! http://thepaintingchallenge.blogspot.com.au/

New Acquisitions

I've had a very busy and productive (in the lazing about kind of way) summer holiday.  However, it's now back to work and regular life!

I've been very lucky to have picked up two great games over my months break. Board games are definitely an area of the hobby that I've become more involved in over the last 18 months.

The first game was Imperial Settlers by Portal Games, a very fun civilisation building game, that is fairly quick to play but offers a range of strategies to win. I love the game-play and the artwork of this game!



The second game is a heavier, more complex game, but is great fun! Forbidden Stars by Fantasy Flight Games is a winner. It is based on the 40K universe which I still love, (despite no longer being a regular 40K player) and has the usual high production standards you expect from a Fantasy Flight Games. 


Hopefully these will see regular use with my gaming groups!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Santa Claws is coming to town...

With the silly season upon us and the countdown to Christmas begun, I was very fortunate that time could be found for a few gaming mates to get together and roll dice. After a magnificent BBQ in which inappropriate amounts of meat were appropriately consumed, it was time to get down to the serious business of pushing toy soldiers around. Special mention must be given to the beverage of choice, which matched the theme of the evening rather nicely.


John, our very generous host, had prepared a special SAGA scenario based on the 'A feast for crows' scenario. The Christmas twist was that we were raiding Santa's village! We had to raid the bakery in the middle of town and get out before being overwhelmed by angry elves armed with sharp toys, or the other players. There were even special edition Christmas miniatures to be claimed -  thanks John for those generous gifts!
The village - will Santa make an appearance?
My Anglo-Danes ready to ruin Christmas
The elves are not happy!
Santa dished out some serious hurt, before later falling beneath a flurry of Dane axes...

It was a great game, the elves were using the Pagan Russ board with all its nasty winter tricks, with Scottish and Welsh war-bands competing against my Anglo-Danes. Each time a unit went near a building or forest, the roll of a dice revealing it was full of elves was heartily cheered (especially when it was an opponent being charged). Santa even made an entrance, though he did not last long... I just hope that the real Santa doesn't hold any grudges. No-one wants to wake up to an angry fat man screaming 'Payback!' and swinging a stocking full of coal around his head on Christmas day.

The objective! These Scots did not make it out.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Wish me luck!


After enjoying last years challenge from the sideline, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring and give it a go. I have given myself a target of 500 points, and since my gaming is all 25-30mm, that means  about 100 models.
When I got back into the hobby about 9 years ago, I painted a Dwarf army for the Warhammer tournament scene (which I enjoyed  while it lasted...), since then though, my usual output is about 20 models per annum. However, this year as I've broadened my gaming horizons, I have painted a war-band of Anglo-Danes for Saga and a Carthaginian army for Basic Impetus and a few other bits and bobs.

I'm hoping the painting challenge will really help me take a chunk out of my lead/plastic pile, because I've been buying models at a rate much higher than 20 models a year! Though if I fall behind, there are always the challenges.

Behold - My lead pile in all its organised glory! Well, the stuff I have ambitions of perhaps, possibly, maybe putting paint on .



It's really starting to pile up...



The only problem I have at the moment is that I keep buying more things for all the painting challenges! I've also accepted a side-challenge - to paint up a war-band for Muskets and Tomahawks, so there is the real chance I will end up with a larger pile of unpainted miniatures at the end of the challenge than when I started. Which isn't a bad problem, really...  =)