Monday, September 24, 2012

Levies for Dux Britanniarum, and I Get Mail

I just finished basing ten more Romano-British spearmen from Westwind Productions, so I've finished the three units of levies needed for Dux Britanniarum. They are meant to be the militia from somewhere like Verulamium, hence the uniform theme of their shield designs.

In other news, check out my spiffy new brush holder which arrived today, courtesy of Ian at The Blog With No Name. Thanks Ian!

Tamsin has also been hard at work painting some British paras for me, and they are looking fantastic. Check them out.

Bolt Action Churchill Review

I have a bit of a thing for Churchill tanks. Dunno why - possibly strong childhood memories of my brother making the Airfix Churchill. There is something so reassuringly boxy and British looking about them. When I started thinking about giving my little British force for Bolt Action some support options, it was a no brainer that I would pick up one of Warlord's Bolt Action Churchill Mark VIIs.

So what do you get in the box? The tank is a simple resin and metal kit, made up of five resin parts and a small white metal sprue. The detail of the resin is very crisp, with no air bubbles or casting problems. Here is an image of the assembled tank, along with some stowage I've added to the rear engine deck covered in a tarpaulin made from the foil around the top of a wine bottle. Parenthetically, you realise you are a sad bugger when you start choosing wine based on whether it has the right foil around the cork.

Basically this is a very nice looking kit, but I have a few minor gripes. Firstly, the body of the tank is made up of a central resin piece with the two side pieces with the tracks and running gear. These all fit together with the aid of a couple of big locating lugs. However, when you look at the thing head on, you'll notice that the two sides aren't quite level, so the tank ends up a bit wobbly. Then there seems to be a problem with the mould for the left track section, as part of the towing cable is missing.
On the central resin hull section there's a hole at the front for the towing hook thingy, but the part isn't supplied. I wasn't that thrilled about some of the white metal parts. In particular, the gun barrel seems to lack a little lug so that it actually fits properly in the turret. I ended up drilling a hole in the barrel and using a pin to attach it.

Does any of this really make me not like the model? Naaah. What I would love though is a whole lot of spare track sections (rather than the two supplied) and some stowage items to busy the thing up.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Inside the Box: Fireforge Teutonic Knights

I had a request from Firemonkeyboy to put up some pics of the sprues from Fireforge's box of Teutonic Knights, so here they are.

First up, you get some basic instructions with some suggested combinations of arms etc, along with a set of bases.

Then, six identical horse sprues, each with four half-bodies of horses with caparisons and three heads, two with caparisons and one bare.

Finally, three identical sprues of knights. There are a good range of different barrel helms, with or without crests, enough lances for everyone, along with various nasty hand weapons.

Overall impression so far is that this is a quality product. The texture of the caparisons, mail and surcoats are top-notch, the horse look vary nicely animated and there is a great variety of poses and choices of weapons possible. Even more exciting is the fact that Fireforge have made all their sets compatible with each other. Calling them Teutonic Knights or Templars is largely a marketing strategy. What these different sets offer is a fantastic range of interchangeable parts to make beautifully detailed 13th century knights, sergeants and (soon) foot soldiers. Personally, I'll be using them to make a Holy Roman Empire force, mainly in order to go mad hand painting all the heraldry.

Buy them all - God Wills It!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Romano-British Warriors

The basic Romano-British army for Dux Britanniarum requires two units of six warriors, and they are the latest to roll off my (fairly slow) assembly line. The Figures are all Gripping Beast, mounted on 20mm bases in movement trays from Warbases. I'm enjoying painting the Arthurians, especially since I'm going to get good value out of them, what with Dux Britanniarum, Dux Bellorum and Saga.

The other good news is that my birthday largesse arrived from War and Peace Games yesterday, courtesy of my brother and mother in law. Here's the haul:
I'm looking forward to painting up the Bolt Action Churchill, but ideally I'd like to load it up with stowage. Photos of Churchills from 1944-5 often show them looking like mobile junk shops. Anyone know who makes good stowage items for British armour in 28mm?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fireforge Knights - Resistance is Useless

So I need another period and scale to game like I need a hole in my head. But. Those Fireforge Knights are just so damn beautiful. I'm only flesh and blood! I have been resisting their charms ever since the Teutonic Knights came out, but I finally caved when my brother asked me what I wanted for my birthday. One of my favourite armies I've ever painted is my 1/72 13th Century Holy Roman Empire force, and the prospect of basically redoing them in 28mm is too much of a temptation. As for rules and basing, I'm thinking Impetus, but I'm also interested in the Deus Vult rules Fireforge is bringing out. I wrote to them to ask about basing sizes, and was very impressed to get a detailed and rapid reply from Fabio Spieza, their Grandmaster. Others may be interested in what they have planned for Deus Vult, so I've copied in Fabio's reply.

God wills it!

From Fabio Spieza:

With Deus Vult you’ll be able to play with any basing you already have.

Units are recruited in “elements\bases”, typical units can have starting strenghts of 4/6/8 bases. We “advice” the following basing:

· Infantry bases – 60cm x 40cm with 6 figures on them in two ranks · Skirmishing infantry bases – 60cm x 40cm with 3 figures on them in open order · Cavalry bases (both formed and skirmishing units) – 50cm x 50cm with 2 figures on them in one rank

Although the game is based on elements, casualty removal is by single figure. This structure, that combine elements with single casualty figure removal, is very “flexible” since you can adapt any basing you have if you are not basing exactly for Deus Vult. You’ll find a section on basing advices in the book but here is some examples:

· You have a collection based for warhammer historical with single bases for infantry and cavalry. You simply build “our elements” with the single figures and\or make little movement trays of our adviced dimensions. No problem for the casualty removal since you are already based on single bases. So… re-basing!

· You are based for a game with elements of different dimensions than ours. No problem, our rule mechanism are structured in a way you can use “elements of different dimensions” if your adversary is based like you. For the casualty removal, you have two options… can use a dice to mark the casualties until you need to remove entire bases or you can have only the figures equivalent of a single element based on single bases, so that you have all the multiple to remove casualties.

I hope this informations will help you. If you have any doubt, feel free to ask.


Fabio Spiezia
General Manager
Fireforge Games

Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Romano-British

Here are my first 8 Romano-Brits for Dux Bellorum/Dux Britanniarum/SAGA. The figures are from Westwind, and are supposed to be some urban militia from c. AD450. Wondering what you think - do they look too 'muddy'?

The Westwind figures are lovely to paint, and they are based here on 20mm round bases in one of the new movement trays made by Warbases for Dux Britianniarum. Nice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

This Week in the Duchy

Last week of term. There may come a time when the courage of men fails blah blah, but it was not this week. Just fell over the finish line after a gruelling term, feeling thoroughly gruelled. Situation not helped by The Boy Twin, alias Assault, alias The Night Goblin trooping in every night with the night terrors to join the Duchess and me in bed. I've taken to getting up at this point every night and finding somewhere else to sleep. My god that boy can wriggle. I woke up a few nights back with him grinding his little fist into one of my eye sockets, and his unerring aim in kicking me in the bollocks repeatedly is truly impressive. The Duchess and I are beyond tired.

Developments on the hobby front are several. To start with, I've sent a squad of British paras on the way to be painted by Tamsin, after I was lucky enough to win her painting comp. Can't wait to see what she comes up with. In my own painting I've been making some headway on my Arthurians. With the combination of Dux Bellorum and Dux Britanniarum coming out, the likelihood of Saga going Arthurian next year and Westwind having a 30 percent off sale, I bought a bunch of figures from Westwind and Gripping Beast, and have started on the Romano-British.

It was my birthday on Wednesday, and the Duchess had a little beer hamper sent to work. I was amused to receive a bottle of Angry Man, which I'd never heard of before. Hope she isn't trying to tell me something. Naturally I thought of Fran, and have added Angry Man to my list of Wargaming Beers. My mother in law gave me some hard currency, which I gave straight away to Ian at War and Peace Games in exchange for a copy of Dux Bellorum and a Bolt Action Churchill tank, which I'll get early next week. I've always had a soft spot for Churchills, and I imagine one in 28mm will be an impressive looking beast.

The club at school finished the term really well. After our great Saga tournament we introduced Canvas Eagles as a third set of 'club rules.' It has been a couple of years since I've played, and it is great getting into it again. Such a good game, and almost unbelievable that it is freely available. The game bogs down a little with more than about six planes on the table, but it's going really well, with a bunch of boys getting into it in a big way and painting up their SPADs and Camels. I'm proud to say that after having been shot down several times my current pilot Gunther Fleischmann has racked up two victories so far (both Camels).

Tonight I'm hoping to catch up with a mate and introduce him to SAGA, so on with Saturday.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Well Chuffed Dux

Well, I have had an incredible run of luck. First, I finished the week with a narrow victory over a fiendishly clever boy at school playing Saga. Then this morning I learned I had won Tamsin's prize giveaway. Tonight I learn that I have won a prize in Ian's prize draw over on the Blog with no Name!! Yes, it appears I have won a very spiffy brush holder, which I am very chuffed about. Thanks Ian!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Charge of the Hefty Brigade

Many years ago a younger, less cynical Dux took himself along to a wargaming club. Entering the hall I rapidly realised this was a Local Club for Local People. A few grizzled old grognards glanced briefly at me before focusing back on the game of Fire and Fury they had been playing since 1875. A dog barked in the distance.

Eventually someone took pity and spoke to me. He asked me what I played, and I showed him some of the 1/72 ancient armies for DBA I had brought along. A look of disgust crossed his face, as he told me the club didn't touch 1/72 plastics as they had no 'heft'. I naturally assumed he was mad, edged away to the door, ran for the car and considered myself lucky to escape.

Fast forward twenty or so years, and an older, wiser Dux has learned that it is by no means uncommon for some wargamers to go on about 'heft'. We live in a golden age of cheap, highly detailed plastic figures in 1/72 scale, 28mm and increasingly 15mm. The majority of these figures are well sculpted, anatomically accurate, and carry weapons that are truer to scale than many of their metal cousins. And yet for some in the hobby the sticking point is that they have no 'heft'. Some people remain perfectly happy to deploy lumpen little figures that bear a passing resemblance to human beings carrying telegraph poles on the tabletop so long as they feel heavy. This is of course completely fine, but it irritating when this is presented as the norm, or the way the hobby should be.

A case in point. In Issue 61 of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy (brilliant magazine, btw), someone reviewed a couple of new tank releases from Plastic Soldier Company. The review includes the comment 'The finished models do feel a little light, so we recommend adding some ballast internally to give the model more "heft"'. What madness is this?? A little light for what?? Are people buying wargames figures in the hope that they are heavy enough to batter their opponents to death with if things turn ugly? Are people commonly playing games in strong gales? Or perhaps, given the common 'wargamer physique' that our hobby seems to attract, there is a psychological explanation, perhaps a tendency to look down on those who are lighter to validate the heaviness of oneself? I can't help thinking that these are the same people who went on and on about how CDs were rubbish because vinyl records had a 'warmer' sound.

Despite the Dux's strong views on this, he does magnanimously acknowledge that the hobby is a broad church, and that we must offer solutions for those who require 'heft'. To that end, I suggest the simple and elegant basing suggestion above.

A Month of a Week

The last fortnight has been brutal at work, compounded by the twins (Assault and Battery) deciding that sleep is just sooooooo three months ago. As I was blearily catching up on what I've missed in blogland this morning I was astonished, delighted and humbled to see that I have won Tamsin's prize draw! Thanks so much Tamsin! The Homunculi are jostling each other, putting their cases for who most deserves the trip to the UK to be painted...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fifty Shades of Brown: WWII Brits for Bolt Action

I've been inspired by the new Bolt Action rules from Warlord Games and Osprey to paint up the first WWII figures I've done in years, and my first 28mm WWII ever.
I basically went for a very simple approach with these chaps, using minimal highlighting and not even bothering painting their eyes (!!). What you are looking at is a complete box of Warlord Bolt Action WWII Tommies, and I must say I was incredibly impressed with the figures. One box gives enough figures for two 10 man sections (including a Bren gunner and a corporal with a Sten), a two man PIAT team, a two man 2 inch mortar team and a 2nd Lieutenant. The figures fit together beautifully and were a pleasure to paint.
One choice I did have to make painting them was how to paint their webbing. The temptation is to go with sand or canvas coloured webbing, for example as Warlord have done with the painted figures on their website. This looks great, achieving a nice contrast with the khaki uniforms. Unfortunately this is inaccurate for NW Europe in 1944-5, as webbing was always coated with blanco in one of several shades of green or greeny-grey. I've gone for what I hope is a more realistic approach, somewhat at the expense of aesthetics.
As for the Bolt Action rules, I have had a good read through and I think they will probably be huge. The rulebook is beautifully presented and well laid out, clearly explaining the game step by step. Indeed, it may be the clearest set of rules I've ever read. My interest in the game is to find something that will work for the school club, giving a good game in an hour and a half or so and serving to introduce some aspects of the historical period. I think Bolt Action might fit the bill.
Next up: Romano-Brits for Dux Britanniarum!