Sunday, May 27, 2012

15mm Sci Fi Vehicles

When Rebel Minis had a sale a few weeks ago, I picked up a some items to round out my 15mm forces. I needed vehicles to give some variety to the foot troops that I had collected.  Here's what I've got.

These are supposedly APCs, though they look more like tanks to me.  I struggled a bit with a camo scheme, since I wonder if camo would add value in a futuristic setting. But I decided they'd probably do camo for low tech enemies.  So this is the scheme I devised.

Next up is something like a dune buggy of sorts. It's the Earth Force Gila, but the model comes with a Sahadeen driver.  I thought this looks like something those guys would drive, and added him as the driver instead.  I don't think he's clearly visible in the photo. It was a nice kit, with three weapons options.

Finally every sci-fi army needs a walker! Actually every sci-fi army needs multiple walkers! I only got one to test things out.  I'd love to do armies of nothing but walkers, which would work in 15mm. I just needs good rules for something like that. I painted this walker in an urban camo scheme, and had a lot of fun weathering it.

So with all these 15mm sci-fi guys running around, I wanted to get them on the table. I tested out a game of FUBAR for 15mm sci-fi, which also had supplemental Rebel Minis rules.  At one page per rules set, for free, it's definitely something worth trying.

I won't go into a detailed report. I played Sahadeen and my opponent played Earth Force marines. The Sahadeen are really weak, and while EF Marines aren't "all that" they are a lot better than Sahadeen.  The FUBAR rules have some interesting mechanics in activation as well as reaction.  Because the Sahadeen were rated as "Green" troops they didn't activate much and tended to stand around and get shot to bits.  When they did shoot, they almost always missed.  I'm not sure I'd play this version of FUBAR again given some of the imbalances.  But for what I paid to get the rules (nothing) and for the time invested in reading them (10 mins, while we were playing) it wasn't all that bad.

Here are some pics.  My Sahadeen (foreground) activated a couple of times and missing their enemies in the wood and getting shot to bits in return.
 Earth Force Marines hide in cover from a withering hail of Sahadeen fire.... which always missed.  Why hide?

We called the game since EF had suffered one casualty to about 15 of my own, as well as destroying my buggy.  But still, the figures looked good on the table!  I'll just need a different rules set for them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

OOOH HOOO Withcy Woman

Technically they are Witch Elves, but that Eagles song just kept playing in my head whenever I worked on these models. I'm glad to be done with them and rid myself of the song.  These are the first models from the batch of Dark Elves I got several weeks ago. I'm beginning to doubt if I'll ever get all those models painted! I'll be using them for Kings of War or skirmish games. Neither option will need as many Dark Elves as I own.

So foregoing raven hair and ruby lips (and sparks from fingertips.... there's that damn song again!) I chose to paint them as Drow.  The overall effect, when ranked up in a unit, is a confused mass of black and white.  Take a look at what I mean.

I used Reaper's Dark Elf skin tone triad, which is a nice grayed lavender color. I used a very gray green for their clothing.  Overall, I like the effect on individual models.  Here are some close ups of the girls.

Overall I think they came out pretty good, and I like the colors.  I got a kick out of the 80s ripped fishnet stockings.  These Witch Elves could be on the cover of a Ratt album.

A full unit consists of 20 models for Kings of War. I only had 16 of the newest sculpts, and had to back fill with the old school Witch Elves.

I hate these models, as they are all hair and ugly as sin. I'd much prefer to have all the newest sculpts. I still have a bunch of these old ones.  If anyone wants these models, I'd be willing to trade one for one for the new witch elves.  I still want Witch Elves, but just not these hags.  They're all hair and their weapons look like hunks of metal, not very interesting to paint.

So I just wanted a break from all the military stuff that I have been painting (and still have to paint). I've got some 15mm sci-fi to show you soon.  Then I'm teeing up 15mm fantasy!  I played a few games of Mighty Armies last night and I think I'm really going to like it.  I hope so, since I've already got three armies for it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

R.I.P. Mr. Brush

Mr. Brush 2007 - 2012 
"Do not go gentle into that good night"

I  finally admit that my beloved Windsor & Newton Series 7 #2 miniature brush had to be put down forever. Five years old is quite an age for a brush, at least in my experience. I tried to deny the signs. "Oh, he just doesn't have the spring of a new brush; but he's fine!", or, "That lacquer was just getting in the way. No worries!"  But most damning of all, "You're just as good as ever with half the hairs remaining in your ferrule. This is great!"

Mr. Brush had a good life. I only ever use one brush when painting, unless I'm painting something big. Mr. Brush painted hundreds of figures over hundreds of hours.  There was a time when Mr Brush's hairs formed a point so sharp I used to paint and dot eyes on my 28mm figs with him.

As you can tell, I have a love affair with Windsor & Newton Series 7 brushes.  But I'm speaking specifically to the miniature brushes.  The shorter hairs give you great control over the paint.  You do trade some capacity to load up the bristles. But you shouldn't be spending money on W&N brushes if you're glopping paint.  That's not what these brushes are for!

I've moved on now that Mr. Brush is dead.  Here's my new painting partner at Mr. Brush's wake. Notice the family resemblance.

Maybe in another five years, Mr. Brush II will be on his deathbed.  But for now, I look forward to working with him.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

15mm WW2: US Rifle Platoon

As I stated in a prior post, I'm updating my WW2 forces to 15mm scale for use in Nuts! and other WW2 games like Victory Decision.  For those who just like pictures, here they are.  I'll post some commentary after them.

First is the entire platoon, including three support weapons (MG, mortar team, and flame thrower). These are mostly all Battlefront miniatures. Sorry about the hot spot in the photo.

Here are some close ups.  You have two riflemen, a flame thrower, BAR gunner, and a medic. The medic and the flame thrower are left-overs from my Command Decision figures I used for FoW.

I actually completed this platoon over a week ago and haven't had a moment to take pictures. Since that time I've managed to get both the US and German forces on the table.  I played a co-op game of Nuts! with my son.  Both of us were surprised at how nice this scale looked on the table.  In some ways, I felt they looked better than my 28mm stuff.  I suppose the smaller scale makes things look more detailed than they are.  The game itself was a lot of fun, and my son has promised to play again.  That's quite something for a teenager raised on video games!

So 15mm is going to be my scale of choice, especially for anything by THW. It's cheaper, looks great, and stores easily.  Except for buildings, all my current terrain works with this size.  Acquiring new terrain will also be cheaper. 

On the 15mm front, I'm working on additions to my 15mm sci-fi forces.  After that 'm going to put together some stands for Mighty Armies.  That game looks good, and I can use the bases for solo / co-op games of Rally Round the King.  For less than what it would cost to buy a single Ogre Kingdom Tyrant I can have a completely new fantasy army.  Can't beat that.

Now having just said all that, I've still got lots of plans for 28mm stuff. I'm polishing off some Witch Elves that might make it into a Kings of War army one day.  I'm also looking forward to Empire of the Dead, and the possibilities of building forces for that game as well.  Then there's Dust Warfare too.  So 28mm isn't dead, it's just no longer the only scale I'll consider.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review: If You Survive

If You SurviveIf You Survive by George Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wilson served with F Company of the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division, joining about a month after D-Day.  His book is an excellent depiction of the Americans at war in the ETO.  Wilson was present for the liberation of Paris. He was also on the front lines as a platoon commander for many historic encounters: St. Lo, the Siegfried Line, Hurtgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge.

Wilson's account doesn't sugar-coat anything.  As you can expect from this sort of memoir, there's heroics in spades. But there's also cowardice, stupidity, greed, and rebelliousness. Common wisdom holds those characteristics better described the US Army of the Vietnam era. But no, it's all there on the page. Not everyone was a hero, and Wilson doesn't hide it. He recounts his own actions as matter-of-fact, and as nothing that others didn't or wouldn't do in the same situations. But I think he was brave man.

So you might have read enough WW2 memoirs to think you can skip this one. But you really should read this book, for its honesty and its perspective on the battles of the times.

I have one niggling complaint about the book: the cover. The typewriter print looks cheap, and the two figures look like they're fleeing.  If you take anything from this book, it will be that Wilson and his platoon were always advancing! A book that deals largely in bravery should have a more heroic cover.  It's a small point, but it has bothered me.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 6, 2012

15mm World War Two

I've been playing Nuts! by Two Hour Wargames on and off for about a year now. Once you get your head around the rules, it's a fun solo or co-op game. I've had it on the back burner for a while, being busy with work and life.  But I'm going to pick it up again.

When I first got into Nuts!, I thought the game was squad level.  But in fact, it's platoon level.  So you can end up with 40+ figures for each side plus reinforcements. I started building my forces with 28mm figures. After I accumulated a bunch, I dove into the rules and ran several satisfying campaigns.  Things went well, but started to get stale after a while. In every game I had the same terrain and figures every time.  I started re-thinking my 28mm decision.

First, the table was getting crowded, as I like to play on a 4x4.  Also, Nuts! really shines if you have a big collection of support choices like tanks, AFVs, artillery, MGs, mortars, etc. This is very costly in 28mm.  Then the terrain at 28mm also takes a lot of storage and is also expensive.  While most of my WW2 terrain could double for 40K games, it couldn't for Fantasy/LotR which is my first love. So I'm reluctant to plunk down a lot of money for a bombed out Belgian row house!

So I'm converting to 15mm WW2.  For $46 I now have replaced all my US and German platoons.  It cost more than twice that for the same figures in 28mm! I've also picked up some 15mm terrain, which is readily available for WW2 games thanks to the popularity of Flames of War.

I've been working steadily on getting both US and German forces ready. I'll be adding Russian and British, and then US Marines and Japanese.  At 15mm prices, I can actually afford to collect all this.  Here's my German Grenadier platoon.

These are all Battlefront miniatures, which I just picked off the rack at my LGS. The platoon blister comes with a command section, four NCOs, machine guns, and a mortar team.  It's all I need for a game of Nuts! in one package. The two StuGs I had laying around from the old FoW Open Fire boxed set. For now they are the only support options for the Germans. Here are a few close ups.

I researched the StuG camouflage patterns and discovered that they seemed lightly airbrushed.  Since my airbrush is broken, I did the right thing and ignored the historical accuracy.  I just blobbed on stuff the way it looked good to me.  Below the StuGs, I pulled out a squad leader and a few grunts to show some detail.

That's it for now.  I'm working on my US rifle platoon this week and hope to polish it off by next weekend. Since I have a US rifle company for FoW already, my US platoon is going to have access to a lot of reinforcement and support options.  It'll be good to have all that FoW stuff pull double duty.