Saturday, August 24, 2013

15mm WW2: US Marines

Here is the core of my newly painted 15mm US Marines for WW2.  These models took a lot longer to paint than I expected. Longer work days and shorter evenings for myself contributed to the delay. I completed 4-5 models whenever I had the time, and eventually completed the platoon.

I went with Old Glory's Command Decision for the models. Here they are. Click for a bigger picture with more detail.

You're looking at three rifle squads and a platoon command with some extras. Totally there are 52 models in the main force. A full squad was 13 soldiers, comprised of a squad leader and three fire teams of four soldiers. Each fire team had a BAR, which you can see in the pictures above.Once I add in LMGs, these guys are going to put out serious fire power.

There are not a lot of painting guides for WW2 Marines out there. Every reference picture I find has them in different colors. I eventually settled for what you see here. Their uniforms concerned me the most. Ironically, they're painted in Vallejo Model Color's Russian Uniform. The rest of the colors are pretty standard stuff.

The command squad is a mish-mash of leader models from the leader pack. I liked that you got a lot of models, both soldiers and grunts, in soft caps. I used a few for my leaders.  Anyway, here's a peek at some of the command squad.

There were a few models that looked like potential Corpsmen (medics). I painted the red cross on them, but in reality I don't think a Corpsman fighting the Japanese would mark himself out so boldly. The Japanese were trained to kill leaders and medics as priority targets.  However, to make the medic easier to find on the table, I painted the red cross.

Otherwise, there's a lot of great models in the Marines leader pack. Above you see one with a walkie-talkie. I paired him with a regular grunt, who helped fill out the command squad.

That's about all I can say for these guys. I have a bunch more US Marines to paint: 8 combat shotguns, 3 .30 cal MGs, 2 60mm mortars, flamethrower teams, and casualty markers. I'll have to give these guys some landing crafts before I can call them done.  Armor from my other infantry force can be used for the Pacific, so that saved me time and money. 

In the meantime, I'm going to give myself a break to work on my Reaper Bones models.  Then I'll finish the Marines and their Japanese opponents. I'm hoping to start the Peleliu campaign book by fall.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

2D and 3D Terrain

One thing I've realized about the miniatures gaming hobby is that you need a lot of terrain unless you want to fight in the desert / plains / snow all the time. Accumulating all of this terrain is practically another hobby unto itself, with a different set of skills required if you're the DIY type of person. For me, I buy as much out-of-the box stuff as possible.

A big terrain challenge is variety. While I've collected a lot of Battlefront's excellent terrain, it's still pretty repetitive unless you buy a lot of it. That gets expensive and brings storage issues into the equation.  Additionally, if you game at more than one scale and in different genres you've compounded the terrain issues.

There's not much to do for it, except try to get as much utility from every piece of terrain in your collection. For me, at least, having every game feature that same hill and forest with the same cabin gets a little old. I'm especially tired of my GW gaming mat, which is an unvarying green felt covering.

I've been playing a lot of board games recently, and a few of them (Battle of Westros and Descent 2 come to mind) play like mini games. I realized the answer to my variety problems has been right under my nose for a while. The RPG world has a huge variety of setting and terrains suitable for miniature gaming. You just have to be fine with it being flat, 2d stuff.

Not only was I fine with it, but I was also greatly surprised with it. I've invested in a few Gamemastery flip maps as well as some wilderness "dungeon tiles" from WOTC. These provided a whole new variety of terrain for my gaming. The flip mats are good sized, 24x30" of high gloss finish. I tried to take some pictures of a game but glare ruined it. Still, the look was pretty awesome and I was able to have a fight inside a forest, which is not something I get to do too often.  I was using the "Deep Woods" flip mat.

I took things a step further and added some 3d terrain to the maps, and things looked even better.  I snapped a few pictures of a battle between Dark Elves and Beastmen that I played as part of an on-going campaign. The Dark Elves were raiding the Beastmen camp to recover an important artifact that they had unwittingly in their possession.

The photography sucks and there's a blue cast from an open window messing with the colors. I'm just throwing this out here for illustrative purposes anyway. These are all tiles from WotC's Essential Wilderness set. The tiles gave me a about a 20" x 20" play area.  Stuffed into this area were different levels of terrain, fallen logs, trees, patches of rough terrain, rocks, and a puddle / pool.  I put on my huts from Gale Force 9 and I was ready to go in just 10 minutes. Clean up took about the same time -- just whisk everything back into the box.

This play area is a lot smaller than I usually use. However, I've found that in my solo campaigns I basically have mostly wasted space on the tabletop. Preparing terrain for areas that won't even be the focus of the battle makes little sense to me. Most of the battle with my small sized forces only focus into a small section, about the size you see here.  With all the terrain in the way, there was a lot of maneuvering and the small area felt a lot larger.

Well, you get the idea by now. If you like variety and don't mind 2D terrain, you should investigate game mats and dungeon tiles. While these are almost exclusively targeted for fantasy games, I can see many of them being "genre neutral." If you pepper in a few 3d pieces, you'll have some pretty sharp looking tables for your games.

Oh, and if anyone cares, the Dark Elves wiped up twice their number of beastmen. Frenzied Witch Elves, while fragile, are really scary in combat. I'm using Savage Worlds for the game, which easily accommodates Warhammer stats. Anyway, the Beastmen eventually broke and ran off the board.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Few More Bones

This kind of post is going to become a lot more common for me.  I've worked on a few of the 200+ Bones models that I have, and took a few pictures. Generally speaking, I like to complete a project and then post up everything at once. However, with Bones it will be an on-going project and not a lot of "theme" to it.

Having said that, here are three "good heroes" I did this week. These were not primed in any way, just washed in soap and water then glued to a fender washer.

My favorite is the middle guy, who is a typical holy warrior. He could pass as a Priest of Sigmar for all you WHFB fans. My son and I have been joking that he is actually a medieval Billy Mays. He's got the beard for it.  In any case, I've got a ton more "good guys" to do.

These are all done in Reaper paints, too, and the triads are magical for the doing the robes. Not all the triads blend so well, but these colors were great for it.

Next I'm moving back to my 15mm WW2 project. The US Marines are cleaned and mounted, and now just need basing material and primer for me to start painting them. A Marine platoon is a surprising amount of models; there's over 50 models with HQ and I haven't added MGs, mortars, or anything else.