Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reaper Bones and Warlord Thoughts

I took a short break in the 20mm WW2 project to paint more from my pile of Reaper Bones. No matter how much I pull out of that box, it is still full. I'll be getting another box just like it this Fall too! Anyway, I rummaged around for some Elves and here's what I found.

I just felt like painting bright and colorful, so High Elvish heroes fit that bill. I got hold of a pot of GW's specialty paint for creating a patina on metal, and you can see it on the Elf King's shield. It worked out nice, though it needs to be applied with some thought. I sloshed it on, which was okay but not as good as it could be. I imagined he's carrying some ancient, magic shield. It was a great excuse not to paint the detailed peacock.

What I didn't realize at the time was the two females are Warlord hero models. I have been giving a lot of thought to trying that game, particularly because I love the figures. I've also heard second edition was a huge improvement over first. As I dug into it, I realized not only do I have a ton of Warlord models in my collection, I actually have a complete Black Orc faction fully painted and ready to go!

Without realizing, I also have a functional Necropolis army (undead) that only needs a few more models to reach the recommended 1,000 point game size. I have almost all of it in Bones, too, or in metals that I painted for Song of Blades and Heroes a while ago.

The only challenge is I have a mix of square and round bases. I don't think it will make too much of a difference, really. Visually it looks a bit weird. I'll live with it.

I found the beta test rules and walked through them. The game is pretty solid, though there's some strangeness in the way troops are organized and activate. I really liked it and ordered both books (2nd Ed rules and Savage North expansion). I will also start building toward some other factions. It fills that niche LotR SBG vacated when it got screwy new books that jacked up the game. In fact, this has a higher fantasy feeling than LotR, which I love.

For now it's back to building my 20mm WW2 Americans. However, expect more Reaper Bones and Warlord updates interspersed.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

1/72 Scale PSC German Infantry

I have long given thought to 1/72 scale (20mm) for World War II gaming, but always put it aside as impractical. It seems to be an exclusively British thing with little to no support for that scale in the US. Only kits sold in model stores were easily available, and those are intended for dioramas. However, now with the wide availability of Plastic Soldier Company's 1/72 scale models things have changed.

I haven't played any games in this scale yet, but I think 20mm will prove to be a great scale. The proportions on 20mm models look far more natural than either 15mm or 28mm. While I've collected a good amount of 15mm models I oftentimes have difficulty seeing the weapons on the models in that scale. I like 28mm well enough, but platoon sized games look crowded at 28mm and the models all look too chunky.  Nothing inherently wrong with either scale, but I wanted something that is easy to see and handle, be compact in storage and on the table, but also retain realistic proportions. The 20mm scale seemed to fit the bill.

Here's the contents of the PSC late war German infantry, all painted and ready to go. Click for a larger picture.

I really liked these models, though I'm not a fan of having to assemble them. Nothing was too difficult, though, and they fit together nicely. You get enough to make three 10 man rifle squads with MG team and SMG toting NCO. You get three radiomen and three medics, which is a little much. At least the radiomen can be used as forward observers and spotters. The two extra medics are a waste.

My only complaint is that you get too many SMGs, at least for how I want to construct my squads. I guess if you put in two SMGs per squad you could potentially get four total squads from one box. If you don't want to do that, then you'll end up like me with a bunch of extras. I'm sure they'll get used somewhere.

I did cheat a bit with this platoon. I ran across some Zveda 1/72 scale Germans on clearance at the local hobby store. I switched out the two extra medics and added in a senior officer using his field glasses and a different officer type, which I'll probably use for my LT.  Here's a picture of how the two Zveda models scale with the PSC. A pretty good match, I say.

I'll probably build the rest of the Zveda models, though they have some strange poses and the MG team is carrying a weapon that looks more like a broomstick than an MG.

Here's a look at the radioman and medic models.

Finally, you get six MG teams in the box which I think is awesome. Three are carrying their weapon while three teams are deployed. Here's a sample of both.
As you can tell from these pictures, many of the Germans had helmet covers modeled. I liked that touch but I'm not sure if I got the camo exactly right for them. Well, it looks suitably "WW2" for my taste. Also the box came with numerous head swaps, including several bandaged heads for walking wounded types. That was a nice touch, though I only made one swap just to see how it came out.

There's a lot more 1/72 scale WW2 coming up. I got just about everything for PSC US and Germans in this scale. I'll be working on Americans next, but will take a break with some Reaper models in between.

Friday, May 9, 2014

15mm WW2: Russian Armor

This week I was able to finish off my complete Russian army in 15mm for Operation Bagration. Last week I managed to get the rifle platoon and support weapons completed, and this week was for all the armor I needed. Totally I have ten vehicles for the army. Here they are all together.

The single color scheme made them a breeze to paint. The longest delay I had was assembling the Plastic Soldier Company's T34 models, which took a few sessions to do.  The Battlefront models were easy and fairly idiot-proof, which is so necessary for me.

I painted them all with PSC's spray paints, this color being the aptly named "Russian Armor" color. The PSC models took the paint wonderfully and only needed a thin coating to look good. The Battlefront models look just as fine, but needed a bit more paint to cover.

Starting at the front and working back, here's what you're looking at.

This is a Battlefront IS-2. I only need one for my purposes. There is supposed to be an MG mounted on it, but I couldn't figure out where and expected the flimsy thing would just break off anyway. So I left it off.

Here is the bulk of the armor, T34/76 & 85 from Plastic Soldier Company. These tanks were a bitch to assemble (for me, real modellers don't struggle with them) and I screwed up all of them in one way or another. Oh well. These were a Christmas gift last year from my son, and I'm glad to have finally assembled them.

In the picture above the front two are 85s and the rear three are 76s. I built turrets for both, so I can interchange them as needed. That's a cool feature of these PSC kits.

Here are two SU-76M self-propelled guns from Battlefront. These fit together nicely, thought it took me a minute to understand what the bent bits were. They turned out to be the railing pieces at the back of the vehicle.

Bringing up the rear are two SU-85 tank destroyers. These were by far the easiest to assemble, with only the gas tanks needing any sort of care which is mostly just not gluing them to your fingers.

After I assembled and spray painted them, I gave them a brown wash and some minor weathering. Finally I added the PSC decals I bought for this project. I like their decal sheets, but they hardly provide enough stars for what they charge.

As an afterthought, I do have one last unit to add to this force. I need a 45mm AT gun team. I've ordered a blister and will put together two of them to honestly and truly finish these Russians. Now all I have to do is play the campaign!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

15mm WW2: Russian Infantry

I was on fire this week, assembling, basing, and painting the entire infantry force for my 15mm WW2 Russians. This is probably the fastest I've every got anything like this done, considering the models had to be assembled first.  I'll be using these for the Operation Bagration campaign book I plan to start soon. Coincidentally, the force is a copy of the 28mm Russians I did for a Bolt Action paint challenge last year.  The only difference being is I don't have an AT rifle in 15mm and it only took one week to do it in 15mm!

These are all Plastic Soldier Company 15mm plastic Russians. I really like these models, and have enough left over to do another platoon if I choose. I may actually do that, seeing how quickly these came together, though not for a while yet. There are a few Command Decision models here as well.

Going left to right across the picture I have an SMG squad, command squad, Maxim MG, four rifle squads, a forward observer team, medic and rifleman, mortar team.  You can see I paint colors on my bases to distinguish the rifle teams. This helps during play as well as clean up. The angle in these pictures really emphasizes the color, but on the table a lot of times you can't really see it.

Here are a few detail shots. This is the HQ unit. The commander on the left is a PSC model and next to him is a Command Decision model. You can see the PSC are slightly smaller, but otherwise scale well together.

This Maxim MG crew is a Command Decision model. I split a pack of these with a friend, and I still have close to three or so MG teams left over.  I only really need one for platoon sized games.

The PSC box gives you a number of female models, all in the same pose. I've chosen to use this one as a medic. I suppose you could use them as support staff. It would've been nice to have some armed as snipers. Also in the shot are Command Decision models for a forward observer team and the 60mm mortar team.

Finally these are the SMG team. In Bolt Action these guys can be nasty, as long as they arrive in one piece. At the very least they'll absorb ten wounds for your other guys. These are all PSC models and nicely done. The NCO figures for all the PSC models are really weird. They are either in a stiff pose like someone just gave them a suppository or they're covering their heads like this pose on the right. I thought it should be waving troops forward or calling to someone. Nope, they're running for cover, I guess.

This completes all the infantry models I will need for now. I will need to get an AT gun soon, but have had trouble finding just one model and not five. Up next, I have to complete all the armor I will need for the campaign. There are 10 vehicles needed and five are going to the PSC tanks. They'll take forever to assemble, but painting should go quick. Stay tuned for the results, hopefully by next week!