This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
On Sunday Lewis and I had a game of one of our favourite miniatures games, Mantic's 'The Walking Dead - All Out War'.
I choose a themed group of survivors based around the Grimes Family, Rick, Lori and their son Carl together with the loner Michonne. Lewis went for a group led by Patrick, backed up by Shane (who had obviously left the Atlanta camp when Rick had reappeared, unable to contain his jealousy).
The game started, as is normally the way with both sides trying to collect as many of the easy to reach supplies as they could, while avoiding a nasty death from the walkers. By the time the threat level made it to high, Rick's group had collected 5 supplies and Patricks group had collected 2. At this point events took a dramatic, 9and for me unexpected) turn....
I could not believe this turn of events. Dramatic, and a good story line maybe, but shooting Lori down in cold blood in front of her husband ans son for a couple of bags of groceries! How low can you get? Lewis reasoned that it was the end of the world and my characters dropping those supplies turned the game around from a 6-2 win to me to a draw!
We both had a fantastic time, TWD is definately in our top 5 games, so highly recommended.
The miniatures have been rebased onto Sally 4th Clear Bases, click here for details.
Almost forgot, we designed some handy new measuring sticks that we tried out for the first time in this game and they worked very well.
They are made from 3mm clear perspex and have a handy cut out that fits around a 25mm base for easy and accurate measuring.
We have just released our 28mm pillbox range to prepare for the release of operation Sealion by Bolt Action. These are made from layers of 3mm MDF so when built has a wooden look to it. As they were built from concrete during World War Two we painting and te4xtured them to give them a more realistic look.
For this you will need Sandtex masonry paint, which you are able to buy from any DIY shop. An added bonus is that they come in tester pots so you don’t need to buy a big galleon can from the shop. You will also need an old brush to dry brush, and another old brush for PVA glue and some sand.
Step 1: Coat the pillbox in a thin layer of PVA glue around the pillbox. Avoiding the door and the top of the pillbox.
Step 2: Then sprinkle the sand over the pillbox trying to keep it away from the door hinges so it can still open and shut. Also on the inside of the pillbox keep the top of it sand free so that the pillbox roof can still fit it.
Step 3: Once dried we use a chocolate masonry paint to undercoat the pillbox. We recommend using water to thin the paint first so it's not to thick and can get in between the sand,
Step 4: We then use “Mid Stone” masonry paint and dry brush the pillbox. To dry brush put a small amount of paint on the brush then using some old card/paper towel get rid of any excess. Then lightly brush the pillbox so the raised areas get painted.
Step 5: Then we use an “Ivory Stone” masonry plaint for the final dry brush on the pillbox to complete the concrete look.
This is a nice and easy technique to paint the pillbox even for beginners. It took me about 30mins to do one pillbox form start to finish. Hopefully this guide will help you get the realistic pillbox look for yours. This technique can also be used for other modern buildings to get the look of concrete.. I’m currently working on some African buildings, for these I’ll need to a dry dirty look so in my next post I’ll take a look of weathering techniques.
For further details see: WW2 British Pillbox
The May 2017 issue of Wargames Illustrated includes a Falklands War sceanrio using Combat Patrol WW2 Skirmish rules plus the free downloadable Falklands War supplement.
Here, Buck Surdu, author of Combat Patrol gives as an introduction to Combat Patrol.
Combat Patrol™: World War II is a set of World War Two skirmish rules featuring unique mechanics that provide a streamlined, intuitive experience. Cards are used for unit activation as well as combat resolution and morale, eliminating the need for consulting numerous charts and tables.
Players typically play the role of a platoon commander. At the beginning of each turn players roll a six-sided die for each officer and NCO. This is their activation number for the turn. Cards are drawn from the Activation Deck to determine the order in which teams activate. Under certain conditions, leaders may swap command dice with their subordinates to give players a little more control over their forces. The use of the command dice and the Activation Deck usually allows several players to be acting at the same time. When a team activates, the figures within the team may move, shoot, reload, un-stun, or perform other actions. While a figure can only perform one action per activation, the figures within a team can perform different actions, in the order desired by the player.
The heart of the game is the Action Deck. Each Action Deck contains fifty cards that look like those in diagram below.. These are multi-functional and are used to resolve small arms, anti-tank and indirect fire, melee, and morale tests. It looks like there is a lot of information on the cards, but after you have played a couple of turns of a game you focus on the appropriate part of the card, and they provide a fast and streamlined mechanism. Small arms fire, for example is a two-stage process; first we identify if we have hit a target then we identify the results of that hit. Like in real life, fire is directed against a target area rather than a particular unit. All of the usual tactical modifiers are incorporated in the system, such as training, range, and whether the target or shooter are moving.
To resolve a shot, the player draws a card and consults the hit indicator section of the card., looking at the symbol that corresponds with the accuracy of the firing figure. Shifts to the right are applied for tactical modifiers such as range to target. If the resultant symbol looks like a bullet hole, the shot was a hit; if the resultant symbol is a dark circle, the shot was a miss. When a hit is indicated, the shooter draws another card and consults the middle section of the card to determine which figure in the target area was hit, whether he was wounded or incapacitated, and whether the figure that was hit is protected by cover. Cover is represented explicitly. If the figure hit by the shot is behind a tree or in woods and the tree icon is on the card, the cover protected the target figure and instead of being wounded or incapacitated, it is stunned, or ducks back behind the cover. Fire is conducted into an area, not at a specific figure. In this way, players may not snipe at key figures. Firing into an area in other systems sometimes creates ambiguous situations in which some of the target figures are in cover and some are not, so what modifier is applied? In Combat Patrol™, if the randomly selected figure is behind cover and that cover icon appears on the card, the figure is protected. Once players get used to the unique method of conducting fire in Combat Patrol™, shooting is resolved very quickly.
Any time a figure is hit, even if cover saved the figure, the unit accrues a morale pip to represent the effects of coming under effective enemy fire. When a unit activates, it must make one morale check for each morale pip accrued. Players do this by drawing a card from the Action Deck for each morale pip and reading the bottom portion of the card. Once all morale pips have been removed, any figures in the team that did not move or fire as a result of the morale check may then perform actions as normal.
One of the attributes for each figure is Reaction. This is used to interrupt enemy movement and is a simpler mechanic than the opportunity fire rules in many other systems. When enemy figures move through a figure’s arc of fire, it may make a reaction test. This is done by drawing a card from the Action Deck and consulting the “hit randomizer.” If the result is less than the figure’s Reaction attribute, it may fire at the moving enemy; otherwise, it may not. Since there should be some risk, a “roll” of 5 not only means the figure was unable to react, but it is also pinned. The figure fumbled or froze.
On April 1st I attended a GBHL tournament in Ripon called “Of Dice and Men”. There were 20 people attended the event using the same scenarios as the Grand Tournament. However the catch with “Of Dice and Men” was that the warbands increased to 24 warriors per warband, monsters limited to one for every 10 warriors and everyone got a free Alfred from the old rulebook.
My army for the weekend was that of Spiders. I took Druzhag, Ashrak, Shelob and the Spider Queen leading 26 venombacks, 2 Mirkwood spiders and batswarm.
For my first game I played Louis Aplin and his Dwarf army led by Thrain for a game of domination.
With the Deployment set it looked like the Spiders were greatly outnumbered. Luckily due to the heavy density of terrain on the board, I was able to make use of the bottlenecks to stop the spiders getting swarmed by dwarfs.
Thrain led the charge to try and secure the centre point from Shelob. However she got enraged by Druzhag and killed Thrain and held back the dwarfs. While the spider queen and some helping spiders came from behind the dwarfs line and started to kill them, and the vault wardens also started to suffer from the spiders killing them quickly. However, on the other flank, the dwarfs led by a siege captain were starting to wound the spiders. I was slowly running out of the wound counters I brought to keep track of all the 2 wound models.
As the game drew to an end, the siege captain and his flank of dwarfs reduced in numbers made it to the centre. W hen we worked out the VP’s in turned out to be a draw.
Game 2 was “To the Death” and I played against Matt Weilding and his Isengard army. It was berserkers backed by 2 pikes and crossbows. With a Gollum and the ring.
As it was modified for GT we could deploy anywhere in our half. He set up near the edge of the board and tried to get a few rounds of shooting off and killed a few spiders.
When the spiders met the Uruks they unfortunately did not last long, however an enraged Shelob managed to get a 12” hurl off and threw him through the mob of Uruks forming around the poor spiders. Luckily I had a lot of prone markers as many were hit but failed to kill many of them. The low defence of the Spiders meant his 4-attack line was able to beat me. I ended up losing my second game. The Spiders First outing wasn’t going to plan.
My 3rd Game was against JT. He had a Mordor list led by the mouth of Sauron and 3 Orc Siege Bows. The scenario was Hold Ground, which meant maelstrom deployment.
Luckily for me I managed to deploy my army close and in cover of the siege bows, except Shelob who deployed on the other side and had to walk across the board to meet the army.
My first priority was the to kill the siege bows and then try to secure middle. After the first bow fell I sent 4 spiders across the board to hit the second, while my spiders fought a fierce battle to the centre. After managing to break through and get a few spiders to the centre the orcs fell slowly. Shagrat War Leader was heading towards Ashrak (my general) and his 2 spider bodyguards. Luckily as the flanks fell more spiders were coming to the centre.
The Mouth Of Sauron and some orcs trapping him charged one Spider, but somehow he managed to win the fight and kill The Mouth Of Sauron. Meaning that he was broken and the orcs started to flee when courage tests were done.
The game ended and I had more models in the centre and due to protecting my General so I won the game.
So at the End of Day 1, I had 1 win, 1 loss, and a draw.
Over the last couple of months I have been collecting, painting and basing a 28mm scale WW2 Dutch Army for wargaming with Bolt Action, Combat Patrol and Chain of Command.
The miniatures that I have used are the highly accurate figures produced by May 1940 Miniatures. May 1940 Miniatures is run by Sander, a keen WW2 Dutch Army Re-enactor, so we can be sure that the uniform and personal equipment is 100% historically accurate.
Here's an overall shot of the complete platoon (plus attachments). All miniatures have been painted using Vallejo acrylic paint, dipped using Army Painter Quick Tone and then mounted on Sally 4th clear perspex bases. Click here to take a look at our quick and easy painting guide or click here to take a look at Sally 4th clear bases.
Platoon HQ contains a 2nd Lt and Sgt together with stretcher bearers and medic.
No 1 Section: Rifle Section containing, Section NCO and 2I/C, Lewis Gun team and 8 rifles.
No 2 Section: Rifle Section containing, Section NCO and 2I/C, Lewis Gun team and 8 rifles.
No 3 Section: Rifle Section containing, Section NCO and 2I/C, Lewis Gun team and 8 rifles.
Attached 81mm Mortar
Last week Doug and I played the 4th game in our Pulp Alley - Tomb of the Serpent Campaign.
Sideshow of Horrors sees my French Foreign Legion league going up against the Servants of Apothis in a desperate hunt for an ancient relic, The Ring of the Pharoahs.
Click here for details of Pulp Alley Tomb of the Serpent Campaign
We've had a few questions about the tents and caravans.
The round multi-colour tents are our medieval jousting tents kits, click here for details, the ridge tents are from our modern range, click here for full details. Caravan will be released in the next couple of weeks!
Multi-player Pulp Alley chaos at Hammerhead 2017. We had five cut down leagues consisting off a sidekick and three allies.
The scenario involved these teams searching for clues relating to an ancient artifact believed to be hidden in Casablanca.
We used 8 minor plot points, and nine reward cards. One was a Red Herring, meaning the plot point had to be returned to the table 6" away.
The leagues included a French Foreign Legion League headed up by Lieutenant Bernard Girard, the evil Germans led by the sinister Franz Scneider, and three international archeology teams led by Cassandra van Pelt, Jane Brook-Smythe and Dr Bill Conrad.
We had two types of perilous areas. In the centre of the Souk, the snakecharmer has left his snake unattended, this is extremely perilous! I also ruled that entering a building via a door subtracted 2" from your move, but entering via a window was perilous because their could be a police officer, security guard, house owner or guard dog on the other side.
Entering via a window seemed to be the most populat tactic, and we saw lots of allies going down, as things went horribly wrong. One gamer commented that it was working out more like 'Keystone Cops than Pulp Adventure!
Some gamers had incredibly bad luck. I guess I should not have said, "It's a gift, all you need is one success using any skill"!
Their was a lot of fighting between the different leagues, some easy plot points were overlooked while others were fiercly contested.
Dr Bill Conrads league heads to the Souk.
The second game saw some fierce rivalry between Lewis and his Dad Kevin.
And our youngest gamer was very certain that he wanted to play the evil Germans and played very well and certainly displayed Teutonic ruthlessness.
During the last turn off the last game, we saw an excellent piece of Fortune Card play when an opposing character is knocked into the perilous area surrounding the snake and fails the challenge and health check!
Over the last month I have been putting together a platoon of 28mm WW2 Dutch Infantry using the figures from May 40 Miniatures. This article is very much for gamers who want to get an army painted quickly and in use on the wargames table. May 40 Miniatures has a great guide for those who want to spend a lot more time on painting, shading, highlighting etc. My goal is always to get a section of 10-12 miniatures painted from start to finish in a two hour painting slot.
I'm a big fan of clear bases for individually mounted figures, so I started by clipping the metal plinth off using my Games Workshop Yellow Clippers. The figures were then superglued on to a temporary MDF painting base, and primed with Army Painter white spray paint.
Using a large brush apply a good layer of Vallejo Dark Blue Grey (paint no 157) over the miniature. It does not really matter if you get this over the equipment or hands, as these will be painted latter, so I do this stage very quickly.
I like Vallejo Sunny Skintone (paint no. 020) for flesh, so carefully painted the figures face and hands with this.
The next stage is to paint all of the leather equipment, straps, pouches, sling and shoes with Vallejo Flat Brown (paint no 140).
The bread bag and any other canvas equipment the figure is carrying is painted with Vallejo Green Grey (paint no 106).
The wooden parts of the rifle (and the figures hair) are painted with Vallejo Saddle Brown (paint no 138)
Metal parts on the weapon are then picked out with Gunmetal coloured paint. I used an Army Painter variety, but ant brand will do.
The final color to apply is Refractive Green (paint no 090). Helmets are painted in this color, together with larger pieces of equipment such as mortar tubes, field guns and vehicles.
The miniature is then dipped in Army Painter Quicktone - Strong. This takes a bit of nerve the first time in case it ruins your painting. I hold the figure by its base and literally dip it into the pot, and then use an old brush to wipe off the excess. I leave it until I've dipped the whole batch and then go back over them with an old brush and a piece of kitchen towel to remove any pooling.
After giving the Quick Tone 24 hours to dry properly, I spray the miniature with matt varnish. I use Army Painter Anti-Shine and superglue on to aSally 4th clear perspex base.
He's not going to win any painting competitions, but using this tecnique you can easily paint a platoon of 3 sections and a platoon HQ in four 2 hour evening slots and get them on the table for a game by the weekend!
British Army Chieftain Main Battle Tank
Over the last couple of days, I've had the pleasure to put together and paint this new kit.
Here's the kit laid out before I started. The body, turret and tracks are cast from a high quality lightweight resin, while the barrel, track guard and small pieces are cast in white metal.
I started by assembling the turret. These are the turret pieces laid out, before I started. Sloppy Jalopy has included a nice tank commander miniature. The Chieftain tank can be modelled buttoned down or with the hatch open and commander in hatch. This is the option that I have taken. The turret needs to be drilled out slightly to accommodate the generous lug on the barrel. I used a simple hand drill and needle file. A dremmel type drill could also be used.
The turret stowage bin, GPMG, cupola, hatch and smoke generators were glued into position using superglue. I use industrial strength superglue that I buy from our local builder’s merchant in a big bottle.
Here are the pieces laid out for building the hull of the tank. I have spent a bit of time with a craft knife and needle file to remove the thin web of resin from around the wheels, track and running gear. This is definitely easier to do before gluing pieces together.
At this stage I have glued the rear mud guards into position together with the lights at the front, the drivers hatch and a spare jerry can and chain link.
I have left the track guards off for now to make it easier to paint the tracks and wheels.
Here we can see the rear mud guards in position together with the two rear tow hooks. These were a bit fiddly, so a pair of tweezers was used to hold them in position until they had dried.
In this view we can see the position of the headlights and the front tow hooks.
Time to start painting. I painted the hull, turret and track guards separately using a combined primer / base coat spray. 'Chieftain Green' from the Battlefront Team Yankee range.
The tracks and the edge of the wheels were then carefully painted with a size 2 brush using Vallejo Black Grey paint. I did not paint the top track or running gear as it will be hidden by the track guard.
The tracks and wheels were then painted with a weathering product from AK Interactive called 'Track Wash'. This is an enamel based wash specifically designed for tank tracks. If you do not have any an alternative approach is to use a black ink or Army Painter Strong Tone.
Using a size 1 brush, I then picked out the detail of the GPMG, headlights and tow chain using Army Painter Gunmetal paint.
The next stage is to paint the black camouflage pattern onto the tank. I did think about masking and using black spray paint until I read how crudely the paint was applied, thinned down with petrol and either hand sprayed with axel grease used as a mask or painted with a broom in the REME workshops. In light of this, careful painting with a size 3 brush is more than adequate. Although the colour scheme is often referred to as black over IR green, the black is not really black at all, far more a dark grey. I used the same black grey that I had used for the tracks and mixed it 50/50 with black ink to get a dark grey / off black that flowed into detail well. All of the photos I'd looked at of Chieftains on exercise had about 1/3rd black, 2/3 IR green with 4 large stripes starting on track guards and then continuing to hull decking and turret.
It's not a hard pattern to apply, but you need to be bold!
Leave the base coat to dry completely. I left mine over night, before starting 'weathering'.
Weathering is the process of making the model look like it has not just rolled out of the factory door, but has seen a bit of use in the field.
I always start with my trusty 'Citadel' tank brush and apply a light dry-brush all over with Army Painter Gun Metal, paying particular attention to the tracks, wheels and corners were paint will scuff and scratch. Put a little paint on your palette, with a small brush or toothpick then just dab the tips off the tank brush in it, and paint up and down over a piece of kitchen roll until you have removed most of the paint from the brush.
The second stage of weathering was to start applying dirt/mud to the vehicle. Here I have used a Mig Earth weathering powder, applied with a dry brush. When I was happy with the build up, I dribbled some white spirit around corners and creases to draw the dirt to them. When the white spirit had evaporated, I sprayed the tank all over with Army Painter Matt Varnish to seal the weathering powder in position.
For the final stage of weathering I used some liquid mud from AK Interactive that I applied with my old toothbrush. This is a great technique to model the splatters of fresh mud that a vehicle picks up in the field. If you do not have the special weathering paint do not worry as you can really use and brown acrylic or enamel paint, although it needs to be of a good thick consistency. Put the paint on your pallet, dip the bristles of your toothbrush in the paint and then from a couple of inches away, and at pretty much ground level, draw your thumb across the toothbrush to send mud splatters over your vehicle. It makes your thumb really dirty, and is best not done on the kitchen or dining room table, as it can make a bit of a mess, but I think the result is worth it.
This is a great addition to Sloppy Jalopy’s range of Cold War vehicles, and I think that gamers collecting a BAOR based army have been awaiting it's release with some anticipation.
The kit is available from Sloppy Jalopy and Sally 4th mail order, and we will have kits available as Sloppy Jalopy’s show agents from next weekend (12th February 2017) at ROBIN, onwards together with the painted version in our display case. You can check out the shows that we are attending by clicking here, and you can view the Chieftain kit in our web store by clicking here.
Last week Doug and I got together to play a starting scenario for Doug's Afrika Korp League, The Evil Below.
This saw Hauptmann and his DAK troops landed by E-Boat on a remote East Anglain beach to make their way to the graveyard where the weeping statue was believed to hold an ancient occult relic of unfathomable power. On the way they picked up some local assistance in the form of a nun, the verger and the church caretaker!
So Hauptmanns league ended the game with two minor plot points in their possesion, but the relic slipped through their grasp. Let's hope they have better luck when they make it back to North Africa.
Click here for full details of Pulp Alley Tomb of the Serpent products.
Click here for details of the clear bases that all our Pulp figures have been rebased onto.
Click here for details of the church, which is from the Sally 4th 28mm building range.