Sunday, June 24, 2012

Progress on the Workbench

The Entire Anglo-Allied Force

Waterloo progress of a rather 'dull' sort.  There are generally two ways I approach painting:  
One way is to paint up a unit and complete it, then start another, then another, until it is all finished.  The other way is to paint like a production line, doing the same thing on a whole pile of miniatures (all the coats, all the boots, etc) to bring the whole lot towards completion.

For a fair time, I used to try to always do one or another, and typically wound up feeling guilty when I found myself sacrificing one method for the other.  I have however recently been pondering things and am now much more forgiving of mixing these two methods up.  This is really down to me belatedly recognising that each one has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which vary whatever one is most suitable, depending on the state of the 

Option one is quite good for getting a sense of progress, and correspondingly gives a little boost of enthusiasm - very valuable in a big project, where it's easy to have the initial spark of inspiration begin to wane after a time.  However, seeing a unit through to completion over and over again can also kill off the 'big picture' of a project, and encourages a bit of tunnel vision to creep in.  Also, after seeing a fully-finished unit complete it can be a hard thing to go back to another group of undercoat-only models and start all over again.

Option two is unquestionably faster.  It moves large numbers of figures towards completion in 
a few bold moves, and keeps the whole force moving forward (i.e. cuts off the temptation to dump parts of the project and scale back.)  However, it's painfully thankless for long periods.  Who ever walked away from a painting table after 2-odd hours of work, with precisely no completed figures to show for it, and felt happy?  

Closer view - mainly Cavalry & Artillery

After a bit of pondering (this wasn't some high-minded intellectual musing, I should add - more 
like some daydreaming which went on a bit too long) I decided that the general rule should be the option 2 'production-line' method, but regularly broken up with bursts of 'through to completion' painting to keep enthusiasm high.  I've recently finished a burst of 'option 1' painting which has produced my first try-out bases for all arms of my Napoleonic Waterloo army, and even my first full division of infantry.  However the box of base-coated models on strips of card is alarmingly vast, so I think it's high time that I knuckled down for some 'production-line' painting to try and get all the models with at least the base-colour of their uniforms in place.  
The whole lot

The end result:  behold!  The entire Anglo-Allied army coat-coloured at last, and now only the painful process of doing all the black areas.  Covering heads & shakos, shoes, cartridge boxes, Brit backpacks, bayonet-sheaths & various other straps here and there, it's one of the most infuriating paint-colours to apply.  Still, once this is done it gets progressively easier, I'm happy to remind myself.  

20mm Generals!  Wellington, Orange, Hill & Uxbridge

The finished articles, including some artillery & cavalry I didn't get to photograph before!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rules I've Recently Bought

There's been a rules explosion (a "rulesplosion?") here, recently.  Cut off from tabletop gaming by the demands of packing up to move house, I've found myself roving the internet and finding all sorts of rulesets I'd otherwise not have found.  As a result, here's a little round-up of recent acquisitions for possible future projects.  Some are here already but some are still en-route through the post.  

In no particular order:

This one is one I've had my eye on for a while, due in no small part to the Geektactica blog showcasing it and making it look amazing.  Plus, I may even be able to tempt a friend into some occasional games, due to the 'skirmish' type of games needing only a very small outlay of figures.  
 This is quite similar to the above, but in a Retro Sci-Fi setting.  This is (from a first glance at the 'rapid launch' rules taster) similar to CinC but appears to have much more RPG-style characteristics.  Also, the range of miniatures out there for Retro Sci-Fi is surprisingly large and impressive!
Next up is 'Condottiere' by Foundry Miniatures.  This looks like a one-stop system for rules and campaigns, which has had interesting 'chatter' doing the rounds.  It should be an easy adaptation for my large stock of wars of the roses figures to branch out into generic 'Late Medieval' warfare.  Speaking of the Wars of the Roses...
 This is a set of rules by Peter Pig, and it turned up on various lists across The Miniatures Page forums as a strong recommendation for a WOTR rules set.  Trouble is, no amount of searching on the internet seemed to turn up a decent review or any large amount of info.  Eventually, I decided to buy it and give it an experimental whirl - it also apparently contains quite a bit of background info, scenarios, etc. so it's not a complete shot in the dark.  
 And now for something completely different!  I've often heard about how the game 'AK47 Republic' was very good, and as I was ordering Bloody Barons off Peter Pig, I decided to take a punt on this and sling it in the cart as well!  

I'll see about putting up a review of the rules once I get a chance for a proper look through them all!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alten's Division, Anglo-Allied Army, 1815

Painting news!  I have limited myself to only painting Waterloo figures, by the simple discipline of putting all my other figures into storage in a relatives' house pre-move.  Here's my first experimental batch for show.  

This group of 3 brigades is for Alten's division in Orange's 1st Corps.  It consists of Halkett's British infantry brigade, Ompteda's KGL brigade, and (in the green) Kielmansegge's Hanoverian brigade.  

I've never been one for basing with a lot of fuss, so I have settled for a simple green spray-painted MDF base with a coat of thin PVA, then flocked with GW grass sprinkled over the top.  It was tried out with the ACW Confederate bases recently, and I thought it looked pretty good.  Plus, these bases have more than 4 figures, so they look much better as they are naturally 'busier.'  (The close-up pic above was taken just after adding the grass, so the figures are still covered in bits and need a bit of a dust-down!)

I've labelled the bases with a written definition on a narrow strip along the back-edge, which turns out to be practical (I considered the underside but had visions of turning over all the bases in a bid to find one rogue unit - far too depressing) and also unobtrusive.  It's visible when you look for it, but if you stand back for the diorama effect, they're effectively invisible from a foot or two away.

I also have some others either done or imminently about to be done.  A Dutch inf unit has been based in a column formation and looks pretty good; an artillery battery has been completed; plus a tester cavalry base has been tried out and they all seem to have gone well.  Infantry are actually the most awkward, just from the number of figures involved.  With a bit more time, I can have a small mixed-arms force to take the field against a similar band, for a little fictitious try-out.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Initial Sci-Fi Force

I have made a bit of progress with my Sci-Fi force, and thought I'd show how it has taken form.  This has been progressing at a nice, leisurely pace of a base or two being cut out at a time (fills in an evening rather easily, and I did some the other night while Star Trek was on the telly, appropriately enough.)

This beast is a 'Heavy' Tank, with a turret-mounted cannon.  The assembly is a nice little 'double-box' affair where one slides within another, and actually makes the whole quite rigid.  Next to it is one of a few infantry bases I put together.  

Ah, now here's the fancy stuff!  Three Mechs!  As I'm starting out on what I hope will be a longer story narrative for the Sci-Fi world I'm making up as I go along, I have built three 'light' mechs for now - the tank is still definitely the biggest thing on the battlefield, and infantry the most numerous, mainly because I'm saving the introduction of larger & more numerous Mechs for later, as the technology develops & spreads.  As such, I've also equipped them all in a particularly uniform way, with a machine-gun and a laser each, to make them a standard 'Guardian' class mech.  

So here they all are: this force is the initial Federal (i.e. 'Earth-centric') authority that will run human space, and is responsible for fighting the rivals that shall soon follow: uppity planetary colonial types that want to break away from central control, and form their own interstellar empires.