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“A prayer’s as good as a bayonet on a day like this” – Colonial 6mm, Welsh Wizardry, Car wrecks and Focus in Combat

col2A few things to write about this week, so I better get on with it…

The Men who would be Kings in 6mm

I have to admit that I like the format of the little blue Osprey Wargame booklets (link here).  Not all of them have suited my palate in terms of period or type of rules. However, I have bought a fair few of them to date and found most of them interesting and worth a go. One of the earliest I really liked was the Dux Bellorum rules (Arthurian stuff) by Daniel Mersey.  I fondly remember trying to figure out the rules one evening after sunset on the Island of Rhodes using some  flats I had printed out before the trip.  I have since used it to play some games using my Dark Age stuff I did for Saga, which in technically terms in not from the Arthurian period – but none involved seemed to suffer!.

However, this posting is not about Dux Bellorum, but instead relates to another of Daniel’s sets (also published by Osprey) that I want to give a try, namely the Men Who Would be Kings rules. This is a large skirmish rule set derived from his very successful Lion Rampant rules. As implied by the title it is a colonial period rule set.

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I have to admit to some, well actually a lot of, 6mm Baccus colonial stuff (link here) on my lead pile that I “will get to one day!”.  I have also promised to have a go at trying out “A Steady and Deliberate Rate of Fire” (yet to be published) that seem to be another great set of rules, by Peter Riley who did the Polemos Franco-Prussian war (link here) and the American Civil War rules (link here) . I seem to be a lead mountain away from testing the rules, unless I use some flats but that is more a last resort issue. Sorry Peter, I will get there one day!

What my experience with Sharp Practice has taught me is that it is possible to do skirmish in 6mm that works (see more on this here).  With some emphasis on the terrain and playing the game seated instead of standing the immersion is on par with other bigger scales. Further it only requires 40% of the foot print (doing it in centimeters instead of inches) of your normal table.  If you pick a range that is well served and have models that are possible to single base easily (like those of Baccus, Rapier and Adler) you can do a good job of it.

I thought I would do a simple set of two forces to try the rules out – I wanted to do some British and Zulus to start with.  I find this conflict being one of the most interesting in combination of not needing to buy any new miniatures.  Miniatures I have been using are Baccus 6mm form their colonials range and I have been using the 1,2,3 basing method as described by Michael Leck, on his eminent Dalauppror blog, here. By using a combination of 9mm (for leaders),12mm (for singles), 15mm and 20mm bases for infantry and 15mm,  and 20mm for cavalry (I did actually a 1,2 basing for these). This is, I think, a very clever way of basing miniatures for large skirmish rules that removes individual miniatures (e.g. Sharp Practice), especially for 6mm that can be a little bit fiddly with small bases.  I suppose you just have to make sure you base each unit so that all combinations of models left can be done.

So far I have finished the little British force consisting of 4 units of regular infantry (12 in each unit) and 2 units of regular cavalry (Lanciers, with 8 in each unit).  I am very pleased with the way they look and the little space this force takes. I will add a few more unit and some artillery later, but this is enough to get started.

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The Zulus are quick to paint and I have to brush up (sorry for the pun) on my Zulu shield knowledge before I can complete them. There is some variation based on marital status and experience (age) if I recall things correctly.  I am nearly there though.

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A Welsh Wizard’s tome

I bought the War of 1812 supplement for Sharp Practice penned by Mike Hobbs last week. You might be familiar with Mike if you listen to the Meeples and Miniatures podcast.  I am not that familiar with the period but having read it on a train last week I am now resisting getting some miniatures to have a go.  There is a thread on what miniatures to use for this in 6mm if you are interested here.  I really enjoyed reading it and if you are interested in the period than this is a very good things to get started with even if you do not play Sharp Practice. I actually may end up using the scenarios for my French Indian War battles with a few modifications.  The fact that Mike is very enthusiastic about both the Sharp Practice rules  in general but more importantly about the period itself shines through and puts that sparkle of magic on top of it all.

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The book contain a listing of the opposing forces and a very good campaign write up  for the 41st foot regiment, and seven scenarios.  Most of the scenarios are based on the memoirs of Private Shadrach Byfield [A Narrative of a Light Company Soldier’s Service in the Forty-First Regiment of Foot (1807-1814)] and, in my view, offer a wide range of challenges.

Further it introduces a few specific unit characteristics for the War. My favourite is the War Cry that allow an Native Indian unit to instill fear (technically Shock) in another unit.  The army lists for both sides covers standard infantry forces, royal marines, militia, scouting forces and native forces (and some cavalry for the Americans).  It looks comprehensive enough to me. There is also an overview of the war and two Appendices cover the two armies of the war.

You buy and download the PDF from Too Fat Lardies here.

Terminator Car Wrecks

We needed some more terrain to provide some additional cover for the Terminator games so.  This give some additional cover to give the resistance a better chance of winning against the machines.

I and the Little One got some close enough to 28mm scale cars from a charity shop for 20 pence each and stuck them on bases and added some debris on the side (cut up matches, toothpicks, some plastic from a DVD cover and added some various sized stones and mixed it with PVA glue) and, after they were dried, spray painted them grey. Painting left to do, but will do a very good job in breaking up the field of battle.

Focus in Battle

On a funnier note (and repeated from the Roll a One Facebook page) I came home from work one day finding some particular modifications having been done to the Little Ones Nerf gun glasses.

“Why have you stuck pieces of paper on your glasses?”, I asked the Little One.

“They are tactical information screens, it gives me the ability to focus in battle. Got that Private?”

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A sleeping hero

The title of this posting – “A prayer’s as good as a bayonet on a day like this” is said by Colour Sergeant Bourne in the movie Zulu (link here). Colour Sergeant (Frank Edward) Bourne was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (CDM) after the Battle at Rourke’s Drift and was, at the time, the youngest soldier in the British Army who had achieved the rank of Colour Sergeant.  He ended his career as a Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded an OBE. As I read up about him I found out that he was buried not far from where I live.  I think I will take the Little One and have a look for it after Rugby next Sunday.  Although he was only 5’6″ tall he was certainly, in every sense of the word, a big man.

/ All the very best, next time I will go through the forces who will be fighting the Kalisz battle at Salute in April this year.

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) – Part 4, Bon Voyage Dr. Bardaux, FIW Flags and Swedish Infantry finally done for Lesnaya

True to my words, at least this time, last weeks effort were focused on the main project. 17 bases of infantry inked, highlighted, based and flagged this weekend from the base painted pile. More on this below. It is nice to do some 6mm again.

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I am really happy I managed to get that famous finger out of that dreadful place and get these done.  I have had too many diversions lately on the hobby front with the Terminator stuff (did I say Terminators, Sorry!) and other pleasant non-priority things. On the personal front I had to go to France for a funeral earlier in the week.  This was for a very special Lady who touched many hearts and inspired me in so many ways over the years, she truly was a manifestation of her own favourite poem “A thing of beauty, is joy forever” (link to it here). Hats off for you Dr. Bardaux!

I also got those flags I talked about to use for the French and Indian War games, one Nouvelle France flag and also the Kings Colours (looks very good, me thinks!).

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Swedish Infantry at Lesnaya

The following are the infantry made for the Lesnaya Battle (with some facts from the eminent book by Lars-Erik Höglund and Åke-Sallnäs, The Great Northern War 1700-1721 – Colours and Uniforms).

Estlänskt Infanteriregemente (de la Gardie), 2 battalions.

This was an enlisted regiment and raised in 1700 by the Governor General of Estland A.J. de la Gardie. After the Lesnaya Battle the regiment, due to heavy losses, where incorporated into the Västerbotten Regiment and fought in the Poltava Battle in 1709. They did not carry pikes and both battalions of the regiment were present at the Lesnaya Battle. The regiment, together with a battalion of the  Närke-Värmland Tremänning regemente, formed the rearguard that were first attacked by the Russians.

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Närke-Värmland Tremänning regemente, 1 battalion.

This was a temporary regiment that was raised in 1700 and had been reduced to one battalion in 1705.  Was, due to losses, incorporated into the Livgardet (Lifeguard) after the Lesnaya battle. As mentioned above, part of the rearguard, that first had contact with the enemy at the battle.

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Hälsinge Regemente, 2 battalions.

This was a regular indelta (provincial) regiment and had its origins from the 16th century. The survivors from the battle was transferred to the Dalregementet.  The regiment was one of three regiments that first came to aid to the rearguard that was being attacked by the Russians.

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Upplands, Västmanlands och Dalarnas Tremänning regemente, 2 battalions.

Another temporary regiment raised in 1700 and the survivors after the Lesnaya Battle was incorporated into the Livgardet.  Was part of the early support force sent to help the rearguard.

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Åbo Läns regemente, 1 battalion.

A regular provincial (finnish) regiment created in the 17th century. It had one battalion with the Lewenhaupt army (the other retained for fortress duty). As for the two regiments above part of the early support force.

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Småland Tremänning regemente, 2 battalions.

Yet another temporary regiment that was raised in 1700 and you guessed it, due to losses, incorporated into the Livgardet (Lifeguard) after the Lesnaya battle. This like the other 3 regiments below was at Lesnaya during the Battle.

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Åbo, Björneborg och Nylands Tremänning regemente, 2 battalions.

Temporary regiment that was raised in 1700 and it is not perfectly clear whether one or two battalions joined Lewenhaupts Army. Survivors after the battle were incorporated into the Västmanland regimente.

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Öselska Lantmilisbataljon, 1 battalion.

This was a militia force raised in 1702 and took heavy losses at Lesnaya and after this was incorporated into the Västerbotten regimente. They did not carry pikes.

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Österbotten regemente, 1 battalion.

A regular provincial (finnish) regiment created in the 17th century. It had one battalion with the Lewenhaupt army (the other retained for fortress duty). Survivors from the Lesnaya Battle were put into the Närke-Värmland regimente.

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Nylands regemente, 1 battalion.

A regular provincial regiment created in the 17th century. It had one battalion with the Lewenhaupt army (the other retained for fortress duty). Was sent to enforce the troops at Lesnaya.  Survivors after the Battle were placed in the Västmanland Regemente.

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Björneborgs regemente, 2 battalions.

A regular provincial (finnish) regiment created in the 17th century. As for the Nylands regmente it came as an enforcement to the troops at Lesnaya. Survivors after the Battle were placed in the Västmanland Regemente.

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/ See you next week

 

 

These ruins do not look very good Papa, do they?

If you have followed this blog you know that I have been doing some Terminator stuff to get the Little One a little bit more involved in the non-electronic side of the gaming hobby.  Initially I wanted to get the box, paint a set and get a few games of it before going on to more things.  Last week I finished painting another starter set worth of miniatures as well as 7 specialized machines and a handful of resistance specials (this includes the ones with the headswaps from Badsquiddo Games (link here) I showed in the blog last time, see link here). Basic quick paintjobs based on the little ones preferred uniform colours and ready for the table!

I also converted an old German Paratrooper set to a resistance mortar (as these are no longer for sale) and did a headswap from a celtic dog handler to avoid the German look, I then used the three dogs in the set to do some sniffer dogs for the game (Again, these are also sold out. These are dogs that can identify a robot infiltrator and consequently the model can be attacked – in game terms the model can sneak around freely until (1) a dog handler challenges it or (2) it attacks).  I felt the game needed some sniffer dogs as well as some mortar support for the resistance.

This was based on the following two packs from Warlord Games (link here).

Obviously the ones originally produced for the game look much better (but this solution works for us!). If they are offered again the resistance of course will be futile, but until then here we are.

The game comes with some cardboard terrain, including some flat ruins as shown in the picture below.  On inspection and reflection the little one looked at me and said “These ruins do not look very good Papa, do they?”. I agreed that they didn’t but instead said, “They are ok, we just use our imagination!”, thinking that I had other things to do, like this years installment of the Towards Moscow Project that needs to be ready for the Joy of Six or, even closer, the Kalisz Battle for Salute.  I seemed to have wiggled myself of the hook!

 

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Nothing wrong with these but I find mixing 3D (like minatures) with 2D is, let us be honest, far from appealing in any sense.

 

Later that evening when the Little One was visiting Neverland I packed up the stuff from the game we had played and looked at those ruined tiles again – Nice artwork aside, they did not look that good.  I went on ebay and ordered some mdf ruins (yes I could have used 6mm floor insulation foam and cut my own shapes) but I this stage I thought I just get some mdf ruins and paint them black and drybrush them in grey – job done!

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This is what I got! I used about half of the stuff I got in doing the four ruins presented later. I, as always unless I mention it, have no affiliation with this seller and can really recommend these. It is very good value for money!

 

After a few days they arrived but when I had assembled them I got second thoughts about how to finish them and instead of just painting them after assembly I pimped them up a little bit before priming. I cut out some bases from some vinyl floor tiling material I had lying around (left over from the Saga table I did last year) and glued the ruins on top (I used hard as nails adhesive).  I then applied some PVA glue on the ground and added sand. For the walls I applied a thin, but rough coat of modelling paste on the walls. I took some stones from the garden, cut some cocktail sticks and matches into small pieces, cut up some pieces of plastic into small squares and mixed it all with PVA glue and applied it here and there. I also added some small stones on the edges of collapsed flooring and wall sections. In addition I added thin sand on top of each wall (using PVA) that was not broken (to take away the evenness of the laser cut). I also had a few crates etc I added here and there.  I ended up with this!

Once it was properly dry (With PVA it takes a while) I primed it in Black Gesso, painted the ground brown, then drybrushed it with a light brown. For the walls and rubble I just dry brushed it with a dark grey followed by a light grey. I added a few dry tufts.

I got thumbs up from the Little One and they have already been put to use in a skirmish today.  I am just waiting for him to tell me “This game mat does not look very good, does it!” (It is made of paper and from the basic box!)..

Here are some shots from the opening of that game.

So until I get the mat request, I will now fully dedicate my modelling hours to the Towards Moscow Project.  Here is the current progress, mostly thanks to Chris at Marching in Colours! A few more models to be inked, detailed, flagged-up and based.

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I also got some table flags that I will use when  I do Winter War gaming. I thought it added a nice touch, although I did surprise a friend of mine when he came over and noticed the Soviet flag. However, the explanation about using it when I played with toy soldiers seemed to make him think I was more weird than what the flag itself implied. I have also ordered a King’s Colours flag (or Great Union flag, that was used by England and Scotland up to 1801) and a Nouvelle France flag for my French Indian War Battles, and a Swedish and Tsarist Russian Flag for the Towards Moscow Battles.

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/ All the best, and although “I will be back!”, there will be no terminators next time, I promise.

 

Double Joy at Six, Tiger Lillies, bare winter trees and headswaps

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A little bit longer blog this time…

Neil Shuck doing Sharp Practice in 6mm at Joy of Six

There are some very good news indeed with regards to Joy of Six this year, from my and I believe many others perspective, as Neil Shuck will be running some Sharp Practice in 6mm using my French Indian War stuff I did last year. You may recall that I and Neil did the Saga in 6mm last year. Neil will be developing a scenario so we are not yet fully sure what will happen on the day, but we will let you know as and when the mystery unfolds.

Most of you, I suppose, know that Neil Shuck is the man behind the, in my opinion, best wargames podcast available called “Meeples and Miniatures”.  If you have not listened to Neil and his co-host give it a go, it is more than worth it (there is a link below).  I have been listening to it for years and it has given my joy, inspiration as well as sound investment advice.

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There are of course other podcasts out there, including the new, and equally, addictive Veteran Wargamer as well as the long running Wargames Recon show that are also very good.  As I have said before listening to podcasts and audiobooks is my way of keeping my hands free to do painting and modelling.

Joy of Six is a show that from one perspective could be seen as an exclusive 6mm event but that would be a very (did I say very) narrow view, instead I, and perhaps you should too, see it as a fantastic event that bring something to all wargamers.  To get an idea what it is all about you should check out the link to the show report from 2016 below. Personally it is another chance to see Dan Hodgson’s amazing Star Wars stuff that I totally missed out on last time due to the demand around the Saga tables.

Thanks Neil! Looking forward to seeing you again.

I will be running the Great Northern War Battle of Lesnaya 1708, if I ever get there!

Here are a few useful links with regards to the above:

  1. Joy of Six to be held in Sheffield on the 16th July 2017
  2. Sharp Practice in 6mm (many more associated posts on the blog)
  3. Saga in 6mm that I did with Neil last year.
  4. Joy of Six show report from 2016, Part 1 and Part 2.
  5. Meeples and Miniatures webpage, the best wargames show.
  6. Veteran Wargamers webpage, the best new wargames show.
  7. Wargames Recon webpage, the longest running wargames show on the planet.

Bare Winter Trees for my Chain of Command Winter War Project

I am finishing of the stuff I need for running some Winter War battles with regards to terrain and markers (see more background here and here). Trees are very important to get the right feeling and my current focus are on these.  I already have a fair few pine type of trees (Christmas trees) and these are just the same Summer and Winter apart from some snow flock on top,  but also wanted some bare (leaf less) winter trees.  To get the right look I have considered Sea foam (but it seems to brittle for my requirements), making it with wires (but it seems too time consuming to do large quantities) or to go out looking for twiglets (but this gives limited amount of branches, unless you look very hard!).  What follows is how I intend to do my bare forest.

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A picture of a river with some bare trees in the foreground during the Winter War, the objective of this little note.  Picture taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

 

 I went to eBay and found these trees (see below) and thought I give it a try. As they come from China it could have taken a while to get them in the post – but I was pleasantly surprised to get them delivered in a week.

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The look pretty much like the picture and if you were in severe rush you could probably base them and field them like this.  I took a few more steps and I have written a narrative of what I did in the text for each picture on what I did. I thought this could have some general interest.

What you need:

  1. The trees shown above (go to ebay and search for them, you can by other quantities, the one above is for 50 trees 5X 10X).
  2. Something to cut with (whatever you have clippers, nail scissors, etc. The plastic is very soft)
  3. Washers (for bases) mine were 25cm in diameter.
  4. Super glue
  5. Putty or green stuff
  6. Primer (I used Black Gesso)
  7. Paints for the trunk and branches (see below for the ones I used)
  8. Modge Podge (Matte), but perhaps PVA is as good
  9. Modelling Snow Flock
  10. Some sealer (have not done that yet) – maybe a matte spray varnish would be best?

 

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As they come, a plastic brownish feel and those arrow heads at the end.  I suppose they are there to help keeping it together if you apply clump foliage. There is some nice structure on the trunk making it look like a tree.
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I cut away all the arrow heads (and also the bottom part that is still present on the picture).
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I superglued it on a washer (yes I did forget a few of the arrowheads but sorted that out later) and put some putty to support it at the bottom.
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I prime it black using Black Gesso. I find Gesso very good for priming plastic stuff.
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I used Vallejo model colour and did a heavy drybrush over the whole tree and then a 50/50 mix with whire of light drybrushing. I feel this is a better generic tree colour than the brown before!  I may do a few to look like birch trees when I do full production later.
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I applied Modge Podge (Matte) on the branches where I wanted snow to stick. Do not cover everywhere as it more effectful to see some of the branches too. Put some on the base as well. Try to put on generously wihout too much drip (if that makes sense!).
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Let it snow, I use spoon to apply the snow modelling flock from above.  Shake off and apply more Modge Podge until you are happy with the result.

 

 

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The finalized tree next to a little Cabin (I do not remember who produced these and it broke my heart covering the nicely modelled roof with Modge Podge and Snowflock!, but now I think it was worth it) and a Finnish Submachine gunner in 15mm (from Resistant Rooster I believe with a Peter Pig headswap). Maybe the trees would work in 28mm too?  I will try to make the bases less bulky in the future and will not put on any sand and keep them as they are after applying the putty as they will be covered with snow anyway. All I need to do is to put the production machine on and do another 119 of these!

 

 

Tiger Lillies

I went to see Tiger Lillies perform at the Camden Roundhouse in London this Friday. The concert was in celebration of their latest album released last week called ‘Cold Night in Soho’. It was their only gig in London as was advertised and promised as a night to remember.  As I may have uttered before, the first time I heard them I was not sure whether it was absolute rubbish or bloody brilliant – I settled for the latter and this concert yet again proved that decision was the right one, being a mixture of old and new and I really enjoyed every minute.

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This is one of those very fine British cultural treasures and to quote the roundhouse webpage, “The music they produce is a mixture of pre-war Berlin cabaret, anarchic opera an gypsy music, echoing the voices of Bertholt Brecht and Jacques Brel”.  Check them out here.

Could not resist chopping some heads

With regards to the Genisys project I did say I did not need any more miniatures, but I got a good deal on the John Connor and a Lieutenant set the other day so I could not resist getting these.  What would the resistance be without John Connor?. Also I thought I would convert some of the resistance soldiers by using heads from Badsquiddo games (link here., I recommend a visit) to bring some gender balance in the resistance to the machines.  Just as a note, one of the miniatures on each sprue in the box is a woman, but I wanted some more variety.  I had also waited for an opportunity to use these heads since became aware of what Annie at Badsquiddo is doing.

Here are the shots of the resistance miniatures with the headswaps done (have not yet started painting them).

You may think the heads are a bit too big, and perhaps they are?  They are good enough for my purposes. However, and this is great, they are sold in three different sizes fine, pulp and heroic. I bought the heroic ones and perhaps a size or two down would work better.

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Incoming ships

I also got my order of “wave whatever” ships for the X-wing miniature games, I have lost count of what wave it is (I think it is Wave 10!). However, they are very nice indeed and I suppose we have to test fly them soon.

The Quadjumper and Upsilon-class Shuttle from the Force Awakens movie as well as Sabine’s TIE fighter from the Rebels series.

I also got some plastic toy cars that I intend to use for the Winter War project, but more on that another time.

Thanks for not asking about progress on the TMT project!

/ May the force be with you