Painting guide No 2 – Artillery

This is the second painting Guide supporting the 6mm Charity project that has now started (you can read more about it in a previous blog here). There will be a total of 4 painting guides, covering Horse, Dragoons, Foot and Artillery of the Baccus Wars of the Sun King Range.

We will start this one at Step 5 – which is the painting stages (I highly recommend that you read Step 1 to 4 in the First painting guide as it covers some things that are important in preparing the miniatures and yourself for the challenge, a link is provided here).

Step 5 – the Painting (depending on how you access this you may just see one picture, but it is a slideshow with the steps)

Let dry… Basing (which will not be done by the participants of the Charity Projects) is shown in Part 1.

Here is the final result

/ Hope that was of some interest

Painting Guide No 1 – 6mm Horse and God’s Own Scale Podcast

The finished article (basic paint job, will look brilliant on the table)

This is the first painting Guide supporting the 6mm Charity project that has now started (you can read more about it in a previous blog here). This is the first of 4 painting guides, covering Horse, Dragoons, Foot and Artillery of the Baccus Wars of the Sun King Range.

I was invited to Sean of the God’s Own Scale Podcast to talk about this project, you can listen to the podcast here. I am really happy to have Sean back on air and his back catalogue has some really inspiring stuff not just from a 6mm perspective. It was also great to listen to Peter Berry about Baccus dealing with the current situation and about things to come.

GENERAL NOTE: There are many ways to paint 6mm miniatures, I believe this approach is a realistic level for painting large batches at a table top standard that when they are presented on your wargames table en masse will look great. I very rarely do any more elaborate work on any of my miniatures and you may be able to get away with less and there are people whose painting is far exceeding this level. It is matter of pitching yourself at a level where you can achieve your projects in realistic timescales.

The painters of each set of horse will be given a coat colour and a cuff colour (in this example the coat will be red and the cuff blue).

This is the picture from the Baccus catalogue (link here).

Step 1 – mount the miniatures on a Lollipop stick or similar – I use blue tac but some pva glue works as well. The blue tac allows me to jump to Step 1 without waiting.

Step 2 – prime with a grey spray paint or paint the miniatures grey (you could use white or black too, but this example uses grey) – let dry.

Step 3 – use a light wash with diluted ink, I use pledge floor polish with some black ink added. But you could use any black wash, you want the black to be in the recesses and add some shadow. As you will see this approach lets us get away with not painting a few elements that can be tricky (as we just leave then black), it also creates a nice shaded effect if we do not overload the model with paint.

Step 4 – Start painting, but lets us talk about a few things I have found useful for painting (6mm):

– Brush, make sure you have a good point on your brush. I used a size 1 brush for all element of this project. You can use smaller brushes but I find then are not able to carry much paint and wear out quickly when you paint in batches (that is normally the case for 6mm).

– Paint – shake your paint well. I tend to use the paint directly from the pot. I clean the brush often in the paint cup then drag it carefully over some tissue paper (check the point) so I pick up new paint with a moist not soaking wet brush – I want to paint sharp colours once not having the paint flowing all over the miniature. Forget the milky consistency approach, paint sharp and once.

– Light – make sure you have good light. You will be able to see clearly and your eyes do not get tired. I used to use all kind of magnifiers and googles to paint in the past – it may help you but what I really needed was enough light.

– Gentle – paint as carefully as you can, but you can always repair any too obvious issues with some black.

– Mood – be in the right spirit of mind when you attempt painting these – especially if you have not painted in the scale before. Listen to a podcast and close the door – try to get into the Joy of Six!

Step 5 – Painting Steps

Step 6 – Basing (this will not be done by the painters in the charity project, but I show it here for completeness).

Hope that was of some use

Featured

Community effort to jointly paint some 6mm armies for fun and charity!

JUST A NOTE TO SAY THAT ALL SLOTS ARE NOW FILLED FOR THIS PROJECT – THANK YOU ALL WHO HAS VOLUNTEERED FOR THIS. MINIATURES WILL SENT TO YOU SHORTLY AND I WILL GET BACK TO YOU WITH FURTHER DETAILS.

Let us build some small armies together..

This is a long post and in summary it invites you to participate in a community effort to paint one base of 6mm miniatures to support the building of two opposing armies in 6mm – provided free by Baccus 6mm. You will then send back the painted miniatures and they will be based up in a unified manner and a few battles fought with them and then they will be sold-off and the proceeds given to the Combat Stress charity. Whether you painted 6mm or not previously is not important and I will provide some painting tutorials in future blog posts. With this I hope to share some of the Joy of Six I have had over the years (unfortunately you can only participate this time around if you are based on the UK – Sorry!).

A lot of us, assuming most people visiting this blog are wargamers, has had a few hobby outings this year that have been cancelled due to COVID-19. I have been looking forward going to the excellent Lardy Event in Evesham, showing off the Poltava 1709 Battle at Salute and a few others. However my favourite show in the year is when we all go up to Sheffield and share the joy of six at the Joy of Six. This is the annual show focusing on the 6mm scale and was scheduled to take place in on the 5th of July this year. It was recently cancelled for the right reasons, but will be back next year.

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I was going to take my old Fraustadt 1706 board this year, with a few modifications, and play the example scenario in the Twilight of the Sun King rule set. It was the first big 6mm project I completed and still one of my favourites.

See the source image
The Fraustadt 1706 as laid out at Joy of Six in 2012


I have had so much fun with the 6mm scale in doing my various projects over the years and all the other positive aspects I have had as a result in terms of meeting some great people, seemingly inspired some of them as well to get into 6mm, been invited to podcasts to talk about this passion, etc.

Here the podcasts I have had the pleasure of sharing my love of 6mm with:

Meeples and Miniatures Part 1

Meeples and Miniatures Part 2

God’s Own Scale

Battlegames Battlechat

Contrary to popular belief I am still very much doing 6mm projects, and I wanted to do something to share the Joy of Six, so I had an idea. I would like us as a community to paint up two 6mm armies and I need your help. I do not care if you are a hard core 6mm fan or just want to give it a go for fun.

I would like you to either paint one base worth of infantry (24 No. miniatures), cavalry (9 No. miniatures) or a set of 4 Artilley bases (16 No. miniatures and 4 guns). These will be from the Baccus Wars of the Sun King range, that I have used for my Lund 1676 Project – they are some fantastic models. Here are some of the ones I painted (more pictures from an earlier blog here).

Each army will consist of (pictures from the Baccus home page):
• 8 units of foot – 8 persons

This is a unit of Foot – 24 small models to paint per person.


• 6 Horse – 6 persons

This is a unit of Horse – 9 small models to paint per person.


• 6 Dragoons – 6 persons

This is a unit of Dragoons – 9 small models to paint per person.


• 4 artillery bases – 1 person

This is base of Artillery, the persons doing these will be asked to paint enough for 4 bases – that is 16 miniatures and 4 guns.


Times two, that is a total of 42 available slots.

The picture below show these kind of bases in relation to a 28mm (from Crooked Dice) and 15mm (from Peter Pig) model.

A base of Foot, Cavalry and Artillery with a 28mm and 15mm model.

This is the look of each army (this is a Saxon army from the Great Northern War/WSS range).

It works like this:

(i) You will register your interest by contacting me on this blog rollaone.com – use the contact form (there is a link on the top), leave your e-mail address and state that “I want to paint some 6mm” (unfortunately you can only participate this time around if you are based on the UK – Sorry!). I will contact people on a first come first served basis and ask for your address so the miniatures can be sent to you, either 24 infantry, 9 mounted or 16 artillery men with 4 guns (this will be random to make things easier). Please read and understand the “A few notes” below.

Once I have a full list of people and addresses I will share this with Baccus who will be sending out the miniatures. Hopefully this should not take too long.

(ii) You will be sent a pack of 6mm miniatures (at no cost to yourself), paint them based on some general guidelines, you will then send them to me (at your cost) and I will base them up in a uniform way, attach flags to the infantry, and we then have two small armies ready for the table top.

(iii) I and the Little One will play a few battles with these armies and report the outcome on this blog.

(iv) We will then offer up the armies for sale on ebay (or similar) with the full sale price less the auction site costs, going directly to Combat Stress Appeal. Not because I necessarily think, but do hope, it would bring a substantial amount of financial gain, but because it is a good thing and also because this is not done for any personal gain but for the Joy of Six.

A few notes:

  • It would be great to have you onboard, but please only do this if you intend to take the time to paint up the miniatures and send them back in a reasonable timescale, say maximum 4 weeks from receipt. Even if you do not participate in this you can still get into the fun and follow the progress on the blog and/or twitter.
  • This is not a painting competition, this is about painting the units and building the army. I know that styles, skill and approaches vary but one of the things I hope this will prove once and for all is that when these 6mm armies are put on the table with uniform bases and we take as step back it does not matter who painted what – it will look like a battle is ready to commence.
  • I will, in further blog updates, provide generic guidelines for the two armies, they will be imaginary and the idea is that you will be given a coat colour (say red or blue) and a cuff colour (each being different). You can paint the hats, brims, socks, pistol holsters, etc, in any colour you like, perhaps your officers have different coats, etc. This to make some uniformity to the armies but giving you some freedom in making your own choices.
  • There will also be painting tutorial for each of the elements (horse, dragoon, infantry and artillery) and make it available on this blog in a few weeks time (in line with the miniatures being sent out), this will be a simple straightforward optional approach that you may want to adopt in doing your set.

In addition I have asked Sidney Roundwood and Mark Backhouse to paint the leaders for each army. Mark and Sidney are both well-known profiles in the hobby and I am delighted to have them onboard. Here some links to some of their many contributions to the hobby.

Some of Mark’s excellent work for the magazine Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy

Sidney’s amazing blog

Also a very big thanks to Peter Berry of Baccus who is providing the miniatures for free and will be sending out all the small packages at his cost.Link to Baccus Home Page

I have initially published this here on my blog, but also on the Wargames Website and the Lead adventure forum and on twitter (Per at RollaOne, @roll_a_one). I decided to go for a more generic audience to start with and depending on uptake, I may share this is on more 6mm specific forums later. I am not sure what the interest may be and I am sorry if you wanted to have a go but it was too late. You can still follow the progress on the blog.


All the very best,

/ Per

Featured

Lund 1676 – all miniatures done!

This is a very short-worded blog, but instead I hope the pictures will be of some interest, perhaps the “winteriness” will give you some relief in the heat. This is the Danish and Swedish armies for my Battle of Lund 1676 project. I finished them earlier this month and the next step will be to make some specific terrain for the battle. More about this project later, all models are from the Baccus Sun King range (link here).

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/ That was all for now, a closer inspection of the units in the next update!

Fantasy Ice Hockey – Miniatures, rules and building the Ice Rink

Writing this about 2 months into the lock-down, it is surprising how long the days feel when you sit at a screen most of the day in a little room trying to keep things moving. As a consequence I have not really been tempted to sit down and do much blog updates but here is a go (I have a few more drafts I may be able to get out here and there).  We have been lucky and all of us are well, but we have friends and family who has been affected badly by this Virus both directly and indirectly.  The implication of this, I fear, will be more far reaching than we can yet imagine.

Anyway, I suppose that some kind of COVID-19 reflection is not what made you come and have a look. I have tried to reduce the lead mountain during this lock-down but inevitably I have done a few impulse purchases.  One of these were the splendid sets of Fantasy ice hockey players produce by Brigade Games (link here).

They were a joy to paint and are really fine models, the only shame is that there are only 3 teams currently available. But I guess if you like these order some. Demand very often provokes supply.

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The Orc Team

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The Dwarf Team – sorry for the Swedish Colours (could not help myself and it would not really be me without a Scandinavian/Nordic hint).

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The Rat Teams

There are some amazing detail in these models and I am not sure which one I like the most.

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The next step was to decide what rules to use. I found two main contenders on the net:

  •  Trick shot – the ice hockey board game (you can download it here – link worked 20/05/20). The PDF is sufficient to play the base game. It was a kickstarter and I do not think the game is officially out, the advanced game contains some additional cards that makes the game more varied. The game is a basic ice hockey game.
  •  Dread Puck – a variant of the Fantasy Dreadball game (you can download it here – link worked 20/05/20. You would also need the Dreadball game to play.)

Having looked a both of these option I wanted to try out the trick shot rules and needed a board to play on – an ice hockey rink.

The game board for the game looks as follows.

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I took a piece of blue foam I had in the garage and got to work.

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First I decided on how big squares to use and found that about 27.5mm squares worked well with the 25mm round bases I had beeen useing to base the miniatures.

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Then I used the non-sharp side of a pencil and just carefully followed the lines and quickly got a nice board, you could use this as a dungeon for another setting.

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Then the magic ingredient for the ice rink, some thick matches (I used the thicker hobby version) and coffee stirrers. This is best done in stages and I used PVA glue.

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I tried to make some damages and repairs here and there – this is fantasy ice hockey!

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I did the goals built into the game board, attach, glue and cut. This kind of thing works best with superglue.

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Perfect!

 

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Build done!

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A little bit too blue!

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First paiting, trying to make it white but keeping the brown background shine through.

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I had some Mod Podge at home that I mixed some snow into, not too much of the snow as I wanted the squares to be seen through. I ahve used modge podge for some gloss effect on rivers on my big Great Northern War mats in the past.

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I applied a few coats until I was happy with the look

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Then I painted in the lines (yes I f**ked up the middle and ended up doing a cross instead!)

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I was going to put up some nets for the goals but decided instead that big flags were used by the teams that were places on top of the goals, “Put it in the flag, is a common term in fantasy ice hockey!”.  I used to rice paper I have which is brilliant for doing this kind of things, then I soaked it with Matt Mod Podge and put it on top of the goals.

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Full of Mod Podge!

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The other flag

Once it all had dried we made some special dice for the game (as you can find in the rule book), they are just blank dice that I painted the symbols on. I guess you could use small round labels and print on as well and then stick them on the dice.  I also made some would markers made from acrylic 1mm bases – I just mixed some black and red ink (idea stolen fromhere).  They have no actual use in the game – yet!

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Anyway, we have had a few games now I we really enjoy it. It is a nice little diversion and relative quick to make.  Have ordered a human team from Impact Miniatures.  I will get back to you with a part 2 later and perhaps talk a little bit more about the rules. Anyway what follows is a fair few pictures from some of games we have played and some Fantasy Hockey League Promo shots.

 

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/ I hope this was of some interest, stay safe and take care of each other.

 

 

 

 

 

Making some Birch Trees

You may recall this picture from some of the previous blog postings,

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It shows some Birch trees I bought from NOCH and comes in a box of 7 for about £20 (if you shop around). The are ok, but I wanted to make another 30 of them, this would cost me another £80 and frankly I did not really thing it was worth it and thought that maybe I could do some cheaper.  In a online interchange with Adam Bengtsson (@paganfury on twitter) he suggested using some poly fibre to make trees – I bought some and made a few trial trees, here is what I did.

I had a bundle of these tree armatures I had bought for another project some time ago.

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Tree armatures – I bought these from a seller in china a long time ago, there are some non-Chinese based sellers who sell the same kind of trees (slightly higher price).  Search for Bare Trunk Trees on ebay, the ones I got were about £8 for 30 armatures.

I pruned them a little bit and painted them black, with a cheap acrylic paint.

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I guess I could have used a spray paint, but not sure how it would react to the plastic the trees are made of.  I takes a minute or some to do a tree, so I used a brush with generous about of paint.

Let dry and then a coat of white, do not paint the branches white.

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Then some decorating with grey and black and some more white here an there, trying to make the illusion that it is a birch tree, there is no right or wrong here as the look varies. Leave the crown black as shown.

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When the tree is dry take some green poly fibre (I got mine from Woodland Scenics) and carefully cover the tree with it, do not use too much (I probably will reduce the amount I use for my next batch).

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Time to go outside and use some spray mount/adhesive – I did about 6-8 quick sprays (press and release, hold the trunk and avoid spraying on the trunk mainly hit the fibres) on each tree and after this covered them with some Woodland Scenics Coarse Turf (Light Green). I suggest you spray one tree then add the turf immediately.  Do it with the bowl or a box under so you can re-use anything that does not stick to the tree.

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I think they look great! (Currently based on some Washers but will think about what I do moving forward).

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Ok there are a few issues to consider, so at least I can say I told you so.

  •  Birch trees tend to have an overall thinner appearance than this method gives (the Noch Trees gives this illusion form a distance) – but for me these work.
  •  They are a little bit fragile so I intend to buy some cheap hair spray and spray them a few times to seal them, this should make them more durable.

Anyway let me know what you think, nothing new really but this will allow a quick production of a lot of trees for, Say at a cost of less than £1 per tree compared to the £3 from the ones from Noch.  I think they look better too.

No need to bend steel wires!

/ Hope that was of some interest

 

 

 

 

Featured

Grognard Files, Swedish Radio and Dalarna 1943 – More Progress

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Writing this after another day working from home during the Corona lock-down in Greater London – I am happy to report that my immediate and extended family are all ok. It all feels very surreal, and I hope as always that this blog will give you a few moments of being away from it all in a safe place.

Today,

  • More pictures from the Dalarna 1943 Project and being contacted by Swedish Radio
  • A note on my appearance on the Grognard Files

Dalarna 1943

I was contacted by the Swedish Radio last week, their regional Dalarna branch, about this project and recorded a short thing for their morning show today. It made me happy, I hope I did not come across as too much of an idiot whenever it is being aired.

Here is a sound file containing the segment (in Swedish, aired 03 Apr 2020)

A lot of recent progress on this project as I have finished the third batch of Prints from Sabotag3d (link here).  I am really happy to see that Paul has been shipping some round pole fences (gärdsgård) over to Sweden and consequently me not being the only one fascinated by this type of Fence. So if this appeals to someone get in contact with Paul and see what he can do for you, he makes these fences in 1/100 scale (15mm size miniatures) as well as for 28mm miniatures. But I suppose you can get them in any scale you like – it really takes us straight into the Dalarna landscape of old (and new) without to much leap of faith. We should also add that Paul also did a few damaged sections for me, to be used to illustrate the impact of an explosion or that a tank has driven through them.

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A similar piece to that used in the picture above as delivered by Sabota3d

Last time around we had done the basic village tiles and the round pole fences and it allowed to create something like this (there is a link here to an earlier blog that covers this is some detail and talks about the Falu Red colour used for the houses, etc).

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For further detailing I wanted to have some mail boxes, typical of the Swedish country side. So I sent Paul the idea and as always he returned a fantastic little print (truth is that the state post box may not have had the colour scheme and the symbol at that time, but I felt it just needed to look that way).

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I miniaturized some documents to represent some kind of messages having been posted up (perhaps about what to do in case or war, or the latest football results!), a Proganda Poster and an old Film Poster (this one a homage to my Dad, as it was the first movie he remembered seing on the big screen at a matinee viewing sometime in the 1950ies, it is the Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn – Slaghöken in Swedish), these were just printed small on a normal laser colour printer on normal print paper and cut out and glued in place.  The label on the yellow post box was made using a lable paper for a laser printer (Model by Sabotag3d)

Milk of course was collected differently in those days and milk churns would be standing on tables alongside the road, ready for collection on the morning.

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(Model by Sabotag3d)

The centre of the village is the Lanthandel that would sell you the supplies you needed.

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Ready for business (Model by Sabotag3d)

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Again some posters from the time used to add some immersion to it all. Some of the brands are still popular today.

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And finally a little petrol station, probably not that operational due to rationing, but again a not to uncommon feature in the Sweden of 1943.

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Petrol Station (model by Sabotag3d)

On top of this I have spent some time doing further features to add to the landscape and increase the immersion factor on the table.

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Made from various stuff tt scale benches (railway stuff), MC from HQ Pack, some cycles from Peter Pig, the wood piles are just cut matchsticks and looks great, and some other stuff.

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The table from a Peter Pig command set and the tools from some railways set I bought ages ago.

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Bikes from Peter Pig

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The wagon wheels and wall from Peter Pig the other stuff from the kit box

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That drawer has some Kurbits – a popular art form in my home county (Dalarna)

We laid out another table and had a game with the Little One last weekend (using the Chain of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies, link here) and then we did a lot of shots of vehicles because we could.

A Little Game

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Some random shots of Swedish WW2 Vehicles

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First out the L-series of armoured cars developed in the 1930s (1/100 model from shapeways).

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The Pansarbil M/39/M/40 was a better solution for the need of the Swedes, with improved off-road cability and maneuverability and double drive. I find it beautiful (1/100 model from Shapeways).

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Perhaps the most iconic Swedish vehicle the Terrängbil m/42 KP. It was a domestic development and allowed the infantry to keep up with the tanks and provide protection from artillery and small arms fire. You can read more about this vehicle and how this 1/100 Shapeways model was modified slightly and the riders added in an old blog post (link here). Still in trials in 1943 and sent back due to inadequate armour plating but if the Germans invade we take what we got.

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Finally we will look at the Swedish Tanks available in 1943. First the Tankette Stridsvagn m/37. There is a previous blog here that shows the how this conversion was made from and the details for the other tanks below (link here).

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Next “beast” is the M/40 Light tank Stridsvagn M/40 – many models and versions. I used this as the Generic one – an early print by Paul Edwards.
I love them. (Formed the backbone of the Irish Armoured force in 1937 and developed into the Hungarian Toldi)

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And in the medium tank class we have the M/41. These were licence built TNH Tanks (perhaps more known as the 38(t) and used by the German army in the early War Period. Later a lot of them were rebuilt for other roles)

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Finally, In the almost heavy weight class (well big medium) we have the M/42 – My favourite with – like the M/40 a domestic development.

 

The Grognard Files – First, Last and Everything

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For you not familiar with the Grognard files here is Dirk’s own summary what it is all about (stolen from his webpage).

I’m Dirk the Dice and this is the GROGNARD files podcast, talking bobbins about table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.  The Armchair Adventurers are small FRPG group that meet monthly in Bolton. We first got together thanks to a ‘small ad’ in WHITE DWARF in 1983.  We got back together in 2010 to play Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep monthly for 3 years. Playing again reignited our passion for RPGs, so we returned to some more classic campaigns from our teenage years: RuneQuest BORDERLANDS, Traveller ADVENTURE, RuneQuest GRIFFIN MOUNTAIN and Call of Cthulhu FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH. Our interest began to shift towards what had happened to RPGs during our period away from the hobby.

See the source imageI have been, in a friendly way, been pestering Dirk to do a podcast about the Middle Earth Roleplaying Game for a long time (check out #grogmerp on twitter if you do not believe me).  Last month he released part 1 of the MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying) show and he asked me to do a “First, Last and Everything” segment for Part 2 – that is a presentation of my first, last and overall favourite RPG games.  I went for (because it is true) the first being the old Swedish RPG game Mutant (from 1984) that I have written about here on a few occasions (link some of it here, here, here and here), MERP as it is the last one I played and you can find out more about it in the two Episodes below, my everything is the classic Call of Cthulhu Rpg.

See the source imageHere are the links to the two parts of Episode 36 – Middle-Earth Role Playing (MERP) with Liz Danforth:

I did write a script for my part and it is appended below would you be interested, it may be cool to listen to it first though.

 

/ As always I do hope that this was of some interest, stay safe during these and any other times

First, Last and Everything

Hi, My name is Per and I am delighted to deliver my first, last and everything. You can find me on Twitter as Per at RollaOne or on my blog rollaone.com.

It was 1984 and I was 12 and my slightly older cousin Mika was visiting us in our little provincial town in the heartlands of Sweden, Dalarna, where if you take the wrong fork you may come upon a lonely and curious country, in areas that remind you of some Lovecraftian environment – desolate, quiet and with the occasional character sneaking around, or looking through the windows with empty stares and some doors hanging on rusty and consequently noisy hinges blowing in the wind. These are places where they say shoot-dig-keep quiet – that kind of thing. I mean all that Nordic Noir crime stuff must have come from somewhere? But most of it are quaint red houses with white trimmings, surrounded by, wait for it, round pole fences.

He, my cousin, cajoled me into buying this new game that he had played called Mutant, a game set after the catastrophe in a future Scandinavia. You could play as mutated humans & animals or be a robot from the old time (but with a messed up memory bank, with a tendency to obey orders from pure humans or those who had not too obvious mutations – later I learned they were programmed to follow Asimov’s 3 robotic Laws). You could also be a PSI-mutant with mental powers, shunned by most people with or without fur. They were like magic users but very often with defects like madness or confusion triggered by failing to use a mental ability – making it very frustrating at times, or pure (non-mutated) humans considerable sturdier and more clever than we are today and with a patronising at best to a disrespectful view on mutants. The society that had risen was roughly at the technology level of the early 19th century – you could arm yourself with a musket if you had the cash but equally common were a baseball bat and an old bin lid, or traffic sign with a moose, as a shield. It was a more organised society than in movies like Mad Max – things had calmed down. There were forbidden zones to adventure in and the dungeon equivalent were old research labs or other underground facilities with the chance of finding old tech, crazy cyber computers, frozen people from the old times or mutated beasts – sometimes all at once. The dragon equivalent were giant beetles and land sharks that swam through the earth It was my fist role-playing game and we had never heard about anything like it and it also came with some funny looking dice, but no gaming board. Just a little cardboard sheet that was used to resolve whether the character understood what the old tech item he has just found was. My cousin had never GM:ed before and actually as it turned out he had never played the game – however he spent a day reading it and the following evening a few friends and I made some characters – mine a mutated moose, a hunter, with a big club and a musket – then he very ably played us through the introductionary scenario “Mission in Mos Mosel” until the small hours ….it was love at first play….

This game has evolved to what today is known as Mutant Year 0, and a number of the modern products has given more than a nod to the old modules and adventures.

However we quickly advanced to non-Swedish rpgs – it was not as cool to play the Swedish games – at least not in those days.

We went on a School trip to London in Year 9, this was 1987, and the trip was funded to not a small part of us selling loaves of home baked breads outside a local shopping centre and we also set up a school show and invited all the parents and students – I and yet another cousin and fellow gamer Sebastian played two drunk characters and we made some crap jokes pretending to be pissed and we had a grand finale with the song “Shut uppa you face”, by Joe Dolce. In London we, equipped with a Summer of earnings from working for the local council’s real estate department cutting lawns, bushes and collecting rubbish, delivering leaflets at weekends or selling the Sunday issues of a broadsheet newspaper, bought a lot of RPG games and modules from Orcs Nest (still on Earlham Street today), Games Workshop and The Virgin shop on Oxford Street. We got Judge Dredd, MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying Game), Call of Cthulhu, and “who ya gonna call” Ghostbusters, Top Secret, Chill, Timemaster, Paranoia and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying and god only knows what else, I remember the only non-rpg stuff I bought was the God Save the Queen single by Sex Pistols and Bob Marley’s Exodus (movement of Jah people).

But also a shout out to the Amazing swedish shop Hobby Huset in Uppsala – they had an amazing selection of RPGs in their catalogue and excellent shipping service. We sometimes even took the 1.5 hour train trip and visited the cellar it was located in and got some strange stuff from the bargain bucket. It was this shop that really opened up the hobby for us country boys.

We played so much RPG games in our youth, in people’s houses but eventually in a shed with a heater that made it bearable. We hated splitting up the group as we had to stand outside in the bloody cold freezing our Dirks off (remember this was Sweden when we had proper seasons). Later we asked our school if we could use one of the class rooms in the evening and weekends and the head teacher gave us a key and we had a hell of a good time. We had a good group with a few changes along the way, but then playing in death metal bands, national service, university education, and moving abroad split the old gang. We had our ups and downs but now 30 years or so later I can only recall the positive aspects, so to my old Grogsquad Jonas, Petri, Sebastian, Tommy, Thomas, Magnus, Micke, Reidar, Erik, Petter, Christer, Anton, Fredrik and the guy who only came once and played Pendragon with us and anyone else I forgot, but also to my new Grogsquad the Adventurers Club led by Dirk, Blythy, Ed, and the Daily Dwarf, I raise my glass of vodka to you all!

Although there was a lot of fear mongering around the Rpg hobby in the mainstream media at the time, thinking we would become too introvert, turn into extremists or jump from buildings imagining we could fly, I think our parents were grateful for the fact that instead of being out drinking moonshine vodka, a speciality of the region, and making the town unsafe, we instead sat in the shed telling each other stories and rolling dice. I think we all turned out ok in the end.

In the day we shared the burden of Game Mastering in our Little but Merry band, but the longer campaigns were usually game mastered by myself or Jonas and one of the first games he ran was MERP – Middle Earth Roleplaying. Jonas was amazing with regards to preparing for campaigns and game sessions and his knowledge of Middle Earth was very deep – he had even read the Silmarillion and the Lost Tales! Later Jonas were to run a very long AD&D campaign (2nd Edition) and although I never really liked the system, his overall campaign with a mixture of shorter episodes, long running plots and reappearing protagonists was probably the best one I ever played. However back to MERP. The rules today feels old-fashioned, being a Lite version of the bigger Rolemaster System but at the time offered us some kind of balance between the always fragile characters in the basic Roleplaying system kind of game and rise of your AD&D characters toward immortality – with MERPs open-ended rolls there was always a chance that an opponent could score critical hits and do some substantial damage whatever the differences in character levels, armour class etc. You had to be careful and not every encounter would be a question of drawing a sword. And the magic system was definitely not Tolkienesque but then Jonas did not allow us to be wizards. But what was more on top of this and perhaps the real legacy of MERP was the many fantastic modules and not the rules. The modules had some fantastic drawings and amazing covers that shaped our vision of this amazing world. There were many talented artists contributing to these modules but for me there are two I would like to mention especially – first the legend Angus McBride who did some exceptional cover art for many of the MERP modules. The second artist is of course Liz Danforth who created an outstanding visual presentation of the various characters, races and creatures of this wonderful world, and by the way a big thanks to you Liz for your support to the #grogmerp campaign on Twitter. But there was more, the modules contained information about the people and lands and it felt like it stayed true to the lore but expanded where there were white spots. Herbs, requires a special mention, and were like modern mobile phone apps – there was an app, sorry I meant a herb for that. It is actually my last RPG, I played and a big part of my recent interest in the hobby.

However, there was only one game that I really really immersed myself into in the day and it was the Call of Cthulhu rpg – I guess it does not need any deeper introduction. The first time I played it was at the RPG club in my hometown that some of us used to go to and play as well as playing with the core group, the club was founded by Magnus Seter and Dan Algstrand who today are well known characters in the RPG Industry. It was an excellent way in getting to know likeminded and try out a wider array of games. The club even run a few conventions and I wrote the Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the first two – with the imaginary titles of – the Shadow in Darkness and the Dweller in the Shadow (You can actually find these on the net, but mind you they are written in Swedish). Our little band played some of the epic campaigns like the Fungi form Yuggoth (later more adequately renamed the Day of the Beast), the Spawn of Azathoth and even the Horror on the Orient Express – although our campaign derailed after a few stops. But for me it was the Arkham county series of books that really made the game come alive – we played scenarios in the Miskatonic Valley – in places straight from the Lovecraft stories like Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth and Kingsport. The players included Professors working at the Miskatonic University, a PE teacher who could throw a javelin like no other, a retired Major from the British Army (yes he was a hell of a Marksman with his Webley Revolver), Private Investigators, a daredevil pilot and a Medical Doctor at the Arkham Asylym. The scenarios both readymade and homebrewed focused on local events – it made it more scary and intense when reoccurring NPCs asked for help, suddenly disappeared, ended up at the Asylum, or were found dead. When you could weave in characters family trees into the scenarios with the realisation that great grandfather Elijah Waitrose was a Cthulhu cultist or that Great Aunt Tess Collie was an adventurer lost in Dreamlands. As For anyone who may not be familiar with the literature I really recommend that you read the wonderful but not for the faint hearted stories like “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “Escape from Innsmouth”, “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Colour out of Space” to name some of my favourites. Yes, having moved on more than 30 years from that initial fascination, I know that H.P. Lovecraft probably was a man I would end up arguing with in the pub – he was a racist, homophobe etc, revealed by studying his letter and analysing some of the stories – I get it! But I was never in it for that, I was in it for the chill, sense of hopelessness in a world full of unknown things that humanity at best had a very limited understanding of, the desperate fight against overwhelming odds of getting either permanently insane or ending up dead. The sheer joy of game mastering a group of seasoned investigators in gathering clues from libraries, local newspapers, speakeasies, weird locals, etc. They, the characters, were never flashing heroes with shiny armour and glimmering swords or caped crusaders flying the flag , they were mostly normal people who endlessly fought on. Call of Cthulhu is my everything!

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Jump Off Points and Suppression Markers – for the 1943 Invasion

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The other day had a game of Chain of Command with a Swedish 1943 platoon fighting a German Infantry Platoon and I realised I had forgotten to do some Jump Off points – they are, as you may know, a key feature of the game.

 

In reality this could simply be a round marker with a symbol identifying whose marker it is. However, I prefer the opportunity to do something more and instead create a little bit of immersion.  For the Winter War set-up we have been using the following markers – I especially like the Finnish ones with the skies – they are just strips of plastic slightly bent – and the poles -some cut pieces of brass rod. The idea was that the Finnish ones symbolised the swift and agile Finnish force, vs the more desperate and hopeless Sovietic one.

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I also did some suppression/pin markers using some material from a filter trying to give the effect of flying debris from bullets hitting the terrain.

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I think they worked well and you can find the full collection here(link).

Back to 1943… To do the Jump-off points I decided that the Swedish markers would have a bicycle on it – symbolising the good old Swedish Airconditioned Person Carrier (APC).  I got the bikes from Peter Pig (link here). Other items came from a pack of German Stowage from Plastic Soldier Company (link here) and some Lorry Loads from QRF (link here). Some items came from the kit box (full of old crap) and I also cut a few helmets from a few spare figure to further Germanise the German jump-off points.

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After a little bit of sand, paint, grass and some tufts, the look really well and will blend in on your table.

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I have had the little ladder in my kit box as well as some barrels and the sacks of something for a long time, I do not recall where they are from.

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Using the same approach for the suppression / pinned markers, and using some brown material, dead branches from the garden and stones from the yard, we got the following collection.

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Flying debris!

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Simple and cheap! – and if you do not have Stowage and other small pieces handy (I have bought many of these sets over the years for tank projects) use some green stuff or even a little bit of blue tac (you can add some superglue to protect it, if it is a not to big chunk) to make some rough shapes and then paint, wash and detail – it will look good.

/ Hope this was of some interest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dalarna (Sweden) during the 1943 Invasion (What-if) – tiles, cars, a table and a small game of Chain of Command

If you have followed this blog you may recall that I have been working on a project relating to a “What-if” German invasion of Sweden in 1943 through the Dalarna County – where I “incidentally” was born and grew up. There is a good summary of where I got to with this project to date in a previous blog post (link here).

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Dalarna, Sweden in 1943 does not look like Normandy or the Eastern Front and one of the challenges to create the immersion is to create an overall look that feels right. A lot of the existing wargames buildings and terrain are not suitable for this theatre – the Normandy buildings looks totally out of place whilst the typical eastern European houses, whilst in wood, does not neccesarily have the right look (the common thatched roof on many of these houses are not really suitable). However I have found a few houses, barns etc that will fit.

  • The house on the left in the picture and the excellent round pole fences are made by Paul Edwards. Paul does some amazing work (Sabotag3d.com) and future blogposts will show more of the stuff he has been doing for me once I have painted them up.
  • The other houses shown in the pictures above and below are from Timecast (Eastern European 15mm buildings, link here) and Ironclad Miniatures (link here).

I have also, previously, talked about the typical red colour that was predominant, and still is, in the area – The Falu Red Colour (Falu Rödfärg).

Although the paint fell out of favour in the Urban areas during the 18th century the paint still survived and in the countryside, even today, is still the dominant type of colour.

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The origins of the pigments used for this paint was a rest product from the process of calcination of copper ore at the Mines in Falun, in the Dalarna county.  In the 16th century it was found that these pigments mixed with lineseed oil and rye flour worked as an excellent anti-weathering and preservative when applied to wood.

The Falu mine itself deserves a mention as it operated for 2000 years and at its most productive phase in the 16-17th century it produced more than 60% of the copper in Europe.  It even had its own regiment (with some infantry and cavalry units) during the Scanian War and Great Northern War era.

Every School child in the county visits the mine to learn about its glorious past – today it is not longer a working mine but a fantastic museum with a permanent exhibition as well as the opportunity to travel down to the depths of the mine.

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Farm tiles and Gas Wood Cars

As easy way to integrate your built up sections is to make tiles for a building or a set of buildings.  This allows a more defined look on the table and makes the buildings blend in better in your layout. I made mine from adhesive floor tiles from Poundland (they are made from vinyl) some acrylic paste (caulk) and sand.

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Start by marking up where you want your buildings to go. I also consider the size of the fencing around the farm.

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Then it is time to start the messy bits, with acrylics, sand and paint.

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Leave some space for the buildings but otherwise do whatever seems to fit – make sure there are paths and roads, etc.

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Paint it all brown

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Start drybrushing the surfaces. I work from a pale brown, the terracotta and then finally a pale yellow. The same as I use for all my non-desert and witner bases.

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Add some static grass and tufts

 

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With a little bit of clutter it creates small dioramas instead of putting the houses directly on the mat. it took two short evening session to make them.

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But what about these strange cars? Well if you study cars during this era, not just in Sweden you will notice the strange burners on other arrangements attached to the cars. These are utilising wood gas to power the vehicle due rationing of fossil fuels. I have rarely seen these on WW2 tables but very often in pictures so I made a few (based on some Kinder Egg vehicles I bought off ebay).

 

A game of Chain of Command

A few weeks ago the Little One and I had a small CoC (Chain of Command) infantry vs infantry game (with a tank each) mainly to test out the terrain and how it all looked together, we have a blast and we were really happy with the overall look.

I will let the picture talk for themselves.

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Whilst I love playing in Normandy or the Eastern Front I have to admit that there is something special for me with this project in terms of passion and immersion.  For this table all it really took was a type or Fence and the colour of the houses to transport us straight to Dalarna 1943.

Yes the whole thing is made up but I am trying to make the rest of it justice. As you may have figured out by now immersion is very important for all the projects I do.  It takes an extra effort, but an effort I am more than happy to make.

If you have a what-if idea or a project based on some obscure location spend some time reflecting on how things looked – study photos and find those key elements that immediately gives it away – that is your primary focus for your wargames table. If these items do not exist – consider making them yourself or contact someone like Paul who has the talent to design something in 3d for your, make it printable, print and send it to you! (Sabotag3d.com).

I hope that was of some interest, toysoldier on!

 

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Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 5 – Swedish Infantry and putting flags on your units

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I have had a busy start of 2020 – not the kind of busy I would have wished for but that is how things are sometimes.  The lack of blog posts is as a direct consequence to this but I have decided to force myself to pick it up and perhaps publish something every second week as a minimum.

Gosh, the last blogpost was on the 26th December, back in 2019 (If you still remember that year). Although I have been silent here I have actually made some significant progress on the hobby front – so there is a backlog of stuff to write about on the various projects. We will start with the current Big(ish) project – Lund 1676.

Swedish Infantry at Lund 1676

Today we turn back to the Scanian War and the Swedish Infantry that fought at Lund 1676. As for all my Scanian War models I have used the eminent book, Scanian War 1675-1679, Colours and Uniforms, by Lars-Eric Höglund (2002), as my primary source for colours and uniform details – it is not complete but covers most of the detail you may need.

Most of the Uniform detail in the book is straightforward, or in some cases not known, however the entry for the Gestrike-Hälsinge Tremänningar was interesting as it stated “1676: 19 men had yellow coats, 63 green, 50 gray, 53 brown, 38 musk-colored, 15 blue, in addition 2,240 alnar gray pjuk was issues to sew uniforms”. The reason for the different uniform is that this was not a standing regiment and had been raised because Sweden was at war – it is likely that they were issues with spares until they got their uniforms (possibly grey based on the information). So at Lund, late 1676, they may all have been dressed in fresh Uniforms, or maybe there was not time to get that sorted… Well since every other regiment will be in uniform uniforms I thought I go for the latter option.  I simply painted the 24 unit base in the same ratio as the different colours above – I think it looks smashing.

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Close up of some of the miniatures (all from the Baccus 6mm Sun King range – link here)

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We are rushing away… Sorry, the following infantry regiments were present at Lund.

No. Sqds/Btns Name of Regiment Type Commander Rank
3 battalion(s) Life Guard Pike Infantry Gyllenstierna Lt-Col
1 battalion Skaraborgs Regiment Pike Infantry Börstel Col
1 battalion Dalregiment Pike Infantry Kruse Col
1 battalion Västgöta-Dals Regiment Pike Infantry Mörner Col
1 battalion Helsinge Regiment Pike Infantry Ascheberg Lt-Col
1 battalion Närke-Värmlands Regiment Pike Infantry Tomson Lt-Col
1 battalion(s) Västerbottens Regiment Pike Infantry Ribbing Lt-Col
1 battalion Gästrike-Helsinge Tremänningar Pike Infantry Örnklo Col

Here some pictures of these…

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Flagging up your infantry

This is the method I use to attach the flags/standards to the unit.

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Cut out the flags, Baccus sells a sheet for the Scanian War (and many other conflicts), I then fold them around a toothpick (I do not want a sharp fold).

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Glue on the flags with superglue a little bit of glue on the front of the pole and then attach the flag carefully as shown (let it dry properly).

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Then add PVA glue mixed with water (say 70/30) ensure it is soaked without dripping.

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Get some flat but narrow tweezers out (remember careful hands)

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Shape the flags as you want them. It usually helps to have the straight first for a little while so the two sides attach to each other before you go to elaborate – but do not wait until it dries because it will go hard.

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Ready to join your unit and stiff when dry / Hope that was of some use!