It has been some busy weeks since the last update on this mat business. Had time to go to a 50th birthday party, visit the Tower with the kids, Father’s day celebration, some relaxation by the river and starting a new Job. However I have done some progress on the 12 by 5 feet battlement, or the hairshirt as I call it, that I will march my soldiers on at the Joy of Six on the 15th July.
I managed to do the dry brushing for most of the mat, I use the normal three colours on top of the chocolate brown I have used for the last 10 years or so. It may not be the best combination but serves to tone down the cholate brown and the final light yellow is very effective. All my stuff, terrain, model bases, etc. fits together, it is done with the same colour and even the static grass (I use the two tones of green that Kalistra sells).
Here is my best advice for doing the dry brushing of the mat, use a small brush (not a paint brush) and take your time, change direction, small brush strokes. Dry brush to scale!
I prefer a little bit of patchy application of the grass areas as I want parts of the base mat to be seen, you may like it differently. This is a messy process as it is difficult to turn around the mat to shake the excess of with this big mat without causing major mayhem – with static fibres flying everywhere. When I did my 2 by 2 boards I used to shake them in a large plastic bag. Now I use a bagless vacuum cleaner (make sure it is empty before you start) but it is not a perfect process. I also detailed up the river and used some high gloss varnish on top. This is how it ended up (note the darker grass areas are to be filled with trees on the day) and I am very happy – apart from the real estate, bridges and trees it is all in the mat.
So apart from making some bridges (5 No.) I think we are ready to go and I can fit the roll in the car….
the trees are ready….
and so are the men…
Joy of Six 2018 we are ready for you, I hope to see you there (link here).
First a big thank you to all of you who either come by here by chance, occasionally, have registered as followers of the blog, likes the Roll a One page on facebook and/or follow the Per at RollaOne account on twitter (@Roll_a_one). Please feel free to get in touch here, on Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions or comments on this or anything else. Just doing this for fun, thanks for making it more so. Now without further ado…
It has become a tradition in doing a battle board for Joy of Six as a start of the Summer in our house. For the last few years I have made 8 by 4 feet tables for my GNW stuff, but this year I came to the conclusion that I needed a 12 by 5 feet beast (more on the battlefield and how it was derived can be found in a previous blog post, click here).
For the first generation of boards (Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Gadebush1712 and Kalisz 1706) I used 8 No. 2 by 2 feet mdf boards with underfloor heating boards (blue styromfoam) on top that could be shaped to rivers and hills, etc. This created more sturdy individual blocks but it takes a lot of space, especially when you start getting a fair few of them. There is also a question of warping and its impact on the gap between the boards, unless you make very sturdy ones.
In the process of needing to make two smaller tables (4 by 3 feet) for running Saga in 6mm at Joy of Six in 2016 I tried out a method I had seen on the net. This used a canvas sheet covered in a mix of paint, acrylic sealant and sand (see my notes from then here). This worked really well and creates a mat with some nice texture on top that can be dry brushed and decorated very much in the same way as I would do with the boards (and you can also incorporate roads and rivers directly into the mat).
This is the mat I did last year and apart from the houses, trees, bridges, some small elevation markers and miniatures, all the features are in the 8 by 4 mat and it makes set-up very quick (here are some notes on that process here , here, here and here) – no gaps!
I decided to have another go with the mat approach this year and got myself some backed dust sheet from Screwfix here in the UK (I did get some before but it was not backed, so I kept this for some other day). The reason I use the backed version is that the backing (a layer of plastic/poly) stops the paste going through the sheet when it is applied and I also think it strengthens the actual mat, compared to using a non-backed dust sheet.
The “innvoation” for this year was that I had some paper backed grass sheets lying around that I cut out some fields from and glued straight onto the mat (I used gripfill for this purpose, still not sure they will stay on!) – the colours are very sharp so far but I think it may work better once the shit (sorry, I meant chocolate brown) colour is dampened by my normal 3 colour dry brushing and the static grass is being added. Here are a selection of photos from the work so far.
The issues I have found (so far) in making and using this kind of mat are:
It is physically harder work to make one than you think – it gives a good workout! My Doctor told me that I need to gain more height so I think this is a good exercise for that purpose – there is a lot of stretching involved!
It is very difficult to manage a 12 by 5 sheet when you make it. I do not have a big enough space to put the whole sheet down on a flat surface. So I tend to work on it in sections and then roll it up again, meaning that you have to wait for it to dry which means that works have to be done in short burst and then wait for 12 to 24 hours. If you have a flat surface for the full size of the mat then this is not a problem at all (however if the surface is not totally flat this can effect the shape of the acrylic you apply and also the effect of the dry brushing as any edges will show through very well by the technique – something you may not want. I did mine in the lounge but this is honestly not the ideal place if you are not on your own. It is not just the space you occupy but other impacts to consider. I try to use low odour stuff but this does not mean no odour so ensure you have your windows open and create a draught. Health and safety for you and yours are more important than a bloody wargames mat – just be sensible. Luckily, I have a more than understanding family when it comes to these kind of things. They are more than happy to spend the weekend with breathing apparatus in their own rooms (that was a joke, sorry!).
The sheets seem to be 4 feet standard width. The 12 by 12 sheet I bought from Screwfix was made of 3 no. 12 by 4 feet sheets, it means that there is a border to be dealt with for any greater widths than 4 feet. I covered it with some gripfill before I got the mix on top. This mediocre mitigation is more than likely going to fail in the future but I am ignoring it for now. In general it does crack in places but normally looks decent when it lies flat – be prepared to do some repairs the first few times you roll it out.
Although I did iron the sheet before I applied the paste (properly I thought, but being mindful not to melt the backing), very often some of the folds seem to reappear and this is less than ideal. I will try to hide this as part of the drybrushing stage by avoiding to make the fold stand out to much by being careful with the brush – you do not want to highlight the fold, it does not look very natural.
It does not allow you the same artistic freedom compared to a fixed board. Hedges are more difficult to incorporate into the design and rivers obviously can not be filled with resin (but if you apply some varnish it at least gives some reflection to the surface that fools the eye, at least from a distance.
It goes without saying that the mat is not very versatile with the features built-in (rivers, roads, etc.). This is not an issue for me, and it was the same when I did the boards, but worth considering with regards to how much specific stuff like roads and rivers you incorporate into the mat, especially as it is an investment in money and time to make one.
Looking back some of the features of those boards some are very difficult to beat using the mat. Maybe some boards next year!?
Obviously none of the points above were showstoppers for me this time, but I hope this discourages you unless you are prepared to get into to something heads on and improvise along the journey. The rest of the family laugh at my swearing and screaming when I mess things up, so if nothing else it is some cheap entertainment – maybe that is why they tolerate me doing this in the first place?
[To be continued when appropriate level of progress achieved]
/ Hope that was of some interest, keep toy soldiering on!
In other news I had the opportunity to see the fabulous Tiger Lillies (the forefathers of Brechtian Punk Cabaret!) last week and it was absolutely brilliant! More on them here. I stumbled upon them a few years ago as they had done an album called Mountains of Madness as a homage to H.P. Lovecraft.
In the last blogpost the Swedes inspected their forces in preparation of the Horka battle at Joy of Six this year (more here). The Russian spies were in attendance and following their report a few brushstrokes had to be done, but now I dare to say they seem to be ready for inspection and eventually to welcome the attacking Swedes.
There is a total of 91 cavalry 60 by 30mm bases of 9 No. riders (apart from the irregular elements on 60 by 60mm bases of 8 riiders) and 64 infantry 60 by 30mm bases of 24 No. infantry in this army as well as Command bases and artillery bases. Tsar Peter himself has inspected the various infantry detachments – General Golitsyn flying column with the elite regiments who may be ordered to March behind the cavalry and attack the Swedish left flank on they day!. The three other Generals Sheremetev, Hallart and Repnin are ready as are their men. A few rounds were fired by the artillery to mark the occasion. I have included a few of the sketches that the scouts manage to deliver to the Swedish King.
In other news I progressed my Bag the Finn project (more in the last blog post, link here) adding two more aircraft types:
The Fokker D.XXI that was the Finnish primary fighter aircraft during the Winter War (I painted it in the simple paint scheme used during the winter war – the more elaborate camouflage pattern used last time was used during the continuation war).
The Polikarpov I-16 that was one of the three fighter planes used by the Russians in the Winer war (ther others were I-15bis and I-153). The I-16 was the most common type and about half of Fighters were of this type at the start of the Winter War.
Below are two relevant titles from Osprey and contain a lot of useful information on the fighting during the Winter War era. I really enjoy doing these 1/600 scale planes from Tumbling Dice.
A short one this time but I think there are one or two important points hidden in it all, I let you find them.
Bag the Finn
I am currently working on some Tumbling dice 1/600 aircraft models with the intention of doing some games involving the The Lentolaivue 24 or LLv.24 (24 Fighter Squadron) fighting throughout Finland’s three wars during WW2. I intend to use the Bag the Hun rules by the Too Fat Lardies (link here) and the campaign system Squadron forward. I got the aircraft a long time ago but it has taken some time to get this started. However Mike Hobbs Malta project inspired me to get this going – thanks Mike.
Postscript: There is a useful article in the Lardies Summer Special 2009 called Blue Swastika with background and scenarios for the Finnish Winter War for Bag the Hun. This article can also be found in the Scramble supplement (Thanks Jim for reminding me).
I have been buying a fair few books about Finnish and Soviet Airforce of the Period. But my starting point is the suitably titled Lentolaivue 24 from Osprey (link here). As with any book there are several places where you may get the book cheaper and sometimes the second hand market can be very favourable.
As I have mentioned before the family on my mother’s side are Finnish and this is why I have an interest in this particular theatre of the Second World War.
I have heard many stories from the Finnish war period – some heroic but most of them being about the sad realities of war and the people that had to endure them directly and indirectly. For example one of my relatives, a pioneering educationalist working in the Finnish border areas, had to take home his two sons in coffins during the war – both of them were volunteers and the youngest was 17. With a Finnish sense of dark humour the story was retold with the afterthought that the only good thing was that he only had to do one trip as they fell at the same time.
My hobby is very much related to war – in doing miniatures, models and gaming various conflicts sometimes in a seemingly light hearted way. However I think it is important to remember that in reality it is far from a game. This awareness does not take out the fun of it but adds respect to how I deal with it.
One of the things are symbols used by the various belligerents during the War and as you can see on the picture above the Finnish Aircraft carries a Swastika symbol. The Swastika had been used on Finnish Aircraft since the early days of the Finnish Air force in 1918, following independence from Russia and therefore its use is different to that used by the Nazi regime. Finland were allied with Germany but through a common enemy in the fight against the Soviet Union – it did not share the overall objectives and world view of the Nazi regime.
I will paint and decorate these aircraft as close as possible to the way in which they looked at the time, not out of disrespect for anyone but out of respect to the historical records of the period.
This is a slow burning project and I will write a short note on each aircraft type, what paints I used and some pictures as I complete them. Starting with the Finnish ones and the, to me, most Iconic of them all the Brewster Buffalo. It is a little bit fiddly, but if you can paint a detailed 28mm miniatures then this should not be a problem.
The Flying Beer Bottle (Lentävä kaljapullo)
The Finns bought the Brewster Buffalos (B-239E) from the United States in 1939 and they were first flight tested by the Finnish Air force in early 1940. A few were combat ready before the end of the Winter War in 1940 but none of them were used in combat.
However during the Continuation War the Brewster became one of the most successful aircraft of the Finnish Air force. The Lentolaivue 24 got them at the end of the Winter War in April 1940 replacing the Fokker D.XXI they used successfully during the Winter War. During the 14 months before the start of the Continuation War the pilot trained hard with their new machines and during the Continuation war they successfully destroyed 459 No. Soviet warplanes by these at a loss of 15 Buffalos (a 26:1 victory ratio) until they were replaced by the Messerschmitt Bf 109G (in May 1944).
I used the ISA240 F2a Brewster Buffalo x6 from the Tumbling Dice shop, it can be found in the 1/600 range, link here. I do not know what the best way is to paint these are and you may want to do some further research, this is how I did mine.
Clean it, magnetise it,
Make sure you clean it up with a scalpel (be careful) or a small file as there is some flash but not excessive. I then glue a 0.5mm * 2mm magnet under the aircraft. This is a little bit fiddly and you may have to redo a few but that is all part of the fun! In addition make sure you align the polarities – i.e. glue them in the same direction. I will take some photos of how I manage this when I do the next set of aircraft. This allow you to mount them on flight stands that you can magnetise too. You may end up with a collection of hundreds or aircraft but you may rarely use more than a dozen on each side in a game – therefore you can have a set of flight stands you use for all your aerial dog fights. It also means that you could have different set of stands, perhaps if you have different rules ets, and so on. But more on this later.
As I wrote last week I got myself a few pots of the paints from the Finnish Aircraft colour paint set. In retrospect I probably had all the colours I needed already as part of my base set up, however I put the ones I got to use in this project.
Priming – I used a Vallejo White Polyurethane Primer (mainly because I normally use grey or black for my miniatures, and had it lying around). It has a nice thin consistency that works deceivingly well. I thought white would work best as I was not going to use the primer as part of the shading.
Let it dry (a few hours should be fine)
Paint undercarriage light grey – I used the Lifecolor Light Grey UA 541.
Paint top green (do not paint the front bit that will be yellow and avoid the yellow part behind the cockpit, not critical but makes it easier to achieve a good yellow later on) – I used the Lifecolor Olive Green UA 540.
Let it dry (if you are doing a large batch like I did there is no reason to wait, just do step 6 for the next).
Paint top with Black camouflage patterns (avoid the parts that will be yellow) and do the front propeller part. I used Vallejo Model Color Black 950.
Let it dry (see note above on large batch)
Paint the propeller hub/top with a flat brown/light rust colour (I have seen some different colour for this, most of the time it is black but I wanted some contrast so mine have this colour).
Paint the Yellow parts, also under the top of the wings – I used the Lifecolor UA 544.
Let is dry (see note above on large batch)
Paint 80% of the Black camouflage parts in Vallejo Model Color Medium Sea Grey 870. I kind of left a black outline of the pattern.
Paint 80% of the Green with a 50/50 mix of Lifecolor Olive Green UA 540/Vallejo Model Color Yellow Green 78.
Let it dry properly (a few hours should do fine)
Use Windor & Newton Nutbrown ink, be generous and process to 12 immediately before doing the next plane. This is an old 6mm painter trick Dr. Mike taught me many years ago. You may want to use some other wash/ink type of thing or skip this step if you want a neater look. I think it adds depth to the colour and make it look better painted than it is.
Dab a piece of toilet paper carefully on the model to take away excess ink, do not rub – this was sourced from Modelling Supreme Industries and is sold by the sheet (Sorry, but at least humour me with a smile!).
Let it dry
Give the yellow parts a little bit of more paint on the top sides (using the same colour as above, looking at the colourized picture above and some others they tended to be relatively dirty quickly so leave some of that ink stain. It does not make the model look prettier but more real).
Paint the glass part of the canopy in blue carefully, let the non-glass part shine through – I used Vallejo sky blue or something similar.
I suppose you could highlight them further and perhaps put a dot of white on each window – however I just did the 18 steps above.
Next it is time for some decals and this is requires some patience to get right. I got the decals from Dom’s Decals some time ago, link here. He has a warning of a current backlog on his webpage (April 2018) so I suggest you send him and e-mail and ask him about the current status. Some of the best of the wargames industry are the small players (mostly one person bands) and I have found most of them more than happy to engage in some conversation upfront as to what the expectations are with regards to getting your orders sent to you. Dom does a fantastic service to the hobby with his decals – give him and others like him a fair chance to continue doing so.
You need the set 1/600 Finnish Hakaristi Markings (1918-44).
Basically I cut out every decal neatly and then stick a few of them in a small bowl of water for a while lift them out and wiggle the off on a plastic (sometimes they fall of in the bowl) I use a scalpel (gently) for this . I used 4 transfers for each plane (I did not do the underwing ones), two on the wings (second smallest ones) and two on the sides (the smallest one). This is my high-end set-up.
This is the result, I really like they way they turned out and from a distance they look decent enough for my gaming table.
When I have finished (no pun intended) all the aircraft for this project I will do some custom transfers (I bought a sheet for this purpose) to allow some further markings to be done like tail markings etc. This is probably overkill and I do not know if I will be able to do these yet so it is currently just a plan – but if it is possible I will do them like this. After this I will seal them with a matte varnish.
Swedish Army for Horka 1708
The Swedish King and his Generals mustered the forces for the Horka Battle to be fought 15th July in Sheffield at the Joy of Six show (more here).
The King was seen smiling and the mood amongst the ranks was very good. They Russian position was strong but so was the Swedish morale. Here are some colorized sketches from the event. There are a total of 72 cavalry bases and 28 infantry bases as well as a few leader bases and artillery bases. Here we go….
“…but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.”
From about a week ago!
We have been busy with the Little Ones year end Rugby Tournament the last week so I have not been doing that much hobby wise lately. We went to Isle of Wight and had a blast – it is a wonderful part of the world.
I realise that it is now about 10 days ago since Salute 2018, so I think there are plenty of better places for an overview of Salute – I suggest you try Big Lee’s most excellent blog here. Alternatively, or as well, you could go to youtube and watch the terrain tutors very nice video of the show (press play below) – if you have not checked out his other stuff do that as well.
What follows are just a few snippets of things from my personal experience.
Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
On St George’s Day! 100 years ago the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The idea was to block the canal entrance by sinking obsolete ships – this to stop U-boats and light shipping from leaving port.
The game presented by the Maidstone Wargames society showed the actions of the HMS Vindictive that carried a troop or royal marines that were to take out some German Gun positions. It was a beautifully presented game and the ship was a thing of beauty and scratch built (using a lot of tomato pure tubes as sheeting material – that is hard core in my books – “What a we having for Dinner today?”, “It is another round of Pasta with Tomato Sauce!”).
Mission Command: Normandy
Mission Command is a new set of WW2 rules that promises to capture the essence of tactical and operational combat for company level to division level. It captures the way in which different armies (nationalities) operated in practice in terms of tactical and operational command, control and communication. It was a pleasure to have a chat with the guys. I found it intriguing – more information here. It is currently at the final stages of playtesting and a relatively inexpensive beta ruleset can be obtain through the link above. The game is Umpired and orders are given at the beginning of them game but can be modified. However the changes to the orders have to be achieved within command structures where the fog of war, imperfect information and confusion can cause unintended outcomes.
The Battle of Foy
Most of us remember this from the phenomenal Band of Brothers book and TV-series. This table was a joy to watch and the group presenting it was passionate about sharing their enthusiasm. I have a special place somewhere for snow terrain and this one was inspiring. The miniatures used were 20mm and it was played using the Bolt Action rules. The tall pine trees are made with the same technique as I used from my trees earlier in the year (more about how to make them here).
Tumbling Dice and another Diversion – Bag the Finn!
Paul at Tumbling Dice (link here) have a nice range of 1/600 aircraft and I bought myself a bundle of his nice aircraft that I want to use for some aerial dogfights between Finland and Soviet. They are very nice and they are relatively easy to paint them and it will not cost you a fortune to get started. I have some already that I used for Battle of Britain 1940.
I also got myself a selection of books from Amazon recently about the Finnish and Sovietic air force of the period – mostly second hand from Amazon at a not too heavy cost.
I will be using the Too Fat Lardies rules Bag the Hun for these (link here). The Scramble supplement have a little piece of using the Rules for the Finnish Winter War to get me started, but I think I will focus on the Continuation War period – those Brewster Buffalos looks far too cool!.
I was not going to but I got some of Lifecolors nice paints for this project (I got all the colours individually, from their paint set pictures below a part from the black as I thought I could get away with it!). This is a perfect on the move project as it does not take a lot of space – a handful of paints and a handful of planes and you can take off anywhere!
The only question is what playing surface to use. It would be really good have a aerial picture with good resolution of a winter land scape from above. Have not seen anyone doing one and I do not know where to get a good resolution picture from – any ideas gladly taken?
With some help from the Welsh Wizard, Mike Hobbs, we manage to order for a sufficient amount to get a healthy discount from Eureka (more here) – who did their annual trip from down under to Salute. They have a good selection of stuff and I got myself a lot of 15mm (some WW2 Australians with Great Coat and Russian Partisans) and some 28mm stuff (for my Mutant 1984).
I will show these in a later post as I have no intention of doing anything with them at the moment. Big shout out to Nic and crew – see you next year!
What a Tanker!
Too Fat Lardies were demonstrating their What a Tanker game and it looked great. Go and do yourself a favour and buy the book from here. If you need a little more convincing check out the stuff below. Had a good chat with Rich, Nick and Sidney – thanks for your time!
For more on the game if you do not want to take my word for it.
A video by the Lardies themselves:
Also check out these links for podcast whilst you paint your tanks:
The Veteran Wargamer (Jay) have gone Tank Mad in a wonderful way – check out his two podcasts for more here and here.
We are hopefully doing a game of What a Tanker this weekend using some 15mm German tanks vs Russian or American tanks – preparations are underway more to come.
However 6mm may be a good option and I spotted Baccus Shermans and Panzer IVs at Salute – they look very nice and the Sherman is due out very soon.
Michael Leck and friends, as have become tradition, presented yet another stunning table with a historical battle with a Swedish denominator – this time depicting the battle of Stäket 1719 (more here). This is a small battle at the end of the Northern War with with the King having been shot in Norway in 1718 and with the Russians and Cossacks terrorising the Swedish east coast with a fleet of Galleys (this was know as the Russian Harryings (Rysshärjningarna). The attack was repulsed but the Russians managed to escape without any damage to their fleet allowing them to continue their harrying the following year.
The galleys and the terrain boards (and a few of the miniatures) were made by Jan (who is another exile Swede living in the UK). The rest of the miniatures were flown in with Michael and chums.
As I have declated before Michael, and I, used to roll dice and use our imagination in the same role-playing club many moons ago. It is always nice to see him and his latest stuff – he actually brought me two presents, a giant stag beetle and a Swedish king. Many thanks Michael!
How much is your collection worth!
I also had a nice chat and a coffee with good friend Peter Riley who is running the Wargamer Collection Calculator (I have discussed them before on the blog, here) that now features a wargames directory with more than 1,000 traders, clubs and societies – is your club on it? Their base offer is in effect a collection manager where you can log you wargames collection in words and pictures with some high level estimate of its potential worth – perhaps for the purpose of using this as a basis for a separate insurance of your collection. Even if you do not want to insure your collection you could perhaps use it as a collection manager. Registration is free. Check them out here.
…I think that represents a biased but still fair sample of Salute goodies! I forgot the Daleks, here we go.
Horka 1708 update – Swedish Infantry and Artillery thoughts
I have been working away with the Horka project and here is the Swedish Infantry contingent. 28 bases (compared to the 64 Russian ones, presented earlier here).
I am also working on Artillery and have come to some kind of compromise for artillery. The Russian used a lot of smaller artillery pieces – battalion guns. In the accounts of Poltava once of the key elements is the Russian Artillery ripping away the advancing Swedes, changing to shrapnel for the last 200 meters. Placing a few cannons on the sides, as is the typical set-up, where the cannons representing 8 to 16 pieces of something like are shown as two bases on the sides, that does not really convey the story. So I will use thin frontage bases (15mm wide) and put them between the Russian battalions to illustrate these pieces. It may be overkill from a ratio vs model count – but we can deal with this and having a quick glance at the way it looks I do not think there is a way back. More about artillery in a later post. This was just me getting carried away!
In the last posting (here) I set out what this blog posting would be about:
Blogpost 98, w.c 02-Apr-18. Some completed stuff for Horka 1708, this will be pictures of the completed Russian Infantry – the 64 bases required. I just need to complete the basing and add flags to the final ones in the next few days.
For once I seem to have managed to live up to at least my own expectations. I spent the first day of the Easter Break finalising the basing and then added some flags the following day – boring at hell at times but I figured it would be worth the effort. Here are some pictures (there is a listing the completed unit at the end of this posting). All models are from Baccus (link here).
I am doing the final cavalry elements and hope to be able to inspect them on the parade ground shortly before I get onto to finalising the Swedes.
In other news I have ordered some stuff over the last few weeks for my Mutant 1984 project (1980s roleplaying in a world that most certainly was), I would like to give a little shout out for the miniatures from Space Vixens from Mars. They regularly show up at shows and do their games and invite anyone along for a hilarious ride. Here are a few of the models that I will be using for my Mutant 1984 project (taken from their webpage – link here).
I wanted to have a rock band with mutated Beetles but had to go with Plan B, the Mutated Beetles. They are famous throughout the Pyri Commonwealth and I will try to find a Walrus head and do a headswap!
Here is their typical set list (length of the show tends to be dependent on the capacity of the steam powered electrical generator of the local venue).
Here comes the Burning Sun, For the Benefit of Mr. Rijn, Baby You Can Ride my Horse, Mutant on the Hill, Got to Get you into my brain, Happiness if a smoking blunderbuss, I am the Mutated Walrus, I want to hold your four hands, Mental Mystery Tour, Mean Mr. Ketchup, Roll Over Justin Beaver, September in the Acid Rain, Three cool mutated cats, Two of Me and finally (and I suppose you also grew tired of the list!) You’ve Got to Hide Your Mental Powers Away.
Anyway, hope that was of some interest. We have also been playing some games over the Easter Break but those will be presented in some future blogs as per the plan presented last in the last blog.
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I am currently spending a lot of hobby time finalising bases for the Horka 1708 project that will be presented at the 6mm show Joy of Six in July this year (a link to the webpage here). This will be my 6th year of putting a game on (2012 GNW Fraustadt 1706, 2013 GNW Klissow 1702, 2014 GNW Kalisz 1706, 2015 GNW Gadebusch 1712, 2016 Saga in 6mm, 2017 GNW Lesnaya 1708 and Dragon Rampant in 6mm). It is my favourite show of the year because it showcases what can be done in this scale and what is available as a lot of the 6mm miniature and terrain/building traders are in attendance. I suggest you check it out and get yourself to Sheffield this Summer (15th July).
I tend to move big chunks of works forward at the same time rather than completing say 4 bases and moving on to the next 4 set of bases. I used to do it in incremental steps, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to complete a big project/campaign by winning small victories on the way. I still get a kick of a completed base and how that seemingly randomless drybrushing on top of the brown base, in combination with the static grass creates that little illusion that puts the models in some kind of bigger context!
However, my current small victories are all the other diversions (Gaslands, Winter War, Mutant 1984, etc.) whilst I slog away with the big one. At times these diversions takes me away from the main mission for weeks. But I have to admit that it does not take much to get me back to the Great Northern war period. This final futile grasp of Sweden as a Great Power and the great battles, tragedies and personalities it contains. I know how it all ends, but it still blows me away and there is so much more to find out.
On that note (and I have mentioned a few before) check out Helion Company’s Century of the Soldier series that have a lot of upcoming books for the Great Northern War in particular but so much more. Link to Helion here. Give them a visit and get yourself some cool books. I am really pleased to see Great Northern war books in English and anyone who is doing them will certainly sell me a copy – but also gets a shout out.
Here are a few of the titles I am looking forward to (various release dates):
I am currently (re-)reading another one from the Century of the Soldier series about the Pruth campaign that was released a at the end of January this year (incidentally, as Nick wrote it I had read the initial draft, but had not seen the bespoke drawings of troop types of the two sides and re-enactment pictures of Russian soldiers – and I really enjoyed it). I discussed this book here that formed the basis for a little skirmish side project using Pikeman’s Lament (see more here, here and here). However this campaign lends itself to bigger battles. Think about the mixture of differing troop types with the colourful Ottoman army of the period on one side againt the more westernized Russian army with Kalmucks, Tartars and Cossack support on the other – what a spectacle. [editor notes: At this note he drifts away into that la la land again, planning battles and setting up painting progress spreadsheets again].
In 1711 Peter the Great, the Tsar of Russia, led a large army of veterans from Poltava and his other Great Northern War victories into the Balkans. He aimed to humble the Ottomans in the same way he had the Swedes a few years before. Victory would secure useful allies in the Balkans, cement Russia’s ‘Great Power’ status and offer Peter the opportunity to finally gain control over the Swedish king, Charles XII, thus completing his victory over Sweden. Yet within a few months, the ‘backward’ Ottomans had forced the Tsar and his Tsarina and their army of veterans into a humbling surrender near the Pruth River. The war was the first time that Russia was strong enough to confront the Ottomans independently rather than as a member of an alliance. It marked an important stage in Russia’s development. However, it also showed the significant military strength of the Ottoman Empire and the limitations of Peter the Great’s achievements. The war was of significance to the allies of both the Russians and the Ottomans. It was of course of an even greater importance to all those directly affected by the war such as the Swedish, the Polish, and the Cossacks, who had taken refuge from the reverses of the Great Northern War in the Ottoman territory. It would also bring about the defeat of the Moldavian and Walachian ambitions to shake off the Ottoman overlordship, elevating Dimitrie Cantemir into the position of a national hero celebrated to this day by the people of Romania. The book looks at the causes of this little known war and its course. Using contemporary and modern sources it examines in detail the forces involved in the conflict, seeking to determine their size, actual composition, and tactics, offering the first realistic determination on the subject in English.
So how am I getting on with the Horka project, then?. I actually did not know until recently as my notes were a little bit here, there and everywhere. So I opened up a spreadsheet and did an inventory and counted the models I had to date. Here is a summary of where the painting is at expressed as percentage complete (then there is basing etc, but since that is relatively quick I am only interested at this stage on whether I have enough painted lead or not!):
Swedish Infantry (672 foot) – 57% (16 of 28 bases done)
Swedish Cavalry (648 riders) – 96% (69 of 72 bases done)
Overall – 90% complete (230 bases of 255 are now in painted condition) – over 3,500 miniature . When I counted it all up I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that I had so little left to do. It is the largest amount of bases I have ever put on a table to date. The picture below show the two armies spread on a 12 foot (3.6m) table (the middle white and blue ruler shows 1 feet increments). Both have a 8 foot frontage (2.4m) and the Russian one is mostly 4 bases deep. I think it will be worth the Joy of Six ticket just to see that – but then I am somewhat biased with regards to tricorne hats (and Karpuses).
Then there is artillery and leaders but I have not yet checked whether I need to do any more than what I already have available from previous projects. I am going to have a little chat with Nick Dorrell on the likely composition of the artillery at this stage of the campaign – I will have a view and he will correct it.
Here is a photo of the work in progress – or work in a mess more like it!
I would like to do a shout out for Tiny Tin Troops that amongst many things do flags (web page here) – I found their Russian GNW flags especially useful for my project. With so much infantry a lot of flags are required and although you could do them yourself it can be time consuming of to recolour images, etc.
They compliment the Baccus sheets I have used up nicely (link here) – order the 8mm version (this is not the scale but the height of the flag) – link here. Nice and pleasant to deal with.
Their range of flags covers Crusades, Flodden, ECW, Ireland 1690, GNW, WSS, 7YW, Napoleonic, Armada Naval and they also have some WW2 Posters (for 6-28mm figs).
There is a painting gallery there that you may find fascinating if you are into the period, especially these. This is from the time TTT had a painting service – inspiration stuff!
As for the Terrain I will not start the terrain mat (5 by 12 feet) until the weather gets more stable as I ideally need a good few sunny days – lacking in space and inspiration to do it on a gloomy day. This is normally the last thing I do anyway so I do not expect this to be done until end of May or June.
I will need to start worrying about the real estate that I will need for Horka itself and the Villages around it. The Better one got me a nice bunch of Eastern European buildings (mostly churches) following my thoughts on the Monastery at Poltava (more here) that I need to paint up as well. I have some buildings already so I do not see this as a major effort.
Overall it is all in hand.
I also got the latest Saga Rules and the Viking supplement and they are nice products indeed. I am coming up towards the 100th blogpost (having done an average of 1 post a week since I started) and I would like that particular one to be about Saga v2 in 6mm as a homage to the very first blog post Saga in 6mm (link here). Planning to run a few games with the models I already have (I made 12 starter factions so I do not think I need to paint any more at the moment).
Some of the changes I noted so far are:
Warlords have changed significantly with regards to the special abilities.
Levy units generate Saga dice (if they are 6 or more models on the table).
Warrior units reduced to less than 4 models do not give you Saga dice. This avoids the potential of a 1 man warrior unit being held back to spawn saga dice.
If you are far away from an enemy you can move a unit for free as a first activation.
Some simplification of fatigue, combat and movement rules
I got the basic rule book for £8.50 (this contains the basic rules) and the Viking supplement (this has the Viking factions and the battleboards) for £25.50, which I believe is very competitive, from Dark Sphere (link here) with free postage.
I have all the old Saga books and I am aware this version will probably not blow me away in the same way as the first set, but it is on the basis of that very first set I bought the second edition. Saga is a fantastic game and I, and especially the Little One, want to be part of the ongoing process of making it even better.
So we are, for sure, dusting of the cobweb of the warbands (that was used for the Original Saga rules and have been stand in for some games of Too Fat Lardies Dux Britanniarum games). The Little One is smiling – the Big One too.
Here are a few shots of the Saga stuff (all based on 25mm square bases) as we felt obliged to stare at it for a few minutes.