Monday, 17 April 2017

Jenny No-Nose

80003: Ellen Stone by Bob Ridolfi
I'm pretty sure this figure must have come from Reaper's first Bones Kickstarter, because they had real trouble with facial features not filling out properly in the mould on a number of the miniatures. This is one such.

In Reaper's catalogue, this is 80003: Ellen Stone, by Bob Ridolfi, but I always call her Jenny No-Nose because, well, she has no nose. Rather than try to fill in her missing features with paint, I've just painted her with a flat rag-doll face with no eyes or nose and just a gash for a mouth. She's a Weird West gun-babe.


Sunday, 16 April 2017

Reaper Bat Demon

77261: Bat Demon by Bob Ridolfi
Next up on the Bones-painting production line is this one, 77261: Bat Demon by Bob Ridolfi.

At first I was going to paint him classic devil red, but I went with green in the end to give it a more serpentine look. I don't know why I wanted that; there's nothing very serpentine about the sculpting, but there you are. The heart has its reasons.

The wings and elevated position make this figure a bit more imposing than its stature actually warrants. As far as its body goes, it's just very slightly — if at all — larger than the average Reaper bloke.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Reaper Blood Demon (Babau)

77258: Blood Demon by Bob Ridolfi
Here's another of my vast stash of Reaper Bones figures, now splashed with paint. This is a very quick and unfussy paint job, and not really a very good one, but it will do the job. It took me about half an hour.

It appears in Reaper's inventory as 77258: Blood Demon, but it seems pretty clear that it's based on a D&D minor demon called a Babau that I first saw in the MM2, published in 1983.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Disgruntled Bearer

77141: Townsfolk: Oswald the Overladen by Bobby Jackson
I've painted this figure before — I got two of them in one or other of the Reaper Bones Kickstarters.

Both of them ended up with decidedly unhappy facial expressions, but of the two this is the one that looks the least trustworthy. He really seems to be holding a grudge against his exploitative employers, and no wonder.

Lancia

This is my 3d printed 1:100 scale (15mm) Lancia armoured truck, a WW1 vintage vehicle that served on until the late 1920s.

I've crewed it with WW1 British seated figures from Peter Pig, though I've had to amputate all their legs below the knee to get their heads down below the parapet.

The Lewis guns are another of my 3d printed models; they're probably a little fragile for the rough and tumble of the wargames table, but we shall see.

BF Stormtroopers/Freikorps

These are some 15mm WW1 German stormtroopers I picked up a while ago when Battlefront were having a sale to clear out their WW1 stock.

I'll be using them mainly as Freikorps, since the interwar period is my usual stomping ground rather than the Great War.

The coloured blobs are glass beads that I use to indicate the figure's weapon load, to ease identification for my decrepit old eyes: red for LMG, orange for SMG, pale blue for pistol, purple for portable anti-tank (ATR, PIAT, Panzerfaust etc.). I used to also use white beads for rifles, but since that's the default weapon for the period I thought it was a bit of a waste of time. So now I only indicate anything that's not a bolt-action rifle.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Cruiser A9 — Caunter scheme

I repainted one of my old 1:100 scale (15mm) Battlefront A9 cruiser tanks in the Caunter camouflage pattern that the British used in Greece and North Africa up until the end of 1941.

It's an interesting camouflage scheme, and one which I am quite likely to never, ever paint again unless I can work out some less tedious way of achieving it. I thought I would be able to just mask and airbrush it, but all the surface protrusions made that a nightmare — maybe it would be less troublesome if I could have painted all the components separately and then assembled them. Anyway, for this one I just ended up doing it freehand.
NOTE: this is Battlefront's original sculpt of the A9. They've remastered it since then and added a bit more detail. Nevertheless, I think this old one is a pretty decent representation of the original vehicle.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Target Acquisition and Sneakiness in Bolt Action

Something that irks me slightly about Bolt Action is that there's no real mechanic to reflect battlefield concealment or stalking. If you can draw a line of sight between one model and another, then they can see each other plain as day. Cover helps your troops to avoid being hit when fired at, but it does nothing to impede target acquisition in the first place.

I'd like to propose a couple of house rules:

Target Acquisition:

Before one unit can shoot at another, they first have to acquire the target by passing an Orders Test (though if they fail, they don't suffer the usual consequences of failure, they just fail to see the target).

It would be modified as follows:
  • Per Pin marker, (-1)
  • Acquiring unit is Down, (-1)
  • Concealment (see below)
  • Target is Down (-2)
  • If the target moved more than 3" within the last turn (+2)
  • If the target moved less than 3" (+1)
  • If a friendly unit in line of sight of the acquirer shot at the target within the last turn (+1).
  • If the target shot at another unit within the last turn (+1)
  • If the target shot at the acquiring unit at any time from its current position (+2)
Once a unit has acquired another, they maintain acquisition until either they or the target moves out of line of sight.

Concealment:

A unit in line of sight from another, but not yet acquired, can declare itself to be attempting concealment.

Concealment has no effect except to hinder acquisition by an enemy unit.

Roll 1d3 to determine the penalty to other units' acquisition:
  • Inexperienced troops are at -2
  • Regular troops are at -1
  • Veteran troops at -0.
The roll is further modified as follows:
  • If more than 3" from any cover, -2
  • If less than 3" from cover, but still in the open, -1
  • If touching cover, or if the unit is partially in cover, -0
  • If the entire unit is in cover (but still in line of sight), +1
  • Small vehicle or gun (e.g Bren carrier, jeep, 6 pdr) -1
  • Medium vehicle or gun (e.g. truck, half-track, PaK 40) -2
  • Large vehicle or gun (tank, 17 pdr, 88mm) -3.
Regardless of penalties, the minimum score is zero — no matter how incompetent your troops, they're not going to become more obvious by trying to hide.

Infantry and man-packed crew weapons can still move up to 3" while attempting concealment, but it will make it easier for enemies to spot you (see above). Vehicles of any kind must remain stationary to be concealed.

Concealment is lost as soon as the concealed unit opens fire, and may not be regained without moving to a new position at least one Run move away.

A veteran infantry unit, Down, in cover, and concealed is going to be quite hard to spot, but as soon as they open fire they'll lose the benefit of their sneakiness.

Re-Basing the Desert Rats

Figures glued to ½" washers before finishing off the groundwork
These were the very first WWII 15mm figures I ever painted.

I bought them when Flames of War was brand new and exciting, and based them for that system, but I became disenchanted with FoW — partly due to its own shortcomings, but mostly because of the way those shortcomings were being gamed by people who were obsessed with winning rather than having fun. Anyway, I haven't played FoW for many years.

Here they are as I originally based them.
Empty sabot base behind a full one.
Little flocked plugs can be used to disguise empty sockets.
My current practice is to base figures individually on 12.5mm (½") washers, and then to use MDF sabot bases if I should ever need to use them for something like Crossfire or Flames of War or whatever. What I'm playing most regularly these days is Bolt Action, which is not without its own flaws, but then again, what rules are not?

Where the washers fall down for basing is when I'm dealing with individual prone figures. They don't really fit elegantly on a ½" washer, and larger washers extend out too far sideways, not to mention being too large for my MDF sabot sockets. I haven't yet come up with a really satisfying solution to that issue, and I'm currently sidestepping it by avoiding using individual prone figures wherever I can.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Vickers Medium Mk.II* (1:285)

Get it at http://shpws.me/Mv2T
Here's my 1/285 scale model of the Vickers Medium Mk.II*, printed by Shapeways in FUD resin.

It's available as a sprue of five vehicles at http://shpws.me/Mv2T.

Carden-Loyd Carrier (1:285)

Get it at http://shpws.me/Og3u
This is the little Carden-Loyd Medium Machine-Gun Carrier Mk.VI, used by the British army and produced from 1927 to 1935.

This model is 1:285 scale, and therefore very tiny indeed, 3d printed by Shapeways in FED resin. You can get it at as a sprue of twelve vehicles http://shpws.me/Og3u

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

10-hex Hex Mapping Sheet

This sheet is A4 landscape, 10 hexes from side to side. The hexes are numbered by column and row, so hex 5.7 would be the fifth column, seventh row. It has lined areas on each side for note-taking convenience. There's a cartouche at top for titling your map if you so desire.

I like it better than the older 10-hex hexes I designed because it has complete hexes in the corners, and the numbering makes it easier to key.

As with any hex grid of this sort, you can zoom in on individual hexes just by drawing on another sheet to a larger scale. If your top-level map is 10,000 kilometres from side to side (1,000 kilometres per hex), the next level down would have 100 kilometre hexes, then 10, then 1, then 100 metres per hex, and so on if you want to get really detailed.

Below are links to a couple more, one of 4 hexes side to side, the other of 7. Trying to keep complete hexes in all the corners means you can't really manage an elegant sequence of sizes; four is useable maybe, but I'm not so sure about seven.

4 hexes, side to side

7 hexes, side to side

Making My World A Bit Flatter

My FRPG campaign world has been around for several decades now, and it's gone back and forth between being flat and being a globe.

I like the idea of a disc-world, but I've never been able to come up with a satisfactory way of explaining how a day and night cycle would work.

I found this gif somewhere on the internet that does the job. Though it would have been better if I'd had the concept in mind before I started drawing the maps, because now I'll have to rearrange everything to cater to having the icy frigid regions in the centre and edge rather than top and bottom. It's not a huge deal, fortunately; it just means that north and south become in and out.

So, why bother? Well, why not?

Later...

So, this is the redesign of all of my world that I've mapped so far, as a flat disc. I'm using the 10-hex hex grid I designed a few days ago, with 1000 mile hexes on this map.

I've had to move and rotate the archipelago to get its arctic areas to align with the centre and edge frigid zones, but apart from that it doesn't really affect anything that's happened in any of the campaign to date.

In fact, the whole flat-world thing has very little mechanical impact on anything. It's pretty much just for flavour.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Reaper Blue Wizard

77034: Kieran Tallowmire, Wizard by Bobby Jackson
Here's another wizard from one or other of the Reaper Bones Kickstarters. I've had him sitting on my work-table for ages, and I thought I'd better get him out of the way.

New Stuff From Shapeways

These arrived this morning from Shapeways. I've given them a squirt with a pale grey primer to make it a bit easier to see what's what; the translucent resin is terrible to photograph.

I'm pretty happy with the way they've turned out. They're pretty tiny; the carriers are only about 10mm long, and the Vickers Mediums about 20mm.

1:285 scale Carden-Loyd MG Carrier, still on the sprue (printed in FED resin)
https://www.shapeways.com/product/MS8BTEMAU/carden-loyd-carrier-mkvi-6mm-12up

1:285 scale Vickers Medium Mk.II* (printed in FUD resin)
https://www.shapeways.com/product/G66SP8C2P/vickers-medium-mkii-6mm-5up

Monday, 27 March 2017

Carden-Loyd Carrier (15mm)

https://www.shapeways.com/product/DL58N5Q22/carden-loyd-carrier-mkvi-15mm
I made a 1:100 scale (15mm) version of my little Carden-Loyd MG Carrier.

This was the direct ancestor of the much more famous and numerous Universal Carriers of WWII.

3d Printing Catalogue

Gradually, my catalogue of 15mm 1920s and '30s models increases. There are quite a few more that could be done of course, but there are enough there to equip a reasonably decent army (for the British, at least). And it grows.

It's a pity it's such a niche market, but then again, if it wasn't I would almost certainly never have gotten into designing for 3d printing at all. I really only started because there was virtually nothing available for the period in my chosen scale, and not much more in any other scale for that matter.

I originally planned to use 3d printing only to create masters for traditional moulding for resin and/or metal drop-casting. That never eventuated; there are few of these models that would be suitable for that purpose without some quite substantial redesigning. If I were going to go into producing models on a commercial scale, I'd have to revisit that idea — 3d printing is still too expensive for mass production. At least, it is if you have to use somebody else's services. And it's too slow if you have to settle for just one printer to run your home-based production line (and even one printer is out of my fiscal reach for the foreseeable future).

Tim the Enchanter

77174: Leisynn, Mercenary Mage ($2.49) by Tim Prow
Reaper calls this guy Leisynn. Mercenary Mage.

There are some, however, who call him..... Tim!

Friday, 24 March 2017

H&R Covenanter

B107 Cruiser Mk.IV Covenanter from Heroics & Ros
This is the 1:300 scale Covenanter from Heroics & Ros. It's not a bad little model, though it could do with being hiked up a little over the running gear; the hull looks a little flat.

This is the Covenanter they have at Bovington. You can see that the track guards slope up quite sharply from front and back, creating a considerable gap between them and the tracks.

Thanks to severe overheating issues, this tank never made it into active service but was relegated to training duties only.  There's a possibility that a few were sent out to Egypt, but it's more likely that they were Mk.I Crusaders — the two types are superficially quite similar in appearance.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

FOW the 4th

I bought myself a copy of Flames of War 4e, mostly out of curiosity since I haven't played FOW at all since the early days of 2e. I got the 3e freebie mini-book when they released that, but frankly I thought that all they'd done was add a whole lot of pointless bloat without really fixing anything much.

4e is, at first glance, less bloated and more streamlined, and the core rulebook is a lot cheaper than previous editions. But it's not really complete unless you also buy one or both of the 4e army books, which I am loathe to do.

I do like the idea of the Unit Cards for ease of reference, but since my chosen period is 1930-40 I'm going to have to make my own if I want to use them. That's not really a big deal; I have them skillz.

There is still no sort of Overwatch rule, as far as I can see. Still nothing stopping you from running your tanks uninterrupted from cover to cover in front of a massed line of AT guns and turning them to keep your front armour facing any threat at start and end of movement, even if you're moving absolutely flat out.

I still don't think it's one of the better rule sets available for WWII, but meh, I'll play it if there's nothing else.