More Bones (because I didn't have enough)

 Arrived at long, long, looooooooong last, my Reaper Bones Kickstarter III. It's been so long since I paid for this that I'd pretty much forgotten all about it until I got the shipping notice about three weeks ago.

It took that long to get from Sydney to Christchurch. For the geographically challenged, that's NOT VERY BLOODY FAR. However, it appears that the reason it took so long is because it was kicked along the road all the way.

The only expansion set I went for this time is this one, shown above — the Mythos set. It looks pretty useful, though its thunder has been stolen somewhat by the release of games like Cthulhu Wars in the interim, which includes a bajillion creepy Lovecraftian critter miniatures and what-not that are just as good in quality.

Nevertheless, the Investigators, and especially the pack camel (which is really good, I could do with about a dozen of them) will be very handy figures that I expect will get a lot of use; they'd suit any number of Steampunk/Call of Cthulhu/Pulp Action sorts of games. I'm sure I can find a use for Shub-Niggurath as well. And I still have Cthulhu himself hanging around somewhere, from way back in the first Kickstarter days.

The composition of the resin they've used for Bones figures appears to have changed. There's the colour, for a start — they're not all just bright blinding white. The miniatures feel a bit stiffer and slicker too. Bones has always been pretty good at resolving detail (apart from some notable early exceptions), but this formula seems, at first sight at least, to be better than the old one.

Zvezda 1:200 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV

This is the 1/200 scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV from Zvezda, and the last addition to my early WWII air forces for a while.

Regrettably, Zvezda are more concerned with making their models fit a standard box size than with maintaining a constant scale, so this model is considerably smaller than its companion Fairey Battle, when in fact it should be just a little bit larger — about another 5-10 mm wingspan. It's an annoyance, but I can live with it since its function is to be a gaming marker. Still, I'd have preferred it if it was in 1/144 scale, like all the other aircraft.

I haven't included a bottom view, as it's just overall black without any markings at all, standard livery for RAF day bombers in 1939-40.

Front starboard quarter

Rear port quarter

Top view

Zvezda 1:144 Messerschmitt BF109F

Another addition to my 15mm WWII German forces is this Messerschmitt BF109F by Zvezda.

The mottling along the sides of the fuselage was very problematic. I tried airbrushing it, but I've never really got the knack of doing very fine-line airbrushing on non-absorbent surfaces; I inevitably get horrible spidery blobs everywhere. So this one has just been done with a brush by building up several layers of very thin, translucent paint. I'm not that enthralled with the end result, but it's better than my attempts at airbrushing.

The BF109F is a little too late for my preferred period, which is 1939-40, but it will serve the purpose on the tabletop, which is to say "I am a German single-seat fighter plane".
front quarter

rear quarter

top

bottom — you can see the bolt
that I use to attach the plane
to my magnetic flight stands.

Zvezda 1:144 Fairey Battle

Top view
This is Zvezda's 1/144 scale kit of the RAF's Fairey Battle, one of the most promising light bomber designs of the mid-1930s, but which proved to be woefully inadequate in the skies over France in 1940. They were suffering as much as 50% casualties on any given sortie, and they were immediately withdrawn from front-line service after the Battle of France and relegated to duties as a trainer or engine test-bed.
Port side

I haven't bothered showing the underneath view, as it's just all black without any markings or anything — the standard RAF livery for day bombers of the time.

Zvezda 1:144 Hurricane

This will be some air support for my poor beleaguered 15mm 1940 BEF. Not that they're ever likely to see much of it, but that's life in 1940 France.

It's a 1:144 scale snap-together model from Zvezda. It goes together very easily, but the decals are not all that could be hoped for — they're a little thick, though they do adhere well, but the biggest problem is that they're printed out of register, as is blindingly obvious in the yellow ring of the fuselage roundel. Also, for some reason I can't really fathom, the fuselage roundel and serial letters are all printed as separate transfers, so they have to be assembled in situ. Thanks to my ham-fistedness, that means that inevitably they're all wonky.

I've painted it in the black and white livery adopted by the RAF in the beginning of the war to ease ground-to-air identification. It was a pretty terrible idea, and didn't last very long. It didn't seem to affect friendly fire from the ground at all, while making it much, much easier for the Germans to see them.

Rear quarter

Front quarter

Top

Bottom

Maus

When I was a child, I wargamed as a child. But now that I am a man, I put away childish things.

Except for the Maus, because FUCK YEAH!

I bought this mainly out of nostalgia, because the Maus was the first tank I ever tried to scratch-build when I was wargaming with my friend Wayne in his Dad's garage. We played entirely infantry-free games consisting of nothing but the biggest, meanest tanks we could find, and using rules that had been type-written and then (badly) reproduced in a little booklet — I don't even remember the name of the game, but it was pretty clunky.


I doubt that I'll ever have a tabletop use for a Maus, but it will be nice to have one around. And besides, it only cost about ten bucks, so why not?

PanzerJäger 1 conversion

My frustrated attempts at getting a PanzerJäger 1 in 15mm scale has led me to desperate straits, so much so that I've started designing a fighting compartment and gun conversion kit to be 3d printed, to go on a Minairons Panzer 1 model.

Building it in Blender is pretty straightforward, but I'm hampered by the fact that I don't have a 3d printer of my own, so I'm having to gamble that my measurements are right. Getting beta models printed and shipped by Shapeways is a lengthy business.

Here's the FUD material render from Shapeways;

The module is available for sale at http://shpws.me/OMk3, but it should be noted that I haven't yet been able to print it to check for fit on the Minairons kit.

Genericars

I designed a sprue of generic 1930s British cars in 6mm (1:300 – 1:285) scale.

They're not meant to represent any specific make or model, but rather to have the look of common civilian vehicles of the period.

They're available in FUD/FXD resin on Shapeways at http://shpws.me/OLD1

These ones are basically the same car, but a convertible version, and with the spare wheel moved around on to the back.

They've available at http://shpws.me/OLDo

Here's another conversion of my basic car model. This time it's a sprue of small delivery trucks.

They'd have been painted with the store name and logo on the sides, which will be something of a challenge in this scale.

These ones are available at http://shpws.me/OLNc

Splendor Jewels

I bought myself a cheap copy of the game Splendor from China. It only cost about ten bucks, but that's partly because the jewel and gold tokens are die-cut cardboard, rather than the fancy-schmancy weighted poker-chip style things to be found in the sixty dollar version. Apart from that, and having smaller "noble" tiles, it's identical to the high-priced version.

However, since I like fancy-schmancy trappings as much as the next man, I replaced the cardboard counters with these acrylic jewels and plastic goldish coins.

Fancy! And also schmancy!

Battlegroup Battle Rating Chits

The chits un-punched and un-encapsulated
I made myself a set of Battlegroup Battle Rating chits using some 25mm coin cases that I bought from China for a few cents each. I think they'll work pretty well, and I have enough spare cases that I can make any theatre-specific chits I might need.

The discs are cut out using a cheap 25mm circle punch from Warehouse Stationery (in NZ).

The cases' internal diameter is actually 27mm, so the card discs do rattle about a bit in them, but that doesn't really matter too much. Im leaving the cases to shut with a pressure fit; I doubt that they're likely to come apart under normal handling, but if they do a drop of glue will take care of them.

There's a PDF of the layout at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7m9IvmLVUOLZDBjNDdMNV92UDQ/view?usp=sharing

FotR tokens
2017-07-19: PDF updated with a page of the replacement special chits for Fall of the Reich

The reference lines are designed for the specific punch I used, so you may have to experiment a bit to see how they'll work with your own punch. There are a bunch of spare unmarked chits you can do that with.
Some of the chits, both punched and encapsulated

For convenience of use and storage, I made a bag for the chits to rattle around in. It's made of some scrap canvas I had lying around, and it sits flat and open so that the chits are easily accessible during a game, while being deep enough that you're still picking blind unless you actually make an effort to peek.

Closed

Open

Monster Repurposing

 I recently bought a copy of Fearsome Floors, an entertaining little game of running away from monsters and/or being eaten by them.


A monster construction
 It includes a bunch of die-cut cardboard bits for making a monster, which is fine and dandy, except that the bits fit together quite loosely, and the monster is forever falling to bits as it's moved about.

It's for this reason that I decided to replace the cardboard-bits monster with a one-piece plastic monster that won't disintegrate when someone picks it up. I chose this one for several reasons:

  1. Its base is small enough to fit within the boundaries of the squares on the game board
  2. It's flat enough to sit inside the fairly shallow box
  3. It has a clearly identifiable front an back
  4. It's identifiably monsterish
  5. It was the first one that came to hand

It's a WotC D&D pre-painted 28mm plastic figure labelled "Orc Skeleton" that I gave a quick re-paint. I may very well use other figures as well; it's nice to have a variety critters available, but this is the one that will stay in the box. There's no mechanical effect on the game by having differently-shaped creatures — all monsters' abilities are identical regardless of morphology.

Zvezda A13 Cruiser Mk.IV

Here's the first of the 1:100 scale A13 cruisers from Zvezda, painted up and ready for the wargames table.

It's definitely what I'd call tabletop quality, designed to be seen from a reasonable distance. The Dark Green #4 and Khaki Green #3 scheme is a bit more contrasty than it would have been in the flesh, since otherwise the camouflage pattern tends to merge into a single greenish blob. Likewise, the dry-brushing to bring out the lines and detail of the model is very contrasty, and for the same reason.

These little models aren't diorama quality, but for wargames miniatures they serve very well.

Front quarter

Rear quarter

Top view

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