Monday, March 02, 2015

Back to Basics

I love doing these kiddy pictures, such a  joy to do.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Excitment Overload...Foam Boards!!!

 Well after years of thinking about It I have finally found a place where I can get terrain boards. After reading a piece in a magazine about making rivers, I was moved to follow the link and order some. £10 each from TSS I think they are good value for money. I have always loved the idea of rivers etc being sunken into the terrain and after seeing the piece in Wargames and strategy I intend to follow the tutorial on how to do it.

However this is a project I intend to shelve at the moment and start up again in the summer. I have quite enough to be getting on with at the moment with baby James absorbing all of my time.

 I imagine it will be quite a big project and a very messy one too, but I love the idea of sunken rivers so I know it will be worth it.
An Orc host runs across the endless grassland of Rohan...

28mm ACW Scale Guide

 I often try to find scale guides for 28mm ACW on the net and although they are on there,  they don't include everything that is on the market. So frustrated with this and with new releases popping up at an alarming rate, I thought I would create my own.

I have included every range I have for 28mm ACW and to my knowledge haven't missed anything out. I have tried to line them up from smallest to biggest so gamers can see the scale.

To be honest most are very similar with just one (Renegade) being maybe too big to mix with other makes. I have also included some of the more recent ACW releases, these include Crusader, Steve Barber and Forgotten and Glorious all of which are relatively new to the scene.

Anyway I hope this simple chart helps.

Steve Barber model Review

 Over Christmas I was lured back into ACW by my ever going obsession with Regimental Fire and Fury. While in the 'zone' I ordered some models from Steve Barber as well as another set of RFAF.

Well, they arrived and I was very pleased with them. Steve has come up with a clever way to give maximum variety into units. Redoubt went some of the way with their separate heads, but Steve Barber has taken it to another level by having multiple legs , torso, arms and heads. The heads also work really well on Redoubt models, some might even say an improvement to the limited ones from Redoubt.

I did order some Redoubt 'Kepi,firing line, sack coat' last year and much to my surprise they all arrived with the head already molded on. I wonder If this is because other companies (like Steve's) are doing separate heads now...just a thought as I did think it at the time.

Anyway, I was impressed with the amount of character I was able to achieve from the pack of 24 models.
 After collecting ACW for many, many years I have come to the conclusion that most ACW units look better advancing on the double with right shoulder shift. The pose is one of the strongest and lends itself to static or advancing troops.
 I had great fun adjusting the figures as I put them together to make subtle differences, I found this part as entertaining as the painting process If the truth is told, in the same way I enjoyed messing around with the Warlord plastic Romans. It's nice to have a feeling that you are creating unique characters that may not exist anywhere else.

Here we can see the parts that go to make up a Union Infantryman.

If I did have to gripe about anything It would be that I wished the arm had a 'tag' that would fit inside a hole on the torso, just to make that fix easier and quicker to do and maybe more secure. That said once glued the arms seemed fine, but still a 'tag' would have been nice, must like the ones Foundry use on their ACW ranges.

Apart from that though a great pack of figures with loads of possibilities to add character and unique personalities.
Size wise they came in at the bigger end of the scale, but not enough to make them unusable with many of the big figure brands.

Death by Decal, An old favourite of mine.


Decals can be a god send but man; they can make your life HELL!

Foam Boards

I'm having a few technical problems today with my computer so here are some pictures of some Germans to past the time.

I've just received 11 big 2ftx2ft terrain boards after reading an article in Wargames and Strategy.

I've always loved the idea of having rivers that are sunken into the actual ground rather than laying on top. However, that is defiantly a summer project so I have shelved it until things warm up outside and I can use the garden to spread things out.

I'm also having problems focusing on one era at the moment and might have to stay strong and stick to only one. Those Orcs still aren't completed yet...I think I will have to stay at them.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

To Defy a King

 Well It's been a while but I am finally back with my ECW head on. I found a fantastic drama series on You tube called 'By the sword divided'. Made back in 1983 I thought it was going to be really dated and bad, It was fantastic and very well researched. It certainly stands up to the test of time as far as the uniforms and customs go. I found the siege on the stately home/castle very inspiring and dug out my old 1664 ECW rules to look at the campaign section. It was while I was trawling the Internet that I caught wind of another new ECW release, To defy a king.
Here it is, after reading a few glowing reviews (many from Sealed Knott members) I decided to take the plunge.

So far It looks good  with lovely easy to learn pages that are very simply laid out. From what I can tell so far It doesn't place to much emphasis on fire power, but leans more toward melee to settle things on the field.

The thing that really stands out and the thing I think the makers are most proud of, is their army generator. A pack of cards is supplied with the rules and these allow you to randomly generator a force of different strength units with varying classes of experience. This I think is great and It leads Itself very well to solo gaming. Something I would love to try out once I have enough troops.

On a slightly different note here is a sketch I did to work out how I'm going to base my standards. I like the idea of having lots of standards per regiment and most 'flag' manufactures produce at least four for ECW regiments. Well, I have been playing around for a while trying to work out a good look. I have finally come up with a nice alternative that combines a few ideas. I will have a 40mm round base with the commander and two ensigns on it and the other two standards will be placed one each in a Pike stand.The round commander base will play no part in the battle or be counted as a 'base', but will simply look nice either at the back or front of the regiment. I think the massed standards will look stronger than just having two.

I did plan on having a wide 80mm x 40mm base at the back of the regiment with all four standards on it, but this looks too confusing and gives the impression of another rank of pikes. I think the floating commander idea is better and will allow the whole regiment to cross bridges in column etc without the 80mm base getting stuck half way across.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Orcs and their Masters.

I drew this picture months ago to help me work out my Mordor army and the figures I would use for all the different breeds of Orc.

The small Moria goblins would be made from the early Citadel goblins and Gnolls.These are lightly armoured but many in number.
 Slightly better armoured Goblins would be made up of Citadel Giaks from the 'Lone Wolf 'figure range.
Then comes the masses of Orc troops, these are made up of the fantasy tribes Orcs again from Citadel along with other makes.
The Uruk-hai will be formed from the LOTR range from Citadel with other armoured Orcs to make up the numbers.
 Finally huge Black Uruks will be created from Black Tree's great Orc range and will make up the large orc bodyguards of Bolg. They are huge and the reason why they gave Thorin such a hard time can be clearly seen.

The based army so far

 Another base and another leader figure with a repaired weapon.
 Here is the based army so far, I have another four stands to base up before this lot can be called finished.

 Next up for the Orc army will be the heavily armoured uruks and Uruk-hai. These will form the better equipped and disciplined ranks in the army of Mordor.
This block of Orcs will be split into about three warbands. I plan to have around three lots of forty Orcs to form the main battle line. next to these will be one or two units of Uruk-hai and swarms of Wargs and wolves on the flanks, but thats a while away at the moment as I flit back and forth between this and my ever going ACW project.

My dream of playing Regimental Fire and Fury is stronger than ever now with their release of their second scenario book.

Orc Leaders and tribes

 I had to do a lot of repair work on some of these old ebay figures as most of them were broken. These old sculpts go for quite a lot on ebay so I bought all the cheap broken or badly painted ones and nursed them back to life. The Orc above has had his sword filed down to a more realistic size, he is from a time when GW went crazy with their weapon sizes.

I have bought three of the leader sculpts below and each one had a missing weapon, so repair had to be done using a pack of old spare weapons I bought from eBay. I think he looks better now with his giant mace than he did with his original sword. He is still a leader in his own right and has been given a standard and bodyguards to prove it.

I have tried to put different tribes into the massed army of Mordor. This white face paint on this leader represents Mount Gundabad and there a a few of these bases in the army.
 Most of the other bases have red paint either down their face or across one eye to show they are from Mordor.


 Metal magic Orcs from eBay proved to be one of the best buys of my collecting career, they were cheap but very nice models.
 More Orcs from my childhood given a freshen up and whipping back into service.
 Plastic Wargames factory Orcs also found their way onto the bases. I had looked at these with a little distain at first but they proved to be really good once made up. They are also very handy when It comes to spare weapons and shields. After the success of these I tried the plastic Mantic Orcs, but they proved less effective. These Wargames Factory figures would also make great half orcs too, something I have in mind for the future.
The guy at the front is my first Orc I ever bought way back in 1984. I called him Kracken and I thought he looked a natural leader. He is in fact listed as a bodyguard in the old Citadel catalogues.

Grishnakh, captain of Mordor.

 This is Grishakh, the squat, ape armed captain of Mordor who was with the party that captured Merry and Pippin. He is surrounded with large armoured Uruks and a small evil looking Orc, no doubt whispering no good in his ear all the time.

I have used the Jackson Movies as a guide again for this character and painted him with a red skin tone.
 I chose this figure because of his long arms and the fact he has a curved scimitar too. I put a standard on the base to mark it out as a command base amongst the Orc rabble.

Twigs from the garden have proved to be really effect on these bases, I will be using the idea on my ACW for sure when I do the next batch.

And now for something completely different...

 A little side project that has slipped through the net...Elves. Well you can't paint all that evil stuff without a little goodness creeping back through. This come about after I started to work out how I would paint Elf armour.  The next thing I know I have twenty of them stuck on paint pots and the Mordor army has been put on hold.

I want my Elves to follow the Movie versions with their Bronze/green armour. So after painting them with Vallejo 70998 BRONZE, I gave them quite a thick wash of Woodland scenics green.

Although they aren't finished yet I think the effect has worked.
 The figures are from Militon Miniatures and are the old Mark Copplestone sculpts from the early 90's. In my opinion they are the best elves around at the moment and I prefer them to the GW High Elves.

Here are two colour test models i painted up. I think I will lost the fancy swirls as It will take up too much time when painting large numbers. The Surcoat is painted using Foundry's 'Night Sky' A and B paint pots. To give them a slightly more armoured look, I painted the legs and arms with leather colours rather than flesh tones, again matching the Jackson movies.

Mordor Troll

 Here he is again, the Mordor Troll. I was pleased to see the size of these new GW figures and the fact they were so big. They fitted in very well with the old 80's sculpts very well.

I have two of them and they were both bought from eBay, which is why one of them has lost his cheek guards. I don't really mind this as It gives you a chance to see his face and skin tones better.

 The troll's armour was given an undercoat of black, then drybrushed with GW 'Lead Belcher'. I also gave it a wash (in places) of Warlock Bronze, which had a great ageing effect.

 A red brown wash was then added to make the armour look rusted. After all this I gave the edges a very light brushing with the 'Lead Belcher' paint again.The leather work was painted with different browns then given a black wash, no highlights were added.

Mordor Masses

 Here we have the main army, smaller Orcs and Goblins. Rather than make separate units of archers and spears etc I mixed all the troop types together into mini warbands. I think Orcs look better this way, one big out of control rabble.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Great Unwashed

 I created the army from my collection of figures from back in the early Eighties. Mind you saying that a lot were bought off eBay amongst other places and some were even given to me by friends. They make quite a random bunch of misfits and villains, perfect for the army of Mordor.
 A whole variety of figures and manufacturers were collected together to fill the bases. All the time I tried to use a bit of imagination with them and give each base a story and character. This large 'Kevin Adams' orc from Foundry was turned into a Black Uruk because of his size. Either that or some kind of half troll. The Citadel Chaos warrior above becomes a evil squint eyed, sallow faced goblin man like the one from Bree. That's the thing I'm enjoying the most about painting fantasy, its the imagination that goes with it.

 Here you can see the dried herbs I sprinkled on to act as dry undergrowth. I think they work well and to the naked eye they look just like dead leaves and braken.
These guys were painted many years ago back in 1987, a quick black wash and shield change and they're back working for the big eye in the sky.

That's it for now , more to come tomorrow.