Friday, September 23, 2011

TMP 15mm Sci Fi Vehicle Swap

Here are a few rather poor pics of my contribution to the latest exchange on TMP.  This is an Earth Force IFV by Rebel Minis, available here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

15mm Sci Fi Figure Exchange on TMP

A couple dozen TMP members are doing a blind swap of painted 15mm Sci Fi figs. We're supposed to trade a squad of five figs. I decided to use a spare pack of GZG Phalons I happened to have. Since they came in a pack of eight, and these are the only ones I have, I'm sending all eight instead of the requisite five.

These sculpts predate the current 15mm boom, and once were some of the few 15mm aliens available. They are still available here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

DBA Han Chinese, with Scenery

These are the Spear and Psiloi elements for my still in-progress Han Dynasty Chinese army for DBA. The figures are 15mm scale, and are all Black Hat (formerly Gladiator, and originally by Metal Magic). 

The Han dynasty came immediately after the Chin dynasty,which is famous for the terracotta army.  These four elements represent a third of the entire DBA army, the remaining elements being heavy cavalry, horse archers, and crossbows.

Most people paint their Han Chinese like this plate in the Osprey book:

This plate (and a couple others in the book) are apparently derived from figures from the Yangjiawan terracotta army.  Like the more famous Chin dynasty terracotta army, it is a collection of terracotta soldiers, discovered in a tomb.  Unlike its more famous predecessor, which was buried in the tomb of the Chin emperor, the Yangjiawan army accompanied a military official and his son into the afterlife, not an emperor.  Thus, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Yangjiawan figures are smaller than lifesize, being only 50cm tall.

Although the Osprey book depicts the Han army in fairly uniform red, the actual terracotta figures were not very uniform. 
However, their palate is somewhat limited--mostly red, black, and white or cream.
I wanted to depict an Imperial Army, not that of some local potentate, and so proceeded to take some interpretive license.  I kept the palate of red, black, and off-white, but used black exclusively for the spearmen's coats because that was the Imperial color in the early years of the Han dynasty.  This is admittedly quite speculative, and it's more likely that they would not have all worn black in real life.  The Chin terracotta army, from just a few years earlier, wears a wide variety of colors, without any apparent uniformity.  Accordingly, I tried not to be entirely uniform, and their shirts, pants, leggings, and shields are done in various combinations of red, black, white, and off-white, following the diversity of the originals.  The archers (class as "Psiloi" in DBA) got the more conventional red coats.

Although I finally painted these guys recently, I sculpted their distinctive halberd blades out of Greenstuff more than ten years ago (the otherwise excellent figures did not include this detail).  Seeing that this (and the other prep work) was already done was a very pleasant surprise when I dug these out of storage and resumed working on them.  Way to go, me of the past!  Here's a pic of an actual "dagger axe" blade, made of bronze:

The biggest liberty I took with painting these was doing the armor in bronze.  The Han definitely used bronze extensively for weapons, and other items, but no bronze armor has been found.  The standard view is that it was probably leather or lamellar.  But bronze looks great, it's a possible interpretation, and it fits my theme of an imperial army.

The trees are homemade, using florist wire and colored flock.  They are meant to have an Asian look.  My mom helped me design and make these, and not for some school project either!  Thanks mom! 

Here's a shot of just the trees, and some of the picturesque, vaguely-Asian looking rocky crags as well.  These are normally islands for Pirates of the Spanish Main, but are rather scale-less, and work well in this context too!  I've got some other great scenery for this army, including a building and a fishing boat that my mother brought back from a trip to China, but they are packed up at the moment, and will have to wait for another post.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

15mm Trench Tank from Proxie Models

Sorry for the long hiatus, we moved recently, and everything is still in boxes.  I just picked up a set of the new 15mm scale "Trench Tanks" by Proxie models, and thought I would post a mini review.  I've included pictures with some figures from other companies alongside by way of comparison.  I just dry-assembled the main pieces, and left off the guns and driver's hatch.

Apologies for the poor quality, I took these at night, and I can only manage decent pics with natural light.

From left to right, the figures along side are (1) "Sons of Thunder" fig by Rebel Minis, (2) a Mid-Tech Trooper from RAFM, formerly from the old Citadel Traveller line, (3) an Earth Force guy from Rebel Minis, and (4) a not-Firefly figure from GZG.

Here's a closer shot:

And from another angle:

Here's a side-by-side pic with an infantry fighting vehicle, made by Rebel Minis:

And another angle:

As you can see, it's not a huge tank, but it is "in scale" with 15mm figures.  The comparison with the Rebel Minis vehicle is interesting: the two are almost exactly the same height and width, but the Rebel vehicle is a good bit longer.

The plastic is hard, (it feels like it should take paint well) but pretty easy to cut with clippers.  These do require a bit of trimming here and there to make everything fit, but the plastic is easier to work with than resin or pewter.

The mold lines are mostly pretty minimal, with one significant exception (that isn't apparent in the pictures): one of the tracks is misaligned by about a millimetre.  This is strange, because each tank comes on a single sprue, i.e., a single mold, so you would think that either everything would be misaligned, or nothing.  I don't yet know how much work it will be to correct this, but I'm hoping that since its plastic, it won't be too bad.  UPDATE: the mold line was pretty easy to remove, using and X-Acto knife and files.

All told, these are really great little tanks, and unique among current 15mm vehicles currently available.  They've got a lot of character, with plenty of rivets and such.  And the price ($10 for three tanks) can't be beat.  Plus the shipping is a flat $3, also a bargain.

I'll be picking up some more, and looking forward to new offerings from Proxie.

Proxie Models has both a blog and a webshop:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pirates of the Spanish Main--Raid on the Flota

Here are a few pics from a game of Pirates of the Spanish Main that I played with my niece and nephew recently.  Rather than do the usual "grab the treasure" game, I put together a simple scenario--raid the Spanish treasure fleet!  Apologies for the somewhat blurry pics, these were shot in the heat of battle.

In this, I was inspired by the historical flota, the annual treasure convoy sent from the New World to Spain.  Accordingly, I put all my Spanish ships on one side, and during the game had them move fairly mechanically across the board in a group. 

I didn't make up formal rules for this, but just controlled their movements as a sort of gamemaster for the scenario.  At the same time, we each ran a small squadron of English and Pirate ships, intent on disabling and boarding the Spanish Galleons, each of which was carrying a random selection of treasure.

Here's my own squadron of English Sea Dogs moving in.  I made the islands out of styrofoam, cut with a styrofoam cutter, and covered in resin pumice for texture before painting.  I was inspired by the awesome Pirates of the Spanish Main scenery over at the Shifting Lands website.

Losses among the flota were heavy.

A pirate squadron can be seen at the top of this picture.  In the foreground, the English squadron has already disabled and pillaged a medium-sized galleon.  Unfortunately for the English, the mighty Spanish flagship Guarantor is just moving into position between the sand bars.  Next turn it started blasting the smaller English ships out of the water.

My niece won with the most gold at the end of the game.  I lost, with only one ship still seaworthy, and little gold!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

15mm Warhammer 40,000: Heavy Walker

One of my on-going projects is building Warhammer 40,000 (40K) armies in 15mm scale.  (Check out my Displaced Miniatures page in the links sidebar to see my 15mm Space Hulk figures.)

Here's my take on a heavy walker for the Imperial Guard, based on a very slightly modified Gear Krieg walker by Dream Pod 9.  The modifications consist of adding a sci fi las-cannon end to the main-gun barrel, adding a couple Imperial aquila symbols, a crude attempt at sculpting a Guard helmet on the crewman, and the sci fi base, and a few other details.  I converted and painted this for the "Iron Painter" competition run by Wyrd Miniatures about a year and a half ago.  I managed to advance to the second round, but probably only because my first opponent was the only other contestant painting 15mm miniatures.

The turret has a red-white-red identification flash on it.  A common feature on Imperial Guard vehicles, and inspired by British practice in both World Wars.  (The practice ended early in World War Two, when it was noticed that the ID flash made a convenient aiming point for Axis gunners.)

Any self-respecting AFV crew names its vehicle.

Here are a few detail closeups:

"Heroic" Commander

Note the purity seal over the engine.

Ouch!  Well, that's what he gets for being a xenos threat!

Thanks for viewing!

Friday, January 7, 2011

15mm Seleucid Light Horse

This is an element of 15mm-scale Seleucid Light Horse (LH) for DBA, my favorite game.  They are technically "Tarentine" cavalry, so-called because equipping light cavalry with a full-sized hoplon shield originated in Tarentum, Italy.  As part of the Seleucid army, these guys wouldn't be actual natives of Tarentum, just Graeco-Macedonian settlers armed in that manner.

They have anchors on their shields because that was the symbol of the Seleucid monarchy.

Figures are by Black Hat Miniatures, and are from the former Metal Magic line sculpted by Josef Ochmann.  The light brown horse is from Old Glory 15s though--I used it because the Black Hat set came with only one pose of horse.  It was cast without any saddle blanket, so I sculpted one with greenstuff.

The bases are homemade, my friend Jerry Boling helped cut them, and I used a jig that he made to go with my Dremel tool to bevel the edges.

By way of visual comparison, I used the same static grass on these as on the 10mm Civil War figures, and the base is a 40x30mm base, so the  same frontage as the Civil War units.  In other words, 15mm figures are a lot bigger than 10mm ones!

Monday, January 3, 2011

10mm ACW Union Troops

For my first real post, I present my first painted unit of 10mm American Civil War (ACW) figures.

Obviously, these are Union troops.  They don't represent any particular regiment, just a generic bunch that happens to be wearing mostly slouch hats.  Slouch hats were a precursor to the cowboy hat, and were more popular in the Western theater of the war, but weren't unknown among Eastern theater troops.  If you click the picture to view a larger version, you can just make out little red dots on their hats.  These represent their corps badges, which you can read about here.  Since they have red badges, they must be from the first division of whatever corps they are in.

The flag is a free download from Warflag.  Union regiments usually carried a second flag called a "regimental" as well as the national flag, but presumably this regiment has lost theirs.  My next units will probably include regimentals too. 

The figures are 10mm high, which is equivalent to N-scale in model railroad terms.  They are by GHQ Models.  My dad bought these figures for me almost 20 years ago, when they were first released!  Suggestions for a new base edge color gladly accepted.  I painted it an OD green that I've been using for base edges for years to good effect (as seen here on some of my older figures), but for some reason on these it looks almost black.

The base is a Games Workshop Warmaster base, intended for GW's 10mm fantasy game of that name.  I used a Warmaster base because I happen to have a bunch, and it is 40mm x 20mm, exactly the right size for the set of rules I'll be using, DBACW, which are reviewed here,  and available here.  Each base in DBACW represents 400 to 500 men, which is roughly equivalent to a single regiment, so my plan is for each base to have its own command group of flag[s] and officer. 

Thanks for viewing!
These are my first attempt at 10mm historicals, and at ACW in any scale for that matter, and I'm pleased with how they came out.  Constructive comments on any uniform details I may have gotten wrong are very welcome.

EN: [Insert lame joke about starting yet another miniatures blog here.]

I decided to start a blog.  Here I'll post pictures of and discussion about my hobbies, namely board games and miniatures.  Posts will no doubt be infrequent or nonexistent.  I make no representations or warranties that this blog will be updated regularly, so don't rely.