dinsdag 11 november 2014

The Weathering Magazine and Steel Masters

I picked up 2 useful magazines at Crisis, one at a shop, one at the Bring and Buy.

First, the one from the shop whose name I forgot.

The Weathering Magazine. Made by Ammo of MiG Jiminez. Kursk and Vegetation are the themes.
8 euros at the shop. 86 pages.

What is it? A nice glossy showing medium to advanced weathering techniques. Which also makes it very useful for a novice like me cause they show the many stages a model goes through and the materials used like airbrush, weathering powders and paints.

Is it useful for us wargamers? I think it is. More and more people are seeing the results from wargaming painters like Piers Brand and aim to get somewhere near that level. The excellent how-to's in the Battlegroup series of rule/campaignbooks have already shown the steps needed for various levels of modelling, and this magazine takes it to another level. It not only shows 1:35 scale models but a section in the back shows wargames kits, Battlefront and PSC 15mm ones painted to a very high standard.

The main reason for me picking up the magazine was the bits about vegetation. I like doing scenic pieces and these are marvellous.

Would this magazine be useful for every wargamer? Probably not. But it is useful for every painter that wants to improve himself. Sofar they have released several themed issues which I'm sure to pick up as well. Yes, things like this you can find online, but when the PC is turned off (which is standard for me when I'm painting) this magazine is very handy to keep on my workdesk. Reccomended!

My next buy was a second hand Steel Masters Special. I had never heard of the magazine till I saw it in a shop in Normandy back in 2011, and as my French is a very rusty high school level I can actually make out parts of it. Fortunately most pictures have short English descriptions. Anyway, I saw this one amongst the White Dwarfs and Wargames Illustrated and picked it up for 4 euros, a acceptable price for a magazine in this condition from 1999.

I picked this one up because it is a special about Befehlspanzer, and I had just picked up a old Panzer 38T Befehlspanzer kit for 4 euros at another part of the Bring and Buy. I bought it purely for the frame antenna and to use as a parts donor for my future Early War Germans Attempt nr 2 (I sold the previous ones to Piers, they now feature in the Battlegroup Barbarossa book.) The magazine describes the various models of Befehlspanzer from the Panzer I to the Tiger, with plenty of photographs as well as built models.  And it includes my 38(t)
Then there is a build report on 2 Shermans, some Euromilitaire 1999 bits (interesting to see that painting has progressed a lot since then) and a diorama.

This magazine is a nice addition to the ones I picked up in Normandy, and this one has made me trawling Ebay as there are quite a few second hand ones on there at very reasonable prices. Some even have reasonable shipping :D

donderdag 6 november 2014

11th Armoured (Black Bulls) Build for 2015, Overlord list + Fall of the Reich Upgrade

11th Armour for Battlegroup Overlord (British Armoured Division Battlegroup list)

This is not a so and so many points armylist! This is purely the amount I want to make for this army as a start and a list to keep track of things. Items in red I do not have yet.

-FHQ - 3 men in a M5 halftrack
-FAC – 2 men in Dingo Scout Car
-Forward Signals – Radio Medium Truck
-Comms Relay Team – 2 men
-Motorcycle Despatch Rider
-Wire Team – 2 men (in Carrier, doesn’t count but looks like a nice conversion)

Infantry Platoon
-3x Rifle Section (mounted in truck)
-Light Mortar Team
Platoon options:
-Combat Medic
-Heavy Machine Gun Team (in Carrier)
-PIAT Team (in Carrier)
-Medium Mortar Team (in Carrier)
-6 Pounder (with Loyd Carrier)

Motor Infantry Platoon
-Command (in M5 Halftrack)
-3x Rifle Sections (in M5 Halftrack)
-PIAT team
Platoon options
-Heavy Machine Gun Team (in Carrier)
-PIAT Team (in Carrier)
-Medium Mortar Team (in Carrier)
-6 Pounder (with Loyd Carrier)

2x Sherman Tank Troop
-M4A4 Sherman x2
-M4A4 Sherman x2
-M4A4 Firefly x2

Self Propelled Anti-Tank Gun
-M10 Achilles x2

Artillery Units
-Forward Observer Team in a Dingo
-Armoured Forward Observer in a M4A4 Sherman HQ Tank
-Towed Field Gun Battery – 2 25pdr guns

Reconnaisance Support Units
-Reconnaisance Tank (M5 Stuart + M5 Stuart Recce)
-Carrier Team

-Recovery vehicle (M4 ARV) (Actually a M4A4 ARV)
-Armoured Engineering Vehicle (M4A4 Dozer, M4A4 Crab, Churchill Bridgelayer)

-Supply Column (4 medium trucks)

Specialist Support
-Churchill AVRE
-Churchill Crocodile

Plus 1 Spitfire and 1 Typhoon in D-Day Markings

This makes how many vehicles?

M5 Halftracks x5
Dingo x2
Carriers x8
Loyd Carrier x2
M4A4’s x10
M10 Achilles x2
Churchills x 3
Radio truck x1
Medium Truck x3
Supply Truck x4
Churchills x3
M5 Stuart x1
M5 Stuart Recce x1
Spitfire x1
Typhoon x1

The (grand) plan for 2015 is to focus mostly on this force (funds and time). What I don't have right now can wait till I'm halfway of building and painting. From the looks of it I will be making orders with Grubby Tanks for the Radio Truck and Dingoes (or get the S-Model kit) and Minimi (Medium trucks and Supply Trucks) plus what more I need for the infantry lists like crews etc. When the force is half done I will go over the list again and see if things need to be added (or deleted!)

At the same time, I want to use this list as the basis for the Fall of the Reich list. For that I will need to add some troops, 2 Fireflies and a Tempest. And paint a Typhoon without D-Day Markings perhaps? Not that much extra work really. 

For 3 extra Medium Trucks and 4 more M5 Halftracks I can make both lists fully motorised or mechanised. Hmmm.....

Oh, I just calculated that I need another box of Carriers, it seems I have only 2 which is enough for 6 of them. Oh well, added to the list of wants.

woensdag 5 november 2014

The Quest for Dirt (Roads)

For my gaming table I have scenery like houses and trees, a couple of Hotz mats and a box of Modern felt roads, again by Hotz. What I am lacking are simple dirt roads (and cobbled roads, but those are not such a priority right now).

I made some years agao, simply drybruhsed underside of hardboard pieces cut into road shapes. Worked ok but didn't properly plan it, and as I have no gaming group the project languised till I gave it all away.

A (not so) quick tour gives me the following options to do roads on the Wargames table.

I made a post on TMP, the Guild and LAF to see what people use for their roads and the results sofar are pretty diverse. More on that later*

My requirements for a dirt track are simple:
-Preferably light weight
-Visually looks like a road (ok, duh, but hear me out)
-Suitable for 20mm
-Prepainted or coloured preferable

So, starting with felt. I have modern tarmac roads from Hotz and they do a fine job. Lightweight, not too expensive and covers a lot of ground with a basic set. For dirt roads this would need to be  in a shade of brown. As far as I know noone makes this atm, so I would have to cut brown felt myself. I can get 3mm brown felt for 15 euros for a square metre, and you can get a lot of road bits from that. But weher i like the tarmac cause it is flat like the real thing, plain brown felt isn't really what I'm looking for. Though as an intermediate, it will have to do. Might look better when I aiirbrush it a bit (when I finally do buy one that is)

Latex, sofar I have found TSS (under QRF) doing precouloured 2 inc wide later roads aimed at 15mm, and EWM doing 6cm wide dirt ruts in brown, paint yourself, latex roads. But their price differences are pretty big, 45 Pounds for a starterset at EWM, but the same amount of roads costs 20-25 Pounds from QRF, though, it has to be said, the EWM looks nicer. You get what you pay for.

Caulk. For the DIYer in me. Rather cheap to make, if a bit messy, flexible too. I've seen very nice
ones and plenty of not so nice ones. I don't know, not convinced.

Resin ones, Battlefront does them, but like any scenic piece they make they seem to be limited editions. I do like them, they come reccomended, but at the Crisis show this weekend I saw, amongst all of the shops selling (or is it dumping when you give 20-30% discount?) 1 box of regular roads, 1 box of crossroads and a gazillion boxes or cratered roads. Weight is also an issue. So sorry, but no.

Tape. Right, useful for the smaller scales, but I'm going for looks, and this doens;t have it. Pass.

Hardboard. Been there, looks nice, but weighs a ton when bunched up. Really easy to make though.

Sand. Learned that trick from Piers Brand, just a small box of sand makes any kind of dirt road you want, and after your game you just dump it back in the box again. At the moment still my preferred method to be honest.

 And finally, I'm not sure if Fat Frank on Ebay does these things in latex as well or caulk or something else. But his offerings seem rather nice too.

I have plenty of time to think about it :)

* Sofar I have received 50 replies to my question. Drawing them on your mat with pastels was a new one for me, roofing shingles are mentioned a lot but they look way too rough to me. Using coffee grinds says one reply.....to each his own, but I can't see that working. Felt is mentioned a lot too. Interesting results!

zondag 2 november 2014

November Main Goal, side dish and focus points

First I'll look back at last months points.

Main Goal - Clean, build and base as many Technicals as possible to clean out the stash I have right now. Get them ready for primer. Paint 1 or 2. Goes with M4/M5 I managed to wash 3, build 0 and paint 0

Side Dish - Clean, build and base as many vehicles for the Cold War Soviet Recce as I have in stash right now. Get them ready for primer. Try to base 20 troops as well. Get them ready for primer. Goes with M3 I managed to wash 4 vehicles, build 2, base and painted 0. No troops based either

Focal points:
-Clean and sort all incoming 2nd hand Liberation Miniatures 80% done, I have just over 20 that need stripping.
-Sort out items you want to use Instant Mold for, I have a few sticks coming in later this month. Do some more research on how to properly use them. You might want to drag up the old box of Lego for them. It turns out my nephew has the Lego, so I bought a starter box, I just need a flat plate and smooth tiles before I can get to work. I've gathered a dozen items to be copied sofar.
-Technical weapons. Sabot them or not? Look at the pro and cons. I'm going to fix them in place.
-Keep selling! Get rid of the uwanted tat. O brother, did I sell a lot!
- Pre orders for Crisis. Go over the list again, do I really need this in the next year? If not, drop it. Dropped most of it, ended up with just under 200 worth of preorders and spending another 200 at the show, while selling stuff at the show worth 75 euros

I did not really manage to achieve my main goals and side dish, but handled a lot of the focal points. Most importantly, I sold a lot (which really was the focus anyway). I'm awaiting 2 more payments that will take me over 1000 pounds for this sale alone. I'm already sorting more stuff that can be sold in the next sale, next year. Also, I've been spending quite a bit of time debating with myself and friends whether to buy an airbrush or not.Most who use one are in favour, some who have one are not. It would speed up basecoating a lot and German camouflage would be much easier to do, plus painting my aircraft should be easier. Downside is the expense in equipment, tools and new paints. I have signed up for a introduction on the 19th of December to see if I actually like and can use one, after that we will decided wether to buy or not.

So...what about my plans for November?

Main Goal - try to sell as much as possible, even giving away stuff to clear out (only asking for postage) before mid November. Then have the rest of the week to bring the hobby room back into pristine condition and everything stored in the attic till next years sale.

Side Dish - Do more research on 11th Armoured, find out all of the correct markings if possible, make the list for Battlegroup (Overlord list as well as Fall of the Reich list)  and make a plan what to paint and when. Do I have all of the correct decals? Split the total list in 2, with stuff I still need to buy in the 2nd part.

Focal points:
-clean remaining Liberation models and sort them.
-build new paint racks.
-sort and stash all the Crisis purchases.
-when there is time, base technicals that have been washed.

Right, that should keep me busy for a bit :)

Crisis 2014

Finally it was the 1st of November, the day of the Crisis show.

It seems that with each passing year, I seem to get exited earlier and earlier, like a child looking forward to Christmas. And thats a good thing! With my new found resolve to plan ahead, this year wasn't any different. From August, I was eveying the TSA site for news about Crisis and who would be coming this year. I used the list of traders to visit their websites to see if anything drew my interest, and noted that in my trusty Crisis Excel file. As the weeks drew closer to the 1st of November I would spend several evenings going over the list to see if I really needed the items for my projects, using the 2 week rule. Quite a bit got written off, I tell you. But, a few traders were emailed with orders and all but one paid in advance.


I picked up a mate of mine in Tilburg who wanted to go as he had some 28mm Bolt Action needs to be fulfilled, and we arrived early at the Waagnatie. The cue wasn't very long yet, and the wait was spent exchanging some bits and pieces and talking about our expectations of this years show. Sharpish at 10 the doors opened, we paid, got our yellow tag and a goodie bag.

Now I have to say I did not open the goodie bag straight away, and I probably should have, as inside was the program with a big sized map of the show. Naturally, I found that out when I got home.....

First call of duty for me was to get rid of the stuff I had brought for others, 5 years of bound Wargames Illustrated and 16 euros worth of 2 eurocents for other gamers, and exhanged that for money, a resin house and a metal Pak40.

Then the scouting mission started. I like to do a quick tour of all that is there to see if anything peaking my interest, as well as picking up the pre orders I made, as well as saying hi to traders I know personally. Like Mark from MBM models who had unearthed a cache of old Esci kits in his basement and was selling them at 5 euros a pop. He had a ton of Esci Valentines, M48A2's(?) and Bishop artillery tanks. And Will from PSC who brought his wife this year. For a change, we also glanced over the Bring and Buy. By the time I usually get there the goodies tend to be gone, but I picked up a Hasegawa Ostwind and a Attack 38T Befehlspanzer for 4 euros a piece, new in box. Now they are not in the plans for 2015, but these bargains were too good to pass up. The 38T will come in handy later in the year when PSC releases the 38T set so I can build another Early War force, MarkII, and the Ostwind turret will be spliced onto a PSC chassis. I will then sell the rest of the complete tank or convert it into a wreck.

We were now at the back of the hall, and here I found a realy nice Normandy church from Flames of War. The price was very nice, so I had high hopes for it, until I saw the model, and, as advertised on the label, a 10-15mm model. Oh well, I can always order one from Wikkywok later. I was pleasantly surprised by a shop that had quite the assortment of Mininatur, my favourite Tuft company. I picked up 2 big boxes there to supplement my basing kit, so my order to Mininatur next year can be a bit smaller. Then I stopped and stared at figure cases again like I do each year. But untill a army is finished I think it has no point of buying one, so I passed again. Maybe next year.

I picked up some more preorders and made a quick run to the car to drop everything off, and then went back to do it all over again, but this time slow and watch at the demonstration games. As always, there were a lot of displays, demogames and a few participation games going on. A particularly big and crowded 40K table turned me off, but a few tables next to that a Ork fliers table with what seemed to be converted WW2 fighters with Orks as pilots really impressed me. I did not game, and I didn't ask questions, and in hindsight I really should have as it was lovely. Just my kind of quirkyness.

So what about Impulsebuying? Well, I said no quite a lot. I saw loads of really neat items, like the roads from EWM for example, but reasoned that I would not paint them next year so it wouyld be better to hold off and wait. Now I really need good WW2 roads but they can wait, I can still do the same with sand and it is not like I will be gaming a lot next year. I did drop some euros at Foundry for some more 20mm crew and passengers and added even more stuff on top of my Sgts Mess  pre order. I picked up a Weathering magazine I heard a lot about and after reading it tonight amd pretty certain that I will get the other editions as well, as they are really useful. I also bought 2 old Wargames Illustrated with a interesting article in them for 1 euro a piece and found a PSC Zis2/3 box discounted 30%, so I took that for my Moderns games.

What about paint and weathering powders? I had planned to purchase these, but found no real deals on them, nor on brushes or powders. Since I an pondering about buying a airbrush, any powders, filters or paint that I need can wait till after I made my decision, as if I do buy one I will need paint for the airbrush anyway. The airbrushes on show were interesting, but the cheapest compressor alone was like a 180 euros and this didn't even have a air tank. The one I'm eyeing online costs 133 euro, has an airtank and comes with 2 airbrushes that may not be great but just fine for someone starting out like me. Thats my idea and I am sticking with it. And I must not forget that I will also need cleaning fluid, airbrush thinner, pippets, small trays, a stand for the airbrush, a glass cleaning..ehm, thingie and all of that will add up and stretch my current budget of 200 euros....

So, what was my loot this year?

PSC: 2 boxes of M4A4's, 1 box of 6 Pounders with Loyd carriers, 1 box of M5 halftracks, 1 box of Carriers and 1 box of Zis-2/3 guns. Also 2 Minairion Ford AA Bookmobiles
Foundry: 1 blister each of German passengers, German tank crew and British tank crew
B&B: Hasegawa Ostwind and Attack Panzer 38(t) Command
Warbases.co.uk: 2 paint racks and several 3 and 5 1 eurocent movement bases
Brother Vinni: 8 various Fallout Robots
Sgts Mess: a whole lot of weapons packs, several bits and pieces packs, a policebox, 2 greenhouses and a 1939 bus that will be painted for VBCW.
Fenris Games: 15 sheets of orange and yellow 1.5mm plasticcard from his sale a few weeks back.
Early War Miniatures (and friends): 2x 25 Pounders plus carriage, Wurfrahmen for the 251 and the French tanks and a Citroen car.
Also 2 boxes from Mininatur, 1 dark grass and 1 with several big sheets of Ivy, 2 older Wargames Illustrated, a weathering magazine and a 2nd hand Marauder Dwarven cannon plus crew that is going to be gifted to my mate Piers Brand for his birthday (which was ages ago).

All in all I had a great time, saw quite a few old friends from the hobby,  had a long chat with Will from PSC about future releases (38(t) variants coming soon!) so my apolagies to all of the customers who were waiting in line for me to finish and I did not spend too much money. Will did ask me if I want to help out again next year as Warwick and Piers will be coming over to Antwerp again to promote the Early War book (that will be released at Salute next year) and I gladly said yes as it is just too much fun to do.

Well, that's that. My British now have all they need to get started, but more about that at a later date.

Now I'm going to crash, it has been a long day......zzzzzz......