Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New Beginnings

as you might know I recently moved to a new place. That was the main reason why I haven't done a lot of hobby stuff lately, but now that we are settled in to our new home I have to sort out my hobby room!

(Well, I have to share it with the wife's sewing machine and knitting supplies, but that's a small price to pay, isn't it?)

I thought that would be a good opportunity to show some of my collection, although very little of it is actually finished.

Let's start with some 6mm Cold War Commander armies, i.e. Syrians, British Army of the Rhine and IDF:

Next, most of my Bolt Action armies: 8th Army, Early War Soviets, Hungarians and Late War Germans

 As you can see there is a lot to do, I need to paint/repair a lot of the 8th Army vehicles, and the Soviets should get some reinforcements soon since we are going to have a big Bolt Action battle again at the start of December. In the background you can just make out a GAZ AA, Komsomolet and some Black Tree Design infantry.
Well, and the Hungarians and Germans are not even half painted... One day I will finish the 44M TAS and Rohamloeveg in the fictitious ambush camo pattern I want.

I also plan to venture into 1/35th territory:

I love IDF armor, and the Meng Production figures are awesome! I hope I won't get too annoyed by the tracks with multiple pieces per link...

I also decided to expand my 6mm Germans for Blitzkrieg Commander:

I guess a fine drill and some steel wire are in demand to fix these barrels... Anyway, I am planning to paint those units and some infantry as part of a P500 on the German Tabletopwelt forum. This is a nifty little event they have every year in which you pledge to paint a full army with each 500 points block being finished in 6 weeks. It's a great way to get feedback and motivation, and I think this kind of "pressure" is very good to get me doing something. And since one of those Jagdtigers is already worth 280 points, I also decided to double the points per block to 1000. More about this project soon, it starts on November 1st!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Top 3 Miniature Ranges That Don't Exist (But Totally Should!)

Everybody has their personal wish list of miniatures they would love to see produced, so here is my top 3 of ranges that should exist, but don’t!

28mm Modern IDF

This is really a surprise for me. I mean, there are pretty comprehensive ranges in 6mm and 15mm, but nobody seems to care about producing 28mm Modern IDF units.Which is a shame, because the IDF has some of the most unique and iconic armored vehicles in the world: Merkavas, Nagmachon, Achzarit, Magach and more!

Oh, and I totally want need Oketz troops!

There are some bits and pieces around in 28mm, but nothing that would make me want to build a force out of it.

Who should do it? – Perry Miniatures, they have the right sense for detail and poses.

2. Weird War 1812

I never really got the appeal of Napoleonic warfare, mainly because its tactics and appearance are alien and counter-intuitive for me. Nevertheless, 1812 saw conflicts throughout the Americas and Europe, and offers a multitude of factions. Considering that this is also the year Grimm’s Fairy Tales were published for the first time, it doesn’t take much to imagine a version of this year all mixed up with mystical creatures and weird contraptions.

The closest think we have to this is Flintloque/Slaughterloo with its Napoleonic Fantasy races, but Goblins riding Dodos is maybe a little bit over the top:

I am rather thinking of something along the lines of Konflikt ’47 – offering an interesting new twist on existing armies

Who should do it? – Raging Heroes seems to be fearless enough to tackle such a project, but their scale and style might not mix well with existing ranges. So, maybe we can get a Black Powder supplement, Warlord Games?

3. Mass Effect

Like, c’mon, HOW is this not already a thing? Okay, a lot of people didn’t like ME:A, or the end of ME:3, but over all , this is such a rich universe that begs to be converted into a skirmish tabletop. Just the Council races (Humans, Salarians, Turians, Asari) offer vast differences in style and tactics, and you didn’t even start to get Krogans, Quarians and Geth in the mix. And let’s not forget the Collectors!

Sure, the license  would be expensive and/or impossible to get, but I guarantee you Kickstarter would bury you in money.

Who should do it? - Corvus Belli or Modiphius Entertainment could pull this off in an awesome way.

So, what would be your pick?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Review - Warlord Games M10 & Churchill

I took advantage of Warlord Games' recent "Wheels of Steel" offer and god myself a new bunch of tanks. Sadly I ordered early and could only chose from the limited selection - bad move to open up to every plastic kit at the end... The only reason I got the M10 was because I needed to add a third kit, and I would be way happier with a Firefly. So next time I will think twice before ordering a special offer from them...

Anyway, I am not sure yet if I want to convert the M3 to a Satan for my upcoming USMC or a Stuart Recce for my Desert Brits. So today I'll just talk about the M10 and the Churchill.

First the tank destroyer. a pretty simple kit, but nevertheless they managed to mention parts in the instruction which are not on the frames... I assume a copy/paste error from the M36 kit? There are several other wrong numbers, too, so be careful. Nevertheless, quite embarrassing.

Overall, the instructions could do with some more sub-assemblies since it was not always clear what would be the best order to put things together. Details are good, but the contact area for the threads is pretty small which makes it quite a pain to get them on.
The only choice you'll have to make with this kit is if you want to use the American or the British crew. I actually had to look up if the M10 really had a 5 man crew - the turret is ridiculously crammed!

Anyway, the final result seems to be alright:

 Color-wise I will go for this pattern from a British unit in Italy in 1944:

For the Churchill, I had the ambition to build it in a way that allows to field it in as many different configurations as possible, and I managed 5 - not bad!

The kit comes with a bunch of unit cards and material for damage markers. The cards are pretty much useless and I don't know if I will use the other stuff.

I went for the Mk III hull to make it suitable for King Force (also I now realize that those tanks should have the front guards on the tracks...), and build the turrets to be able to play Mk III, III CS, IV CS, AVRE and NA75:

Sadly, the 6 pdr of the Mk III won't fit into the cast turret, so no Mk IV for me.

Since the kit only comes with 2 antennas, each turret is missing one. maybe I'll try to find some plastic rods to fix that. I also should build a straight-edge turret box for the Mk III, and add the one from the kit (with cut-off corners) to the cast turret.

This one will get painted in Kingforce colors, which is of course somewhat inappropriate for the AVRE and NA75 to say the least, but I don't really mind:

Here are some additional pics of the two:

And because it is freaking awesome, I leave this here, too:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Community Service

We were looking for new ways to promote our hobby (and club) and got into contact with the local library. They were very keen to put up a display, so I volunteered some of my 8th Army!

They needed  work anyway (a lot of transport damage...), and this was a great reason to get it done.

Some of my infantry, supported by a Matilda II, 2 inch mortar and a 2-pdr ATG. The 2-pdr is from Perry Miniatures and so fragile that it needed its own support base - sadly I haven't had time to paint it :/

M3 Grant (in the 4-tone camouflage as seen on the one at Bovington), SAS jeep and troop and a squad of Sikhs.

I count those towards my goal of getting 200 miniatures ready - 38 down, 162 to go!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Desert Terrain WIP

It has been a while again...

But I haven't been procrastinating - well, not all the time at least. I started to build up my terrain collection, especially pieces that will fit onto my desert table. For this I bought an oil derrick and two nodding donkeys from Fenris Games:

 Very nice kits, both of them. Sadly, both nodding donkeys were missing several piece - i.e. the ladder sprue and some of the tubing. I tried to contact Fenris Games but to no avail... I don't know, it is kinda telling that both times exactly the same parts were missing - I would assume a rushed job. That;s a shame because otherwise it is a very cool and unique piece of terrain.

The derrick is better, complete and a very nice construction, but several of the sheets were not completely lasered which made assemble unnecessarily difficult:

Yeah, so there was some disappointment, but once you have the finished pieces in front of you it's mostly forgotten and forgiven :)

I also built a storage tank out of a can and some bits:

Now I need to paint everything and then I want to make some mine fields and barbed wire obstacles. Hopefully it won't take taht long again to show you new pics!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ghost Recon Wildlands Beta - First Impressions

After a couple of hours of Ghost Recon Wildlands I am ready to share my first impressions.

For those with little time: This is much more Far Cry 5 than Ghost Recon.

Don't get me wrong, it is a decent game and fun so far, but it is not a Tactical Shooter. The gameplay is very much like Far Cry 4, with some good new additions I'll mention later.
But enemies and missions feel sadly familiar.

My biggest worries so far:

- The story seems to be non-existent. Yes, there is a lot of lore about the cartel, but I don't expect any depth or even surprises during the game. This is not telling a story.

- For god's sake, if I am supposed to be the best of the best on a black ops, don't drop me in a foreign country with nothing but a MP5! That's right - you start with 1 (!) weapon load-out, and you have to unlocked everything else. Including the customization parts. You get a sniper rifle after the first mission, but still... Not cool.

- Talking about sniper rifles - if I put a bullet from a  dedicated sniper rifle in your face, I expect you to drop. But some enemy heavies take to high-powered shots. Tactical shooter? Yeah, sure...

- Side missions are do-or-die. If you mess one up, there is no second chance. That's fine, but if the mission is "shut down this antenna" don't throw a " now shut down the second antenna that was never mentioned before 1 klick away within 90 seconds" at me.

- While I can see that this game will be heaps of fun with a group of people you know, the single-player is sometimes frustrating. Your team is usually better left behind while you scout, and the very limited orders make them useless for any kind of stealth approach. There isn't even a "cover me"-command!

- Enemy AI is not very good, either. They don't care much about people being dropped within line of sight, but once they are alerted, they call for reinforcements. And there is close to no chance to stop them. Just Cause 3 gives you a couple of seconds to drop the guy with the radio, but here, no way. Then reinforcements show up exactly like they do in Far Cry, and that's it. I tried to escalate a fight, but reinforcements seem to be unable to call for more reinforcements. Weird...

- You can free imprisoned rebels in enemy bases, but all they do is grab a gun and start a firefight with the guards, blowing your stealth and get reinforcements being called. Yep, just the kind of " help" I need. *slowclap*

- Oh, and Bolivia has a helicopter density like an airshow - there must be well over 20 just in the province you are allowed to play...

So, what about the good stuff?

Well, if you look at it more as a military RPG, it is quite good. What I mean i, if you embrace the premise of being an operative deep in enemy territory, you can get that feeling.
Also, the addition of interrogations is pretty cool, and the Intel actually opens up different approaches to story missions (a grain of salt here - I have not checked if some Intel is mandatory to make story missions playable).
The world looks much better than I expected, and it feels pretty fitting. I am actually looking forward to seeing the other climate zones.
The beta gives you only a very tiny idea of what you can do to mess up cartel operations. There are 4 different "departments", and I am sure  if you put a lot of effort into going after supply, I hope that you can actually start an internal conflict within the cartel by going after production or public relations.

All in all, it is not what I hoped for, and much more what I expected. Nevertheless, I like it so far.
But I can't really see myself buying this over Mass Effect Andromeda.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review - Airfix 1/48th Bedford MWD

I needed another truck for my Bolt Action British, so I picked up a 1/48th scale Bedford MWD from Airfix.

First a couple of words about the original:
The Bedford MWD was the ubiquitous 15cwt truck in British service - over 200.000 have been produced during the war and it served in every theater. Also only 4x2, it had a powerful 72 hp engine and reached a top speed of 95 km/h with a range of over 400 km. It could transport a 10-man squad or up to 800 kg of material.
The early version had only canvas doors and tiny screens for the driver and passenger, earning it the nickname "pneumonia wagon". In 1943, the design was updated to have half doors and a proper windscreen, together with some changes to the engine covers and instrument layout.
In the desert they were also used as 2pdr ATG portees.

The Airfix kit comes with 95 parts on 3 grey sprues plus one clear sprue for the windshield.

It allows to build both the early and late version and several canvas configurations, so you'll have a decent amount of pieces left after you finished:

You could even further reduce the number of used parts by omitting the engine parts and some of the interior that might not be visible in the version you want to build.

The kit comes together without any issues and I only encountered two small pitfalls:
First, the tires are flattened on one side so be careful when you assemble them to make them fit correctly.
Second, the instructions skip one step when it comes to the steering wheel, but it is quite obvious how it should work.

The final product is a fine little model:

I found several pictures of MWDs in North Africa, and it seems to have been quite common to remove the side covers of the engine, so I left them off my truck, too:

I also left the hood separate to allow easy access to paint the engine:

Size-wise, it fits quite well with 28mm miniatures, mostly because the MWD is such a small truck. A Company B driver doesn't look out of place at the wheel (apart from his missing legs...):

And next to some Perry Miniatures 8th Army soldiers it still looks good:

Even in direct comparison to a Warlord Games 3-ton Bedford the scale difference isn't outrageous:

Just to put the difference between 1/48th and 1/56th scale into some numbers:
This MWD is 1.3 cm too long, 0,6 cm too high and wide.

And with a coat of sand color it is almost ready to roll!

All in all, this was fun to put together and the kit makes a very nice looking model. The scale is acceptable in my mind, and I am looking forward to finish the paint job soon!