Wednesday 31 March 2021

Spring Cleaning - The post Challenge tidy up

It's been about a week and a half now since the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge came to an end. Usually, the end of the competition is followed by a long hiatus in painting where I can't motivate myself to lift a brush and I try to get some games in instead. Well, I will be playing some more solo games soon but I have managed to get some stuff painted thanks to the Monday night painting sessions myself and fellow Posties Rejects have been holding for the last year. They have been such a good motivator we will be continuing them long after lockdown is a bad memory and we can get together for games again. But in addition to doing some painting, I have been getting on with some long-overdue tidying up!

The Operations Room has been both my games room and my office for the last year and bit by bit it has been getting messier and messier. With the workload of the Challenge behind me, I have been pottering around sorting out several bags of rubbish, cleaning surfaces (so much dust!) and reorganising my depleted supplies. I have also been reorganising my tools (and adding to them, more on that in a moment) and need room so they will be close to hand. When I moved in here 18 months ago I never thought I'd be spending quite so much time in this 7ft by 8ft room and such tight dimensions mean it was always going to be a bit cramped in here. Nearly all my storage was immediately occupied and new purchases have used up what little space was left. So one of the first things I did last week was start to move some stuff out again! I have been boxing up a lot of my building materials and have found space elsewhere in the house for them. 

Understandably little actual painting has taken place although I have started a small project which should be finished for next week. I have however started making some replacement hills using my new Foam Cutter. I did a quick 'unboxing' video for my YouTube Channel and I have now christened it with hopefully the first of many terrain building projects. 

Many years ago I bought a load of TSS hills made from Polystyrene. They did the job I wanted them for but they have taken a bit of a battering and most are long past their prime. I also have a selection of hardboard hills that I bought from various shows over the years (they featured in my recent Rorkes Drift game) but I wanted a selection of larger flatter hills that could be used on the edge of the table. I had half a dozen A3 sheets of High-Density Foam that I used to make some of my Frostgrave Terrain last year and decided this was the ideal material for my hills. It's soft enough to be easily sanded and shaped but dense enough that it will be tough and last longer than the styrene ones they are replacing.  

The Foam Cutter made short work of cutting out the hills and bevelling the edges and now I need to sand them, prime them and then I can add some grass. I'll try to get them finished over the weekend because I want to have a couple of solo games later next week while I have a few days off work. 

Sunday 28 March 2021

The Benefit of Collective Painting

Last weekend the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge came to an end. This online competition brought together over 80 participants all working towards their own personal goals in a huge celebration of the power of collective painting. But now that the Challenge is over, how can we keep the motivation to paint going?

I hope you found that video interesting and if you did, please like, subscribe and share. 

Wednesday 24 March 2021

AHPC XI - Week 13 - This is the End

The 11th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge finished in the early hours of Sunday (for those of us on GMT) and my-oh-my what an incredible week it has been. I cranked out four entries this week, completed the Chambers of Challenge side quest and even revisited my Anglo-Zulu War project and painted some figures that have been taunting me from my Lead Mountain for at least three years! 

The Snowlords Treasury - Different Treasures

Two adventurers have found a pile of unguarded treasure and each feels their hearts skip a beat. Treasure! But while one gathers up the spellbooks and tomes of ancient knowledge for the other it is the glint of gold that mesmerises him. Each to their own, and at least they aren't fighting over the treasure this way! 

I had several models I could use for this room but in the end, I decided to use two of them and make a special base to hold them. As before I based the figures separately so they can be used in games and modelled the base from Milliput on a large round MDF base. 

Both figures are from Midlam Miniatures, so they are about 25mm rather than 28mm, but the quality of the sculpting is wonderful. They were fun to paint up and I'm sure I can find plenty of use for them in my games. 

Witch Teleport - Shieldmaiden

The postman finally delivered my long-awaited parcel with my figures for the Laboratory chamber... but too late. I'd already nearly completed this offering to the Witch of this level for a second teleport, and I have started work on my figure for the next chamber The Hall of Heroes. I'm not too upset though because I will have a couple of extra female figures for my Frostgrave games and my Hero for the next room is a wonderful model that I have been wanting to paint for some time. 

This is another figure from Bad Squiddo Games and once again is a wonderfully sculpted figure of a Shieldmaiden. When I got this model it has a round shield with it but try as I might I couldn't find it, so I found an alternative from my bitz-box. The shield is clearly influenced by Celtic designs but with a suitably 'fantastic flourish idea for a fantasy setting like Frostgrave. 

The model is 28mm and as with my previous purchased from Bad Squiddo, it was nice and clean with no flash or moulding needing to be removed before prepping. 

The Hall of Heroes - Northern Barbarian Hero

As someone who grew up reading the works of Robert E Howard, it's probably not surprising that when someone mentions a Hero I naturally think of a windswept northern barbarian striding across the tundra of Hyboria. And this figure is very inch the heroic archetype. The sculpting of the furs, in particular, is exceptional and far better than one would typically get on a 28mm model I think. Although it has to be said he's about 32mm to the eye so he's a big fella!

This metal figure is suitably chunky and has a real heft to it when held in the hand. Call me old school but it feels much more satisfying than an equivalent resin or plastic miniature. 

From here I am heading towards the final chamber the Lair of the Spider before braving the Snowlords Challenge. I can hear ominous scuttling from the darkness ahead...did someone way the spider wasn't there any more, because I'm not so sure...

Lair of the Spider - Spider Scorpion

The description for this penultimate chamber in the Chambers of Challenge says that the aforementioned spider has been scared off by something worse. Well, I think a Spider Scorpion can definitely be described as worse! This fearsome critter is as creepy as a spider but with an added reason to be wary. Both insects give me the creeps at the best of times, but combined this model was a challenge just painting it.

This is a Ral-Partha figure that I picked up on eBay some time ago. It has been sitting - no, Lurking - in my lead pile ever since just waiting for a chance to pounce. The tail is cast separately and I had to do a bit of work to make the joint fit properly before glueing it together with a strong Epoxy glue to give it some resilience. 

I have a confession to make though, this wasn't my first choice for this room. I have a large Beholder model that I was going to use here and I got as far as priming the figure but I couldn't face it (no pun intended). Despite looking forward to painting it for the last thirteen weeks, when it's time came Eye just couldn't find the motivation (pun definitely intended). Thankfully the Spider Scorpion was waiting in my lead pile to replace it. So there it is, I have battled my way through the Chambers of Challenge and now I stand before the Snowlords alter awaiting instructions. What devilish tribute will be demanded of me I wonder? 

The Snowlords Alter - 17th Lancers in Zululand

With my recent shenanigans with the Royal Mail, I wasn't sure I was even going to finish the Chambers of Challenge, let alone have time to work on the Snowlords final challenge. But a change of plan and a sudden burst of productivity (that surprised even me) meant I completed the chambers a couple of days ago and I was able to get started on my final Challenge. Curts instructions were as follows 

"For the SnowLord’s Altar let’s look into your collection of unpainted minis (Notice how I just assume that you, like me, have a pile of shame sitting in the wings!) and see if there is anything that you’ve been neglecting or avoiding to do. Maybe it’s because it’s intimidating, or you’ve lost steam on the project, but let’s see if we can use the Altar to create a challenge for you."

In previous challenges, I have painted a lot of 6mm stuff ranging from Alexanders invasion of India, the Pyrrhic and Punic wars and the Anglo Zulu War. This year I haven't painted any 6mm miniatures (apart from some buildings)  so I thought it was time I revisited one of my older projects. So I hereby present the 17th Lancers as they were in the latter half of the Anglo Zulu War. Their white plastron tunic front has been turned around to show the darker blue reverse side although they couldn't do the same for the white cuffs on the sleeves. Their helmets have been dyed tan like the infantry to make them less conspicuous. The trousers were dark blue with a double white stripe down the outside and while I didn't do a double line my hand was steady enough to paint in a single stripe... they are 6mm after all! At this scale, the OR's uniform looks very similar to the officers except for the white belts and pouches. On the officers, I have used gold to highlight the pouch belt which crosses the chest and is distinctive from the OR's pouch belt which would have been white. 

I've been avoiding them because they are tricky to paint at 6mm. The dark uniform and crisp white kit doesn't leave a lot of room for mistakes. To make these look good I would need my steadiest hand and smallest brushes. Now that they are done I'm pretty happy with how they have turned out. I have arranged these in groups of four with a dice holder on the back of the base. I've been playing a lot of solo AZW lately and I'm in the process of altering my older bases to include these dice holders. I have been using TMWWBKs but being flexible with how many figures are in a unit (the rules suggest 8). So these bases could represent three companies of lancers, or I could change the unit sizes to 16 or 24 figures that can take eight casualties before breaking. It depends on the size of the engagement I want to play. I've used TMWWBK's like this for big battles and small skirmishes alike with a lot of success. 

So that's it, my passage through the Chambers of Challenge is complete, and this will also be my last entry for Challenge XI. Its been huge fun as always and well done to all the Challengers that have taken part this year, its an honour to be included in such hallowed company. Congratulations and thanks must of course also go to Curt for running this madness every year and well done also to the minions who help keep this brilliant enterprise going. 

Sunday 21 March 2021

Unsuitable for the Table?

Today's video stems from a conversation I had recently after purchasing some civilians for my WWII games. It raised the quite legitimate question, should such elements even feature on the tabletop? Historical wargaming is of course in part a form of entertainment, but it's also a way for us to learn and understand history. Removing elements like civilians or casualties to sanitise the games table may be to overlooks an important element from our games. 

An interesting and for some people a controversial matter of discussion that I hope you found interesting. I'd love to hear what you think about this subject in the comments below, or over on the Miniature Adventures channel. 

Wednesday 17 March 2021

AHPC XI Week 12 - Airborne Tank, Onion Johhnies, Angry Nuns and an Oracle

The end of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is fast approaching and the pace of my painting has picked up as I try to get all my little projects concluded in time. This week has been particularly productive with an eclectic selection of miniatures finished and ready to play with. 

Sunday 14 March 2021

The Elastic Band Gun

This week's Quarantined Wargamer video on Miniature Adventures TV is a tale of my earliest gamer origins. Long before I rolled dice or conceived of painted miniatures I had a much more basic method for playing games of war. Like many kids in the 1970's, I had plenty of Airfix 1:32 plastic soldiers to excite my imagination. My games of war were pretty basic but got considerably more sophisticated with the creation of an elastic band gun. Issued with this plywood weapon and a plentiful supply of 'ammo' no Airfix model (or sibling) was safe!

I hope you enjoy the film and of course if you do, please like, subscribe and share. Until next week, keep safe and of course, keep rolling high.

Wednesday 10 March 2021

AHPC XI - Week 11 - Civilians

This week I have been working on several side projects, only one of which actually got finished on time. The others will be out during this week and I'll show those here next Wednesday. So the pace will appear to pick up as the Painting Challenge comes to an end but in fact, it's just that I have been working on multiple models at the same time. There are now just two weeks left in the Challenge and although I have hit my Target points I still have several things I want to get done by the end. Once the Challenge is over I'll probably reduce my painting output a bit so I can focus on playing more solo games and working on some new film for my youtube channel. 

French Civilians for WWII

I recently purchased several sets of French Civilians from Peter Pig for use in various 15mm WWII games. I wanted a collection of refugees, farmers, and other non-combat figures to use as 'set dressing' in my games. I may yet devise some simple in-game rules for their use, such as roads being clogged with refugees (restricting traffic) or to represent resistance fighters. 

As with all the Peter Pig stuff the figures are wonderful little sculps that rarely need much cleaning before the primer goes on. These were no exception with minimal flash and mould lines and any that were found were removed in a matter of seconds. 

I have bought a few more packs of other civilians that I missed the first time around on the website, so hopefully, I'll have a few more ready by next week.

The Chambers of Challenge

I haven't made much progress with the side quest bonus rounds, otherwise known as The Chambers of Challenge, due to an unexpected holdup in production. In short, the Postman hasn't delivered my parcel. The next chamber is something to do with a Laboratory. I ordered myself a nice set of mad scientist and assistants from Sally4th but nearly three weeks later and they still haven't arrived. Hats off to Allen at Sally4th because he's resending a replacement parcel, but time is ticking and I'm a bit stuck until they arrive. Postal deliveries where I live have been 'erratic' to say the least since before Christmas so I have no idea when they will turn up. My solution is to jump the blockage and paint the two chambers that follow, and just hold off submitting them until I have my Mad Scientist in hand and painted. So as stated earlier, expect a rush of entries in the last few days of the competition. 

Sunday 7 March 2021

Banning Photography in Museums is Stupid

Back in November of last year, I did a video about why I thought Museums were worth their weight in reference books. At the time I also mentioned photography bans in some museums but there wasn't time to discuss that at the time. Well, today's video revisits the subject and I vent my spleen a little on why I think banning photography is a stupid idea and fundamentally undermines one of the core goals of a museum, to educate. 

The video I a little bit longer than I would have liked...and this is the edited down version! If you enjoyed the video please hit the Like button, subscribe to my channel and share on social media. Until next week, keep safe, and keep rolling high!

Friday 5 March 2021

Rorke's Drift Part 3

The third and final part of my Rorke's Drift video battle report is available to view on my Youtube Channel. A couple of weeks ago the first video reviewed the history of the battle, my terrain choices and some special rules I implemented for this game. I'm using The Men Who Would Be Kings with some adaptations to make it suitable for this battle and my 6mm figure collection. Last week the battle commenced and the Zulu's were eventually able to gain a foothold inside the Hospital, although they had failed to breach the barricades. Then there was a brief lull in the fighting that gave the defenders time to reorganise. More Zulu's were working their way around the perimeter and fresh attacks are now imminent. 

Here are a few teaser pictures from the second half of the battle. The video is about 30 minutes long and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did playing it! 

Fresh Zulu regiments move into position as dusk appraches. 

The British have consolidated their position, but they are still few in number.

The uNdloko assault the front of the site.

Repeated attacks continue from all sides as the flames from the hospital cast an eerie glow across the site. 

More Zulus work their way around for an assault on the Krall. 

With the British spread thin on four sides, they quickly reposition to defend against another attack. 

The final Zulu assault on the beleaguered British. Will this be enough to overrun the mission station after a long hard fight? Or will the defenders win the day and earn their VC's?

I hope you enjoy this concluding video, I certainly enjoyed making it. 

Wednesday 3 March 2021

AHPC XI - Week Ten - More Para's and a Pack of Gnolls

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is continuing apace and true to its purpose it is keeping me on task. Week Ten is traditionally the time when I start closing in on my target and start thinking about what comes next. So it's no surprise that I have hit my target and can now look at what comes next. In the past, I have submitted an upwardly revised target to Curt, but this year I'm just going to enjoy being ahead. I have completed most of the projects I set out for myself at the start of the Challenge and I'm quite content to meander towards the end of the event in three weeks time. I'm still working on entires for the side event, The Chambers of Challenge, and hope to complete the entire quest within the next few weeks.