Thursday, July 28, 2022

28mm Round Sand Bag Emplacement

This was a quick, simple project. I've had this resin sand bag emplacement in my 'terrain to paint' box for maybe a decade. Recently I've decided to start actually working on this backlog and this piece floated to the top. Manufacturer is unknown. I primed it white and painted it with contrast and speed paints. Finishing touches with Mig streak and grime, Mig rust streak (on the corrugated metal and barrels) and a light dusting of Mid 'Europe Dust' dry pigments.

This is sized nicely to fit a good portion of my man-packed weapons teams as shown below. Due to the modern materials and 55-gallon fuel drums, it's only really usable for World War II and later. This will count as one (1) terrain piece for my annual painting totals. Expect to see more terrain sprinkled throughout my blog posts for the foreseeable future.   

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Two Electronic Brigadier Games at Historicon 2022

I ran two sessions of my Battle of Monmouth scenario at Historicon 2022 last Saturday in Lancaster, PA. It was a marathon day but well worth it! The players seemed to have a great time and I got to show my rules to a bunch of new players. The experience has me re-energized to push forward with finishing up Napoleonics and to work more on getting the game master portion more public ready so I can start letting others use the rules.

More photographs can be seen in this gallery

This YouTube video shows the table between games. 

Also, if you're on Facebook, I've started up a group there for Electronic Brigadier. Announcements on when and how to become a play tester will likely be broadcast to that group first. It's an open public group. Feel free to join!

Monday, July 11, 2022

28mm WWII Finnish Weapon Teams & Misc. Infantry

My recent completion of my Crusader army for Saga by painting the last units of crossbows for it has motivated me to return to my Finnish WWII army project to hopefully make a big push towards completion of it as well.  This is a collection of mostly specialty weapons teams but also includes a handful of semi-random infantry figures just to help with economy of scale when painting. I find that I'm most efficient when painting WWII when I'm doing 18-24 figures. 

This tripod-mounted Maxim machine gun and crew are 3-D Printed. I purchased them on-line already printed. I'm assuming that these were sculpted to be able to be used for all three Finnish conflicts: the 1939 Winter War, the Continuation War and the Lalpand war. This assumption is due to the winter coats and mittens. I will mostly be using these as Lapland war troops, so I've based them on some spring ground, but kept my 'dead grass' tufts for a slightly more tundra feel. Finland is cold in the spring even when there isn't snow on the ground.

This 81mm mortar team and forward observer is from the Warlord Games Finnish army box. Looking at their web store, I'm not sure this box is still available. I'm sure you can still buy the team in blisters though.

This Panzershreck team is from a Warlord blister pack. I think they're great sculpts with the loader holding the next rocket and carrying the ammo in a canvas bag. I much prefer this to Warlord's German version of the same team. The Finns re-painted their shreck launchers in Finnish colors. I went for a hasty Finnish green for mine.

Two more snipers. The one on the left is 3-D printed from the same vendor as the Maxim MG, the one on the right is a Warlord figure. I'm not sure if it came in the army box or if I picked it up in a blister. Surprisingly I had previously already painted a sniper and observer using Warlord figures, so this is a second team. I like that the figure on the left has binoculars, but also a scoped rifle making him a perfect spotter for the other sniper. In a pinch I am also happy to use these as standard riflemen.

This is a group of three LMG gunners. The left-most is my favorite and is using a captured Russian Degtyarev DP-28 'record player' LMG. Even at the end of WWII this was the most plentiful LMG in the Finnish army. This resin 3-D printed model is the reason I placed the order for all of the resin figures. The sculpting is excellent and the scale of the weapon is spot on. He even has a captured Russian ammunition case with spare 'record' magazines. The middle figure is from Warlord and has the same DP-28 LMG, although it is barely recognizable as such. This might possibly be one of the worst Warlord models I own. The right figure is also a Warlord figure carrying a German-provided MG-42 and bandolier of rounds. I quite like the sculpting on this figure. 

Here's a close up of this awesome sculpt. With independent sculptors doing this quality of work, I'm very encouraged for the future of our hobby when it comes to 3-D printing. Interesting thing about this photograph. The camera in this extreme close-up can pick out the layers of the 3-D print, but I promise, you cannot see them in person, even under a visor magnifier. When I looked at this photo the first time I was confused to what I was seeing until I remembered this was a 3-D print. 

The last group is a five-man infantry 'section'. The Finns didn't really do infantry sections, but these five figures were tossed in to round the batch of figures up to an efficient number. My next batch will add additional riflemen to go with the other LMGs in this batch and also will round out this squad to the full nine men it should contain. These are all Warlord figures from either their army box or an additional infantry blister. Note the rear right figure carrying another poorly sculpted DP-28, albeit slightly less awful than the prone figure carrying the stupidly short one. He also has an excellently sculpted face and head which partially makes up for the poor sculpt of the weapon.

I'm counting this as 21 figures, counting each of the larger weapons as one figure. This helps me catch up vs. the purchased painted figures for the year. Next up on the table a large group of just Finnish infantry. It may be a while until I finish it as I prepare to travel to Historicon in a week and a half to run a couple of Electronic Brigadier games there.  For fun, the photo on the left is a group shot of my Finnish army so far. 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

28mm Crusader Crossbowmen

These are the last figures that I plan to paint for my Saga Crusader army. I didn't need two more units of crossbowmen, but I had the figures, and I'm going to start running some lager multi-player games so I thought it would be nice to be able to field multiple four-point armies for those. 

These figures are a mix from two different bags of Old Glory figures. My uncle and I split two bags to give us each some additional variance in poses, etc. His are fielded in his Templar army, mine in my Crusader army. Old Glory figure have several great qualities: they're good serviceable figures with good pose variation, they're lead which I prefer over plastic or resin, and with the Old Glory club card, these run $0.60 USD per figure. That's a deal you can't feel as an old boss of mine always used to say. 

These were painted in two groups of eight to represent 'warriors' in Saga, but they are just as likely to be fielded in a single unit of twelve as levy so I kept both units consistent with each other. The buff coats are an experiment. Some were painted using traditional methods, some were contrast paints, some were SpeedPaints, and some were a mix. To be honest, all of them came out fine and mix well. I think my techniques with the transparent contrast and SpeedPaints is slowly improving. 

This will add sixteen more figures to this year's painting totals. Each year I strive to paint as many figures as I buy pre-painted. This year I'm not likely to achieve that goal, but these will help get me a step closer.  Next up on the painting table are some terrain projects and a return to my 28mm Finnish WWII Continuation War / Lapland war force. Returning to the Finns should help boost my productivity as WWII figures are pretty quick to paint up and I'm very motivated to work on that army so that I can start running games with it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

'Approach to Monmouth' Scenario with The Electronic Brigadier

Two weeks ago I hosted a my 'Approach to Monmouth' scenario at our club's June game night. This was a 'do over' for my game that didn't go off at the April game night. This is one of my favorite scenarios. It's a twist on the historical battle under the presumption that General Lee convinced Washington's council of war in conducting a full assault on the British column as it approached Monmouth rather than the 'only volunteers' debacle that actually happened. There is no Washing marching to Lee's rescue as Lee has the force he needs to do the job. If you want more insight on my justification for this scenario, I highly recommend you read The Making of a Scapegoat by Thayer

This is a scaled-down version of the game that I will be running at Historicon in July (sessions S16:115 & S16:133). I was one player short, so Rob and Ed (shown left) having experience play testing the rules, offered to play short handed. The British were two beginners, Warren and John anchored by Electronic Brigadier veteran play tester Byron. 

The British plan was simple - overwhelm the New Jersey brigade that included the local militias. The Americans, to delay with the New Jersey brigade and attack with their other two higher-quality brigades. This was a case of the unstoppable force vs. the moveable object.....


The British assault went in on the New Jersey brigades. Initially they sent the Hunterdon militia running but the New Jersey state troops and the Monmouth militia held the line. The Monmouth militia finally broke, but not before the Hunterdon militia recovered just in time to cover the American's left flank. 

Meanwhile on the American right flank the Americans were doing a good job of getting some advantageous two-on-one firefights running. Towards the end of the battle, both the British First Guards and First Grenadiers had shaken and fallen back from the withering American musketry. 

Overall this was a solid American victory. Casualties received by the British were approximately 8.7% of their total force while the American casualties were under 6.5%. Considering the disparity in quality of troops this was a very nice win for Lee.

28mm Napoleonic Bavarians Re-Based

These are 56 Bavarian Napoleonic infantry and four mounted officers that I've recently re-based for use with either my Electronic Brigadier rules or my friend Charlie's rules, Napoleon's Rules of War. I purchased all of these on Ebay recently with the exception of two of the officers in bicornes which came with some other figures I bought and re-based years ago.  I'll count this as 32 stands re-based in my annual totals.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

AWI Units Re-Based Courtesy of My Brave Fusiliers! Blog

My good friend Mark from the My Brave Fusiliers! blog offered me the opportunity to purchase two of his superbly painted AWI American units. Mark wanted to fund a new project and offered me some of his figures. I still have a few units in my American force that I bought pre-painted that aren't quite up to the standards of the units I've painted myself. Mark's figures definitely are much better than those and will replace some of those units in my army. Mark paints at least as well as I do, and better in terms of style and historical accuracy. 

Mark had these labeled as Pennsylvanians, which I'm sure is accurate. Mark's units each had 30 figures in them. This matches up perfectly with my preferred basing of two six-figure stands and a three-figure skirmish stand. Each of Mark's units will create two separate units in my basing system, but can also be used en masse as a single larger unit as shown in the first photo above. To the left here is the typical way I'll use them when in open order. In line formation the center stand is removed to close up ranks. 

This unit in hunting shirts is very flexible in how I can use it. The flags give away the units identity to the extremely knowledgeable, but the popularity of the hunting shirt means I'm happy to substitute this unit for many others. 

A look at the back of the figures showing off Marks' excellent brushwork.  I'll be counting these units as twelve stands re-based in my annual painting totals. Thanks for the figures Mark!

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Gale Force 9 Rocky Hill Collection

This is my collection of Gale Force 9 rocky hills from their 'Battlefield in a Box Essentials' range. Left to right this includes their 'Large Rocky Hill', 'Extra Large Rocky Hill' and 'Rocky Hill - 2 Pieces' sets. The latter I've had for almost a decade. For the lazy these come out of the box ready to use on the tabletop with a decent dry-brushed paint job. The kits come supplied with a small amount of flock for you to add. I used the two 'Rocky Hill - 2 Pieces' hills for nearly a decade without flocking them. Eventually I added some additional dry-brushing of my own to break up the monochrome palette and flocked them with my preferred ground covering - Scenic Express Farm Pasture Blend

After flocking the smaller pieces I realized how much I use them and decided I wanted the full set, so I ordered both other pieces off of Ebay. Unfortunately when they arrived, there was significant damage to both. The worst was the 'Large Rocky Hill' which lost several large pieces of the resin. Interesting this exposed the filler foam inside giving a glimpse as to how they're constructed. Rather than returning them I used some epoxy to back fill the area and pieced all of the larger pieces in like a jigsaw puzzle. I filled the voids with fine sand and waited for things to set up. 

After the repair I re-painted and used flock and grass tufts to strategically hide the small spots that were obviously repaired. Now that it's flocked and I've added my additional dry brushing, you can't even tell where it was broken. I'm hoping the epoxy back fill will provide a durable repair. I'm fairly rough on these pieces, and they will be handled often and figures will be placed on them, sometimes multi-figure stands.

The 'Extra Large Rocky Hill' had a fairly large four-inch crack all the way through the resin. It was still in tact, so I opted for a thin CA glue fill to re-bond the broken area. The repair was nearly invisible after drying, but I did opt to flock this area just for additional visual appeal. Dry brush, flocking and grass tufts were applied as I did for the other hills.
Again the repair is invisible. Hopefully the CA will hold through the pieces lifespan. If I have trouble with it re-breaking I'll go with the epoxy solution for this one as well.

This was a quick and easy repair and 'pimp up' of some excellent out of the box terrain.


Friday, June 3, 2022

28mm Iberian Infantry for Saga

I've had these Warlord 28mm Iberian infantry on my painting table for over a year. Early on in the project I had the figures painted up but the shields were not painted. I took a swing at hand painting the shields, but that was a disaster. I made homemade shield transfers, but those proved impossible to cut-in to the shields that had molded in spines and bosses. Finally I broke down, pried the shields off the figures, filed off the raised detail and applied the homemade transfers. Bob's your uncle. 

These will form two eight figure warrior units in my Iberian army for Saga Age of Hannibal, or two units for Clash of Spears.

These will count as 16 figures for my 2022 painting totals even though they were mostly painted in 2021. I count them only when they're finished, based, and ready for the tabletop! Next up on the painting table are some 28mm crusades era crossbowmen, some AWI figures I'm re-basing and some terrain.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Battlefield Debris by Warlord Games

Here are some of the pieces from Warlord Games 'Battlefield Debris' set that I've recently painted up. This is a fantastic set of miscellaneous detritus to scatter among your battlefields. The items shown in the photo to the left are what I've painted to date from this set. The paints used are a combination of Army Painter SpeedPaint, Citadel Contrast paint and traditional acrylics and washes. There's really nothing 'useless' in this box, and eventually I hope to paint it all up. It's all sized appropriately for Warlord Games Bolt Action line, but is also mostly usable for earlier periods with a few exceptions (oil drums, motorcycle, telephone pole). 

These items, the sofa, chair, table barricade, oil drums, motorcycle and the fantastically sculpted wicker chair barricade were painted a while ago, but never photographed and included in the blog, although they did make an appearance in a couple game reports for 1-48 tactic games I ran last year.
Reverse view of the sand bag emplacements, barricade of crates and the stone building fragment. The barricade of crates could also easily double as an objective for a scenario as a 'supply dump' with or without the oil drums shown above.
Group shot of the items painted this week. The wooden furniture is particularly fun. I might actually put a piece or two of that permanently inside one of my ruined buildings. I like that there are still dishes on the shelves. That's a nice detail, but also makes that piece not suitable for 'in the street' placement. I'm sure if that cupboard was moved to the street, the dishes would remain in pieces on the floor of whatever room it was removed from.

There are four all-brick ruined pieces, which could be put in a base as a single ruined building. I'm still deciding if I'll do that or keep the flexibility of having them individually mounted. There are also two other pieces with brick coated with plaster that obviously go together. 

The only regret I have about this set is that it doesn't include the ubiquitous stand-up piano you invariably see in nearly every WWII film with an urban theme. I still need to find one of those for my tabletop.  Maybe I can get a friend with a resin printer to print one up for me?

I'll be counting these as 20 'terrain/misc' pieces painted this year in my annual totals.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Falklands War with Dead Man's Hand

Last Friday I took a trip over to my friend Mark D's place to help him play test a Falklands War game he's going to be running at our club this upcoming game night. The rules used were Dead Man's Hand by Great Escape Games.

I haven't played this rule set before, but I was quite impressed with the elegance of the activation system. After the game I immediately ordered myself a copy of the rules.

We drew lots to see who got which side. I drew the British. They had a unit of paratroopers and a unit of mountain troops drawn from the military academy training cadre. My paratroopers had a sniper which was a fun figure to play with. Mark had the Argentinians. Our missions crossed paths in the middle of the board insuring conflict would be quickly manifested.

I had some excellent rolls early knocking out several Argentinians. Mark compressed his two squads together into a fire base and started to bring the casualties back towards even. During this time I pressed onto both of my objectives. In each case I secured the objective, then immediately had a casualty with the capturing figure. At the end of the game I had a narrow lead, although with a full six player game who knows.

The rules seem fun, the scenario is quite balanced. My only regret is I'll be running a game myself at the same game night so I won't get to play in this game myself when he runs it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Hunt for the Goeben

 My friends at Wargames Tonight gave me the opportunity to participate in their on-line WWI naval campaign, 'The Hunt for the Goeben'. There's a great video by them below. Enjoy!

Color Samples for GW Contrast Paints and Army Painter SpeedPaints

Recently I purchased the 'Mega Set' of Army Painter SpeedPaints. These are augmenting, and for some colors, replacing my existing collection of GW Contrast Paints. For me the two products are fairly similar in their role in my paint collection for painting historical miniatures. They each have their pros and cons, but for me they're pretty much equivalent so really the tones and shades dictated which brand to keep in my collection.

As you can see in the first photo, I prefer to apply an actual paint swatch on the cap of each bottle to give me a better idea of exactly which color I'm grabbing from my collection. As you can imagine, my collection of various shades of olive green and military greys is extensive, so this is an essential time saver and prevents many paint selection mistakes. With Contrast and SpeedPaint, there is a shading effect that isn't well represented using this method. Instead I primed craft skull beads with white primer and glued each skull onto the cap of the paint. 

I then painted the skull with the paint allowing it to "do its thing" and shade the skull. I think the value of this is apparent in the photos.  

This second photo is the full SpeedPaint 'Mega Set' from Army Painter. The colors are vibrant and with the exception of the 'Holy White' color none have any solid white pigment in them, so they mix with each other well to make other colors nicely. In general they seem to be more heavily pigmented than the GW Contrast paints, which means the included SpeedPaint medium is even more useful in creating less saturated tones of the same color, all the way down to making color shaded washes with these.

Here are the colors from the GW Contrast paint line that I kept. Note that I re-potted these into dropper bottles instead of the awful GW paint pots. I did this before I came up with the skull color sample idea, but since they were in pots already, adding the skulls wasn't hard. I have seen people use the skull idea on the GW pots after I posted the idea to the GW Contrast Paint Facebook group. 

Of the GW paints I chose to keep all of the fleshes and browns, both turquoises, 'Voluptuous Pink' and 'Apothecary White'. The latter being just a shade lighter than the Army Painter equivalent. I might use both depending on the situation. Of particular note, the 'Gore-Grunta Fur' red brown is fantastic for ginger hair and some horses, and without mixing, there's not a good substitute in the Army Painter line.