Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Cheap Aldi Grass Carpet Battlemats!! £6.99 each!!!

(Cats featured purely for scale)

Doing the weekly shop brought an unexpected surprise today. Aldi stores have their gardening range for sale, and I immediately clocked their "Artificial Grass Carpet" approx 6.5ft x 3.5 ft. All for the paltry sum of £6.99 each. The tuft length is very short, so suitable for 6mm to 28mm and beyond. The backing is non slip.


Given the bargain price I bought two of them in the expectation of doing larger battles. As with much Aldi seasonal stuff I expect there will be limited stocks. So grab a bargain, unless of course you're happy with paying £50 and upwards for exactly the same official battle mats available online?


Monday, 3 April 2017

Numidians Sir! Thousands of 'em!!


...at least there will be once I've painted them all. I never intended to start a Numidian army, but I was visiting the TORM reenactors market near Coventry a few weeks ago and saw one of the stalls had some secondhand ancient plastics. After a bit of haggling I managed to secure two boxes of Wargames Factory Numidians still on the sprues, and a tub full of assembled ones. Mixed in with these were what I think may be Victrix Carthaginian. I'm going to use these as medium or heavy infantry.

The Numidians pictured above are the ones I've painted up from the tub so far, and are arrayed as slingers and javelin men to use as skirmishers.

The command stand is a medium infantry guard on foot, with a 1st Corps metal Numidian prince mounted. The latter is quite small when compared to Victrix or WF. But I've added some filler underneath him to raise the figure up a bit so the size difference is not as noticeable. I'm quite pleased with the end result. In fact I may use him as King Juba, especially since the recent Warlord Juba figure to me looks more like a Zulu warrior. I prefer to see him with a more Hellenistic or slight Roman influence in his appearance.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Antiochus the Great and another War Elephant



The Antiochus the Great command figures are from the Gripping Beast Polemarch series. Whilst the War Elephant is once again from Warlord Games. All lovely figures and an absolute pleasure to paint. The elephant was remarkably easy, and only took me two afternoons from construction to complete. This guy is being used as part of the second half of my Macedonian Successor army, hence the slight change in paint scheme.

Antiochus is naturally portrayed in all his youth and vigour. Looking like he's leading a hell for leather charge. My first phalanx is also coming along well, and should be to upload here soon.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

28mm Macedonian Successor War Elephant




This new Warlord Games War Elephant is the first sign of my taking the plunge and finally investing properly in an Ancients army. The elephant and crew come as a part metal and part resin kit. It looks like Warlord are pushing their Ancients range to new levels at the moment, with this and the release of a nice Macedonian Successor Starter Army. I also have the latter which includes another elephant, some (metal) companion cavalry and a hundred plastic Macedonian Phalangites. Like all the other Warlord Starter Armies, it's an absolute bargain and well worth the £75 investment.

Anyway, onto the figure itself. First off there was very little flash to clean up, a couple of sections underneath the howdah. Mainly where it sits in the slots on the elephants back. This didn't take much to cut away and I also noticed how soft the resin is. This is an added bonus because previous resin kits are sometimes quite brittle, and any cutting or snipping has occasionally caused parts of the detail to break off as well. The head fitted onto the body reasonably well and I covered the slight gap with some green stuff. The legs are 'coded' with individual shapes that fit into their particular slots, so you can't go wrong there either.

Once I'd glued it all together I gave it a spray undercoat of GW Storm Vermin Fur. This is a sort of dark brown/grey colour that I find gives a nice balance when painting base layers for darker and also lighter colours (I try to avoid undercoating with black these days, as it's a headache when base coating with colours such as red or yellow). The gold is GW Retribution Armour, which has a very high pigment content. Loads better than other metallic paints that tend to be very watery and need layer after layer. I later inkwashed the gold in a Vallejo strong tone and then dry brushed with the GW gold again. The red howdah and edging on the armour was done with Vallejo Flat Red then highlighted in GW Evil Sunz Scarlet. The elephant skin was done with a thin coat of Vallejo Air Stonewall Grey, inkwashed in strong tone again, then highlighted with Vallejo Medium Sea Grey.

Finally after painting the crew I blu tacked them into the howdah to check their positioning. Luckily I did, because I needed to adjust some of the arms and legs to make sure they fitted OK. It's very crowded in that howdah let me tell you! The main problem (and this is my only minor criticism of the kit as a whole) is that you have to be careful making sure the pikes and spears fit snugly and securely, without the figures getting in each others way.

Now to have a crack at painting the Phalanx!!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Rogue Trader Eldar



Myself and some friends had another one of our school reunions again last week. When I arrived my mate handed me a small bag full of his old miniatures he'd promised me. When I opened it I was over the moon. Not only were there almost a complete set of Harlequins and two War Walkers, the base colours on them were nicely done. Myself, Jay and Barry (another old school days gaming buddy) emptied them out on the pub table, and it was like unlocking a time capsule.

Anyway, over the next couple of days I gave the first few figures some ink washes and highlights and now they're pretty much ready to go. I love the old 80's style colour scheme, and couldn't bring myself to just strip them all. As these are the beginning of my RT force I've decided to copy a similar style with the rest. Photos of the War Walkers coming soon!

In other news I picked up a copy of the new Osprey Sci Fi skirmish rules 'Rogue Stars'. At first glance it looks pretty good. I think Osprey have done well with these new small (and incredibly affordable) rule sets. Top marks for the really great Mark Copplestone figures featured in its pages too.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Warhammer 40k On a Budget

It's no surprise that the Oldhammer Community have had a huge inspiration in sparking my return to fantasy and Sci-Fi wargaming. Games Workshop back in the early '80's was my starting point, as I'm sure it was for many people. Aside from time and family commitments etc it's usually the cost that puts many people off. What I've realised in the last few months however, is that this doesn't have to be the case.

The photograph above is my current collection of Imperial Guard and Dark Angels. Bought brand new, these would have taken a significant chunk from the weekly paycheck. But thanks to buying and selling websites like Ebay and Gumtree (as well as the Facebook page "Warhammer Buy, Sell and Swap" which is fantastic btw) I've gathered this entire force for less than £50.


The popularity of GW over the years is perhaps the reason that there's so much of it available cheaply secondhand. Like any wargaming fanatic, lots of folks go through phases of collecting - whereby they either decide on some other period or genre, or give up on the hobby altogether. Either way if the items don't end up on ebay or on car boot sales (this is especially the case with Warhammer stuff and is another ideal way of buying collections) or they get stashed into the attic.

I began with just asking friends who I knew had been into the hobby in the past. Quite often they had a couple of shoe boxes or carrier bags somewhere with unused sprues, vehicle parts etc. or a load of half painted odds and sods. Most were happy to part with everything for a couple of quid. If you're quite lucky you'll even get some decently painted figures. Many of my Dark Angels were already basecoated and had the armour highlights started. It took me a rainy afternoon to finish the guns and gear, and hey presto...30 figures ready to go.

Again, Ebay and Gumtree offer similar opportunities. The Imperial Guard here were in a sorry state with a particularly rough paintjob, but it doesn't take much to turn them around (some of my Terminators were spray painted in silver and gold - so the way I see it, almost anything can be salvaged!

I imagine the method of collecting I'm suggesting here is quite good if you've got children who want to get into GW. Especially if you're worried about coughing up £100 for the GW Deathwatch Overkill game, facing the possibility that it'll be discarded in favour of the XBox somewhere down the line. On that point in particular; Ebay sellers are currently flogging the Deathwatch Rulebook and tiles for £10-£15 without the figures. Buying a load of cheap Tyranid Genestealers secondhand, along with some space marines and Imperial Guard would probably mean you'd get everything you need for less than £35.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Lead Pile and other musings....


I've been working away on some painting commissions recently, which left me realizing that I haven't spent much time on my own figures. So I decided to open a few old boxes in the den and do an inventory of what I'd actually got. This proved to be surprising and mildly depressing.

First off was I discovered almost an entire 15mm colonial Sikh army for my Sudan project (I almost ordered more, thinking I had only a couple of units). Secondly it struck me how much time I spend buying and simply storing stuff "for future use".

So the last week I threw myself into painting as much as I could. I even avoided the usual complaints from my partner by moving my paint station downstairs (and hence spending time with her as she does her university work in the living room - the other bonus is that I can stick World at War on the TV, which is repeated endlessly on the Yesterday channel).

The above photo is a quick reflection of what I'm getting through. And what a mixture it is! You can see 15mm ACW, 10mm Franco Prussian, 10mm 1866 Austrian, 15mm ECW and even a Games Workshop Imperial Guardsman. Completely bonkers but great to finally get some of this finished and ready for some games.

Another solution to getting my armies completed more quickly, is looking for part-painted stuff cheap on ebay. The other day I managed to snag some base coated 15mm ACW confederates. Not very pretty and jammed onto some solid wood bases with what looked like bathroom sealant. Anyway, I removed them from the bases with a craft knife and ink washed them heavily. Next I gave them a few highlights then stuck them to my usual 20x25 MDF bases and flocked them with Kallistra Spring meadow flock (hiding any of the nasty sealant still clinging on). I think the end result looks spot on. I managed to do about three 36 man units within an afternoon, so it's definitely a time saver.