Tuesday, 30 June 2015

1/3000 WW2 Italian Battleships with Aircraft

Today's painting project is complete. These are the last few of my Mick Yarrow 1/3000 Italian Battleships (Roma and Vittoria Veneto), so now I've a considerable collection which should help towards future Naval games at the club. Also featured are my first 1/600 SM79 Torpedo bombers from Tumbling Dice UK.

To create the flight stands I used some mdf bases with a 1p coin glued to each, so as to add weight and balance. Next I took some large paper clips and stretched them into lengths of approximately 6cm (one large clip should make two stands). I bent each at the bottom into a 'flat hook' and super glued it onto the coin, then put filler across the coin and base to hide it. While they dried I cut very small, short lengths of hollow biro re-fill and super glued these to the underside of each aircraft.

This means I can pop the planes onto alternative flight stands if I should ever feel the need. I painted each stand with a sea effect, as I'll be primarily using these for naval games.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Carry on Up the Khyber - 15mm Northwest Frontier

We used the rather excellent Battles for Empire rules again for this Colonial jaunt. Set in 1888 it was a factual scenario pitting a British force comprising of an Irish regiment and several Indian and Sikh ones, against Pathan tribesmen.

Three columns of British had ventured into the area and begun to destroy villages and crops in the hope of starving the rebellious tribes out. This focussed on one of these columns, advancing tentatively across an open plain and encountering woodland on their left, hills on the right and a dry river bed running across the front. Their aim was to exit the board directly opposite. The Pathans were initially hidden and required spotting by the Brits.

As a Pathan, I'd decided to wait to see how the British elements would arrange their progress before trying a few pot shots with some marksmen I had hidden in the trees. Unknown to the British we'd arranged our tribesmen in stone sangers both on the hills, and across the riverbank on the far side. The shock of the day would be around 2,000 Ghazi fanatics laying low on their left in the riverbed, ready to spring their trap once the time was right.

The initial Pathan rifle fire was pretty useless, but I was hoping it may confuse or distract the enemy as to where our real whereabouts. We had two smoothbore cannons in the woods in the same area, but they didn't have the correct range as the British were not taken in by the ruse and moved further across the plain.

I could still sense that the British were feeling tense, and as they neared the hills some units of Pathans opened up at long range. Paul who commanded this position was quite successful in inflicting some casualties and some Sikh units began to pull back slightly. The British tried to move a couple of Gatling guns up, but after an initial ineffective burst they both jammed!!

By this time the tribesmen across the river started firing and again revealed their position. Paul came up tops with the dice rolling and cut down an entire company of Indian troops. After this it was all brutal hand to hand fighting in front around the sangars and the British were forcing their way up the hills under constant fire.

About this time I decided to launch the howling war band from their hidden positions onto the enemy left flank. As the British stood astounded at this host appearing suddenly, I was required to roll the d6 to decide their movement factor.....and what do you know, a 1!!! This slowed me down to a meagre 6 inches movement when I should have been steaming along at 12 inches. Ok, so the Brits were still trying to form into a firing line hence I'd get another crack to get it right. So...roll again and another bloody 1!!!

Now the British had sorted themselves out and began a steady fire which resulted in some of my Ghazi units faltering. Nevertheless I still had at least four units bouncing forward and my next rolls resulted in sixes which meant "Fanatic Charge!". Thus began a furious melee, and the British showed fantastic mettle in forcing two more Pathan units into retreat despite high losses. The Pathans did ok with their dice rolling after this, but the minus caused by those early casualties had made it difficult and the remainder also began to leave the field. In conclusion those two bad dice rolls in the previous movement phases had been my downfall. Had it not been for them, I'd have swamped the British positions with sword wielding lunatics before they knew what to do. But hey, there you go :)

Thursday, 11 June 2015

15mm Ansar Camelry (and the Trials of Living with a Miniature Painter)

Here's some more of my Peter Pig 15mm Sudan Ansar. The bases on these are not quite finished. I've been painting every chance I get during the past few weeks, and the Ansar army is near to completion. Just a few more horse and command bases...then I'm straight on to the British.

You may notice the state of my laptop keyboard in the above photo. It's been a (bad) habit of mine to use my computer as a mini mobile paint station. This is because I can sit in the living room, where there's plenty of light, whilst my partner watches her programmes on the TV. It also means I can stick the headphones in and catch up on a few history documentaries or films when I'm painting away. The downside is that I've a tendency to get paint literally everywhere I go. The other day I narrowly avoided destroying the laptop altogether when I spilt superglue across it.

It struck me that over the years I've wreaked a certain amount of havoc with my hobby pursuits. So here's a list of the ones I remember:

- Hacking into the living room carpet with a craft knife, then trying to fix it with PVA glue.

- Realising that I don't own a pair of jeans that don't have paint on them. I even managed to get green paint on a new leather belt I bought the other week.

- Accidentally spraying GW Chaos Black onto the hallway floor of the old Flat I used to live in. I tried to hide it by spraying the carpet again with a similar shade of Grey (the landlady never noticed thankfully).

- Getting Vallejo White on one of the Cat's tails. No idea how this one happened.

- As a kid I dropped the lid of some Humbrol Enamel onto a new duvet cover, then tried to get it off with white spirit. It was difficult to disguise the toxic smell once my parents came home, and I was subsequently banished to the garage for about 6 months. Which was like Siberia but full of old engine parts.