Monday, September 26, 2011

Microarmor...Blast from the Past

Microarmor. I think a fair number of gamer-hobbiests these days may not know what it is. But before there was Flames of War and the explosion in 15mm WWII miniatures...way before...there was 6mm microarmor.

I started collecting and painting microarmor in the '80s. I used it for a game called Deluxe Advanced Squad Leader, which was the miniaturized version of ASL.

When I moved to Edmonton and joined the historical wargaming group here in 2005, I started back into microarmor, and painted a lot of it.

Down in my basement, there's a tool chest with several shallow drawers.

The drawers are lined with magnetic tape. And sitting on the tape are row after row of magnetized bases...each with a piece of microarmor. My German collection.

My American collection. Anyway, you get the idea.

Now, recently, Dave and I have been playing Conflict of Heroes. This WWII game feels to me like a very well done update to Advanced Squad Leader. Which got me to thinking...maybe it was time to miniaturized that game like the old ASL days.

Sounds like a project.

First up...I need T-34s in summer paint schemes (all of my microarmor T-34s are in winter camo).

For the scenario I want to play, I need 4 T-34s. Well, this should be enough to cover off that requirement.

Hot glue get gets a workout!

I airbrushed on the base color. Started with a new product from Vallejo, which is colored airbrush primer: Russian Green. Then oversprayed Camo Light Green, hit them with Mud Brown and then a dusting of Light Brown, all from Vallejo Model Air's line.

Next, I gave them a wash of Sepia and Umber Shades, from the new Vallejo wash line (these are really nice washes, by the way). Then the decals went on along with a drybrush of Bleached Bone, some Desert Yellow, a little Bubonic Brown and so on from the GW line.

I have an array of different T-34s here. 10x M41s (on the right), 5x M42s (in the middle) and 10x M43s (on the left). 25 models in one day...well, that's the advantage of microarmor!

Bases...this took a little while. 1" metal squares. Glue, sand, paint, flock, etc.

A group of T-34 M42s.

Well, it was kind of neat to go back and do some 6mm after being away from it for 5 years. Now I just need that order of T-70s to arrive, and I can get that Conflict of Heroes game underway.

'Til next time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Games This Week

I was lucky to have two really fun learning games this past week.

First off, Elliot and I had a Warmachine game over at the Edmonton Wargame Group club last Tuesday night. Neither of us had played for about two months, so it was great to shake the cobwebs out, and I got to try some of my new Menoth units.

Map setup.

Part of my starting lineup...I sent these cavalry around for a left hook, while my Daughters of the Flame did the right hook.

I was able to quickly envelop Elliot's Khador brick.

But as it turned out, I just fed units into Elliot's death grinder all evening long.

A terrible loss, but I learned a lot about playing the new Exemplar Errants unit I've recently finished up.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, Dave Coltman came over for a game of SAGA. This is the new Dark Ages skirmish rule set out from Gripping Beast in the UK.

Holy crap, is it good. The rules look nice too.

We played a scenario from the book. I took Viking attackers (6-point army), while Dave played the Anglo-Dane defenders (5-point army). This was the initial terrain set up...with my longship just beaching at the base of the village.

The Vikings debark!

On my left flank, I'm threatening one of the victory buildings with some Thrall bow fire.

My Bondi spearmen break through the market to get at Dave's Huscarls.

I cleared out the first two victory buildings pretty fast, then closed in and encircled the last one. By the end of the game, I tabled Dave's army, except for his Warlord. And honestly...that was a lot of fun.

SAGA just came out this week, and it is an innovative and very fun system that relies on the players planning out their turns based on the rolls of special "saga" dice which are then applied to army-centric battle boards. Essentially, the planning and application of these dice dictate what you can do in a given turn. You can also save dice on your battle board to counter your opponent's actions in his upcoming foresight is rewarded.

I haven't been this jazzed about a new game since Disposable Heroes came out from Iron Ivan Games six or so years ago. Can't wait to play again...I think this system will see a lot of play out at the Tuesday night club.

'Til next time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Knights Exemplar Errants...Done

OK...13 models got struck off the "paint this" pile today. Sweet.

I started these guys about two weeks ago, and I think I'm going to get them out on the game table tonight. Can't wait. As explained in the post last week, the Exemplar Errants are a pretty kick-ass unit, and I'm going to try them out in a Epic Kreoss list ASAP.

The officer.

Each of my Menoth units has a different principal color for their clothing. The Errants get orange.

This is the Seneschal. No surprise, the flag staffs needed to be pinned in order to have any hope of staying attached.

This project was the first time I've ever tried to paint gems. I don't think I have the perfect technique yet, but this one turned out pretty good.

I've got the itch to get back to historicals...maybe some WWII...but I should really burn down the Warmachine pile some more before I start into something new.

'Til next time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Exemplar Errants WIP

Time to work on taking a big chunk out of the "finish this" pile.

The Knights Exemplar Errants from Menoth's Warmachine forces has gone from a *meh* unit in Mark I rules a few years back to an absolute powerhouse in Mark II play. With the Officer, Standard Bearer and Seneschal solo...and then run in an Epic Kreoss list, here is the incredible list of abilities they have:

1) Cannot be targeted by spells
2) Immune to continuous effects (e.g. fire, corrosion)
3) Ignore forests when tracing LOS, ignore target cover and concealment when shooting
4) Initial deployment is 6" forward
5) Immune to fear
6) An extra die on melee damage rolls
7) Crossbows are magic and ignore most defence and armor boosting effects
8) Ignore terrain-induced movement penalties
9) They can immediately shoot if they kill an enemy in melee
10) If one is killed, you can pick another unit model within 3" to remove from play instead

Here is the current (half-way) state of the paint jobs. The Menoth white has been sprayed. Cloth has been based with Foundation red, and a few pieces have been taken to the final orange color. Black menofix markings have been blocked in. And the first pass on base metal has been done.

Still to come: gold metal, final steel pass, finished cloth, menofix highlights, scabbards, wood on the crossbows, leather straps and bases. Hmmm, this project is still going to take a while to finish!

'Til next time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Totem Hunter: Step by Step

So, I was so excited to get my paint collection finally squared away, I dove right into painting a figure Monday afternoon.

I started with this Totem Hunter from Hordes. He's a Minion solo...kind of inspired by the Predator, I believe. Assembled, primed and inked.

First I did the skin. I chose an alien purple and added some bronzed flesh tone to the highlight color.

Next I did the gold and blue armor. For the gold, I used some tones of Foundry Burnt Gold. The wash on the base gold color is pretty crucial for the effect, I think. Normally, I'd use GW Chestnut ink, but they don't make it any more. So I made a wash of Liquitex Burnt Sienna ink by adding flow improver and some glaze medium. This worked really well, and I'll keep using it from now on. For the blue, I used three tones of Foundry Bavarian Cornflower Blue. I wet-blended the blue to accentuate the highlights and shadows.

Finally, I added the silver metal, leather and bone colors. The staff is a shade of copper. At this point I added some more flesh tone to the skin because it was looking a little flat.

Here, you can see the paint job on the back of the figure.

The fully painted front.

And finally, here is the figure with the base done. Cork, sand, static grass, etc.

'Til next time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Paint Madness

Over the past several years, I've been collecting paint sets. Not like I use all of the's just that I'm a sick, compulsive collector.

Anyway, as I blogged a few weeks back, I was in the process of moving most of my paints over to dropper bottles. I'm happy to say that this stage of paint madness has passed. I now have (and I'm not proud to say it), 800+ bottles of paint from 5 paint sets packed into 10 cases. Yeow!

All the paints have been broken into sets of three...each a shaded progression of a base color. This standard was pretty easy to set, since Foundry and Reaper already used that convention.

So now all the paints from obscure Napoleonic Russian Gun Apple Green to ubiquitous Boltgun Metal are bottled and stored.

Re-bottling paint is damn boring. So, I've been watching instructional hobby painting DVDs from the laptop. Three sets so far.

The 5 DVD set from Mini Wargaming (which could have easily fit on 2 disks) is actually a good introduction to all the major painting techniques. The background music, however, is repetitive to the point of distraction.

The Core Techniques DVD from Privateer was actually a bit simplistic, cursory, and the narrator was annoying. The sample figures weren't painted terribly well either.

I ordered the Hot Lead 3 DVD set (8 hours of video) from the Cool Mini Or Not website. Although the production values were second rate, this was actually the most interesting of the three programs. All basic and several advanced techniques from model prep to basing to painting and finishing were covered, and I had few "Oh, cool" moments while this was playing in the know...while paint was dripping from one pot to another.

'Til next time.