Wednesday 29 June 2011

More Stretlets Boers

I've had a busy week and real life has got in the way of me getting much painting done, in fact all I've managed is another 9 Boers in 1:72nd scale, which I present below.


Sunday 26 June 2011

Storm of Magic Unveiled & Warhammer Wizards

Yesterday we finally got the details of Storm of Magic the new Warhammer expansion from GW.  The expansion seems to come in two main parts, magic and monsters.  Wizards can cast even more powerful spells by controling fulcrums (big tower things which GW have released some very impresive models for), which is ok I suppose but I've never been that into magic, what I'm really interested in are the monsters.

What this book allows you to do is add unridden monsters into your armies again.  Way back in 5th ed you could add unridden monsters to any army which added a bit of a random fantasy element to procedings.  I still have some monster models from this era, my dragon (above) and manticore (below) and I'm incredably chuffed that I can use them in my armies again.  It also allows some of the bigger recent cool kits (such as the araknorok spider) to be used by anyone (probably a sales ploy, but a good one).  I'm not sure about game balance, but the modeling and collecting possibilities are excellent, and I'm trying to work out an excuse to add a monster to my dwarf army.  The other great thing is that they've released some fantastic new monster kits (I'm very tempted by the chimera in particular) and are even rereleasing some old classic minis (suprisingly including the Chaos Dwarf Lamasu and Great Taurus monster, although without riders) and reimaginging of monsters long thought gone (e.g. the Cockatrice) this is the part of the release I'm most excited about.  The only problem I see is the price, the kits themselves I think are reasonably priced, but the book is £30, which is a lot, although I'm sure the production will be excellent.  I really want to add monsters to my armies though so I suppose I'll have to get it.

Anyway with all this talk of magic and monsters I've added a few pics of wizards drawn from my collection.

Grey Seer Thanquol & Boneripper.

An ancient Grey Seer and a Night Goblin Shaman from the Battle of Skull Pass boxed set.

 Two Dwarf wizards from way back in 3rd ed.

Two human wizards, on the left the Mordheim special character Nicodemeus and on the right an Empire wizard made from the plastic wizards kit.

And finally my favorite wiazard model, also from the mordheim range an elf wiard, this example is painted for my mordheim elf warband, but I'm also thinking of getting a second one to add to my high elf army.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Stretlets 1/72 Scale Boers

To get more mileage out of my Zulu War British I've decided to get a few Boer Models so I can do a bit of wargaming of the First Boer war.  Most of the British wore the same scarlet uniforms as they did in the Zulu war, and whilst I might add a unit or two speicfic to this conflict clearly I needed to start with the Boers.  I can only find one manufacturer that makes Boers in 1/72 scale and that's stretlets.  That instandly made me wary I normally use either HaT or Italeri and I've heard a lot of bad things about stretlets, but i decided to risk it and order a box.
They come in the usual size box with a nice bit of artwork on the front and a vauge and not very helpful bit of history on the back.

The 44 figures come on 4 different sprues, whats different about stretlets is that every single figure is a different scuplt.  Weather this is good or not I think depends on the type of troops being represented.  For regular disciplinced troops I see this as a disadvantage, but for irregular troops such as Boers I think its great.  Unfortunately the box does contain two figures that are completely useless for recreating the Boer wars.
Here we have the two useless figures included in the set.  On the right we have a 17th century Russian Streltsi, I think most stretlets sets include one that combione together to form a full set, it's an odd way of getting figs out in my opinion and I'd rather of had another Boer.  On the right we have a Boer standard bearer which is just a complete nonsense, I suppose he might have a use as a gaming marker of some sort.
I've actually been pleasently suprised with this set after all the bad things I'd heard about stretlets and would consider buying their products again.  I don't think the sculpting is as bad as I'd feared and for this subject the variety is a giant plus.

Anyway without any further ramblings here are the pics of the first batch of painted Boers.

Here we have two of the better pieces in the set, an officer and a fighting parson.

Two interesting kneeling Boers.  On the left he's using a telescope (with both hands, well done stretlets, I've seen alot of 1/72 scale figs using a telescope with one hand and I can tell you that it doesn't work) and on the right we have a Boer lighting some dynamite with his cigar.

Boers Standing

Boers kneeling

And finally a group shot

Monday 20 June 2011

Victory at Sea - Order of Battle

As I've been enjoying playing Victory at Sea (a fastplay WW2 Naval Ruleset) recently I've gone out and bought the expansion Order of Battle.

Like Victory at sea it is a large (slightly bigger than A4) paperback, black and white book.  There is 111 pages of rules (15 more than victory at sea) plus a few pages of counters of ships and planes to be photocopied and cut out.  The production values are very similar to the first book and the layout is the same (which to my mind is good, I like things to match and can get unreasonably upset when they don't).  The Book contains some offical errata for victory at sea, a section called 'new rules' that contains rules for shore batteries minefeilds and minesweepers, rules for motor torpedo boats (costal forces), rules for admirals, more aircraft rules, 4 new scenarios, a campaign in the north atlantic and expanded fleet lists for all the navies and the introduction of the Soviet navy.  This last section is the meat of the book and takes up around 2/3rds of the space.

New Rules:
The first page of this section is a number of offical rules changes to the victory at sea rules, all sensible little fixes to things that seemed a bit odd, the most important one I think is that you can now turn after half your current speed, not your maximum speed, which allows for tighter turning.  Other new rules include shore batteries, minefeilds, suicide attacks and more advanced night fighting rules, all useful additions that open up more game types and more depth.

Motor Torpedo Boats:
Rules for including tiny little motor torpedo boats(MTB's) in your games, they come 2 boats to a stand and act a little like aircraft (free turning) and have special rules for shooting and being shot at, some of them look like they could do some seriuos damage to larger ships if allowed to get their torps off.  The book contains rules for MTB's for all 7 fleets.

The next short section features rules for including admirals in your fleet.  You can select from a series of traits that makes your fleet better in certain aspects of warfare reflecting your admirals interests.  It contains an example admiral for each country.  The admiral has to be attached to a specific ship, which obviosuly will paint a large target on his head.  I'm not overly keen on these rules, they seem open to abuse, but still it's another option.

Advanced Aircraft Rules:
A few small changes to the way aircraft work in the game.  Also a comprihensive list of all the aircraft in the game, including a bunch of new ones to go on all the new carriers described in the last section.

The book contains 4 new scenarios, 2 generic and 2 historical 'what ifs'.  The first is a costal bombarment scenario using the rules from the fist couple of chapters, this looks very useful for campaigns.  The second generic scenario is designed to represent a force hunting carriers on the open ocean.  The two historical scenarios are 'what ifs' one Germany vs Soviets in the baltic and one US vs Japan in the North pacific.

The book also contains a short campaign based on the possibilty of the Tirpitz hunting British and American convoys in the North Atlantic in 1941.  It contains rules for moving convoys across a hex grid representing the ocean.  This is a very specific campaiagn very different to the generic campaign rules featured in Victory at Sea.

Expanded Fleet Lists:
This section really is the main purpose of the book, all 6 navies form the first book get expanded fleets and the Soviet Navy is introduced.  The Royal Navy comes off best with a whooping 53 new classes of ships, Including cancelled battleships from the 1920's and a few ships launched just after the end of the war including the worlds last battleship HMS Vanguard.  The Germans get 10 new ships including 6 from the abandoned 'Z-Plan' (Hitlers planned expansion of the Kreigsmarine).  The Americans & Japanesse both get over 20 new ships each allowing players to feild most (if not all) of the capital ships / cruisers avaliable to both fleets.  The Italians get another 10 ships and the French a mere 6, although the French includes the interesting submarine 'Surcouf' which actaully had its own spotter aircraft.  Finally at the end of the book the Soviet Navy is introduced to the game with 17 ships including a couple of projected aircraft carriers and ships acquired from the Germans, British and Americans.

Overall I'm really pleased with this, it adds a lot more depth and options for scenarios, I like the way its easy to add some of the new rules, but completely ignore others, its a very useful toolkit and I reckon theres a lot you can do with the rules contained within.

Sunday 19 June 2011

From the Painting Table 5

A short post today with a few pics of my latest finished models.

Here we have the Imperial Guard regimental advisors set, from left to right, Imperial Navy Officer, Astropath and Master of the Ordinance.  I don't have an Imperial Guard army but I just loved these figures so much I just had to have them.

Next four plastic Dwarf warriors with Great Weapons.  I painted the rest of the unit around 4 years ago I think, but for some reason only painted 16 of them, so now the unit is finally upto a useful size of 20, although with the new 8th ed rules really I could do with another 20 of them.

And finally a Balefire catapault from Mantic Games.

Friday 17 June 2011

The Fifth Wave

Here are the latest additions to my 1:3000 scale WW2 Royal Navy fleet (all models from Navwar).

First off four monitors.  On the left we have two WW1 vintage monitors the Erebus class HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and on the right the Roberts class HMS Roberts and HMS Abercrombie.  I like these a lot, they're very different to anything else in the fleet and they proved effective in the game as well, packing a lot of punch for a ship in its points bracket.

Next the battleships HMS Duke of York (King George V class) and HMS Nelson (Nelson class).

More battleships, this time all Queen Elizabeth class.  From left to right HMS Valiant, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Malaya.

Next four Tribal class destroyers and three tiny but very effective anti-submaine flower class corvettes.

These are two light cruisers, on the left the leander class HMS Orion and on the right the town class HMS Gloucester.

And finally HMS Vanguard escorted by two V/W class destroyers.  HMS Vanguard was finished just after WW2, but Victory at sea includes rules for it and it's an interesting ship.  It was the largest and fastest battleship ever built by the Royal Navy and in fact was the last ever battleship built in the world.

I managed to get in a couple of games of Victory at Sea last weekend, first off we tried the convoy scenario a couple of times, it worked pretty well but the german attackers seemed to suffer a lot from having less ships.  Then we tried the carrier clash scenario, this was the first time we've use the plane rules.  They're ok I think, the planes can be very, very powerful if they get the chance to bomb ships, but fighters pretty much kill bombers with ease, I think its not to bad as long as both players have a bunch of planes, I'm not so sure having lots of ships vs a lot of planes would be as much fun.

Monday 13 June 2011

A Convoy

My latest order from Navwar has turned up and I've been good and put the battleships to one side for now and have painted the civillian ships first so we can try a few comerce raiding scenarios.  The ships below make a total of 24 civillian ships points for victory at sea.

Here we have two Kinross tramp freighters and the Scottish Borderer tanker

These are four Liberty Ships

And here are four Victory Ships (the successor to the Liberty Ships). 

And finally a pic  of the civillian ships moving in convoy with an escort.

All ships are from and are in 1:3000 scale.

Sunday 12 June 2011

A Brace of 2-Seater Bi-Planes

Today we're looking at another random project I've just finished, two 1:72 airfix bi-planes, I'm not sure why but I have a bit of a thing for Bi-Planes and much prefer them to the later WW2 single wing planes.  First off the de Havilland Tiger Moth.

The Tiger moth was designed in the 1930's and was used by the RAF and other air forces as a training craft.  My example is painted in RAF WW2 training coulours.

Next a Bristol F.2B Fighter

A British 2-seater fighter and reconnaissance plane used in WW1.  My example is painted as C-9982, 'A1' of 'A flight', 12 Squadron, RFC, 1918.

Finally a group shot of Keith's 1st (Bi-Plane) Squadron also featuring a Sopwith Camel origanally featured here.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Desert Island Models - Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my desert island models (link to part 1), my continuing rundown of the 8 models I would take with me if I was marooned on a desert island.

1:3000 Navwar HMS Repulse

HMS Repulse is my favorite of all the Navwar 1:3000 scale WW2 ships I've been painting recently, I think its the shape of the prow that really does it for me.  These have been a joy to paint and to game with I've really enjoyed doing something so different to my normal 28mm (or even 1:72 scale) figures.  It's also raised my interest in reading about WW2 history (a period I've been lax on until now).  Normally I've bought historical figures for a period I've already been interested in, its been quite nice for it to be the other way round.

Warhammer Quest Dwarf

I may have labled this as Warhammer Quest Dwarf, but I've rarely used him as that, for many years though he has been the general of my dwarf army.  My dwarfs are my largest and favorite warhammer army and the wargame I've spent longest playing over the years is definately warhammer.  I remember when Warhammer Quest came out and the revolution in plastics that the 4 hero models were at the time and I feel this one in particular stands up to this day.  This model has fought a lot of battles and may even be my most used model.

Warhammer Treeman

I got this for my birthday around 15 years ago and it was the centerpiece of my first proper warhammer army, my wood elves.  I still have that army although your unlikely to find any pics of them on here in their current state.  This models current state is from a repaint I did six months or so ago.  The reason I've always loved this is that it's always been clearly an ent (this was before the lord of the rings range, but I still think its  an ent really) and the ents have always been my favorite race in Lord of the Rings, I also love nature and I see these as a personification of that.  The other reason this model has made my list is that it has had a dual use over the years, it's also doubled as a treeman star player for my halfling bloodbowl team, unfortunately bloodbowl has been relagated to a 'specialist' (ie no support) game, but I still love it and I really wish GW would do some more smaller fun games like this.

Space Hulk Dead Terminator on Throne

This is just so cool, all the terminators from the 3rd limited edition of Space Hulk were excellent, but this just clinches it for me.  What is also somehow good is that this model serves no real purpose apart from looking cool.  In the game you have to get to this guy and recover the chalaice at his feet, gamewise the chalaice is what's important and this guy could have easily been left out, but I'm glad they included him.  The 20th anniversary edition of Space Hulk demonstrates to me everything that is wonderful about GW products and reminds me that they can do things right when they can be bothered.  The models, gameplay and production values were all fantastic and I think the price was reasonable as well.

My book would be Lord of the Rings (unoriganal I know) and my luxury item would be my acoustic guitar.  So what if I could only take one of my 8 choices?  well it would have to be the Zulu war British infantry, they really were that important to my hobby developement.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Bigger Boats

As I mentioned in a previous post I've also been working on a airfix 1:600 scale model of HMS Belfast recently, and now shes finally finished and painted.

HMS Belfast is a town class light cruiser that served with the Royal Navy in the second world war and is currently a museum ship moored on the thames in London.

About a year ago I made 3 other airifx Royal Navy ships in 1:600 scale, which with the Belfast I have pictured below.

Featured here is HMS Ark Royal (the carrier), next to the Ark Royal is HMS Suffolk a county class heavy cruiser, the HMS Belfast and finally HMS Manxman a abdiel class minelayer.  The Belfast and Suffolk are similar kits, but the Belfast is far far more detailed and goes together better, if you ever have a choice  between building one or the other choose the Belfast.
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