Monday 30 June 2014

Gripping Beast Plastic Vikings

As I flutter from project to project I alighted on my box of Gripping Beast plastic Vikings.
I think this may be inspired by the Viking Conference I went to at the weekend

Anyway, I have half a plan to make a Viking army to play against my Saxons - the first historical army I collected and one that I have never used as an army, only parts of it have seen action in SAGA games.

So whilst retrieving Boarboyz from the loft I grabbed a sprue of these to make a start.

I have to say that I found them quite fiddly to put together and am not entirely convinced by the resulting poses (some of which is my fault, but I think the kit has to shoulder some of the blame) and some of the heads seem very out of scale to me. I enjoyed glueing the Orcs together considerably more.

Anyway, I've assembled these ten.

To see if a lick of paint improved my opinion I've slapped some basic colours and washes on three.

I like them better now, and they were pretty simple to paint (though they need a few highlights). But I'm still not convinced by the poses. I think I'll finish this box, but the rest of the army (ha, as if I'll ever get that far!) will be mostly metal.

For rules I'm thinking of using the Crusader set I bought several years ago and seeing how that works out.

Friday 27 June 2014

Carry on Colonial (2)

May I present Private Arthur "Wafty" Crank of Her Majesty's 3rd Foot and Mouth

And finally in the official memorial shot as kept on the mantelpiece by his dear old Mum in Blighty

Quite pleased with him in the end. I wonder where the rest of the blister has got to..?

Thursday 26 June 2014

Carry on Colonial

There's a Colonial painting league thingummy running over on the Lead Adventure forum.So I grabbed this chap off the shelf where he'd been standing half-finished for a while.

Intended for my Darkest Africa project with half an eye on maybe some Afghan adventures one day, he's a Perry Miniatures Sudan Highlander. He's inspired by the 3rd Foot and Mouth of the legendary Carry on Up the Khyber film, so the uniform (and especially kilt) are a little less than historically accurate. But then as my African country will be fictitious and contain a certain amount of Lost World flavour I'm not fussed.

Here he is ready for the dip

And now ready for a varnish.

Next he needs a good hard matting and some basing.

Nice pictures tomorrow if I can get the camera working.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Orc Boarboyz (3)

More progress.
Added a highlight to the flesh whilst sitting in the garden. Gotta love long sunny evenings.

Then returned inside and got out the washes and the like.

Almost finished now, so as one of them had fallen off the base I popped him on a Boar to have a look at what the complete thing will look like.

Just need to get back into the loft now in search of missing assembled Orc, the five still on sprues and the lost leg. It's all going well.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Orc Boarboyz (2)

I painted the riders with some base colours

Orkhide Shade for the flesh
Boltgum Metal for the armour
Coat D' Arms Leather for the, umm, leathery bits
Coat D' Arms Chestnut for the teeth and shafts.

Monday 23 June 2014

Battle Cry

As a distraction from the joys of Minecraft, I challenged the smallest boy to a couple of games of Battle Cry. At first he was reluctant, wanting to play some "proper" soldiers involving Orcs, Goblins, Ogres and Chaos. However I held firm - like a Stonewall - and eventually he agreed to indulge his aged father.
And we had a couple of great games. He chose Gettysburg as I've told him the story of Pickett's Charge and shown him the "BAYONETS!" footage  from Little Round Top in the film. We had time to play both the Gettysburg scenarios from the (old) rulebook and he insisted on being the "good guys - that's blue, right dad?"

The first scenario, Devils Den, was a triumph for Tom's Toy Soldiers Minor and he celebrated in calm and restrained fashion the crushing of his father's dreams.

 The rebels are overwhelmed

The crucial left flank
However Pickett's Charge saw fortunes (and history) reversed as the grey managed to overcome the blue. (I think he felt sorry for me and decided to go easy).

Pickett prepares for his moment of glory
Battle Cry (and Memoir '44, which I  don't own but have played) are great little games and it was nice to spend quality time with the smallest boy.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Orc Boarboyz

Over on Stevo's Blog, he's been steadily plowing on with getting his greenskin army battle ready for the Council of War event we're off to in a month's time.
Me, I've been watching the World Cup, glueing Arabs together and finding many other ways to fill my time (mainly the World Cup though).
However I need to gird my loins (the amount of time they spend ungirded is beginning to worry me) and get an army licked in to shape.
One of the things I want is a unit of Boarboyz. I know that they're not "top tier", or even "pretty average" - in fact according to received netlist wisdom they are "completely bobbins" - and that I should be spending points on Savage Orc BigUnswithashamanwiththeluckybeardycomboofultrawin. However I don't like those models, and I love these ones. So Boarboyz it is.
This morning through a mild red wine hangover I got five more finished off. Simple paintjob following the plan laid out here.

So that gives me ten assembled and painted Boars.
Next stop will be the riders. Sadly on attempting to retrieve them from the loft I could only find four of the five I've already assembled.. And one of them is missing a leg. Bugger.
Still, they remaining three are undercoated black now and I'll crack on with them tonight.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Nottingham Young Gamers Again

On Sunday, James organised another of his Nottingham Young Gamers events. I enjoyed the first one and was delighted to be able to help out once again.
Numbers were a bit down this time around, probably as it was a nice sunny Fathers Day outside, but around twenty youngsters turned up for a few hours playing and painting.
Matt ran a splendid Hadrian's wall type game with Celts clambering the walls, there was also a LotR game and a "mini Waterloo" game of an assault on a farmhouse.
Once again the generous fellows at Warlord Games provided some plastic freebies, and this time they were Celts and Romans so they formed the basis of the painting table.
I wanted to do some "modelling" to show off other facets of the hobby - I had a vague plan for making walls, but James picked up some rather splendid Warbases Scorpion kits so I spent a couple of hours helping youngsters make a warmachine and paint a crewman.
As always James gave a talk over biscuits and juice as did Pete, covering the 199th anniversary of Waterloo.
Two and half hours after we started parents arrived to collect their offspring and we were all done.

Here's a few pictures:
 "Waterloo" attracts a crowd

 Painting table
 Scorpion factory


 Matt sends the Celts to war

 Celts, clambering

 The French advance

 James hold forth on the subject of Romans

My handiwork

Thursday 5 June 2014

Gripping Beast Plastic Arabs (2)

I've stuck together the first ten.
They remain headless as I've still not decided whether they'll be Almoravids or Andalusians.
Apologies for the poor pictures, iPhone and a hotel room windowsill aren't ideal

They're very clean with no real mold lines at all. However they have the feel of actually having been made  to look good in one particular configuration, with other poses being a bit compromised and gawky. This is often the case with "muti-part" plastic kits - there's the illusion of choice, but actually one "best" way to assemble them. Only the Perry models of the historical plastics really have the genuine ability to get a good mix of poses that look natural.
I trimmed one of the shoulder joints on these as otherwise the spear was held too far from the body, and think I'll have to do that with a few of the pose combinations.
That said, they're nice enough models, as long as you give a bit of thought to the posing.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Swindon Goblins

I've also got some goblins with me in beautiful downtown Swindon. This big old sprue came from the Skull Pass boxed set. I want to get these snipped out and cleaned up before I go home.
Just realised i bought the wrong bases with me - I've got closed ones when they have big chunky tabs on the bottom.

Monday 2 June 2014



Whilst I was on holiday in France last week three stout fellows very kindly nominated me for some sort of award, I am genuinely very grateful for the nomination and thankful that you found something in my witless ramblings that appealed to you.
However I am also a miserable old curmudgeon and tend to view these awards as a kind of chain letter or pyramid selling scheme. I'm sure the intentions are honourable and as I said I feel privileged to have been nominated, but I'm afraid I won't be doing any of the posting of logos and answering questions malarkey. Sorry.

That said, I do think you should all go and check out the blogs of the chaps who were kind enough to find mine worthy of a mention:

Hendrid's Blog - lots of lovely Arabs and Empire and Mordheim
Dartfrog - plenty of Dark Age goodness and some tiny stuff too
Tom Keegan's blog - plenty of SAGA and Muskets and Tomahawks

Give 'em a follow if you don't already.

In addition I'd recommend going and viewing these other blogs.
Stevo's Mini Soldiers - my regular WFB opponent and prolific painter
Steve's Painting Shed - wondrous AWI and Dark Age stuff
Tabletop Mog - Romans, Bolt Action and being beaten by your offspring
Scrivsland - home of the fastest hobbyist in the west

They're all the work of people I've played games with and are splendid chaps, so give them a read and a follow why don't you?

Sunday 1 June 2014

Gripping Beast Plastic Arabs (1)

Once more I find myself in beautiful, downtown Swindon.
Ah Swindon how I have missed thee.
Let me count the ways...

Oh well.
It has become my practice on these jaunts to bring some soldiers with me, Napoleonics, Saxons, a mix of Africans and GIs and some Warhammer Empire troops have all found their way into my luggage.However, this time a more convoluted itinerary meant I was travelling lighter than usual so I restricted myself to bringing some models I could stick together rather than burdening myself with paints and brushes.

I picked up the Gripping Beast plastic Arabs at Salute, and decided they'd make an ideal assembly project for this trip.

But before we get to the sticking together part of the equation what do you get for your £22?

Well you get a very nice yellowish box.

One that is completely stuffed with soldiers.

You get 8 identical sprues, each of which will make five Arabs with a variety of headgear and a selection of weapons.



You also get a sprue of 20mm bases.

 And a very basic assembly sheet.

There are five bodies on each sprue, so 40 complete models can be made from the kit, which makes it pretty good value for money.
Each of the sprues has two bow arms and quivers, together with a pair of empty "firing"right arms so you can assemble up to 16 archers from the set.
Bow arms and "command" bits
There are five shields per sprue - three round and two teardrop shaped.
Of the five spear arms, three are under, arm, allowing you to model them upright or thrusting forward, whilst two are "overarm" striking downward, or allowing you to model them as javelins.
Three of the bodies have the left arm sculpted in place, but there are a two additional empty left arms.
So you can make a full 40 spearmen armed with shields, or use some as skirmishing types if you prefer.
There's no standard included, but adding a flag to one of the spear arms would probably work fine, or (as I may do), replace a spear with some brass rod to make your own.
The sprue does include a sword arm, either to add a little variety to the unit, or to use to fashion a leader model for the unit. There's also a horn arm so your unit can have a musician.
Sadly there's no drummer option in the kit for those of us wedded to the two drummer idea from the Warhammer El Cid supplement.
Finally there are eight heads on the sprue. Five have turbans of various types, with all but one having some facial hair. Of the remaining three, one has a steel helmet, and the last two have the facial veils ideal for your Almoravid forces.
All the heads and three of the bodies

There are almost no mold lines I can see, and the sculpting looks crisp and like it will paint up well.
I'm not sure the anatomy of the bodies is quite right, the heads look big and the legs a little short but as most of my Almoravid force is Black tree design models, a little anatomical inaccuracy will make sure they fit right in.

My major dilemma is what to do with them.
My plan was a unit of 32, 24 spearmen with a rear rank of eight archers, painted up all in white to match the rest of my units, with a spare eight archers to use as skirmishers.
However on the train on the way hear my thoughts shifted and I'm now thinking perhaps to paint them as Andalusians or other, more colourful Arabs to use as allies to add a little variety, or form the start of an alternate El Cid force or SAGA faction, or to use in Crusade game.