Wednesday, 30 May 2012

More WSS units, the Brits this time...

Given the positive feedback from my blog followers about my first French unit for the War of the Spanish Succession I thought I would show you a British unit I finished a while ago.

This is a Front Rank set using Maverick Models cloth flags. Again, the unit is simply base coat painted with blocks of colour but coated with strong tone army painter dip; the brown one rather than the black one.

The unit was built using the Front Rank battalion pack with twenty four figures. I then added a mounted colonel, cos I like the look of it in a large 28mm unit. The four figures in the foreground, and the large size of the unit, all show that this was not made to be used with the 'beneath the Lily Banners 2' rules I have been working to recently. This unit was from the days when I intended to use Black Powder rules and thus the unit was given three dead casualty figures and a wounded one. The three dead are the casualty markers needed in the rules to show a unit that had reached its Stamina Level (In Black Powder you add casualty figures rather than remove them from the unit, meaning your army stays looking brilliant, after all the bloody hard work in painting the damn thing, for longer) The wounded figure is used to show the unit has become Disrupted. I have painted these extra figures to match the unit perfectly and intended to do the same for every unit and hang the cost and time etc etc.

The trouble I now have, changing the rule set I intend to use for these armies as I have, is that the unit is too big and would need to be re-based. I dread to think what damage this might do to the figures and so have decided to sell this unit and start again, still using Front Rank figures for the Brits and Allies obviously. The beauty is that I can still use Black Powder rules with units based to BLB2 as and when the mood and/or time allows/dictates; I just can't really do it the other way around.

I think Front Rank figures offer the best value for money when it comes to metal figures, fantastic work by Alec Brown, the sculptor and owner of Front Rank, and so clean too; hardly any cleaning beforehand....unlike some of the other big (and far more expensive) manufacturers I could mention.

Would you like to see some Front Rank guns too?

I am selling these too. The base sizes are too large and the figures shouldn't have blue coats I am sure.....and I am not too happy with the way the dip has worked on the guns here. These were actually dipped and shaken and played a major role in my need for physiotherapy on my shoulder as a consequence.

I am putting them and the infantry unit on ebay Thursday evening. The cash will go to replacing these units and buying more of them. Yes, it would be cheaper to just do both armies in Wargames Factory figures but I just love Front Rank. It was these figures that got me into the period in the first place after all.

Anyone interested in them can give me a shout before Thursday evening or just keep an eye on ebay. I will be sorry to see them go of course, I have put a lot of time and effort into them and I think (although do admit to some degree of bias) that they look great, some of the best things I have ever done in fact.

I blame a certain Mr Rousell you know, fancy blogging about a different set of rules to those I was using! What was he thinking? We shall have to have words methinks....over a London Cheesecake, obviously; standards must be maintained. I wonder if I could attract any commissions ..... and how many London Cheesecakes could I charge????

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Regiment de Auxerrios, one down, dum de dum de dum to go!

Despite the mountain of jobs that Broadside 2012 has generated I have managed to complete the first unit of my French WSS army!

I have decided to build this army using the 28mm plastic Wargames Factory WSS figures, they are compatible is size and heft with my beloved Front Rank figures, as used for my British and allied army, but very much cheaper...very much cheaper. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, these figures retail at something like £16 for a box of 36 and I can make exactly two units per box; that is just £8.00 a unit! But I can generally find boxes on ebay or at trade stands for at least £1.00 less, often £2.00. Great value for some nice figures.

What do you think? This is the first battalion of the Regiment de Auxerrios regiment.

I have used a deeper base for the command base to protect the flags a little and provide space for a unit name tag, just laminated paper but it does the job.

The figures were block painted and coated with the Army Painter Dark Tone dip, not the strong tone, huge difference! The black shade of Dark Tone really works well against the lighter colours, far better than the rather weak looking Soft Tone dip the company suggests. It doesn't discolour any white areas at all but gives a subtle shade, the strong tone really dirties things up. It is a little counter-intuitive I know, but it works well for me.

The flags are by Maverick Models. Stuart has some 2000 flags on the site with four different size available, 6mm, 15mm, 25mm and 42mm. Then There are three different mediums to choose from, quality paper (as used on these figures), self adhesive paper and cloth....and then you can pick from plain finish or effect finish! I know, mad...but so cool! Despite the great range available, Stuart only had one regimental flag that I needed, this one. The rest I needed for the other planned units were not available....until I contacted Stuart with the designs I wanted and within a week they were made, printed and on my desk! Fantastic service. Here is a close up of them.

I then dug out a spare mounted command figure to use as a Brigadier, this is actually a Front Rank British figure but it does the job very well indeed.

The WSS project is getting there. Using 'Beneath The Lily Banners 2' rules has made things easier as far as unit size goes, it will also make the Front Rank figures I have for the Brit Army go a bit further too!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Leofwine on Facebook

Following the interesting social networking developments we have experienced over the last few days, it occurred to me that I am not making enough use of these free resources. So, I thought I should fiddle about a bit with my facebook page....who said an anthropomorphic personification wasn't real enough for his own account?...and started getting organised. Not as easy as it looks.

I have a link on this blog to the facebook account but it has been the devils own job getting the damnable thing to reciprocate!! Anyway...think it is sorted now. The idea is that all interested parties can now be reached or, indeed, reach us at the MHWC. We should be able to spread the word about Broadside far easier and more effectively. This post is a test as much as anything else.....I wonder what will happen when I press the Publish button.........

Friday, 25 May 2012

wargaming in the community

Wargamers have always created their own miniature communities, usually in the form of clubs and groups of like minded friends, occasionally around a local wargame and model shop, but always small and close knit. These small islands would occasionally come together at wargame shows, maybe a competition, but by and large they were isolated pockets.....and considered a little odd; obviously.  We are still all considered a little odd of course, somethings will never change, but by golly it seems we are far from isolated these days, allow me to explain.......

Due to some very unfortunate but very human errors, two of the three main wargames magazines failed to carry the advert for our forthcoming 'Broadside 2012' wargame show. This is a potential disaster, a show in just its second year needs all the help it can get to become established...even SALUTE runs magazine ads and it is perhaps the best known show on the planet! We at show HQ had visions of empty halls and revolting traders followed by a dunking in the venues swimming pool attached to something heavy....It could certainly herald the end of Broadside as a future event.

One of the magazines emailed me an unreserved apology, once I had alerted them to the problem, and have suggested that if I send them some text they will see what they can do to rectify the matter; which is fair enough. The second magazine, Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, also recognised the problem and were very quick in offering to change the issue date of their popular newsletter just so they could advertise the show prior to the event! Now that is service! Simple human error is unavoidable and these things will crop up from time to time. It is how they are dealt with that makes all the difference, offering to alter a newsletter issue date just to make sure your customer is not left high and dry shows a level of customer service few could match...or would even consider. To say we are grateful is putting mildly!

Now here is the community bit. WSS magazine, a European publication, got in touch with us after we decided to make use of our various contacts in Internet land. Many of us run blogs, forums and websites and we asked them, in light of the sudden loss of advertising, to help spread the Broadside word. Not only were we amazed...beyond amazed to be the fantastic response we received from these often far flung wargamers, we were left astounded by the fact that even WSS picked up on the fact we were in trouble by these same blog sites. Clearly we are no longer mere pockets of rather peculiar enthusiasts, the world wide web really has created a truly global community of rather peculiar enthusiasts! Wargamers in America, Greece and the world all passed on our request for help; a shot heard round the world! From individual wargamers to important wargame publishers, all took notice and all chose to offer help where they could. Magazines, that have always been slightly apart from the main stream by their very nature, simply reflecting interest to isolated pockets with little interaction, suddenly take full part in real time communications and make things happen. From the publication of a single blog post one ordinary May morning to the resounding clamour of a world wide community of wargamers rushing to help in a matter of my how the world has changed!

As Chairman of the Milton Hundred Wargames Club, the organisers of Broadside 2012, I must thank every last one of you that have offered to help spread the word and support our event...and I now use the term 'our' in a far wider sense than I ever have before. Broadside is very new but if such support continues it will continue to grow, and it will largely be down to you guys and people like the publishers of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, for whom the word community really does mean something.

Anyone remember those days oh so many years ago (1980's) when the rise of the home computer was considered anathema by many? They said in countless articles they would mean the end of wargaming as we knew it.......and it did but in ways none of us could have imagined. I for one am grateful for that.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Army Painter testing range....stand well back!

First of all, hello Carl! Welcome to my blog.

As promised in my last post I am now going to give you the results of my Army Painter new products test....with pictures! That said, the pics are not all that I would have wanted but they suffice; stupid camera. Here is a pic of how the figures used in the test come out using the tins of dip (Dark Tone as I think it works better with the lighter base colours than the brown Strong Tone) and the anti shine spray; my traditional method of choice. These are 28mm Wargames Factory plastic Marlburians (French) painted using Coat d'arm Light Grey for the coats.

Being tested are two of the new Warpaints range, the Dark Tone acrylic dip, actually labelled as an ink, and the Anti-Shine matt varnish in a bottle. Dip/ink first I think.

This is what the light grey looks like prior to any treatment.

Once completed, they were then coated with the dip/ink using a brush rather than being dipped; the bottle has one of those nipples that make it easy to dispense from drop at a time but not much use if you want to dip. Anyway, after a liberal coating and careful lifting off the excess with a brush they look like this....

The figure on the far right is from the traditionally painted group in the first picture. Note how much darker the new batch of figures are. I think these are a little too dark, the dip/ink is clearly not an exact match for the tin versions and the acrylic medium works quite differently to the oil based one. It could be watered down of course but then I find the stuff acts very differently again and the pigment tends to pool leaving a very patchy finish. Possibly, the dip/ink will lift a little when a paint on varnish is used leaving a lighter looking figure but, for me there are just a few too many 'if's' and 'possibly's' for my liking. The oil based dip leaves a better overall result and has not overly discoloured the base coat. For me it looks more like a dirtied white, as I feel French coats of the period should, rather than a definite grey that the dip/ink provides.

To be honest, I would much rather buy the Vallejo black acrylic dip. It is a Vallejo quality product, much better value and can actually be used as a dip. If the warpaint bottle was an exact colour match for the oil based tin I would be very happy, for me and my colour blindness issues colour consistency is everything. Sadly this is far from an exact match and therefore not so useful...a missed opportunity perhaps? Black Ink would have been a better name and description, Dark Tone is quite misleading. And who needs an ink if you are dipping the finished figures anyway?????

So what about the Anti-Shine matt varnish? The sprays were originally hailed as pure gold, a varnish that did what it said and gave a flat finish...and it did. Most of the time...almost most of the time....when it didn't do something stupid like blister the dip finish or 'frost over' leaving discoloured patches on the figures. The spray cannot be used indoors without causing hallucinations but outside the conditions must be 'Goldilocks' perfect, not too cold, not too hot...or damp...or if there is an 'R' in the month.... the list is every growing. And even if you did get perfect conditions the results could still be varied. The trouble was that if you used the oil based dips you needed the anti shine varnish; it was the key to everything. Ordinary matt varnishes could be used but were always variable in quality and finish anyway. None worked effectively over the oil dip.

When I saw that Army Painter had brought out a paint on version of the Anti Shine spray product I was quite excited, a product that would give the required finish and not rely upon fairy tale atmospheric conditions! But would it? Really?

Yep... it bloody well does too!

The figure on the right used the spray varnish...that actually worked for once...and on the left the one I used the battle varnish on. Almost no difference and both have a perfect flat finish. The sprayed on varnish has left a slight frosting on the black areas, only really noticeable once the painted version is placed next to it but even then only just. It is a little tricky to apply given that it is very shiny when wet and you are painting it on to a very shiny oil dipped figure, but it does actually work. After some minutes the finish was clearly flatter and as the varnish dried the flatter the finish looked. No hallucinations, no watching the weather channel to find a good day, no anxiety over risking your nicely painted figures to a random varnish event....just matt finished figures that were actually matt finished!

Big happy smiley face! :)

I then tried it out on some other figures I had been working on. These were coated in the oil based Dark Tone dip in the morning, left to become touch dry (about five hours or so on a hot day) and then varnished with the bottled stuff with a liberal but careful brush.

I have found that large areas of black do well with a highlight of  German Field Grey prior to dipping/applying Dark Tone. I think these Perry Napoleonic Brits have come out quite well, although I have to say that i really, really dislike the figures...although that particular dislike is for another day I think!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Army Painter stuff

This mornings shopping trip to Maidstone allowed me to top up on paint supplies (my wife allowed me to top up my paint supplies whilst out shopping). Games Workshop have had a major revamp of their paint ranges and I knew that 'No Mans Land' still had some of the older pots on special :-) I am a big fan pc their elf flesh for skin tone and bubonic brown for the nelts and straps on my WSS figures.

Whilst there I noticed a new display of Army Painter paints in the Vallejo style bottles rather than the sprays, some of these were previously available but only as expensive multi sets. Now you can get the spray colours and many others as good old fashioned paints for a reasonable £2.00 each. However, my eye was taken by the paint versions of the Army Painter dips and Anti Shine varnish...... fantastic! The dips appear to be acrylic versions but with the same depth and shade of colour; as for the varnish..... Could this be the answer to so many of our prayers....a truly matt varnish that will provide the same great finish as the spray but without the smell and other issues such as blistering or frosting? No idea yet but I am itching to try it. I have three Wargames Factory WSS figures finished using the dark tone oil dip and spray anti shine spray, and they look good even if I say so myself. I shall now finish three more using the new paint versions and post tbe results here for you to decide.
Isn't progress great :-)
I wonder if I will be so positive later?????