Saturday, 18 March 2017

Back On Track

Sorry things have been quiet recently.

Normal life often gets in the way but then I've been a wee bit unwell, then my grandson was a wee bit unwell too which made my daughter very tired which would have made me a bit more tired too if I hadn't been called for jury service which made me quite tired anyway.

Hopefully things will get back on track soon.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Portable Wargame - First Quandary

OK, I started basing figures on 40 mm MDF squares so each figure has a 10mm frontage.

They are OK-ish.

I think they are too spaced out.

This is one of my not-7YW units using a 10mm frontage.

It looks fine. I use them with rules that utilise single figure casualty removal so 10mm leaves room for stubby fingers. I also use them with Black Powder which doesn't use figure or base removal.

This is a 32mm base so figures get an 8mm frontage.

They are a bit tighter.

Here's a 32mm base and a 40mm base for comparison.

So Guys, help me answer the quandary, 8mm frontage or 10mm frontage. My original thinking was for 40mm square bases, largely because I had some to hand. Now that I can see the figures ranked up I'm more of an opinion towards 32mm square bases.

Answers by reply to this blog post.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Portable Wargame - The Paintjob

In my project haste I managed to take the various painting stage photographs in poor light.

Here is another collection which hopefully shows the various stages in a brighter light.

I selected a few more figures from the Pendraken Army Pack. Sharp eyes will see a few different figures here.

Another four rank and file figures and four command figures.

A close-up shows a great deal of detail on these figures, great sculpts.

Here comes my trusty number 3 paintbrush, a veteran in its own right.

Paint the entire figure except for the top of the head and the base white. I use acrylic paint from a variety of manufacturers.

I now switch to a number 1 brush, in better condition than number 3 but still a veteran.

Paint the tricorn and the hair, especially at the back of the head and the wigs of the officers black but no lower than the top of the jacket.

Paint the drummers coat blue.

Paint the faces a flesh colour.

Paint the shoulder strap, satchel and the scabbard a buff colour.

Paint the cuffs blue, the same blue as the drummers jacket.

Paint the officers sashes and the drummers cuffs red.

Paint the muskets, pole-arms and flag-staffs brown.

Paint the hands flesh.

Paint officers gorgets and the drummers drum gold.

Paint a touch of white in top of the drum, paint the drum rim red, paint the drumsticks black.

That's the painting almost done.

Mix up a wash of 3 parts water and 3 part soft tone. I use Army Painter acrylic washes.

Paint the wash over the entire figure, don't let it pool.

Notice how the wash adds a subtle shading effect to the figure.

Finally if you don't think that these figures are 10mm check this out.

This is what a decent painter can do with them.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Portable Wargame - Raising Forces

The Portable Wargame recently released by Bob Cordery has inspired me to look at how I manage my own wargames.

If you are new to wargaming and do not know quite how to proceed or maybe you are a grizzled veteran looking for a change in focus to get away from making significant efforts to get a game together.

I have decided to investigate the Portable Wargame and look for an entry strategy with minimal effort in an attempt to get started.

The first thing you might want to consider is troops.

OK, troops, tiny tin men, how many do I need and what size should they be? Will they be difficult to paint?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer here but I have made my choices and here they are.

I decided to go for the wars of Marlborough (famous General right?) and you get to take a poke at some French (traditional enemies right?) but mainly that uniforms in this period are relatively simple.

I bought a blister pack of Pendraken Marburlian French, £31 retail but £30 on the day at a show. This pack will give you 15 cavalry figures (maybe not enough), 150 infantry figures (probably too many) and a couple of guns with crew (probably OK).

I chose Pendraken as their figures are 10mm. Just a nice size to handle and paint, a bit of detail but not too much, remember we want to get up and going as soon as we can.

I could have gone for 6mm but many think they are just a bit too small. I think they are OK but not for this game.

I could have gone for 15mm but they will add a level of detail which we are trying to avoid at the moment.

OK back to the task in hand. I expect to have about 8 units per side in the Portable Wargame so I think that 6 units of infantry would be about right to start with.

I hope to have about 8 figures per unit so selected 48 figures from the pack, all the same pose with no officers etc.

I chose the shouldered arms marching pose just because I like it. The bases needed a little bit of a clean up otherwise they won't stand properly. This took but a few minutes.

Here is one of them in a close up.

I mounted all 48 figures on painting sticks with little blobs of blu-tac.

Now, this army is going to an imaginary army based on the French. I will call them 'les blancs' for the time being.

Using acrylic paint and a well worn number 3 brush paint the entire figure white except the top of the head and the base.

Switching to a number 1 brush paint the tricorn and the back of the head black. Don't go lower than the jacket collar.

Paint the base green (or whatever colour matches your tabletop). Paint carefully around the feet.

Paint the face a flesh colour.

Paint the jacket cuffs blue. This may overpaint the hands and the musket but that's alright.

Paint the shoulder strap a buff colour. Paint the haversack and scabbard too.

Paint the musket brown. This may overpaint the hands.

Paint the hands a flesh colour.

Now, if you are a painter like me go back and correct all the little mistakes that you made. Don't be too fussy.

Make up a solution of 1 part water and 1 part soft tone ink wash. Using your number 3 brush paint this over the entire figure.

Set aside to dry.

They should look like this.

I did all this painting in about 5 hours from start to finish so if you are time constrained you could nibble away at this, say one hour a day or maybe a bit quicker at 2-3 hours a day. In other words they won't take long to do.

This painting style cuts some corners, for several reasons. The tricorn is black and the hair is black saving a bit of time. There is no lace on the tricorn. This take times to get right and we don't have time.

The ink wash will enhance fine details on the casting, this is OK, it saves more time.

The next post will have a look at basing your figures and also what other figures will you need. Some cavalry and some guns, what about command, and, what about opponents.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Kingdom - WIP and a Surprise Package

Here's a glimpse of Work-in-Progress.

No prizes for guessing what's coming up soon.

A little pyramid, you can guess what I made it from can't you?

There are troops on the way to investigate but this jungle is so dense.

Finally, a surprise package from the Kingdom of Fife.

Contents will be revealed in due course.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Portable Wargame - A Brief Review

My copy of The Portable Wargame by Bob Cordery arrived on my doormat this morning. Rather than making a start at reading the book I thought it would be timely to provide a quick summary of the book for anyone who is still swithering about a purchase. It is subtitled 'Rules for fast-play wargames on gridded tabletops'.

The book comes in three formats, hardcopy at £14.99, paperback at £5.99 and as an ebook at £2.99, contains 102 pages and over 70 black and white photographs and over 20 diagrams. This is not a glossy coffee table book stuffed from cover to cover with wargamers eye-candy. It is more of a functional book, on wargaming and on portable wargaming in particular hence its attractiveness to those wargamers who wish to spend more time at the wargames tabletop rather than at the coffee table.

Details at:
The contents listed are:

A brief (and incomplete) history of gridded wargames
Some basic rules
Grids: Hexes and Squares
Units ... and how to represent them on the tabletop
Design Notes
Going Solo and the Sudden Death Option
Portable Wargame Rules: Late Nineteenth Century (including Colonial)
The Portable Wargame in Action: The hunt for the Mahdi
Portable Wargame Rules: Early and Mid Twentieth Century
The Portable Wargame in Action: Soviet Combined Arms Assault
Appendix: Some thoughts on wargame design

This book should prove to be an interesting read but perhaps will be more useful as a guide to tabletop operations whether you are a hex or a square man, 6mm or 20mm, lead or plastic. It will matter little whether the reader is a complete novice or a grizzled veteran or somewhere in between in that the book will provide a template for the sort of game that you want to play, and 'fun', did I remember to say 'fun'.

I am a veteran wargamer of the somewhat grizzled variety but I fully hope to make use of this book and that I hope to play more than a few 'portable wargames' in the coming weeks and months. At this point in time I have at least two different hex table options as well as the possibilities of square grids; I have figures in the lead/plastic pile, in several scales/sizes just waiting for a paintbrush; and a couple of good gaming buddies who are more than happy to roll the dice.

I will blog further posts on progress just in case any of you have yet to make your mind up.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

... Old ...

I must be getting old.

In 30 minutes time it will be 1st January 2017 and all I can think about is going to bed.

Will find time for a small beer in daylight tomorrow.

Happy New Year Everyone.