Q13: New Manufacturer Added

I've added DLD Productions to the list of 15mm sci-fi figure manufacturers.

They currently produce a range of vehicles under four different headings:

  • the CMF (Coalition of Military Forces)
  • Opfor (Opposition Forces)
  • Shazakeem Defence Force
  • Kir (aliens)

What I like about the ranges is that they add something new to a somewhat crowded marketplace.

CMF Badger FO Vehicle

CMF Badger FO Vehicle

The two main ranges, the CMF and Opfor, have more than just the MBT and SP artillery vehicles that dominate other ranges. Each base chassis has a number of different configurations that include such things as ARVs, scout of FO vehicles (loving the periscope scanners) etc. There's even at least one cargo hauler, so my need for tail as well as teeth is well satisfied.

The alien vehicles are very alien. Not, I must admit, to my taste, but very bold in terms of design: very, er, alien, in fact...and I'll def get some of their drones.

All in all, an excellent addition to the 15mm sci fi shopping mall!

CMF Truck

CMF Truck

TFL Painting Challenge: Large Numbers!

Evening all. Large numbers of entries already this week, so about time for an update.

In no particular order, we have:

  • Egg with beaucoups de Francais
  • Thomas builds some trees
  • Ashley pops in some nattily painted sci fi infantry
  • The Matt Slade machine rumbles on: riders on chickens?
  • Paul Baldwin submits some creepy-crawlies and 4ground houses
  • Mr Naylor finishes his US Marines. Is that Maggie I see there?
  • Tony Stapells writes an essay on his painting: some rather nice 6mm figures
  • Mark Luther does some barbed wire, some more 6mm aeroplanes, and some tanks too
  • Owen enters enough Austrians to make the Sound of Music many times over, and some naval cannon too
  • and Mr Plowman paints up some very nice sci-fi stuff from newbie manufacturer White Dragon and old favourite Khurasan.

So many picture opportunities today. Very difficult to choose. After consultation with various offspring who should be in bed by now, I'm going for Matt's chicken riders and Ralph's pair of lovelies from Khurasan.

Want to see more?  Check out people's individual galleries. Well worth it: very inspirational.

Q13: The Chuhuac Get Some Logistical Support

Some of you may already have seen my Chuhuac: 15mm velociraptor-like aliens from Loud Ninja Games. They are a great set of figures, full of life and animation, that are a real pleasure to paint up and play. I usually use them as mercenaries: a rapidly-moving, light infantry force designed to hit hard and fast and then disappear again.

So when Loud Ninja Games announced their second release, the Ikwen, I was at the front of the queue to buy a set. These are salamander-like aliens, also in 15mm, whom Eli has conceived as a sort of low-tech planetary militia. 

I loved the figures, but didn't really like the idea of fielding them as envisioned...so I've come up with an alternative use for them: they are paid by the Chuhuac as their logistics tail. The little dinos are the teeth, the Ikwen the tail...and just as the various cooks and bottle-washers in other armies have sometimes had to pick up their rifles and fight (Hurtgen Forest, Battle of the Bulge etc) so the Ikwen occasionally go into battle as well.

Here they are:

Vis Imperica: Prussian Gallery Added

As the title suggests, I've had a chance to photograph the Prussians in my 19th Century figure collection and add them to the Vis Imperica army galleries.

Ah...the Prussians. Amazing troops in the system we used: big units, good weapons, excellent artillery, good troops:  very hard to beat. So hard to beat, in fact, that beating them often became the be all and end all of any game that they featured in. They were the favoured army of one particular player, who was always keen to extol their virtues, so the rest of us were always equally determined to thrash the pants off them, and would do anything we could to do so.

Click on the picture below to see the whole gallery of much-maligned figures who probably had no idea why everyone was always out to get them!

TFL Painting Challenge: Sat AM Update

Enough entries to justify a quick update this morning:

  • Matt Slade has his usual submission: some Dreadball players and some very nice Batman figures
  • Topi roars back into the challenge with some 15mm WW2 Germans
  • Mr Hodge re-bases some more, and paints skeletons and Picts
  • Steve Burt finishes off his French
  • Mr Naylor enters some more 20mm Marines
  • And Mr Helliwell survives all that the world can throw at him and pops in some 15mm Germans and a huge chimney!

Todays pic is from Mr Burt: some more of his lovely French


Vis Bellica: Scenario Loading Underway

Just in case anyone was wondering why the post count as slowed slightly, it's because I'm making a real push to re-load all the content for the Vis Bellica and Vis Magica sections of the website. VB is up first, and I'm currently in he middle of loading all the scenarios I wrote for the game. 

Macedonians in action

Macedonians in action

Each scenario comes with a history of the battle involved, so they are well worth a read even if you're not a VB or Ancients player. So far I've managed to load scenarios for the battles of:

  • QarQar: Assyrian action in the desert
  • Leuctra: the Spartans get a bloody nose
  • Chaeronea: Philip of Macedon in action against the Greeks
  • Hydaspes: his son, Alexander, fighting the Indians
  • Zama: Hannibal and the Carthaginians take a beating
  • Cynoscephalae: action at the Dog's Head
  • Carrhae: the Romans under Crassus come a cropper in Parthia

All available under the Vis Bellica tab in the top nag, or direct by clicking here.

More on the way. In fact I might do another now...

TFL Painting Challenge: Fat Wally's Return

An absolutely humungous update today aided by the return of that Lardy stalwart, Fat Wally.

Kev has obviously been storing up his entries all year, and submitted about thirty 15mm SYW units and over fifty 10mm houses. Lucky I had a free evening to upload them all!

So, in no particular order, we have:

  •  The aforementioned Fat Wally with some 28mm animals and gladiators, more SYW figures than even he could ever need, and enough 10mm buildings to solve the country's housing crisis once and for all
  • Mr Luther with more 6mm 'planes
  • Owen with...no, not just more Napoleonics, but some pirates. Ah hah, me hearties!
  • Derek Hodge continues his Blucher-driven re-basing drive, and adds some skeletons to the mix. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
  • Matt Slade goes ninja
  • Mr Bowler slides in some more WOTR infantry: Percy's lot this time
  • Richard Naylor submits a few more Afghan police
  • Lief is getting ready for the new Star Wars film
  • and Mr Davies gets confused about the size of his infantry. Oo, er, madam!

Today's picture is, of course, from Kev. Just look at these Cossacks!

Vasily Grossman: A Writer At War

I've just finished A Writer At War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-45, edited and translated by Anthony Beevor & Luba Vinogradova.

It's a great book: an account of the second world war from a Soviet perspective from a writer who, today, we would say was embedded with various Russian armies throughout the war.

Beevor's editing is superb: at the start of each chapter, he sets the scene to the excerpts from Grossman's writings, placing each one in its proper historical context. He then takes a back seat and lets Grossman do the talking.

As an example, I was going to pick an exert from Grossman's writing that was directly to do with matters military, but the piece below, about what had been done to the Ukraine by the Germans, is one of the most powerful I have ever read:

"There’s no one left in Kazary to complain, no one to tell, no one to cry. Silence and calm hover over the dead bodies buried under the collapsed fireplaces now overgrown by weeds. This quiet is much more frightening than tears and curses.

"Old men and women are dead, as well as craftsmen and professional people: tailors, shoemakers, tinsmiths, jewellers, house painters, ironmongers, bookbinders, workers, freight handlers, carpenters, stove-makers, jokers, cabinetmakers, water carriers, millers, bakers, and cooks; also dead are physicians, prothesists, surgeons, gynaecologists, scientists — bacteriologists, biochemists, directors of university clinics — teachers of history, algebra, trigonometry.

"Dead are professors, lecturers and doctors of science, engineers and architects. Dead are agronomists, field workers, accountants, clerks, shop assistants, supply agents, secretaries, nightwatchmen, dead are teachers, dead are babushkas who could knit stockings and make tasty buns, cook bouillon and make strudel with apples and nuts, dead are women who had been faithful to their husbands and frivolous women are dead, too, beautiful girls, and learned students and cheerful schoolgirls, dead are ugly and silly girls, women with hunches, dead are singers, dead are blind and deaf mutes, dead are violinists and pianists, dead are two-year-olds and three-year-olds, dead are eighty-year-old men and women with cataracts on hazy eyes, with cold and transparent fingers and hair that rustled quietly like white paper, dead are newly-born babies who had sucked their mothers’ breast greedily until their last minute.

"This was different from the death of people in war, with weapons in their hands, the deaths of people who had left behind their houses, families, fields, songs, traditions and stories. This was the murder of a great and ancient professional experience, passed from one generation to another in thousands of families of craftsmen and members of the intelligentsia.

"This was the murder of everyday traditions that grandfathers had passed to their grandchildren, this was the murder of memories, of a mournful song, folk poetry, of life, happy and bitter, this was the destruction of hearths and cemetries, this was the death of the nation which had been living side by side with Ukrainians over hundreds of years."

Vis Imperica Gallery: Crimean Russians

My Crimean Russians are a nice little army: solid battalions of drab-coated infantry commanded by glittering officers, supported by equally solid masses of cavalry and hordes of Cossacks. Although most of the army is painted to the standard I was achieving at the time, the officers and Dragoon Guards show that I was reaching for more.

The figures are mostly Essex, IIRC, with quite a few Minifigs thrown in, and one unit from Irregular. Confession time: the Hussars were bought painted at a Bring and Buy, and the Don Cossacks were painted by the Irregular Miniatures painting service. All the rest are my work...and I do love the Dragoon Guards!

Click on the pic to see the gallery:

TFL Painting Challenge: Sunday

Just a quick update today to keep on top of things.

So, as ever in no particular order, we have:

  • Chris Gilbride making his first contribution of the year
  • Matt Slade slamming in some impressive warrior women et al.
  • Keith Davies with some 6mm 6DW kit
  • Owen sends in his usual big batch of 15s
  • Quite Frank-ly, Doug Melville sends in even more... 
  • Treadhead gets ready for Fighting Season with some nice Afghan police
  • and finally Paul Blankenship sends in an enormous amount of 6mm Afrika Korps. I'm not surprised your hands hurt!

Today's pic is Treadhead's Afghan police:

More Chuhuac

I'm still determined to clear all the Chuhuac off my painting table: these 'velociraptors with guns' are just too nice to leave languishing in the lead mountain. They have such animation, such character, that they deserve their place at the front of the queue.

Here is a platoon of spec ops Chuhuac in city camouflage, and four Sirrus APCs in desert colours (to go with the desert colours platoon of infantry painted earlier). Very nice.

Army Lists for the 1967 Six Day War

It was the Battlefront 40% sale on their Fate of A Nation range that triggered my interest in the Six Day War: with the need to know which and how many of their figures and vehicles to buy leading me to put together army lists for the four participants: the Israelis, Egyptians, Jordanians and Syrians.

Do feel free to comment on the accuracy of the lists, designed to be used with Charlie Don't Surf!, as the Lardy rules closest to the conflict. My research has been mostly book and Internet based, and I'm sure there are those with better knowledge than I out there reading this!

You can find the lists on the special Six Day War page in the CDS section of this website, or click on the image below to go there direct:

Giles cartoon used courtesy of express newspapers

Giles cartoon used courtesy of express newspapers

TFL Painting Challenge: Three Newcomers Update

It's another big update tonight...made even bigger by the fact that we have not one, not two, but three new participants parading their pretties for the first time tonight.

So, as always in no particular order, we have:

  • Newcomer Pedivere with an amazing collection of French Foreign Legion troops from the early to mid-twentieth century
  • Steve Miller also breaks his duck with some very large and very nicely painted soldiers: our first 54mm entries IIRC
  • Mr Douglas submits three different entries, all ancient
  • Keith Davies, newcomer number three, pops in a platoon of British infantry for CoC
  • Mr Naylor turns to the Afghans, and an interpreter with seemingly very large hands
  • Mr Burt sends in some Napoleonics...some French
  • Thomas is obviously working at a frenzied pace: another entry and its only July
  • and, finally, Sapper submits some Samurai and some US troops

As I'm sure you all know by now, it's traditional to feature some of the newbie entries as 'pic of the post'. Today's pictures therefore come from Messrs Miller and Pedivere.

First up are some of Steve's absolutely cracking 54mm Victrix French:

Then we have the group shot of Pedivere's French Foreign Legion: amazing!

IABSM AAR: Tanks Forward!

Having played a couple of 6mm Franco-Prussian War scenarios, it was back to IABSM for Saturday night's battle.

This game is from a scenario that appeared in the TFL Christmas Special 2006: one of the scenarios from Chris Stoesen's mini-campaign set in the Saar region of Germany in 1939 as the French invade.

Click on the picture below to see whether les gens braves can make a success of their attempt to clear a village of German troops. As the title suggests: Tanks Forward!

Q13: Chuhuac Scout Squad on Grav Bikes

More sci-fi!

As part of my drive to clear some of my lead mountain, I am really concentrating on trying to finish my Chuhuac: superbly animated velociraptors-with-guns from Loud Ninja Games.

Next off the mountain and onto the painting table was a 'wing' of nine Chuhuacs riding grav bikes.

The figures come with body molded with the bike and separate heads. This was quite cool, as it allowed me to vary the amount of neck I used to show some of the wing craning upwards and some crouched low over the nose of the bike. I have even modeled one looking to the left as if to check his mates were still with him!

My only real problem was how to show the bikes 'floating' above the ground. I tried wire, but couldn't get a decent stick. I eventually settled on using those little Hama-bead things that gave me a big enough surface area to ensure a good bond between bike and base.

Here they are:

More Franco-Prussian War Action

Keen to get his revenge for my win last time, Neil suggested a re-match, but with him playing the Prussians this time.

The situation was fairly similar: von Neil's troops holding a ridge that ran down the centre of the table, with my French aiming to knock them of it. I outnumbered him about 2:1, but Prussian reinforcements were expected, and would arrive at a time determined by a roll of the dice.

The Prussian Line

Looking at the Prussian line, I noticed that all their artillery was in the centre, and that the Prussian right wing was hanging. His left was hanging a little, being sort of anchored on a farmhouse, but it was his right that looked vulnerable.

I therefore set up in a long line parallel to the ridge, but with a column of four battalions of zouaves (nasty, fighting, little buggers) supported by a mitrailleuse and a battalion of chasseur sharpshooters as an attack column on my left flank. My aim was to advance forward, give the Prussian line an unanswerable volley due to the superior range of my Chassepots, and then slam in my attack column. Once I had a foothold on the ridge, the attack column would roll him up as my line kept hammering in the fire. Tres simple but hopefully tres effective!

My commanders were obviously having a good day, as on the first turn my entire army moved forward into rifle range. I took some artillery fire from the Prussian centre battery, but because of its positioning, my densely-packed attack column remained untouched.

On my next turn (the Prussians remaining stationary and relying on their guns) I let loose a volley with the entire line that proved satisfyingly effective, with many Prussian units taking significant casualties. More importantly, the Prussian right flank brigade was disordered, mainly due to some brilliant shooting by the Chasseurs. The mitrailleuse jammed, of course!

Note also that the Prussian left flank brigade was also disordered, leading me to think that there might be something I could do here as well...but more on that later.

the french centre and left (about-to-be-victorious zouaves in the background)

My four-battalion column of zouaves charged up the hill and hit the end of the Prussian line. The lead battalion had been disordered by the fire coming at them as they charged in, so failed to simply smash the Prussians from the ridge, and fierce hand-to-hand combat broke out. Weight of numbers quickly began to tell, however, and the first brigade of Prussian infantry evaporated.

Over to Neil and his next turn: the next brigade of Prussians along attempted to punish the zouaves with fire from their Dreyse needle guns, but someone had obviously blunted their needles as they had no effect at all, not a single casualty being caused.

This was obviously quite worrying for the Prussians, as they retreated both the brigade that formed the right of their line and their guns off the ridge and down into the valley below. The left of my line quickly consolidated their gains: that end of the ridge was in my hands!

Meanwhile, at the other end of the line, I had decided that the opportunity of a disordered Prussian brigade was too much to resist, and had thrown two brigades of infantry up the hill in an attempt to dislodge them as well. Proving that the 2:1 odds were right for scenario (my zouaves had been 4:1 and supported by chasseurs), les gens brave found it hard going, and a hard-slog pushing match developed.

Hitting the prussian left (note the cavalry in the background)

Weight of numbers, however, meant that my men gradually pushed the Prussians back but, just at the moment that his line began to break, Neil sent his regiment of divisional light cavalry into the flank of my assaulting units.

Very messy, and even sending in another battalion of infantry to hit the cavalry in its flank in turn didn't really help matters.

Numbers, however, still told in the end, and although I effectively lost a brigade of infantry doing it, the right hand side of the ridge was now also in my hands so, with the enemy centre retreating, I had achieved my aim.

At that point, however, the Prussian reinforcements began to arrive. Unfortunately, the clock wasn't just ticking for the French, it was ticking for Neil too, so we had to call the game before he could get his extra troops into action.

Saved by the bell, the French were victorious!