Some of you may have noticed a few gaps in my usual post-a-day regime lately.
That's because I've been making a big push to finish the 19th Century section (or Vis Imperica) section of the website.
Well that's now done: with the last additions being the last of the battle reports from 1999-2002, and a content-dump of all my notes on the small wars of the 19th Century.
In celebration of the completion of the upload, I've finally gotten round to starting to photograph all my 19th Century figures, with the first gallery to be completed being that of the Zulus.
My 1879 Zulu Wars Zulu army was the first army I ever bought pre-painted. It must have been sometime in September or October 1987, and I had my first 'proper' job in an office on the Grey's Inn Road. in London.
I had just decided that 15mm colonial gaming was the thing for me, and had started painting up some British troops for the Zulu War: Essex figures if I remember correctly. Anyhow, up the road in King's Cross was a wargames shop called Gamers In Exile, now sadly departed. I remember it as a cornucopia of painted armies for sale, one of which was the Zulus that form the bulk of what you can see in the gallery.
The Zulus have been well worth the money I paid for them (£300 IIRC). I only wish I knew the name of the person who painted them so brilliantly so that I could give him a credit here.
I've already mentioned how I bought several half-price Battlefront blisters at Salute and the fact that for most of them it was just because they were half-price!
Well one pack I would have bought even if it were at full price as it fits in perfectly with my current US Airborne project: a pack of ten bazooka teams i.e. all you could need for a Paratroop or Glider company and more.
Having used Forged in Battle for one platoon, the LMG teams and the light mortar teams, I must confess it was quite nice to get back to familiar Battlefront infantry grounds. Nice big surfaces, nice big faces...suits my Perry-three-layer style very nicely.
Here they are:
That puts me on 427 points for the painting challenge, with my target for the year being 1,000 points...which means only 73 points needed to paint before the end of June to stay on target.
Well, there's 42 points on the painting table at the moment, and another thirty-three in the garage, undercoat drying.
Last year I missed by only a smidgen. This year I am going to hit 1,000 points!
Another great 6mm AAR from Mark Luther: an encounter on the Eastern Front in 1944: see the Panthers run amok...at least for a time!
Reading some of the posts that people have written about the AARs on this website, I would just like to emphasise that they, and the painting challenge, are meant to inspire.
Yes, some of them are full of amazingly painted figures placed amongst amazingly beautiful terrain, but others (many of mine, for example) feature averagely painted figures amongst workmanlike terrain. Who can forget the fact that I used to use green ring binders as hedges!
So don't be put off by what you see here: be inspired!
Here's Mark Luther's latest piece of inspiration. Click here or on the first picture below to see the whole AAR...and if you scroll down a bit further: yes, it's a reminder about those green ring binders from me!
Nice to see a change from the regulars in this update, with some entrants who haven't sent anything in for some time.
Even more astonishing is that Thomas has actually finished some figures: racking up quite an acceptable total as well. If this doesn't make every Penguin worth his salt reach for the paintbrush, then I don't know what will!
So, in no particular order, we have:
Richard Naylor with some 20mm modern-day US Marines
Thomas with some highland cattle, some martians and some desert rats. An eclectic mix, n'est-ce pas?
Andrew McCarthy achieves a 15mm WW2 German platoon and supports, and some nice looking 28mm steampunk types
Sapper sends in some SYW figures and terrain
Mr Duffell enters some very nice WW2 Germans in 28mm
Then there's Owen and his Austrians, lots of Austrians
and finally Mr Helliwell with a few AWI command stands and two medievals rescued from the bottom of the lead mountain
Two pictures today. First up are Thomas' Martians: loving those figures...
And secondly we have Mr Duffell's 28mm half-track:
Keep them coming, people: almost half way through the year now...
Great game of Q13 on Saturday night against long-time opponent Neil.
We used a variation of the 'Down on the Farm' scenario from the Five Planets campaign pack: moving the action from the planet Three to Earth as part of a series of Invasion Earth games that we are fighting.
Click here or on the picture below to see the full report.
Next up in my building of Band of Brother's Easy Company are the 60mm mortar teams. I've used Forged in Battle figures again, and am again very happy with the results, even if the photography is a bit pants.
Now onto the bazooka teams: Battlefront figures for them...and a pack of ten 2-man teams bought for half-price at Salute!
What should I have been doing this afternoon? Well either painting some more US Airborne figures, or some of the six alien races for Q13 I have on the go at the moment, or uploading more 19thC battle reports to this site so that I can get that section finished and move on.
What have I actually been doing?
I've actually spent a very pleasant afternoon re-organising all my US forces for IABSM, amending the photo galleries of the Rifle and Tank Companies to bring them properly up to date, and finally getting around to constructing the gallery for the Armoured Rifle Company. Seems like I need an awful lot of half-tracks of the M2 and M3 variety, along with a handful of 1.5 ton trucks!
Five down, an awful lot to go!
But seriously, I do think that properly cataloging your troops is an important part of our hobby...a part that's sometimes sadly neglected. I have a master spreadsheet of all my figures (all 15,000 of them) by period and unit, which also notes how many times each unit has been on the tabletop. Dividing one figure by the other then gives you a master efficiency quotient, so that I can see which of my armies are the most cost-efficient!
Then I have OB workbooks, where I list each force I've built by order of battle. This is really useful when playing pick-up games, as I can just print out a force's OB, then add or subtract units as required. The galleries on this website are a reflection of these spreadsheets: so far they're complete for my WW2, Vietnam and sci-fi armies, but I haven't even started on my 19th century, ancients or fantasy collections yet!
Thousands of them? Let me just have a look at my spreadsheets and I'll tell you exactly how many there are!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I keep a workbook with how I painted each army in it. Very useful when adding extra units to an already existing force.
Maybe so, but then to me the spreadsheets are all part of the fun!
I do try to keep the lists of manufacturers up to date on the site so, to that need, here are two new manufacturers of 15mm sci-fi figures added to the directory.
First up, Flytrap Factory. Run by the chap who used to run Flashpoint Miniatures (where I got all my Vietnam infantry from), FF produce some very nice ranges that vary from the historical to the fantastic.
As regards 15mm sci-fi, their Warfighter and Warfighter Vietnam ranges of modern and ultra modern figures contain several items that would do very nicely for a near future setting, and their Warfighter Epoch range is actually a sic-fi range in its own right. Well worth a look.
Then there is Onslaught Miniatures. Onslaught already produce several ranges of lovely 6mm sci-fi troops and have recently announced plans to scale up some of these ranges to 15mm.
At time of writing, none are yet released, but I'm working on the principle that if I add them onto the directory now, this will somehow magically make the figures come sooner!
So far revealed are the first releases from their Sisterhood range: exquisitely sculpted warrior women peacekeepers; and the Tzacol lizard men.
I literally cannot wait for the Sisterhood figures, and am currently considering whether to use them as a force in their own right or to have them as allies to my forthcoming space dwarf army. Decisions, decisions!
As some of you may know, I have started putting together a company of US Paras, plus supports, in 15mm.
The MMG Platoon proved a successful test paint, so I decided to bite the bullet and get on with the first of the big paints, the first platoon.
Being a bit sick of painting Battlefront figures, and wanting to spread my cash between manufacturers, I decided to get my first Airborne platoon from Forged in Battle. I like their vehicles, their infantry is metal, and some of the poses I'd seen in various images looked very good.
Well that platoon is now finished, and very pleased I am too. The poses proved excellent, the castings were almost totally flash free, and there wasn't a dud figure in the pack (Battlefront take note!). Here they are:
As you can see, they have taken the paint very well indeed.
For those interested, my painting method was as follows:
Undercoat (spray) in white
Two (2) coats of GW Agrax Earthshade brown wash to bring up the detail (so that I could see it) and provide creases. When painting, try to leave as many creases in place as possible i.e. every step is effectively a kind of highlight.
Highlight face and hands with GW Dwarf Flesh
Top highlight face and hands with GW Kislev Flesh
Paint the helmet straps (one set) GW Balor Brown (leather colour)
Base coat the uniform Foundry Drab Shade
Highlight the uniform in Foundry Drab
Top highlight the uniform in Foundry Drab Light
Base coat the helmet in Vallejo Extra Dark Green
Paint the boots GW Mournfang Brown. Brush from back to front as this leaves just the suggestion of wash colour where the laces would be. Didn't work on all of them, but looks like laces on enough of them to be worthwhile.
Highlight the helmet with flecks of Vallejo US Dark Green.
Base coat any rucksacks in Vallejo US Dark Green.
Base coast the wooden bits of the guns in GW Rhinox Hide
Highlight any rucksacks in GW Loren Green
Paint all webbing and the second helmet strap in Vallejo Green Grey
Highlight any helmet-strapped medipacks in Foundry Moss Light by painting three vertical lines on them
Paint the metal bits of any guns in GW Abaddon Black.
Paint a square of GW Abaddon Black on the left upper arm as the basis of the Screaming Eagle patch
Highlight the wooden bits of the rifles in GW Skrag Brown
Very lightly highlight (barely at all) the metal bits of the guns in GW Leadbelcher
Paint a triangle of GW Ceramite White on the black patch to represent the eagle's head
Paint a dot on GW Sunburst Yellow at the tip of the triangle to represent the eagle's beak
Glue to 5p pieces as bases: I like to mount my figures individually and use squad sized movement trays
Glue coarse sand onto the bases. Undercoat in a thick coast of GW Rhinox Hide. Highlight with GW Balor Brown. Paint the edge in GW Castellan Green. Add GW Glade Grass flock.
Seal with Army Painter anti-shine.
Phew! That's twenty-five steps for each of the 32 men (three squads of ten and two Big Men), but worth it as I'm very pleased with the results. Here's my favourite figure:
Now onto to platoon two, for which I have figures from Battlefront.
Another of Mark Luther's amazing 6mm games of IABSM: this time with action on the Eastern Front as panzers try to battle their way through to a vital road junction. Who will win the fight amongst the sunflowers?
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
The Vis Lardica site is in the process of being transferred from its old Yahoo home to this, much improved, Squarespace version.
However, there's many years of content to be copied across, most of which needs adapting to the new layout and formats.
So please bear with me whilst the transfer continues...
Still To Be Done
All of the Vis Bellica section
All of the Vis Magica section
If you need to contact me, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org