First of the Boontown Dwarves

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As you can see from my last few posts, I’m on a bit of a painting jag at the moment.

I’d like to say that this is gradually clearing my lead mountain but, of course, every time I complete a unit, I check the range it comes from and usually end up buying more figures to either fill in the gaps of what I’ve got or to cover new releases.

This is certainly true of this last week. I painted the Onslaught Miniatures engineers and promptly ordered the new Iron Lords. I painted the figures below, and promptly ordered the previously-out-of-stock battlebikes. And don’t even get me started on the boxes arriving from Battlefront as a result of their 25% off Arab-Israeli sale! I think I’ve just go to come to terms with the fact that for every figure I paint I add a few more to the lead mountain…but at least it means that I’ll live for ever!

So on to today’s offering.

As I’m trying to collect every type of 15mm sci-fi dwarf out there (I know: not a good way to reduce the lead mountain), I duly ordered a couple of units of the Boontown Miniatures range as soon as it launched.

Good service, but not the sort of figures I usually buy: I like my figures very crisp and clean (but hard to paint well, especially with my rudimentary skills!) rather than the more normal Boontown range. Leaving that aside, however, I eased myself into the range by painting the artillery (Shaker cannons) and the walkers (T-26 walkers).

Very shaky!

The Shaker Cannons are typical of what I mean. I didn’t like these at all. You’ve got a hi-tech rear end (looks a bit like the front of a VW Beetle complete with headlights and bumper) then an awful wooden chassis, awful crude-iron wheels, and a screen that looks like it’s been knocked together by orcs!

I quite like the idea of a hedgehog-like piece of artillery, but none of the four barrels are the same. Add in a couple of crew members that are not of the crisp and clean variety, and you have…yuk!

Anyhow, I’ve done my best and decided that these are knocked-together mining tools (presumably for lobbing explosives somewhere when strip mining or something) hence the reason for the crude construction and very bright white and red warning stripes.

In my humble opinion, these would do better as part of a low-tech sci-fi range, and don’t mix very well with the walkers:

These I like much more than the Shakers. Not quite sure why half the firepower points backwards, and why the gunner is unprotected in any way, but I do like the basic shape and stance, and the decided “chicken” look about them.

As I’ve decided that the Boontown dwarf base colour is brown, these are sprayed Mournfang Brown, then washed and highlighted, and with certain bits of equipment painted separately. I then added some decals I found in the bits box and off we go.

These are much more the thing, and have inspired me to have a go at the Hearthguard platoon, now drying after it’s undercoat.

Two Pieces of Advice

This is really a post about the latest units that I’ve painted, but a post that also comes with two bits of advice.

The first piece of advice is “always buy those miniatures when you see them…as they might not be there later”.

This applies to the gruntling range from Cactus Games: space dwarves in 15mm. The standard infantry are okay: maybe a bit crude by some standards but at least they are properly dwarvish i.e. short. What are really nice, however, are the chaps in powered armour: very cubist in nature and some of my favourite 15mm sci-fi dwarf figures.

 Cubist Exo-Skeletons from Cactus

Cubist Exo-Skeletons from Cactus

I’m using the present tense here but, alas, Cactus have disappeared, taking their range with them. I mention this because searching through the lead mountain for something to paint whilst I waited for my latest Arab-Israeli figures to arrive, I came across two packs of Cactus miniatures that I hadn’t painted when I did the basic infantry and powered armour types: a set of motor-tricycles and a set of light support weapons.

The motor-trikes are great fun: very silly but full of character. They come in three bits: the front wheel and handlebars; the main body; and the chap in the turret with the gun. It was a little fiddly to get the front to glue properly to the back, but otherwise no probs.

And why is the lesson relevant? Well because I almost didn’t buy these when I bought the infantry. If I hadn’t gone for it then, then I wouldn’t have had these…ever.

The second lesson is “always put all your spare parts in a ‘bits box’”. This is because the light support weapon packs came with two crew figures but a very weedy-looking LSW on a very flimsy bipod. No matter: a quick dip into my bits box and I came up with enough meaty looking weapons to outfit the three teams. The guns are spare turret-mounted weapons from sci-fi vehicles, but I can’t remember the manufacturer. They do nicely as mining lasers adapted for combat.

The stands for the guns, btw, are hama beads. Always good to raid your children’s hama bead collection: they make very useful stands, dividers etc!

So there you have it: two more units for the space dwarves and two important lessons for wargamers everywhere.

Let me hear you say them again:

always buy those miniatures when you see them…as they might not be there later

always put all your spare parts in a ‘bits box’

Grudd Infantry from Onslaught Miniatures

If I played my sci-fi in 6mm, then Onslaught Miniatures would be my first port of call. A nice variety of figures with some quite deep ranges i.e. more than just one type of infantry and a support weapon: most of their ranges have got 20+ codes in them.

But I don’t: I play in 15mm…which is why it is so great that Onslaught have now expanded their collection to include 15mm versions of a limited number of their 6mm ranges.

Although I really liked the 15mm Sisterhood range (big women with big guns), they never really got going with it: releasing only a couple of codes and then seeming to go no further.

One 15mm range, however, that does have more than a couple of codes in it is their Grudd range. Whatever the official background, it’s obvious that these are normal-human-sized space dwarves.

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The four-squad platoon above is a combination of their Grudd Clansmen, Siege Breakers and Demolishers and looks pretty spectacular, especially with all those outrageous power tools.

What I’m now hoping is that they expand their entire 6mm Grudd range into 15mm…

the grudd range in 6mm so far

Colours 2018

I only had time for a quick visit to Colours this year: a couple of hours first thing on Saturday morning.

Travel to and from Newbury was enlivened by the traffic caused by the Newbury Show, but I still made the trip in under an hour. The work on the racecourse/flats on the racecourse must be just about finished by now, as getting to the carpark was much easier than last year: no problems in parking and only five minutes walk from the stand where the show was based.

I got there at about 9.45am for the ten o’clock start and joined the back of what looked like a sizeable queue, but once it started moving, just before ten, it moved very quickly, so no complaints there. The price was only £6 to get in, so very reasonable.

As I was in nice and early, I had time for a look around before the crowds. The show followed the usual format of, broadly speaking, trade stands on the ground floor; food/drink and more tradestands on the first floor; and then competition games, demonstration games and the bring and buy on the second floor.

There were three Lardy games that I could see. The first was a What a Tanker! game set in the Western Desert:

This looked very well attended for all the time I was there, so kudos to the chaps putting that on.

The second was a large General d’Armee Napoleonics game recreating Plancenoit. There’s a full report on the game available here.

Finally, there was a very nice looking Sharp Practice game set in 19th Century Japan (the Boshin War):

There were also two other non-Lardy games that caught my eye:

Lots of beautifully painted tanks

Cold War turned hot!

The trade stands were, as always at Colours, excellent. I wasn’t buying anything this year (too much to paint as it is) but would like to mention one trader who did get some of my money: ABCbrushes.

This was a small stand selling…brushes…but selling them at excellent prices. I picked up a mixed pack of ten brushes (all usefully labelled “medium dry brush”, “stippling brush” etc) for only £12.50. No idea of the quality, but as I go through brushes really quickly, this seemed like a very good buy. Their website is here.

So all in all an enjoyable visit. I could have done with an extra hour or so, but other appointments called. A good show that I look forward to again next year.

TFL Painting Challenge: Pre-Colours Update

As it’s the Colours wargames show at Newbury Racecourse tomorrow, I thought I’d better make a point of updating the Painting Challenge: might bump into a few people asking why it’s been a week-and-a-half since the last update!

Anyhoo, in no particular order, we have:

  • Mr Hodge with everything from 10mm WW2 to 28mm Games Workshop Space Marines

  • Ralph Plowman sends in some rare Micropanzer walkers

  • It’s more medievals from Andrew Helliwell

  • Matt Slade has been busy as ever: three sets of entries including some rather fun Strontium Dog figures

  • Travis pops in a few more AWI militia

  • There’s a couple of tanks and a couple of fantasy figures from Carole

  • Cold War and cavalry from Mr Davenport

  • Mark Luther has finished some cavalry for the Second Seminole War

  • More Napoleonics from Mervyn

  • And last, but by no means least, Lloyd cries “I’m Spartacus” with some gladiators

As always, clicking on the name of the person above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window) and I can’t emphasise enough how much these galleries are a source of inspiration.

Today’s pictures are below:

Q13: Last of the Invaders

Just finished photographing the last of the All Quiet on the Martian Front tripods I have been working on. This last batch consisted of another three scout tripods, two grenadier tripods, seven assault tripods and a power node terrain piece.

That’s a lot of points for the Painting Challenge!

Rather than have the tripods as a separate Martian army, I’m going to use them as the AFV element of my Invaders army that uses the Khurasan Alien Invasion range as its core infantry component. As I’ve also now had a chance to photograph all of them, it means another gallery added to the Q13 section of the website: one that shows the entire force.

You can find that by clicking here, but here’s a picture of the army en masse:

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Oh yes, finally, someone wrote in asking what colour the tripods were sprayed: it was Ford Neptune Green from the Halfords range of car paints.

AAR: Charlie Don't Surf! at Clotted Lard 2018

This Saturday just gone saw the inaugural Clotted Lard games day at the Devon Wargames Group. At what will hopefully be an annual event, large numbers of fellow Lardies gathered for a fun-packed day of gaming.

You can read the after action report of the games day itself by clicking here.

One of the games on show was a superb 10mm game of Charlie Don't Surf! put on by DaveJ. Click on the picture below to see a quick AAR from Carojon, accompanied by more photos of what looks like a most impressive game:

More Martian Tripods

Still working my way through all my All Quiet on the Martian Front tripods.

First up are three more Scout Tripods:

Only three more of them to go!

Next is a quick one off: the Slaver Tripod, which I will be using as the command tripod for the Invaders' AFV force:

That's a metal tripod (the Scout Tripods are all plastic kits) and weighs in pretty heavy.

Finally for this batch, there's an extra I picked up as part of the Kickstarter offer: a downed Assault Tripod.

That's it for this update: plenty more tripods to go.

Oh, and I've had a chance to update the TFL Painting Challenge Scorecard.

IABSM AAR: The Tuchole Forest

Played a great game of I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! at the weekend: scenario #08 from the first September War scenario pack covering the invasion of Poland in 1939, The Tuchole Forest.

The battle, set in the Polish Corridor, was all about territory and objectives, and proved a very different kettle of fish from the usual head-on clash.

Click on the picture below to see who held onto what to win the game:

TFL Painting Challenge: A Quick Tuesday Update

Nice steady amount of entries this week, with a few people submitting the last of their "summer holidays" painting.

In no particular order we have:

  • Andrew Helliwell with a mix of 15mm and 20mm figures...and no you can't have points for painting walls and assembling IKEA shelves, tables and display cabinets even if they are in your wargaming room!
  • There are more AWI figures in 28mm from Travis Hiett
  • Jonathan Davenport sends in a couple of 15mm cold war helicopters
  • Carole has been working on some lovely Norse figures from the Freya's Wrath Kickstarter from Bad Squiddo
  • A few bits and pieces from Mervyn...I like the Sharp Practice command figure stands
  • Some Italian tanks from Mr Duffell
  • A BEF platoon in 20mm from Lloyd Bowler
  • And last, but by no means least, some Romans from Stumpy

As usual, clicking on the name of the person above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window) and, also as usual, I'll update the Scorecard tonight.

Here are today's pictures:

Lynx Helicopters from Mr Davenport

Shieldmaidens from Carole and some rather nice engineers/medics from The Hat

First of the Martians

last weekend's work

My current project or, rather, one of my current projects, is to add the All Quiet on the Martian Front models that I bought as part of the original Kickstarter to the figures that I've painted from Khurasan Miniatures' 15mm sci-fi The Invaders range. I spent last weekend building all the tripods, so this weekend's task was to paint up the first of them.

I didn't fancy brush painting twenty-four plus large 15mm models, so determined that most of the work would be done via spray paint...but which colour to choose. I wanted something metallic, which meant buying some new paint, as all my existing sprays are various shades of dull green or brown or desert yellow (i.e. WW2 and 6DW colours).

I was driving home, thinking about where to get appropriate sprays, surrounded by other cars, when I suddenly realised that I was looking at exactly what I wanted: metallic car paint. A quick trip to Halfords, and I bought a couple of cans of a light green metallic colour. Each can was only £6.99 as well: considerably cheaper than GW or other hobby paint.

Spraying all the tripods took up a can and a half, but twenty minutes in today's blazing sunshine dried everything off nicely. I wouldn't have time to complete all of the models after the initial spray, so settled on the small flying drones and three scout tripods.

Flying Drones

Very simple to finish them:  I painted the "eye" red, any equipment in two shades of grey, any electricals or power sources in a light purple, the tentacles in black-dry-brushed-with-iron, and then found a few places to put a drop of scarlet or metallic blue for variety. Finally, I based them as usual, then used Halfords lacquer to finish them.

I'm very pleased with the result.

The first three scout tripods

Israeli Yom Kippur Lists Updated

Just a quick update to the Israeli lists really to bring them in line with the format/look of the Egyptian lists that I posted earlier this week.

What's changed? Well, the only real difference is that I've expanded the details on aircraft and anti-aircraft assets, and added a pictorial front cover. So worth downloading again.

Next up will be the Syrians.

CoC Early War Handbook Available For Pre-Order

Although this site is dedicated to the TFL Company Level games such as IABSM, CDS and Q13, I do like to point out what else is going on in Lardland.

That's why I'm really happy to post that the much-anticipated Early War handbook is now available for the TFL platoon-sized game: Chain of Command.

Having published the IABSM early war books earlier this year, I was also somewhat involved in the production of this work, and can therefore assure you that it is truly epic. Rich has gone back to many first hand sources and original army manuals for the information it is based on.

Here's the marketing blurb:

Advanced Order Deal: This Handbook will, be published on Monday the 17th of September and despatched on that day.  The advanced order deal includes a free PDF edition which will be emailed to you on the release day.

This 124 page handbook provides a comprehensive coverage of the campaign in France and the Low Countries in 1940.  Included is an historical account of the campaign in the West, as well as whole raft of new rules to cover the events of that summer.  New theatre specific rules include Assault boats and river crossings, parachute drops, glider landings, bicycles, horse mounted troops and motorcycles.  We have several new armour classifications for tanks with small turrets, vehicles lacking of radios and unreliable vehicles.  Fancy blowing up a section of the Maginot Line?  Well, you can with our new rules on fortifications and demolitions as well as looking at Francs Tireurs, ‘Shabby Nazi Tricks’ in the form of Brandenburg Commandos, Civilians, Stuka attacks and even the odd drinks cabinet being rolled out to stiffen the stiffest of upper lips.

Biggest of all is the truly massive section on Army lists.  Here we wanted to provide a really comprehensive guide to the period and in doing so we went right back to the book, or more specifically the manuals that the armies of the period issued to their troops.  The French Tableau d’Effectifs de Guerre, the German KsTN lists, the Dutch Handboek vor den Soldat and Officier series and many others issued throughout the 1930s and up to 1940.  These manuals tell us not just how troops were organised, but how their training prepared them for war and their doctrines.  This has allowed us to produce not just Army Lists but introduce national characteristics which make each nation unique in the way they fight.

Belgium

Line Infantry
Reserve infantry
Infantry scouts
Chasseur Ardennais
Frontier Cyclists
Motorised Cavalry
Motorcycle Cavalry

The Netherlands

Line Infantry
Reserve Infantry
Mounted Cavalry
Border Infantry
Bicycle troops
Motorcycle troops
Airfield Defence forces
Marines

France

First Line Infantry
Reserve Infantry
Chasseurs
Groupe Franc
Reconnaissance Motorcycle Fusiliers
Reconnaissance Cavalry
Motorised Infantry
Dragon Portes
Mounted Cavalry
Chasseur Portes
Colonial Troops
Mountain Troops
Ski Scouts
Light DIvision Infantry
Groupe Franc Motorise de Cavalerie

British

1939 Regulation Platoon
1940 Regulation Platoon
Motor Infantry
Motorcycle infantry
Line of Communication troops
Searchlight Troops

Germany

1st Wave infantry
2nd Wave infantry
3rd Wave infantry
5th Wave infantry
7th Wave Infantry
Static infantry
Pioneers
Motorised Infantry
Motorcycle Reconnaissance
Schutzen Type 1
Schutzen Type 2
SS Totenkopf
SS Verfungs and Leibstandarte
SS Motorcycle platoon
SS Aufklarungs motorcycle platoon
Fallschirmjager Type 1
Fallschirmjager Type 2
Luftlande Glider platoon
Gebirgsjager

Italy

Infantry
Blackshirt troops
Alpini

Alongside these lists we have nearly fifty support option lists giving support choices for a huge number of unit types, so if you have a motorcycle reconnaissance platoon you can select support from the different divisions which fielded that unit type.  All in all, the gamer can choose an incredible range of interesting and varied troops types and then  choose supports from friendly forces and allies for forces of almost limitless variety.  But that’s not all.  Each nation has a full Arsenal list for weapons and AFVs as well as comprehensive notes to cover their support options.

Finally, we have five new scenarios types, Going with a Bang, Strike from Above, Swift to Support, Hasty Defence and Blitzkrieg to bring the 1940 campaigns to life.  All in all, a huge addition to your Chain of Command library in both hard copy and PDF.

CDS: Egyptian Lists for the 1973 Yom Kippur War

I've now had a chance to finish and post the second set of FOC army lists for a 1973 Yom Kippur War Charlie Don't Surf! expansion: the Egyptians.

This list covers all the various incarnation of infantry and mechanised infantry company, along with their supporting armour, air defence and artillery.

It also covers the possibilities of the initial assault across the canal, where the Egyptians were working to a well-practised fixed plan, and includes the slight variations for commandoes and paratroopers.

As always, let me know if you find any inaccuracies: admin@vislardica.com.

A Busy Weekend

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will know that I have been painting Khurasan Miniatures' 15mm sci-fi range called "The Invaders". This consists of three sets of miniatures: the Science Caste (little grey men), the War Caste (little green men), and two types of Warborg battle robot.

Warborg Heavies - rather nice

They are all done now, but what I need are some vehicles to go along with them. I was wondering whether to start a quick search of the 'net for something appropriate when I remembered that I had several boxes of unbuilt and unpainted models from the All Quiet on the Martian Front Kickstarter. What could be more appropriate for vehicles to accompany a range called The Invaders?

A quick root through the lower slopes of the lead mountain and there they were. And a quick Bank Holiday Monday later, and here is about half of the initial build:

In total, I seem to have acquired about 18 of the large tripods, so there's another shelf's worth in addition to what's shown.

I didn't have any instructions, so had to work out how to put them together from pictures of completed models. Not a problem: they go together intuitively, and there's only a couple of critical points that you need to be aware of during construction.

Now all I have to do is paint them!

TFL Painting Challenge: Huge Birthday Update

Whose birthday, I hear you ask? Mine, of course!

I'll gloss over just how many birthday's this is, but you know you have to start worrying when the year's you've been alive approach the calibre of a (fortunately light!) mortar!

Anyhow, enough of the birthday celebrations: a huge painting challenge update today. In no particular order, we have:

  • Matt Slade with some more LOTR figures and some druids
  • Carole and some archers
  • It's off to the 17th Century for Mark Luther
  • Ralph Plowman has been sent to the Eastern Front
  • Chris Cornwell joins him there, but also has some terrain boards to display
  • It's modern Brits for Mr Davenport
  • More redcoats from Travis
  • The Hat is back! Two examples of using model kits for wargaming and some ancient Spaniards from Mr Bowler
  • There's a lot of basing from Stumpy
  • And last, but by no means least, more Assyrians from Mr Burt

As always, clicking on the name of the person in the list above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window).  The Scorecard is now up to date as well.

Here are today's pictures:

Fire Support for the Egyptians

A quick check on the Battlefront website confirmed that they are currently still running the 25% off anything to do with their modern Arab-Israeli range, so I thought I'd indulge and buy myself an early birthday present.

As I'm currently working on the Egyptian briefing for the 1973 Yom Kippur or October War, I wanted something that they used if only to inspire me to keep hacking my way through all the contradictory and incomplete information that's out there...but what to get? I got most of what I needed some time ago as I put together forces for the Six Day War.

Up to now, I've saved myself a lot of money by avoiding buying anything that would usually sit off-table (i.e. many support weapons and all artillery) but this time couldn't resist the lure of the BM-21 "Grad" (Hail) multiple rocket launchers.

These are cracking models that come in a pack of three. I say models, but what we're talking here is six large bits of resin: three vehicle bodies and three clumps of rockets, if that's the right word to use. This was a very good thing, as I'd been dreading building a traditional set of Battlefront models e.g. fixing 18 metal wheels to a resin body using those slots that never quite fit properly. So the entire build was done in about 15 seconds: blob of Superglue in the hole where the rocket clump sits, push rocket clump into place!

Painting was pretty easy too. Spray yellow basecoat, wash with GW Agrax Earthshade, then highlight in desert yellow. Paint the tyres (the worst bit of the whole process) and then a heavy drybrush to weather them a bit. Finally I did the glass blue with a few dashes of white; and then black-inked the top of the rockets to mimic the sooty residue left after firing. The bases were done with GW Armageddon Dust texture (basically thick paint with little bits in it: a marvellous invention that shortens the basing process by miles) highlighted with GW Screaming Skull and finished with some bushy clumps also from GW.

God knows what I will use them for on the tabletop:  they can shoot 12 miles! I think probably as scenario objectives i.e. have them in hardpoints at one end of the table protected by infantry and a few dug-in tanks, and send an IDF force to take them out.

You can read more about the Grad at Wikipedia, here.

Cost, including discount, at time of purchase: £17.25. Recommended for your collection, even if you never get them onto the tabletop!

CDS: IDF Lists for the 1973 Yom Kippur War

The first of the briefings, covering the Israeli Defence Force, for using Charlie Don't Surf to fight the 1973 Yom Kippur War is now live on the Yom Kippur War homepage.

A tough list to put together, as the sources of information are often contradictory. I can't see why someone who knows can't just post somewhere on the Internet a proper, unadulterated TOE, unadapted for any game system, for an IDF infantry company (mechanised, paratrooper or motorised) in 1973. Someone must have one!

So, as is the usual TFL practice, what I have done is construct a list for an infantry company (mechanised or paratrooper), plus a list for a tank company, that I think is pretty representative of what was actually fielded at the time.

Happy to look at any other information that people have. Either comment here or e-mail me at the usual address (admin@vislardica.com)

TFL Painting Challenge: A Rainy Day Update

Well the weather has finally once and truly broken: very wet outside, so ideal painting weather!

Some people who have already been painting are below...

  • Stumpy's basing factory continues to churn out figures
  • Two entries from Ralph: orcs and ghosts
  • Matt Slade is still painting Rohirm
  • Travis has finished his first box of AWI infantry from Warlord Games
  • There are more little boats from Mark Luther
  • Some Prussian Cuirassiers from Sapper
  • And last, but by no means least, Blue Moose Ken pops in some lovely Chindits.

As always, clicking on the name of the person in the list above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window). 

Here are today's pictures:

IABSM AAR: Anzio #13: Aprilia

Cracking game of I Ain't Been Shot, Mum fought this weekend just gone.

We used scenario #13 from the Anzio: Wildcat to Whale scenario pack featuring the action on 8th/9th February 1944 as the Germans advanced on Aprilia (the Factory).

Click on the picture below to see all: