With the game To The Strongest, each army really needs at least one, and usually three, camps. Obviously, one can cobble something together, but it’s nice to have some specific pieces for each force.
Forged in Battle’s Empire range has recently added a whole series of 10-15mm buildings that, when combined with a flat base, make rather nice camps. I’ve bought a few, with the first off the production line being these six Ancient British huts:
Loving these. Easy to paint up: spray white; paint the roofs straw colour and the doors brown; wash with GW Agrax Earthshade; leave to properly dry and then highlight the thatch and doors; finally, take a stippling brush to the walls.
They are perhaps a bit pricey at £24, but well worth it. Recommended.
It’s one thing to collect figures - you need all sorts of different sorts to represent different armies, units etc - but to collect models of eastern European churches as well?
That’s what I seem to gave done over the last few years, in that I seem incapable of not buying any model that could vaguely be described as a “religious building, eastern”!
I once joked that I would like to have enough churches to have a different one for each of the maps in my Bashnya of Bust! scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! That would take seven, eight or nine, dependent on whether you assumed one of the buildings in some of the smaller villages were houses of worship or not. Whichever it is, I seem to be well on the way. Below is a gallery (in ascending order of size) of my church collection so far:
Things From The Basement
Miniature Buildings Authority
I’m pretty sure I don’t actually need any more eastern churches now, but if anyone should know of any others that are available…just add their details as a Comment and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be spending my bottom dollar on another house of God!
Now that the camps are sorted out, time to get a bit of scenery to dress the table and provide me with more of the sort of “traffic jam” problems that I encountered in my first game of To The Strongest.
I’ve got some desert style bits, but need to prepare for when my Hoplites eventually take the field. They are based in a sort of rocky outcrop style, so I need some sort of rocky outcrops to match.
A quick wander round Warfare and I came across The Scene. They had four rocky outcrop style bases about 120mm in diameter which I purchased immediately. Sorted!
As you can see, each fits neatly in one of the boxes on my mat.
In addition to the extra figures I need for To The Strongest, my current war game of choice, I also need some camps: about six i.e. three a side. They need to be big enough to take a guardian unit (so at least 120mm wide) and deep enough to carry a bit of “dressing”.
The components for these I picked up at Warfare on Sunday, still one of my favourite shows, and quickly painted up as follows:
I’m not sure where the bases came from, but the pyramids, huts and Sphinx all came from The Square, an excellent place to find all sorts of useful bits of resin. I always make my way there at the end of the day and spend whatever I have left in my pockets!
They paint up easily as well. The huts are undercoated in light brown, then very heavily dry-brushed white with the roofs dry-brushed in a variety of yellowy-brown colours. What makes the difference is that I have filled in the doorways and windows with a bit of woven hemp: giving a bit of depth and texture.
The Sphink and pyramids are simply painted sand yellow, washed with GW Agrax Earthshade, and then dry-brushed with GW Screaming Skull. Whole lot took me about half an hour.
Those of you who follow the site will know that I already have loads of 4Ground 15mm Russian village buildings to which I recently added a few extras from the Minibits/RedVectors range (click here to see post, opens in a new window).
Now Things From The Basement, the US based 'manufacturer of dollhouse and wargaming miniatures' has also released a 15mm Russian village set of buildings, based on their 25mm range.
Two Log Cabins
Two different 'fancy' houses
A Farm Buildings set (a basic farmhouse, a barn, a well and an outdoor privy)
A Blacksmith Shop & Tool Shed
An Orthodox Church
I, of course, bought these immediately, and have just spent a very pleasant evening and morning, sat at my workbench in front of the open French windows, building them.
So are they any good?
The log cabins are fairly standard . I like the way they do the windows (cardboard sills that stick on the outside of the HDF) but I found it very difficult to build them in way that the roofs came off easily. My advice: buy one pack if you want a bit of variety in an existing village, but don't base your entire village on several packs of this set, stick to the 4Ground stuff.
The fancy houses (House 1 and House 2) are both good. I didn't much like the roofs, but they do come made to come off so you can put figures inside. What is really nice is the level of detail on the outside. The really fancy one has some lovely decorative woodwork that looks really nice when built, and the other one has a little porch that is exactly like the one I saw on that Russian TV show about the WW2 pilots "The Attackers". I would definitely buy both of these if you want a Headman's hut or two.
The farmhouse and barn from the Farm Buildings set is a bit like the log cabins: alright but nothing special (although the roofs do come off in these ones). What makes this set an absolute must-buy is the well and outdoor privy. Cracking models that I would buy again if available separately. Recommended.
The Blacksmith Shop and Tool Shed is another excellent bit of variety for your village. I can take or leave the tool shed, but the blacksmith shop, with it's open sides, roof vents, forge and anvil is another must-buy. Recommended.
Finally we come to the Orthodox Church. Come on, Robert, I hear you cry, you can't need yet another Russian church (I already have five...or is it six?) but actually, yes I can. This is a beautiful model that I really, really love. The build is intricate but not particularly difficult: to get the spires and the roof you end up building an internal framework that I just felt so proud of having managed! There's a real sense of achievement when you've built this little baby! Did I mention that it looks really good too?
So there you have it: a solid recommendation to buy from me. There is just one teensy-tiny little problem: the shipping from the States is quite pricey. The shop on the TFTB website won't let you buy outside of the US: you have to e-mail Joerg and ask for a PayPal invoice. The set is $55 for one of each of the above, but shipping is $23 on top of that...so that's £56 to get it to our front door if in the UK. No problems with the ordering and delivery, I hasten to add, my set arrived very promptly, but perhaps a bit pricey.
How was the build? About the same as a Sarissa build actually: so slightly more difficult that a 4Ground or Minibits build, but still nothing very problematic. I would, however, strongly advise downloading the instructions from the TFTB website (free to do) and build them with PVA glue not Superglue: there's quite a lot of finickity moving about of parts to do to get them to fit together just right. Nothing too difficult, but not something that Superglue will let you do.
So overall, a hearty recommendation from me, despite the price, and if you do order from Joerg, do mention Vis Lardica when you do so please.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I'd been to Vanquish, the small wargames show that takes place in May each year in Bourne End, Bucks. I didn't spend much there, but one thing I did buy was the helicopter landing pad from Ironclad Miniatures.
As a new purchase, the pad went straight to the front of the painting queue (!) and despite my current bout of painter's block, was soon ready for the tabletop:
Not a very good picture, but a great piece of terrain
I've chosen to put a cross in the centre of the pad as I want to use it for Q13 as well as for Charlie Don't Surf!, but you can see in the smaller picture (from the Ironclad site) how good it looks if you can do a decent 'H'!
One thing to note, the pad is actually listed in their 20mm terrain section rather than their 15mm section but, to be honest, works really well with a 15mm helicopter.
One of my impulse purchases at Salute this year was a couple of battlemats from Tiny Wargames. As my tables are 6'x5', I custom ordered one of the South Pacific coastal mats and one of the planet Mars mats, both cloth only, paying £150 for the two, including p&p.
Arriving home yesterday, well within the 21-day custom order time given by Tiny Wargames, I was greeted by a good sized package containing the two mats...and they are cracking!
First up, the coastal mat. Okay, so I could have got a slightly bigger one made (that's my fault!) but the mat looks fantastic and I cannot wait to try it out.
Here's a few pictures without any other terrain on board, just a couple of Japanese landing craft:
And here's the Mars mat: again looks great...and it makes me almost sorry that I've homogenised all my sci-fi troopers onto grass bases.
So a couple of recommended purchases there, and I shall be treating myself to a winter mat once the finances have recovered.
A bit of spare time this weekend gave me the opportunity to finish the Ironclad Miniatures factories I've been working on.
First up were the second and third sections of the large factory:
These two bits then combined with the first section, finished last week, to give a very nice looking and impressively large ruined factory. Here is the whole thing with a motorcycle combo to give you an idea of size:
Then I discovered that those nice people at Ironclad had also sent me a bag full of true ruins: cornerpieces and wall sections etc. These ended up painted in the same way as the main factories:
Finally I realised that I hadn't painted all of the small factory: it has a loading bay that comes separately. So here's another view of the small factory (see previous post) but with the loading bay tacked on:
Here's the finished small ruined factory from Ironclad Miniatures.
Very easy to paint. After washing the resin model in soapy water, prime in a brick red colour. I used a can from my local art shop.
Then, once fully dry, paint all the non-brick wreckage in the main building. I used a bright green for bits of corrugated iron roof; bright orange for thick pipework; steel for smaller pipes; and a wood brown for bits of plank.
I then painted the tile floor and stairs in the ante-room in a pale grey. Finally, where the brick of the inner walls are covered by plaster, I used a bleached bone colour to convey the sense of institution.
Again once fully dry (make sure it really is fully dry before this bit) wash the entire model in a slightly watered down black ink. Really splash it on to make sure you get good coverage.
Leave the model for a day so all the excess fluid evaporates away, and then lightly dry brush the brick wreckage in a pale brick colour. Finally, a light dry brush of the bleached bone colour again to really bring out the detail and, after a light coat of matt varnish, finished.
Each stage should only take about fifteen minutes: it's the drying that takes the time! I painted the factory by doing one stage a night after work.
Although you can't see it properly below, the bit of the factory with the tile floor had a removable roof made up of a smashed in second floor.
Here's another pic showing the factory from the other angle.
You may remember my posts about the Ironclad Miniatures 15mm windmill and eastern front church: nice looking buildings, paint up well, not too pricey etc.
Well I was at a wargames show the other day and noticed the Ironclad stall, wandered over and ended up buying their collection of ruined factories. These come in two sizes: a small ruined factory and a large ruined factory. As they didn't have stock in, I paid and gave them my address.
I then promptly forgot all about having done the above, so had a very pleasant surprise a couple of days ago when a large box dropped through the door. In it were several pieces of terrain: five in fact. Oh goody, I thought: five ruined factory bases. What I had also forgotten was that the five bits also fit together to make...yes, you guessed it, one small ruined factory and one large ruined factory.
Fortunately I have realised this after having decided and started to paint them all the same way anyway, so now have well underway either five separate ruined factory bases, or the little 'n' large sets they are supposed to comprise.
Here's the first off the production line: a very nice ruined factory base aka the left hand segment of the large ruined factory set.
Cost for the whole set was £30, so this is £10 of stand alone factory. As you can see, very nice.
I'll post the other bits as I finish them, and talk about how they were painted.
I was in Twyford the other day, and passed a model shop selling dolls houses and model railways. Obviously I couldn't pass up a shopping opportunity like that, so wandered in to see what I could find.
Well, I found some brushes and some bits of scenery (including some lavender field effects, but more on that in a future post). Most of it was the wrong scale (whatever model railway builders call 1/72nd scale...the Hornby scale, if you like) but I did manage to find a plastic kit to build a walk-in men's toilet.
So despite the fact that it's the wrong scale (it doesn't look too out of place, though: I've got it sitting at the back of Pegasus bridge at the moment - more on that later, too) here's a little pissoir or whatever you call the UK equivalent.
Apologies for the slight over-varnishing (I may have to give it another coat with a new can) but in this close-up you can see the detail.
My stock 15mm WW2 Russian village consists of a large number of 4Ground wooden huts. Very nice, loving the smell of lasercut mdf in the morning and all that, but quite same-y.
I leaven them with different churches (I currently have two, but have my eye on at least three more!) but still feel that a bit of variety would help dress the table.
In yesterday's post, I mentioned how I had bought and painted an Ironclad Miniatures Russian Windmill at the Vanquish wargames show. This was a good start on the leavening front, but as I was about to pay for the windmill, the Russian chapel also caught my eye.
Okay, so it's not a full church, but would be ideal as dressing for small villages that wouldn't necessarily merit the full house of God treatment.
The chapel has the same footprint as a 4Ground hut, and looks as if it would take two FOW medium bases inside it (see below to see how it comes in two bits).
Again undercoating in sand, I painted the roof dark grey, and then washed it with a black ink. The whitewashed woodwork I achieved by block painting in a light grey, and then very heavily dry-brushing with white. Although the knob on top looks very dull, I've since brightened it up with a bit of extra shiny gold paint to properly give those enemy artillerymen something to aim at!
This bank holiday weekend just gone, I was browsing TMP when I saw news of a new wargames show, Vanquish, just around the corner in Bourne End.
Despite the fact that I usually only do Salute, Colours and Warfare, I thought it would be nice to support my local show, so turned up to see how it was.
Well, it was small, as one might expect , but had enough traders carrying things that I wanted to buy to make it very easy for me to make a few purchases...one of which was Ironclad Miniatures' Russian Windmill in 15mm.
As a new purchase, this naturally went to the front of the painting queue (zipping past those Israelis!) and was completed very quickly on the bank holiday Monday.
It's a nice looking model. I undercoated in a sand colour (bought two cans accidentally, so sand is now my default undercoat!) then over painted that in a nice wood brown. On went a wash, then a dry brush in bone white to highlight, and then a final wash to soften the highlight. Recommended.
In yet further attempts to avoid finishing the last 6DW Israeli infantry platoon (my latest mojo for painting 15mm infantry has finally deserted me!) I have run out of the black paint I need to do their rifles and boots.
I'm on my way to get some now, as part of the Saturday morning chores, but in the meantime this gave me the excuse to polish off a couple of large bits (i.e. as far away from 15mm infantry as possible) that have been sitting on my painting table for some time...in one case, for a very long time.
First up was a large tank-for-holding-chemicals from Critical Mass Games. I bought this as part of a set of habitation/factory pieces some time ago at Colours (before the skipped year due to the racecourse renovation!). It was a very good deal, and although I quickly painted up most of the pieces, this one (and the humongous factory bit) just didn't get done.
Well it is now!
It's a great piece that could also serve as some kind of tank in almost any post-industrial revolution game. Here it is shown with my Vornid/fungoid artillery crew for size comparison purposes.
Some time ago, pre-Xmas I think, I was feeling quite rich, or maybe in need of a little retail therapy, and bought the 15mm Pegasus Bridge model in laser-cut wood from Warbases. I believe I opened the box at the time, but then put it to one side as my focus was on other things.
Well, a few weeks ago, I'd had enough of painting Egyptians and Israelis, and decided to bite the bullet and build the bridge.
This proved to be an enormously fun task, even if sometimes it was quite challenging. Like when I didn't read the instructions properly and glued the wrong bit in place - a vital bit obviously - that then broke when I tried to remove it (Warbases sent me another with my next order: very generous of them, and just another example of their always-excellent service).
I used superglue to put the bridge together (hence my problem with the mis-glued part!) although white glue is actually recommended. This is because I am impatient, and can't stand waiting once I've started building something.
What's even better, is that the bridge actually lifts up, and stays lifted once fully, er, erect:
The canal pieces are from Hornby: very expensive (ridiculously so) bits from their model railway terrain range.
Anyway, once the bridge was built, I sprayed it grey, and then dry-brushed in a lighter and a darker shade of grey. Looks okay, but I'm sure that there are better ways of painting it to make it look even better.
The barriers go up and down as well, despite my best efforts to either (a) accidentally glue them in place and (b) accidentally paint them in place.
The above pictures don't really give you a sense of scale, so here are a couple of pictures of my 15mm British Paras occupying the thing:
In all, a great piece of terrain, and one that I can't wait to make the centrepiece of a game. Well done Warbases, and well done me!
PS I have decided to count this as four 15mm houses and a little bit more for the purposes of the Painting Challenge, and have awarded myself 50 points for the bridge. Very fair, if I say so myself.
Yes, yes, I know: another post-Salute post to join the thousands already floating around the ether!
Well this one is just a quickie, focusing not so much on the event itself* but on some of the games on show: specifically their terrain.
Terrain isn't really my thing: I'm getting better, but still feel my efforts are weighted towards my figures rather than the earth on which they stand.
There were three tabletops that I would really, really like to have had the opportunity to get my figures onto:
First up was a terrific Vietnam set-up. Wrong scale, being 28mm, but absolutely lovely:
Then there was the sci-fi Hammers Slammers 15mm sci-fi set up. I was definitely working out whether this one would fit onto my tables at home. It would, by the way, so if the owner ever gets bored of it and needs more space, I will quite happily give it a very good home!
And finally the sci-fi set-up from Critical Mass Games was great as well:
Three amazing tables that really inspire.
*Actually I thought Salute was quite good this year.
I had a great journey in: I drove and didn't encounter any of the roadworks that have blighted previous years' journeys...it's almost as if they have finally got that area sorted out road-wise. The £15 for all day parking was a bit steep, but at least the machines were accepting credit cards instead of demanding two fistfuls of coins to satisfy them.
I arrived about 10.15 without a ticket. Walked straight up to the ticket booth and bought one, no queue. Got myself a sandwich and a coffee, ate them, then walked straight in to the show with no delay at all. Another amazing improvement on years gone by.
I thought the show was busier than last year. Still the same horrid floor and dull lighting, but I can put up with them: the eyes soon adjust and there's plenty of places to sit down.
I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of new, teeny-weeny traders as well as the expected big ones. That bodes well for the hobby: lots of new trader blood coming in. I understand that a couple of the massive stands (GW, or a derivative thereof) were collection-only...and that they seemed to be the ones with the queues. In all, however, a good mix, and I was able to find some decal-softener.
Good lunchtime drinks at the Fox with some of the Lardies: some of whom seemed to have led very sheltered lives, but I digress...
I ended up spending far too much money, as per usual, and on a real mix of things. Some Battlefront pre-painted terrain from Team Yankee; some trees; a hill; some of Battlefront's new Pacific-theatre Japanese tanks; some more Israelis; decal-softener; and a few sci-fi bits and pieces. A good haul that will doubtless be on show here at some stage in the future.
One thing I did notice that was different to the last few years: more BO! Maybe because it seemed busier visitors-wise this year, but there were a couple of occasions when I caught a full blast of sweaty wargamer: not very nice and, as I said, unusual compared to previous years.
Sorry for the lack of updates over the last few days: been horribly distracted with real world affairs.
Anyhoo, to get back into the swing of things, here's a quick post showing my latest 15mm building for anything from WW2 right up to sci-fi: Sarissa Precision's factory.
The factory is mainly a single building with a nice roomy inside. There is a walkway halfway up one wall, and the windows and doors are made from heavy card stuck to the inner walls: nicely robust. There a small powerhouse plus chimney on one side, and the kit comes with a steps-and-gantry walkway that leads to one of the doors portrayed on the upper floor.
Now this is quite a challenging kit to build, but the instructions are excellent and easy to follow. It's just a bit fiddly in places, and I don't really do fiddly! The result, however, is definitely worth the time and effort. The outside looks brilliant, even with my rather crude paint job, the gantry is a very nice touch, and the inside is amazing. That walkway is surprisingly easy to build, and will provide a nice little fire step.
Those of you who read my post about Battlefront's Dust Cloud terrain markers will know that I have had some stuff on backorder from them for some time. One of the other things that was on backorder was their Desert Fort and expansion pack.
Now I can't remember exactly how this worked, but I think that they said they would only produce another batch of these if enough people agreed to buy them: a bit like a mini-kickstarter. Well I agreed to do so, and then promptly forgot all about it until the e-mails saying they were on the way started to arrive in my inbox, followed shortly afterwards by two quite big boxes.
Here's the fort itself:
It's a lovely piece of battlefield terrain. The walls and turrets are really chunky...and I've just realised I've set it up in the picture above with all but one of the walls the wrong way round...but you can see from the left hand wall what it should look like! Plenty of room for figures on those parapets, and for at least light guns on the tower-tops.
Here are a couple of views with a figure in them for comparison:
The expansion pack contains two ruined walls and two mid-wall towers that would allow you to double the length of two of the wall sides, provided you were happy to have the ruined walls included to make up two of the sides. Or you could just have the ruined walls as part of the original square fort.
Here's a pic of the fort set up as a square with on side bashed in:
In all, this is a lovely set of kit, ideal for portraying the desert forts of the western desert in the early 1940's. It would also do, of course, for sci-fi wargaming, and for Beau Geste-style games as well. Recommended.
PS Sorry about the pictures: I seem to have got most of the walls round the wrong way. That's what comes of drinking a bottle of wine whilst gaming, and then deciding to do a bit of photography afterwards!
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)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a not-for-profit website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.