Monday 24 February 2014

Mustard Gas Breath Zombies - Part Two

I've finished working on another two "West Wind Productions" models from the blister SOV-SOTR18 Soviet Zombie Horde, and as a result finished painting all the 28mm Undead walking corpses I currently plan for my "Savage Worlds" "Weird War Two" setting. I still have a number of other "Secrets Of The Third Reich" models yet to paint before I move onto a new project during March but these soldiers who die from inhaling mustard gas end a six-week run of painting a number of rotting corpses.

 As with their predecessors I replaced the models' Russian zombie heads with those from SHS-SOTR08 Soviet Gas Mask Heads In Helmets and then undercoated them "Coat D'Arms" Black. I painted the majority of their uniforms with "Vallejo" Heavy Brown and then washed them with the "Citadel" Shade Agrax Earthshade. However because the figures appeared to resemble Russian officers or rather Commissars, I painted their trousers with "Vallejo" Heavy Blue and followed this up with a wash of "Citadel" Asurmen Blue. The model wearing a Russian greatcoat had his overcoat painted with an old pot of "Citadel" Dark Flesh and Agrax Earthshade.

I painted both of the soldiers' gas mask hosing with "Citadel" Adeptus Battlegrey and Nuln Oil, whilst I applied "Vallejo" Heavy Grey and a combination of "Citadel" Thrakka Green and Agrax Earthshade over their filter boxes. The Soviet helmets were painted with "Vallejo" Heavy Green and washed with "Citadel" Thrakka Green.
As I really like the detail and options of the Infantry squads and teams found within the "Bolt Action" Army books, I'm going to try and move away from some of the section listings found within the "Weird War Two" setting book for my next game and try and replicate some of the British and German lists that "Warlord Games" suggest in their rule book. As a result I need to quickly paint up a British NCO equipped with a (Sten) submachine gun and a Heer Veteran Infantry Squad NCO similarly equipped. In addition I would like the chance of the British fielding a Piat launcher as either an attachment to the main Infantry section or as a possible distraction/encounter during the game.

I used these models as an experiment to try out a bottle of "Citadel" Technical I bought from a local Hobby Store yesterday. I was hoping for great things from my pot of Imperial Primer, having found my "Coat D'Arms Black" always required two coats to properly undercoat a model. Unfortunately I was bitterly disappointed with the watery result, and no matter how much I stirred the Technical paint, I ended up returning to my final pot of "Coat D'Arms" Black and giving the models a lavish coat of that before I was satisfied.

Saturday 22 February 2014

"Damn Those Norts!"

This model is one of three figures found within pack RT101 Rogue Trooper by "Warlord Games". I've actually been waiting to paint the Genetic Infantryman from the comic "2000A.D." for some time, since October 2012 in fact, when the "Judge Dredd Miniatures Game: Block War" kickstarter project by "Mongoose Publishing" was successfully funded. I'm not going to dwell on the time its taken for this particular stretch goal to arrive, but just as soon as its jiffy bag fell through my letterbox the survivor of the Quartz Massacre was on my painting desk being super-glued to a 25mm round base and undercoated "Coat D'Arms" Black.

This 28mm metal model has received some criticism on the kickstarter comments page, mostly because Rogue Trooper's rifle doesn't have the bio-chip Gunnar on it. This is a disappointing omission by the sculptor, especially as they managed to 'squeeze' Bagman's bio-chip onto the side of his backpack, but one I easily rectified by gluing a rectangular piece of card onto the assault weapon.
I painted the model from his boots up, using the "Citadel" layer Doombull Brown and a wash of Agrax Earthshade for his footwear, Gunnar, chest straps and helmet strap. I then painted his trousers with "Vallejo" Heavy Brown and his ammo pouches, grenades, Bagman and Helm with Heavy Grey. This later areas were then washed with an old pot of "Citadel" Thrakka Green. The bio-chips, shoulder clips, leg knife and drinking flask were 'picked out' with Boltgun Metal and Badab Black. Finally I used "Vallejo" Heavy Blue for the soldier's skin, combined with a wash of "Citadel" Asurmen Blue. 

Whilst the model's pose looks good when viewed from either side, the miniature appears disconcertingly thin when looked at face-on or from the rear. Indeed the quality of some of the sculpting, especially at the back beneath Bagman is rather poorly defined with any raised edges, such as Rogue's hip pouch straps, actually appearing ragged and torn; almost as if the the modelling putty had been ripped away from the model with a blunt knife. Either that or something may well have gone wrong with the casting of the figure. Regardless this is a nice-looking model, and although Rogue Trooper's two companions, a Souther and a Nort, won't be seeing a 'lick of paint' anytime soon (at least until "Warlord Games" release them as singles or a squad), I'm sure the "Savage Worlds" "Weird War" setting may see the appearance of a lone Infantryman, a futuristic soldier, in search of a traitor some time soon.
I've a game planned for next Thursday evening, so I'm currently just putting the finishing touches to my final two Mustard Gas Breath zombies, before I start work on some additional British forces, such as a Sten-carrying NCO and a Tommy carrying a Projector Infantry Anti-Tank spigot bomb. 

Friday 21 February 2014

Mustard Gas Breath Zombies - Part One

I've finished working on the first two of four models from the "West Wind Productions" blister SOV-SOTR18 Soviet Zombie Horde, which I plan to use in the "Savage Worlds" "Weird War Two" setting as Mustard Gas Breath Zombies. Although these figures are Undead Russian soldiers they'll still be fielded as an element of the Axis Horror Force I'm collecting; their back story being that they're captured defenders of Mother Russia whom the Germans have experimented upon and gassed.

Having first replaced the (under-sized) Russian zombie heads which come in the blister with those from SHS-SOTR08 Soviet Gas Mask Heads in Helmets, these "Secrets Of The Third Reich" 28mm metal miniatures were undercoated with my usual Coat D'Arms Black. I then painted the majority of their uniforms with "Vallejo" Heavy Brown before washing them with the "Citadel" Shade Agrax Earthshade. The ribbed hosing for their gas masks was painted using either "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey or "Citadel" Adeptus Battlegrey, depending upon whichever colour was closer to hand at the time, for. These areas were later washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil. The models' filter boxes were painted using "Vallejo" Heavy Grey with a double wash of "Citadel" Thrakka Green and Agrax Earthshade. Finally the Soviet helmets were painted with "Vallejo" Heavy Green and washed with more "Citadel" Thrakka Green.
I'm already quite well progressed on the other two Mustard Gas Breath Zombies, as well as close to completing a certain blue-skinned Genetic Infantryman from Nu Earth by "Mongoose Games".

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Flying Standard 10' "Tilly" Truck"

I've finished painting the first of three resin and metal vehicles I recently purchased from "Warlord Games." I prepared this "Bolt Action" Flying Standard 10' "Tilly" Truck for painting by gluing its metal wheels into place, and then drilling out its windows in order to provide a view of the driver and interior. This 'operation' had to be done carefully as the vehicle's window frames are thin and although the resin within them was easily removed it would have been all too easy to break the casting. In the end I used a modelling knife to cut away the final resin pieces and straighten out the shape of the open windows. I then painted the vehicle's rubber-resin canvas canopy as a separate piece for both convenience sake and in order to allow the vehicle to be used with it in place or not. It was given an undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown followed up by a wash of "Citadel" Shade Agrax Earthshade.
I undercoated the main body of the utility truck with "Coat D'Arms" Black before before predominantly painting it with "Vallejo" Heavy Green. I then heavily washed the utility truck with "Citadel" Shade Agrax Earthshade. I picked out the windows with canvas on them using more "Vallejo" Heavy Brown in order for them to fit in with the colour of the canopy. For sanity's sake I also painted the interior frames of these windows Heavy Brown despite them in reality probably being Heavy Green. This was because the detail in the resin where the canopy covers finished and the window frame started were indistinct in some places and in others it was mightily difficult to reach with a paintbrush.  

The driver's uniform was painted using the "Citadel" Layer Doombull Brown in order to replicate the now out of production "Citadel" Dark Flesh paint scheme I originally used for the uniforms of my "West Wind Productions" British Infantry. Despite my unhappiness with "Games Workshop" over the replacement of their entire paint range I'll now use this particular colour for any future "Bolt Action" British that I buy from "Warlord Games."
Once again I applied a number of Allied decals to the truck from within an old bag of I won of "Airfix" and "Revell" Second World War vehicle transfers. Unfortunately, doubtless due to their age, many of these decals perished upon contact with water, so as a result, and until I can purchase some new decals, the utility truck will lack a fleet number on its bonnet.

Sunday 16 February 2014

Ground Zero Games Xenomorphs - Part One

I've finished painting the first figures from several packets of 15mm models I bought from "Ground Zero Games" at the Colours Wargaming Show in 2013. The aliens are all from the six-figure bag SG15-X01 Xenomorphs and I've based them on a (bigger than my usual) 40mm x 60mm base ready for some large scale tabletop battles using the "Science Fiction Companion" setting for "Savage Worlds".
They were extremely simple and quick to paint as all I did initially was undercoat them with "Coat D'Arms" water based paint 102 Black before heavily dry-brushing them with "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey. I then drenched the models in "Citadel" Nuln Oil to significantly reduce the contrast between the two colours and blend them together.
In addition I've assembled one of my latest acquisitions from "Warlord Games", an A11 Matilda Mark I Infantry Tank. This resin and metal model has proved rather difficult to construct due to some slight mis-alignments between the pins on the inside of the metal track castings and their corresponding holes on the resin body. In addition the turret's metal hatch doors have had to be re-positioned (from their more historically accurate pose) in order for them to have any chance of remaining glued to the resin turret during gaming.

Saturday 15 February 2014

German Zombie Horde In Helmets - Part Four

With a sense of some relief I've finished the final two German Undead models I plan to paint during my current obsession with the "Savage Worlds" "Weird War Two" setting. Like all the other models I've painted for my latest Third Reich Undead horde these 28mm metal miniatures are from "West Wind Productions" pack G-SOTR10 - German Zombie Horde In Helmets.
However I do still have enough enthusiasm left regarding the Walking Undead, to paint five models from the blister SOV-SOTR18 Soviet Zombie Horde. Utilising some heads from SHS-SOTR08 Soviet Gas Mask Heads In Helmets I'll be 'fielding' these figures as Axis Mustard Gas Breath Zombies.
In addition, purely as a simple distraction, I've finally started to paint one of the many models to have come from the "Judge Dredd" kickstarter by "Mongoose Publishing", as well as the first of a small batch of 15mm Xenomorphs by "Ground Zero Games".

I'm also trying to finish the lovely Flying Standard 10' "Tilly" Truck, complete with a splendid-looking British Army driver, which recently arrived from "Warlord Games".

Thursday 13 February 2014

German Zombie Horde In Helmets - Part Three

I've painted another two more models from the "West Wind Productions" blister pack G-SOTR10 - German Zombie Horde In Helmets. The "Secrets Of The Third Reich" 28mm metal miniatures were predominantly painted with my usual combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Grey and "Citadel" Nuln Oil for the figures' grey uniform. The dead officer's shirt was painted using "Vallejo" White and a Pale Grey Wash before I applied several layers of "Citadel" Baal Red and Carroburg Crimson in order to generate the impression that the garment is thoroughly stained with dried blood.
I only plan to paint another two models from this blister as frankly I'm pretty much all 'zombied' out for the moment. I do though still intend to complete the five Mustard Gas Zombies I've put together since the arrival of the my SHS-SOTR08 Soviet Gas Mask Heads In Helmets from "West Wind Productions".

Monday 10 February 2014

British Daimler Dingo Mk II Scout Car

I've finally finished painting a resin model I actually purchased from (the now defunct) "Bolt Action Miniatures" over five years ago. For despite me attaching the vehicle to a "Citadel" 60mm Round Base and undercoating it Chaos Black shortly after I bought it, I've never seriously attempted to paint the vehicle (until now) and as a result it had simply languished unwanted upon a shelf (along with the rest of that particular model order) for the past few years.
Painted predominantly using "Vallejo" Heavy Green, I then heavily washed the scout car with "Citadel" Shade Agrax Earthshade. The vehicle's stowage and spade were picked out using "Citadel" Calthan Brown or Dark Flesh and Boltgun Metal respectively. The decals are for XII Corps and I actually found them buried within an old bag of "Airfix" and "Revell" Second World War vehicle transfers I purchased from a 'bring and buy' many years ago.
Originally I tried to paint both the driver and the commander miniatures whilst they were super-glued in place but it eventually became abundantly clear that it would be impossible for me to reach some areas of the figures without separating them from the main model. Both soldiers' uniforms were painted with "Citadel" Foundation Calthan Brown and a Devlan Mud wash.
Next up on the painting table 'vehicle-wise' is this rather nice (though somewhat smaller than anticipated) Flying Standard 10' "Tilly" Truck from "Warlord Games".

Saturday 8 February 2014

Break Out From Belgium

Set somewhere on the French-Belgian border in May 1940, and using the "Savage Worlds" "Weird War Two" rules, our latest battle had a section of British Expeditionary Force Infantry, lead by a Sergeant and Sniper (as Wildcards) encircled by the Wehrmacht and desperate to push west towards the temporary safety of coastal France and the main Allied lines. To represent this situation we actually used the Break Out Mission (for "Flames Of War") that was recently published in the January 2014 issue of "Wargames Illustrated" and simply adapted some of its distances etc to better fit in with "Savage Worlds" and our 3' x 3' table. As a result the British forces would face a German Infantry Squad ahead of them, knowing that from somewhere behind them a horde of German zombies was rapidly approaching.
We set up in the deployment zones as stipulated within the magazine's article, and as both forces were in prepared positions we decided that our units could start the battle Prone if wanted; affording many a model with a -2 penalty (to be hit) as they counted in medium cover. With no sign of the shambling Undead, the British took partial cover within a two-storey house over looking part of the German trenches, and started riddling the earthworks with their Bren Gun. When it came time for the Germans to return fire, we agreed that the double-window (from which the British machine gunner had been firing from) would count as heavy cover, providing a -4 penalty upon the hapless Wehrmacht. 7.92mm bullets pinged around the window with one amazingly killing a British soldier stood beside the Bren Gun.
Elsewhere, the other party of British troops found their Sniper 's trademark weapon, a De Lisle Carbine, wasn't as reliable as thought and actually faulty. This meant the private risked the rifle jamming if he fired, so instead he hurled a No.23 MII grenade at the oncoming Wehrmacht soldiers, trusting to a strong arm (and a Joker). The grenade was right on target and none of the German's were agile enough to throw themselves out of harms way.
Despite both sides exchanging fire and slowly whittling one another down, the situation steadily worsened for the British as the Allied Force first found themselves Lost and disorientated on the battlefield (pushing the game forward a Turn after some failed Navigation rolls), and then under threat from an Air Attack as a German fighter swooped across the table. Having decided everyone outside was going to dive for cover (thus negating the pilot from making an attack) all the British lifted their heads up from the mud to see the Undead finally emerge to their rear from out of a nearby forest. The BEF's only saving grace being that the undergrowth beneath the Zombies counted as difficult ground, so would halve their movement until they left the cover of the trees.
A final turn of the British hurling grenades and firing for all their worth left the Wehrmacht lines practically deserted, but none of the King's men were close enough to the Axis side of the table to escape to safety, and the (greatly reduced) German forces were declared the winner. If only the British hadn't got Lost mid-way through the game...
We haven't decided whether to replay this mission for our next game or not, but would certainly like to have some additional forces (and Wild Cards) present during the fight. As a result one of the models I'm busily painting up is my "Bolt Action" Dingo Armoured Scout Car by "Warlord Games". This should give the Allies some much needed speed, so even if their forces do get Lost again, they'll have the opportunity to race to safety. 

Friday 7 February 2014

Heroclix Howard The Duck

Taken from the Marvel Secret Invasion "Heroclix" range by "Wizkids", I first removed Howard the Duck from his dial base and then from the two poor-looking dustbins the tiny plastic model was actually sculpted standing upon. He then sat on a shelf for several months before I finally painted him up using a selection of "Vallejo" colours, most notably Heavy Red for his jacket, Heavy Sienna for his trousers, Heavy Blue for his hat and tie, Heavy Ochre for his webbed feet and beak and White for his feathers. To try and generate the impression of bird's down, I treated all of Howard's white areas with a mixture of Pale Grey Wash and watered down Heavy Bluegrey, before 'dappling' them with more White. Both the trousers, feet and beak were then washed with "Citadel" Devlan Mud, whilst his hat and tie washed with Asurmen Blue and the jacket with Baal Red.

I'm not actually a fan of this figure as the "funny animal trapped on a human-dominated Earth" I grew up reading about in the late 1970's never wore trousers. However Disney's intervention (as Howard too closely resembled Donald The Duck) eventually resulted in Steve Gerber's creation wearing a pair of trousers; and this model is based on this later incarnation. In addition Howard regularly wore a blue jacket with red tie (whilst this model's attire is the opposite way round) but I was loathe to paint any additional layers on an already quite thickly painted model. 
Stilt-Man is model number 57 from the Marvel Sinister set and was simply super-glued together (as the plastic model comes in three pieces) before I undercoated him with "Citadel" Boltgun Metal and then washed him with Nuln Oil. I painted The Brain, from the DC Collateral Damage range, in a similar manner but picked out the DC Comics super villain's actual brain jar with "Vallejo" Heavy Red and a wash of "Citadel" Baal Red.
 The final model of this "Heroclix" batch is actually the first of several copies of the Thug from the Marvel Infinity Challenge set I plan to use as Minion Extras with the "Savage Worlds" "Super Powers Companion" explorer's edition. The miniature's vest was originally painted with a disappointingly ineffective "Vallejo" White undercoat and wash of Pale Grey and "Citadel" Ogryn Flesh, but I then repainted him with a combination of Heavy Bluegrey and "Citadel" Nuln Oil. His trousers were painted with an old pot of Shadow Grey I found and washed with Asurmen Blue. 

Thursday 6 February 2014

German Packed Light Machine Gun Crew

I've managed to finish painting the two models which make-up the "West Wind Productions" blister pack G-SOTR33 - German Packed LMG. I had to use some more of my old pots from my (quickly drying-out) collection of "Citadel Foundation" and "Citadel Washes" in order for the figures' colour scheme to match those of my previously painted "Secrets Of The Third Reich" German Mech Grenadiers. As a result each model's uniform was painted using a combination of Adeptus Battlegrey and Badab Black and their body armour using Calthan Brown and Devlan Mud. In order to try and replicate the old 'out of production' "Citadel" combination of Tallarn Flesh undercoat with an Elf Flesh highlight for their hands' skin, an undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone was applied before being heavily washed with an old pot of Ogryn Flesh. The fingers were then highlighted with more Heavy Skintone before a second wash of Ogryn Flesh was applied. In addition instead of using the bionic-eyed futuristic head which came in the blister, I fitted the Light machinegun carrying model with another of the standard heads from the pack SHS-SOTR01 German Gas Mask Heads.
I have also painted the GWHER 45 Auto Rifle carrier from a second G-SOTR33 blister in order to be able to 'field' a full eleven man pre-1943 Wehrmacht Infantry squad; complete with MG34 carrier, for "Savage Worlds" "Weird War Two". In previous games I've had to use models carrying assault rifles and submachine guns as stand-ins. Now these figures can actually represent the firearms they carry and can be deployed as potential 'straggling' German reserves, such as Fallschirmjager armed with StG44's, who emerge upon the tabletop as a complication/distraction.
In addition I've just one more Mech Grenadier model with a Field Cap and Visor head to replace with a Stahlhelm. However I'm going to leave that particular 'operation' until after the weekend's planned 'big game' and concentrate on painting more German Zombies with Helmets.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Weird War Two - Grenades & Zombie Reserves

One of my New Year Resolutions was to actually play more games, as opposed to paint simply half a dozen models for numerous rule systems and then pack them away in a box never to see the light of day again. As a result I've managed to get in a series of simple "Savage Worlds" games over the past few days, using the "Weird War Two" setting where we've tried to get used to some of the more basic rule mechanics and tested which home rules we like to complement them.

These short scenarios have basically consisted of two British Army Wild Cards (Sergeant and Sniper) alongside an Infantry section, attempting to eliminate either a horror squad of zombies or a pre-1943 Wehrmacht German infantry squad.

Such skirmishes have certainly shown that there needs to be a lot more thought put into the placement of terrain with these rules than simply sticking a load of trenches and barbed wire randomly on the table; albeit the grenade throwing exploits between the two closest opposing earthworks has proved one of the highlights of the gaming sessions.

Grenades in "Weird War Two" certainly seem a little too powerful for my money with a medium range of 10 inches, 3d6 damage and medium burst template. Indeed this has lead to everyone's immediate reaction once an enemy approaches close enough for a volley of No. 23 Mark II grenades to be hurled, and then a similar number of Stielhandgranates to be thrown in response by the survivors. No-one shoots or moves (unless diving for cover) but just stand there exchanging grenades like monkeys pitching bananas at one another.

To offset this we've employed a couple of home rules, most notably any soldier caught in the blast of a medium (or further) thrown grenade has the opportunity to throw themselves out of the way (i.e. Agility test). This has lead to situations more realistic/satisfying where the occupants of a trench will be displaced out into the open by a grenade's explosion (if they're lucky) and then potentially gunned down by the attacking force (particularly if there's a British Bren Gun carrier about). The other home rule is the grenade explodes whilst in the soldier's hand if they roll a Critical failure (i.e. Both the Wild Card's Throwing die and Wild Die come up as a 1). Originally we played where 'snake eyes' simply meant the grenade was a dud, but having 'upped' the ante somewhat we've found we now think twice before hurling a pineapple, and there's a real sense of anticipation around the table when someone does.
In our final game we employed the reserves rule found within the "Flames of War" rulebook by "Battlefront Miniatures" to create a sense of impending dread and urgency upon the British side. Essentially at the start of each round we rolled to see whether a terrifyingly full squad of eleven German zombies (including one rigged to explode with dynamite) would appear from the woodland behind the British emplacement. This was an excellent way of trying to force the attackers to press forwards rather than simply sit tight within their trenches. As planned, once the Undead did stumble their way onto the battlefield on Turn Three they caused some serious disruption to the discipline of the British soldiers as a result of the Fear tests they generated.

Saturday 1 February 2014

German Zombie Horde In Helmets - Part Two

These two miniatures are the next pair of models I've completed from the "West Wind Productions" blister G-SOTR10 - German Zombie Horde In Helmets. They were both painted in much the same way as the previous models from the pack with the exception of the one-armed officer zombie's uniform, which was painted with "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey before being washed with "Citadel" Badab Black.

Unfortunately I've had to put my plans to paint a quartet of models from the SOV-SOTR18 Soviet Zombie Horde blister on hold after I started gluing the miniatures' separate heads on to their bodies and found them to be significantly smaller in size than the other Undead model heads found within the "Secrets Of The Third Reich" range. As a result I've ordered both a blister of SHS-SOTR06 Zombie Heads and SHS-SOTR08 Soviet Gas Mask Heads In Helmets in the hope that these heads are of a good size. Indeed the Soviet gas masks look especially useful for the Mustard Gas Breath Zombies.

As part of this latest order from their website I've also purchased SHS-SOTR14 German Weapons Upgrade Pack and several blisters of G-SOTR04 Big Thug. With these I hope to create some Brutes, apparently one of the most common Nazi Horror minions encountered during "Weird War Two".
Whilst undercoating the two models from G-SOTR33 German Packed LMG, I've taken the opportunity to remove the Field Cap with Visor head off of several previously painted Mech Grenadiers, and replace them with heads from SHS-SOTR01 German Gas Mask Heads. I've never been impressed with the look of the visors, as they always seemed too futuristic for my liking, and much prefer the look of the Stahlhelm.