Friday 28 October 2022

Here Come The Cavalry

Long time readers of this blog (both of them) might remember the following details:

1) Periodically I am drawn back to an ongoing interest in gaming the War of 1812 and have slowly been assembling a force of Americans for eventual use in Sharp Practice.

2) I hate painting horses.

The second fact explains why it's been three years since I last returned to the first fact, because what I needed to paint was these guys...

When I started working on a Sharp Practice force, my hodgepodge collection of miniatures best suited the 'Scouting Force' list in the War of 1812 setting book.

As such, I'd painted Line Infantry, Riflemen, Woodsmen and a few officers, leaving me with just some Militia Cavalry a couple more officers to do.

However, I did not have any Militia Cavalry models and so I decided to use such miniatures as I had to create the 1st US Dragoons instead, sacrificing the versatility of muskets for the hope of a glorious charge or two.

Button counters may wish to stop reading right now for the sake of their blood pressure.

The models that I had were half a box of Perry Miniatures French Dragoons that Matt had given me. Although at arms length they might pass muster as US Dragoons, to those who know what they are looking at these are all kinds of wrong.

However, as long time readers of this blog will be aware, expense is always a good counter to accuracy in the world of Cheaphammer, and the rest of my force plays fast and loose with mixing appropriate headgear in the Line Infantry.

The Perry miniatures themselves are nice enough, although I must admit that their age is beginning to show against some of the more modern plastics I've been painting recently.

The standard of painting on these is tabletop quality at best, as I'm never too keen on batch painting and older plastic models don't really play with my lazy painting approaches too well.

I still have three more models to paint (an officer, musician and whatever the Napoleonic word is for cavalry standard bearer) before the unit is complete, but I'm happy enough with them.

In addition to the Dragoons, I've also painted this mounted officer who I think will end up leading my Line Infantry.

The model is actually a British officer from Warlord Games (the uniforms were actually remarkably similar) and I've painted him in keeping with this painting of the Battle of Chippewa.

I'm still not a fan of painting cavalry, and probably Napoleonic cavalry more than most, this are nowhere near my best work.

However, I am pleased to be finally getting this monkey off my back after really quite a long time.

All this means that I'm making more healthy headway on painting more than I acquire, and I'm tempted to keep my focus on some older and unfinished projects for the time being, although I did by another model this week.

Acquired: 115
Painted: 178

Monday 24 October 2022

More Mordor

I genuinely had no intention of doing the whole Orctober thing, but it's just turning out that way.

I found myself in Wargames Emporium last weekend and took advantage of them selling single sprues to pick up some Wargames Factory Goblins to add to my burgeoning horde of Orcs for MESBG.

I was particularly keen to get my hands on some of these as the images I'd seen online were very reminiscent of the artwork of Angus McBride, who illustrated many if the source books for the Middle Earth Roleplaying Game (MERP) that o bought but never played back in the early nineties.

As such I endeavoured to construct my five Goblins in homage to the image above, which remains (along with the animated Lord of the Rings film) amongst my clearest references of what Mordor Orcs actually look like.

The best element of the sprues in my opinion are the very McBride-like helmets, and as you'd expect there are plenty of options for weapons.

The major downside is the fact that the arms don't really fit on the torsos and so they all needed trimming to work and ended up leaving some awkward shoulder joints.

The other odd element is the fact that two of the bodies are clearly designed to work as wolfriders (in fact there's a saddle on the sprue) leading to odd widely-spaced stances.

I've used these two as archers, partly because of the stance but also because they are more lightly armoured.

Here they are with some of the rest of the horde. They scale up well enough but have much larger feet and heads. They also have a more barbaric look than the LotR Orcs.

They aren't my favourite for several reasons, but I'm glad to have a little McBride tribute as part of my collection, and they add more variety to the table.

I've also been doing a bit of selling off some of my dad's unpainted miniatures. However, along with a bundle of Scots Pikemen and English Archers from the Battle of Flodden, I also sold 30 miniatures my dad had given me years and years ago.

20 similar models from the same range actually featured on the very first post on this blog back in June 2011.

Although I sold about 100 miniatures, I'm only counting the 30 I had beforehand in terms of lowering the acquired tally, as I hadn't bothered to count the rest in.

This does mean that my stats are probably the healthiest they've been all year. I'm quite conscious after the last few years that I need to build up a bit of a bulwark in the run up to Christmas if I'm going to paint more than I acquire and continue to reduce the lead pile.

Acquired: 114
Painted: 171

Saturday 22 October 2022

Who Do You Think You Are Kidding?

A few weeks ago I painted up most of the Nazi/Undead invasion forces for the Vlad's Army feature pack for 7TV.

Today it's the turn of the stalwart defenders of good old Blighty: the Home Guard of...'Walsingham-on-Sea"?

I had originally intended on using a cobbled together force from my VBCW/Operation Sealion army for Vlad's Army, but back in the summer at the 7TV Fantasy day, I was surprised to receive on of the 'Most Sporting' awards, and my prize was a Dad's Army box for Bolt Action from Warlord Games.

Given that the defenders of Walsingham-on-Sea are less than loosely based on Captain Mainwaring & Co. I figured I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth and would do this properly.

The box contains 18 metal miniatures of the main characters both in and out of uniform, along with a few additional characters from the show.

The sculpts are very characterful and some of the facial expressions are excellent. I particularly like the gormless looking Private Godfrey.

Despite the character they have, I often find the casting of Warlord Games metal miniatures to be a bit rough, requiring more clean up than other manufacturers I use for Bolt Action (Artizan or Crusader for example).

Thus was particularly true for Corporal Jones, who needed some hefty chunks of flash removing.

This set also represents the first time I've painted WW2 British, and so I had to actually do some research rather than just slapping on what I had available.

I used a base of Vallejo English Uniform, with Khaki for the webbing and Ushabti Bone for the packs and gaiters. A coat of Agrax Earthshade later I highlighted up the webbing, packs and gaiters for contrast. Helmets were done with US Dark Green, with lighter green highlights on the leaves.

Vallejo always seems to be my go to brand for painting WW2.

Although intended for Vlad's Army in the short term, this unit can also feature in Bolt Action should I ever return to Operation Sealion. They will serve adequately as Old Soldiers in a Home Guard list, or even as the actual characters, as there are special unit rules for the cast.

As mentioned earlier, the box also contains duplicate sculpts of the main characters before they received their official kit.

Although not needed for Vlad's Army, it seemed a shame not to get them painted at the same time, and they can easily work as LDV (Local Defence Volunteers) in Bolt Action.

I believe their outfits and equpment are based on the Dad's Army TV movie which charts the formation of the unit.

As such, the painting was a bit more fiddly that for the models in uniform, especially Jones' apron, the LDV armbands and Pike's scarf (although that is on both versions of the stupid boy).

Again, these are a characterful bunch, but I'm disappointed in Walker. Not only does he have quite a nondescript pose, he also has a distorted face.

Additionally he's not armed with the shotgun he arrives at the first training session with, much to Mainwaring's chagrin. It feels like a missed opportunity, especially as LDV units can include a couple of shotguns.

Naturally, wherever the Home Guard go, Warden Hodges will be there to annoy them, and so he also has sculpts both in and out of uniform.

Given that he's unarmed in both poses, he is likely to feature in Vlad's Army as one of the civilians that are destined to be bitten by a vampire or rescued by the Home Guard.

It's not clear which fate Hodges would dislike more.

Finally, to round out the set, we have the Vicar and the Verger. Not only are these characters likely to feature as civilians in Vlad's Army, but the clergy can be useful in a range of settings, meaning that they have the potential to be the most used miniatures in the set.

They turned out a bit shiny even after a coat of matt varnish. Not sure why.

And that's it. 18 painted but I also bought another 14 miniatures from Wargames Emporium, taking advantage of them selling individual sprues. You'll see some of them pop up soon.

Acquired: 144
Painted: 166

Friday 7 October 2022


Second post in October and another Orc. One could be forgiven for thinking that I'm participating in the Orctober painting challenge.

I'm not.

Not because I have any particular objection to doing so, but more because I don't think that I currently have any more Orcs waiting to be painted.

This entry is Grishnakh, the Orc that chases Merry and Pippin into Fangorn Forest and ends up getting crushed by Treebeard simply because he likes a little bit of leg.

My usual slapdash Orc approach was adopted and it continues to serve me well. I might go back and darken some of the metal up with another wash.

Grishnakh is one of my favourite characters in the books, as he's a sly sneak whose playing both ends against the middle and knows more than he should.

This was lost in the movies and too many similar changes in character were part of the reason why The Two Towers is probably my least favourite of the three movies whilst being my favourite of the books.

I've decided that I will also use Grishnakh as a dismount for Sharku. They look and are armed similar enough and it saves me having to track down a separate dismount.

It also means that Grishnakh will now feature in three scenarios in War in Rohan, although one of them is likely to be over quickly as it's just him against Merry, Pippin and...Treebeard...

I might have a root around in the bits box to see of I have anything else Orcish to paint this month, but I'm making no promises.

I'm off to The Other Partizan on Sunday, so I need to pick up some speed to ensure I don't slip back into the red.

Acquired: 130
Painted: 148

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Tabletop Warg Games

September is never a productive time for me. The return to work after the summer break really interrupts my painting flow.

However, come October, I shake my self out of it and get moving again...back in the saddle, as it were.

With the excellent Rings of Power* on TV, I suppose it was only natural that my focus would shift back to Middle Earth with these six metal Warg Riders I've had sitting in a box for a couple of years.

The Warg Riders are actually the major obstacle to me not making further progress in both the Quest of the Ringbearer and War in Rohan campaigns, so you can probably expect some more installments of those soon.

In terms of painting, I kept things quick and dirty, like I have with all my Orcs. A black undercoat with a variety of blacks, greys and browns given a Liberal dose of Agrax Earthshade and then a light drybrush.

I have again varied skin tones in keeping with the trilogy movies and I did put effort in to getting the Wargs to match the ones I repurposed from my undead army.

I did a little bit of customisation to add a touch of variation to the three identical spear-armed models. The arms were separate to allow for different positions and I added a couple of shields from the Oathmark Dwarf sprue and swapped a spear for a scimitar from the Oathmark Goblin sprue.

The final model of the six is actually a character. Sharku is the leader of the Warg attack on Theoden's column of refugees heading for Helm's Deep.

I've actually done his skin too dark and orange, so I may revisit him later. However, as he's a movie-only character and only in a single scenario, I may just leave it as he'll be a regular Orc most of the time.

In other Middle Earth news, Pete, Matt and I restarted a Battle Compaines campaign with Pete donning the mantle of a Dwarf Lord, Matt revelling in his inner Goblin, and me captaining the horseless horselords of Rohan.

Across three games, we all experienced mixed fortunes. Pete managed to lose both his games and yet still get the best upgrades for his warband; Matt managed to get his leader killed (by me) but did overwhelm the Dwarfs; whilst I ran rings round the Goblins but came up short against some Orcs stood between me and the Dwarfs.

I did get a horse and an upgrade for my leader though, so I do now have a single rider of Rohan.

On top of this, although not Middle Earth related, my rpg group managed to assemble online for the first time in a long time and continue our WFRP campaign in the Border Princes.

This has allowed me to tick off one of the last five boxes on my Hobby Bingo card. Only four to go.

Acquired: 130
Painted: 147

* No, I don't want to hear why you don't like Rings of Power. I care not a jot.