About Me

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I'm a bit of a born-again wargamer! I played many of the Games Workshop games when I was in my teens and early twenties, but left the hobby behind when I went to University. Over the last few years I have gradually got back into it and am literally having a ball! I'll play pretty much anything now, ranging from ancient historical to the far future! I think that I get more out of the painting side of things than actually playing, but that might just be because I get more opportunity. Hence the title...this blog is all about the colour of war!!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Gesso what!

As the weather steadily worsens into full blown winter I'm finding that there are fewer opportunities for getting outside and spray priming figures. And there's nothing worse than having time to paint but nothing primed. So I thought I'd give this stuff a go:

I'd read good things about Gesso on TMP and the tub you see above was only £5.99, so no big loss if it didn't work. However, I can say that I'm pretty happy with the result. The undercoat is pretty tough (you can handle the figure without worrying about exposing metal) and provides a really good key for the paint. It is quite thick, though, so you may want to take care with finely detailed figures. I haven't tried thinning it yet, so can't advise if that's an option. And needless to say, the amount I got will cover a lot of figures, so it's cheaper than spray paint, too. It's available in black or white, so if anyone finds themselves in the same priming predicament then I can recommend giving Gesso a go!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Guild are ready

Wow! It's been a while since I posted! I seem to have lost the cable for my camera so couldn't get the pictures off it and I didn't want to use my phone, but James has kindly loaned me a card reader so I can finally get some more pictures up here. Without further a-do here's Perdita Ortega and her crew!

I've started the Resurrectionist crew, but I've got a bit sidetracked with more Vikings. Hopefully I'll get them done before Christmas, as per my goal!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Malifaux or bust!

A couple of posts ago I talked about concentrating on a few rulesets so that I could get better at them and not be constantly changing from one week to the next. I realised the other day, though, that of all the rules that I shortlisted, Malifaux is the only one that I cannot actually play yet, as I don't have the figures painted. So, I have determined that I shall have 2 crews painted before Christmas! I've already posted pics of Santiago and Francisco Ortega, so no surprise that Perdita is the first Master I'll be tackling, but I also have the McMourning box. I took the opportunity of the Maelstrom sale to get a couple of extra minions that I like, too, so I should have enough for a smallish game once all done. I think I'll need to speed up a bit, however, so I'll probably not try to get as high a finish on the rest. Having said that...I'd had Papa Loco half finished on the paint bench for ages, so I just managed to basically finish him tonight. Nino is already half done, so I'll maybe try to finish the Ortegas to the same quality and just batter out the McMourning crew. That's the theory, anyway!! :)

I really need to get my camera battery charged! These were taken with my phone again, hence the lack of sharpness! Hopefully I'll get a group shot once all the Ortegas are done with a decent camera!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Lock up your daughters!

Just to prove that I am still around and do occasionally still paint some things I thought I'd post a picture of a work in progress - the Vikings! Since SAGA was announced Vikings and the Dark Ages in general are totally in vohgue, but these are actually a WAB army in the making. I've also finished 10 Hirdmen and 12 Bondi archers, except for the basing which I'll do all together. Yes...I've been sidetracked from the Malifaux painting, but I have another two of the Ortegas mostly finished and just need to push on to finish the full crew.

The boys are back in town!

Also, to prove that I actually game from time to time, too, here's a picture of a pretty good game of Shako II played at the club last Tuesday. My French infantry brigade (the lines in the foreground) saw off a Russian grenadier brigade which tried to break my lines at bayonet point! Much fun was had all round! I really like the rules and hope to play a bit more in future!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Santiago Ortega

First of all, I hate varnishing figures! Once again I applied just a smidge too much matt varnish (I use Humbrol spray varnish) and I got a bit of frosting on this figure. It doesn't look too bad in real life, but the photo really picks it up. As for the figure...I think I'm pretty happy with the end result, but it was just one of those figures that you sometimes struggle with. Various parts were painted and then repainted until I got to a point I was happy. Some figures I just seem to paint almost without thinking and they come out exactly as I envisioned, but others just seem like real hard work for some reason! Anyway...onto the pictures!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A bit of Flames of War and some musings

Played Flames of War for the first time in about a year on Tuesday and I had forgotten just how much fun it is! It gets such a bad reputation and it's a shame, because it really is a good system. It's core is simple and reasonably easy to remember, but all the wee bolt-on rules give it a lot of depth and character. My opponent, George, hadn't played before and he seemed to rather enjoy himself and I can see us playing more in the future. As it was his first game I thought I'd keep things manageable and built 1000 point armies from my American Rifle Company and my brother's Motorised SS Panzergrenadiers. We didn't have any scenario worked out so I just took plenty of grunts, a few tanks and some air cover for the US to let him get a feel for different aspects of the game. When we got there I set up a table that looked good to me and then we decided on sides and scenario. George took the Americans and ended up attacking in a Breakthrough game. With the forces he had, and against SS fanatics, that was always going to be a tough task!! And so it proved.

The battle starts!
I set up with my two platoons nicely dug in with reasonable fields of fire and attached an MG42 HMG to each to beef them up even more. The rest of the HMGs were placed on the objective which was designated the top of a hill. I had 3 Panzer IVs which were held of as reserves, too. George deployed in similar fashion with his LMGs attached from the weapons platoon and the mortars in the rear. He had 4 Shermans on the flank march that would bring them on behind the objective. He started his attack towards my leftmost platoon immediately, but very soon came under very fierce MG fire and sustained about 30% to 40% casualties. He retreated behind some walls which saved his troops from rapid destruction with the bulletproof cover rule. He just couldn't scratch the Germans in front, though, as they were also in bulletproof cover. So it devolved into a shooting match which the Americans just couldn't win, so George decided to bring up the mortars. However, I seized the opportunity to move 3 teams up to assault his remaining troops which resulted in the Rifle platoon breaking and taking the company commander with it.

The USAAF does it's bit while the PBI advances. The SS in the houses enjoy some good cover.

After softening the up the Germans do what the Germans do best! Counterattack!
Meantime, on the other flank, the second American platoon cautiously occupied a farmhouse and probed the German defenses there, but I think the bloody nose the first platoon had just received made him pause and they never really moved any further. By then my reserves had arrived and I decided to move them to intercept the Shermans as the infantry didn't need the support. Thus began the final showdown! I had moved a couple of the Panzers to start long range fire support against the Americans in the farmhouse and when the Shermans turned up they managed to get some rear shots and destroyed one and bailed another. But the German experience showed and they mounted and returned fire which destroyed one and bailed the rest! Once the Panzershrecks turned up and brewed up a second tank it was pretty much over and we called it. I really need to take more pictures next time!

I admit that the lists weren't perfect and the Americans could have done with more artillery support, but it was a good game still and I think George learnt a good deal about the rules and how you definitely need combined arms to shift dug in infantry. Small arms fire just ain't going to do it!

We also talked a lot about the direction our gaming has been taking. I'd been musing about this for a while and I think we are both in the same mind that the sheer number of projects that we've been attempting is just too much. Part of the problem is the number of new shiny rules coming out and the number of different game systems being played at the club. So we have decided to try and concentrate on a few systems that we can learn well and get some momentum up with. I think that for WW2 it will be Flames of War and Arc of Fire, plus Check Your 6! in the air. For ancients I think we're going to concentrate on Warhammer Ancient Battles which really appeals to me as I have many Fantasy Battle games under my belt from my teens and we're going to concentrate on the Dark Ages for now, which is a period that is new to me and so is quite exciting. In fact, after the really rough year I've had so far I think that a new period is just the thing to refresh my hobby and inject some enthusiasm again, which was waning a little I must admit!

Oh, and Malifaux! I've finished Santiago and will post pics as soon as he has some matt varnish on! :)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

First Malifaux figure - Francisco Ortega

Had a very nice and relaxing holiday in Cornwall for two weeks and now I'm back to painting again! Having finished the Fallschirmjager for the Crete games (photos will be posted when we re-play the Crete game) I am finally at a point where there is no real pressure to paint loads of figures for a game, so I thought I'd start on the Malifaux figures I have. I picked up the books and a couple of the starter boxes ages ago, but never got round to painting them. I've read the books and I think the game system looks really innovative and fresh, so I'm quite looking forward to giving it a try. Also, as there are only a few figures needed it's possible to spend a bit more time painting them, especially as they are all so individual. So here's Francisco Ortega, a Guild gunslinger!

Had quite a bit of fun painting this figure. In particular, it was my first use of Foundry paints, which was Buff Leather for the duster. I'm quite pleased with the end result and it really seemed to suit my style of painting. I didn't find that they needed that much thinning and over a black undercoat the shade tone needed a couple of coats, but once on the mid-tone and highlight went on fine. The colour is really nice and makes the duster look the part.

The base needed a bit of dressing too, so I got the greenstuff out (actually I needed it to fill the join in the arm of the next figure, Santiago, anyway). I thought that a skull with a bullet hole in the forehead would be a fitting decoration so went with that. Now, I've toyed with making faces with spare GS before but never quite got it right, so this was going to be a challenge, but I think it turned out alright. I'm starting to get more of a feel for the putty and I think I might be ready to start trying out a sculpt or two! :) Here's another shot of the base from a different angle.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Sarah the Seeress

Finished the latest Reaper figure, except for the basing. Unfortunately I won't be able to finish that for a wee while, so thought I'd just post a picture now, rather than later. Also, unfortunately, the battery died on my camera before I could get a decent shot, so I had to use the camera on my mobile phone, hence the slight loss of sharpness. You get the idea, though! I think that the gold looks a lot better than it did on the dwarf figure and I'm pretty happy with the progress I'm making on my non-metallic metal. Not entirely sure what my next figure will be but I'll probably try to keep practicing with that technique. Perhaps some more gladiators would be a good idea...!

You know, I'm not entirely sure how I managed to get this done so quickly, because what you haven't seen are the 15 or so 20mm German Fallschirmjager I've been doing also! Of course, the lovely Sarah was a lot more fun! :)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Another Reaper WIP

Since I tried out the new flesh paints I thought I'd keep going with the miniature as another WIP (was always going to finish it as it's for someone, though). The dress was base-coated with VMC Andrea Blue and shaded with GW Ultramarine and then some very thin VMC Dark Prussia Blue. The highlights were the base just mixed up with successively large amounts of Sky Blue.

I originally intended to paint her hair black, but I showed the initial flesh painted pictures to the bloke the figure is for and he requested red hair. I didn't want it to be too orange or yellow or else it wouldn't contrast with the blue enough, so I went for a kind of darker, more auburn redhead. This was achieved by mixing a spot of German Camo Orange Ochre into Chocolate Brown for the base and then a quick wash of Devlan Mud. The highlights were then picked out by adding more Orange Ochre  and some Yellow Ochre to the base coat and then finally by adding more Yellow Ochre and a spot of Deep Yellow. I'm quite happy with the result, especially as I chose the palette completely on my own! Hope Mark likes it too!! :)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Lifecolor Flesh Paint Set

For the most part I use Vallejo acrylic paints, but I always tended to use Citadel paints for the flesh tones. However, my pots of Dwarf and Elf Flesh were done and I was thinking of getting some Foundry paints as I'm colour-blind. This is a major pain in the derrier for someone that likes painting figures! The triads that Foundry offer look like just the ticket, but I was shown this paint set while I was at Wappinshaw a couple of weeks ago and I thought I'd give it a go. After all, it's 6 shades of flesh tones. So, for my first use of them I thought I'd blog the results as a kind of review, I suppose. 

 The lovely lass in the foreground of the first picture is my volunteer, or guinea pig, if you will. She is Sarah the Seeress from Reaper (again).

So here's the step-by-step as I applied the paint. For this first go at using their colours I followed the instructions on the back of the box, both on thinning, etc and the order the paint should be put on.

Base colour #1

Base colour #2

Shadow and highlight colours #1 

Shadow and highlight colours #2

A slightly closer view of the finished flesh.
So how did I find them? The back of the book recommends you use Lifecolor thinners (surprise, surprise) and I think I might pick some up. I used tap water as I usually do and found it to separate a little too easily. Hence, the finish might have been a bit better! The paints are intended for dioramas and bigger figures I think, but I think it works for a 28mm miniature. It's quite subtle...the light used to photo the figure was quite harsh, but in normal light it looks really good! All in, I'm happy with the purchase. I wouldn't use the full 6 shades on regular wargames figures, but I'll be tempted to try out the different shades as triads, although they are quite thin out of the pot, so I might just stick with trusty old Vallejo.

Oh, about the Foundry paints. I did actually pick up a couple of triads, anyway! I'll be posting my thoughts on them as soon as I get a chance to paint the figures (some Malifaux stuff) that I got the paint for!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Orin Ramheim, Dwarf Warrior

Finally finished the Dwarf figure from Reaper that I've been trying out some different techniques. Some I'm happier with than others, but then, some bits were quite a bit more challenging than others. The bronze I'm pretty happy with. The non-metallic metal iron I'm also quite happy with, especially as the gold runes have tied it all together. Which brings me onto the gold. This was quite a challenge! Some bits, like the gold rim of the ivory horn under his shield arm look really good, but some bits show that I definitely need some practice with this technique. Of course, a jewel encrusted goblet is maybe not the best thing to be starting out on!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Nearly finished

A bit more progress has been made on the dwarf. I finished the leather gloves and boots, as well as the horns. The leather was achieved using VMC Leather Brown with successive highlights by adding Yellow Ochre. The horns were Cork Brown, washed with Devlan Mud and then highlighted up with Ivory. The back of the shield and the shaft of the hammer were done with German Camo Black Brown and then the grain was painted in with Camo Medium Brown and then thinned Yellow Ochre.

Here's a closer shot of the shield. I used Yellow Ochre for this as well. I wanted a splash of colour for it, but not too bright, so that colour suited quite nicely. The shield detail is obviously not finished yet! :)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Bronze effect

Finished the bronze breastplate, helmet and groin protector and went on to do the cloak too as well as a couple of other bits. The bronze was accomplished using the glazing technique described on CoolMiniOrNot. Basically, I painted the base coat VMC Red Leather and then mixed up a very, very thin wash of the base with a touch of black and green in it. The wash was applied a few times to deepen the darker areas and then another bit of black added and the whole process repeated. The highlights were a bit of VMC Flat Flesh reddened slightly with Scarlet and then a bit of the base coat added. Again, the whole was thinned and applied to the high areas. The final highlight was VMC Pale Sand. The result isn't quite as luscious as the example in the link but I think it's not too bad. Next time I'll hopefully have some slightly more suitable colours and the photography might be a bit better...!

For the cloak I wanted a really deep, rich green and I found that VMC Luftwaffe Green was quite nice, so I went with that. I painted it straight on and then feathered in some of the same colour with some black added into the folds. The highlights were the base colour with some VMC German Camo Bright Green added and then again with some extra yellow added. I also painted this scheme on the trimmings of his mail coat and painted in his sleeves in a very light beige colour.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Trying things out...

So, as promised here's the first post of a 'work in progress' series as I try some new (to me) techniques out on a Dwarf miniature from Reaper. First off, the base. When I inspected the model it looked a little to me like there were coins on the stones he's standing on. So I got the idea that he has just won some fight over some gold or treasure and decided to build the base up accordingly. I got the greenstuff out and started building up more 'stones' and I then made some thin discs to sit on top, for gold coins. This looked OK, but I thought it needed a bit more dressing and I was feeling adventurous with the putty so I made a goblet, too. I did this by making a basic cup shape first and a disc for the base. I then drilled a hole in each and constructed the goblet with a section of a staple I cut and some super glue. Finally I built the stem up and added the details. I was quite pleased with the results! I'm hardly at Perry Bros standards, but hey, we all need to start somewhere.

I hit the face and beard next, as we're always told to do by the pros! As you'll see there's not a lot of face to paint, actually, so there's not really much I could have done. I went with a four colour scheme of VMC Beige Brown, 50/50 Beige Brown & Medium Fleshtone, Medium Fleshtone and then Flat Flesh. The beard was a mix of VMC Brown Violet and red for the base and then drybrushing Bright Orange and then again with some yellow added.

Next (and last for this post) was the chainmail and warhammer. This was my first go at non-metallic metal (NMM). I went with VMC Dark Grey as the base and successively added white, feathering the paint as I went. The result on the spikey bit are quite nice, but the main head of the hammer is perhaps a little muddy. I found it quite difficult to really get going on that part due to the runes getting in the way, but hopefully when they are done then it will tie the whole thing together.

Next up I will be tackling the fur lining of the cape and attempting to get a nice bronze effect on the breastplate and groin guard (or whatever that is called!).

Catching up!

Wow! It's been 2 months since I last posted to this blog! It's pretty much been work and other RealLife(tm) factors that have kept me away from blogging, and gaming too, in fact! Haven't played a wargame for quite some time now...possibly as far back as the last post bout MTS! I've managed a few boardgames in that time and have also managed to direct what little time I've had to painting and that has actually been quite nice. Been brushing up on my skills, if you will! :)

So, thought I'd kick off the blog again with some stuff I've managed to do and then start a 'work in progress' series of posts as I paint a fantasy Dwarf figure that I picked up and intend to try out a range of techniques that I wouldn't normally use on a wargames figure, namely feathering, non-metallic metals and 5-colour highlights!

So, first up we have the last of the foot for the FoG Roman starter army. This is a battlegroup of Campanian hoplites from Magister Militum with Veni Vidi Vici shield transfers. I must say, although the unit looks good enough, it was a real bore to paint! All those browns! Sheesh!

Next, I painted some more of the British WW2 troops up that I had lying around. I actually did these just to re-energise myself after the hoplites nearly broke my spirit! I had also found a palette for the uniforms that comes straight out the bottle that I wanted to try as it doesn't need any mixing (it's from this blog Crac des Chevaliers). The colour triad is Vallejo Chocolate Brown, English Uniform and Khaki Grey. I think the results are pretty good although someone might come along and tell me that it's a little too light, at which point I'll tell them the uniforms are faded! :)

Finally, we have some plastic Caesar German Fallshirmjaeger for Crete. OK, it's a little late now, but George (from the club) and I are adamant that we are going to play the SkirmishCampaigns Crete books and this little lot will go a long way to meeting most of the OOBs. I have some SHQ stuff to add, like mortars and MMGs, etc, but it should all be ready for the game in a couple of weeks. I have to say I was quite impressed with the plastics! I must admit that I was a little bit snooty about buying them, but they painted up quite well, despite a bit of a slap-dash approach (don't have time to do a proper job on them). Also, 2 boxes cost about £12! How much would 30 metal figures have cost! Plus I have a bag full of left overs (mostly carrying FG42s, so inappropriate for Crete).

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Morituri te salutant!

I've played a few games of Morituri te Salutant (MTS) and thought I'd post my thoughts on the game. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it is a set of rules that allow you to recreate gladiatorial games with miniatures. It uses a hex grid to play on and a plotting system where you plot you move secretly, but you have some options with your move should things change. I suppose it's not a million miles away from Check Your 6! (apart from just about every other aspect of the game!) which is a system I am a big fan of.

The Book
The rules can be purchased as a hardcopy or a PDF from Black Hat Miniatures and are really pretty cheap. I opted for the hardcopy as I couldn't be bothered printing them out and it wasn't much pricier. They production is certainly nowhere near the standards of many rulesets we've seen in the past couple of years, but that doesn't bother me. There's plenty of eye-candy on the internet and in magazines so I'd rather pay a few pounds for a simple rule set that works than a lavish, glossy book for a lot of cash that sits on the shelf for ever more! For example, the possible moves in the book are actually hand drawn, but who cares, as long as they are clear and unambiguous?

The Rules
Well...! A simpler set of rules it would be hard to find! There are only a very few pages on actual rules with the rest of the book taken up by various charts, campaign rules and gladiator stats. The game follows a very simple turn sequence where both players secretly decide on a move and then work out their initiative. This is a total of the gladiator's base initiative, an initiative value assigned to the chosen move and the result of a D6 roll. Each player then announces his total. In a two player game the highest placed player decides to go first or second. In a multiplayer game the gladiators go in initiative order, high to low. When it's a gladiator's turn to move they reveal the move and execute it; almost all moves are either moving hexes or attacking. Here's where the options come in! When it's your turn to execute your move you can convert the chosen one to another one from a limited set that is determined by the move you chose. The possible conversions all tend to make sense, so you can't convert a swing of your sword to a backpeddle, but you can change a thrust of a spear to a rush forward.

To the death...!

Attacks are carried out by cross-referencing the attack move against the move of the opponent and getting a 'to hit' difficulty and 'likely damage' probability. The 'to hit' range is Easy, Fair and Difficult, while the 'likely damage' range is Light, Moderate and Severe. You roll a D20 against another chart based on these values (and the protection rating of the target) and see whether you miss, stun, nick, cut, wound or kill the target. Stun results means the opponent has limited moves in the subsequent turn and all damaging hits also stun. Damaging hits all mount up, so getting nicked a third time gives you a cut, and so on.

Now, so far there has been mention of a few charts and I have to say that this would probably have put me off entirely from playing these rules. There is an awful lot of charts and they're kind of spread out, but thankfully Black Hat have posted a PDF set of move and wound cards on their site that incorporates all the information needed when plotting a move (these cards were put together by Frank Sultana who has his own blog called Adventures in Lead). This means that each attack only needs to read off two charts and this greatly speeds up play. If you were to invest in this set of rules then I'd strongly suggest acquiring these cards, especially as they are free!

The cards provided on the Black Hat site.

Every single game of this I have played has been a tense and exciting affair! Despite the simple mechanics the ebb and flow of each combat feels right as the gladiators circle each other and jostle for position before engaging. So far I have only managed to paint a Myrmillon and Hoplomachus (as seen on this blog) and the differences in each really show through. The Hoplomachus will try to keep the Myrmillon at bay while he jabs and thrusts with his spear, while the Myrmillon tries to close the gap and deliver a killing blow with his gladius. Falling down is a really bad thing to happen and you will be at a serious disadvantage, as is getting heavily wounded without damaging your opponent. If such a parity develops then it is hard to level the playing field as the effects of the wounds mount up. This is really a very satisfying game and I can only see that adding the campaign layer would make it that much more nerve-jangling!

Likes and dislikes
I definitely like this game. I've thoroughly enjoyed every bout and look forward to playing it more. It is quite a fast game and I wouldn't expect a bout to take more than 45 minutes. I think it feels right, is fun and is very simple to pick up.
I definitely don't like all the charts! As mentioned, if it weren't for the cards I doubt this game would ever see the light of my tabletop. I also think that the rules maybe need an extra house rule for fatigue. The main tactic of a lightly armoured gladiatior is to tire out a heavily armoured gladiator and try to get an opening they can exploit. Without wounding a gladiator this isn't possible with these rules, but I also think it wouldn't be hard to come up with something that would work. I intend to try out a few ideas and will post them here if any work.

So...to summarise, MTS is a fun, simple and quick to play gladiator game. I haven't tried any other gladiator games, so I can't compare them to MTS, but I can definitely recommend trying this out if you're looking for a gladiator game. It won't break the bank to get the rules (£6 for the PDF!) and you can easily print out a hex grid to try it before making a hex board.

The rules are available to purchase here:
Morituri Te Salutant rules

The cards are available for download here:
MTS cards and reference
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