In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, May 28, 2023

UNMC Marines Repainted

I decided that I didn't like the olive green paint scheme on my UNMC Marines. The Tamiya paint I used went on thin, giving me some natural highlights, but not consistently. And the very realistic, everything is green, scheme made a lot of the wonderful details on the Ground Zero Games sculpts disappear.

Marines in the old paint scheme defending the FOB from Martian attack

So it just wasn't doing it for me.

Everyone got overpainted in "Neutral Grey" then dry brushed "Dove Grey." Weapons were painted black with "Neutral Grey" dry brushing to make them stand out a little bit, but still be camouflaged. Visors were yellow again. A "Uniform Blue" dot on the shoulder was a nod to a UN badge. One of the command figures got a red helmet stripe and another got two blue helmet stripes so I can tell which unit has my force commander in game. I also took the opportunity to paint out the colour coded dots I had put on bases so I could tell who was what for my old rules.

Power Armour team. Just in case I want to put my force commander in an elite team, one of them has a red helmet stipe too.

Fast and simple. Took me longer to think about it than to actually do it, which is the story of many hobby projects really.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

First Quar!

With their new ride (see previous post)

Sunday morning of the Victoria Day long weekend. I'm in my bathrobe, drinking tea, eating ham and egg breakfast sandwiches, and watching The Expanse, as you do, when the door bell rings.

It's Mormons. Or somebody else selling something.

Reluctantly I pause Amos and put my sandwich down (they were pretty good if I do say so myself).

It's not Mormons. It's Lorenzo, whom I haven't seen in an age and a half. 

"Hey, it's me!" he says and hands me some baggies.

I wave at his partner standing beside their lemon yellow VW Bug and then look at the baggies.

It's the handful of Quar he bought on a whim many, many years ago and showed to me all those years ago to plant the seed of my enduring fascination with the adorably goofy sentient anteaters. 

"Here you go, have fun!" and he leaves on his Sunday road trip.

After a few hours moving rose shoots and engaging in mortal combat with an overgrown forsythia I got them assembled before dinner.

4x rhyflers with 12mm Bogen automatic shotguns and a yawdryl (Sergeant) with a lighter automatic weapon. One rhyfler is carrying a grenade. 

Interesting models. Separate heads. Different heads. Separate weapons. Multiple pack options; there's a main pack with bed roll and then different small packs to attach above. Extra bits; grenades, a knife, some more pouches. 

Different pack options 

There was a bit of "is that flash, or an arm?" The left arm on one figure had broken off during their time in Lorenzo's storage. Took a bit of trimming and tweezer work to fit it back into place. I made liberal usage of superglue accelerator too.

A couple of sessions with the paint brushes and we have my first unit!

I have deliberately painted them like WW2 Canadians; Tamiya XF-49 Khaki for the uniforms, Vallejo 103 German Camo Beige for the webbing, Tamiya XF-51 Khaki Drab for the helmets.

Note knitted hat under helmet 

Close up of Yawdryl (NCO)

I seriously thought about leaving their lovely round puddle bases as is, but I'd rather store them on magnetic sheeting rather than let them rattle around. 

Quar "Cadier" Class Armoured Utility Tractor

Nog closed the driver's hatch and settled into his seat. He carefully adjusted the idle on the rumbling engine as the squad of rhyflers climbed aboard his Cadier Armoured Utility Tractor. 

The Cadier, named after the cavalry mounts, was a rugged work beast. They had proven useful for many tasks; resupplying forward positions and extracting casualties while under fire, towing light artillery and transporting heavy weapons teams, or like today, armed with a heavy automatic shotgun and squad of infantry to do some patrolling. 

They were part of a two tractor patrol. The Alithean light war tractor would lead, they would follow to provide dismounts to check any buildings along their route.

The Alithean revved it's engine, spewing black exhaust as the commander waved the 'advance.' The Yawdryl banged on his roof. "Arrit there Nog? Let's go." Nog adjusted his goggles and put the vehicle into gear.

Nog drove with his port open. He could see better and he liked to feel the wind on his snout as they clattered along. Patrols always gave him a thrill and made him feel like the cavalry of old, feeling the wind as they rode their cadiers, searching for the enemy.

Flashes of light from the brush beside the road got his attention as simultaneously bullets spanged loudly on the side of his compartment. 

"Contact left!" He heard the Yawdryl shout as the heavy shotgun began thrashing the brush with flechette rounds. 

The Alithean ahead of him ground to a halt as smoke began coming from the engine. It's turret began to turn, but then stopped as the crew bailed out of hatches billowing smoke, only to be cut down by machine gun fire.

Nog dropped his port closed and slewed his tractor to the left. "It's a charge lads!" he shouted and stomped on the accelerator. 

He could hear the heavy shotgun banging away as they bounced over uneven ground towards the location of the enemy fire that, fortunately, was still focused on the bigger Alithean. 

A previously hidden ditch, filled with shocked enemy rhyflers, suddenly appeared. Nog stood on the accelerator with a "Yeeee!" and the Cadier hit a small mound and bounced over the ditch to crash heavily on the other side. The Yawdryl fired down the length of the ditch, slaughtering the exposed ambushers, while his rhyflers jumped out to finish clearing the brush.

Nog climbed out unsteadily. He sat on the edge of his hatch and got his pipe going with shaking hands while he watched the rhyflers collect wounded tractor crew and roughly pick up a prisoner.. The Yawdryl returned with documents taken from the dead for the Intelligence nobs to examine. He looked at Nog, grinning and shaking his snout. "That were madness. What were you thinking lad?"

Nog shrugged. "I weren't."

Examining Quar war tractors for the 15mm Quar on the Zombiesmith store, and a lot of other fanciful tanks too, for that matter, shows a lot of solid sides covering track wheels with just the treads showing. Take a look at a 40k Rhino or Leman Russ.

"Well, I can do that!" I said to myself. So I started messing about with foam core and card to build a basic hull, inspired by Zombiesmith's designs (check the 15mm Quar for a selection of War Tractors. The 28mm vehicles are out of production for the time being).

I was thinking about using the Airfix Coastal Gun to make a self propelled artillery piece.

But I didn't like the balance and it wouldn't have a role really, except maybe as a target. Plus it will be awhile before I can make crew.

I then had a few false starts trying to make a turret before settling on a Quar version of the ubiquitous Bren Carrier. 

My new Quar squad tries it out before they get based!

It is armed with a Pulp Figures cannon from pack PSS 08 "Light Deck Weapons".

The driver is one of the extra heads that came with the Quar figures (about which see my next post).

Base colour is Tamiya XF-58 Olive Green with camouflage stripes in Americana Evergreen.

The tactical marking is definitely inspired by the red divisional patch worn by 1st Canadian Infantry Division during WW2. The Quar Crusader badge at that size looks a lot like a maple leaf too. ;)

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Unobtanium Processing Facility from Garbage

Xenos Rampant has spurred me on to finish some long pondered, but not completed, terrain projects. The need for more cover has certainly helped motivate me to rummage through my boxes of "useful garbage" that I started collecting a few years back when I started the 15mm Science Fiction project. 

Here is the Unobtanium Processing Facility that I started a few years back, got frustrated, and then shelved. 


It was lacking something, and too symmetrical. So I ripped the silos off and played with different arrangements. 

There used to be a company in town called Fram, that made oil filters. Somehow I came into possession of a Fram piggy bank made from an oil filter. The busy end, minus the plug to keep coins in, I thought looked interesting, like something raw ore would get dumped into. Careful positioning to hide the coin slot and add some Kinder Surprise eggs, and we have this:


The silos are made from CnC mill bit containers. I glued four in a row onto a piece of paneling and hot glued greebles on top. The pink things are from rolls of paper towel.

Some spray painting and voila!

I treated the processing plant the same, with sand on the base and various coats of spray paints, involving some elaborate masking to spray the white on the low building. The chemical tanks were painted in yellow and red to make them pop.

This will add some height and drama to my battlefields now, as well as giving a narrative reason for any settlement and ground forces to be actually deployed. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

All Quar on the Croftyan Front

Podwyn opened his ration bag and peered inside. He sighed with the deep resignation that all common soldiers everywhere had carried in their packs since war began. 

"Grubs. Again."

Derfel lifted his snout out of his own sack. "Aye. Bit bland. Here mate, sprinkle a few o' these on top." Derfel handed him a screw top tin kept carefully in a side pouch of his pack.

The tin was one thirds full of dead, red crickets. Legs and bits of carapace had come loose. Podwyn carefully sprinkled some over the top of his grubs. The added spice and crunch would be a welcome pleasure. He carefully screwed the lid back on and handed it back.

Derfel waved it away. "Ach. Yin keepin' it. Me Pa an' Ma jus' sent same agin,' wif new socks!"

Podwyn was humbled by the gesture. "Thank 'ee brother."

"Nae botha. Us poor milwers need to help each other out, ya ken?"

Podwyn ate some grubs and sighed with contentment this time. "That's champion!"

"Just like yon Nan's, eh?"

"My Nan would put red crickets on fried earth worms. Bliss!"

Podwyn was the new quar in the crew of the war tractor and was assigned as Second Machine Gunner. He and Derfel manned the machine guns protecting the flank of the tractor in an attack, keeping enemy bombers away and shooting down into their trenches as they rumbled over top.

A pykpyk sat on a nearby log, observing them cautiously. He plucked an unseasoned grub from his bag and tossed it. With an excited chitter, the small animal leapt after the morsel, and after stuffing it into it's cheek pouch, scurried up a tree to enjoy it in safety. 

"Aye. Got ta look after each other."

Maethwyn, the mechanic, shouted from the side hatch, where he had been minding the tractor's water boiling vessel. "Ayup you lot! Tea's up!"

Derfel got up and retrieved his mug from his pack. "Well, there's tea. So it's nae so bad and all."

I have been spending a lot of mental energy this past week thinking about Quar, looking up late First World War infantry platoon organizations, pouring over the Zombiesmith's webstore, playing with troop building in Xenos Rampant, thinking about Quar some more, planning trench modules, thinking about Quar, and figuring out how I want to approach the project. 

In a fit of wanting to do something, I set about an old VSF steam tank that I had made to fight Pete's VSF Russians along the Northwest Frontier about 15 years ago. I had built a card body to fit over the bottom of a 1/35th scale Panzer II. The design owed a lot of inspiration to the A7V and the St. Chamond. I painted it white (to reflect the Afghan heat), with black smoke stack and ventilation grilles, sort of like Royal Navy ships of the era. The main gun was made from a tubular, brown plastic coffee stirrer and a piece of sprue.

Panzer II chassis

With smokestack

Time for a change. First I painted it in French style dazzle camouflage. Then I decided that the smoke stack was too VSF and replaced it with an exhaust grille and added another ventilation grille on the blank side.

The original design had always meant to have ball mounted MGs on the sides. But over thinking how to make the balls induced anxiety and procrastination, which meant they weren't added.

Finally, after going around a couple of solutions several times,  I just said "F*k it. Finished and not perfect is better than not finished but perfect in my imagination." I cut a plastic craft bead in half with my Dremel and applied liberal amounts of superglue. 

The Vickers gun barrels are from EBob via a friend of a friend, made specifically for scratch building AFVs.

After that, it was just an hour or so of touching up the paint.

28mm figure for size

Now I just need to compose my soul in patience until Wargames Atlantic puts the set up for order. Jason at Zombiesmith says late summer is the anticipated time. Until then, it's back to Napoleonics and Middle Earth on the painting queue.