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!

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Debriefing

Well, 2021, what can we say about it? A friend called it "the year in which nothing happened, again."

I've been busy hobby-wise, holding back waves of depression and anxiety with paint brush and dice. And shopping. Bought more books and miniatures this year than ever before I think. But otherwise it was very much the same, except more focused on the Napoleonic Wars than last year, 2020 seemed to have been more diverse.

But, I knocked a bunch of stuff off the leadpile, some of which had been maturing for years, having sat in boxes for over a decade or even 15 years.


I painted something for every period except 15mm Seven Years War, Samurai and Colonials this year I think.

15mm with repurpose plastic toy

15mm Forged in Battle for O Group

3D printed figures have been a new thing this year too. Cars for the gangsters, Orcs for Mordor, and a 15mm AFV.

28mm Knucklebones 3d printed Orcs

3d printed cars

The huge, totally unexpected effort this year turned out to be Napoleonics. It is where I started so many long years ago, and I've returned to it with some maturity as a player and painter, and a deeper wallet than when I was a callow youth with only Airfix figures! The results have been pleasing.

This knocked a big whack of very old stuff off the leadpile. Of course, I also seemed to add a bunch too. Fortunately, I've gotten most of it painted, so the leadpile has still seen a net decrease. I think.
Warlord Prussians

Old leadpile

New period/project always prompts new terrain too.

Perry Prussians with Warbases houses

Discovering Front Rank figures has been a joy, I must say. I'm glad I went out of my comfort zone to order some before the company got sold. 
Front Rank Russian command base

Perry Prussians

Front Rank civilians

I always liked the Prussians, and am finally building that force that I've always wanted, but the Bavarians were a completely unplanned and happy accident when I determined that I would get more play value out of the Russians and Prussians if I built an in-house opponent for them. I've always wanted a Bavarian army too because of the Ruppenhelms. An ancestral connection to Bavaria made them even more special.

Boom! Not bad for 6 months work.

First Bavarian unit. Hat figures

Perry Chevauxleger. Really happy with the officer

Front Rank schutzen

Front Rank command group

Perry limber. It's nice being able to afford limbers, caissons and wagons too!

Super economical MDF wagons with metal horses from Warbases

I thought games had dropped off this year, but a late flurry in the fall with an easing of Covid Restrictions really boosted the numbers back up. This year I had 20 games, which was the same as last year.
  • 5 virtual (Coastal Command, What a Tanker, Packing Heat, CoC x2) 
  • 9 face to face (GdA, O Group, Infamy, SP, BtH, DR, IABSM, TCW, Zombies) 
  • 6 solo (BtH x3 SP x2, DR) 
I naturally thought the focus was Napoleonic, but the games were different form the painting output obviously:
  • 9x WW2 (including 4x Bag the Hun)
  • 4x Napoleonic 
  • 3x fantasy
  • 2x Gangster
  • 1x ancient 
  • 1x WW1

Looking back at last year's retrospective produced a fine list of Things I Planned, But Didn't Do This Year:
There's some nice 15mm WW2 and SF pieces in the stash I should build. Also a platoon of German paratroopers started. And Goths, Prussians Swiss and Samurai to paint.

For terrain I still want to build some urban ruins and clear the collected crap out of the way. Same with my 15mm science fiction. Corridors and room modules for a colony are on the list. 

Game wise, more of last year plus I want to take a look at adapting Contact Front to my Firefly in the Expanse games. Adding a ship component with scratch built ships is in the back of my mind too.

So for 2022, I'd like to

  • Play more Napoleonics, or air, or Middle Earth, or WW2 or anything really 
  • Build a castle for Middle Earth and Medieval
  • Build urban ruins for 15mm WW2
  • Build SF corridors and Off-world Colony terrain 
  • Sort out my ideas for a SF/Contact Front hybrid
  • finish the Bavarians and Prussians
  • keep smashing the leadpile down
  • buy less, but keep painting output up

New projects? Who knows? Maybe this year will be the year I add a proper Dwarf army to Middle Earth? But I've also just discovered 3D printed proxies for Epic 40K, which is a game I regret getting rid of.

My gaming projects always seem to be a series of happy accidents. I hadn't planned on Napoleonic Bavarians this year either.

Watch this space.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Covid Cottages

Getting conjunctivitis as part of my Covid symptoms over the holidays has thrown a spanner into painting plans. Fortunately these buildings from Warbases are simple enough that I didn't have to focus too much and even did some of the work one-eyed!

I started building on them November 25, but set them aside while I overthought the roofs and built the supply wagons.

They are fast and easy to assemble. In hindsight I should have painted the walls and timbers before assembly, but I am an impatient modeler. The two story building says that the roof isn't removable. Challenge accepted! I added some interior supports with balsa wood and cut a floor out of card. Then I cut some roof trusses out of corrugated box board. I also topped off the open chimneys with some proper chimney pots made from plastic tubes.

Adding a second floor and making the roof removable

Fast assembly

An hour's work

The laser cut MDF roofs aren't overly inspiring, so I cut a bunch of 1 cm by 1.5 cm shingles out of cereal box card and reshingled the roofs over Christmas Day and Boxing Day while watching Hallmark movies and socializing in the living room with Mrs. Rabbitman and Daughter No. 2.

Roof before

Roof after shingles

Painting details on Prussian musketeers was an issue, but I could still slap paint on bigger things like roofs and walls, so I did. I didn't bother priming first. I just lathered on the craft acrylics.

One of the cottages did not have a chimney, which bothered me. So I added one with a chunk of insulation foam and inscribed the brick details and flue with a pointy tool.

The other two houses have MDF chimneys, with laser etched stone work which was less than thrilling, so I've masked it with a fast and impressionistic paint job.

I flocked the small lip of the MDF base to help tie the buildings into the table top.

I have plans to make a walled courtyard to join the two story house with the barn using some styrene brick sheeting I have. But that will be for January.

Managed to finish a 2nd battalion of Prussian musketeers while I was at it!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Christmas Plague

Well, I seem to have contracted the Plague. 

Plans to get together with the Mad Padre and Scott have been scuppered.

My personal set of symptoms (which seem to shift daily) include conjunctivitis which even makes painting and reading difficult. I have been working on some MDF buildings from Warbases, and they aren't overly detailed, so I think I can  manage those. But the straps and belts on the Prussian musketeers that are almost done, maybe not.

So an unwelcome and not terribly productive extension to my Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Canadian Big Guns

Knocking a few random 15mm WW2 pieces off the lead pile this week.

A friend gave me this 3D printed Archer SP AT gun a few years back when 3D printing was still pretty new and exciting. The detail and resolution aren't great. There are horizontal lines from the resin layering. But it was free. 

It mostly sat because of the empty fighting compartment and needing to find suitable figures. Discovering that the crews wore tin hats was a big help. Also finding out that some Canadian SP AT regiments used Archers also helped motivate me to finally get it done. A couple of shades of green and then some dirt and that'll do.

Archer and 25 Pounder crew were painted with Tamiya Kahki over a brown undercoat. Tamiya tan for the webbing. Olive green helmets. 

The 25 Pounders are a gift from the Mad Padre, who bought some for his Operation Husky O Group project. The models are from Forged in Battle. The nice thing about O Group is it gives one an excuse to have medium or heavy artillery models in the collection. Up until now, my artillery has always been represented by a FOO with the guns off table.

I've always liked the 25 Pounder. It was such an iconic, workhorse artillery piece. Read The Guns of Normandy if you'd like a very good front line view of life in a 25 Pounder Regiment during the Normandy campaign.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Economical Bavarian B-Echelon

As I have often said, I do like a nice bit of rear echelon supply transport for my armies. But often wagons are an expensive luxury and like limbers are left out of the collection. For big battles the wagon park isn't really important. but for Sharp Practice I hope these will become the focus of some games.

I got myself some clever MDF wagon kits from Warbases and their Napoleonic Carts and Wagons range. They also provide metal draft horses and generic drivers. The drivers are without any identifying headgear, so just paint the jacket and trousers in the appropriate colours for the Transport Corps of your choice! Even with the resin top, metal horses and drivers each wagon came to roughly half the cost of buying metal wagon kits. The Perry wagon would cost me around Cdn$30. And I would have had to do a head swap to make the driver not French. The Warbases wagon with the extra canvas cover, pair of draft horses and a driver cost me Cdn$18.00 all together, so an easy decision.

Assembly was a bit of a puzzle but I sussed it out after some trial, a bit of error,  and referring to the website.

Notice broken hoops. Fortunately I only needed one set.

Ready to paint! 

For the rigid top, which in my mind is so typical of supply wagons during the era, the pre-creased cardboard top needed to be wetted and formed around a cylinder of the correct size (in my case, a marker barrel), then glued and clamped into place over the hoops.

Supply wagons at the Battle of Leipzig 1813

Good progress during a paint and chat over Zoom

The canvas cover is a solid resin piece that you can buy separately. 

The rigid top wagons seemed to have been used for either powder or bread.

For basing I decided that they're going to be on roads mostly, so I'd repeat the trick that I used on my samurai baggage and the mule train by keeping flocking to the edges. White self-adhesive flower tufts from Shadow's Edge continue the Alpine theme that I have on other Bavarian bases. I strategically placed extra flock and tufts to obscure the high edges to the bases on the horses.

Now my Bavarian Army has wagons for their beer, sausages and pretzels! A vital objective for Hans and Franz to guard from marauding Russians and Prussian Freikorps. I can see myself getting some Cossacks and maybe Lutzow's Freikorps next year.