Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flames of War: My plunge

...into World War II.  I'm not a huge WWI or WWII buff, the Crusades, Viking, and Roman history is more my thing.  That said a couple of people that I game with talked me into trying out Flames of War.  So on we go, I'm planning to do a U.S. Force.

What I did was purchase the FoW Open Fire box set.  That is a pretty good buy for the entry level.  I traded the German Infantry out for more Airborne Infantry. So now I have a bunch of English Shermans and a pair of Fireflies.  The Shermans I will use for the U.S. forces for the time being.

I've worked with a lot of bad plastic kits over the years, I must say Battlefront's plastic Sherman kit ranks right up there with the worst of them.  Not very impressive at all.  The right set of tracks are warped on all of the sprues. The tank chassis does not fit together well at all without lots of clamping and filing.  After doing one of them with a minimal gaps, I decided that was just too much work for a 15mm miniature, so I just glued the rest of them together and filled the gaps with greenstuff.  For more Shermans in the future, I will probably try the Plastic Soldier Company ones.

The kit does have some nice stowage, and there is enough left over that I will save that for the next batch for variety.  The turrets are definitely nicer than the chassis. Above and below are the first batch of three.
And below is the next batch of three.

I'm not sure how I'm going to paint these yet.  I was thinking of priming them in some sort of olive drab color from a rattle can if I can find something from Testors.  Don't know yet.  I do plan to avoid using metallic paint on these, as at this scale I think the metal flake in the metallic paint will look odd.

Below are the Firefly tanks.

And below are all eight of the tanks, ready for paint.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sports: Jason Leffler passes

Jason Leffler died as a result of injuries suffered in a wreck at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey at the age of 37, according to the Associated Press.   I've been a fan of his since the early USAC Midget car days where he won, I believe, 3 national championships.  It saddens me to see this as a race fan and one that dabbles in racing just go-karts, but its a reality of the dangers of the sport that I love to watch and love to participate in even at the low level that I do.

And a video tribute, Loudpedal:
He made it to the highest levels of the sport racing in the Indianapolis 500 and all levels of Nascar, not always successfully, but he made it, and not many can claim to be a USAC Champion.
My thoughts and well wishes go out to his family.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Old Stuff Wednesday - June: Black Templar Dreadnought

Circa: May 2004.  All the years that I have been doing this, I believe I have only painted three dreadnoughts.  That is quite strange since I really like Dreadnoughts.  Not only that this is one of the very few miniatures that I have painted on commission.  I essentially never paint on commission, nowadays, I would not even consider painting on commission unless it was an amount that could not refuse.  I cannot justify the time that it takes and most people are not willing to pay me the amount that I would ask for anyways.

So this is basically, I think, the third Black Templar that I have ever painted.  Did I tell you that I dislike painting black and white?  Oh that's right I did, but I do like the iconography.
 I also did this in the so-called NMM paint style.  This was the old metal model, based on a plastic dread base.

I do think the stripes held break up all of that black.  The red lenses really jump out.
 Below is a close-up of the front.  I do love painting crusader like crosses.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gripping Beast plastic Dark Age Warriors Review

I fell in love with Gripping Beast’s plastic Viking Hirdmen have been out for quite some time, and I had been waiting for GBP to come out with this kit so that I could use them as Fryd and Bondi.  The design of these are bit different than the plastic Vikings and the plastic Saxon Thegns kit.  I think GBP must have caved in to the pressure of all of those old fogey historical miniature guys that like stale and stagnant poses that make it easy to rank up so that they can slap spray bombs of ugly paint on them.  Okay so maybe I took that a bit to far, but I really like modular kits that I can change and pick and choose about everything that I want to put on them.  This kit does not have that versatility in comparison to the Vikings and Saxons, and you will see what I mean about that.
Review of the Sprue

Here we see the sprue, lots of options for heads and a few options for weapons. The sprue is another great Renedra sprue from GB’s creation, much like I have seen recently with the Perry’s, Warlord Games, and Conquest Games. The details are crisp and the quality is as good as anything that I have seen from Games Workshop or Warlord Games or the Perry’s, etc. The parts are arranged well and are quite easy to remove, with the exception of the tabs under the model stand, but those are in a location where you can get a bit physical in removing them. So far I have not had any major issues with flash and I have built close to 40 of them already. 
You get eight of these, the only sprue that comes in the box set.

 Pretty good bang for your buck. I picked mine up at Architects’s of War for $32 and you get 40 miniatures. Not quite as good a deal as the Vikings and Saxons.

# of Heads = 56
# of Head Variations = 7

As always with me, I am a converter and hobbyist, and this is normally one of the things I complain about is head variations. I have not mastered sculpting heads yet so I need to rely on the companies giving me enough variations to work with. GB has certainly done that and then some on this kit. There really is only one of the heads that I don’t care for and even then that one has its uses. This is a good effort on their part. Again its not quite as good as the Vikings or the Saxons kits, but they are the same scale as those kits and interchangeable, so that is a Touchdown!  Below you see on the left one of the Dark Age Warriors with a Saxon head. 
The detail is not quite as sharp as the Viking and Saxon kit, this is something that I have noticed particularly on the bodies and weapon arms.  The shield are pretty much the same as the Viking shields.  

 # of Bodies = 40 
# of Body Variations = 5

Limited number of variations.  Even more limiting is that the left arm is molded to the body, that sucks in my opinion. One of my gripes for the kit is this and three of the bodies are a killer for conversion work as the left arms hug the body.  Not enough variety, I very much prefer the way the Vikings and Saxons. I’ll get over that though.  They are very easy to assemble in stale and bland poses, very much not a challenge.

How do they look compared to other miniatures. The following are comparison shots with other miniatures.
Above:  Gripping Beast Plastic (GBP) Viking, same three Dark Age Warriors, and on the right GBP Saxon.
Above:  Perry metal crusader, same three Dark Age Warriors, and on the right Conquest Games plastic Norman.
Above:  Foundry Republican Roman, same three Dark Age Warriors, and on the right Warlord Games plastic barbarian.
Above:  Fireforge Mounted Sergeant, same three Dark Age Warriors.

So, very nice comparable scale to some other lines.

Now for the fun part.  Conversions.....hurray.....for you historical gamers that is where you take parts from one kit and use them with another kit to make something different.....I know I'm being mean.  Below, from left to right you have some head swaps, the head that I don't like in the kit works nicely with a Warlord Games Barbarian, head swap on a GBP Viking, another head swap on a Warlord Games Barbarian, and a head swap on a GBP Viking.

 Below is the coolest head use on one of my Saga Vikings.
Overall I like this kit.  Again, not as good as the Vikings or the Saxons, but I love the heads without the helmets and they swap well with those kits, something that was very much needed to give them more variety.  The future continues to look bright for historicals.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Return of WIP On the Desk: A mess of sccctufff in WIP Form

I know it just looks like I'm racing and working on the karts and not doing much of anything else as far as miniatures are concerned.  And that is partly true, but I have few house projects going on also.  The following is the mess that is on my other table as I still have not cleaned off my miniatures table from the completing the Viking project.  This is my drawing table, which means I'm not getting any drawing or inking done either.
As you can see I have a variety of projects going on.  If I would concentrate on one I might actually get something done, but I have so many things on my mind at the moment in and out of the hobby, and all of that clutter needs to come out sometimes all at once.
 Above you can see I'm working on getting some shields ready for that last roman unit that I built.  I'm also building some additional converted Vikings.  You have the Hell Dorado demon in the background that I'm gap filling at the moment, that is a figure that I have wanted to build and paint for a long time and will be a part of my Chaos army.
 Then you have these Shermans for my foray into Flames of War thanks to Mike Butcher and couple of other people.  I'm unsure that I will like this game, and I'm unsure that I will enjoy building and painting this tiny stuff, but I will try it. 

These Shermans are from the Open Fire box and holy crap they are a bad models.  The right side tracks on all of them are warped, the gaps are terrible, they assemble even worse.  At least the details are fairly good, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how good the plastic US Airborne look, because I think their metal miniatures are horrible.
Above you see some of the gap filling.  On a couple I did a crap load of work carving and filing to get rid of gaps and finally decided to just put the damn things together and get out the Green Stuff.  The Firefly tanks are little better.  The Stug goes together well, I plan to make this in to a blown up objective marker.
In the middle of the above picture you see a Dark Sword miniatures Medusa.  That's right its a new project with much much more stuff to come.

Below is a Fireforge piece that I'm converting.  The models they have made are excellent, but I want a bit more variety.  So I'm drawing a sword from the sheath.
Below is another conversion I have gone for my Chaos army.
And now for a cool kit bash of Vikings, these will double for rank and file battles and for Saga eventually.  The torsos are War Games Factory, the heads from GW and they will get more hair, and the arms are from the Gripping Beast Plastic Viking kit.
They stand a little taller than the GBP's, but God did not make us all the same height.
Tune in tomorrow for the review of Gripping Beasts new plastic Dark Age Warriors kit and on Wednesday for Old Stuff Wednesday - June '13.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Assembled Warlord Games Barbarians for Sale...And More

Well it hasn't all been about racing lately, I have a few things that I'm working on.  I've had boxes of the barbarians for a couple of years and have found some things to use them for, which also left me with a lot of figures that I have no need for.  So I have up for auction currently on Ebay an entire unit of Warlord Barbarians.  Below is a picture of the miniatures and a link to the auction with even more pictures if you are interested, priced cheap:

Link to Auction

I also have started cleaning out some boxes and have a few other choice items up for sale including a blister pack of Crusader Miniatures RFA 031 Early Imperial Romans, an Apothecary, a Grey Knight, and a OOP metal Chaos Space Marine, and more....found at the following link:

Link to All my Current Auctions----Click Here!