A New Year, A New Version

This may be some seriously old news to some, however Battlefront have announced a new version 4 of Flames of War to be released in March 2017. This has caused quite a stir in the Flames of War Forums with it somewhat dividing the Flames community. Many feel that, with the information that has been provided, the game is becoming too simplified. More reminiscent of Battlefront’s Team Yankee ruleset which has seen some popularity. While others feel that it’s about time that there was some streamlining of some of the more contentious rules. The information being released is a combination of “slow release” on the WWPD Site and podcast, some “leaked” material online as well as hints and minor responses on the Battlefront forum and website.

Where I stand on the matter is quite neutral; I would like to see the lists and rules primarily to determine how I paint and base squads and platoons. What I would hope to see is that the new version is eventually announced as being a success (when it has been fully released) and that it stimulates the community into playing more Flames of War. I think that overall it has been a good game and I love seeing it being played and enjoyed. What I don’t want to see, which has been hinted at, is that some of the quirkier equipment is removed and they disappear from the tables. I feel that some of this equipment brings a lot of flavour and character to the armies involved.

On the painting and modelling front I have been continuing to work away on the StuGs and Stukas (sounds like a boardgame). I got diverted to another secret project that I had thought about and designed a while back. It took up a fair bit of research time as it was dabbling in areas that I have had minimal understanding and knowledge. What I am creating is this new system for [CENSORED] … and the result has been somewhat of a success. I will post this project soon once I have completely finished.

The StuGs are looking great, however I keep pulling more and more of them out of the cupboards as I find them. The new plastic StuGs are fantastic and have great details and are excellent to put together with minimal effort. The old open fire StuGs – not so much. While I am writing this I just remembered that I have another older boxset of StuGs. I will never get them finished at this rate!

With the Stukas I was initially only working on one as I had original boxset of three. Then I found out that in this new version of Flames of War they may be bringing back multiple planes in a single bombing run. With the amount of “fix” up work that I had to do for just one plane I had to postpone this work until the information about planes in the new ruleset is confirmed. “Convenient excuse” some would say, I say you’ll see what I mean when you see the work that i’ve put into just one Stuka.

So as usual, I have too little time, too many projects and not many pictures to show. However I do thank you for your indulgence and I promise that I will have some images to post for next time.

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Gone Bush

Apologies, it’s been a long while since my last post. One thing that has continued in the absence is the growing mountain of miniatures accumulating on the unpainted pile. I have been getting random inspirations to attempt one project or another, however not much paint has left the tip of the brush, nor the point of the needle.

The point of this post is to reassure you, and myself, that I am still here and looking to produce more work. The following are some ideas that I’ve had kicking around that I want to work on.

I have a full Necromantic/Undead blood bowl team that I accumulated from various manufacturers. I am really excited to get to work on this effort, however the main thing that has been dampening my enthusiasm is that fact that I had to do a lot of cleaning up/sculpting for the miniatures. They are great figures, however some of the casting isn’t the cleanest and I’m too picky to not fix them up. Things like recreating fur and sculpting new jawlines has slowed me somewhat. I’m too critical of mistakes – especially my own and so it has taken some time to even get a single figure in the position to get some paint on it.

I have a thought about a technique that I would like to try developing to create, what I would consider, effective looking mesh Schurzen. I have a large number of Panzer IV Js sitting on the production line awaiting their side skirts. This is going to take a fair amount of effort but in my mind I see it working and looking fantastic.

I have also looked into a technique to create templates for “good enough” looking disc camouflage. Which at the 1/100 scale is quite daunting to downright insane. This one I have been looking at keeping up my sleeve for when I finally get round to working on my Panther G’s. I feel like if I can pull off the effect that I want to achieve, I will be ecstatic. The realistic expectations are that the likelihood of this outcome is somewhere in the order of 25% – 30%.

I have built a number of plastic Stug III Gs from BattleFront. I am lead to believe that these are from the “newer” moulds. Wow, they are absolutely fantastic to put together, easy to clean up and a good fit. I highly recommend getting them as they also look great. As you can build up multiple variants with the boxy gun mantlet, saukopf gun mantlet and the 105mm gun, I have magnetised the hull and used metal wire at the gun attachment point. It took a bit of work and drilling but it means that I can field all four gun variants. What is also provided are the two variants of hull for the early and late StuG, however I haven’t decided on the best use for these yet. A painter on the Flames of War forum (WarPainter – I think) used these as dug in StuGs which I think he did a fantastic job with. I may consider doing something similar. There are some things that would only disturb certain individuals such as myself so they can be safely ignored.

  • The schurzen brackets have no detail and are a flat wall. I need to cut them off and drill them out or replace with plasticard brackets (haven’t decided yet)
  • There are pin ejection points on the detail for the bracket and spare track link that you put on the rear top hull superstructure. Had to do some putty work and resculpting.
  • The schurzen itself is way too thick, which is great for sturdiness and game handling though. It is also moulded to the schurzen bracket railing, which in itself is too thick. Will have to look at doing a replacement Schurzen railing and plate system using plasticard.
  • The rear superstructure has some necessary join marks from where you attach the bottom hull to the top superstructure. This can be filled in with modelling putty and made to be a smooth join.
  • The top machine gun included is terrible, it looks wrong and it’s ready to break at a moments notice. I will be looking to replace with spare MG34s that I know I have somewhere!

I have also done some additional modifications, however I won’t reveal these until the models are completed because it could turn out looking terrible and tacky. The model are built, however they are missing the schurzen “fixes” as well as the addition of the extras that I plan to put on them. Like extra weapons, helmets, canvas and mandatory buckets. If you want to see some awesome examples of these StuGs you need to go here:-Ritterkrieg’s Blog  I can’t say enough good things about all the details that he has put into his StuGs. Needless to say if any of mine turn out half as good as his i’ll be happy.

One thing that has affected my painting in the time that I was absent was that I entered in some of my newer work into a local painting competition. The ideology for the painting competition had changed from rating people against each other in each category, to rating each piece for its own merits. I thought that this can only be a good thing as going up against fantasy models with their amazing paint schemes can be  difficult when you have a specific dull colour palette to work from. Rankings were Gold, Silver, Bronze, and thanks for coming. These being based on the techniques used and execution of the piece. I submitted a gun platoon for consideration as it was something that I had completed most recently and seemed most appropriate. So of course, I received a massive ego check when I got a “thanks for coming”. The only feedback that I had received was that I didn’t have enough shadow contrast on the outside of the front tyre guard of the Sdkfz 8 that was part of the platoon. That I should have been working from a base of black through to the actual colour of the vehicle. It dawned on me then that this was being assessed from a fantasy painting point of view and that I had been foolish to believe that my work would be assessed otherwise. This has impacted me and painting in that I already doubt the quality of work and finishes for the work I have produced. Hearing it from someone else is a real gut check and made me irrationally and stupidly stay away from painting. Stupidly in that the whole idea for painting for me was to be an outlet and not a source of stress. It has made me think about why I paint the way I paint. I want to do as good a job has possible of making the figures look they “fit” in some sort of realistic context in a specific space at a specific point in time. They will never ever look real but I would like the figures and equipment look like they should fit in the world that has been created for them. This world includes the environmental and lighting conditions specified for the piece. Hence lighting effects like colour modulation and shading and weathering effects like mud, dust and streaking. If I don’t shadow and highlight from black to white then it means that I didn’t consider the lighting for vehicle to be hitting it such a manner as to cause this effect. The material and paint of the vehicle was not glossy enough to produce the extreme highlight and the angle of the light was such that the panel join was not in complete darkness. The dusty roads of the eastern front have made it accumulate on the vehicle on certain parts and activities of the crew have created various wear points. This is not me making the vehicle realistic, this is me making an evaluation about what has happened to the vehicle, setting it in a world at a point in time and applying the resultant impacts. Fantasy at it’s finest.

It’s taken me a while to get back on the horse, but now I know why I ride it and why I don’t ride it side-saddle.

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An Axe to Grind

I’ve chopped a fair amount of wood in my youth as I lived in the country. It was fun to pay tribute to this as well as having it fit nicely into the context of my basing scheme. My original plans for this base was to have the soldiers filtering through a farmer’s house and yard. I was going to have one side of the base being the side of his hut, lined with stacked chopped wood, with the other side containing the chopping block and debris. After viewing other people’s work where they have the basing being an entire building scene, broken up among the squads, I decided that I wouldn’t be able to make my idea work. I felt that it would be out of context to have a single base being part of a building and would look half-finished. Also, with the way that I have done this base, I leave it partially up to the imagination for the setting. It could be a generic yard (which is what is intended) or it could be a clearing where a woodcutter is gathering wood, etc.

The axe was made out of greenstuff and was fairly easy to do. I rolled out a thin column of greenstuff which I then flattened out to make the handle. The axe head was made by flattening down one end of a rectangle of greenstuff. These were left to cure and then cut appropriately. The wood is done by cutting a dowel of balsa wood to length and then quartering it vertically. I then scored it with a scalpel to give it the rough texture.

I really enjoyed making this base, it came together nicely. I also like the poses of the machine gunner team. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for viewing

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CanCon 2014 – Part 2

While at CanCon I was pleasant surprised to find that there was a large area dedicated to remote control vehicles, mostly tanks. I met up with a member of Panzergruppe South and had a brief chat about the display. He said that it had a lot of support this year, with people from interstate bringing in their pieces for display. I was very impressed with the outstanding quality and detail of the AFVs and their paintwork. The “rolling” demos were entertaining and made me consider acquiring a Tiger in the distant future.

Also here a video of these beasts in action

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CanCon 2014 – Part I

CanCon is a convention dedicated to hobby gaming. It encompasses many different formats and genres, including Wargaming, Boardgaming, Card games and much more. It is also host to many tournaments which include Flames of War, Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k. Amongst it all are a number of demonstration games and historical scenarios/re-fights. Intermingled with the action are a number of retail stalls to whet your hobby appetite as well as to empty your wallet. Overall it’s three large buildings bustling with entertainment that I highly recommend to attend.

As has become customary for me, I went to take snapshots of the Flames of War and modelling goodness to be had at this event. It’s also an opportunity for me to restock painting and other modelling paraphernalia. I also keep an eye out for any boardgames and bargains at the auction held on the final day.

Here is some of the Flames of War eye candy that was on display. A big thank you goes out to all who let me takes photos of their excellent miniatures and boards.

This year I went with a mindset that I would restrict my purchases to essentials and bargains too good to pass up. I managed to stick to this goal and bought some static grass clumps, varnish and some boardgames – D-Day Dice being the standout. The auction was quite interesting – I was close to winning a Kings of War force, an American and Soviet force for Dust Warfare, and Steve Jackson’s Ogre – all for very reasonable prices. However I managed to pull out when the prices went past the margins I set myself. Instead I won an assortment of Hell Dorado figures. Not my usual scene, however the positive is that I have something different to paint to practice and experiment on.

A stand out for me on this long weekend was that I had the pleasure of meeting Phil Yates from Battlefront. I spectated a game where he took a Russian armoured force against a mixed German Armour and Pioneer force – part of a larger Kursk re-fight. Afterwards he ran me through the details of the battles and the history. A knowledgeable and interesting character who was pleasant to be around.

As always, I had a great time. Recharged the hobby interest and spurred more effort to get these 88s that I’ve been painting finished. Maybe next year I’ll look at doing more participating than photography – if I get can get an army finished!

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ScaleACT 2013

I caught wind of a Scale Modelling Convention happening in my region and I was eager to attend. This event is hosted by the ACT Scale Modellers’ Society whose focus is on scale modelling with their major aim being the promotion of the hobby and improving the modelling standards of it’s members. This convention hosts a number of modelling competitions in a large range of scales and categories in addition to vendor stalls, modelling displays,  as well as a swap and sell section.

Upon arrival I was greeted by friendly modellers and a large hall full of tables with loads of modelling eye candy. There was a number of amazing pieces; aircraft of all varieties and time periods, AFVs galore, ships of all sizes as well as some well put together dioramas. I took the time to study the finishes and the techniques involved in each. Mentally I was trying to work out the best method to replicate these to the smaller scale of 1/100. The weathering effects were outstanding and really made a lot of these pieces feel “in the moment”.

Unfortunately, I managed to forget to charge the camera’s battery and so  was only able to take a few shots before it shutdown. I was really kicking myself for neglecting to check this before arriving. The photos I did manage to take were of an Afrika Korp display that was set up in a side area as well as some remote control tanks courtesy of Panzergruppe South. However I here is a link to just some of the models that were on display.

The Swap and Sell was a little disappointing; there was a limited selection for 1/100 scale and these were, in my opinion, a bit overpriced. On a positive note there was a lot of modelling reference material and I managed to purchase a couple of books on Luftwaffe Aircraft as well as a Panzer Art book. The vendor stalls were great, very helpful with an excellent range of products. Picked up some mud products that really caught my eye, lots of Tamiya tape and was almost tempted to buy a bust of Joachim Peiper.

I didn’t enter in any models for this year, due to the short notice, but I am excited for next years competition. I am deciding on a worthy project to enter, I will have to get some feedback closer to the time. I hope that you enjoy the pictures, sorry that there isn’t more of them!


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A Little Stumped

Continuing on with the theme these Grenadiers are cautiously emerging from the woods. The poses are fairly relaxed with the squad leader letting them know to keep on their toes.

The tree stump is a piece of balsa dowel scored and painted to show the age and rot. The sapling is a piece of Sea Foam coated in leaves. I really like the Sea Foam product, a bit fragile but has a great look and feel to it.

Nothing much more to add other than I am happy about the way these turned out. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions just leave a comment. Thanks for viewing

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