Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thoroughly domesticated

The War Room 

The campaign to finish The War Room staggers ever on. It is painted, the ceiling rose is installed. the trap door has been adjusted and the shelves started. Things have been complicated somewhat by the fact that there isn't a straight line or a right angle in either alcove, but ways are being found around that. 

Mrs Kinch has done great work staining the shelves, though what is really perplexing us is that the stain is drying very light. Extremely light even accounting for the new wood. The shade of Dark Oak that I picked was only one shade off the darkest the shop had to offer, so we may have to go back to the drawing board. 

The paintwork is done and is mostly finished, I did the final job of neatening up the coving last night with a small flat brush and I don't think it looks too bad. 

Little mounds of curranty deliciousness, produced from...

I have what Mrs Kinch refers to as "...a very strong weakness..." (now there is a truly Dublin phrase) for scones and have had some difficulty minding decent ones locally.  They tend to vary wildly from not at all bad to thick pellets of stodge that would be more properly fired through a Soviet tank somewhere about the Fulda Gap. 

So I've started to make my own. They took a little while to get right, but I am very pleased to say that I am finally producing edible scones with reasonable regularity now. 

...from the ashes of the fallen. 
(please provide your own metal power chord accompaniment) 

One thing I haven't mastered is trimming the grease proof paper appropriately. Despite measuring, sticking it down with dabs of butter and generally trying not to set the whole damn thing on fire - I always seem to do exactly that. Strangely enough, it doesn't seem to effect the final product much. 

Artists impression of Kinch some time ago

But whither wargaming Kinch? I'm afraid there shan't be any this post - mainly due to a varnishing mishap that has taken the wind out of my sails a bit. I usually use GW Purity Seal as an easily accessible, perfectly consistent matt varnish. Say what you like about them, their sprays are good and I can get my paws on them without too much trouble. 

Unfortunately, I appear to have picked up a bad one and it's undone quite a bit of work on some 20mm Napoleonics I was working on. It can't be helped and to be fair, it's the first bad result I've had with GW sprays in nearly fifteen years. Still a bit of a pain in the backside though. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mr. Thomas Gunne

A Dark & Moody Shot

This is another Mark Copplestone Scavenger and a very fine fellow he is too. He was painted in an evening and I was surprised how quickly the habits of painting 28mm figures came back to me.  Things go a lot faster if you block in all the colour at the bgeinning and then start working up your mid tones and your highlights.

Lets shed a little light on it

Considerable used was made of Devlan Mud (now called something else I believe) and the many browns available to a chap with a collection of Vallejo paints. Now that I look at it - some orange ink on Thomas's odd looking shooter is probably in order. It looks rather too clean to my eye.

Rear shot (not the best)

My only complaint about the figure is that he rocks back on his heels a bit. I might add something to the back of his feet as he won't bend at the ankles and propping the base just makes him look like he is on tip toes. 

I also might dirty up the lower part of his coat and his shoes, unless it happens to be a particularly well groomed apocalypse. 

Eyes front

All in all I'm not unhappy with him. He's also an extremely well behaved sort of fellow, unlike my 20mm lads who are acting the maggot at the moment and have experienced something of a varnish catastrophe.

Of which the less said the better.

I was listening to this while I painted - hence the name. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Once upon a time in a far future

Messrs Ethan Rifles and Thomas Gunne

I have been painting a few 28mm figures of late, to take a break from basing Napoleonics and drybrushing what feels like an endless stream of Soviet tanks.  

I was quite happy with the gasmask, which took a little bit of work. 

I got this fine fellow from EM-4 miniatures along with some other pieces.  I've coveted him for quite some time and I was delighted to finally get to put a brush to him.

I was surprised how light I need to go for the highlight on the brolly

28mm isn't really my thing - but I liked painting this chap.  It's sort of a compromise between 120mm and 20mm in terms of painting for me. Big enough that highlighting and shadowing and so forth are worth doing, but achievable while watching a spot of telly with the Memsahib. 

I was irked when I found I had missed the elbow and painted over it. Fixed now though. 

Now - I rarely paint figures for the good of my health, so this fellow will be gracing a table soon enough. One thing that's become clear to me is that I'm awful at staying in touch with friends and I have friends who aren't that interested in historicals. With that in mind, I'm raising a small force so that we can play some games together.

One of the bonuses was that I finally got to use my purple

These will be small games (about 20 figures a side) and using the old Rogue Trader rules in their "roleplaying game with some toy soldiers" guise.  We shall see how they hold up after all these years.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Further experiment with weathering

After a considerable break - I decided to give weathering another shot. I followed the tutorial that Piers wrote on the Guild and began by adding Weathering Fixer to the model with a brush. 

Once that was done, I added MIG earth pigment with an old brush. Stippling around the edge of the tank and the paying particularly attention to the tracks and rear. 

When I added the pigment, it looked very odd, like I'd splashed paint on the model. However, once it dried and I brushed the excess off with an old makeup brush of Mrs. Kinch's. A considerable amount of the pigment came off and what was there was spread out a lot more. I think I'll have to make sure I do this step on a piece of white paper as it struck me that I was wasting quite a bit of pigment that could be reused. 

It's not bad and I think it looks rather better than it did before, I'm just not sure I'm happy with the final look. I think I'll have reread the tutorial and look at a few more examples. But a definite improvement and definitely something I'll be doing more often. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chateau Sydney

Du Gourmand plumbs new depths of treachery and evil - wine in a milk carton

This was a game that took place some time ago out at the palatial Chateau Sydney.  Sydney built his house in the West and it's a wonder of modern engineering and renewable energy - although none of this prepared me for going to the loo at 0300 and discovering the floors were heated.

I thought I had gone mad.

An artists impression of Kinch walking on a heated floor for the first time
- it's just not natural!

So, Sydney put together this Memoir '44 campaign based around a fictionalised battle of Stalingrad. The idea was that there would be four games taking place simultaneously. One large Overlord game and three single board Memoir '44 games. The idea was that the Soviets had launched a counter-offensive and surrounded the German army.  Each game would last ten turns and then there would be a possibility to redeploy at nightfall.  The two overall commanders would take care of the large board, while junior commanders could join them if they resolved their own game.

The initial set up on the Overlord map

We arrived out in good cheer, having laid in supplies (see above) and with eight players things ticked along quite happily.  One thing that Sydney did, which I didn't expect to work was that, there was a strict turn order. Each pair of players played one turn and then stopped and waited until everyone had played their turn.  Du Gourmand and I expected this to be a complete disaster as it meant that the game would only move at the pace of the slowest players.

Our means of communication, the bulletin board in the officers mess

But it emerged that Sydney knew his men better than we thought he did. One of the complaints against wargames that Sydney has made on occasion is that they can be a little anti-social, as players often focus on the game to the exclusion of all else. Sydney's answer to this was the Mess, a communal area where players could chat between turns. Du Gourmand and I spent a considerable amount of time there and it was extremely convivial.  The only rule was that there could be no shop talk and the Commanders in Chief, who were dishing out reinforcements and artillery support, could refer to the bulletin board.

The battle of the airfield

Sydney Senior and a friend of his took part in the savage battle for the airfield, this was close fought and it was only late on the second day that we managed to strangle the trickle of reinforcements and resupply that was making it into the city.

Generals Creanor and Von Fatzington playing the Overlord board

Our two commanders locked in mortal combat. The Germans traded space for time and used the advantage of the relatively narrow Soviet advance to buy time to reinforce the ancillary front and secure wins there. 

A corner of Southern Russia that shall be forever full of dead Nazis

Icecream filling in Von Fatzington at the officers mess

As the evening wore on, Du Gourmand and I fought a relatively static engagement. I was able to take my objectives, but he punished me for it and was able to secure a draw. What I didn't know at the time was that it cost the Germans a lot more reinforcements than they bargained for and as a result we were able to secure wins elsewhere.

I felt a bit like Monty in Normandy.

A picture from late in the night, I think Savage was trying to explain why he had hands

The game ended in a win for someone or other. I don't remember exactly - perhaps Du Gourmand could enlighten us.  What I do remember is that we had a wonderful time. I would like to point out that Sydney was a wonderful host and after providing an excellent campaign which kept us all entertained and feeding us and watering us, we were all given somewhere to sleep. In a bed, I hasten to add. 

Savage did not go to sleep in this position, 
nor was he covered in mud when he was last seen at 0500

Icecream gets the obligatory Teddy Roosevelt Big Game Hunter shot

The resemblance is uncanny

The bulletin board post game

I hope you can make some sense of this - because damned if I can. 

Group photo for the class of 2013 - remembering the fallen

So after our trip to the country - we managed to make it back to civilization without too much difficulty.  All in all, an extremely pleasant evening. Sydney has since run another which I was unable to attend as I was working, but it was by all accounts a great success. There will be no doubt, more to come. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I finished this chap off this morning. On the whole, I would recommend the Bones figures. They're very affordable and the detail is good. Given the choice I would prefer GW style hard plastic, but it's not to be had for the money and the sculpts are very nice. 

I painted this chap with a quick blast of Army Painter white primer and a purple base.  I then added washes of red over the base in the hope of bringing out some of the folds in the drapery, a far cry from my more normally workmanlike painting. It looks rather better in person than it does in these pictures, but I think this shot from the real captures some of variety of tones that I was looking for. 

The staff was painted with dabs of diluted white with added dots. I had hoped that this would look like stars and galaxies, but it doesn't really seem to have worked. But it makes the figure look a little different and that's no bad thing. 

I had two minds about what I was going to do with this chap - but I have come up with a plan. A special game for Christmas I think, something a little different from my usual stuff. 

One last shot. 

So a definite yes on the Reaper Bones. Looking through the collection, there isn't a lot there for the historical gamer. There are plenty of fantasy types that could be pressed into service in medieval armies and a few cowboys, but beyond that not very much. Ed Pugh of Reaper Miniatures has told me that there are definitely Second World War and Wild West figures coming, but beyond that he didn't care to speculate. 

And I shall leave you with a Wizard of a different colour.  

Reaper Bones

The Mystery Box

For those of you who don't stray outside the Historical end of our hobby - this is going to be a somewhat dull post. Some time ago there was a miniatures company called Reaper.  They've been producing miniatures for quite a while now.  Their work always looks rather American to my eye, reminiscent of Larry Elmore fantasy covers, but they make very fine figures in that style. Myself, I'm more of a John Blanche and Frank Franzetta sort of chap. 

But be that as it may - Reaper decided that they were going to produce some of their miniatures in plastic and floated a project on Kickstarter to raise funds. The campaign was ridiculously successful raising $3.4 million dollars.  When it began the basic pledge offered approximately sixty figures for seventy dollars, but as the really big numbers began to arrive and the economies of scale began to kick in, that number shot up and up. 

Savage is opening the mystery box

The end result was that Savage and I pledged about sixty quid each on one box of about two hundred and sixty figures. I'm not even sure what we'll do with half of them, but even for just the figures I wanted the Kickstarter was a good deal, so the extra figures are a bonus. Savage wanted the fantasy figures for a campaign he was thinking of running and I imagine we'll be giving some to friends. 

...or at least he will after the gin and turpentine punch he had for breakfast wears off. 

The box arrived at Savages house some time ago and with iron self control, he prevented himself from tearing it open right there and then. I can only presume he had been rendered temporarily unconscious in a hookah explosion and was unable to struggle free from the wreckage. 

It's a magic box filled with miniatures

This thing weighed quite a bit, I shudder to think what it cost to post this lot. Everything was professionally packed and very well put together. There was something special in the big box on the right, but more about him later. 

It doesn't look like much does it? 

This box was absolutely stuffed with figures and there were some real crackers there. I realise that there aren't actually any pictures from that because Savage and I were too busy sitting on his living room floor opening bag of toy soldiers tossing them back and forth and thinking of things to do with them.  I suspect some of very simple Dungeon Crawling game in Savages future, possibly with a combat system based on doing shots of Tequila. 

I have only now just realised that this photo is upside down. 
I am an idiot. 

There were some extras - like this  carry case. It holds 150 figures and is probably one of the best of the breed I've encountered.  I have actually been considering getting a case for my Cold War figures because they don't work as well as Napoleonics in A4 document boxes. I think it's because they're singly based and don't spend their time in tightly packed ranks. 

Great Cthulhu

This figure is bloody enormous. Nine inches tall gentlemen, he is absolutely huge and despite coming in several pieces fit together very well without any glue. I will definitely be writing a skirmish scenario based around this chap - Napoleonic Royal Marines versus Cthulhu. 

Or Hornblower versus Cthulhu. 

Wow - just wow. 

Savage and I split the contents of the box.  I took most of the Science Fiction figures while he took the Fantasy chaps. It was like Christmas morning - there were toy soldiers all over the floor. Savage seemed particularly taken with some of the giants, while my favourites were definitely the Cthulhu-oid monsters.  I would have taken pictures, but it would have ruined the moment.  It was a great time to spend with a friend. 

I pulled this chap out tonight and decided to give him a lick of paint. The Reaper Bones plastic doesn't respond well to water, so it is best to either give them a quick undercoat or use undiluted paint for your base coat. This chap painted up reasonably well, though I want to try and put some sort of lightning design on the staff as it's a bit dull at present. The detail is good and there's not so much that you can't catch all of it. I was able to get him done in relatively short order - I started painting him while Mrs Kinch and I were watching "Die Hard", which turned out to be a serious mistake. 

Mainly because these two kept talking during the exposition.  It was a good thing we'd seen it before otherwise we would have been completely lost. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A full life

A young Donald Featherstone 
(swiped from the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog) 


I have just read on the Old School Wargaming list that Donald Featherstone has died.

It is a sad day for us who come after - but it marks the end of a life of considerable achievement.  In the little correspondence I had with him - he struck me as a man who lived a full life though one not unmarked by tragedy.

That he took the time to answer a letter from a fan despite being in his nineties demonstrates the quality of his character.  I treasure it still.

In death he is reunited with those that were taken from him in life. Rest eternal grant to him O Lord and let light perpetual shine upon him and may he rest in peace.

Gentlemen, charge your bumpers.

I give you the toast - Donald Featherstone.