Thursday, April 18, 2019

Mind Bullets

Being a psychic demands skill, talent and an interest in amateur dramatics

I've been neglecting proper toy soldiers of late and doing nothing with my Stalingrad project which is pricking my conscience. I had intended to pick up some Winter Russians in the recent Elheim sale, but didn't get around to it. Work and family has just been so busy that I catch myself running both ways.  

I really must clean up that base

The little bit of painting I have been doing has been for Blackstone Fortress.  I've been tipping away at the figures for this, a little bit at a time - I've found that I can get one colour done sometimes in the mornings. The most recent effort have been some rogue Psykers - chaps that we haven't seen much of in the game as of yet, but they have a certain something. 

I was quite pleased with how the glowing eyes turned out

"Dramatic? MOI??!?!?!"

I am quite pleased with how the glowing eyes turned out.  I followed a tutorial from Guy at Midwinter Minis  which I heartily recommend.  It was a bit tricky at first, but I cracked it in the end. 

Fur accents to ones frock coat are so this season. 

This picture did not do it justice, but I am pleased with the depth of colour on the coat. 

That's it for Joy & Forgetfulness at the moment, though I am looking forward to a game of Napoleonics at the weekend.  Probably going to be Waterloo, because well, it's Waterloo and we have the pleasure of a visiting Mad Padre to entertain.  Mike and Joy visited in what I hope will be the first of many trips.  It was a real pleasure to make their acquaintance and they demonstrated admirable fortitude and patience in the face of a disgruntled Kinchlet.  

I did discover, sadly, that our visiting clergyman is a raving Bonapartist.   I hope we shall be able to teach him the error of his ways.  

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Space Germans

So I finally got cracking on those Traitor Guard.  The grey uniform naturally lent itself to some Second World War style stuff, but I wasn’t quite happy with it exactly.

As you can tell I didn’t go with grey or dark green in the end.  Stormtroopers of the Imperial German army during the Great War uses a sort of geometric camouflage on their helmets and I went with something like that.

I’m not sure if this is a replica or an original, but I regardless I think we can agree it is “pretty metal”.

One of the crazy things about this chap is that he’s the squad sniper.  He will also stab you with a trench knife!

I found various types of painted helmet on line. I can’t remember where exactly I found this one - but it looks postwar rather than Great War.  I know the Freikorps used to paint stuff like this on their helmets.

The helmets used during the war itself were a bit more restrained.

On the whole, I’m very pleased with it.  I had to repaint the brown section as it was a bit too light, but it looks rather well now.  There is one squad of seven with black helmets and one squad of seven with the stormtrooper specials. It’s very handy from a gameplay perspective, being able to tell one from the other.

For me?

Life is bit manic at the moment as the Bear is not sleeping and it’s rather wearing.  One can economize on food and drink, but sleep is the one necessity.

Fortunately,  it is a life that has many other advantages.  Gentlemen, I don’t know if you’ve ever brought your toddler daughter a flower (tactfully removed from the bunch bought for her mother before I came in the door),  but I can assure you that you will feel ten feet tall as a result. She was absolutely delighted.

Fatherhood also means you also get invited to a better class
of tea party.

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Beastie Boys - #Squaduary2019

The Boys are all here

So Squaduary is over and I’m half pleased with how I did.  I got the Nega Volt Cultists done and the beastmen, but completely failed to tackle the two 1/32 scale dioramas.  This was due to a combination of factors - a change at work, some Kinchlet illness and the discovery that both sets had problems that I had completely missed while assembling and undercoating them.  They can be fixed with green stuff,  but I didn’t take the time. 

Standing on one leg is so on trend 

These turned out rather well I thought. The only thing that I found a bit peculiar was painting their eyes.  Cows, sheep and goats have black eyes which I copied by running some black ink into their eye sockets.  That seemed to do the trick, but it looked odd.  I may try one with human eyes before I varnish them. 

Quite pleased with how these turned out 

The chap in the middle is a little unsteady on his base.  I’ll have to see if I can fix that. 

My high tech photo studio 

I decided to focus on Blackstone Fortress figures because it’s the game we’re actually playing at the moment. 

Really excellent stuff 

I’ve been relying on these videos for painting instructions.  This chap is painting all the models in the game with only fourteen paints, two washes and three brushes. It’s an ideal way for a beginner to learn, but myself I just enjoy following along.   It’s the very thing to clear the mind after a days work. 

This is actually really handy

While previously I had just chucked all the figures in the box and away we went,  I found that things were getting bashed and there were some breakages. This was frustrating as they’re nice figures and I was painting them.  I came across this solution on the Blackstone Fortress Facebook group - it’s a custom insert for the game box made by Feldherr.  It fits in the box very snuggly and I haven’t had a breakage since.  Each figure has its own particular billet cut to size so it keeps everything straight. I’m not sure it’s a great solution for most figure storage problems, but it’s just the ticket for this.

In the pale floral blue of space no-one can hear you set someone on fire 

Work continues 

The current output is a collection of fourteen baddies and they are taking a while to be honest.  I’m not sure if it’s because painting fourteen figures at the same time is too many or if I just don’t get very much time these days. 

The latest addition to the War Room

The latest addition to the War Room is from Mrs Kinchs sister.  She was clearing out an old store room and found this chest.  It’s surprisingly light and quite strong. I’m not sure what will live in it just yet - terrain perhaps? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Decisions, decisions.

I’m torn about these two.  I’ve got two sections of seven lads each and I need some way of distinguishing them.  I was thinking about helmet colour, but I’ve seen them in white and didn’t care for it. 

Red maybe? Any thoughts gentlemen? 

Of course I should be doing something with my #Squaduary2019 pledge and therefore I should be working on my 1/32 scale diorama. However, we’re actually playing this game at the moment and I’d like to be able to play with a fully painted set before we finish. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Latest update - #Squaduary2019

Games Workshop Negavolt Cultists

I finished these guys on Friday and they were a complete pain in the neck. Awkward, fiddly and completely unsatisfying to paint. However, they are finished and that is the main thing. I really like Blackstone Fortress and I love the idea of being able to play with a complete set of painted figures, so they just had to be done. These were painted as part of #Squaduary2019, which is a month long project by some wargamers to get some stuff done. There's actually been quite a bit of work done and you can see the results here.

I think I might have to paint a proper 1/32 scale toy soldier next though, just to get the taste out of my mouth.


Savage and I have been discussing what our wargaming project will be this year and we've settled on Stalingrad.  Having looked at the available scenarios,  it has come to my attention that there are about half a dozen Overlord* Stalingrad scenarios that are roughly balanced (i.e. have a win/loss ratio of no more than 60/40). 

What we’re proposing is an ambitious plan to play the battle of Stalingrad in its entirety, over 5-6 overlord games over two days. This would be two days of three games each, probably two successive Saturdays during the summer.

Savage has volunteered to create bespoke terrain covering key Stalingrad landmarks like Pavlov’s house, the Grain Silo and the Tractor Factory. We would build two boards, one for the battles in Autumn and a second one covering Winter battles. Savage hopes to be able to produce specific winter terrain for the later battles, so the whole thing should look pretty impressive.

For figures we’ll be using my existing collection of 1/72 figures with some new stuff for the winter battles.

Barmaley Fountain

This is the Barmaley Fountain in Stalingrad and I've been trying to find someone who makes it in something like 15mm or 20mm.  Any ideas? It's such an iconic image of the city that it would be odd to leave it out of the game. Also, click on the link above to read the story of Barmaley, which is a bit peculiar. 

Does anyone know of a commercially produced one? 

*6-8 player team games. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

#Squaduary 2019

I haven't done much painting over the last few months, which is a shame as it is something that I quite enjoy.  Having precious little free time that isn't already spoken for these days with work, family and writing commitments is a factor, but also just not making time for things.   Mrs Kinch is very much of the opinion that I am nicer to be around when I have a project and something to work towards.  I think that's what she said, it was hard to tell through the haze of tobacco smoke and gin. 
My pal Rory over at the Stepping between Games blog has come up with Squaduary.  The idea being to build and paint a squad of figures over the month of February.  I started late and didn't quite realise that I wasn't meant to have started some of the figures already, but better late than never.  We shall see if this keeps me motivated. 

I will be posting updates here when I can and on twitter (@aquestingvole) and facebook (Conrad Kinch). 

 1/32 diorama 

These are Prince August casts that I got off a very nice chap on eBay called John Parslow.  I had always intended to pick up the moulds, but his prices were so reasonable and the quality of his casts so good that it seemed silly to wait.  Unfortunately, while undercoating these, I managed to drop them rather spectacularly, hence the breakage.  

The diorama is of two French cavalryman sharing a cup of wine during a quiet moment.  I will do them in shiny toy soldier style and see how we get on. 

Nega-volt Cultists & Beastmen

Black Stone Fortress has been a revelation - quite probably my game of 2018. I started painting the figures for it and most of them are very nice.  However, I had intended to get the Nega-volt cultists (pictured at the back) finished in January and they have proven to be nothing but a thorn in my side.  They are fiddly and unpleasant and just awful to paint. I just want to see the back of them - hopefully #Squaduary will give me the kick in the pants that I need.   The second group are Beastmen which I'm actually looking forward to tackling. They can't possibly be as much of a pain in the neck as the Nega-volt cultists.

I shall hope to do my next update here on the 9th.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Replica Metal Soldiers & Models

What's that off in the distance? 

One of the pleasures of the hobby is in a way it's complete pointlessness.  I got these just before Christmas on a whim from Andrew at  Mrs Kinch has a bit of a weakness for a shiny (or as she calls them "proper toy soldiers") toy soldier, so I got her the special Christmas carol singers set that Andrew had produced.  I must post some pictures of them in a bit. 

Egad! Prussians!

Regardless, while I was completing the order, I noticed that Andrew had these chaps and before I knew it, I had had a sudden rush of blood to the head and had bought them.  The castings are reproductions of a Britains figure of a Prussian line infantryman in parade dress.  They took remarkably little work to get ready for painting, the only job was attaching the plug arm that holds the rifle, which was but the work of a minute. 

Look at those moustaches. 

Once assembled they were painted with my usual acrylics and given a thick coat of yacht varnish.  Proper yacht varnish that requires white spirits and that stinks to high heaven.  That's how you know it's good.  The result is a thick glossy coat that really brings out the character of these old castings. 

Detail is a bit soft. 

One complaint I have heard about these is that the detail is a bit soft.  I don't see this as a problem - it's simply the style in which the figures were produced and it lends itself to a very particular painting style.  You can add or leave out as much detail as you like and the simple style of figures supports it.  I'm not sure that I would paint in quite as much detail (like blacklining the gun barrels for example) next time.  

But having seen both these figures and the special set of Christmas Carol singers, I can unreservedly recommend Replica Metal Soldiers & Models.  At £3.75 per casting (with discount for unit packs), they are towards the cheaper end of the scale for traditional toy soldiers and the results speak for themselves.  I may not wait so long to dip my toe in the traditional toy soldiers pond again - may the Prussians menace my bookshelves for many years to come. 

Do you know how fast you were going Miss?

The LadyBaby seems to be developing very expensive habits and was recently seen behind the wheel of a sports car.  I fear she may pursue a career as a dazzling young socialite with dire results for Daddy's pocket book. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Wet Palette

Like most of the important things in life - I came late to this one.  Mrs Kinch very kindly got me a wet palette for Christmas.  It’s quite a substantial one about the size of an A4 page.  It’s been a revelation.  I’ve used a great deal less paint and found it much easier to thin my paints appropriately.

The only snag was it was rather large and couldn’t be brought anywhere as the lid wasn't watertight. 

The palette I had came with a refill pad of "wet pads" and palette covers. So I set to with the refill pad and some scissors and an old tobacco tin.  I cut the pad and paper to size and slipped it into the tin.   The result was watertight, light and has proved very useful.  Can’t recommend the wet palette enough - if you're doing any amount of painting at all, I would urge you to try one. 

The Kinchlets are continuing to grapple to with the problems of LEGO.  

Sunday, January 6, 2019

New Years Resolution

Some Prussians before the issue of suitably dastardly moustaches  

I haven’t been posting much of late and that has been almost entirely down to a whirlwind of work and Kinchlets.  Toddlers are tremendous fun,  but they do soak up an awful lot of time. 

In the mean time I have been painting these fellas.  They are Britains recasts by Replica Miniatures and they serve no wargaming purpose,  I bought them because I fancied them.   They shall be glossed within an inch of their lives and will then march across one of my bookshelves. The “painting by numbers” approach is very easy with these big figures and there’s something quite soothing and restful about it. 

That’s all for now. We shall see if I can keep this blogging malarkey up - I’ve missed it.