Friday, February 23, 2024

Battlemasters with Kinchlets

"Pay attention Sir Harry, the Hun is here, here and here." - LadyBaby

Finished up a practice game of the old MB Games/Citadel miniatures game Battlemasters with the Kinchlets (with feline auxiliary). They successfully defended the tower from the baddies. We’re playing a Dads v Kids game on Saturday with their cousins and I'm looking forward to it. 

“Imma gonna punch that goblin inna snoot” - Bear

I had planned on giving the kids special characters, but they asked if they could have “gifts” like the Pevensie children in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

One quick rewrite later and we are sorted.  The mechanical affect was exactly the same, but the kids enjoyed being able to pick one over the other.  The LadyBaby picked a diamond bottle filled with a healing elixir distilled from flowers grown in the mountains of the Sun (she has always loved Lucy in the Narnia stories) while Bear plumped for a sword and shield like Peter.  

The mechanic effect was that Bear added a die to a units dice when attacking while the LadyBaby could heal a point of damage from a unit each time the Mighty Cannon card was turned. 

“We should get him, he’s a meanie” - LadyBaby

Thus the band of Chaos Warriors were doomed. 

The LadyBaby used her diamond bottle of healing potion successfully.  Bears magic sword was less successful - he spent the game with the artillery - but he’ll remember for next time.

The LadyBaby showing Colonel Sir Harry Flashman VC the next card. 

The card mechanic where turn order and unit activation is randomised definitely keeps the kids engaged.  The LadyBaby in particular enjoyed turning over the next card to find out what would happen next. 

The LadyBaby took charge of the cavalry at an early juncture.  She approves of knights it seems. 

Slowly tipping one die at a time into the Dice Tower is apparently the secret to Bear's success. 

The game ended with a resounding Kinchlet victory as they managed to hold off the hordes of Chaos for long enough that a relief force arrived and the tower was saved!

Thoroughly enjoyable game.  What interested me most about this one was that the Kinchlets took more ownership of what was going on.  They talked between themselves to try to formulate a plan and considered different options.  The simple mechanics made it possible for them to grasp all of them and not just engage with the rules, but also with what they were actually trying to do. 

It was wonderful to watch. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Art of Coarse Airbrushing

Say 'ello to my leetle tank

I picked up an airbrush last year and to be frank, I've found it quite difficult to get to grips with.  I had trouble with keeping it clean, it seemed to be constantly clogging and I was spending quite a lot of time on it to little result. 

But after several attempts and over the course of a year, I've gotten to a stage where I'm happy with it. 

The trick appears to be; 

1. Always put your thinner and flow improver in first
2. Clear after every colour change
3. Use Isopropyl alcohol in a solution for cleaning
4. Use special airbrush paints until you are *very* comfortable with thinning your own  

The plus side is that when the airbrush runs well, it's an absolute dream.  

Thin, even coats of colour, applied very quickly.  There's a good bit of work in setting the airbrush up to work, but once you get it going, you can get a lot done very wuickly

I've a very basic Spamax model which I picked up with a compressor and some other equipment and very good it is too.  My pal, Savage, has a compressor which can handle multiple airbrushes at a time, so I went over to his place to do a bit of airbrushing together.  It was a very pleasant evening and we're hoping to do it again.  

The plan is to do a Courland scenario later in the year and that's going to require some suitably snow camouflaged big cats (and which will eventually be deployed to the Bulge), so I tried an old modellers trick with cheap hairspray.  

I had first painted this panther in the early 2000s and didn't make a particularly good job of it.  I gave it a coat of Hairspray and let that dry.  I then gave it a coat of Vallejo White German Camo (there's a funny German name for it which escapes me) and then let that dry. Once that was completely dry, I went back with a wet baby bud and reactivated the hairspray around the high traffic areas. 

This is called "chipping" and gives the impression that the paint has been chipped and worn and adds visual interest to a fairly monochrome vehicle. I'm told chipping fluid from a proper model shop is better, but I was quite pleased with this.  I've a few more tanks to do, but this should make it a lot faster and easier.  Just add some weathering and a few decals and we'll be done. 

The fruit of two hours work and very pleased I am too.  A certain amount of that was setting up the airbrush and cleaning it afterward, but once I got into the swing of things, I got paint on tanks very quickly. I think one of the ways to get the best out an airbrush would be to plan to do as much airbrushing as you can in one sitting.  This would mean that you'd get the most amount of painting for the least amount of set up time. 

Location, Location, Location Endor Edition

Of course Savage, turps drinking artistic type that he is, got rather more out of his painting session - it must be the smock, the floppy hat and the red haired ladies in a state of dishabille. It's a testament to just how much work you can do with an airbrush that he covered some very large spaces in jig time with a relatively small amount of masking. 

And very impressive it is too.