Plastic Basing Material

When I was in Singapore I found a plastic sheet in 1m, 2mm, and 3mm thickness. It sliced easily with a carton cutter knife, resisted warping (although not totally as it seems from recent experience) an holds glue and paint quite well.

I have not been able to find it anywhere else until a week ago when I took a Saturday afternoon out at the mall. It was the first outing since the start of quarantine here in Manila, so first time out in 3.5 months. While out I stopped into the National Bookstore in Glorietta Mall for some stationery. Enjoying some loiter time (there were only about 8 people in the queue behind me waiting to get in so I figured I could browse for 10 minutes at least.

I came across this PVC board shown above. BLoody brilliant stuff and cheap as chips. As I can now find this in Manila, there must be similar in other locations. Great stuff!

Next Project – Aircraft or Land Ironclads?

Japanese late World War 2 fighters from Heroics and Ros

Or, 1/300 scale vs 2mm size. I finished the Anglo-Saxons during the week and had decided that I would like to do something non-historical. I have a lot of Aeronefs in the lead-pile and felt that working on the long stalled Peshawar project would be a good idea. Much time was spent (OK, the length of time for a nice cup of tea) pondering which of the Aeronef forces to paint. I also looked at the Land Forces. I don’t have any Land Ironclads here but I do have the makings of roughly 6 battalions of infantry plus supporting elements from the six imagi-nations in the set.

Fast forward to last Wednesday and as I walked into the office, I was handed two cards from the Post Office. There were parcels to collect. I then spend the rest of the afternoon, in between teleconferences, pondering which of the items I had ordered in January and February were waiting for me.

American late World War 2 bombers and fighter support from Scotia

Were they:

  • Aircraft and Buildings from Heroics and Ros
  • Aircraft and Buildings from Scotia
  • Book from Pen and Sword
  • A book from the Naval Institute Press
  • Rules (Bag the Hun in particular) from Too Fat Lardies
  • one or two other items I have forgotten

I went to the Post Office on Thursday and picked up the parcels. Aircraft and buildings from both Heroics and Ros, and Scotia. Damn. Now the usual indecision cut in … new toys or ones from the lead pile. Bright, shiny, glittering new toys, or old, dusty figures I have stored for several years?

Now I need decide what to paint next. The 2mm figures are my American ground forces for the Peshawar project but the aircraft are, if nothing else, impressive with the size of the B-29 (there are three of them) and the Shinden, which looks like it is flying backwards!

Decisions, decision, decisions!

 

Peshawar Re-Imagined

Way back in 2009 (yep, 11 years ago) I first made mention of S. M. Stirling’s Peshawar Lancers, which, as described in Wikipedia, is

“an alternate history, steampunk, post-apocalyptic fiction adventure novel […], with its point of divergence occurring in 1878 when the Earth is struck by a devastating meteor shower. The novel’s plot takes place in the year 2025, at a time when the British Empire has become the powerful Angrezi Raj and is gradually recolonizing the world alongside other nations and empires that were able to survive’.

It was a great read and certainly fired up my imagination and it looked like it would suit Brigade Models Aeronef’s and by extension, the Land Ironclads. I decided build a series of Imagi-Nations for that period. The forces contained would be a mix of Aeronefs, Land Ironclads and Contraptions, as well as standard infantry, cavalry and artillery. As the Aeronefs and Land Ironclads are nominally 1/1200 scale, it meant that 2mm figures were the perfect size to make up the ground forces. Irregular Miniatures make a great range of 2mm figures so they were perfect for the land forces.

Historic Peshawar

I had some Aeronefs already, painted, for British and French and that fit rather well with the world of the Peshawar Lancers. I decided then to call the project Peshawar and clicking on “Peshawar” in the Tag Cloud to the right will return a list of posts here related to this project.

The real Peshawar is a city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan – an area better known perhaps as the North West Frontier and the Khyber Pass. This was the area of the “Great Game” of the 19th century, where the principle players were Russia and Britain – Britain with India in the time of the Raj behind her and Russia looking to expand and open and control the path to India. The Khyber Pass was also the location for those famous movies such as Errol Flynn in the Charge of the Light Brigade (well, at least the start of the movie); Kenneth More in the North West Frontier; and perhaps the best – Sid James and Kenneth Williams in Carry on Up The Khyber – with Kenneth Williams playing the infamous Khasi of Kalabar!

A French raiding force of ‘nefs

The French have a small force of Aeronefs painted (and it will expand). The Aeronef models from Brigade are lovely models and as I have had some of them for 10 years, many have been redesigned and remodelled.

Some of the French – what they look like painted

I also used the French for testing the infantry and painted some and based for future use. I am not certain currently whether for the basing I will flock or just paint the bases a dry, Khyber Pass sandy brown. I did originally start with the prospect of lining up the British against the French and a green field seemed appropriate. Peshawar grew on after that.

Some French Battalions and Cavalry Squadrons formed up on flocked bases. In the background is a large British Land Ironclad as well as some scenic items such as a small wood in a hill and an English village. A couple of trains are also present. They may be small but they are great models. There is an Australian $2 coin in the photo for give some perspective, although I suspect that perspective will only be apparent to Australians and those who have visited Australia

Speaking of models, the little village in that background in the photograph above is from Irregular Miniatures as well. So are the trains. These have been painted for Europe rather than the Khyber Pass. I will amend in due course – or maybe keep as is … the joy of a long planning session, one gets to change one’s mind several hundred times.

Russian Aeronefs in Production Factory

The image to the left is some of the Russian Aeronefs waiting construction. These will be one of the main opponents to the British (along with the French, both opponents to the British and the Russians).

As you can see from the still to be constructed group here, they look significantly different to the French Raiding Force above.

Brigade also supply “spare parts” such as turrets, masts and cranes etc so that the models can have some gilding of the lily.

The Japanese form part of another of the nations in Peshawar.

Japanese Aeronefs in Production Factory

The image to the right is a Japanese Aeronef fleet waiting in the construction yards as well. The Japanese have a natural opponent in the American fleet and both the American and Japanese fleets were the first to introduce fighter carriers to the Aeronef world.

The six contesting powers in this Imagi-Nation world therefore are based around the following:

  1. Britain
  2. France
  3. Russia
  4. Prussia
  5. USA
  6. Japan and other Asian groups.

In addition to the above, I have Aeronef fleets for Italy, Spain and a few others. I keep promising myself to start working on them  and then something else bright and shiny pops up and I get distracted.

When I first started painting the Aeronefs, I glued them to the clear flight bases. I am thinking now to start to use the 3mm, 4mm and 5mm rare earth magnets to fix them to stands. Being able to break them down and lay them flat for transport is a driving consideration there.

As for the Land Ironclads, Contraptions and Land Forces, I do not have so many of the Ironclads and Contraptions so I am planning on starting with the more traditional forces initially, and will expand to the Ironclads and Contraptions later.

Some 2mm villages – Brigade Models on the left and Irregular Miniatures on the right

So, as I am finishing up the 6mm Anglo-Saxon army for DBA, and as there are books, rules and figures tied up somewhere in the postal system, and have been tied up there since early March (it is currently late June), I am thinking I should break out some work on the Peshawar project.

I will probably start with the rest of the Brigade and Irregular Middle Eastern village stuff (see photograph to the left). I am thinking that I may reconsider the basing process here as well and maybe set the buildings a little closer together and on larger bases. The Irregular villages are groups on bases already (village to the right above). Dunno! Stay tuned for updates.

Once I decide on then approach to take with the Peshawar project, pictures of progress will appear on my Insta-Twit-book feed (See below). With that, gentle reader, good night!


Instagram  | Twitter | Facebook

A New Period – American Civil War

I have had an abiding interest in the American Civil War (ACW) since my very first wargame which I lost to friend Jeffrey. It was a USA vs CSA battle in Airfix 1/76 plastic with the Airfix Cowboy set used to provide cavalry. Masonite table surface, hills from plasticine so the game also had that plasticine smell about it. I can’t remember which side I was playing but I do recall it was a loss for me. Rules were the Don Featherstone ones present in War Games and for the record, I won the second game as the Ancient Britons taking on the might of Rome, again using Airfix plastic figures – the charge of the Roman chariots was something to behold.

I had a large collection of 15mm American Civil War figures, where the Union was painted and I left them in Singapore with friend Anthony. I am still hankering for an ACW set however. I have toyed with the Baccus 6mm ACW boxed set, containing lots of figures (well over 800) for £82.50 for those of us overseas, more if you live in the UK or Europe. Also included are bases, flags and Polemos rules. I also considered Heroics and Ros as well as Rapier Miniatures (Rapier still appear to be off the air at the moment but the link is to their Facebook page where there should be updates when everything returns to normal).

However, much as I like Baccus figures (and H&R and Rapier for that matter as well), what has caught my eye is Commission Figurines. Their website is a single page only but it links to their catalogue.

Why do I like Commission Figurines so much for my future ACW project? I think the thought of trying these figures appealing, especially as they are wood (or more correctly, MDF). Apart from the novelty of MDF wargame figures, they are considerably less expensive than the current metal ranges with 88 ACW infantry costing about £2.00. It would be possible to build two reasonable forces for about £20.00. Very tempting.

I guess I could also argue that as they are wooden, I am not being affected by something new, bright and shiny  😉

Yes, one more for the list of projects so I think tonight I will plan a post Pandemic purchase of these.


#6mm #acw #wargames

Finished and in Progress

Soviet bombers protected by fighters are faced by Finnish fighters – November 1939 to March 1940

So, after settling into what should be my “New Normal”* I extracted digit and got stuck into clearing my painting table. I considered the option of simply packing them all away in a drawer but slapped myself in the face with a wet salmon, and decided to HTFU and as Nike says, Just F****** Do It! I did it!

The Soviet bombers are now painted, decalled (is that even a word) and varnished so my Winter War air wargaming set is complete. Complete, except for the rules. I have Raiden Miniatures Thunderbolt and Lightning set here and a copy of Mustangs but I am really waiting for my copy of Too Fat Lardies “Bag the Hun” to arrive. It is held up somewhere in the PhilPost system here due to the COVID-19 Enhanced Community Quarantine of Manila for the past 10 weeks. Now we are under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or hopefully soon a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), PhilPost may deliver them, or at least a card telling me to pick them up from the Makati Central Post Office. Also waiting at the Post Office (I hope) is more aircraft from Heroics and Ros and Scotia (late war US and Japanese – think B-29 Superfortresses, P-51s and various late war Japanese aircraft. There are books waiting there as well so I am hoping for Christmas in June … or July.

The 6mm Anglo-Saxons – next on the paint queue – finger for size reference

So, what’s on the workbench now? I decided to finish the 6mm Anglo-Saxons and base them for DBA. Later I will do a couple of extra bases so that they are a valid force for Basic Impetus. The reason for the Basic Impetus is to get used to that ruleset for the Baroque ruleset, which I am planning on using for the English Civil War forces (or maybe 30 Year War) that I have sitting in the Lead Pile^.

For these I had decided on a brown undercoat as the top colours dull too much on a black undercoat. I have used brown in a couple of areas now and it seems to work well. Maybe the next army I paint I may try back to a white undercoat. In 6mm, undercoat, then block paint the figure, then wash. This may work well enough.

The back of the Anglo-Saxons – this is the side I hope to see in games and not their shields as they run away

Once I have painted these guys, then it will be a choice:

  1. Napoleonic Prussians (there are a lot of them) – already prepared for painting
  2. Coastal forces (1/1200 scale) – already prepared for painting
  3. Modern Naval air support for painted modern fleets
  4. Some 2mm Imagi-nations
  5. Buildings

These are the thoughts uppermost in my mind for next project however, if I know me (and I sort of do) then I am more likely to start something not on the list.

Stay tuned for more exciting indecision!


* My New Normal consists of adjusting to being required to retire, and the stress that follows from finding new work in the middle of a pandemic. Timing was absolutely perfect.
^ The Lead Pile is the number of unpainted model/toy soldiers or wargaming figures that are sitting in boxes and drawers. It is an increasingly misnamed term as modern wargame figures are made from lead-free pertwer, plastic, resin or MDF … but the term “lead pile” has been around for many years so lead pile it is!

Painting Wargaming Figures: WWII in the Desert – Review

Andy Singleton is a professional figure painter. After some encouragement, he has penned Painting Wargaming Figures: WWII in the Desert. This has been published by Pen & Sword Military. It contains around 200 illustrations over its 157 pages (ISBN: 9781526716316, published on 7 May 2019).

Singleton has broken the book up into two main sections, the first part dealing with the basics, and the second part dealing with specific forces from within the war in North Africa, namely the armies of:

  • Britain and Commonwealth
  • Italy
  • United States of America
  • Afrika Korps

The last two sections in the book deal with Camouflaged Uniforms and Basing.

Each section is split into three levels of complexity, “conscript”, “regular” and “elite”.

Conscript is like the beginning painter level and will get armies onto the table quickly. As the painter develops their skills, or for readers who have painted figures before, the regular and elite levels provide greater degrees of complexity in painting of the figures.

Singleton covers both plastic and metal figures and while all the illustrated figures in the book are either 20mm or 28mm figures, certainly the techniques could be used for figures of 10mm or larger. 6mm and 2/3mm figures require a different approach to painting altogether.

Andy uses much the same techniques in the painting sections with a little variation. The paints her iuses are the popular Army Painter and Vallejo ranges of acrylics and for each figure he is illustrating, he provides a paint bill of materials for both Army Painter and Vallejo paints.

I will admit that my preferred size for World War 2 gaming is 6mm (1/300, 1/285) and as mentioned above, painting figures of that size requires a different approach to painting.

However, recently the publications of Too Fat Lardies for Chain of Command and What a Tanker have me considering some 20mm or 28mm forces. North Africa seems a reasonable location to try those rules, especially with the early war equipment from the Italians and Commonwealth Forces, then the Commonwealth and Germany followed by the introduction of the USA and some Free French forces.

The section on Basing is perhaps the simplest section in the book given that the setting for the forces is North Africa where we are dealing with sand, sand and more sand … except for the dust!

I do think that the softback of this book is a shade expensive for, although if puchased in the context of a club library, would be a good edition. The Kindle or ePub version is better value I think.

The painting advice is good and following Singleton’s suggestions will have the gamer producing either quick armies at Conscript level or very well painted forces at Elite level.

Singleton also has a Painting Guide out for Early Imperial Romans (released in November 2019). Keep an eye out for Andy Singleton’s next book as well – Painting Wargame Figures: Rome’s Northern Enemies due for release in June 2020. Both these books will fit nicely for those of us considering the Too Fat Lardies new rules, Infamy, Infamy!

 

Virtual Wargames Club

Last Saturday night (or rather Sunday morning for me) I joined the Virtual Wargames Club’s second meeting. I heard about them from friend Doug so contacted the organiser, Phil Olley, and asked to join. He enrolled me and sent an invitation for 9 May meeting on Zoom. After seven weeks in Enhanced Community Quarantine with between one and three weeks likely to go, I was hanging out for some wargaming company.

I really enjoyed the time, talking with wargamers from England, Scotland, and the USA.

It’s always fun looking at other boys toys, and particularly impressive was Chris’s Stalingrad table. Turns out Martin lives just down the road from Doug (small world moment) and the main topic of discussion, apart from the odd ribbing and teasing, was which was preferred, metal, plastic or resin figures with the consensus being metal over plastic over resin. I am guessing if there is a discussion on the best scale, that could turn into the never ending story.

Doug’s Indian takeaway lunch looked delicious and beverages ranged from coffee (for the Americans it was breakfast time) through to the odd beer or two for those of us at the leading end of the time zones.

I have been thinking about/toying with starting another project (yeah, I know) and was thinking of using Commission Figurines 6mm MDF American Civil War figures. Paul kindly let me know that the quality is as good as in the photos so once I get my job sorted out, I will look to getting enough figures for the two sides.

Lastly Martin liked the name of this blog, “Thomo’s Hole”. I must point out that the name for this came about when I first had a presence on the Internet, around 1996 so now Thomo’s Hole has been around for 23 years. I noted this in a post here in 2012, Thomo’s Hole is 15 Years Old.

It was around 2001/2002 that I moved the blog into my eldest son’s domain, coldie.net, hence the URL of thomo.coldie.net.

Back then, 1996-1997 when the Hole started, a time before Google, the main search engine was Yahoo, and searching Thomo’s Hole at the time brought up early gay websites more often than my homepage. Now I have enough relevance apparently to appear at the top of the search results.

I digress (again!).

I am looking forward to the next meeting.

Twang … Whoosh … Thwack

A treat on Amazon Prime, the original “The Adventures of Robin Hood”. Hence the title of “Twang … Whoosh … Thwack”. These were some of the sounds of my childhood as week after week we watched Richard Greene as Robin Hood outwit the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and out shoot every archer in Medieval England.

Among all the other Robin Hoods, with the exception of Errol Flynn’s, Richard Greene is the quintessential Robin Hood.

Tonight I watched episode 4 of the first series which apart from the regular guests, also had Leslie Phillips of “well hello” and “ding dong” fame as the somewhat foppish Sir William.

What’s all this got to do with wargaming and/or Enhanced Community Quarantines? Well, I recently subscribed to Amazon Prime and there are some great time-wasters, er, I mean programs there and I must admit, they have been getting in the way of painting figures and working out the next two or three years of life (more on that in a later blog).

As for the wargaming side of things, I would be a liar if I denied thinking of the old Airfix Robin Hood set. Of course, thoughts then turned to the Sheriff of Nottingham set and the Sherwood Castle. I did have all three sets in the 1970s when I started in Wargaming The Sherwood Castle was to make a castle for 25mm Medieval games (and maybe the Robin Hood and Sheriff sets as well if I got around to painting them which I never did).

Moral of this story? Apart that for an Aussie kid the late 1950s and early 1960s were a reasonably good time, rather it is to get off your bum and get painting  (and the thinking that comes along with that).

Twang … Whoosh … Thwack

Day 49 passing, 13 days to go (hopefully)

It’s grown some more!  Tom Hanks and Castaway definitely comes to mind. There are two photos side-by-side showing the increase in hair length due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

25 days into ECQ 49 days into ECQ

Allegedly hair and beard grows at about 12mm (1/2 inch) per month although my heads current position seems to suggest that statistically, my head is an outlier! It is larger than average head size, one reason I do not often wear a hat as it is difficult to find one that fits.

This weekend is another holiday weekend but it comes on top of a stressful period at work. More on that latter when matters are clearer. Inertia, at least in my non-work life, has been the battle this past two weeks. Most of what I planned to do last long weekend, I never got around to doing. Of the planned items, I started to get my eBook collection in some order and located in one area on my hard drive and in two clouds. I have not loaded the complete library to my tablet yet, but I have started getting it in one place. I have also been looking at eReaders but I still have not finally settled on one. I think what I would like is a hybrid of about three of them. 

I also had a look at multi-platform Apps for cataloging my physical book collection. I have two possible favourites at the moment, just trying to decide which one provides the best multi-platform support – or at least Android, Windows and Linux.  

Last month I listed possible tasks for the near future. They were:

  • build more little ships
  • finish the 1/300 scale Polikarpov I-16s
  • paint the 1/300 scale Tupolev SB-2s
  • read a book
  • paint some 6mm ancient Anglo-Saxons
  • build a large kit
  • start of new wargaming project?

Of those tasks, I have been reading a book (which is pushing me more and more towards a new project) and working on the 1/300 scale Polikarpov I-16s – these are almost finished, requiring just a few more decals (see to the left).

I am determined this weekend to finish setting up Linux on one laptop here and using either IBM or gnucobol, work on brushing up my COBOL skills. I will also clear a table so I can at least game a little over the next week or two.

If all goes well, the ECQ will be raised to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Makati (Metro Manila too maybe) on 15 May, although this is by no means guaranteed, given that Quezon City is a local epicenter and the largest of the 16 cities comprising Metro Manila. There has not really been a significant period of falling new cases in the National Capital Region although some the provinces around the NCR are doing my better (Local figures can be seen here https://covidstats.ph/cases). The only downside I can see of the GCQ those under 21 and over 60 (or pregnant for that matter) are required to stay in the home unless absolutely necessary to be out (food, medicine, permitted industries) 😦

Be safe, relax, keep your distance and wash your hands! I leave you with my Cousin Itt look!

Damned Historical Fiction – Sub-Roman British and Arthur!

I knew it would happen. I was reading David Pilling’s Ambrosius for my midnight read with a glass of Dr. Feelgood before retiring for the evening. I thought I could control the urges but the addiction was too strong.

We’ve been in Enhanced Community Quarantine here not for 37 days with at least 9 more days to go, but also with many rumours that the government will extend for an additional two to four weeks.

So in those evening hours, after a glass and a read and just before drifting off to sleep, one’s mind turns to thinking about … Sub-Roman British.

I’m thinking, “it can’t be too hard and won’t require many figures, after all I have a fair spares box from the Vikings in 6mm – the Project Start project which interestingly is a project I started one year ago, then got distracted with some ships.

So, I thought that I could use the the left-over Ostrogoths from that project and use them as your fairly generic hairy barbarian types. That project also provides some barbarian cavalry and archers as well. Once the post returns to normal I would just need to get a few Late Roman types for some of the cavalry and the more Roman looking infantry. Of course that purchase would need to wait until post is flowing freely in the Philippines again and Baccus 6mm recommences moulding. The Anglo-Saxons for the Viking project can be re-purposed. In the Sub-Roman Britain time they were all basically dense warband in wargaming terms. In the Viking times, they had become a little more organised and had a few warband but must were densely packed spears. Voila, instant transformation.

And I was going to eave it there, honest guv’nor, I was.

I started to read book 2 off Pilling’s Leader of Battles Series and started to think back to the Sub-Roman British of Ambrosius’s time. The same army would do for Ambrosius or Artorius, however, why not reproduce Vortigern’s army as well?

And if I cam going to do Vortigern’s, perhaps I should consider the hairy Scots, the Irish, Welsh and Picts of the time. Yes six armies would make a lovely campaign set again, with Ambrosius and Vortigern sometimes combining to see off the Scots and Irish, at other times facing each other across the field of battle.

So, another project to plan and an excuse to rifle through the leftover boxes on the weekend to see what I really need to purchase later to complete this set.

What is worrying is that there are three more books in the Leader of Battles series following. Still, I am resisting the urge for Artorius to travel to Gaul and assist against the Visigoths … I would need more figures for that and as a responsible wargamer I could not consider doing that … yet!