Sunday, 30 November 2008

Table Top Battles - Jigwar terrain boards

This is an image showing two different - and as yet unpainted - Jigwar terrain boards - a corner piece and a side piece.

This image shows the way in which the terrain boards fix together.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Table Top Battles - Making the Table Top

Now that I am committed to trying out these rules (with a few modifications because I can never leave anything alone!), I have begun to look around for something to make my gridded 'Table Top' from.

At first I thought of using a cloth, but I have found from bitter experience that trying to draw a grid on a cloth is not the easiest of things to do. I then looked around for some suitable wood, but a trip to my local DIY store soon showed me that:
  1. This was an expensive option
  2. It would produce a heavy playing board
  3. The resultant playing board would be difficult to store in what my wife calls my 'toy room' (i.e. my wargames room)

In the end I remembered that some years ago I bought some of the last remaining stock of Jigwar terrain boards from Essex Miniatures. These are 30cm x 30cm squares of 5mm thick plastic that were cut so that they clipped together (like a jigsaw puzzle). I still have a enough unpainted squares to make both a land and sea 'Table Top'.

The plastic is thick enough to be rigid, and light enough (and thin enough) to store easily. It will also 'take' acrylic paint very well. All I need to do is remove the protective film covering from the squares, clean them, give them a couple of coats of paint, make out the grid and ... voila ... I can try the rules in earnest.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Table Top Battles - A great impulse buy

I bought TABLE TOP BATTLES - TABLE TOP WARGAMING WITH MINIATURES (by Mike and Joyce Smith) at Warfare 2008 on an impulse ... and it was probably one of the best impulse buys I have ever made!

I am a great lover of small, simple games - particularly if they can be played solo - and this has all these qualities. The rules are very flexible and can be adapted for a variety of different periods, and can allow a series of battles to be fought in a matter of a few hours. They have also been developed over a long period of time, and although they are not 'rules lawyer' proof (no wargames rules ever are!), they do cover almost everything that one needs (including naval warfare, air warfare, and campaigns).

Having read these rules I can see me using them - with minor alterations - for all sorts of small wargames projects ... including my 1930s Lauranian campaign.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Warfare 2008

I have just got back from Warfare 2008, and it was well worth the 90 minute drive there (and 30 minutes trying to park!).

There were lots of traders, and I could have spent a lot on money ... but I was sensible and mostly bought what I planned or had thought about buying:
  • A box of Hexon II Desert terrain and related terrain features
  • Some vehicles from Minimi Miniatures
  • C S Grant's THE WAR GAME COMPANION (it has had some good reviews, and having seen it in on the Caliver Books stand I decided to buy it)
  • Stuart Asquith's WAR IN THE SUDAN 1884-1898 A CAMPAIGN GUIDE
The only impulse buy was TABLE TOP BATTLES - TABLE TOP WARGAMING WITH MINIATURES by Mike and Joyce Smith. This was also on the Caliver Books stand, and when I realised that it used a gridded playing surface I just had to have it.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Lauranian Air Force - Yet more problems!

I managed to get hold of some more of the same model aircraft for the planned Lauranian Air Force but I am still having problems when I try to undercoat them.

This time I used a spray can of acrylic undercoat from a manufacturer whose products I have used before. I cleaned the models by washing them in a mild solution of soapy water to make sure there was no oil or other residue on the surface, and when they were thoroughly dry I sprayed the top of the models. I then left the paint to dry before turning them over.

This time the plastic did not react with the paint ... but the paint that was already on the models had begun to crackle and bubble during the drying process. This suggests that the original paint is probably cellulose-based. It should not have reacted to the acrylic paint - which is fairly inert - but has done.

So it is back to the drawing board for a third attempt!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Trying a new method of painting figures - more images

The images on my previous entry were a bit too sepia in colour due to my use of artificial lighting, so I have replaced them with photographs taken using natural light. At the same time I took individual front and back photos of each of the figure poses.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Trying a new method of painting figures - the results

As promised, here are some pictures of my newly-painted World War II US Army figures. They are 15mm scale figures manufactured by Essex Miniatures.

I think that they are of a reasonable wargames standard, and I will persist with this 'new' method for the time being. The next figures will be 20mm and the undercoat will be light grey and not white as I think that this will work better with the slightly larger figures.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Trying a new method of painting figures

Because of the problems I had with the model aircraft I had intended to paint for the Lauranian Air Force I was left without a short-tem wargames project to work on. I therefore decided to try out a painting technique I have not used before.

Basically the technique involves undercoating the figure with white paint, then washing the figure with the basic topcoat colour, picking out the detail, and then giving the figure a coat of ink (in this case GW's Sepia Ink).

I tried the technique on some 15mm World War II American figures and I must admit that they don't look too bad. The wash means that the figures are not too dark - a common problem with smaller figures - and the ink picks out the detail that the wash has missed. It also covers over some of the painting inaccuracies that are due to my lack of skill and basic clumsiness.

I am now basing the figures, and when they are finished I hope to add some pictures of them to this blog.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Shock! Horror! - The Lauranian Air Force is wiped out before it can even fly!

I decided to spay the aircraft models I was going to use for the Lauranian Air Force with a matt undercoat before I painted them ... big mistake! I used a brand new spray can that I bought specially for the purpose, and began by spraying the bottom sides of the models. I let the paint dry for a couple of hours and then returned to do the top side. As I picked the first model up to turn it over the top wing fell off ... as did the top wings of all the other models! The interplane struts, which I thought were metal, turned out to be plastic, and the spray paint had reacted with the plastic, causing it to become brittle and to break. The models are now pretty useless as they are, and will need a lot of work to repair the damage.

On reading the spray can instructions I cannot find any warning not to use the paint on plastics, but either I was very unlucky and bought a contaminated batch or the plastic is of a type that reacts with some chemical (probably the solvent) in the paint.

So it is back to the drawing board for the moment with regard to my Lauranian project.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

War surplus aircraft - the Lauranian Air Force takes shape!

The first batch of war-surplus aircraft has just been delivered to Laurania. Once repainted these will form the backbone of the country's new air force.

The aircraft are four ex-Royal Air Force single-seater fighters ...

... and two ex-United States Army Air Force two-seater trainers.

It is intended that all the aircraft will have bomb racks fitted so that they can also attack ground targets.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

FIMO ships

Some years ago I constructed a set of ships for my colonial wargames using FIMO. This material comes ready-coloured, and when baked at the right temperature in an oven it welds itself together. It is thus possible to make models that don't need painting.

The following model is a light cruiser.

These are two coastal passenger ships.

This is a coastal gunboat based on the so-called 'flat iron' gunboats used by the Royal Navy. They carried a heavy gun armament and were very manoeuvrable, but were also very slow.

A model of a conventional inshore gunboat armed with light guns and a ram.

Native sailing craft. Their wide decks make them ideal cargo carriers.

I hope to use some or all of this models in my forthcoming Laurania campaign.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Problems with my images - solved!

It took me longer than expected, but I have just managed to upload all the missing images to the relevant entries on my blog.

Now I can spend some time trying to get on with my latest project.

Long live Laurania!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Problems with my images

Due to a problem with my computer - the wireless link to my broadband connection 'broke' as I was working with my Picasa Web Album - I managed to delete all the images I had added to my blog entries.

I am in the process of restoring these images as and when I can, and hope to have them all back in place by this time tomorrow.