Sunday, August 30, 2009

Go West, Young Man!

These words could have been issued by Marshall Joseph Stalin, as part of a Stavka directive. My plans to paint the Saracen Spear Men fell through the last two weeks. My niece was visiting and after she left I was away from my apartment for slightly over a week. I brought with me some 28mm World War II Soviets to paint. They were already packed to be moved for such an eventuality.

The heat wave continued in Montreal and one of the things I heard on the local CBC radio had to do with the power of positive thinking. Think or do things that remind you of cooler days. I spent Wednesday at an outdoor pool, which was great and I was cool for a day.

But what makes me think of cool weather? World War II Soviets in their winter gear. What’s cooler than Siberians taking part in a winter offensive, unless you’re on the receiving end of things, in which case it’s hotter than hell?

The photographs have a mix of the Black Tree Designs figures and West Wind, “Berlin or Bust” line. I find both lines to be near enough in size to one another that they are easily compatible for game play. I personally think the Black Tree Design miniatures show more detail in their figures.

The bases are magnetic bases available from Gale Force 9 and have been built up with Liquitex Natural Sand Texture Gel.

The tank is a T-34/85 cast metal model, and I was not willing to give it a whitewash. I do not know the manufacturer. I am unable to locate a name, trademark, or a scale on it. I assume that it is 1/48th or 1/50th Scale. It is a far from perfect match for the 28mm Infantry but is all right for a skirmish game. It came in a box of odds and ends that I picked up at Cangames a few years ago.

On Saturday I could not help myself. I saw a 57mm Soviet Anti-Tank Gun by Black Tree Design for auction on EBay. I clicked the “Buy it Now” button. What a fool was I! The same item is currently on sale at half price directly from Black Tree. I must learn to control my impulses.

Meanwhile regarding the Saracens: I am still waiting to receive the original two packs of Saracen archers (FD1019 Warriors of Islam Infantry with Bows (4 figures)) I ordered last month. John from Black Tree USA called on another matter. He said that some items are currently out of stock at the Texas warehouse and the UK source is on their August holidays. The pipelines will reopen shortly. I already ordered another package of infantry (AB1057 Warriors of Islam Infantry (20 figures)). At 50% off, I can’t go wrong and they were mailed to me last week I need them in order to build some warband elements for DBA.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Terrain: Eluding Morpheus or The River of Dreams.

In Montreal, we've had a week of hot and humid weather. A couple of nights I've woken up in the wee hours of the morning and was unable to return to blessed sleep. I was not comfortable with the thought of doing detailed work on my miniatures, nor did I want to read. I turned instead to a terrain piece that has been calling out for paint.

(Note: In the photo above notice the 3"-4" transition piece feeding into a 4" river section at the lower right hand corner of the image)

I had an Armorcast River. I started the river collection while I was still living in Halifax. I bought a 4" two piece package from Odyssey 2000, a store which I understand no longer exists. So there I was with 14 inches of straight river 4 inches wide. It was always in the back of my mind that I'd have to buy more.

Fast forward, the year is now 2007. I purchased at auction an 3" Armorcast Boxed River set. It was 4 feet long. It was still not long enough to stretch the length of my six foot gaming (dining room) table. I needed more!

By 2008 I acquired a 3''-4" River Transitions pack (2 pieces) that would allow me to run the two 4 inch river pieces into the 3 inch river boxed set and provide me with the needed filler to allow the river to cross the length of my table. Time to paint.

I followed the directions according to Armorcast. Earlier I cleaned the seams on the individual river sections and washed the pieces in warm soapy water. When properly dried I sprayed them with gray base coat (Canadian Tire Primer). Over three nights, for the loss of 5 hours sleep, I completed the majority of the work.

The paints I selected for the task were Raw Sinna (Series 1) for the river banks, and Cobalt Blue (Series 5) for the water. Both were imported by Omar DeSerres Inc. Once the riverbanks dried I inked the Raw Sinna with a Games Workshop Chestnut Ink. This was a KISS (Keep it Simple) principle job. I wasn't going to be bogged down painting different colours for all the possible rock variations.

The river is complete and ready to game with. It needs some more work. In addition to various areas of sand along the river sides, there is the plant life which needs to be touched up.

That's it for now. My next posting will be when I've completed painting my Arabian Spear men.

Saracen DBA/HOTT Part II Arabian Myth

As for a Hordes of the Things (HOTT) Photo, I think this comes out fairly good. The Flying Carpet is clearly shown. The individual photos I took of it were pretty blurry, so this is a good shot.

Rear Rank: Flyer (Flying Carpet)
Front Rank: (L2R)
Behemoth (the water Djinn), 2 elements of Horde, and Lurkers (team of Assassins)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saracen DBA/HOTT

Many years ago I received into my care part of a 25mm Saracen army. I believed the figures where by Heritage Miniatures. The previous owner ran them under the old 5th and 6th Editions of the Wargames Research Rules. In the late 70s and early 80s it was a popular rule set in the Halifax gaming community. I'm sure that I've had these figures sitting around for close to 20 years under my care and I decided that I needed to do something with them. That's where the easy playability of the DBA/HOTT rules came to mind. Plus you don't need hundreds of figures.

Under DBA I would get enough elements to run either a Syrian 1092AD- 1286 AD (IV/5) or a Seljuk Truk 1037AD-1276AD (III/73) army. In either case I had the horseflesh. What I needed was infantry. I had the same requirements for an Arabian Myth Army under
HOTT, with some extra figures to fine tune the fantasy elements of it.

I dug through my boxes of lead and discovered I had both a flying carpet (Black Tree Design- I have no idea when or where I bought this piece) and a Ralph Partha water/air elemental (I'm not sure which) that I could use as a Genie or Djinn. I ended up basing it as a water Djinn, which may not be a proper usage in the Arabian mythos but looks great as a figure on a base.

Last week I spent time painting two elements of hordes and an element of lurkers (Assassins). The figures are by Black Tree Design. I have spear men that I need to paint as well as bowmen that are on back order. Black Tree offers some really good deals. I found the figures easy to clean and they currently offer some unit deals (20 foot in some cases at 50% off the regular price). I think I'll order some more. Damn, there's that addiction again.

In addition I picked up on EBay from MegaMiniatures, a number of individual figures that include
an Arabian slave with FAN, Arabian Mage & crystal ball, Arabian Priest praying, Arabian Knight Commander, 2 Arabian Knight with Scimitars, and a street beggar. MegaMiniatures have a large inventory of what look like to me to be unique type of figures to help fill any need.

That is all I have for now.