Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Valiant Order Arrives!

Hi Chaps,

If you have been a wargamer for a few years you may remember the dark ages of poor customer service. Happily I will now forget forever the entire tedious waiting for the post thing for weeks on end! Thank you Valiant!

Valiant just went beyond good customer service. I ordered just before a bank holiday and yet I received my order on Tuesday morning! I have no idea how they managed to package and post it so quickly! A new winner for speedy service with an honourable mention to Royal Mail as well.

As you can see the package contained a late war German battle group and cost under £25 which is extremely good value. The two Stugs have been built and are awaiting undercoat and the first company are on their bases. The cart is a little fiddly but will be a great item to have following my battalions around the table causing mini traffic jams. The link for this and other sets is here.


Some people criticize the size of the Valiant infantry and they do look like giants stood next to my Russians but I don't mind as they are easier for my old eyes to paint. Also if they are ever next to each other on the table it means that something has gone badly wrong (for one side at least).

Keep blogging Chaps I will post work in progress pictures soon.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Zvezda and Italeri Artillery

Hi Chaps,

Just a quick update on my progress regarding 20mm WW2. In my absence from this scale a new (to me) manufacturer has appeared called Zvezda. This company is from Russia but my local model shop carries a lot of there kits and availability does not seem to be an issue.


For me the small boxes containing an artillery piece or weapons team are really useful and the kits are detailed and high quality. My huge man fingers always seem to struggle with the smaller parts but I have never claimed to be a model maker.

At £3 per kit these are hard to ignore especially if you are watching the pennies like myself. The kits can also add some variation to your units as the poses are rather different-I have never seen a mortar being carried (that base plate is heavy!).

Later this week I expect an order from Valiant and Grubby tanks to arrive which will complete my own miniature battlegroup, lots of transport and a couple of Stugs but no tanks yet.

Thanks for looking, hopefully I will soon be able to parade all of the lads together.....along with their Russian opponents.

Keep blogging and have a good bank holiday.

Friday, 27 May 2016

20MM Pak 40

Hi Chaps,

Today I got a couple of hours to begin work on half of my anti tank company. This is a plastic box from Italeri and costa around £8. The quality is astounding and everything in the box is useful, It includes two guns each with five crew. The plastic is hard and can be glued and the detail is chunky for plastic and easy to paint.

I have attempted to give the figures the "Plain Tree" (?) cammo jackets but it does not really come across in the pictures. The anti tank company will be easier to ID because of this but as I only have a Marder 3 and crew left to paint to complete it I needn't have bothered I suppose.

The figures are on the large side and are not a bad mix with the even larger Valiant guys without too much difference. Tomorrow if I get up an hour sooner I will start on my little plastic pile of Zvezda mini's which are a motorcycle and side car and a mortar team,

Hobby wise this is a very exciting time for me. New spectacles (god yes-I am that old) mean that I can see these little guys clearly for the first time in years. Add to this the cheapness and plethora of models available and it becomes an opportunity to take advantage of. Speaking of cheapness I just ordered the Valiant Miniatures German Army Battle group....


Probably more infantry than I could ever use at once but this should be a great start too which I intend to add some resin vehicles from Grubby Tanks.


No company will be planning a holiday home on the back of my orders but I am getting value for money...I just need Valiant to start producing some Russians! Colin Rumford come on buddy Valiant Russian infantry please!

Keep blogging Chaps and Chappesses I need your work to inspire me and to copy from!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Communists in Thailand....

Hi Chaps,

I have previously posted pics from roadside museums in Thailand but my wife Oijai just sent me a few more from a mountainous area in the North. The equipment certainly has some "groovy" colour schemes and would be a great alternative for those extra Vietnam figures that you bought by accident. By the way M113's etc are still in use as are Willis jeeps and all manner of what we would consider vintage artillery pieces!

These little museums have been built on old military bases, the mortar pits and artillery parks have just been left and I assume that the exhibits are abandoned pieces of kit. If you ever visit do not go picking up any shells or handle the ammo of any sort.....

Cambodia is far worse on the safety issue but if you talk nice to the military guys there they will usually get you onto their base and have a look around. For a few US dollars they will let you onto the range. Be warned though they always seem drunk! George Best/Gazza drunk not just tipsy.

The bulldozer is an essential part of any attempt to build anything out in the far east, plants seem to spring up overnight....love the armour on it!

Keep gaming and blogging Chaps!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Valiant Miniatures 20MM German

Hi Chaps,

It has been a slow hobby week due to being back temporarily as a single parent but a few models have been painted.

The most rewarding-and surprisingly quick to paint were some Valiant Miniatures German infantry. just lately I have been painting almost all 28MM but I often wonder if I should have stuck with Elheim moderns in the smaller 20MM scale. I may even unload some figures to commit the worst war gaming sin of all.....the same period in two different scales! It's the damned tanks-in 20MM I can actually field some without placing them back in a safety deposit box after use.

The Chaps at Valiant need to produce some Russians because my old Italeri look tiny compared to these huge Aryan warriors. Maybe it's the free time I have but I keep looking at the Plastic Soldier Company website and making lists....then go to Elheim and Grubby Tanks and do the same.

Hopefully by the weeks end there will be several new Taliban completed, The Assault Group politicians are almost complete, there is a dude in traditional arabic garb but he is still awaiting a white undercoat.

Now I am off to cost out the price of a Russian tank battalion in 20MM. Or maybe a Modern Brit Battalion from Grubby....great problems to have!

Keep blogging Chaps.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Empress Miniatures order arrives

Hi Chaps,

My order from Empress Miniatures arrived this morning and the figures appear to have a lot of character. I only ordered two packs (no one is getting rich from my orders sadly) from two different codes CWC and INS and they are noticeably different size wise...

I do not find this a problem at all as humans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the weapons are definitely petite compared to The Assault Group but are probably more realistic for it.

The middle guy is a TAG figure and on the table there should be no problems mixing these manufacturers together.

It will take a couple of weeks to paint up the moderns that I have now so the next stage of this project will be a few buildings and a rule set. There are a lot of rules out there now for moderns so I am a little spoilt for choice....some of them are even free for download or cost less than a coffee to buy online. Happy days indeed for this financially challenged gamer.

Keep blogging Chaps!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Assault Group based at last

Hi Chaps,

It has been an unusual week here at HQ. The wife is visiting her parents so the chores are down to my good self as is the school run etc. which restricts my painting time. All is still good though.

The generic sniper was fun and will prove useful in a lot of scenarios. Sorry about the blurry pic-I was rushing....didn't want him to spot me!

There is a few more Taliban to paint and I am awaiting an order from Empress for some insurgents who are grim looking bunch indeed!

I am off now to sketch some town houses and shops to make a busy street....then to find a source of 28mm bicycles, street food carts, people etc.

Keep blogging!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Taliban Work in Progress

Hi Chaps,

Just a quick update on my TAG moderns. These figures are a pleasure to paint, they do seem very similar in design to Copplestone castings-it may just be down to their chunky size? Painting is much more enjoyable and much quicker when I am not having to squint or attempt to paint fine or faint lines of detail. I love these man size figures!

The bases will be next a simple glue, sand and coat of chocolate brown emulsion with an odd clump of scatter. For the contractors I may try to suggest some paving with green stuff, just to suggest an urban environment. I am having a lot of fun with these guys so I may order a few more modern types, they can always slot into a Zombie game or future war.

I never find any useful toys in this scale! It seems that Grubby tanks will be the best place to source a couple of Humvees and by now Warlord Games should have released their modern plastic soldiers which look excellent....happy times for the financially challenged even in 28mm.

Thanks for clicking by. Later this week I will be making some modern buildings to provide a backdrop and some cover for these guys. Always cheap of course!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Assault Group and some scatter terrain

Hi Chaps,

My two orders to The Assault Group (TAG) arrived on Saturday and I am absolutely astonished at the quality of these little figures. (TAG had the common sense to combine my separate orders...I am a dullard). The miniatures look very paintable and each figure is full of character, as a bonus two extra figures were included, both very useful-a western style sniper and a Taliban character armed with pistols.

I would recommend TAG to anyone interested in the modern period but their catalogue seems to cover lots of different conflicts.

Orrin Deforest's book Slow Burn is an excellent read for anyone who games the Vietnam War or is just interested in military intelligence. I am sure that a lot of scenario's could be built around some of the chapters in the book, as gamers we do seem to restrict ourselves to the more common military activities-the modern period especially has so much published material that we should never run out of gaming ideas.

The TAG figures busy being glued....the scissors are being used to keep a figure upright until the glue dries...despite not even starting these guys lists are being drawn up for more support! I did have a Taliban army in 20mm but I find 28mm easier to paint, easier to see and just generally more enchanting.

The pallets are made from matches and coffee stirrers and are a great way to use up some hobby time when you don't feel like like painting or if time is short. Eventually you will end up with a couple of little stacks that when based will provide a bit of detail to the table and break up lines of sight.

Keep blogging Chaps, all these ideas have been stolen from various places around the blogosphere.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

28MM Housing and Terrain

Hi Chaps,

This week has seen no figure painting (well half a dozen Airfix modern Brits were started) but plenty of scratch building for a modern or Zombie table. I did order twice from The Assault Group whose figures are truly world class. Why twice? Mainly because I forgot to order the pack of figures which took me to the site on the first visit! Only a small order but enough to give me a stash of figures to dip into when an opportune moment arises.

Embracing my new love of pdf's and technology I bought the "Danger Close" ruleset from Empress Miniatures. These two page rules seem very interesting and I can hardly wait to push some figures around my desk to try them out. At £1.50 I would recommend them to anyone who has an interest in modern/future games.....you will need a 20 sided dice.

The market stalls/bars are now pretty much complete and are really little more than scatter terrain as these things pop up all over the place in countries less preoccupied with health and safety and tax collection than the euro zone.

More scatter terrain was made with this toy car, 99P from a cheap shop-it was originally a police car and there were three in the pack, bargain. This model should work for breaking up lines of sight and could also be used in Zombie games-it can join the couple I made last year.

After a visit to my local burger place I restocked up on coffee stirrers which are being snipped and glued into miniature pallets, a few stacks of these can then be based and used as more scatter terrain and should not be out of place on a board representing real estate anywhere in the world.

Thanks for popping by, two more buildings should be painted by weekend and the TAG order should have arrived so it will be back to figures next week.

Keep blogging Chaps/Chicks.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Time and motion study

Hi Chaps,

Well the painting (of figure) vibe has gone. This happens now and again, maybe it is similar to writers block? I never worry about it because when I discover something of interest it comes back with a vengeance. It seems that the cause of my current malaise was actually attempting to paint (OK force) a battalion of 10mm infantry with artillery support. I have nothing against the smaller scales except that I felt no affinity for them and they looked crap.

I want to recognise and feel proud of every piece of metal or plastic that I slap paint on...not squint at a base of Khaki shrimps imagining that they are a group of men. OK the smaller scales win the whole range/ratio thing but at the end of the day a 10mm man can still shoot further than the edge of my table.....

So due to this slightly disappointing and deflating failure of an experiment I rummaged around for something other than a figure to paint. It was hello Africa (or Asia) and I took up a house brush (yes 1/4") and a few tester pots and got the whole smaller scale thing out of my system. The failure was all mine and small scales are great (honest)....hopefully that disclaimer will prevent arguments, hate mail or fatwa's.

The shop may look dishevelled but I can assure you that generally the third world produces far worse-it seems that a building never see's neither brush nor paint the day after it is built. The smart money would open a DIY store in those parts....I will find some pictures to back up my claims shortly!

keep blogging Chaps.