Jun 20, 2024

Suffering the Block

I bought a bunch of 17x20mm wooden blocks at Kik (a retail store of German origin that mostly sells cheap rubbish, but has a creative department). First I thought of building pike and shot armies out of the blocks, but then the project sort of stalled. 

I sold my 6mm Lace Wars / Tricorne collection some time ago, but thought about getting back to the period. So finally I used some templates from Junior General and designed the appropriately sized paper covers for the Kik blocks, sort of Commands & Colours style, with the blocks upright instead of being laid down flat. They are sturdy enough so that they don't topple over at the first touch. I might also add base extensions later.

Three blocks constitute a unit, usually with a command base at the center. This is enough to represent line, deep order and march column. Troop types are denoted by the 'figures' themselves - there are dragoons, cuirassiers, Croats and a Guard regiment on the above photo. My plan is to use these for Maurice (which requires four bases to a unit, but shall work just fine with three). They are also easy to bash together at times when I do not have the motivation to paint.

So far I designed a white, blue, red and green army (with the Rebel Lands Campaign running on my other blog in mind), and some Poles, Cossacks, Ottomans and other irregular units. I have refought the battle of Kliszów with 6mm figures once, and might just do that again soon. By the way, the scenario I designed for Kliszów using Maurice is available from the "Scenarios" page in the header if you are interested (along with a lot of others).

Jun 17, 2024

DIY 28mm Wasteland Reavers / Chaos Cultists / Generic Baddies

Now I wanted some opponents my Oldmarines can slay. Fortunately there are plenty of tutorials out there to show how to make Chaos cultists and such from pink foam and tissue paper, and while I did not follow them to the letter, I came up with a quick and inventive way that won't reduce one's pocket money as much as, say, buying used plastic models.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Cut a block of 4mm balsa to roughly human shape
  2. Cover it with tissue paper soaked in PVA, creating folds and such
  3. Make a Green Stuff mask (or make their cowls really low and just paint the recess black)
  4. Add some weapons
  5. Paint it
One figure on the above image is a Chaos Lieutenant, a JARMY toy figure from Tesco, with shortened legs and a GS breather added. The rest were made using the method described above. Three have bamboo stick firearms and the fourth a cardstock shield and a spare Frostgrave crewman's sword arm. 

I plan to make more of them in different colours so they can fight each other. 

Jun 16, 2024

Derfflinger Details

I'm building a Snowman Model 1/700 SMS Derfflinger, the post-Jutland version. Here are some reference pictures - mostly so I could find them, but it might interest others.

I'm not sure of the images' sources as I've collected way too many of them to keep track, but being period photos more than a hundred years old, I don't believe that would cause any copyright hassle.

This is an aerial photo made just after Jutland I believe. It is important for two things: this is the only period photo I could find where the aerial recognition rings on all the turrets are visible, and the damage made to the aft section can also be seen (this was planked over later, but the new boards used for the job remained dark for a while). I can safely extrapolate and say that A and D turret had a narrower, B and C a thicker white ring, and this remained in use later.

This is the image I'm mostly after, except I added magic sculpt blast bags to the main battery, because the brass barrels did not quite fit snugly so I had to cover their ends. Photos made later (with the much more pronounced tripod), especially those during her internment show blast bags, but none before, so it must have been added later, but I will overlook this inaccuracy for aesthetic reasons.

Also, the kit has torpedo booms and nets, but it is very obvious that by the time of this photo it fell completely out of use.

Here's a thing that is not shown on period pictures and is rather hard to decide. The painting instructions that came with the kit, and also most non-period references (of other models also) show a boot top (the black band near the waterline, above the anti-fouling red). However, here's a picture of Seydlitz which is rather clear on the fact that she drew a lot deeper than the level of the anti-fouling paint (see the line of chipped off grey above it), and had no boot top. It is safe to assume that belonging to the same unit within the Hochseeflotte, the Derfflinger was painted using the same method - or at least that 's what I will do with mine. Dark red and black are pretty difficult to discern from black and white photos anyway.

Jun 13, 2024

A Fluyt

You might remember that last time I was thinking about 17th/early 18th century naval gaming, I chose to stick with the current scale (about 1/500) as I had the necessary amount of hulls. In the end I reversed my decision and bit the bullet, switching to 1/1200 scale, the primary reason being the relative ease of building the models and storing them. Thus, for starters, I made an order with Warfare Miniatures for an economy pack of their Ark Royal ADW Dutch ships, this first complete vessel being one of them.

The order arrived in due time and the castings are great, splendid little vessels with lots of individual character. I chose to build a smaller one to see how challenging it is to paint and rig, thinking that the larger ships won't prove such a hassle once I mastered this.

I'll divide my ships to Red and Blue squadrons to be able to field them against each other until reinforcements arrive. I also made some resin copies of the 70-gun large Indiaman, using Blue Stuff (for strictly personal use, mind you) to boost the firepower of each of the two squadrons. Of course the copies are nothing compared to the crisp detail of the original, but they will suffice.

I used acrylics (notably VMC Flat Brown on the hull, AK Flat Flesh and Cream White on the sails) for the base colors, followed by a raw umber oil wash and highlights to paint the ship. The rigging was made with thread, using the same method as with the 1/500 scale ships, albeit with some simplification.

The base is a Renedra 20x40 plastic one from the spares box, with rounded off corners. For the sea effect I used artist's acrylic paste, stippled on with a stiff brush, and some acrylic medium, painted with Prussian Blue, followed by a grey drybrush, a dark green glaze, another glaze of Prussian Brown and a white drybrush for the wave crests. Once the paint dried, I added a single layer of gloss varnish.

For now I'll up-rate the vessels I have: the fluyts will become fifth and sixth rates, the frigates and smaller Indiamen fourth rates. I'm very contended with the quality of the models, so I will most likely purchase some more.

Jun 10, 2024

The first batch of repurposed Oldmarines

Here are the first three of my bargain bin Space Marines from the Troll Trader, painted in the livery of my homebrew Ihaly Csuhaly Turul Rangers chapter.

Some freehand was done on the shoulder plates, and I bought some Vallejo pink tufts for decorating their bases. I went with an abandoned industrial look, using leftover pieces of white metal and some cat litter.

Obligatory cool guys don't look at explosions look. Although the paintjob is kind of rushed (wanted them ready for gaming as quickly as possible), it is a huge improvement compared to their previous one.


Jun 5, 2024

Photo report of the Greek warship Averof

My wife and I took a four day trip to Athens, which we mostly spent in the southern districts near the sea (besides a mandatory trip downtown). The highlight of the journey, of course, was visiting the armored cruiser / battleship Georgios Averof.

The ship is moored in Faliro harbor, is maintained by the Hellenic Navy, entrance is 5EUR per adult. We arrived early Tuesday morning and were the only visitors at that time besides a guided school tour. 

Entrance is from the stern via a staircase - as we went up and down the length of the ship I organised the pictures from aft to fore instead of chronological order.

Most of the spar deck and upper deck are free to move around, and so are some of the internal areas. The bow is accessible via the enclosed superstructure above the spar deck.

May 13, 2024

Suffering with Heller's Le Superbe


I've been building this old kit for over a year now, on and off, because sometimes it just really upsets me.

I glued together and painted the hull halves, then installed the lower gundeck no problem. I had to pry the hull apart just a little bit to make it fit.

Not so much luck with the upper gundeck, apparently the manufacturer did not think about space after setting up the 30-odd cannon of the lower tier. I could not manage to squish the thing in in one piece. 

Next I tried to split it in three sections lengthwise, but there was an issue of fit again - there was no good order in which to install the sections. This caused damage to the lower deck as well. Furthermore, the point of attachment of the rope/chain that secures the bottom deadeyes to the hull is level with the upper gundeck, which made it nigh impossible to fit the two together.

So in the end I removed the molded-on deck fittings, copied the outline of the deck to a piece of 1mm balsa, and remade it completely. 

I also added some crosswise beams to the construction so that the gundeck sits flush and does not sag inward. Of course in the end these just interfered with the mast holes, so I had to scrape away some, notably at the foremast.

Once the deck - in one piece - received its paintjob, I trimmed off a large part off of each side, which followed the curvature of the outer hull, and glued these in first, followed by the larger central piece. This way I could make amendments and trim off any excess - the fit is not perfect, but good enough. I just had to move the three entry points for the masts a little bit back after test fitting.

I trimmed off the sides where the ends of the rope entered the hull, and filled it with Magic Sculpt once the rest was glued in. It's not very pretty, but blends in, and is deep enough in the hull that it won't be that visible.

At this point, jut to complicate things, a cannon at the bottom tier got loose, and I had to tear out a larger swath of the already installed upper gundeck to reach it (that is the crack line visible on the picture above), and then with some CA glue managed to fix the damned thing back in its place.

Fortunately the spar deck and the stored boats will hide most of the damage, so I turned to manufacturing other pieces, leaving the gundeck as is. I may just run it over with a gloss coat before gluing the guns in to hide the dots of glue. About a dozen guns in the waits will be visible from the spar deck, so those are going to have some tackle added (skipped this for the lower tier after some deliberation).

I also have the 1/100 Soleil Royal from Heller, where the gundecks are split along the middle and one side has a 'lip' the other can sit onto, which is a way better solution, as you don't have to force the hull halves apart and it's easy to make adjustments.

Some gratification is that after dry fitting the spar deck, the thing starts to look like a real ship of the line, and I also found out just how good oil washes can be, both on smaller items and large surfaces.

May 6, 2024

The Battle of Tun Gus Wood

I wrote a test scenario for my Ancients/Bronze Age/Tribal ruleset Gudugán Pudugán. The rules and the scenario are available from the separate sub-pages in the header of the blog. The scenario is more or less based on one from One Hour Wargames, with a bit of a Gudugán Pudugán specialty twist.

On the image above, we see both the armies of Karhutu (northern table edge) and Osomano (south) deployed, the Osomanoan cavalry making an advance in the center around Tun Gus Wood.

Apr 29, 2024

First unit for the Italian Wars

This is sort of a refurbishment, as I had these four Perry men-at-arms from a previous collection, most of which I sold. All they needed was a new base and some touching up, including a layer of clearcoat.

They will join the Imperialist forces in the Italian Wars, being just a little bit out of date for the latter part of the conflict.

I have a large Italian Wars project in mind, with about 450 figures per side, with 120x120mm pike bases and 120x60mm for everything else - these are the first few to test the concept.