Sunday, March 30, 2014

More Bases Needed!

Perhaps I am getting old and the memory is going, but it seems to me that I keep running out of bases at inopportune times.  This week I wanted to start getting the MJ Figures Falklands War figures mounted and pictures taken, thinking I had plenty of bases as I recently received an order for two hundred 15mm circular bases from Litko.  Well, I do, sort of.  For my Force on Force/Ambush Alley/Tomorrow's War gaming I use 15mm bases for the grunts and 20mm bases for the leaders.  In 15mm this makes it relatively easy to discern leaders on the table.  Now, the MJ Figures are a bit larger than 15mm, but a standing or advancing infantryman still fits well enough on a 15mm circular base.  No problems, right?  Except, once again, I seem to have run out of bases...this time the 20mm ones I use for leaders!  And, in looking over the MJ packs, there are several figures that are in a prone position, so that neither a 15mm or 20mm base will work.  Off to the Litko website I go and place an order for 20mm and 25mm bases (yes, I still have plenty of 15mm ones...I hope).

Left - The Scene, Right - Khurasan
I still haven't decided on what size base to use with The Scene's "not" Predator range.  I've already placed Dutch Schaeffer on a 20mm base, as he was the leader of that little band of merry men, and the Khurasan "not" Predator is also mounted on a 20mm base.  But the rest of the team I haven't decided on.  As these figures will most likely be used with a different rules system, using the aforementioned methodology isn't as important.  So I can finish mounting these figures now, or wait for my most recent Litko order to come in.  Oh, speaking of rules, does anyone know a fun set already written for Predator?

Quite a difference, eh?
When I was painting more frequently (years ago now) my bases would be sheet styrene, painted with white glue, and then dipped into a tub of Woodland Scenics grass, sometimes with small bits of ballast mixed in for small stones.  This worked well enough for the periods I was gaming then (Civil War, etc.).  Now the plan will be to use a similar method, but instead of the Woodland Scenics grass, I am going to use the The Army Painter Battleground Basing and Battlefield Rocks.  I will still paint white glue on the bases and then dip into the the basing material, and then glue a few pieces of the rocks on.  Should make for a more aesthetic looking base than plain flat grass.  Each figure should stand out a bit, and having a more detailed and realistic base will help.

More to come...just gotta get those bases first!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Building the MJ Figures Panhard AML 90

My recent talk about the Falklands War forced me, yes, forced me to order five books on the conflict and pull from the miniatures bin the MJ Figures Falklands War packs I have had in the bin for quite some time.  Now the packs are on the dining room table, ready for clean up and mounting on bases.  Of the packs I have (see The Falklands War Project page for a list) two are vehicles, the ubiquitous Scorpion/Sabre/Scimitar and the (mostly) non-factor Panhard armored car.  While most of my modern gaming is focused on the infantry, having a vehicle or two bounding about or being available via random die rolls as reinforcements can add a bit of variety and different challenges for players to overcome.  However, my initial plan for getting back into the Falklands War was strictly Royal Marines vs. Argentinian regulars and special forces (as my initial orders from MJ Figures show); it was month later I decided to buy one of every pack that MJ offers to take pictures and write reviews.  I am finally getting to that point I guess, with this post about the first of the two MJ vehicles in their Falklands range.

Panhard AML 90
MJ Figures Code FALK13 - $8.29 USD
Growing up a farmboy I find this picture to be rather humorous!

The Panhard AML 90 is a lightly armored 4 x 4 reconnaissance vehicle with a big punch.  The Argentine army deployed over a dozen of these French designed armored cars to the Falklands.  They were engaged at the Battle of Wireless Ridge against the Scorpions and Scimitars of the Blues and Royals.  Wanting to have some random support options for my Argentine forces as well as being able to review this model for the MJ Figures website, I just had to pick up one!

The MJ Figures Panhard comes in nine pieces (four tires, two axles, one hull, one turret, and one gun).   Actually, it must come with ten pieces, but apparently I am missing the hatch cover.  Assembly is very simple.  Glue the tires to the axles, the axles to the bottom of the hull (there are cutouts to place the axles into), glue the gun to the turret, and place the turret on the hull.  The quality of the overall kit is decent, a few pieces of metal to cut off, a bit of filing, and some trimming of the axles once the wheels are in place.  Detail is good, with enough raised detail to take a drybrush but not so much to make the detail look out of proportion.

Tires and axles - axle ends need to be trimmed

Turret with 90mm gun

Undercarriage with axles in place

In game terms, the AML 90 would be rated as a light wheeled vehicle, armor would be 3D8 (front), 2D8 (side), 2D6 (rear), and 1D6 (deck).  The 90mm cannon rates as (AP:4D/AT:3D(M)).  The 7.62mm machinegun is a medium support weapon, and is rated as (AP:3/AT:0).

The completed model, sans hatch cover.  Needs a bit of smoothing out, but nearly ready for a coat of primer
All in all, this is a nice kit that takes very little effort to put together and looks great when completed.  Scale-wise it may be a bit on the small side as the MJ Figures infantry are closer to 18mm, but the AML 90 blends well enough on the tabletop.  Rush over to the MJ Figures website and pick one (or ten) up today!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Falklands Project Update

I've added a new page as a placeholder to assemble the info I need for the Falklands project (click on The Falklands Project above).  Right now it is just a listing of the MJ Figures I own, what I need to by from Time Cast Models, and the Force on Force order of battle.  Later I will add books and other resources as I redo this project (for the third or maybe fourth time).

What I do find interesting is the forthcoming range from FireForce or Old Glory UK (I guess, still trying to sort out the various names).  Not your typical Old Glory US "stuff", but nice looking castings from the pictures I have come across.  However, I will still stay with the MJ Figures range for now, and see if I can supplement missing items (snipers, etc.) with either QRF or Old Glory (if they blend well).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Building the Imp

Last night I decided it was high time (or low time, I'm not picky) to build my first RAFM Imp.  I have four of these wheeled personnel carriers (which I have owned for quite a long time) to use with my Eureka sci-fi Germans as I think they give a nice futuristic look without being too over the top.  I opened one of the Imps months ago to look at its components, and thought it wouldn't be too much of a chore to put together, but simply never got around to building the kit.  Since I have been on a miniatures binge of late, I decided it was time to start assembling the Imps.

I called it kit for a reason, as there are eighteen parts in each Imp pack, and while it is fairly obviously where the parts are supposed to go, getting them there wasn't the easiest thing to do.  With assembly instructions and a picture of a completed Imp as reference, I moved ahead with the construction.  The undercarriage pieces gave me fits, having to get the undercarriage panels to line up correctly with the rear and front panels, while trying to keep them lined up with the top, and trying to keep from getting glue on my fingers as I fiddled around, was a bit of a P.I.T.A.  After failing to keep my fingers glue free and adding some appropriate swear words, I was finally able to get the undercarriage to "square" and hold properly.  After that, the rest of the Imp was a cinch to assemble.  The most difficult item I had left was the decision on using the missile or the gun turret.  I decided to go with the gun version for the first Imp, and probably will build all four the same.  I suspect that the remaining three Imps will give me significantly less assembly trouble as I now know what to expect.

The fiddly undercarriage

Possible National Insignia
Possible Unit Insignia
I primed the Imp with some Armory light gray spray.  I tend to use light gray for all my priming.  There are many who use black or white, but light gray seems to take a coat of paint "better" for me.  Black obscures the figure's details a bit too much, and white leads me to paint more than one coat.  Paint scheme will be very simple, simply as I do not have the time nor skills to create something more elaborate.  Panzer grey will most likely be the color of choice, as dark gray will really allow the colorful National insignia I plan to use to pop out.  So Panzer Gray, some blackwash, a little drybrush highlighting, add the insignia, paint some black on the tires, and the Imps will be ready to roll.

Primed for painting
I built the second Imp tonight, and as expected, it did go together a bit easier.  I have some minor gaps where the undercarriage panel suffered from some very minor warp-age, but overall it went together much more quickly, and I have no glue on my fingers this evening!

Update: Was provided THIS LINK about a great Imp assembly article.  Wish I had seen this before I started!

The term Imp in German is Kobold, which reminds me far too much of Dungeons and Dragons, so I will be coming up with some sort of Germanic name for the Imp.  It is an armored personnel carrier, which in German is schützenpanzer, so perhaps an homage to the Schützenpanzer models of the 1950s is in order.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Major X-COM Project Update

Quick note, click on the Tomorrow's War (was X-COM Project) tab above and you will see many ideas about my X-COM Tactical/Tomorrow's War project using Eureka, RAFM, Rebel, and Khurasan Miniatures.  Germans and Martians, oh my!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Comparison Pictures

I've been promising some comparison shots of some of the various manufacturers, and I finally have taken some to post!  As you should be able to tell, some companies blend very well together, whiles others not so much.  Let's get started!

Left - The Scene's "not" Dutch Schaeffer, Right - Khurasan's "not" Predator
The Scene make a decent line of "not" Predator figures, sans the Predator himself.  All they are missing from Dutch's merry band is Ana, the captured guerrilla.  Dutch is a bit tall compared to the Khurasan "not" Predator, as the Predator was over seven feet tall in the movie.  However, heft wise they blend nicely.

Left - Khurasan's Martian overlord.  Right - Rebel's Martian
In an effort to do some sort of X-COM/Martians vs. Germans thing, I bought Martian types from both Khurasan and Rebel Miniatures.  Seeing them together leads me to believe that they will not work well together as the Khurasan figures are shorter yet still a bit heftier than the Rebel figures.  Both ranges are nice, with the Rebel castings looking more like what I envision X-COM Sectoids would look like in miniature, but they are too tall.  I'll have to make a decision on which figures to use, because I do like them both!

Left - Khurasan "not" Colonial Marins, Right - Khurasan "not" Alien
I had forgotten I had bought the Khurasan "not" Colonial Marines until I was doing some digging in a bin full of minis in the closet.  They are spot on castings for Hicks and company on a colony planet far, far away.  They are "squattier" than most of the other 15mm figures, but fit well with the "not" Aliens.

Left - Eureka Ventaurian, Right - Eureka German
Ah, the biggest disappointment comes from Eureka.  Not because these are not excellent figures - they most certainly are!  But because they do not blend well at all.  I was hopeful that as these were both billed as 15mm sci-fi that they would be compatable, but as you can see the Ventaurian towers over the German.  But I do enjoy the casting on both ranges, and will find some sort of use for them all!

Left to Right - RAFM low tech, Droyne, Marine, and high tech infantry
The old RAFM Citadel figures made for Striker are still going strong.  Available again from RAFM, the castings are crisp and sculpted nearly as well as anything in the last 25+ years.  The Droyne is too tall compared to the other castings, but overall the height and heft of all the figures match up well.

Left to Right - RAFM Droyne, Khurasan "not" Alien, Khurasan Martian, Khurasan "not" Predator, and Rebel Martian
Just a comparison shot of the various alien types.

Left to Right - Peter Pig US Marine, Khurasan "not" Colonial Marine, The Scene "not" Dutch Schaeffer, Eureka Ventaurian, and Eureka German
A comparison shot of the humans...I guess Ventaurians are humans anyway.

Left to Right - The Scene, Peter Pig, Khurasan, RAFM, RAFM, and RAFM

Another human comparison shot.  Hey, that Khurasan "not" Colonial Marine matches up decently with the others after all.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tomorrow's War/2300 A.D./Falklands

I've been doing a lot of research and thinking, trying to come up with some sort of direction for Tomorrow's War.  The background information in the book is just enough to whet one's appetite, but not enough to have a full blown understanding of the Tomorrow's War canon.  Hopefully once I obtain a copy of By Dagger or Talon I will find more canonical background to go on, but I am thinking that may not be the case.  To that end I decided to purchase three more 2300 A.D. booklets dealing with the Kafers.  I already own the Kafer Sourcebook, and have ordered the Aurore Sourcebook, Invasion adventure, and Kafer Dawn module.  With the Colonial Atlas, Ground Equipment Guide, and Vehicle Guide already part of my library, these additional works will give me plenty of details and background info to start running some 2300 A.D. themed games.  Of course, I still need to decide what to use for Kafers (still think the Ground Zero Crusties look the closest, even if they do not have the carapace), but human forces are easy to replicate.  Using infantry and vehicles from Ground Zero Games, perhaps some vehicles from Brigade Models, and the year 2300 is covered well from the human side.

Pulled out the Force on Force rulebook last night and reviewed the Top Malo Falklands War scenario.   As Timecast Models make a line of Falklands War buildings, including Top Malo, and I already have those 15mm MJ Figures for the period, I thought this would be a nice small game to organize for conventions as well as my own group of gamers.   Last night: "Hmmm, let me go grab a book on the Falklands for more inspiration."  Then I realized upon heading to the bookshelves that I dumped all my Falklands War books, again!  I must have been in a cleaning frenzy and thought I would never get to gaming this period, and dumped the books at the local Half Price months ago!  But really, for the Top Malo scenario I do not need much more than a painting guide, so I can either buy a couple of Ospreys or find color plates online.  I did take a look at the Pendraken Falklands range last night, thinking 10mm might be fun to do, but they sell figures in packs of ten, all of the same pose, and really I would want one of each pose as opposed to multiples.  So, back to 15mm I go!

I've promised many pictures in the past, and have yet to post much of what I have promised.  As soon as I get those Litko bases I ordered, I WILL post pics of the sci-fi stuff (comparison shots) AND some detailed shots of the MJ Figures Falklands range.

I'll be quiet for a few days as I am heading to Chattanooga for an extended weekend.  Planning on hiking at Stones River first, then spend a lot of time on Lookout Mountain and at Chickamauga battlefield.  This is part of an annual study group that spends two days each March touring the Chickamauga battle and campaign, and has always been a grand time!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Really, Out of Bases?

What the frack?  I could have sworn I had a couple of packs of the Litko Aero round bases to mount figures on.  Yet, after pulling the figures, glue, x-acto knife, and file out of the closet to work on mounting figures for snapping pics of various manufacturers to post here for comparison purposes, I realized I was out of bases!  So, I've placed an order, and until the bases come in, the pictures will have to wait a bit.  I have been going through the various sci-fi figures I have, and doing a bit of eyeball comparisons, and really that some figures just are not going to play well with others.

I can say that 15mm certainly does mean a lot of different things to a lot of different sculptors!  Okay, don't tell me that people come in different sizes and hence we should have varying heights of figures...I get that.  My main issue would be the inconsistency in weapons and other equipment.  Whether I am taller than you or not, or carry more girth, the G-36 we carry should be the exact same size, should it not?  That has always been my concern with the industry, certainly make castings that vary a bit in height and heft, but let's see if we can't have some sort of consistency when it comes to the weapons.

I received my most recent order from Eureka Miniatures USA for a small amount of Ventaurans.  The service from Rob is excellent.  Placed my order, receive order confirmation, a few hours late I had a shipping confirmation, and then two days later my order arrived!  The Ventaurans by the way are excellent castings, but in no way, shape, or form will they be used with the Eureka sci-fi Germans.  Both in height and heft the Ventaurans are noticeably larger than the Germans.  But I will find some sort of use for them, trust me!

Anyway, in hold until the bases arrive, but once they do I will take some comparison pics!
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