Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dawgie's Men: Preparing Old Imperial Guard Figs for a Return to Action

My Imperial Guard first saw action in the late 1980s, just one game before a long stasis in a box on the shelf.  Every few years, they were to be reborn for a game, usually picking up a few new new troopers, only to return  to stasis. Most recently, they saw action against my daughter's orks during her "Space Ork" phase.  Now, the space orks are collecting dust, as she is in her "I like working on '60s and '70s muscle cars" phase.

Anyway, several years ago I bought a large number of old IG from an internet acquaintance who some of you probably knew as Baddawg6, Baddawg, or just plain Dawgie.   Got about a hundred of Dawgie's old figs, mostly GW old IG with a few others worked in as well.

I bought them at a great price, without seeing them, figuring that as long as they weren't painted in winter or chocolaty brown camo, I could work them in.  And worst case, I could always repaint them.  I received the figs, decently painted, with lots of minor conversion that added nicely to the figs.  Too bad that they were in a slightly reddish chocolate brown camo pattern. It just didn't work with my old figs, nor my terrain.  I was in no rush, so repainting wasn't a big issue.

As always, too many projects, not enough time.  Years passed.  One day, Dawgie posted on the Post Apoc Wargames forum that he was going in for some medical stuff, and we might not hear from him for a little while.  Dawgie was special, and I miss him greatly. 

When I finally sat down to repaint them, I found myself in a bit of a conundrum.  Dawgie had named his troops, I mean like named the individual troopers. I already felt bad about repainting the figs, but the idea of erasing the names of his troops really bothered me even more.  Silly, I know.  So, his troops sat on the shelf a bit longer.

Recently, I finally decided to repaint them, and organized the figs, mixing my old figs with Dawgie's to building a company of 114 figures.  The figs were sorted on a painting tray. I filled out a chart, noting names and details of the figs, so that their identities won't be lost while receiving their new uniforms.  

As it turns out, 74 of Dawgies old figs are in my new unit, which really sort of makes it his unit.  As such, the "Old Dawg" will be the First Sergeant of this company, thus they will always be Dawgie's men".

Over the span of several weeks, I managed to strip the figs of paint, using a combination of Easy Off oven cleaner and Simple Green.  Free time has been scarce in recent months, so I found myself getting up at 5:00am, excited to be working on my hobby, scraping paint off of little men before going to work. Sad really.

The Easy Off works pretty quickly, loosening a lot of the paint, but not getting into deeper crevices very well.  It is also really unpleasant to work with.  I only used it, when I first got started, to allow me to work on a small number of figs during the first couple of days.  After the topical cleaning, the dozen of so "Easy Off figs" went into the vat of Simple Green with the others. 

Figs were soaked for anything from about six hours to six days, requiring varying degrees of attention with paper towels, a couple different dental picks, and/or a toothbrush.  Some required two or three rounds in the Simple Green. By the way, Simple Green breaks down the super glue joints and softens the green stuff putty.

While preparing to paint, I discovered that I was long out of the original Polly S green that I used for the uniforms. So, the basic paint scheme will involve cloth portions of the uniforms getting a coat of Vallejo Russian Uniform (very close to the original) with armor and gear generally being Model Master Dark Green.  Some will get a yellow/tan irregular "ring" (almost leopard spots) camouflage on the green cloth.  My old figs will get some additional gear and updated uniforms with more shading to better match the "new" figs.  Below is a photo showing a couple of my old figs in the original uniform (circa 1987), pretty basic.

I'm guessing that it will take until some time in January to complete the painting and will post a follow up then.  

In time I plan to add a recon section and a support section from battalion, maybe another 15-20 figs total.  They will all need rides as well, but those will come later, a good 2015 project.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Finally Painted Something

Since my last post, I've been squeezing in a few minutes here and there, when I can, for either cleaning old miniatures or painting new ones.  It is my painting after all, so understandably, nothing special.  But, I have finally painted something this year, and am celebrating with a blog post.

First up is a batch of nine Bradleys.


Still need to do one more to complete my company.  As it turned out, I didn't have a set of usable tracks for the last one.

Next is a batch of Soviet vehicles which will see double duty in Mugabia (one of my African Imagi-nations).

The BTR152s and T34/85 are my own castings, while the BTR60s, GAZ 66, and GAZ 69 are from QRF (all very nice castings by the way).

And lastly, some M60A2s, VBLs, and ERC90s.

Many of my resin castings were rejects with some sort of casting defect.  Most were easy to fix, though a few, I just let go. Despite either getting up at 5:30 am, or on a couple of occasions, pushing myself to paint after 12+ hour days at work, it felt good to finally get something done.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Resurrection of My Painting Table

Didn't do much gaming related this weekend, but did have a bit of a resurrection of my painting table.  It has been lying dormant since my Christmas debacle ten months ago, and today I plugged it in, and, it still runs.  Didn't really paint anything yet, but took a little time to assemble and prime 13 or 14 vehicles today.  Now I have just enough space to start painting in the next few days.

Quite a menagerie; 15mm Bradleys, M60A2s, various Panhard armored cars and APCs, a few BTR152s, some QRF BTR60s, Eureka modern Russians, a 28mm ranch style house, a 1/72 OV-10 that needs decals, two 1/100 OH58s waiting to be built under the OV-10, a couple masters for casting in the middle (M-ATV and Gaz TIGR), a few SFB (Kzinti, Lyran, and Klingon) ships in that pile in the center along with some 15mm civilian cars, a 28mm sci-fi police hover car waiting for "Police" decals, old Imperial Guard waiting to be stripped and repainted on the tray to the right, some space maroons needing some work just beyond the IG, and quite a number of other things covered with so much dust that I don't recognize them yet. 

Lets see if I can finish one of them this year.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

AAR14: Convoy Duty (A Battle in the Fictional Nations of Uwanda)

This battle, another convoy ambush,  is a follow-on to the last battle.  It incorporated lessons learned by both sides, and yielded an even more lopsided result.  This was due to dozens (literally) of missed sighting rolls, and then an amazing string of rolls, mostly under 10% on D100, in the first turn of fire.

This battle took place on the road approaching Objective A58 from the west (near the center of the map).  It involved an Uwanda infantry platoon in Saracens, a few trucks, a couple of jeeps with machineguns, a single Saladin, and a M42 Duster for fire support, should anything go wrong.

The ULF ambush included only 16 fighters, but with every RPG that the local group could muster, eight in all.

An easterly view of the table.  Uwandan vehicles have
entered on the road at the far end of the table

The convoy was traveling through a small forested section of road, blind as can be, when half of the convoy  blew up due to the multitude of RPGs flying across the road (the lead jeep had actually exited my table, before sighting occurred).

Enemy sighted, M42 turret swinging in the direction
of the enemy, a man in a red shirt fires his RPG.

Tendaji, a ULF fighter, thought, "My body shakes as much from the rumble of enemy trucks and armored cars, as it does from fear.  It is hard to be patient with so many of the enemy, so close.  What, what are they doing...."

The M42 can be seen peeking through the trees,
just behind the Saracen APC.

The commander of the M42 was the first to see the men in the bushes, radioing the info and slewing the turret around immediately.  But, he would never get to fire, as a startled ULF fighter let loose his RPG for a hit on the M42.  In a second, seven more RPGs flew, and amazingly, all would find their targets.

The convoy simply blew up. All four Saracens, the M42 and a couple of trucks. Gone.  Immediately the ambushers began to withdraw.  Uwandan troops abandoning their bullet collectors, fired wildly into the underbrush.

Damage done, the ULF already retreating into the forest.

The Saladin at the front and the trail jeep both saw a few men running in the forest and engaged, killing three.  The battle was over.  The Southern ULF commander's hit and run tactic working better than anyone (especially me) had imagined.

Losses for Uwanda were terrible, while the ULF lost little:

4x Saracen
1x M2
2x Trucks
27 men (including 23 of 36 infantry dead or wounded)

3x fighters

The implications of this lop-sided fight are significant.  The ULF will be able to cripple Uwanda in a matter of weeks at this rate.  Convoy tactics will change, as will the effort to find ULF basecamps.  Up to now, the ULF had been an annoyance, now they were a greater threat than Mugabia.

In Uwanda, the chief of staff reviewed the recommendations for dealing with the ULF.  It would be expensive and brutal.  He entered the President's office with a sense of fatigue and a large frown...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

AAR13: The ULF Stabs the Beast ( A 15mm Battle in an African Imagi-nation)

Though ULF activity had increased in recent weeks, the Mugabian military had been silent, as had its leadership.  Uwanda took this opportunity to strengthen its forces along the border, and to prepare to re-take lost territory.

The ULF had been monitoring this activity, particularly the number of convoys moving troops and supplies toward the border.  ULF leadership decided that disrupting the convoys would be the best way to interfere with the Uwandan build-up.

The first of these attacks was located just west of Objective A55 (toward the bottom center of the map), where a Uwandan infantry platoon was ambushed by a large ULF force, while moving toward the border town.

Wakili had run a couple of small operations since taking control of the local ULF, but they had been harassment against local, unsympathetic civilians, loyal to the Uwanda central government.  Today would be different. Today he would attack enemy soldiers.  Today he would make the oppressors pay!

ULF forces deployed along side the road with carefully defined fields of fire.  The plan was simple; force the convoy to stop, kill the soldiers, destroy everything that couldn't be carried away.

An easterly view of the convoy heading toward Objective A55.

The Uwanda convoy consisted mainly of an infantry unit, heading to Objective A55 to relieve infantry that had been stationed there since the fighting had begun. It was escorted by a few armored cars, and also included some cargo trucks.

The head of the column with two Ferrets,
followed by Lt. Zuberi's Saracen APC.

Lt. Zuberi was riding in the turret of his Saracen, behind two armored cars leading the convoy.  It wasn't very comfortable, but at least he wasn't stuck in the oven that was the interior of the APC.  His eyes were closed, but he wasn't asleep when the explosions startled him...

The ULF deployed primarily on the south side of the road to Objective A55, hitting the convoy with four RPGs in the opening seconds of the ambush.  Those first seconds were absolute chaos, as the Uwandan troops tried to figure out what was happening and what to do.

Actually, a photo on the second turn of fighting, showing a 5th
plume of smoke from yet another RPG victim.
The lead and trailing Ferret armored cars were destroyed immediately, as were two Saracens, a large number of infantry were also injured or killed.  The second Ferret in the convoy immediately attacked the point to the north from which an RPG had been launched at the lead Ferret, the gunners in the Saracens searched for targets, firing into the bush.

Survivors bailed out of the burning Saracens, getting cut down quickly, while trying to get into cover and return fire.  More RPGs flew, blowing up the fuel tanker in the middle of the convoy.  AK and machinegun fire raked the cabs of the other trucks, bringing them to an abrupt halt. 

A large plume of smoke rising from the destroyed
fuel truck as fighting continues.
Infantry from the remaining Saracens began to return fire, and quickly cut down many of the ULF fighters near the front of the convoy.  They tried to provide covering fire for the men from the stricken Saracens, but without much success, given the chaos and congestion of the situation.

Troops at the head of the column trying to help those toward the rear.

As the ULF took casualties, their morale quickly crumbled, and fighters began to run back into the forest, rather than push the attack on the convoy.  The Uwandan LT did well, manning a machinegun, and regrouping his men to successfully fight off the attack.

ULF fighters beginning to waver,
as the Uwandans stand their ground.

As abruptly as it began, the fight was over.  Wounded were tended to, but not quickly enough for some.  Half of the vehicles burned, two thirds of the men were wounded or dead.  A few wounded ULF were captured.

Damage done, the ULF simply melt away into the forest.

A young Lieutenant was commended for exhibiting great leadership during a hopeless situation.  He would never rest his eyes while on duty again, and would spend many nights off duty, wishing he that could close them.

Losses were heavy on both sides with the Uwandans receiving the worst of it, lost were:

2x Saracens
2x Ferrets
2x trucks (supplies and fuel)
23x men KIA (10 were vehicle and truck crew, the remainder infantry)
12x men WIA

ULF losses were:
16x KIA
5x POW

Back at the base camp, Wakili was unmoved by the death and suffering that he saw on this day.  Instead, he pondered the lessons of his first real fight.   Casualties inflicted on the enemy suggested a great victory, but losses were unacceptably high.  A smaller force, using faster, and more simple hit and run tactics could have caused nearly as much damage with no more than a handful of casualties, if any.  The mistakes would not be repeated!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Where Is My Victory? (A Scene from a War Between African Imagi-Nations)

I wrote this right after my last Uwanda-Mugabia battle, while consulting the "fate tables" to see what civil/political fallout there might be in Mugabia, as a result of the failed offensive in Uwanda.  This should have been posted before AAR12, but here it is a little out of order : 

The President was in his command post as reports began to come in.  News was positive as ground forces advanced toward their objectives; aircraft were on their way to various targets in support of ground operations.  The President was happy, his plan was progressing.

Then, chaotic reports of Uwandan aircraft seemed to come from everywhere.  Air battles ensued, and the president was no longer happy.  Though there were some victories, more was lost, than gained.  Ground forces would have to advance, largely without their promised air support.

The army joined battle on the ground.  One by one, advances were turned back, and by the end of the day, the President was very unhappy.

In "The Big Room" as he liked to call it, the President's staff was assembled.  He stood at the head of the table, staring down each of his senior officers.  The General of the Air Force was conspicuously absent.  Then the President's booming voice asked' " Where is my VICTORY?"

The Chief of the Army cleared his throat, but was cut off before he could speak.  "You are unworthy of your uniform!  You are fired!  You will leave, the uniform will stay!"  As the President's brother peeled off his uniform, and was escorted from the room in an undershirt and boxers, the President began to explain the next stage of the war with Uwanda.

Mugabia would "motivate" the ULF to expand operations in Uwanda, and in the meantime, the President would lobby his allies for more training, better equipment, and a more active role by foreign advisers.  The initiative had been lost, the President would have to police his house, before visiting his neighbors again.

In the days following Mugabia's defeat, the world waited to see what impact it might have on Mugabia's leadership.  The Presidential Guard was on high alert, and as word reached the people, there was some sign of unrest, but the president's grasp held firm.  Life went on, when and where the president permitted.

After Action Reports (previously posted) of the battles can be found at:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Misc. Projects and Whatnot

Been working a lot (day job, not the hobby) since the last post, and between lack of time, energy, and plain old sore and stiff hands, I haven't made any progress on my APC, but have been doing what I can otherwise. 

Ponape; 28mm Colonial/Victorian Adventure Games

After re-discovering so much stuff for my colonial adventures that never got used, I've begun to start the process of rounding out the history and fluff for the many scenarios that never got ran.  This has mostly been a lunch time reading and research project thus far, but will eventually lead to miniatures and modeling.

I did have to throw out most of the uncompleted buildings, as they were basswood construction and got water damaged in the flood, but otherwise everything else seems to be intact.  The docking station for the airship, and winged version of the airship, bits for a narrow gauge railway and gold mine, all good.  Also found bits of the incomplete ships, and the hulk of my French ship, which was in the trunk of my car, when it got rear-ended and totaled (both ship and car).

Above, the start of a hull for Bully Hayes ship, the Leonora, my destroyed
French destroyer and a German gunboat.

In time, I intend to resurrect Ponape  as a convention game.   I have faded away from the convention scene in recent years, but have to admit, that after going to Origins this year, I feel a little of the old spark again.

The Space Bubble/Job Pod/Almost Spaceship

This was moving along nicely last year, until interrupted by my flood.  I haven't actually done anything with it recently, but it sets on a stool next to my paint table, ready to be worked on as soon as I clear enough space to work on it.

In addition to the bubble above, there are a couple of trays of bits in various stages of paint, waiting to be placed in the modules.  It will be a centerpiece for near future and maybe even post-apoc games at some point.

28mm Post-Apoc and Near Future Figs.

As I was sorting through stuff, I came to realize that I had a serious load of both painted and unpainted figs for near future and post apocalypse game.  This kind of got my juices going again, after more than a two year lapse.

As I discovered more an more figs, I started sorting them out into the various factions.

There are over 400 painted figs, about 400 unpainted, plus another 150 or so painted orks that I plan to use as mutants in the PA.  Portions of roughly 22 factions are represented above, some are pictured below:

Kryomek robots with scratch-built weapons, security for the industrial complex.
A colorful heard of mutants, hungering on their tray.
A few bikers, Foundry figs, I think.
Miscellaneous mercenaries, some work together, others have additional help.
Some Copplestone (mostly, anyway)  scavengers.
Could be corporate or Federal troops, wouldn't trust them either way.
Billy-Jo, Bubba and Mack, god old boys (and girl) to the end and after.
Two old Imperial Guard figs that make up part of the territorial defenses. 
 I've actually got an entire company of these figs, around 140 in all.
Alpha Forge Asteroid Miners, pilots of the space bubble,
and a threat to the near future, and beyond.

I'm currently working out what I need to complete each faction, and purposing some of the many figs that don't currently have a home yet. 

Texas Israeli War

A second post-apoc project that I've been tinkering with will bring a little of the Texas Israeli War to the table top.  I've got six factions and armies in mind at the moment, but only a handful  of unpainted figs for now.

So that is what I've been tinkering with in recent weeks in place of doing any real gaming.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

WIP: Another Update on my 28mm Sci-Fi APC

Well, since it is the only thing that I have going on, while working stupid hours at the day job (they just have no consideration for my hobby), here are the pics of the latest progress on my 28mm APCs.

The biggest accomplishment is that I've roughed out the suspension, I've also finished the basic hull shape and started working on a low profile turret.

The Hull with wheels, no track yet.

With a space marine and Copplestone scavenger for a scale.

Rear view

And, with the beginnings of a low profile turret.
I think that I'm going to cast the wheels and track links, rather than scratch-build them all.  Don't know that it will save much time, but will reduce the wear on my hands and fingers.

I still don't know what the heavy turret will actually look like, but I did work out a low profile turret, and think that I will go with three of those and one heavy per for the platoon.

I toyed around with retractable hull side weapons in the sponsons, and just don't like it.  Just seems like too much of a risk of armor integrity in combat, and just didn't like the look.  Not sure what I'll do with the weapon modules, maybe mount them in additions to my bunker, but don't know yet.

I've build up the side frames and cut most of the hull panels for the other three vehicles in the platoon, but want to work out details on the first APC before assembling the others

The project is moving along when I get a chance to work on it, just not much time for that lately.  I expect to detail the hull and finish the low profile turret for the next update.  Probably be a week or two.

Friday, July 18, 2014

WIP: 28mm Sci-Fi Armored Infantry Carrier

Made a little progress on my 28mm sci-fi APC tonight, so thought I'd post a few pics:


The last couple photos include a Copplestone scavenger (left), and a plastic Space Marine (right) for size reference.

I'll post more pics when I get the turret roughed out.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just a Hint of the Future (Early Stages of a 28mm Sci-Fi APC)

I've been doing a lot of cleaning and sorting of old figs and projects recently, and have a few sci-fi and post-apoc projects on my makeshift work table at the moment.

One of these projects was/is to complete a platoon of sci-fi APC/MICVs for my Marine Heavy infantry.  These are basically slightly de-imperialized 40K space marines.  Somewhere I picked up a Land Raider kit with intentions of scratch-building four of them in a less 40K-ish style.  My original sketches kept evolving to less and less land raider-like designs, and eventually the whole thing just got pushed back on the shelf as it became more involved than I had intended.

In the last week or so, I started playing around with the design again, and while I don't quite have a final design, I do have a basic chassis concept and have started a base vehicle.  I figure that I will complete the detail on the first one, then open a little assembly line to complete the final three models.

Here is my sketch, which includes layers of detail over layers of detail, sorry this isn't easier to see.

The outermost boxes drawn around the profile and plan views represent the overall dimensions of the GW land raider.  My models will be a little smaller in the hull length, width, and height, and a little taller with the turret.  Layout is very conventional with driver and vehicle commander left front (somewhat like a BMP1), turret center and slightly offset to the right, infantry compartment to the rear, with a rear ramp and large overhead hatch and small doors on each side of the vehicle.  My vehicles will be a little less fantastical than the GW inspiration with a three barreled gatling main armament.  It would be a large vehicle, maybe two and a half times the volume of an M2 Bradley with MBT type firepower  and armor, and a squad of infantry.

Here is a pic of current progress showing basic hull shape.

Tracks will rotate around large sponsons that each contain a firing port for a heavy MG, retractable anti-tank missiles and mortar tubes, and a small door.  You can see side panels for the other three models of the platoon in the background.

That's all for now.  Updates will come as I make progress.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Some Greens for the Table Top

While my wife was inventorying the discount bins at the local crafts store, I notice a bumpy green ball amongst the many treasures that I was hoping would not be making the trip home with us.  On closer inspection, I discovered that the bumpy green thing was a ball about 4 inches in diameter, covered with an infestation of green leafy stalks.  It looked like something that might spontaneously sprout to life in a dark corner of the bottom shelf of a neglected refrigerator.  After determining that it was unlikely to be harmful, I realized that it was indeed a treasure that needed to return home with us.

An alien life form?  No, gaming terrain in disguise.
I don't know what the thing was actually intended for, but it was loaded with small stocks of tiny leaves measuring about 3/16 inches long.  A virtual countryside of miniature foliage for my table top.  So this weekend, I brought out my box a greenery and got to work.

Some of the artificial fern fronds that I use for making jungle foliage.

I stripped leaflets off of my favorite plastic fern fronds, cut some bases out of scrap styrene, softened the edges of the bases with a Dremel and sanding drum, and armed by bottle of glue for some serious work.

A few washers were added as small weighted bases, with the centers covered over with thin styrene plastic.  I sanded the styrene on the washer into a domed shape to make the finished product a little smoother.

I made a assortment of single plants, as well as bases with clumps of foliage or small groups of palms.  The palms came from a model railroad supplier on E-bay a year or so ago.  I managed about 55 bases before using up all of the super glue.

The last step was to paint and flock the bases.  I found an old bottle of Pactra military yellow of some sort (the label fell off decades ago), and once the paint was dry, I flocked with a mix of Woodland Scenics  flock, using artists acrylic matte medium as the glue.

Clusters of foliage largely consisting of stalks from my bumpy green ball.
28mm, 20mm, and 15mm figs for size comparison.
Ferns or cycads, the larger for 28mm, smaller for 20mm and/or 15mm.
E-bay palms for use as 20mm palms and cycads in Vietnam.

The clusters of foliage will work with anything from 15mm to 28mm.  Some of the clusters feature only shorter plants up to about 3/4 of an inch tall particularly for use with my 15mmAfrican games.  All of the clusters can be used with 20mm Vietnam and 28mm Colonial and sci-fi games.

The fern leaflets serve to make nice cycad or fern fronds in the various scales, with the larger plants for 28mm games and the medium and small for use in 15-20mm. 

The palms are some of the smaller ones that I intend to add to my Vietnam riverine terrain.  The conventional palms are only about for to four and a half inches tall, and may see some use in my African games, depending on the settings for the games.  The shorter plants on the stubby trunks look more like many of the cycads that I have seen, and will be used as such in my Vietnam settings, or simply as foliage for some sci-fi games.

After picking up some glue this week, I hope to do another round of gardening next weekend.