Thursday, 13 August 2015

Tables of Organization, and New Equipment

Time to catch up.  Its been way too long since I've posted but here's a quick update.  A new gaming table, some painted miniatures and some work in progress.
Time, like this Japonese LMG team, can really sneak up on you.
Quite simply, nothing much has happened for me on the gaming front over the past six months, hence the lack of posts. 

A number of reasons for this.  First off, the WTW pub events, while popular and loads of fun for the attendees (not to mention the great food), don't really lend themselves to 28mm miniature gaming outside of small-scale skirmishes.  The venue lacks decent lighting (it's a pub, after all) and there really isn't the space for the size of tables and elbow room needed for our Black Powder games, at least not in 28mm.

But even more of an issue has been changing work schedules and new jobs among the regular gang of historical miniatures gamers.  

That has made it tough to schedule in games, made worse by the necessity of having to book rooms well in advance at the local community centre.  These days we just can't predict when the planets will line up for even a quorum of us to be able to attend, certainly not two months ahead of time.  So the result has been a gaming drought for a lot of us.

Well, that might be some way to being solved.  I finally convinced the Geisha-in-Chief that we really need a ping-pong table in our home.  Surprisingly, it didn't take much convincing as after all these years I discovered she loves table tennis. Bugger me.  

And we do have the space- a large kitchen/ living room area.  Swing the sofa to the far end of the room, fill the refrigerator with refreshments, and we are in business.  
And it's good exercise...
The 3/4 size ping-pong table is just about the same size as what we usually played on at the centre, and is big enough for most games we play.  Not only does it mean that we now have greater flexibility in scheduling, but on a personal level I don't have to lug terrain back and forth from the club.  

This is, I hope, a win-win situation for us.  The only downside is that with only one table and set of chairs, it has to be pretty much by invitation only.  If the number of dedicated participants does start to go up, all well and good as that increases the viability of gaming at the community centre again.  But for now, this will have to do.

And no small victory, for those who know anything about living space in Tokyo.  Iowa it ain't.

The table arrived last month, and its inaugural game (of miniatures at any rate) will take place at the end of August.  


Now, a lack of gaming does not mean a lack of painting, and in fact this has been one of my most productive years with the brush.  Not least because I have abandoned my policy of cheap brushes replaced fairly frequently, in favour of getting some decent brushes and treating them with TLC. 

That, and I have discovered using the Army Painter Quickshade dip.  I don't use it on all my figures, I think it works best with WW2 and anything in, say, grubby greatcoats.  But when applied carefully I find it gets great results- and the varnish protects the painted figures nicely,

Most of my painting has been spent on my Japanese, which as a project is making fine progress.  In fact I expect to have the whole force- some four squads, with vehicles and a host of support weaponry- finished by the end of the year.  Not to mention some jungle terrain which is a great deal of fun to work on. 
The first completed squad.
What was really fun was adding the aquarium plant foliage to the bases!
All our games are on a table covered wih dense jungle, and the foliage looks right on the tabletop.
Classic Banzai!
With armour (sic) support.  Basically tracked ration tins as far as armour protection goes.  Ambush is your friend...
Ammo, oil, and sake to maintain fighting spirit.
Some work in progress.  This is part of an A/T team, wielding a lunge mine.  I added a grass cape and helmet foliage out of epoxy putty to match the gear on my Warlord and TAG miniatures.  Figure is, of course, one of the Warlord Games' plastic Japanese.
And a Ho-Ro self-propelled gun.  As with the infantry, this one had the dip treatment- Quickshade (strong tone) applied using a big, soft brush.  
This was really effective, the shading working its way into panel lines and engine covers, and around rivets.  

I used a brush loaded with white spirit to remove the dip from larger, flat areas where it might have pooled.  Overall, it proved a lot faster than my previous technique (so long as you don't mind the smell).  
Got messy with the dipstick.
I still have to paint the tracks and roadwheels- a task I loathe, but it really adds to the model when done.

Here it is before painting, in an emplacement I made from wooden doweling and sand/PVA mix.

Once the finish line is firmly in sight, I will then start work on my US Marines, based around the New Britain campaign and later.  

I've been slowly but steadily collecting my leathernecks over the past year, and as part of Warlord Games' recent promotion of a free box of plastics with purchase of a rule book, I got myself the USMC set along with a second copy of the Bolt Action rules (my old one has been getting tatty with use and re-reading.

Along with my TAG and metal Warlord figures, I probably have almost all I need already, save for some vehicles and some light artillery for A/T work and bunker clearing.  Maybe some forward observers and the USS West Virginia as well, for some quality offshore support. 
Okay, well at least a Fletcher-class destroyer (yes, I'm looking at you, Lindberg kit!).  

WW2 isn't the only thing I've been working on- here are some WIP shots of my growing ACW collection.  Mostly Union- some Dixon Miniatures I've had in the stash for ages.  Matt here has been working on a Perry British Interventionist Force, and they will need some opposition.

I haven't finished the basing on these yet, but I've the 13th New Jersey almost completed. 
Guess the commander!  Its July, 1863.
Noo Joisy for the win...
I've also been working on some Secesh.  Hope the flag doesn't get my blog blacklisted, but in my defense I do see them as being the bad guys.
Regiments will be five bases strong, with from twenty to twenty-five figures on the base, depending on how many I can fit closely together on the bases.  I like a tightly-packed look for all my Horse-and-Musket era projects.

The Dixon miniatures paint up well. The dip really works well on the Confederates in particular.  With the Dixons, I find it easy to overdo the highlighting and to get caught up in painting eyes and fingernails.  I find less is more, and the deep creases on the figures means they don't need a lot of artificial depth, especially on the Bluebellies.  

Napoleonics have not been ignored either, but I want to post about these separately, once the bases that I ordered for them arrive.


Johnny Rosbif said...

Good to see you back in the saddle, Rob. If only my time away from the table-top had been spent so productively!

paulalba said...

Good man Robert, a sizeable amount of painting there, great to see! Well done with the table tennis table to!

DeanM said...

You certainly have been busy with your wonderful brushwork, Robert. The IJA looks great - the conversion work equally impressive. As for your table-tennis acquisition - it should be fun with the missus whilst used for the original purpose. I haven't gamed much (or painted) recently, but the games were all at my place as I also don't like to lug figures and terrain elsewhere. Looking forward to seeing the table used in the future.

Pat G said...

Nice work as always.

Achilles said...

So this is where you have been hiding!

I am sorry to hear that the old gang can't meet as often as it used to. Do the core people still remain in Japan (ie Matt, Rob?)
Who is going to be fighting le French at that ping pong table?

Great painting on those Japanese! At some point I got tempted to do some Japanese as well but then I realised that those Napoleonics wont paint themselves...

I am also excited to see more of those ACW ! Its a period that I have thought about collecting. Perhaps a battalion or two of Perry rebels?

P.S. In a few days I will update my blog with quite a few Prussian battalions :) I have been busy lately!

Robert said...

Thanks everyone, it's good to be back in the Blogosphere.

Achilles, my friend, so good to here from you! You remain a legend here, truly missed.

Hope you have the chance to come back for a visit, you would be most welcome. Matt, Rod, Giovanni- we are all still here, but we miss that 'ol Achilles flair for launching suicidal cavalry attacks at the nearest enemy.

Death or glory indeed! I'm sure you were one of the Emperor's hussars in a former life.

Funny you mention Prussians; I'll be sure to check your blog. All I can say is- watch this space!