Friday, 2 September 2011

High Priced Miniatures - Crazy! Where will it end?

Well a post over on TMP, showed these lovely minis. Don't they look nifty. 28mm Scale (apparently being 40mm tall) and the kind of thing that would fit in many a sci-fi game. Be it an army, a skirmish force..

Studio McVey Miniature
Studio McVey Miniature
Now before you do as I did, think.. "stunning, time to get the plastic out".. the price is £21.99. Yes, you read it right. £21.99. Oh plus £2.95 for postage on top.

Now, I have not come across this company before; 

and they may be a classic one man band type, and yes resin is pricey stuff. But I just am shocked by the price of a single figure. Yes I know Games Workshop are heading toward this price range per single figure. But their sales are dropping like I stone I have been told.

As someone who ran his own business, I don't begrudge people making money. But I will be very surprised if they manage to sell vast numbers. Such a shame too, as the figures are gorgeous. The very impressive paint job helps too of course.

Will we see a 28mm figure costing £30 by the end of 2012? I hope not..!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Rippler Bugs Sir! Thousands of them..

Ok, so not quite thousands. Infact 9, shiny news ones.

Starship Troopers Miniatures Game Rippler Bugs
I mentioned winning these in my last post, about flight stands. And they arrived today.
I thought at the time, I had two other boxes, maybe three. Infact this is number 4. All still sealed. So I now have 36 Rippler Bugs. If you have not seen the animated series entitled "Roughnecks", check out You-tube. The entire series has been uploaded. Anyhow, in the series there are three types of Rippler bug. Basic ripplers. Acid Ripplers and Kamakaze Ripplers.
So at least now I will be able to paint up some variations and field some rather large swarms. The MI have a few AA capable tools, and I have some Nighthawk marauders in my collection. So these along with my hopper bugs, of which I have 21. Then I should be well catered for arial targets.

I hope to do a few construction reviews as I go. Purely for nostalger as these figures are now long OOP and sadly unlikley to ever be re-released. Shame as the game was fun.

On a side note, these now bring my "Bug Collection", to a grand total of some 260 individuals in total. Hmm that is a lot of painting and building ahead. I really should crack on and get some more done.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Mobile Infantry Fortress

One of the most memorable scenes from the original Starship Troopers film is the attack on Whiskey Outpost.

Image from:
The classic "last stand" type game. And one that SST naturally lends it self too. Hordes of bugs, swarming the walls, as a meager band of heroes try and hold out, till rescue arrives.

Now, tactically the Hollywood factor has been applied badly here. The big surrounding cliffs etc mean for ease of overlooking and the stalk like structure means any bug with half a brain would simply use their powerful jaws to cut them apart and bring down the walls. But hey, don't let any form of logic interfere.. ;)

Well criticism aside for now. The campaign I am planning to run for SST will require some kind of "base of operations" for the Mobile Infantry Force. And it would of course be silly to turn down the opportunity to play a siege type game.

So a week or two ago I posted this picture;

The mystery parts!
And asked if anyone could guess what they were. Well no one quite got there. So its time to reveal, yes, you should have worked it out now.. that its a space ship!

Only kidding. It is indeed a fortress. Well in fact two parts of a prototype modular design create by my self and copyrighted (Copyright 2011).

The four strange E shaped piece, are the main structure, the larger being a base, onto which the three smaller pieces fit. The larger crenelated piece is the front facing wall and the smaller plain rectangle with the cut outs is in fact the upper walk way supported on top of the upper pieces of the E shapes.

The two hexes and four smaller crenelated pieces are actually a tower/corner/hard point unit.

In theory, a series of wall sections and the towers should allow for a variety of shapes and designs in a stable (able to support he 60mm larger bases of SST Marauder Suits, M8's M9's etc and the reliant weapon platforms.

I have to thank Steve here, who has diligently played around with the laser cutter, to get these parts into reality. It is a prototype and I can definitely see some modifications being needed. But in principle I am very pleased with how it had some out.

I was hoping to get the parts put together but have not manage that yet. Might do later this week.

So what do you think?

That plastic stuff - you know, 20mm..

In an effort to be fair to the gaming world and not be seen as too narrow minded. Yes 28mm is king and for ever shall be! But there are other scales available for people to use. And admitedly one of the more popular is 20mm or 1/72nd as some refer to it.

And, if you are a fan of this smaller scale, and like your historical gaming, then if you have not already discovered the following blog, you might wish to take a moment to have a read.

Will have probably been gaming longer than I have been on this mortal coil, and when he is not gloating over crushing victories happens to be a reasonable chap and a fellow club mate.

His collection of 20mm plastic is mind boggling. By some estimates its over 10,000 and probabaly a lot more. He certainly is a busy bloke at times.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Wargame Shows and Calendar for the UK

The popularity of Wargames and Gaming related shows has definitely grown in recent years.
I enjoy wandering around then, not only for the opportunities to buy figures etc direct from traders and see new things. But many operate a bring and buy stall where you can list for a small fee and sale percentage, items you no longer want or need.

The number of shows each year seems to be on the increase though there are a few well established ones, which attract thousands of visitors, and tend to run for two days over a weekend.

For me, one of the best shows is WMMS, as it tends to be the first show of the year. Its only an hour or so down the road and is large enough to have a variety of periods and scales covered, but not too large, as to be a chore to navigate, and require reinforced elbow pads, merely to progress through great hordes of the unwashed.

Talking of unwashed. Seriously, this is one aspect of the wargaming hobby that needs to be resolved. Seriously, wargamers, tend carry the geek label. And frankly, many deserve it. Hell I am a geek and proud of it, so that frankly does not bother me. But I also know what a shower is, and what soap is used for. OK it may be a bit out of date, technology wise, as it is not blue tooth enabled and generally does not have any form of app to plug into it.

Without any jest, at the last two shows I have attended, I have had to walk away from either trade stands or the bring and buy stall due to the proximity of pungent odours from the great unwashed. One smelling so badly of urine, it physically caused me to gag.

I know show arenas and halls get hot, lots of hot air, etc etc, but frankly, there is no excuse not to make an effort at least.

Right rant over! For now at least..

If you are looking for a good list of wargames shows, well the closest you will find and is generally accurate and updated frequently for the UK is;

As you can see, there is hardly a month, without at least two or three shows in it. Sadly for me, as I have a self imposed ban on going anywhere near London due to the stupid travel costs , mean Triples and Derby are about as far as I go.

Flight Stands and Compulsive Disorders

I spotted some Startship Troopers Rippler Bugs (A mega swarm box of 9 highly detailed plastic miniatures) on ebay and bid for it. That was whilst I was over at a friends. And I won. And having gotten home and checked my careful excel spread sheet, knowing I already had a couple of boxes and thought a 3rd would do nicely. Discovered… I now have four! Oops.

Well you can never have enough rippler bugs ;)

Whilst I wait for this latest unplanned purchase to arrive, I was contemplating the basing of flying models and flight stands. I recently made two stands for 28mm scale aircraft for my moderns games. Getting the balance of height and stability is the tricky part.

I was fortunate that the end look, using 6mm acrylic dowel came out nicely.
A10 Warthog on home made flight stand.
Diecast Apache Gunship on home made flight stand.
Both models being 28mm in scale roughly, are quite heavy. The Apachie is a diecast metal model and so fairly heavy. Both are detachable for transport.
Now I know from previous experience, that the small plastic flight stands that come with the likes of GW and the old SST figures are not that strong. The plastic is quite brittle and the mounting pin or lug, that slots into the figure are weak.  Given my Rippler and other flying bugs and WASP equipped MI Troopers, all have these supplied with them. I can see me having a few breakages and then the frustration of repairing them. Infact one of the wasp troopers I bought already painted a while back as snapped already.
Using 6mm, acrlic, is just not suitable for smaller models (though the rippler bugs are not that small).
So I was intruiged when a few years ago now I cam across the excellent site "Tanks and Trolls" at the time I was discussing airbrushing with the author. If you have a moment, take a look around some of his galleries. The painting is inspiring. Anyhow, he mounted his Rippler Bugs at varying hights on what appears  to be stiff wire.

Photo from Tanks and Trolls Website - SST Rippler Bugs
I liked the fact the stands were unobtrusive and had a variety of hights. Wire should also not snap, though may bend of course.  The rippler bugs are plastic models and so weight is not a major issue, though they are quite large as far as plastic models go and so getting the centre of gravity right, will be key.
I was fortunate with both the Apache and the A10, there was a conveient holes in the bottom of both models, meaning I just had to taper the acrylic rods to fit. On the Apache, the whole was forward fo the CoG, so I had to drill a hole across the rod, at an angle and mount a piece of stiff piano wire into it, to push the tail of the apache up, to give it that classic nose down "in flight/attack" stance.
Now I just need to find some suitable wire, that will be stiff enough to be durable, but not too stiff or brittle that i cannot bend/shape the base to attach it to bases. I can some a few experiments ahead.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Operation "Table Clear" - The continuation

Warning - A waffly post ahead.. read if you lack sleep or are just bored..

I spent yesterday hunting for some Vietnam figures and also trying to bring order to the chaos that is my painting room and liberate the painting table from the evil forces of clutter.

For some reason I go through phases of painting, then stop for a while and so on and so forth. The net result is, the painting table becomes cluttered, with various things and thus if my motivation is low, I tend to use it as an excuse not to paint and thus prolonging the time between painting phases.

I have finally had enough, and so its time to look at firstly getting the table clear, and secondly better storage sollutions for my paints, my tools, and miniatures.

As a compulsive horder of miniatures, I have a mass of WW2, Starship Troopers and Vietnam, along with some other Moderns etc etc, that all take up space. The attic has been over run and the shelves I bought recently been filled. The worrying fact is, that most of this is with miniatures that have yet to be painted, and so sit densely packed. Once painted they will take up a lot more space. So somewhere something is going to have to go!

I have already this year, sold off some 40K pieces, and have some others lined up for the bring and buy at Derby this year.

I am probably not alone, amoungst gamers in having amassed too much stuff, all with great intentions, but facing the reality that half may not see paint or a gaming table, this side of 5 years from now. On top of this, I have run out of space to store things.

The Starship Troopers Miniatures, I have just started on as a secondary project to my current Vietnam one, will take up a "lot" of space once done!. Each warrior bug is equivelant in space terms for about 6-8, standard 28mm WW2 figures. Thankfully they are durable and need little in the way of protection as such. So can go en-masse into a big storage box. Given I have 80 or so of these, I am hoping I can get the majority into a 35ltr or 40ltr storage box. But at the moment, I don't know where I will put them.

So the next day or two the plan is to try and sort a more semi permenant solution for the paints and tools etc on the table as a start. Whilst I review other options for figure storage.