Friday, 16 March 2012

Nice river technique and finish with Minwax Polyurethane Varnish

I have seen a fair few attempts at rivers in the past. Some really good ones. Some dire ones. But I spotted this video via a link on TMP and though it worth a share.

The basic fabrication is pretty simplistic. The tip with the sand is very effective and one I will copy my self I think. The other was the water effect. The painting tips are pretty understandable.

But the glossy finish is achieved using Minwax interior Polyurethane Varnish.
He has applied a couple of coats. And the effect is great. Not tacky and not too shiny.

One tip to definitely note for future.

Tables Sir.. thousands of them..

Arh the humble table!. Where would the hobby be with out the humble table. The ever ready battle field. No geography too excotic, no terrain that cannot be fought upon, with the application, of terrain and imagination.

Simply put, we owe a lot to the humble table. Though some fortunate fellows may have the money to have purpose gaming tables, the majority of us, rely upon cheaper and more utilitarian bretheren to serve our needs.

OK enough waffle..

We found some sturdy, robust (if people use them properly and don't trap the handles when putting them away that is.. grrr) tables online. For Sub £40 a pop. Plastic with metal fold out legs, the tables fold in half meaning they are roughtly 3'x2.5' when folded away. So pretty compact.

I bought 12 last year for the club, as we had space to store them. And I grabbed two for my self, and a friend also got two for his own use.
Last week at the club, having reviewed the finances stringently and put forward a great business model, and cost balance analysis, where by the costs would be covered (ie, we had extra people, and turnout at the club and extra funds).. our beloved leader and Chairman said and I quote "sod it, get six".

I am hoping he was refereing to tables, or I would be in trouble. He was playing a game of Dystopian Wars at the time. :)

Anyhow.. some club members wishes more for their own use too.

Tables for the club and club members. Aint gonna fit in my car!
And so I ordered monday morning. And paid for the following day AM delivery. And you guessed it.. 1pm came and went and no delivery. Rang and said.. oi! It was apparently on its way.
At 2.45pm a big truck arrived with a pallet. Unfortunately though the pallet had my name upon it. It did not contain tables. But ten electic treadmills.. which were probably worth five times our tables. But not quite as handy.. So rang the company again.. err the courier was blamed for sticking the wrong sticker on the pallet.

Any how, another promise of arrive the following day and low and behold.. same truck and driver arrives. With pallet, this time with tables. YAY!
Though I could have probably done with the tread mills.. but I feared a lynching at the hands of the club members.
So..with a bit of help from Micks works van, and Mick and Paul the tables were lugged off the pallet into the van and down to the club on thursday night.

By the way this is what the tables look like..  Up.

So now the club has 22 of its own tables and several more club members have their own. Given we hire in tables at about for Gauntlet, our club show. Paying out £34.99 for these each, means aslong as we get a coupel of years use or more out of them. They have effectively paid for them selves. So not bad. Oh they come in two colour choices.. white and green and are 6' x 2'6" wide when setup.

So thats the tale of tables.. Sorry not really model related, but sort of essential in a way.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Magnets and Interchangeable weapons etc.

One of the more popular techniques that has grown in recent years is the use of rare earth element magnets, to allow model parts to be attached and intechanged or removed for storage etc.

There are lots and lots of you tube videos on the subject. So I won't be going into the technical details. However someone asked me if I new a UK supplier.
I didn't at the time. However I do now

Found the link in a you tube video.

The other source appears to be ebay for many.

Size wise, I am still looking into this. Partly for my starship troopers miniatures. But also partly as some scenery pieces that I fancy making to be able to seperate for storage.

So any way a brief post on the topic.

Monday, 12 March 2012

SOTCW - Society of 20th Century Wargamers - New Site

The SOTCW have been regular game runners at our Club Show, Gauntlet.
And several of our club members are amongst their membership ranks. Pete, a club member has just taken on the task of revamping the societies website. And its now alot better than it was.

The society has a regular journal that covers various gaming related and historical topics from the period in a variety of scales. And can have some real gems in it.

Sadly it seem it might be a while yet, before the older forum posts are recovered.

But the new forum is now up and runnig and you don't have to join the society to be a member.

So, if you haven't heard of them before, then have a look around and follow the link above.

WMMS - Show Report 11th March 2012

The gaming show year has officially started now for us.. WMMS:

WMMS is generally the first propper wargames show, ie predominantly wargaming, unlike the South Cheshire Militaire which is in Feb. And being only one hour down the road from us and fairly accessible its has been a regular on our calendar for a while.

This year we had the added benefit of borrowing Micks works van, which meant, a less cramped trip down for the four of us (Me Mick, Tom, and Paul). We arrived a little later than planned and were lucky to find a parking spot. The one down side to the venue.

So.. here are some shots of the hall from the balcony, on the way back from the bar in the morning.

The IPMS and modelling stands. Some lovely pieces on show.

The near end of thehall, looking toward the entrance.

The long view from the near end, down the hall.

A couple of the demonstration games etc at the near end.

Some more of the demo / participation games. Some with varying levels of information available.

Looking down the hall from the balcony just above the hall entrance.

There were somewhere around 40 - 50 traders. An empty table in the centre suggested someone was unable to make it. But on the whole there was a a wide spread of gaming periods, scales and terrrain available.

The mix of periods etc was fairly wide spread. The bring and buy down the far end fo the hall of was not the usual treasure trove it has been in the past. Which was sad. I guess the reccesion is starting to bite now truly.
Here are some shots of some of the various demo games and display games etc;

30 Years War game from Above.

Warmachine Game, with nice paper buildings. Some lovley models.

Some of the paper terrain and figures in the warmachine game.

The Warmachine game. Some lovely figures and nice paper terrain buildings.
War machine is not a game I have tried. I nearly did years ago. Liked the concept and the small game size. But in recent years they seem to have suffered an arms race like GW.. where now the figures are bigger and bigger and you wonder where it will end.
30Years War game. Lovely figures.

30 Years War Blurred. Always nice to see an info board with a game.

A naps game.

ACW Game, with a difference. A lovely table. And some great figures.

Thinkgs hotting up in the town centre.

A great mix of figures and buildings. Really like it.

Not looking too good for the towns defenders.

American/French Indian Game if I recall. No info board sadly.

American War of Independance Game
French crossing the bridge
Skirmish in the centre

Indians approaching
 Whilst I was moving between games, I spotted a new trader. Four A Miniatures. With a small stand. And some very lovely 28mm fantasy and scifi figures. The figure range is sculpted for them by a couple of different artists, but the character and detailing is quite something. Well worth a look if you have not seen them before. Not the best website, but I am told it is very early days and they are still working on new photos etc.

A new miniature company : Four A Miniatures

Some of their horror range

Four A Miniatures - Golblins range. Very nice figures.

More of their fantasy goblins

Snow Troopers  - perfect for the thing games!

The central area, with Ainsty and their expanding range and 7TV Rules Set
 Right, back to the games.
Battle of Rocoux 1746

Battle of Rocoux 1746 - By The Border Warlords

A nice crisp and clean table and lovely figures.

Information sheets and boards are always a winner with me.

I was not able to find out how this game went in the end sadly.

The battle of Fishguard. An interesting game.

Lots of info on the units and game.

Those welsh ladies leading the supply train.

The french on the advance

Clear, concise and the players/organisers were very helpful.

The back of the Boder Warlord Info Board and Re-enactment group beyond.

The Welsh side of the battle of Fishguard.

ACW Game.

The inspiration it appears for the game or supporting info.

Hexxon terrain in good use. Seems to suit the smaller scales better.

The table looked interesting.

The bridges in question.

Not sure what rule set was in use sadly.

View from the other end of the table.
 A few years ago I nearly bought a large set of Hexxon Terrain Tiles. I thankfully with my terrain cloths. For 28mm I found the hex pattern a bit intrusive. For smaller scales it appears to be less obvious and for the game above, this is a great solution. But for my 28mm games, I have found the cloths to be cheaper and better looking. Strange how a scale change can make such a difference to appearance.

WW1 game. Looked very interesting.

Another clear info board.

Nice table. I liked the trenches an the atmosphere of the table.

oops.. just crank your neck over.. it could do with the exercise ;)

A 54mm French Indians game. Loved the setup. But too big for me choices.. 28mm is large enough for me. :)

Agains some more clear info on the game.

Nice scene in the 54mm French Indian Game. British Village fleeing as the french approach.

The french column approaches with indian scouts in the lead.

A fun participation game.

Yep, side tracked again by the Elheim Stand.. only 20mm, but still pretty nice figures.

If only they were in 28mm.
 If you are after 20mm moderns and Taliban, then Brittania and Elheim miniatures have some nice pieces. Tom and Mick spent a good while, raiding the Elheims 40p single pot on the hunt for snipers and other bits. And Mick and Paul also grabbed some discontinued sniper sets whilst there too.
I am always impressed by the detailing on these figures, given their size.

Hougamont game. Lovely table and looked fun. Lovely figures. I have a hovents set, lurking somewhere that I will have to dig out sometime if I ever get into the period.

The french surrouding the the mansion and out buildings.
 I bought the majority of the hovels hougamonte set many years ago for a WW2 28mm Rules of Engament Normandy Game I ran at Gauntlet one year. As miss casts, yet easily repaired and perfectly usable for a very reasonable site. So it was nice to see the hovels set in use here.

French closing on the walls from the tree line.

The buildings were nicely painted.

British in the gardens, defending the walls, shooting from the firing ports. Not sure why the reserve was at the centre, and not at the wall helping increase the fire rate. But I wasn't playing it.  Still asthetic wise, impressive.

The french in the distance approaching the british out side of the walls.

View from the french side.

French casualties in the open area of the road.

The British appeared to be in firm control.

Pirates! - I loved this table. The painting was excellent but the figures and scenese just set it off nicely.
I really wanted a boat like this for my pirate collection. One to keep an eye out for.

Sadly no clear obvious info on hand, but was a lovely game.

Not sure what the objective was, but the british appeared to be holding off a pirate attack.
 I recently bought a copy of the Warhammer Pirates rules from Warhammer Historicals, and yet to put them to the test. Pretty sure they are not what was in use for this game. But somewhere I have a set of pirates and even a painted pireate ship.
Some lovely boats.

For for King.. let the scum swing!

I loved this scene.. as the residents flee to the hall.

Flags and banners can really help a unit and game come alive.

Pirates attacking from the rear of the town.

British line, preparing to fire a volley at the advancing pirates.

Chaos of battle..

The scenes were just lovely. An impressive set of figures.

A larger shot of the table from the other end.. impressive.

Across at the boats.

Nearby, The usual re-enactors with the WW2 Jeep and truck. A display table of ww2 weapons on show for punters to pick up and hold is always popular.
I really want a Jeep or Truck.

Critical Mass 15mm Sci-fi.

Warlord Games - Operation Squad game. Pretty but shame about the rule set.

A lovely table and nicely painted figures. 

The buildings were nicely made and some good effort had gone int the table.

Victorian murder mystery game. Not sure on the rule set in use. Very nice atospheric table.

The canal and the gas holder give good feel for the period.

A victim on the street and the investigators approach.

No signal - I bet these days, people would think it was something affecting their phone!

A very strange Future War Commander Game. But did show, you can use any figures you like for it.

A real mix bag of minis, showing how Future War Commander really is an system you can use anything with.

Ainsty casting selling Captain Scarlet and other notable minis.

New 7 TV pulp rule set. Pricy at £25, but have heard good things.

And thats it folks!
So there you have it. A day out in photos.. so now some comments and time to climb upon my soap box! (Sorry)

Firstly.. ask your self why you go to shows?
My answers are;
1). To hunt for bargains, at stalls, traders or on bring and buys.
2). To look at demo and participation games to get a view for new rule sets and periods and figure ranges.
3). Its a day out looking at things of interest with friends.

And I guess I am not alone in those.

Now the hall was busy when we got in just about 10am. I hit the bring and buy and dumped a few bits on it to clear. By 12, the numbers in the hall had dropped and it was not the usual exodus for lunch. The numbers were seriously down.  By two o clock the hall was pretty quiet and bordering of very quiet almost dead.

As we ate our lunch and had a break in the bar, we were discussing in our group the reasons. Firstly the rugby game was not going to help, but I also felt that that lack of show deals may be hitting. And that many of the "games" being run, just appeared to be there to provide entertainment for those running them and really for the show go-ers as such.

Apart from Eric at figures in Comfort who had a running discount on the new 15mm range of WW2 he is stocking only at shows, which is only available at the shows.
I didn't see (though there could have been some) any real show deals. Why bother with a show if you can get the same deals over the net? Years ago, I recall seeing, one time show offers. Buy X & X at Y price only this weekend etc and they changed at each show.. and frankly that is why I have such big piles of lead in places. I know times are tough and traders are struggling, but when you over hear three traders bellittling us punters because we haven't spent much. Or bought hardly anything at all.. they should probably look at it from our point of view.. Why should we invest at a show, when we can likley get it on the net at the same price? If you don't offer something slightly different at shows, then the attraction for people to go to a show, diminishes. Thus, attendances diminish and thus spending diminish. Round the circle it goes.

Am I right? Or wrong.. well I am not sure. But it is the way it feels to me. Last couple of years, the "bargains" and "deals" to be had are harder and harder to get and so the justifications to get into a new period and scale drop heavily. And that surely can only mean less sales over all surely?

So that aside. Back to the games. Some were excellent. Many had interesting info board. But few told you opennly if you were invited to take part or if it was for display only. None seemed to state clearly what rules were in use, or the miniature range in use. Why not?

And display only! - Ok, so they look pretty often and sometimes you see a battle or period you know etc and it catches your interest. But thats it.. why bother.? I think "demo only" games should be banned. Participation games encouraged, but then this is my soap box and I can rant as much as I like. 

I know it is easy to be picky when I haven't gone to the lengths and efforts of painting the scenery, figures and boards etc. Very true. But a little more info would certainly help and public involvment/participation would be even better. I don't like disturbing people when they are playing a game, to ask questions, so if the info is not there to read, I tend to walk on by and look for the next shiny object or pretty table.

It was encouraging to see new business's mind, such as Four A Miniatures there. But it was not good to hear that Lancaster games are apparently about to close. I guess the economics of the recession are starting to bite harder now. It certainly felt like it.

Was it a good show. Yes. Will I go again, certainly. But did I have a thoroughly exciting time. No not really. Everyone likes to go home with somethign they bought that made them feel the trip was worth it. Big or small, but the last few shows, that is happening less and less.

Anyway enough of my ranting and waffle. If I have misslabled a photo etc or got the info wrong, please let me know. And I will gladly correct them.
But hope you enjoyed the shots.