Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Queens Own Skywalkers!

November 7th 1883.

Lord Harrington looked at his watched, 8 o'cock in the morning. He wrapped his scarf more tightly around his neck and wished he was back in his office at the Foreign office in Whitehall, having his first cup of tea for the day and maybe a couple of those terrific ecceles cakes Mrs Sunderland made. The morning mist lay in thick streaks across Salisbury plain and the wind had an icy bite heralding a cold winter ahead. He looked skyward and surveyed the dark clouds above and thought whether they held yet more rain or maybe sleet. Either prospect seemed to darken his already bad mood.

Since the news of the disaster on the Zambesi last month his office had been a frenzy of activity gathering more information on the fate of Major Robertson and Professor Pratt. People had been detained at the Cape Colony suspected of being Prussian Spies and the many traders that had come into the town from the North had been questioned for more information.

Initial reports from the Dauntless had indicated that the expedition had been completely wiped out, however a trader had reported a small group of whitemen being held captive by natives in a nearby village which gave him a glimmer of hope that they may yet salvage something from the disaster. Some good headlines to grace the cover of the London Times and better still take some pressure off himself.

He had discussed the possibility of a rescue mission with the war office and he had been introduced to Stanley Heathcote who was head of the conveyances division at the research headquarters in Hackney.
Heathcote was an short, rotund ,excitable fellow who seemed to perspire all the time and had an annoying habit of rubbing his hands together. Harrington looked over at Heathcote and he was doing it right now as he gazed skyward.

" Honestly Heathcote, this will not do! This damn cold will be the death of me! What are we doing here?"

Heathcote looked at Harrington and he seemed to relish the discomfit he was causing his companion.
" Ah yes, the purpose of our adventure into the "wild" , he said with his hands outstretched palms open.
" If you can for the moment, transport yourself from the cold of England to Africa you will recall the terrain in which our forces operate yes?"

Harrington shrugged, " Damn dense jungle, stifling heat, and rather aggressive inhabitants by all reports."

" Yes! " said Heathcote and raised his finger to empthasise the point. " What's more any attempt to retrieve our countrymen will not have the advantage of surprise as the natives know their country and will spot our forces long before we are aware of them."

" Damn it Heathcote, I know all this! What of it?" Harrington's patience was wearing thin.

Heathcote smiled gleefully, "Well, we at the Hackney division have developed something that will give our troops the vital advantage of surprise."

Harrington was about to respond when a noise distracted him. It sounded a bit like a flock of birds, however there was a mechanical aspect to the sound he couldn't quite place. " What the devil is that?" he said.

"There!" Heathcote shouted and pointed skyward over Harrington's shoulder. Harrington whirled around and looked upwards. At first he couldn't comprehend what he was seeing. it seemed a dark flock of large birds were approaching their position fast.

As the flock drew closer the mass of birds resolved into individual birds. No not birds, they were men!
" Its not possible!" said Harrington.

Heathcote laughed in jubilation, " Hah! Its more than possible Lord Harrington. I give you the Queen's own Skywalkers!"

The mechanical birdmen landed in front of Harrington in perfect formation. British redcoats with wings!

The platoon officer lead his men up to Harrington and then signalled them to halt at attention. He walked briskly up to him and saluted.
" Lt Pelham at your service sir!"

Stunned though he was with this amazing new revelation, He imediately realised the potential of this new technology. He turned back to Heathcote who was smiling and compulsively rubbing his hands in glee.

Lord Harrington smiled and for the moment he couldn't feel the cold, " Heathcote my dear fellow, I think you may have something here."


The Skywalkers are from Eureka miniatures.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

October WWI dogfight

Here are some pictures of our October game for our WWI Canvas Eagles campaign. 6 players took part flying Camels, DR1 and DVII with the night's honours going well and truly to the Germans winning 3:1

The highlight of the night was a mid air collision between a Camel (flown by me) and a DVII. The DVII player drew his first red damage chit and scored a "fuel tank hit, plane explodes". I put the chit back in the box and gave it a good shake and then pulled out my first chit. It was the same result! Both planes exploded in a flash of flame and littered confetti down over no mans land!

I am really not having much luck lately with my last three games ending with me getting killed!

For this game we tried clouds for the first time. Clouds add a nice terrain element to the games and made the games more interesting. We have enough players now that have played several games so we now can have tailing and clouds to really make great exciting games.

After the game I took some of the photos and photoshoped them to make some nice pictures.





The Golden Belasarius!

I have quite a few posts lined up for this month since I have some more free time on my hands.

At my local club Nunawading Wargames Association I am running the annual DBA tournament. Each year we get typically 30 players taking part.

This year I decided to make a really cool trophy that I hope will become a bit of a tradition at this event.
I call it the "Golden Belasarius" which is of course modelled on the DBA rule book confused general.

I sculpted the master in sculpey and greenstuff and then made a silicone mold for casting copies. After casting I fixed up any airbubbles etc with green stuff and then painted it gold.

I am happy to make copies for people wanting to use him in their own DBA tournaments. I would just need some money to cover casting/painting costs. Email me on  if you are interested.


Monday, November 2, 2009

My new project - finally!

Hello again,

I have finally started on a project I have wanted to do for the last few years. Now that I have finished my VSF stuff, my next major project will be The English Civil War.
When I got back into wargamming after a break of several years I wanted to do ECW, but I had to decide which scale 15mm or 28mm. I decided that 28mm was the scale I really wanted to do, but the cost of a 28mm army was an issue. I even tried sculpting up a couple of 28mm figures to see if I could make my own figures to save money.
Then I was saved by the appearance of Warlord Games plastic 28mm ECW range. I gleefully handed over my money and bought a few infantry boxes.
I had been doing a bit of reading on the period and would have initially gone with a Royalist force but another member at my club was doing Montrose Royalist scot so I sided with Parliament.
The battles between Sir Ralph Hopton and Sir William Waller (who were close friends) seemed to epitomise the period and so I started research on Waller's Southern Association army which was victorious over Hopton at the battle of Cheriton.
For painting I also wanted to try something different from my usual style. For this project I will be using the army painter strong tone varnish to paint the army quickly, but still give a good wargamming standard. I had tried the technique on a few different practice figures including a ECW musketeer and the results were quite frankly excellent.

The army painter system is another version of the so called "miracle dip" technique which has been around for several years. On a Seljuk Turk DBA army I had tried something similar using a chestnut ink wash over a basic paint job which came up nicely. I have also heard of other people mixing black paint with diluted gloss varnish too.
I bought a can of wood stain varnish as well, to compare it to the army painter system. The army painter varnish is the perfect viscosity for the coating miniatures and it is far superior to the wood varnish. While it is relatively expensive you can coat a lot of figures with one can.
Very important. You must spray the varnished figures with matt varnish to complete the effect, otherwise they will look awful.

The Warlord games plastic figures are excellent sculpts and the casting is very good with minimal flash, however gluing all the arms, hats etc. on the figures is a chore. I would much prefer a little less options so I could get painting them quicker but I am probably in the minority in that respect.

The assembled figures.
I have undercoated the figures in black and I am using GW movement trays. Movement trays is something I normally would avoid but since I may be playing some skirmish ECW games as well I have kept more figures on single bases.

I hope to post back with some eye candy of the painted regiment soon.