Sunday, 22 November 2020

Did anyone order Chinese?

The build up of forces for the Kaimenistan (pronounced Ky-men-istan) expedition continued this week.

As yet, the composition of the sides is rather shrouded in mystery. The Brits shown last time, of course. But who will they fight? Who will they ally with?

Meanwhile... a Chinese warlord is amassing forces on the border, and threatening to extend his influence west into Kaimenistan. 

So, here is the first unit of Chinese infantry:

These are Copplestone figures. Lovely to paint. And fairly simple... so i was able to speed paint them; Fifty Shades of Brown-y- Grey.

More of these to come.

A couple of Chinese officers also...

I'm also working on a whole load of buildings, and other terrain items too. Inspiration is coming from all angles. Not least frequent visits to the now archived Major General website.

With so many possibilities for this project, it's difficult to keep it in check. I'm already thinking planes, trains, automobiles ... and boats.

Rules will be the popular "Setting the East Ablaze" which have a certain flavour and ethos which fits for me.

So, back to the workbench. Thanks for your interest and comments. 

Sunday, 15 November 2020

New Project - Welcome to Kaimenistan

Thanks to all who commented last time, and for some interesting guesswork about what the new project might be...
40K indeed! Lol! 

So, welcome to Kaimenistan (pronounced Ky-men-istan). Somewhere in the Back of Beyond, circa 1920s.

I have long wanted to own a model Rolls Royce Armoured Car, so that's where I began (Empress Miniatures).

Then came a Lanchester Armoured Car (Empress Miniatures) which I painted a slightly different shade of tan/ buff.

For both armoured cars, I added my own 'decals' and also the 'campaign clutter, boxes, tarpaulines etc.

As for the figures... I began with some Sikh infantry, and British officers (Copplestone Castings).

And then, a Naval detachment (Copplestone again).

and Naval Officers... Lt Gieves, Lt Hawkes, and an as yet unnamed character...

Here is the British force so far...

I have enjoyed pottering around with this. Painting units of 10-12 figures certainly makes a change from the larger Horse & Musket battalions I'm used to, so it is satisfying to be able to get something complete in fairly quick time.

The other thing I am noticing about this project is the range of activities involved... not just painting figures, but modelling the armoured cars, and making buildings. I am even contemplating some plastic kits which will really test my skills as I haven't built such things for decades.

More to come soon...

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Changing Gear for a Bit

Thanks to all who commented on my previous post... some interesting viewpoints. It's all a question of personal taste, in the end, and no one approach is right or wrong.


Over recent days, I have been reflecting on the past six months of painting output...

It began with the Successors project, and after a short interlude in the 18h century with the Oldenburg Regt for the Pils-Holstein collection, continued with the Napoleonics (French in bicornes).

Recently, however, it has started to stall a bit...

Now, there are a couple of reasons for this, perhaps; mitigating circumstances, if you like 

- namely, the recent deterioration of my cancer prognosis (bad news, but them's the breaks, as they say), 

and the recent arrival on the scene of a new relationship (good news).

But, notwithstanding those things, I was also mindful that I'd turned my 'hobby' into a bit of a painting slog... a feeling that has been heightened by the lack of even a feint chance of getting any games just now, and for the foreseeable.
It doesn't take long for us to start asking: So, what's all this painting for?

To the rescue (and they don't know it yet)... the members of the Virtual Wargames Club. 

You see... each week, members send me pictures of what they've been up to hobby-wise, and I have the immense pleasure of preparing the weekly show n tell presentations for our meetings. 

I am constantly amazed and inspired, every week, by the inventiveness and the broad range of periods people play. Most of all, I am buoyed by the level of enjoyment people can derive from even the most modest collections, projects, and games.

This got me thinking...

The upshot is that I decided I needed a new injection of something fresh, alongside the Napoleonics but very different in style and approach, to offset the slog with some escapist fun. After all, it's a hobby. Right?!

I wanted something skirmish-y. But not a traditional skirmish of a few figures per side. Grand skirmish, I suppose you might call it.

I wanted something outside of my normal realm (so not one of the mainstream periods).

I wanted something which would allow my imagination to roam a bit wild.

I wanted something which would allow me to add ad-hoc units as and when I fancied painting them.

I wanted some hardware... not just figures.

In short, something very different than I have done in the past. 

At the same time, Steve, my chief wargaming buddy and confidante, was also having similar thoughts.

And so a fresh project is gestating, and we're almost ready to bring it into the world. 

More news on this soon...

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

A Question of Style

At a recent meeting of The Virtual Wargaming Club, we discussed style and design. 
The club meetings always have a broad mix of periods and scales, but also a huge variation in styles. The design approaches are indeed eclectic. 

It got me thinking. Many people have a design style that they use for all their wargaming projects. 
Yet, I tend to decide on a 'look', a presentation style, that's particular to each specific project. 

No more is this evident than in the look of the terrain, and in particular the colour of rivers. By way of example, here are a few of my projects to illustrate what I mean.

Now, don't let's get too bogged down in the true 'realistic' colour of water, or how rivers 'should' be presented... (I suppose being 'bogged down' should in fact be reserved for marshes anyway). 

When starting a new project, do you decide on a deliberate 'design style'? 
Or do you just do it in your 'usual way.'? 
Food for thought...

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Brigade Commander and Skirmishers

First off, thanks to all who have commented on the previous couple of blog posts recently. It's very much appreciated. Keep 'em coming.

Now, here's what I have been up to over the past ten days or so:
More of the steadily growing Napoleonic collection.

This is the Brigade Commander...

Plus the Brigade skirmish screen.

The Brigade so far...

Next, the remaining two battalions to paint in order to complete this first brigade.

The weekly VWC meetings are proving just the tonic to keep the brush wielded, as it seems to be for others. Yesterday's was a great session, with lots of material submitted by the guys for the show n tell section, a great presentation from one of the members on his collection of 20mm plastics, and a vibrant discussion in the breakout rooms. The banter level rises each week, and the chat box went to a record 130+ messages (and that's just the comments and asides). 
I'm grateful to all the participants, and each week I never cease to be amazed and inspired. The over-riding essence of the group is that everyone has their own way of approaching the hobby, and all are equally valid.
Much enjoyment can be found in listening to people describing their plans and ideas, many of which you will see on their blogs. Getting the 'inside track', and behind the scenes thinking, adds meat to those bones. It's a wonderful way to spend 90 minutes each week.

And new members are always welcome... 

Thursday, 13 August 2020

More French in Bicornes

Have completed the second battalion of the 4eme Ligne, circa 1805.

And here they are in support of the first battalion

And a couple of closer photos of both battalions.

I'm enjoying painting these, although there's a fair amount of work in them with all the straps, piping and so on. 
I don't know if I will ever get to the point of being able to do Auserlitz, such as Carlo is just now - see link

But, who knows where it will lead...

Tuesday, 4 August 2020


Last week I had some time off, so Steve and I agreed to meet up for a socially distanced lunch at our favourite venue/Fencible HQ in Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds.

One of the things that cropped up during our chat was my planning folder which I use to keep track of my hobby activities and plans. Each project has a separate section in which I have an overview (rationale, criteria, objectives, etc) and then things like scenarios, orders of battle, painting schedules, handy references, notes and ideas, and so on.

Coincidentally, at this week's Virtual Wargames Club, one of the members who was giving a short presentation on what he had been up to this week showed us some of the planning he does for his projects. This sparked a discussion which we took into the breakout session. It seems that the wargaming world is fairly polarised... some people like to have a comprehensive plan of what they are doing, while others are happy to simply do what takes their fancy. Neither is right or wrong, of course. It's just interesting to see how others go about things.

After over three months, it does look like the VWC is here to stay, and I'm indebted to the members who turn up week in, week out, to chat in a convivial atmosphere about the hobby. Many have messaged me privately to say how much they value and enjoy the weekly gathering and how much it has helped them in the current circumstances. For that, I'm very grateful.

At the moment we are collating a list of rules for all periods as a resource for members who may want to venture into new periods... 
… a sort of "Rules-Advisor!"
We also have a recommended reading list compiled by the members, and I've been stocking up on parts of my library as a result!

Last week we also got onto the subject of 'inspirational photos that got you hooked'. This has led to lots of old favourites coming out... magazine covers, books, and so on. All good fun, and the sorts of things you'd chat about at any normal wargames club. Add to that, inspiring presentations on painting, games, and other hobby activities, in all periods, and it feels like a great way to spend 90 minutes each week.

Meanwhile, I've been painting, and will soon have something new to show.
Until then, all the best...