bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

 So back in the mid-90's, we got into a game called Legions of Steel by Global Games. You played a team of space marines who invaded an underground complex to take out malevolent AIs from another dimension. In the process you had to kill off a bunch of Terminator-looking robot enemies. We all enjoyed the game and we thought it was quite a step up from Space Hulk (which we loved so that's saying something).

 Like all good game companies, the line of miniatures was expanded to include other alien races that were hoping to stave off the Machine invasion. One such race was the Fantasians. They were straight up Soviet Aliens. They lived in a Communist dictatorship and it was even hinted at in the fluff that they'd visited Earth and inspired Lennin. I really liked the figures (I liked pretty much all the figures for this game) and I liked their panache and so I had a small squad painted up. Later on, when the game expanded to more wargame-y open terrain skirmish battles, I got a number of their regular line troopers and painted up a force for them.

 Then Global Games disappeared down a black hole and were never heard from again -- or rather there were rumors of a reboot that never happened. I was very pleased to see that Legions of Steel was released as a game for PC, Android, and iOS.  The implementation is quite good, but there's been almost no support for it since release and they only have Humans vs. Machines and not my beloved Fantasians.

 So I'm going through the scree of Lead Mountain and I came across a few packs of Fantasians that I'd purchased but never actually painted up. So I decided to rectify that:



Fantasian Mobile Artillery Squad



Rejoice, Brave Soldiers of Fantasia! The Mobile Artillery Squad has arrived to help you win the day!

I don't believe this is an "official" formation for Legions of Steel, but it's what I had on hand and it makes for a fun little group. You've got three heavies in power armor backed up by a pair of troopers who act as a security detail or forward observers. Definitely a group for open battlefields and not underground bunkers, but they provide much-needed support in the field.

We'll start with the power armor:



Fantasian T85/36 w/AT4


Above is a T85/36 with AT-4 (you might notice a Soviet flavor to their weapon system names). The AT-4 is an anti-armor cannon and the main weapon carried by this unit. It's got a machine gun on the other arm for softer targets, but its main job is to kill tanks dead.


Fantasian T85/36 w/AT4


Here's a side view so you can see the AT-4 a bit better. Also, you'll notice the design on the shoulder pad. This was part of my "try something new" task when painting these guys up. I decided to experiment with water-slide decals. In this case, I had some 15mm WWII Soviet tank decals and couldn't imagine a better subject. I put markings on both shoulders of the power armor guys and put a star on the helmets of the troopers. I was a bit worried that this was going to turn into a frustrating chore, but I was pleasantly surprised and how smoothly it all went. It was a little fiddly getting the decal properly sited on the mini, but eventually it got where I wanted it and then I carefully removed the excess water and everything turned out ok. I'm not looking to do this for every mini, but I can see where it'll be helpful for some projects and I'm happy I got a chance to practice it.

Now for the big boom-booms:

Fantasian T85/43s with K2 SHAW


This is the T85/43 with K2-Shaw rocket racks. Yeah...the designs are very heavily influenced by WWII Soviets. What else can I say? Power armor with rocket artillery and the arm-mounted machine gun. I don't have the rulebook in front of me so I have no idea how good those rockets actually are. The Fantasians generally worked off a "quantity has a quality all its own" so high rates of fire, but less effective at actually killing things. I suspect the same would be true here, but if you caught the enemy out in the open, this would do a number.

Rounding out the squad, the troopers:


Fantasian Stormtroopers


Standard Fantasian troopers armed with spray-n-pray PPSH and a bandolier of Gauss Grenades. Not as heavily armored as the troopers of other races, the Fantasians are faster and they do get the lead down-range in a hurry. Honestly, they're probably better suited to open battlefields where they have more room to maneuver. Still, I love my little alien Commies.

Finally a couple of photos comparing paint jobs:


Three Generations of Fantasians




Three Generations of Fantasians


So we have power armor and troopers. The figures on the far right were painted by my friend Chris who got me (back?) into miniatures gaming in college. I don't think Chris actually won a Golden Demon, but he has placed in several GD competitions so he was the gold standard of painting we all aspired to emulate. Eventually I figured out that was a mug's game and that I should be looking to paint figures well enough to please me and get stuff rolling on the gaming table.

The figure in the middle were all painted by me a year or two out of college I believe. A basic three-color scheme with a hint of inking and that was pretty much it. Still, I've got three squads of those troopers waiting to prove Fantasian superiority.

And obviously, the figures on the left are the ones I just did. I went all in on the Russian theme and used appropriate colors. There were washes, highlights, and decals. The overall effect is more muted (though I'm not opposed to more colorful sci-fi minis), but I do like how everything came out. I was even able to do a bit of detail work that didn't leave splotches all over everything.

So that was my little Legions of Steel project. It was a lot of fun and I'm kinda hankering to see if I can score any more figures off eBay or something. I am also reminded of just how nice those minis were. Not too much flash, weighty metal, fun designs...it's really too bad those designs went out of print. Nothing new on the horizon, although I've got some small projects left in lead mountain. I also have a heap of plastic WWII vehicles that need some sort of paintjob, but I need to track down some Army Painter spray paints in appropriate armor colors. We'll see what happens.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hi,

So over the past couple of years I've been painting up boxed fantasy sets by RAFM in their old Shadows and Steel line. It was a lot of fun, but I finally worked through all the sets. It made me interested in trying to put together my own fantasy warband -- not for D&D or anything but just as a little project. Maybe adapt them to Song of Blades or something.

I knew who was going to be the core of the group. For about a year, I played a wizard by the name of Adjo -- who was, to put it mildly, kind of an asshole. He wasn't specifically trying to antagonize the other party members, it's just he was a wizard and a human and that made him better obviously. But part of being the better man is not to be too hard on others who can't help their unfortunate lot in life and these other yahoos were really helping to further his goals so...

Anyway, a super-fun character to play and I had a reaper mini that really captured his look. A co-worker of mine was big on painting minis and his stuff was really good (he liked Napoleonics). I gave him my mini and then it never got painted and then he was laid off and we lost touch and...blah. I never got around to getting another copy of the mini before the game ended.

But after the Shadows and Steel stuff, I decided to put together a warband centered around Adjo. Reaper minis has a wide range of interesting figures so I picked out a bunch and put them together.

Adjo's and Company )
A bit about my process )
bonus figures! )

I'm planning on moving house so these will probably be the last minis I paint for awhile. I really need to start bulking up my terrain collection. I want to start using those 15mm WWII figures I've got but they need something to fight on.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So I've been collecting and painting RAFM's "Shadows and Steel" boxed sets. These are boxed sets of adventure parties with a module and some background fluff. Clearly set up for D&D although not directly referenced (back when TSR was serious about their IP). Anyway, there were four sets and I finally put together the last one.

Presenting: The Conquistador Dwarves!

The Conquistador Dwarves


These guys may not be the sharpest axes in the woodshed, but they make up for it with enthusiasm.

Pascale and Torquemazda


Pascale is their fearless leader with sword, shield and classy helmet. He is ably assisted by Torquemazda who will bring the Holy Word to heathens everywhere.

Guernica with Salvidora and Paulo
Guernica with Salvidora and Paulo


But Dwarves are better in short sprints, for long-distance, the team counts on Guernica, the monster lizard. Riding atop in the box we have Salvidora (with the spear) and Paulo covering the rear with his crossbow.

Crandall


Finally, to help them punch above their weight we have Crandall with his steam cannon.

These guys were fun to paint up and they weren't much bigger than the 15mm stuff I've been doing earlier this year. I'm sad the project is at an end, but I wanted to put together my own adventuring party. I've purchased the figures (from Reaper rather than RAFM) and we'll see how they turn out.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So in January, some of the guys down at the store started playing Chain of Command, a platoon-sized WW2 skirmish game. People had sort of settled on Bolt Action as their go-to ruleset for this (and indeed, I painted up a bunch of 28mm Soviets), but Chain of Command really blew me away. There's a real focus on good tactics and the fog of war. There's also a short pre-game "patrol phase" where both sides maneuver to set up "jump-off" points where their forces will enter during the actual game. This eliminates a lot of the tedious early maneuvering most games have and basically sets your forces up within shooting distance of the enemy.

A fun game and the guy championing this stuff has mostly 15mm figures. That's good, 15mm is sort of my preferred scale (since my bad paint jobs aren't as noticeable) so I figured I'd paint up a platoon.

In the past two months I've done 4. So I've painted over 120 figures and can field a platoon for every major combatant of WW2 in Europe. So...I think I'm into this game. At any rate, because there's such a dump of photos showing off everything, I'm hiding stuff behind cuts.

First up, the Americans )

Now I have WW2 Soviets in 2 scales! )

The Brits )

And finally, some Germans for all those other guys to fight )

My skills are improving )

So that's how I've been spending my free time the past couple of months. I need to paint up some vehicles for each of these groups (and maybe add a few more support troops), but I'm ready to give this a rest for a bit. The next item on my docket is the last of the RAFM Shadows and Steel boxed sets I've been working at on and off the past couple of years -- The Conquistador Dwarves! Should be a fun project.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So back in the Spring of last year, I painted up a mess of Soviet troops in 28mm for Bolt Action games. Since then, they've never made it to the table and I've fallen in love with Chain of Command for small action WWII games...and the scale of choice for the guys who play that is 15mm.

BUT! Last Saturday my gaming group had their belated Holiday party and ran Bolt Action games all day. In the morning, my Soviet soldiers made their tabletop debut...

We hold them here, Comrades! )

So it was a fun game and although I'm shifting away to another system/scale, I think those Soviets will hit the table again in the future.

Ura!
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hi,

So in the late 80's RAFM put out a series of boxed sets of miniatures under their "Shadows and Steel" line. The idea is that you'd get an adventuring party with a backstory and adventure good to go. Collect all four boxed sets and you'd have a mini-campaign. I picked up a couple of these two years ago and through some ebay action have managed to snag the other two. Last week, I finished the antagonists of the series.

Undeadly foes )

So that's the whole necrotic bunch. There's just one more set of guys to paint up and then the whole set will be finished. I might actually try putting them on the table in the actual adventure written up for them. Although players will have to control an entire team...or maybe it'll be more of an ensamble game where people play different members of each group. We'll see.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

More little dudes that I've been painting up. Once again, these are all from Odzial Osmy's New Vistula Legion, a 15mm sci-fi range. These are all mostly groups of one type of specialist so there's not a whole bunch to say about them, though the last group is pretty interesting.

They strike from behind the cut )

So that lot is finished. Next up are the heavy weapon teams. I'm hoping these should go up rather quickly and then this project will almost be finished.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hi,

So I did more than paint buildings this summer. I also painted (and am still painting) some little dudes.

There's a company out of Poland called Assault Publishing that puts out wargame rules and miniatures. They do a line of 15mm sci fi and the human faction is called the New Vistula Legion. A fellow gamer was selling off a huge lot of them at discount prices so I snapped it up. I figure they'll be good opponents for my professionally painted group and just good sci-fi figures in general.

I've gone though about half the figures and have enough of them organized that I can show them off. So let's see what I've done so far...

The Poor Bloody Infantry )

Anyway, that's all the figures so far. Next up are the snipers/scouts/LRRP teams, then the support weapon teams and finally the company HQ and a set of TV crews. Should be a lot of fun.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hi,

So I've been remiss in not updating my various miniature gaming projects. So let's take stock of what I've been doing this summer. There's two parts so there's going to be two posts. First up, more terrain.

pics of tiny buildings )

So I've greatly expanded the range of buildings and urban terrain I have available for my games. I can probably do some of the denser urban scenarios which should be a lot of fun. Hopefully this will all get to the table soon.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So with the WWII Soviets out of the way, I decided to finish up a long-delayed project. Behold:


Middle Eastern Buildings


These are a pair of 15mm Middle Eastern buildings from JR Miniatures. They're made out of resin. I picked these up at a sale at Hobby Bunker last July and I primed them up thinking this would be a quick job. For some reason, the white spray primer I was using didn't really want to adhere to the resin very well and it started sloughing off almost immediately. I asked around for advice and then forgot about them for a while.

I recently finished up the Soviets and I was tired of looking at those shabby buildings so I decided to knock them out. My buddies recommended automobile primer so I picked up a can of that and it worked like a charm. It put down a nice even coat I was able to paint right over. While you can't see it easily, the roofs are all removable and there are "wooden floors" on the second story of each building. However, I didn't do enough prior test fitting and one they're in, they're really tricky to get out. I think they're pretty much going to stay assembled like that.

With those buildings finished, I don't have anything new to hand. I do have some left-over Soviet figures but not enough to put together any real sort of unit unless I pull from that bin of plastic soldiers I have and I'm loathe to do that. The warlord plastics are just too fiddly. Maybe one of the guys at the shop will take pity on me, but I haven't really hit the table with what I have so I don't know that I want more guys until I can see where the gaps are ("mostly in your generalship", yes, yes).

In a vague order of importance here's what I'm thinking about next:

My big wishlist )

All of this assumes I shouldn't save my money for more utilitarian needs. Or maybe I should play more with the stuff I've already got...although that argues for the Terrain and the Transport items listed above. Ah well, we'll see.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So I've finished up the WWII Soviet project for the Bolt Action games down at the store. And the best is saved for last:


t3585


A T34-85 tank to provide some armored support and put those Panzers on the run. Actually, it's going to have to sub in as a T34-76 since that it keeps me just under 1000 points. This was another one of the few good pieces from the Warlords boxed Soviet Set. The model is mostly resin except for the commander and the front hatch and co-axial MG. The turret didn't fit into the body very well, but a friend down at the shop took a dremel to it and got it into shape. It was a fast paint-up and now I'm ready to roll.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So I painted up some more little dudes:


Soviet 2


This is another batch of WWII Soviet infantry (plus a mortar team). I'm just about done with this project. Once I finish up the T-34-85 tank, I'll have a solid 1000 point army to play Bolt Action with the guys down at the store (who will be completely burnt out on Bolt Action as soon as I bring it to play).

With the exception of the Mortar Crew (which comes from Warlord Games), all these figures are by Black Tree Design. I really liked the figures. A bit of flash to clean off but nothing terrible and they painted up like a charm. They mix well with the Warlord figures I have and there's a good set of poses. I have a batch of figures left over, mostly SMG-equipped troopers and I might paint them up as assault troops to swap in for some games.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So my recent return to miniature painting was sparked by the Dark Ages/Viking campaign that the club I regularly game with wanted to run. I got a bunch of minis, painted them all up and had a horde of Saxons ready to go.

I believe we played one game.

I knew we had a bunch of guys with figures and I had an interesting set of Viking rules called Strandhogg that I'd been meaning to try out. So I put out the call and a couple Saturdays ago we had a fight.

An Odin's Eye view of the game )

Everyone seemed to have a good time and was keen to try out the game again. I need to come up with some sort of fast movement rule to help folks cover ground or deal with chasing down heavily-laden opponents and such. But once combat was joined things moved at a fair clip and combat was a real roller-coaster. So hopefully we can get in a few more sessions and my little dudes were not painted in vain.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So I've been puttering away a painting little dudes again. Actually, these are slightly bigger dudes. Normally, I paint in 15mm because it's fast and you can paint up a lot in a hurry and my poor skill is less obvious. However, the guys at the store have finally (finally!) settled on a WWII skirmish rule set. They've opted to go with Bolt Action by Warlord Games. It's a pretty nice little set of rules with some nifty mechanics and it covers a lot of periods without getting too wound up technical advances. The rules are also designed for Warlord Game's 28mm line of figures.

The Warlord stuff looked pretty good and so I picked up a basic infantry set and a medium machine-gun team. Here are the results:


Soviets1


These guys came together and painted up real well. This box set was also put out before Warlord Games developed Bolt Action so they don't form a convenient force to send out into the field. Plus, it's WWII Soviets and that means large groups of Infantry. In fact, one of the Soviet's special rules is that they get an extra squad of troops for free. So I needed more little dudes.

I liked the look of the figures so I went back to Warlord Games. They've got army deals where they'll give you a whole bunch of figures, a few heavy weapons and a vehicle or two. Most of the infantry figures are made of plastic -- because you can get more troops for the dollar and you can kit them out in different ways. So I figured, "I need the guys" and picked it up.

Ugh.

The plastic Warlord figures are made up of torso, head, arms and sometimes separate legs. Weapon sprues hold weapons and gear of every sort. In theory this means you can combine parts and pieces to make anything you want. In practice you get a bunch of troopers suffering from some terrible bone disease that makes their bodies twist unnaturally who also have some localized telekinesis causing their gear to float near, but not at where they would normally keep it.

So...no good. I little searching around led me to Black Tree Designs who have a very nice line of WWII Soviets in a range of styles and groupings. So now I've got the first batch of those up on the blocks for painting. I'll let you know how it goes in a week or two.

That said, I do like the metal Warlord figures above and they're a good first set for my Red Hordes.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So you may remember, I had a guy paint up a nice set of 15mm sci-fi troops. This weekend, I finally got a chance to get them on the table. Unfortunately, I forgot my iPad so I could only take photos with my camera phone...which isn't the best, frankly. However, some of the pictures came out OK.

See our tiny fighting men in action! )

In the end, we were surprised at how close the game had been. The low tech side died and died and died, but they delayed long enough to eke out a win. I am pleased to discover that my professionally painted guys appear to have escaped the "too pretty to win" curse that often afflicts well-done miniatures.

Among my various gaming projects for the new year, I want to paint up a few more 15mm Sci-fi forces so my guys have something to fight against. Specifically some alien armies to deal with. Should make for games that feel a bit more sci-fi.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So I've had these finished for a few weeks now and in a fit of "playing with little dudes", I'm just now getting around to showing them off. You may recall that earlier I picked up a batch of "modern-day" Soviet troops in 15mm. I finished painting them up but the Soviet Union is a big place and it would take forever for those guys to walk everywhere. So...


SovietAPC


My Soviet motor pool. We have 3 BMP-2s (the tracked vehicles on the left), 3 BTR-80s (the 8-wheeled guys on the right) and 1 BRDM-2 scout car (center-top). More than enough vehicles to transport my troops and even a scout car to check things out. I should have enough gear to play out some of the "what-if" WWIII scenarios I have for Force-on-Force now.

I'm not quite sure what's up next. I think it's going to be 28mm WWII troops. The guys I play with seem to have settled on Bolt Action as their "go-to" WWII skirmish game so I'll probably put together some guys for that (probably Soviets as well. I'd like to do some odd-ball groups (Greek, Hungarian or Romanian troops), but the army lists for those won't be out until the end of the year so I'll pick one of the major combatants to have something to play with -- in the demo game I discovered the partisans aren't much good.

The other thing I'd really like to do (well...get someone to do for me), is a group of WWII US Marines. However I'd have them painted with Hawaiian shirts, the LT has a fruity drink in his hand, the machine gun team has their surfboards set up behind them, their amtrak all done up and so on. I want a "McHale's Navy" unit of Marines. Plus, win or lose, I'm sure it'd always be fun to play with them.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

If you want to pick up a swath of fantasy minis and are willing to wait a bit to get them. Reaper minis is running a Kickstarter. A $100 pledge gets you over 60 minis. Half of them are low-level hordes (kobolds, goblins, rats) and the rest are characters, signature monsters and stuff. The minis are made out of this new polymer material. I haven't worked with it, but Reaper minis are consistently good stuff so it's a fairly safe bet.

The Kickstarter has funded so those are sure to come out. Now it's all about tasty stretch goals where you'll get extra characters and larger figures (giants, dragons, etc.). The only downside is that nothing shows up until March. Still, it's a pretty good deal as-is and if the stretch goals open up, the project could stock a good-sized dungeon.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So a company called Khurasan Miniatures produces an excellent miniatures including a bewildering array of 15mm sci-fi ranges. In particular, their Nova Republik range is very well-rounded with infantry, tanks, APCs, and other equipment. I've been wanting to put together a full set of gear to form the core of my 15mm sci-fi collection.

Because the minis are so good, I was also determined that they should get a worthy paint job. A guy named Rich working at a company called Hobby Services regularly sells 15mm sci-fi groups on eBay. They usually get snapped up within a few hours of his posting them for sale. His work is great and he's been tapped by Osprey and Ground Zero Games to do the paint jobs for GZG's upcoming line of miniatures for Tomorrow's War (Osprey's sci-fi variant of Force on Force). So the guy has his chops down.

I got in touch with him and he agreed to take on the job. Earlier this week they showed up. So here's some little dudes I didn't paint, but I'm really happy I got someone else to paint for me.

Little Dudes behind the cut )

So that's my group of professionals. They look even better in person than in the photos and I'm really jazzed at how well they came out. Now I just need to find some opponents and get them on to the table. Of course, the general rule of thumb is that the better a group of minis look, the worse they do when you play with them. Well, die in style I suppose.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

This weekend I ran a game of Force On Force for my usual gaming group down at Hobby Bunker. The scenario came out of the Enduring Freedom source book and was supposed to represent the fighting that took place in the early days of Operation Anaconda in March of 2002. That operation was marked by a number of snafus and screw-ups that could've spelled disaster for the Americans and it was only the bravery and determination of troops on the ground that got them home safe again.

In our game, the Americans were all out of luck )

I apologized about the one-sided-ness of the game, but everyone did seem to have a pretty good time and they're interested in trying other scenarios so I guess that's a win. It's too bad, I was hoping to use this scenario later in August for the club's game day, but I might have to change it to something else. I really need to get more terrain put together. Being out in the open like that is killer, especially between two evenly matched opponents and most scenarios are a little more urban in nature.

Ah well, chalk one up for experience.
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So I started in on the small mountain of 15mm modern-day Soviet figures I picked up at HAVOC this year. Here's the first platoon:

Soviet Platoon


These are from Irregular Miniatures and while they're not the best castings in the world (and had a ton of flash to get rid of), they did actually paint up pretty well. The only problem is that the packs came with 9 guys with light machine guns, but only 8 guys with RPG launchers. So our of the 9 squads, one of them came up short on RPGs. This particular platoon has the shorted squad. Annoying, but probably not the end of the world.

But, like I say, it's a whole mess of troops (and the pack includes HMGs, Mortars, Snipers and Anti-Air missile troops) so once I finish painting up all the guys I got, I'll have a respectable Soviet force for some "what-if" WWIII games.

later
Tom

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