Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Initiative, Activation and Interruption

Who goes first? How are they chosen and what can I do about it? Those are always key issues for any group of people about to play a game, friendly or competitive. These are the questions that tell us not only who is pouring the first cup of tea, more importantly they tell us a lot about how the game models command and control and even fog-of-war.
Show me a game featuring a new and useful way to answer these questions and you have my attention!

Choosing who goes first is often straightforward; dictated by the scenario we want to play, the roll of dice or draw of a card. Often a simplest, but important, aspect of any turn in a game. Bingo, done.

Things are getting interesting. On our turn are we each moving our entire forces, or alternating one unit at a time? Do we pick that unit or is it chosen for us somehow? Either way, this is where much of the strategist's skill lies; moving to counter and exploit the opponent's strength and weakness.

Very interesting indeed. Many of us have played games featuring 'Overwatch' at one time or another. Overwatch allows us that chance to interrupt our opponent and, ideally, force them to alter their plans in response to our Overwatch fire. Usually a straightforward feature of a rule-set, Overwatch may or may not have impact on the big picture of the game.
But the evolution and growth in popularity of interruption mechanics from ordinary occasional Overwatch to near constant full-on reactive response by almost any unit in line-of-sight has had me fascinated! Here is a new level of sophistication; bringing unpredictable fluidity to tabletop skirmish gaming.

The Chain Reaction family from Two Hour Wargames or any of the titles from Ambush Alley Games all feature in-depth action-reaction mechanics designed to echo the chaos and fog-of-war of modern combat. These are exciting, gritty games with loyal fan-bases and strong online community support. Both feature dice mechanics to help establish the success of a reaction or interruption. Both reward the use of 'real world' tactics; the merit of Bounding Overwatch and the failing of poor scouting. Both reward the player for taking the time to get used to new ideas and ground breaking concepts.

But I recently encountered another approach to Initiative, Activation and Interruption that knocked me down with the simple and efficient way it handled all three concepts in one step. Something of a middle-way, this system primarily models fog-of-war but also offers ample opportunity for each player to respond to and interrupt the opponent's plans.

I'm Talking About Gruntz Again.
Gruntz Playing Card Activation. Aces Go First!
There are a few optional rules in Gruntz that really let this new rule-set shine. Card-based activation is one of them. Simply put, each player is dealt a hand of cards that corresponds to the number of units he can activate on his turn. The player needs to craftily plan which card each unit will get, to coordinate action in sequence. Once the cards are assigned, each player reveals the hand they have been dealt. The initiative order for the turn is set. Every unit on the table is activated according to the card they have been dealt. I may get a lucky run and activate multiple units in a row, or I may find my opponent is activating before and after my units, keeping my forces rattled and suppressed.
Coupled with the (optional) Overwatch rule Gruntz takes on the complexity and responsiveness of a more involved game with (dare I say it?) less involvement required from each player.

Good to Play
So I'm happy to see yet another game earn itself a spot on my shelf of 'good to play' games. I hope it does the same for you. I hope you enjoy the other reaction based games I have mentioned too; the added tension and excitement they offer is a big part of their fun.

Peabody out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gruntz 15mm After Action Report

Chris from the Trumpeters Society dropped by the other day to play Gruntz. We cooked-up a  patrol scenario featuring a mid-tech force trying to move past a smaller group from a much more advanced civilisation. The setting is tropical (surprise!) and features ample opportunity for ambush!

In Gruntz terms my GZG New Israelis are bog-standard troops with SAW Squad Attachments. All Gruntz (infantry) ride inside Medium Wheeled APC's. The big assets are the UAV, armed with light missiles and a rotary cannon, as well as the tank. The commander is in a Light APC at the rear of the column and a smaller Scout car leads the way. A flying Scout drone stands by.

Chris was playing the much more advanced UNSC forces. Although he has fewer vehicles and troops, they have significant advantages. The UNSC Gruntz would be riding grav-APC's capable of doing serious damage to my vehicles. Each infantry squad has an anti-armour Squad Attachment. A group of three Spider Droids and two Specialist HMG teams round out Chris' UNSC ground troops. Two Light attack flyers are off table but can join the fun on any turn.

Numbered markers, called blinds, track the 'Bogint' units.
The UNSC have the  'Bogint' Perk, (bogus intelligence) allowing Chris to use TWO Blinds per unit until I bring one of my units into LOS and 10" of the Bogint marker.
At that point Chris may choose which blind to place his unit under. Tricky!

This is Chris' first game so we use the basic 'I-go-you-go' turn sequence, perfect for learning the game. However an Alternating Activation and a dynamic Playing Card Activation option are features of Gruntz.

Objective Turn-1: get over the bridge!
My N.I. get initiative and I move up the column, unloading the rear-most Gruntz squad and hustling them up onto the bridge.
That's my turn done.

I normally play 20mm games on this terrain. My 5'x3' table seems so much larger playing in 15mm.

Chris moves his Blinds, varying the movement rates so I can't tell which marker is what sort of unit, creating threatening groups along my route ahead...

"We have movement! Enemy Activity all over the grid!"
Chris' Spider Droids and a UNSC Gauss Canon Specialist unit reveal themselves and start firing on my Mantis UAV. This begins an ground-to-air duel that lasts most of the game, tying up my air support.

Fire from the woods draws the Scout Car's attention.
Before ending his activation, Chris reveals his second UNSC Gauss Canon Specialist and opens up on my Gruntz exposed on the bridge! "We're taking fire! Squad leader Down!"
My squad is suppressed, but fortunately for me the limited Area Effect of the canon failed to damage the APC or Wax (wound) additional squaddies. That's Chris' turn.

Uh, hello...
My response is direct and effective; the tank fires on the Gauss Specialist team, managing to take them out using both of the tank's weapon systems. The suppressed Gruntz choose a new squad leader and manage to move along the bridge.
I want to know what those other Blinds are hiding in the nearby copse and the scout car has enough mobility to get into the light woods, so off he goes to see what he can see... Surprise! It's a UNSC Grav APC!!!
The rest of the column moves up, and my second squad unloads from their APC, a Push Move from the Commander gets them into the woods ready to support the Scout Car. My turn-2 done.

Chris has me where he wants me now; my air support is tied-up and his ground troops are better than mine. He unloads his squad of Gruntz and opens fire on my infantry, Waxing two figures. My Scout car is toast; a victim of the Grav APC's Medium Plasma Canon and the Squad Attachment's RPG. His Grav APC is out of LOS of the rest of my forces, except for the Gruntz in the woods. One ray of sunshine in all this: Chris' squad of Grunts got caught in the Area Effect of one of his weapons, now his squad is also suppressed having lost a member.

But his turn is far from over. "Fast movers, incoming from the North-East!" Chris brings in his flyers, strafing from his table edge in an attempt to get a K.O. on one of my APC's.

Luck is with me this time as the leading High Mobility Wheeled APC soaks up the combined fire of the two attack fliers. As Chris' turn-2 activation comes to a close, I'm wondering two things: Where is his other APC? How long will my luck hold out?

Heading into turn-3 I return fire on the fliers with my Medium APC's. My dice are hot; I score solid hits, forcing Chris to roll for criticals with a damaged system result on each of the flyers. One takes a mobility hit, and the other won't be shooting as accurately!

I move my Tank up the wooded hillside into LOS of two more Blinds, revealing the other Grav APC! Meanwhile my Grunts converge on the the woods, one squad concentrating fire on the APC in a desperate attempt to stop the well armoured craft, and the other driving off the UNSC squad.
My activation for turn-3 ends with my UAV at last finishing off the robust Spider Droids. Now we are in the thick of the fight.

The first thing Chris does as his turn-3 activation begins is to destroy my lead Medium APC with his wounded flyers!
A stalemate is brewing between my 2 squads of Grunts and his Grav APC; neither of us has the right type of weapons to quickly defeat the other. But it's a different story on the wooded hillside, where my Tank takes heavy blows from Chris' Grav APC and another Grunts squad with RPG. Only great rolls save me from critical damage.
Suddenly that's it... I've made it through turn-3 mostly intact!  My Medium air support is one move away from dealing some serious damage to the UNSC.

We decide that the Ambushing forces at this point would most likely withdraw; accepting light casualties in exchange for having destroyed two vehicles. Our objective was met, namely to get Chris up to speed with this great new game.

An easy system to learn and fun to play, Gruntz offers depths of play we will definitely be exploring in the near future.

Peabody out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Armour Round-Up

Summer road-trips, playing Gruntz 15mm, Disposable Heroes and Real Life™ have all had their part in keeping my work-bench projects from getting done.
But I'm glad to say the the Shermans for Brother Ken and my Vietnam era LVT's are finally finished! Lets have a look before I clean-up the bench and get ready to start phase two of the 15mm Sci-fi Project.

LVTP-5 amphibious troop carrier in 1/76 scale for 20mm gaming
I'm pleased with the end results of this 'olive-drab project'. The Green Stuff sandbags look fine; close enough to scale to look the part.

These resin kits were washed after assembly & primed by airbrush @ 20 psi with Vallejo Acrylic Polyurethane primer.

From there I did the usual; acrylics then oils, matte-varnish, then filters and weathering.

1/72 scale RAFM Charlie Co. USMC on 19mm bases for scale
Given the condition of these older 1/76 scale kits, I didn't put a lot of time or effort into them but they sure stand out on the table.

The LVTP-5a is an iconic piece of USMC hardware and kits for this amphibious troop carrier at this scale are rare as hen's-teeth.

Another very hard to find kit is this LVT6-H, or 'landing vehicle tracked 6- howitzer'. Featuring a short-barrelled 105mm howitzer for assault and support of amphibious landings.

Capable of direct-fire against fortified targets and also able to provide indirect fire onto distant targets, this is an unusual bit of kit for the wargames table.

The Lt. double checks the map co-ordinates; while the RTO calls for fire...

Our sessions of Disposable Heroes are really fun. Armour and infantry have their own pace, providing their own distinct friction to the game. So I'm very happy to have finished some Allied armour to add to the fray.

Here is the completed Armourfast Firefly kitbash. This was very simple and satisfying to do. In minutes this kit took on a new look.
One sticking point though: I forgot to remove and cover over the hull-MG! So while this won't pass muster with the bolt-counters, it still looks the part at 3-feet away. :)

Two Armourfast Fireflys: one out of the box, one kitbashed.

The disruptive camouflage on the barrel of the harder hitting Firefly was intended to make it harder for an enemy to identify and target this version of the Sherman. At first glance it should look like its lighter gunned companions.
The camo on the barrels was masked with Tamiya tape and liquid-mask, then airbrushed.

Two plain-Jane Armourfast Sherman M4's round out the recent line-up of simple kits from the old work-bench. That makes seven fast-build kits going out to Ken's place for our WWII games! I wonder what he will bring over for me to build and paint-up next?

Whatever he may have in mind, I'm going to make him wait. The 15mm Sci-fi experience is about to begin again with a huge build of Ground Zero Games Military Pre-Fab and Colonial Settlement (Shacks) buildings plus the most recent release of those very cool Startown Slums from Battle Works Studios.

Peabody out.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Plasticard Kitbash Customisation

Since I'm  going to be spraying olive drab on my LVT's, Ken asked if I wouldn't consider doing up a few Armourfast Shermans at the same time.
Brother Ken has the most amazing workshop, and I get to play there pretty often. So I said 'yes'.
Two of the Shermans are Fireflies and I thought it might be fun and easy to modify the simple Armourfast kit to better resemble the iconic 'sleek' look of the Firefly.
The Clampdown
So I clamped the hull down, lined up my 54tpi razor saw along track-guards and carefully trimmed the unwanted portions away.
I followed-up by correcting the shape as needed with a file and then sanding everything smooth.

Poster-putty holds the new pieces for gluing
Corrections, corrections...
Armourfast kits are great, but they don't have much substance and now I could see clear through my Firefly! It was time for some basic styrene scratch-build techniques to make this conversion a success. Using .040 Styrene Sheet, I cut and glued some simple shapes to fill the gaps.These were then sanded flush with the rest of the model. 

Interesting conversions can be easy to do. All you need are basic tools, a few 'raw' materials and most importantly, the techniques. “Styrene Modeling” by Evergreen Scale Models is a fundamental book that should be on every gamer's shelf.

Inside this book you will learn how to change, correct and create all sorts of projects from simple kit alterations to complete true-to-scale scratch-built masters.

Peabody out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Am Afraid of Green Stuff

Green Stuff. The stuff minis dreams are made of.
I've kept an untouched tube of G.S. in my freezer for two years. I keep finding excuses to not do something with it. "Green Stuff is too important to waste", I tell myself. "You better learn more before you try that!" My thinking has been a vicious circle and I know it. But the knowledge that Green Stuff could become rock hard, durable gaming goodness or an indestructible testament to my blobby sculpting has me skittish.
Thank heavens this week a project made its way to the old workbench that was so deeply in trouble that I finally realised there was nothing to loose. If nothing good comes out of this project, at least I will have had that critical first confrontation with the thing that is Green Stuff.
Years ago I ordered a resin 1/76 scale LVTP-5a and an LVTH-6 for my Vietnam project. Both models turned out to have quite a few bubbles and a lot of missing detail, especially around the driver's and commander's hatches. At the time I wasn't about to start a major repair project so I put them on 'The Pile' and forgot about them until this week.

Stowage from Elheim and Britannia (Grubby Tanks)
Green Stuff to the Rescue.
Looking at pictures of these 'Nam era 'Amtracs' I realised I might have a fortunate compromise on my hands.  If I made some G.S. sandbags, and placed them to cover-up the most glaring problems, these flawed but character rich models would finally get on the table. What a great opportunity!
The first step was to mix-up a little bit of Green Stuff epoxy putty. It's very sticky at first, so before starting to work with it, l let it sit while I got everything else organised over the next 10 or 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, the area of the model to be worked on was covered with Parafilm "M" so that the epoxy putty detail won't stick. This way, if I need to, I can start again without having to scrape anything off the model. Also, any detailing I make can be painted separately from the rest of the model.
You don't have to use Parafilm for this step. Plastic wrap will also work just fine.
The epoxy will want to stick to your tools, so you need to keep them moist. I have a little dish of water in the picture, but I ended up just (carefully!!!) moistening my knife & other metal tools between my lips. The Color Shapers will not stick to Green Stuff or other epoxy putties, so they are awesome tools for working this medium.

1/72 scale figure puts the picture in proportion

After the bags were in place I set the model aside to allow the putty to cure.
The two components, yellow and blue, that make up the famous green putty need to be well wrapped (I use a ziploc bag) and kept in the freezer. That will ensure they are in good shape until you need them next. While in the freezer they won't contaminate your food or make the ice cubes smell funny.
So, making sandbags is an ideal way to discover the ease of working with Green Stuff. I'm not afraid any more. I still don't have great skills, but a little practice & I'll be making wicked sandbags.

See the missing detail? Sandbags will hide all...
After a couple of hours, I carefully lifted the sandbags off of the model to be certain they weren't stuck.
Satisfied that the pieces fit snugly yet can be moved for painting, I put them back in place to let them finish curing completely. Only then will the Parafilm under the sandbags be pulled away.
Next, the model can be primed, painted & detailed with the sandbags and perhaps some stowage.
But lets see how it looks after priming; that will reveal all the bubble-holes in the resin.

There may be more work to do yet!

  Twice in this post I have linked to the venerable & excellent War Factory web page.
I love this site. Do visit Aidan's wonderful minis gaming resource!
.50cal from Elheim Miniatures & stowage from Britannia Miniatures (may be available at Grubby Tanks)
Peabody out.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

They Hijacked The Dropship!?

Dropship Horizon Hijacked!?
Well, not exactly...
It's true that nature abhors a vacuum. A case in point concerning the 15mm Sci-fi scene: the void created just days ago by the departure of The Dropship Horizon and her crew (Mark, Master Chef and the enigmatic Dropship Bunny) has just as suddenly been filled by a piratical group of talented scoundrels determined to keep that beacon of 15mm coolness on course.

Just How Did Peabody Get Onboard!?

Peabody Now a Suspect...
How I got on-board remains a mystery to me. I'm sure it's a Buttle/Tuttle affair, but still, I'm part of the adventure now, excited and humbled to have been brought along by these mavericks. Even if it was all a computer error....
I'll certainly try my best to do both crews proud.

Peabody out.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

FanVan WIP -Completion

FanVans in-bound
Hey Presto! Lets jump ahead and preview the completed flyers...

When I got home from Newfoundland it was a real treat to see these waiting for me on my workbench. They sure had come a long way from the previous WIP post.
I regret not making enough time, before leaving town last week, to write this post .

How did we get here?

The dry-brushing completed, I dug out my stash of decals for this project to plan the placement of platoon id & detail decals.
I followed standard 'Decal Technique'. Spots that might get a decal first received a dab of Future. Turns out I should have dabbed twice; I still ended up with 'silvering' under some of the decals. IPMS Stockholm offers a possible solution I may try at some point. I'm not going to sweat this. I will be more careful in the future.

No filter on the middle FanVan... Really.
Boy, I wish I had pictures to better show the magic of this subtle step.  I don't, but this review does... I sprayed a coat of Vallejo Matte Varnish and once that was dry, I put down the first of two applications of a brown filter. Without a matte or satin varnish, a filter would be unable to evenly diffuse its subtle, transparent colour over a model. So the Filter technique is the opposite of the Wash which seeks to bring focus to details. Remember: a filter must be much more dilute than a wash. 
The second application went on after the first had dried. These two were enough to unite the dry-brushing, decals and basecoat on these models. 

Dust effect airbrushed onto lower areas & near intakes.
Time to pull the masks off the canopies (yay!) and start on the details and weathering.
At this point I realised the metallic gold of the canopies and my base-colour are similar in tone. The overall effect is nicely high-tech military, but there isn't much contrast between the two.
I wanted these FanVans looking clean and uncluttered, so I kept the details to the minimum of lights, sensors and wheels. Dust & grime was airbrushed using highly thinned Tamiya flat earth.

Final Assembly
Sharp bits near a finished paint-job give me the shivers.
What's wrong with this picture?
I got the 'fans' and chin-guns installed without any fuss and was about to call this job done. Only then did I remember I needed to install the 5/32" brass-tube that takes the 1/4" clear acrylic rod for my flight-stands. *face-palm*
Must always remember to do this first. Before painting. Not after.
Fate was kind; the tubing went in without incident and I could call this job done.

I'm still eager to see, or to read about anyone else's FanVan plans or projects, so don't be shy.
Lets have those comments & links!

Peabody out.

Peabody Actual to Dropship Horizon

We copy your last transmission five-by-five. Thanks for the ride.
I can't think of a single blog that has been more influential, infectious and inspiring than the Dropship Horizon.

Kudos to you Mark, and to Maff, for raising the bar for everyone.

Now go roll some dice.


Monday, May 23, 2011

A Brief Intermission...

So where are we going today Mr. Peabody?
Ok, the FanVans are actually nine-tenths finished right now and all that remains is final assembly, taking a few pictures and to write up the last post. I'm pleased with how the flyers have turned out and really look forward to getting them on the table and playing Gruntz! with them ASAP.
But early last week Ken brought over some WWII German armour and asked if I could give his 1/72 scale Armourfast and Italeri fast-build tanks the same basic treatment I was giving to the Ground Zero Games flyers. These are painless to build, so in no time I had them added to the painting queue.

The two Panzer III's and the Panther will feature in 20mm games of Disposable Heroes & Coffin for Seven Brothers by Iron Ivan. I'm not really into WWII, but I'll play pretty much anything by Iron Ivan Games; loads of fun.

Please enjoy this intermission while I complete the FanVans.
Peabody out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FanVan WIP

Ok, lets commit to a full WIP series on the FanVans from Ground Zero Games. Think of it as basic armour painting 101. Not difficult stuff at all; practice and patience will be rewarded. I took this same approach with the GZG New Israeli armour & I'll want to review this at some point.
Where were we?
Lets finish up the Canopies first.
A protective coat of Future needed to be laid down over the canopies, but before I did that I decided to spray a little bit of Tamiya Smoke as a way to blend the gold & black together. Smooth.

When the Future had dried, the masking that protected the canopy frames & the rest of the models was removed and discarded.

Models are numbered to track painting masks
Time now for the canopy-glass shaped bits of tape saved when cutting the masks. Each model & its mask were numbered, so it was simple enough to match the masks with the models. Note how each 'window' was cut and laid-out in position relative to each other. A piece of scrap styrene sheet was used to keep these safe. Additional trimming or adding of thin strips of tape was done as necessary.
The masks were smoothed into place using colour shapers.
As I finish painting each model the canopies will remain covered and (in theory) protected. The big reveal will happen as I move into detail painting. Fingers are crossed from now until then.
Now for the base-coat. A thin, transparent coat is sprayed on at about 10psi. At this point any pre-shading I have done will either become a wonderful part of each model, or hidden under too much paint. Only a few areas of each model get second coats.
I'm using Dark Yellow tinted with drops of red-brown, yellow and black. I made sure to mix up quite a bit of this when this project began so that colour matching would not be a problem.
After the base-coat dries I lay down a  good coat of Future in preparation for the next step.
Future is self-levelling, so I can spray quite generously and still get an even, gloss finish that wont fill detail.
A gloss finish is critical for the oil wash that is to come. If I apply a wash over a matte finish, the entire surface will become stained. On a gloss finish, the wash will fill detail and any excess will be easy to remove.
The middle FanVan has been dry-brushed buff.

Oil Wash & Dry Brush
The wash is applied outlining and emphasising the details of each model. Once this dries (a day at least!) it's time for a light but thorough dry-brushing using buff artists oil paint.

Still to Come: decals, filters, details & more.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

15mm FanVans & Sci-Fi Canopies

So this afternoon I broke-out the Tamiya masking tape, put a brand new #11 in the old x-acto knife and got to work masking the canopies of my platoon of Ground Zero Games FanVans.
Now these are cool models; near-future Slicks ready for any job be it rapid insertion of troops, casevac or ass & trash. Perfect toys for the 15mm sci-fi table!

The canopies of these vehicles are wonderfully sculpted and the potential is there to really make a stand-out statement if only I can pull it off.
So, carefully I cut out the canopy areas, saving the resulting masks so as to be able to cover the canopies again when this stage is done. The canopies were then sprayed black.
The FanVan engines were painted in phase one of the 15mm Sci-fi Project.

Once the black was dry, I mixed up some Tamiya gold with a few drops of clear orange and thinned the mix down for spraying with Tamiya thinner. I sprayed on the orange-gold at an oblique angle to create a fade from gold to black.
Lotus position Buddha, agent of dharma in our pulp themed games, got the rest of the orange-gold paint.

The next step will be to lock down this gold-black fade with a coat of Future and then tomorrow morning put the masks in place and get on with painting the rest of these beauties.

Calling FanVan Fans

I'll admit I've put off painting these kits hoping that some clever and talented person out there would post some inspiring shots of their finished FanVans. So far no luck!
IF you have painted FanVans, take some pictures, post them up and share the link! Lets see some FanVan action out there!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Building Bridges

Double Rainbow?
Well, I had every intention of moving on to phase two of the 15mm Sci-fi Project, but the old workbench needed a good clean after the chaos of phase one, and stuck in the middle of everything were two kits, both bridges, crying out to me: "Peabody, build us now!"

The Italeri Stone Bridge is a classic single span bridge, an objective to enhance any table. The kit itself has good detail and is simple to build.
I primed the model light grey using Vallejo airbrush primer. A base coat of Tamiya medium grey, xf20 was next. I mottled this coat as I sprayed, so I would be painting details over a mix of greys.

Hot mugs of tea & favourite tunes made the job of picking out selected individual stones easy enough. I worked my way through cool greys, greens, tans and khakis trying to avoid patterns, but allowing these spots of colour to group in places to draw the eye to some of the more interesting detail or create interest where the pattern of stone was too repetitive. The paint for this stage needed to be very thin, almost transparent, to keep the effect from becoming too much like a patchwork quilt. The brightest tans were toned down with a touch of dark grey.

A good dark oil wash (burnt umber & black) did the job of picking out detail, but left the whole model very cold looking. That was fixed easily with a couple of applications of the Mig Filter 'brown for desert yellow', which warmed the colour and tied the whole piece together nicely.
Well diluted Tamiya flat earth, xf52, was dusted on via airbrush, working mostly around the base and lower ends of the bridge, leaving the higher parts brighter and free of 'dust'.
The next day I added ground work to better tie the bridge in with the terrain most used on my table. I couldn't resist trying the Army Painter Poison Ivy, it's so easy to use. I also took a tip from the great tutorials on the Acrylicos Vallejo pages and tried my hand at moss using Woodland Scenics fine turf, acrylic matte medium and different shades of home-made green pigment powders.

While working on the Stone Bridge I also had a second, very different bridge on the bench.

Pontoon Bridge Trussed-up
The venerable Airfix Pontoon Bridge is the donor for this kit-bash. There is so much bridge inside this kit it's a shame not to get more than one project out of the box! This short span is intended for my Vietnam table where there are numerous deep but narrow canals to hamper traffic. The look is intended to suggest the classic bailey bridge that springs up around so many conflicts and natural disasters.

I thought it would be worth the trouble to leave the span of this bridge detached. Now I can play all sorts of bridge-out, bridge-laying or destroy-the-bridge scenarios. But I can also use the ends with the remaining longer span from the kit to eventually make a much larger bridge.

I base my 20mm minis on pennies which makes them too wide for the narrow strip of walk-way to each side of the Airfix kit's truss-work. My solution was to add width with some additional 'wood work' made of styrene strip and square-stock. The effect is more convincing than I thought it might be.

The overall look works for me and reminds me of the sort of improvisational construction I have encountered travelling in South-east Asia.

So what really inspired me to build these now?  I think this little detour is the pay-off for going out of my way and having tried new techniques for the 15mm Sci-fi Project. The stone bridge is no work of art, but it's come out a lot better than it would have had I tried to build it a year ago.
The bailey bridge tested elementary (but fundamental) scratch-building skills and was chipped using the hairspray technique. Both bridges benefited from the use of oil based filters and washes.

Die-cast Repaints. Road-work on Highway 19?
A year or more ago I won an ebay lot that included some poorly painted die-cast toys and what turns out to be bits from the Airfix Aircraft Recovery Set.

A quick repaint and a dash of grubbiness and these are now ready to help add a bit of story to the next game.

 Tragically the 'Queen Mary' aircraft recovery trailer is missing a wheel...
I would be grateful if anyone has a line on a suitable replacement!

Now that the bench is clear again I will be cracking on with the flight of three GZG FanVans.

Peabody out.