Monday, December 31, 2012

Radio, Radio....

Respect for Moonlite Modelwerks

Calling all gamers!

This broadcast is for anyone who appreciates gaming with a finely made mini, great value and awesome friendly service.
I'm talking about the quality products of Mr. David Reasoner, the talent behind 'Moonlite Modelwerks'.

Moonlite offers a select line of vehicles and guns for the historical 20mm gamer. 


Soviet Gaz-AAA Radio Van by Moonlite Modelwerks
The subjects David has chosen for his catalogue all fill a niche that has been neglected or poorly served in our gaming community.
In the Moonlite catalogue you will find trucks, tows, signals vans, howitzers and field-guns for the U.K & Commonwealth, Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands & East Indies, the U.S. as well as a useful selection of generic, 'Universal' cars and trucks from the late 30's and early 40's. 

Soviet Gaz-AAA Radio Van by Moonlite Modelwerks
If you like to game out of the way theatres, Early WWII, the Inter-War period or if you play a rule-set that emphasises the importance of Command and Logistics units, then Moonlite has some very interesting pieces for you to game with.

If you want a copy of the Moonlite catalogue, or to order any of David's fine products, email him AT THIS LINK.

These kits just beg to be painted.


The beauty of the Moonlite product is that they -the vehicles at least- really are "paint and play"! The examples I'm showing here arrived, faultlessly cast, carefully packed and ready to paint.

Soviet Radio Van & Generic Staff Car by Moonlite Modelwerks
Over the last year, very few of the resin kits I ordered for this Soviet project have come close to the quality of casting that these models offer.

Each model has a definite style and charm. The level of detail is remarkable. And yet these are wargaming kits. Some of the detail is fine and fragile; the headlamps on this Gaz radio van are beautifully done! But these are robust resin models and intended for our gaming fun.

Just a great guy. 


1934 Ford Car (generic) by Moonlite Modelwerks
I really look forward to placing my next order with Mr. Reasoner. He is just a super person to do business with.
A one-man operation, Moonlite is often in demand, so I don't place orders when working to a personal deadline. This is one operation that keeps open lines of communication, so I've never had any trouble scheduling an order.

A Happy New Year and much Gaming Goodness to you all!

I'm proud to wrap up this last post of 2012 with a plug for a great guy and a good product. But I really want to wish you all a happy, healthy and fun-filled 2013! Build! Paint! Play! And do it with friends.

Well met! Peabody Out!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Old Peabody is an Icelandic dog!

A quick note to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy new year.

To everyone who has so kindly decided to support Peabody up on his soapbox, following these infrequent posts, thank you

Many of you are bloggers who contribute tremendously to the hobby and I both admire and appreciate what you do for the community.

Blogger or enthusiastic Gamer, I hope Santa has some hobby goodness in his bag for you this year. Failing that, I hope you score big at your FLGS Boxing Day sale....

A Big Year

2012 has been a good year for Peabody; less blogging but more modelling and much more gaming with good friends was accomplished.

I feel lucky to have learned from some fantastic talents out here in the world of blog as well as on my favourite forums. To those fine folks at The Guild, at The Society of Gentlemen Gamers and at The Trumpeter Tabletop Gaming Society; my sincere thanks for helping to make this a banner year for hobby fun.

Stay Tuned

Peabody will be back shortly with more Summer Soviets, more rambling and more wargaming goodness.

Monday, December 3, 2012

From Strength to Strength

To have a project -a plan- and at the same time to feel like you are part of a group enthusiastically  working together to complete the job will further anyone's 'Stash-Reduction-Programme'. 

At the end of last year I had the good sense to commit to the year-long "Group Build 2012" at The Guild, and wow, did that ever help with my focus issues.

The whole is more important than the individual (figure or vehicle...)

To meet each of the five deadlines throughout the year I would have to get work done; to approach each task with a "get ready; do; clean-up and put away" plan. No faffing about and no crazy new techniques.

Ironically this committed, 'keep up with the group', approach resulted in some significant hobby satisfaction! 
Not only did I get a lot more work done, I also developed speed, honed skills and built an army to crush my foe.... Er, yeah, I mean I built up a fine collection of historical minis in 1/72 scale... 

I remain truly grateful to those Admins at The Guild who gave up their free time to organise this activity. Must have been like herding cats, and just as rewarding. Respect.

Anti-Tank, Field Guns and Ack-Ack too,

This particular task of the group build remains one of my favourites because of the way it brought together models, minis and basing. Ok, very basic diorama work, yes. But for me satisfying because I was building on lessons learned working on the Heavy Weapons teams.

Going from strength to strength...

45mm M1942 (M-42) Russian Anti-Tank Gun
These are guns and crew from the Plastic Soldier Company  1/72 Russian 45mm Anti Tank Gun box.

The set allows you to build up two varieties of 45mm AT-gun; your choice of the M1937 or the M1942, as well you can build the M1943 Infantry Gun.

You are quite literally spoilt for choice.

1/72 Scale Plastic Soldier Co. Gun and Miniatures

 The gun models have enough detail for the gaming table and build up very quickly.

The crew figures are nicely done and in the same semi-posable, multi-part style as other PSC minis.

The abundant ammunition and spent shell-casings add a nice touch to the set. You will find shells enough to detail your bases and to save some for a future project.

'Keep Firing! They'll Notice Us Eventually'
So, these may not be the deadliest guns in Red Army history, but wisely used, they will ring bells in the right places.


76mm Regimental Gun M1943 (OB-25)
This box of four guns has already provided some good fun on our table, especially this handy little 76mm field gun, which has managed to harass and suppress artillery spotters, snipers and infantry over several games.

A Super Little Infantry Gun...

All in all, these were great fun to build, paint and base.

I am tempted to pick up another box, just to build up more of these useful 76mm guns!



I  feel much safer with at least one real AA Gun on the table.
Our games feature infrequent, random, and devastating aircraft attacks.
Best to plan for the worst!
This classic Airfix kit of the 40mm Bofors does a bang-up job standing in for the 37mm Russian knock-off of that famous anti-aircraft gun.



Still haven't decided what I'll do with the Morris 6x4 that comes with the Airfix gun; it is a very nice looking kit and clearly a joy to paint, but staying focused on my group build means that the tractor must wait for another day.
Meanwhile, with one of these on overwatch, I'm a bit cooler under the collar.

As I said before, this was one of my favourite tasks during the year long build. It was good to draw on a classic gaming resource like Airfix as well as make use of the practical economy of new-comer PSC.
The results are nice to look at, and useful on the table too.

Until next time,
Peabody Out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Liebster is calling...

This thing is gone Viral!

I'm honoured that Close The Ranks saw fit to tap me for this darling award.

The best thing about Liebster is that I get to draw attention to a handful of blogs that both genuinely deserve notice and have yet to gain a strong large following.

I have combed through my list of 'Better Blogs' -which continues to grow almost any time I poke about the web these days- and have chosen five super deserving blogs. I'm surprised Peabody will be passing on this Lieb-bug to these five, because they really are good blogs and I thought someone else would have gotten here first...
Anyhow, my picks are chosen because they feature inspirational painting, useful tutorials and solid hobby advice.

Allow me to introduce you to:

Jacksarge's Wargames Ramblings This chap has great style and terrific talent with a brush. Clocking in 77 lovely posts since 2011, Jacksarge covers a lot of territory and includes some practical tutorials as well.

20mm and then some... Brought to us by the prolific 'Gunbird'. Another 2011 vintage blog, but this time with 136 posts to savour over your next few pots of Keemun. This is a fellow with great imagination and excellent modification / kitbashing skills.

The Aircav Saga Come follow the exploits of a wonderful painter and all around great guy. At 51 posts to date, this blog features a variety of excellent projects well documented by some very useful WIP posts.

The Winter of '79 Gripping stuff! Begun in spring 2010, this incredibly detailed and documented alternate history blog offers rich gaming insight into Britain during the Winter of Discontent.
Mark, of Dropship Horizon fame, presents the rulesets and resources you might need to game revolution and urban uprising in the heart of cold war England -and elsewhere! Well over 300 posts of wonderful reading.

Take The High Ground Brought to us by Airhead, this blog, begun in 2008, features close to 200 posts on great terrain projects. Many posts feature WIP shots, using ordinary wargamer junk, that inspire you to do something. Really just a super resource for the ordinary gamer looking to make their games that little bit more lovely.

Lastly I'm going to include ClearHorizon which is a cheat, because Mr. Harold has already been 'Liebstered' at least once lately. Hell, he deserves it. This is 15mm Sci-fi goodness. Go check him out.

Peabody out!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Soviet Saga Continues... Heavy Support!

Needs More Weapons!
Woah. Long post. Best get the kettle on...
SO the groundwork had been laid for my Soviet force with the infantry company. We even got down to playing some games, which turned out to be important.

Over on the workbench my wet pallet was up and running and I had found my figure painting 'groove' but I knew I needed some staying power to work my way through the lead ahead. Getting in some fun skirmish games with the minis I had already completed did a lot to keep enthusiasm and momentum going.

We played Iron Ivan's Disposable Heroes, using the Russian and German lists as well as Point Blank. We even tried out some home-brewed mods for the excellent but sadly OOP Kampfgruppe Normandy. All great fun gaming.

Anti-Tank Rifles and Maxim MG Teams on the move.
Meanwhile the painting queue demanded action! Support weapons were necessary to keep the fascist foe on the run and the Plastic Soldier Company 'Russian Infantry Heavy Weapons' box was clearly the way forward.

Keep in mind this Summer '43 ETO project began entirely as a classic gamer's 'oooh shiny' moment. One day I was content doing 15mm sci-fi and some 20mm Vietnam, and then wham! - "Welcome to The Party, proletariat comrade".

To complicate things I was completely naive and ignorant. My understanding of WWII Soviet stuff was nil. So as soon as I realised the Plastic Soldier Co. box-sets were Platoon-Strength that really helped me to commit to this project. Building up a Soviet force this way is pretty darn easy.

82mm Mortar Teams. Ammo crates from Britannia.
The Infantry Heavy Weapon box contains 39 nicely detailed, multi-part figures that build up into fifteen weapon teams as well as three individual figures on the move.

These are 'multi-part', not 'many-part' figures; very easy to assemble, not too fiddly and offer a degree of customisation.The experienced plastic figure modeller will find good fodder for conversion here.

Basing. Little dioramas of hobby joy!

Inspired by the scale of play and modelling work of friends playing Kampfgruppe Normandy, it seemed the right time to try something new; to put some effort into basing these weapons teams.
50mm Mortar Teams
My old habits from skirmish gaming; the flexibility of single basing every figure and weapon, were just not going to cut it for the bigger 'Kursk themed' games to come!

So I took stock of my situation, had a good look about my favourite forums and made sure I was ready for what lay ahead.

I had some hexagonal bases on hand from that super chap, Murray, at Warbases. Those would play a part. The hex itself has naught to do with any rule-set I play, I just wanted to use them up!

As for scenic-décor, I had plenty of rocks on hand, previously cast using a selection of Woodland Scenics moulds. I knew I wanted to use Tufts, Static Grass and various types of Clump Foliage; typical gaming ground-cover, so stopped by the FLGS to stock up on those supplies, too.
Maxim MG Teams laying down some fire.
As always, the goo that binds everything together when I do basing work of any kind is High Solid Gel (Matte) from Golden Acrylics. I texture this with Woodland Scenics fine turf, and tint it with raw sienna acrylic paint plus some ochre pigment. Where I live, this combo is both cheaper and easier to customise for basic ground-work when compared to the Tamiya Texture Paints or the Vallejo Gels, both of which are just super.

Anti-Tank Rifle Teams in Ambush!
I do not own many Citadel products, they are usually high cost for the quality that you get. However, I have been working on a tub of Citadel Modelling Sand for a long while now, and it just won't quit.
I lock down and tint the sand with a coating of home made 'Dip' consisting of Matte Medium and Daler-Rowney  Antelope Brown and black acrylic inks.
In fact, I use Matte Medium, straight-up to glue down sand, tufts, static grass and clump foliage; anything and everything that lies 'on top' of my ground-work is held in place with this most versatile medium!

Groundwork ties it all together. Very satisfying.
 My collection of toys was growing by leaps and bounds...
As this Red Russian project began to pick up steam it quickly became clear I had an opportunity to push myself, not only to do better hobby-work, but also to come to grips with a huge aspect of WWII that I knew nothing about.

Is Peabody actually a Bee?

Ok, big post.
My humble thanks if you took the time to read all the way down to here. I hope you at least refilled your teacup and got a biscuit along the way.
Maybe the next post will be more brief!

Until then,

Peabody out!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

За Родину! Seriously...

What the heck has Peabody been up to for all these months!?

A fair question. It seems I have caught that most dread gaming bug: '20mm WWII'. And not the bog-standard 'Normandy virus', no. I have 'Kursk Pocket' syndrome.

The symptoms have impacted heavily upon my hobby lifestyle!

For most of a year now I have been browsing Osprey, Squadron, Concord and Tank Power publications, pretending to do research, all the while my 'Stash' has grown out of control with kits and minis wondrous and new. To me.
In hindsight, I have only just begun to tap the awesome resources available to the typical 20mm historical gamer.

Serious self discipline has been needed over the last months, an incredible total focus of mind and body, to clear the portion of my lead-mountain that had irresponsibly surged from the cupboard to invade my peaceful living room.

And my campaign is almost won! Soon 'The Rogue Stash' will be constrained to its allotted cupboard and the oppression of The Living Room will end!

Over the coming days and weeks, I look forward to recounting the glorious victories our 'Stash-Reduction-Programme' has achieved.

No better place to begin than with the humble оловянный солдатик - toy soldier.
The foot soldier is fundamental, even when gaming a theatre famous for clashing armour, like Kursk.

Urrrah! PSC and Elhiem minis work well together!
I turned to the Plastic Soldier Company for mass and relied on the Elhiem Figures Red Army line to add animation, versatility and class to my platoons of infantry.

Matt Hingley is the the talented chap behind Elhiem figures. His sculpts have a life all to themselves and while there is every reason to build your army entirely from Elhiem stocks, I especially like the way they mix with other lines.

The PSC Russian Infantry in Summer Uniform box is a multi-piece set that builds into 57 very nicely detailed and proportioned figures. Tremendous Value.

One box from PSC and several packs from Elhiem gave me enough infantry for a company! I plan to game with both ordinary rifle platoons and also one of SMG toting tank riders.

Plan your collection of infantry to be flexible. Soviet TOE's changed a lot during the war.
Painting was kept very simple, sticking to my tried and true Fast Paint Method and sticking close to the suggested colours from the back of the PSC box. Vallejo, Reaper and even Citadel paints did the job.
I strongly recommend this popular speedy painting technique. It's just the thing if you need to get busy painting a lot of minis. Also a great way to get going if you are just starting out, or making a switch from another scale. With a quality mini, the work is already done for you!

In time I'll be adding engineers, scouts, medics and command figures.
How I'm going to do those will depend on the rules we settle on for playing out our Summer '43 ETO battles.
No shortage of opportunities there!

This Kursk Pocket syndrome is not so bad... The toys created by all this effort have already provided terrific fun!

Peabody out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Solvent Riddle: Thinners, Turps, Turpentine, Mineral & White Spirit

Our hobby, and the wonderful network of blogs and fora that connects us, is spread clear around the globe. That's something worth celebrating! And so while we all sit down to a nice cup of Assam and a few biscuits, lets consider the impact that our local way of putting things, our vernacular, may have on our selection and use of an important hobby resource.

Since I began playing more and more with oil paints, pigments and commercially available enamel based filters and washes I have realised there are a few different common solvents that could be used with these products. Yet around this funny old world of ours the names for these solvents from region to region are easily mistaken or misunderstood.

Now these solvents essentially do the same job, but as they are different, they can have a real impact on our health and on the working properties and finish of what they are mixed with. Understanding these differences and considering that Turps for you, may or may not be Turpentine for me, could help get us closer to the results we hope for.

So lets have another cup of tea and munch a few more biscuits, while we take a look at some of these useful solvents and especially at their names as they appear about the interwebs.

HAZARD NOTE: All solvent vapours are toxic. Even the 'odourless' ones!
DO have plenty of ventilation when you work with this sort of stuff. You need both fresh air coming into your workspace and polluted air going outside. A small fan in a window close to where you work, blowing air out of the room, can be the difference between cool fun and sickness.

AKA: Turps, Gum Spirits, Distilled Turpentine, Spirit of Turpentine, Oil of Turpentine, Wood Turpentine, Venice Turpentine

Artists' grade Turpentine is what we want. Its consistency and long drying time can be either advantageous or frustrating. You decide.
Distilled from tree-resins -typically that of pines- pure turpentine is reactive to both light and oxygen and will thicken if not properly stored.

Avoid 'industrial' Turpentine from hardware stores; a poor choice for our work.

Turpentine is a very strong solvent and used in high ratios, or in contact with paint over time, it can break the emulsifying agents that bind your paint. This means that turpentine may not be a good choice if you want to thin and then store a mixture for future use. However, the slight* residue left behind by quality turpentine can be useful for setting pigments, whether you apply the turpentine before, with or after the pigment is up to you.
*Opposed to thick residue left by the cheap stuff!

AKA: Turps, Mineral-Turpentine, White Spirit
Aha! The term 'Turps' leads to some confusion! But it seems to be most widely used to refer to mineral-turpentine, or mineral-spirit; a substitute for turpentine. Here we begin to look at several varieties of petroleum distillate that are intended for a variety of purposes from cleaning-up only, to fine-art finishes.
All mineral spirit is quite fast drying, in fact when working with oil paints, this solvent will be dry long before the binding medium of the paint.This allows you to crack along with your projects fairly quickly.

Again, hardware store grade mineral spirit is not a good choice for our hobby work. While white spirit is also known as paint thinner, we need something that is more refined, and for good reason...

Artists' grade white or mineral spirit is refined to remove contaminants, particularly sulphur, that can react with paint pigments. Even better, the 'Odourless' varieties are further refined to remove more of the toxic volatile aromatic compounds. This is significant given that we tend to work very close to our subjects! These are multi-purpose thinners suitable for all the oil-paint based techniques as well as for the application of pigments.

What's this then? No biscuit for you... A prime example of the sort of term we need to drop from our common hobby vocabulary. It's like some kind of unrevealed secret ingredient. Go ahead and Google 'Thinners', I'll wait here and have another Garibaldi...
What did you find? Nothing specific I'll bet.
When someone does a nice bit of hobby advice and lists thinners as one of the necessary materials, ask them please to be specific. I'll need blood-thinners before this clears up.

I keep both a high quality Turpentine and Odourless Mineral Spirit in my tool-kit. I don't use the turpentine as frequently as the mineral spirit, but there are times when a slow-drying solvent is the best choice.
The Odourless Mineral Solvent that I prefer is really remarkable. Gamsol, by Gamblin. This stuff rocks. If you can find some near to you, try the 2oz bottle. As with much in our hobby, a little goes a very long way!

Peabody out.