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!