Saturday, January 30, 2021

 British Colonials... Again

I did another group of nine British Colonial troops, but these are a bit different from the previous set.  These are from Reaper Chronoscope, and although they are supposed to be 28mm, they are a bit bigger.  They will work well for skirmish games.  Yellow facings this time vs. the green facings.

American Civil War (ACW): Union Artillery

Just finished up a bag of 15mm Old Glory 'Yanks Artillery' (15ACW10).  It was one of the older packs with 12 artillery pieces and 60 men.  I did my best this time to be as efficient as I could to save time, although I did find myself clinging to my usual desire to pay attention to detail vs just slapping paint on.

This was my first foray into Union troops, so there was some experimentation with colors for uniforms.  I wasn't sure whether to use Vallejo 'Dark Prussian Blue' with 'Intense Blue' highlights for frock coats, and finally settled on 'Oxford Blue' which had a bit of a purplish hue.  I think for my next project of regular infantry I may go back and try the 'Dark Prussian Blue' route or Delta's Ceramcoat 'Navy Blue'.  Shades of uniforms varied with dye lots and age of the garments from fading, so it's not too big a deal either way.  Best to have some variety on the tabletop.

I used 'Deep Sky Blue' mixed with a bit of 'Sky Grey' for the pants.  'Sky Blue' and even 'Deep Sky Blue' seem just a touch bright, but the addition of a touch of 'Sky Grey' seemed to dull them a bit.  Again, I read another's blog in which he had used Delta Ceramcoat 'Denim Blue', so I picked that up from Michaels Craft Store, along with 'Blue Jay' and 'Navy Blue' and plan to experiment with those.

All came out pretty well and am really happy with the figs, despite a near disaster using Krylon dull-cote spray which left the dreaded (mild) white haze on my entire project.  I read in another blog someone had put olive oil on the same thing and solved the problem, which I tired, brushing a very light coat on the figs and cannon.  Three days later they were glossy with oil so had to take a soft toothbrush and soapy dishwater to them to get the oil off.  On the plus side it took not only the oil off but also the dull-cote, so I was back to the slightly glossy figs from the 1st clearcoat pass.  Back to Tester's Dull-coat.  All is good.

The basic steps I took were to mount the bare figs on tongue depressors, prime and paint.

I used Litko 1"x1.5" wood bases, except for three additional larger cannon of a different manufacture, where I had to increase to 1"x2", keeping the 1" frontage.  I painted the bases first with a quick coat of cheap brown before mounting the cannon and three to four men per cannon, and two men for the Gatling.  Oh, yeah, I had a couple Gatling guns I'd previously painted.  Since I had the two Gatling guns and three slightly larger cannon, I used some of the figs from the pack to man those bases.

Other's said they used fine brown ballast for the ground, but I didn't have that on hand and used plain sand I had gathered a few years back from the street curb, which had a bit of larger bits that seem to work well.  I used Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement (very thin watery glue) and a hobby syringe with curved tip to really cover the brown wood base with glue and then added the sand.  The curved tip on the syringe really lets you get the glue where you want it without having to use a brush.  The sand hardened up really good and pretty quick and looked pretty good too.  I'll definitely go back to that.

I then used regular (thick) Scenic Glue with a brush over the hardened sand, and sprinkled Blended Turf Earth Blend then Green Blend to get my grass.  I then sprayed a light layer of the Testers Dull-coat to take the shine off.  Very happy with all of it.  I've got three Mortar stands coming.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

More Cowboys... and Girls

I Just finished painting and basing 27 new old west figs last night... most all from Knuckle Duster miniatures, Gunfighters Ball line.  I've enjoyed painting the old west figs, and this group is extra special as one of the factions I've done up is the James Gang with Jesse, Frank, Cole and Jim Younger, Charlie Pitts and Clell Miller.

Why is that special, it's because I live here in the Midwest in Liberty, MO where there is so much history from the old west.  I live about 10 miles south of the James Farm where Jesse and Frank James grew up and where Jesse and his family are buried (Kearney, MO), and right near where Jesse committed the first daylight bank robbery in the U.S in Liberty.  Frank James is buried in Hill Park in Independence, MO just south of about 10 miles.  We are also about 20 miles north of Lee's Summit, MO which is where Cole Younger settled after his bandit days and serving some time in prison, and became an arguably upstanding citizen and was eventually buried, along with his brother Jim.

Wyatt Earp and several of his nemesis 'Cowboys' even passed through or lived in Missouri briefly.  John Peters Ringgold (Johnny Ringo) and his family moved to Liberty in 1856 when he was about six years old, and later moved to Gallatin, MO in 1858.  He was a loosely related cousin to the Younger brothers through an aunt.  Ike Clanton was born in Callaway County, MO.

There's a great little shop named 'James Country Mercantile' ( on the North West side of the Liberty square.  They produce and sell an assortment of period clothing and civil war reenactor uniforms and hats (for both sides and genders), as well as other old west goods like cups, plates, pots, etc., replica black powder guns, ammunition, and reloading supplies, research material, pen and ink quill sets, etc.

I've got four more packs of six waiting to be prepped and painted.  Hopefully one day I'll get to use them in a game.  Definitely a cool line of figs and really great detail on most.  Wish I had better light for the pics, but here are the results... Funny or sad how they look better at arms length or on the table than close up shots, lol.

The James Gang, Jesse and Frank James, Cole and Jim Younger, Clell Miller and Charlie Pitts


Tom Mclaury, Ike Clanton, and Billy Clanton

California Kate, Maria Louisa La Pistola, and Belle Starr

The Duke Brothers

Sharpshooters Batt Ridgely and Long Shot

Town Doctor and Mysterious Dave

Turkey Creek Johnson and Texas Jack Vermillion

Odd Figure Bill

Thursday, May 28, 2020

British Colonials

This will be a bit quicker post as it's getting later and I want to get this on here.  SO...

At the Kansas City 'Recruits' gaming convention that is held every year in Lee's Summit, MO, they have a silent auction.  It's a great place for gamers and hobbyist to sell some of the excess stuff, projects they've given up on, or just things they are no longer using and want to make room or make a little money to put towards the next project.  Also perfect to grab some choice stuff to add to your own collection, usually at a pretty good price.

At one of the silent auctions I bought  small box full of stuff and in it was some slightly primed British Colonial soldiers for circa 1870's to 1880's.  They were wearing puttees, so figuring they are perfect for East Asia and the 2nd Anglo-Afghan war period (1878-1880)... or even for Gaslight SciFi games.

I got them primed up right and started painting.  Many would exclaim that that era should be in Khaki uniform, but as I read up on it, there were still units like the 51st Regiment of Foot and 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot wearing scarlet frock jackets with their blue trousers and puttees.
51st Foot after the battle of Ali Masjid (Nov 21st ,1878) in red tunics and blue trousers, with puttees.

Print of the battle of Omdurman (Sep. 2, 1898)
Some units weren't quite ready to transition to the Khakis, however, which would be a lesson learned as red is whole lot more visible in the barren landscape than Khaki.  For my purposes, red really looked nice and iconic and although in putties, I can use them for some games in other areas of the world.  Anyway I'm taking artistic license.  Same with the collar and cuff colors.  I went with green, which was for Irish regiments (although they apparently did include Welsh and Scots troops)

So here are a few pics then of my newly finished troop of 25.

Drums were interesting to paint but turned out good.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

15mm American Civil War Reb Cavalry

Here's something I've been wanting to get worked on for a while.  Some American Civil War (ACW) 15mm figs... specifically Confederate (Reb) Cavalry.  We've talked in our gaming group about a larger sized cavalry engagement sometime, which would be fun to do, but think all the guys are gonna have to contribute some figs to get that done if we want to have enough on the table.

I've got a whole lot of packs of Old Glory 15mm figs, so could probably paint for a couple years to get them all done... come on retirement!!  And I also don't do as much during the warm spring and summer months as I'm usually outside working around the house or enjoying some libations on the back deck while watching our dogs and the neighbors cows.

For Cav units the horses and riders come separate, so you can either mount the figs then paint or do them separate.  I like the latter and prefer to paint separate.  To do this I mounted horses to tongue depressors, four or five in a row and that worked pretty well for painting.  I just alternated some color variations of red-brown, dark brown, gray/white etc, and then added some white blaze the the chest, head, or forelegs. I thing painting the tack and harness took a bit more time.

 For the soldiers, I needed a way to pick them up and handle them, and rotate them to paint.  I got a piece of 2x6 wood, drilled out a bunch of holes to fit dowel rods into, cut the dowels to about 4 inches or so, and wallah, a nice holding block that I could pick out a figure, pick up the dowel, paint on the figure, then put it back the dowel back in the block and move to the next figure.  I did the painting all more or less assembly line doing like items as I went along, ie. all skin, all hats, all shirts, all pants, all swords etc.

The harder part was that the pack of figures I used had about half regular uniformed Cav soldiers with pistol and carbine, and the other half of riders irregulars with flop-hats, civilian jackets, pistols and shotguns.  The uniformed guys were obviously a bit easier as all the uniforms were pretty much the same.  The irregular Cav needed some imagination for color combinations to vary the jackets, pants, hats, and chaps, so not quite so quick.  Afterward I added yellow piping for the uniformed Cav's leg stripes, cuffs, collars, and hats, and even managed some arm stripes to give a bit of rank to a couple of the boys.  Gotta keep some Sergeants to keep the discipline when the butter-bar lieutenants loose it.

I finished with basing everything up, and all in all I like the way they turned out.  Whenever you do something for the first time there's that learning curve to figure out what you like and the best way to do it.  I'm looking forward to getting some line units done, but still have several packs like this of Cav units.  I might have gone a bit overboard when I first was buying them. Hmmmm... Nope... Maybe?

WWII Landing Craft

I bought some slightly oversized landing craft, three LCVP's (Landing Craft Vehicle/Personnel) and three Amtrac LVT's (Landing Vehicle Tracked) a couple years ago to do some WWII Pacific beach assaults or landing scenarios.  They were made by BMC and are supposed to be 1:32 (vs 1:54 for 28mm), and would be used with the wonderful little green Marx plastic army men of our childhood.

The LCVP's are actually pretty close to being normal and look good, as I think they actually held about 28 troops, and the alleged scale ones by Warlord only hold maybe 10 or so with bases.  The LVTs definitely look a bit on the large side.

I finally got around to painting mine up.  Still have one LCVP to do.  Decided a fairly plain color scheme, and applied Vallejo Extra Dark Green with an airbrush over black primer for the base coat.  I then went back and dry-brushed Vallejo Green Grey to tone it down and weather it.  Simple black treads on the LVT's, and some Vallejo Gunmetal Grey on the guns.  Nothing fancy.  I may add a few extra details like the ropes, inboard life preserver rings, and rope on the back deck.  I really liked the effect and will likely go with that combination for my allied jungle uniforms in the future.

I did buy a blister pack of Warlord LCVP Machine Gun crew (4 figs) which is perfect for two LCVP's, so guess one will go without or go just one gun crewman on two of them.  I'll get those painted, drill out the stub-ups on the back end where those should go, and get them mounted in the near future.  A quick couple evenings of painting.  Need a few decals though to put some numbers on all the vehicles.

Here they be:
Amtrac LVT's


Friday, April 10, 2020


Been wanting to expand my figs to allow me to game some 'Old West' action.  Our gaming group uses the Baron's rules set 'Fist Full of Lead' (FFOL), and several of his follow-on expansion sets to FFOL, which are quick and fun, and good sets for skirmish gaming.  I personally enjoy the original FFOL for the Old West scenarios as it's totally straight forward without adding a lot of extra dynamics, conditions, special abilities, and other stuff.  In five minutes you can be starting a game and easy enough for all to easily absorb and get into.

During one of the local KC gaming conventions, RECRUITS, I bought around 12 Figs and some game pieces the Baron was selling at his vendors table along with his rules sets.  Most of the figs were from Knuckleduster Miniatures ( Gunfighters Ball line.  It has a really nice line of Old West figs that are nicely made with clean lines and really good detail, and look good.  You'll see some figs and poses in their line that might look a bit familiar, as if they were modeled straight from characters from some of your favorite silver screen movies.  I love this.  The price is really nice too, and even cheaper if bought in the 'Faction Packs', consisting of around six figs for about $18.  I'm definitely going to be getting more of this line.

I got Wyatt, Morgan an Virgil Earp, Doc Holiday, Bat Masterson, Curley Bill Brocius, Frank McLaury, Johnny Ringo, Calamity Jane, The Dame With No Name, Sally Sureshot (not from Knuckelduster), and the Peg-leg Jailer.  Been spending some weeks (months?) intermittently painting on these, as well as another project (1870s-1880s British Colonial... which I'll post on when their done).  Hardest part it seems is coming up with a paint scheme on how I want these to look.  The old west wasn't exactly known for a lot of style.  Lots of earth tones, denim, dust, buckskin, muted colors, etc.

The Earp's are always depicted in all Black, but I wanted to have them stand out a bit, so went with a dark Blue with black washes which gives it the dark look with blue highlights.  I'm happy with them.  The Bad guys got a bit more of the cowboy look, denim, reds, leathery dirty chaps, but each with a dash of bright color, like red sashes or bandanas.  Bat Masterson and Doc were a bit more well dressed, suits in gray and splash of color for Doc.  Peg-Leg I figured was older guy, conservative, subdued.  The gals all seemed to have their share of buckskin, especially Calamity.  Sally needed a shot of feminine pink... don't get lulled into thinking she's cute and innocent, she's Deadly with her scoped rifle... Bam!  You'll be DRT (Dead Right There)!  And lastly the Dame... a sexy feel, but what do about that serape she's wearing?  Solid color, easy to paint?  Nope, figured a bit of time in Mexico might give her a southwestern multi-colored flare.  Just have to finish basing them now.

I also had several figs, my confederate vets and southern sympathizers, I'd painted before.  These boys don't like no northern authority, or actually any authority at all.  They'll follow the Captain to hell and back.

Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil Earp

Bat Masterson, Peg-Leg Jailer, and Doc Holiday

Curley Bill Brocius, Johnny Ringo, and Frank McLaury

Sally Sureshot, The Dame with No Name, and Calamity Jane

The Captain and his boys

Southern Sympathizers

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Bolt Action WWII Pacific Jungle Game

I finally got the game table up and running, got the figs painted, got the terrain built... time to play.  I invited the guys from our Basement Generals group up for the game... The Baron ( Jon (, Scott, Greg, Doug and myself.

I  set up a Bolt Action WWII game set in the Pacific jungles.   We've had some issues in the past with too many players in a single game and having things bog down, so I cam up with the idea of one large table, but dividing the table into three sectors.  Each sector would be its own one-on-one game.  I gave each side in each sector its own objectives, unknown to the opponent.  I tried to somewhat evenly match the ides by overall manpower... the sides had anywhere from two or three, 5 to 8 man infantry squads led by a Lieutenant or NCO, and an array of small units, ie. bazooka teams, MMG teams, medium and light mortars, snipers, flame throwers, a tank, medics, etc.  The IJA was allowed to set up 24 inches in, the Allied troops got to set up at the sea wall on the beach.

The Battlefield

Sector 1 had Marines vs IJA.  The Marines objective was to locate and kill the Japanese high ranking officer, a Major.  The IJA was to stop the invasion, kill the enemy, and destroy the landing craft (which was pretty much the objective of all three IJA sectors.

The Marines got some good strikes on the IJA but the IJA wasn't going down without giving as good as they took.  The IJA was aggressive and took the fight to the Marines with gusto... BANZAI!!!    The Marines, however, were able to knock most all of the IJA units including the Major, who joined his troops in the fight (and gave nearby units a +4 to morale roles), but was unaware he was a major target.  The flamethrower came in handy wiping out most of at least one IJA squad.  A pretty close win for the Marines who finished the battle with just two soldiers left.

Major Takashi, Sector 1, and IJA Troops

Marines ready to go

Waiting to fry the enemy when the come around the corner

Sector 2 had Australian and Chindit forces attempting to get to a supply depot and destroy the supplies supporting the IJA's war efforts.

The IJA set up primarily defensive and mostly in ambush which proved deadly for the Ausies and Chindits.  The IJA was able to effectively use some knee mortars to knock out a couple different teams members and put some pins on them, but not so many they allies became combat ineffective.  The Ausie/Chindits decided to focus on one single IJA team at a time and put either kill off or put multiple Pins on it.  Unfortunately I was playing the Allies on this game as one of the Generals couldn't make it to game night, and I spent so much time checking rules and answering questions that we weren't able to finish the scenario.  I had to avoid walking into those ambushes as they got first shot, even at a -1 it still deadly.  Outcome... close but inconclusive, both sides had enough forces to keep fighting.

Sector 2
Australians move inland

Australian and Chindits


Australians take hits

Sector 3 had Marines attempting to destroy the IJA small tank (hence a couple extra bazooka teams for the player... then get to a mountain and destroy the radio signaling unit

Sector 3

IJA Light Tank and Troops

Both Marines and IJA units were aggressive and the IJA initially beat the Marines down... a straggling Marine infantry unit made it ashore and helped bolster the struggling Marines.   The IJA had a Banzai charge which resulted in all but two men on each side being killed in the close combat... a second close combat fight was to come... or was it... The Marine commander pulled up a flame thrower unit and decided to toast both of the units Marine and IJA locked in close combat, killing all the IJA and one Marine, but the IJA fled.  War is brutal.  The Japanese tank closed and tried to knock out some Marines, but was ineffective.  A bazooka team got in some heavy cover and with one shot set the tank on fire, stunning the crew and jamming the turret, but failed to knock it out.  The next round the same unit was able to deliver a killing shot to the tank.  Primary objective accomplished... but at what cost??
Bazooka takes out the tank

Marines take hits

Don't care, gonna flame everyone