Friday, 22 April 2016

Light Frigates and Painting Goals

My goal at the start of the year for painting was a lofty one: to paint a squadron a month. But so far I have managed to maintain it... we are in April and four Squadrons have been painted...

And the latest to be added to the complete pile, Light Frigates from the Firestorm Taskforce boxed set:

Pretty simple paint jobs, but good enough for the table in my view. The question is, why these models? These are Dindrenzi Light Frigates, and much of my Firestorm Collection are Terran ships.

My son has been wanting to paint and play with some of the miniatures I had laying around the place. I thought Taskforce looked like a good place to start, so I grabbed a couple of boxes and let him pick which force he liked the look of. He chose Terrans, which is why I started with the Dindrenzi. He had a ball!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Dark Age Gaming...

Dux Britanniarum is a miniature wargame set in the period of the Saxon invasion of England. Using the base book players will either represent the Romano-British defenders or the Saxon invaders. Really, the game is a wonderful campaign system with a miniatures game attached to it, but while that may sound critical of the miniatures game aspect, as a whole game it really is a wonderful experience and well worth exploring. I'll get around to writing a proper review of Dux Brit at some point, and the exploits of my Saxon chieftain Njal Ulfson (who at this point is swinging between the monikers of 'The Unlucky' and 'The Inept').

I made the decision early on to use 10mm figures to play Dux Brit, partly because of the cost (I have more than enough figures for more than two armies, and they cost me less collectively than a box of 28mm scale models).  And partly because they are easy to store and don't take up much room (I have two armies in a single tackle tray).

Using 10mm figures presented some interesting choices, I needed firstly to make sure I had enough good terrain to use with them. The trees and hills are no problem, but for the buildings and whatnot, I decided that 15mm scale stuff isn't too far off the beaten track, and have a couple of the 4Ground Dark Age buildings (which look magnificent). I also decided to convert the game directly into centimeters rather than inches, and have experimented with different sized boards to accommodate that.

A nice little Dark Age building... 4Ground make some wonderful stuff!

So, I had the figures, board, trees, hills and buildings, what I needed was some fences. After a little googling I ran across this blog post, which gives a rather excellent tutorial on making some wattle fences. Without further ado, I jumped into making some of my own.

Using icy-pole sticks for the bases, I drilled out holes every 1.5 cm along their varying lengths.
Toothpicks were then glued into the holes and left to dry.

Using a pair of snippers, I trimmed them all to a suitable length.
I painted the bases in PVA and gave them a dusting of sand.
Once the glue was dry I undercoated everything with a black primer.

A base coat of dark brown paint.

Followed by several layers of drybrushing, each with a lighter tone of brown through to a skin tone.
Using a nice braided string, I tied it off on one end, then weaved it around the upright poles, working it down so they were bunched nicely but not overlapping.

I then liberally painted the string and base with a watered down PVA.

Finally, I added some static grass to the bases in spots to give some relief.

So that was the fencing completed. They look rather nice in my humble opinion, and are relatively easy to make.

As for the boards... My key mistake when setting up my forces for Dux Brit was in basing the figures on 20mm round bases. In retrospect I should have used 10mm square bases, but I really can't be bothered rebasing everything, so 20mm rounds it is.

The base size has an interesting impact on the game, as movement is measured in centimeters, the base size of 20mm makes a reasonable difference. In the end I decided to experiment with two board sizes, one straight conversion, of 48cm x 72cm using corflute. The other board I made using thin MDF sheeting, and is 60cm x 90cm. So far I have played on the 60cm x 90cm board, and it may be a little large. Next time I'll try the 48cm x 72cm and see how that feels.

For the base paint I mixed a reasonable amount of sand in with some brown paint.

The sand gave a really nice texture to the boards.

Using a house brush, I liberally drybrushed the surface of the boards several times with ever lighter shades of brown, finishing with a skin tone.

I have yet to add static grass to the boards, I'll get around to it at some point.

Lastly I needed some animals for the odd occasion in which the scenario generator called for the Saxons to raid cattle.

Some N-Scale farm animals meant for model trains (oh, the fate that awaits you isn't what you were intended for my little beasties)

Based on 20mm round bases with some sand and static grass added.

Looking rather spiffy I think...

Some Saxons wondering if the heifer is light enough to carry off.

Romano-British soldiers come to let them know it is probably too heavy.

I should add that the 10mm figures are from Pendraken, and are top quality, with solid detail given the scale!

Yes, I still have many 10mm figures to paint, but I'll get there eventually!