Sunday, February 28, 2010

1/72 Indians and The Dip

Gaming buddy Dave recently pointed out a real deal in a local store: a box of 48 1/72-scale Italeri AWI Indians for $4.99 (regular $11.99) so I swung by and picked it up. I painted them up over about four hours and thought they would be a good way to show the "dip" technique (a request for my recipe was issued).

I used about 25% Pledge Floor Wax with Future and 75% black acrylic paint to prime these guys (after gluing them to the paint sticks). The pledge makes the paint just runny enough that priming by brush is easy. I then painted with acrylic paints and sealed them with the dip. This seems to sandwich the paint between the wax and prevents flaking.

The dip recipe varies but is about 1 tablespoon of straight floor wax combined with one brush dipped in black paint and one brush dipped in burnt sienna paint. A slow stir mixes without creating bubbles. You can see the darkness in the picture above against the white of the palette.

Here are some comparisons (undipped followed by dipped). While I wouldn't say my painting technique is careful (I go very fast), I do try to leave some shadows in place. The dip then accentuates these as well as adding lighter shadows in places I block painted.

And from the back.

Here are some fellows in coats:

And from the back.

The dip tones down the colour a bit and adds some depth. The effect is even more pronounced on metal or hard-plastic 28mm figures as they tend to have deeper-cut features.

Up next: Some terrain making will occupy my time and club night is Tuesday! I'll also finish these guys off by basing them.

New mapping program

So I'm back from vacation and beginning to sort through spring projects, the most pressing of which is finishing the terrain for my MayDay game. I'd like to playtest it on March 16 so I need to move, move, move!

Bruce and I are also working on an AWI supplement for Impetus. One of the things we need to supply Lorenzo with are good-quality maps. So I've been playing around with Inkscape. This is my first effort:

Obviously the roads and rivers are pretty lame and need tweaking. But, by the time I did the trees, I was starting to get the hang of the program. The test will be whether I can convert the MayDay terrain set up into a good quality map!

Up next: The remainder of my 6mm AWI rebasing is now done. Plus I have some 1/72 Indians that I'm painting. I may use these to talk about my dip recipe. And I'm going to start "building" the 15mm Saracen foot I need to finish.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

15mm Saracen Command

I managed to finish off three bases of Saracen command plus one base of heavy cavalry, thus completing the mounted contingent of this army.

Below you can see the figure I think is Saladin.

And from the back, you can see the very nice deep detail on the Legio Heroica figures.

These guys looks a little blah so I added some big banners.

I'm not sure if they need a highlight on the banner--probably. I also worry I will cack it up when I start to highlight.

I also knocked off 14 bases of 6mm AWI continentals. I have a couple of more bases to do then this rebasing task is finished.

Except maybe a need a few more guys for the scearios I want to do... .

Up next: A short vacation. Then back to deal with the 15mm foot troops to accompany Saladin against the invaders. Plus maybe some 1/72 Indians.

Friday, February 19, 2010

15mm Saracen Cavalry

I finished off another 27 15mm Legio-Herocia Saracen Cavalry last night.

There are three varieties. There are two bases of heavy cavalry.

A third base will get finished up with three remaining bases of command stands (drying as we speak).

There are also three bases of mediums.

The banners are tinfoil and paint.

There are also four bases of lighter troops.

Up next: Four more stands of cavalry should be done tonight. Then back to AWI rebasing. Then onto the 15mm Saracen foot. Somwhere in there I will be taking a five-day vacation to the coast for some sun (hopefully) and the smell of green grass!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 16 Games Night

We had 14 guys out last night at the club, with four games running! Justin, Andy and Russ played another game of Command Decision 4, with plenty 'o tanks on the table this time. As the Russians tell it, they decided defence was for the cowardly and tried to catch the Germans at their start point.

Then, from the depths of time, emerged WRG 7th Edition, with medieval armies supplied by John. Bill joined him for what sounds like a dramatic time.

Bruce hosted the Daves plus Mark in a game of Black Powder.

Finally, Scott hosted Chris, Chen, Kevin and I in a game of epic CCA. 12 feet of table, nearly two dozen units a side and an interesting command system layered on top which made for a nice variation on the usual game.

I believe the games split one win for each side, with both games coming down to the wire. Well played!

Up next: 15mm Saracen cavalry are drying on the bench and should be done tonight. Then a bit more AWI basing before I take a week of holidays.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quick Update: Terrain, AWI, Saracens

Just a quick update before I duck out for a meeting this afternoon. I spent some time this week chipping away at a large number of 15mm Saracen horse. I'm done everything except the tack, rider clothing, shields and weapons. This sounds like a lot left but goes quite quickly--should be based up by Tuesday.

I also worked some more on my wooded area markers. Last week I created some with stiff felt, paint and foam core. The effect was okay but I was a bit disappointed.

I went back and decided to make the edges of the areas a bit more natural looking by curving them.

I think the result is an improvement.

So I painted up three more 12x18" panels to experiment with.

I also took a run at some more AWI rebasing. I have finished all of the British except a few more bases that I need to order figures for as well as adding on flags.

I did about 15 bases, including some American State troops. Likely I should have used different colours for the jackets. But the era is so blue versus red in my mind that I'm not going to repaint these fellows now.

I also did up some cannon. You can see the base where I misplaced the second cannon. I have left room for it in case it turns up before I order a replacement.

Up next: Well, 15mm Saracen horse plus club night on Tuesday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black Powder Playtest

I dropped by Bruce's fog-shrouded house last night (the roads home were crazy!) to give Black Powder a playtest. This was part three of our four-part effort to work through the new tactical level sets of Napoleonic rules.

Overall, these played much like Warmaster, but with many of the problems fixed. The rules were easy enough to learn and contact was made almost immediately so all the mechanics were in play by about turn three.

The command system is streamlined (one roll per unit or group per turn, but multiple orders are possible). Base removal has been dropped from combat which solved a multitude of issues and cleans up the mechanics. Dice still determine to some degree where the focus of your attack will be, though. In our game, Bruce had terrible command rolls (thank goodness) and missed winning the game twice because his units bogged down.

There is a fairly good relationships between foot, horse and artillery which allows historical tactics. Here's a tip, don't ride your horse in front of a cannon. There were also a couple of nice places where the game modeled things (e.g., advantage of charging in attack column) without any real mechanics at all--that is to say, the meta-design created natural and historical advantages in gameplay.

There was also some nice grit to the game, albeit through the relatively clumsy mechanic of special rules. Not sure how to work around that and cover 200 years of combat, mind you.

Not quite as good as LaSalle but still a good game.

Up next: Still working on some 15mm Saracen cavalry (whew!) and rebasing more 6mm fellows. Somehow I lost a 6mm cannon in the carpet. That is going to an unpleasant discovery with my foot.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More AWI rebasing

I finished up rebasing the last of the painted British AWI figures last night. First up were three bases of dragoons or light cavalry.

These turned out pretty well. Not much to be done with the base as these guys would have operated out in the open.

I then did up one base of cannon.

The barricade is from Irregular Miniatures. I have another base of this that I'm just finishing the painting on.

Then I did up about a half-dozen bases of Indians.

These finished, I found another two or three bases of Indians (arrgh) that I will finish this week.

Then I moved onto the American militia.

I quite like the mix of hats and bare heads in these strips. I also enjoyed mixing up the colours after several weeks of painting repetitive blue or red strips.

In working out some of the mechanics for my MayDay game (Freeman's Farm), I noted that I will need some large areas of trees (them Bemis Heights is woodsie!). I planned to use felt, perhaps with some moveable trees. But I wondered if I could dress up the terrain a bit (it is a convention game) by fiddling the felt a bit with some paint.

So I took some firm felt, dabbed on some paint and then mounted it on foam core to give it a bit of a vertical lift. I'm not sure this first experiment was entirely successful, but it does give a better look than plain green felt. It is also very playable. You can see some Indians moving through the woods here.

Next up: More AWI rebasing. I am also applying paint to the remaining 15mm Saracen cavalry. There are about 30 of these guys so each step is taking some time. Flesh, mail and half of the horse flesh is blocked in already!