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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Spanish for SAGA

Cry Santiago and let slip the javelins of war! My Spanish warband for SAGA is done.  Mustering across the table are 2 warlords, 12 Caballeros, 32 Jinetes and 10 footmen.  The warband is made up of El Cid Crusader Miniatures with some Gripping Beast Arabs for an "Andalusia mercenaries" look.

My prior Spanish warband was Gripping Beast Normans painted in a yellow and red color theme. I much prefer these Crusader Miniatures. If you're going to paint Spanish, do have a look at Crusader!   I  used Stronghold Terrain's metal bases with rare earth magnets.  Love 'em, they really hold fast to the bottom of my transport boxes!




The Spanish will travel to Chicago for the US SAGA Grand Melee in March.  I'm going to pair them with my buddy John R's Milites Christi in the Doubles Tournament.  The Spanish are not good at melee and in a melee game, that makes them tricky to run. The Milites will be the hammer while my Spanish will annoy and trip up opponents with out-of-turn activations via Iberia. Hammer and rapier, it should be a fun combination!

The last pic is the start of my display board.  My crackle-board experiment was a spectacular failure. It turns out you can apply crackle paste too thickly and it took a week for my board to finish crackling.   I applied Liquitex Matte Medium liberally over the crackle to seal it. I put it on too thickly and after it set, it became a mess.  I couldn't save it with sanding and cutting so I binned the whole thing.  No worries, Plan B is under way.

With the Spanish complete, its time for another project.  Frostgrave is catching on with some of our SAGA players so I've also started a Frostgrave warband using the new North Star Barbarian plastics and metals.  They're lovely figures as always but a lot of work for this historical painter to paint up!




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Footsore USA is open!

Attention US Saga-mites!  Footsore Miniatures USA is open and taking orders.  Bill Thornhill oversees the Ohio location that manufactures & ships to US customers. If you haven't tried Footsore, give them a go. When you do, you'll discover top-shelf figures that are among the best in the market.

Footsore is just the ticket for the new warbands in the SAGA supplement Aetius & Arthur. They've got Goths, Early Saxons, Irish, Late Roman, Romano-British and Early Byzantines. Picts will be released as well and I'll  order them as soon as they go up. In the meantime, I'm painting a new Mutataww'ia warband using Footsore's Saracen figures. More on that to come...


I'm currently making a display board using Golden Gel Mediums Crackle paste. If all goes well, this will be the Spanish display board for the US Grand Melee.   Here's hoping it looks like a dried riverbed or salt flat when it's done.  So far, it is crackly!  

Last up, I finished a new warlord for my Moors.  I like to paint up multiple warlords for each of my warbands.  Much like Lincoln and the Union army, I'll swap out leaders until I find a winner.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out.


I was less happy about his first time on the table.  The poor bugger went down to a swarm of  Milites Christi knights. If he keeps it up, he'll get the hook just like McClellan.  And Hooker.  And Pope. Feeling #Kindofblue.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Soviet Naval Infantry

Nothing lights a fire under my brushes like a tournament.  I'm in a Bolt Action event this weekend with a historically-themed list. My theme is the 83rd Naval Rifle Brigade in the Crimea, 1942. I’ve always been fascinated by the 350,000 Soviet sailors repurposed to fight on land. Naval Infantry were the best troops in the Crimea and their stubbornness earned them the nickname “Black Death.”

The 83rd  Naval participated in the Red Army’s first major amphibious landing.  With only two weeks planning, they were loaded onto a makeshift flotilla including fishing vessels to cross the Kerch Straights. Whaleboats dumped them on a frozen, remote beach with the goal of linking up with 4 other landings on the Kerch Peninsula.  As they waded ashore, some men drowned in the surf or fell to hypothermia. Despite the abysmal start, the 83rd spotted Germans gathering near the beachhead and launched a vicious spoiling attack. The amateur amphibious landings succeeded in deposited the 51st Army on the Kerch Peninsula where they took up a defensive position.  This second front took some pressure off the besieged city of Sevastopol.  Due to bickering and a series of incompetent actions between Kozlov and the Front commissar, the 83rd was nearly destroyed with the rest of the Soviet forces during Manstein’s Operation Bustard Hunt. Three armies, 21 divisions, 176,000 men, 347 tanks, and nearly 3,500 guns were lost to the German offensive. The remains of the 83rd were evacuated.  The reconstituted 83rd played a crucial role in the Caucasus by stopping the Germans at the Proletary Cement Factory in Novorossiysk, 8/9 September, 1942.  

Figures all Black Tree Design (helmets) and Warlord Games (Naval caps).  I also finished two units of Naval Tank Hunters and a Maxim MG unit  that I left them out of the photo.


I'll also field a ZiS-3 76mm gun pictured above, an early war BA-10 armored car, a GAZ transport and GAZ AAA truck.  I'm happy with how they turned out, especially my first airbrushed vehicles.   

Vehicle weathering is a work in progress.  There are so many options and methods its a bit overwhelming. For now, I'm satisfied to get a nice panel lighting effect.  The brightness is not everyone's cup of tea but I like it quite a bit.  I even took my first stab at streaking oils.  


Now that I can field 2 platoons of Naval Infantry plus supporting options, my ever-growing Soviet force will take a rest. Then its back to my Spanish for Saga!