Saturday, July 23, 2016

Warlord Games Soviet Vehicles

My favorite things about WW II painting is the vehicles.  They're a great change-up from my usual Dark Age painting and I turned to YouTube to learn weathering techniques. The variety of techniques is a bit overwhelming and I'm still learning.  
T-34/85:  My first tank went together fast.  My mistake here was using two washes. After the first wash, I thought the tank looked too bright and after the second, it was too dark! I now prime my Soviet vehicles a lighter green to better show off weathering effects.  
Disappointed with how dark it turned out, I used a light drybrush and pigment dusting to take it up a notch in brightness. All in all, it'll do.

Lledo Diecast Truck: Pat's Wargaming with Silver Whistle blog showed us how to turn a cheap diecast into a sharp looking WW II vehicle.  I bought a Lledo "Days Gone By" truck off eBay for $6. Primed black, painted and weathered up, I've got myself a transport for Mother Russia.  Thanks Pat for leading the way on this very affordable option!

SU-76: I tried an improv here. I love "panel lighting" highlighs but I don't have an airbrush to achieve this effect. I tried to copy it by applying a thin glaze of light green on each panel, leaving darker green peaking around the edges. It looked pretty crappy in the early stages.
Not to worry!  A wash and weathering pulled it together for a decent (if inferior to airbrushing) effect.

BA-10:  This is my last and  best effort.  Lessons learned, I'm using a nice light green and working up with thinned washes.  I think I'm getting the hang of it. The BA-10 is a fun kit and I run it in most of my lists even though it gets brewed up with regularity!

I've got a Rubicon T-34/76, a Warlord Games KV-2 and two GAZ trucks waiting for an airbrush. Buying an airbrush and all the things that go with it is so expensive that I keep pulling back at the last minute. Brush, compressor, painting booth, thinned paints, cleaner and on and on.  With a steady hand and wallet, I'm going to make the plunge. Soon. Very soon.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bolt Action Soviets

Last year, I took the plunge into painting and playing WW II with Chain of Command and Bolt Action. I enjoyed both rules enough to start a Warlord Games Soviet army. Assembling 60+ plastic figures was a tedious experience that reminded me I'm a painter and not an assembler.  Right after finishing these, Black Tree Design had a 50% off sale on Soviets, making the cost of their metal figures nearly the same as the plastics. D'Oh!  At that price, I bought enough BTD metals to paint up a 2nd Soviet army.

I was looking for shortcuts to get a large Soviet army on the table quickly and after a few tests, I settled on the following:
1. Prime with Plastic Soldier Company's Russian Tank primer (dark green).
2. Block paint in everything but the uniforms
3. Heavy wash with Army Painter Strong tone.
4. Highlights over the top including the uniforms and skin with 2 highlights.  Fast but effective, it got the job done quickly.

I previously discussed my 2 highlights and a wash technique for painting the Soviet Naval infantry. On the tabletop, I mix the helmet and cap fellows and deploy them as two squads.

Tank riders and some odds and ends figures.
The ZiS-3 looked too boring so I subsequently brought in some railroad ties piled up as cover.
I was reading about Soviet composer Shostakovitch and his 7th Symphony, composed during the siege of Leningrad. Shosty's story is riveting. After experiencing early success, he was nearly swept up in the purges. It all started when Stalin left one of his performances early.  From there, Pravda denounced his work and other artists were forced to criticize him. Shosty slept on his porch so his family wouldn't see him hauled away in the middle of the night. The war and the 7th Symphony turned things around for him. The symphony was played in Leningrad under the worst of conditions. It remains one of the most famous performances in the history of classical music. 

Since I was doing a Leningrad-themed army, I decided my objective marker would be shout out to Shosty and his Leningrad Symphony.  The piano is by 4Ground.  The cobblestone is roughly done greenstuff.  I used a copy of the 1st page of the 7th Symphony and a picture of Shosty himself.  He's a dead ringer for Harry Potter to boot!

Last up is a Warlord Games limited edition female sniper.  I searched high and low for this figure until Rick Davis donated the figure to my army for free.  Thanks Rick!
So how does my Soviet force do on the field of battle?  Well, let's just say I run them about as proficiently as the early war Soviet officers.

Note:  Google + comments  disappeared off my blog this AM for no apparent reason. Troubleshooting this for hours in HTML, I managed to destroy  my blog .  I reinstalled an old template but I've lost my links to everyone's blog.  I've turned on the in blog comments and I'll rebuild my links to all of my fellow bloggers sites in the future.  So sorry!  I'm so tired of this nonsense.  Having a 5 year old blog has caught up with me with lots of crap and errors under the hood.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Forged in Battle Pontics

I'm back to playing ancients with the excellent L'Art de la Guerre rules. ADLG succeeds where Field of Glory (FoG) ancients stumbled.  ADLG creates a fun and decisive 2- 2.5 hour game with lighter figure requirement.  Needing half the figures of FoG, you can paint an army in half the time.  For my first ADLG army, I used Forged in Battle's superb War & Empire figures. They have 30 (!) ancient armies to choose from and many more coming.  FiB sells a Pontic army but I built mine using individual packs. Bonus, the Pontic starter army is 22% off for the month of June. 

So how did the figures paint up? Using "Monty's Method" I finished them in just under two weeks. That's fast by even my standards and a big thumbs up to FiB.  I've used Old Glory 15s almost exclusively for the past 4 years.  With FiB deep bench, variety and crisp detail, I won't be going back to Old Glory.

Scythed Chariots: (4-Horse Scythed Chariots - Later Seleucid pack)  These are my favorite models of the army. Nothing says "Company is coming!" like feather-crowned horses!  I'll be running two of these.  

Sarmatian Heavy Cavalry:  (Rhoxolani Armored Lancers) In the ADLG Pontic list, you can run Sarmatian horse as Impetuous heavy cavalry or as mounted bowmen.  I should mention a single base of cavalry is a unit in the game.  The banner is a my interpretation of the comet Mithradates claimed he was born under.  

Sarmatian Light and Medium bow cavalry:  (Light Cavalry-Sarmatian) While less spectacular than their brass covered brethren, these horse archers are just what I need to "Shoot and Scoot".  

Pontic Heavy Horsemen: (Companion Heavy Cavalry-Later Successor pack) These emphasize Mithridates' Hellenistic bend. 

Javelinmen and Light Javelinmen:  (Skythian Skirmishers) Mandatory in my Pontic list, I'm a bit nervous about how they'll hold up in melee.
Light Cavalry with Javelin:(Militia light cavalry) Mandatory and about as good as the javelinmen.  

Imitation Legionaries:  (Roman Argyraspides Infantry) After seeing his imitation legionaries beaten to a pulp by the real deal, Mithridates was heard to say "Accept no substitutes!"

Thureophoroi with long spears: (Thureophoroi Infantry - Later Successor) Love the red capes!  

Pikemen: (Successor Asiatic Phalangites pack)  No need to drill  the hands out, I simply glued my metal spears (sold separately) into the hands and done! 

The Pontics are the Swiss army knife of 88 BC with loads and loads of options! I'm already thinking about adding Galatians and some Thracians with 2 handed weapons.  

King Mithridates of Pontus is one of my favorite "enemies of Rome."  Pontus was situated in what is now northern Turkey.  As King of Pontus, Mithridates styled himself after Alexander the Great and even acquired his cloak.  Mithridates expansionist policies put him on a collision course with Rome.  In his first campaign, he seized much of what is now modern-day Turkey and Greece.  He orchestrated the massacre of 80,000 Roman citizens throughout Asia minor in a single day to collectively throw off the Roman yoke.  When war came, Marius and Sulla each vied for the opportunity to lead legions to conquer and plunder the vast riches of the Pontic kingdom.

While Mithridates ultimately failed to beat Rome, it wasn't for a lack of effort or imagination.  In his first campaign, he reintroduced scythed chariots to the battlefield, something not seen for a generation or two.  In his second campaign, he employed  Roman ex-pats to reform and retrain his army to fight in the Romans style, thus introducing the Imitation Legionaries. He also started leading from the front.  In his third campaign, he utilized asymmetrical hit and run guerrilla warfare.  For a man who was repeatedly at war with Rome, he managed to live long enough to die old.