Tuesday, September 16, 2014

JDS Kashima (TV-3508) in Port

Not every day you see a Japanese Defence Force Warship docked in the Auckland harbour where the Cruise Ships normally dock. According to Wikipedia: JDS Kashima (TV-3508) is a training ship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Built to a unique design during the mid-1990s, Kashima is flagship of the JMSDF Training Fleet. The name Kashima comes from the famous Shinto Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki prefecture, located to the northeast of Tokyo. (so now you know!)

Full article...

And if you cannot guess I like Warships almost as much as I like tanks!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm Back... and I've been busy!

I've been a bit slack (I say that a lot) on the blog front over the past few months. Between work, home, hobby time... and some World of Tanks I have found it difficult to get act together.

Hopefully over the next few weeks I am going to get caught up as I have a pile of photos on my camera and a quickly fading memory of what I have been up to over the past few months. But to help jog my memory here is the short version:
  • June - The Tauranga Open Warhammer Tournament with my Orcs and Goblins.
  • July - Panzerschreck Flames Of War Doubles Tournament in Palmerston North with Jagdtigers and friends.
  • August - no tournament but a lot of painting for a web Dust Battle Report (my intro, part 1, part 2).
  • September - Lords of Ruin Warmachine Tournament in Wellington with pMorvahna.
  • September - Wayne-Con - the Battlefront Staff Early War Tournament and my French infantry.
  • October - FlamesCon (okay so this one has not been yet but I am painting for it...).
  • And... we have been playing quite a bit of X-Wing at lunch recently.
First up will be the Tauranga Open and my first Warhammer game in probably five years, but in the meantime here are a few photos from the past couple of months...
Tauranga Open - high tables, no post event sore back!
Stopping at the Army Museum on the way to Panzerschreck
Road tripping in the big van to Palmerston North
Sean Lincoln (Lords Of Ruin organiser) and some seriously cool trophies!
Work in progress Somua tanks for FlamesCon

Saturday, August 2, 2014

SSU 179th Steel Guards Battalion

I managed to get the first 100 points of my Steel Guard army finished prior to my big game with Victor for the Dust website. Really happy with how they turned out! Now to finish my captured Ludwig and a few other bits and pieces and I'll be at 150 points before I know it.
The 100 points for our battle
HQ section and Snipers
Assault Squads
A close up of my basing
The whole army with some special effects....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dust Battlefield: Victor (Axis) vs. Chris (SSU)

Victor and I are getting ready for a big face-off...

We have been painting up our 100 point Dust armies over the past few months and now it is time for us to throw down... I am expecting that his Wotan will be declared "man of the match" as it racks up the kills! I have one week left to finish painting my 100 points (Victor is already done) so we can get the Battle Report played next week, and up on the Dust website the following week.

Stay tuned for more developments!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jagdtigers: the biggest of all the cats!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jagdtigers over the past few months thanks to the development work on Nuts and Bridge At Remagen and have been quietly putting aside figures to paint up as I play around with some list options. I’ve written an article on the Flames Of War site that talks about some of the various strengths of Carrius’ 512. Schwere Panzerjagerkompanie as I see it so I won’t revisit too much, other than to talk about some of the options that I am either painting up currently, or have put aside to work on as time permits!

Carrius and the Jagdtigers
I’ve painted up six Jagdtigers and although I still have a little finishing work to do - Carrius’ tank needs to have the extra crew figures added to help him stand out on the table top, and I might add some foliage to the tanks – but they are all ready for the battlefield. My thoughts for doing six were simple…. Flexibility! I can run four tanks as a support platoon, I can play a big game

where I put 1605 points of Jagdtigers, or I can run a smaller company with plenty of support. Carrius will generally be taking to the role of “super cool Company Commander model”, rather than being the Carrius himself, but if I have the points I think he is an easy choice to include.

Weapons Platoons

Whilst I have not gotten around to assembling my Wirbelwinds or Ostwinds, they are definitely on the plan somewhere! After all every Late War list these days has them in some shape or form so painting them just makes sense. Plus I’ve used Sd Kfz 7/1 AA vehicles in the past as aggressive infantry hunters and assuming the enemies AT is busy they are great value. I really like the idea of the Panzer Scout Platoon as that gives you a pile of machine-guns to mow down infantry, then combine a smoke bombardment from some Nebelwerfers and you can probably get off an Assault with their Mounted Assault rules.

Armoured Support 

In the short term I am planning on running my Jagdtigers as the Reluctant Trained 2. Kompanie so I won’t need to paint any StuGs or Panzer IV Js, and I have some Tigers from my Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500 that I can use, should I feel like adding them.

Infantry Support

I think you are setting yourself up for disaster by not running some infantry with the big cats. At Panzerschreck 2014 (more on this in a later post) I had 3 platoons of infantry supporting and
screening my Jagdtigers and they were great. A single platoon can effectively deny enemy tanks the ability to easily get around your flanks and given that this is the only way they are going to kill you it seems like common sense to stop them. I have my Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500 infantry that will work nicely as either Panzergrenadiers (just need to paint up some plastic 251s) or Volksgrenadiers. I love the new Volkssturm infantry, I just need to come up with a cunning plan to get a platoon painted (and convince Mike that we need a “Volkssturm Kompanie”).

Artillery Support

I’ve painted up my Nebelwerfer platoon as that was all I could fit in my Panzerschreck army – plus no one ever regretted having a battery of 15cm Nebels. I did run a little short on time so I only have the first 3 launchers finished but I definitely think it is worth making the time to finish the entire Battery. My plan is to also paint up the 30cm Nebelwerfers as well because I think they are just so cool! I was thinking about making them appear as though they are about to fire so not having many crew on the base – it will also make them quick to do! Not sure that the Trained rating makes them worth it in game terms, but I come back to their coolness and the fact that if you fail your save… bye bye!

The other options that I have stashed aside to paint are the PaK40s and 15cm guns. Not sure which to work on first as they are competing with the Nebelwerfers in terms of what you can field in the army. Either way though they are good support options for almost any army and I’ve found that if you are outnumbered by enemy tanks, or if they are Veteran (and you are therefore likely to miss) you can find yourself swarmed and they are both add to your direct fire capabilities.

Anti-Aircraft Support 

Once again I am heading back to my Panzer Ausbildungs Abteilung 500 to leverage some already painted troops and using the 3.7cm FlaK. I’ve already painted up a battery of three guns and plan to do another three as their extra range and AT wins out over the higher ROF of
the Quad 2cm. I’m not planning on doing any 88s in the near future, but it is on my “must do some time plan” – after all you cannot go wrong with some 88s in Late War! Plus I really want to do a Kampfgruppe von Swoboda at some point and you need many many many 88s for that!

The lists!These are the lists that I am currently playing around with.

945 points – Panzerschreck 2014 (my teams partner "borrowed"the extra 55 points)

512. Schwere Panzerjagerkompanie HQ

Jagdtiger x1 270 points
512. Schwere Panzerjager Platoons

Jagdtiger x1 270 points
Jagdtiger x1 270 points
Volks Rocket Launcher Battery

15cm NW41 Launchers x3 70 points
Light Anti-aircraft Gun Battery

3.7cm FlaK43 x3 65 points
1500 points
512. Schwere Panzerjagerkompanie HQ

Jagdtiger x1 270 points
512. Schwere Panzerjager Platoons

Jagdtiger x1 270 points
Jagdtiger x1 270 points
512. Panzer Anti-aircraft Platoon

Wirbelwind x4 150 points
Volksgrenadier Platoon (Reluctant Trained)

Full strength with Panzerschreck team
180 points
Volks Light Artillery Battery (Reluctant Veteran)

7.5cm FK40 (PaK40) guns x6 295 points
Light Anti-aircraft Gun Battery

3.7cm FlaK43 x3 65 points

1750 points
512. Schwere Panzerjagerkompanie HQ

Jagdtiger x1 270 points
512. Schwere Panzerjager Platoons

Jagdtiger x2 535 points
Jagdtiger x1 270 points
512. Panzer Anti-aircraft Platoon

Wirbelwind x3 110 points
Volkssturm Platoon

Full strength
105 points
Volksgrenadier Platoon (Reluctant Trained)

Full strength with Panzerschreck team
180 points
Volks Rocket Launcher Battery

15cm NW41 Launchersx6135 points
Light Anti-aircraft Gun Battery

3.7cm FlaK43 x3 125 points

Hopefully you can see you are not short of options even though your Jagdtigers can take up quite a few points. It really is just a case of picking some lists and giving them a go!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Otto Carrius and his Jagdtiger Company

For a quick update I thought I would post the army that I took to Panzerschreck with Mike Haycock, along with the few extra bits and pieces I've painted up for the 512. Schwere Panzerjagerkompanie that I have been working on. I'll have a full event report (of sorts) up over the weekend but hopefully this will suffice for now.
The Panzerchreck 2014 Army
Carrius in his Jagdtiger (left) along with the 2iC. I still need to paint up some extra crew for Carrius' vehicle...
First Platoon of Jagdtigers
Second Platoon of Jagdtigers
15cm Nebelwerfer Battery
Nebelwerfer Command and OP team
Close up of one of the Nebelwerfers

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Israeli Air Support!

I feel like I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently, mainly because I have not really gotten anything finished…. My Jagdtigers have been slowly pushing along the painting front with the 3 colour camo applied and pin washed, whilst the Dust SSU walkers and infantry are slowly progressing to the point where they would be ready for washing this weekend. Meanwhile I decided to take a little break and knock out an Israeli Ouragan for Fate Of A Nation. I’ve had this model sitting on my desk for goodness knows how long so I thought it would make a quick and easy side project so I could feel like I have managed to finish something this month.

I airbrushed it with a couple of different Tamiya silver paints, pin washed it, applied decals, then painted the bombs, wing tip noses (whatever they are called) and canopy. It was a really quick and simple job – so much so I am thinking about painting an Egyptian MiG-17 just for fun.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pushing ahead with my Dust SSU

It has been a very busy month on the hobby front with lots of things pulling me in multiple directions and as usual not getting much finished. Last week though I managed to get the base coats airbrushed on my Steel Guard HQ squad and Matrioshka.

I gave the models a quick clean up to get rid of the worst of the mould lines, then airbrushed them Tamiya Red Brown, with a directional spray of a 50/50 Red Brown and Dark Yellow mix. In some respects the results are a little subtle but I think they look quite good. If nothing else they help to make the real life lighting effects come out a little more.

I love the different backpacks for the HQ squad. Tossing around ideas on how to make it obvious which model is which. Currently thinking that the Officer (middle) will have a dark grey backpack, Mechanic (left) will have light grey, and the Medic a white backpack with a red cross.
The photos make the modulation appear quite subtle but I think in person they make quite a difference, especially on the armour panels on the side of the ams.

Next job will be to a little bit of detail work, then varnish and pin wash the models. However I have a few other tasks that need to take priority including getting my Jagdtigers ready for Panzerschreck as well as a little painting for a work project so I am not sure how long they will sit in this state....

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Painting Plans: Thinking about the Rhulic

Later this year a group of us will be heading down to Hamilton for the Annual Warmahordes Teams Tournament. We have put in some solid performances over the past few years, winning a couple of match-ups to keep us off the bottom of the table!

This year we thought we might try to theme our lists, each taking a different Rhulic caster and going for theme rather than substance. I am leaning towards taking Gorton as he is painted and I'm keen for any options to reduce my painting load..

I haven't really fleshed out the rest of the list yet, other than wanting to fit in a Ghordson Earthbreaker and (assuming I can convince my fellow Rhulic partners) Thor Steinhammer.

In preparation though I have begun assembling all of my remaining Rhulic models to I can pick and choose. The plan is to get everything built, based, undercoated and primed - that way I can start play testing a little later in the year and slowly finalise my plans.

Earthbreaker assembled and ready for action. A little tip: paint it in parts before doing your final assembly. I've made a 'Colossal' mistake fully assembling it as it is going to be hard getting into some spots
The rest of the assembled Rhulic boys. I have second units of High Shields and Forge Guard, as well as a Artillery Corps and Tactical Arcanist Corp still to put together.
I am currently thinking of a list that has an Earthbreaker, Thor, a couple of units of Forge Guard and maybe Brun Cragback & Lug. My intent is to begin painting some time after Panzerschreck (which is in July) depending on what other commitments come across my painting table.

Friday, May 16, 2014

SSU Red Tornado and Silent Death Finished

I've finally completed my first squads of Steel Guard, with two Red Tornado sections and two Silent Death sniper teams. This gives me a little over 60 points of painted troops, just need to get my HQ section done and a walker and I'll be close to having a fully painted Dust army!

I've decided to number the Steel Guard using some of the Flames Of War Vietnam PAVN decals. The big yellow numbers stand out nicely, and there are just enough numbers for what I need.
#00 - ?
#1-3 - HQ Squad
#4-6 - 1st Red Tornado section
#7-9 - 2nd Red Tornado section
#10-12 - ?
#13-15 - ?
#16-17 - 1st Silent Death team
#18-19 - 2nd Silent Death team
I am hoping that we will see a Steel Guard Hero (to take the 00 slot) at some point, along with some heavier weapon options (please be quad RPG launchers without limited ammunition!) so I can run a full 100 platoon without needing tanks or walkers.

Steel Guard ready for the tabletop
Red Tornado section
Silent Death team

Friday, May 2, 2014

Slow Progress on the Eastern Front

It has been a while since I posted anything about my SSU Army for Dust. Victor and I have been playing a lot of Dust Battlefield games over the past couple of months and really getting into it. Unfortunately on the modelling and painting front I have been splitting my efforts and making very little progress across a variety of armies, rather than any real progress on one!

However I did have a good “Thursday night painting session” and got most of my Steel Guard to the “almost finished” stage – just decals and 3 crewman left to paint on my first 10 figures. Once they are done I will get the HQ squad done, then move on to the vehicles.

That's big badda-boom!
Almost finished
What I am really enjoying is the fast and furious nature of the game. Things do stuff, things die, things come back, and a 100 point game (which seems to be the average "throw-down" size) can be played quite quickly, letting you get through a couple of games in an evening or afternoon.

Victor has also been making some progress on his Germans so hopefully we can get 100 points finished and put together a short battle report.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Portable Light Box

Late last year one of the guys at work came across a project on Kickstarter called the Foldio - The 1st foldable studio. For a start, who knew that Kickstarter was for anything except Tabletop and Computer games??? Anyway, the concept behind Foldio was that it was allowed anybody with a smartphone to easily take high quality pictures by providing a small light box. The light box itself was compact and (thanks to some magnets) able to be folded up when not in use, or easily packed away and carried around.

I am at best a barely competent photographer but I do like playing around a little. I've also been cleaning out the cupboards of excess miniatures so I figured that a small investment was worth it if it would mean that I could start taking some photos at home more easily. My primary use would be for work in progress shots etc because I could use the white table at work for anything more serious, or for taking shots for ebay.

The Foldio turned up on time, which must be a record for any Kickstarter product! Packed nicely, with a functional but pretty boring little carry bag. It was a little bigger than expected at around 28cm-ish square, meaning I could easily fit a Colossal in there. My version came with two little LED light strips and after watching the assembly video (which was not really necessary) I was up and running.
Foldio on the bookcase by the computer.
Picture, straight out of the camera, with no Photoshop wizardry (other than re-sizing etc).
Same photo with a little bit of Photoshop work (as you can tell, barely competent with Photoshop either!)
Same figures on the bookshelf, where the Foldio now sits.
So, thoughts? In life you can have things fast, cheap, or good - pick two. 
  • Foldio is in my opinion quite cheap given that it was around $40 (delivered, with different coloured background sheets, with an extra LED light strip).
  • It is fast - lets substitute quick and easy to use.
  • As for the last one lets say that it is definitely okay, and it is definitely much much better than what I had (which was nothing). The one thing I do not like about it is that it does not provide particularly great source lighting, but what was I expecting for the price. Also I've spent all of 20 minutes playing around with so probably a ways to go yet. I do have a second LED light strip so I thought I would play around with the placement of that to see if I could introduce a little more light.
Closing thoughts - definitely a well design lead project that looks cool and is easy to use. It was never going to be as good as a "proper" (read more expensive) light box solution, but it sits on my shelf out of the way and with a little practice will become a nice addition to the blog toolbox.

As for buying one, in the short term you cannot as they are still shipping out orders from their Kickstarter campaign but you can always jump on their website to find out more about when they will begin production and distribution through conventional channels.