Thursday, 28 December 2017

Leven Old West buildings

At Fiasco in Leeds, back in late October, I bought one each of all the Leven Old West buildings - 18 in all. Actually a few more than 18 buildings, as a couple of the packs had multiple items. My overall intention is to build a town on a large base, maybe a couple of feet square, but I started out by painting them all up individually.

As usual the Leven buildings are a pleasure to paint, with nice details which show up well. On many of the buildings I was able to include signs (Saloon, Doctor etc) which I simply found on the web and downloaded to print. I think these really enhance the look of the whole thing, and help to establish scale and period. One of the "buildings" is the entrance to a mine, with rail tracks and general clutter - this is another nice model, but it may be a little tricky to include it in my townscape.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Wanna be in my Gang?

Continuing the Chicago Gangster theme in my purchases from Fiasco, here is the Pulp Figure set Bugs Malarkey's Gang. Five figures as is normal from Pulp, for £10. Three nattily dressed gunmen and one looking a little rougher in a scarf and beanie hat, plus the classic man with a violin case. They painted up very nicely, and as is standard now for me I cut away the metal bases and glued them to clear plastic bases.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

More Chicago

I built the two 4Ground Chicago Way models I picked up at FIASCO last weekend - the Shotgun House and the Garage. As always with this supplier the models are really nice and solid, double thickness on all the main walls so you get a sound structure and surface detail on both sides. The house is pretty simple, a straightforward rectangular building with one interior dividing wall with door, and a porch/veranda at each end. The garage was more substantial and complicated, with an internal office with its own flat roof, and then a large space accessed by double doors which would be the workshop, presumably. There's nice glazing for the windows, including signs for the front ones, and a long covered walkway going out to one side. All pre-painted, plus signs and posters to stick on when you're finished. I have five buildings in this series now, as well as other suitable city buildings; I am looking for appropriate mats or the like.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Fiasco 2017

Over to Leeds today for Fiasco at the Royal Armouries. This is my third or fourth year - it is not too far to drive, a bit over the hour, and it's also well timed as there's not a lot of other shows going on right now. I parked up and had a quick look around, then went looking for lunch. The docks area around the Armouries is very smart, all big new buildings or modern conversions of original warehouses - but it's a bit soulless. I walked over the Ayre and up into the older part of Leeds. I found a bar/club called Revolution - no doubt very trendy at night, but for a rack of ribs and apint on Sunday lunchtime, just perfect.

Back to the show along the Ayre - someday we might come over on the narrowboat and moor close by. But that is well in the future. For this year's show I had a few specific items on the list, and I got them all. The first target was some Old West buildings from Leven - I have an idea to create a western town as a sort of diorama. I'd like to try playing a gunfighter game at 6mm, but so far I am struggling to find suitable figures, and I had no more luck today. While I was at Leven's stand I als picked up an extra building, as I often do, just because I liked the look of it. In this case it was a big British pub, called The Push, apparently based on a real building in Beverley.

After that I wanted some more Chicago buildings in 28mm, having built a couple last week. I found some 4Ground kits at Colonel Bill's stall, and I got a garage and a shotgun shack. I was tempted by a large warehouse, but at £80 it was just a little too much.

My other targets were smaller. I got a pack of gangsters from Pulp Figures - Bugs Malarchy's Mob - who will obviously be fighting around the new buildings. And I went to Baccus and picked up the Fallschirmjager Nebelwerfers - they had sold out at Salute, and I didn't get to Joy of Six, so I wanted to get hold of it, though I am not currently painting WW2.

I got away after three, and home by about half four - it was a lovely day for the first day of winter, so the drive was no problem - a good day out all told.

Chicago Shops

For a bit of a change from painting 6mm I decided to build a couple of 4Ground models I have had for a while, possibly since Salute and perhaps longer. They are for Chicago in the gangster era, two small retail premises. One is a tobacconist, with suitable posters and flyers stuck all over it, and the other is a jeweller's, a little bit more sober with stone pillar work and solid-looking doors.

4Ground do good kits, with plenty of detail, and pre-painted. For some reason I am very happy to get pre-painted terrain, especially at this larger scale, while I am very keen to paint my own figures. These models have glazed windows, with painted lettering for the large display panes; I think these are the first models in this range with glazing.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


When we were down in London last month I visited the Orcs Nest (just off Cambridge Circus) and bought Labyrinth, War On Terror 2001 - ? from GMT games. (In practice ? is around 2010). I also got the expansion, Awakening, which covers the Arab Spring and beyond, so taking you from 2011 onwards.

So far I have only played the base game, and I am impressed. It is very asymmetric, between the US and the Jihadist forces, but it seems well balanced. There is a bot to play the Jihadist side, so I have been playing the US, and it works very well. It is a proper challenge, with none of the "trying to fool yourself" that happens when you are playing a normal game solo. The expansion has a US bot, so a solo player can take the Jihadist side, and it also improves the Jihadist bot at the same time. I am looking forward to trying that out, from both sides.

As a solo game I like this because you have a reasonably constrained set of choices, and the challenge is to choose the best way to use your limited resources. Many games leave you facing a vast expanse of possibilities, and you struggle to know where to start. A good example is The US Civil War, a boardgame I bought a few months ago. It is very impressive, and has been very well reviewed, and I set it up and read through the rules. But I simply couldn't get started - the sheer scale and breadth of choice was too daunting. Maybe if I had had a live opponent, especially one who had played before, I would have had the incentive to press on regardless, but playing solo I just couldn't start to climb the cliff. Labyrinth gives you a much narrower path to follow, though you do have to make key choices - just from a much smaller palette.

Hold your horses

More Baccus ACW troops, this time dismounted cavalry for the Confederates. I assume that these would all have been skirmish troops, and that is backed up by the way the figures are arranged in their strips. Baccus supply line infantry in rows, side by side, so you can mount them without splitting them up. Skirmish troops (and others, such as command units) come in a line, one behind the other like a queue, so you have to cut them apart and base them singly. That's how these troops came, so they made up into eight skirmish bases, two of which were command. You also get two strips with a horse holder and three empty horses, so I mounted these on circular bases (2p pieces); I expect them to come in useful as markers if nothing else.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Grey Guns

Onwards and upwards with the Baccus 6mm ACW. This time the Confederate artillery, just five guns in the Confederate Army pack which Baccus do, and which I bought at Salute back in April. I have probably painted a third of the figure I bought that day, and let me tell you that is pretty good going for me.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

These Guns For Hire

I went to Britcon last weekend, it's mostly a three-day tournament but there are a good number of traders there on the Sunday and it's a local show for me. It's also an excuse for a pint and a meal at Turtle Bay near St Peter's Square. Goat curry and Red Stripe - very nice. There wasn't a whole lot for me on the stalls, nothing in 6mm, but I did buy a pack of Pulp Gangsters, "These Guns For Hire". I bought the Osprey rules for Prohibition gangs, Mad Dogs with Guns, and these figures were fun to paint, as the Pulp Figures usually are.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Union Zouaves

Painted some more of the Baccus ACW, this time the Union Zouaves. I wanted to make them look a little different from their Confederate equivalents, though they could quite justifiably look very similar. Anyway for these I chose to model them on the New York Fire Zouaves, with red shirts and dark blue trousers. For the base I used AK Terrains acrylic textured paint, an alternative to Basetex. It is slightly easier to apply and "paint", though it seems to be death to brushes. But the colour choice is odd - there is a very deep chocolate brown, which I used on the Confederate Zouaves, and a Dry Earth which I used here. That, however is a very pale sand colour - they don't seem to do a mid-earth tone. I brushed it over with an earth shade and it looks fine flocked, but still rather arid. It would be nice to have one with a more temperate feel.