Monday, 28 December 2015

2015 Review, A Look Ahead to 2016

The last year has been quite a good one for me. I'll come to the hobby side in a minute, but generally; my daughter has started school and is thriving, I passed a promotion exam at work, and of course, I have a new son! All good.

Hobby wise has also been very good to me. I end the year with two Bolt Action armies on the go (one a pretty decent size), and dents made in several other projects. I have also started to try different games, made some good friends and got started in some other projects.

Painting wise, I decided to score myself using the Analogue Hobbbys scoring system. Because I am quite sad, I track what I paint and here is what I managed over the year:

28mm Infantry: 113 @ 5 pts each
28mm Vehicles: 4 @ 15pts each
6mm Infantry: 30 @ 0.5 pts each.

Grand total:

I like to think that is not too bad a year for me. As a slow painter, I think that is quite good. Certainly, it took me nearly 6 years to paint 200 Imperial Guard, so having done over 100 28mm minis this year is quite a feat. Overall I am pleased with progress made. 

So what will 2016 bring?

Too many projects no doubt! Here are a list of things I have been thinking about in the past few days to aim for. Some are quite specific, some more general:

- In terms of points using the above scoring system, I am going to aim for over 1000 points of painted minis.

- To complete at least two full 28mm Napoleonic battalions (so that's 48 miniatures done.)

- I have my shelves of doom (full of unpainted minis, mainly dead projects that I refuse to sell) in my painting, taunting me from the corner. The total currently stands at 93 minis, so I shall aim to reduce this to under 60 miniatures by years end.

- General 28mm wise, I want to progress my two Bolt Actions armies, and move into at least one Ancients force alongside my napoleonics. I'd like at least two complete units for this ancients project.

- I want to start to gather 20mm forces for battlegroup games. No real targets on this, just want to see me making siginificant progress here.

- 6mm wise I have two rough targets. In Epic terms, to buy no more until what I have outstanding is small enough to fit in to one box. Second, to move into historical 6mm. I know it's not for everyone, but it's a scale I have always had a soft spot for. It should also be fairly quick and easy to get armies together.

- Finally, bring my gaming table into action that I have in the garage. I've had this a few years and still not used it.

You can see I have set myself very few "hard targets" as I find these demotivating and unrealistic. I shall review where I am at the halfway point in the year, but I think it's a good framework to work to. In all honesty I will get distracted by something soon and it will all fall apart.

So here's to a great 2016. May your dice roll 6's and your painting hand be steady.

Christmas 2015

Little bit late, due to family festivites, drinking and general merriment but here is my Christmas haul.

First up I have some Bolt Action reinforcements:

For the Germans we have some artillery (a 10.5cm gun no less), a Flakvierling and a heavy mortar whilst the Brits get a 25 pounder gun.

For my naps I got a box set of Perry Miniatures Brits. This should give me enough to field three batalions if I use the leftover Warlord guys and get some more command minis:

Next up was these:

That should give me a good start to get a Dacian army going for Hail Caeser. Going to need a lot more though.

The big one:

Been wanting this for a while, ever since I had a couple of games a while ago. Was great fun and might even be a game I can get the wife involved in!

Now this little gift seems insignificant:

It's a chargable daylight lamp. It should allow me to set up a collapsible paint station down stairs. These means I can paint more often as well as keeping the wife company. Win! 

The only down side to all these gifts is I now have an unapinted mini pile bigger than ever before - going to be busy.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Free Partizan Mini

Painted up this guy this guy a few days ago. It was the free miniature that came with my visit to Partizan. I think that it is supposed to be a local actor (who's name escapes me), portraying Lawrence of Arabia. However, I painted it up to represent a second world war officer as I thought it would just about be suitable for a objective in games of Bolt Action. I imagine it being some old officer who's gone of on a hair brained one man mission behind German lines to relive his glory days and now needs rescuing.

As an aside, lovely little mini to paint, very well sculpted and I enjoyed putting in a little more effort than normal.

First Completed British Napoleonics

I have now managed to finish the first 8 of my British Napoleonics. I got some pretty positive feedback from a Black Powder facebook group on the first test mini, and I am reasonably pleased with how they have come out. I have gone with basing 4 each on a 4x4 base. My normal size infantry battalions will be 24 men, which will give me 6 bases per batallion. Since I like to batch paint between 5-10 models at the same time, I divided them into 8 men groups, meaning three batches per battalion.

Enough of a waffle from me, here's some pictures.

First company featuring a pioneer. 

Second company, with an NCO.

And various views of the two companies together.

Overall, I am quite pleased with how these turned out. The facings are green as these guys will be the 45th Foot, a Nottinghashire regiment. True, the trousers should be white for the Penninsular war, but I found grey quicker and easier to do, so I went with them. However, my main aim was quality and speed, both of which I think I achieved. I reckon these took ten hours, including basing. That was unfortunatley spread over about 2 weeks, but if I can ever get some solid hobby time these will be quick enough to churn out. I suspect I can get the total time down to an average of 1 hour per man.

When I get back around to more of these, it will be two more companies featuring the flank elements as well. 

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Taliban Painted

Following on from my review of the Empress miniatures Taliban a few weeks ago, they got put in the paint queue fairly quickly. I originally intended to only do 4 of the eight I had before moving onto something else, but they turned out to be quick and simple to paint so I cracked on and got all eight done.

Here are the pictures. Please bear in mind that the last four are awaiting their bases in the photos (since done).

The blue was something I stole from a picture on the web. I wasn't sure on it initially but once based I think it works quite well. I tried to keep the look a bit rag tag, as I feel befits such a thrown together bunch of fighters operating in civilian clothing. Having recently watched the Koregal valley documentary, which features Taliban shot footage, I also feel I will be justified in mixing some of the Empress minis more general insurgent lines. These are more traditional terrorists with balacalavas and the like but I feel a few would mix in well, helping to represent Chechyen fighters and the like.

In terms of my modern project, the next phase will be the 8 man British section I have, also from Empress mini's. Not sure when they'll get to the front of the painting queue though. The good news is they are cleaned up and awaiting their undercoat though.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

WiP British Peninsular Napoleonics

In amongst my many, many projects has been a long held dream to start a Napoleonics army. What is there not to like about stalwart lines of British redcoats, dashing cavalry, batteries of cannons and sneaky riflemen? 

I've finally started what will no doubt be a never-completed project, since you need huge numbers of stuff for even a small game. Anyway, just as a little offering for all, here is the first 8 guts. Roughly half way: 

Trying to keep it quick and easy although in a few places I've gone a it more than needed for table top. However, the photo represents about 4 hours work which I don't think is too bad. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Epic Imperial Guard Platoon

Epic was always my favourite of the Games Workshop games, back in the day when it was one of the three main systems. I have dabbled on and off with getting back into it via NetEpic, so have quite a lot to paint, nearly all Imperial Guard with some Titans.

I recently got the bug to paint some, and pulled this small infantry platoon off the shelf. There are 30 men, all organised into groups of five, one of which is marked as the platoon command by the dude with the little banner. You probably can't see it but they are marked as white platoon. Here they are:

And a close up:

And finally with their transports, which I painted an age ago:

They follow a red and bone scheme, which matches my 40k guard, and translates quite well into 6mm. I enjoyed doing these, they are quick, and I can see more getting done soon, at the very least I need to paint the other two thirds of the comapny. 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Panzer IV Complete

Realised the other day that I don't think I have posted a single painted model in November, figured I had best sort that out. I intended to do so earlier this week but the arrival of my newborn son somewhat distracted me!

Managed to finish off the Panzer IV that has been staring at me for about 8 weeks or so. It's the plastic kit from Warlord, not bad to put together. I painted it in the same style as my Hanomags, which was basically to hit it with my airbrush then weather it. I was happy with the final result, it should look just the part supporting my grenadiers across the battlefield.

So lets keep this simple, have some pictures:

I messed up a litte with the Schurtzen - I didn't put much effort into the back of it as I thought it would mostly be covered, but some of it shows. Oh well. I'm also still not sure if I have mastered the use of pigments - the different coloured mud was more by accident than design. What do you all think?

Plenty more to come over the next couple of weeks hopefully, got several things to update when time allows.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Unpainted Model Count

The hobby of wargaming fits into many categories, and I would certainly say that it falls under the collecting side of hobbies. At the top of the collecting list is, of course, the desire to collect full armies of painted minis. I wish I could say I collect an army, paint it in its entirety and only then move on to the next project, but as anyone who has looked at this blog will know, that would be a lie! I am no more immune to the "ooohhh, shiny'" syndrome than anyone else, I also have unrealised projects in my head and my wargaming associates are always finding new things to tempt me. As a result, I have far too many projects on the go.

The huge project list creates other problems. Even at my most productive I can paint only slowly, far slower than I can buy minis. A while ago I decided I needed a method to help control my spending, and reduce the unpainted models I had lying around. I considered many methods. I dismissed selling stuff, as I have found that with a few years, at most, of selling something I wish I hadn't and have to start again. I also considered a spending ban, but I have insufficient will power for that to work. I also dismissed a simple count of painted models as too simplistic. 

In the end, I decided to set a "zero point," for myself. So, about three years ago I decided that was my set point, or zero. Of course, I had hundreds of unpainted models at this stage, it wasn't about having zero outstanding models and going from there.

So with a zero point set I had to work out how to score my models as they were painted. I at first tried a separate points score for different scales or sizes, but dismissed it as too complicated. I went for simplicity. One model equaled one, regardless of size. So now, when a model is painted and based, I deduct one, and when I buy p, am given, or just acquire a model, I add one. This applies equally whether it's a 6mm infantry man or a massive super heavy tank. It sounds daft, as each takes a different time, but because I flip around it works. I also find that even though painting say, 30 epic imperial guard (-30 points under my system) sounds quick, when you buy that scale you invariably buy a larger number so it all balances out.

So far, I haven't got much below zero, and have gone up to +100 before. However, it's a handy way of telling if my unpainted pile is growing or shrinking. So next time you check into my blog, have a look at the score in the little widget to the right, if it starts with a minus, good for me, if it starts with a plus, I've been spending!

As a last off, I apologise for my lack of posts with models lately. My son is about to arrive in the world but once he does and I get some semblance of a routine set up, I have plenty to show off. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Breaking News!!!

Today I awake with my alarm ready for work and as no doubt mot people do,rolled over, picked up my phone and started scrolling through Facebook whilst I waited for my body and brain to realise it was time to come to life. This normally takes a while. 

Like many hobbyists, I am a member of several groups, some of which are GW related. I saw this image a few times on the feed:

When I saw it a third time I stopped to read it. Then I read it again. Then again. I then sat upright and was suddenly wide awake. Could it be that specialists games were making a come back? I've heard the rumour before and been disappointed but as I dug a little deeper it seemed this had been announced by several Australian GW's. As the day wore on, it became apparent it was true. 

In a nutshell, it appears that GW are setting up a subdivision of Forgeworld who will do side games that will possibly/probably contain both plastic and resin models for epic, Lord of the Rings, BFG and possibly other, older games. It not clear whether they will be full systems, or stand alone boxes, but jut the idea of new models for these systems has got my excited. 

I make no secret of the fact that Epic was my number one, favourite game, and this time I won't make the mistake of leaving all my purchases too late so they disappear. I'm also exited about the return of BFG and Blood Bowl, and maybe even some of the other games. 

It could be a long wait, and I need more projects like a slap in the face but quite frankly, all I can say is:

And just when I thought I was down GW, they pull me right back in? 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Birthday Swag

Been a little while since I last posted. I've been busy working and had a few days away with the family visiting Legoland and Warwick Castle, which was a nice break away. The main reason we went away was for my brithday, and of course, there were gifts involved. Luckily for me, many of them were hobby related due to having furnished the parents with a Warlord gift list and the wife with an Amazon one. 

Here is what I got towards my various projects:

My Bolt Action British force got another chunk of infantry along with a medium mortar and MMG. This is good news as it means that force is well on its way to being a decent army - I already have a Sherman Firefly waiting to be painted so this will build it up nicely. 

Mr Germans recieved this little diamond:

A Pak40 75mm gun. I like this because it will give me the option to field a good anti tank gun without having to take a tank - something worth experimenting with. 

Final hobby present was this:

I alrady have the core rules and the Overlord book so getting this was a bonus. I think my move into 20mm WW2 will be a new year thing as got a bit much on at the moment and funds only stretch so far. 

Other presents included some various gift cards, cash, a radio control car (which is great fun chasing the four year old daughter around) and I treated myself to a 1600 piece Lego Tie-Fighter, which is taking some work. So overall, a good birthday was had. 

Hobby wise the first four Taliban will be done soon and other things are moving along so there should be a quite a few updates this month. As always, please give my facebook page A Cardboard Fortress a like.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Blood Bowl!!!!!!

As most do, I dropped out of the hobby around 18/19 years old as reali life began to assert itself with full time work, girls, beer, bills etc. I never truly lost touch (still picking up White Dwarf for example), but my actual participation in it was very minimal - I imagine I painted about 3 models in 7 years and didn't game at all. 

When I began to the slow return, my gateway drug was of course Games Workshop, and the first offering was Blood Bowl. A mate, Simon, and I picked up a copy and started playing. For us, it was the ultimate game for playing with a beer or two (or eight). Many games followed, but if died off a few years ago when my hobby took the parent hood hit. 

Anyway, the other day we dusted it all off and got our first game in for quite while:

We played our usual teams, I opted for my Skaven team, known as the Sewer Skutters, whilst Simon bought his Wissenland Wolverine human team out of retirement. Both these teams are arch rivals. We haven't kept an exact track but I think honours are roughly even over the years. The Skaven's speed often leads to two-turn touch downs, whilst Simon's humans can be quite good at squashing rats. 

Here is the table at the start of the game:

Simon was receiving and it was fair to say the dice were diabolical for him to start with. His thrower couldn't pick up the ball, all his blocks led to his guys falling over and it just went horribly wrong, leading to the Gutter Runners tearing through the lines, picking up the ball and making it 1-0. Here's the Gutter Runner receiving a handoff and about to score:

After that, his rolls got a little better and his chaps battered there way through the Skaven lines to leave it 1-1 at the end of the first half. 

At the start of the second half, the Skaven team received the kick off, but despite making a run for it, the gutter runners got smacked down, and Simon managed to turn it around and go 2-1 up:

The Skaven then got to receive the kick again. This time I managed to pull off a two turn touch down and even the score. You can see here that my team have made a hole and got three gutter runners through with plenty of support:

Getting at them would prove troublesome and marking/blocking all three is near impossible. Even when I am defending I try to get at least two gutter runners into the opponents half as they are dsitracting and can cause mayhem.

The last section of the game was a propper scrap. With Simon receiving he was able to batter a couple of my guys off the field and force his way into my half. I realised at this stage I was playing for a draw so used my speed to surround my his blitzer:

This left the whole fate of the game resting on a single roll. If he got a natural 6, his throw was accurate and he would just need a 2+ with a reroll to touchdown. To both our surprises, the dice came good for him when it mattered and he took the game 3-2!

The whole game was great fun, and I think it's fair to say the Blood Bowl bug has bitten again. It's a real shame that GW canned the whole specialist game range a few years ago as otherwise I would pick up another team in a heart beat. Oh well, I have already found a couple of alternate sources for teams that I think I will be investing in soon.

To keep up with all my Blood Bowl shennanigans, visit my facebook page: A Cardboard Fortress

Friday, 16 October 2015

A Few More Germans

A quick little blog post to tide things over, I have competed another half a dozen Germans:

This lot are split down the middle, three are a Warlord Games late war plastic Germans (now discontinued I think) and the other three are Artizan miniatures. The later three are metal and a joy to paint, really nice chunky details. Here they are in their own:

These three guys will allow to field three 10 man squads, or act us swap outs for my panzerfaust toting guys, if they ever actually get to fire them!

Pleased with them, seem to have cleared quite a bit of the Bolt Action back log of late.

As always, visit my face book page and give us a like: The Cardboard Fortress

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Empress Miniatures Taliban Review and WiP

I picked up several packs of stuff from Empresss Miniatures at Partizan the other month, and finally found the time to open up the Taliban packs. 

So first impressions. Lovely models. Mostly one part (only two came with loose arms). They are your usual white metal models, very solid with just enough give in them to bend back the odd warped weapon. The worst in this kit was the RPG guy, and that was nothing at all to worry about. 

Clean up wise, they had very little flash or mould lines. The biggest problem was on a couple of models the mould lines ran straight down the middle of the face. Not a big deal with a bit of patience but it's never the best place to have a mould line. They all cleaned up fine in the end. 

The poses are all fairly decent, you have your standard runners and firers, although there is nothing overly dramamtic or ridiculous. I like this, as I feel that it is generally more realistic for stuff routed in the real world. 

I have managed to get mine based and ready for painting, as you can see below. The only reason I have done these before the modern British troops I picked up at the same time is that these will be loads simpler to paint than a ton of camo:

I would certainly recommend Empress Mini's so far. Looking forward to getting these done and on the table. I shall be using them with the Force on Force rule set and shall, of course, let you all know how that works out. 

As always, drop by the facebook page: The Cardboard Fortress

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The British Arrive.

Those pesky British are finally done! 

Managed to finish up the basing on these guys last night (so pretty much a week late), and got some pics today. Pleased with how they all came out, and without further ado, onto the pictures:

Squad 1:

Squad 2:


Light mortar team:

And the Sniper team:

I'll be honest, none of them are going to win any painting competitions, they are strictly table top quality. That is fine with me though, becase with the limited hobby time I do get and how slow I am when I do paint, it's the only way to get an army ready. In any case, with 25 men done, it's a big step towards a full army. 

In putting them together I followed my normal basing conventions in that two man squads go on their own bases. 3 men and more will go on large, group bases. The squads are the traditional 10 men, with one LMG, NCO with SMG and rifles all round for the rest.

In terms of continuing this army, the only other unit I have is a Sherman Firefly. However, it's my birthday at the end of the month and both the parents and the wife have been provided with wish lists. They are not exclusively British (or even Bolt Action), but I imagine I'll get a few more units for this army. 

Got plenty in the painting queue at the moment, just can't see much time ahead for hobbying, so I apologise if the blog gets a bit irregular. 

As always, please drop by the facebook page: The Cardboard Fortress.

Thursday, 1 October 2015


This month I had a self imposed goal of building and painting a full box of the Warlord late war British Infantry. So that was 25 miniatures, all at 28mm scale in 30 days. This was actually quite a tall order for me as I am a slow painter at the best of times! But I gave it a good go.

There were times when it seemed possible but regrettably, I did not make it. The main reason was just that real life got in they way. A lost hour here and a missing evening there all added up to get in the way. What is worse is I only fell short by the narrowest of margins, the basing was all that needed doing. 

They currently stand at this stage:

The good news is that they should get done this weekend, which gets October off to a flying start. Once they are done, it shall be on to either some Germans, Taliban, tanks or Epic Imperial Guard? Choices, choices! Anyone any preferences? 

As always, please visit my Facebook page and give me a like. The Cardbaord Fortress

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Imperial Guard Command Squad

Just a small post to tide things over. I am still working hard to try to finish the whole box of Warlord British infantry in one month, which is my personal goal at the moment. It's still touch and go if I can make it in all honesty.

Anyone, in between Bolt Action and musing over new projects, I have been tidying up unfinished stuff. Part of the many half done minis on the shelves was a Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Command Squad. Started around two years ago as an attemp to reboot my interest in 40k, it failed, and two of the five minis have stood uncompleted since. The plan was to push my painting skills and also conversion skills - each mini is converted in some way, either poses, or custom torsos or both. They still didn't fire my imagination. 

Over the last week I dusted them down and finished off the officer and vox caster, which were the only two outstanding:

And here is the squad as a whole.

Apoloigies for the awful pics!

I am so out of touch with 4k that I am not even sure if the squad compisition is legal, but still, they are done. They will be added to the 6000 odd points of guard I have. I should sell them to generate funds, but I've made the mistake of selling stuff before then getting back into that very game and having to start all over again, so for now I shall keep them. If I ever need more cabinet space, then who knows, they may go, but for now they stay. 

More updates to follow soon. As always, stay tuned via my facebook page, The cardboard fortress

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

High Elves and Skaven

Despite my main focus being historical stuff at the moment, I still have a massive back log of Games Workshop models. In order to try to keep on top of the painting pile, and to justify buying new stuff, I like to clear some of these in between other things.

So this week I have caught up with a couple of items. First off were another five Skaven. These are from the Island of Blood set and are very quick and easy to do. I only did five as I find that number to be manageable as a side project. They are also a good illustration of how effective washes can be for a table top army. This is before the wash:

And after with the basing done:

I am a big user of washes simply for speed. These Skaven are literally base coats and a wash and done. Up close they look average, but a unit of 20 of them on the other side of the table looks the business.

Next up was High Elves. I had five archers done and added another five to bring them up to this state:

Again,  these are a relatively quick paint job but no washes and a few highlights to make them a bit better than the Skaven. High Elves are my "try harder" army so get a slightly better paint job.

It's another 10 models off the painting pile. I've developed a system recently of having four or five projects on the go at any one time. I like this as it seems to mean I am always close to finishing something, and gives me a steady stream of complete models. The Bolt Action British are the main block of these projects, but there are others overhead block as well that should feature soon.

As always, check out my facebook page: A Cardboard Fortress