Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 - New Beginnings

Churchill, the Big Man paints merrily away
As I mentioned in my last post, 2014 will be a year of new beginnings for me. New job, with the attendant reliable and decently sized income will be a big change for Laura and I. It'll be interesting also to see how full time teaching impacts on my hobby. Going by last term, I still managed to get a fair bit of painting and gaming in. That said, I envision report and assessment times being pretty hectic indeed.

So, while lots of my lucky Australian gaming friends are down in Canberra at CANCON, Australia's biggest wargaming show, I thought I should post a wrap-up of 2013 and my plans for 2014.

First off, in real life, 2013 was pretty momentous. I got married to Laura, the love of my life, in March, finished university in November and started teaching 'for real' in September! This year i'll be working full time (yay!), and officially graduating in June.

Last year saw me getting a load of gaming in, including a load of 'firsts.' It saw my first foray into WWII aerial wargaming with Bag the Hun 2, my first experience of play testing with the excellent Chain of Command rules, and running my first participation game at my first Australian war-games show, MOAB! I also got a bunch of games with the blokes at the local gaming group. Lots of WWII rapid fire-ish scale stuff using homebrew WWII  rules, as well as scratching the Napoleonic itch with a few games of Sharp Practice. As well as all of this, I caught the X-Wing bug and have played quite a few games of this excellent and fast little game.

For 2014, my plan is to keep this up. I'm going to check out the next meeting of the Central Coast Wargames club, which actually meets literally just down the road from me. I'll take my SAGA vikings down and hopefully get a chance to see what all the fuss is about this ruleset! I'm also looking forward to the Chain of Command campaign supplement, which Rich is currently furiously working away on. I'm planning on running a few campaigns, using 1940 French and Germans, as well as my Normandy British Infantry/Paras and 21st Panzer Division troops. Additionally, I've chatted with a few of the guys at the local gaming club who are keen to put on a model show this year. If it all goes to plan, we'll be putting on a few participation games as well, of Sharp Practice, some basic WWII 'introduction' rules for the kids, alongside Chain of Command - kind of a mini war-games show on the NSW Central Coast.

With the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I'm also planning on running a Chain of Command campaign around the landings on Omaha and the battles inland around St Laurent-sur-Mer, and another around the Airborne bridgehead across the Orne.

Last year saw me finish of a fair amount of painting. I finished some little 1/300 aircraft for BTH2, added more bits to my 20mm Normandy British platoon, finished a 21st Panzer division panzer grenadier platoon along with a load of armour and support options, and painted up a British Airborne platoon along with a bunch more support options. I've also finished quite a bit of terrain, including a scratch built Chateau St. Come. Finally, I finished off a few more units of figures for Sharp Practice, so all in all a very productive year for me. In case you haven't noticed, i'm not one of those painters who finish of thousands of figures, so the 200 odd figures and 30 or so vehicles I completed actually mark the most productive painting year i've ever had! So i'm well chuffed. :) I also got a large display cabinet, which I was surprised to find is already almost full of painted figures!

For the coming year, i've got a few projects. I've actually joined the Guild's annual build competition, and am going to be enlisting in the Toofatlardies painting campaign over on Vis Lardia Online. For my Birthday and Christmas I scored a load of lead, some books and an airbrush and compressor. I've been experimenting with the airbrush, which is great for painting armour and which i'm hoping to use to paint 28mm horses, which I find almost unbearably unpleasant to paint by hand for some unknown reason. Probably because it takes almost as long as a figure and well... it's only a horse! Hopefully airbrush will allow me to paint them up in batches quickly.

So, for 2014 my admittedly rather ambitious planned projects are as follows - 20mm stuff is in roughly chronological order, the rest will doubtless be interspersed throughout. Please hold your laughter till the end. :)

20mm 1940 French and Germans for Chain of Command

For this project, i'll be painting up a platoon a piece for these troops along with a load of support. For the French, I've a full platoon of motorised dragoons along with their trucks, a motorcycle combination squad mounted and dismounted, Panhard armoured cars, SOMUA medium tanks, some more Hotchkiss tanks, a team each for 25mm AT gun, hotchkiss machine-gun, 60mm mortar, and a 47mm AT gun, even a Char B1 bis. I'd also love to add some Renault R-35s, a Latil staff car, and an FCM-36 or two. Figures are mostly the excellent Early War Miniatures, with a smattering of Battlefield. Armour and vehicles are all EWM, bar two plastic S-Models Hotchkiss H-39s.

For the Germans, i've got the full infantry platoon along with a raft of Panzers I thru IV (the Pz IV will be a conversion from a Panzer IVH - my first conversion), Krupp trucks, SdKfz 222s etc. I'll undoubtedly add more support to this force. For the Jerries I'll be using a mix of figures from Battlefield, Kelly's Heroes, and Elheim. The vehicles are again a grab bag from S-Models, MMS, Dragon, ICM, Pegasus and the single PSC Panzer IV conversion.

20mm D-Day US 29th Division Platoon for Chain of Command

I've just managed to pick up a platoon's worth of the 20mm Battlefield 'Bloody Omaha' Americans. These figures are long out of production, and are rarer than hen's teeth. The figures are kitted out for the landing, including some superb little dioramas of wounded men, medics, bangalore teams, etc. On the way are a full platoon along with a load of support options - a flamethrower team, medics, wire-cutting team, .30cal teams, a 60mm mortar alongside some of the little vignettes.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on them, and have dug out a Britannia DD Sherman which i'll paint up from 741st Tank Battalion, and of course i'll have to get a Britannia LCVP or two. This is a little bit of a side project, but i've always loved these figures, and with the 70th anniversary of D-Day now is the perfect time! I'll eventually add some more support options to let the yanks of the 29th Blue and Grey division battle through the bocage towards St. Lo.

20mm Russian Platoon for Chain of Command

This is another side project. I'll be trying out the 'super fast Soviets' method Piers Brand posted over on the guild to paint up a platoon of Plastic Soldier Russians leavened with some of the excellent Elheim figures. These guys also have a few PSC T-34s and a Dragon  waiting in the painting queue, and the recently released T-35 from S-Models is impractical but utterly irresistible!

I'll probably add some T-26s from S-Models too to so my 1940 Germans can head east.

20mm Late War Germans

I've a load of vehicles to finish off for my Germans. A couple of Dragon Tiger Is, alongside an SdKfz 234/1 Armoured car, a Marder I, and more crazy 21st Panzer Division vehicles. Also, there'll be some more crew, as well as an 8 man recce team to go with the S&S models SdKfz 250/1 'neu' halftracks i painted up last year. I'll also need a one or two more MG34 teams for the Omaha project.

20mm Terrain

Bunker above St-Laurent draw, Omaha Beach
I'm planning on expanding my collection of buildings to allow me to play some FIBUA battles. These will be a combination of scratch builds, and some of the goodies from Jens at, including the excellent Café Gondrée. Along with the rumoured Pegasus Bridge model coming from Will at Plastic Soldier Company this will fill a gap in my collection and enable me to game this iconic battle. Also, with the US D-Day troops, i'm planning on doing an Omaha beach terrain board. I already have one 2"x2" beach board which I made as part of my Riva-Bella casino board years ago, so i'd add another so i can have a 4" wide board leading from the surf up to the bluffs, probably around the Les Moulins draw in the 116th Regimental Combat Team's sector. Alongside this, i'll probably add some trees, probably some  conifer looking types for east front scenarios, as well as perhaps some of the pegasus models Russian farmhouses.

28mm SAGA Vikings

Add another 2 points of troops to my viking war band to bring it up to 6 points. Another 4 man hirdman unit and a unit of thrall archers should do it.

28mm SAGA Norman Warband

Start and finish my 4 point Norman warband, and add another 2 points of troops - probably dismounted milites and another unit of mounted milites. Hopefully aided by my yet-to-be-discovered super speedy method of airbrushing horses.

28mm SAGA Byzantine Warband

Oh, yeah, and I got a 4 point Byzantine warband for Christmas, so this will be getting a similar treatment, again aided by a spectacularly fast, easy and effective airbrushing technique for painting horses. :)

28mm Minden Seven Years' War Prussians and Austrians

Ok, so I also got a copy of Maurice for my birthday. And a load of the beautiful Minden Seven Years' War figures. Musketeers, Grenadiers, Light infantry, Cavalry. It's all there, and is in the painting line. Ideally, I'd love to finish at least 24 figure unit for both the Prussians and the Austrians. It would be fantastic to finish more! As a side note to this, I've joined the Ebor kick-starter for Great Northern War Swedes, so will be receiving a boatload of Swedes at some stage this year. 2015 might be shaping up to be the year of the Maurice projects.

1/300 1940 RAF/Luftwaffe/Armee de l'Air Aircraft

Finally, I want to build up my Bag The Hun 2 forces, at the very least adding another flight of Hurricanes, a couple of Spitfires, and another of 109s. Oh, and some Dorniers. And some Stukas. And you really need a Heinkel or two, don't you. And the Boulton-Paul Defiant is pretty unique. Then there's the French... Figures are all from Heroics & Ros

So, there you have it. It's really very ambitious for me, but I figure if I remain relatively disciplined and avoid the dreaded wargamer lurgi, the symptom of which is crying 'oh look, those (insert obscure conflict here)  figures are very nice. I really do need them don't I....

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!
Early War Miniatures French wait patiently for some paint


  1. A big year indeed! Congratulations on marriage, degree and job. Now the really hard work begins! ;-)

  2. Congratulations and all the best.

  3. Great stuff Ben! I'd be interested in learning more about the Model Show - I'd like to check to check out Chain of Command. Cheers, Jeremy

    1. Thanks Jeremy. It's all pie-in-the-sky stuff as yet, but I'll keep you posted!

  4. As a new teacher you have not got a hope to get all of these projects done unless you can form a painting club at school and get the lads and lasses to do them all for you, hehehe, good luck and gald to see you back in the blogosphere. Looking forward to more CoC, too.

    cheers chris

    1. Haha, yeah, just one week in and i'm discovering that. Still, I managed to put brush to figure for the first time this week this afternoon!
      How was CANCON? Would have loved to have made it but this year real life intervened!