Tuesday, 24 May 2016

28mm WW2 (Early War) German 'Commandeered' Supply Wagon - Col. Bills Display Piece

I've just finished painting and basing up this WW2 German piece. 

[Please excuse the photo's, I know they're hardly presented in a professional manner.]

It comprises the following parts: [LINKS to the Col. Bill webstore pages]
If any one wishes to tell me that I've painted the sidecaps the wrong colour, I'll put you in touch with Stu and he can tell you the story of me going around Partizan trying to find out what colour they should be - Or I can email the various (contradicting) pictures/photo's/guides/information that I've collected on the subject. To say I'm sick of the bloody things would be putting it lightly :)
[The majority of the side caps I've found pictures of are made from the same wool (colour) as the blouse, so I used that.]
Right. This was my first time painting horses. First time painting a MDF wagon. First time painting resin cargo pieces. First time painting a large multi-part group. First time I've had to base and paint, post-figure completion (I normally paint single figures so can base first). Anyway, you can get what I'm saying - I hadn't a clue how to go about painting up such a piece as this ... So, to be honest, it was a little daunting at times. 
Mistakes were made. Lessons learned. Hopefully the next wagon and crew will be easier to complete. 
Oh, if anyone's wondering about why I didn't base them with a grassy finish ...? Well, I was going to, but it sort of ended up being a dusty Mediterranean-look, instead. Operation Marita (the Axis Invasion of Allied Greece, 1941) saw the Germans still wearing early war stuff - thankfully!  

Why I included reins etc.: Because the model actually belongs to Colonel Bills and Stu likes to feature reins on the wagon models. They do look good, so I was happy to include them.
[Those in the know will probably spot that I've attached the reins to the rear part of the harness, which is in correct - they should be further to the front - I've used artistic license to make it look good, is the reason why I've done so.]
The 4Ground wagon doesn't actually feature a wagon seat, so I had to adapt and fit a seat from another 4Ground wagon for the purpose.
The cargo are a mix of Col. Bills and Ainsty. Stu didn't have any WW2 cargo pieces when he handed me the bits, so I said I could convert the piece he'd supplied me with - I made a (balsa wood) lid for the top crate, and covered up the black powder guns with tarpaulins (made from toilet paper, thread, and pva glue).
The horses were painted black so as to contrast with the wooden wagon and the green-ish uniform colour of the figures. To be honest, there is three layers of black on each horse model but unless looking at it very closely you can't tell ... So maybe it should be called a fail. Actually it should, as I've made a mess of the detail on the horses by using a shade wash (I used too much and it has resulted in air bubbles in places on the work) - Guess I won't be getting paid for the horses, then :)) 
Another reason why I left the base painted the colour it is, is due to the high contrast it creates with the miniatures. Extremely useful when you want people to look at the figures - At least that's what I'll argue if asked to change it (Please, Stu. Don't ask me to, attempt, repainting it.)
The cotton thread used to make the various reins actually wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. The only issue I had was attaching it to the driver on the seat, and making it (possibly) look like he is holding them correctly.
I have to say that painting the MDF wagons does actually look good. I primed white, undercoated brown (twice), then used a medium brown, finally painting on the wood grain effect using a lighter brown. It took a quite some time, but it looks good in my opinion. [Obviously this wagon is of a civilian pattern, probably commandeered, which is another reason why I went for the unpainted wood effect.] 
The various uniform identification and rank badges etc. are painted only to an approximation.
And, obviously, I didn't have a suitable backdrop to photo against. So please excuse the snow :D 
The Depot Battalion wagon crew set comes with a driver and a figure leading the horses. This being a display piece I've included both, whether this is right or not in actual practice is something that I'm happy to be advised upon.

A few WIP photo's
Yes, I painted the bottom of the wagon. Actually I did it to serve the purpose of seeing what another layer of paint would look like on the model ... I liked it, so it all got painted similar. Also, anyone using a mirror to look under the model can't say I've cut any corners! 


Saturday, 7 May 2016

I'm playing a Play-by-eMail RPG Historical Adventure Game - Agema's Swashbuckler - Turn #1

And now for something completely different!

I play, and have played since 1998, Play by Mail (though now email is also a method) wargames, roleplaying, and large campaign games, all run by Agema Publications.

Recently I decided that I'd like to take part in a 'quick-play' role-playing adventure game, set in the early 1700s as part of Agema's larger The Glory of Kings game.
Swashbuckler is a rpg adventure, that allows quite some choice in character creation and then freedom of choice for what the player wants to do. Agema's games are GM'ed by a full-time human-being, so plot-twists and spanners-in-the-works do feature regularly, keeping players on their toes and the games from growing stale.

There is also a fan-run forum for Agema's games, HERE.

There's also a three-page, "Full-size Preview" of Swashbuckler over on Wargame Vault which shows the rules books samples, and gives a good idea of the game. HERE's the link.

Anyway, here's my character sheet for the game of Swashbuckler
Character: Mister Bartholomew Yorke    
Game date: July 1706 
Location: at York (England) 
Type: Merchant 
Nationality: English 
Religion: Anglican 
Aptitudes: Persuasion. Civilised. Gallantry. 
Weakness: Temper
[Explanation: Aptitudes and Weaknesses are taken from a selection of choices in the game - a starting character begins with three aptitudes and one weakness.
My character, belonging to the merchant-class, starts with one of his aptitudes chosen for him; "Persuasion", this representing him being able to talk customers into buying something. I then chose "Civilised", which means that he is comfortable in towns and cities and knows how they function, and can get himself a shop-job on the side, if needed. Lastly, I chose "Gallantry", though this is a 'catch-all' term which, in this case, accounts for my character's sheer-bloody-mindedness that won't see him budge from the pursuit he has set himself.
The weakness is open for the player to choose, and I chose "Temper" as it was the choice that I best understood.]
Social Standing: Unheard of 
Money: 6 guineas 
Investments: none at present
Age: Born 1680
Character Description: (my brief summary of who my character is)
Aspirations to be a successful merchant adventurer, and then to return - but not before July 1708 - to the Traders & Brewers Society of York. 
During a heated, drunken argument at the Traders & Brewers Society of York, Bartholomew allowed his temper to get the better of him, asserted that not only was he the better merchant present, but that he would prove it by setting out with only the few coins he had on his person and would return, two years hence, to be judged on how much profit he had acquired.
The Shambles - York (today)
Front and Back to the Merchant Adventurer's Guild Hall - York (today)
Current situation: (the GM's opening plot-twist to my adventure)
Truth be told York does feel like a backwater for an aspiring merchant these days. There is no foreign trade offices here, and little to excite or provide opportunity. 
It is early in the morning, and what little possessions you have are packed in a humble hand-held small travelling trunk. Walking down the cobbled street of Meadlands you are heading for the World's End Inn, where you understand it is possible to catch a coach bound for just about anywhere in England.  
You are thus engaged in making ready to depart to find your fortune when you espy coming down the street behind you three roughs. Each is in an ill-temper and seems to know your name. You don't recognise them, but you can imagine a rival may have hired them, for as they approach you see each is brandishing a walking stick in the manner of a club, and the leading man - whose teeth such as he has them are black, and his face grimy, calls over, "I'll count to five, after that we're going to chase you down and throw you into the Ouse! One, two, three..."
Etching of the old Ouse Bridge, York, with shipping on the River Ouse

And that is where my work now begins. I have to provide the GM a brief paragraph of instructions, stating how I'm to deal with the immediate situation, and what, if I can, I would then like then to do should things prove successful. 

Each turn I can use up to two of my Aptitudes to try to aid my aims, and it is advised that I use my Weakness once every six turns - if I don't, the GM will force the weakness to erupt into a situation that will see my character do something that I hadn't considered. 

The game runs one turn every three weeks, or so, and costs £5.00. [This time frame is due to the fact that games of Swashbuckler are enveloped inside the larger game of The Glory of Kings, where players need to run a country and so need longer to complete their game turn.]

For the price (which, when you consider that UK minimum wage per hour is around £7.00, is good value) each player receives a game turn newspaper - which details both the Swashbuckler and The Glory of Kings game happenings - game maps where needed, and an updated character sheet featuring the character's stats, location details and role-play story. 

Game turns can be played via paper format, through the post - payment via cheque - or via email format, with payment going through PayPal.

What I'm going to do is serialise my rpg character's adventures on this blog, for you all to read and enjoy (plus it gives me something to do, not involving having to paint toy soldiers!)