Posts Tagged '28mm'

A Long Overdue Update & Plans for 2013

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s been a long time since I updated this blog.  As usual, there are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. Life has been busy.  My work got very busy in the second half of 2012 and I spent a lot of time working out of town.  Naturally this had a negative effect on my hobby time.  I also had some family health issues to deal with as well.
  2. What hobby time I have had has mostly been spent working on non-historical projects.  I picked up a copy of Warhammer 40K last summer and found a new (to me) local game store that had a healthy GW gaming crowd that had a vibe I liked.  As a result, I’ve spent most of my hobby time painting up a Tau army for Warhammer 40K.  I’ve started a separate blog covering my GW-related activities.  If you’re interested, you can check it out here.
  3. When I’ve had hobby time, I’ve been spending it on painting versus writing.  I joined Twitter last year and spend more time writing short updates there.  I find the short-form micro-blogging that Twitter allows for is something I can keep up with much easier.  If you’re curious, my Twitter handle is @GreatRedoubt.  I talk about both GW & historical gaming there.  I haven’t found too man historical miniatures gamers on Twitter so my content & timeline skews towards the GW crowd.

I’ve enjoyed the break from painting Napoleonics figures.  While I would still love to build armies and play games with large blocks of 28mm Napoleonics, it’s not a short-term project for me, especially without at least one other committed partner.  In the meantime, I’m looking at starting at least one short-term, smaller project to break up the painting production line.

The main project I’m starting is 28mm WWII.  I recently bought some figures during some end-of-year closeout sales and am looking at a doing some low-level skirmishing.  I know, 28mm probably isn’t the preferred scale for this period, but I like the character and dynamism that figures from companies like Artizan, Crusader & Warlord (among others) bring, and I’m already committed to doing some 28mm terrain to play on, so the thought of having to duplicate a lot of it in 10/15/20mm scale is not appealing to me.

I’m starting with 1939 in Poland.  I have a few squads of Polish infantry and early German infantry on order, and eventually I’ll add some smaller tanks and supporting vehicles.   While the Polish campaign was over relatively quickly, the Poles put up as much of a fight as they could, and the combat at the tactical level was not as lopsided as some gamers may think.  The Germans had yet to perfect their tactics, so at a tactical level the two armies were probably closer in skill level than, say, the Germans and Russians were in 1941.  Both armies used the Mauser rifle as their main squad weapon, with the Germans having a distinct advantage in squad MG (the MG34, with it’s high rate of fire) versus the Polish BAR.

I’m looking at games with maybe around a platoon per side.  This keeps things small which means I can get game-able forces painted up faster as well as provide both sides without breaking the bank.  I think a number of the Warhammer 40K players may be interested in trying something like this, along with some of the historical miniature players in two.

The nice thing about skirmish gaming is that basing & organizations are the same across rules sets, so I will be able to try out and potentially play a number of different rules sets.

Current candidates include:

  • Bolt Action – This is the new ‘it-rules’ for WWII put out by Warlord Games & Osprey publishing.  I have yet to pick up a set but plan to do so soon.  I suspect this rules set may be one of the easier crossover games for GW players to pick up.
  • Disposable Heroes – I’ve played this before and it can put out a fun, if sometimes bloody, game.
  • Rate of Fire – These rules from Crusader Publishing look relatively simple while still being fairly ‘historical’.
  • Force on Force – These rules from Ambush Alley Games would probably put out the most ‘realistic’ game, but it’s a bit complex for novices.  I’d love to try it but it might be a harder sell among the local crowd.  I have the pre-Osprey edition of FoF that still had the WWII rules included.  A new, updated WWII version of FoF will come out eventually, but not until Bolt Action (another Osprey product) will have had a good head start from what I’ve read.

Over time if I keep on enjoying myself, the project will move into later periods of the war.  I just don’t want to have games that are wall-to-wall panzers, so early war seems like a smarter place to start.

Beyond WWII I’d be interested in other 28mm projects, whether it’s ancients (WAB or similar), Dark Ages (Saga) or horse & musket. We’ll have to see how things progress as the year goes on, and who I find to game with.

Well, that’s enough blathering for now.  I hope that 2013 is a good year for you and your gaming projects, and I hope to keep this blog more up-to-date as well.



A Fresh Start

After another long break I’m trying to climb back into the saddle again.  I started a new career last fall, and while that has been a very good thing it has meant a huge learning curve both for me and for my family as we all adjust to a new lifestyle.  Painting and gaming took a back seat throughout the winter because of that.   Now that we are all starting to adjust to the new normal I’ve started getting the urge to get back into the hobby.

One of the local groups is scheduling a 28mm Napoleonic battle this summer, and especially since it’s been moved back to the end of summer I’m taking a stab at contributing troops for it.  Russians, of course.  I have my old Sash & Saber musketeers that I’ve stripped down and started again.  Those poor SOB’s are probably terrified of the pickle jar filled with Simple Green by now.

After thinking about things for a while I’m abandoning my usual black-prime-and-layer-up approach and going back to white priming this batch.  I love the look of the dark figures but I’ve never had good luck building up bright colors like reds and yellows over a dark undercoat.  I know it can be done but I lack the patience to do all of the successive layers needed to build up the base and, frankly, I don’t have the time needed to build up several hundred figures in such a style anymore.  Life is way too busy.  So, I’m going back to priming white, blocking in the basic colors and I’ll be trying the ‘dip’ method, using Minwax polyshades Tudor to give instant shading and definition to the paint jobs.  Since I’ll be using the dip to get the shadow/undertones, I’m blocking in fairly bright colors for my main layer of paint.  For instance I’m using GW Elf Flesh as the base tone for the skin and hopefully I won’t have to do any highlighting after the dip is applied.  I’ll probably do some post-dip highlighting for the metallics and possible jackets to bring out some definition but I’m trying to keep that to a minimum.  The object is to get serviceable figures cranked out in a reasonable amount of time, not create works of art.

Another change is that I’m backing off of using my optivisor for most of the painting.  The figures being made today have amazing amounts of details, and while using the optivisor I saw all of them and felt the need to paint all of them even if I’d have a hard time seeing them without the magnification.  This way lies madness, so I’m currently just using my normal glasses and painting what I can.  A three feet away I doubt I’ll notice much of a difference.  The net effect of this is that my painting time is increasing… or at least it feels that way.

I’ll post some pics when I have something completed.  I’m working on the first batch of 24 now, experimenting with colors and techniques as I go.  I have two units of 24 Sash & Saber musketeers at home and by the time I’m done with them the new Perry plastic Russians should be available.  They are slated to go on sale in late April.  I like that they give you the option of the pre-kiwer shakos since that’s what many of the troops that fought in 1812 & 1813 wore.


Changing Things Up

The one constant in life is change, and as such my hobby projects have changed a bit over the last month or so.   I’m currently working on some 28MM projects and am enjoying the process of relearning how to properly paint the larger figures again.

First up are some 28mm Perry French Dragoons I’ve had lying around for awhile.   I’ve got 13 of them about half-completed already with another 13 awaiting assembly.  The Perry brothers make some very nice figures and these are definitely among them.  It’s a little more putzy work assembling the figures, but cleaning them up is much easier, so it’s a trade-off in my mind.

Next, I’ve committed to some 28mm ACW figures for a local project getting up steam and will be painting up a brigade of Louisiana Infantry for an 1862 game to be held sometime next year.  I’ve already bought a box of Perry plastic zouaves to be done up as Coppens’ Zouave Battalion and have a few skirmishers in the works as well.  I’ll be ordering more infantry over the course of the summer since the target date for this project is next year to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the battles of that year.

I’ll post some pictures as time permits.

28mm Sash & Saber Napoleonic Russian Infantry

I was farting around with our new 12 Megapixel digital camera today and took a few snaps of a sample 28mm Russian Musketeer from Sash & Saber.    I love the goose stepping pose.  It’s a shame S&S are not adding to this range of figures… or shall I say not adding very fast.  They have some great poses and they paint up nice.

Sash & Saber 28mm Russian Infantryman

I’ve been trying out different painting techniques with the 28s since there are different problems you hit when you’re painting the larger figures.  The biggest change is the large expanses of solid color that I personally find hard to deal with having spent most of my gaming history painting smaller-scale figures.

Overall I’m happy with the paint job but the white trousers are terrible.  I put several layers of white on trying to find a nice shading technique that still looked natural.  In my opinion I failed.  The trousers look uneven and messy.  This poor fellow is probably destined for a bath in Simple Green and repainting but I thought I’d share this anyway.    Consider it a taster for the 28mm Napoleonic project I hope to start in earnest some time in 2010.

There’s a few shots at my Photobucket library.

Some Quick Math Regarding 28mm Napoleonic Games

I was stuck in a meeting at work this morning that was ‘mandatory’ yet had little that required either my input or my attention.   I started daydreaming a bit about 28mm Napoleonic again.   I’ve made the decision that this is something I really want to do… now the question is exactly what I want to do.   One thing I want for sure is larger battalions.  I’d rather have fewer large units rather than lots of smaller ones.  Right now I’m aiming at 1:20, though I’ve also been looking at even larger units just for fun for some really tactical stuff.   When all is said & done I will probably look a fairly generic basing scheme so the figures can be used for multiple ratios and rules sets without too much trouble.

Having decided on that, I took some time in this morning’s meeting to do some quick math about how much space units will take up on the table.  I’m interested in having more manuevering room on the table for most games, so trying to figure out how many units is enough was a mathematical exercise I decided to waste some brain cycles on while the presenter droned on in the background.   To get inspired for 28mm Napoleonics I’ve been digging through my archives of old wargaming magazines for articles by Peter Gilder and others from that generation.  I found the first half of Mr. Gilder’s series on setting up a refight of Leipzig from Miniature Wargames #4  (I’m missing #5… if anyone has a copy they’re willing to sell or will make a copy of the second half of Gilder’s article, please contact me).  One of the nuggets Gilder wrote about was the optimal number of troops per foot on the table.  In his mind, somewhere between 50 and 100 troops per linear foot of table width was a good number, with 50 being on the very low side and 100 being the maximum.  Keeping in mind that he wrote this with 25mm figures and with his rules (“In the Grand Manner”) and their particular idiosyncracies, I did some quick math.

Right now I have an eight foot table at home.  This will grow eventually, for I’m finding that eight feet of width isn’t enough for the games I want to run in 15mm scale let alone 28’s.  For now though, I have 96 inches of table width.  Using Mr. Gilder’s calculations, here’s what I came up with.  For these calculations I was using a standard 1:20 French infantry battalion of 36 figures. 

  • Using 50 troops per linear foot, each side can place about 10-11 battalions on the table.  
  • Using 75 troops per linear foot, the number goes up to 16.
  • Using 100 troops per linear foot we hit 22 battalions.

These are obvously rough numbers and don’t account for cavalry or artillery, but it’s interesting to see what the general guidelines are, especially considering that for the larger scenarios Mr. Gilder ran, each ‘corps’ of infantry would be somewhere in the 12-14 battalion range.  

I like the tightly-packed look for Napoleonic line infantry, so using the traditional 15mm frontage per infantry figure, I did some quick math on various unit sizings as well.   

  • At 1:20, a standard French battalion will be 36 figures in two ranks.  At 15mm frontage, a battalion will take up around 10.5-11 inches in line and 3.5 inches frontage in attack column.
  • Jumping up to a 1:15 ratio, the battalion increases to 48 figures.  Now a battalion takes up around 15 inches in line and around 5 inches in attack column.
  • Finally, hitting the 1:10 ratio that Jim Purky is looking at for his Napoleonic variant of BAR, if you stay in two ranks you’re looking at around 22 inches for a unit in line and 7.5 inches in attack column.  I’m assuming DAF will stick with three ranks for his units, so the frontages will be closer to the 1:15 ratio numbers above.

This was nothing more than a simple math exercise to try and get a handle around unit sizes and how many will comfortably fit on a table.   If nothing else, it will give me some things to think about as I plan for the project ahead.

On the Painting Table

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