Wednesday 30 December 2015

At Year's End


Many of our fellow bloggers take these days before the New Year to reflect upon 2015's hobby activities. I'd like to do the same. Two years ago I started to take notes on the amount of figures painted this year and so I will be able to supply at least a few numbers to support my statements.
Let's break this post up in two parts: events and games played on the one side and figures painted on the other.

Events and Games:

This year I managed to visit 2 of the 4 Ducosim conventions in Amersfoort. They are helt quarterly and have a major point of gravity towards board- and cardgames but a fair amount of wargamers attending as well. These mostly participate in tournaments organised by clubs and as such use the venue of the Ducosim to get together. Tournaments include X-wing, Warmachine/ Hordes, FoW and 40K. I myself have once played a, non-tournament, game of X-wing on the first and a Fistful of Kung-fu on the last occasion and enjoyed them both.

The biggest treat each year must be the Crisis Convention in Antwerp around November 7th. I usually attend accompanied by my brother and 2015 was no exception. This year I totally went overboard on spending compared to earlier years as I also resubscribed on WI at the convention. All in all a great visit to an even greater show.

Now I would have liked to attend more shows but that was just not in the books. For 2016 I have booked for the Poldercon and IMPACT conventions as well and hope to be able to attend those as well, even though Life has been know to throw a spanner in the works on occasion.

Anyway, my other gaming activities have been on a slow burner as far as wargaming is concerned. There are just about no wargamers locally here as far as I am aware and my regular gaming buddy Mark and I have been trying to get a regular gaming night off the ground (for the 7th year running) and while we managed to meet up far more often than last year we almost exclusively played card and boardgames like Homeland, Space trucker and Hanabi. We got in some games of X-wing and two testers of a Fistful of Kung-fu but that's it. So there's a New Year's resolution if ever I've seen one: get more games under my belt.

Figures Painted:

Ok so let me put the numbers down in no particular order here and let you judge by yourself whether the year was productive at all.

1) The big winner must be my Napoleonics with a wopping 172 figures painted
2) 7YW: 65
3) 28mm Victoriana: 27 (including 3 carriages)
4) Terrain pieces: 28
5) Great War: 16
6) WW2: 16
7) 28mm Historical figures: 12
8) Classic Battletech mini's: 8
9) 28mm Barsoom: 12
10) Fantasy: 15
11) Sci-Fi: 5
12) Star Wars vehicles: 30
13) Star Wars West End Games: 13
14) Colonial Figures: 14
15) 1:72 Samurai: 6
16) 15mm CW mini': 25

If I have counted correctly this brings me to a grand total of 464 painted miniatures and therein we find another resolution: paint 500 in 2016.

Currently I am pretty heavily engaged in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (or AHPC for short from now on) and will probably crank up my starting figures-count for 2016 pretty much. That said I did suffer from a painters burn out after last years Challenge ended so I will have to take care this year. My second post for the Challenge is up showing some more 7YW miniatures and that has put me in 6th place at the time of writing so I aim to end up within the top 15 again this year. I have no idea if I will manage this but hey it's all for the fun of it!

All the best wishes and take care for 2016

See you next year!

Monday 28 December 2015

Somewhere in the desert...


In my post on Crisis 2015 in Antwerp, I commented that I had been given some adobe buildings made by Johan. These were part of a deal in which I gave him some bitz he needed and he made me some scenery I cannot make myself. The only thing needed is some paint.

The buildings before painting:

The buildings are made of plastic-card, foam-core and lots of bobs and bits, but they really do look the part up close. They are also very versatile in that they can be used for a huge range of different periods and even worlds as I guess they could double as Tatooine's Mos Eisley at a pinch as well.

The smaller buildings can be added to the large square one in order to create a bigger storey building or change the look of the place. I think the amount is just right. More buildings will clutter the tabletop too much and less buildings would not feel like a true village. I still have Italeri's big Arabian house lying around to build and that would be a great addition as well.

After painting was done the result is this:

The big square building has a more elaborate door-frame, with the dome added, it could function as a Mosque or rich person's dwelling. Therefore I decided to give the frame a bit more colour by painting it like it had patterned tiles surrounding the door itself. The inspiration was this picture:

The building without any of the additions:

A close up of the door-frame:

With the additions:

When time permits (and it doesn't) I will add small walls, awnings and other stuff to make it look more like a village. I am looking for cheap palm trees though, can't seem to find any over here. I have looked at aquarium plants: way TOO expensive, cake decoration firms: they don't sell them nor do they have columns for that matter, so I am a bit hampered in this regard. All in all a great set of brilliant little buildings so thanks Johan!

Cheers Sander

Saturday 26 December 2015

The last day of Christmas...


As promised, I will share one more Christmas song today. Also my first Challenge post is up on the Challenge blog so go over and have a look. The other contenders have brilliant contributions as well.

Cheers Sander

Friday 25 December 2015

Some more festive music!

And here's part II

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday 23 December 2015

A very Merry Christmas!


This year I'd like to share a nice Christmas song each Christmas day with you all. Since tomorrow I will not be able to put something up here I'll do tomorrows post now. All 3 songs will be by the Longest Johns

and here's the first:

Cheers Sander

Monday 21 December 2015

And we're off!


Well the 6th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has started as of yesterday. I had a bumpy start because of a violent stomachache, I had eaten something disagreeable I fear and have been ferrying between bed and toilet so little actual painting has been going on so far.

Last year's challenge has learned me a few things. First off it helps to set a few personal goals. Last year I had only 2: reach my target amount of points and participate in all bonus rounds. The latter goal has cost me quite a lot of time, so I re-thaught that point now.I will only participate when possible in my painting schedule and if I have appropriate models lying around.

The doyens of the hobby like mr Docherty have shown me this is the opportunity to paint large scale projects like he did last year with his Sudan project. So I have now started to prepare my WW1 kakhi project. All the models I could possibly find that can be primed with a Kakhi primer will be done in said colour and than painted for the cabinets. The picture below will show you quite a lot of my WW1 figures, some Napoleonics and my newest pet project 28mm vikings (they are on the blue plastic box in the background).

Some of the best miniatures I will paint in this challenge will be my newest finds: some CBT battlemechs under which an Unseen Crusader and Phoenix Hawk which I have always wanted to have but only just recently stumbled along on ebay. I have no idea what colourscheme to paint them in yet but have some time to figure that out yet.

For the "nostalgic" bonus round I have prepped some of my oldest 1:72 miniatures to whit some Matchbox Germans and some Revell 8th Army soldiers and look forward to painting them as well.

So lots of painting mayhem the coming days over!

That said all the challenge posts will have to be put up on the Challenge blog first and therefore the amount of posts over here will be a bit less frequent than usual.

Cheerio and see you in the lists!

Sunday 13 December 2015

White metal galore!


Some time ago I bought a few 1:72 white metal figures sets. I totally forgot about these and as such have not posted on them here. Since I am still preparing stuff for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge like mad, I stumbled along them and thought I'd put some stuff up here.

Firstly I bought some Dutch and Belgian Napoleonic Carabineers, 95th Rifles and miscellaneous characters from Hagen Miniatures.  I like the poses a lot and specially the Carabineers have loads of separate weapons and arms making them very customizable indeed. Sadly quite a lot of plumes were broken during transport, but that happens.

I have painted some of the Belgians up as testers since they are sold in 5 packs for the troopers and a separate command pack of officer and trumpeter. My cavalry units are 10 man strong and so I was left with some extra's and they make great testers.

Next up are some Franznap figures. I bought the General Lasalle with ADC and Davout besides some French artillery sets from them and they are really great although a bit on the fiddly side.

I am still pondering how to base these and what other figures to include on the command bases.

Oh well I will think of something I am sure.

Monday 30 November 2015

A review of sorts


It's about time I posted something to the blog again. Sadly no real painting work has taken place yet, I am preparing stuff for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge and doing some work for terrain. More on that later.

Last month I had the chance to get 3 different wargaming magazines and thought I'd compare them here rather than do an issue review. Both WSS and WI are in my possession due to the fact that I am a subscriber and I was lucky enough to buy the Miniature Wargames at a W.H. Smith's in Oxford while visiting with school.

Let's start with WSS. I have been a subscriber ever since I met it's managing director mister Oorthuys. He's passionate for the hobby and all the Karawansaray publications and his enthusiasm is catching. Mr Oorthuys is also one of the main organisers behind the new Dutch convention Poldercon which I will be attending in February. What I specially like about WSS is the diversity of the subjects in the articles.
The magazine covers a huge lot of periods and conflicts including quite a lot of the smaller wars and skirmishes as well as about all and any rulesets known under the stars. Another great feature are the miniature reviews. There is a section on new figures and a separate one on figures to go with the magazines monthly theme. That said, quite a lot of it's content is also dedicated to articles written by leading figures of the hobby community. And while I like to read the ideas of these great men and women, but what I am a bit weary of is all the talk about "the state of the hobby".
Why do I not like these kind of articles? Well for me a magazine is pretty much a source of inspiration for my own painting, modelling and gaming. I like to see what other people have made, what games they play and most importantly: HOW they have played them. There are far too few battle reports in any of the magazines nowadays if you ask me. I do like reading one's take on how the hobby has evolved, but I like to talk to others about it more than to read about it. An article about how brick and mortar stores are closing down due to the growth of online shops or something similar is far less useful to me when it's a one sided written word compared to a conversation with flesh and bone people. Anyway some more of the great existing articles like batreps and modelling features and less babbling would be great.

Now on to WI. I have been reading Wargames Illustrated for about 7 years now I guess. I have seen the big change of publisher come and go and was just as worried as everyone else that Battlefront was going to turn WI into their version of White Dwarf: a FoW propaganda mag. This did seem to be the case for the first few issues but I think they became wiser and have now found a decent mix of Flames of War (and all it's offspins) and other games. When comparing all 3 magazines, WI is the most trend or hype sensitive. They work closely with some of the "big boys" of the hobby and as a result some of the smaller firms and games are a bit under represented. Yet this is not that big an issue to me, I buy the magazine specially for these kind of articles to keep me updated of all kind of stuff from the mainstream hobby. Just like WSS every month a theme is picked to be covered by a large portion of the magazine's articles. These can sometimes be a bit repetitive, meaning that the bigger conflicts get more and recurring coverage.

Now Miniature Wargames is the last to be reviewed here and possibly the hardest to get my mind round. It has everything a good wargames magazine should have, loads of nice eye-candy, great names writing good articles and quite a lot of diversity in subjects handled. Yet even so it alludes me why I do not like the "feel" of the magazine as much as the other two. Possibly it's because a lot of the content is primarily "British" oriented. But that shouldn't be a problem to me since I am every bit the Anglophile...hmm so what is it? I really like mister Hyde's writing style and the other contributors are pretty good as well. I really cannot put my finger on it.

So what is the conclusion of this review of sorts? Well I have re-subscribed to WI at the last Crisis convention so will be doing that in the foreseeable future anyway, yet will I remain with WSS or try MW to give it a try? I have no idea really. Time will tell.

Cheers Sander

Listening to: 

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Run Forest Run!


Momentarily I am very busy with "real life related stuff" and am not able to get anywhere on the hobby-front. I did enter the 6th Analogue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge and will try to post on that soon.

Cheers Sander

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Lest We Forget!


It will not have escaped your notice that it's November 11th today. Here in the south of the Netherlands is the start of the Carnival season and as such steeped in mirth, booze and dancing people.
Yet this post is about remembrance. A few weeks ago I was in the UK with school as we visited Oxford and environs. The media were full of the "poppy" discussion, I wear one too, this is odd in the Netherlands because we were not involved in the Great War and many people do not understand. Well I teach history and if I can get pupils interested in the how and why of remembrance and keeping those who gave their lives for us alive in any small way I will.
So yes I wear a poppy (an enamel one bought in Ypres some years ago since you cannot get one here) to think of all those who have fallen, NOT because I am a warmonger or militarist. Wargamers are often accused of being fond of war and bloodshed, yet I think that warGAMING is a game in the first place and learning about history second. The latter also gives us a pretty good picture of just how gruesome war and battlefields are and thus we tend to look for peaceful solutions in real life. Like throwing dice to solve them ;-)

In the Netherlands we have Memorial day on May the Forth and Liberation Day on May the Fifth. At first these were to commemorate the Fallen from WW2 and to celebrate our liberation by the Allies. At present, in letter at least we commemorate all Fallen in armed conflicts since 1939, but in truth the emphasis is still pretty much on WW2.

The poppies below grew in our garden in late summer this year and are amongst my favourite flowers. In about two weeks I will take along 122 pupils to Ypres and Tyne Cot and show them just what War leads to and hope they will feel a bit moved at least and stand still to think about sacrifices made back through the last 100 years for our freedom now.

So Lest We Forget!

Listening to:

Sunday 8 November 2015

Crisis Report!


As said earlier; I have visited the Crisis Convention in Antwerp yesterday and it was a blast! We, as in my brother and me, arrived around 11.18hrs and went at it straight away. I had pre-ordered at about 4 different stores and so I was spared a lot of frenzied searching for the stuff I absolutely wanted to get. First up was Wargames Foundry where I bought their 2 Victorian Cyclists blister, the Chinese Tongs, 2 packs of Vikings and some Old West Townsfolk usable as Victorians as well. Due the fact I bought 6 packs I was awarded the Free Napoleon crossing the Alps figure jaaaay! Next came Annie (a.k.a the Dice Bag Lady) and boy how charming she is, a true pleasure to deal with. I bought her shieldmaidens and...yup I caved in again...the Frostgrave rulebook. Then I went up to Stronghold Terrain and Brother Vini's to get more Vikings; more specifically the main characters from the Vikings TV series.

I resubscribed at the WI stand and gained their 2 free miniatures to whit Simon the Montfort and Prince Edward.
At the bring and buy I obtained a copy of the FASA book "The Kell Hounds" I had been searching for it for years but wasn't prepared to pay the prices asked on Ebay in excess of $50,- I got it for €5,- me happy!

Johan from 20mm and then some made me 5 adobe buildings to be used with my 1:72 figures or at a pinch my 25mm Star Wars figures. They're great and deserve a post of their own so that will be forthcoming.

To top everything off I got a scenario book and Wargamers annual (2013) from Calliver books and a Gotrek and Felix audiobook from a friend. My brother and me made some pictures but most of them were overbalanced or unfocussed so here are the ones that did work out ok.

A very nice Congo table:

A brilliant Dystopian War table:

One of the tables I liked the best for sheer care of details and groundwork is this Arnhem table:

A table that certainly caught the eye was this large scale Napoleonic game:

This Dust table had incredibly well detailed terrain was very atmospheric, one would almost be tempted to start playing it.

Among some of the people I've met yesterday were some who I hadn't been able to see in the flesh before.
The Perry Twins attended the convention doing what they do best: make brilliant miniatures, in this case Colonial Infantry.

I also met up with Stefan from Monty's Caravan, a thoroughly decent and funny chap indeed!

The most important picture is, of course, saved for last, the loot:

I had a very good time indeed and can't wait to go next year!

Cheers Sander

Listening to:

Saturday 7 November 2015

Crisis, here I come!


Today's the day of the nicest convention this side of the Channel: Crisis in Antwerp! As soon as my brother arrives, it's a tradition by now to go there together even though he isn't into wargaming at all, we will be leaving for Antwerp which is not that far from here. I have done some pre-orders for the first time ever and am quite happy with that because it pretty much means I am assured of getting the stuff I really want!

Well anyway rest assured I will post a convention report as well as some other posts soon.

Cheers Sander

Sunday 4 October 2015



Yup I have finally caved in and joined a Kickstarter project. The strangest part, perhaps is, that it's not a miniature Kickstarter. No I joined the Harebrained Schemes "Battletech Kickstarter"

For about pretty much 15 years I have only played ONE computer game ever and that has been Mechwarrior 4 and it's extension MW 4 Vengeance. On my newest Laptop this game does not run, the MTX torrent didn't run either so I was terribly distraught. But here come the guys from HS to the rescue. They are developing a turn based single player version of the game which is a skirmish game at base but has now reached strechgoals for a single player Merc campaign to be added as well. For me (not having a credit card) it is great to be able to back this project through Paypall and so I did almost without a thought. Since I do not play PC games (or any digital games at all, they take away time from painting mini's and gaming on the tabletop) I am a bit afraid I will have trouble getting the hang of gameplay and also that my present laptop will not be good enough to run the game when it arrives, would just be my luck. But I guess we will have to take that hurdle if and how it turns up.

I am hoping this PC game will be a compromise between Mechwarrior and CBT itself and it sure looks like it.

So remember: "Mechwarriors do it in the cockpit!"

Cheers Sander


Tuesday 29 September 2015

Camels anyone?


Finally I found some time to post the pictures I took from my two baggage camels. These are Early War Miniatures and very nice. I will mainly use them with my Great War Middle Eastern figures but they would be perfectly fine riding with the Colonial troops as well.

The miniatures are placed upon some of my "new" terrain tiles. Basically I took some 45cm x 45cm MDF tiles which I coated in some layers of Valejo textured paint (a dark brown and a desert sand) and hey presto very nice terrain tiles in a jiffy!

Cheers Sander

Saturday 26 September 2015

28mm Napoleonic British Infantry


In my last post I spoke of the 28mm British Napoleonics I have painted and it is now about time I'd show them to you. The regimental colour I chose is buff, since quite a lot of yellow and blue faced figures are to be found on the web already.

These chaps have proven to me that I do not like painting 28mm regiments. The 28mm figures are nice when you can concentrate on one particular figure and can go all the way in choosing your own colour scheme. I have been doing this with my Victorian figures but that's not possible with uniformed ones.

Well anyway I am quite happy with the results, but also happy I have finished them. They look better in the showcase than on the to-do pile.

Cheers Sander

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Hawaii shirt anyone?


A few posts ago I have mentioned that I have finished some small projects last week and here's the first of them. It's a West End Games Star Wars Alien. I have forgotten what race or name he has, but painted him up blue. This one has been waiting on the to do pile for quite some time because I couldn't decide on the colour scheme to use. In the end I chose a sort of Hawaii shirt kinda look. And truth be told: I like it.

Now this isn't really a lot of an update picture wise, but I have some more news. Amongst the other finished projects is a unit of 6 A-wings which I have done up but not photographed I will do this when I have finished all my Star Wars snub fighters.The second unit finished is a pair of sprues of Late Napoleonic Brits. They were part of the Crisis 2014 goodie-bag and now finally painted up.  Last up are two pack-camels and their herders. These are 20mm Early War Miniatures also bought at the last Crisis. I am making headway through the pile nicely.

Let's see what's up next.

Cheers Sander

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Dodge this...


Here are some more finished figures from the Wargames Foundry Victorian era range. These mini's represent the Dodger and friends; I kinda like them. The 36 Chambers made the excellent bases.

Cheers Sander

Saturday 12 September 2015

In between


So what's been going on over here? Quite a lot, but sadly I have not touched a paintbrush in about a week. School has started in earnest again and the long and intensive workdays leave me without the energy to get at the workstation to paint.

That said, two weeks ago I have managed to finish a few single figure projects and I will try to photograph them and put them up here soon.

Yesterday the postman brought in a pair of nice books which I'd like to tell you about. The first is "Wargame scenarios; The Peninsular War 1808-1814" by Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell from Pen and Sword Publishing. This very nice book is actually meant to accompany the Grand Battery Napoleonic rules from Pen and Sword, but it is a very use-full  scenario guide for pretty much all rule-sets available. The book contains 20 scenarios, an overview of the conflict, orbats for each battle but also a general orbat for the armies combating over the Peninsula and an overview of said armies. Very nice book indeed.

The second, and to me more important addition to my bookshelves is "The Shepherd's Crown" by Sir Terry Pratchett. This is his last work which he luckily finished before passing on. I have mixed feelings about the last 10 Discworld books he wrote since they do not seem to have the depth his earlier works have. The many humorous layers of story-plots but also all the little sideplots dissecting human nature and our many faults, are sadly gone from the main narrative leaving just a pretty good read, yet not the brilliant work of the first 30 or so books he has written. Well at least that's how it is for me.

But this book is a bit different. People who would like to read it (by all means buy it, it's good) and don't won't a spoiler should stop reading here.

Pratchett has done what other great writers have done before him, but what we readers all dread greatly: he has killed one of his favourites. In this book Granny Weatherwax has met Death for her last journey at last. And while this was a bit predictable, Pratchett has managed to write a story that is not corny or overly sentimental but very sincere and touching. It shows that while the parting of our loved ones and the ones we look up to, is not only an ending it is also a new start. We all have to let go of our elders at one point, be it parents, grandparents or mentors, to go our own way and make the world a bit more our own. I see this at school daily, elder and more experienced co-workers have a profound and overbearing (not necessarily "negative" mind you) influence in work meetings where the policy of the school is decided. In the group of pupils I mentor which organise music and sketch shows, I see that younger kids are being held back in developing their acting and other theatrical skills by fear of displeasing the older ones. And when these older people go on pension or graduate, the Young Guard steps in and creates their own niche in the world. 

So in all I think this is a worthy farewell by the Grand Master to us his readers and while I really could not warm up to his Long Earth trilogy, written with mister Baxter, The Sheperd's Crown is a very welcome last complementation of my Pratchett collection.

Cheers Sander