Monday, 28 October 2013

Fenris Games

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to be taken around Fenris Games. The photo above shows the hub of the busy operation. Fenris first came to my attention when I bought some of their resin bases. I recall asking in the shop if the price was per base only to be told it was per pack which struck me as astonishing value as they are very, very good.

This is Ian, sculptor and boss of Fenris. Ian has an impressive pedigree because he is an alumnus of the world famous KIAD - Kent Institute of Art and Design based here in Medway. Other alumni and Tutors include Roger Dean, Tracey Emin, Tony Hart, David Hockney, Zandra Rodes.

Ian graduated in Industrial Model Making and worked in an architectural studio.

Incidentally you will find him online disguised as 'Geronimo'.

Fenris goes back to 1988 where they were originally involved in play by mail but have been involved in tabletop model production for a decade.

Five years ago they moved production down to the Royal Dockyard at Chatham Maritime.

Fenris is a small two man operation.

Resin Production fascinates me. It looks so simple but there is a great deal of witchcraft involved. I have tried my hand at it with bloody awful results.

Ian kindly let me wander around with a camera. The Fenris studio is fascinating with all sorts of in-pipeline project material scattered around.

Two franchises in particular caught my eye.

The first is a new range of Lovecraftian horror models in production under licence: Cthulhu Wars. You may have seen them on Kickstarter. They are gorgeous. I took a couple outside to shoot them under natural light as flash whites out unpainted models.

The second franchise is Bronze Age Miniatures. These are 32mm heroic scale (similar to GW) metal models. I was so taken with them that I put my hand in my pocket and bought some.

First up are centaurs. I have some female centaurs from Eureka (Dark Temple) and wanted some male equivalents. The Bronze Age designs are somewhat bigger, which is perfect. Fenris supply them for £7 each complete with weapons and resin bases. Quality is superb with no flash. The miniature bases are a bit of a problem as they obscure the resin sculpting. A purist would saw them off and pin the centaurs to the bases but I settled for cutting the metal back a bit.

Next, the Amazons. I have some plastic Wargames Factory Amazon models (one the left of the photo). They are cheap but not great. The Bronze age equivalents are £4 but come with all parts including separate spearheads and Fenris resin bases. The scale comparison with the Salute 2013 Hero (right of photo) is interesting. Quality is great.

I will definitely be buying more of these.

It was a great visit. My thanks to Ian for his time - time being something he has not a great deal of as Fenris continue to expand.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Chaos Sorcerous Flyer

I have been cleaning out my model stores and came across this. It was a it battered but soom responded to a little TLC - and a lot of superglue.

It is a Chaos flyer held aloft by sorcerous energies - use Valkyrie rules.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Bolt Action: Ghurkha

Assembled and based the Bolt Action Ghurkha box for my Burma Campaign.

The models are all metal and they have a fair bit of flash and mold lines to deal with - whic is a pain. On the plus side the sculpting is good and a simple paint and wash job looks pretty good.

The poses are nicely dynamic and the set includes a British officer with a Thompson and  LMG teams.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Autumn in Kent

Popped over to Ightam Mote for lunch last weekend and took this photo of the gardens on my iPhone.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Kubelwagen: 1/48 or 28 mm?

The Kubelwagen is 1:48 Tamiya (I think or maybe Froc). The infantry are Warlord Bolt Action 28 mm, nominally 1:56.

So the infantry are too small for the car?

Um, I don't think so.

Scale and size are two different ways of measuring things.

And you thought my paint jobs were dodgy

Have a butcher's at this.

Bolt Action: Burma '44

Finished my Japanese Bolt Action army - for now at least (an army is never really finished).

It is a company of two platoons commanded by Captain Honda, Lt Suzuki and Lt Yamaha. One of the sections is a grenadier with three mortar teams and one is veteran. All the sections have LMGs and a couple have anti-tank grenades.

The company is well supported with an additional  medium mortar, MMG, 70mm field gun and three loonies with shaped charges on poles plus a Chi Ha T. 97 'medium' (ha ha) tank and a T. 95 light tank (a Vickers 6 ton).

I see this force as defensive as befits the situation in Burma after the Kohima disaster.

Opposing is a British assault company of two reinforced platoons led by Major Cad (who looks a lot like Terry Thomas). One of the platoons has three understrength sections of Chindits with LMGs who are my flanking force. The main platoon has three sections of regular troops (one is not shown in the photo as I couldn't be arsed to fish it out of the garage).

The company is supported by a Vickers MMG, a medium mortar and a 6pdr anti-tank gun pulled by a bren gun carrier. Tank support is an M5 Honey light tank and a Sherman III.

The Honey and Sherman have a frontal armour of 9 on the front. The best Japanese gun is on the T. 95 and is a light low-penetration anti-tank which can't penetrate 9-strength armour. The Japanese tanks have light frontal armour of 8 strength which is penetrable by the three British anti-tank guns.

So it's down to the loonies with the exploding pikes!

Will give a Batrep after play.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Empress Miniatures Soviet T-26

The Soviet T-26 light tank was based on the British Vickers 6 Ton, the most influential and manufactured in quantity inter-war tank after the Renault FT-17. Just about everyone used it except, ah, the British. It proved itself in the Spanish Civil War where it hugely outperformed German and Italian tanks.

This version is a 28mm model by Empress Miniatures. It is all metal, unusual in the days of resin and plastic of various types. The model reminded me of the bad old days in that regard: heavy and the paint easily rubs off. Actually I sprayed on too much Citadel varnish on a wet day to harden the paint and got whiting at the edges for my trouble. Easily fixed with a highlight brush later but annoying.

The model itself is well sculpted and manufactured to a high standard. It is very easy to put together. One of the tracks was a bit twisted but unnoticeably when assembled. A nice kit of a common AFV that fought on multiple fronts from S America to China and from the late 1930s to 1945.

It is interesting to compare the T26, which was intended as an infantry support tank, to the Soviet BT-5, intended as an exploitation 'fast tank'. This resin example is from Die Waffenkammer, an American brand that is difficult to find in the UK. It is also rated as 28mm.

28 mm is a size rather than a scale but we can compare the models directly by the turret. The T-26 and BT-5 both used a Russian designed turret incorporating a Russian dual purpose 45mm gun.

Actually the turrets are pretty much identical size on each model.

The metal one (on the left) has a slightly askew gun but I have decided to live with it rather than try to bend brittle metal. :)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

CP Vultures: Armed and Ready

CP Models have a new squad of aliens for sale in their 28 ml alien section.

I have previously bought some very nice (Blake 7) Federation Troopers off this company and was well pleased with their products and service.

Very tempted by these....

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Bolt Action Pz III Sighted

For most of the war the PzIII was the German battle tank, especially for the great battles of '42 and '43 and I want one! There aren't any 1:48 kits or 1:50 diecast around.

At last Warlord have pulled their finger out and one is on preorder.


Friday, 18 October 2013

Bolt Action Madman

By '44 the antitank gun had gone as far as it was going. Monsters like the British 17pdr or Russian 100mm could kill anything but they were huge, clumsy devices that were useful only in prepared defences. Usefully sized guns like the ubiquitous 6pdr were increasingly ineffective

The answer was the shaped charge. A relatively tiny explosive grenade that depended on cunning rather than brute force to penetrate armour. The problem from the infantryman's point of view was how do you get the grenade to the tank.

The answer lay in short range rockets like the panzerfaust or mortar-like devices like the PIAT, which also made useful direct-fire pocket-artillery. The problem was that you had to close to about 100 metres maximum and preferably 50. The PIAT was a reloadable weapon but users joked that it was really one shot because if you missed you never got another chance. They did knock out tanks, though.

Six VCs were awarded to PIAT users.

The Japanese had their own low tech slant involving suicidal bravery. You attach the shaped charge grenade to a pole. The infantry were to fend off tanks like 17th century pikemen fended off battle cavalry. All well and good but 17th century battle cavalry weren't armed with machine guns and cannon, and they weren't surrounded by infantry with rapid fire guns.

There is no evidence that one of these ever knocked out a tank but you can say the same for thrown anti-tank grenades.

The models are made from the  Warlord Games plastic 28 mm Japanese infantry box.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

1930s Technical

A 1930s improvised 'technical' - or portee, as they used to call them in those far off days.

It has a medium howitzer aboard and a gunner dressed in a Germanic uniform sourced from Warlord Games' Bolt Action range. The truck is a diecast iron toy and the gun - well I don't rightly know as I got it off eBay.

Uses might include any European insurrection scenario but the Spanish Civil war and Freikorps come to mind.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Armoured Half Track

I picked this little 28mm beauty up from a stand at SLWG-13. It's an imaginery generic armoured half track that I just thought looked cool.

I will probably use it as a Soviet BA-30 or French Schneider which had similar layouts


with the top off it is a prime mover.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

1930s: Improvised armoured car

I have had a go at making an improvised 1930s armoured car out of a Ledo Promotional Van diecast model for 28 mm gaming: you understand the word armoured is used here somewhat hesitantly.

Ledo vans are available for pennies at boot fairs and in charity shops etc.

It is sprayed with commercial grey undercoat and repainted. The LMG gunner peering out of the hole cut in the top is actually the top bit of a Warlord Japanese infantryman. I made the improvised sandbags from Milliput, pressing a pan scourer in to get the impression of coarse cloth.

The galvanised iron armour is from model railway plasticard.

I will probably paint suitably ideological slogans on the panels when I decide which side he's on.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Tom Willoughby's Tamiya 1:48 Pershing

This is the 1:48 Tamiya Pershing which is size compatible with 28mm wargame models such as Bolt Action. The tank has been made and painted by modeller Tom Willoughby who was a tank commander in another life.

Tom has sent me a few notes on his techniques.

'I drilled out the cupola vision blocks and replaced them with crystal clear, also opened the periscopes. A pet peeve of mine is modellers who show a tank in action closed down but no periscopes up: also a tank with the crew standing around with closed hatches. We never closed the hatches if we were off the tank eating or pulling maintenance. The only time hatches were closed was to lock it up.'

The M26 Pershing was, like the Comet and the Centurion, a tank that could have been available and should have been available for Normandy '44 were it not for incompetence. It lacked the great reliability of the Sherman but was capable of matching the Panther, Tiger or T34/85.

Crystal Palace: 2013

Tootled along to Crystal Palace for the 2013 SLWG show and picked up some stuff from Warlord and Empress. There were some familiar faces in the crowd: see above.

The demographics were depressingly weighted towards the middle-aged on both sides of the counters.

The trader market still seems a bit depressed. There was empty space in the main hall and I didn't see much of a feeding frenzy around the stalls.

The bring and buy was a bust as usual with people expecting way too much for second-hand models especially old GW plastics.

Note: unless your name is Kevin Dallimore or somesuch slapping a coat of paint on a model does not give it an enhanced value.

Didn't see many new display games that were photogenic but there were some enthusiastic efforts much appreciated by the punters.

I always like my annual visit to Crystal Palace. It's a nice relaxed show.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Another Day, Another Legal Wrangle

It seems the final act on the Games Workshop-Chapterhouse court case has not yet settled.

The case seems to have been less than completely satisfactory for GW, confirming that outsiders can make bits to add to GW models and advertise them as same. The car industry tried blocking alternative manufacturers of items like exhaust pipe replacements some time ago in Europe and failed so I am not especially surprised. However, this one has more long term implications than the Space Marine PR debacle as it is a legal judgement.

The latest news is that GW's head of legal, Gil Stevenson, has apparently left the company in August to pursue other opportunities. You may make of that what you will or, indeed, make nothing of it at all. People do leave companies for all sorts of personal and private reasons and with the British economy picking up this is probably a good time as potential employers will be expanding.

Whether this signals a change of policy at GW that will halt the heavy artillery barrage of cease and desists remains to be seen.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Bolt Action: Type 95 Ha Go Light Tank

Finished my Type 95 Ha Go Imperial Japaese light tank. This vehicle was the core of the Japanese armoured regiments and fought in all theatres. The commander is from the Bolt Action plastic infantry box (more about them later).

Very pleased with this model. I dirted it with Citadel dark brown wash and orange-brown textured paint.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Corgi 1:50 Diecast Tiger

Picked up this little beauty second hand at Rochester Models sans box for twenty sovs.

Perfect for my Bolt Action gaming.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Damn Snails

Yesterday after dinner, as is my wont, I despatched the Wabbit Daemon out to mow the back lawn. As it was a gorious Autumn evening I stayed out myself to do some gluing in the fresh hour.

Unfortunately I dropped the sprue instructions on the ground - and a bleedin' snail shot out of its hiding place in a concrete crack and blasted well started to eat them.

I tell you, it's hell here in the rural badlands of, ah, Kent.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Review: Bolt Action, Imperial Japanese Type 95 Ha Go Tank

The Type 95 Ha Go light tank was a prewar design that was the only Japanese tank produced in any numbers. It was a decent tank in 1935 and performed credibly at Khalkhin Gol against the Red Army but was already outclassed by Soviet armour in tank to tank combat. They also performed well in the early colonial war stage of WWII but came badly unstuck when they were pitted against European Warfare armour like the Matilda II, Lee-Grant or Sherman.

The Bolt Action model is a nice kit with, thank God, resin wheels and tracks. The detail is crisp and only a little light flash has to be cleaned off.  It assembles in about ten minutes and looks good. I put one of Warlord's plastic infantry in the turret with a pistol and binoculars.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Generic Tankettes: 28 mm

I came across these little beauties on being sold by a guy who trades under the name aylafred.

He makes resin models that he sells to support his animal charity work including VBCW 28 mm armour that is loosely based on real vehicles of the 1930s.

These tankettes are clearly based on the French Renault UE Chenillette tankettes.

The models are simplified but well manufactured. The price is amazingly competitive. These are £2.50 each. Vickers 6 ton variants like the Soviet T26 are around a fiver.

There are also landships like the Char C and so on and trucks based on Ledo models.

A great source of inexpensive generic AFVs for 1930s and WWII gamers.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

No One Likes Us, We Don't Care!

The title of this piece comes from Millwall Football Club in the 70s. It was a famous chant of defiance from the fans to other teams' supporters.

Increasingly it seems to be the watchword for The Evil Empire.

I came across this note from Wayland Games on their Facebook Page.

And followed the thread to the Beasts of War announcement.

I cannot comment on the various legal arguments but as a wargaming customer who spends, I suppose, around £2,000 a year on wargaming products I would like to make the point that GW is seriously pissing me off by their constant attacks and threats.

And yes, this is affecting my purchasing decisions.