Sunday, October 6, 2013

DIY Tank Crew

I have been playing mini games for many a long year by now, and yet I can count on 1 hand the number of vehicles I have bought and played with. I think this is mainly due to my predisposition to 28mm, fantasy/historical gaming. Now, I have many big robots, mostly for Warmachine, as well as a couple for Void/Urban War (I still have a soft spot for my VASA mechs), but I have never been into tank battles as such (no Flames of War for me). In fact, I think the only previous tank I bought was a VASA TAV MkIII, with optional turrets, however, I never played a game with one, never mind painted it.

For Dystopian legions of course, I have already bought into the vehicles, albeit with the smaller one-man Bassett tankettes, but they don't really count in my mind as proper tanks. The Terrier Ironclad however, certainly does.

To my mind, paying out a chunk of money for a substantial amount of resin, means this model deserves to be a centrepiece model for my army, so I am currently looking for ways to convert and personalise it.

The easiest thing to do in this regard is to open the hatch doors and stick a crewman on top. The hatch doors are in fact built for just such a purpose (as is the case for the Bassetts).
After a long time searching for a suitable mini to act as a crewman, I decided just to make one to fit. He is constructed of the following pieces:Victoria miniatures pith helmet head; GW Imperial Guard body and left arm; the right arm I found in my bits box and I couldn't swear to its origin; the right hand is a green stuff copy of the Black Watch Sergeant's hand and pistol; cross-belt, cuff and epaulets are all greenstuff. He'll be held in place by a magnet, and will therefore be removable from the tank.

He will be painted to look like the image at the top of the post. I decided to not go for the gas mask, as even though I have the bits, the pack at the front of the mini, which I assume is part of the mask, was a bit clunky with his positioning in the hatch, and made him a bit front heavy.

Final stages
And then, in-situ.

I think I'll have to put a flag on the tank too. Maybe even two. One Britannian flag, as on all the Spartan logos, and the other for the Scot's Greys, who I have decided that this guy and maybe even the Bassets belong to.  My freehand drawing skills leave much to be desired, so I haven't decided how I'm going to proceed with the flags yet. More on that once I do.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Second World War in 7 Minutes

I'm not a huge fan of World War II gaming, but that doesn't preclude me, as a history enthusiast, from enjoying this little video. A great video, that shows, per day, how the borders of Europe changed during the war.

Taken from here. Thanks to Yaum for the heads up.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Colore ton monde; October

September's results of the Colore ton Monde challenge are up, and mine can be found here. As you can see, I was not the only one to think that Pendrake fit the bill perfectly!

October's theme is as follows:


En octobre, c'est Halloween avec ses bonbons, mais aussi le temps des pommes, des citrouilles, des cannages: on se bourre la face ! Pour le mois d'octobre, nous vous invitons à peindre un modèle glouton, aimant la bonne chère. Mais vous pouvez aussi étendre glouton au terme de glouton en point, qui vaut cher et prend un grosse partie de votre armée. À vous d'interpréter  le thème à votre façon.


In October, it's Halloween, with all it's sweeties, but also the time of year for apples, and pumpkins, canning food for the winter: we fill our faces! For the month of October, we invite you to paint a greedy model,  loving good food. But we can also mean a glutton in terms of a points hog, who takes up a large art of your army. It's for you to interpret the theme in your own way.

Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for two weeks of October as I and he family are heading back to the old country for a couple of weddings, and the week before (i.e. next week) will be too busy with getting everything ready for the trip. So I don't think I'll have much time for painting. Still, I'll go have a rummage in the lead pile to see if there's anything to fit. Especially something half done..

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dystopian Legions, Kingdom of Britannia: Terrier Ironclad

I've been awaiting this mini for a while now, but I have finally received my Terrier Ironclad. From now on, my Kingdom of Britannia army can be fielded with full Ironclad support (theoretically, full Ironclad support would be two of these, but let's not get carried away here).

This is a heavy box, full of great chunks of resin, and my first kit like this, so let's see what we get in the box.

Here's all the parts laid out, as they came out of the packaging. For ease of casting, the two sets of treads are identical,  and therefore interchangeable. There are two metal parts, which plug the gap in the back of the treads, which are presumably a fix for the issue we had with the Bassets, where there was a large chunk of metal to deal with where the treads were joined to the casting sprue.

The rest of the parts are pretty self explanatory and well cast. I had to run a craft knife over various bits to get rid of some flash, but there were no problem parts to deal with. 
As well as the tank parts, the box included 3 game cards. 1 specific to the Terrier, and 2 generic to all KoB Ironclads. There is also the compulsory activation card. There is no base included in the pack. Indeed, I am unsure as to what size such a base would be, and indeed if it is necessary.

When it comes to putting this beast together, all the parts go where you would think, and there are no bits leaving you scratching your head as to their placement. The only thing you need to watch for is the orientation of the crew compartment and the headlamps, but a quick glance at the picture on the box will tell you which way round they go.

There is one issue with the Terrier tank, that has been mentioned on previous reviews, and on the forums, and that is the way the treads connect to the main body of the tank. They don't.

Well, that's maybe a little harsh, the point of contact of the treads to the main body of the tank leaves no issues with their placement lengthwise, as there are little nubs on the side of the tank body that place into holes in the treads, and there is likewise a small shelf on the treads for the bottom of the tank body to sit on. This all works out rather nicely, but then there is no support for the top of the treads, and they then sit badly, leaning towards the top of the tank, and making the treads splay awkwardly at an angle. (The individual parts of the tank, and how they interact are better shown here. I was too keen to build the tank, rather than take more pictures). 

This can be remedied with a pin from the back of the tank tread, to the main body, and some putty to fill the gap between the tread and the tank body, but it is still rather unimpressive from a kit that otherwise fits really well together.

When put all together, this is a rather impressive tank, and I look forward to getting him fully assembled and onto the table.

One other niggle I have is with the pricing for Spartan tanks. The Terrier is not the most expensive of the 4 currently released ironclads, that honour goes to the Ke-Ho, but it is still more expensive than either the Prussian or FSA Ironclads (by about $20CAN), whilst still looking to be the same number of parts. I'm sure there's a technical reason for that.

Yes, the hatch has been glued open. More on that soon...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dystopian Legions, Kingdom of Britannia, Black Watch Sergeant and Specialist.

Thankfully, the sergeant and specialist for the Black Watch come in the same box, unlike the specialist for the normal line section, which comes in a box with another line Infantryman (alright I suppose, as it's a pose not available in the Section box), or the Sergeant who comes with the Lieutenant box set, which is a little more useless, as you'll want to field more Sergeants than Lieutenants, especially for KoB, where normal Line Infantry Sergeants are the same price as infantrymen.

But I digress, this is a good match of minis, as a Black Watch section can contain one Sergeant and one specialist.

On to the minis, they are of the usual Spartan style, in that the box shows the computer renders of the minis, so you know pretty much what you're getting. The minis thenselves have the usua low amount of flash and some mould lines,  but nothing major. Each mini is in two parts. The Sergeant coming with a separate sword scabbard, and the barrel of the Specialist's gun, and the attached arm is separate from the main body of the mini

I was a little disappointed with the standard of the sculpts in other ways. The basket of the Sergeant's sword on my mini, was miscast. Nothing that you would notice from afar, or when painted, so I don't think I'll be asking for a better casting, but a little annoying none-the-less.

The second thing that bugs me is that the arm and gun barrel don't quite fit with the rest of the mini. I've bent and pushed the parts, but haven't yet figured the best way to connect them. They are not a complicated fit, but they just don't seem to want to go. I had the same issue with the Black Watch Infantryman in the running pose, in that one of the sets of arms fitted well, but the second one I had did not. In the end this was not a great problem, as I converted one of them to a knife-man, but it seems to be an issue Spartan are having. Maybe these arms are being a little twisted coming off the sprues in a way that makes them a less than perfect fit.

Overall, a great little addition to the Black Watch section, two characterful sculpts, with minimal flash or mould lines,  but with other casting issues.