Byakhee Anthony came round yesterday and we went through a pile of stuff he had left in my garage. After removing the live spiders, he took home a load of goodies he’d forgotten about and left a few decisions for after the Xmas period. This also prompted me to go on a hunt in the Playroom for some of my left over bitz (steady).

Instead, I found this, a box with a box inside of bitz and other odds and ends.

Well, only containing ~30 WW1 Russian Musketeer figures I’d “lost” for the last couple of years !

And a female GW Vampire that I can’t find in any of the catalogues (are GW all Vampires, answers on a postcard ???!!!).

Along with various hairy head, skaven, Ogre, undead spures and a load of flying stands.

My current w/e goal is to get all of this softed and handed out to the flock of Byakhees and to flog the rest.

And in the meantime, the Garden of Morr continues to be painted, albeit using a prodigious amount of brown wash !

Scenery: Super-Kallistra-fragalocious Hills

The King got some hills for his b’day, a bit late due to issues. I’d previously bought some escarpments from Kallistra at Colours year before last and knew they did plain hills as well.

Kallistra mostly do hex terrain pieces as part of their game system, but they do some non hex terrain pieces as well.

They come in fairly hard plastic pieces and are quite large. As they are plain, you can do them up in your chosen lock and grass style.

I worked out that I need to do about 15 or so hills, split between BoB and AVBCW styles for the Big Games JP & I are putting on in february and March next year.

They got painted in my basic biscuit base colour that also helped ensure any release oils/greases were covered up.

For the BoB flock, I used a lot of the builders sand I bought year before last to bulk out the GW sand and railway flocks I had mixed up.

because of the surface area, the sand seemed to soak up the moisture and contract leaving rivulets of unflocked glue, so I had to pour on excess flock and just leave it there for an hour or so so that the surface was fully flocked.

When dry, I sprayed the flocked hills with hairspray to ensure the flock stayed in situ.

We are currently getting take-outs from a curry house that serves jup its dishes in handy plastic tubs, I went through half such a tub pictured above for these three hills.

And then half a tub of GW “Grass” static grass -so be warned these items will take a lot of material, but look good in the end. they’re being varnished currently to ensure the flock and static grass stays put.

I then did an experiment, coating the inside of the hills with PVA.

Why ?

The large hill even though its a fairly hard piece of plastic gets a bit wobbly because of its sheer size, so I’m waiting for the PVA to cure to see if this helps stranghten it.

More hills have been ordered for AVBCW flocking.

Snippets 1 & 2

Snippet 1:

I finally got around to watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Extended edition.

The extra 17 minutes are distributed through the first half of the film. There are new scenes of Bilbo when he is both very young (smacking Gandalf with a toy sword), and very old (with Frodo). There’s also more scenes around Rivendell including the one I’ve linked to above.

What do they add to the film ? Well they’re more whimsical and certainly slow down the otherwise frenetic pace of the film. They also add more character to Bilbo, Elrond, and rightly or wrongly more comic relief from the Dwarfs.

Initially I was surprised as some of the actors in interviews had said there wouldn’t be extended versions of the films, but hey ho, they’re releasing an extended version of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as well in a couple of months time. I hope that includes things like the Thrush and the Ravens.

Snippet 2:

Sadly, Peter Hopkirk who wrote so many great books on the events in central Asia during the late C19 and early C20 passed away last week.

The name of Peter Hopkirk will long be associated with the “Great Game”, the cloak-and-dagger struggle between Britain and Russia for control over swathes of central Asia that raged through the 19th century.
The vast and sparsely populated regions stretching from the southern reaches of Russia to the northwest frontier of India had fascinated him since he read Rudyard Kipling’s Kim as a boy. However, Hopkirk was no armchair historian. He was an intrepid traveller who adeptly shrugged off the region’s ever-watchful authorities to piece together his rip-roaring histories. In his now classic accounts Foreign Devils on the Silk Road and Trespassers on the Roof of the World, he expertly evoked the lives of the fanatical archaeologist-adventurers who dug up and carried off the contents of ancient Silk Road libraries buried beneath the desert and the mapmakers who illicitly scaled ice-clad Himalayan peaks disguised as horse-traders or religious men.

When Mark Copplestone started his Back of Beyond range, Hopkirk’s books were the gateway to many other books that I now have. I knew very little about the region and its history during the RCW – much of the White Armies under Kolchak et al was poorly served in the literature compared to the AFSR under Deniken and then Wrangel in the south.

Hopkirk was on the Ministry of Defence’s required reading list for British soldiers who were deployed to Afghanistan.

This led me on to many more obscure texts picked up in enjoyable days browsing dusty shelves in the book shops of Hay-on-Wye, and it made me a confirmed bibliophile.

“It’s extraordinary to see how history is repeating itself,” he said of the current situation in Afghanistan. “Some of the players are different, but the Game goes on. Perhaps my books should be read as cautionary tales.”

Sad we haven’t learnt from some of these lessons. :-/

Goblins, Gremlins, BT and the Bolshevik Internet Revolution

Yes, the Internet Gremlins have been round again, with my phone line being AWOL for 7 days (and broadband AWOL for 3 days pretty much). BT pulled their finger out today after an irate phone call.

The engineer turned up and gave me loads of tips on how to speed up my internet access, ahead of the superfast broad band our county is about to receive in the next few months.

Whilst he was fixing my connection which involved several trips to the Exchange, which I knew was the source of the problem much like any server room, I managed to find and build a load of Goblins for my mate Gavin.

And finally, I photo’d the Red Mounted Command I did on Friday. Another high five commander, but at least the Whites will get a variant !

Tomorrow, I should have uploaded all the ~30 photos of the WHFB game Gavin and I had on Saturday.

BoB: Russians in German kit

Finally, I got the squad of Russians in Stahlheims painted:

These were the Copplestone Ragged White Russians, with Great War Miniatures German heads that my mate Richard had pinned for me. They got painted half with German feld grau (Foundry WW2 Early German Grey), half with Russian khaki (Foundry Moss).

They can represent the Western White Russian Army raised in 1919, especially the Lieven troops that had as many (if not more) ex German troops as Russians in them operating in the Baltic and Byelorussian regions. They used Russian and German kit interchangeably, and later some of them used British kit as well.

They could also do as Red Internationalist troops – freed German/Austrian POWs at a pinch, though these would arguably just hav had access to Russian kit alone.

I figure I can field this unit of 10 troops, alongside each of 10 Russians, and 10 Germans to make a proper western or Baltic White Russian force easily enough. This would give me the generic 30 Infantry we use in most of our games, with each unit being distinctive. Of course it also means I use up all the off cut pieces created in the process of making the mortars and crew seen elsewhere.

So, as I have the 10 Russians done elsewhere, now I have to paint up the German unit, along with some suitable command group figures.

AVBCW: Sandbag Bunker

Whilst the next AVBCW Big Game JP & I are planning is nearly 8 weeks away, experience has taught me to start now. As we have some 14 people attending, and three 6×8′ tables to dress we need to start planning and actually creating scenery.

One of those plans, is for some defensive positions. So I bought a couple of sp[rues of the new Renedra Sand bags. Then I started making a sandbag emplacement for a support weapon.

Yes using a CD scenery base gave me plenty of room, BUT, the sandbags are pretty thin, so I soon realised that I’d waste an entire row of sand bags just to get above the base level of the support weapons’ base…in other words wasting a lot of money !

A card board uplift !

The base sandbags are also a different shape and there are a limited number of them on the sprue. Then there are the sandbags that make up the rest of the bunker wall. These can all be altered easily enough.

Then I built the bunker up with the rest of the sandbags. There was a noticeable casting line on one of the sprues I had, but this can be written off as a seam especially when we are building wargames standard scenery.

I made sure that the front of the bunker pretty made sure of a 45 degree fire arc.

The bunker painted and flocked. yes I have been busy mixing up new flock as well, as I have got through a full pot of flock and a full pot of glue so far this year already.

So one sandbag bunker ready, I have done anopther three and a few more are on the way. I’m doing a load to ensure I have enough for all the support weapons not least because I have invested in a few more support weapons…

Turkestan Solo book repair

Now I’d heard of book binders and repairs to books but I’d never thought I’d ever seek their services.

How wrong I was. A couple of months ago, whilst sitting in my study, I heard a crash from the lounge and found that a book shelf had fallen down catapulting many of my Back of Beyond books across the floor. One of which was “Turkestan Solo” by Ella K Malliart.

I’d picked this book up in one of my regular visits to Hay-on-Wye. As you can see the spine was broken, and the frontispiece and a few pages were loose.

A quick check on Amazon indicated it would be an expensive book to replace, and seeing as it was otherwise in good condition, I decided to cast around and see if I could have it repaired.

The images are provided by the book binder, Chris Noel. Here the spine is being cleaned.

Water damage on the back cover to be repaired.

Repairing the spine.

new spine lining fitted to the cover cloth before sticking back onto the text block.

The book clamped together whilst the glue sets.

So I picked up the book yesterday. Its back in one piece, and in a better shape than I ever had it in.

All images taken by Chris Noel of CN Bibliographic.

The price was reasonable, and I now have a book that “feels like new”, whilst retaining the patina of age.

Bandits, Cats and High Five Commanders

The Copplestone Castings collection for Bob is pretty extensive, except for the mounted commanders, which ended up in the rather comical high fiving incident between two opposing commanders at the big game. So, I let Rich loose with a suggested simple conversion.

I’ve tried cajoling Mark C to no avail, to produce a separate set iof mounted commanders.

So it was a quick hand swap with a Circassian Cossack. Rich pinned and greenstuffed the hand into place (thanks). The Circassian got the hand in return (!), so a unique command figure as well.

Now the next lot of figures that Rich brought round on Sunday deserve an entire posting in their own right, and will get one, but for now here they are:

Yes, Copplestone White Russians with Great War Miniatures German heads. This will be a unit from the Baltic/NW Russian RCW theatre, or indeed could be used for Bolshevik International brigades in Central Asia.

Simple head swaps using the German stahlheim heads from the mortar crews I’m also working on.

Having done the shotgunners for the MHC, I also found the bandits – a unit of 10 with rifles, some assortted assault types and their leaders. So having actually enjoyed painting the individualistic shotgunners decided it was high time to do the same with the similarly disparate bandits.

Again by coincidence JP sent out a calling note for our planned AVBCW Big Game on 27th September, so I thought it timely to get another unit sorted for that game as I know several players will be coming cap in hand to borrow figures.

The cats weren’t impressed with any of this, and played dead because its really hot, and I don’t blame them….

It’s hot – The March Violets:

I’m gonna tell you a story
About love about love…c’mon

Living with a family that ate rock and roll
I discovered hunger
Discovered the rise and fall
Of going under for the third time

Obsessed with nails
And leather shades and lizard scales
And maybe Hades looked this good
But I don’t think it’s good enough to eat
Real cheap Jesus
Leatherhead incinerator
Nail head try to break the atom

Head head

It’s so hot in here it’s running down the walls
And it’s dripping in my eyes from my hair
It’s hot it’s so hot

Living with a family that ate rock and roll
I discovered the golden rule
That big brother wasn’t watching me at all
Watching me at all

It’s hot it’s so hot

Living with a family that ate rock and roll

More to come on the WHFB game, and the AVBCW Big Game tomorrow.

The Long Weekend Challenge

So with one Painting Challenge has succeeded. So I thought I’d do another quick one.

I’ve had the DE Beastmasters for Eric lying around, along with a Sorceress. As I am booked in for a game with Byakhee Rich on Sunday (yes, a second game this weekend), I thought it’d be great to continue my aspiration to field a new unit for each game I play.

So here’s the pile of plastic and lead to paint.

The Dark Elves are base painted and partly washed, so an hour on Friday, and some time on saturday should see them all finished off.

At the same time, I have four BoB Copplestone Castings Commanders for my Bolsheviks that only need highlighting of horses, tack and armbands to finish off.

It’ll be interesting to see if I can finish them off.

Tomorrow I should have loads of pictures of AVBCW games JP & I play.

Base(ing) Instincts & Emplacements

The new AQMF tank sprues come able to build the basic Mark II tanks and the larger Mark III tanks that have a bigger superstructure. Obviously theis leads to lots of redundant/spare parts. My brain cell had a brain wave on Saturday when I was building more tanks as to what to do with the spare parts.

I had already ditched a number of the spare parts, but had retained enough to make 5 turrets, four with cannon, one with an HMG as a “command” turret.

I remembered that the French and Germans in WW2 used dismembered tank turrets as static defenses.

So I chose a 60mm base to mount them on. These are by co-incidence the same size bases that I use to base support weapons (HMGs/Mortars) on for my AVBCW and BoB units.

I’d started off a few years ago using the old GW bases that their WH40K heavy weapon teams came on, but they phased these out. So I did some scratching around on evil-bay for them, but they are few and far between.

In this picture, the top left one if a GF9 60mm base that is magnetic, I picked it up in a store in Cardiff, but its heavy, expensive and as you can see twice as thick as the GW 60mm that is lower right (upside down with the circular pits).

Doing a quick search, I found a new company called Hurlbat that now do 60mm bases as cheap as chips. their only downside is that they are “shiney”, and have no surface texture so you need to spray them before trying to paint them with a brush and normal paint.

By using this regular size of base for support weapons I can use my CD scenery bases and design some so that you can place the support weapon actually in the cover, rather than balance the weapon and crew rather inelegantly on top of the scenery.


The turrets mounted on the bases, just the right size !

the turrets painted up easily. Same as the tank:

  • black undercoat;
  • Foundry Moss Shade;
  • GW Camoshade wash
  • GW Leadbelcher silver;
  • GW Nuln Oil black wash.

Now I have a static line defence to use in AQMF.

Obviously with a little bit of imagination similar bunkers and scenery pieces can be made – loading bays for instance – camouflaged redoubts and so on. Therte are some rules for fortifications in the rule book so I’ll be offf working out what these items really represent.