Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Saturday 29 December 2012

No One Expects....

the Spanish Inquisition. Time for a little bit of light relief and a few just for the fun of it figures. Now you will need to be of a least a certain age to have seen these characters on "Monty Python"


If you have not seen the silliness before then here's the video.

The figures are by Victoria Miniatures from Australia - wonderfully sculpted and cast if a bit on the expensive side.

Sometimes you just need a bit of silliness!

Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a  Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. May your paints never dry , and dice roll high.

I would also like to say a special thank you to all my regular visitors and contributors - The blog has passed 50,000 hits this week ,another milestone.

Next year will see the continuation of some existing projects and the shifting of a few backlogged items. The Cowboys will have some additons no doubt. as it will be a given a run out each week in a continuing campaign - check out the seperate page "Trouble in Serenity Territory".  The Sudan will be back with an aim to actually get it to a battleworthy state later in the year. I seem to have a found another distraction inspired by Boardwalk Empire - the Gangsters which will use a mix of Pulp figures and "Mad Dogs With Guns" rulset. There will be specialist Napoleonics with a number of converted units in the wings at the moment. Hopefully I will be able to meet up with some of you once more at Salute 2013 for "shineybloodyitis"- the hotel is already booked.

Wishing you the very best. Cheers Dave

Friday 14 December 2012

The Man who.....

The sharp crack of a rifle shot rang out across the streets of Serenity.  That troublemaker McCoy the leader of the "Wild Gang"  was back in town with some new recruits. An argument with the rival "Outlaw" gang had resulted in gun play - the onlookers were stunned with an opening  "FATAL GUTSHOT" the "Outlaw" victim laid sprawled across the street.  What had been a quiet day looked set to get very hot!

More shooting broke out across the streets as the two gangs worked out where their enemies were and the lead began to fly. Further down the town the Sheriff and Deputy were wondering where the town Marshal had gone to and when he would appear.

We started with a complete random set up with figures being placed in order of the card being drawn  until the joker appeared. Characters who were not initially placed then appeared in play as their card turned up -a dice being thrown to see from which building they would  emerge from. There were other random elements with the train and stage maybe making an appearance as well.

McCoy took himself off to the W Kidd's  gun shop and negotiated a deal on a large calibre weapon , a manstopper.

Some of the "Wild Gang" at the far end of town were looking to make a move to help their friends , but would have to get past the Sherrif at the jail, and Deputy Daniels with his street howitzer up on the town gallows. The "Wild Gang" boys took cover and started blazing away at the lawmen - to little effect - a few shots just passing through the Sheriffs hat. Marshal Wyatt Earp turned up - he had been asleep in the jail - he emerged from the building and marched out fearlessly - as you do with a some spare action cards! He closed the range and felled one of the "Wild Gang", but the "click" on an empty chamber caused him to think twice, he reloaded and retreated back towards the jail.

  McCoy seeing the action over by the jail set off with his manstopper to deal with the law dogs. He let off a shot which felled Daniels up on the gallows. The lawmen men turned to face him as the turn ended . Who would go first next turn? The Legend card came out waiting to be claimed, Wyatt claimed it and moved forward and shot at McCoy but NO!  that "click" and a gun jam. There was nothing else to do but grab the barrel of his pistol and head towards McCoy give him a good pistol whipping. McCoy's nerve held and a tough hand to hand brawl broke out with Earp and McCoy laying into each. Wyatt overcame McCoy leaving him knocked out on the floor beaten & bloodied. Wyatt his head spinning from the effort and holding his ribs drew breath.

Saunders fired into the remains of the melee - missing but again running out of ammo - he played an action card  and decided to throw his considerable bulk at the Marshal. Wyatt drew breath and swung at the charging bull of a man bearing down on him - the blow connected with his head and down Saunders crashed.

All this time the "Outlaws" took advantage of the trouble and snuck into the bank. At the point of the gun they relieved the safe of a number of bags of loot. One of the gang was seen hovering around the rear of the next door hotel what was he up to?

The train whistled into town but the driver seeing the mayhem up ahead decided to keep on moving.

With a number of members killed or K.O. the  "Wild Gang" were starting to panic , with some of the members losing their nerves and deciding to high tail it out of town, one leapt into the passing boxcar to take cover.

Dawson the greenhorn of the "Outlaw" gang had been watching the Marshal beat up the "Wild Gang" boys, and thought what better way to achieve fame than to kill a true Legend. He advanced and let fly with his shotgun - with one lone chest fleshwound being enough to knock out the tired Marshal. He thought how cool would it be to hang the semi conscious Marshal? The Sheriff took fright losing his nerve , flinging away his badge , he legged it away from the jail heading out of town. Dawson dragged the semi-conscious form up the steps - would he come round fully in enough time to wake up and try and save himself. Dawson had to pass his nerve checks to do the dastardly deed..Wyatt's fate "hung" on the turn of a card - but it was not to be - Dawson pulled the leaver to release the trapdoor and thud....

At this point McCoy awoke from his beating and seeing the events unfold decided to take a shot at the the "Man Who Killed Wyatt", - Dawson is sure going to be carrying a reputation for his dirty no good cowardly ways. Missing his shot, McCoy slunk off into town tending his wounds.

The outlaw at the back of the Hotel had found some rubbish to set fire to, providing further distraction as the gang made their way out of town - on counting their stash they found $37,500 not a bad pay day.

McCoy had to content himself with having seen the demise of the Legend and having the town law run off scared. Maybe pickings would improve around here without the Law.

Phew it was a very tense game - with yet more imaginative thinking leading to some real fun situations.

The new scratch built water tower completed by Steve , I did the lettering on transfer paper using an Old West style font.

Monday 10 December 2012

Red Air Force - part 1

Well here is a little aircraft recognition test for you. This latest little project is for Gerry over at   The Situation Room . So can you tell your Yak9 from your Lagg3 , your Sturmovick from your PE2. Prize for anyone who can spot the all of the types. The models are by Command Decision Miniatures and all 1/144th scale.

Its been a while since the airbrush has had an outing, so I have made a start on the 25 aircraft with a main
undercoat of green

The airbrush I use is an IWATA Eclipse High Precision. Its a double action brush  which means you can control the airflow pressure and the width of the spray with the trigger. Not an easy skill at first , but once you get used to it easy enough. The paint cup is transferable side to side and I also have a range of large pots which I prepare with paint , thinners, cleaner etc  and then just swap over as required. 

 If you are starting out with an airbrush you can choose a single action which give you a fixed spray - something like a Badger 200 a good solid starter. In case you don't know the difference between a spraygun and an airbrush . A spraygun sprays air into which paint is drawn by the airflow externally from the spray nozzle. An Airbrush mixes air and paint within the body of the brush and sprays through the nozzle which means as you can control both paint flow and air pressure you can get a fine line of spray if you want.

Of course if you going in for any large scale work a compressor is essential - and this is mine - it will happily hammer away all afternoon - its fitted with pressure reduction valve as well which gives me extra control to reduce the air into the brush - useful for doing camo!!

Anyway off to mix more paint

Tuesday 4 December 2012

French Infantry Campaign style

Sometimes it seems the old workhorses don't get that much of a look in so here are some plain old PBI lads in greatcoat. You would think these are easier to do then a full uniform, but no there is just as much shading and highlighting required overall. I found these part done when I uncovered the caisson team so seemed like an idea to finish them off. The figures are Front Rank - nice again excellent quality of casting  They do a mix of head dress which adds a bit of variety , and I had turned some heads slightly to break up the completely uniform look.

 Something a little different up next "The Red Air Force"- to add to Gerry's madness over at The Situation Room - More 10mm soldiers than you can count on a massive playing area.  He's also currently working on building up a Napoleonic force and has taken delivery of 32,000!!! painted figures.

- then its back to some guys in Red...

Prep work also continues on items for the The 3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge run by Curt with talented painters from around the world sharing their work, with a little bit of healthy competition to spur each other on. Looking forward to it - and few good entries planned already. Well done Curt on setting it up again with all the work it entails. Well all those long dark night in Canada you need something to keep you busy right?

Thursday 29 November 2012

French Caisson team

This is other of those long ago started projects which i wanted to finish off this week. This is a nice Front Rank set of the Gribeauval artillery caisson and horse team. All were excellent casts - the horses in particular i thought were actually the best Front Rank ones I have dealt with. These have been completed with full oil painting - not just a rub, but actually using the medium fully with other mixed colours to provide shade and highlight. One of the reasons it had been parked so long was I had left it alone to dry and then got distracted by cowboys.

 Nice to see it finally completed. I think the winter period will see a lot more Napoleonic it's drawing me back - if there is one era you can't beat for colourful lads its this!

Friday 23 November 2012

The Winkerton Gambit - Battle Report

The Old West collection seems to becoming a firm favourite attracting new players each time i take it out. This week we also gave some more of the collection some table time. So here is the scenario.

Following the armed robberies in Serenity help has been brought in, in the form of the famous Winkerton Agency. They have tracked down a leading member of the Wild Gang “Lefty Starr” brother of the gang leader. They are spread around town and have Lefty held in one of the towns hotels waiting the arrival of the train for Silver Town where a trial is set for Lefty’s imminent arrival.

There is a bounty on the head of Lefty of $10,000 dollars, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE.

There is a county bounty on the head of  Henry Starr the Wild  gang leader of $20,000, and $1000 dollars a piece on the gang members – proof will be needed

A pale rider has been seen on the high planes.

We had 3 players - Winkertons (6 strong), Wild Gang (8 strong)  and the Bounty Hunter (all on his own- but the only Legend in play). there were a few other Non Player Characters added with diced for actions - the Doctor , the Preacher and the town Lawmen. The train arrival was controlled by dicing (d20) for the number of appearances the train cards would make before it turned up.  The character set up was determined by random card draw , the Winkertons choose to set up around the centre of the town and one guarding Lefty in the Star Hotel. The Wild Gang choose to set up around the town edges. Once set up a lone figure appeared throwing his poncho over his shoulder and headed around the back of the Hotel to await developments. 

The opening moves saw some of the Wild Gang members on the south side of the tracks behind the stockyard moving along behind the buildings with one clambering up onto the roof of the Meat Company and the other at the the end of the alley. Two long range shots rang out .A Winkerton was wounded , two more shots and down he went mortally wounded. Rogers on the roof drew a bead - and fired on another unsuspecting Winkerton and down he went "Fatal Shot Through the Heart" - two down in couple of turns, the Wild Gang were feeling confident.

On the other side of town "The Man With No Name" had made his way to the rear of the Star Hotel and peering through a window saw Lefty and his guard. And with a "fistful of action cards" , drew his dice. With a roll of 17 (on 3d6) the rear door of the hotel caved in as he burst through it , turned and drew his 6 shooter - a flurry of shots rang out and with his lightning quick skills he shot both , but just flesh wounds - but there was that ominous "click" on an empty chamber - "Out of Ammo". One action card left - what do? It was time to head for a side window and leap through out of harms way.

The activity at the rear of the hotel brought the leader of the Winkertons around from the Sheriffs office who drew and shot at the Bounty Hunter - no hits and again that "click" on an empty chamber - (had he just made him mad?) He was closely followed by the Wild Gang leader Henry Starr who put a dirty back shot into the Winkerton- and he too went out of ammo the wound a mere a flesh wound, but the Winkerton would still need to recover himself. This was getting tense - a 3 way shoot out , someone would need an action card to load , and then shoot. 

Starr next moved around behind the Winkerton looking to shield himself from the Bounty Hunter and took a quick action to re-load , but he could NOT resist another back shot and knocked down the Winkerton. The cards were turned the Legend card appeared - just waiting for its "owner" , and here he was , he loaded , and blazed away - the air was full of screaming bullets thudding into Henry Starr - 7 hits from 11 shots! (sure i heard someone shout Yahtze...) . The back shooting Henry did not survive the hail of bullets. The Bounty hunter having no further quarrel or profit with the wounded Winkerton leader moved on.


The train whistled into town, slowing as it did so. The Wild Gang on the south side buoyed by their early success moved forward and took aim at the Winkerton in cover by the waggon, winging him , fortunately the town doctor was on hand to administer first aid.

The Winkertons drew breath and as a group held their nerve. The south side Wild Gang boys used the train as cover to make their way along the street and spying another Winkerton having just left the bar of the Grand Hotel that was using a horse as cover McCoy took aim with his rifle once more,  missed but felled the horse! Somehow the semi-inebriated agent dodged being wounded by  the falling animal.

The train came to a halt. O'Keefe had moved onto the flat roof of the Star hotel and was pinning down the Winkerton and scaring the doctor further down the street. The flesh wounded Winkerton in the hotel having recovered himself attempted to run Lefty at gunpoint from the hotel door across the open and into the train - but NO, not enough movement rolled ,Lefty struggled but did not break his bonds.They were in the open.

Running up to the train Shootist McCoy lept up onto the tender ,  threatening the Winkerton to "let Lefty GO!" . He stood his ground. McCoy drew and fired - and missed the brave agent - but wait there was a thud -  at such close proximity one of the rounds intended for the agent , had found its mark in Lefty! A single card was drawn - "Fatal Head Shot" down he went. "Hell I might just claim the reward myself announced McCoy - this is MY gang now!". He fired again and the Winkerton went down wounded.

McCoy turned to the the train driver shouting MOVE! the train set off. McCoys new loyal followers followed his lead and were heading for the moving train out of town. The gang started shooting every horse in sight to make good their escape.

O'Keefe had moved across the roof of the hotel and took a shot at the Bounty Hunter, from his vantage point above - no hits , the cool stranger spun around and felled him with a knock down blow to the leg - he teetered on the roof edge before falling back onto the roof.

McCoy as he past through the town on the train tender took a wild long range shot at the professional killer with the poncho , grazing him on the head. The Bounty Hunter merely bit hard on his cigar and wondered  how much McCoy may be worth "Dead or Alive" another day. Gunsmoke drifted from the end of his gunbarrel. 

The Winkerton by the waggon who had witnessed the demise of his colleagues and had been pinned down by fire from the roof still held his nerve - determined that his friends would not have died for nothing. Seeing the McCoy gang members racing toward the train he levelled his rifle on them. A flurry of accurate long range shots and two of the gang went down just as they approached the rear of the train - both Fatal shots - that's better he thought - some revenge. The train picked up speed out of town.

The Bounty Hunter claimed his reward money and rode out onto the planes. McCoy - well the question is - is he the real thing?  What stunt will he pull next. 

This was a great game that swung too and fro with wonderful variability - and some wonderfully rare "things Legends are Made of" moments . Again the new player loved it - another 3 guys are up for the next one. 

Wednesday 21 November 2012

It's that man again.

The return of Napoleon to the blog  especially for Kawe at Westfalia Miniatures & Grossbeeren 1813..  I have had these guys kicking around for a while mostly painted with just final highlights and the table details to do . Oh the maps and the orders were fun to do , thank heaven for reading glasses (happens to us all !). They are a mix of 4 Perry metal sets. Now traditionally i have not been a great fan , and I do think they could still improve the casting quality a little sometimes, they were a devil to clean up all the bits of flash. They are however once you have done lovely to paint - very taken with the various facial details. Of course they took an age as every figure is an individual 

 Marshal Ney decidng where to charge next  my favourite figure of the lot (probably because he's my favourite Marshal)

 The staff write out the orders - just check what time it is.

Meanwhile the Emperors personal staff await his commands


Monday 19 November 2012

Gunplay in Serenity - battle report

Game time again - so here is the scenario.
There are rumours in town of a “secret” gold shipment due in from the Wilmott mine at Buffalo Falls to meet the 3.10 train to Hope Springs.  Members of the “Cowboys” and the “Outlaws” have been whoopin it up the towns saloons and the town lawmen are seriously outnumbered.

However the town Marshal is non other than the Legendary - Wyatt Earp who has a “Terrifiying” reputation well earned across the west , who will stand no nonsense in his efforts to keep the peace with Sheriff Steele and Deputy Daniels.

The “Cowboys” and the “Outlaws” are rivals in notoriety and “Hate” each other. Marshal Earp “Hates” the "Outlaws"

Note a bag of gold is heavy and a man can only carry one bag at a time (thanks for the idea Colgar6).

So I had this set up with 3 players and myself doing GM duties - and with a card up my sleeve to help out the law if they really struggled. The two gangs of 5 bad guys each were randomly generated for a couple of new players to the game and were made up of a mix of gunman and higher level shootists. Both gangs managing to dice having had a few members who had had too many drinks in the saloon. Wyatt was the only Legend in play, but I had added an extra couple of higher action cards and had picked some pertinant skills such as Charmed , Nerves of Steel and Hard as Nails to give some options for the law. A random set up of bad guys was completed by drawing cards and then I allowed the law to position themselves. 

 Wyatt started at one end of town and spied some of his enemy "Outlaws" at the livery and moved towards them. As he started shooting one them immediately decided to run rather than face the famous law man, Bart held his nerve only to be riddled with some fine close range shooting from Wyatt, being seriously wounded and knocked out. 

At the other end of town a stage had turned up (random entry point) near members of the Cowboys, who decided to intercept it, and Frank found 4 bags of gold , however he of course could only carry one on his own. Frank played an action card and legged it away with his booty as other gang members looked on suddenly realising there was quick profit to be made. 

 Sherrif Steele emerged from the Dry Goods store to intervene. As Curly from the Cowboys approached the stash a  rifle shot rang out wounding Curly in the right arm. He recovered and traded shots with Steele leaving the lawman's legs shot to bits and the unconcious figure slumped over the railroad tracks. Curly was left with the problem - gun or gold. The train was seen heading into town.

 Meanwhile Wyatt had worked his way from the other end of town on a series of action cards,a couple of drunken Outlaws had trouble staying upright. Wyatt wounded & pinned down other members of the Oulaws on the way, he snuck up on Curly who turning to face him recieved further wounds in the other arm. Wyatt seeing the defenceless bad guy decided to take him into custody and escort him to the jail where Deputy Daniels was still sitting (his card seemed to always be at the bottom of the pack!).

At this point the Outlaws playing a series of action cards took advantage to steal a horse from outside of the Grand hotel and make off with a couple of bags of gold. Both lawmen left the Sheriff's office in pursuit. Deputy Daniels blasted away with the shotgun winging an Cowboy before taking a Fatal Gutshot. This only seemed to serve to make Wyatt very angry! He was leading a charmed life with bad guys running away from him rather than fight or if they did the bullets just whistled past him.

Sheriff Steele was attended to by the town Doctor and came too just in time to crawl off the railroad tracks and put a rifle shot into another Cowboy attempting to sneak up on Wyatt for a dirty rotten backshot. A Cowboy snuck into the unmanned jail and shot the lock off the cell freeing Curly and the gang decided to make their getaway.

Frank from the Cowboys who had made off with the original bag of gold had snuck into a stock pen at the end of town , seeing an opportunity to cause mayhem and secure his escape slipped open the gate and started herding the cattle out toward the Outlaws and Wyatt - STAMPEDE!. The train came to a halt in town.

 Wyatt was able to get out of the way of the frightened steers as an  Outlaw mounted the stolen horse and with two bags of gold galloped away. Wyatt put paid to Frank's attempt to get away with a fine long range shot, retrieving the gold.

Doc Holliday had stayed in the Grand hotel - it seemed Wyatt had not needed the help after all.
 he was unwounded , and had accounted for several members of both gangs.  It was a profitable day for the two escaping Outlaws as the random draw proved very lucrative at over $80,000 dollars. So there will be a price on thier heads next time in town.

The Cowboys faired worse not managing to keep any of the gold they liberated and having a number of members seriously wounded. 

There was some fine imagination from the players in this game, and all thoroughly enjoyed it, it surfaced a few other tweaks i want to make and some things to write down and clarify in the rules. The rules used are my mix of things from Rules With No Name , Dusty Trails and personal tweakes.


And the winner is...

me apparently,

Thanks to that kind Mr Awdry over at the wonderfully eclectic and frequently inspirational 28mm Victorian Warfare  who has nominated me for this "blog-o-sphere" recognition. Cheers Michael.

Now i just need to find out what it all means.

But in the mean time , some of you may remember the hearse i completed a little while ago - well I eventually found a figure I liked to use for a driver - complete with rifle at hand to ease his journey to "Boot Hill". I needed to chop his legs of and remake them.

 There have been a few cowboy games of late and I will get some write up's posted shortly when i get the photo's sorted.

Some comparison shot of various civilians for the guy on the LAF
 Black Scorpion, Blue Moon, Artizan, and Knucklduster (the unpainted)