31 July, 2014

New Airbrush!!

So you're thinking about an airbrush. Maybe you want to get through that huge pile of minis that are just lying around in boxes, or maybe you're just looking to touch up some camo before a tournament. Tired of using brushes to try and get German camo patterns the way I would like them to look, I made a leap into something new. On my recent trip to Historicon, I had just finished buying some new buildings and some other gaming terrain. I had seen the Grex booth in vendor area and heard the name Grex airbrushes through other sources, but I had never seen one in action. After trying both the pistol grip 'Tritium' and the 'Genesis' models they had on their demonstration area, I bought 'Genesis.XSi3' with the compressor. I'll get to the compressor in more detail later, let's take a look at what you get in the kit.
Everything to get you started in one box!

28 July, 2014

Canadian Invasion Part 2

So Canada wins at the US Nationals. No, really. We scored a major victory when one of our very own won Best Painted Army this year at Historicon. Dennis 'MattVarnish' won with his German DAK army and came away with a nice plaque for his efforts. I'm not going to include all my games this year, but will highlight the ones that left the biggest impressions.  Once again this year, some of our crew managed to hook up and play against some of the 'Utah Boys', Mike managed to bring a few more with him this year and I'm pretty sure they'll be back next year. I played Mike in a game last year and got hammered, this year was a little different against Ryan.
Hold the Line Deployment

26 July, 2014

Fields of Glory - 15mm what?!?!

What am I doing?!?!  How did I get here?

It's a long story and it all kicked off a little over a week ago at Historicon (HMGS). A bunch of the Dice Devils crew made the 10+ hour drive down to Fredericksburg VA for this gaming convention. 6 of us were entered in the Mid War US Nationals tournament for Flames of War. This event will be covered by some of our other members on this site, so I will leave it to them, but suffice to say a great time was had!

So Napoleonics eh? Men, in their late 20s to 30s? No way. Not gonna happen. We are the lads that used to drool 40k! We play Warmachine, Infinity, FLAMES OF WAR - Not stuffy old cannons and muskets crap!

Well when you see this kind of thing in person...


it is hard to not get caught up in the idea of massed troops, and the defining moments of western civilization. Before I start sounding like a history professor, let's just agree that war gaming, regardless of the period, has an appeal that can easily draw fans of Sci-Fi to Ancients or Flames of War players to Napoleonics.


25 July, 2014

Canadian Invasion! Part 1

Once again July marks another successful trip down to Fredericksburg Virginia for Historicon 2014. Getting there was the easy part, waiting in line became the theme on the first day the doors were opened. I get you have a ton of volunteers who work at Historicon ensuring you have a good time and everything runs smoothly. Registration was only a small bump and just meant that even if you had your name in early, did not guarantee you would get through the queue quickly. This however, was the only small negative for me during the entire trip and is easily fixable by testing your registration process before the convention opens. This small bump was the ONLY negative for me the entire convention.

Old School Gaming

14 July, 2014

Wire Wire Pants on Fire

With the road trip departure time slowly approaching, I'm figuring I will have a few last minute things to do before heading out to Virginia. It looks like I have a few more barbed wire obstacles to build, maybe do a few more decals and then finally have a list ready for Historicon. The problem with my submitted list was that it lacked focus and was extremely weak when facing pretty much any other list. I'm looking forward to the tournament and not there to be over competitive, but I would like a win or two if I'm making the 10+ hour drive to come down there.
Adding armor of any sort in Mid War is crazy expensive, do you really want to drop the points on one tank? It can be killed by air, a lucky artillery strike or even get assaulted if you're not careful of what you're doing. I'm pretty much caught between these three choices, keeping in mind I can only build out of the models I have, and that's not much at the moment, I think Nebs, a few more Marders and some other essential German pieces are going to be bought on this next trip. I also need some more Australian blisters for my MW Africa Australians, if and when North Africa get's a proper re-write. I mean did we really need a re-vamped Grey Wolf this soon already? It was the first LW book I bought when I got into this game, and I have to see if the changes they made even effect any of my lists.

New Re-Worked Wire Obstacle
I was not happy with the way my first wire obstacles turned out, so with a little more time and some other materials, I went ahead and made this last night. I have a few more to make, but all together it didn't take too long to accomplish. The finer wire on the posts took a little more because of the wire itself, it's a plastic wire and has barbs on it to look authentic, so it was a little tricky to work with. I think with the lone wire on top, I'll place a post at each end to make it a little more 'full' on the base.

Low and High Wire Entanglement
So this is what I'm caught between playing, have a look and post a comment or drop me a line and let me know what you think about the three choices. They're not in any particular order. I'll be packed up today and have both with me, so I have a few more days to 'figure it out'. I'll let you know how it goes once again with a post-Historicon writeup.

First Choice Historicon
or
Second Choice Historicon
finally....after some mucking about in the late hours....
Third and Final One



10 July, 2014

Best Care Anywhere

Another night has passed until Historicon! Everyone is ready to get on the road and get to the hotel at a decent time to wind down from a long journey. Maybe you turn on the TV and start going through your list, you could open your case and find that your army has survived bouncing around in the back of a SUV for 11 hours. It's likely you won't encounter any issues and your models will be tournament ready once the dice start flying. Uh oh! You go through your stuff only to find a barrel broken, staff table tipped over or a .50 cal has come off a turret?
Enter your emergency kit! Like the combat medics, nurses (HELLO!) and doctors of WW2, you'll have to make do under pressure, get whatever treatment done with the fewest tools possible.
Simple $2 Tackle Box
Whatever you decide for storage, it should at least carry the minimum amount of paint, tools and glue to perform McGyver type repairs and touch ups. There is no point in over doing it, you can always find a paint color, tape measure or full model in case you forgot a turret on your buddies table after a last minute game before heading on the road. Remember your basic colors from kindergarten, black and white make grey! So if need be, experiment and you'll get a color close to the finish of that turret you replaced.
Storage For Spare Barrels, Stowage, Antennaes, Flock etc...
Small items store better individually in divided areas or tucked away in a small plastic container or plastic sandwich bags. Ensure if you do get a top opening box, it has a lid with decent clips that won't pop open or have any gaps that will allow small bits to come out and get lost.
All Your Brushes, Files, Hand Drill and Hobby Knife Right On Top
You don't need to pack everything off your hobby desk! I don't even care if you leave the house with everything in the bottom of your pack or tucked away in a pocket of your army case. At least make an effort and who knows, you might even be asked by someone "Do you have....." and you can step up and say "Yeah, I brought one of those." Your brushes need to contain one flat, one fine tip, one for inking and one for dry brushing.
Simple Color Selection and Glue!
Let's talk about your paint for a second, you'll have no room for a spray can and likely painting outside in the humid July temperatures would be disastrous. Let's face it, at this point should you be priming models? I hope not. Your kit will likely contain: black, brown, green, yellow, ink of a medium tone and a light color for dry brushing. The yellow is a good one because it mixes well with any other colors to give different tones. It also happens to help if you have a desert or German armor to touch up, or maybe a light tone for hair or shoulder flashes.
Packed and Ready
I decided the baby blue trim was hardly worthy to be packed up for a war gaming convention, so I painted it black and then applied German Armor from the Flames of War line of paints! Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or hit me up in an email. I'll likely get one more post in before heading on the road, I hope you take this and run with it. It's not expensive to get together as you own everything already minus the box. Hope to see ya at Historicon!!

Matty

Aktionstationen!! (Action Stations!)

Last year, I was more prepared! I had already finished my army, had a partner for doubles on Thursday and knew Historicon in 2013 was going to be fun! This year it's a little different.
A'LARM!!!!
If you've never seen Das Boot, then you are missing out. It's all subtitles and it's a long movie, but worth watching for WW2 buffs. It also kind of sums up how things are going for me at the moment. Action stations indeed.....

Finishing Touches
The bottom line is that I am not playing in the doubles event on Thursday, no one in my group wanted to play 9 games of Flames of War in 3 days and thought checking out the rest of the 'con would be worthwhile. I think after some thought, I agree to a certain extent. I'd be more than happy to play in this event again this year, as Eric from I-95 does an excellent job and runs a top notch event. It will however give me time to heckle Chris, Vic, and some of the other new friends I made last year while gaming. I'm sure the favor will be returned once Nationals starts on Friday. Right.....so I got my HMGS membership, I'm going to try and attend at least one more event during the year, that's the plan so far....I did miss the pre-registration though. I've been busy with work and life in general getting some stuff done around here. Up to and including working on getting my Pzr IV H in World of Tanks. Also known as World of Not Painting.....so worth it though!


Supply Truck (Converted Sd. Kfz. 9 'FAMO')
Since when did all the paint on vehicles come out of the same can? I'm ready and able to get some of my new armor on the table, but because I have become a little better at painting, I have also been doing some modelling. Creating from scratch is a lot of fun, it just takes a little more time. In this case, I have models painted already that fit into my list I can't see repainting them simply to make my army look 'uniform'......I've become a better painter and can't help some of my older models looking a little worse for wear. You'll find I am a master at basing, dressing up and adding to my models, so you won't even notice. (I guess you know now.....)


Stage ONE-TWO-THREE
I wanted to create some barbed wire templates and worked hard doing research and using some of my own experience in setting up, crossing or avoiding such obstacles. From top to bottom, it's a rubber mat cut into 8"x2" strips, grass mat glued onto it and desert or brown flock placed on it during step two. Step three is a simple set of posts, low wire, high wire entanglements covered off by two strips of concertina wire. Anyone who over thinks barbed wire has never worked with the stuff. Unless you are a fortified company or a unit that is in a strict defensive roll, this stuff is setup quick and doesn't take much time to do with practice. I find the 'Defensive' missions in FoW are 'hasty' style defensive missions, where you have very little time to react and do your best to place these 'obstacles'. You know they are not going to stop someone outright, but will hopefully slow them down.


A few unfinished teams I used for scale
I feel better now....it's after midnight by the time this post goes live, but all in all there is a little more time and we're seven days away from something I look forward to every year, might even have a chance to share some laughs and some Captain Morgan with some friends I haven't seen since last year. On a side note, you need to head over to YouTube and check out the official trailer for 'Fury', it's a WW2 tank movie, it comes out in November and looks awesome. The production managed to borrow some of the finest tanks out there for the film to add to its authenticity......including a TIGER!


Protection from what?....Ze Germans!?

06 July, 2014

Warhammer 40k Batrep #4 Marines Vs...Marines?!

I suck at computers, lol. This batrep got delayed a week or so because I couldn't figure out how to splice the video clips together after its off my phone. Insert fellow Dice Deviler CA$H and his recommendation of Windows Movie Maker and the vid is ready to go! This was my last game prior to a tourney I was supposed to attend, but sadly work kept me away (boo-urns!!). As such, my opponents list had a bit more 'teeth' and I continued my path down figuring out 40k, 7th Edition and Marines in general all over again. I need some of the shiny new Marine things, and I'm hoping to find them at Historicon in a couple weeks. Yeah I know its a Historical Con, but when I went a couple years back, I saw loads of 40k in the Flea Market! Anyways, no more gilding of the lily... Cheers, and thanks for watching!

05 July, 2014

Tournament Survival Guide

So it's another tournament, time to get your models ready and pack a bag for a road trip with the lads to roll some dice and share some war stories. Whether it's an overnight trip or simply a drive to your LFGS for a day of games, I'm here to share some tips to make your tournament experience more enjoyable. We're going to look at planning, travel, food and the convention.

Below is a simple list to ensure you get the maximum amount of rest, food and of course wins on the virtual battlefield. All the while having a ton of fun doing it. I draw on my experiences of military exercises and having attended trade shows, gaming conventions and local tournaments. I hope you take just a few points away from this and I contribute to helping all of you have a better time at your next convention.

It's all in the planning.....
  • Pack your list (models, dice etc.) a few days in advance. Make your list, check it twice and then bag it up. Use the 'Pick List' option on Easyarmy to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. Extra copies of list, tape measure, dice and rulebooks. PDF versions save on weight in your army bag.That being said, a small backpack for everything else is key.
  • Create an emergency kit with the following items; glue, a few key paint colors you used in prepping your army, hobby knife and some paintbrushes. Place them all in a plastic container or in a tackle box tray. You can get all sorts of storage options at your local discount store for no more than $2.
  • Buy a cheap serving tray, paint/flock it or simply buy a non-slip pad used in kitchen cupboards. Cut it to size and your models won't slide around and it'll hide the hideous graphics. It shouldn't take two people to move your army around and take up a 4'x6' table. (Note: Massive display boards are only ok if you're third generation Airborne. Thank you for your service!)
  • Don't over pack, this is a classic mistake made by travelers. You need extra underwear and socks....do you really need six t-shirts for two days? A light coat or sweater just in case of weather or A/C inside the convention is enough. Travel in your hikers or sandals, don't wear them to the venue. Comfortable shoes are better for walking around and standing on concrete for eight hours. (No! Socks with sandals are never ok. EVER.)

Artillery.......the new 'Sitzkrieg' for 2014.
  • Stay in a half decent hotel, don't share more than three to a room. Your body will thank you for it. It's worth the extra $10/night per person. Take turns spending one night on the pull out couch or cot.
  • Try and get a room with a fridge or make use of the ice machine and keep water, juice and other 'beverages' in a cooler. It's easier to take your own water to the convention than spending $5/bottle while you're gaming.
  • Staying no more than 30 minutes away will ensure you are well rested and won't require you to get up too early and rushed to make it to your first game. Giving yourself just 15 more minutes will allow for that coffee or construction you can't avoid.
  • Grab something at the breakfast bar if you don't have time or want to stop for a full breakfast. Banana, bowl of cereal or even just a chocolate milk will be enough. You need that initial energy first thing to set your body up for success for the rest of the day!

Das convention food tastes like scheisse!
  • Snacks in your backpack will allow you to eat throughout the day. It's cheaper to buy in bulk for a few days supply and will keep extra money in your wallet for that model, terrain or t-shirt you had your eyes on buying. 
  • Snacks low in salt and sugar are best. Chips and chocolate bar diets are a bad combination and will lead to you feeling run down, and making mental mistakes when you're playing games.
  • Get out of the convention center if you can for meals, the food at most venues is horrible and expensive. Plan your meals so you can find a place to eat and get back to gaming in a reasonable amount of time. You could even pack a lunch, there are lots of sandwich options like Subway or similar choices you can store in a small lunch bag in your backpack.
  • If you came down in a group of four or more people, break up into smaller groups. It will make planning easier when it comes to food choices, what games you want to play or just walking about the convention center. You'll feel less irritated and rushed while your mates look through a box of unmarked blisters if you're in smaller 2-3 person groups. I did find that one pack of armored recce jeeps though......
  • Your backpack should have; sweater/light coat, emergency kit, hand sanitizer, snacks/lunch, water. Carry a small notepad, pen and either your phone charger or extra batteries along with your camera.
I hope you find some of this information useful.  There's something to be said for not being too rundown once the dice start hitting the table. You'll make better decisions, you'll be healthier, better rested and able to fix any problem with your emergency kit. Especially those bloody .50 cal guns or that loose gun team you forgot about. You might even be able to glue a rear tail back on your Hurricane because someone broke it and didn't tell you about it....they were nice enough to leave the piece on my army tray however.......
Take a shower.
Use deodarant.
Brush your teeth.
SCUMBAG!

02 July, 2014

Painting Panzers The Video Edition

As promised, here is the video for the process and tips I used in getting my Panzers ready for Historicon 2014!
Thanks for watching and stay tuned for more videos in the future. I enjoyed getting all the historicon videos up from last year and look for the same type of AAR once the convention has wrapped up. See you there and at the WWPD podcast!

01 July, 2014

Historicon 2014! Might as well buy new shhh....er.......STUFF!!

Historicon 2014 is upon us! Just a few more weeks until my army will be complete and packed up ready to clear customs. Hope you had a good Canada Day and all of our friends down south, we hope you have a safe and fun July 4th! I've been trying to figure out what to bring to this years tournament. At 1485 points, it's easy to make a list with enough options to make it competitive. As for me, I look forward to just playing some games and making the most out of my second Nationals. I may not play in the I-95 Doubles Flames of War event on Thursday. SO....hopefully that will lead to a few more hours of checking out some of the other games and making the most of the shopping by picking up some more terrain for my home tables.

Now to what I've been working on. I had a list put together and was ready to just pack up models I already owned and painted to take with me to Historicon, but where is the fun in an army you had no hand in painting? When I decided to take a German list, my Panzergrenadiers are not painted by me, and for some reason I feel compelled to try and make my army look good for this one big event. I figured because I played my 82nd Airborne last year for the LW Nats, and my Australians are not a real fun list to play at 1485, I thought about a totally new list from scratch.
Sorry mate, no HE makes me CRAZY against Infantry!!
Below is a picture of just a few of the 15-16 tanks I am currently assembling and painting for this year. The one on the left is simply assembled and has two primer coats of grey, wondering whether or not to leave them that way took a little bit of research. I found that during the 1941-1942 time period, Germany was starting to use different color and camouflage schemes to better hide their armor against the Soviets. This leads me to the tank in the center, it's been painted with Plastic Soldier Company spray paint. In this case, I used the 'Dunkelgelb Yellow', it's a little different than the other color that is popular for this period, which would be DAK brown, or tan if you prefer.
PEW PEW!!
Masking off a few random areas on each tanks leaves some grey underneath once dry and gives a camo effect without the use of an airbrush and cuts down on the chances of imperfect lines if you use a paintbrush. Let's face it, I have a few weeks to get this done and on the table! Still working for a few more weeks before taking a much deserved holiday.
 
The last tank on the right is the one that is 99% complete, all I need to do is add a few markings and numbers. From beginning to end, once the dunkelgelb is dry. I might be looking at 20 minutes a tank. There really is no need to go overboard on these. Armor is simple and should be treated as such, large surface area with very few chances to be creative color scheme wise. I used the following in completing these: Black (Villejo) road wheels, 'Vermin Brown' (Citadel) for the tracks, Gun Metal Grey (Villejo) on the tools, box latches, machine guns and a light-medium grey drybrush once they have been washed with CGR 'Magic Mud'.
With any luck, I'll get them all done!
It looks a little darker up close, the fluorescent lighting in my shop is not the best for final photos. Once the wash goes on, it brings that yellow down to a nice 'sun-faded' look. You can also see that the 'perfect' lines that were masked off now look a little better as well. I think with a slightly feathered look to them, they look a little more realistic. Thanks for reading as always, and look for a short video in the next few days for a breakdown of this entire process.