Saturday, 27 August 2011

Starship Troopers The Miniatures Game by Moongoose

When I got back into wargaming back around 2008. One club night I was invited to take part in a game of Startship Troopers. Run as a multi player game with each player controlling one squad, and using the basics of the Mongoose Publishing rule system, but not quite in its intended way. It was a great game, and the next day I had a trawl through the net looking for sets. It was just after Mongoose had stopped producing it I discovered to my dissmay and many places had sold out sadly.

Well in the years since I have played a few more games and picked up the odd pack and box set here and there. Then about two months ago I was looking for some figures I had bought and put in the attic for safe storage. During the search, I found a couple of those "anonymous brown boxes". You know the kind that you stuff things into prior to bunging them in the attic, whilst at the time telling your self, you will of course remember in a year or two exactly whats in them.

Needles to say, the first two had a few bits of SST in them, some Mobile Infantry and some Arachnid units. Well as my search went on, and on for the elusive figures I could have sworn were lurking in the attic, I discovered more SST packs. After about an hour, I realised that my collecting, buying the odd pack here and there off eBay, through shops etc, had kind of grown just a little.

And in fact I had completely lost track of what I had. So I set about digging it all out, once I located the missing figures, which as fate would have it, were not in the attic, but in fact in my painting room, in another "abb".

So out of the attic it all came, and came, and came. It took most of an afternoon. A swift excel spread sheet later and I suddenly realised what had started as a minor project of interest. Now consisted of over 1000 figures, needing building and painting. I wish I could say it was a complete collection, but it isn't (see my wanted list in the topics). 

Soon after the first game, I had the idea of eventually running a campaign. Partly inspired from watching the animated "Roughnecks" series. Which if you haven't seen is available on you tube. Not strictly in keeping with original Starship Troopers Book (or movie film) it, is closer than the latter is though.

The campaign idea, was to give a player a basic set force structure, a map and have them select what they wish to commit in way of forces to which locations and which objectives. I will run the bugs and the plot as such and leave the player to make his descisions. It sounded so simple when I first thought of it and talked it through with a friend who wants to play the MI.

So, any how. The challenge is now, to try and get these done. I love the figures and rules, but have to profess that constructing the figures, particularly the plastic ones is timely. I actually put 14 or so of the warrior bugs togather a while ago and started on some troopers.
But at the time I go distracted with my 28mm WW2 collection, so they got tucked away.

Mongoose Starship Troopers The Miniatures Game - Basic Box Sets
So how many bugs does one need? I have 80 or so, to be built and painted. The majority coming in the basic box sets (above) which should contain 20 each, but two of the sets I bought were part used and from bring and buys at shows. And so as a core for my bug army, I have around 80 of these delightful plastic nightmares, sorry marvels to build..  The figures l ook great once done, but if anyone else has ever tried to assemble these, they will know, they really do push ones patience a little.

However I am committed (or should that "be") to getting these done. Few gaming systems, give me that teenage tingle of excitement, that thrill that for inexplicable reasons, just hooks you to something.
The first was Rogue Trader, back in the day, then WW2, in 28mm and now definitely SST.

So, keep an eye out as the project progresses.
Also if you happen to have any bugs etc you don't want or need, I may be able to offer them a good home. :)

28mm Vietnam Project - Part 3 - NVA and VC so far.

Along with my US forces, I have also been picking up the odd VC/NVA figure or two.. infact a few more than I had realised in total.

So here we go;

Mix of TAG and Baker Company NVA/VC

Mix of Baker Company & Westwind NVA/VC
I won't go into a list of the exact details here for the NVA/VA forces. But just say the eventual aim is to get to a platoon of NVA, a platoon of VC, with supporting units such as mortors, DsHK's, and sappers.
Depending on which OOB's you wish to believe from which rule sets, I should have just about enough figures with these shown here, and the few FoA VC figures in Part 1.

I have a few Westwind figures mixed in here with mostly Baker Company and Assault group. In the first photo are some painted and undercoated TAG figures I won off ebay. Some need a touch up, but otherwise the paint work is neat and tidy. So will do. Eventually I will probably replace them, but for now they give me a head start on getting the communist forces going.

Figure range wise, westwinds figures are a little smaller. Some people viewing them as more toward 25mm than 28mm. Some of the casting quality has started to suffer, and I suspect the moulds are getting a little dated and need re-mastering. I bought the heavy weapons pack at a show a year or two ago and the flash, on the figures and the machine gun is some of the worst I have ever seen. Its not a huge deal, but it is anouying at times.

Some of the figures have been based, and others not, so amoungst the first task, along with my free world forces will be to get them based and the bases textured. Again will be using British 2pence coins and Basetex paint and railways gravel.

Undercoating I can do all year round, as I invested in an extraction spray booth a few years back, having found every time I want to spray figures, the weather was grim. That and I bought an air brush for painting vehicles. Having worked in environmental issues for years and knowing the risks from dust inhalation, believe me. If you cannot afford an extractor, get a good mask. Infact I use both when spraying indoors just to be sure.

Undercoating wise, I use GW or HMG black undercoat in the main. Though recently with my Empress/Mongrel Moderns I used white. I have in the past used Halfords (car parts supplier for those not in the UK) grey primer. The only issue is, it comes out of the can like a flame thrower..! Its easy to over do it a little, so if you plan to use it, then work with the can held a good way back and gradually build up the coat.

Tip: A lot of recent resin models, are made with polyeurathane resins and some of these do not allow primers such as HMGs or GW's to adhere to the paint surfaces. It looks ok at first, but other time the paint begins to flake. This is despite thoroughly washing the models in detergent before spraying.

The cure is to use, a plastic primer. Halford do one and apparently that adheres far better.
I had not noticed any issue, till my JTFM WW2 models got a bit older. I will have to strip some of them I fear. And my recent Imprint models.

Right I am digressing.. so back to Veitnam..
Once I have the figures, cleaned up, based and undercoated. I will go through the painting schemes.

28mm Vietnam Project - Part 2 - Rest of the US todate.

Following on from here having slightly recovered from the bug that put and early end of operation Table Clear and attempts to liberate the painting table from the clutches of "p.o.j" (piles of junk), I managed to find a couple of anonymous looking brown boxes. Vaguely remembering something linking them with my Vietnam gaming, rash eBay purchase and blaming my self for a faulty memory, I discovered they did contain 28mm white metal and in fact that belonging to my Vietnam collection.

So here we have the remainder of the forces I am starting the project off with to date;

Free World (Continued from Part 1)

Baker Company Blisters and TAG 0.5cal US Infantry Figures

Two storage trays of mostly Baker Company US infantry
As you can see.. in addition to the packs of Force of Arms packs I have picked up over the last couple of years a reasonable number of Baker Company miniatures and the odd The Assault Group one or two.

I have found that these three figure ranges though having slightly different sculpting styles, fit together quite well. Though other ranges like Parkfield and the new one from Ebob, Recons ranges may fit, I have yet to see them in the flesh. So couldn't say for certain.

In total I should have enough for a reinforced US infantry platoon. I won't be making them unit specific as such, as I try and keep my forces as flexible in terms of periods and units I can choose to represent with them, as I can.

For now some are based, basing being the good old British 2pence coin and texture provided by Basetex Paint from Colour Party (not yet applied) with some model railway ballast sprinkled to provide some rough patches. The same technique I have used for much of my WW2 figures. I like the finish and the durability. I have yet to have a figure come loose or detached. I use 5 minute devcon two part epoxy resin adhesive to mount each figure once they have been cleaned. Once based they will be undercoated ready for painting. 

So the next step for these is to get cleaning up the FoA and remaining Baker Company pieces and then to mount and texture the bases as above in preparation for undercoating. 

For the eagle eyed out there, you will notice some downed aircrew figures in the bottom left hand corner of the right hand tray. And below them, some civilian figures. Mostly farmers and labourers. I plan to do these as the same time as I do the US figures. 

Figures Wanted - Do you have them to trade or sell?

There are a few figures from differing periods and or systems that I am hunting for. If you happen to have them, or know someone who does and are willing to trade or sell them, then please drop me a line.

28mm WW2 Wanted
Pak36 by Boltaction
Pak88 by Boltaction
Partizans by Boltaction

28mm Starship Troopers (SST) by Mongoose Publishing
MI Veteran Cap Troopers 
MI Reliant Gun Platforms
MI Fleet Landing Party
MI Grizzly Marauder Suits
MI Cougar Marauder Suits -
MI Pathfinders

Arachnid Cliff Mites
Arachnid Mantis Hunter Bug

Arachnid Brain Bug
Arachnid Guard Bugs

Pathfinder Amry Book
MI Army Book
Skinnie Army Book

Forth Miniatures - Any

Vietnam 28mm - New Australians from Force of Arms

The following was posted by John Bruce, from Force of Arms over on TMP.

"Talking about Force of Arms – as I might, is this a good time to draw your attention to our New figure Range in the Operation Series – this time Australians

Op Hammer, 5RAR at Binh Ba 1969
RAR01 Infantry Squad (8): 1@ M16, M60 & M79; 8 x SLR £8.00 GBP
RAR02 Pl HQ (4): 2 x M16 – 1 w/PRC25, 2 x SLR at £5.00 GBP
RAR-Pl Platoon Pack: 3 x RAR01, 1x RAR02 + 2 special figures(Mortar Fire Controller w/Owen SMG and Scout w/M16) for £29.00 GBP

Updated list just on site – photos will follow, when I get the camera back!

All best John FoA

Oh yes and we've a great range of Australian armour too " < original post from here;

The one force I have not got in my own collection to today are Australians. Their forces though small in number, played a big part  during the conflict. Their contribution and proffesionalism is sometimes majorly over looked.

So, these will definitely on the list of get in the near future. For the moment I have my hands full with the last batch of US infantry I picked up from John, so till they are done these just remain on the "wants" list.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Recon Mission at the Club.

Thursday nights is club nights and Tom had recently finished painting his 28mm WW2 Ranger Platoon. So having had a break from playing Rules of Engagement, I dug out my trust basic german grenadiers platoon. Actually based on a luftwaffe field regiment platoon. Ie, very basic low quality troops.

We rolled "recon" in the mission settings, ie, both rolling a 1 on the scenario selection chart.
Its a tricky game. One player sets up with hidden tokens but is "unpreppared", and his oponent has to basically uncover/detect as much of the force as he can.

It proved that rangers a tough foe to take on. Thankfully depsite a few rounds of bad, dice, I was able to get a few LMGs to concentrate fire and then the numbers started to tell. But my mortor was dire! The dreaded 81mm, was not quite so dreaded.. I must have had 3 dud rounds at least in the game. But it was good to get back to playing RoE, having been diverted into a few other things of late.

You cannot beat a good game of WW2. And given the massive lead mountain i own, which is now accompanied by a large resin pile. Its something I should work on. But my vietnam comes first.

Sorry for lack of photos, but I managed to leave the camera behind.

Next time.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ebay Selling - 28mm Mongrel Mujahideen / Taliban etc

Found a couple of packs of 28mm Mongrel Miniatures, that I did not need and so have listed them on ebay.

28mm Vietnam Project - Part 1 - First Batch

I have intended to spend this weekend starting on my 28mm Vietnam Figures. I have amassed a fair number, mostly baker company, force of arms and some odd TAG or Westwind ones. But I was not feeling to well, so Operation Table Clear was postponed after starting, but not before i discovered an anonymous brown paper bag. Inside it contained, the last lot of figures I bought from John Bruce at Force of Arms. And one of my favourite models. The M48A3. 

However my joy was slightly tempered when having liberated the bag from where it had obviously fallen from my painting table clutter. I discovered some of the M16 barrel tips were badly bent. And one had snapped. Possessing some fine drill bits, I will attempt to repair them with some fine brass wire. Not something I have had to attempt before, but will give it a try.

So here is the Patton- or M48A3 in all her 1/56th Scale Glory awaiting assembly.

M48A3 Patton Tank by Force of Arms in 1/56th Scale
M48A3 of Troop A, 3d Squadron, 5th Cavalry "Black Knights"

 The kit looks fairly straight forward to assemble and as usual with John Bruce's work, the detail is very good. A little resin flash, around areas like the muzzle break but nothing too serious. A couple of minor air bubbles again around the muzzle break, but these should be easily filled. I have had a lot worse from far bigger producers.

The figure range he does, called "Junction City" covers some interesting subjects and poses. And some handy figures, such as RTO's and FOO's as well as two natty reporters in fatigues with camera and note pad. I just don' think my painting skills are up to the standard of getting the peace symbols lapel badges quite yet.

Force of Arms 28mm Vietnam Figures from Junction City Range
Having liberated these from the jungle of the floor in my painting room, the next step will be clean, wash, base and texture the bases before under coating. And also repair the couple of busted barrels. This will officially be the first stage in my Vietnam Project.

Army Press Crew FoA Figures

You will have to excuse the poor camera work here. But I just wanted to show two of my favourite figures. Probably not the most tacticle battle winning unit in the game, but for sheer character and helping to capture the Vietnam figure, you cannot realy not have a reporter on the battle field, getting in the way and point his camera lens at the CO at the most inappropriate times.. and I also love the poses and sculpts. They should look like this once painted.
Photo Courtesy of John Bruce of Force of Arms

And thus the Vietnam project begins. Check back for the next update.

Operation "Table Clear" Begins

I am probably not alone in having the dilemma, that I simply don't have the space I would like to store my hobby stuff and so, am stuck cramming what I can, in where it fits. And the same goes for my painting table. Which periodically gets overwhelmed with piles of bits. Sometimes gaming related, other times not. And so I am now faced with this!

The Painting Table - It is under there somewhere!
And so "Operation Table Clear" swung into action today. Sadly courtailed due to me not feeling well, but I got a bit done. 

On a more practicle and informative note, to my rambling. Though cluttered and a mess. There is a logic to the layout. I have two day light lamps with floruescent bulbs that I can pose and move round. The reason for two, to counter the contrast shadow! Ie, one lamp gives heavy shadow in the opposite direction. So haveing two, facing roughly 45 degrees toward each other when I am paitning helps cut the shadows and see the detail properly. That way I know for sure, when I accidently paint over it and can curse accordingly. Yes we have all done it, havent we?

At the base of the right hand lamp is a stack of paintbrushes and pots i store them in, sometimes. I work with a range of brushes, but for figures I have been using the sable brushes by EM-4 Miniatures. They are not Series-7 quality, but they are good. The other big thing I use, and is hidden in that pile somewhere, is a pot of "The Masters Brush Soap". Its seriously good stuff. If you want to keep your paint following off your brushes and make your bristles last. Then buy some. Its not cheap, for the amount you get, but it lasts a long time, so don't worry when you see the size of the pot. It helps condition the bristles of sable brushes. It keeps the organic oil content up and thus helps retain an even flow and surface tension, meaning you don't get blobbing of paint or streaking as badly as you drag the bristles over you figure or surface.

It is also handy for recovering brushes which have accidentaly been left to dry solid with paint on. Simple brush across the soap, slightly wetted and leave for a few hours. Wash out and repeat and even the worst caked bristles can be liberated. It also works on oils, enamels and acrylic paints I believe. Though I solely use water based acrylics for my miniatures.

I have two pots of water on that table. A wash pot, or Jam-jar where I wash out, my brushes between colours. And the small blue egg cup. I use this to hold distilled water. Why distilled water.. ie the stuff for car batteries. Because minerals in water, like carbonates etc can effect our paint colours over time as they oxidise. Ie the lime scale factor. By keeping my dilution water separate, I avoid tainting the paint on the pallet and so get less wastage.

Talking of paints, I use cheap plastic art pallets, but have been tempted to try a "wet palette". If you don't know what one is, look it up on you-tube for the moment. I will do a full review once I give it a try and see how it work with the paints I use.

I tend to work with one colour at the time. I try and ensure I have all my paints to hand, but have a separate storage box for those, I keep by the side of the table. I tend to take out about four or five colours at a time and work with those,, painting my miniatures from the inside out. Ie lower layers of cloths, then out layers and finally shoes, and webbing, kit, armour, etc.
Once I have it tied up, I will run over the benefits of a well laid out work space.

But at least my shelves are holding up to the weight of white metal..

The majority of what is on the black shelves is 28mm White Metal WW2 Figures, and 1/56th Scale Vehicles. Infact the clear 35ltr storage box, contains over 30 or more. I am surprised the shelves haven't collapsed.

So my intended productive day of tidying up, went by the wayside, due to not feeling to well. But at least i located my first bag of vietnam figures from Force of Arms. See my next post.

Terrain - Can you guess what it is?

I have a long running project on the go. I will explain more about it later in the week, but for now, can you guess what these pieces are for?

It is terrain and for 28mm scale, thats all the clues I am giving for now.

Text Colour - Is it easy to read?

Hi Folks,
I recently put a post up on TMP, to let people know about the blog and a comment was made the white text was not showing up well enough against the background. The background photo, does have some heavy lighting, (which apparently looks like snow, when it isn't. lol).

So if anyone is having a problem with the text, please let me know and I will tinker with the colours etc. For me, it looks quite good and i don't find any problems reading it. But I know some monitors these days can do funny things. So you if you think it can be improved or even if its ok and you like it, please post a comment.