Tuesday 31 May 2016

D-Day Charity build

Just a short post today, but to mark and commemorate the anniversary of D-Day and try and raise some money for the Royal Marines charity, I am asking for your support in sponsoring me to paint 38 Warlord Games Royal Marines, plus a Sherman DD to a high standard over the course of a day. If you can help please follow the link below to my just giving page.  There will be updates throughout the day via the Volley Fire Facebook page.


Sunday 29 May 2016

Beyond the Gates of Antares C3M4 launch day

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to make lots of friends in an industry I love, and last weekend I was very graciously invited up to Nottingham by the gang at Warlord Games to take part in a huge game of Beyond the Gates of Antares at John  Stallards house that saw a horde of players descend for a roughly 12,000 point game between concord and Freeborn forces, with no less than 11 Drones on the table. 

On the side of the noble and glorious Freeborn were Warlorders Nick and Dave, alongside myself and Sam Phillips .

 Facing us with the dastardly and oppressive Concord were Matt Houghton of Evil Bear Wargames, Sculptmaster Wotjek from Warlord, and the deviant monster that is Jez Allum.

The Game was umpired by Andrew Chesney, whilst Richard Dando floated around taking pictures that are immmeasurably better than mine. 

No army lists were used, it was purely a case of pile everything onto the table, and we were each assigned 10 order dice to use as we pleased (Except for Dave, he only got 2...).

The game length was set for 5 turns. Objectives for the Freeborn being to destroy 3 power generators, and conserve our tanks, whilst the Concord had to secure 3 areas in the Freeborn half of the table, and also conseerve their tanks. Victory points were awarded one for each objective secured, and one for each tank destroyed. 

For a game that featured 310 order dice pulls in what is in essence a large skirmish game, the flow was fantastic, each turn to pull all 62 order dice took approximately 45 minutes, and even with time to wander around, chat, eat, drink tea, stop for lunch, chat, drink more tea, pose for pictures, and occasionally actually play the game, we were done by just after 17:00, and started at around 11:30. 

Flow of the game was very interesting, with the tanks facing off against one another and spear heading the assaults on objectives, whilst the rest of the armies tangled with one another. Despite being MOD2 (2 activations per turn rather than the one of most units), the tanks didn't feel particularly dominating,   and all parts of our forces felt like they had a roll to play. 

Man of the match has got to be Sam's Freeborn X-Howitzer, as that managed to slay anything it landed a shot onto, and was truly entertaining to see in action. 

Eventual victory point score was 4 all, with the remaining forces being heavily in the favour of the Concord, and victory narrowly being awarded to them (Boooooo). 

Sunday saw Sam, Matt and myself take a scaled down version of the game to Partizan at Newark, and this was a fantastic little event with some cracking games on display. 

For our game we pitched Concord and Freeborn against one another again, with Sam taking on the Concord and Matt playing as the Freeborn, and myself alternating between Ghar and Freeborn forces. 

 For a giggle we(I)  threw in some Ghar too, this time saw a decisive Freeborn Victory, after Sam presumably broke his dice during our game on Saturday. 

All in all, was a great weekend, and a huge thank you to all those who made it possible. I for one Can't wait for the next one! 

You can read my thoughts on the C3M4 drone kit here, and see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Service

Warlord Games C3M4 Combat Drone

My friends at Warlord games very kindly sent me a couple of their new C3M4 combat drones to build as part of my ever expanding Beyond the Gates of Antares collection. 

These represent the first of the large vehicles to be released for the game, and a sensible choice they are too, as the C3M4 can be used by both Freeborn and Concord factions, so I have built one of mine for each faction. (I've also very recently completed my Freeborn army, but don't have pics of them yet...). The Green tank is to match my Concord, whilst the dark one drone is part of my Freeborn.

The kit comes on two sprue, and for shots of the parts and unpainted model check out my mate John's blog here.  The kit assembles very easily, taking around 30 minutes at most to get together. 

Options include 3 different types of main armament, which can be assembled loose and swapped between games to tailor for the specific mission being faced. I have a terrible habit of loosing optional parts like this, so fixed mine in place...

Warlords C3M4 can be armed with either a Compression cannon,  which though short range has a great deal of stopping power, a Fractal Cannon, which can be a great way to build pins on a static target. or finally a Plasma cannon, which is a solid all round choice of weapon, and as stated before these can be swapped to taste. 

Colour choice for my Concord drone was easy, and it was painted with a heavily modulated Vallejo 972 light green blue.with a glaze of Vallejo Game Colour green and blue inks applied after these had been mixed with some Pledge Multi Surface Wax, before weapons were picked out in Vallejo Black Grey, and lighting was effects were added. All painting was done using my Sparmax Max 4 airbrush. 

The Freeborn drone was far more experimental, and I used Alclads Prismatic Jade and Sapphire lacquers for the colouration. These require a huge amount of prep work, with the surface of the model needing to be rubbed smooth and given a coat of primer, before an initial layer of gloss black is applied. 

This gloss layer was also Alclad, and it gave a mirror like, glassy smooth finish for the prismatic colours, and depending on the light these make the C3M4 look blue, green or purple, though this does not come across in photos sadly (and inevitably.)


 One critical thing when using Alclad is to spray it thin and leave it plenty of time to cure. I left it 2-3 days between applying the black and prismatic stages, then a further 4 days before doing any more work, and the surface was still delicate due to very high humidity levels at the time, so be warned this can't be rushed. 

Overall these are great models, and I've already had a chance to get them on the table in a few mega games in and they really do add a subtle extra depth to a game as well, plus they make a superb centrepiece to a collection. Now... Do I add more Freeborn, Concord or start some Isorians???

You can get your own C3M4 from Warlord Games, and see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Service.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Plastic Soldier Company 1/72 Germans overview

With my US Infantry and Armour completed it's time to get back into my comfort zone and do some Germans. It was a toss up between doing some SS or Heer, but as between having a nice selection of Plastic Soldier Company stuff to hand, and wanting to do something more generic first a Heer Infantry platoon seemed to be the ideal start point.

I've assembled this force with the Battlegroup rules in mind, though it's layout is virtually identical to my late war Heer army for Bolt Action too, all be it in a different scale. This is a 300 point Battlegroup force, put together using the Infantry division list in Battlegroup Overlord.

To build the force I have used the Late War German Infantry and Heavy Weapon sets from Plastic Soldier company, as well as a single StuG and a Zvezda Pak 40. Much as I like the American sets, I found the German Infantry to be much better sculpts, with crisper details and more expressive faces, and the heavy weapons are more to consistently sized.

The Late War German infantry set contains 54 hard plastic figures on 3 sprues, and consists of 6 NCO/Command type figures, including a radio operator. There are also 36 Rifle men, with a couple having the option to be equipped with either MP40's or K98's. Finally there are 6 2 man LMG teams, consisting of 3 redeploying teams, and 3 prone firing teams. To round out the set there are a few spare heads, some wearing M43 caps, some wearing helmets both with and without covers, and finally a head with a bandage.

I've used these on my command squad to help them stand out and add a little distinctiveness to the squad. Poses are great, being a mix of moving and firing, with a few kneeling figures but no prone apart from the LMG teams. The Figures wear the standard late war uniform of M43 tunics and a range of field gear. Most wear helmets with a mix of plain pots and and helmet covers being present.

The German Heavy weapon set is a fantastically useful set, I've barely begun to touch the contents of mine, however it contains  45 plastic figures who crew 3 tripod mounted MG42's, 3 82mm Mortars, 3 120mm Mortars, 6 Panzerfausts, and 6 Panzershrek teams.


The Mortars and MG's are designed to have 3 man crews and the set comes with a range of poses to support this. I've modelled my MG42 with a loader team as well using a few spare figures from both the PSC sets.  These are again very nice figures, with nice looking weapons.

I've not built any of the heavy mortars yet, or the moving Panzershrek team however you can see the 'Fausts, MG42, firing 'Shrek crew and the 82mm Mortar in my force. at around £12 this set is so useful to have in the spares box as an extremely economical way to add a bit of heavier fire support to your platoons.

If you've followed my work you'll probably be aware that the StuG III is one of my very favourite armoured vehicles, so whilst putting this force together having at least one had to be done, so I tagged a single reinforcement one onto my order (This has now been joined by another 3...).

 I've long wanted to do a StuG with some missing sections of track guards, so as the track detail is rather nice I trimmed the right fender off. Technically I should have done this after test fitting the parts, but luckily the way the kit is designed this wasn't an issue...

Plastic Soldier Company's StuG III is an extremely simple kit, however it comes with a nice range of options allowing both mid and late production variants, with both box and saukopf mantlets, and a 105mm Howtizer too for building a StuG 42.

 Schurzen is provided with a very clever one piece rail system. This is a little thick for the scale, but is sturdy and still look good in place. The set vehicle is rounded out with a commander figure and a run of spare tracks, no decals are included. PSC's StuG III comes either singly at £6.99 or as a 3 vehicle set for £14.95.

Rounding out the force I have used Zvezda's 1/72 Art of Tactic PAK40, and an Academy models 1/72 Kubelwagen. The Kubel is a very simple kit, and can be obtained as part of a set alongside a Willy's Jeep, Kettenkrad and some stowage items for around £5-£8 on eBay.

The Zvezda PAK40 is designed as a wargames kit but is very detailed, and didn't come with instructions, so was a bit of a fight to assemble, and there are some odd moulding decisions with the crew, with hindsight I'd replace them with a metal set. Plastic Soldier Company have just brought out a very nice looking set of a PAK with RSO tractor though which could also be an option. The saving grace of the Zvezda PAK is that I think it cost around £3.50 including postage.

Paints used were Vallejo's Russian uniform as a base for the field grey, with increasing amounts of Vallejo deck tan mixed in, with a final highlight of pure deck tan, then a wash with a mix of army painter green and soft tone inks with a further final highlight of deck tan.

The StuG was painted with Vallejo Middlestone with some airbrushed highlights of Pale Sand, and a disruptive pattern of German Camo Dark Green and Black red lightly airbrushed over, with weathering achieved using a range of AK and MIG pigments and washes.

As ever you can see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Service, and you can check out the Plastic Soldier Company range at their website.