Monday, January 27, 2014

NVA Zugführer (Squadleader)

Quick update from the Workbench, my NVA Squadleader is now finished.

I also made a second NVA soldier, but I´m not happy with the result and will probably scrap him and start a new one together with the Heavy Weaponry of the other part of the section. So you´re not getting a photo, sorry.

More Israelis are now being worked on before I return to East Germans or Guerillas.

I´ve also noticed that the latest models have succumbed to scale creep, they´ve turned out a little tall. I´ll try to rectify this "problem" for future sculpts, but for now, the minis shown off are rather 24-25mm tall than the usual 22 or 23.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Todays Work in Progress

Just another small update on what I did in the last hour:

And another angle:

He´s going to become a kneeling command figure, Squadleader or somesuch, pointing one hand giving commands with the other grabbing his rifle.  Pouches are still missing, will be done tomorrow if everything goes according to plan! Two or three steps ´til he´s finished:  Pouches & Arm-Tentacles, Helmet & Arm finalising (details + hands) and the final touches like getting rid of some edges that might persist.

So far for today!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

East Germans - Nationale Volksarmee

My next little side-project, creating some NVA soldiers. Basically adding a little variety to the Guerillas and IDF I´ve been working on lately. I might have some use for these later, Cold War gone hot is still on my horizon somewhere, but I´ve so far been put off by purchasing all the minis, painting them, building completely new terrain (mine is mostly arid desert or steppe, not suitable for Central Europe) and so this is my way of doing Cold War gone hot for now :)

First fellow, spotting on some enemy positions in the distance, though clearly not under fire judging from his relaxed pose ^^
This guy was my first test how the equipment would look like, without any distortions by movement or action poses.

Now on to the action pose, which is looking much better in my opinion...
A Motor Rifleman advancing with his bajonet attached!

I´ll be doing some more of these east german soldiers, dollies are pepared and as always, work as already begun (I´m using excess putty from the minis I´m actively working on to prepare the dollies and start on some minor details like legs)

After these (or in between), I´ll be finishing the Guerillas with some more M16 poses and add to the IDF line with maybe another group of patrolling soldiers. Not sure in which sequence though :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Guerillas

I´ve just taken a few photos of the new additions to the Guerilla set, armed with M16s. These are 99% finished, all I need to do is finishing them off by filing away some edges with my sharp knife and add some very tiny details to the weapons.

Nothing fancy regarding their gear or clothes, just some generic cold-weather civilian gear
One got a scarf as headgear, the other is bareheaded with hair.


All the while I´m already having fun with the next few minis, again something different,  before I do another run of Insurgents and maybe more IDF...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Very Secret Project - Unveiled

After a few days of very sluggish process on the sculpts due to university taking its toll, I´ve finally finished my very secret project and can proudly unveil what it was about:

I´ve done these because of the multitude of reference photos available in the IDFs photo stream on flickr. And because no-one I´m aware of had them available in their modern gear with the TAR-Assault Rifle and Negev SAW when I started this. So this was one of the few opportunities to create something unique with many reference pics.  You can see that the mostly white figures in front are older and the cork-mounted figs are recent additions to the projects, overall better looking and more refined.

Well, in the meantime there has been a release of 20mm Wartime IDF figures with exactly the same kit:

Courtesy of Wartime Miniatures
 So, my original plan didn´t work out, there´s still figures you can compare my sculpts to - and nothing quite so unique as I figures. But well, that´s the way it is ;)

Here´s the backside:

I´m a bit dissatisfied with the grey putty as it doesn´t turn out very well on pics. I´m probably going for a mix of silver-grey and white as in the one vest above, which seems to be much better for contrast.

M16 Guerillas are still WIP, I´ll be posting updates as I progress!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chain of Command - Modern Adaption

If you´ve been following this blog you know that I´ve been musing back in August at what was needed to play Chain of Command in modernish / post-WW2 settings.

Well, I´be been thinking about this again, having since played the first game with my African soldiers, which started with an Infantry squad beeing caught in the crossfire of my defending troops, progressed with a desperate defense against a Tank that rumbled onto my defensive positions, killing off all my AT assets and ended with a Grenade exploding inside said tank after a heroic charge of an officer. Fun game, and I´m still in debt regarding that battlereport...

Anyway, I´ve come back thinking about how to adapt Chain of Command to more modern settings and have tried to identify the core issues that need to be addressed before such a conversion can happen. I´ve come up with the following points for a start:

1.) Weapon & Vehicle Stats
2.) Army Lists for different Forces 
3.) Alternative Morale System for Irregular Engagements (Regulars vs. Guerilla Force)
4.) Rules for Protective Gear & Combat Medicine, especially for Irregular Engagements
5.) Fire Support Options (Airstrikes!)

As analysed back in August, you can pretty much play Chain of Command as it is for Cold War Settings that pit regular Forces against each other. Pretty well suited for your average Cold War gone Hot scenario, I´d reckon. It´s a system designed for kinetic engagements with two first class forces pitted against each other. All that is needed is additional Army & Equipment lists, especially if tanks come into play. Treat Battle Rifles (FN FAL / G3 / SLR) as Semi-Automatic (D6 with Rerolls for a 1) and use the Firepower of MGs as given, according to the Squad Organisation they´re embedded in  (operating as MG-teams or by a single man -> choose Firepower accordingly).
I´m not sure if Assault Rifles should give 3 D6 per Rifle on effective range, seems a bit excessive compared to Self Loading Rifles - I´d probably go with 2D6, as most Armies trained their soldiers to shoot accurately instead of pumping out rounds. In most situations, the biggest difference of an AR over the semi-auto rifle in regards to rate of fire is just magazine capacity and better control due to the smaller cartridge. And I don´t think that loading times facilitate a threefold increase with all the  aiming and actual shooting going on.

Vehicles are a different challenge. I´m no expert on that field. I´d start off with the usual suspects, primarily Russian APCs  -   BTRs, BRDMs, BMPs and their western counterparts. Priority is probably not to get their values exactly right, but represent the respective amor vs. AT capability roughly - so BTRs can get shot by HMGs (or larger), while you´d have a hard time penetrating a BMPs front armor with these, and so on.  Let the criticism flow in an adapt the values accordingly. I´m no expert in this field.

Fire Support Options could be expanded, including Airstrikes in Danger Close Zone -  but most support assets would fall into the pre-game bombardment anyway, considering the frontage on which the fighting would happen and the usual safety distance. Mortar Support is already in the game, no need to add things here, maybe tweak efficiency.

Things get tricky when you consider adapting the system for assymmetric conflicts, like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. The Force Morale System doesn´t really suit those conflicts, as the usual scenario was heavy fighting, Insurgents get hammered, regulars might suffer casualties but morale usually doesn´t falter. A different system for "defeating" the regulars could be added. This fighting is usually not over terrain, which means other factors have to flow into the calculation of who has won a particular engagement. The solution could be as easy as creating an additional Setback-Table for assymmetric engagements, using different triggers & effects for setbacks, or as difficult as creating some completely new system... I´ll have to think about it :)

Insurgent Organisation and special tactics can be handled via special rules & support options in the respective Force List.

With the improvements in modern tactical gear and the importance of life saving vs. pushing through, I think new additional rules for wounded soldiers & medevac could be added, especially in conjunction with asymmetric engagements where casualties should occur more infrequently and medevac is usually possible. Could be handled by having another Roll like FoFs First Aid check, determining the status of the wounded and the respective effects (like +2 shock for a seriously wounded that requires attention from 1-2 squadmates to be saved).

To conclude: I don´t think much needs to be changed. Adapting the game to suite Assymmetric engagements should be the hardest part, the rest is really about working out proper Army Lists & Support Options for the combatants.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Igor & Friends - Modern Insurgents

As promised (what a rare occasion), I finished the last Insurgent that is going to battle with Igor. Now, they´re all willing to present themselves:

Some parts are sculpted with newly arrived grey apoxie sculpt that I obtained as an addition for my white putty to mark different stages / gear / clothing or simply to mix up.
Somehow the fresh putty has a better consistency than the white apoxie, don´t know if its just the age or if there´s a different in the mixture, but it´s working better for me, so I´ll be using it more often as long as it stays that way :D

Back to the minis themselves -  I´ve sculpted these as variation, some more westernish, northern hemisphere urban Insurgents  / armed thugs / ganster types. Some might actually be useful for Syria as well, but they could be suitable for Cold War gone Hot Resistance Fighters (Wolverines!) or things like that.

Igor has his new headgear, think it suits him quite well. Also, I´m very proud of the AK of the hooded guy in the middle.

The heavy weapon guys. Two RPG gunners in Greatcoat / schmock and a PKM gunner. Might have to take another photo of him though, you can hardly see the details on him.

And the backside, to show off the clothes of my RPG guys.

Coming up next - more very secret project builds and Insurgents like above with Western Weaponry (M16s / M4s for a start)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Very Secret - Work in Progress

Good evening (or afternoon, depending on where you live),

another stopgap post, as one if Igors friends is still grabbing his gear and dressing up for war before he´s going out with his mates. I hope to finish him tomorrow, but no promises, you know the deal :D

Igor himself has finally received his headgear, though participation has been meagre to say the least. My blog has lost a lot of attention from the audience during the autumn months of 2013 it seems. Anyway, Igor has gotten a wool cap but will only show it off with his companions - he IS a social guy, after all, and waiting for his last mate.

So for today, another secret work in progress that has started while my Insurgents are in their finalisation phase:

I´ve also upgraded and expanded my Arsenal of selfmade weapons to become independent on suppliers of readymade weapons and avoid any disputes in the future. Of course I still have more hidden away, but to show them would give you too much hints about these guys above...

So this is the very basic kit, M16s, AKs, PKMs, RPGs. Nothing fancy. The fancy stuff will be revealed later :)   And I´ll be working on mor additions as I go along with new projects, building all the stuff I need myself and replicating them with Oyumaru / Quick Mould / Instant Mould, which suits my needs for now.

Soo - happy guessing and seeya soon with Igor & his friends!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Swordsman


While a bunch of minis are still waiting on the desk to be revealed, I am using todays blog entry as a stopgap presentation for a side-project.

As a former practitioner of Historical European Martial Arts (and hopefully soon-to-be again, as I´m planning to get into this occupation again) I´ve sometimes been appalled by the poses of some (not all!) fantasy or medieval miniatures, especially in skirmish type games. I can´t blame the sculptors or the producers, as they usually don´t know any better - hollywood and bad showfighting has all but destroyed the legacy of the traditional and hightly effective fighting styles of medieval and early renaissance swordsmen of europe. Fact is, real combat does not look as good for the untrained eye as the hollywood show fighting with wide swings and swords clashing. It´s just too fast for "ordinary" observers, and the fight is usually over in seconds as one combatant is either dead or combat ineffective.
Another problem is that european martial arts has been dead for centuries. In contrast to japanese or chinese martial arts, there is no living tradition that survived the era of gunpowder (Interestingly enough, most miniature Samurai are depicted quite accurately, as the Japanses have an unbroken line of martial arts practitioners.) What was left of european swordplay transformed into modern fencing, which uses different weapons, different movements and has been heavily codified as competitive sport in the recent century.

As you can see, the real thing has nothing to do with your typical hollywood style depiction of swordplay:

And accordingly, many of the posing heros would be dead within the blink of an eye when facing a capable opponent. 
 So I´ve decided to build my own swordsman to defeat all those incompetet heros :D

I´ve tried to give him some medieval garment of decent quality. Someone who owns a longsword or is capable to use it properly is either a wealthy man or born into an important family. I still didn´t want to overdress him.

If you have a trained eye, you can see that I let it slide there - the stance is unbalanced, his left leg should be further left to support the full weight of the body. Seems like he is not as professional as I wanted him to be :D

He has some pouches, probably something valuable in them that attracted robbers...

The right boot needs some cutting back, but that´s stuff for the finalisation - it´s still hardening, so I won´t fiddle with that right now.

Hope you like him!

And don´t forget that Igor still needs your help!
Still looking for the right headgear, so far it seems like he´ll get a wooly cap...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Igor needs headgear

Hello and happy new year!

2014 has started with some new sculpting project and several minis are in the making at the moment. As a small sneak-peak, I will present Igor to you today, but at a price:

Igor needs headgear and I´m not quite sure which kind of cap fits his head best. 
Your opinion is needed! Please don´t just glance over the pics but take the time and leave a comment with your preferred option:

  1. Wooly Cap (Like this [EXTERNAL LINK!])
  2. Fidel Castro Cap or similar
  3. Chapka (Russian fur hat)
  4. Beret
  5. Bikers carf (tied around the head)
  6. Bald (no headgear, just add ears)
  7. Other options?
Please consider that I´m not giving him a mask, his face is already finished and looking good, no need to cover it and destroy the work I put into it :)

And here we go! I present to you - Igor:

Still work in progress and missing some other small details like pockets and such.

Vote for headgear in the comment section! 
Poll closes when I post the final version of Igor with headgear!