Thursday, December 30, 2010

Renegade Imperial Guard Rough Riders

I've just finished "converting" some Rough Riders for my Renegade Imperial Guard army for Warhammer 40,000. They really weren't much of a conversion. I just used a box of Perry Miniatures plastic French Hussars, and added some left over pistols to some of them. I also gave two of them some old Eldar flamers, and two others old Eldar meltaguns. They box came with 14 Hussars, so I can make two units of 7 each with two special weapons, or one unit of 10 with either set of special weapons, or no special weapons.

Monday, December 20, 2010

InkBiz 1:200 scale Napoleonic French

I was lucky enough to receive some sample models from a brand new range of miniatures. They are 1:200 scale French Napoleonic infantry. This range is being created by a man who on The Miniatures Page goes by the name InkBiz. The figures aren't for sale yet, but he was nice enough to send out some samples to some of the people on TMP who have shown interest in them, including myself.

His goal with this new range seems to be creating correctly proportioned and scaled figures, which I'm sure is very difficult as such a small size. Most 10mm figures I've seen, and all 6mm figures, are really chunky and thick. GHQ are the only 10mm figures I've seen that look to have roughly human proportions, until I got these samples from InkBiz. So I thought seeing the two ranges side-by-side might make for a good comparison.

Here are some pictures of the InkBiz 1:200 French Napoleonic infantryman next to one of my spare 10mm GHQ American Civil War infantry figures. They are actually not all that different in size, though the InkBiz figure is taller because it is on a thicker base. The GHQ figure does have slightly crisper detail, especially in the face. Being a different scale, the GHQ figure is slightly larger in general. I'm not sure the difference in size or detail would be very noticeable when seeing them at a distance on the gaming table.

GHQ 10mm Union and InkBiz 1:200 French GHQ 10mm Union and InkBiz 1:200 French GHQ 10mm Union and InkBiz 1:200 French GHQ 10mm Union and InkBiz 1:200 French

The InkBiz figure has a little weirdness going on with the elbow of the left arm, which looks a little strange. This was probably necessary to make it go around the musket without making the arm way too long, and again probably not noticeable on the table. The musket on the InkBiz figure appears to be the only exception to proper proportions, but I think that was a good decision. The thin rifles on my GHQ Civil War figures get bent all the time. Whenever the rifle is touched at all, it bends. The thicker musket on the InkBiz figure is extremely sturdy and likely won't get bent through any normal handling of the figures. It also allows additional details on the InkBiz figure's musket. So a good compromise between realism and practicality.

InkBiz also sent along a few figures that he'd primed and started to paint. Here's a couple pictures of that GHQ Civil War infantry figure between two of the partially painted InkBiz figures. They are obviously not finished, but at least this gives some idea what the figures look like with some paint on them. I'll post pictures of some finished painted figures as soon as I can finish painting them.
GHQ 10mm Union and InkBiz 1:200 French GHQ 10mm Union and InkBiz 1:200 French

I think these pictures show the real strength of these Inkbiz 1:200 figures, which is the mass effect of seeing them all together on a base. I've put 12 of the figures, in 3 ranks of 4 figures, onto a 3/4" square base. Once they're painted and there are several more such bases, that is going to be a splendid looking unit. The fact they they are reasonably proportioned and that you can fit them so close together is going to make the finished units look great.
InkBiz 1:200 French InkBiz 1:200 French

Getting the figures ready for painting was really easy. Whether by brilliant design or happy accident, the mold lines on these ended up in places where they aren't very noticeable. Even if you are really obsessive about cleaning off mold lines, it won't take much effort. There were two pieces of "flash" on each figure, one on the end of the bayonet that could just be twisted off, and one on the top of the blanket roll that I preferred to trim off with the hobby knife. There are some mold lines along the insides of the legs, which you would hardly even see when looking at them from above (though I removed them anyway). There are mold lines on the outside of the legs that you'd want to remove. The rest of the lines are mostly in places where they don't look out of place, like along the barrel of the musket. It's hard to explain, and even harder to try to photograph, but I was pleased with how quickly and easily I cleaned the mold lines and had these ready to paint.

All in all, this is a pretty nice figure. InkBiz plans to expand on the french range. To quote a post of his on the TMP message boards: "The remainder of the French Line are coming out in a few weeks (volts and grens), followed by command, then French Lights, and mounted command. After that artillery and cavalry will follow." No specific date on this so far, or when the figures might be for sale anywhere. He's also working on another range of even smaller 1:500 Napoleonic figures, which equates to about 4mm. Quite ambitious, but hopefully he continues with it.

As for these 1:200 figures, if the range does expand I will be getting some. If GHQ made any Napoleonic figures that weren't in that "Advancing" pose that I don't really like, it might be a decision about which range to use. As it is, as soon as I can buy InkBiz 1:200 figures for an army I want to collect, I will be getting some. I'll be sure to post again once I have some painted figures to show, or if I have any more information about how to purchase the figures.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Warhammer 40,000 Battle Report: Fortress Antorktica - Part 1

The Setup
This was a 2000 point Warhammer 40,000 game pitting my Tyranids against two friends playing Orks. We planned a small campaign consisting of three linked battles. The first would represent a surprise attack by the Tyranids on artillery emplacements in the rear of the Ork lines. This would be an attempt to disrupt the artillery from being used in the defense during the main Tyranid attack planned for the same time.

For the game, we used the Reconnaissance In Force mission from the Battle Missions book, with the Tyranids taking the place of the Necrons. The Objectives would represent the artillery pieces of the Orks. As per the mission, the Tyranids had to secretly select a table edge before the Orks deployed their army anywhere on the table 12" from the edge. The Tyranids would then move on from their table edge on the first turn. The game would use Random Game Length, and the player capturing the most objective would be the winner. Also, during the first game turn, units would need to pass a leadership test to shoot or assault, to represent the surprise of the attack and not knowing the positions of the defenders.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Warhammer Fantasy movement trays

I'm trying out a new idea for Warhammer Fantasy movement trays. The existing solutions haven't really worked well. For one thing, when playing on tables with a lot of hills, having to prop up a large movement tray on a hill is difficult, looks silly, and may result in many of the models falling over. In fact with some of the more unbalanced models, just pushing the tray around can result in many of them tipping over. In a big unit, this can cause quite a mess and it can take longer to reposition all the models that it is worth.

The other problem is that movement trays have to be made in specific sizes, so I'd need a lot of them in 15, 20, 25, and 30 model sizes at least, for 20mm and 25mm square models. That's a lot of different options I'd need to make. Not to mention that once a unit starts taking casualties, there's a big empty space at the back of the movement tray that doesn't look good and is a pain when you have to put another unit in that vacated space.

The solution I'm going to try out is to use magnetic sheet and steel bases to make magnetic movement trays. I will cut out magnetic sheet in rectangles, some big enough to fit one rank of five models, some big enough to fit two ranks of five models. I'll then glue thin steel bases to the bottom of the Warhammer bases and attach the models magnetically to the sheet. With plastic models that have the completely empty base bottoms, I'll probably be able to find washers that fit in there. But with the slotta-bases, these thin steel squares work perfectly. I got the steel bases here. The 3/4" x 3/4" bases fit a 20mm Warhammer base perfectly.

With the different sizes of sheet, I'll be able to combine them to make different sized units. So a unit of 25 models will only require moving around three of the magnetic rectangles. The magnetism will also hold the models down, effectively keeping them from tipping when I move the unit or when they need to be positioned on a hill. If I need to reform the unit, the most common widths of 5 or 10 wide will be simple, and I can always make a handful of 2 and 3 model length rectangles of magnetic sheet for adding more files.

Below is a picture of a few Empire Greatswords with the thin steel bases glued to the bottom of their bases. The next picture shows the Greatswords with the two sizes of magnetic sheet I've cut out, one for holding a single rank of five models, the other for two ranks of five models.
Warhammer,Fantasy,Movement Tray Warhammer,Fantasy,Movement Tray

Here I've attached the models to the magnetic sheet. The cling on quite nicely. If I wanted to use a unit of 15 Greatswords in the game, I can do it like this, without needing a special sized movement tray that holds 15 models or having extra movement tray hanging off the back of the unit. And when moving them, I only have to push around these two sheets of models. Looking from above, you can barely see the magnetic sheet at the bottom of the base. But I will be painting the magnetic sheet green so that it looks better once a few models have been taken off, exposing the sheet that was beneath them.
Warhammer,Fantasy,Movement Tray Warhammer,Fantasy,Movement Tray

As you can see, any sort of incline or other unusual terrain will be no problem for these guys.
Warhammer,Fantasy,Movement Tray

I have yet to try this out in a game, but I think it will work pretty well. I'll give an update after I've tried it out. I've you've tried out any interesting ideas for how to move your Warhammer units around the table, I'd be interested in hearing about them.