Monday, April 23, 2018

Ostfront Opens


Some of you might recall the Barbarossa Board terrain project from last summer.  Well, a few weeks ago it was time to take it out for a spin with a test game for Roy and his Soviets!

There were a number of step by step episodes showing how that was created... Here's one link to the board project:



We tried to keep things fairly basic for this first game, but something that would touch on all aspects of deployment, reinforcements, unit types, and so on.  It was decided to do a Demolition scenario.

Obviously, the Soviets had a bunch of order dice.  There were a number of anti-tank rifle teams, inexperienced squads, NKVD units and Maxim MMG teams.  The T-34/85 is actually a 76, we just had to proxy that.


As the board was made to represent the Pripet Marshes in Ukraine, I knew that the streams and rivers on the board were going to present a significant challenge, especially to the advancing Germans.  It was rough ground for infantry and tracked vehicles... but I made it impassible for wheeled vehicles to keep things more interesting.

That choice of playing the terrain had less to do with the depth of the water, and more about the sloped nature of the river banks.  Also, I had a number of wheeled vehicles, and I did not want to be racing across the board to claim an objective on the second turn ;-)


Commissar Royitsky surveys the field, and informs his troops that they will soon sacrifice themselves for Mother Russia.


The Wermacht troops surged to the first river, getting out of their Opel Blitz truck which could not cross that obstacle.  It was hoped that the SDK 251 rolling up behind them would be enough support to get across the second river!

The air observer continued to hide out inside the lumber mill, trying to figure out where his ground attack planes were..


However, a number of Soviet ant tank rifles had moved away from a potential air strike and into position in the woods which blocked the path to the Red Army base.

While the Luftwaffe aircraft were heard overhead for several hours, they did not make their expected strafing and bombing runs in time... much to the dismay of the German high command!

The troops of the Wermacht would have to use all their skill to utilize the steep river banks as cover to reach that enemy base.


The Soviet tankers detected this movement, and attempted to cut off the advance.  They took up a position in the center of the battlefield, ignoring the autocannons and light artillery of their enemies.  This would allow them to block the central path, which also had the only bridges!!

Behind that was the Machine gun team, which would have to bear the brunt of the eventual air assault.


The Soviet forces were indeed taking a number of casualties.  The squad of green troops had already been dispatched, as had a few of the anti-tank rifle teams.  The heavy Maxim MMG team also met their end to repeated long distance fire from the Panzer II and the SDK 222.

In response to the German "right hook", Commissar Royitsky forced his inexperienced squads across the river.  They were hit by withering fire from troops on the central island, the Opel Blitz and another machine gun team.

The untrained troops wavered a number of times, but Royitsky restored their morale with a few well placed pistol shots to reluctant soldier's heads.


Meanwhile, the German advance to the Red Army base was thoroughly blocked by two fanatical units of NKVD.  Despite the exhortations of their officer, the squads were being gunned down as they struggled in the rivers.

The Hanomag gunner was unable to kill the pesky NKVD in the woods, and eventually the T-34 crew would use their battlefield experience to finally claim the transport vehicle as their first kill.


Once the German squads had been sufficiently ground down, the NKVD felt confident enough to emerge from their forest hideouts to assault the Axis troops.


The German armored support had rapidly moved to the left flank, trying to hold off the Red Army attack on their own base.  Despite all the massive firepower and casualties, the Soviet survivors had reached the German base despite valiant efforts by the Wermacht.

Commissar Royitsky had achieved his goal, at incredible cost.  Will he be able to raise enough new recruits to hold off the next German attack?  Stay tuned as Barbarossa continues!!

I also have my video battle reports:



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Furry Friends


When you are matching previously painted figures from the distant past, it can be interesting to adapt new methods and approaches to look more like things that you painted long ago.


It is definitely a challenge, since that usually means altering your palette significantly.  Even with something "gray" like this, the more updated approach would involve many different hues and tones that would give the appearance of 'gray' as opposed to using gray itself.


What really makes this even more prominent in my mind is seeing sets for "painting gray".  There are 10 jars of 'dead' gray paint in the set, with no life to them at all.  Making gray is very easy, and there are countless ways to do so.

I suppose this is one of the reasons that I made "Shades of Gray" one of the 5 color theory videos for the Painting Pyramid series.  I will be including that video as part of the Patreon Page next month, where colors are discussed in more detail.

Gray can be brownish, greenish, blueish, or even have a hint of purple!  That is so much more interesting to look at than lighter and darker versions of the same dead gray tone.

Stay tuned, as always!



Friday, April 20, 2018

At the Crossroads


While I have had a lot of success using the plaster and wood glue mix on my terrain pieces, I had wondered if that would be the best set of materials for making my new road sections.

I usually play lots of YouTube tutorials while I am working, and I stumbled across one terrain building exercise that mentioned how wood filler can be a very effective material.

It has strength, durability, and a faster drying time.  There is also a natural texture, which the plaster mix does not have.

As usual, my starting point is the pink underlayment foam, which is about the same thickness as foam core.


It doesn't seem like the biggest container, but this goes quite a long way!


Since I know that the pink foam will not curl once this is applied (the wood filler is specifically designed not to shrink or crack!),  I mixed in a little wood glue for extra holding power and started to spread it across the intersection with the palette knife.


You can see that I have tried to create some piles of dirt in various sections of the road, making things as uneven as possible on this country road...


Once I had the general shape that I wanted, I smoothed out the rough surface with a 1 inch synthetic brush.  This removed all the obvious hard lines that the palette knife left behind.


Standing the brush on its end, I used that chisel point to create tire and track marks on the road.  I tried to pay special attention to how the vehicles might turn on this road, matching the tracks trough the turns.

You could even run a spare vehicle through the mud to make it even more realistic.


While the wood filler does have that additional texture that the plaster mix lacks, I still wanted to have even more texture on the sides of the roads.  Shrubs and small trees will line the side of this road, so I wanted a rougher texture under that growth.

I began with our dried tea leaf mix after spraying a bit of watered down wood glue...


The tea leaves were followed by coarse ballast from Woodland Scenics...


The final layer was a bit of fine ballast, which I also placed in the center of the ruts.  I will be making some puddles on the roads as well, so I thought it would be important to have this extra texture.


The long, straight road sections were a little more 'straightforward', so to speak.  Keeping the shapes interesting along such a long piece is something to be aware of as you place the wood filler.  Also, it is best to keep a consistent amount of texture on the ends of all your roads, so that they match up when you place them together on the board!

I did the same process with the tea leaves and ballast once I had placed all the wood filler.


I think these angles give you a sense of the texture... this will be even more pronounced when it is painted and flocked!


Here you have it... some new country road sections.  I was glad to see that my new photography light setup was very useful in lighting this, since I am hoping to do some facebook live terrain sessions, as well as create new recorded videos for YouTube and the patrons of my Patreon Page.

A $5 pledge lets you view these YouTube tutorials, while a $1 pledge is very helpful in securing more equipment and materials for experimentation such as these.


If you can support the Patreon Page, that will allow me to create more of these terrain projects, and also create new videos!



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Gun


It was certainly a brand new experience painting Games Workshop figures in oil paints!  Until then, I had used them mostly on larger scale resin figures, or historical vehicles and minis.

Those were primarily earth tones, muted browns and greens, and so on... which made the brighter colors and steel of these figs something brand new with this medium.

Since these were painted, I have discovered some metallic oil paints which I would like to experiment with!  In the meantime, you can see how I approached painting the Clan Escher figures with the oil paints in this Facebook Live session.

Here's a link:



I have a new series of unit painting videos using oils coming up, this time using the new Games Workshop Dark Elf figures.  These will show how to paint the skin tones on both the Harpies and Medusa!

They will be available to the patrons on my Patreon Page:



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rolling On


As the British army moves closer to completion, it is just about ready for a few battle reports!

This is Roy's BEF, which has been made to accommodate a few different eras and theatres.


This first battle will see a portion of this group used for a what if scenario on the Battle of Arras. I am creating some special terrain for that right now, which I will show in some upcoming blog posts.


This is one of the first Bolt Action armies that I ever painted... and where I tested out oil paints for the first time.  Here's a post on the Matilda, which was part of a series:



The Churchill and Bren Carriers were done after that, utilizing some of the techniques that you can see here in this live session from a while back:



This 'what if' battle will see what might have happened if the French commander had not died in a car wreck, and a small batch of French reinforcements showed up to assist the British attack.  

While the Battle of France was pretty much a fait accompli by that time, this thwarted attack did cause enough consternation with the German high command to halt the advancing forces long enough to assist in the Dunkirk evacuations.


I already have 2 battle reports up on the YouTube channel, but this episode will be for the Patrons (a link to the page later in this post).  If you want to see what the previous episodes were like, you can check that out here:



This is just the beginning, as I have 16 different Bolt Action armies under way!  I will be covering every era and theatre of the conflict, even the Pacific.  I am beginning here in western Europe, moving to North Africa and the War in the East, up through Sicily, Italy, France, Germany, Hungary and so on.

There are partisan armies, Italians, multiple German, Soviet, US and British forces... even Hungarians and Polish. 


Many thanks to Dice of War, who make incredible dice that complete the setting for any game.  Why bother with all the fancy terrain, painted minis, and then use plain old dice!  Thanks also to the Table War folks who make the super durable and great looking battle mats!


If you can support the production of the battle reports and the how to videos, any amount would be appreciated on the Patreon Page.  Stay tuned for Arras, which is a special report made for the Patreon subscribers!



Monday, April 16, 2018

Ogre March


These Mierce Miniatures ogres were among the first massed painting groups attempted with oils.  It was also the first time that I realized how perfect this medium was for larger scale figures.

With the extended drying times, working on several figures with large surface areas to cover was not a problem, and I was able to blend these right on the figure instead of painting one layer over another, or having to use a number of glazes to tint and shade, etc.


Since these were a unit of about 14 minis, it was also much easier to maintain the same colors across the whole batch than with the acrylic paints.  Using the greenish pants as an example, it is possible to simply paint the entire area on shade of green on every figure, and then take a lighter tone and blend that into each of the unit figures.

This makes it a lot easier to get that shading on all the members of the unit, as you only need to take one color and blend it into another, without the need to mix several versions of that color and layer it lighter or darker.


I have other units of Mierce large scale infantry, so I will try to make more step by step posts of that process and even attempt some live sessions and YouTube episodes on this topic!

Keep in mind that I want to try and feature a new "unit painting" process each month on the Patreon Page.  I just sent the $5 subscribers the second Dark Elf skin tone Painting Pyramid episode in preparation for the 4 part series!!

More will be posted on that this week on the Page:



Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Primer for Every Purpose


Here's a little glimpse at the process of "primer painting", using the Badger Airbrush Stynlrez primers.  There are a dozen different colors, so it provides an excellent opportunity to shade and tint figures as you go through the usual process of priming.

I usually have dozens and dozens of figures to prime all at once, of all types and sizes.  While there were a few other items that I was priming, I think this set of figures gives you an idea.

The slate blue primer is a neat color, which has been great for terrain and some sci-fi figures, like this Weapon platform skimmer from Warlord Games Gates of Antares.


Since I already had that color in the airbrush, I made it my first layer for the two units of Dark Elf figures which is part of the unit painting videos I am creating for the Patreon subscribers.
There are also a number of blog posts that show in more detail how I approach this kind of Primer Painting...


The pink primer is a color that I have not gotten to use very much, except for some of the Black Heart Models busts.  Using the blue as a base and allowing as bit of the pink to mix in with it meant that I could gradually shift the overall color.

Gradually introducing more and more of the pink will create lighter tones, setting up the next layer.


I didn't want to get too involved with the primer colors here, since these units will be painted with oils.  Those are far less influenced by the underlying primer colors than the acrylic glazes that I normally use.


On to my Bolt Action winter Soviets!  I have a few articles on this kind of urban warfare basing, like this one:



The Ebony color is a favorite, and I use it on just about everything at a certain point!


Using a light tan, I was able to create a Russian tan blend right out of the gate, using nothing more than 2 primer colors!


I added one more layer of white to get the lightest shading.  This batch of figures will be part of a new edited YouTube series on unit painting with oil paints.  I will go through the process of painting the unit, as well as the snow effects that finish off the basing.

As always, any contributions to the Patreon Page allow me to do even more of these instructional videos.  Also, the new pledge levels will introduce "hard copy" versions of the videos, so you can view them whenever or wherever you want, at a higher resolution than the typical YouTube video.

Here's a link to the page: