Saturday, May 29, 2021

Pass in Review: Some German Vessels in Cruel Seas, Part 2

(Image from Wikipedia)

 Last month, I had what doctors called a "Life Threatening Event," which made my already shaky health worse for wear.  

Hence the 3-month delay between posts.

While I've weathered this "critical hit," it's made me feel more worn down, plus my days off are often filled with follow-up medical appointments, leaving me with little time to paint my figures.

So I posted several notices on a couple gaming Facebook pages asking for help in reducing my "Mountain of Shame" (unpainted miniatures).  I received a few offers and already delivered a batch of French and Indian War (F&IW) figures to a local gamer for painting.

While I'm trying to contract-out my human-based figures to anyone who'll take them, I find my new-found Cruel Seas project to be within my skill-set and is somewhat therapeutic for me.

But when my helpful fellow gamers are done with all the human-based figures, I'll pass on any Cruel Seas figures I have left.

Until then, I'm still plugging away at my "Drydock of Shame."

I recently finished four Kriegsmarine vessels, starting with two raumbootes (see example in lead picture). 

Here's an example of how the folks at Warlord Games painted them...

(Image from Warlord Games)

...and here is one of the two vessels I painted:

I made some minor alterations to the color-scheme in order to distinguish between the two vessels.

I thought these vessels were patrol boats.  It wasn't until I was trolling the internet thoroughly researching the topic, that I discovered they were originally intended as small minesweepers.

Speaking of minesweepers, the next vessel I finished was the M-Class Minesweeper.

(Image from Wikipedia)

Here's the Warlord Games paint-scheme...

(Image from Warlord Games)

...and here's mine:

The last of this current lot is the Vorpostenboot, or "flakship."

(Image from Wikipedia)

My skills haven't advanced to the point where I can paint Dazzle Camouflage, like this...

(Image from Warlord Games)

...but I can at least make my vessels look like grungy, rusty messes, like this:

I settled on using Army Painter Wolf Grey for the vessels' hulls, with Ash Grey for the metal decks and Reaper Miniatures Harvest Brown for wooden decks.  Other shades of Army Painter grey were used for funnels, towers, smoke stacks, and superstructures. 

Normally, I don't do any paint-mixing.  But for the ships' weaponry, I mix Army Painter Gun Metal with Matte Black, for a blackish-metallic look. 

For a "realistic" look I photoshopped over the data and printed material on the wake/speed templates. 

I still have several E-boats that I'm still working on, along with a variety of allied landing craft from GHQ.  

Hopefully, I'll get my next post uploaded in under 3 months.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Pass in Review: Aeronautica Imeprialis, Core Game & Expansions

(Cover Art: Aeronautica Imperialis--Wings of Vengeance)

In my last Warhammer 40K post a couple weeks ago, I presented my Tactical Air Control Party (TACP).  

But as far as actual air assets, I have only one full-sized Vulture gunship and a Valkyrie assault carrier.

And very little shelf space.

I'm now at the point where if I buy anything new, I have to get rid of something old, or at least unused.

When Games Workshop came out with its Aeronautica Imperialis Wings of Vengenace, I bought it--and I sold a set of 28mm British and French Napoleonic figures to make room for my new acquisitions. 

The set contains 2 x Imperial Thunderbolt fighters and 2 x Marauder Bombers, along with 3 x Ork Dakkajets and 2 x Fighta Bommers

When Aeronautica Imperialis Skies Of Fire was released, I bought that too.

Sort of.

I was only interested in the Imperial aircraft and the store owner wanted the T'au omes.  So he gave me some cash to compensate for the figures.

(Cover Art: Aeronautica Imperialis--Skies of Fire)

What I had left were a flight (2 aircraft) of Valkyries and 3 x Lightning fighters

My next model purchases were an additional 4 Valkyries from a supplement package, and 2 Marauder Destroyers.  (Here's the in-universe details of the Marauder Destroyer).

I rounded-out my Aeronautica Imperialis purchases, (for now), by purchasing Rynns World Air War Campaign.

(Cover art: Rynn's World Air War Campaign Book

Because, I like campaign games.

I also buy games with the idea of utilizing them for other purposes.  

While the aeronautica models are much smaller than regular WH40K figures, I plan on using them in regular WH40K game sessions.

This is justified, because in my professional experience "fast movers" don't chug around above the battlefield just above treetop level. They zip over the target area, unleash their ordnance and are gone.  If the surface-to-air threat is great enough, enemy troops on the ground may not even see the aircraft--only ordnance exploding all around them. 

Now I have a number of "strike packages" for my TACP to call-in, but would like to see Games Workshop  make Vulture gunships for this game sometime soon. 

But as I, along with other fans, impatiently wait, I had my current bunch of aircraft that needed to be assembled and painted.

Since both tasks are above my skill-set I turned to my friend Dan and hired him to paint my figures.

He finished with them a few months ago (and I gave him more stuff for him to paint), so what follows is a gallery of his work, set up as flights of aircraft approaching then rolling-in on their target.

1. A flight of Imperial Thunderbolt Fighters:

2. A flight of Imperial Lightning Fighters:

3. A flight of Imperial Marauder Bombers:

4. A flight of Imperial Marauder Destroyers:

5. A flight of Imperial Valkyrie Assault Carriers:  

6. A flight of Ork Fighta Bommers: 

7. A flight of Ork Dakkajets: 

Artistic Note:

The backdrop is an open country setting I bought from a now-closed model railroad shop.  The aircraft are low in each picture because I couldn't orientate the figures on their stands with the backdrop in a way to present a "realistic image."

I at least I managed to photoshop-out the stands. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Comics from "Hijacked" Photos

Most of my posts contain photos of game sessions that I took myself.  

However, with all the on-line "rabbit holes" I venture into, I often come across photos from other gamers that trigger my imagination to write a webcomic or a "5 Second Flick."

I'm leading off today's post with a webcomic I concocted from one of the last pictures from my friend Tim's Indochina game session from a couple years ago. I finally got around to hijacking utilizing it, when I thought of an amusing plot hook for the encounter. 

(Note:  Even though I don't profit from utilizing other people's pics, I first try to ask their permission to use them.  If I can't contact them, I'll at least cite the source).

A couple weeks ago I stumbled across a couple gems from some of the Facebook gaming groups I belong to. 

The first is from Dean B.'s Normandy 1944 scenario of a Bolt Action game session:

I thought this was a great image to paraphrase General Blumentritt's exasperation in the film, The Longest Day

The second photo is from a guy calling himself "Otty." 

He's been posting pictures in the Wargaming in Middle Earth Facebook Group, about the figures he's converting from other fantasy wargames into Middle Earth-suitable troops.

This particular picture reminded me of Lurtz's command to his Uruk-hai in the finale of the film, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

I'm currently in the middle of working on a couple of my own Warhammer 40K picture projects, along with painting my Cruel Seas collection.

In the meantime, I thought these hijacked borrowed pics-turned-webcomics would be a nice interlude until I get my act together until I can write the next in-depth blogpost. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Pass in Review: Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) for Warhammer 40K

(Image from:  Deltavan 1 Military Humor)

I spent the first four years of my active duty US Air Force career as an electronic warfare technician.  My job was to maintain the electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment on B-52s.  After a few years of removing and replacing black boxes, I realized I wasn't enthused about being a fix-it man.  

I'm still not--even when it comes to painting miniatures.

I wanted to cross-train into a more combat-orientated career field.

And boy, did I get my wish.

I ended up becoming a member of the US Air Force's Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) group.

So I spent the remaining 16 years of my military service working with US Army headquarters and combat units helping to coordinate and direct Close Air Support (CAS) and Forward Air Control during exercises and actual deployments.

TACPs aren't just skilled at calling-in air strikes.  They're knowledgeable about an array of joint fire support, such as; US Army Forward Observers who perform with artillery fire, and Naval Gunfire Officers with ship-to-shore fire support.  (The US Marines have a similar group called ANGLICOs--Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company).

We're a tight-knit group and still keep in touch through social media.

Fast forward to a few years ago, and my son-in-law got me interested in Warhammer 4,000 (WH40K).

I delved into the game by purchasing earlier editions of the core rulebook and the codices.  I developed an affinity towards the Astra Militarum, and raised company-sized element of my own regiment, the 187th Dragoon Regiment (Composite).

(I still have an entire troop/company to do a blog post on.  But due to health reasons I haven't been able to conduct a large photo shoot yet).

A couple years ago, I asked my friend Peter to paint a command squad for me, but reconfigure it as a TACP.  He finished them early last year, and I've finally gotten around to posting my homage to TACPs past & present.

Somewhere on the Sector Fronteris... unusually configured Chimera rumbles into a ruined outpost.

Side Note:

I bought this model pre-painted and assembled.  It's been so long, that I can't remember who I got it from.  
TACPs support every type of Army combat unit.  For those assigned to armored, mechanized infantry, or armored cavalry units, they often have their own Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), or "track" as we liked to call them. 
I thought this particular Chimera, with it's risque nose art  would be the most suitable in my collection for my TACP.

Now back to the opening scene...

A 5-man team of an Astra Militarum TACP disembark. 

As the Chimera moves off to perform a perimeter security check, (and for readers to get a better view of the figures), the TACPs establish an observation point (OP). 

Now for a more detailed look at my WH4K version of a TACP, here's a side-view profile:

Peter did a remarkable job on the figures and especially with the TACP flag.

Now here's a look at the individual figures, and their functions within the TACP. (Note:  "TACP" can also refer to an individual as well as a team). 

The Air and Artillery Support Officer (a combination of Master of Ordnance and Officer of the Fleet):

A JTAC is an enlisted member performing the same functions as Air and Artillery Support Officer.  This will allow the team to split up if necessary in order to service two targets, and also provides back-up when if either become a casualty. 

The Target Designator/Heavy Weapons Specialist:

I have this figure armed with a plasma gun to be used at designating targets, by illuminating them with plasma fire, and to provide heavy weapon support to the TACP. 

The TACP Standard Bearer:

TACPs, and every other combat unit here in the Second Millennium, don't wave standards around in the heat of battle.  

But the figure and flag are too cool to pass up.