Thursday 21 February 2013

My Haul from Vapnartak 2013

At the end of one of my recent posts I promised to give a run down of the bits and pieces I got from Vapnartak. Since it's not completely out of the question that someone might care, here it is...

Vapnartak is one of those shows that sprawls through the venue it's held in - the York Racecourse. You find yourself wandering around corridors and up and down stairs (and past a few bars come to think of it) and so it's hard to judge exactly how much is going on there or what you might find. I can never quite decide whether I like this or not - on the one hand you get the feeling that you're making discoveries and there might be something new and exciting around the next corner, but on the other it can feel awfully cramped and I get the feeling that there aren't as many demo games to see as there are at Triples. This might not be true, it's just the impression I come away with.

We'd intended to bag one of the 200 free models by arriving at 10am, the advertised start time for the show. Last year, due to heavy snow, there weren't that many people at the show and I'm pretty convinced we were amongst the first 200 there. This time, in better weather, we had to park a fair walk from the doors and there were clearly hundreds of people inside when we showed up at 10. Still, one less model to throw on the lead pile I suppose. Speaking of which...

I suddenly decided, pretty much on the drive there, that I would pick up a pack of IRA shotgunners from Musketeer if they had them. These are for VBCW, as the preponderance of rifles and lewis guns in our games annoys me slightly - we're supposed to be using militias with whatever weapons came to hand, so why are we all quite so well armed? No one mention my 18 pounder at this point please.

Musketeer's models are nice, if a little pricey, but I tend to only see a wide range of them on sale at shows - Wargames Emporium carry a few, but by no means the whole range. So, even though I've got no immediate plans to use these, I'm glad to have them and will probably make them the next VBCW thing I paint, once I get back round to that.

Next stop, Ainsty Castings. As I say time and again, I'm a huge fan of Ainsty's scenery bits and pieces, they make a fairly impressive range of bits that are just what I'm looking for for modern urban combat. They're really good quality and also appeallingly cheap! Since I've still got a bit pile of them to paint, though, I restrained myself to just one blister this time:

The Device, shown here, is going to be used as an objective in modern games - I'll be painting it up to look like the typical "stolen nuclear warhead" prop from the movies as I can.

Next up, I spent a long time chatting at the Empress Miniatures stand, before eventually coming away with some more US Infantry - this time with an AT4, M14 and an M240 team. Again, these are really nice models, and I'm going to have to psych myself up to feeling confident enough to do them justice with my painting.

I was telling the chap on the stall that I'm really impressed with the level of detail, and he told me a bit more about the process they go through to sculpt these. Apparently each model is pretty much a direct copy of a news photo of someone with the appropriate gear - this explains why the poses are probably the most natural looking that I've seen. As for the levels of detail, the sculptor goes to great lengths to find ways to get the more intricate bits onto his models, so for example the lace on the English civil war models is made from post-it notes cut to the appropriate shape and the mesh on the US Infantry's vests comes from a component inside old mobile phones! The attention to detail really shows through.

I was also given a bit of gossip about Empress' next range of modern stuff, which will supposedly cover a (hopefully) fictional conflict in the Pacific between Chinese, American and Australian forces. It sounds very interesting, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what Empress come up with there. All in all it made me feel quite guilty about not going back to the stall to get a Bradley, but alas I ran out of money before making it back! There's always next time though, and hoepfully by then these will be painted.

Next on the list, Kerr and King. I went there to grab an extra objective for Flames of War, even though I have yet to paint the one I got last year. Anyway, they have some nice objectives available and I went for this one:

Which I think will look nice once it's painted up and has some Americans on it.

Moving swiftly along, we come to Sarissa Precision, another company that I'm a big fan of. Here I picked up another building and a set of steps from their System Infinity sci-fi range.

I'd been meaning to make some steps for the outside of one of my existing Sarissa Buildings - I modified it to have an external door upstairs, and then never did anything about stairs (despite meaning to for ages). The Sarissa steps are a bit of an odd scale - the steps themselves are really big with massive risers, and holes in them that a 28mm model could easily step straight through. It's obvious why this has been done as it makes them large enough to stand models on, but it does compromise on the look to some extent to my mind. I can live with this, but I might still look at making some steps of my own as well.

And finally, on the way out I spotted something on the stall of Crucible of Lead, a company that I'd never heard of before but who had the good fortune to be opposite the Warbases stand while Pete was looking there. I spotted some paved base things in a bargain bin for the entirely appealling price of one pound, so I snapped those up.

No idea yet what I'm going to do with these, but they look useful in some way, so watch this space to find out what I come up with!

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Wargames Gifts - the follow up

In a glaring ommission, I, your dedicated blog rambling chap, have just realised that I never gave the promised follow up to my Wargames Gift Guide. So, better late than never, here is the list!

First up, Mrs Matt got me some Empress Miniatures modern US infantry. These are really nice models, and will be very useful for my planned Flashbang multi player game. They're amongst the most finely detailed models I've ever seen, so I'll be very interested to see how good I can get them to look with my ham fisted approach to painting. I'm really looking forward to painting these, so the results will definitely appear here.

This picture is from Empress' site, mine aren't stuck together yet.

Second, Mrs Matt followed up with a copy of "Nuts" for Flames of War. I'm really happy to have this book - as I think I've mentioned before, I've always pictured my US Airborne as being Easy Company, and now I have rules to allow me to field various individuals from Easy. I had a quick look at forces I could make with this book and determined that I can get to 3500 points for a single company pretty easily using models I already have. That will mean a fair amount of painting, but I'm sure I'll be bitten by the Flames of War bug again before too long.

More US Airborne! They already rip tanks apart and now they're even better!

On the Flames of War theme, my parents have got me a Bastogne Church from Battlefront. Or rather, they've tried to. Battlefront are having some supply problems at the moment so I'm not sure yet when this will actually arrive, which is a shame because it looks like a fantastic model and will go really well with Nuts.

This looks great, hope it actually shows up.

Finally, the last wargamey gift from my parents is a Dremel-style multi tool thingy. This looks like it will be extremely useful, and likely to result in only one or two trips to A&E!

I'll be able to do all sorts of damage to myself with this!

Overall then, I think the gift guide idea worked, although I wonder if I'd have been better off giving more precise information about what I'd like - limiting it to specific ranges maybe. I did like the surprise element though, and I really want to keep that in future... I've got time to think about this before Christmas 2013, so I'm sure I'll work something out by then.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

I Finally Finished a Project!

It had to happen eventually. Admittedly, a Blood Bowl team isn't the biggest painting challenge I've ever taken on, but for once I got to the end of a project shortly after I started it, and did everything I was planning to do. All of which is a grandiose way of saying "look! I painted these four goblins!"

Four of them! Count them! Four!
This means that I now have models painted to cover all of the possible choices for a goblin team, so for once my choices won't be limited to the models I have available.

Unfortunately, my choices might be limited by goblins not exactly being one of the Blood Bowl's powerhouse teams. So far I've played two games, and racked up a draw against the All Blocks (Pete's Dwarfs) and a loss against the extravagantly named Shhhh! Argh! Nooo! Scares (JP's Necromantic team). To be honest, I should have lost the game against the dwarfs too, but Pete for some reason decided to dodge with a dwarf, fell over and allowed the crowd to throw the ball down field for me, costing himself a touchdown and awarding one to me. I have another game planned against the Wolfington Deadthings (Stu's Necromantic team) on Sunday, so maybe I'll be able to change my fortunes there. Or, then again, maybe not.

Anyway, now that the gobbos are done, I need another painting target, so I'm moving onto some modern scenery. Specifically, I'm picking up bits of furniture that I started some time last year, but then stopped working on because I got distracted by Normans.

Here's a lovely sofa and chair arrangement...
There are quite a few of these so for the moment the plan is to paint them until I get bored and do something else. You're probably thinking "Matt, that's a rubbish target. You suck." This is entirely accurate, but my blog, my rules. Or something.

... and some shelfy things.
Anyway, I've actually finished off the shelves above since taking this photo, but haven't taken another picture since. You can have that later, it's nice to have something to look forward to. Speaking of which, my next post will give a thrilling insight into the stuff I got in York at Vapnartak, so you've got that to look forward to as well. Don't say I never (promise to) give you anything.