Thursday 20 February 2014

Painting the PLA

I've finally got brave enough to apply some paint to the first of my Empress modern PLA, that I got through Kickstarter.

Since I'm mainly planning to use these for urban engagements, it seemed to make most sense to use the Type 07 general camo pattern, since I'd expect the PLA to be using this, you know, "generally" and it looks a bit urban-y:

Urban-y is definitely a legitimate word.
So, as much for my own reference (once I forget what colours I used) as anything else, here's how I've painted my test model so far.

I started with a black undercoat. I applied this by hand rather than using a spray, mainly because the weather was terrible and I didn't want to go out to the garage to get the spray paint.

Next, the base coat for the camo. Looking at all the pictures I could find, this seems to be a grey with a touch of green with it. I wanted to use paints without mixing for all the basic colours, so I can easily get matches later on, so I did a bit of experimenting and settled on Vallejo Light Green Blue.

Next layer is a green, so some more trials on other models lying around my paint table suggested that German Fieldgrey WWII is the way to go. I tried to build up the pixellated effect by painting areas built up from horizontal and vertical lines.

Next is a greeny-brown colour, the closest match I could find was Brown Violet.

There's a small amount of dark grey in the pattern, which I'm using German Grey for. I use a lot of German Grey, it's a nice highlight for black stuff.

Then I filled in the flesh on the face, painted the gloves, and highlighted the rifle and boots. I like to put a fairly bright highlight on modern weapons, as most of the photos of them I've seen have them painted black, with bare metal on the edges where the paint wears away.

A brown wash dulls down the camo a little.

So, I'm nearly there. This has taken a while as I'm testing every stage to make sure it looks right to me, but once I have everything worked out I should be able to get through them pretty quickly. The last stages I'm expecting to do here are a light drybrush in the base colour to make the camo look a little worn, possibly with a layer of highlight on top of that. Then it's just the base and I'm done! 

Friday 14 February 2014

Blood Bowl OFL Kicks Off

Blood Bowl is a bit of an oddity for me - I've been reliably playing a league at the start of each year since I first turned up at a club, about 10 years ago now. This looked destined to come to an end after the breakup of the last club I was a regular at, Wargamers FC, in April last year.

However, I was approached a while back by JP, one of the elite group of "people I should really try to see and play games against more often" (PISRTTSAPGAMO for short) who had been planning a league of just this group of people, as a way to bring us back together and make sure we don't lose touch.

It's such a nice idea, I didn't even mind JP's not-at-all-subtle method of getting me to be league commissioner, and so the Old Friends League was born.

The league was kicked off on Wednesday night as my goblin team, the Squig Fuelled Stabbers, faced off against Trev's Khemri, The Mummy's Curse. The game was played on Trev's attractive and only slightly confusing custom pitch from Fantasy Fields.

The game kicks off
Having won the toss, I chose to kick off first, as against the low agility undead players this was an easy way to move the ball downfield without having to carry it there myself.

I played my fanatic in the first drive, and watched him spin around cheerfully for several turns without achieving much other than worrying everyone near him on either team.

One of my trolls was much more effective though, and racked up a couple of casualties early on. The gobbos took advantage of the gaps and general milling about and ran towards the ball. Trev then started as he meant to go on, and managed to bring down his own blitz-ra in the process of tackling a goblin. The greenskins pressed their advantage and managed to get the ball away and run in a scrappy touchdown.

With a blitz-ra down, the goblins snatch the ball and run away
As there were only a few turns left in the half, I kept my loony off the pitch in reserve, and so lined up to kick off again with no secret weapons. I was lucky this time and rolled blitz on the kick off table, and was able to push some goblins forward before play started.

Once more, the middle of the pitch descended into an ugly brawl. Goblins were knocked out or injured left and right, but the greenskins didn't manage much in response.

However, once more, Trev's luck failed him and he downed his own players a couple of times in succession. The goblins managed to pry the ball free and ran in another touchdown right at the end of the half, going into the break 2-0 up.

A goblin sneaks out of the melee with the ball
In the second half, more goblins got battered by skeletons and mummies, including the loony, who as usual had failed to achieve anything with his one attack and was quickly punished for his insolence.

The throw-ra, lurking at the back of the field, managed to collect the ball, and a clattering skeleton cage formed up and began to drift down the pitch at a glacial pace.

The same troll that had caused trouble earlier took exception to this, and over two turns smashed his way into the cage and concussed the throw-ra.

The pogoer grabbed the loose ball and was immediately mobbed, but proved his worth by bouncing free and throwing the ball to a teammate waiting patiently in the end zone, taking the score to 3-0.

The Khemri team had now lost interest in scoring as the outcome of the game was beyond doubt, and so lined up their entire team to simply attack goblins when the game restarted. This plan was thrown into confusion as the kick went high and was caught by a well placed skeleton.

A few lurching moves later, the Mummy's Curse had the ball and were deep in Stabbers territory.

Surely they must score?
More undead players shambled over and caged the ball right at the end of the pitch, and in desperation a lone goblin ran over to at least distract the ball carrier. He was knocked down for his trouble, and then fouled...

... right under the nose of the referee, who sent off the mummy responsible and ended the game before the ball could be run in!

So, a 3-0 win in my first game of the league then! Not at all bad. Can I keep this up? Watch this space to find out...

Thursday 6 February 2014

Empress Chinese PLA here at last!

What's this? Another blog post? Less than a fortnight after the last one? That's right, I'm inspired at the moment, after spending Sunday at Vapnartak in York.

I picked up some dice for Force on Force, and the USS Excelsior for Star Trek Attack Wing, but much more interesting than that, I was able to collect my Kickstarter pledge from Empress Miniatures!

In the end, I picked up a full squad of People's Liberation Army, plus a Chinese Mortar and Anti-tank weapon. I also got a fireteam of Painting Chinese type 07US Navy SEAL Frogmen, which will go nicely with the US Army squad that I got as part of Empress' sale for Kickstarter backers last year.

So far I haven't been brave enough to paint any of the Americans - the Empress models are so nice that I'm afraid to sully them with my painting!

However, I am plucking up the courage to tackle the Chinese. These are posing a bit of a conundrum though as I'm not entirely sure what colours to go for.

It looks like this is the standard camouflage:

And it is possible to find a few images dotted around the internet:

So, I'll have a bit of work to figure out the exact colours to use to get as close as possible to this. Also, since it's a digital camo pattern, I'll have to figure out a way to paint that without going mad, blind, or both...

My intended use for these will be a "Red Dawn" style scenario as China invades the US. This is (hopefully) entirely unfeasible in the real world, but allows for some modern combat between major powers and will allow me to use my existing collection of urban terrain.

Since I'm intending to use Force on Force for this, both the US and Chinese forces will be based around fireteams of four men. My plan is to paint a couple of Chinese fireteams first, followed by a couple of US fireteams. If I keep things up in this way I'm hoping to start with some small games to learn the system, and then build up to more interesting scenarios as I get more painting done.

So, watch this space, I might even get something painted to share with you all...