Sunday, 11 November 2018

Ronin rulers

This weekend I glued together & painted these rather nifty katana rulers for Ronin gaming.  They are simple 4-piece laser-cut MDF items included in this set from Sarissa Precision. The 6" blades are divided into 1" segments, & likewise with the 3" hilts.  Next, I will be painting up some Wound & Stunned markers for Ronin using Ø10mm laser-cut discs.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Crossfire platoon boxes

I've bought a load of these 0.55 litre boxes from Really Useful Products, as they are perfect for storing my 15mm scale Crossfire 'moderns' platoons.  I first spotted one of these pencil-case sized storage boxes in WHSmith, & bought it to try out.  It proved to be the perfect size for efficiently storing a platoon plus a few bases of support, so I bought the rest for cheaper online, direct from the manufacturer.  They are currently £2.37 each.  I may stick some bubble-wrap or foam in the lids to protect the figures more, but I'm really pleased with this storage solution.  Previously I had been storing all of my forces haphazardly in plastic chocolate boxes - these take up up less room, you can see the contents without opening, & they are more convenient for transporting.

Monday, 22 October 2018

New Crossfire ID markings

From experience of playing a few games of Crossfire now, I decided to modify how I paint ID markings for my infantry bases.  Playing with more than one platoon quickly demonstrated the difficulty in telling platoons apart (which is necessary for command structure in-game) - so I've settled on painting the edges of my bases in national flag colours to denote platoon, & using small white (or black) bars on the rear centre to denote section (squad) number.  HQ section elements have a wide bar, Section 1 elements have one thin bar, Section 2 have two thin bars, etc.  I was concerned that the coloured edges would be too intrusive visually, but at this scale, & because the players are usually looking down on the tabletop, I think that they strike a great balance between blending-in, being thematic, & being practical.

Here are two examples of this new ID scheme - on the left, my 1980s Syrian AT commandos with dark green edges, which I chose because the stars on the Syrian flag at that time were green, & these are elite fighters; & on the right is one of my Syrian mechanised infantry platoons, with red edges.  I have another mech infantry platoon under construction, which will have white edges, & the other band colour from the Syrian flag, black, will be reserved for if I add another mech infantry platoon to reach a full company.

My two IDF platoons will use blue & white edges, as per the Israeli flag, whilst the two platoons of French Foreign Legion patatroopers (2e REP) that I've been painting up as an overdue gift for my friend Tim will have blue & red edges (Section Bleu et Section Rouge).

Friday, 19 October 2018

Moss-covered rocks

A couple more pieces of scatter terrain for Ronin & Chain of Command games - some moss-covered rocks. Same recipe as my other recent pieces: small patches of rocks, & overgrown rocks.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Yakuza gang

Here is my Yakuza buntai (gang/group/band) for Osprey's Ronin skirmish game.  I have chosen to focus on the late Edo period for my collection - the twilight era of the Samurai, as depicted in the 'Zatoichi' & 'Sleepy Eyes of Death' films, 'Yojimbo', 'When the Last Sword is Drawn', '13 Assassins', 'Bloody Shuriken', 'Twilight Samurai', & many other classics of Japanese chanbara cinema.  So I have being painting this gang of dastardly Yakuza, who will face justice at the hands of my next buntai - a small group of swordsmen from a Koryu (weapon school).  I may also supplement this with a Peasant buntai, to be terrorised by the local Yakuza.

This is my basic 95 points Yakuza roster - at the front there are five shikaku (thugs) armed with katanas.  The bald bloke in the back row is the gashira with a katana: a lieutenant of the local boss.  He is slightly more skilled than the thugs, & has the Commander ability.  Either side of him are a pair of yotamono (ruffians) with ararebō (small clubs - I made these by trimming down spears, & molding the iron studs using tiny balls of Green Stuff putty).  These ruffians are cheap, & even less skilled than the five thugs, but useful for boosting the numbers... plus the gashira has the option to cut one down as a 'morale booster' if the gang look to be routing in the face of determined foes!  Finally, to the gashira's far left is a thug with a teppo (matchlock arquebus) & katana (although I'm trying to source a sheathed katana for his obi [belt]).

My basic Koryu buntai will also total 95pts, but for comparison, it will feature only three (very skilled) swordsmen.  I have three more figures in progress (two deadly ronin-for-hire, & another teppo gunman) which will bump the Yakuza gang up to 150pts for slightly larger skirmishes; & I can match this for the Koryu by adding three more junior swordsmen.

Here are some close-up photos, showing the patterns that I lavished on much of the clothing for the Yakuza.  I'm pleased with the results - I think it really brings them to life  :-)  I didn't want this buntai to look uniformed, but I did want to tie-them together visually on the tabletop - so I focused the palette around moody blues & purple.

Finally, I couldn't resist reworking a couple of the group shots in black-&-white, to capture the essence of those classic chanbara & Samurai films which have been such an inspiration for this little project.

Most of these figures are from North Star, while the ruffians with converted clubs & the thug with the arquebus are from Perry Miniatures.


Saturday, 6 October 2018


Nothing too exciting today, just some trees which I've based up for use in Ronin & Chain of Command games.  First I glued four 1p coins & one 2p coin on top the laser-cut ply disc bases, to make them nice & weighty on the tabletop, & then I stuck the trees on top, & textured overt he coins & between the roots with coarse paint thickener.  Then finished-off with my usual mix of flock & grass tufts, as mentioned in previous posts. 

I've had the trees a few years, so I don't remember the manufacturer, but they are particularly sturdy, & their 'leaves' don't fall off the wire bristles very easily, which means that they're nice & robust for wargaming.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Small patches of rocks

Some more scatter terrain for Chain of Command & Ronin - a couple small patches of overgrown rocks. These will be difficult ground which hampers movement, but they won't provide cover like my previous larger overgrown rocks.

Again, these are real (painted) stones, mounted on laser-cut ply discs from Fenris Games, with Gale Force Nine flocks & GamersGrass tufts & flowers.

Here are a few photos of these latest rock patches, with a 'White' Russian soldier & a dastardly Yakuza ruffian for scale.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Rickety fences

I recently finished these six sections of rickety fences, for use in Chain of Command (Russian Civil War) & Ronin (late Edo-period chanbara).  They are laser-cut pieces from Fenris Games, affixed using wood glue to large lolly sticks/tongue depressors.  After snipping the long strips of fences into six sections, they were exactly the right length for these lolly sticks (6"). First I textured the bases/strengthed the bond with the fences using ready-mix coarse paint thickener, & then painted the bases with patches of brown & green.  Then I painted the fences using basic drybrushing. Later I glued-on a variety of flock (Gale Force Nine products) & grass/plant tufts (mostly manufactured by GamersGrass).

Here are a few photos of the finished fences, with some 28mm chanbara & RCW figures for scale.  I think they will suit either tabletop battlefield at a pinch.  Which saves time & money!

There are enough strips of rickety fences in the pack to make the same quantity of these again, although I'm considering using them on a field base rather than as individually-placed items.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Russian village church

I finally got round to painting this village church for Russian Civil War games.  It's a laser-cut MDF kit from Sarissa Precision.  It was one of their more challenging kits to build because oft he multiple roofs & the crucifix orb, but nothing ridiculous.  I left the roof unglued for access, & painted the interior before gluing the walls to the base.  The building is tall but not that wide, so it's actually a little tricky to place models inside.  But the only viewpoint for those inside is out the doors anyway, so it might not happen that often.

I find these MDF buildings require a couple of spray-coats of undercoat before they're ready to paint, as the material really absorbs the initial coat.  After that they take the paint well.  I used a simple colour scheme based on a few reference photos, & I'm pretty happy with the outcome, although I may add more severe weathering the the wood cladding to 'age' the building a bit more.

I went with a 'gold' theme to highlight the importance the church would have in a village, & because it'll be the centrepiece of many RCW tabletops.  Should make an inspiring focus point for the Whites defending Mother Russia from revolution, whilst the iconoclastic  Reds & Blacks will have less respect for it!