Why is this here..

A Lead Odyssey is about my hobby, collecting, painting and playing with toy soldiers. It will cover the various rulesets I use, the figures I am painting (very slowly), and some games. Thanks to Harry Pearson for the Achtung Schweinehund reference. The uniform jacket in the picture was adapted from a safari suit, the weapon is a wooden sub-machine gun made by me and my dad. Cool eh?

I play a range of scales, rules and periods.. scales are anything from 6mm, through 15mm to 28mm for little men, but I also use 1/1200 for Napoleonic Naval, and 1/3000 for Pre-Dreadnought period Naval.

My tastes are eclectic, but I have avoided most 'Fantasy' Games for a few years, as I couldn't get into the usual suspects for Fantasy Battles, and didn't have a decent group to play role-playing style games.

Friday, 6 January 2017

MDF Buildings from Hoka Hey

I was unfamiliar with Hoka Hey Wargaming, but thought I would provide a thumbnail review, as I purchased some MDF buildings from them this week. Firstly I was looking for 'generic' buildings that were re-usable, so I figured I would give their 'Animal Pen/Outbuilding' and 'Ruined Farm Building/House' a try.

  • Speed - Ordered 3 January, arrived today, so top marks for order fulfilment.
  • Cost -  £8.50 for the Animal Pen, and £6.00 for the ruined house. Top marks for cost as well. Note that the ruined building also had a 'debris' MDF sheet with some 'rubble' and rafters.
  • Overall package.. included instructions for the 'Timeline Miniatures' models, with image and build sequence,not really necessary, as I probably could have figured it all out, but handy.
  • Build quality - excellent...  everything went together well, though I found the points where the mdf was attached to the sheet were thicker than I was used to, and needed freeing with a knife if I didn't want to damage delicate parts.
  • Detail..  some nice little touches, so for example the ruined farmhouse included separate window-sills so the window frames were recessed properly.
  • Features - each of the buildings had a MDF base. Very much more convenient, some other companies could take note. The build surface is smooth other than a couple of locations with engraved detail showing bricks or blocks underneath a render, and engraved planking detail on doors and the 'pigsty' and pen building roof.
  • Criticisms? Hmm...  being very picky, the roof detail on the animal pen shows boards that are wider than you might expect. The gate on the animal pen appears to attach directly to the wall, not to wooden uprights, which would be unusual.
Overall, I am delighted with these, and as the ruined farmhouse contained separate window frames, I used some of the left over MDF frames to create 'wrecked frames to make some replacements, and liberated a couple of the window frames. I then used the 'double doors' from the animal/pen to create two end doors on the building, scrap MDF to fill in where the doors would be, attached the frames, and now it is a small dwelling with yard and animal pen. 


So for a grand total of £14.50, two usable buildings..   that could be pretty much 1740s on. I am now wondering how to finish these, and whether I could make them generic enough to do double duty from AWI to Northern Europe. The main issue would seem to be the construction methods and roofing. As I intend to update the roofing with cardboard shingles/tiles, it's just the underlying wood vs brick that creates issues.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Happy 2017

So here it is, 2017. One can only hope it is an improvement on 2016. Not to say that there were't some good things about 2016, but on the whole, best left behind. I got a bit of painting done, but interrupted by moving continents, it would have been nice to achieve more. My final tally, according to Vis Lardica

6mm & smaller - 456 foot, 85 mounted, 4 vehicles/artillery, 7 'ships'
15mm - 128 foot, 72 mounted, 9 vehicles/artillery
28mm - 30 foot

So I thought I would post some ideas about plans for painting in 2017. There's a lot of toys already lurking around, so here's where they are at:

  1. 28mm Chain of Command - Germans and British. I have a couple of squads painted for each side, plus some support options like vehicles close to being finished. I need to purchase one more British squad, plus some bits and pieces like engineers,medics, and so on.This will probably be the fastest project to finish. I estimate 1 week. Which probably means 3 months.
  2. 28mm American War of Independence for Sharp Practice 2. I have all the figures I need, including Hessians, Indians, and artillery. Most are reasonably close to completion apart from the last three named. Probably a months worth of work in this project.
  3. Normans in 15mm for DBMM - at least 2 months required to finish this lot, but I am also waiting for crossbowmen to be released by the manufacturer. So pushed down the list for that reason.
  4. Picts in 15mm for DBMM, loads of work required for these guys. Plaids, checks and tartans take a long time to paint. 3 month minimum I reckon, plus I am still waiting for some allies to arrive.. they're 'in the mail'.
  5. 6mm Napoleonic French and British - there's thousands of these guys. Plus the complexity of Napoleonic uniforms means a long time. 2 months each.
  6. 6mm War of Spanish Succession French & Imperials. I got the system down for these guys, so much faster than their later brethren. 1 month each.
  7. 6mm Sasanians. I have no real use for these to be honest, but I like them. I know that some of the 28mm DBMM gamers do hybrid games using 6mm and 28mm, so maybe that will be the go for these guys. 6 weeks. Low priority though. They will probably also have to have sabot bases to conform to the DBMM 28mm basing standards.
  8. 6mm Franco-Prussian War for HFG or Polemos. Both sides. A month each.
You will notice no mention of terrain. Well, to be honest, I have no room to play in this place, so I will be expecting my playing to all be at club venues, or other people's houses.  And the final tally? 

Estimated about 16 months worth of work. And let's go...    1, then 2, then see where fancy takes me. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Finishing up the Year

As it gets nearer the end of the year, I should be painting Normans, but I am also trying to finish up projects I started this year.

Firstly, some shock markers. Intended for the AWI and Sharp Practice, these were Warbases counter dials, that go up to12.  and should have more than one use. The animals are also from Warbases, in their farm animals set

Of course if you are going to play Sharp Practice, you need Cards or Chips to draw for the 'Big Man' activations. These were the Sharp Practice chips in the SP Bundle from TooFatLardies.

It also means, finishing up some 1st Corps Brits and Germans for Chain of Command. I originally did all my WW2 stuff in 20mm or 1/72 scale. But now all of that is in storage, I saw these figures at Carronade, and just really liked them. So here's a couple of squads of 'em. The Brits are 51st Highland Division (aka the Highway Decorators), and the Germans are an unidentified Division, which with the appearance of blue bits of kit, might be a Luftwaffe Field Division.

With this lot out of the way, there's a bunch of AWI Colonials nearing completion, and I still have to finish off my French Imperial Skies fleet with the carrier.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A Pleasant Surprise

So having had to leave Targe early, (having tried the patience of my darling other for 4 hours or so), I left a figure to be entered into the Black Watch Quaich painting competition, and was pleasantly surprised to win it.

Having to return to collect the figure, plus be photographed with the prize, I found myself the fortunate recipient of a personally inscribed copy of 'Scenarios For All Ages' presented by Charles S. Grant.

Lucky Me!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Ball of Kirriemuir aka Targe

There's a wargames show 'Targe' coming up in Kirriemuir, home of J.M.Barrie, and just a short drive up the road.

So me and the nephew, the one who scalped Custer at Skelp, are going to take a drive up there on 12 November. And they have a painting competition, including the 'Black Watch Trophy', for a single figure, any scale, of British troops.

Funnily enough, I had a Black Watch officer from the American War of Independence in the Stash, and as I was feeling a bit under the weather, and not up to doing much else, I slapped some paint on him this afternoon. Having photographed him though, the camera is unforgiving!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Quick Nef - or 10.. later

Some time ago, I invested in the Imperial Skies Kickstarter, and as part of the package, picked up the French Fleet from Brigade.

Lovely Cast Iron, Steampunky Floating Dreadnoughty rules goodness, plus dice, markers.. I somehow managed to forget the new cast French Dreadnought.. but no matter.. on with the build!

Hannants helped out with a couple of these...  much drilling, wiring, glueing (and cursing at teeny tiny parts and tremulous tweezers) later... et Voila!

I also did some surgery like drilling out turrets to replace with open gun positions, adding crosspieces to masts, and so on. Scale is an issue... but whatever.

I also bought the deck cranes pack, plus the heavier than air aircraft from Brigade, added rails, cranes, boats, etc..  as clutter and brass are the essence of the period in my view.  Here's one example - ready for the paintshop.

Now it's time to get dramatic with the colours, after all, these are giant floating dreadnoughts, and as long as no-one sneaks up below them where there are no turrets, they rule the skies!

Starting to look the business I reckon.

Glamour shots of the Heavier than Air before decals are added.

The fleet in review.


One think I didn't buy was the French carrier, which to my mind wasn't impressive enough.. so - two cigars and some MDF later looked like this.

Add bits from a defunct USB key. a plastic kit mantlet, some sprue cutoffs, cranes, parts from the Tamiya detail kits, and two defunct Lithium CR2 batteries..

More USB parts, funnels from a pen, rear steering from MDF..   ready for paint.

In all her undercoated glory..  the 'Fraternite'..  ready for paint.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Basing Napoleonic French in 6mm

So a quick follow-up to the previous post, a guide to my basing.

First steps.

Using a wedge tipped brush, apply slightly thinned PVA glue, and dip into fine sand. The wedge shape lets me get in between the ranks, then turn the brush flat for maximum coverage. Once the base has been suspended in the sand for a minute or so, remove and tap off sand.

Once dry, (I normally allow about 24 hours), irregularly apply slightly thinned ink wash. Don't worry about making the coverage even, or splashing a little up the legs. Once dry, which should be minutes only, I then paint almost neat PVA onto the stained sand, and dip into some basing flock. I generally use two colours, green first (from Baccus), and then repeat the process with autumn colours,

Finally, I add a couple of grass tufts to the base. I normally use 'Leadbear's Tufts', but in the meantime, MiniNatur Short tufts, early fall.

I've also added the flag (Baccus), touched up the flag edges with v70.930 dark blue, and v70.947 dark vermilion, and then a few squirts of Spray Matt Varnish. All done!