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Friday, March 29, 2013

Adapting Flames of War

This concludes the series of videos.  I hope you all enjoyed them!

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Bolt Action - Review: Warlord Games M24 Chaffee

Judson recently got in a batch of stuff to review from Warlord Games.  Since I am doing the Americans, I took a swing at their M24 Chaffee.  Let's dive in!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

News From the Front Episode 55


The boys are all rested up form Cold Wars and ready to get back in the studio!  On the docket today are various topics like #WWPD4VETS, recent gaming, etc.  The guys talk a lot about Market Garden- upcoming tournaments and fireflies.  Some random overlooked rules like digging in and kampfgruppe, and a whole host of other topics!
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dave's Baggage Train Review

Dave's Baggage Train Review - By Luke Melia

Dave's Baggage Train produces an assortment of storage trays and carrying cases for miniatures.  The basic tray is opened topped and made from plastic and wood.  All trays are 7 3/4" wide and 14" long.  The trays vary in height from 1" to 6" tall.  All of the trays and inserts are sold separately.  You can choose from rubber magnet, rubber steel, foam and felt inserts. He even makes glass-topped and snap top covered trays.  The glass covers are awesome for displaying models and the snap top trays are great, especially when you can fit your army in one or two trays.   All of Dave's inserts are  made to be customized to your individual gaming needs for every tray.
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Bolt Action - AAR: Bocage Boogie

(Big thanks to Ron Bigham for another great battle report! - J)
AAR “Bocage Boogie”, 10 July 1944

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sd/Kfz 251/1D and some Grilles

 Sorry this post is a little bit light on content!  Way back at Cold Wars 2012, John Desch hooked me up with a pair of Grilles for Flames of War.  I grabbed a halftrack for the commander and intended to paint it ASAP.  But, you all know how that goes.  Finally out of the blue I saw it sitting in my "to do" pile and decided to knock it out right quick!
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When Painting Becomes Tedious and Boring

A guest post from Anatoli - you've probably seen his excellent work, including this post and many like it, over at his own blog "Anatoli's Game Room". If you don't follow his blog, I strongly recommend you check it out - it's full of awesome content from all scales and eras!

The dreaded moment in miniature painting is when you hit that invisible wall which completely kills the fun in painting - or at least makes it so tedious and energy draining that you get fed up and can't move on.

This has happened to me a couple of times, but thankfully it's a very rare feeling and has been very rare over the past couple of years since I began playing skirmish games where almost every miniature is unique.

The most common event leading up to energy drain in miniature paining in my opinion is when you buy a ton of stuff for a larger army. I have seen many newcomers to the hobby get in way over their head. Painting requires a couple of things, discipline being the most important. Painting is not always fun, so you have to motivate yourself and think about the end result and the goal of all the work you are putting into the miniatures - the games that loom at the end of the tunnel.

You have to be smart about how you plan your work as well. I've seen people buy and assemble a full army of plastic Warhammer miniatures who then shatter their personal morale by just looking at the massed amount of miniatures that need painting, basing, and flocking. The reasonable thing to do is assembling and painting things "unit by unit", this way you don't have to see the 250 15mm soldiers all at once and that also helps to keep you going while painting since you aren't constantly reminded about the rest. Painting things unit by unit allows you to have something finished before you start painting the next thing, it's a great boost in morale and a wonderful feeling to complete a model or unit of figures. The enthusiasm neutralizes the tediousness of doing it all over again several more times.

When I painted my Empire Warhammer Fantasy army, Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard army and my Polish Early War Flames of War army (all of which included a ton of troops), I made sure to assemble, paint and finish each platoon or unit before moving on to the next. If I had focused on painting one color on 250 miniatures, then another color and so on, it would have killed me.

Another important thing, that is probably the most important factor beside strong personal discipline is picking a project, army or faction that you are interested in. If you aren't interested or in some way personally invested in the stuff you paint it becomes a lot more boring and almost unbearable. While painting hordes of miniatures for large scale wargames it may be a good idea to read up on the unit history to get some inspiration so that you can visualize yourself playing with those models within a historical context (or just within the background material of a fantasy universe).

There are some other things that make painting relatively more fun or at least offers variety, and that is actually playing/painting two projects at the same time. Even better if they are different scale of miniatures and different sized wargames. This way you can jump from having painted 60 15mm miniatures for a WW2 platoon to a handful of 28mm character models.

NEVER CUT CORNERS just because you are tired! This for several reasons, you will rarely be happy with the end result and you will have to live with that result until you throw away or sell your miniatures. You also don't evolve as a painter - this is assuming that you actually want to evolve as a painter, otherwise you probably already pay someone else to do your work or just paint miniatures because the guys at the club force you to play with painted stuff (in which case maybe the hobby part of wargaming isn't for you). Cutting corners is tempting when you hit the wall - you may want to just "finish it". The thing is that this very rarely works out to your advantage and you will notice the difference on the table no matter what scale (of course 28mm and larger show traces of sloppy work a lot more). Cutting corners is not the same as speeding up your painting, examples of both:

Speeding up your work: Assembly line paining several (like 5-10 28mm or a couple of bases of smaller scale stuff) miniatures at the same time often saves a lot of time doing this instead of paining one miniature/base at a time.

Cutting corners: Heavy drubrush over a basecoat, skipping several details because you can't be bothered or think "they won't be noticed at an arm’s length anyway" - but they will!

If you start to feel bored, and I have been in the same situation, where continued painting is almost impossible due to how tedious it may be - then it's better to either swap painting project or paint the unit or model in steps over a couple of days. Many of my Dreadfleet ships have been painted over several days, I almost always try to finish a miniature or unit during one painting session/day when I paint. But these models were so cluttered with detail and required a lot of focused painting so that finishing a ship in one sitting would mean a subpar result for me personally. Thus I chopped each ship up in segments so that I painted the basics during day 1, the hull during day 2 and the sails during day 3 and 4.

After all, you have invested a lot of money in a product, why not actually give it your best shot. And yes, if you keep evolving as a painter you will end up with a collection of miniatures that vary in quality over the years. However if you put time and effort into everything you have painted, that will make a big difference. There is a difference between a well painted model that has a basic paintjob, and a miniature that you just drybrushed to death or just rush painted for a game the same evening..

It may suck not to have a ton of stuff painted up within a week (or month), but the end result will be worth all the time you spend on your miniatures.

The pictures in this post are of miniatures painted by me over the years, ranging from stuff that I currently have in my own personal collection, stuff that I have sold off or painted up as commission work.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Bocage for WWD4Vets or should we say Lucage?

From the Mines of Melia

Hey Gang!   People have been asking so I got the listing up on Ebay for WWPD4Vets.

Here's some pics and what is included.  I could be talked into throwing in some free bonus pieces if the auction brings in enough.

Here's the link. Bocage Ebay WWPD4Vets
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Bolt Action - Review: Warlord Waffen SS Box Set

I recently got my hands on a box set of Warlord Games: Waffen SS from their Bolt Action miniature line.  The box contains 20 metal Waffen SS figures for $47.  That ends up being about $2.50 a figure.  In the box you get a 81mm mortar team, a HQ section with officers, a medic, and radio team, and a squad of SS with one LMG team and two figures armed with assault rifles.  One thing the box did not contain was bases, which you will have to pick up on your own.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Peter Pig Wrecks

If you took a tour of Europe during the 1940's you would find the wrecked skeletal remains of knocked out vehicle and tanks littering the country side.  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of vehicles and their crews found themselves on business end of high velocity cannons, artillery and attack aircraft.  Those not knocked out in combat often succumbed to mechanical failure or the elements. 

Peter Pig is one of my favorite miniature manufactures and they make a wide range of wrecked vehicles and tanks.  I recently picked up two of these wreck vehicles, a Panzer IV H and Sdkfz 251/ 1C, and plan on using them as terrain to litter my table top with wrecked hulks.  The wrecks are both single piece resin models and required no clean up.  Each wreck was about $9.

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Bolt Action - Review: Armies of the Soviet Union

The Armies of Great Britain book was still fresh in my mind, when out of the blue this little surprise showed up on the doorstep:

In Mother Russia, we send our preview copies early!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bolt Action - Bolt Action Radio Episode 8

Bolt Action Radio Episode 8 is Live!
The boys show back up at The BAR after an extended break for Cold Wars. Dano grills Judson about the convention, and maybe more importantly, tournament he attended. To wrap things up, they talk about The Armies of Great Britain and make promises they'll most likely fail to keep. This episode is packed, so pull up a stool a crack a cold one for the Cold Wars chat!
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Sherman 76 auction for WWPD4Vets!

One of the many ways you can help us to reach our goal with #WWPD4VETS is by selling items on eBay with a percentage of the proceeds going to the charity of your choice.  We here at WWPD wanted to try this option out, and so here are my Sherman 76s I painted to auction off!  These are live now, so go bid on them here!  These Shermans were generously donated by Scott Weland, so there's a real team effort going on here!

Light weathering so you can muddy them up to match your own guys.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WWPD4Vets - Prep the Battlefield Contest!

WWPD4Vets - March 30th, 2013 

The WWPD4Vets Event will take place Saturday, March 30th, 2013. 

Ok, WWPD Community -- it is time to show us all how pumped you are for this wonderful charity event!  The Dudes at News from the Front would like to "prepare the battlefield" by getting a jump-start on our goal of $2,500.

CONTEST:  Between now and Monday, March 25th, 2013, a randomly selected person or group that donates at least $25 to the Wounded Warrior Project will get a special "Shout Out!" on the next episode of News from the Front.  We'll allow a 30 second spot to be read by your choice of the Dudes.  Donate HERE.   

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Things I wish I had known sooner

So following on from my Windsor and Newton Series 7 brush review I posted some time ago, it got me thinking.

If I can go years not realizing there was a difference between synthetic and natural brushes, what other gems of knowledge do the pros know that they don't tell you?

I'm not saying its a conspiracy, and that there's an Illuminati of painters that jealousy hold onto the secrets of pro painting, protecting it from the world, I’m just saying there's a lot of things that to them seem like common knowledge and often don't get shared with the new guys.

The information isn't impossible to find if you're looking for it, but you can’t look for what you don't know exists.

So what are the few gems of knowledge I've managed to uncover from the ancient temple of the hobby Pros whilst ducking spears, out running giant boulders and dodging booby traps?

Natural Hair Paint brushes vs Synthetic.

I covered this more in-depth in a previous article, but a quality natural hair brush provides better flow, a sharper tip and does not curl at the end over time. This really was a revelation for me, why was I not told!

Base Coat your Minis

This will seem like a no brainer to most painters, everyone picks this one up pretty quickly, but everyone started out trying to paint directly onto plastic, metal or resin at some point, and while it's possible to produce a decent painted mini with no base coat, you're really just starting your journey with a flat tire.

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Shadows Over Camelot (P)review

Over the weekend, Joe (Jmezz), Judson (of BA.Net) and I all got to try out a game I've been wanting to play for a bit called Shadows Over Camelot.  I'd heard the game described as "Battlestar Galactica in Camelot".  Naturally, this had me intrigued!  So I watched a few clips of Sean Connery in First Knight, and off we went!

The game's concept is quite simple: Complete a series of quests while defending Camelot from invasion.  There are 3 major quests: the Search for the Grail, Excalibur, and Lancelot's Quests.  The 3 major quests not only get the heroes closer to victory, but earn them a relic. That comes in handy: the grail allows a dead hero to be resurrected, Excalibur makes the knights fight a bit better (more on this later), and Lancelot's armor mitigates the bad cards (also, more on this!).  These special quests can only be completed (pass or fail) once.

There are also three minor quests.  These quests can be passed and failed any number of times. These quests are: Pict and Saxon invasions, and the jousting tournament.  These quests are relatively easy to complete, but ultimately don't provide as much of a reward.  But leave them unchecked and they will fail- and it adds up!
The game board

Each player's turn is divided into 2 phases.  The first phase is the "evil" phase where the player draws a black card and does what it says.  The majority serve as a pressure point on all of the quests, moving them all towards failure.  One card, for example, is placed on a 7-card track representing the grail quest.  If all 7 of the cards are "evil" then the quest is failed.  This forces the heroes to pick and choose their battles- inevitably some quests will likely be failed.  This is a great mechanic, that causes the conflict element in the game and works really well!  There are also a few special black cards that do even worse things.  One makes you draw and apply the next 3 cards.  One hurts all of the heroes for 1 point of damage.

The second phase of a player's turn is the heroic action.  A hero can choose to move or perform a heroic action.  Moving from one location to another is an action, but requires no fancy rules.   There is one location for each of the above mentioned quests, as well as 2 locations for Camelot- the round table, and the wall which is under siege by the siege weapons mentioned above.

Performing a heroic action depends on the location the hero is in.  For most of these, the location is a quest area and the heroic action is playing a white card that moves the heroes closer to victory.  When at the Round table, the heroic action is drawing 2 cards (and is one of the only ways to get cards).  When outside the wall, a hero can attempt to kill a siege weapon with a simple mechanic combining white cards and a d8.  Heroes may also sacrifice a life to take a second heroic action.  Dropping to 0 life obviously kills the hero.

Finally, when a quest ends (either in victory or defeat), a number of swords are placed around the round table.  White swords for victory, and black swords for defeat.  Easier quests obviously provide fewer swords.  The heroes lose if 7 (out of 12 maximum) black swords are placed on the table.  The heroes win if 12 swords are on the table and the majority (7+) are white.  Beating quests also nets a number of white cards (which the heroes who participated in the quest may share however they please), and nets the heroes a life point or two.

Okay so that's the basics!  But there's a few minor twists.  The first minor twist is that each character (who are, of course, Knights of the round table!), get a special action.  Maybe it's the ability to draw an extra card, or the ability to move for free when leaving the round table- all of these abilities help make the team a bit more capable at specific tasks.  But there's one more sweet twist!

Just like BSG, there are loyalty cards.  Unlike BSG, there isn't *always* a traitor!  In fact, there is just 1 traitor card who may or may not even show up.  Each character has a reverse side for their traitor ability (when outed).  It takes a heroic action to out a suspected traitor.  A traitor who makes it to the end of the game without being outed may flip 2 swords from white to black- which may sneak the victory out right at the last second!  The traitor basically has to try and subtly make the heroes fail without being caught.  It's a great mechanic that keeps everyone on their toes!

*Fast paced.  Player turns take less than a minute once you get rolling.
*Great components.  This is a given this day and age, but the little figures are awesome and everything has great graphic design and is on nice thick cardboard.
*Cool theme!

*Isn't quite as nail bitingly, paranoia inducing as BSG.  On the other hand, it plays 2 or 3 times faster.
*Understanding what each quest needs to be defeated was a bit tough at the beginning- takes a play through or two to have it fully down.  Nothing too bad though.

Conclusion: Awesome game for sure!  I give it a B+.  I will definitely be bringing this along to conventions as it's easy to teach and plays quickly.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

WWPD Network Highlights!

Hey guys, with the nixing of weekend posts, I realized it'd been a while since we'd posted any network wide updates!  So, what's been going on?  For those of you who may not follow our other sites, hopefully some of these tidbits might entice you to go check them out!

Bolt Action.Net
Bolt Action at Cold Wars
Judson has an in depth look at the Bolt Action.. er.. action at Cold Wars!  Lots of great photos, and after action reports.

Soviets vs Germans in Maximum Attrition
Our buddy Craig Baxter posted an awesome battle report pitting some Germans against some Soviets.  The picture of the exploding KV-1 makes the report worth reading all on its own, but the rest of the pics don't disappoint!

Outpost Zero
Gunship! First Strike review
We get a hands on look at the board game by Escape Pod Games.  A fairly in depth rules discussion and analysis.  Overall we give the game a pretty high rating, and it's continued to be a go to for me!  We've been on a real boardgame kick so keep your eyes on the Outpost for more, sure to be on the way!

Dropzone Commander Battle
Epic battle!  See the UCM forces go to town with the Scourge!  The dudes have a really nice table (full of city blocks and abandoned cars) to wage war over.  Still waiting to get my first game in, but I really love the models!

Saga Tapestry
Saga Warlord Painting Competition (Ending Soon!)
There have been some great entries so far!  So what are you waiting for?  Head over to the forum and submit your entry!  I need to hurry up and get my Scott Warlord painted up!  But, not only am I ineligible, I will miss the deadline.

Normans vs Vikings- Clash of Warlords!
This was a hell of a battle!  The Normans were textbook, unfortunately, but the vikings were bloodthirsty!


Stay tuned for updates from some of our fine Network Partners!
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