Tuesday, October 2, 2018

15mm WWI Casualties and Accessories

I'm in the process of running a 15mm WWI campaign at the local club, and now that I have about a platoon's worth of infantry for the French and Germans complete, I'm focusing on adding some more special pieces. The rules I'm using are TFL's "Through the Mud and the Blood", and each player has a particular big man who is his own unique character, with a bunch of detail elaborated beyond the base rules. 

When ordinary soldiers are killed or wounded, the game doesn't track them any further. But when a big man is hit, he might soldier on in a reduced capacity, be gravely wounded and have to be extricated from the fight, or be killed outright. When a character is gravely wounded, the cry goes out for stretcher bearers, and these poor gentlemen have to make their way forward under fire and try to reach the injured man. 

These are Peter Pig's 15mm WWI German stretcher bearers. Each team consists of 3 pieces, the two bearers and the separate stretcher. The pack contains two such teams, as well as two extra stretchers. They don't offer a French set, but I'm thinking I can replace the German heads with French ones and just fudge the rest in the painting. In 15mm it should look alright. But we'll see. 

Who are they trying to reach? Casualties of course. Here is a set of Peter Pig's WWI German casualty markers. There are three different pieces in a pack of 8.

This isn't quite enough to represent the average failed attack (or successful one, come to think of it) which tends to look a lot worse, but it's a start.

Of course, any WWI project is going to need a healthy (or rather an intensely unhealthy) amount of barbed wire, so I've begun work on my wire sections. I've got about 4 feet so far, and this is the prototype I'm working from.

The base is made from sheet styrene cut into 4" x 2" pieces. To that I glue cut down stumps of toothpicks for the posts. Then I paint white glue over the base and cover it in a generous amount of sand. I also glue a few pebbles around the base to represent larger stones. Then the base is undercoated a dark brown and drybrushed with a few lighter shades. The posts are painted a light khaki color and then given a thick dark brown wash.

The wire itself is from Gale Force 9. At first it is bright silver and very new looking, so I soak it for a few days in a plastic container full of vinegar and salt. That rusts it up perfectly.

I'll probably add more wire to each piece to give it a more tangled look, but for right now I'm focusing on churning these out. From the profile it looks a little more gnarly.

Wire or no wire, the attack must go forward. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

15mm WWI Update

I haven't been posting a lot lately, just because other factors have been getting in the way, but I have slowly been chipping away at my ongoing 15mm WWI project. Here's a quick look at a few more figures that are ready to go over the top.

First up, here are five more French riflemen from Peter Pig. The only modification to any of these was the addition of a scope to the weapon of one of the crouching riflemen, and the removal of his bayonet. He will be a designated sharpshooter for his team. The "Through the Mud and the Blood" rules allow a designated figure to operate as a normal rifleman until called upon to operate as a sniper, at which point some special rules apply.

Next, four grenadiers from Irregular miniatures. Some of you may recall an earlier post I did about adjusting Irregular WWI Germans to fit in better with their Peter Pig counterparts. For these guys, I just removed the pedestal under them. No heads were removed and swapped, as they fit in better than the Germans did.

You can see the variety of poses is not great. I bent some of the arms around a little to add some minor variety, but that's not much. The sculpting quality in general is not quite up to the Peter Pigs, but they're not bad figures, and it was a quick way to add dedicated grenadiers to the unit.

And lastly, here are five more Germans. The first, second and fifth (from left to right) are from Irregular Miniatures, and had their pedestals removed, their heads swapped with Peter Pig heads, their arms bent around and, in the case of the second from the left, a pistol added to one hand and a grenade to the other.

The figure in the middle is from Peter Pig's WW2 line. I removed the pockets from his chest to make his jacket more appropriate for WW1. You can just make out the edge of a little piece of white card on his base. It has a number on it, which identifies which "Big Man" card is his in the "Through the Mud and the Blood" deck.

The figure next to him is another Peter Pig figure, who was originally carrying a submachine gun. I replaced it with two small brass rods to give him a double barreled shotgun - not a military-issued weapon, but perhaps a hunting piece that I can imagine a trench raider taking with him on an assault.

There's plenty more of these in the works, and I look forward to posting more photos soon.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Shatterlands - Kickstarter for Second Set of Figures

I had the opportunity recently to preview (and try my paintbrush out on) the second issue of figures for "Shatterlands," the 28mm blackpowder fantasy skirmish game from Stonegate Forge. The company is currently close to fully funding the Kickstarter campaign that would allow them to put these figures into general production, so you should definitely take a look at their KS page.

If you're not familiar with the game, it's a really fun take on skirmish gaming, with a sort of French and Indian War feel reimagined in a fantasy setting. It has a number of innovative features, including character-specific scratch-off cards that let you track both damage and improvements for a character across a whole campaign. You don't known in advance how quickly or how significantly a character will advance in skill level until after each game, when you scratch off a given trait and see the result. Also a neat system of color-coded dice that let you see at a glance how good a particular character is at getting the job done, without having to memorize a long list of modifiers. For example, in general you want to roll low, so if you see a character is rolling a 20-sided die when shooting, rather than a 6-sided, you might not want to try to use that guy as a sharpshooter. The game is unlike any other I've played of this type, and always makes for some tense moments and a good immersive sense of story.

From a painter's point of view, this is another set of fantastic figures. The sculpting is extremely crisp, the poses are very attractive and well chosen, and the casting is top notch. Mold lines are very, very slight, and flash was nonexistent.

The extension includes 6 new figures, 3 Dumah Rangers (in colorful uniforms) and 3 Rappani (in black with bows and arrows). You have the option of equipping the Dumah Ranger on the right (in blue jacket) with either a rifle or a combination crossbow/ musket, as I have chosen here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

15mm Stormtrooper Alterations - Irregular Miniatures

Recently I was looking to add some dedicated close combat stormtroopers to my set of 15mm WWI German figures, guys who clearly had the look of men looking to get up close and personal as they raided an enemy trench on some moonless night. My Germans and French have been entirely taken from the excellent Peter Pig lines so far, but while Peter Pig does have some stormtroopers modeled throwing grenades, they don't have figures with shovels and pistols and body armor, which is the look I was going for. 

I looked around at my options with other manufacturers, and decided to give Irregular Miniatures a try. The photos on the website seemed to have promise, and the price was right. My biggest concern though was that size-wise the new figures would not be a good match. I didn't own any pieces from them already, and couldn't find clear comparisons online between the relative sizes of the two lines, so I took a shot in the dark. 

It was pretty clear on opening the package that the Irregular figures were significantly bigger than the Peter Pig ones. They were also not as well sculpted, and the variety of poses was not great, but I didn't want to give up so easily, so the following pictures show some of my efforts to bring them down to size and fit them in with the Peter Pigs. 

First and foremost, I needed the Irregulars to be shorter in order to fit in. Right off the bat I cut the pedestals off their feet, and then sanded the feet down just a little bit to make them stand a little lower. 

Next, the Irregular heads were significantly larger, and that was a detail that stood out even when viewing them from a bit of a distance. Men naturally vary a good deal in size, but the helmets wouldn't differ quite that much, in both size and style. So off came the Irregular heads, to be replaced by spare helmeted heads I cut off of WW2 Peter Pig figures. I didn't realize when I was doing this that I could have ordered spare heads from Peter Pig, both in steel helmets or in field caps. I probably would have gone that route had I known about the possibility at the time. 

Next, I wasn't very happy with the Irregular poses. They are clearly all based on exactly the same pose, with some very minor changes made to give them different equipment. So I cut some metal away from their joints to make it easy to bend their arms in different positions. Between that and gluing their new heads in different orientations from the ones they started with, it helped give a little more variety to them. 

To mix things up a little more I also glued a few very simple custom items into a few hands. I made a shovel from brass and card, pistols from pieces of brass rod, and a grenade from brass and a small wooden dowel. 

Size-wise the figures are not a perfect match, but then even within the Peter Pig line different packs of infantry vary in size. For example, the Germans in firing poses are noticeably smaller than those charging with bayonets fixed. 

The results are good enough for my purposes, and these gentlemen have already hit the table and given a good account of themselves in storming their objectives.