Belgian Colours

We’ve been sent a number of photos of some excellently painted examples of our 28mm Great War Belgians by Sven de Braekeleir. He’s very kindly allowed us to use them on the website, so we’ve updated a number of the photos of various codes including infantry in shakos and the mounted lancers. Please go and have a look at Sven’s Facebook page where you can find more samples of his work, both on our figures and many others.

Fallen Giants

I recently made some wreck markers for a game of Imperial Skies; they don’t serve any game purpose, but they look good 🙂

I was fielding a small but powerful French fleet, so I modelled my two capital ships (a Gaulois dreadnought and a Massena battleship), and while I was at it I added a Loire and one of the new la Verde class Italian battlecruisers.

The resin hulls were cut off at odd angles and the Gaulois was cut completely in half. They were then severely distressed with knives, clippers, files and a Dremel fitted with a grinding head. Some of the turret mountings were drilled out and gun barrels removed. The metal turrets, funnels and other bits were similarly attacked, gun barrels and masts bent before sticking them to the hulls.

They were based on textured plastic Land Ironclads bases, and the Massena’s tail was cut off and stuck at an odd angle.

Everything was sprayed black before they were given the roughest of rough paint jobs – just two additional colours, deck and superstructure. I didn’t bother painting details such as windows that I’d normally spend time over. I gave them a similarly quick drybrush rather than the usual edge highlighting, then lots of dark washes hid the rough edges.

The bases were painted in sea colours and a wash of GW Coelian Greenshade gave a suitably oily-looking surface to the water. The final touch was some fibre stuffing which was lightly sprayed black then superglued to represent smoke billowing out of various orifices.

Although they were just for aesthetic purposes in our game, they could be useful as objective markers in a game – retrieving vital papers or a VIP from a downed ship.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolverines?

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to again spend a day rolling dice and pushing tanks with Miniature Wargames editor and author of The Crucible, John Treadaway. We played a large Hammer’s Slammers game with over 160 elements on table in over a dozen different detachments – John attacked my dug-in Lightning Division forces with a mix of the Thunderbolt Division and Waldheim Dragoons backed up by Antargran local forces.

For once my dice held up (in most cases – I did make a habit of burning out gun barrels whenever I tried Rapid Fire with my blower tanks, three of which ended the game with no main gun…) and I just about came out victorious with judicious use of mortars and missile salvos on the Antargrans. I did end the game with just one working tank however, a Krauss tracked tank with charmed life! John has written up the game and there’s an extensive photo gallery on the Crucible website, but here are a few of mine.

The Lightnings were also supported by a freshly painted new force that I was putting in the field for the first time – two detachments of the Wolverines, a specialist anti-tank unit. I’ve been wanting to create a Wolverine force for a while and just needed the last piece in their particular equipment jigsaw, the infantry skimmers for the tank hunter teams. Their primary vehicle is the Viking half-track armed with either Manta light missiles or a rapid-fire coil gun (4 shots per turn !). This tows a variety of trailers including calliope and MLRS versions, or a 5cm Hi-Intensity powergun. Wolverine infantry also ride in these open backed trailers (with little in the way of protection) – the Vikings have internal space for troops but are very cramped and the troops prefer to take their chances in the trailers. Specialist tank hunter teams armed with buzzbombs are equipped with personal ‘skimmers’, one-person hoverbikes, for rapid deployment.

Wolverine Infantry Platoon

After the usual clean-up and assembly (production line methods are the only way to go for this many vehicles!) I undercoated both infantry and vehicles with automotive primer – red oxide for the vehicles and white for the infantry and skimmers.

The vehicles were then heavily drybrushed in a terracotta colour (Golgfag Brown, one of the Citadel Dry paints) and I then applied camouflage stencils from Anarchy Models. I used the Ambush Pattern ones this time for a change, and then airbrushed a desert sand over the top. I drybrushed the vehicles with Citadel Terminatus Stone before removing the stencils – that way the highlight colour doesn’t get on the red camouflage patches. Only then could I carefully remove the stencils, which takes a while – I was still finding one or two I missed when it came to the final painting stages! After this it was time to brush paint details – wheels, windows, tracks and little details such as sensor lenses and headlights. Once all of this is dry, each model is given a generous brushed-on coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. This got a couple of days to thoroughly dry before I added decals over the shiny Quickshade finish, followed by a final airbrushed top coat of Tamiya Flat Clear (I will repeat again my experience of using Army Painter’s own aerosol varnish – I find this is great over normal acrylic paints, but over Quickshade I find it tends to craze and blister, especially on large flat surfaces. You have been warned!).

Wolverine Tank Hunter Detachment

The infantry (from our British range) were sprayed with Army Painter Army Green from a spray can, then faces, weapons, webbing and boots were painted. I don’t usually camouflage infantry in 15mm, but I decided to give them three-colour helmet covers by dotting on sand and brown. I also painted a Brigadier figure to lead them, this time with yellow facings, who I’ve named Major Vilkas (the Wolverines detachment list doesn’t have any named leaders). Once finished they were also brush painted with Quickshade and varnished at the same time as the vehicles. The skimmers were painted separately from the riders and stuck together just before the Quickshade stage.

The final touches were flock and plenty of grass tufts on the infantry bases, both from Games Workshop.

We’ve set up ready made detachment packs for the Wolverines on the website in both 6mm and 15mm, so you can buy your own forces to match these. The Infantry detachments include extra trailers so all towed weapon options are possible. While I was at it, the Slammers section of the website has had a minor facelift – nothing fancy, just a few colour changes and some new pictures.

HSD15-1601 – Wolverines – £70.00
HSD15-1602 – Wolverines – £55.00

HSD6-1601 – Wolverines – £9.00
HSD6-1602 – Wolverines – £8.00

Celtos Swordmaidens

Another set of customer painted models this week – this time a collection of really nicely rendered Celtos Gael female heroes and warriors from Victor Gondra.

Galea
Swordmaidens
Llysa
Amanthas
Enora

Thommo’s Two-mil

Nottingham modeller Simon Thompson has sent us some pictures of his really nicely painted Small Scale Scenery buildings which we thought we’d share. In particular, the shaded windows look very effective. The whole effect is grimey and industrial and very much looks the part.

Skeleton Dance

A while ago we featured some nicely painted skeletons from the Celtos Fir Bolg range by Australian blogger Azazel. Recently he sent us photos of some more archers, so without further ado, here they are (and it would be rude not to link to his blog)…

United We Stand

Another (yes, another !) new 15mm Hammers Slammers detachment fell off my painting table the other week. They almost happened by accident, but they were such a simple build and took very little time.

Strictly speaking it’s a troop, not a detachment – it’s only a half-sized unit. To create a full detachment, just add another identical troop. The United Defence Batteries are another of the specialist outfits from the Hammerverse, a unit tailored to perform one specific role but perform it well. The UDB are an elite air defence unit equipped with our new GS-1018 8-barreled rapid-firing calliopes (released last week) mounted on GEV chassis. That’s all they do – you hire the UDB to keep the skies above clear of enemy aircraft and artillery shells, and trust them to do that job perfectly. Of course, eight 2cm rapid fire powerguns will also make a mess of light armoured vehicles and infantry if you point them in the right direction ! They play a central role in the story Counting the Cost, which you can find in volume 2 of The Complete Hammer’s Slammers.

I wasn’t sure how to paint the UDB, so in the end I opted for a very simple dark grey scheme (German Panzer Grey) with green fabric skirts. The only colour was a couple of orange flashes on the side panels and the sensor blisters on the calliope turrets which I painted in blue. Decals were taken from the same Dom’s Decals vehicle names sheet as I used for the Foster’s Mercenaries names, and numbers were spares from our Heliodorus Regiment sheet. In the end the effect wasn’t as dark as I’d have liked – if I did them again I’d use a black base and drybrush it up with dark grey.

The UDB troop pack contains three GS-1108 Calliopes, one GS-1008 command vehicle (with optional radar instead of the rear turret) plus stowage packs.

HSD15-3301 – United Defence Batteries Calliope Troop – £32.00

Harris Blowers

Slammers detachments are like buses – you wait ages for one, then two turn up at once. After last week’s 111-wheel painting and assembly marathon with the unit of Foster’s Mercenaries, this one is a rather more straightforward build.

The Slammers regiment aren’t the only users of the M9 combat car; besides the Lightning Division and their fully enclosed crew cars, Harris Commando use the M9A3 variant. This is identical to the Slammers’ version except for the armament; the Harris cars have a heavy laser and two gatlings in place of the tribarrels.

I chose to put together an armoured detachment of three combat cars and three M9A10 cargo cars; one of these tows an anti-tank gun while the others each carry two infantry teams for a total of 10 TUs (the gun and towing vehicle count as a single TU). The plan was to also paint an extra cargo car and infantry so I could also reconfigure them into an Infantry Detachment – I painted the extra infantry, but forgot the additional cargo car ! I’ll have to go back and do that another day.

This was a simple and quick build – the cargo cars are one piece castings, while the combat cars have the three metal guns, crew figures plus of course the etched brass splinter screen. I attached the guns and crew (space is limited in the car’s interior so I don’t always put all three crew figures in) but left the screens off until the very end. All of the cars received stowage, jerricans, fuel drums, stowage boxes etc. The etched brass sheet for the screen also has a stowage basket so I attached one or two of those. I stuck an infantry figure with binoculars in the back of one cargo car after removing his base.

The vehicles were all primed with Halfords’ grey automotive primer, then drybrushed a lighter grey. I airbrushed orange-brown camouflage stripes, carefully drybrushed those pale orange and, apart from picking out the stowage and the odd detail here and there, that was just about it. Once the combat car crew and guns were painted I superglued the splinter screens on. They then received a brushed-on coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. As with the Fosters vehicles we don’t yet have any official decals so I’d already printed up some onto decal paper. The decal paper is thicker than normal decal film and won’t take too well to heavily curved surfaces, but they seemed to be OK over the slight curve of the bow slope. After that, it was a final airbrushed coat of Tamiya Flat Clear.

The towed gun crew are fixed to one of our resin fireteam bases – I used a cutting tool in a Dremel to make holes for their bases then filled any gaps with PVA and sand. The gun isn’t glued down so it can be removed from the base when it’s being towed. The rest of the infantry were glued to M8 washers and the bases textured with PVA and sand. They were sprayed dark green over their primer coat, drybrushed and washed with Citadel Athonian Camoshade. Boots were painted brown, guns grey, faces in various flesh shades and webbing sand-brown, all washed in appropriate colours from the Citadel shades range. The bases were painted with Tamiya Flat Earth and drybrushed. I painted the fireteam bases in the same colours with a darker brown edge, then flocked with Citadel grass once everything had been varnished.

The two Harris packs are now available from the website if you feel like leading a detachment of blowers into battle.

HSD15-3201 – Harris Commando Armoured Detachment – £38.00
HSD15-3202 – Harris Commando Infantry Detachment – £31.50

Foster Home

I’ve been working on and off over the last few weeks on several new 15mm Mercenary units for Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible. Projects like these have to take lower priority to more important tasks such as filling orders (!) so I only get to work on them occasionally, but I’ve managed to find enough time to finish off the first of these units, a detachment of Foster’s Mercenaries.

If you aren’t familiar with the background to the Slammers stories (known as the Hammerverse), the idea is that the governments of struggling colonies on newly populated planets can’t always afford to keep their own standing army, so will hire in mercenary units to supplement their own troops when needed. Some of these mercenary forces, such as the titular Slammers Regiment, are self-contained all-arms units while others are specialists – infantry, artillery, armour, anti-aircraft etc. To quote The Crucible, “Foster’s unit operates as very effective air defence specialists” (p.60). They are equipped with the new Centurion Large Transport Vehicles, which are by no means front-line combat vehicles. They are variously configured in command, artillery, calliope and transport roles. Their only ground combat units are infantry which are deployed for self defence of the unit on operations.

I chose to make a 10 TU Artillery Detachment from the Foster’s detachment sheet with a pair each of C800 air defence calliopes and light artillery vehicles, plus two command and control vehicles and a large C404 transporter for three infantry TUs. By painting up some extra infantry and a further couple of calliope turrets I could then reconfigure the unit into either a Calliope or Infantry Support detachment if desired.

For infantry I dug into our selection of 15mm figures and found to my surprise some unreleased ones ! These are variants of our British infantry with berets instead of helmets. This become a doubly good idea as I’ve been able to photograph the finished figures and add them to the website. Colonel Foster’s infantry come in two types – a basic rifle squad and a tank hunter team. This is where I hit a minor snag, as we only have rifle and command sets with berets, so for now my detachment has rifle teams and no organic anti-tank capability. I’ll have to dig out the greenstuff and convert a set of heavy weapons figures with berets, and stick them in a mould !

The infantry were based on washers textured with PVA and sand. They were then base-coated in Khaki using a Plastic Soldier Company spray can, followed by a heavy dry-brush of Citadel Zamesi Desert and an Agrax Earthshade wash. After that I picked out webbing pouches (bone), guns (grey), faces (flesh) and boots (black) – usually using a single base colour followed by an appropriate wash from the Citadel Shades range, and maybe some highlighting, especially on hands and faces. This gives an effective looking finish without being too time-consuming. I went for mid-blue berets – I did consider red but didn’t like bright red ones, and dark red looks too much like paratroopers, so blue it was. I also painted up one of our Brigadier figures as the Colonel, with blue shoulder tabs and hat band to match his troops. Incidentally, I’ve also added the Brigadier figure to the website – previously he’s only been available as a giveaway.

So then onto the vehicles. The detachment has seven Centurions – one C202, five C800s and a C404. That’s a total of 52 pairs of wheels, not counting the spare wheel carried on the back of each vehicle. I’d already worked out from experience that assembling the vehicles and attaching the wheels before painting was a bad move, as it’s hard to paint the tyres without getting paint all over the chassis. So what I did was assemble the vehicles without any wheels, and assemble the wheels in their pairs.

Most of the vehicles were pretty straightforward to assemble; the four C800 combat vehicles (the artillery and calliopes) have separate turrets, and the rear turret ring was covered over with a blanking plate. I added tri-barrels to the artillery turrets and one had a crewman in the hatch. The C404 APC was given a hatch with a tri-barrel up front and again the rear hatch was blanked off. The odd two vehicles are the Command (C800) and Controller (C202) where I had to be a bit creative. I gave the command vehicle a radar in the front turret point and a couple of sets of aerials, while the controller got two radomes (from the CDSU infantry command pack). I also gave it a hatch with tribarrel, and stuck in an officer figure (The Brigadier) who had been cut off at the waist. All of the vehicles received a little bit of stowage, but not too much – I figured that huge vehicles like these would have plenty of internal space and wouldn’t have so much of a need to hang kit on the outside. So I added some jerricans (you wouldn’t keep flammable liquids inside if you could help it) plus a few odd boxes and left it at that.

Everything was then undercoated with Halfords grey primer. The wheels were sprayed black, while the vehicles were sprayed with Citadel Zandri Dust. The wheels have a tendency to roll around on their conical axles, so I made up a special jig to spray them on – this was simply an old wooden board with lots of 6mm holes drilled in it. The wheels were laid face down on a flat surface first to spray the back, then once that had dried I turned them over, placed the axles in the pre-drilled holes and sprayed the other side. With 26 holes I did them in two batches, spraying front and back with primer first, then black. I then made up 52 masks from 30x30mm pieces of laser-printer sticky label with a 1/2″ hole punched through the middle. The wheel hubs are 12mm across, so the mask covered the tyre while leaving the hub exposed, so I could spray the hubs with the same colour as the rest of the vehicles. Although the paint pulled up in a couple of places, the result was neater and quicker than hand painting them all. It would also have been an idea to drybrush the wheel hubs at this point before removing the mask (I didn’t, so had to spend a while tidying up the tyres after drybrushing the hubs). I drybrushed the vehicle hulls as well (Citadel Terminatus Stone), and then it was finally time to assemble the vehicles by supergluing in all the wheels before the final painting stages.

Windows were painted in silver then I used a Citadel blue glaze to colour them – this is one aspect I’m not 100% happy with on the finished vehicles, so it might need more experimentation. Then it was just a matter of going round and picking out details, stowage, rear lights, gun barrels, crew etc.

After all the painting was complete, everything got the usual (brush applied) coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. After (at least) 24 hours drying I added decals. We don’t have any official Foster’s decals yet, so I made up some unit markings by drawing them out in CorelDraw and printing them onto decal paper using a laser printer (that’s the unit badge above, the red and black roundel). This is something I hadn’t tried before, so I was looking forward to seeing how it came out. The results were pretty good – the decals had to be cut out very carefully otherwise the white decal paper shows around the edges. The paper is also thicker than normal decal film so is best used on flattish surfaces – but the end result looks OK (although not quite as good as the official decal sets). The numbers came from a leftover Lightning Division decal sheet, while the tiny vehicle names (under the left hand driver’s window on each vehicle) are from Dom’s Decals British WW2 tank name sheet.

So that’s another Slammers detachment chalked up – and something a bit unusual with the huge Centurion support vehicles but no conventional front-line combat elements. Hopefully we’ll see them on a table for their first taste of combat soon…

HSD15-3101 – Foster’s Calliope Detachment – £80.00
HSD15-3102 – Foster’s Artillery Detachment – £90.00
HSD15-3103 – Foster’s Infantry Support Detachment – £80.00
SF15-160b – British Infantry in Berets (x10) – £3.75
SF15-162b – British Command in Berets (x5) – £2.00
SF15-166 – The Brigadier – £0.50

Back to Normal

Two weeks after coming back from my holiday, I’ve finally managed to get back on track with orders – everything that arrived before midday on Monday has been completed, packed and posted, and for the first time in several weeks I was able to go home with no outstanding orders left over. So that’s a little ‘yay’ for me at last 🙂

As a consequence I’ve had a couple of days catching up with new releases, getting painted versions ready for the website and preparing master castings for production moulds. Apropos of nothing else, I thought you might like a quick glance of what’s sitting on the painting table today…

These are some rather nifty 15mm GEVs that were part of the former Ainsty range. We’ve spent a little while getting these into shape – the original models used a common resin-cast hull with separate
superstructures for the different versions. We’ve had the superstructures reprinted and made new moulds of each hull version as single piece castings – the only separate pieces now are the turrets and gun barrels. The production moulds are now ready, so I’m just painting up a set ready to photograph and they should be on the website in 2-3 weeks.

These Aeronef dirigibles are new British models – the original plan was that they should have been released at the same time as our Ark Royal Dig Tender (you may have seen the smaller one lurking in photos back in April), but we had a slight hitch and in the usual pre-Salute pandemonium there simply wasn’t time to fix it. Anyway, they’re ready now and will be this Friday’s new release.

And spreading the love to the vaccheads as well, how about some new spaceships ? These splendid craft were designed by James at Beadspoke Designs (pay them a visit – they make all sorts of useful laser-cut acrylic markers and templates) and we thought they were great. They are going to be introduced to our range as replacements for the old Yenpalo fleet models which are looking a little dated.

You might see other stuff in the background – I’m also in the midst of painting some fresh detachments for Hammer’s Slammers, using many of our recently released new vehicles, and there’s even a new pack or two of 15mm figures coming from the ArmiesArmy archive.