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Hobby wallet share for 2013.

A fun idea borrowed from The Emperors Blog. Who earned your hobby dollars in 2013?

Hobby Spend

The chart represents about $950 in spending for 2013.  Most of these purchases are actually second hand, coming either from Ebay or TMP.

Reaper takes the lead with the Bones II Kickstarter and a rather large paint purchase.

Gripping Beast, Foundry, FireForge, Perry, BTD, Musketeer and Old Glory all contributed components for my Crusader project.

Wire spears from Northstar are indispensable, but often hard to find in the US.  I pick up several hundred to insure myself a life time supply.

Shogun & GF9 for trays and bases.

Other Retail and Secret Weapon (love the Dark Sepia wash) were mostly paints & brushes from local art/craft stores.

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Looking for a blog post on horses…

A year or more ago I found a 6 or 7 part series on horses in miniature games.  The series went into a detailed examination of the historical stylings of horses, their look and genetics, and how they fit into miniature war gaming.   The the migration from Google Reader, I’ve lost my old tagged articles.  If anyone would happen to have a link to this series, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a comment with the location of the blog.

More specifically, I’m looking for descriptions of the horses used by the Crusaders and Arabs from 1100-1300.   Links on this topic would also be appreciated.

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Thinking of 15mm ….

Time to dip my toe into the 15mm waters.  I’ve always played in 28mm scale, but lately 15mm scale has started to grow on me.  Hail Caesar lends itself to large games & by many accounts,  15mm is a great way to accomplish that.  I worry about the lack of detail on 15mm scale figures, as I have no interest in little blobs of lead.  Fortunately, several companies have figure lines which seem to put this fear to rest.

For those of you experienced in building armies in 15mm – how should I go about basing the figures?  Hail Caesar will accommodate just about any basing, but I’d like to pick a style which would be common to other rule sets and look good on the table.  My first thought would be to use 40mm x 30mm bases with 2 ranks of 4 figures or 80mm x 30mm bases with 2 ranks of 8 figures.

Legio Heroica prices at $4.70 for 8 infantry.  Bunker Hill and Little Legions have some very nicely painted armies using these figures.

Lurkio prices at $3.2 for 4 infantry.  The figures look so well sculpted, they would make you think of 28mm.

Khurasan prices at $2.99 for 4 infantry and has the added perk of being based in the US.

Warmodeling provides a range of Ancients models priced at $4.66 for 8 infantry.

Old Glory/Blue Moon has introduced a 18mm range starting with Gauls priced at 50 cents per infantry figure.

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Looking Ahead: 2012

Generally, I think of my gaming year as stretching from Adepticon to Adepticon (April to April) – but I have a pretty good idea of this “gamer year” is going to end.  I have a bucket full of events planned for Adepticon, including a multi-player WAB Crusades game and a chance to roll out Hail Caesar in front of the Adepticon historical community.  For once, I’ve spent the past year getting ready for my events,  rather than being distracted by other peoples Adepticon projects.  My Saracen armies are nearly ready.  I’ll have roughly 4000 points of WAB units ready and a full 300 point Hail Caesar army complete.  I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of the huge army game.  Fill the table with figures and go!

Planning for the rest of 2012 is a little bit more difficult.  I would love to start a new Pyrrhic army from Aventine.  The Phalanx figures are looking nice and I can work in Etruscans from Gorgon as Italian allies. Pyrrhic is an exciting and dangerous army – the figures easily cross over into a variety of ancient periods and armies, which could lean to an uncontrolled expansion of my ancients collection.  Fire Forge Games is coming out with plastic Teutonic Knights and are promising a whole line of plastic figures for the 13th century.  This could mean I’d be building a whole new army to match my Saracens, but I hardly see that as a actual problem.

And I’m sure there is some other project waiting to get my attention in 2012.  Even if the Mayans do get us, at least I’ll most of a year to work on the lead pile.

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Historical Figure Affordability

BOLS recently published an editorial placing the average cost for a 1850 pt 40K army between $600 and $750 before taxes or discounts.  Ancients gaming can do one better than that!

For comparison, I will use a 2 division army from Hail Caesar which is roughly similar to a 2000 point WAB army.  This army will have 2 units of cavalry, 4 units of infantry and 2 units of skirmishers which totals 20 cavalry figures and roughly 125 infantry figures.

Most metal historical figures will need to be equipped with a wooden base (11 cents from Litko) and a wire spear (20 cents from Northstar).    Most plastic figures come with Renedra bases and do not require weapon replacements.   Army values include base and spear (for metal figures) but do not include shipping, currency conversion or unit/army discounts .

  • Gripping Beast metal:  $2.20 per infantry and $4.80 per cavalry.   Army = $415.95
  • Gripping Beast & Conquest plastic:  $.73 per infantry and $2.33 per cavalry.  Army = $137.85
  • Perry Miniatures:  $1.83 per infantry and $3.25 per cavalry.  Army = $338.70
  • Aventine:  $1.75 per infantry and $4.67 per cavalry.  Army = $357.10
  • Musketeer:  $2.34 per infantry and $4.67 per cavalry.  Army = $430.85

I could keep going, but the trend is apparent.  Metal figure armies run between $350 and $450 dollars.  Plastic figure armies price in at less than $150!

Prices sourced from:  Architects of War, Aventine, and Musketeer Miniatures

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Berber paint plan

Always, always, always record you paint plan.  It’s only been 2 months since I worked on the first Berber unit & I struggled to remember which paints to use where.  The Miniature Design Studio Berbers are wonderful to paint.  The clean lines make for fast work – this latest unit of 24 were completed in less than two weeks (about 10 hours).

Prime White with Rifle Butt (Howard Hues) undercoat.

  • Tunic:  Chalk White (Vallejo) and Dirt (V)
  • Hat:  Astronomican Grey (GW)
  • Robes:  Flat Red (V) undercoat with Beige Red(V) top coat; or French Mir. Blue (V)
  • Spears & boots:  Saddle Brown (V)
  • Shield:  Saddle Brown (V) base coat, Burnt Cad. Red (V) top coat
  • Bow:  Tan Yellow (V)
  • Bow case & Scabbard:  Tan Yellow w/Saddle Brown
  • Arrow fetching: Astronomican Grey
  • Spear tip, shield boss:  Chainmail (GW)
  • Flesh:  Snake Bite Leather (GW)

All except the white robes were washed with Dark Sepia from Secret Weapon.

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Arab Figure Compareson

A review of various manufactures of 28mm figures for Arab/Muslim infantry and cavalry from the 10th-12th centuries.  I’ve be busy collecting figures from different companies for my Arab armies.   Most recently I’ve added Berber models from Miniature Design Studio and Arab troops from Musketeer Miniatures.

The models from MDS are well sculpted, on the smaller end of 28mm, come with little flash & a small amount of venting and are rather inexpensive.  I recommend looking at the Warband deals – £25.00 for 50 is a pretty good deal.  The Berber line is well stocked with 5 poses each of spear and bow, but many of the lines from MDS have only a single figure of each type.  The only negative is the soft metal used to cast the figures – swords and bows bend easily and I immediately discarded the cast bamboo spears for wire spears.  MDS was very prompt to respond to emails and was able to ship & deliver from the UK in less than 2 weeks.

The models from Musketeer Miniatures are some of the best sculpted figures on the market (although the crown still be longs to the Perry brothers).  Well cast with little flash or venting, the figures are on the larger end of 28mm possibly being a bit bulky.  The line is rather expensive, but I’ve been lusting after the Senior Ghulam cavalry unit for some time now & had to indulge.  The figures where ordered through Architects of War here in the US.  The order took 6 weeks to complete, but AoW stayed in constant communication with me during the process.

My army will use figures from five companies: MDS, Perry, Gripping Beast, Magister Militum and Musketeer.  Posted are comparison photos of infantry from all 5 companies and cavalry from Perry, Magister and Musketeer.

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Quick Links: Pirates and Cowboys

A pair of hyper detailed gaming tables presented on the Dressing the Lines blog.  First a scratch built old West town then the biggest pirate battle you’ve every seen.


More photos and the back story of the town on Dressing the Lines.

UPDATE:  the builder of this western town has started a blog to provide additional details about his terrain building.  Colonel O’Truth’s Miniature Issues

A full Napoleonic town under navel assault. History and about a hundred photos at Wargames Society forums.

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Secret Weapon Wash Review

Secret Weapon Miniatures has a new line of washes. Well priced at $2.99 for a 20ml bottle, I picked up four bottles for a test run. Ideally, I would hope to find an inexpensive replacement for Delvan Mud by GW, but I would be satisfied with a product that could “dip” without the caustic side effects of wood stain.

The four washes purchased are:

  • Armour Wash – best candidate for the “dip”
  • Dark Sepia – possible flesh wash
  • Baby Poop – who can turn down a product with a name like that!
  • Stone – a soft color for terrain work

Secret Weapon Wash test

The test case is a unit of Romans. The figures start with a simple base coat & each had a liberal amount of wash applied by brush.

Results:

  • Devlan Mud – smooth as silk.  The gold standard for washes.
  • Armour Wash – heavy black lines created.  Pools left a hard edge after drying.  The shield shows off the large grain of the wash.
  • Dark Sepia – The heavy brown does a good job of a medium weight wash.
  • Sepia/Armour mix:  a 50/50 mix.  The result is still mostly black, I may try such a mix again at 1 part armour wash and 2 (or 3) parts Sepia.
  • Baby Poop:  the green color of the wash really shows on the shield.  Not what I’m looking for, but a good option for a green/yellow shades.
  • Stone:  a very mild color.  Needs to be based on whites.

Conclusions:

The washes tend to separate in the bottle & require a vigorous shaking before use.  None of these washes will challenge Devlan Mud as the champion of washes, but the Secret Weapon products will provide a better option to stains for volume army painting.

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Quick Links: Cast Buildings

Shrine of the Aquilla

From Epic Battles –  English Translation – a German language Epic Armageddon forum.

photos used without permission

The post is in German, but the Google translation does a good job of translating the construction of a massive Epic scale building.  The cast parts pictured above are 3-4 inches high and could easily be used with 28mm figures.  It appears the tiles were created using a 3D printer, then cast in resin.

Hirst Industrial Building

From Hirst Arts forums.

photo used without permission

An ingenious combination of the small brick, industrial pipe and the machinery builder molds.  The build is clean but  well detailed – I’m sure it would fit well with a variety of near modern to steam punk settings.

Tom’s Boring Mordheim Forum

Tom’s forum is anything but boring.  Go check out the Terrain building and Scenery Gallery for a number of well done Mordheim tables.

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