Saturday, December 18, 2010

Woah-manians!

So let's chat about Romanians in Flames Of War.

Many refer to Romania as a minor Axis power during WWII, but what they don't realize is just how huge of a contribution it made to the war effort. Their army size was the largest in the Axis powers aside from Germany. In fact over 1.2 million Romanians were under arms and fighting the Soviet Union by 1944, more than all other Axis powers, save Germany, combined.

Then in August 1944, the Soviets showed up and beat the living crap out of Romania and they were forced to surrender. The Soviets coerced them into joining the Allied side and soon Romania was at war with their former allies. They fought alongside the Soviets until the end of the war.

Bewildering Musings of an Addled Mind

I sat down to write something as I figured it was about time for an update or something. I couldn't come up with anything as all I've been painting is Romanians... so I tried to think of something else to write about and then realised that I didn't want to be that kind of blogger that uses their blog to ramble on about something simply to have another post to put up. But then I realised that that is exactly what is going on here and there really is no other way to disguise it. So before it gets too carried away, I thought I should just stop writing and move on to work on something worth writing about maybe tomorrow. But this post has in fact already gotten carried away and its just turning into a massive ball of unorganised, if slightly amusing, mind sludge. So rather than trying to make it something its not, by which I mean its of any redeeming value intellectually, I figure I'll just go down with the ship and see where this takes me.

It could be anywhere really, no one can be certain where free-form dribble will take you. Usually is a strange place, and sometimes not one worth remembering, which is exactly the situation I am finding myself in currently. When one looks back across the last few lines, there is positively no nuggets of wisdom worth remembering, and I'm confident that we should all just stop while we're ahead before any more brain cells make the ultimate sacrifice and throw themselves off a cliff like a pack of retarded lemmings.

Interestingly enough, I was just thinking about lemmings yesterday. Crazy.

Regards,
Mike

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Leave It!

It's of great coincidence that as I sat down to write this How-to, "Leave It" by the progressive rock band Yes, came up on my random playlist. Anyway, I'm sure that was pretty much one of the most retarded openings in Blog history, but it had to be done, all puns aside.

To the topic!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hellcats

Hey all,

Sorry for the delay. My computer has crashed completely and there seems to be no fix for it in the immediate future. So I stole Caroline's laptop to bring you this update for my Brest or Bust painting project. Enjoy!


Brest or Bust Update: Hellcats!



The M18 Hellcat is one of the coolest US vehicles during WWII, right behind the Sherman Calliope. It was calssified as a tank-destroyer and was purpose built for its role, unlike the other TDs in the US arsenal. It was fast (60mph) and had a powerful 76mm gun. The trade off was that it have thin armor and was vulnerable to .22 calibre spit-wads. Still, its speed kept its crew safe.

So, I couldn't resist and started with my Hellcat platoon. I've gone with a muddy theme for this army as something new and different as well as to try out some new weathering techniques. Not sure its quite where I want it, but its damn close.





The mud weathering was done with three levels of Vallejo brown paint. The first was Chocolate Brown (which reminds me,... brb) ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ there, had to grab some M&Ms...

Anyway, where was I? Right, Chocolate Brown + fine sand + static grass, followed by a US Field Drab highlight, followed by a USA Tan Earth highlight. I'm happy enough with the colors, but I think I'll tone the sand down for the other vehicles, possibly removing some of the big clumps from the tracks of these Hellcats.

Right, so thats where Im at with the Brest or Bust project. I'll report back in a little later with the next platoon.... not even sure what that will be myself actually!

I'll try to get better and more photos once I get my computer back online (if I can that is!)

Regards,
-M

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brest or Bust!


For my next major Flames Of War project, I'm going to make a US Rifle Company based on on of my favorite divisions: the 2nd 'Indianhead' Infantry Division. The Indianheads fought in Normandy, following the 1st and 29th ashore at Omaha Beach. After securing the beachhead they moved to St. Lo and participated in the fight there which would eventually propel US forces deep into France.

After St. Lo, the Indianheads raced west into Brittany and joined with the 29th and 8th Infantry Divisions in the siege of the important port city of Brest. The 2nd formed the left flank of the line, sending out several task forces to secure the Daoulas Peninsula which overlooked the city, a perfect place for artillery to set up.

The battle lasted 90 days with the Indianheads fighting through heavily defended streets and tough German fortifications.

The reason I chose the 2nd was because of its use as an experimental division. Whenever the US army needed to experiment with a tactic or method, they'd use the 2nd. As a result the division had quite a strange collection of skills in its curriculum vitae, from winter training to urban warfare tactics and equipment. Before the war they even played around with airborne tactics, helping the army to understand the fundamentals of air-deployable forces.

In the end, the Indianheads are a fascinating division and one I'm really excited to represent on the tabletop. So, with out further delay, lets talk lists!

I think that this is the force I'd like to paint up:

HQ (2x Carbine teams)
3x Rifle Platoons
1x Weapons Platoon (4x M1919 LMG, 2x 60mm mortars)
1x Anti-tank Platoon (3x 57mm ANti-tank guns and lots of Bazookas)
1x I&R Platoon (4x Rifle teams and recon Jeeps)
1x Tank Platoon (5x Sherman tanks)
1x Tank Destroyer Platoon (4x M18 Hellcats)
1x Field Battery (105mm)
1x Chemical Mortar Battery
1x 155mm SP Gun Battery (4x M12 155mm SP)
Air Support (3x P-47 aircraft)

Surprisingly, for all the Americans I have painted up I don't actually have a lot painted up already, save for the tanks and tank destroyers. Looks like I'll have a bit of work to do! I'll keep you posted as I churn through the list!

Regards,
-M

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making Palm Trees


 



Hey all! I've been working on a project and this diorama was the test bed for a lot of techniques. So here's my brain dump take it as you may, and please let me know if there's any improvements as I'm desperately seeking to learn new ideas.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

With the Marines



Diorama!

I've really been into dioramas lately as it gives me the chance to play with basing techniques, sculpting and painting all in one go. So here's one of my latest creations, The Patrol (1st Mar Div, New Britain, 1943).

I'll have a modelling article about this diorama to post up ready soon.

Cheers,
-M

















Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dino-mite!

Right, so some of you know where this is heading. Others may assume I've gone off the rails, while still others might think Im an eight year-old boy. For those of you in the last category, I'm guessing you're some sort of desperate perv.



Hobby #421: Palaeontology

So, like any boy growing up in middle America in the 1980s, I wanted to be a palaeontologist. Despite what the cooler kids in my class said, fossils were bitch’n and I wanted to get in on some of that action. My grandmother embraced my ambition and bought me the world’s best book on dinosaurs and graciously allowed me to dig haphazard holes willy-nilly on her property, hunting for that dinosaur I knew was somewhere. I never found him, but I know he’s still there and maybe someday I’ll go back to try again.


Years later when I started my university training, I took geology, a prereq for Paleonotogy courses. Suffice it to say it required knowing a lot of sciency stuff and I discovered other things, like World War I and video games.

At any rate, to get back to the point, if you haven’t already got the latest copy of Wargames Illustrated, Issue 277, Nov 2010, you should if only for the small 4-page article at the end called Eat Hitler. It’s a small mini-game in which you play a carnivore and your mission is to eat Hitler, who arrives with some Nazi cronies in the age of dinosaurs accidentally in a faulty time machine.
The article awakened my dino fixation and I had a nostalgic fit. This afternoon I decided to indulge my inner palaeontologist. I hit the local cheap-shit-shop and bought a pile of plastic dinos. I couldn’t help myself and had to play with them a bit outside, since it is such a nice sunny Sunday afternoon. Now all I need is a model of Hitler, some of his cronies, and some volunteers to play Eat Hitler with me. Who’s in?

Cheers,
-M

PS, Look forward to an awesome battle report soon!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Introduction

Hey all,

So I thought that after having this account for the better part of two years, I thought I'd actually crack out my first blog entry. Crazy sauce!

If you're reading this, chances are you already know who I am, and why exactly you're spending time reading this swill is beyond me. But, for those 'randoms' I thought that for this first post I'd introduce myself.

I'm Mike. Im into about 700 hobbies, and I'm worried that blogging might become the 701st.... Anyway. I'm an American living in New Zealand and pretty much have fun at work playing with toy soldiers (see www.FlamesOfWar.com).

Hobbies
My hobbies define me, so I'll just go through a few of the big ones:

1. Model Airplanes - Been doing this literally since I was an infant. Apparently "wing", "rudder", "fuselage" and "stab" were among my first words, much to the dismay of my mother. Since then my vocabulary hasn't improved, but my obsession with airplanes has. So I enjoy building the crap out model airplanes. I'll see what I can do to get some pics up of past projects soon.

2. Miniatures - Not the dollhouse variety, but just as juvenile: toy soldiers. No doubt you'll see a lot of stuff here in the coming posts about miniatures, so I'll leave it at that.

3. Computer Games - I'll play just about any game that doesn't include dragons, fairy elf princesses, dwarves, and the color pink. This leads me to my 4th favorite hobby:

4. Hating on Dragons - In my line of work, this is nearly a full time job. Why hate on dragons? That is long and complex question, but simply put its because everyone else loves them. You'll get to learn more about hating on dragons in future posts.

5. Reading - I like to curl up by the fire with a nice hot chocolate, the dog at my feet and crack open a rich, engrossing book about technical data, be it about planes, WWII, diseases, or some other non-fiction book. I like fiction, but really in this short life I have, I reckon I just don't have the time. There's just too much to learn between now and then.

6. History - I'm trained as a historian, and thus love history, specifically the history of medicine. I'm sure to have some book reviews on this topic at some point. I'm currently reading a great book about smallpox and syphilis. Riveting stuff.

7-700 - Lots more. Stay tuned.
So that’s me. I'll see if I can remember to keep this updated as often as possible. I'll try for a weekly update...

Until then, peace out.
-M