Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Flintloque... the Ferach invasion of Catalunia.
Orcs, vs Goblins, vs Elves (Ferach) vs Dark Elves and all other manner of shenanigans!

Alongside Deadloque, once I was hooked I do as I have always done and buy as many figures as I can lay my hands on as quickly as possible. One of the campaigns of Flintloque that I became interested in after perusing the figures for long periods of time was wargaqming a fantasy version of the Sharpe books... and in line with this I started collecting the actual Ferach (elf) and Orc armies that represented the British and French in the Spanish peninsular...

Here are some of my painting experiments for my Ferach:

These are actually a mixture of Ferach Voltigeurs and 
Ferach Velites Imperial Guard but I liked the figures so much I
just picked a selection and started painting...

This one took quite a bit of work. I removed the original standard pole, drilled out the
soldiers hands built a new banner pole, cannibalised an Eagle for the top, made a banner
out of a butter tub aluminium foil, copied the actual Imperial Velites banner from our 
own world, made a banner sash out of Green Stuff... and then just set to work. This is one of my
favourite modelling and painting accomplishments!

...and just as in the Peninsular War where Napoleon coerced all of the conquered nations into providing troops to his Spanish Ulcer in Flintloque there are many allied contingents that provide troops for the Emperor Mordreds war machine... the Todoroni are one of those races that I have got a liking for.... this is their command group!

Deadloque - Black Powder Fantasy in the Frozen Witchlands...

Occasionally you will come across these 'periods' in wargaming that seduce you with terrible figures and a setting that is non too deep... BUT you cant help yourself be drawn to it anyway.

For me this is represented by Flintloque and its spin offs Deadloque and Slaughterloo! All games of Napoleonic Fantasy inspired by the Bernard Cornwell Sharpe novels.

I picked up a Deadloque pack out of curiosity and sat down to paint the figures which on first glance all looked like comic book cariacatures with hands the size of their abdomens and such like..

However after painting some of these figures up I was totally hooked. These figures have a certain panache that you will not be able to find on any other figures by any other manufacturer... and its a style that lends itself to interesting painting. The oversculpted elements of each miniature really lends itself to shading and highlighting and when painted the whole effect is one of aesthetic contrasts giving, what I believe to be, a really attractive and more importantly an INTERESTING set of miniatures to game with.

So, whilst Flintloque originated with the Fantasy retelling of the adventures of Sharpe (or Sharkey as it is retold in Flintloque), this Black Powder fantasy world broadened its horizons to include a lot of the Emperor Napoleons other exploits... one of these being the doomed 1812 Russian adventure. In Flintloque this misadventure is represented by The Witchlands campaign where the Elven Emperor Mordred invades the Star Wraiths kingdom... and gets roundly whooped, abandoning his army to freeze in the snow... hounded by Vampires, Liches, Werewolves and of course masses of the Undead!

Here are my miniatures which I painted for the game

The Elvan Ferach Characters...

A Ferach Infantryman wrapped up against the cold 

The Ferach lost all of their horses in the retreat and
had to fight on foot!

The elements of the Witchlands reduces all Ferach
combined arms to the same status - stragglers!

A Standard Bearer for the Star Wraiths Liteupski Lancers!

Even the Ferach Lanciers Rouges (Red Lancers), bereft of
their steeds were reduced to fighting on foot!

The Orcs of Albion sent regiments of Bog Orcs to serve with the
Star Wraith who duly employed them as Pavlov Grenadiers

Lady Llamia Wintermore

Undead Liche Runioff

Mademoiselle Boniface

A small section of 1st Gravinski Assault Troops

Vampire Count Will Krayze

Vampire Count Ed Krayze

Sadly these miniatures were painted in two batches at different time frames and the quality of the basing is telling. The Ferach with the snow bases were all painted as a second batch and the quality of the bases  adds so much to the character of the figures whilst the figures that were very first painted were the Undead from the Box Set The Fangs of Lady Wintermore and as such have bases that... well, are just crap! These will all, in due course, be re-based to the higher quality snow bases that the Ferach are all based on!

A Brief Interlude - Warhammer Ancients

On occasion, we get a chance to move backwards in time and uncover some of the older stuff that we have painted and for one reason or another have stored away for future use and forgotten about!

Im back home in Wales for the Christmas break and whenever I am here I always try to find a little time to pore over some of my wargames stuff, just to see what I uncover.

This time around I unearthed a treasure trove of items that I had all but forgotten about. Relics of a time when I actually had the time to paint miniatures properly and did it to compete!

One of my armies is a rather large Macedonian army of Philip II of Macedon, and his son, the young Prince Alexander (soon to be called Great!)

Now I loved my Macedonian army, and they never lost BUT sadly the only stuff that I had the time to paint were the majority of my light and auxiliary troops.

After Philip II crushed the Greek City States at the Battle of Chaeronea they were all oblliged to commit troops to the Macedonian war machine.. These are the Greek City State Hoplites that I painted for my army:

A closer look at some of the details on the Hoplites

After Philip II's campaigns to secure his borders in the early part of his reign he had to quell the tribal groups under Bardylis (?) whom he smashed in short order. Once this was done Thracian tribal groups also pledged their support to the Macedonian war machine.

These are Thracian tribesmen, famous for their Rhompeia (A massive cleaver wielded in battle)

In all of Philip and Alexander's campaigns the one thing that was noticeable was the difference in balance of light support troops to regular regiments. Light troops were present in the Macedonian armies in veritable swarms...

So... that summarises the troops that I have painted for my Macedonian army... but how did I paint them.

All troops were undercoated black! I always like to undercoat black as it provides all parts of the model with a deepest darkest shadow for those nooks and crannies that are always all over the place with well sculpted models.

The second step after the undercoat is the base coat whereby I would choose the overall colour scheme for the model and then choose the darkest version of that colour I would be happy to see on the model. These colours are then painted in blocks, tunics, skin, hair, armour, weapons etc. 

Shields are a separate consideration and are dealt with individually as unique pieces of art, although at this point I would also decide on tunic and cloak patterns and paint the base colours of these designs onto the miniature as well.

Once the base coats have all been done I choose two highlights for each colour. The normal highlight with which the majority of the raised areas would be painted and then the peak highlight which would only be applied to the highest areas of each colour. Why do this? Because it provides the level of contrast that any miniature needs in order to stand out on a wargames table.

Once these super highlights are finished the models just need to be based and varnished.

The basing is simple here, and looks really effective for an army that waged war across the near east. I concocted a mix of sand and fine cat litter and mixed it together judiciously. The bases were then painted with PVA glue and dipped into this sand little mix and then tapped to shake off the excess and left to dry. Once dry, a light sand coloured drybrush would be applied to the bases directly with no further colouration to keep the colour light. 

At this point the whole model would be varnished with Citadel Spray Varnish. Tough, durable and not too shiny!

The final step for painting these miniatures was to choose a suitable flock to glue, in patches onto the base. I cant stand sawdust flock as I believe it looks unrealistic and cheap... unless you are modelling in the smallest of scales BUT Static flock is ideal.. and this had small clumps glued in place across all bases. The results are what you can now see...

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Japanese Combined Fleet

Japan started the Russo Japanese war as a definite underdog. Expected by all western nations and attached observers to be soundly whooped by the numerically superior Imperial Russian forces amply backed up by an economy that could replace the losses of an aggressive war, Japan by comparison had almost bankrupted itself in order to provide its navy with 6 Battleships and 6 Armoured Cruisers. Rear Admiral Togo Heihachiro knew that the way he fought the war had to be in such a way as to conserve his naval assets.

Japans European ally, Great Britain routinely called Japan in the press of the day Gallant Little Japan!

Japan had such a paucity of resources that they were still forced to use the armoured cruisers that had fought (and won) the Sino-Japanese naval war of 1895, albeit in the Fifth reserve naval division.

What the Japanese under the Emperor Meiji lacked in resources they more than made up for in professionalism, aggressive modus operandi and the state of repair that the naval vessels were kept in.

In the final analysis it was these elements that dealt such a crushing blow to the European superpower; Imperial Russia!

The Japanese First Squadron

First Division: OBB Mikasa, OBB Asahi, OBB Fuji,
OBB Yashima, OBB Shikishima, OBB Hatsuse

OBB Asahi

OBB Fuji

OBB Mikasa

OBB Shikishima

OBB Tatsuta

Third Division: OCR Chitose, OCR Takasago,
OCR Kasagi, OCR Yoshino

OCR Chitose

OCR Kasagi

OCR Takasago

OCR Yoshino

1st Destroyer Division:
ODD Shirakumo, ODD Asashiwo,
ODD Kasumi, Akatsuki

2nd Destroyer Division:
ODD Ikazuchi, ODD Oboro,
ODD Inadzuma, ODD Akebono

3rd Destroyer Division:
ODD Usugumo, ODD Shinonome
ODD Sazanami

14th Torpedo-Boat Division
TB Chiyoda, TB Hayabusa
TB Manadzuru,TB Kasasagi

1st Torpedo-Boat Division
TB67, TB68,TB69, TB70

The Japanese Second Squadron

Second Division
CR Idzumo, CR Adzuma, CR Asama
CR Yakumo,CR Tokiwa, CR Iwate, CS Chihaya

CR Adzuma

CR Asama

CS Chihaya

CR Idzumo

CR Yakumo

Fourth Division
OCR Naniwa, OCR Akashi,
OCR Takachiho,OCR Niitaka

OCR Akashi

OCR Naniwa

OCR Tsushima

4th Destroyer Division
ODD Hayatori, ODD Asagiri,
ODD Harusame, ODD Murasame

5th Destroyer Division
ODD Murakumo, ODD Shiranui,
ODD Yugiri, ODD Kagero

9th Torpedo-Boat Division
TB Aotaka, TB Hato,
TB Kari, TB Tsubame

20th Torpedo-Boat Division
TB62, TB63, TB64, TB65

The Japanese Third Squadron

Fifth Division
OBB Chin Yen, OCR Ikutsushima,
OCR Hashidate, OCR Matsushima

OBB Chin Yen

OCR Hashidate

OCR Matsushima

Sixth Division
OCR Idzumi (ex Chilean OCR Esmerelda)
OCR Suma, OCR Akitsushima, OCR CR Chiyoda

OCR Akitsushima


OCR Idzuma (Ex Chilean OCR Esmerelda)

Seventh Division
OBB Fuso, SC Kaimon, 
OCR Saiyen (ex Chinese OCR Chi Yuan)

OBB Fuso

SC Kaimon

OCR Saiyen (Ex Chinese OCR Chi Yuan)

Gunboat Division
OBB Heiyen (Ex Chinese OBB Ping Yuen)
OCR Tsukushi, PG Banjo, PG Chokai,
PG Atago, PG Maya, PG Uji

Another Gunboat Division Shot

PG Banjo

OBB Heiyen (Ex Chinese OBB Ping Yuen)

PG Maya

CS Miyako

OCR Tsukushi

PG Uji

10th Torpedo-Boat Division

11th Torpedo-Boat Division

16th Torpedo-Boat Division

The 1905 Additions to the Combined Fleet

All of the line of battle vessels that were added to the fleet

OCR Niitaka

CR Nisshin & CR Kasuga

OCR Otawa

CS Yaeyama