29 May 2020

Lockdown Podcast #10

With a frightening lurch into double figures (or a proper round dozen if paintbrushes and glue are your thing) the Lockdown team from Madaxeman.com are back yet again with the weekly soundtrack to a weekend of painting and avoiding household chores. 

As usual the podcast is available on Podbean, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube as well as other platforms where you find your pods.

Hot topics for tepid discussion this week include whether the best yellow paint is in fact Plague Brown, the Tau of Fire Hydrant Numerology, whether there was an aftermarket for refitting Egyptian chariots with go faster stripes and pumping stereos, how posh would a Samurai leader need to be in order to qualify for a self flushing toilet, whether Sisyphus would have been daft enough to start painting 28 bases of horses and how many arms per man do you need to make Fireforge's box of Mongol infantry.

The regular feature on ADLG List Building this week covers the Nikephorian Byzantines (in all its various modes of spelling), Andy's Quiz of course returns to help us all disco-down into the weekend, we talk in more depth about playing actual games on Tabletop Simulator, and a new feature is born in the shape (and theme tune) of Teaching Timmy About Napoleon, an idiot's guide to the Napoleonic Wars

25 May 2020

Giving Bataille Empire a Go in The Garden

Having spent ages in Lockdown painting my 10mm Napoleonic French army, I have been keen to give the Bataille Empire rules a bit of a go. 

The rules have a beginners scenario, with two smallish equal forces attacking each other across simple terrain which is intended to give players a chance to learn the basics of movement and combat before moving onto bigger games and adding the all-important "orders" layer to the game - so this was what I attempted to do one sunny weekend afternoon last week.


The game was set up on a standard ADLG 80-120 mat, and I used 30mm MU move distances using some sticks I'd made from 30mm electrical spacers.


All in all I'm pleased to report that the mechanics flowed pretty clearly and allowed me to push lead around without too much head-scratching, to roll some dice and generate some outcomes.


This was my very first time shoving Napoleonic lead around at all, so I mostly learnt that there is more to this lark than Ancients with more complicated uniforms - it's certainly a very different feel, with different mechanics built on the same fundamental D6-based engine as ADLG. All in all an encouraging start and proof that my 10mm painting frenzy has not been wasted. 




22 May 2020

Lockdown Podcast #9



As the landmark of a double-figure number of Lockdown Podcast Episodes rapidly approaches, and with almost 1,400 Podcast downloads in the last month under our belts the 9th Lockdown Podcast is now out on Podbean, iTunes, Spotify and (soon) the Madaxeman Youtube Channel

This week the team of intrepid wannabe gamers and by-now-obsessive painters luxuriate yet again in the riches of a combined painting queue that stretches all the way from the pyramids of Ancient Egypt to the tower stacks of Mega City One.

In the fleeting moments of the podcast that take place before we reach Andy's Quiz Music a wide variety of debates take place - the best board games for feuding siblings, using the type of garden feature which would raise eyebrows in a parliamentary expenses committee for tabletop terrain, genetic similarities between Vikings and Saxons, whether treatments for 10mm addiction could be made available on the NHS, how to sneak lead through domestic customs inspections, and in a newly trimmed version of the ADLG list discussion we all take a vote on who we think would win in a Jurchen Ch'in-Jurchen Ch'in face-off (hint - the Song Chinese always come off worst...).

There's also a whole load of discussion about how Tabletop Simulator (available on Steam) might actually be the solution we all didn't realise we were looking for to get some (virtual) lead on a (virtual) table in the near future - all of which gets crammed in before Andy's Quiz. 


(I promise I'll have some actual picture-led painting and gaming stuff out this weekend as well!) 

16 May 2020

Blue Moon Swiss Pikemen

At Cold Wars I picked up a pack of Blue Moon 18mm Swiss Pikemen (15WS-105: Swiss Pikeman Advancing), partly because I was one pike block short* for my 15mm ADLG Swiss army, partly because I really like the small handful of Blue Moon figures I already own (namely their Three Musketeers set) and also as I just wanted to spend some money with traders in what was a very quiet, "even of lockdown" trader hall.

Those figures and now finally finished, and out of the pack of 30 figures I managed to conjure up two 12-man pike blocks (on 40x40 ADLG bases) as well as half a dozen halberdiers.  

The figures all came without pikes or weapons, so I also took the opportunity to try something I'd stumbled across online where a blogger gave instructions how to make plastic spears with actual tips - a much more sophisticated approach than the 'brass rod with the end painted silver" approach I'd been using beforehand. I've sadly failed to remember where I saw this idea, but I've dug out another site with exactly the same technique.


The figures were really clean and well cast out of the packet, and I duly followed instructions and created plastic pikes and halberds for them all with 0.8mm plastic rod, squeezed at the end and cut to shape. The pikes do have proper points, whilst the halberds are relatively unsophisticated long blades on the end of a pole. 

One downside I discovered however was that with the pikes being soft-ish plastic it was impossible to force the pikes through the partly-open lower hands of the men (which you can do with brass rod). As drilling out a load of hands which are cast close to the mens bodies wasn't something I really wanted to do, these pikemen ended up all holding their pikes at the butt-end in their left hands.  


I went with a black undercoat, drybrushed white using a tip from Dave on the Madaxeman Podcast a couple of weeks ago. I had throught this technique was about getting extra depth for the colours when using semi-transparent paints, but he pointed out that a white drybrush also really helps pick out the contours of the figure and guides your painting of them, which an all-black undercoat can make quite difficult to follow. 


Here they are almost done. As usual I used a very narrow colour palette, with white and red being the first two colours onto the figures. 

I've been struggling with getting good consistency and coverage from my go-to red, Army Painter Pure Red, and so recently changed to Vallejo Scarlet and Vallejo Dark Vermillion, both of which seem much better so far. The blue is a Vallejo Game Colour Electric Blue, and the yellow is Army Painter, but always on a full white undercoat. 
 

Unlike most of my other medieval figures the Swiss I have are generally not ink-washed, as their bright colours seems to work better if they are not muted - Swiss are stand-out troops anyway so why not make them "ping" a bit more? Paul Frith's 28mm Perry Swiss army also provided some inspiration for this approach when I played it last year at a competition - although it's not nearly as aggressively black-lined as these ones are.
 

I have however blacklined them - not a technique I usually do as it's a PITA, and not really compatible with ink-washing but here it seemed necessary to highlight the different blocks of colour. 
 

To give them a little more detail I added some white-on-red crosses onto some of their backs, sleeves and trousers. These I didn't blackline - there is a limit to my steadiness of hand!


The Blue Moon figures are very clean designs, but despite being marketed as 15mm by Old Glory UK I'm much more inclined to regard them as being the "15mm/18mm" scale as they are described by Blue Moon in the USA

Stood next to some Mirliton Swiss pikemen here the difference in stature and height is obvious, with the Blue Moon men being a full head taller than the Mirliton ones - although ensuring that the pikes are the same height on both blocks of men does go a long way to obscuring the difference in stature on the tabletop. 

Facing off against the Mirliton men I think my money is on the Blue Moon soldiers to win this particular push-of-pike! 


Here the QRF pikemen join the line on the left, with Blue Moon in the middle and Mirliton on the right of the photo. QRF are also "true 15mm" and are tiny next to the Blue Moon guys - the following photo where the Blue Moon figures are unpainted shows how the addition of equal-height pikes does tone down the difference in stature though. 


 
Overall I do really, really like these figures, but they are big, and stylistically very different to other ranges so it would be pretty much impossible to mix them in the same unit with any other manufacturer. Side by side in different units is just about OK at tabletop ranges though. 

This one packet of unarmoured pikemen also doesn't quite have enough variety of poses for my taste  (there are too many flat beret hats, which when painted in a range of colours can make the unit look a little like a packet of M&M's when viewed from above!) so I'd buy a mix of armoured and unarmoured men next time and mix them together were I to do this experiment again.

The jury is very much out however on whether the plastic pike-making experiment is one I'll continue with, as I've already snapped a couple of pikes with just normal handling. They do glue back on very easily (the plastic doesn't melt with Superglue thankfully) but I suspect the problem may be that the 0.8mm plastic rod I used (from Plastruct) is either just too thin, or too brittle to really work as it should. Creating the points is easy, and very effective so I may try that part of the technique again with 1mm rod, or even go thicker for spears for some 28mm figures. 

Casting around online the more permanent solution seems to be to buy a cheap sweeping brush head, and cut off the bristles - but that's currently harder to do with online shopping as Amazon doesn't tend to say how thick the individual bristles are on the brushes they are selling!


And finally, here they are with their Gnome of Zurich leader hurling his stinky cheese at the enemy! 


* This is of course a lie. I don't "need" any more pike blocks, I have got 9 already, and a load of other medieval ones who could be pressed into Swiss service if needed. But as long as I don't tell myself I'm sure I won't realise.

15 May 2020

A Flurry of Podcasts

Over the last couple of weeks I've been busy chatting online with some of my CLWC cubmates, and the result is a positive flurry of podcasts which are all now available on Podbean, on iTunes and now also on Spotify to be background chatter to yoru weekend of painting. 

First up is a one-off special ADLG 'cast looking at some of the ways to design a New Kingdom Egyptian army list to get the best out of this historically popular, but hard to run army. The 'pod had input from Richard Case, who's previous podcast on the Sassanid Persian army proved very popular.  This podcast is also available to watch and listen to on YouTube with some pictures of NKE figures and match report photos as well.


There are also now two special bonus episodes of the Madaxeman Podcast online, each addressing a very specific topics. The first bonus episode on the vexed subject of how to choose a paintbrush (and how much to spend on it) has been out for a week or so already and has been downloaded almost 100 times so far. A follow-up episode in which the subject of different types of Glue is discussed was also released earlier this week.

Finally, just in time for your weekend of painting the 8th "Lockdown Special" has been released today covering a broad range of important yet strangely rarely discussed topics such as what colour should rigging be on a 1/240th scale 19th Century Ironclad, do Gnomes still have a place in modern warfare, can a camel get a tan if it stands out in the desert too long, is the Austrian army a painters dream or simply a signifier of laziness, if a Grenzer joined the cast of Eastenders would he become a Geezer, is it still legal to resist buying 10mm Napoleonics and does getting your children to paint Perry plastics fall under the remit of the Modern Day Slavery act?

There is also a phenomenally long discussion on how to assemble and use Hannibals Carthaginian army under ADLG (and instructions on how to skip over it if you're not interested in ADLG list building), and a new feature on what games we have actually played in the last week. Oh, and Andy's Quiz returns - cue the music!  

These and all previous episodes are now available on Podbean, on iTunes and now also on Spotify

9 May 2020

10mm French Napoleonics - a Lockdown Painting Challenge

Can you believe that I've never owned any Napoleonic figures, played any Napoleonic games or even read any books about the Napoleonic Wars? I mean, I've not even watched a single episode of Sharpe! 

But, finally the inevitable has caught up with me, and with the help of a nudge from the arrival of a set of rules which more than one person at my club might potentially agree to play (in the form of Bataille Empire) I have finally taken the plunge and dipped my toe into Napoleon's wars.

Of course, being respectful of the principles of Napoleonic gaming in which every player must have their own individual approach to rules, scale, basing, terminology history, uniform and painting I had to find a means of doing something unique and (in some way at least partly) incompatible with my clubmates - so with everyone else already having 15-18mm troops based for Blucher, FoGN and various other sets I went my own way and built an army in 10mm with a large investment in Pendraken lead in the form of a French starter army picked up at Warfare 2019. 

I then topped this up with a few more orders from the nice chaps at Pendraken and added in a couple of extra purchases from Old Glory and The Wargaming Company (both made at Cold Wars 2020 just before Lockdown struck) to leave me with the daunting painting challenge of maybe 500+ foot and mounted figures to do under Lockdown conditions, hopefully to leave me with a viable Bataille Empire army that is still utterly different to the stuff owned by the people I'll be (eventually) playing.

I took a load of photos through the painting process, and learnt quite a lot about painting 10mm massed, uniformed figures as well - all of which is is now online on Madaxeman.com on a page with about 70 photos of the WiP and finished army, as well as my thoughts and learnings from the near-industrial process of getting them all done.










  

7 May 2020

Special Bonus Podcast - Painbrush Special !


In this special one-off bonus episode released in time for VE Day weekend the regular 6-person crew take a deep and typically discursive dive into the complex world of paintbrush procurement and maintainance, and surprisingly discover that at least some of them* even have valid, educated and informed opinions that are actually worth sharing. 

More importantly they all attempt to come to some sort of conclusion to the two key questions of "how much should I spend on a brush, and how many should I own?"




Brush brands discussed and reviewed in the Podcast include : 
  • Kolinksy Raphael 
  • Windsor & Newton (Series 7)
  • Army Painter 
  • Cass Art 
  • Royal & Langnickel
  • The Masters (Brush Soap)
  • Broken Toad (Brush Soap)
  • Da Vinci Cosmotop 
  • Great Art
 (* That'll be Tamsin then.)

6 May 2020

Lockdown Podcast VII now out

The 7th Lockdown Podcast (and 3oth all-time Madaxeman Podcast) has now been published on Podbean and iTunes, and is already picking up a steady stream of listeners and regular subscribers on both platforms. It's ideal bank holiday listening for your weekend painting or legally permitted outdoor exercise session. 


This week the team discuss their latest painting haul, chat at some length about airbrushing, take an in-depth look at the Lydian army in ADLG and endure another week of Andy's Quiz Music wrapped around the far more acceptable Andy's Quiz.

Watch out later this week for a special one-off edition covering Paintbrushes !

 

  

4 May 2020

Yet more 1/300th Desert stuff on eBay

In what should be the final couple of batches of an epic downsizing annd refurbishing project, I have two lots of micro-armour on eBay right now, both of which end on Wednesday evening UK time.

One lot is a large Arab battegroup of T55's and T72's with BMP's, trucks, AA, SCUD missile launchers and a couple of Hinds as well.




I also have 28 M60A1's, plus a couple of M113's to tag along behind



 You can see these and all of the other stuff that I'm currently selling on my eBay page 

3 May 2020

The Eclectic Painting Weekend

This weekend has seen a bit of a blitz on the to-do pile, with a load of oddments being finished off, all of which have been falling behind far more exciting projects for quite some time.

The end result is probably one of the most random selection of figures and models ever to have been sprayed with the same tin of Testors Dullcote... and here they are, in absolutely no particular order!


This is the full slab, post matt varnishing.   Yes, those are 28mm garden gnomes...


Possibly the least interesting and impressive thing on the board was this pair of Numidian LH, which have been hanging around for almost a year after not quite being finished at the same time as my Numidian ADLG army. I believe these are Baueda one-piece castings.


Another bit of long-forgotten tidying up, casulaty markers for late C17 FoGR armies. The falling guys are decent, but I went a bit wild on the colours for the prone men!


I had a couple of spare bases for my huge 1/300th refurbishment project lying around, so after a bit of help from Twitter I worked out that these odd tanks were French AA variants of an AMX 13. I don't have too many French tanks but now they do have some AA cover (in a few specific years)


I'd also had this robot lying around, as a keyring toy from Japan. He is now based up and ready to fight alongside my 1/300th SF forces


Another 1/300th refurb is this Iranian F5E fighter. 


Super-clean paint job, as the Iranians F5's don't get to see much action so probably don't get dirty!


These 3 huns are I think Old Glory - I have a handful of bases set up as LH that go with my Roman 28mm army so these may have been the three spares to make up a Medium Cavalry base


In 15mm, a fairly generic chariot with Royal archer from Essex. This brings the total of these types of chariot up to 4 in my collection, which means they can be an allied contingent for any of my proper biblical armies, or the not-quite-Egyptian chariots in a Sea Peoples army. I did the "light blue in dark blue stripe" effect on these that I first did on the Egyptian Spearmen as well


 I might even try and get away with them as Assyrian Light Chariots if I try the non-Sargonid verison of that army sometime.

These are 12 plastic Perry medieval infantry kitbashed together with odd arms and spears from the GB Roman set to give me some proper Medieval Spearmen or (perhaps) Javelinmen, as my other Medieval  28mm Medium Infantry are pretty clearly carrying polearms.


I suspect this may be a Footsore or Crusader from North Star Norman general - he's been done for ages, just awaiting basing, so finally he is now complete.
 

These were the mad bit - some military Gnomes from Brigade Games in the US that I picked up at Cold Wars.


They are the Swiss Gnome of Zurich (throwing Swiss CHeese), a Kaiser Gnome (hurling beer steins as hand grenades) and a Russian Czar Gnome. I was very pleased with the painted beer stein effect I achieved with the German guy - its very impressionistic, but it does sort of work I think.

Totally bonkers, but too hard to resist, these comedy chaps will be leading some of my ADLG armies in the near future!


A couple of mounted Greek officers from the Captains Games range picked up in January to accomany the Museum Z Hoplites if they ever need a separate commander


The "other" light gun that came in the pack of 2 guns and crew from Front Rank along with the heavy gun I used at Roll Call last year - showing how long this has hung on in the pile!


The crew have a shield bearer who I set up protecting the powder box from sparks.


4 dark age LH which I think may be Footsore, not quite finished but they were close enough to varnish at the same time as the rest.


 They are a bit too armoured to be LH to my reckoning, but as there are 4 of them and their horses are way too small to mix with the GB plastics in my Gothic army they are now higher quality LH javelinmen!

And here's the lot again - eclectic to say the least!

1 May 2020

Lockdown Podcast VI

This week the regular crew mark a double-triple podcast milestone (or, more prosaically, this is the 6th Lockdown Podcast) in their ongoing rambling discussion.

Subjects covered this week in the paint-chat include Chinese Chariotry Umbrellas, whether a reasonably close encounter with a tin of white spray paint counts as "fully painted" when it comes to Austrian Napoleonic infantry, Gnomepoleon's leadership qualities, would Steve McQueen have cleared that fence on a Harley rather than a Triumph, how long the 7 Years War ran for, if double-depth basing has led to the end of monopose units, digital photography techniques for toy soldiers, opportunities for Buddhist monks on tortoises in contemporary tabletop warfare and the vexed question of how many simultaneous painting projects is too many?



There is also a special feature on the Later T'ang Army (ADLG list 169) in which all 6 contributors throw a list on the table for critique and discussion, and the return yet again of Andy's Quiz.

As usual the Podcast is available from Podbean, or by searching for the Madaxeman.com Podcast on iTunes.

(The T'ang lists we discuss are all published on the ADLG Wiki on the Madaxeman.com website).

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