Gisby's Gaming Blog

September 24, 2015

Sally 4th Russian Farmhouse – A Review

Filed under: COLONIAL WARS, Pulp Gaming, Review, Sally 4th, terrain, Victorian Adventure Gaming, WW1 — Tags: — gisby @ 20:38

This is Sally 4th‘s kit 28WW2_001 Russian Farmhouse. I have no idea how typical this building is of Russian farmhouses. (farmhice?) I picked this kit up because it looked (to me) like it wouldn’t be out-of-place as a white farmer’s home in Africa. (NB: I am not doubting it’s accuracy…. I have seen a photo of the original building, and this is what it looks like. It’s a dam’ good representation.)

Sally 4th Russian Farmhouse

It’s laser-cut from 2mm and 3mm MDF, with a patch of ‘fun fur’ for the thatching. It also comes with extensive colour-printed instructions. The fit is good, and it is well-engineered.

The building itself is a rectangle with two interior rooms. Three walls have windows, and one wall is blank. It is surrounded by a wooden walkway and an overhanging awning/roof. There is a nice-looking chimney supplied, but apparently I forgot to add it.

russianfarm6

I primed and painted all the pieces before assembly, which makes for much easier painting. Priming isn’t essential, but without it, the MDF tends to soak up paint like crazy. However the tolerances on this kit are extremely tight, so too much paint will interfere with the fit of the pieces. Be aware of how it fits together before you start painting.

The roof has four sloped pieces that are glued together, and to a good, solid frame that helps align them. The instructions suggest that there can be difficulty getting them aligned because of all the angles, but it wasn’t really difficult.

The instructions tell you to assemble the four outer walls, let them dry, then insert the inner walls and room dividers. (The walls are double-thicknesses as are the interior walls. This makes for a more substantial kit, and allows detail on both sides of the walls..)

russianfarm4

Because the tolerances are so close, I’d suggest that you assemble the interior walls then glue the outer walls around them. (And do not paint the wall surfaces that are glued together.) When dry, I filled what seams there were on the outer walls, and used a bit of the filler to add some texture to the walls themselves.

Each window has a lintel, a sill, two sides, and a shutter (open or closed) and a frame that sits inside them. Again, be careful of painting the surfaces that glue together because they may not fit easily if you are careless. Don’t get me wrong, the resulting windows look great, and all the pieces make them easy to paint. They are engineered so that they align themselves for the most part, so in spite of the number of pieces they aren’t really difficult to assemble.

The doors can also be assembled open or closed (or left unglued.) They have a handle assembly that looks like a block with two curved antennae. The instructions showed where they go, but not how. Eventually I realized that they fit into the door with the antennae pointing down, making a very convincing set of iron door handles.

The floor and walkway are a single piece, and slot into place easily. The awning and supports also fit easily and cleanly. The roof just sits on top for easy removal.

I had pictures of each end, but they are identical, so why bother?

I had never tried the ‘fun fur’ thatching before, and it was complicated by the multiple angles of the roof, I aligned and glued one  long side. When that was dry, I did the other long side. When that was dry, I folded the fabric at each end flat and slit it at the approximate centre of the wall. This left a flap on each end that overlapped the other side. I trimmed this flap where it overlapped the other, and glued them down.

Then the fabric was dry, I brushed the fur with a toothbrush, blending over the joins. I used slightly dilute white glue and brushed it all downwards.

I painted the whole house much like they did in their instructions. (It looked good, why not?)

russianfarm1

When dry, I lightly primed the thatch, then brushed various tans and greys onto it. The fur supplied was black, and I had some doubts, but it actually worked well.

While more complex than most laser-cut kits, this was easy to assemble, and a pleasure to build. The results make the extra complexity worth it. Available from Sally 4th.

July 13, 2015

Wargames Factory Romans

Filed under: Ancients, Review — Tags: , , , , — gisby @ 00:01

The Wargames Factory Romans were designed for a set of rules that uses 16-man units. The box comes with 48 figures, giving you 2 distinct units. Each unit is made up of 12 identical infantry and 4 Command figures. You can of course mix things up if you so choose. I chose instead to use two boxes to make 3 24-man units.

Each figure has a body, 2 arms, a head, and a shield. There are 3 different bodies, 4 different weapon arms, 2 different heads, and only one style of shield arm and shield. Since the shield arms are all the same, and made for the same pose, they could have come attached to the figure, it would have made it all easier!

The three bodies are: Standing, standing with legs a bit farther apart, and standing a bit hunched over.

The first unit is made from the standing figure. I used the ‘sword held upright’ arm, and removed the sword, drilling it for a wire pilum. The Officer and Standard Bearer are in this same pose, so I used them in this unit.

plasleg2a plasleg2

plasleg2b

The second unit is made from the crouching guy. I used the ‘throwing pilum’ arm: I cut off the shoulder and glued it to hold an upright wire pilum. I then rebuilt the shoulder with putty. The musician is in the same pose as this figure, so I used him as the Standard Bearer in this unit.

plasleg1a plaseg1c

plasleg1

I painted them in appropriate colours and used a brown Magic Wash over the whole. I am happy with the results.

When the set came out, it was criticized for having soft detail, but they paint up well, and the shields are amazing. Built the way these have been, they rank up well, even on the 15mm wide bases I use.

The third unit isn’t done yet! To make it up to you, here’s a shot of a Peltast unit made from their Numidians box set. Enjoy!

plapeltast

These figures are available through Wargames Factory.

June 15, 2015

Warrior Miniatures 25mm Celts & Gauls

Filed under: Ancients, Review — Tags: , , , , — gisby @ 00:01

Warrior Miniatures has several under-appreciated ranges useful for building or filling out 25-28mm Celtic forces. They are also economical, especially if purchased in armies.

The first is listed as 25mm ‘Celts’, and is illustrated on their Gallery Pages. All figures are open-handed, with separate spears and shields. I have replaced the cast spears with wire spears.

Detail tends to be a bit soft, but it’s there, and the anatomy is good. Shields are held in front of the body, and they aren’t waving weapons around like they’ve never seen one before. They mix well in size with other ranges listed as 28mm.

The range has three cavalry types, one in mail, two without. There is only one horse pose, but it’s not bad-looking.

warcav2  warcav3

I thoroughly recommend their Chariot. Mainly because I sculpted it. (Actually, they had the crew, ponies and wheels, so I sculpted the rest of the chariot. I am very pleased with how it turned out, and I encourage everyone to buy a unit or two of them.)
warchar1  warchar4

warchar3 warchar2

The range has 8 various infantry that paint up quite well. They are mostly rather sedate, but look good in units, and rank well on bases.

warcelt1 warcelty1 warcea

There is also a range of ‘Gauls,’ rather more spirited, and with a bit of a ‘Victorian illustration’ look to them. There are seven infantry poses plus a single cavalry pose.

They are a slightly smaller 25mm, but not so different that they do not mix well. They are cast with spears and shields in place, I have replaced the spears with wire spears. The cast-on spears tend to be a bit thick but aren’t hard to remove.

warcelt2 warcelt3

The horse for the mounted warrior is small, more of a pony, making him more suitable for British cavalry than Gallic .You could of course remount him on a larger horse. I like the figure very much though.

warcelt4 warcav4

In the mixed group below, the figure with the yellow shield is from the Celts range, the rest are Gauls. There is a slight size difference, but if mixed in a unit, it would not really be noticeable.

warcelt5 ‘ warcav1

There are also a pair of Celts in their ‘Macedonian and Punic Wars’ range, similar in style  to the ‘Celts’ with separate weapons and shields.

The figures are available from Warrior Miniatures

May 17, 2015

Darkest Africa: Pulp Figures German Colonial Infantry.

Pulp Figures is known for great personality figures and (of course) Pulp Archetypes, but I have always particularly liked their historical troops.

I was very excited when they released their ‘German Colonial’ sets. They are perfect for Colonial warfare, WW1, and the Boxer Rebellion. This uniform could be seen in the Pacific, Africa and Asia.

PGS 15 German Colonial Rifles is  well posed for a skirmishing line, and they really look the part: Tough, experienced troops. (The girl in the first picture is from PHP 19 Dangerous Dames 2)

sh1 sh1bsud2 sud1

PGS 17 German Colonial Maxim Guns

Again, well-posed and well-sculpted, a pair of efficient weapons teams.

Note: The HMG is not the one that came with the set. I accidentally wrecked mine trying some solder work, so had to replace it with a spare.

sud3 sud4

I used a RENEGADE 77mm gun with the crews from a set of PGS 17  to give my Colonial Troops some artillery.

shgun2 shgun1

I also have a unit of Seebatallion made up from PGS01, 02, 03, and 06. These troops could also be seen in the Pacific, Africa, and Asia,

sg2b  sg2a

The officer below comes with binoculars in his hand, but I replaced them with a sword.

sg2

Needless to say, I enthusiastically recommend these figures. They are available from Pulp Figures.

For more information on German Colonial Uniforms: http://www.germancolonialuniforms.co.uk/

October 1, 2014

Sailor Girls in Africa

Filed under: Pulp Gaming, Review, Victorian Adventure Gaming — Tags: — gisby @ 05:54

I had a scenario planned, in which the Governor’s six daughters were kidnapped by natives, and the players had to rush around the table to rescue them before the Natives could involve them in a fiery sacrifice.

When I saw the Hinterland sailors, they were perfect for the role (Except for being well-armed, but I could live with that) Naval-styled clothes were quite fashionable as outdoor wear, so they don’t look out of place.

sisters1

But I needed a sixth figure, of a younger girl.  Hasslefree has a selection of younger figures, both armed and unarmed, all beautifully sculpted. I went with HA010 Katie, modifying her somewhat.

sisters2

I added a longer skirt and sun hat, and replaced her arms. She now clutches a Mauser broom handle and a dolly.

I’m more than pleased with the group, and recommend both ranges.

Hinterland has a range of alternate WW1 female soldiers, all well-sculpted and animated.  http://hinterlandminiatures.weebly.com/

Hasslefree has a large range of SF and Fantasy figures, all superb.  http://www.hfminis.co.uk/

April 13, 2009

Wargames Factory – Plastic Zulu War British – A Review

 

When Wargames Factory announced their intention to release a set of 1879 British, I was very excited.

First of all, because it was an indication that they were going to do Victorian subjects (pun!) but more, because it suggested that they were going to do ZULUS!

wfbrits01  

After all, no groups will benefit more from cheap reinforcements than the various charging natives of the Colonial Era: You just need a lot of ’em to face the massive European firepower.

 

Although they were not the first set announced by WF, they were the first set actually released, so are in some ways, a learning experience for the company.

That being said, they still aren’t bad as a first attempt.

The set comprises 20 figures, with two body poses, and arms to do a mixture of firing, at ready, and loading poses. There is no Officer included.

There are also 24 heads, with 5 styles of helmeted heads, and 2 in forage caps. Helmets are separate, so bare heads are easy enough if you want them.

wfbrits07
wfbrits05  

When first I attempted to assemble these figures, it seemed less like I was making wargames figures than assembling Tamiya-style model figures.

The parts were tiny and fiddly, and ill-suited to my elderly ham fists.

 

I’d suggest a production line approach for efficiency:

First of all, remove, clean up, and sort the pieces.

One-by-one, attach the left arms to all the figures. (I use tube cement: It fills gaps, and allows a bit more ‘wiggle’ time)

Next, attach the right arms: The left arm will help align everything.

Attach the heads so they sight along the weapon, or look wherever you want.

Put on helmets, adjusting heads as neccessary.

This speeded things up considerably.

wfbrits03
wfbrits06  

The Officer

Of course I needed an Officer…

This proved amazingly easy to do. (One of the advantages of plastic)

I pared away any straps or details I didn’t want, and repositioned the ‘loading’ arms.

With a revolver and scabbarded sword from the parts box, he was done.

(The hardest part was deciding on a pose)

 

What Did I Like?

Once I came up with a method, the figures went together easily and quickly.

Ultimately, they were ‘fun’ to make.Well done faces with personality. (and yes, the helmets fit well)

Loads of variety: Between the head, arm, and body choices, no two figures need be the same.

Being plastic makes them easy to modify and assemble.

Price: They are dam’ good value.

wfbrits08
wfbrits09  

What Didn’t I like? (NB: What I DON’T like may well be a GOOD thing to other people)

Delicate weapons: While the figures were proportioned like wargames figures, the rifles were delicate, like traditional plastic figures. I like my rifles a bit more sturdy.

Soft detail: The detail is there, it’s just not as ‘crisp’ as it could be. (Later sets have improved on this dramatically)

I don’t like firing figures (boo hoo. Poor Tim)

Above you can see a size comparison with a Wargames Foundry Brit of the same era.

RECOMMENDED

All in all, I’d recommend this set to anyone wanting to start or increase their Zulu War forces. The figures are also suitable for service anywhere in the 1870’s and perfect for Victorian Adventure Gaming or VSF!

AVAILABLE FROM:
Wargames Factory LLC

c/o Triangle, Inc

420 Pearl Street

Malden, MA 02148

http://wargamesfactory.com/Home.htm

April 8, 2009

Pulp Gaming: Radon Zombies of the Ionosphere Juggernaut

Filed under: Pulp Gaming, Review — Tags: , , — gisby @ 04:29

I recently got a bunch of the ‘Radon Zombies of the Ionosphere’ from Pulp Figures

There are three packs, PWM16-18, each of 5 figures (with one figure being an emplaced ray gun).

zombi02

As always, they are cleanly cast, with no flash, and minimal mould lines.

zombi04 zombi05 zombi03

zombi06

The figures themselves represent the rubber-suited minions of an evil mastermind in the spirit of the old movie serials.

They are animated and full of character: Angry, evil, and full of loathing for puny humanity

zombi07 zomb01

They portray these minions well, evoking the genre perfectly: So much so that I had to build a juggernaut to accompany them.

jugger03

The Juggernaut is loosely based on the vehicle in the ‘Undersea Empire’ serial of the 1930’s.

The body is made from styrene sheet of various thicknesses, and the rivets are punched using a 1mm hole punch.

I bought a plastic model tank at a dollar store, intending to use it’s single-piece tracks , but they proved unsuitable. Thankfully it also had wheels so it could roll, and these were perfect.

jugger01

The windows/shutters were made from plastic & stretched sprue, and were built on a soft plastic sheet. When they were hard, I popped them off the sheet and attached them to the turret.

jugger04

The roof hatch opens so the commander can look impressive as it screams along the road. The ray gun can be placed on the roof for morefirepower.

jugger05

The front boss is a button, and the spikes are small nails.

When finished, I spray painted the juggernaut, and weathered it with a mixture of magic wash and cat hair. (Not that I WANTED the cat hair….)

I am pleased with the juggernaut, and I am VERY pleased with my Pulp Figures Zombies of the Ionosphere.

RECOMMENDED

Buy some now!

AVAILABLE FROM:

Pulp Figures
Address P.O. Box 29063
Okanagan Mission R.P.O.
Kelowna, BC
V1W 4A7, CANADA

http://www.pulpfigures.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 6, 2008

Review: Arnica Montana Buildings

Filed under: Old West, Review, terrain, Victorian Adventure Gaming — gisby @ 01:59

302k-cAlthough I usually like to make my own Old West buildings, I recently picked up a few
from Arnica Montana.

When they arrived, I was sad: They were far nicer than I had expected, and I had not ordered anywhere near enough of them!

When they arrived, I was sad: They were far nicer than I had expected, and I had not ordered anywhere near enough of them!

In style & scale, they are a good match for the Ertl Cow Town. Doors and windows are open and cleanly cast: separate doors are supplied.

Buildings come as four walls plus two roof sections. Most have a boardwalk, and many have optional parts: Sheds awnings, balconies… No floors are supplied.

They are sort-of-modular in nature. The outbuildings can be attached on the rear or side of the buildings, and awnings & balconies can be used on any. (and are available separately)

Boardwalks are supplied much longer than needed, and must be trimmed to length (or can stretch from one building to another)

The pieces are well cast and substantial, and none of mine were warped.

302k-c Arnica Montana 302K

The side shed is optional, and can instead be attached to the rear of the building (see 301K below)

For variety, I made the boardwalks on this building from sintra.

The barrels are turned wood craft items, and the crates are blocks of wood with boards drawn on.

The hitching rail is made from plastic pick-up sticks, and the trough from craft sticks, based on 3/4 in steel strapping.

302k-b 302k-a

301k-a mmm
/>
103k-a
Arnica Montana 301K

Yes, the sign looks dorky, but is more legible than the original (above)

The side stoop is made from sintra.

The optional shed is attached to the rear of the building in this case.


405k Arnica Montana 405K

The large doors were made from plastic strips and hung as per “How To Hang A Door”.

The wood stack is made from bamboo skewers.


103k-a1
Arnica Montana 103K
The rear stoop is a cutoff from the front sidewalk.

What do I like? Pretty much everything, style, scale, & price are all great.

What don’t I like? The doors are a bit too narrow to set up to open & close, but you can just leave them off…

They get a thumbs up from me: Recommended

 

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