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Monday, July 31, 2023

Captain Cassian Andor, Part 1

"Make ten men feel like a hundred."

Okay, I'll admit it. I've been a Star Wars geek since the first movie came out when I was in high school. (Now don't Google that to try and figure out my age!) The second trilogy was okay, the third trilogy had no continuity between movies - what was a man supposed to do?

And then Rogue One came out. OMG. Captain Cassian Andor of Rebel Intelligence is one of the main characters of Rogue OneNo spoilers here - but I'm still trying to figure out in my own mind what is the best Star Wars movie: Is it The Empire Strikes Back or Rogue One?  Then the Mandalorian came out - Star Wars was saved! And then - AndorAndor was the best show of 2023 and details how Cassian got his start in the Rebellion. And not a light saber or Jedi in sight! What a great Season One. Okay, I'm prejudiced.

I've been building a force for Xenos Rampant using figures from Star Wars Legion. The force has a brown uniform pattern to give continuity amongst all of the figures from various movies and shows.

I'm always hesitant to paint a character based on a real person or actor - I'm always afraid of goofing it up or making the figure look goofy. But hey, I need Andor in my force (more on K-2SO later).

The hard plastic figures are easy to put together and this figure came with three different weapon options: the small blaster that he used to murder, I mean eliminate a character in Rogue One, the military blaster pistol and a sniper rifle that is really cool but I already have a sniper figure in my army. The small gaps were easily filled with green stuff.

I've been painting my force using GW's Contrast paints. With the move I haven't bought any spray primer yet as the Contrast paints work with shades of white and gray. So I used Vallejo Flat White and applied it with a brush. Hmmm. That does not look so good.

Okay - second coat of Vallejo Flat White. Much better.

To give the base color for the face, I used GW Contrast Cygor Brown.

While I painted Andor, I kept handy one of the officer/leader figures I had painted earlier. The basic uniform is painted with Contrast Skeleton Hoard and the backpacks, gloves, webbing, belts, etc. are painted with Contrast Snakebite Leather.

The jacket was painted with Contrast Gore Grunta (snicker) Brown. Dang. The highlights of the Snakebite Leather and the Gore Grunta (snicker) Brown make the uniform of Andor look too darn dark. New plan!

When using GW Contrast paints, unlike the normal enamel paints I use, you cannot paint a lighter color over a darker color. I pulled out the Vallejo Flat White and repainted the parts I wanted to make lighter. Also I failed to mention, Contrast paints take about 30 minutes to dry which is a lot slower that the enamels I am use to using.

Now that looks better with a better contrast. I went back and used the Contrast Skeleton Horde and I am pleased with the result.

Just another angle. Next up will be the real challenge - making the figure look like the actor Diego Luna!

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Afghan Tribal Force Update #8: Second Irregular Unit (Shooters!) Finished

One of the other reasons I take pictures (other than to show off!), is that by looking at the picture I can see if anything needs to be fixed. By looking at this picture, I see the paper flag needs some touch-up painting since I didn't exactly glue it together properly.

For my core Afghan/Pashtun Tribal force I am building 2 units of Tribal Infantry, 3 units of Irregular Infantry and one artillery gun to reflect my representation of the uprisings on the Northwest Frontier in 1897 to 1898.  I like the alternative basing method of 3, 2, 1 for The Men Who Would be Kings , which allows me to create mini vignettes with the basing, and allows me to organize the figures that way when I paint. What I have been doing is painting half of a unit at a time - units that don't have standard uniforms take longer to paint since I can't really do an assembly line.

Above are the first six figures of the unit.  I am still painting painting the figures as Pashtuns from the Afridi tribe using the  Afghan Tribal Infantry from Perry Miniatures. As I have mentioned before, the Afridi's are noted as wearing black and blue garments; but from contemporary photos, illustrations and diaries, this is not a hard and fast rule. The team photo above also gives you an idea of the variety of combinations that are possible with the hard plastic box Afghan Tribal Infantry from Perry Miniatures. Okay, enough with the previous six, on to the next six.

I haven't done any real painting since we made the decision to move to our new location. I wish I had taken a picture of the figures before I starting painting again but imagine the above 6 figures about half finished which is how I left them at the end of October of 2022. I like to use the top of soda caps when I paint my figures. I just use a little glob of white glue to affix the figures and then carefully, usually with a hobby knife, pop them off to get them ready for their stands.

When I put the figures together, I model them as best as I can with how I would like them to look in a "Hollywood", cinematic presentation. That is one of the advantages of the 3, 2, 1 basing method. I base my figures on Litko bases (no more cutting for me!) using globs of white glue.

For my basing material, the basic "ground" is a mixture of hobby sand and railroad hobby gravel with the occasional larger piece added for bigger rocks. I put globs of white glue in a few places, water it down and spread it out over the whole base with an old brush, and then I dip the base in my container of sand. I usually let it dry overnight since I primarily do my hobby at night, and then I will add static grass with the same white glue method and anything else that might be extra on the base.

This will be the Leader for Irregular Unit #2. I always mount the Leader on a single base since, unless the unit takes a Leader casualty, they will be the last figure to be removed in  The Men Who Would be Kings .

I'm very pleased with the way they turned out. Once I get a bigger place for pictures set up I'll take some pictures of the entire unit together. Next up for the frontier will be my second unit of Tribal Infantry: The Up Close and Personal in your face Fighters!

Monday, July 24, 2023

Sarissa Precision: Skirmish Compound Charlie (Or how to make a Quick village on the Colonial Frontier!)


"Dad you need at least one village for the Anglo-Russian War."

So Honorable Son #4 sent me an MDF building pack from Sarissa Precision called Skirmish Compound Charlie. Skirmish Compound Charlie consists of the following products from their Alamo model:

1. Alamo North East Corner (A018).
2. Alamo South East Corner (A027).
3. 2x Alamo West Wall Building (A022) each with two buildings.
4. Alamo East Wall (without gun ramp) (A032).

Perfect for my colonial battles. These are great models but pay attention to the instructions. They are not difficult to put together (each one took me about an hour, not counting time for glue to dry) but I did accidently put one base upside down and skipped a step on another building for an inner wall. Fortunately in both cases the glue was not completely dry.

What I love about what Sarissa does is their Terrain Tile system which allows you to rearrange the buildings how you like (or keep them separated if you want). Here are just some quick samples as I was fooling around:

The well is from Battlefield in a Box for Flames of War from their WW II Desert War collection. The well is scaled for 15mm but I have used it numerous times for 25/28mm and it works fine. Speaking of working fine, the buildings are perfect for 25/28 mm scale. Below are some miniatures from Pulp Figures which I am using for Militia/Bandits/Tribal Infantry, etc. (very versatile figures!).

Moving along the roof.

Access from the roof.

Roof tops come off . . .

As does the upper portion of the building allowing you to put figures in the structures.

For destroyed buildings or buildings that are ruins, during the game I will just permanently remove the upper half of the building.

The Royal Guard of Chaimbellistan prepares to defend the as for right now unnamed village. Trust me, it will have a name before the game!

Mr. Kipling asking Brigadier Alfred Tramontin if the British Indian Army will arrive in time to stem the Russian horde.

Supplies are being stored.

Keeping a sharp lookout.

I haven't decided if I'm going to paint them or not (the laziness factor) so for now they will just be what I call Light MDF Brown which coincidentally is the traditional color of buildings in Chaimbellistan!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

My Favorite Terrain Piece

Back in ancient times of lore, when Warhammer was Warhammer, the 4th edition of the boxed game came with two card stock terrain pieces; a cottage and a stone tower. I still have both of them and the cottage has probably been in more of my tabletop battles than any other piece of terrain.

The classic Warhammer cottage.

Lord of the Rings battle.

Continental Firing line to the side of the cottage.

Another LOTR battle. 

Prince Rupert leads the War Poodle's own Regiment of Foot during the English Civil War. 

Green Regiment of the London Trained Bands. 

Action in the Peninsular.

World War II British Paratroopers.

The Wild West. 

 The Doctor and Sherlock Holmes.

Colonial Action. 

Lord Essex.