27 Sept 2013

Meet the Cave men!


yet another Mantic zombies conversion that I've done quite a while back but never really got to painting them. While I haven't played any games in months, I always knew I'll need some cave men for my jungle expedition campaign in Strange Aeons. I was on the lookout for miniatures I'd like but never could find any quite suitable. I suspect the reason lies in my lack of interest in those kind of miniatures in general more than on any holes in the market.

As with many other miniatures so far, I've decided to simply use my mantic zombies for them. I don't really like the original miniatures as zombies, so I've decided to use them for as many other things as I possibly can.

This was quite a straight forward conversion. I've put some fur on them and some got various weapons. I haven't really cut them up much, so none of them really grabs a hold of his weapon.  They were all hurried up to reach "good enough" status while being converted and painted.

I made sure two stand out of the crowd - grey guy is a tribal leader and guy in grey fur rags is tribal shaman. They can obviously all be used as a normal grunts. As a group, there are two clubs and a bow. I couldn't resist painting some woad on them. Now, this is as realistic as finding monsters outside, but I really, really wanted to do that. And it even came out pretty well, too! :D

A mandatory (un)lucky explorer shot below:

Other than that, still dry "season" in my hobby and I got no idea what I could show you next time. I do think and plan a lot about the hobby (researching late roman armies now for some reason :P), but even my sculpting is turning out too slow now. I suppose I can blame my master's thesis, for which I need to hunt down some people for signatures and I can put it in print, so I really aren't slacking!

Thanks for looking,

21 Sept 2013



I've painted my TAG SWATs to try and restart my Zombie project. Those are by far my favorite TAG modern models..those exact ones with gasmasks. It might surprise you that I had them for quite a while...probably around a year or so? Anyways, I've finally settled for grey-black scheme as there is nothing I find more boring than completely black miniatures. While they do look great, they also kinda look boring, as it's all one big blob of black.

Unfortunately my painting mojo was really on low level, but in the end, I think they've came out just fine.

The pack is SWATs with gasmask + sniper is a SWAT sniper freebie I've got as my order was large enough. They're mostly armed with MP5, but there is one shotgun. Oh, there is a guy with a pistol, too. Sniper has .50 cal, which isn't made to shoot people with (not that you can't, though!), so that's a bit exaggerated. I would be more happy with something less hurtful but visually more appealing :P.

Here is the basic set in "combat" poses:

 And a close up on one of them. Again, they're basically all the same - uniformed personnel after all.

They'll be useful as your zombie heroes, but probably also in my modern games, in 1991 police special forces assisted military units, so if I'd game grand scale WW3 invasion, they could be used as a "back up" to break the monotony of proper soldiers.

Talking of proper soldiers, my weapons are slowly progressing (I do at least something every day...cut and sand if nothing else), but I'm not taking any photos as...err...too lazy to go get the camera to be honest. I'll photo them in the end, unless I'll need a "filler post" to show some WIP again, as this is all I do hobby wise lately.

Thanks for looking,

16 Sept 2013

More mail!

Well, I was honestly painting in the past week (finished 2 posts worth of miniatures, 9 in total!), but as parcels are raining here lately, I'll show the painted stuff in following posts!

First, few days after Brummie's parcel, my order from Ebob arrived. It had (what he calls) "some extras" which materialised in bag full of useful stuff! I've ordered some dollies and sculpting tools for my grand sculpting project that has partly started with the conversion of the humvees. I've ordered dollies quite some time ago, I think it was between 3-4 weeks back, but I was let known it would take time as armatures were out of stock. As the one thing I have is time, the wait was no bother and I have to compliment Ebob once again as it was more than worth it. He has kindly sent me some of his AUGs he made for Skirmish Sangin to help me out as we were talking a bit about my project. There were loads of other bits that will be more than useful in the project. As I think doing a bit of advertising is the least I can do, feel free to check his store by clicking the image on the right. And while you're doing it, you should certainly check the Grekwood miniatures (under Ebob because of the alphabet order :P), Carl is another great guy to deal with and will, conveniently, also help me with my project. Talking of great guys, Lord Johnny Siwoc from Brains and guts! has sent me the prize I won by answering some simple question every true stalker knows (not sure if that is something to be proud about! :P). Well, to be honest, I haven't dealt with a gamer that wouldn't be a gentleman and half, so I should simply ask you to pay attention to my blog roll on the left, all great guys with awesome blogs! And I mean that without exaggeration.

So, time to brag, I suppose. This is what Johnny has sent me. Its the 3 miniatures from Ramshackle games that will make me start WWW II project (or acthung cthulhu type of games etc) and even a pair of socks...I'll carry them with my most open sandals! :D

I honestly love the colours, Johnny! As for miniatures, first one seems to be some kind of flame thrower guy, so that is what I'll paint him like. I am not exactly sure how to fit him in, but I'll find a role for him to play. Second miniature is a half naked chick climbing on a barrel for some reason. She'll get some proper military pants and a side cap. Then she can be anything from a mechanic (she holds a wrench) for tanks to mechanic for mechas or something. The last one, big guy is my favorite and one of the miniatures that made me remember the Ramshackle games the most. Now, I don't know for you, but he just screams a (failed, tbh) nazi Ubermensch warlord that came from the past to make someone suffer.  As soon as I get them converted and some painting mojo, those are first on the list to be painted!

As for that horrific secretly project I keep talking about...here is my failed attempt to sculpt the assault rifles, as shown few posts back:
 And yes, this is how far I've actually came. And here they are being converted from AUG (still WIP ofc):

 There is actually third one as well, but I've figured once you've seen 2 you've seen them all. I started by working on only one, but later added other two as one needs better optics and other needs an underslung grenade launcher. The one on the left is at third stage of sculpting. I'm taking my time and adding little bits. First I've cut the guns (obviously) of the excess handles. Second was sculpting that little "bridge" you can see on the right gun. Third was filling the area between stock and magazine and fourth was added detailing to the stock. Next comes the hand grip, then the upper half of the body, after that probably a rail and optics and in the end I'll fill the gaps I might find.

 I'm also working on minimi (squad automatic weapon) conversion. Not much to show yet, but here you can see solid ammo box swapped for cloth pouch (I hope this is clear even from this photo)...only really difference is a zipper and a bit more rounded edges. I'm also working on adding a scope (harder than it might seem, honestly) and by now it has lost the stock and I'm building a new one, appropriate for minimi para variant.
Lastly, I'm working on RGW 90 "law", but that has came to a bit of a stand still as I know I have to cut it but I don't want to :D. The mental barriers are honestly the only problem you can encounter at sculpting. Once those are surpassed, everyone is a talented sculptor.  I am still searching for good poses for my first 4 miniatures, so I haven't yet started working on the bodies. If this (so modern soldiers if it's still unclear) is something you'd be interested in, feel free to add some ideas,

Thanks for looking yet once again,

11 Sept 2013

Parcel from Brummieland!

Earlier this week, I got a long anticipated parcel from mr. Brummie himself! Apparently we're in some sort of competition now, as contents of what he has sent to me is far better than what I've sent to him. He kindly donated me a copplestone casting couple (my first actual copplestone miniatures! :P), and both painted to his usual standard. I especially like the colours on the lady...she  reminds me of Jessica Rabbit, hehe. Armed with a pistol, she's great addition for SA games as a civilian or agent or future gangster wars (I'll get there!). Second miniature reminds me of mr. Poirot from the series, except this one looks more like he is making the crimes and not solving them! He is looking at the time, so I'd assume he either came too early or someone came too late!

The painting style seems a lot like my own, but finished miniatures look nothing like mine. After a while, I've came to figure it must be varnish that does the difference. I use big vallejo bottle of "mat" varnish that dries satin -.-.

Included in a parcel was another small step towards moderns games. Its Russian T-90 tank from Zhengdefu company. Now, all I know about company so far is, they're also called "Ki-tech" and that they steal kits from other companies (and photos on the cover). Tank is 1/48 scale and I think it will fit well with 28mm. I would prefer T-80 or even the legendary T-72 (it has higher variety of uses), but this one isn't bad at all. I found it on E-bay and got myself in a bit of a bid war...came out on top at 1.71 pounds, so I can't complain :P. I have to thank Simon once again for taking time and energy to actually go pick it up in person (seller was from the same city). Thanks, it is greatly, greatly appreciated!

According to the box, you can also get: M2 Bradley, M3 Bradley, Challenger, Merkava, M60 with reactive armour, Leopard, Marder, AMX 30, Type 74 (jap), Abrams, Type 90 (modern jap), T-80U, Leopard 2, Leclerc, T72. What I'd like to get is a marder and leopard, leclerc or challenger. That would give me great excuse to buy some empress brits or eurekas french or germans. I suppose germans would be best, I'd like the IFV. I've decided I'll leave the americans out, making it an european affair. Maybe make the US the baddies for a change? :P
Here are the contents:
Again, nothing too special, but it is a start to a WWW3 game...I'm still deciding if it will be set in Evergreen Fields, the place where everything bad happens or perhaps russian neo communist party has overthrown the goverment and is now sending its most modern tanks to spear the armoured thrust through northern Italy? As my humvees are actual transportation of our tank hunter units...how couldn't that be a great scenario? Now I need to get more tanks and make a long board with hills on both sides to ambush those tanks! :P

A bit of a brag post today, but it got me time to finish painting something for SA and something for zombie apocalypse/moderns, so I'll show those in my next posts!


7 Sept 2013

Meet the Ghouls!


finally another SA related post!

I've bought a pack of Heresy ghouls at Salute earlier this year. After I've checked list back at home, I've settled for a single pack (but I had the dying wish to have them all :P)...I didn't really pick around too much, just made sure it is not the one with mother and a baby. Not that I'm particularly bothered by those two, its just that this pack is more suitable. I've painted them about a month ago (just before I started working on humvees), but I have saved the post until after that project.

Now, I got a bit of a love-hate relationship with this pack. The sculpts are great. Could be a bit more canine around the faces, but overall great ghouls. Perhaps too..hm...too "violent" looking for my "cartoonish" preferences in SA (GW would be perfect :P), but very, very nicely defined and all. They were a pain to put together (not sure if that is only in my case), but painting them was true joy. I went for true-to-Lovecraft blackish skin, made some glowing eyes and the rest is nothing special. I had great joy using Tamiya clear red again...in abundance. It has to be the smell!

Not much else to say about them...one of them (I figured the one with a sickle) would be Ghoul King if needed in games.

Thanks for looking,


2 Sept 2013

A Hundred Miles As The Crow Flies


what I'm going to show you today is something I've found really interesting. A hundred miles as the the crow flies is a book by Ralph Churches. He was an australian soldier, captured in Greece in 1941 by Germans. I had this post written twice, but have decided to delete it all and make it more to the point. I've had a short WWII history of Slovenian area written, but I have decided it is not necessary, as I have provided you a link to great, great book I've found. A book, from which my posts borrowed its name.

It is the end of August, 1944. Ralp Churches is an Australian soldier, who was captured on one of the Greek islands in 1941. He and some other Allied (Brit, NZ, AUS, French) POWs were detained on nowadays Austrian-Slovene border. They were used as a labour force, building roads, tending railways, working on farms etc. Churches escaped the camp two times in his past, but didn't came far. Those two "escapes" were useful for recce, as he has said, letting him know what he'd need for the time he'd escape for real. He quit messing around after the second escape, because he was feared he might be moved to a more secure camp. He was learning german since the day he was captured and he took great interest in  learning about the situation of the area he was located in (northern Slovene area, occupied by German forces, right on border with "Germany" (Austria). Slovene area was planned to become southernmost part of German Reich, but the Germans postponed the official annexation because resistance was giving them trouble. Italians, for example, have annexed the occupied area as soon as they got there and figured they'd "deal with the problems as they go"). Their working camp was lightly guarded by old austrian soldiers. Work area was secured by a single barbed wire and there were no watch towers. It is important to realise POWs were quite friendly with guards. Old Viennese men had little enthusiasm for Nazi ideas. Churches and 6 others have escaped the camp on 30th August 1944. They linked with slovene partisans operating in the area and convinced them to help them save the rest of the detainees. Which they did, or else this whole story would be quite boring. Out came a story of a partisan raid on Ožbalt ("Ozhbalt" ž is pronounced similar to "g" in "mirage"), where slovene partisans saved 105 allied POWs from captivity (from Britain, New Zealand, Australia, France) from 3 various working camps. Nobody was hurt during the raid, guards were taken with the rest of the group for a while and left behind in middle of the hills. Eventually they came back to their own units. The POWs were escorted 250 kilometers south to Semič ("Semich"), where Partisan Airfield Otok (means "Island" and it is a name of a near-by village) was located. The path took them through Gerrman occupied area (remember by 1944, Italy has capitulated and Germany occupied it) towards a "liberated area" in south, where German presence was limited to ouposts along important communication lines, bridges etc. A Dakota airplane took the POWs to Italy from there, saving the men. I've linked the name to Wiki so feel free to check it out.

 The POWs were rescued by members of one battalion of Šercer (Shertser) Brigade, named after a yugoslav (slovene) officer who was captured and executed in December 1941. Keep in mind partisans formations were all at least one level smaller than what you'd be used to. Šercer Brigade had roughly 600 members at its peak and it was part of a 14th Division (2,000 members at its peak). This division was badly damaged on its winter march from south Slovenia through Croatia to north, where the raid took place. By april 1944, 4 months before the raid, Šercer brigade had around 200 members. On the march, 14th Division was often breaking out of the german encirclements. The Division moved north to stiffen the local resistance, that was very low after in january 1943 local "Pohorje battalion" (named by local mountain range) got completely destroyed. Its winter camp was betrayed encircled by 2,000 germans. Battle lasted for roughly 2 hours and half, which I find quite long, comparing the numbers, but I think we need to keep in mind Germans probably didn't really knew what they're dealing with. One of the commander's sons (aged 16, 14 and 12) has reportedly shot german captain from top of the pine tree after the battle was over. 69 members of battalion (out of 70 present) died in battle (Battalion was 90 men and women strong). They were ordered by the commander to save the last bullet for themselves. One partisan survived, as he was injured from previous battles and couldn't commit suicide. If I recall correctly, he was publicly executed in the summer and his body was dragged around by car to "make a statement".

Here is a memorandum plate for the raid, set up in 1985 (so, while Yugoslavia still existed). It (roughly) reads:

Along numerous partisan attacks on railway tracks Maribor - Dravograd an unforgettable memory lives on August 31st 1944 when battalion of Šercer brigade freed 87 allied POWs.

Here Šercers crushed the cuffs of prisoners of fraternal slavery. Over rivers and mountains to freedom. They've headed to new battle.

It is written pretty "poetic", suitable for the era it was shown in. Partisan warfare and their deeds were "divine" during the communist Yugoslavia.  Perhaps a bit too untouchable and nowadays, they're a bit too trampled.

Here are some other links that talk about the raid:
Newspaper article:

BBC article:

And what seems like an actual, freely available PDF of the book! Now, I hope sharing the link here doesn't interfere with any rights, as this is certainly not my intention. It is linked to a page of a theater As the book is pretty hard to get by, this is probably the single most useful piece of information I can give you. It also includes a pretty accurate account on the happening, so I can only suggest you read it if you find the time! It shows how Partisans operated, what they ate, how people joined them (one even commit suicide), how they got ambushed, how French prisoners complained all the time (I know, extra stereotypical, but honestly, they had good reasons as they were "on parole" and were treated like almost any other farm worker, not like some prisoners...I was also reading another book, where some partisan wounded personnel and some frenchmen were escorted to another airfield...they also mention low morale, complaints and general unwillingness to cooperate) and so on. It even tries to explain the "Balkan situation". What has happened in Yugoslav area during WW2 had great impact on what has happened in the nineties.  I have to say I was read most of it in one day,  as more I've read, more I've realised what 250 kilometer march means.

So..how is this related to the gaming, you might be wondering. Well, you can almost get the game! Check Ebob's collection for "The Great Escape", that touches other story, but the miniatures are quite nice. As for partisans, they wore various bits of uniforms from various places and were variously equipped. The first attacks were much like the "Enemy at the gates" scene, where there are more men than rifles. Just last time, my mentor told me the first partisans would rush the enemy and "simply" hope they could wrestle the rifle from the soldier before they'd get shot. By 1944, however, they were better organised and equipped, as they started getting the aid from the allies after the partisans were recognized as the legit army and thus part of the alliance. I suppose it is important to know that Yugoslav partisans were an army. It took Allies time to recognise them officially (as they were lead by communists (communism was illegal in interwar era), the Yugoslav goverment in exile didn't support them. They differ from soviet partisans by the fact that those were supporting Red Army's actions and in Yugoslavia, there was no other official army (Yugoslav army has collapsed in matter of days after the invasion). They differ from french resistance in the fact, that while they did sabotage communications, they were taking fight to the enemy. I was told they were offered (even in Slovenia) a degree of peace by Germans (and even food, by some accounts), if they'd remove themselves from the communications, important to Germans. The victim count of the WWII in nowadays Slovenia (so, not including other parts of Yugoslavia) was officially ended as late as 2012. By the official count 97,500 people lost their lives (according to an article that is 6,5% of nowadays Slovenia, but I'd be more interested in % of people that lived here at that time), roughly 14,000 died after the war (the research time frame was set from 1st day of invasion to January 1946). Some of those 14,000 were camp detainees, but most were members of collaborative forces. Germans (and collaborative forces) are responsible for over 31,700 deaths, Italians for around 6,400. Interestingly, Red Army is responsible for at least 5,000 deaths (Slovenes were conscripted in German army and sent to Eastern front). During and after the war partisans were responsible for over 24,000 deaths, which included people who "voluntary" (it was war, after all) joined homeguard units, but most of those were killed after the war. The rest are civilians, either supposedly connected to occupying forces, but most likely people that opposed communism (again, partisans were lead by communists because communist party was illegal many years before the war and they had the know-how. They were by no chance all communist and there were supposed to be elections held after the war. Elections in Yugoslavia were a farce. You had a choice of  vote "for communist party" and "against it". In first years, the balls (you voted with coloured balls) were of different weights, so they made different sound when dropped in the box. So, after the elections, you might be visited by the secret police and such). Smaller number (2,400) were killed by allied bombings, 800 by croatian Ustasha forces. Unfortunately, they were unable to find the source of death for roughly 20,000 people.

Anyways, to a bit brighter topic, three random partisans. That is sten on the right. They wore any kinds of uniforms, from german, italian, yugoslav to british. Only common feature was a 5 pointed red star.
As an interesting fact, the side cap, called "pilotka" in Soviet union and "titovka" (after Tito) in Yugoslavia was called...err.."certain-female-body-part hat". If you have trouble finding any resemblance, try to imagine how it looks from the top :P. It wasn't used much until it later became an official hat for the newly formed "Yugoslav army". Before that hat was introduced, partisans liked to carry "spanish civil war hats", with 3 peaks. They were called "Triglavka" in Slovene area, after the highest mountain I keep mentioning. Triglav still is a national symbol and you can see it more or less everywhere, from the national and military coat of arms to sport uniforms.

 As another interesting fact, you can see red stars everywhere, but no hammers and no sickles. The reason was, non communist partisans (at least in Slovenia) were upset with the communists using the USSR symbols. And if you read the book on the link (pg 48), it shows the same incident. Slovene partisans did see themselves as Yugoslavs, but never as Russians. After the war, Yugoslavia refused to join the Warsaw pact in 1948 and it even expected invasion, so it started linking with West, but turned towards East again in fifties. Later, in eighties, it was easier for people from Yugoslavia to travel to Paris than Moscow, for example. And Lee, if you are reading this - remember how we talked about WW2 equipment used in 91-99? Apparently the lack of weapons and ammunition from WW2 was so vivid, that YPA refused to throw anything away and they were stockpiling anything they could.

Thanks for looking,