Way back at the very end of 2020 I contacted Misc Minis about decals suitable for 1/1200 ship and aircraft miniatures. After a couple of rounds of email, Kevin sent me a PDF proof sheet with a mix of 1mm and 1.5mm insignia for the Luftwaffe, RAF, and USAAF, as well as some hull numbers as used by the Royal Navy. He’d started with the smallest size of decals for his standard 1/600 ranges, done some tests, and figured out what would work (and what wouldn’t!) when taken down that tiny.
I mentioned the decals in passing in an April 2021 post here, then tucked them away in the dreaded ‘safe place’ and did absolutely nothing with them until this Easter long weekend, two full years later!
With the various Luftwaffe aircraft seen on my last Workbench post based and painted, I sat down with the tiny 4″x2.5″ decal sheet, carefully cut out even tinier individual crosses, and began putting them on the wings of the Me110 heavy fighters and Ju88 Stuka divebombers.
The bulk of the Luftwaffe crosses on the sheet are the black outline/white fill style; there’s also a row of pure white crosses as used (I think?) primarily on night fighters. The lower left has no fewer than six different RAF roundel variants, upper right has a bunch of US Army Air Force winged star roundels, and the lower right has RN hull numbers in both white and black. There aren’t any pure black outline Luftwaffe crosses, but honestly I’m OK with that as the black/white ones stand out a bit better and help ID these tiny, tiny airplanes more clearly!
The Misc Mini decal sheet is full-film so each roundel needs to be cut fairly close to the printed outline. I worked with fine-tip tweezers, a sewing pin, and MicroSet decal solution to get each cross in place. They’ll get MicroSol decal conforming solution next and then matt spray varnish to seal everything in place.
If you’re in need of tiny decals for tiny aircraft, drop Kevin at Misc Minis a note and ask! This little sheet was thoroughly reasonable for a custom one-off print run (under $10 including shipping) and will last a good long time at the rate I’m using it up. Misc is an American outfit but regular envelope mail for decal sheets is still cheap over the border to Canada at this point!
Antics, a UK model/toy shop, carry a small range of resin 3d printed 1/1200 WW2 ships under the John’s Model Shipyard name. There are a lot of pre-painted very expensive 1/1200 or 1/1250 model ships out there (Antic stock a lot, just for starters!), a couple of ranges of pewter kits, but big gaps in the market for kits for this scale.
The JMS line goes all the way up to aircraft carriers, battleships, and battlecruisers, wildly beyond ships suitable for typical coastal forces engagements as we’ve been doing here (although Italian MAS boats did engage RN cruisers in the Med, and the Channel Dash saw RN MTBs attempt attacks on Scharnhorst and company…), but there are destroyers for multiple navies and some very useful freighters, tankers, and such.
Unfortunately the Antic’s site search function doesn’t seem to have a way to bring up all the JMS products all at once – even searching for “model shipyard” only gets you a few of them, so you have to pick through each WW2 ship collection.
Shipping cost was reasonable and took about two weeks from the UK to Western Canada, which is pretty typical. UK companies are good at mail order and the Royal Mail->Canada Post trans-Atlantic pipeline is still pretty efficient!
Everything arrived nicely packaged, with each ship in a small custom-cut cardboard box/wrapper, all of those bundled in bubble wrap inside another cardboard box. Each hull was taped to one side of their box with a bit of double-sided tape on the hull bottom and there was no damage in shipping, despite some of the 3d printed resin details like masts, vents, and lifeboat davits being very, very tiny indeed.
The four U-boats came in a little hard plastic case, held down by another bit of double-sided tape.
These are very nice crisp 3d resin prints, with details like gun barrels, lifeboat davits, and vent stacks printed incredibly fine – much finer than you could get with pewter or resin casting.
Of the four merchants, only the Fort/Lake freighter is armed, with a gun tub on a raised platform on the bow and another on the roof of the stern deckhouse. I’ve never been terribly strict about WYSIWYG on miniatures but someone on Shapeways does do 1/1200 gun tubs if you wanted to arm up some of these ships…
The liner Athenia is a fun addition to the fleet – not likely to be on the table much compared to the freighters and warships but there’s basically zero other tabletop quality passenger liners out there that I’ve found.
In 1/1200 scale 1 real world inch is 100 scale feet (1200 inches), which is a nice easy conversion to remember. Accordingly, a 400ft long ship would be 4″ long. Athenia comes out to about 5.25″ long, Ehrenfels slightly shorter at almost exactly 5″, the T2 tanker just under that, the Lake/Fort freighter at about 4.25″, the RN O/P-class destroyer at just under 3.5″, and finally the four Type VII U-boote at around 2.25″. Far as I can tell these are all correctly scaled, or close enough for jazz!
In theory all of the ships need additional topmasts, cargo booms, and such added. If I do add them, I’ll use plastic broom bristle as that should be far more gamer-friendly (and more resilient to damage!) than plastic rod or fine stiff wire. I might well leave them with just the 3d printed mast they came with, to be honest. They’re gaming models, not static showpieces.
I threw the U-boats into the order just for the heck of it, but they’re neat little models. You get four slightly different versions of the Type VII Uboote, with original conning tower, with No. II style conning tower, with No. IV style conning tower, and “Flak” with the extra AA gun platform. The 3d printed periscopes are incredibly fine and even if I don’t add cargo booms and such to the ships, I might well swap out the periscopes with broom bristle or superfine brass wire as being more resilient than the 3d printed resin will be!
The prices were comparable to or cheaper than pewter models of similar size (the pewter Liberty freighter from Last Square, for example) and less expensive than similarly detailed 3d prints from Shapeways. As mentioned above about the Athenia, JMS cover some vessels not commonly found elsewhere, so I was happy with these and might well order some more in the future. There’s a decent variety of Royal Navy WW2 vessels in the John’s Model Shipyards line (search here for ‘kit’ or ‘John’), a few German WW2, another few Japanese (mostly cruisers or battlecruisers for the two Axis navies), and a Liberty freighter to round things out. Nothing yet for the French, Italians, or (the biggest surprise) the Americans, but hopefully the range keeps expanding in the future. Personally I’d love to see more destroyers, corvettes, frigates, and similar, as those ships worked alongside coastal forces boats fairly regularly and that’s going to stay my main focus. Whoever is doing the 3d design work at JMS seems to know their stuff, know the limits of the 3d printer they’re using, and get a really nice level of detail on their ships!
I swear Bloody Miniatures chose their company name just so wargamer’s spouses could say that when the lovely figures show up! Thankfully they really are lovely figures, and if they amuse my wife too, then that’s a bonus.
A few weeks ago I ordered the whole of BM’s Wave 4, A Chorus of Disapproval, plus a couple of individual packs from Waves 2 and 3. They showed up this afternoon and I had to snap a few quick photos to show them off.
Wave 4 included the only armed female figures for the 17th Century that I’m aware of, which is awesome. There’s also a quartet of scouting dragoons skulking along, four armoured currassier on foot from the other end of the mounted troop spectrum, and finally four ordinary villagers with improvised weapons – axes and agricultural implements.
I also picked up a pack of sentries, and four looters hauling off their ill-gotten gains. Excellent character packs that I’m sure will show up in scenarios eventually! See the gallery below for some quick closeups of all six packs, straight from the box with zero cleanup.
I tripped over this little Kickstarter earlier in 2022 for a dozen figures inspired by European folklore, Folk Horrors by Ana Polanšćak. They’re very much “things that go bump in the night” weird horror miniatures and I decided to grab them while the KS was still running.
Image snagged from Kickstarter – the twelve miniatures included, all assembled and painted.
Some of them might be humans in costumes (might be!) and some of them really definitely… aren’t. I think I’ll be using these as plot point markers or similar for Pulp Alley-powered weird horror games, either in the not-quite-17th-C gunpowder homebrew setting I’ve been gradually putting together or more conventional early-20th-C pulp horror games. A good creepy alternative to the Cthuloid fishmen and such I already have!
All twelve figures laid out. The cutting mat is 1 inch/quarter-inch grid squares, for scale.
I’ll get this lot assembled, based, and primed over the next few weeks; painting should be pretty short and sweet if I follow the KS paint scheme!
The figures themselves are nice and clean, minimal mold lines and flash. I have some concerns about attaching the horns on some of the figures and the arms on the one “Bellman”, but thick gel superglue and tiny bit of greenstuff should work OK to keep everything in place!
All twelve figures based and assembled.The right half – the Bear far right, Death and the two Straw Children across the front, Roga, the Cow, and the Horse across the back, R to L.Left half – Ooser, Sixhorn, Horse, and Cow across the back L to R, the two Bellmen, Bezub, and the two Straw Children L to R across the front.
Finally finished the sixteen English Civil War 28mm figures from Bloody Miniatures’ Release 1, The Company of Wolves. I did mine up a bit plainer than the painted examples on the company website, modelling them mostly after some of the county/semi-rural troops from the ECW with mostly plain grey/white jackets (unbleached, undyed wool cloth) or buff coats.
I ordered these back in March 2021 when these sixteen figures were the entirety of BM’s offerings; Releases 2 and 3 are now out, each sixteen figures in four packs of four, and Release 4 is due out sometime soon (September 2022, likely) and includes their first armed female figures!
The Company of Wolves has four figures with polearms, four dismounted cavalrymen, four pistoleers, and four with sword or sword & dagger. Scale-wise they’ve been deliberately designed to fit alongside Warlord, TAG, and Bicorne’s existing ECW figures and they do that very nicely.
Sculpting and casting are very clean, minimal mold lines or flash and no slipped molds or other casting errors.
Although I’d call my paint job workmanlike and table-ready rather than inspired, these are lovely figures, each one an individual with good levels of detail.
One thing that deserves special mention is how well the polearms fit into the open hands of their figures – open hands and weapon options are often a source of frustration and more of a nuisance than they’re worth with metal figures (and sometimes even with plastics!) but these four (sold as The Forlorn Hope) all fit their weapons and hands together amazingly well. No weird gaps around the hands/weapon hafts, no serious issues fitting them in place, and they look good without need gaps filled with greenstuff or other serious intervention! Nicely done to BM’s sculptor and caster on that front!
I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Release 4 mostly for the armed ladies, which basically nobody else makes for 17th C gaming, but I’ll be getting the full set of sixteen as everything Bloody Miniatures has done is well worth it. I will likely even go back and order their previous releases, even though I have more than enough ECW/TYW character figures for skirmish gaming!
It’s been a bit of an odd year for gaming, I’ve been having fairly regular games but not painting or building things on a consistent basis.
Obviously I’ve been very lax about updating the old blog but I have gotten a few bits and pieces done since the last update here at the end of February!
Gaslands buggy and dirtbike, from the plastic Implements of Carnage II set.
Sometime earlier this year I assembled and painted up this pair of little Gaslands vehicles, both from the North Star Implements of Carnage II plastic sprues. Both very cool Hot Wheels-scaled (20mm, nominally) little vehicles of a type that (unlike normal cars) you can’t easily get commercially.
Buggy and bike heading the other way.
By way of a mini review, I’d say buy Implements of Carnage II if you’ve already gotten into Gaslands, want the specific two vehicles on it, and probably already have the Implements of Carnage I set, which has lots of regular weapons, armour plates, and other bits that are more useful for converting Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars than what comes on the 2nd set!
There’s no instructions included with the sprues. The dirtbike is three pieces and goes together easily; the buggy is a bit more complicated but some test fitting should show you how it assembles. There’s two pieces of armour plate designed to go on either side that I’ve left off mine – they cover the sides of the roll cage either side of the driver.
More soon as I sort photos and try to get back into the swing of active gaming and blog posting!
For my naval gaming I knew I needed a proper mat eventually; I thought about doing up a sheet of grey felt with spraypaint and such, but then I found the Cold Waters mat from Cigar Box Battles and figured it was worth the investment.
A lot of mats are designed for Mediterranean or tropical games (pirates!) or the Pacific and are way too blue or blue/green for the North Sea or English Channel where all of our WW2 small boat stuff has taken place so far. The Cold Waters mat is described as “the perfect mat to use with your North Sea WW1 Jutland fleets” and the colour looked good, so I decided to order it.
I ordered the mat February 1st and it showed up on the 20th from wherever it is in the US that Cigar Box Battles are based. I didn’t get a shipping notification or tracking number, oddly, which I was expecting given the cost of the thing. No matter, it made it, and a three week turnaround is good in normal circumstances, nevermind our current COVID-FUBAR’d postal mess!
A portion of the mat spread over one end of my dining room table. You can see the colour variation and nicely consistent whitecaps really well here. Click for larger.
Honestly the mat looks even better in person than in the photos on the Cigar Box website. The colour varies randomly across the mat from quite a dark blue to a lighter grey-blue, with whitecaps across it in the fairly consistent pattern you’d expect. There’s no obvious repeats of the pattern created by lazy graphic design, which is definitely not the case with some of the other sea mats out there.
Closeup with a couple of my 1/1200 WW2 coastal boats and one of my coast segments. It looks bluer in closeups. Click for larger.
The mat is a lightweight fleece blanket material and only printed on one side, which is fine. The fabric has a bit of a shine to it, again just fine on a seascape, and just a bit of fleece fuzz texture. It lays nicely flat, no curling at the corners or edges, and the creases you can see in the photos are about the largest on the whole thing right now. I’ll iron it eventually, and then store it either rolled around something or crumpled up loosely so it doesn’t get long straight creases in it again.
I think it’ll stand up to years of gaming use, and according to Cigar Box it’s washable in case someone does spill on it once in-person gaming is a thing again.
Middle distance shot. I’ll probably iron it to get the storage and transport creases out, then store it either crumpled up or rolled around something to avoid future creases. Click for larger.
The mat has fairly flat seams along each edge; if you were laying several out overlapping the ridge along the edges wouldn’t be too disruptive even with small ship models. It’s advertised as “4 x 6 Plus” which I think means it’s four to six inches bigger than that in each direction; I’ve not actually bothered to measure yet.
Absolutely a good value and solid looking product, with good shipping times. I’m not sure when I’ll next need a mat for something else, but Cigar Box will be on the shortlist if and when I do!
I’ve talked up Rain City Hobbies on this blog before, but only for their very nice grass and flower tufts. They also do a huge range of resin bases, but because I rarely use elaborate complex bases they’ve not interested me much.
I do own a few of their resin bases, however, picked up from the “production seconds by weight” bin sold by Rain City at gaming conventions. (remember gaming conventions from the Before Times? I miss them…)
Needing a distraction from current events I decided to paint up the biggest of these, an elaborate ruined temple base nearly the size of a CD, their Huge Ruined Sanctuary insert. 120mm (~4 and a quarter inches, roughly) across, the production second one I have has nearly perfect molding of all the details, but it warped before the resin had fully cured so won’t lie flat.
The ruined sanctuary base all painted up. Click for larger.
I tried out a bunch of different stone painting techniques on this base and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The three big chunks of shattered statue were based in light tan, then progressively highlighted with whiter and whiter paints well diluted with glaze medium, which really got a translucent polished stone effect going.
The green arc and big green fragment were basecoated fairly dark green, then given marble-like veins with brighter greens, again well mixed with glaze medium. They got a good coat of gloss varnish, and then some highlighting with almost pure white.
The flagstones got basecoated with four or five off-white/tan shades, washed with GW Sepia and Earthshade washes, then highlighted with light tan and off-white. The tree roots are various shades of reddish brown.
The big base from the other side. Click for larger.
Because of the warp across the width, I’ll probably base this onto a larger piece of thin plastic, then use putty and then foliage to merge the lifted corners back into the base, making this look like a fragment that has been largely swallowed by forest or jungle.
I’ve also got a few more random bases I might finish up, and those three tan pieces to the right in both photos above are the Large Broken Statuary Base Accessories that I will be using either together with the big base or on their own as scenery elements. More on them in some future post when I get them finished.
Stay safe, stay home, try to get something creative done, mask up when required out in public, and better days (actual gaming conventions!) shall come again.
From the excellent people running Dark Fantastic Mills I purchased this Doomcap Shrooms Bundle earlier in the year. If you want to run fantasy games, you should, I think, have fantasy scenery. If you want to fight amongst perfectly ordinary trees, run a historical game, those are fun too.
Unpainted Doomcap Shroom bundle, photo from the Dark Fantastic Mills website. I believe that figure is on a 32mm base. Big fungus!
These mushrooms are all 3d printed in FMD; you can see some layering here and there, especially across the broad flat tops of some of the bigger mushrooms, but other than that they’re wonderfully sculpted and beautifully detailed pieces of scenery. And BIG – check out that roughly human sized figure in the Dark Fantastic Mills shop photo above!
With “fantasy scenery should look fantastic” in mind, I cut loose and did up this lovely batch of 3d-printed giant ‘shrooms (and their smaller brethern) in gloriously weird colours. Reds and purples and vivid blues and greens, all the colours I usually use sparingly here and there came out in force.
I started with a dark grey spray primer coat, then did a rough drybrush of pure white. All of the colours after that got cut at least 1:1 if not more with glaze medium, so the original drybrushing mostly showed through and the various colours layered and blended fairly smoothly. I’ve posted this link before, but go watch Dana Howl’s 24 minute intro to glaze medium on YouTube, it really has changed the way I paint and these giant mushrooms would have looked much less interesting without her influence.
Three of the DFM ‘shrooms and the smaller of the two scenic bases that come as part of the bundle. Click for larger.The larger of the two scenic bases, and three more of the big DFM shrooms. Click for larger.DFM shrooms on the left, as well as their mini-shrooms on the three mushroom thickets in the background. The foreground fairy ring features mushrooms from Bad Squiddo. Click for larger.The largest single piece in the DFM bundle is that huge multi-trunked shroom off to the left, which I still need to finish the base of. Largest scenic base in the foreground. Click for larger.
Some of the DFM shrooms still need another round of highlighting or glazing to finish them off, and the biggest one, the massive slope-topped multi-trunked one in the last photo, still needs it’s base finished, flocked and detailed.
I’m really pleased with these Dark Fantastic Mills ‘shrooms. The bundle isn’t cheap, but you get huge dramatic pieces of scenery for your money that really stand out on the table! Go check Dark Fantastic Mills out, they’ve really harnessed 3d printing to make scenery that couldn’t easily be made in other materials and their designs really are fantastic.
Painted this guy up fairly quickly over a couple of days, after getting it a few weeks ago from Forge of Ice. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the statue up in bare stone, painted, or a mix, but it wound up being mostly painted. Basecoat in black, and then lots of drybrushing in various tans up to a bit of pure white, and then I used inks and washes to add the colour while keeping the drybrushed highlighting visible.
Snake idol, front view. The base is about 1.5″ wide, and the whole thing is just under 2.75″ tall. Click for larger.
The final product looks like an ancient statue painted a very, very long time ago, which seems right for something either in a ruin somewhere or populating an unimaginably old Lost World temple complex!
Rear of the snake idol, nice sculpted folds in the hood and robe. Click for larger.
Closeup of the upper half of the snake statue, just for fun. Click for larger.
I also have this fun sabretooth tiger skin rug in progress, and I like the blends I’ve been getting so far on the fur, thanks partially to using glaze medium. Just a few details to finish up on this one.
Just the right decoration for a timetraveler’s study or somewhere in a Lost World. Forge of Ice sabretooth tiger skin rug! Click for larger.