Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Life in Ruins?

 As previously mentioned, I had been inspired by Derek Hodge's work here and had decided that as lovely as my Normandy scenery was looking it all looked a little too 'nice'. While Normandy is indeed very beautiful (a lot like Cornwall but with more interesting stuff to see), it didn't look quite as quaint once the war-waging nations of WW2 had thrown frankly enormous quantities of munitions at it for 3-4 months. What I set out to depict was something more akin to the look of Villers Bocage AFTER shots.

I gathered together all of the suitable ruins I'd had secreted away in the garage for over 5 years
My little hoard was going to be enough to enable me to put out a decent little ruined hamlet at least. There would be a total of 9 houses and a church. Pictured above are six multi-based houses from (which honestly could have been left as-is but I was aiming for an overall more unifying look), a single storey shell which came with a Jagdpanther kit by Battlefront & the small church donated by my mate Garry (manufacturer unknown). Added to these would be a pair of buildings from Tiger Terrain (I've heard a whisper that these may be making a return with a proper website soon!)
All the buildings were washed in soapy water then got a customary basecoat with Halfords Grey Primer.
I had a rummage in my bits box and turned up some old Missing Link craters and varying pieces of wall left over from when I built the in-tact versions. I scrubbed the grass scatter off the craters and cut fibre board bases for the varying groups of ruins.
Two of the now singly based Field Works buildings with Tiger ruined walls & ML craters.
Same combination. This time with a Tiger crater and the start of some home-made rubble .
Battlefront & FW buildings with Tiger walls and crater
FW buildings (from the multi-bases) Tiger walls & ML craters.
The two Tiger buildings with Landmark Low Walls & ML crater
I magnetised the roofs of these two building to prevent them wandering during games. I took the Dremel to the wall and spayed the inside of the downstairs of both buildings black before attaching them to their base. All of the items were fixed down with NO More Nails. The rubble was made by using Rich Clarke's mix of tile grout and PVA to make a fairly thick paste. Piling that around the buildings and craters before pushing in large pieces of Gale Force Nine rubble, some granulated drain pipe (available from Sgt.'s Mess) then varying grades of Talus (a form of lightweight railway ballast apparently) and finally sprinkling a layer of fine sand to marry it all together.

The church base after rubble and filler to the walls
 The next step was to base all of the buildings with a thorough coat of chocolate brown acrylic floor paint. This was a tip I was given by old pal Dave Bodley of Grand Manner. I must admit, they looked awful after the brown coat & I panicked a little that they were literally ruined!
Much happier after I'd added some colour!
Then began nearly three days of dry-brushing frenzy. Although I ended up using a palette of six different shades of stone and earth, the end result isn't that apparent in the photos. After looking very 'samey' initially, they really took on a more lively appearance after the grass was added.
The luckier side of the village!
That alley will no doubt make a great ambush point.
The not-so-lucky side.
The unluckiest place. That's SOME crater!
The whole bunch comfortably take up 2x3 feet square. Enough for CoC or IABSM.
I'm all together quite pleased with how they've turned out. I'm still going to add a little soot in the pock marks in the walls and may keep an eye out for any additional buildings to add while I'm at Derby show. I'm looking forward to giving them a run out in the next couple of weeks at a club night.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Best laid plans.......

Well, that was longer than anticipated!

I've been a tad tardy on the blogging front of late, but like a serene image of a swan on the river, there's plenty going on out of sight.

I could spout any number of excuses as to my lack of blogging. From the school holidays, the good weather, my wife taking some holiday etc. but to be honest, the single biggest factor has been.....
Welcome to our family Maya!
As I spend so much time alone, it had been decided that some company might be a good idea. In a stroke of good fortune, friends of friends were looking to re-home their 2 year old Husky/Staffy cross. I've discovered one of the most enjoyable aspects of dog ownership. There are a large number of wonderful walks ending in beer gardens locally!

Anyhow, back to hobby stuff. As I mentioned I'd not been idle.

First up I laid into my ever enlarging Sherman collection. I'd decided some time ago that as I had enough now I'd actually decal them up with specific unit markings.
Production line. Somehow a few Universal Carriers slipped in too!
I picked up 10 more Sherman II's for a bargain £20 on eBay. Although there's a leaning toward folks believing that all British late war Shermans were V's, the 4th & 8th Armoured Brigades were still equipped with large numbers of II's at the onset of the Normandy Campaign. I added in a couple of Sherman Ic 'Firefly's' to make up troops and a DD to support my paras in their early encounters.

The first four mark II's have been decalled as 4th with their black rat emblem. These would be handy for games in both Operation Epsom & Goodwood settings and they even supported Highland Division troops east of the Orne.

On that subject, the first six carriers also received decals for The Highland Division. The DD got a 'Pregnant Pilchard' (the seahorse emblem on 13/18th Hussars tanks) and large red turret numbers.

All the decals were again sourced from the excellent

Paul next door and me also started our new CoC At The Sharp End campaign (one for another post) between his TWO holidays in the last month!

With the lack of gaming, I've taken advantage to clear a project I've had lined up for some time. Having taken inspiration from Wee Derek's efforts, I dug out my collection of ruined buildings and set about creating the less picturesque side of Normandy. Pictures will follow.

I've also invested in a new project for CoC. A good deal of time has been spent trawling the interwebs sourcing new scenery, vehicles, a few figures, some Niiice buildings and even a TRAIN! for:
Go East young man!
Rumour has it a platoon (plus) of winter panzergrenadiers may have been painted too. Post to follow.

Finally, next Saturday sees another Wyvern Wargamers all-dayer where the members get the chance to set up a bigger game than on club nights and have at it for longer. I'm massively looking forward to this one as none other than Big Rich himself has accepted the invite to play (not umpire) in a game of 15mm Big CoC! I have the scenario in mind. There'll be five players in total. Yet ANOTHER blog topic for what promises to be a busy week.

The genie is out of the bottle!