Syrians and basing woes…

Have finally finished another Syrian unit and couple of HQ units. Have still to finalise a proper list to work to and add to the Painting Master Plan.

So, here are the chaps so far:

I finally finished off the Skytrex T-55s  by adding the HQ stand.


Next up was some GHQ BTR80PBs. These are lovely crisp little models and were a joy to paint. I went with the same basic sand on green pattern as above but will be doing some with the grey later.

The infantry are GHQ Soviets. They’ve come out a little dark and I may do the next lot differently. And the basing went wrong – see below.

 HQ stand, again with GHQ Soviet Infantry

I fear my basing mojo has deserted me. I knew I wanted to use the sand with crushed shells mix as is to speed up basing. I had done this with a few M48s (below) and was happy with it. However, when I came to do the T-55s I had forgotten that on the M48s I’d painted the base mid-brown first. So on the T-55s the various dark patches from the painting process showed through and made the whole lot darker. When I came to do the infantry I knew I had to paint the figure bases and I chose Vallejo Desert Yellow as I thought this would blend with the sand. As I knew I had to paint the bases anyway I just used this for the whole base as well. It was lighter than the mid-brown I use and consequently when the sand was applied that came out very light as well! It was a noticeable difference so I applied a thinned Sepia Wash to it and that has gone too dark. Not horrendously so but enough to be annoying!

The plus point is that the light colour will work really well for my WW2 Western Desert! I also decided that I like the dark brown edges from the MDF laser cutting. So I’m going to leave them as is. And I found that Vallejo German Camo. Black Brown is a good match when applied to existing bases!

All a bit frustrating really as I like to have a uniform look to them all but I suppose the ground colour is different in different parts of the Golan!

I’ve just acquired a few GHQ Italians at roughly half price on eBay so now have a good size force for my Western Desert project for next year.

Next up is some support weapon types, some AA assets and then some T-62s. And a CO stand. Then I should have enough for a wee game!

Battlegames Magazine RIP?

Found out today that Battlegames magazine is looking like discontinuing –  at least as a print magazine. Here’s the full announce from the Battlegames website:

I am sorry to inform you that following a review of the business, I am no longer able to proceed with further printed issues of the magazine in its current format.
It has become clear that for some time now, I have been subsidising the publication, which has been squeezed by increased print costs, increased competition in the wargames magazine market, substantially increased postage and distribution costs and now, a dramatic fall-off in advertisers. To incur further debt by proceeding to print at this point would be completely irresponsible. Whilst you have been patiently awaiting news of issue 27, I have been struggling to come up with solutions to the problem, but it is clear that no simple solution exists.
I blame no-one else for this situation and I apologise for failing you. Six years ago almost to the day, I made the decision to start a company in what I knew was a niche market, and I am proud of what I managed to achieve, but the blunt fact is that I should have recognised the writing on the wall sooner and am now in considerable financial difficulty as a result. I have been operating as a one-man-band in a precarious financial position from the outset, with no fall-back position, and I have paid the price. It is now imperative that I resume my former career in graphic and web design for the time being, as well as my new one in writing, in order to prevent complete financial meltdown.
I am conscious of the support and encouragement that I have had from so many of you over the last five years or more, and this is not a decision that I take lightly. As you know, Battlegames has been very much ‘my baby’ and I’m sure you can imagine my bitter disappointment, but facts are facts.
I am hoping that I can salvage something from the ruins and have already received a couple of suggestions that have potential merit, such as producing a high-quality quarterly journal without advertising, with a higher cover price to compensate for this, but of course it would be crucial that any future printed matter would have to be profitable to make it worthwhile. Producing Battlegames is a highly labour-intensive exercise, and I am no longer in a position to subsidise the publication in any way.
If sufficiently large numbers of current paper subscribers are willing to convert to the digital subscription, then it is possible that Battlegames might be able to live on in electronic format, again probably quarterly, with occasional printed ‘specials’ and additional e-publications of the kind I had been hoping to produce all along. However, I am aware that many of you are not keen on electronic formats, and I fully understand your position. After all, I started Battlegames so that I could have the *printed* magazine that I wanted. If a digital version of Battlegames were to become viable (at present, with just 150 digital subscriptions, it is not), then I would consider redesigning it to optimise the publication for on-screen viewing, taking into account the most popular methods of viewing digital content such as iPads and Kindles, as well as on PC or Mac screens.
Whilst I am sure there will be plenty of comments online over the next few days on TMP, WD3 and elsewhere, and I shall be issuing a press release along the lines of this email, I am so busy trying to deal with my predicament that I will not be able to respond on forums.
I fully understand that you are likely to be upset about this news but once again, I can only apologise and assure you that if it had been possible to continue Battlegames in its current form, then I would of course have done so.
Until I have had sufficient responses, I cannot yet determine the viability of continuing either in a revised printed format, or with a digital-only option, but I will of course keep you fully updated as soon as I have a clear idea of the response. I would urge you, if you have not already done so, to sign up for the email newsletter on the home page of the Battlegames website at which is by far the easiest, quickest and most cost-effective way for me to stay in touch with you.
Previous editions will, of course, remain on sale in the Shop here.
Thank you for reading what has been an extremely difficult message for me to write.
For me, this is very sad news. Henry has done an outstanding job over the last few years producing a quality mag in a very small market. It was the only magazine of the ‘big’ wargames mags that I read right through every issue. It’s the only mag that has a permanent place in the attic loo as I often re-read articles while ‘meditating’. It’s Old School credentials were often misleading as the content was wide and interesting to anyone in the hobby although I suppose the market was more of those among us ‘of a certain age’. There are often comparisons to the old Battle for Wargamers. Although the style, and quality were different, it was the ethos underlying them both, and I suppose a nostalgia for our wargaming past that drew us. I really am going to miss it if it doesn’t continue.
I wonder if the new Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy has had an affect on advertisers. It’s a quality mag, it’s in Smiths. There is only so much advertising to go round? Not sure really. There are so many factors involved in the current economic climate I think we’ll never know.
The plans for a digital version I will support. I would much prefer a printed copy but if I can’t have that I’ll have what I can get. I also hope that the removal of the allure of being seen ‘in print’ won’t impact on the supply of contributers. Irregular printed Specials are an option as well, or even a quarterly. I think it will take Henry a while to sort out his options, stabilise  his life/finances and come up with something. I’m sure he will, as his input to the hobby would be missed. Just take your time, Henry. We can wait.

Industrial Bits – Size matters again!

Michael over at Angel Barracks had mentioned that Timecast did a selection of Industrial Accessories for 6mm and 10mm and did I know how they scaled with various ranges. As I was after some MDF bases and some allotment pieces from them I decided to add a pack to my order. You can see what is in the pack here. And I’ve taken a few pics with what I had lying on the bench and with some of the SF I have done.

First up, with a GHQ T62, A GZG tank, some GZG Infantry (I think!) and at the back some Adler Dark Star infantry.

This is one of my based Adler infantry and I think he scales in quite well.

And this is against one of the Dark Realm Ramjacks that I know Michael uses in his FUBAR forces.

And against a ruler to get some scale.

It’s a nice little pack and for £3.50 is good value. The range of pieces you get is good and I’ll definitely be using them if – no, let’s be positive here – when I get my 6mm Modern buildings sorted!

I’m just finishing off a batch of Syrian BTR-60PBs. GHQ models that have been a joy to paint. So much detail there! I’ll try and get the infantry done this weekend and then decide what extras I’m putting on the HQ stands.

October Update 4 – Size matters….

This post is mostly about the first few Syrians I’ve finished, a few issues re basing and my quandary over using GHQ or not!

First up, Syrians. I’ll be expanding the Syrian part of my updated Painting Master Plan soon but to start I went for a batch of T-55s. These are Skytrex models and I’ll be discussing the choice more below but here they are anyway:


I did a little Googling around camouflage and as far as I can see pretty well anything goes! Vehicles supplied in original Russian Green and then painted by each unit. Although the light sand and light grey patterns were preferred a unit could just have sand stripes, blotches, big stripes and with the grey sometimes added as well. And some vehicles stayed in the Russian Green! So plenty of variety possible. These are painted White, then Russian Green, then Pale Sand patches applied, then Sepia Wash, then Pale Sand highlight – all Vallejo Model Color. I then added a three letter arabic number and white stripe and a couple of coloured markings on the front. Just enough to give a little contrast.

As my IDF were bought based with ‘real’ sand I quite liked the look so decided to stick with it. And also because I don’t want to re-base the IDF! I’d done some sample IDF of my own to compare with an M3 AA:

But I’d forgotten that for these I’d painted the bases light brown first. The edges were left a plain MDF and sanded a little to smarten up. When I did the Syrians I forgot that the sand would not cover the green and brown splodges all over the base from the painting process – I stick them to their base to paint. This meant that the sand came out a little darker and also the splodges showed through a little even with two layers of sand. Not a disaster but annoying. I also left the new bases with their laser cut burnt brown edges.

I don’t want to have to sand all the edges off but I’m not sure whether to leave them like that, do the IDF a similar colour, or paint ALL the bases a consistent mid/light brown? We shall see.

Now, on to the GHQ quandary. I’ve touched on this before but to recap, pretty well all the IDF I bought are GHQ and very nice models they are too. Now my experience with the few GHQ I’ve had for my other Moderns is that they are noticeably bigger than other 1/300th ranges (as you would expect 1/285th to be) but when I compare the GHQ T-55 with the Skytrex ones there was negligible difference and for the difference in price the Skytrex model is simple but quite nice.

I’ve compare other models. The GHQ T-62A versus the Skytrex T-62:


My understanding is that the GHQ models is considered too long anyway but there is not a lot of difference. I also compared a GHQ BTR-60PB and an Heroics and Ros BTR-70:

Now I have compare a GHQ T-80 ERA with an H&R similar and the GHQ is way bigger. So, is it all down to which models you compare? Is there a variation in the accuracy of the scale of some GHQ models?

Having finally taken the plunge for some GHQ I am very impressed with the quality of the sculpts and the casting. Excellent detail. No flash. But are they worth the extra? In a lot of ways I think yes. But where I’m going to need a LOT of T-55s and T-62s I will be going the Skytrex route!

October Update – Part 3

Bit of a quiet night. Kids in bed. Wife in Manchester. Had thought of heading to attic but by the time kids were settled, I’d eaten and then tidied up, it’s really too late. And as I have to do battle with the kids in the morning I’m intending to head to bed.

So, purpose of update. Well, I’ve added three red boxes to the ‘Plan’ on the right! Although I may still dabble with additions, the core are done. Been reading up on Yom Kippur so that will be seeing some blog time over the next few weeks.

I’ve also looked into sabot bases for the 6mm SF infantry. Partly to make movement easier, partly to facilitate use in other rules systems. The ever helpful Martin at Warbases put together a sample.


These fit the tiddlywink counter bases I’ve used fine. I do have some 15mm MDF rounds as well but the tiddlywinks with the stuck on steel strip are a little heavier and maybe more stable. The sabot is done with 2 x 2mm MDF which does make them a little think for 6mm. Martin did my Grande Armee bases using 1mm MDF that I sourced so I may ask him if he can do these with that if I send him a sheet. Either way, excellent service again from Warbases.

Inspired by Angelbarracks (again!) I have just ordered some of the Armstrong Models stowage packs to add to various 6mm vehicles. It really seems to ‘add’ to a model so my Syrians/Israelis may start looking ‘well travelled’!

And yet again, I put off the September Wargaming Neutral summary. Just too scared to tally up the figures!

More to follow…

Musings of an easily distracted wargamer