Sunday, August 29, 2010


Flames of War released their new early war rule and army list book entitled Blitzkrieg this past week. Gordon from Adler Hobby is starting an escalation league at his store as soon as enough lead is made available for people to build their 600-point starting forces. Since there are some mid-war figures and vehicles that are valid for use during the early war period, some of us are getting a jump on things as we can and starting to work on our army lists and even painting up some figures and vehicles from the currently available choices. Those who choose to start with a core based on one of the already available boxed set are definitely getting the jump on the rest of us.

Gordon held an open house for the escalation league this past Saturday which I attended. I was able to pick up the new rule book and because Adler Hobby has such a huge stock of Flames of War figures I was even able to pick up two of the support platoons for my early war company which will be a Leichte Pionierkompanie (mechanized pioneer company). My other Flames of War force is my late war Finnish infantry company, so I wanted to choose something for early war that had more 'toys' in it. The mechanized pioneers have that in spades: light tanks, StuG A assault guns which are in early war nearly the Tiger is for mid-war, panzerJager SP AT guns, half-track mounted light AA guns, Stukas, 88s and a motorcycle infantry recon platoon. The only difficulty is choosing which toys to take! Well more on that after I finish my current WIP, a unit of 28mm AWI figures. Until then enjoy the photos below showing Gordon's excellent store and the new Blitzkrieg book cover. Note Adler Hobby has so much Flames of War stock I couldn't even get it all in one photograph!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

15mm Paint Shack Commission (2)

Kent over at the 15mm Paint Shack has posted another update on the commission job he's doing for me with photos of second completed pike block. I asked Kent for this block to look like less affluent working men with unbleached linen armor and plain colored tunics. I also asked for white shield foregrounds with red Macedonian stars. He's matched my request to the letter and done a fantastic job with the figures. I'm very excited to get these on the table. For more photos see Kent's blog using either of the links above.

Overnight Kent posted the last unit of my commission to his blog: a unit of 12 Xystophoroi cavalry. They're for my Attilid Pergamene alllies for my Roman army, but may also serve in a pinch in other roles. With their smart purple tunics they can easily pose as other companion type heavy lancers.

I've been very impressed at the quality of Kent's painting, the high level of communication and the attention to detail he's put into this job in regards to following my requests for uniform colors, etc. Money very well spent in my opinion. My current WIP is a unit of 28mm AWI figures. I've been working 10-12 hour days at work lately, including weekends, so I haven't had much time to work on them, but I hope that will change soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

15mm Paint Shack Commission

I had been corresponding with Kent over at the 15mm Paint Shack blog about doing some painting for me. After saving up some of my pin money I finally was able to send him a couple of pike blocks for my Seleucid FOG army and a unit of Xystophoroi cavalry for my Atillid Pergamene allies for my Roman army. Today when I logged in I noticed a new update on his blog with photos of the first completed pike block. To say I'm happy with the work would be a total understatement. These figures look FANTASTIC! No only are they exceptionally painted, but Kent has been fantastic in his communication and has fulfilled all of my requests and succeeded my expectations as far as the quality of his work is concerned. Well done Kent! I can't wait to see the second pike unit.

I've also been discussing having Kent paint up some 28mm AWI figures for me as a future commission. Kent offered to paint up a sample figure since I was already shipping figures to him. The figure I sent him is a 28mm British officer from Old Glory. Kent's blog entry included photos of the completed sample figure, one of which I've shown here. As you can see the "15mm Paint Shack" definitely isn't limited to 15mm painting. This figure is stunning. If you were considering sending your figures to China for painting, you might benefit from sending your figures to Kent in New Zealand instead.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Seleucid Elephants (2)

This is the second battle group of elephants I've painted for my Seleucid army. The first was posted in my first seleucid battle groups post. Since the first battle group was made from Essex figures, I thought it was a good idea to stick with fine Essex lead for this second battle group. Elephant models vary widely in size between manufacturers and I feared switching to another manufacturer would cause me problems with this.

This battle group has blue blankets on the elephants instead of the brick read blankets that the first group has. Other than that I attempted to keep the crew fairly similar on the off chance that I might want to field them as a group of four some time. This probably isn't advisable in Field of Glory, but could be desirable in other rule sets in the future.

I was suffering a touch of burn out when it comes to figure painting. Between my WWII Finnish project and getting ready for the huge Magnesia game, I put a lot more time in at the painting table this spring than I normally do. I've spent some time since then working on other aspects of this and my other hobbies to help cure that. Starting back at the painting table with this small battle group is my way of easing back into things. Next up on the painting table I think I'll do something else to spice things up. I'm not sure what quite yet. Possible some 28mm AWI, or WWI.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Miss Painting Group - Review

Some wargamers paint all of their figures, some purchase all of their figures already painted and some fall in between. I'm the latter. Even though recently I've been painting a lot more figures than I usually do, I've also been purchasing a lot of painted figures as well. The reason I've been purchasing more figures lately is because I feel there are a few vendors out there right now that are providing a good value for the money. For Napoleonics I've been very happy with GAJO and their grade 7 figures. For ancients I've purchased several quality units from Dragon Painting Service (DPS).

For those who purchase painted figures, Ebay is usually a frequent starting point. Recently I've been noticing a new vendor on ebay named 'Miss Painting Service' (MPS). At first I thought this might be another pseudonym for DPS, but upon further investigation I discovered that it was indeed a new vendor offering painted ancients miniatures. The good thing about this is  MPS is offering new ranges that fill in a lot of the gaps in the DPS range. Encouraged by this and seeing a unit I very much needed, I decided to give MPS a try and purchased the Xystophoroi unit pictured above. I don't usually post photos of purchased figures, but since MPS is a new option for other wargamers I thought there would be value in me posting a review of their service. Playing on their name I'm going to list some 'Hits' and 'Misses':

  • Painting quality is very high: Two-tone shading on tunic sleeves and capes. Dry-brushing on helmet feathers and beards. 
  • Weapons have shaped spear heads and made of steel/brass not lead
  • Fast shipping: I got confirmation of shipping the day after I placed my order and received my figures in under 2 weeks. 
  • Competitive pricing. I think figures of this painting quality are a good value at the price they're offered at. MPS offers figures at a price point that is very similar to DPS and GAJO.
  • Packaging could have been better. Although each stand was encased in a soft foam cell, the figures were larger than the foam area. I had 3 riders loose off their horses when my package arrived. All were un-damaged other than being knocked loose.
  • Horse equipment wasn't painted separately, but left the main horse color and highlighted by a wash. This might be a nit-pick as the end result actually looks good.
  • Basing isn't as good as DPS. My bases were textured with sand and decorated with static grass, but the base color of the sand was black. The only place with black dirt I know of is one beach in Hawaii. A quick dry-brush of brown or tan would have fixed this. Unfortunately after the fact the only remedy I had was to over-paint the whole base and static grass the whole stand. This wasn't that much of a hardship honestly as I do the same for DPS stands so that they match the rest of my army. Others who like the DPS basing might not like the MPS black base color as much.
  • My figures had some CA 'hazing' on the horses and weapons. It was obvious to me that these figures were assembled on a humid day. There was a very bad white  haze over the horses and weapons where they were glued on. Had I not known the easy fix for this I would have been severely disappointed. The easy fix was to simply brush on a light wash of clear acrylic medium. Sine it was just the horses I used my lightest figure wash I normally use for my painted figures, but a non-pigmented wash would also solve the problem.  Although this was a simple fix, I feel this problem with MPS is still a major concern. A professional painting company should know better, or should at least catch such problems and fix them before the figures go out the door.
My end conclusion is that I'm going to buy more figures from MPS. I will definitely keep an eye out on the CA hazing issue and also hope that they improve their basing process. Even considering these two issues I'm very happy with my purchase.  Below is a very close-up photo of the figures - click to enlarge.