Santa brought me Axis and Allies Europe and Pacific 1940!!!

Happy Holidays everyone!  I hope the season has been cheerful and you are ready for a great new year.  I also hope that Santa has been good to you...  while I didn't get any miniatures, books, paints, etc. I did get a good surprise that I'm quite happy with:  "Axis and Allies Europe 1940" and "Axis and Allies Pacific 1940".  These are essentially the latest versions of the Axis and Allies line of board games - but on steroids.

First off, I spent Christmas up in the mountains.  The wife, kids, and I were all happy and surprised to wake up to a White Christmas...  a surprise snow storm had blown in the night before and dropped a few inches that we were able to play in.

Living in Arizona, I don't consider myself an expert in heating (furnaces, space heaters, wood stoves) as I've never had much use for it.  However, with the temperatures dropping to around 4 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 C) I had to learn quickly.  I think my wife was quite impressed that I was able to get such a hot fire going :)

On account of the cold weather, I had a perfect opportunity to crack open my gifts from Santa.  I have to admit that I am pretty impressed with the quality of these board games.  All of the represented nations (US, UK, Germany, Franch, Italy, USSR) have their own sculpted miniatures with the exception of France; you can easily tell what the sculpted variants are.  The counters, manual, and storage boxes, etc. should hold up just fine over time.

And here is the Pacific board that comes in the Pacific 1940 game.  There is lots of space in that big ol' Pacific.  China and ANZAC are represented as well.

One of the reasons that Wizard of the Coast (Avalon Hill?  Hasbro?  Who knows...) created this series was so the two stand-alone games could be combined into a single "Global" game.  I have to admit, for a board game it is pretty large!  The picture below shows it sitting on my table that is about 6 feet long...  I have not played the Global game yet, but I imagine it will be a big undertaking.

I did manage to setup and play the Europe game for a few turns before we had to take it down so we could eat dinner.  I definitely recommend that you use a dedicated table so you have time and space to play.  The mechanics are pretty simple and easy to grasp and there is enough complexity to allow a lot of diversity in strategy.  My kids enjoyed it and my wife has committed to playing another game on New Years Eve (yay!).

Overall these are both pretty cool board games and I'm excited to get a little more use out of them.  Thanks Santa :)

Amazon has both the Europe 1940 and Pacific 1940 available for free shipping.  As of this writing, it seems that several places have sold out of the Europe edition (it's popular I guess).  Be sure to look for "Second Edition" as it has some updated rules and playing pieces.

Never before seen! New color archival photos of the Bismarck.

Well...  these aren't exactly archival photos of the actual Bismarck.  But they are color and until today they have never been seen before :)  German color photos during the War had a characteristic yellow hue to them, so I thought I'd have a little fun with my miniature photos.

And again in black and white...

Here is the original photo.  This is the GHQ 1/2400 Bismarck; this was my first time painting a German warship.

One more, top down.

And lastly, the obligatory coin and push pin photo.  No matter how many GHQ miniatures I paint, I'm always amazed at the small size and the detail.

Thanks for looking.


GHQ 1/2400 Japanese Carriers - Kaga, Zuikaku, and Hiyo

It has been far too long since my last real post...  sorry about that.  I certainly have had miniatures on my brain but things have been incredibly busy at work.  I got my first breather this week and I spent some time working on some IJN Carriers.

Kaga.  I'm happy with how things turned out except I wish I had done the deck slightly darker...  something I'll fix the next time I paint a Kaga :)

Zuikaku and Hiyo.  Not bad for my first deck camo I guess, although there are some things I would change here as well.

Tiny, tiny, tiny...

Comments and feedback are appreciated :)


GHQ 1/2400 Akagi and Lexington

Hi All!  I just wanted to post a few pictures of some recently completed 1/2400 miniatures:  the IJN Akagi and the USS Lexington (CV-2).  Overall, I enjoyed painting these...  although the Akagi deck markings were a major PITA.  I sure wish there was a company that produced ready-made deck decals (especially white stripes!).  I ended up creating my own decals on my inkjet printer and they turned out ok...  it just took a lot of trial and error.

These are currently for sale on eBay:

At any rate, here are the photos:

GHQ 1/2400 Kirishima and Arizona

This weekend was my first chance in quite awhile to get some painting done and post new pictures.  Continuing with my recent surge of interest in the Pacific Theater, I have painted up some GHQ 1/2400 Naval miniatures.  The detail on these are excellent (of course, it's GHQ) although they were a little fiddly to put together...  I wanted to jump out the window while putting the Akagi together.  At any rate, here are a few photos:

Above:  Kirishima

Above:  USS Arizona

I even managed to finish painting a platoon of T-34's!  Due to back problems, I'm not able to sit and paint as long as I used to...  as a result these T-34's are painted using my new "fast" style painting method.  Essentially I leave out some of the details and weathering so the process is faster :)

And on request...  a photo to show scale.

Hope you enjoy, feedback appreciated.


Movie Review: Letters from Iwo Jima

I'm not really a qualified movie critic, so this isn't so much a review as it is my personal opinions.  I recall the original release of "Letters from Iwo Jima"...  not because it was nominated for some Academy Awards, but because there was a lot of controversy around it's content.  I'm not much for controversy, so I watched it with an open mind and I won't address any of those points of dispute (it's not my place).

I thought Letters from Iwo Jima was an excellent movie and I really enjoyed it.  I think it's strongest point was the humanity that it brought to the Japanese armed forces in World War II.  Don't get me wrong, there was still a lot of things that occurred that were in-humane...  but you really grasp the fact that the Japanese soldiers had hopes, dreams, families, fears, etc.  In numerous ways, they were just like their enemies.  Many of them had no say in the decision to fight.

The movie really made me reflect on that human aspect and wonder why wars begin in the first place.  Studying World War II, it's easy to get caught up in all the weapons and killing and that aspect takes on a distant and unrealistic quality.  When you watch a movie like this, you really remember that it was awful and the real cost in the end.

If any of you have forgotten this movie was around (like me) and have never watched it, I highly recommend it.  I haven't seen "Flags of Our Fathers" yet because it's not available on Netflix (where I watched "Letters") and it's not available on Amazon streaming.  Anyone have feedback on "Flags"?  Is it just as good?

The Soundtrack is highly recommended as well...  somber yet powerful.  It helps set the tone for the movie for sure. Check it out below.


To Hell and Back...

This past weekend I had an experience that wasn't really World War II or Miniatures related...  but because I'm so obsessed with World War II History, that's all that was going through my mind.  I had a Kidney Stone.

Maybe I'm just being a baby, or perhaps I have low tolerance for pain...  but this kidney stone was the absolute worst pain I have ever had.  It was so incredibly painful I was delusional and on the edge of consciousness.  As I was laying in an emergency room hospital bed, I was begging the nurse to give me something for the pain.  Her response was "Try to relax, we'll get you some Morphine."

Now...  I've never had Morphine before, but immediately scenes of Saving Private Ryan started flashing through my head.  In a delusional state of mind, I started thinking about wounded servicemen during WWII and pondering if the Morphine injections they received really worked as fast as the movies portrayed.

I did not receive a syrette injection like those in World War II (pictured above); they gave me mine through an i.v. drip.  But, it IMMEDIATELY relaxed me the moment it went in.  It took about 5-10 minutes to take full effect; and after the addition of another painkiller (can't recall it's name) I was comfortable and almost pain free.

I have the deepest and most sincere gratitude for those men and women who have been wounded or died in the defense of our freedoms and liberties.  I also applaud those war-time medics who had to deal with the unenviable task of attending to those in pain.  While my kidney stone can never compare to what they experienced...  I now have a much greater appreciation for their sacrifices.

15mm Plastic Solder Company Platoons Finished!

I've finally finished 2 15mm platoons - both intended to represent Kursk or there about.  Here are some photos...

Always use a booth and mask when airbrushing!

I was just cleaning up my painting room a bit and realized that I needed to change the filter on my airbrush booth.  I use a small portable booth that isn't as powerful as some of the others I've tried in the past but it's been great for storage.  Considering it's slightly under powered, I also use a nice respirator mask that filters out things like spray paint vapors.  Almost all of the paints that I use are labeled as "non-toxic" but the filter below is a great example of why you should always protect your breathing when you airbrush; even if you're using Acrylic paints that you might think are innocuous.

Here's a close up...  the first thing my wife said when I showed her the used filter was "imagine that stuff collecting in your lungs".  Airbrush booths can be a little pricey (even my cheap portable one was over $100); but in my opinion they are more than worth the price.  At the very least, you should always be sure you're using a respirator.

Just a few hobby thoughts...  happy painting.


The Plastic Solder Company 15mm Panther - I love it!

I haven't had a chance to paint many miniatures from The Plastic Solder Company (PSC), but if you've read any of my previous posts with their miniatures you'll know that I am a fan.  They are accurate, they provide different variants on the sprue, and they are cheaper than Battlefront 15mm miniatures (why pay more for an inferior product?)

This past month I picked up several new 15mm boxes from PSC - Panzer III, IV, Panthers, Sdkfz 251's, StuG, and infantry.  They are all great kits in my opinion, but I particularly like the Panther so I thought I'd share a few photos.  DISCLAIMER:  I wanted to try the clean and "fresh off the line for the Kursk Offensive" style of painting so there are no chips, scrapes, or mud on these tanks.

Yep, 15mm (1/100)...  the stowage on the back are a few spare pieces from the sprues and some tissue paper.  I love the effectiveness and ease of non-toxic plastic cement!

The details are sharp and accurate; the tracks went together perfectly.  There were almost no mould lines (except on the 75mm barrel) this is such a wonderful thing to me as I hate cutting, sanding, and filing down the resin and white metal on other manufacturers vehicles.

For a perfect, smooth, and silky primer coat I sprayed Vallejo's Dunkelgelb Acrylic-Polyurethane "Surface Primer" through my airbrush.

I applied a basecoat of Vallejo Middlestone (882); since the primer coat was close in color I was able to get by with minimal spray.  I then applied a couple of increasing highlights by adding white to the basecoat.  This was then sealed with Testors Glosscote and a mixture of Vallejo Black and Brown wash was applied to the cracks, seams, rivets, and hatches.

Lastly, I painted the tools, stowage, and tracks; the turret numerals are Dom's Decals 15mm.  Everything was sealed with a couple of layers of Testors Dullcote.  It was nice not to worry about the usual chips and mud and I really like the resulting look.  I'm working on the final two vehicles and when I'm finished I should have a nice platoon of Panther D's.

Let me know what you think...  Like?  Don't Like?


Zvezda 1/144 Aircraft - IL-2 Sturmovik

I can't believe that it's been so long since I've posted anything worthwhile...  life has been plenty busy.  A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated the day of my birth and picked up a couple of new toys as a little gift to myself:  Zvezda 1/144 Aircraft and Plastic Soldier Company Panzers.

I want to take a few minutes and share some photos of the Zvezda IL-2 Sturmovik and some photos.  To sum it up, I think they are a good buy and worthwhile...  although not perfect.

Each box comes with an aircraft sprue and a cheap little stand.  The aircraft parts fit together fine and are actually quite easy to assemble.  They are solid and should hold up fine to the rigors of miniature wargaming.  I have only two complaints:

1.  The propellers are flimsy and I opted for clipping them off
2.  Mould lines run right down the top of the fuselage and are dang near impossible to remove cleanly.  I'm going to do my best to integrate them into the paint scheme rather than remove them.

The aircraft stand is useless in my opinion except for maybe a temporary stand.  I plan to replace them with a "Flames of War approved" type flight stand (if anyone knows a good source for these stands please let me know).  The best part about these aircraft is I got them for $3.49 each (nice!).

The aircraft seem to hold paint just fine as you can see.  The photo shows a "Work in Progress" model so please don't snicker at the glossy finish :)  It will be weathered and matte finished soon.  The box does come with decals but I used some from I-94 as the included decal quality was just average.

Here's the underbelly...  you can see the mould line running lengthwise down the fuselage if you look closely.  I also picked up some Ju-87's at the same time and they are of similar quality (pictures to come).  In summary, I think these are a good option for Flames of War Aircraft, especially at $3.49 a-piece.  The quality is so-so but personally I would choose these over Battlefront made aircraft.

Finished photos to come...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...