Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Bit About Me

(As if this blog isn’t already all about me…)

Just about six years ago I started this blog. Now, according to Blogger, this is the 1000th post (assuming I haven’t deleted any along the way… which I might have… I can’t remember…). Since Blogger started keeping stats for me in July of 2008 There have been nearly 350,000 pages views and there are now nearly 400 public followers (Really!? Who ARE all of you!?). For the record, the most popular pages have been A Ranger and a Mage Walk into a Forest… (with 1678 hits -1200 of them were in the first couple days of posting it. I have no idea why it got so many… Someone, somewhere with a LOT more followers must have linked to it), The DPM Painting Tutorial (with 1639 hits  - I’d really like to do more stuff like this… it’s just so… time consuming!?), Vietnam in 28mm (with 1204 hits), the very out of date (and no longer “complete”) 28mm Moderns Complete! (with 955 hits), and King of the Hill (with 520 hits).

Anyway, it’s been a lot of fun sharing my hobby with you all and I greatly appreciate all the feedback, comments, and encouragement.

This year I turned forty. I celebrated by hosting a DBA Campaign - something I’ve wanted to do for over twenty years. AT this point I’ve been gaming with miniatures for nearly 30 years.

It all started with a few Ral Partha fantasy minis for D&D. It was the minis that drew me to the game. Not so much the monsters but the medieval-looking knights in armour. The first actual miniature wargame rules I owned was Battlesystem for AD&D – though I never was actually able to play it, really. I think I soloed a few games with the cardboard counters that came with the game. I was never able to convince anyone else to play the game with me or amass enough minis to make a unit. But it has always been a megalomaniac dream of mine to play a character that (or run a campaign wherein characters) starts off as lowly men-at-arms or whatever and rises to commanding armies and carve out a kingdom by their own hand…

Later I picked up a handful of sci-fi figures and modern-ish figures for Traveller and Top Secret. I always wanted to track down a copy of Striker, but was never able to.

The first real miniature battle game I bought and started building armies for was Warhammer Fantasy Battle (3rd Edition). I had Orcs at first (mostly Ral Partha – this was before anyone really cared who made your minis and other manufacturers minis were even pictured in the WFB books!). Later I built an Empire Army (which was mostly Citadel historical minis) and then a Bretonnian army.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The earliest pictoral evidence of my hobby, circa 1989. Teh original photos are actually in black and white - I didn't do that in an image editing program to make it look "old". I was taking a Journalism class in high school and we did a photography section and shot B&W film. That's my first "real" historical unit. An Indian colonial unit. Looks like some Naval Brigade with them. Probably Ral Partha. I'd started building units hoping to play some colonial actions using The Soldier's Companion from GDW's Space 1889.

Some GW townscape buildings in the background. Some Rafm British...

My painting desk looking about as messy then as it does now. Some things never change. Old School Land Raider.... Minifigs Zulus... Paranois Robots... Call of Cthulhu Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath... British Camel Corps... Many of those I still have. Some I wish I still had.

I think there's some Blood Bowl guys in there too... Adeptus Titanicus Titans.... DArk Future Cars... Polly S and Ral Partha paints... 

I had a stab at running a few campaigns – mostly they fizzled very shortly after starting, mostly due to guys who were much cleverer than me at figuring out how to break the point system contained in that initial volume. None of the books that followed (Warhammer Armies, Realms of Chaos, etc.) seemed to help… By the time the Fourth Edition came out (the first boxed set with plastic minis) I was ready to pack it in.

That's Mikey K in the background, so his elves must be on the table. This may have been during the last attempt I made to run a WFB campaign - using the original Mighty Empires - we shared a border with Jay V's undead realm.

My Bretonnians readying for some epic battle against Jay's undead.

Me and the Bretonnians in John Burt's basement. 

Along the way I’d played a lot of Blood Bowl (2nd Edition) and Battletech - which I had a lot of painted minis for. I also picked up a lot of Rafm’s French and Indian Wars figures, and some Wargames Foundry English Civil War figures, and later a few colonial minis, but was never able to find anyone interested in playing such things with me so I didn’t do much with them… 

I think we played some Retinue for a bit with our warhamer figures (which worked out as mine most of mine by this time were Wargames Foundry Medieval/100 Years War figures…). We also played a bit of Rogue Trader with whatever we had… While I did have a handful of Eldar and Space Marines, I also remember games involving Egyptian colonials and fantasy figures…

Then DBA came out. this was the first historical game I was able to get other people excited about. Probably because it required so few figures to be painted. The first army I built was a Later Achemenid Persian army for a planned Alexander the Great Campaign. My friend Cory picked up Scythians, Mikey K, I think, had Thracians, John was to do the Greeks… I can’t remember who was doing the Macedonians…? Jay…? And maybe Tod D. was going to do Indians? I think I was the only one that ever fully painted an army. I played a fair few games with Cory and Mike – with their bare metal armies (I think Cory eventually painted a few of his…). I know John BOUGHT a few figures for his army… but never took them out of the packs…

At some point Cory, Mike and I replaced our armies with 15mm versions… and picked up a few others… and then everybody went their separate ways. I didn’t do much gaming for a few years. No one to game with – or at least no one with an opposing army.

Somewhere in there, half a lifetime ago now,  I joined the army…

A leaner meaner Tim, 20 years ago, attempting to strike a heropic warrior pose, or something... 

That's me in that NBCD suit.

Me again, some days later, less enthusiastic about living in a bunny suit for days...

Hero Pose of me and my camouflaged truck.

20 May 1992 Wainwright, Alberta - I fell asleep some time in the morning. I think it was the first time I'd slept in days. It was bitterly cold and had been pissing down rain for I don't know how long. fell asleep listening to the pitter patter of rain on the canvas above me... I woke up some hours later and the pitter patter had stopped  and I thought to myself "Thank goodness for that" I opened the tent to the scene above. I may have screamed....

Around the turn of the millennium I got back into gaming – building some new DBA armies and this time building two (and later more) opposing armies, so I’d never be left high and dry if an opponent moved away… not that I HAD any opponents. I picked up a few other odd things here and there. Tried out Stargrunt II and Dirtside II. I played the latter with homemade tanks made of bits of wood and toothpick or finishing nails. Both of which I really liked, but again, could never find players. I always wanted to try out  Full Thrust - but was never able to track down a copy.

Then I met John Bertolini by chance. I was working in a magazine store and he came in a bought a copy of Miniature Wargames – which usually, at the end of each month, I stripped off the cover and took home for myself!? Finally I’d found someone else whose primary interest was HISTORICAL miniature gaming! We played some Russo-Japanese War games with rules he’d just made up.

These are actually some pictures John's wife Amy took of our very first game. We are using some of John's fabulous collection of homemade Russo-Japanese War figures.

John took the Russians and I took the Japanese. I think I scared the willies out of him (and I'm sure he was wondering if he'd invited a madman into his house) as every time I had a remotely successful dice roll I threw my hands up in the air and yelled "BANZAI!!!" (I think I'd recently read Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen).

Japanese cavalry advancing to the front in column! 

I have no idea who won... as is the case with most games I've played with John. Dice were rolled. Fun was had. I got to yell "BANZAI!!"

We tried some Seven Years War games using something based on DBA. We’ve since played more than a few games of Ever Victorious Armies and Contemptible Little Armies and more games that he’s made up.

Later I dragged him out to play some WW2 games a long with another new friend, “Other Tim” (Tim Miller), then owner of Reader’s Bookshop Saskatoon. We tried out a number of different WW2 games (first with 20mm/1:72 plastic, and later 15mm): Tactical Commander, a Warhammer 40K WW2 variant, WRG’s Armour and Infantry, some super simple skirmish rules published in an old Wargames Illustrated, Crossfire, and finally Flames of War.

I ended up running a few Flames of War leagues before burning out and tiring of the warhammer style play… and around that time I started this blog… You can go back and read the blog to see what sort of shenanigans I’ve been up to since.

Hmmmm… this has turned into a History of Tim’s Gaming Shenanigans… originally when I sat down to type this I’d thought I do more of a What I Do When I’m Not Painting Toys and Playing Games….

So when I’m not painting toys and playing games and blogging about it I’m an artist and a dad. I’m also a bike riding fool. There’s blog about that nonsense too, if you haven’t found them:

But given how much I get around to posting on those blogs, it is pretty clear what my one true passion is…

I also have a separate blog for Savage Worlds:

Sometimes I’m not entirely sure why I have a separate blog for that. I think it’s because I was planning to chronicle role-playing campaigns there and wanted to keep THIS blog strictly about Miniature Wargaming. The lines between “role-playing” and “miniature wargaming” have always been pretty fuzzy for me though… I’ve always used miniatures in my role-playing games and I’ve always maintained that the very best miniature wargames are when the players are “role-playing” the commander of the troops on the table (rather than a lawyer representing them in a case to determine a BEST WINNER!).

I’ve done many other things in my life. I’ve worked in a few game stores The Wizard’s Corner (Saskatoon’s first game store) and later Collector’s Edge. I worked in a magazine shop (Empire Magazines) and a record store (Vinyl Diner CDs and Records). I’ve also worked as a security guard, a bike courier, an army reserve radio operator, a carpenter, a bicycle mechanic…

I briefly attended university on two occasions. First majoring in Physics, the second time Studio Art. I never completed a degree. Meh. 

Um…. Is there anything else you want to know? Ask now! Or should I just shut up and get on with the posting of more pictures of toys and battle reports?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I thought I’d clear off the game table and do a bit of a stock taking and post pictures of my entire collection as it stands right now… Stay tuned for that! I’ve also been working on some new cheap and nasty modern buildings for modern skirmish gamin’ - Force on Force, Superheroes, Zombies, whatever… 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monks, Marines, and Menacing Mammals!

An odd assortment of things rolling off the workbench this weekend…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

Monks from Black Tree Design

Command section for my USMC Platoon from Empress Miniatures. The figures are listed as “Army”, but I’ve  painted them in MARPAT to use as Marines. I’m not sure how different their kit is otherwise… There’s some minor differences in the figures. Not sure if that’s actually a difference in the cut of the uniform, etc or just style of sculpting… Regardless, they’re “close enough” for my purposes.

EOD team from the same.

For comparison, here are some of the Empress Miniatures with some of the Eureka Miniatures I already have:

From left to right: Empress, Eureka, Empress, Eureka, Empress, Eureka, Empress, and Eureka

And a comparison shot with some other Modern Americans. From left to right: Empress, Devil Dog Design, Eureka, Gripping Beast, Empress, The Assault Group, Devil Dog Design, and Empress

Not really a Marine… He could be a Future/Space/Colonial Marine -  like the ones from Aliens (which this chap is clearly inspired by)? … Anyway… the figure is an old Grenadier Model. This line is currently available from EM4 Miniatures. I have a handful more of  these I’d like to get painted up for Tomorrow’s War.

And the most fearsome creatures I have painted in a long time…

Fluffy Bunnies from Black Cat Bases.

Oh this will cause my players all sorts of grief and terror… I can hear them now: “There’s a… bunny… He put a bunny on the table… what’s with the bunny? I’m not going near it! Does anyone have a grenade…?”

There was a fourth one in the pack... but I'm saving it for a Hordes of the Things element. 

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

According to Blogger this is the 999th post I've put up on this blog… I think I’ll have to come up with something special for post #1000… Stay tuned….

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Renault VAB

Finally some armoured transport for my Frenchies….

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

Three Renault VAB (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé) from S&S Models.

A little light on details – no gun or gun shield, no rear view mirrors, closed armoured panels over the front windshield… Which I suppose makes it easy to paint… but seriously, how are they supposed to drive? By the Force!? The casting quality was also no where near as nice as the Imprint Models Warrior MCV I just finished.

I supposed beggars can’t be choosers and there aren’t really any other options (other than one made in France that’s about 3-4x as much as the S&S model)

Comparison with the Heller 1/72 plastic kit.

Another comparison shot.

Patrol ready to go out.

I’m sure a platoon is supposed to have four VAB. But when did any unit ever have a full compliment of serviceable vehicles? Or full-strength manpower, for that matter?

The breakdown of the modern French Platoons is a bit different from other western platoons. It seems there’s a four man platoon command (Officer, Sergeant, Radioman, Designated marksmen). I’m assuming these assents would, theoretically, be split up among the four vehicles. Then there are three Combat Squads and an AT Squad. The combat squads break down into Squad Leader and two, three man fire teams. This is what I find really different – most other western armies have (in theory) four man fire teams.

What I don’t get is what happens when units are understrength…? Do they amalgamate and just field fewer fire teams per platoon to keep 3-4 men in a fire team? Or do they have “fire teams” of one or two men!?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Working on the next Warrior MCV… and some other stuff; US Marines, Afghans, Near Future Troopers for Tomorrow’s War and some ancient Greeks… and some other stuff… 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

More Modern British

Trying to finish up a few forces – the British seem close to completion, so I thought I’d work on a few of them. This is the last of the infantry I have (though I just ordered one more pack of four command-types…). The only things remaining are two more Warriors MCVs and three Challenger tanks. I’d like to pick up an Imprint Models Scimitar to round out this force. Maybe at some point I’ll pick up a WMIK or two…

So far I have about two sections worth of generic British infantry in helmets from The Assault Group. My plan was to do about a section worth of each of the other hat guys available: Paras, Highlander, and Fusiliers – that I could mix and match with to fill out at platoon with a bit of “flavour”. 

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (The Black Watch). Currently a Light Role Battalion (so I shouldn’t really be using the Warriors with them…)

Of course they “currently” aren’t wearing DPM anymore, either… and most of the conflicts they’ll be serving in are completely fictitious…. so…. Black Watch Armoured Infantry it is!! Huzzah!

Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The 1st battalion is Armoured infantry, so I could use the Warriors with them and feel a little less ahistorical

Sustained Fire GPMG team.

Yet another sniper…

Once I finish up the vehicles and that Command Team (when they arrive) I'll post pictures of the entire force...

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Hard to say… I have some French VABs I’m assembling along with the other Warrior MCVs and Challengers… I’ve also had my eye on a Sci Fi unit that’s awfully close to completion that I could finish off and have a decent unit for use in Tomorrow’s War… A few more US Marines also arrived… 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Warrior MCV

I finally finished up the first of three Imprint Models Warrior MCVs that I have (so far!). I should probably pick up a fourth at some time to fill out a full strength platoon…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

I have to say these are lovely models. The detail and casting quality are the very best I have seen by far!

The figures are from The Assault Group.

If I understand the markings correctly this would be the vehicle for 3rd section, 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company.

The model could be build without the Reactive Armour…

The hatches are all serarate metal bits so they could be modeled open or closed. I’m going to have to find some spare heads (or model a few) for the next one to have some unbuttoned turret crews and/or drivers.

The question isn’t whether I’ll be ordering more from Imprint… it’s WHICH models I’ll be ordering NEXT!? I think I might go for some AAVP-7A1 for my growing contingent of modern USMC.

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Hard to say… I have some modern Africans on the workbench and a whole bunch of Modern Vehicles; some die-cast repaints, some 1/48 plastic kits (including some Challenger 2)… The SEAL team from Eureka… A handful of modern British to finish up… Some WW2 stuff still waiting in the wing…. 

Modern Afghans

I just finished up at batch of Modern Afghans (or Burkadurkastanis…)

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

Afghans from Eureka Miniatures.

One team

Another team

Command or Forward Observers and a Stinger missile launcher.

I think these were supposed to be Indian children (also from Eureka) but I was hoping to pass them off as generic Central Asian kids…

More civilians from Eureka.

I also have a few other Afghans from Devil Dog Designs and a Stinger team from Mongrel Miniatures that I painted up some time ago – though a few of the DDD figures have had a partial repaint and their bases jazzed up more recently. Here are a few comparison pics:

From Left to Right; Devil Dog Design, Eureka, Mongrel, Eureka, and Devil Dog Design

From Left to Right; Eureka, Mongrel

From Left to Right; Eureka, Devil Dog Design, Eureka, and Devil Dog Design

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I also finished up a Warrior MCV for my Modern British this weekend. I should have pictures of that up a bit later… 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Semper Fi! - Modern USMC

Nothing for over a week, then TWO POSTS in one day!? See, I have been painting I just haven’t gotten around to taking pictures and posting them. Lack of time and crappy weather were the main factors…


This is the beginning of a Modern United States Marine Corps force. WHY and I doing a Modern United States Marine Corps force!? Well… Eureka had these miniatures… and they were very pretty… and… well, you get the idea.

I realize painting them in the Arid (or desert) MARPAT or even the Three Colour Desert pattern would probably have been more useful… but when has anything I’ve even done made any sense whatsoever…?

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

The whole force (so far...). As mentioned these are all from Eureka Miniatures. What I have there is a full strength section of regular marines along with a Force Recon patrol and a sniper.

The Force Recon patrol – ready for intelligence gathering deep behind enemy lines!

The Squad Leader and a Radio Operator. I know, Radio Operators like this guy would normally be at the platoon command section… But he came in the pack, so…

Fire Team One Alpha

Fire Team One Bravo

Fire Team One Charlie


Another Sniper!? This figure is actually one of the many surplus The Assault Group SAS Snipers I have that I’ve painted up in MARPAT for use with these marines.

I’ve ordered another two squads to round out a platoon and a command team and EOD team from Empress Miniatures. I thought at some point I might pick up an LAV-25 from Imprint Models and maybe a plastic ki-tech M1 tank or two… and I should probably pick up some Hummers of some sort… at some point…

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I think I’ll get cracking on some Eureka Afghans next…