Out of the gate

Not quite the end to 2014 and the start of 2015 I wanted, but these things happen. A big flurry of work through December and on my final day before a lovely break flu struck, which completely freight-trained me and my plans over the holidays. More work, a bit of house decorating (not by me I hasten to add!) has all kept me out of the workshop until now. So what’s new and in my gunsights for the coming weeks now I’ve managed to sneak back into the man cave?

All the ‘D’s; Dropzone, Dreadball and Deadzone are first out of the gate for the year. Dropzone Commander (Hawk Wargames) has been on my must try list since the day it came out pretty much, it just never quite made it onto the painting table. This was for a number of reasons, but mostly because I just couldn’t settle on a palette I liked. This is far too good a game to just sit and languish on a shelf though, so this year I’ve decided just to crack on and get some forces painted regardless, even if that’s only to a basic tabletop standard. The two forces I selected were the Scourge and Shaltari, both of which I will cover separately as each unit gets completed so watch this space. Dreadball has also made it back onto the table, mostly in the guise of taking over our regular Monday night slot from X-Wing. Kev and I have kicked off a whole new season and much to my surprise (because I got my arse kicked by Trontek last season) I find myself 5 points to 1 up in my favour after two matches. Both of these have been Corporation vs Corporation, but from next week we mix it up with Robots vs Zzor. No painting then? No specific plans per-se but I do still have a small mountain of Dreadball extras from the Kickstarter to work through so I expect the odd Cheerleader, prone player or MVP will end up under the brush at some stage through the season.

With Deadzone wave three arriving last week from Mantic I also now have the final parts I need to finish off the Enforcer specialists. Even though this has dragged on for a while, I can’t be disappointed with Mantic as they have really shipped out a serious number of Enforcer miniatures above and beyond what the Kickstarter originally promised and the new plastics are a solid step in the right direction quality wise. It’s true I didn’t find the game itself as engaging as I’d hoped, certainly nowhere near as slick and entertaining as Dreadball, but the miniatures themselves and scenery more than makes up for that.

So what about Flames of War?

With the German’s all but finished now bar a couple of platoons, I’ve commenced assembling the Australians. These aren’t likely to see much in the way of paint until the spring whilst I’m focussing on the Sci-Fi mountain of plastic, but they are on my radar.

Infinity?

Having got the starter set at the end of the year along with the new and rather gorgeous N3 rulebook, Infinity is a game and miniature range I really would like to savour. The quality of the new all-metal sculpts deserve a bit of love being lavished on them so it’s a range I intend to spend a little more time expressing myself painting wise with and pushing myself to learn new skills. This won’t be one I’ll rush to get on the table but treat each as an individual purely for the pleasure of painting it. These certainly won’t be cabinet only miniatures though as I fully intend to game with them, but don’t expect large volumes of Infinity throughout the year.

To be fair the end of last year wasn’t a total washout as just before I came down with the bug I had taken delivery of some of 4Ground’s stunning new 10mm scale HDF buildings kits. My intention was to assemble one example a week over a number of weeks to build up a decent selection of terrain for a Dropzone Commander intro game. The Flu put paid to that plan, but not before I got the first building completed.

These are quite simply stunning kits quality wise, 4Ground’s attention to detail and design is just a joy. If you had said to me a year ago I would get as much enjoyment from assembling a 10mm HDF building as I would a plastic tank kit I’d have laughed at the thought. But it’s true, they are a huge amount of fun to put together. It may just appeal to my methodical nature, or it could be the precision nature of the parts, but popping out all the tiny walls and details is a great way to spend an evening. A few important ground rules if you have never assembled any of 4Ground’s kits before.

  1. Try to keep all of the parts in the sheets they came in and only remove them when you are literally going to use them. Each part is numbered on the sheet as is the sheet itself and these numbers are referenced in the instructions. A lot of the parts appear very similar but are not so you can get yourself into a pickle if you start popping stuff out before you need to use it.
  2. Follow the instructions. Carefully. I know that should go without saying but I know what us hobbyists can be like sometimes and in this case 4Ground really do know better so my recommendation is follow their clear and painstakingly laid out guide and always dry-fit before gluing.
  3. Check orientation of small details like windows and lintels. A lot of the small parts have additional etched detail so check parts are the correct way around before gluing.
  4. Gently does it. These are definitely not kits you can be too ham-fisted with so a degree of delicacy is needed during assembly. Once built they are remarkably sturdy, which is by design.
  5. The parts are cut to be removed easily and cleanly. That said, a new sharp modelling blade and fine sanding block doesn’t go amiss to help remove fragile parts like window frames or sand any edges smooth.
  6. Rubber bands are a must for holding the interior wall sections in place whilst the glue sets. This is the structural frame of the building so its essential this part is assembled as neatly and straight as possible. I make that sound more complicated than it really is as the parts are so precisely cut they go together really well, but the rubber bands will help keep them that way freeing up hands to move onto the next part.
  7. Netflix. Not really an essential assembly component, but it does help pass the time as some of the builds can be quite time consuming. A great opportunity to catch up on some of those boxed sets you’ve been meaning to watch.

Second building is almost complete so will post a few details at the end of the week.

Other than the aforementioned hiccup to my holiday break, it’s all good and there is plenty for me to get my teeth into painting wise between now and Spring. The only choice I need to make right now is what’s up first; Scourge or Shaltari?

Until next time.

Carl

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