Monday 9 June 2014

442 - Future Directions and a Modelling Question [State of the Union - Part 2]

Hullo, and thanks for all your feedback to Part 1 [here].

This part is going to address different hobby directions, and I need an early night, so I'll try to keep it brief (the pics are below, as is my plea for advice). I'll stick tonight to...


Although I'm starved of reasonable opportunity to play this game, I'm absolutely bursting to do so again. I know it isn't a flawless system, but I love the mechanic of it, the scale works, tactically, and it looks great on the table too. My plans for Flames are - sadly - mostly predicated on what the excellent Plastic Soldier Company (PCS) does next, as my hoped-for North Africa force is based entirely around buying cheap tanks from them...


  • Finish off my beloved 11AD force (all I need really is a Vickers MG platoon and some Bofors guns);
  • Put together a bare-bones, fast, light tank company for North Africa: one based on Stuarts. I was on the cusp of buying fifteen of these from PCS when I double-checked and realised that the ones the have currently are M5s, and I really need M3s (which are on their 'future releases' list). The reason I want to build this force is not because I think it'll win lots of games(!) but because I want to challenge myself by fielding something other than grunts and big guns. A manoeuvrist approach to war is alien indeed to Drax!
  • Make an alternative LW force as a Guards Armoured Recce company. This is mostly so I can play with the Guards' more elite rules, recce Stuarts (not available to 11AD) and - vitally - field some Cromwells. I love these tanks, but they're simply better as Guards, and I want to get my money's worth.
  • [oh, and maybe I'm interested in getting the 'Open Fire' box set, because it's just fantastic. Anyone wanna go halfsies?]

Here's where stuff gets interesting. I have a few projects either on the slow-burner or still on the drawing board. These include:
  • Making my 'Pausing for a Brew' objective marker and getting it this space!
  • Tweaking and painting up my other objective marker - the pre-made Battlefront British Command Post
  • Scratch-building more North-Western Europe rural buildings and finishing up those that I have already made (I've realised I really enjoy making these)
  • Maybe scratch-building a 1:144 Auster to replace the 1:100 one I made before in good -but misguided- faith. Not a priority, but fun
  • Trying my hand at making more 15mm rural terrain. In fact, I'm even considering...
  • ...Putting together a simple Flames board based around a crossroads near Isigny-Sur-Mer in Normandy, near Carentan, and finally (linked to most of the above,)
  • Experimenting with my newly purchased clump foliage.
I bought myself two bags of clumpiness, in different shades and immediately rushed home to stick it to something. Here's the result on my 3" mortar platoon:
Note the ID flashes - 3" on white.
And here are my questions:
  1. How are you supposed to stick this stuff on so that it stays put?
  2. Ought I to have soaked it in PVA first?
  3. Does it look okay on these bases so far?
  4. Does anyone have any tips for making it look better? I know that I could mix up the colours, but I'm just trying it out to start with...
And that's it!

Please note also the now-completed conversions to the Universal Carriers (all three now have drivers and an extra Bren):
Until next time then,

Thanks in hopeful advance,

- Drax.


  1. I can't offer any modelling advice (good on you for making your own buildings, very rewarding work) but I like your future plans for FoW. I have a North African Stuart company for EW/MW. In MW they are at a bit of a disadvantage when Trained, but you do get lots of them. A platoon of Shermans can lend some much needed punch, but I think they are competitive when handled with skill (which is where I fall down with them, as my battle reports show!) I'm taking the EW version to a tournament in a couple of months, just painting up some much needed HE portee guns. No HE on the Stuart in EW, which is not good when attacking dug in guns and infantry. Cromwells are a great tank, and have the 16" move like the Stuarts, so you should be able to employ some of the same tactics. Look forward to following your progress. Cheers, Paul :-)

    1. Thanks, Paul: super useful advice!

      With luck I'll put up another post about those buildings soon too - thanks for the reminder!

      Thanks for swinging by...

  2. Where to start?

    Clumps. Cos I like the word.

    My clumps are not soaked before sticking on, though they are sprayed liberally with dullcoat afterward. My recent tall Juniper style trees were soaked in glue, it didn't do much even after two soaks, so I went back to pouring on the dull coat. Works a charm imo.

    So far I say the clumps look just fine. Good amount of coverage without going over the top and making it hard to make out the troops amongst them. I prefer to keep to one colour on a base, looks more natural to me.

    I'm excited for these new projects, though might ask one thing - who are your Brits going to fight? It's lovely you'll have lots of fun armies to choose from, but if you haven't a foe to face them off against when a FoW-curious gaming mate comes over (Cos it sounds like you'll already have all the terrain you'd need coming up soon. ;) ) how will you suck more unsuspecting pals into this 15mm world of fun? I started collecting an Arnhem-themed SS force for this reason, and also so I would have "Bad guys" to play against my son in our own training games.

    I also LOVE Cromwells! Such amazing looking designs (Although hated by their crews due to the strict lack of sloped hulls). ingame though they find it VERY difficult to deal with German heavy armour. Only one high AT asset to a platoon just doesn't cut it and they cost significantly more than a Sherman, yet have Sherman stats with an extra 4" movement and.... protected armour? (Can't remember off the top of my head) It's a hard one to weigh up. I have the Guards boxed set, haven't painted it yet though there're some really cool sculpts in it.

    1. "They're MY juniper bushes!"

      Thanks so much for your thoughts, Dai...except for the one about putting together a foe.

      You git.

      Now you've got me thinking about such a thing. Which raises such questions as 'What sort of Germans should I go for?' 'How do I do it cheaply?' and - of great import to me - 'How the hell do I paint anyone other than British? - I only have three colours of paint and they're alll drab!"

    2. Pick a moment during the war and go with it. Market Garden? Lots of hastily put together kampfgruppen to choose from and some wonderful bridges to assault too. D-Day? Fortified Beach Landings and SS Hitler Youth fighting in the Bocage! And now Italy with it’s many Herman Goering double-hard boys, Fallschirmjagers and ELEFANT tanks! But then, it’s all down to who the 11th Armoured fought I guess and when. And would you want to paint German mostly infantry (Comes in many falvours of uniform from regular field uniforms, to camo smocks, to crazy SS pea-dot camos!) or testing German tank camo schemes?

      Have to say mate, I LOVED painting my Brit stuff, but English Uniform and Russian Green throughout got boring….. Super quick. My upcoming German project looks like it’ll be a whole different kettle of hobby fish all together. :)

    3. I'd go Normandy campaign, fallscrimjaeger or Panzer Lehr.. probably the second one :) lots of opportunity to paint camo..

      On a related but "other" topic, I wouldn't ever have SS.. I know others do, and I know its a huge kettle of fish, And it my be hypocritical or whatever, but I'm fine with models representing professional soldiers from conflicts, and I'm fine with models representing vile creatures from total fantasy settings but something about having vile creatures from a real historical context on my shelf doesn't sit right :)

    4. Thanks for the thoughts on this: honestly I'd never thought about it in that level of detail; mostly becuase until two days ago I'd never thought about putting a German force together.

      Hmmm...I'll have to cogitate awhile on this. Obviously (because I never play baddies) I'll need to avoid anything too efficient - so Panzer Lehr is probably out - but I've always thought that the Luftwaffe troops sound like the sort of weird-ass no-hopers I'd plump for...

  3. I use B&Q Glue All Purpose (that name's backwards, but it's what they call it) for clump foliage. I think I tried to use PVA originally, but the foliage wandered away. It looks good in those pics. I sometimes drybrush mine to alter the colours a bit, and I have a terrain book (Osprey, I think) in which the author dabs little bits of yellow paint onto it to give the impression of budding flowers. That is in 25/8mm, though, so I can't vouch for its appearance in 15mm.

    1. Two very interesting tips - thanks, Peter. Annoyingly the last lot of PVA I bought was super-cheap and, predictably, super-rubbish, so Glue All Purpose, Sticking for the Use Of might be just what I ought to go for...

  4. I usually glue clump foliage on with super glue. I put a dab of super glue on the base and then press the clump foliage on to it. If you soak it in PVA (white) glue it will discolor. Some of it always falls of afterwards.

    1. Good to know - thanks. And you're someone who makes this stuff look good!

  5. Whatever you're doing now looks fine...

    1. Cheers! Over time I'll expand it out to the rest of the company, as I put on their ID flashes.

    2. Looks great right now.. if however you want to "crank it up a notch" then yes soaking in pva or similar (use cheap"wood glue" as it has a higher density of actual glue - check homebase's reduced shelf) the soaking "sets" the clump more rigid, and once that's done i glue to the base with a dab of superglue, thev give a light drybrush of a lighter colour - two tone clumps man! try it :)

    3. Coo - thanks: I will indeed try this!

  6. Hey Man ! Admiral, Sir,
    amazing work again, havend seen the minis before. Is it ww2 ?

  7. I think the mix of tufts and flock is a winner as it is Drax - you have enough visual interest going on without needing anything else at that scale.

    As for how to attach them, a dab of superglue would be my thought.

    Your recent FoW posts had me pulling out my V3 rule set to browse through - I have a love (probably the wrong word given the situation) for that period of our nations history (one of those how would I have stacked up things I imagine) but the humble Tommy and his kit has never grabbed me visually (outside of the Crusader, Comet and Valentine designs). The German uniforms and tanks visually have always stood out to me, as well as the American Paratrooper kit. Looking through the books I was sorely tempted to start a mid-war German force (something like the Panzer Lehr or similar) until the missus caught me on the Plastic Soldier Company page and kiboshed that dream.

  8. Wanna go halfsies on 'Open Fire' perchance?

    1. The minister of war and finance had her grumpy face on when I raised that idea so I shall have to pass Drax.

  9. Funnily enough, I'm terrified of the prospect of painting aything more complicated than British Olive Drab for historical minis!

    1. Eh, it's not all that different mate. German uniforms are only different in that they typically carry more varied kit, each in a different colour. Otherwise, it's field-grey with camo'd smocks here and there for the most part.

      I had tonnes of fun painting that 88 gun for my mate earlier this year and that was my first foray into slapping paint onto something different at this scale. Refreshing even.

      You've got the skills old boy, I think you should get a small platoon, say, Pak40's (Can find cheap plastic guns on ebay from the open fire set.) and see how you get on.

    2. Always with the temptation!

      It's definitely on the cards now, that's for sure. Long-term: watch this space...

    3. Dont make me buy you a small platoon and send it over. I'll do it, I swear! :P


Thanks for taking the time to comment!