Monday, 31 December 2012

Black Watch finished and a happy new year !

My finished Black Watch... A snapshot at least...
Finally I managed to get the last Highlanders finished. The basing is to be done but the painting is over. Thankfully! Although it was fun to paint those brave sons of Scotland a unit of 24 took it's time. Please excuse the poor picture I'll present a better one and some more information about the unit next week when I've got a little more time.

The Christmas week was rather busy. Fortunately my mother was able to leave the hospital -thanks for all your kind and caring comments! - and we had a merry Christmas Eve with my parents. Christmas Day we spent at my parents-in-law and on Boxing Day we had some members of our families at home. Three absolutely enjoyable just as much as exhausting days.

The time between Christmas and New Year belonged to the family as well. Since my wife and me hadn't to work for this week we were able to spent a lot of time with our daughter. By the way she is just learning how to handle paintbrushes and to chose the right colours for my redcoats.
Viktoria pondering about the right shade of red...

Well then... That's it with my last post of 2012.

I wish you all a happy new year and all the best for 2013. May you and your kin be blessed with luck and health and may all your aims be crowned with success!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A week reviewed and best wishes to spread

It has been quit here at Monty's Caravan for a couple of days. And this will be a really short update and sign of live alike.

The last week was a real hustle and bustle. The last presents for Christmas had to be bought, the home cleaned and the tree prepared. In addition my mother had to go to the hospital last week which caused a lot of sorrows. She has been coughing since November and finally it turned out that she got a pneumonia. We all hope that the antibiotics will help quickly and she may leave the hospital on Christmas Eve.

I regret that there aren't more news at the moment, but I hope for your understanding that painting got into the background momentarily, Hopefully I'll have more time after Christmas to tell you about the annual year-end closing event of our wargaming club where we played a funny game set in Ankh-Morpork. Furthermore I'm waiting for a parcel from Warlord Games with the new "Albion Triumphant" and there are some scotsmen to be finished soon...

However... I wish you and your kin a merry and blessed Christmas!
Viktoria's interpretation of being merry.   :-)
 Hopefully you'll get some moments of peace and silence during those stressful days.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Tutorial: Black Watch Tartan in 28mm

When I started my British Napoleonic project this spring I decided to muster some English as well as some Scots units. The thing I feared to by most difficult was the kilt. It turned out to be easier than I thought, but before I started to paint, I searched the world wide web for some help. There are only a few tutorials about tartan painting on 28mm miniatures, but John O'Brien's article from 2001 (read it here) was very useful for me.

To make things a bit easier for those who are as much beginner as I am on this domain, I want to present my way of painting the Black Watch tartan step-by-step. Please ignore the other parts of the miniatures since they are highly WIP. I'll post some pictures of the finished ones around Christmas I hope.

1.) Basecoat:

Basecoat of VMC 050 "Dark Pruss. Blue"
The basecoat of the Black Watch Tartan, the so called Gouvernment Set, is a dark blue. After some experiments I decided to use Vallejo Model Colour 050 "Dark Prussian Blue" on white undercoat.

Monday, 10 December 2012

North Africa snowbound, time for literature

Actually there was a Bolt Action game sheduled for Friday evening, but unfortunately heavy snowfall started to haunt the Rhine area on Friday morning. Therefore our host -who is living a bit rurally outside of Düsseldorf- decided to cancel this meeting because his home was snowbound temporarily and he judged it to unsave to visit him. On the one hand I was a bit disappointed because I was eager for playing with the recently finished Indians, but on the other he was completely right: Weather is more powerful than plans of battle.

However the Ruhr-area where I live was hit during the night from Friday to Saturday. Since the streets in the middle of the city where covered with a thick white blanket on Saturday morning, I can imagine how countryside might have looked...
Bochum covered with snow... A view outside our daughter's window.
However thereby I was able to do a little reading on Friday evening and finished the fantasy novel I was reading recently:

"Elfenwinter" (engl.: Elven Winter) is the second part of Bernhard Hennen's excellent saga about the elfish realm "Albenmark" and the elfish people that lives there and their widely ramified web of allies and foes.
In this volume he describes an episode which was a side event in this first part "Die Elfen" (The Elves): The last war between the Elves and the Trolls. The author describes the events from the point of view of different main characters on the different side:
- Ollowain an elfish knight and captain of the guard of Queen Emerelle

- Alfadas a duke from the Nordic Fjordland which is allied with the Elves of Albenmark

- Ogrim a trollish leader who fights in the army of King Branbard and ascends during the campaign

All characters are well designed and each and every of them has his good and bad features. I enjoyed the passages about Alfadas and his army most. The mixed host of fierce, Nordic warriors and pledged peasants and workmen is presented so impressively that I took those Norsemen in my heart. But the other passages of the book are equally enjoyable. The elvish queen is obscure and her aims unclear, while the Trolls are not a crowd of brainless man-easters, but a people with a prfound background. They don't wage that war because of bare bloodthirst but to avenge a crime which was done to their people ages ago...

In any case I honestly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in epic fantasy stories. Unfortunately it isn't available in English, but as far as I know it's translated into Italian, Dutch, Czech and Ukrainian. In German it's available as book (of course...), as e-book and a audio book (which is probably shortend I fear). The book is from 2005 and since then Bernhard wrote several sequels and coherent stories about Albenmark.
"Elfenlicht" (Elven Light) which is the next episode is definitely one of the next books on my list. Actually I started reading it last week but another book forged ahead:

For my collection of Napoleonic miniatures I've been working on a conversion miniatures for Major General (later Lt. Gen.) Sir Richard Hussey Vivian. Some weeks ago I found a biography about him on Amazon and ordered it right away. It was originally published by Claude Vivian, the 5th baron Vivian, one of the general's descendants. Mainly it's a collection of letters from General Vivian furnished with historical notes from the author.
Although I have only finished the first twenty pages or so it seems to be good reading material and gives an interesting view into the life of an officer during the Napoleonic wars.

The book is available as hardcover and softcover from Leonaur Ltd. I decided to buy the cheaper paperback and enclose it with self-adhesive foil to protect it. Unfortunately I bought a very low prized product for that and the process of applying it caused several ugly wrinkles and some nasty curses. But however it doesn't endamage the pleasure of reading too much.

Well then... I hope you enjoyed that somehow unusual post and perhaps you became interested in one (or each) of the books I've enjoyed a lot. Later this week I plan to post a short tutorial about painting kilts.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Some Indian Infantrymen finished

Tomorrow evening we'll have another game of 20mm Bolt Action. The game will be set in North Africa around 1942 and the DAK will have to fight against some of Monty's Desert Rats. While a fellow provided most of the miniatures I have to bring in some makeshifts to complete the British.

Therefore I painted some Indish infantry rather quickly. Those boys will man a 6pdr Anti-Tank Gun which will teach the Germans what fear is:
I really like those guys since it was my very first attempt to paint dark skin.
The miniatures are from good old Britannia and I ordered them years ago. I used the following colours to paint the boys:
  • Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) "Dark Sand" for the uniforms
  • VMC "Leather Brown" for the skin
  • VMC "Leather Brown" + Citadel "Elf Flesh" for the skin highlights (two steps)
  • VMC "British Uniform" for the socks
  • VMC "German Camouflage Beige" for the webbing
  • Vallejo Game Colour "Black" for the shoes
Between the basic coats of paint and the highlights I used my good old friend Armypainter Quickshade (Dark Tone) once more.

Well then... I'm prepared for tomorrow evening and will keep my fingers crossed that the luck of battle will be with us rather than with the Germans...

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Weekly News: Introducing the Headless Horseman

Last weekend was very special. Instead of whirling the brushes I took my camera and visited some fellows to hold an extensive photo shooting. It was great to try out different configurations of aperture and shutter speed to influence overall impression and depth of field. I took more 60 pictures and haven't sorted them all until now. Mayby I'll come back to this topic next week and present some of the pictures.

Yesterday evening I spent some tim at the workbench. I continued to paint the highlanders and found out that there are two or three things I really hate at those lads. It's not the kilt as you might have guessed, but those bloody checks on the socks and the hatband as well as the ruddy white loops all over the british jackets.

After I had enough of those tiny things and my smudgy tries to paint them tidyly I turned my attention to a new project which fits in my hussars (which still have to be finished...) very well:
Some time ago I was looking for some British command figures for my (very slowly) growing collection. Unfortunately there are only a few options besides Wellington, Picton and Uxbridge which are made by nearly every manufacturer. Since I needed a rather universal Hussar general I decided to try a little conversion. After some research I discovered that Col. Heymes from the Perry set of Ney's staff (here) should work. The horse furniture and blanket are fine for British horses and the hussar uniform is rather universal to. There are only three outstanding things to correct: Heymes head and his arms which have a noticable embroydery near the sleeves.

Here's how I prepared him yesterday evening:
Colonel Heymes lost his head, but he'll gain some parts of the British plastic hussars.
Once finished the guy shall personate Major General Sir Richard Hussey Vivian who commanded the 6th British Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo. I got inspired by this picture (link) and want stay close to it. Since it is said of hin that he lead his brigade to the deciding charge against Napoleon's Old Guard very fierily I thought that Heymes' aggressiv pose should fit very well. There are two minor mistakes which I'll leave because I'm not skilled enough to redo them: The ammunition pouch is a bit unusual for a British general and most of the time they are shown with leggins and hessian boots rather than with overall trousers.

What do you think of the plan?
I'll try to get the conversion done while I'm still on the highlanders and then paint him together with the hussars and his ADC Capt. Edward Keane of the 7th Hussars. Hopefully they'll make a nice command base for my British light cavalry or a mixed cavalry brigade until I finished more units...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bolt Action 23.11.2012 (28mm): Search and Rescue

Last Friday the THS met in the headquarter once again and I had the pleasure to participate in another game of Bolt Action. We played on an urban board with a lot of really nice scenary which Achim provided. Although the buildings were actually designed for 20mm miniatures, they worked well with the 28mm figures you might remember from the first Bolt Action game report here (Link). It created a dense feeling of street fighting and allowed an exiting, entertaining but unusually short game.
Target of German and American desire.

Within this small city a German airplane crashed down. It carried a high-ranking staff officer who escorted secret plans for the Army Group B to counter the Allied advance. Although he survived the crash, he severely wounded and unable to find his way back to the German lines.
To rescue him and the plans the Germans launched a search and rescue mission. At the same time the Americans sent a small vanguard to catch him and take him prisoner to lay their hands on the top secret plans.


Monday, 26 November 2012

Liebster Blog Award for Monty's Caravan !

The "Liebster Blog Award" is circling through the bloggosphere since a few week and last week my humble blog was decorated with it by Sander from "Modus Reg Magni Momenti"-Blog.

Thanks for the kind support, mate !

The rules for this nice affair are the following:
Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it to you.

  1. Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.
  2. Sit back and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that you have just made someone's day!
  3. There is no obligation to pass this on to anyone else but it is nice if you do. 

After half a year of reading and writing blogs I'm familiar with a lot of great and interesting blogs and some really nice mats which tend to read my blog regularly. Several of those blogs have more than 200 followers and so they're out or were already decorated with "Liebster Blog".

But however I made my choice and want to pass the award to the following five blogs:
*** drum roll *** fanfare ***

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Game Report: Bolt Action 20mm - 17.11.2012

Last saturday I played another game of Bolt Action. Some fellows of my old 20mm wargaming group visited me and we wanted to try how the rules work with smaller miniatures. Furthermore we have been developing our own ruleset sine 1995 and are still looking for new ideas.
Unfortunaley our main German collector and scenary builder was unable to join us. So we were limited to my very small pool of terrain and Axis troops. Therefore the board was realy simple and nothing compared with the great scenery we played the week before.

However we made the best of it and fielded the following troops:

Axis (mixed Italian and German troops):
  • Infantry squad (regular) with SMGs, rifles and a light machine gun
  • Infantry squad (regular) with SMGs, rifles and two light machine guns
  • Command squad lead by Hauptmann (Captain) von Mamelstein (regular)
  • Command squad lead by Sottotenente (2nd Lieutenant) Pacelliano
  • Medium machine gun team (regular)
  • Medium mortar team with spotter (regular)
  • Sniper team (regular)
  • SdKfz. 7 with 37mm Flak (veteran)

  • Infantery squad (twelve men) with SMGs, rifles and a BAR (regular)
  • Infantery squad (twelve men) with SMGs, rifles and a BAR (regular)
  • Command squad lead by 2nd Lieutenant Peterson (regular)
  • Command squad lead by 2nd Lieutenant Masterson (regular)
  • Forward air observer Captain Heinzen and his team
  • Bazooka Team (regular)
  • Medium machine gun team (regular)
  • Medium mortar team with spotter (regular)
  • Sniper team (regular)
Both forces were around 700 to 750 points.

The missiom resembled the one from the week before:
The secure their advance the Americans sent a vanguard which was ordered to establish an outpost within a large building overviewing the main road of the village (marked with a yellow 1 on the map). The German and Italian had to defed their position and stop theAmerican advance.

Our humble gaming board.
The place where the major events will take place.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Weekly News: 100 Followers at Monty's Caravan !

Nearly disregardedly last week some well-resprected readers of Monty's Caravan decided to follow my blog.Thereby the edge of 100 readers was reached after ten months of blogging.

Thanks you very much for your support as well as the kind and informativ comments I've been receiving ever since!

Monty's Caravan started as kind of self-motivation and digital memory for me, but I'm really happy that so many fellows out there are interested in my workbench. During the last months I became acquainted with so many great blogs, awesome miniatures and skilful wargamers that I don't want to miss. Although I tend to comment other blogs only rarely, I'm always trying to stay in the loop.

In the future I'll try to keep things going and post once or twice per week. For the following weeks there are some things which have been waiting to be posted already:
- A game report of another game of Bolt Action we had last Saturday
  (unfortunately on a board which was a lot simpler than the last one)

- A review of my visit at the German Navy Museum

- A step-by-step tutorial about how I painted the tartan of my Black Watch

- Some news from the workbench

I hope to get the first thing (the Bolt Action Game Report) done until Wednesday. Unfortunately picture editinig is so time consuming. It eats up all my precious modelling time...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Game Report: Bolt Action 09th November 2012

It was Friday evening in a cosy suburb of Düsseldorf were five of us met to play a game of Bolt Action. For me it was the first one and I was a nervous because of the new set of rules, but they proved to be really well designed and smooth-running. At the end of the game the common actions worked well without looking each dice roll up in the rulebook.

But now for the game itself:
Our umpire prepared a nice board with some Italian terrain and a fictional mission which was set somewhere around Anzio. Some Germans were holding a small village while the Americans sent a small force to occupy it for some strategical to maintain supply route from the beach.
The Americans were heavily piqued after there successful Operation Shingle (landing near Anzio) and were keen on driving there advance forward. Therefore they sent a small task force to a small village behind Anzio to secure the bridgehead and arrange a supply route for the following forces.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Am I a proper wargamer ?
 Some others answered those questions already and I don't want to keep you in the dark about the question whether I'm a proper wargamer:

 * Spent at least £500 on figures / tanks - and you get extra kudos for every £500 you've spent.
Well... Per year I'm somewhere just below that... Or at least I hope so...

* Pricked your finger or thumb on a pike block - several times.
Unfortunately yes.

* Tried at least 10 different rule sets and vowed never to play half of them ever again.
Ten? Let me count:
- Warhammer Fantasy
- Warhamemr 40K
- Mordheim
- Blodbowl
- Space Hulk
- Pirates of the Spanish Main
- Blackpowder
- Triumph and Tragedy
- Necromunda
- Our self-made JTT-Ruleset
- Song of Blades and Heroes
- Lord of the Rings
- Armalion
- Star Wars Pod Racing
- Wings of Fury

But less than half of them was bad enough to never play them again...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Monty on Tour: Crisis 2012 - Part 2

After a review of our game in my last post, here are some pictures of other great tables:
A 20mm WW II game with incredible illumination.
Another view of this marvelous table.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Monty on Tour: Crisis 2012 - Part 1

As I told you last week I visited "Crisis 2012" yesterday. The convention was organised by the "Tin Soldiers of Antwerp" (Link) and took place at a hall near the port of Antwerp. I went to the event with my fellows from the "THS - Team for Historical Simulations" (Link) and we (mainly Robert) prepared a nice 15mm / 18mm fantasy game, but more at that later.

trip started on Friday around half past eleven and firstly I picked up Robert and Michael. Afterwards we set sail for Antwerp. Fortunately traffic wasn't to dense and so we reached our destination at half past three. After a little search we found our dwelling where we meat Achim and Eymard two other mates of our team. Axel, Bernhard, Holger and Heinz, the remaining members of our party arrived later and we met them at the hall.

The quarters itself was the first highlight of the trip. We booked some cabins on the houseboat "Hannus". All was tidy and comfortable and we were absolutely satisfied. The only disadvantages were the narrowness and the loud wooden planks which were quit noisy when anyone went through the ship.

Unfortunately I've got only blurry and dark pictures from the ship which I took with my cell phone. But this one gives some an impression:
The cabin which Axel and me shared.

After we dropped our luggage on the ship, we went to the convention hall and started to prepare the gaming table for the next day:
The first hall before anything started, It was really large...
A view of the second (smaller) hall...
Robert and Achim get a general idea of the location and our table.
The board is set. Only terrain and miniatures had to be placed on Saturday morning.

When we had finished our preparations for Saturday, we had dinner in a small pub near our ship and enjoyed some pints of Belgian beer. A pleasure which was only excelled by the nice chat we had.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Eight Highlanders finished and a journey to undertake

Finally the next eight Highlanders for my Waterloo Black Watch are finished:
The eight Highlanders on poles because they need to be varnished still.
Each and every of those men has its specific blemishes but to me they seem suitable as rank and file troops. Next week I'll start with the last eight soldiers including an officer, sergeant, drummer, an ensign and the piper. With a little luck I'll be able to finish them before Advent season.

In addition to this good news the coming weekend casts it's own shadow ahead. This year I'll visit the Crisis-Comnvention at Antwerp (Link). I'll have the great pleasure to visit the show with my fellow gamers from the "Team for historical Simulations"(Website here) from Erkrath (small town near Düsseldorf within the German Rhine Area) and support them at their presentation game. It will be "Prelude to the Battle of the Five Armies" (a little foretaste here) a kind of rencounter before the actual battle. The scenario and terrain was developed by our mate Robert for 15mm / 18mm miniatures and we'll use the "Triumph and Tragedy" ruleset (website here) with some adjustments and additions (therefore called "Triumph, Tragedy and Trolls").
But alongside I expect an awesome trip with the boys and a nice day at Crisis. I#m looking forward to meeting some guys in person which I've been knowing from the world wide web for some time.
However I'll post a report next week.

Here's the official poster:

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Back from East Frisia

Moin moin !
(salutation in East Frisian dialect)

After one week of idleness and relaxation I'm back from East Frisia. Most of you might not know East Frisia. It's a part of Germany at the North Sea Coast known for tidal flat, nautical tradition, Pilsener beer and a very special kind of folk music called Shanty (view example). However it's a very popular holiday destination because of its quietness and lonesomeness here and there.My family and me spent seven days there on a nice little farm called Hof Itzen. It's a small farm which runned livestock farming until 2011. Since then Anneliese Itzen and here kind husband do Bed and Breakfast only. However they're having some chickens still that provide fresh eggs every day. Additionally there is a pony and a Frisian horse which are held for riding. Unfortunately our daughter has been a bit young for pony riding.
Nevertheless we spent some really great time there and I can only recommend this hostel!

Since my wife and daughter are taking a three weeks of rehab on Langeook Island from now on I returned home alone this afternoon. Although it was hard to leave my dears behind at the ferry, a kind of elation arose when I reached our humble home: Three weeks grass widower... Three weeks time for modelling, painting, watching sports... Although I'm  already missing my wife and daughter I'm confident of finding a way to deal with the parting. This evening I started with a nice bottle of Belgian beer, a large plate of French fries and a movie my wife would never ever watch and -to be honest- which wasn't worth two hours of my life... (Punisher: War Zone by the way).

Therefore the next three weeks are packed with tasks:
- Exploit about 350 pictures from vacation
- Write a report about our visit at the German Navy Museum
- Visit Crisis at Antwerp and write a report about the trip
- Finish the next Highlanders for the Black Watch
- Finish the Hussars' horses
- Proceed with the new gaming board
- Play some games
- Clean the flat before the wife returns

I'll try to keep you well informed so stay tuned!

Here's a little teaser about the Navy Museum:
Since there's the former German destroyer Mölders  at anchor as museum ship, we were able to visit the whole ship. Unfortunately they seem not to have cut all important wires. So  a little mishap occured when Viktoria inspected the bridge:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

On vacation...

Finally the time has come to leave the dull routine of everyday life behind and go on holiday!

My lovely wife, our cute daughter and me are just about to leave and will head northward. We'll spent a week at the North Sea coast and will reside at a little farm with rabbits, sheep and chickens running around. They offer fresh buns and fresh eggs from their own chickens every morning and I expect to have a really good and recreational time there.

Although we haven't planed to much for those days and want to spent a lot of time at the seaside, I'll try to find the time to visit the German Navy Museum this week. Anyway I bagged my camera to be prepared.

I'll try to send you some news from the coast but I cannot promise to be able to.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Weekly News 21st October 2012: Foot Artillery based

Time goes by so fast and another week is over.
Unfortunately I didn't win neither Fran's nor Ray's lottery for some Rejects' dice. Congratulations to all lucky winners here and there!

On the workbench there has been some progress. Finally I managed to finish the basing of my first three batteries of Royal Foot Artillery:
The three bases from obove. In the middle there one space left to put another crewman or officer in.
These are the three 9pdr guns which I made from the Victrix plastic set (look here or here). The miniatures are nicely modeled and cleanly cast. As all Victrix plastics they have to be assembled from five to seven parts. The guns can be build as 6pdr guns, 9pdr guns or 5.5" howitzers. I decided to build late Napoleonic 9-pounders and add a howitzer later (I already got the one from the Perrys...).

Here are the three:

If you remember some of the crewmen then you are completely right. I finished some of them in June for the great Kolberg game and presented some bad cellphone-photos then. But I hope you like those pictures better.

Next week will be quiet on Monty's Caravan because I'll go on vacation with my wife and our daughter. Although we plan to visit the German Navy Museum in Wilhelmshaven (look here) I'll probably not be able to present a review before I'm back home.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Weekly News 14th October 2012: Bolt Action

During last week only some minor events happened besides this award thing (look here). However I managed to get some things done at my workbench:

On Friday my Bolt Action-rulebook arrived which I bought for a fair price (26 €) at Amazon-Germany just two days before. Although I haven't read the book completely the game give a good first impression. Especially the way initiative is determined promises to be interesting: Both players act within the same turn and who's exactly allowed to activate a unit is determined semi-randomly. I like games without strictly separated turns because players sometimes tend to digress when turns last long.

Motivated by the WW II background I put some matching stuff together. For example I started to paint a building which I bought and build some months ago from Jens Najewitz (link) who makes very nice 20mm and 28mm buildings for WW II. It's a model of the house located at "Dead Man's Corner" near Carentan. In addition I finished some new bocages according to the scheme I explained some months ago (tutorial here).

Unfortunately my Napoleonic effords were retarded a bit. Yesterday morning I wanted to airbrush a set of 24 horses, but the bloody gun didn't work. Instead of generating a well targeted stream of paint it blew the air into the cup with the paint. I presume this malfunction might be caused by a damaged gasket ring within the tip. So I'll have to wait since it's fixed.
After this throwback I didn't have the leisure to deal with the highlanders...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

An Award! An Award!

Last week Asuka of Nadelspielereien (in English this means something like "needle shenanigans") gave an Award to Monty's Caravan.

To be honest I don't really know what that means but it's kind of small gift between fellow newbie bloggers and it's linked to some rules:

1.) The blog which is priced must not have more than 200 followers.

2.) There must be written some kind of post about the Award on the priced blog.

3.) The distributor of the award must be mentioned.

4.) The Award must be passed to five new blogs.

5.) These rules have to be published on the awarded blog.

Therefore thanks a lot to Azuka and here come the blogs I wish to pass the Award on:

He is one of my first followers and was encouraging me from the very beginning. His blog is superb and present really great pieces of modelling. I highly recommend his post about self-made 75mm round.

Michael Awdry and his 28mm Victorian Warfare
He is always posting some nice comments and encouraging words when painting goes wrong. On his own blog he presents his 28mm miniatures in best quality recuringly.

Scott with Scott's Wargaming
 A nice fellow from New Zealand who present a lot of excellent wargaming stuff from different eras and in different scales. His articles are always worth to read.

Michael with Kukuruza's Corner
He's one of the fellow with whom I've been playing for more than a decade. He started a nice little blog with pictures of our last WWII games. I hope he'll proceed with that!

Feldmarschall and his blog
One of the very few ice hockey loving wargamers I know. But albeit he runs a nice blog with lots of historical information. Unfortunately it has been a bit quit for the last week.

Well then... Those are my nominees. It was a hard choice since there are many blogs I love to follow. Anne's Attic with her artistic touch, Angry Lurker Fran with his great 15mm figures and the stories of the Rejects as well as his Buddy Ray, Tamsin one of the few wargaming girls and the many, many other great blogs I became acquainted with. Fortunately most of them had more than 200 followers so they were unelectable...
Please take a look at my blog list on the left and enjoy the of my favourite blogs (not only those I mentioned here).

In this spirit I wish you a lot of fun within the blogosphere and will report to you the Weekly Update by Friday.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Weekly Review 04th Oct 2012: Horses undercoated, Highlanders ready for finish...

After half a year of blogging I decided to add a new category to Monty's Caravan: Weekly News from the Workbench

Within the last weeks I didn't manage to produce any presentable things. Just several small steps were taken and so I decided to put them together in a small "this-and-that"-style post. In the future I'll try to write such a post every week about thursday or friday.

All the pretty little horses...

 After having cleaned the Hussars' horses from the disasterous painting, I re-undercoated all of them successfully. Next step is to paint them with airbrush and by hand. I hope to get started this weekend.

More Highlanders ready to finish
Fortunately the highlanders didn't suffer the same fate as the horses. The varnish shrivelled at some rare and small areas only and I'll be able to fix that when highlighting the boys I hope. I'm confident that no one will notice those flaws when the whole unit is finished.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tutorial: Stripping Plastics from Acrylic Paints

Finally I decided to strip the wrinkled horses and paint the anew. I searched the WWW for tutorials how to strip plastic miniatures and found various techniques from brake fluid to alcohol. Additionally some of my appreciated readers gave good advice from their experience.

After all I decided to try ethyliv alcohol and it worked rather well.
But please judge the result yourselves:

1. The Victim:
In course of the painting of my Napoleonic 2nd KGL Hussars the horses met a fateful chemical reaction. Somehow the Armypainter Quickshade and the matt varnish seem to have reacted and made the painting beneath it wrinkled and nasty (read the complete post here).

After all attempts of repair failed I decided to strip and repaint the miniatures.
2. The Solvent:
Ethyl alcohol was very easy to get. At least in Germany it is well known for several field of applications. Unfotunately the unatured alcohol is not suitable for internal use, but it widely known as solvent and fuel, disinfectant. In addition it's rather non-hazardous compared to other solvents.
But be careful it might at least irritate skin and eyes. So you should always wear protective gloves and maybe glasses as well. And make shure to work in a well ventilated area since ethyl alcohol evaporates rather heavyly. Fortunately the pollution flies away pretty fast.
3. Soaking:
Then I put the horses into a preserving jar with a sealed top cover. I let the first horses soak for about an hour but meanwhile I discovered that even three hours don't harm the plastic.

4. Swabbing the paint:
Afterwards the paint had dismantled from the miniature. I took and old toothbrush and swabbed the old paint off the horse. From time to time I moistened the toothbrush with alcohol to get the paint in the little corners off.
Finally the horse looked clean more or less. There was a little shade of white remaining and some remains in concealed corners where the toothbrush didn't reach in.
5. Undercoat:
Finally the horse is done. I put on a new undercoat and I'm really happy with the result.

By now I have all twelve horses stripped and didn't experience any problems. Although I'm still peeved about the lost time, I'm rather confident that the horses will look well when they're painted properly at least.
6. Alternatives:
Because everything went well with ethyl alcohol and because it's easy to get here in Germany and because it's cheap, I will remain with it for stripping miniatures.

But some of our fellow bloggers recommended some other solvents and their advice shall not be forgotten:
  • Simplegreen: Some kind of household cleaner
  • Dettol: A disinfectant
  • Aceton: An agressiv solvent for paints
  • Household Bleech
I've not tested those things yet and with plastics I would be really careful with acetone. I stripped metal miniatures once in acetone and it disintegrated the bases...

Last but not least a link to Stryker's blog and his cleaning experiences: Here.

So I hope the second try will bring a better result. However this misfortune give me the chance to use modern equipment next time: I'll spray the brown fur colour with my airbrush gun. Last time I didn't use it because I thought of painting some horses darker or lighter brown...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Paint stripping tutorial announced!

Unfortunately none of the well-intentioned advice worked. Gloss varnish and solvent made the wrinkels smoother but they didn't disappear.

Though stripping the paint is the exhausting way to go.

After having searched the WWW for some hints I found that ethyl alcohol should work. It is said that this stuff clears the paint nicely but doesn't harm the plastic of the miniature. To be sure I put a pair of plastic heads into the alcohol for two hours. I chose some spare heads of my Perry British lineinfantry since it should be the same plastic as the hussars are cast of.

Here is the result:
The two heads on the left after three hours in ethyl alcohol. No damage!
Judge the result yourselves.
I'm not able to realise any damage so I'll use this stuff on a first horse today.
Within the next days I'll post a step-by-step guide for stripping plastics and show you my results. I hope, you'll like both. I would give some sense to this unpleasant episode of miniature painting...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Trouble with varnish: Crumpled horses

Yesterday evening was one of those time which should better be concealed. My wife was exhausted and kind of bad-tempered, our daughter was sleeping unsettledly and I mucked up my hussars' horses. Probably the it would have been better to go to bed early...

However here's the shocking result of the evening:
Two of the blemished horses.
What really preys on my mind is the question, how this reaction occured.
Actually I did the same as a dozen times before: Painted the horseswith Vallejo paints, covered them with Army Painter Quick Shade, let it dry for a day and then applied a thin layer of matt varnish. But yesterday I tried Army Painter Matt varnish for the first time. Therefore I presume that this varnish and the Quickshade underwent a fatal. reaction. I'm kind of angry and surprised alike since two product of the same producer shouldn't do that...
Did anyone of you make similar or differing experiences?

However I think I'll drop the Armypainter guys a line and ask if it's a known problem or if I've a got a "bad can" accidentally. But it wont bring my horses and the time it took painting them.

But meanwhile I'll try to make the best of this bad job. On one of the horses I'll try to etch the dimpled skin a bit with turpentine. Maybe it works. If not I'll have to paint the highlights disregarding the defects and hope the best.

Thankfully the highlanders which I varnished during the same work step haven't been affected that much. Only some really small wrinkles...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

10.000 Hits

With the last post (The Naugart Battle Report) Monty's Caravan passed 10.000 hits!

Thanks a lot for your concern and endurance. Some of your blogs are heading towards half a million hits, but I'm very happy that 79 readers have been following the happenings on my workbench for eight months now.

In the future I'll keep on writing new posts regularly and hope to present some amusement to you.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Battlereport: Battle of Naugart

After the great success of the Battle of Kolberg event in June (Read report here and here) we decided to play a small campaing. Set in front of a partly fictional 1813 background it was to continue the events of Kolberg.

The Campaign
To begin with our gamemaster Bernhard designed a simple campaign map and a set of rules. It all bases on a more or less identical set-up of a French and an Allied division. Those meet some time after the battle of Kolberg near Naugard. The Allies are on their way to Stettin to raise their pressure on the French. On the other hand the French try to secure their retreat from Kolberg and want to rally for another attack.
In addition to the starting line-up both armies have a divisional reserve which they are allowed to arrange ad libitum before the first battle. Later this reserve can be used to replace losses or enforce damage brigades.
The campaign map with the designated battlefields between Kolberg and Stettin starting at Naugard in the middle.

Deployment of Troops
The battlefield was set up in a rather simple manner. Just some fields of rye, two swampy areas and two hills. On the one side the Allied division under command of General Major von Gneisenau fielded a Prussian infantry brigade, a British Infantry brigade and a mixed British-Prussian cavalry brigade. All three supported by some foot and horse artillery. The French mobilised a similar force consisting of Saxon and Polish infantry accompanied by French cavalry.

While the Allied commanders tried to expand their troops over the whole frontline, their French opponents chose a very narrow corridor to place their forces in. With this kind of oblique order they wanted to refuse their right flank and set enormous pressure on the Prussian flank of the Allied army.

Initial point of the battle and the substantial process of the battle.

Forces deployed... (French on the left, Allies on the right)

Progress of Battle
Unfortunately the progress of battle rewarded the French strategy. Although the Polish troops left the battle after an initial blunder, the Allies weren't able to use this throwback to give the battle a decisive route. The British infantry on the left flank was too slow to attack the weakend French flank before the Polish returned and the Allied cavalry blundered themselves. Even during turn 2 those horsemen hesitated and therefore a great chance elapsed.
On the other flank the Prussians did their very best to withstand the French pressure. They held steadily but in the end the power of the French cavalry accompanied by nearly one and a half infantry brigades was too much.
In a final step the Allied cavalry tried to secure the center of the battlefield to open the British a way to the weakened Polish and French (actually Saxon) forces. But after a unit of Prussian mounted Jägers failed to beat some French Dragoons the whole cavalry brigade crumbled and the French took the field.

Here are some pictures taken from the game:
The advancing Saxon troops on the French left wing.
The unfolding struggle at the Allied right flank: Prussians holding the ground steadily.
The Prussian mounted Jägers have beaten a Saxon infantry bataillon, put down an artillery unit and now will afterwards advance towards the French Dragoons where they will meet their fate...
After the Jägers were slaughtered, the French cavalry attacks the flank of the British cavalry with Lancers and Dragoons.
The Scots Greys prepares to smash a bataillon of the returned Polish. They didn't sense that their Allies would go under and open their flank for the Lancers...
Finally the British reached the enemy but it was too late to enforece a turnabout.

The End
Altogether it was a great evening with nice players on either side.
Unfortunately the game itself was a disaster for the Allies. The wounds we received will handicap us severely and I'm not sure wether we'll be able to recover sufficiently until the battle of Plathe which will be fought soon.

However I want to end my report with a set of pictures which represents one of the better moments of Allied cavalry during this battle (actually both pictures belong to Bernhard's archive but fit very well):
The Saxon artillery before the charge of the mounted Jägers...
... and afterwards.