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Edinburgh Hobby Wonderland

Edinburgh Hobby Wonderland

This year our summer holiday led us on a trip around Scotland and we also spent a night in the city of Edinburgh. During our first stroll through the city we passed by Wonderland Models just by coincidence, as they call themselves: the „largest model specialist in the country and one of the largest in the world“.

Wonderland Models storefront. Picture taken from their website.


Of course I had to go there and I can say this is definitely the largest exclusive model shop I have ever been to. Wonderful not only to look at pictures but taking boxes into your hands, feeling the weight and reading the texts. The sheer amount of models was mind-blowing.
A modelshop doesn’t have to be this big but I wish there would still be more model shops around. Very often even the big department stores don’t offer scale models anymore. Wisely enough Wonderland Models also has an online shop: https://www.wonderlandmodels.com/

Of course I could have ordered there online but buying in store just felt so good. These three just had to be. 🙂

Cheers, Scotland! I love it! 🙂

A Retro-Gaming Weekend

A Retro-Gaming Weekend

While the world keeps debating about sustainable living, recycling and reusing, we are bringing this concept to the gaming world. Nothing we played with last weekend was younger than 20 years… and it still works! 😉

Amazingly this was the first time we met face-to-face for gaming this year. First our timetables were against us and later lockdown struck – though we played several scenarios of Descent via Skype during this time.

We started this gaming weekend with some 1989 SpaceHulk. I had never played this classic before and I felt there was a gap to be filled. However, my mate had lost the rules but now he brought them from his parents‘ place… along with some other stuff and we played an introductory mission twice.

First time I ended up with the choice between blowing my flamethrower Termi myself or going into close combat. I opted for close combat and lost it… expectingly! Second time, the same mission, I had learned my lesson and managed to fulfill the objective in short time.

Still a nice game but before going into SpaceHulk any deeper I’d rather go for KillTeam. However, I like the idea of moving blips which turn into groups of ‚Nids and I was surprised how much the whole concept reminded me of Descent which came some 15 years later.

Next morning we started out with BattleTech which we hadn’t played for over a year. Shameful! However, to keep it short(er), we decided for one Recon-Lance each. An encounter I lost bitterly! I hate a crazy Spider in my back!

Along with the SpaceHulk rules my mate brought some other gaming stuff from his parents‘ attic and one of his old gaming friends who wanted to clear his cellar. First thing was a group of old FASA tanks for BattleTech. I purchased these for a fair price for my growing BattleTech army.

Something else that was on offer was an old 2nd edition SpaceMarine-box, today better known as Epic.

Epic is on my list for building an army since a long time but I did not have much hope it would ever come true. At least as long as GW does not release a new edition. Now, this offer came quite as a surprise and could be the first step of a long gaming dream come true. Though there will be a lot of work ahead and as the minis are all oop, this could become expensive when finding additional troops on ebay.

However, a great bonus: While my mate rummaged through his left-overs in his parents‘ attic, he found an old box of BattleTitans with five Warlord Titans still on sprue which he gave me for free! A bottle of gin was the least I could give him for this. Cheers! 🙂

Sunday Evening Star

Sunday Evening Star

After finishing all the Cold War Americans, this F-86 Sabre from Airfix was sticking out its tail right from the top of the pile of shame. According to plan it was supposed to be finished druring the last summer holidays. Now, last Sunday, after getting to it, it went rather quickly. However, I didn’t bother much with painting details. Maybe I will add some more later. Major work was putting on the decals, what was like open-heart surgery at some points.

This also completes the display in my glass cabinet with the Airfix Mig-15 and the 1/200th counterparts from the Mig Alley! box for Blood Red Skies.

Kill Team Scenery

Kill Team Scenery

Hobby time during the last three days was spent completely on Kill Team scenery. Everything I own, besides of the items from the Kill Team Arena box, was still on sprue, left to build and paint in the boxes: buildings and ruins from the Sector Fronteris box, the Servo Haulers from the Ork starter box, Krogskull’s Boys, and (Surprise! Surprise!) a Wall of Martyrs from the Tau starter box, Advance Team Starpulse.

The Sector Fronteris worked out quite nicely and will also be useful in Star Wars: Legion games. I like especially the rusty main colour, originally Army Painter Fur Brown spray.

The Servo Haulers are not finished yet. They were given only a black primer with another basecoat of Team Yankee Chieftain Green. I guess I will take my time to paint these because I really started to like them while building. With some special rules they can bring a lot of fun in scenarios. But why did I use this colour?

Unfortunately I had two cans of the Chieftain Green and both are leaky as you can see from the pictures.

I already had this problem with other brands and it’s not a question of age. I have much older cans which are still tight. Whatever, I have to use them up as quickly as possible and so I used the spray on the haulers and the wall. In the end, I think, the colour is not bad at all as it brings a dirty look of decay with it

The Wall of Martyrs is not a piece that I fancy at all. Too many skeletons and awkward iconography that are so… well, 40K! But someone left that literally at my door step and ran away. I thought about selling or just dumping it but in the end I decided otherwise. Let see what I can make of it.

Oorah!!! It is done!

Oorah!!! It is done!

And so it ended yesterday without much ado and applause. Not even from my girl-friend! 😉 I finished the last of the vehicles for my US Cold War army, including all the gunner and commander figures. For today spraying varnish was the last thing to be done.

Waiting for their turn to get varnished.

And then to arrange them a nice little box until it’s time for action.

Only the ground forces.

After seeing this, I guess, I will need some more infantry later. How did evil Lord Merrick say: „I’m not that easily defeated!“ I guess, this is also true for most painting projects.

The last pieces yesterday were the M35 trucks and M151 jeeps.

All metal models from Skytrex from their Vietnam range.

During a night shift I also finished all the gunner and commander figures for all of the vehicles – another 13 figures. Some were easily done with plain NATO olive. Others needed the woodland camouflage pattern, like the gunners in the Humvees and the ones in the MUTTs.

With this the main force of my American 15mm Cold War army is done. Helicopters and planes did I already finish last year. I still have two platoons of infantry and a few helicopters on the pile but these are for a later date. With this ends one of my biggest painting projects ever!

Descent via Skype – In Defiance of the virus!!!

Descent via Skype – In Defiance of the virus!!!

From all over the world I read gamers‘ stories on the net how they keep up their hobbies in times of containment. Yesterday, a mate of mine and I, we wrote our own chapter into that book: Playing Descent via Skype.

The scenario map at my place and a hundred kilometers away on screen.

We both had a map layout of the scenario on our tables and turned our webcams on them at our places. This way we could see our’s and the opponent’s setup.

A new way to play is about to begin.

The whole thing needed some preparation because I don’t own a copy of the game. We decided on a scenario. My mate scanned all the tiles and cards and sent them online. I printed them, glued them on cardboard and cut them out. Alternative figures weren’t a problem to find among my myriad of boxes of gaming stuff.

From analogue to digital to analogue.

We thought about how to improvise the dice but Descent uses a lot of different dice with complicated layouts and so we decided that my mate, the Overlord, would do all the rolling at his place in front of the camera.

Roll the dice only in front of the camera… just to be sure 😉

While my mate was the Overlord, I played Grisban the dwarf and Avric Albright the cleric. The scenario was from the 2nd edition starter box (german title: Der Kardinal in Not, first scene). We started that campaign some three or four years ago but never managed to play much as we live more than an hour driving time from each other.

The complete setup. Two small tiles are omitted, character sheets and cards laminated.

For miniatures I used some older Ral Partha figures for heroes and cultists and some Zombicide undeads for zombies and spiders. The role of evil Lord Merick (With a fire aura!) went to a Games Workshop Boromir.

Fire aura or not! When he has hitpoints, he can die.

To conclude, this was great fun! Not only in times of containment is this a good way to play but also in the future when time is scarce and driving not always fun. We didn’t have any technical problems and after a short while the flow of the game felt completely natural. Maybe this way we will play more often now than in the past.
By the way, Lord Merick is history now (But hey, didn’t he say something like he’s not so easily defeated?) but the Cardinal is still in need. So, hurry up, guys!

Abrams finished!

Abrams finished!

There wasn’t much work to do on this one. This was only a single M1 from the Tanks Modern Age starter box, which I bought last year to play some tank skirmishes with quick to learn rules while I was on holiday on Crete with some friends.

I already have eight Abrams completely painted and ready packed in boxes but I used the opportunity to add some details to all of the models. Two of them belong to the Zvezda Hot War range and two others still need a commander figure, as I found out by the way.

Unfortuantely I used another painting method on the older M1s. They were all primed in black and you can clearly see the difference between old and new.

The contrast between the camouflage colours on the new one (front) is much brighter. The overall look of the older version is much darker and even a stronger drybrush couldn’t fix that. Nevertheless, all models are ok for my liking. Important experience points gained!

We need more elephant shoes!!!

We need more elephant shoes!!!

At least in the Bundeswehr, the M113 was nicknamed „Elephant Shoe“. I guess, in a Cold War setting of the 60s, 70s or 80s you can never have enough of this versatile APCs and its variants.

In this phase of my US army project I had to finish ten M113 of different sorts And one is rather an objective or scenery item with a base.

The two M577s were lready mostly done and I only added some minor details like head- and backlights. Both models are older pieces from Battlefront’s Vietnam range.

The standard M113s were also nearly complete, even with the commander figure. So only some detailing and drybrushing with Zandri Dust here.

Finally, the support variants of the M113 family.

On the M901s and M163s only the camouflage pattern was done and, firstly, I used the infamous MIG-filter on them, as on the LAVs and other models before.

The turrets of the M163s were harmed the most by the filter but could easily be fixed with some Revell Bronzegrün.

These M163s also still need some figures for gunners.

This is another ten tanks off the list! I’m really coming to an end here.

M2 Bradley ready for action

M2 Bradley ready for action

The Bradleys were mostly done and I only added some minor details like some red for backlights and blue for window slits.

The battle ready M2.

All in all, I think, due to the black primer these models became too dark. That’s why I stopped using black primer on all later models. Fortunately there are enough colour primers around nowadays.

This model is another one from Zvezda, the only Bradley available in 15mm, as far as I know. However, as it seems, Battlefront will release its own Bradley model for Team Yankee with the next wave of US verhicles.

The Zvezda model shows the deficiency of some of their 1/100 modern vehicles: The sculpt seems to be unfinished! Here you can see it on the headlights.

All the details for the headlights were omitted. This is strange because Zvezda usually produces highly regarded scale models and the rest of the model is well detailed.
For me, I decided not to paint headlights on but to keep camouflage pattern to do exactly this, to camouflage it! Battlefront’s kit will hopefully be better!
I already took some pictures of the model a few years ago, along with some minis I had painted at that time.

Another three off the list!

„The Roof, the Roof…!“

„The Roof, the Roof…!“

Michael Moore coined my image of the M109 in „Fahrenheit 9/11“. In one scene you see crews firing their 155mm guns during the Iraq War to the music of the Blood Hound Gang’s iconic song „Fire Water Burn“. One of the moments in life when you feel fascinated and disgusted at the same time.

The M109

Nevertheless, yesterday I did the last brush stroke on these. In addition to painting details, wash and drybrush, I also added some jerry cans on each side of the turrets.
These are the plastic models from Zvezda, originally for their own tactics game Hot War: Battle for Oil. A game I never played but some of the models for this game are really great. And the M109 is one of them.

I already had some of the older Battlefront M109s made of resin and metal parts for their Vietnam range. But I don’t like that old model which is rather chunky, in my opinion. But I used these models for my West German army later as you can see in the pictures.

The Zvezda model shows much more detail and was much easier to build. Superb fitting with no glue required! The only major disadvantage is that it can’t be built open-hatched. So no model with a commander on this one.
Comparing the Zvezda M109 with the new plastic M109 from Battlefront, derived from pictures on their homepage, the similiarities between both models are so big that I’m wondering if there was a cooperation between both companies. Only some details on the wheels and the back of the turret seem to be more elaborated.

Another four off the list!!!