Monday, 4 July 2011

The scores on the doors

Technically, I managed the target I set myself yesterday of getting a half-unit painted from start to finish. Ish. In actual fact, I was working on a batch of six Germans, who I wanted to get out of the way because they all have improvised gas masks (being Renegade early WWI figures). The first painting session this morning went really well, but I left it far too late in the day to start the second painting session. I did get every course of paint applied, but by the last few the combination of slightly fading light and tired eyes meant I could barely focus on the miniatures. I know I made a ton of mistakes and the figures are going to need a lot of tidying up tomorrow before I Quickshade them, but technically they are "painted".

Which is not to say I didn't get a hell of a lot of other stuff done today. I've applied the base colour to three Armourcast quad walkers, which will be joining the German side. I started converting the second Atlantis steam tractor (if you've seen the film, it's the one with the huge barrel body that contains the balloon) and got it to the same stripped down state as the first. The next step will be to build up a flatbed cargo compartment to turn it into an artillery prime mover. I did a little more painting on two Atlantis-based gun trucks, bringing them to about 50% complete. I also finished basing the rest of the cavalry horses and all the Jaegers, which means that all the troops I'm planning to have done for the Big Game are now based and on the painting table. Finally I've just primed four Atlantis steam-tanks as British land-ships. Rather than paint them in traditional "tank" colours, I'm playing up the land-ship angle and painting them using the Royal Navy pre-dreadnought colour scheme of black body, white turret and ochre smokestacks.

I found what might be a really good resource for VSF vehicles. Ramshackle Games produce a range of resin vehicles for what looks like a post-apocalyptic skirmish game. A couple of them look perfect for steampunk games, looking patched together (remember yesterday I was wondering what vehicles for the Fenians?) or full of cogs and pistons. But more usefully still, they sell the resin parts for all their vehicles individually, so you can get large, toothed wheels or track sections in several styles at very reasonable prices. Excellent if you want to scratchbuild something but want a head start with the trickier parts. I've ordered a vehicle from them to see what the service is like.

I'm still waiting, I'm very sorry to say, for the three steam tanks that I bought from Ironclad Miniatures at Phalanx. Their figures are beautifully proportioned, and I would love to be ordering more vehicles and British soldiery from them right now (or at least, when the painting table is cleared), but I'm reluctant to send any more money their way until they come up with the goods. When you say "We'll take your money now, and post the product to you on Monday" you'd better damn well post the damned product on Monday as promised. Otherwise you won't be taking my money again any time soon.

The last time this happened to me was years ago, when Marbeth Designs (who I can happily name, since they are no longer trading) came to MAWS with a trade stand one Sunday. I splashed out some cash on a few vehicles and wanted a full platoon of an APC called a HannMag. He didn't have enough with him, so said he'd send them to me when he got back to home base. And that was the last I heard from him. Marbeth didn't have a web presence, and I didn't have contact details, so when my patience did run out, I was left rather in the lurch. Eighteen months later, I was down at Salute with Amazon Miniatures (who sadly also appear to no longer be trading) and as luck would have it the chap from Marbeth had a stand right next to where we're running the demo game. So I went and collared him and asked about the vehicles, expecting him to have forgotten all about the vehicles I'd ordered from him so long ago.

"Oh yes." he replied, "I have them here, I'll bring them over to you later." It was as if there was nothing wrong, like I'd only just ordered them minutes ago. No explanation for the delay, but on the other hand no protestations of ignorance as after all I didn't really have any way to prove I'd ordered them from him.

The punch line? When he did bring them over he said "Now for variety I've done you two of the regular APC bodies and two of the Engineering variant. OK?"

I gave up, took the mismatched platoon home from Salute, put them in a box where they sat untouched till this very day and abandoned all plans for 25mm SF gaming.

Fortunately in today's more connected age, I have an email and web address for Ironclad and have chased them up a little sooner this time. John from Ironclad said last week he'd be posting the tanks "in the next couple of days" so all I can do now is wait.

Roll on Salute 2012.

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