Thursday, April 26, 2018

A New Project: The Second American Civil War (2020-?)


This project is a pure flight of fancy, a bit of shameless self-indulgence. I've always had a dark fascination for contemporary conflicts - the brutal, kinetic and extreme violence that seems to pick away at the edges of our fragile veneer of modernity. I know that for many in the hobby, ultra-modern warfare is simply 'a stetting too far', or indeed too close, perhaps a little too near to home. I completely understand, but I find this setting allows me to indulge my somewhat jaundiced view of the world, letting me to playfully skirt the margins of convention (and perhaps good taste).

Several years ago I wrote a piece on my blog where I reflected on wargaming, history and morality. In retrospect I think it was a little too heavy for a toy soldier blog, but whatever, I enjoyed writing it and I recently revisited the post along with all the well-considered responses from those who took the time to comment on it. At the time when I wrote it, I wasn't sure if I wanted to wargame ultra-modern settings, but now I think it may serve nicely as a cathartic outlet. 

While wanting to do something ultra-modern, I'm not especially interested in gaming the stereotypical white special forces guys operating in third world countries, killing brown and black people. Instead I want to explore the divisions in our own western society by taking our contemporary environment to an extreme conclusion, a narrative where North America has fundamentally broken down. It's meant as a poke in the eye to our civilized sensibilities, something provocative to fly in the face of our Western sense of superiority - blowing up the idea that, 'it could never happen here'. 

So I present to you my vision of 'The Second American Civil War (2020-?)'. 

I won't go too much into the hypothetical background other than to say that it's built upon the premise that the POTUS, fearing the comeuppance of impending kompromat, has manufactured a crisis from which he has declared martial law. This serves to interrupt any constitutional challenge to his power and helps to divert attention away from his legal entanglements. 

Peaceful demonstrations criticizing the Executive Office are suppressed by fractured elements of the government's enforcement agencies and nationalist militias. So, demonstrations turn to riots, and riots to open revolt. From this, the great 'American Experiment' begins to unravel.

Like many of these kinds of projects, this one will probably never see 'completion', but that's not what this is all about. I'm just wanting it to serve as a silly vehicle for my sardonic, very personal narrative of what I see occurring in the world today.

Anyway, enough blather, let's get on to the miniatures!

The figures and terrain seen here are from several sources.

First, we have a team of MAGA Militia in their distinctive red baseball caps. These guys are from Spectre Miniatures. Great sculpts, though the weapons are 'true scale' which means rather fragile.

Then we have a team of generic, very well-equiped urban operators. Perhaps members of a SWAT team. These chaps are from Hasslefree miniatures. A bit larger than your average 28mm figures, but beautiful models to work on.

Then four members of a Mexican Sicario hit team. As a certain silly Orange Man described them, these are all 'Bad Hombres'. The figures are from Spectre Miniatures.

Finally a group of local survivors just trying to stay alive. I imagine these as ex-military service personnel armed and clothed in an ad-hoc mixture of gear and equipment. These are also from Spectre.

I'm imagining several more factions, militias, thrill-kill cults still to come, which should be fun and perhaps raise an eyebrow or two. :)

The terrain shown here is a mix of stuff as well. 

The gas station is from Sarissa Precision. This was a incredibly fun kit to work on. Due to the setting I had in mind, I really went over the top on weathering it. Sarah says I need an old Coke machine out front and a bunch of windblown newspapers around the pumps - as usual, she's absolutely right.

The billboard is from my good friend Byron over at Northern Lights Terrain and Gaming Supplies. A great little kit that was easy to assemble and a doodle to weather up.

The two wrecked cars are from 'The Walking Dead' terrain boxed set. I think it has 4  plastic vehicles, half a dozen barricades and a bunch of other scatter for around 30 bucks - Really, an incredible value for what you get. I picked this up at 'Crisis' this past autumn and DaveD was kind enough to send it on home so I wouldn't have to pack it around Europe for the rest of our vacation. Thanks Dave! 

The green wrecked car is a resin model from Armorcast. 

The Jersey concrete barriers and oil drums are 3D prints from Thingiverse. 

So there you have it, my little post-apocalyptic diversion for the summer. I invite you to come back to see more stuff roll out over the coming months. It's going to be YUUGE! 


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Renaissance Duel Prize for IainW - The Knight of Gabbiano

Last year Iain and I had a Renaissance Duel to which he soundly trounced me. (What was I thinking? Well, obviously not much as I did the exact same thing this year...) As a prize I offered to paint him an Italian Wars figure. He graciously offered to send me one of his old skool knights that he was in the midst of stripping for repaint and I said I'd be happy to do one up for him. 

Well, it turned out I lied.

In my minds eye I thought Iain would send a gendarme all decked out in full plate and barding - lots of steel, so a fairly straightforward job, right? Nope. What I received instead was a fully caparisoned knight that would require hand painted heraldry emblazoned all over the horse barding. Iain, I silently cursed you when I opened that parcel. ;)

Nonetheless, I based up the b*gger and he sat on the paint desk staring at me this past year. In fact I petulantly ignored him until this week, when guilt finally took over and I set him in front of me so I could figure out what to do with him. Well, there was no way I was going to cop out and do a solid-colour job - he needed proper heraldry to get slaughtered in, so I put my thinking cap on. After a few hours of looking at various designs on the web I decided to take a break and get a drink. On my way to the kitchen I passed our wine rack and there he was, prancing on his charger, proud as a bishop on a bottle of Chianti.

Now I was off and running.

The one nice thing about this casting is that the detail is fairly soft and smooth, which made painting the pattern that much easier. Once I got my eye in, the pattern began to unfold quite easily and a few hours later the bulk of him was done.

The lance is white metal so did my best to straighten it. I'm usually not a bit fan of metal lances, but I do like the big flaring vamplate on this one.

After all my bellyaching I'm happy with how he turned out and am now quite sad to see him go. I'll have to give that pattern a go with one of my Steel Fist gendarmes in the future... 

There you go Iain, the Knight of Gabbiano. I hope you like him. As a request, I ask that you have a glass of Chianti to toast him into your collection. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Entry #16 to AHPC VIII: Zweihänder Flammenschwert Casualty Stand

It's been a rather hectic time lately, but I have managed to nudge a few figures to completion - so, another casualty stand to add to my Italian Wars collection - the last one was cavalry based, so this time I've gone with an infantry theme. 

Here we have a heavily armoured landsknecht with his zweihänder flammenschwert (quite literally 'two-handed flaming sword') demanding blood or surrender from a fallen enemy.

The poor bloke on the ground is a model from Redoubt Enterprise's oft forgotten Renaissance range, while the fellow wrecking his day with the compensator sword was sourced from Oliver over at Steel Fist Miniatures. 

Thanks for popping in folks!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Entry #15 to AHPC VIII: Wulfen

This lupine fellow as he reminds me of a time when I thought the scariest monster by far was the werewolf. 

I was born and raised in northern Saskatchewan, which is pretty much as rustic and remote as it can get here in North America. My hometown was the last bit of civilization before you headed off into the Laurentian Plateau and the sub arctic beyond - literally on the edge of nowhere. One autumn, when I was 9 or 10 and staying out at my grandparents farm, a pack of timberwolves came hunting into our area. During the week we could see them at night in the farmyard, and I have to say, they were pretty magnificent creatures - scary as hell, but magnificent all the same. Anyway for those few days that they were around, my grandfather, shotgun in hand, would meet me at the end of the road where the school bus let me off and then walk me back to the farm. As a young boy you can imagine how that impressed me.

Later, when I was a teenager, the movies 'American Werewolf in London', 'Wolfen' and 'The Howling' were all released in 1981 and while they scared the absolute bejeezus out of us, my friends and I absolutely LOVED them.  We would often stay up late at night and tell our own scary stories of werewolves and work ourselves up into a terrified frenzy. It was great fun.

My favourite of the '81 werewolf movies
Anyway, when I first saw this figure I knew I had to have it as it reminded me so much of those carefree teenage days where primary concerns were avoiding being ridiculed by girls, the next scheduled D&D game and scaring yourself witless watching monster movies.  

It's a Forge World resin model, which I believe was released for a special GW event back in 2012. PaulS entered a wonderful rendition of this figure as part of the 'Myth' theme round during Challenge V, and after expressing extreme covetous of the model he kindly sourced me with another that he had acquired (thanks so much again Paul!).

I shaved off most of the silly GW Chaos iconography and painted him as a black timberwolf. The gore effect on the poor Reiselaufer, who's being toted around as lunch-on-the-hoof, is a triad recipe from a Citadel ink set that I've had since 1987 - back in the heady days when GW used containers that actually sealed...

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Entry #14 to AHPC VIII: 'Gloria Invicta' Renaissance Cavalry Casualty

Just a single figure from me today. This time it's an another casualty stand for my Italian Wars collection, a stricken horse and its dead rider - a set that I've sourced from Gamezone Miniatures. 

Gamezone has obviously marketed itself as an alternative source of figures for Warhammer Fantasy Battle fans. While most of the castings are indeed fantasy oriented, there are many of the 'Empire' themed figures which will stand-in very nicely for the Renaissance period, particularly for Spanish soldiers of Charles V's reign.

This set is called 'Gloria Invicta' and is probably amongst the best sculpted 28mm models that I've had the pleasure to work with. The sense of movement, the skill with which both figures' anatomy has been rendered and the overall feeling of pathos conveyed by the pair is amazing.

Out of the pack the rider is bare handed, which is absolutely fine, but I decided to drill-out one of his hands and give him a shivered lance modelled from a piece of plastic rod. I like to think that this small addition helps to make the scene a little more dynamic - giving the impression that they have just staggered away from a ferocious melee.

As a little experiment I applied several thin coats of Formula P3 Armour Wash mixed with blue ink on his armour plate to give the impression of the blued armour which was frequently seen during this period.

I've mounted the figure on one of the D-shaped bases that I've come up with for this project. The flat side fits snug against my transparent unit platters, helping to identify which unit it belongs to.

Thanks for dropping in folks - keep warm and have a good day!