December 30, 2016

Fridays with Farley...Another Dose of Useless Tidbits for New Years 2017

• On to 2017...

• Digital Delights...

Figure Painter Magazine # 42

Now Available for Download

From the publisher-
The 2016 Christmas issue of FPM!
We have a cracker of an issue for you this month with a truly inspiring tutorial from Roman Lappat who tells us all about OSL. Marko Paunovic brings us the latest instalment of his post-apoc diorama and we have a HUGE step by step article from Roman Gruba…did I mention it was massive!
Also in this issue we have lots of unboxing reviews for you, so if you have yet to decide on that little something to buy yourself, then look no further: Nuts Planet, Altores Studio, FeR Miniatures, Miniature Tale, Neko Galaxy Minis, Black Sun Miniatures and Kellerkind Miniaturen are all featured, as well as Kimera Models, where we drop the mic on exclusive revelations! We also have a show report from the recent Monte San Savino competition and a close look at the new painting book by Arsies and the Iwata Neo Airbrush Kit. Kicking it all off is a superb Insight interview with none other than the fantasy artist supremo, Gerald Brom, one of our all-time favorites!

...and don't forget

Initiative Magazine Issue 004
So, Issue 4!  As a team, we have been working hard to bring another issue filled to the brim with content for you. We have an incredibly in-depth look at Bushido by Robert Nolan. I hear he's even planning a battle report in a future issue. Andy brings us another excellent tutorial, this time on painting white, which is a colour I know I struggle with. Marko expands your table top terrain with another excellent article and Sean helps us with our basing woes by showing us some slate bases. We also have a tutorial from guest writer, Jeff ‘RogueShader’ Jenkins, who teaches us how to paint Pre-Heresy Alpha legion armor. Additionally, we have a look at some products just out, including a review of the new Infinity starter, which looks very tempting. We have much more besides!

STILL THE BEST DEALS ON THE WEB! FPM and Initiative are available as a downloaded PDFs for less then $2.00 a copy.  FPM is a independent magazine dedicated to sculpting, painting, displaying, collecting and gaming with miniature figures from all genre's. The magazine has details on new releases, reviews, interviews with the industries top painters and sculptors, show reports, tutorials! Initiative magazine is a new digital publication focusing on boardgames, RPG's and Skirmish and War-games and the miniature figures that accompany them.

• Sited...
...on Atlas Obscura
Before 3D movies or the Oculus Rift, the only way to really immerse someone in a virtual scene was to just surround them with imagery. To create this proto-VR, circular panoramic paintings ringed by miniature dioramas (also called cycloramas) became hugely popular during the 19th century. Of course many of these artworks depict famous battles ranging from the conflicts of the October War to the Battle of Gettysburg. Because reenacting a war is a pastime that long pre-dates Call of Duty. Gear up for six battles you can relive via analog VR technology....

1453 MUSEUM Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Wroclaw, Poland
Damascus, Syria
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Moscow, Russia
Atlanta, Georgia
Complete article HERE
• Blogged
...On tib*
Incredible Photographic Evidence That Toy Soldiers Are Alive!  By Callum Chapman 
Toy soldiers as Art? You bet! ...and Callum Chapman has the proof right here on this tib post featuring 20+ images of artful toy soldiers 
*tib is... The Inspiration Blog is an inspirational design, fashion, photography website. We provide you with the latest breaking news and product design reviews.

• Socialized
found on Facebook...
From filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy) comes the epic action thriller DUNKIRK, In Theaters July 21, 2017. Starring: Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, James D'Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, and Tom Glynn-Carney
Dunkirk FaceBook page.

• Built
1066...a 28mm Norman & Saxons Diorama
click images to enlarge 
• Benched
• Strange but true...
Civil War Veteran Jacob Miller (Company K 9th Indiana Vol. Inf) was shot in the forehead on Sept.19th, 1863 at Brock Field at Chickamauga and left for dead. He lived with an open bullet wound for many years, with the last pieces of lead dropping out 31 years after he was first shot.

These two minie balls from opposing sides met head-on during fierce fighting at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December 1862.

• The Parting Shot...
..let's get the New Years party started!


December 28, 2016

Trench Runner Paul Buchholz Looks at Warlord Game's Bolt Action 2nd Edition Ruleset

Now that Warlord Game's Bolt Action 2nd Edition rule system is widely available at retail our Trench Runner Paul Buchholz take a look at the plus and minuses of this revamp rule set for this popular WWII game.

...Having played countless original Bolt Action games a lot I feel as if I am in a good position to give a review on the differences and how I feel they work in game.

One off the large changes was increasing the rate of fire and range for light machine guns. This now makes the lmg a decent value for the points and the make sense in a squad. Another change was a revamp to the recce rules. Gone are the days of a recce vehicle popping out of cover, killing your tank, and then hiding after it is shot at. Another large change is the amount of dice units get during hand to hand combat. Units that before got two dice now only get a re-roll on their successes. Leaa dice overall keeps combat fast and brutal, but less predictable than before. The final major change is the addition of templates for HE effects. I was not initially happy with this, but having played it I feel it really does improve the game. You can no longer hit three mortar crew for 16 wounds, assuring they will die, and you will no longer hit a clumped up squad of infantry for only 2 hits. These are the main changes. There are many more small changes but all of them seem to make sense in the context of the game. Changes were made to air strikes making them easier to drive off and making AA guns a viable choice. Snipers hit much easier now taking only penalties for pins and missing the spotter. Medics can no longer fight, hold objectives or fire guns. Transports can fire one weapon even when empty. Many other small changes were made and they are good as well.

There was one major addition that was added as well. Snap to action is the name of the rule. This allows lieutenants, captains and majors to not only give a morale bonus but they can pull extra dice from the bag to activate units when they activate. The number of dice and range of this effect varies by officer, but the effect is very dynamic on the table. Officers are now much more useful and captains and majors have a place in lists. To me it is very feasible to envision a captain gathering together three squads and charging forward into battle. 

There was one change that in my opinion was negative. It has to do with the vehicle damage chart. Anytime a vehicle is not destroyed after being damaged it must roll for a turret jam. There is a 50/50 chance of a jam but it jams in the direction the fire came from with no regard to the direction the turret was facing. This rule is clunky and unnecessary in my opinion and makes little sense. Luckily this game is easily modified with house rules and I plan to house rule a smaller chance of jam and jamming in the direction the turret is facing. That is the only change I dislike and having one small negative change in all of this really speaks to how good I feel this update was overall.

To summarize 2nd edition made many positive changes, got rid of a few of the rules and mechanics that people would question before, and added one rule that is questionable. Bolt Action  is essentially the same game. If you loved bolt action before you will probably still love it. If you didn't like it before, it has improved in a few places and might be worth another look.
Paul Buchholz

View order HERE

The Warlord Games Company Line...
Bolt Action 2nd Edition Rulebook
This Second Edition of the best-selling Bolt Action World War II Wargaming Ruleset from Osprey and Warlord Games presents streamlined and refined rules, incorporating all the FAQs and errata compiled over four years of intensive gameplay. It is fully compatible with the existing range of supplements and also introduces new material. Written by veteran game designers Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley, Bolt Action provides all the rules needed to bring the great battles of World War II to your tabletop. Using miniature soldiers, tanks, and terrain, you can fight battles in the shattered towns of occupied France, the barren deserts of North Africa, and even the sweltering jungles of the Pacific.
Key New Features:
- Officers activate other units! Used cleverly, this creates a huge tactical shift as you can order multiple units to fire or advance in concert.
- Big Explosions! HE fire now uses templates to determine damage - your opponent had better spread out his troops to avoid carnage!
- Armed Transports! Once your squad has piled out of its half-track, the driver can speed around and unleash a hail of lead at the enemy!
- Player Feedback! We've listened carefully to the community and taken advantage of the thousands of battles you've played to improve the game in dozens of other ways.
- New Army List
- The main rulebook now includes a fifth army list - adding Imperial Japan to Germany, Great Britain, USA and the Soviet Union - giving you even more choice for your army.


December 27, 2016

FARLEY'S FIGURE(S) OF THE WEEK no.137: ...O Be Joyful it's (almost) 2017

Cheers to a new year and yet another chance for us to get it right! This week we feature a couple of the boys from the Old Northwest Trading camp life series lifting a glass of 'O Be Joyful' it a toast to the coming New Year! 

The American Civil War was a drawn-out conflict that involved many days, even weeks and months of inactivity and soldiers turned to drink to help ease the boredom of non-combat. Brewing and distilling was a common activity among both Union and Confederate troops. They produced strong alcoholic beverages and gave them names like 'O Be Joyful,' 'Pop Skull', 'Oil of Gladness', 'Bust Head', or 'Nokum Stiff.'

The annals of military history are filled with reference to beer drinking and reverence among professional soldiers. Indeed it was held in such esteem in military Prussia that Frederick the Great issued orders to encourage his troops to take beer. "Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer." and his highness was convinced it was more prudent than the debilitating effects of coffee.

In America the Continental Congress approved ale as part of each soldiers daily ration. Although the official portions were discontinued in the mid eighteen hundreds, it continued to be held in high regard throughout the ranks. During World War One, despite the spreading prohibition at home, the doughboys' exploits in the Brasseries of France were legendary. And, in World War Two the U.S. armed forces virtually took over breweries, such as Brand, to provide for the needs of thirsty GI's. More recently the Gulf War caused special maneuvers, in locations where drinking is illegal, so troops could be cycled out of country for a little R&R and cold beer.

With abundant passages like these in other major conflicts why is there such little reference to beer during the Civil War? Did each side, and their proponents thinly disguised as historians, consider the events such a "noble cause" that they were compelled to clean up history? As with any cleaning job there is always some corners that get missed, and poking into these provides some insight. Despite some commonly held beliefs, the war was not a series of calvary dashes, brilliant maneuvers and continuous fighting. In fact, this first war of modern weapons was encumbered with old tactics of laying siege; thus, a majority of time was spent in encampments. The daily life of a soldier in camp was less than exciting, causing Lt.Oliver Wendell Holmes to write..."War is an organized bore." and a private to complain that camp was just`Drill, Drill, Drill'. It's no wonder that in the hours not filled with the military's "make work" these men looked for other diversions. Distractions from camp routine were often found in playing cards, baseball, clubs and, of course, drinking beer. Not surprisingly drinking was readily seen in units made up of ethnic groups strongly tied to the beverage. The journal of one Union soldier revealed "...among the German troops, especially consumed in great quantities". However, beer was so prevalent overall that one soldier wrote home..."Almost everyone (I do not know of an exception) drink their beer".

What were the sources of this beer? Most common was the Sutlers, a name for entrepreneurs who reaped profits following the armies and providing services to the troops. Edward K. Wrightman, of the Ninth New York, (the Hawkin's Zouaves unit) wrote home, "You see I am well clad and lodged...and the Regimental sutler gives us credit for such little extras as we may desire...and have every reason to be satisfied with our condition. Bye the bye, I have just been, by pressing invitation, eating Clams and drinking lager...smooth the anxious minds of the good ladies who trouble themselves so much about my welfare. My health is very good indeed." Another testimony to the supply provided by sutlers was given by Samuel Clear of the 16th Pennsylvania who wrote "Still nice weather but very hot. McCafferty (our Sutler) treated the Regt. to Ale...the boys very noisy to night [SIC]". This was a similar experience for John W.Jacques of the Ninth New York State Militia who described how "On the road outside of camp was a wagon with lager long as the money lasted, comfort was taken...". Another source noted that, "Cider stocked by Sutlers sometimes had sufficient potency to make imbibers of a few glasses limber and joyful". No doubt the wagon or tent of a Sutler was always a welcome sight.

Finally, if the encampment was long enough, the soldiers would take to the production of home brew and other liquors. The slang for these included `O be Joyful', `How come you so', `Bust Head', and `Oil of Gladness'. Most of the references to these come from Northern troops, not necessarily because Southern chivalry eliminated partaking, but from the Northern army's greater access to raw materials, transportation, and the number of brewers that naturally settled in the cooler regions of the north. Still, the south did have their own recipe for home-brew. They were inclined to add "...raw meat and let the mixture ferment for a month or so to add what one veteran remembered as an old and mellow taste".

The efforts of the people involved should be neither diminished, nor forgotten, their struggle made an imprint that still affect us. However, it's good to remind ourselves that all these noble causes were carried out by average american beer drinkers.
Gregg Smith

MTSC PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Auriga Static Modeling Manuals

Auriga Static Modeling Manuals Step by Step
Imported from Italy
Getting into the modeling hobby can be an intimidating process for the beginner. The Static Modeling Manual series of books by Auriga Publishing of Italy can help take away that intimidation factor and is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in modeling.Arguably the best starting reference available and one we always recommend to our customers. More advanced modelers will find enough useful tips to justify the price of admission! 

Coming early 2017
Static Model Manual 13: Diorama - Elements in Combat
84 pages in full color, softcover book
Scale modellng is, probably the most complete way to represent the real world. This fantastic form of art involves construction, detailing, composition, painting, sculpting, weathering and many, many other. Scale modeling is a small piece of the world. A world in scale, showing a specific situation. In scale modeling we have a geographical location and a time frame. In every work we see a story and a moment crystalized in scale. We can represent natural landscapes, urban scenarios, rivers, seas, waterfalls, all kind of soils, all kind of vegetation, sci-fi ships, planes, boats, tanks, trucks and even an entire army! Scale modellng is a magic world. A mini world of countless hours of fun and pleasure.

Only a modeler knows the feeling of holding a finished model, after several months of hard work. That moment is pure magic and can transport us to a different world or dimension. In this book, my goal is to transmit all my scale modellng knowledge. Also, I want to transmit the passion and joy that I feel in a daily basis while working in a model. Hope you like it!

Static Model Manual 12: Dioramas Inspiration
84 pages in full color, softcover book
published: 2016
This book follows the outline of the Static Model Manual series, guiding you through basic techniques, followed by those of medium difficulty, then ending with those that are more complex. As always the aim is to present the greatest range of choices possible that allows you to find your own personal style, using your own creative abilities as well as the best products that the market has to offer.

Photographs of real subjects in unique situations are always a great creative stimulus for modelers. The challenge consists in achieving a faithful reproduction of the scene that has been photographed, but it does not always have to be such: the photo can serve as a point of departure to develop something in a parallel context which is different but nevertheless plausible. When we create a diorama, a message is sent to the observer of a well-defined moment when the artistic side blends with the technical side. Modeling experience will enable you to achieve an acceptable result, resolving problems and unforseen challenges along the way. It is only by paying attention to the balance of elements in play relating to the message and to realism that we can achieve a credible and an interesting reproduction of the scene.

Static Model Manual 11: Military Figures for Dioramas
84 pages in full color, softcover book
published: 2015
The ultimate diorama figures painting guide is a book with plenty of illustrations about how to paint figures in different scales. You do not need masterpieces on your diorama, you need good figures properly painted, in a few easy steps. These easily mastered techniques allow you to get good results using materials you have at home. You will learn how to paint the figures with an airbrush, refining the detail by brush! You will see how to paint eyes, skin, equipment and different types of uniforms. You will understand the different effect of scale on the colors of the uniforms. The goal is to achieve subjects that fit your diorama, that complete your tank, car or aircraft model without driving you crazy with complicated color theories. An easy full color and fully illustrated guide you should not miss!

Static Model Manual 10: Extreme Weathering-Building and Painting
published: 2015
100 pages in full color, softcover book
Damaged or abandoned subjects are always fasinating for modelers. An unexperienced observer could think that it's easy to reproduce a weathered model, and some rusty pigment and that's all. The more rust, the better. Things are quite different, in the real world, there are many factors to consider, there are many differences in the way materials fade away. This book deals with things we observe and how to reproduce them. Studiyng a picture we will try, using modern modellng techniques, to reproduce the item just how it was at the moment of the camera click. The last chapter deals with a diorama where we decide how each subject will appear, giving the observer suggestions.

Static Model Manual 9: FIGUREVOLUTION Building and Painting
84 pages in full color, softcover book
published: 2014
With a bit of practice, using well-known techniques and proven materials it is not difficult to create miniatures at a more than respectable level. There is in the human soul, however, a constant desire to progress. Mastery of a passable technique is nothing more than a departure point to be able to elevate the miniature from a simple object that is aesthetically pleasing to a means of communication. In order to achieve this goal another element is necessary: the idea. This is an undefinable element that has to be recognized and cultivated, stripped to its essentials and then developed so that it can geminate like a precious seed.

After having amply discussed technique in Volume 5 of the Static Model Manual series, the path presented by the author in this new volume is focused around the idea itself. An excess of technique results in virtuosity, the development of a vision that lacks the required skills often leads to mediocre results. The solution lies in a search for balance, but this is not always an easy path, as there are many variables in play and one's personal imprint becomes increasingly more relevant. In this volume Alex Michelotti attempts to provide you substantial assistance to enable you to reach the goal of creating our own personal style! Step by step photos, secrets, tricks, shortcuts, anything goes... everything is on these pages for best results!'' This is the follow up book to Static Model Manual 5. 
Painting Figures.
Static Model Manual 8: World War II Bombers-Building and Painting
84 pages in full color, softcover book
published: 2014
This volume of the Static Model Manual series is dedicated to aircraft modeling. Famous Polish modeler Kamil Feliks Sztarbała builds and weathers three protagonists of World War II in various scales and shows the tricks and techniques with which he makes his masterpieces. It doesn't take much to realize truly beautiful and lifelike replicas of aircraft with this clear and comprehensive S-B-S (step by step) guide to follow. Extra Bonus: exclusive unpublished historical pictures of a true rare bird: the Junkers Ju 188 A-2 U5+KH

Static Model Manual 7: Painting Models One Hundred and One Tips
80 pages in full color, softcover book
published: 2014
As in the previous volumes of this series, it's not the model to be the protagonist, but the techniques used to make it! When we talk about painting, there are several ways to get a satisfying result. On these pages the best modellers specialized in the different fields of our hobby reveal their secrets, their techniques and their tricks with which they create their masterpieces. Behind every finished model there is the mastery of techniques that we can learn and try on our models. The seventh volume of the series represents the logical continuation of Static Model Manual Volume 6, that many gratification gave to the authors being one of the most appreciated titles of this series.

Static Model Manual 6: Painting Models- Material and Methods
100 pages in full color, softcover book

published: 2013
This sixth volume of the Static Model Manual series provides answers to airbrushing techniques, decal application, washes, enamels, lacquers and acrylic applications, and a treasure trove of finishing information.

Static Model Manual Step By Step 5: Painting Figures
104 pages in full color, softcover book
published: 2012
There are a lot of books on the market about figure painting but most of the books don't show how figure painting is exactly done. The techniques are mentioned only in text or only by photograph. So most of the time you still have to figure out what the writers mean. This book does both through Step by Step photos, secrets, tricks, shortcuts and just about anything else to make things much more clear, especially for the novice painter. Heck even an experienced painter can learn a few tricks from this book. The best single guide to the art of figure modeling with very detailed explanations of techniques and tips to get you started or improve your figure painting skills.

Static Model Manual 4: 101 Tips for Building Models
114 pages in full color, softcover book
published: 2012
The art of model building is a blend of tools, accessories, knowledge, tricks and techniques gathered from many different sources. A wealth of information from these sources is compiled in this volume that covers all the aspects of modeling you will need to get started in this wonderful hobby.

Static Model Manual 3: Painting and Weathering Tanks
published: 2011

Static Model Manual 2: Building and Painting Modern Fighters
published: 2011

Static Model Manual 1: Military Dioramas
published: 2010

View & Order Auriga Books HERE

December 22, 2016

"I'M SAYIN' WHAT?" Contest #34 Winner

"I'm Sayin' What?" #34 WINNER
It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks “I’m Saying What” contest. Ken Gunn has snagged one of the most coveted prizes on earth...which is of course is a $50 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier.


Here's our image for this weeks contest. All you have to do is come up with the wittiest quote for the word bubble, post to the comments on our Facebook page and you will win a $50.00 gift card from Michigan Toy Soldier Company. Just think... you get free stuff and you get show off your comedic charms that will fly around the world via  ‘Over The Top’ ‘News From The Front’ Google+ & Facebook pages. We will post the winning entry right here next Thursday.