Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Dark Sword Miniatures frog falconer. Note the 'hawk'.

Is it just me or are things getting wierd?

Ana - the art of blue-green

One of my favourite miniature painters ever is Ana whose work is displayed on Chest of Colours. She has the most exquisite sense of colour and works in a blue-green palette better than anyone else that I can think of. Look at the subtlety with which she has blended shades of sea green and highlighted them with splashes of subdued contrasting colours. I wish I was one tenth as good.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Baltic Air War '45

Two of the British fighters that flew against German jets in the Baltic campaign. The first id the propeller driven Tempest V. The Tempest was developed from the Typhoon strike plane and had all the advantages of the type without the disadvantages. Nothing, but nothing in the air accelerated faster than a Tempest at low level. The first jet kill in WWII was an ME262 shot down by a Spitfire interceptor (what else?) and Mustangs killed more jets than any other allied fighter by diving on them as they attacked the daylight bomber streams but the plane that terrified the 262 pilots most was the Tempest. When a 262 slowed down to land the Tempest could easily out accelerate it and the four 20mm cannon were probably the optimum fighter killers of the war.

In the Baltic War, Tempests provided low level cover over the convoys. An HS132 jet dive bomber was horribly vulnerable to Tempest attack as it pulled out of its attack.

These are Meteor III twin engined jet fighters. The initial Meteor design suffered from air compression problems around the engines which slowed it down. The top speed increased markedly when this was cured. It was fast for a straight wing fighter. The Meteor could not match the top speed of the swept wing FW Ta183 or the Horton 229 flying wing stealth fighters but is had far better engines that responded much better to the throttle. Every jet engine in the modern world traces its ancestry back to the engines in the meteor. The Meteor was the primary RAF intruder fighter from '45 onwards.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

AEG GIV - Bomber 1916

The AEG G bombers were short range tactical bomber with an internal bomb bay between the pilot and rear gunner. Theye were not hugely successful and were often used as general fighters. They had more success as tactical night bombers as they were very easy to fly so non-tiring for the pilot. One pilot on the Italian front mounted seven raids in a single night.

They had two engine in tractor layout and a crew of three with typicaly a front and rear gunner with good arcs of fire.

Pedantic note: 'Fighter' in WWI was a general purpose warplane with two or more crew that was armed and so theoretically did not need escorting, as in Bristol Fighter. A single seater interceptor was a 'scout'.

The Skytrex model was the usual nightmare to put together. I used copper rods to hold the upper wing on and abandoned the complex struts between the upper wing and the fusalage. The decals are a particular source of irritation. They are the worst I have ever encountered in five decades of model making. Nevertheless, the finished product ain't so shabby and Skytrex are a reliable good-service company.

The camoflague is copied from a model. I think it is for night bombers.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Storming Venus

The artwork for my steampunk novella, Storming Venus, is done. Garrett Vance is the artist and he has done a great job.

The story will be published in Jim Baen's universe in April.


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Skytrex Fokker E1

I have not had much chance for modelling lately, let alone playing but have finally finished a couple of E1s. These were the first true fighters with an mg firing through the propellor arc using mechanical interruptor gear. They were so successful in shooting down the RFC antiquated BE2s that this period of the war was known as the Fokker Scourge.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Luftwaffe 46 - Artwork Inspiration

The Luftwaffe '46 art website:

has some brilliant pictures such as this superb one of a FW TA183 attacking American bombers by Daniel Uhr.

If one is going to paint German jets then this is where you go for ideas.

I have put up an alternative history for WWII that might have led to Luft '46 on the Mad Genius writing blog.


Sunday, 21 March 2010

While on the subject of Micro Art

While on the subject of Micro-Art, they have announced pre-orders for a range of infantry for their Iron Brotherhood range: Adeptus Mechanicus, Renegades, Guard?

As usual with Micro Art, top quality models but they are sold in pairs for Eight Euros a time. If you are well heeled......

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Jet War Over The Baltic Sea 1945

A schwarme of Focke-Wulf Ta 183 Huckebein jet fighters form up over Denmark. The FW183 is a state of the art jet fighter with swept back wings allowing high speeds. Its advanced Heinkel turbojet powers the FW183 to 593mph on a single engine. Its range is usually too short to be a bomber escort except for the airwar over the Baltic in '45.

Here, an FW183 schwarme escorts Heinkel Hs132 jet dive bombers on a run out over the Skagerrak with 500kg bombs to attack a British covoy adding to the military build up in Oslo.

The Hs32 was capable of over 400mph in level flight with a full bomb load and 485mph empty. The pilot lay prone to withstand the enormous G when the plane pulled out of its dive. It also carried two 20mm or 30mm cannon for ground straffing or to fight its way past enemy fighters.

The models are Raiden Miniatures in 1/285 scale sourced from Dom's Decals in the UK.

Micro-Art Bases

I have bought some Microart bases in the past. Their quality is unmatched but they are expensive. These lovely new 25mm 'trench' bases are about a Euro each.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Maxmini Rocket


Look at this beast from Maxmini.
I want, I want, I want...
Sell for Euro40 and weighs 0.5kg.

Steampunk Planes

I am a fan of steampunk and have a novella being published in April's Baen's Universe Magazine.
These pics are from the site. They are digital pics of what a K7 giant Russian aircraft (from a 1930s design study) would have looked like engaging German flying saucers (from a 1940s design study).
The CIA mounted an investigation in the 60s to investigate whether UFOs were Russian-built based on German secret technology. Such was the paranoia of the Cold War.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

More Sphere Wars

I have no clue about the Sphere Wars game so cannot comment on whether it is any good but The models are great. These were painted by Nomad.

I also could not resist showing some of his work on Soda Pop Models.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Skytrex FE2b Kit - Assembled the Blease way.

This is a picture of an FE2b. A large pusher two seater fighter that was one of the planes that ended the Fokker Scourge in 1916. [This photo is taken from]

Skytrex make a white metal kit. I had a go at assembling one using the steve Blease Technique. First you drill out the holes in the lower wing so that you can shove through copper rods. use blue tack to put the upper wing in place.

Here is the blue-tack fixed upper wing,

Turn the plane upside down.

Push copper rods through the lower ring into the holes in the upper wing and cement in place. Epoxy resin gives the best structure but superglue is easier and cleaner to use.

Allow to dry and then snip off the ends of the copper rods. This makes an incredibly strong box structure. I had to use full force to make the final fine tuning of the wing alignment.

Remove the blue tack.

Add on the tail and landing gear, etc., andyou have a robust wargaming model. It ain't perfect but it ain't bad either.

50mm Malifaux Bayou Base

These base inserts just get better.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Hammers Slammers - Molts

Ground Zero Games are now offering for sale the official Molt figures for the official David Drake's Hammers Slammers game as designed by yours truly and John Treadaway.

"Pack of EIGHT "Molt" figures from 5 different poses: 1 leader, 4 figures with 2cm Powerguns (2 poses), 2 figures with combat shotguns, 1 figure with buzzbomb. Reptilian primitive aliens using captured weapons, from David Drake's novel "At Any Price". Figures measure approx. 25mm from foot to eye; commissioned by John Treadaway, designs approved by David Drake, sculpted by Martin Baker and cast and sold by GZG! Sample figures in pic superbly painted by Kevin Dallimore!"

You can buy them here:

See my side bar for link to the official Slammers site.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Call of Cthulhu - Troll Forged Deep Ones

I came across a supplier new to me, Troll Forged. It seems to be a sort of sculpting co-operative based in the USA. I am very drawn to their Deep One Cthulhu figures but they have a large range.

You can find them here:

Maxmini Gatling

Maxmini have a new gatling artillery piece.
You can find Maxmini's site on the sidebar.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

My Game Designs

I am still having a mass clearout in preperation for a move to a smaller house. I have come across my various commercially published game designs over the years. In the last few years, i have been mostly into miniature games.

Back in the early 80s, I was a PhD student (mathematical ecology). My first child was born and my wife had to give up her job in Central London to look after her (we commuted in from the north Kent coast). Desperate for money, I got in to designing computer games. The best selling was the Fourth Protocol, the world's first icon-driven computer game.

I started out by designing board wargames. Not much money in it and the boardgame market collapsed in the early 80s.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

New Malifaux Insets

Another pic of new Malifaux inserts. These are for their bayou boys.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Orky Walkers

I have assembed my new Orky walkers. I decided to make the killer cans my tank hunters so I gave them 8-strength weapons. One has a Kustom Blasta off the Dred, the other a Kustom Blasta made by adding an Old Crow gatling to a grotzooka, and a rocket launcher. Their BS-3 is positively Wild Bill Hickock by Orky standards. Giving the Dred a ranged weapon is pointless so it has three close combat weapons and a burner.


I have done a little more work on my servitor, adding the controller to the base. I just have to put on some cables - as recommended by one of my fellow bloggers - and it is finished

Sunday, 7 March 2010

War On Terror

I thought that The Lambshead Xmas Family Game had been taken care off with the purchase of a second hand copy of Beowulf - The Game of the Film but wait - how did I miss this little gem? It's kinda like a modern version of risk. You start with a village and try to build the world's biggest empire based on oil. The temptation is to sponsor terrorist groups to hamper your opponents but they tend to take on a life of their own. Every so often, a random spinner will allow a player to acquire the status of Axis of Evil, which gives one all sorts of goodies like WMDs. The player also gets an 'evil' balaclava to wear.

I have not yet seen a copy but the component quality is apparently excellent and it is a good multiplayer game.

The designers apparently have a new game in production called 'Crunch - the game for Utter Bankers'.

[In london English 'Merchant Banker' is rhyming slang for, well you can work it out. Clue: it doesn't mean jolly good chap.]

Sphere Wars

While mooching around waiting for my wife to get ready, I came across some rather good miniatures on Chest of Colours from a Spanish company called Sphere Wars. These examples look 'fishy' but others look like Lovecraft monsters. They have a website:
but it seems to be mostly offline.

Nice figs though.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Shiny Toys - New Ork Walker Sprues

GW dropped a couple of boxes through my door this moring. Da Orkies have arrived!

Da Dreadnought sprues (one side only shown).

Two Killer Kan sprues (shown from each side).

I got another package in the same post. It was like Xmas. More 1:144 wargame models. These are prepainted models and kits.