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…or Steam Powered Mechanical Troops

I’ve been wanting to do these guys for a long, long time. I bought them many months ago, but struggled over how to paint them for a long time. Almost as much as I struggled over what to name them. I started a thread on TMP to get some ideas, and got some great results. I decided to combine one of the ideas with a little of mine and came up with Dampf-angetriebene mechanische Truppen= DampfmechTruppen. It’s German for Steam Powered Mechanical Troops, but with some WW2ish naming conventions.

I started with some Prussians from the Baccus Franco Prussian War range. I primed them black and just gave them all a heavy dry brush with Vallejo Brass. Then just painted the rifle as normal. I think it turned out pretty good. Let me know what you think.

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6mm Steam Tanks

I have had these little guys sitting around for a while now as I’m not big on conversions. I finally finished my SYW project and have had enough of re-basing, and am waiting to get my game table put up due to a mess in the way. I don’t think I could avoid it any longer. It’s time to see what happens with one of my first conversions.

Steam Tank
I bought these little Tankettes from Tobsenn77, I had been wanting to buy something for a while from them. I still have my eye on the Bismatron! The site is beautiful, if not a little hard to order from. Take the time, it’s worth it!! The models are great and really well done. I think the tankettes are supposed tiny remote control tanks for 28mm as that is what most of the models seem to be on the site, but they work great as regular 6mm tanks as well. While very basic and with plenty of rivets, they still need a little help to enter the VSF world. I thought I would pop a few steam stacks on them and they’d be good to go.

Truely Amazing Magnates
I needed to purchase a few things first. When I received the tankettes, one of them had the turret and body equipped with rare earth magnets, so the turret would turn. I liked this idea and finally ordered some from Amazing Magnates. I found some 3.18mm across and just over 1mm wide. Fantastic little things. I used a 1/8th inch drill bit to carve a bit out of the two sides and super-glued the magnates in. Make sure you know which side is positive and negative before you apply the superglue! I’ll make sure I get it right every time from now on, it’s not a big deal if you have more than one tank your working with.

Brass Pipe
Next up is the steam stack. I went to the local toy and hobby store (mostly toy, VERY LITTLE hobby) and found some brass pipes next to the model railroad stuff. Amazingly enough the stuff I bought was 3.18mm wide, so I could use the same drill bit to put two holes in the hull of the tanks. Getting them to chop up nicely is something I’m still working on. I’m not happy with the smoothness of the cuts, but it will have to do. If anyone has any ideas on how to get nice smooth cuts, I’d love to know. One tall stack and one short stack, and I’m finished.

I think it turned out rather well, now if I can only decide how to paint them, I’ll be happy. I have three more that I will start when these are finished.

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Beginning to Paint Prussians

Originally Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I haven’t had a lot to show on the web for the past few days, but I was working hard on the second round of figures. I decided to try a different uniform scheme for this batch as the Prussians have a great many variations of the standard uniform, if there is a standard.

For the second unit I used a shade of yellow for the breaches, cuffs, and hat lace. I really like the effect, as can be seen here:

I painted three sticks this time, as opposed to the two that I painted in the first batch, and I feel it took about the same amount of time. The actual applying of the paint doesn’t really seem to take that long. So I will increase the number of sticks that I paint in a batch until I feel I have reached the most efficient number.

I now have 15 strips painted and the 6mm effect is quickly becoming evident to me, even if I wasn’t previously sold. Here are a couple of pictures showing the mass of figures to the best of my cameras ability.

Over all I am very happy with the way that things are turning out. I wish that some of my books would come in though. I have jumped in with both feet, with very little knowledge of the period. I am hoping that some reading about the forces and time will help me to add the little things that really bring a force to life.

Next up on the blocks are the command strips and artillery.


Painting has been delayed by my lack of … paper clips? The flag staffs on the command strips don’t seem very robust, simply a limitation of the medium. I plan to replace them with paper clips, which I need to acquire first. (they are in my pocket as I type this!) I read of someone doing this, and it makes a lot of sense to me. The bummer is that it has set me back from completing a stand for another two weeks. I’m on vacation with the family for a week starting Friday, then I have to modify them, prime, paint, and base. (I no longer do this as the newer models don’t need this at all)


I purchased the Prussian Artillery from Baccus6mm, but it only comes with the gun and four crew. The bases for M&R are only 25mm wide and that will only fit one gun across. So I need something to fill up the rest of the base. I asked on the Baccus6mm forum and Peter wrote that the War of Spanish Succession limbers would work. So I put them in my next order, but I will go ahead and paint the guns and crew now. These are learning experiences.

Here are a couple of pics of the next victims:


One of the great things about gaming and modeling in WW2 is that you have access to more information that you could read in a lifetime. Not so with the SYW, and even less so if you don’t read German! Many great online plates are in German, so the best us English speakers can hope fore is a good guess at the nuances of the descriptions.

I used to frequent the Battlefront Flames of War forums quite regularly, they have an AMAZING gallery section on their forum where beautiful pictures are constantly displayed and paint color and technique are discussed with the artists. This is an amazing model that needs to be copied by anyone wanting to promote a game, period or model range. I tried to suggest this to Baccus6mm forum, what a great tool to make this happen, but they have decided to have a Photo Album linked to their site. This photo album requires a log in, and as far as I can tell is buggy as hell. I have registered and tried repeatable to get in, but haven’t managed and have yet to see the pictures. I bet they are amazing, but I might never know. Pictures of your products looking their best should be as accessible as possible. Great looking pictures where you could find out how the artist made them would draw people from other scales and create an accessible community. As it is right now, I think the only thing missing from the forum is a tumbleweed that blows by when you open the page. Granted, Peter Berry is very good at answering your questions himself if you post there. (The photo album has since changed, but still no tags or anything useful to find pictures you are interested in.)

Other places like the MightAndReason Yahoo group have photos as well, but they are few and far between. This is most likely as the rules are so new, but it has been my experience that the Yahoo groups rarely collect a great number of good photos.

I feel I must complement the quality of the Baccus SYW castings and figures again. I am truely amazed by the size and detail involved and to keep this level of sculpting up is great. I am very happy to be able to own and paint these figures. Some of the other ranges from Baccus are in bad need of upgrading, but I’ll save that for another day. (Upgrades are happening at quite a pace and many of the oldest lines are already done now!)

The initial expense of starting a new scale and period is quite high as well. I have no regular group to borrow books or receive painting or ordering advice from. I have to make all the purchases and mistakes myself, but hey, that keeps it interesting.

I must also mention The Miniatures Page (TMP) again. I can not say how much advice I have been gleaming from these 18th Century message boards. They have been incredibly helpful and incredibly knowledgeable.

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To Hill or Not to Hill

I want to say that of course I know it’s a matter of choice, but I’d like to know what people are thinking.

I’m finally getting my table ready to game on after 5 years of painting in various periods. I’ve always wanted to build terrain and things, but never seemed like it was time well spent when I could be painting. Well, I’ve enough painted now that I can spend some time on scenery and not feel like I’m missing something.

I’ve been creating the scenery for Kolin and Lobositz, which is pretty easy. I started to look at Hochkirch and the terrain necessary. Now I’m a little confused by what others are doing. The terrain seems to really help define this battle. I have found two sites with beautiful battle reports

They both have two small hills, and that’s it. Seems like the games are good ones though.

The scenario I am going to use has a map like this

and has maps like these.

There is definitely room for some more hills in these battles, or are they not necessary?.

I’m wondering if most gamers go this minimalist route or do most gamers favor lots of hills? I suppose it’s only necessary to have hills on the table if they were significant in the battle.

What are your thoughts? Where do you stand?

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Prussian Steam Robots?

I have been wanting to try these guys since I first saw something similar on Rot and Drivel. It has just taken me a while as I wanted to finish my SYW armies before experimenting. The time has come for experimenting.

These are a little off from my usual track as they have no basis in history. They are test models for my steam robots for my Victorian Science Fiction units. I have seen them under various names such as Klankentruppen, and Clockwork Troops (but I like Uhrwerk-Truppen better). But I’m still looking for a great name for them.

The guy front left has been dry brushed copper and the other three were just painted copper. I think I will go with the dry brushing for the future models. I thought it would be too dark, but it s ok and allows for more detail to show through.

The Toofatlardies rules allow for hits on a unit to be either shock or casualties. I figure, this unit will not take shock and therefor disregard all hits that cause shock, making them much more resilient. I figure to balance this out I can do a few things.

  • Small units(10-12 is a typical unit size, so more like 6 for these guys)
  • Make the player declare what the unit is going to do a turn before, making them inflexible and keeping in character
  • Allow them to only fire at extremely short range and make them hand-to-hand monsters

Let me know which you think is a good option or a brand new idea if you like!

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Natal Mounted Police in 6mm

Natal Mounted Police or Martian Mounted Police

I have wanted to paint this unit for some time, and after finding the Through the Mud and the Blood rules by Toofatlardies, I felt I finally found a rule set that would justify painting them. They will do double duty in Africa and on Mars.

These lads are my first mounted troops for a skirmish game and I wondered how to base them. I started looking into unit sizes, it appears that Brit cavalry in the First Boer War mainly operated in “Troops”, but I couldn’t find a break down of the Regiments to see how big a troop is. But in the Zulu war, only 1-2 years earlier, a troop was 120 men. This wasn’t a big help, but I figured that about four of my groups would equal a troop.

I’m using 30mm round bases for the infantry with 4 guys on a base. I thought about two different options for the mounted troops first:

  1. 4 troopers on a 40mm base
  2. 2 troopers on a 30mm base, like the command/big man bases I use

After looking at them both, I decided on a third option, 3 troopers on a 30mm base. This gives them more “mass” than the sparser basing. I’m not sure how many bases to use to represent them when they are dismounted, but I’ve got time to think about it. I can’t wait to paint the dismounted troops though, as you can’t really beat black and white uniforms can you?

Speaking of black uniforms, I used Vallejo German Grey for the uniforms so they weren’t pitch black. You are usually recommended by those in the know to use a lighter shade for small figures, and they certainly look black but you can still see a bit of detail up close.

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Making Your Own Wargaming Hills

I have wanted to do this for years, but haven’t had the necessary tools and have refused to pay the price for high end hobby tools to do the job. Inspired by AJ’s Wargaming blog I finally decided to try my hand at crafting my own hills.

I first made my own wire cutter with instructions I found on the web from pvc pipe and a model railroad transformer. This was a disaster, it worked sort of but wouldn’t hold temp for anything useful. Next I saw someone on TMP said they used a hot knife from Harbor Freight. So I ordered one of those and gave it a go. I have middling results as I have to make the cuts in one go, as it’s not capable of fine work and very much custom shaping.

I used 1 1/2 inch pink foam insulation, covered with brown paint from ACE and then Woodland Scenics static grass flock. I like the results, now I’m stuck on the last step of the process, insuring that the grass can take a beating. If you have any suggestions, please let me know

The following is my attempt at hills. I assure the hills are flat underneath, it’s the ground that is undulating, giving the impression that the ground and hills don’t meet.

Please comment with any advice you may have to improve the process.

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Making an Easy to Setup Field

I was organizing the table the other day and noticed that setting up a simple field could be tedious. I thought I would try my hand at making a self-contained field that I could easily flip on the table and go with.

I started with a bog standard clip board.

  • Cut off the clip
  • Spray paint it brown
  • I cut a piece of corduroy to size. Leaving about an inch on all sides.
  • I used spray adhesive to spay the painted clipboard and carefully laid the corduroy in place
  • When dry, I “painted” a glue-water mixture on the edges and added sand on top for texture.
  • Paint the sand brown
  • Add the split rail fencing
  • Paint on glue-water mixture, sprinkle on static grass
  • Final coat of Krylon Matte
  • Sounds like a lot, but each step goes really fast and I did it in between painting other things. I think I’d like about four of these to sling on the table at a moments notice.