Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bolt Action Players sought!

If you live in the greater Bay Area and you play Bolt Action or would love to try it out, check out our facebook page Bolt Action Bay Area.

I have been playing this game now for about 8 months and I am totally in love with it. It is in a lot of ways similar to warhammer and 40K, but in a lot of ways it's very different. One thing that is eyecatching: it's much less complicated. And that is part of why I like it. My buddies and I can truly enjoy the flow of the game, the models on the table and basically hanging out with eachother, chatting about work, family or whatever without stressing (or arguing) about the rules.

grandpa (on the left)

Part of me starting Bolt Action, was the fact that my wife's grandma was WW2 veteran in the 10th mountain division and received two purple hearts and a bronze star for his service in Northern Italy in 1944-45. It led me to model my first army, the 92nd all black regiment that fought in Northern Italy.

1000 point army, enough for plenty of fun games!

The history behind Bolt Action, WW2, is so vast and there is always something new to learn, often you find that out when you are modeling a specific vehicle or unit. It makes it interesting knowing that all of this is real and not a made up world. It's also enjoyable to model you kits on actual vehicles, like the camo on this crusader,

which matches the real one:

British eighth army Crusader

Maybe it's my middle age man syndrome, but I am kind of totally over Games Workshop. I feel angry about the companies strategies over the last 4 years or so and I am convinced they have destroyed the playfullness and creativity of the game to make as much profit as possible. The pricing of new models is astounding.
Warlord, maker of Bolt Action, is an upstart compared to GW, and they display a more youthful exuberance about their product. The models are not cheap, but much cheaper then GW's models. Also, you don't need as many models in Bolt Action to have a good game.

If you interested in WW2 history and love to model creatively, play some mellow games and believe in the cinematic feel of this game, give it a try. AND if you live in the Bay Area, check out our new Bolt Action Bay Area page. The goal is to promote this game in our neck of the woods, get together and maybe organize a tournament or so.

We also have a blog: Santa Cruz Warhammer Historical, where we mix history with modeling. Become a follower!

SC Mike

Sunday, January 5, 2014

P51 Mustang for Bolt Action

One of my favorite things about Bolt Action, besides the modeling, is learning about history. I have been running this blog now for about 8 months or so and in that time have learned so much about WW2 history, all because of the models and units built. I make an effort to do some research whenever I build a model and find great historical images. And it's the same with the most understated unit in Bolt Action, the airplane.

In the game the airplane doesn't really have a 'model' space, its more comparable to an orbital bombardment, it's just there, it happens. But having the airplanes actually there makes it much more cinematic and real, I really recommend it.

I bought this set for about 30 bucks, it has three planes in it, all in the 1/72 scale, which is perfect for Bolt Action, as long as you use a nice long basing stick. Here's the first one I did, the spitfire for the British Eighth Desert Army  and it was time to set my sights on the P51 Mustang. The kit comes with a version from the Battle of Britain, early war, but my US army is based on the late war North Italian campaign, so I had to choose a different unit. While browsing I spotted this picture:
and I quickly found out that these crazily painted planes were from the illustrious 31st Fighter Group. You can read more about this illustrious fighter regiment right here, but for now I can tell you they were among the most decorated fighter units in WW2 AND they were instrumental in the late war in Northern Italy! I found a great image of one of the few still active birds....
...and chose that as my guide. Here's the finished model. Note that the plane above DOES NOT have customary camo green anti reflecting coat, instead it's black. In all other, authentic images, it's green and I am not sure why they painted it black when they restored it.
Here's a quick play-by-play of the build:

lot's of masking tape
mistakes...i painted the red lines reversed....
after I redid that, I gave the plane a salt bath
then washed it with black and let it dry, then weathered the decals
The salt ate away at the paint a bit which gave it a nice weathered look
I was not able to find out why the numbers on the back fin were painted over, but that is really how it was

Here's my model, with the weathered decals
and here it is on it's stand. There is a little guy on the bottom to show the length. The stand is a bamboo skewer, about 12 inches tall.
I finished this model on Christmas morning but I was sidetracked by other stuff until now. Here's our Christmas morning breakfast table
Closing out I will leave you with a few little tidbits

the logo of the 31st fighter group....

Official paint scheme if you want to do it yourself
and this awesome action shot of the other version of the mustang, within the same regiment

Hope this inspires!
SC Mike

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bolt Action: British Crusader MKIII for British 8th Army

When the British arrived in Northern Africa and fought the Germans, their cruiser tanks were seriously outgunned by their adversaries. The British valued speed over armour and the cruiser tanks, like the Crusader, was faster then any other tank. But the guns were too small and the armour too light.

Here's a great image of a bunch of Crusaders MKII with the lighter guns.

It;s an amazing shot of life in the desert for a tank crew!

Here's the upgrade the British introduced soon after, the Crusader MKIII. It had upgraded armour AND a 6 pounder cannon, that would put up a much better fight against the German tanks.

You can see the turret had to be changed to facilitate the larger gun and it took away a crew member. The commander was also the loader, which didn't improve productivtiy...

Here's a crew cleaning a gun, you can see it's much bigger then the MKII

Here's the Tamiya 1/48 scale kit that I built. Tamiya gives two color schemes as options, a green one (later desert war) and the earlier yellow/black one. 

 I chose the latter, since I have painted enough green armour for a while after finishing my US 92nd army. Tamiya based their yellow black camo scheme on this tank: 

...and I faithfully copied it:

Now a bit of a gripe with scale in Bolt Action. It really bugs me that the Bolt Action vehicles are so small. it just doesn't look good and after spending dollars and countless hours on a model, I want it to look great in my army. Even 1/48 scale is a bit small, but certainly much more realistic then the 1/56 scale that Warlord produces. I really wish they would switch to 1/48 scale. There are not many vehicles in the game anyway, so it really doesn't have a big foot print on the game table.

Below the Perry minis next to the 1/48 scale Crusader. 

Here's an image that gives you proper proportions

Hope this inspires!
SC Mike