Warlord Games and Osprey Publishing announce partnership

Bolt ActionHere’s a press release we’ve had from Warlord Games:

Warlord Games and Osprey Publishing are teaming up to create Bolt Action: World War II Wargames Rules. Written by veteran game designers Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley, Bolt Action is a fast, fun 28mm wargame that rewards tactical play, but doesn’t get bogged down with excessive tables and charts. The main rulebook is scheduled for a July 2012 release, followed by a series of books covering the armies of the major and minor powers of World War II.

John Stallard, Managing Director of Warlord Games, had this to say: “Osprey has been putting out fantastic books for wargamers for as long as I can remember, and having a chance to work with them on Bolt Action was too good an opportunity to miss. With their commitment to high production values, I know the book is going to be something special.

Richard Sullivan, from Osprey Publishing, added: ‘You would be hard pressed to find a wargaming company with more combined industry experience than Warlord Games. We are excited to work with these guys on a game that is supported by such a high quality, extensive, and continuously expanding miniatures line.

Warlord Games have previously published the popular Black Powder and Hail Caesar rules, and Osprey has released hundreds of World War II titles over the years, making Bolt Action a dream collaboration between the two companies.

Bolt Action: World War II Wargames Rules will be released in a full-colour hardback edition in July 2012.

Looking to get started with WWII wargaming, or wanting to add some Bolt Action to an exisiting collection, you can pick up a wide range on our online store: Bolt Action

Warlord Games Firelock Storming Party review

Pike and Shotte Firelock Storming PartyThe Firelock Storming Party from Warlord Games is a boxed set containing 18 figures, 16 plastic and 2 metal.  The packaging is well designed, the front illustration and the information on the reverse both being particularly pleasing to the eye.

Inside, there are the metal figures, a running officer and drummer, as well as 16 identical sprues for the rest of the company.  There is also a printed sheet with further information on the period and troop type, as well as some colour scheme suggestions.  Like the box itself, this sheet is also produced to a high standard and shows that a lot of thought went into it’s production, elevating it from being a mere aside.

The two metal figures represent the captain and drummer of the company.  Both these figures are very well detailed and are very evocative of the desperately charging men they represent.  The only downside I can see is that if you plan to field multiple companies then you’ll need extra work converting these figures to minimise their repetition from unit to unit, having said that, they are amongst the best historical figures I’ve ever seen, so I think that down side can be forgiven.

Firelock Sprue
Firelock Sprue

As previously mentioned, the bulk of the company are all made from a single plastic sprue type, meaning that they use the same stock pose: with one leg slightly raised and tilting forward in a running pose.  Unfortunately, this means that there is very little in the way of out-of-the-box variation to be had from this set.  Each sprue contains two sets of firelock-wielding arms (gun raised and gun point forwards), as well as two hats, and that is all the variation that can be had.

This does mean that you are getting 16 spare firelocks, which can be sprinkled about other regiments to denote better equipped individuals (plus of course more hats). It would have been nice to see extra possibilities in the kit; a second pose or separate torso’s and heads being two ways of doing this.

Pike & Shotte Firelock Storming Party
Firelock Storming Party

The sole pose aside, the model is finely detailed and has a minimum of mould lines.  And although I spent the last paragraph complaining about the lack of variation in the pose, the fully assembled company does look quite good in a uniform “hustling” into position kind-of-way.  And it is possible to add a minor conversions to change the leg posture, as well as change the elevation of the gun to a certain extent.  With a few spares from other sets, it is also possible to do things like add some hat plumes, for instance, further enhancing the look of the unit.

Pike & Shotte Firelock Storming Party
Firelock Storming Party (again)

All in all then, this is quite a pleasing set of figures at a very good price.  Not being able to get multiple poses out of the box is an issue for a lot of modellers and gamers however.  I feel as though Warlord missed a trick here – if there had been say: two torso’s, two heads and two sets of legs per sprue (and thus eight sprues per box) it would have easily rectified this problem.

8-10

Game, set and Flint: 8/10

Warlord Games Parliament Infantry review

Pike and Shotte Parliament Infantry Box Warlord Games are busily releasing a number of historical sets for various time frames, from Romans in Testudo formation to German SS troopers, they are slowly building up a catalogue of miniatures that any historical gamer should be looking upon greedily.

With the publication of their Black Powder rulebook just over a year ago they have provided an entertaining and well-crafted set of rules with which to use their (and other manufacturers) models in a wide ranging wargames settings, and having announced earlier in the year that they are working on a number of supplements to detail various periods in history, it really seems like there has never been such an exciting time to get into period wargaming.

The English Civil War is one of the periods in history that I am most interested in, and when Warlord started releasing the Pike and Shotte range of models I started gathering them just as a collector and painter.  Having been lured in with such dainties as the King Charles I model, and with the wealth of options available for historic wargaming, it seems to be the right time to take the plunge and build an army ready to march across the British countryside.

From just reading about the box the signs seemed good. 40 models for an RRP of just £18 ?  A few years ago that alone would have caused me to dismiss them out of hand as being of definite poor quality; but having seen what Mantic are doing these days, it is no longer as far-fetched to believe that plastic models can be both well-priced and well-crafted.

The package exterior filled me with hope, with the period-style artwork, and lots of well thought out information on the period and models.  If they put that much thought into the box then surely they wouldn’t cut any corners with the actual models ?

Parliament Infantry Insert
Parliament Infantry Insert

Inside the box, along with the sprues and the bases, was a nice leaflet with yet more detail.  Containing information on the period, paint schemes, unit organisation as well as some banners ready to cut out and use, this small leaflet was a great little bonus, and shows a really well thought out approach from Warlord Games. As the contents are similar (and sometimes the same) for all of Warlords Pike and Shotte basic regiments it’s worth getting one of each box just for the packaging and extras.

Parliament Infantry Sprue
Infantry Sprue
Parliament Command Sprue
Command Sprue

Getting onto the sprues themselves, it could immediately be seen that the sculpting and casting quality is at a high standard. The were some minor gripes, such as the lack of variety and a couple of minor aesthetics issues, but these were well mitigated by the cost of the product itself.  Having counted 42 bodies over the 4 sprues (as opposed the the 40 advertised), I checked to see whether it was possible to build some extra men, and it seems that the command sprue does indeed provide enough extras for you to produce an extra officer, sergeant or musician.

Parliament Infantry Unit Built
Parliament Infantry Unit Built

Looks-wise I had a problem with the tiny heads on the soldiers, but the reason for this became apparent when I started clipping the components of the sprue, each head is designed to carry one of the many hats provided.  This in turn resolved my other minor gripe, those hats provide a way of giving instant variation to the unit.

So a cheap box with no negative aspects, and with ‘2’ bonus models included, it has to be:

10 out of 10

10/10 (warts ‘n all).

*Accurate as of 2nd February 2011

Painting Bolt Action Plastic Germans

The recently released Germans boxed set was the first plastic kit from the Bolt Action range and we’re great fans of these versatile miniatures.

This guide will demonstrate how to get your Germans ready for the battlefield in 5 easy steps, most of which just take a minute or two and involve minimal painting skill. This guide is also suitable for painting characters but you may wish to add extra detail during the basecoating stage.

Here’s the chap we are going to be painting:

Bolt Action Plastic Germans Step 0

Materials used in this guide:

Bolt Action Plastic Germans
Army Painter Uniform Grey Spray Paint
Citadel Codex Grey Paint
Citadel Fortress Grey Paint
Citadel Chaos Black Paint
Citadel Skull White Paint
Citadel Elf Flesh Paint
Citadel Boltgun Metal Paint
Citadel Scorched Brown Paint
Army Painter Quickshade Dip – Strong Tone
Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish
Citadel Static Grass
Citadel Modelling Sand
Filla-Glu Clear Superglue
Citadel PVA

Step 1: Undercoat

Bolt Action Plastic Germans Step 1Using the Uniform Grey undercoat spray, apply a even undercoat using sweeping motions across the model or models. Note: Remember to shake the can for at least a minute.

Step 2: Basecoat

Bolt Action Plastic Germans Step 2Using the various Citadel paints, paint the model using flat colours, i.e. using no shading or highlights.

For our German infantryman we used Codex Grey for the helmet, a mix of Chaos Black and Codex Grey for the boots straps and pouches, Fortress Grey for the gaiters, Elf Flesh for the face and hands, Scorched Brown for the rifle stock and shovel handle and finally Boltgun Metal for the metallic parts of the rifle and shovel.

The Uniform Grey undercoat is left as it is to represent the German’s er… uniform, a mixture of 80% Codex Grey & 20% Fortress Grey can be used to touch up any areas that are accidentally painted over.

The only real detail that was added were the eyes and stripes on the collar. The eyes are just Skull White with Chaos Black spots for the pupils, the collar detail was added using Skull White.

Step 3: Quickshade Dip

Bolt Action Plastic Germans Step 3In this step we aim to get all the effects that would normally be achieved through highlighting and washing in one simple step.

Quickshade dip is a pigmented varnish so in this step you are adding shading and protecting your model at the same time. As this is a varnish it must be used after you have completely finished painting your model.

We are using “Strong Tone” Quickshade dip on our German, “Soft Tone” & “Dark Tone” are also available, strong is the medium tone dip.

When using Quickshade dip you should dip your model using a pair of pliers and shake it off 5-6 times and then leave for 24 hours (this is why this is an easy painting guide rather than a quick painting guide :)).

You can also paint Quickshde on, you will need to be quite liberal with the amount used, also brushes will need to be cleaned thoroughly with washing up liquid when you have finished.

Step 4: Basing & Anti-shine Varnish

To base our German Infantryman we first painted the base Scorched Brown and then added some sand to the base using super glue. We finished off by applying PVA to those areas of the base not covered in sand and giving the base a dip in a tub of static grass.

Quickshade dip produces a gloss finish, which most gamers are not too keen on, so to achieve a matt finish we give our model a coat of anti-shine matt varnish. As with the undercoat you should apply a even coat by using sweeping motions across the model or models, once again remembering to shake the can for at least a minute before you start.

Warlord Games: Bolt Action 28mm WW II German Infantry review

Warlord Games Plastic German Infantry BoxAt Big Orbit games we were very excited when we first heard about the new Bolt Action late war WWII German infantry from Warlord Games. This is the first plastic kit from the Bolt Action range, in fact this is the world’s first 28mm hard plastic multi-pose World War II infantry.

So, it was with a great deal of anticipation that we received our samples of the new German infantry sprues from Warlord Games…

First impressions

The first thing I noticed after opening the package was the impressive level of detail on the seperate weapons sprue, also the large number of weapons available. The standard issue Kar98K rifle is present in large numbers along with a host of automatic weapons, a pistol and Panzerfaust, along with a large range of accessories.

The body sprue also looked promising with 5 soldiers per sprues and with more than enough heads and arms to add lots of variety to your troops.

Each box of Bolt Action plastic German infantry will contain 5 body sprues and 3 weapons sprues.

Close-ups of the spures can be found by clicking the thumbnails below:

Bolt Action Germans Body Sprue
Bolt Action Germans Body Sprue
Bolt Action Germans Weapons Sprue
Bolt Action Germans Weapons Sprue

On closer inspection

Each body sprue contains 5 infantrymen, 3 single part torsos & legs and 2 with 1 seperate leg, this has been done to ensure good moulding rather than additional build options. So my initial impression of a large number of build options might have been misplaced as there will be quite a bit of repetition in general body form across a box of these miniatures, with 5 of each torso/legs combination in each box.

That said, the body sprue includes five interchangeable backpacks, eight different heads and  eight sets of arms, so by swapping these it is possible to add sufficient variety that your troops won’t look too samey. Of the heads available we have six with helmets, one with a field cap and an officers head, additionally the heads are interchangeable with metal heads from the existing Bolt Action range.

Bolt Action German Infantry Rifleman
Bolt Action German Infantry Rifleman

The number of different weapons available on the weapons sprue is impressive; the standard issue Kar98K rifle is present in large numbers, including  variants with a bayonets and sniper scopes attached. Also included is a range of automatic weapons; a MP40 sub-machine gun, a StG44 assault rifle, a MG34, a MG42 and a semi-automatic GW43. In addition to this you’ll find stick grenades, a Panzerfaust, field glasses, Walther P38 pistol,  and ammo packs for the MP40.

The StG44, MG42 and Panzerfaust mark these troops as late war period (as subtitled on the box), the ankle boots and gaiters worn by these models also place them firmly in the later half of the war.

Bolt Action German Infantry in Cap
Bolt Action German Infantry in Cap

The sculpts are of very high quality with both the soldiers and weapons being very well detailed, and there are few areas where detail has been compromised to facilitate casting, note mention of separate legs to ensure good moulding above. Renedra casts Warlord Games’ plastics and their experience along with intelligent sculpting has delivered some great results.

I have seen some criticism of the body sculpts due to the fact that rifle ammo pouches are sculpted onto the models by default, to me this isn’t a huge issue. These being plastic models they can be easily removed to be replaced by MG40 ammo pouches (included on the weapons sprue), this isn’t too much of a chore as the majority of your models should be toting rifles anyway.

The sprues we were sent had little in the way of mould lines and were relatively easy to put together. Although I did feel I could have done with an extra pair of hands occasionally when getting the arms and weapons to fit together while gluing them but I have this problem with many plastic kits, it’s probably just me. All in all, these miniatures were a pleasure to work with and I’m looking forward to adding more to my collection.

Finally on to price, RRP of the boxed set is £20, that equates to £0.80 per model, this is a respectable price point. Metal WWII German Infantry are typically priced between £1.00 – £1.30 and these miniatures will typically come supplied with less options than Warlords’ plastic Germans and being metal will be harder to convert (if required).

Summary

The Bolt Action Germany Infantry boxed set is an exceptionally well sculpted plastic kit with plenty of head and arm options and a large number of different weapons to choose from.

They represent good value for money, at £0.80 per model, and I would recommend them to anyone who collects WWII Germans.

These miniatures were a pleasure to work with, being reasonably easy to build and I’m looking forward to adding more to my collection.

The only reason this kit isn’t getting a full 10/10 is due to fact that there are fundamentally only 5 core poses, if they were articulated at the waist or something similar I wouldn’t hesitate in giving this boxed set full marks but as it is it gets…

Overall score: 9/10

New Bolt Action Plastic Germans from Warlord Games

We got sprues for the new plastic Bolt Action Germans from Warlord Games today and before we did a full review, due in a few days, we thought we would get some quick photos of the sprues up for you guys to take a look at.

Bolt Action Germans Troop Sprue
Bolt Action Germans Troop Sprue
Bolt Action Germans Weapons Sprue
Bolt Action Germans Weapons Sprue

Each box of 28mm plastic World War II Germans will contain 5 troop sprues and 3 weapon sprues. As you can see from this sneak preview the weapon sprue is particularly impressive with a large variety of very detailed weapons available.

The heads on the troops sprue are also very characterful, see close-up below.

Bolt Action Germans Troops Sprue - Heads
Bolt Action Germans Troops Sprue – Heads

The new plastic WW2 German Infantry from Bolt Action is available from the middle of August 2010, pre-order now and save 20% off RRP*: Bolt Action WW2 German Infantry

*Correct as of 12/08/2010

Warlord Games Pike & Shotte King Charles I review

Pike & Shotte King Charles Blister PackNow, I always thought that Charles the First was the cooler looking dude in that spat that happened four hundred-ish years ago. Certainly, had he been around now, I’m sure his PR team would have sold his story to a gossip magazine, got him on Oprah, and won him the all important “rule of cool”, his head being saved when the facebook group reached one million members.

Fortunately for us (and obviously, somewhat unfortunately for him), things happened a touch differently back in the day.  He probably should have asked for a very heavy and very thick necklace instead of a second shirt, but I digress.  He lost the civil war, his kingdom, and his head, and we end up having a 28mm miniature, from the Pike and Shotte range by Warlord Games, released in his image.

The figure comes in a blister, so you see what you’re getting: a regally aloof King Charles, sitting atop a horse directing the battle.

Pike & Shotte Kings Charles Blister Contents
Pike & Shotte King Charles Blister Contents

There is a little flash that needs trimming, and one of the arms needed to be gently repositioned. If you like to base your army then you should note that no extra base is provided (as is the norm for 28mm historical miniatures).  A personal bugbear of mine with metal cavalry: a bit of green stuff is needed to get the hand and stirrups in conjunction, which means that I cannot use my preferred technique of painting the rider and horse separately.

The Completed King Charles Model
The Completed King Charles Model

The head is firmly in place, so there is one scenario you won’t be able to play out without taking a hobby saw to the figure. There is a delightful haughtiness to the face, and the sculptor has really managed to capture Charles’s features, I feel as though I should use oil paints rather than acrylics to paint him.

The horse is also well sculpted, it’s to scale, though it may be considered a little plain, as if it was an afterthought, this unfortunately extends to certain aspects of the rider as well. The chest plate and back also seem somewhat lacking in detail or features.

Despite its many faults, I really like this model. I’d recommend it even if you’re not into historical gaming, just for the pleasure of painting it.

Not quite head and shoulders above the rest.

Overall score: 7/10.

 

Warlord Games Hanomag SD.KFZ 251-1D review

Bolt Action Hanomag BoxAs anyone who has access to history channels on their television could tell you, everything worth talking about ever happened between September 1939 and August 1945.

World history can be summed up thusly: stuff happened with Romans (mainly orgies, according to some of the late-night “documentaries”); there was the build up to World War Two (which happened over anything from 2 to 200 years, depending on how batty the presenter is); things finally kicked off with the invasion of Poland; hell on earth ensued – the norm with world wars; h-bombs; penalty shoot-outs.

It’s not surprising then that there are a lot of games systems produced that are set during this time period. It’s also not surprising that a wide range of scale miniatures have been released to support them.

The period is ripe for gaming. It’s remote enough now for intelligently playing out what-if scenarios, but recent enough that lots of information, in documentary and hardware form, exists to aid in providing as solid and accurate a framework as possible for a wargame setting.

As so much is known about the period it is imperative that the manufacturers get every detail down as accurately as possible.  I can’t think of an area of the wargaming fraternity where the consumers are not fastidious in their detail, whether based on fact or fiction, and obviously where World War Two is concerned there is a lot of fact to compare with.

One company which has become a serious player in the WW2 miniatures market is Warlord Games, whose Bolt Action range of figures is fast providing an extensive selection of infantry and vehicles in the 28mm scale. Their latest release is the snappily titled Hanomag SD.KFZ 251-1D (or (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251 if you prefer) armoured personnel carrier.

Widely considered to be one of the best APC’s in production during WW2, the Hanomag, as it was more commonly known, was extensively used by the panzer grenadiers in their mechanised infantry support role, allowing them to keep up with the Panzer divisions they were attached to.

Bolt Action Hanomag Components
Warlord Games Hanomag Components

The Warlord Hanomag comes in a well produced box, which doesn’t have the amateur production values often associated with products in this part of the wargames industry, where the packaging can often be an afterthought.  Opening the box reveals the various components provided: the vehicle itself comes in two resin pieces; a nice looking gunner and a few extra weapons and a shield are in metal.

I was disappointed to see the lower half of the vehicle consisted of the wheels and tracks pre-moulded to the base, as I don’t like it when some versatility is taken away from a kit for no apparent reason.  If you like to base your vehicles and infantry in a consistent manner you can’t with this kit, and if you’ve scaled your infantry to match un-based vehicles, you’re out of luck again.

Bolt Action Hanomag Casting Problems
Warlord Games Hanomag Casting Issues

Many of the fine details on the vehicle are not very well rendered, such as the handles and storage definition, certainly the handles should have been done separately if the casting process can only provide vague smudges.  On the Hanomag being reviewed there was a lot of work required cleaning the model up, there were much larger pieces of excess resin than one would normally find on a resin kit of this size.

Bolt Action Hanomag Complete
Warlord Games Hanomag Complete

The vehicle is priced quite keenly, but that is not difficult when there is a dearth of cheaper options, especially in the 28mm scale.  This is not reason enough to recommend a mediocre product, nor is the inclusion of the quite characterful German gunner.

Half-baked half-track: 4/10