Wow, it's that time of the year already! It's remarkable how time flies. So let's have a recap of 2015, shall we.

2015 in Painting

So let's have a quick overview of some things I did this year. Of course this allows me to post stuff which isn't directly GW-related (woo-hoo!).

The past year was an all-time low in Space Marines painting, at least in terms of quantity. Still, I got around to painting the odd Chaos Space Marine, the odd Space Wolf and a bunch of Salamanders. Oh, and Space Hulk Marines, because I can't go a single year without painting any.


Howevber, this time they weren't red. They were planned for use in Space Hulk 2nd edition games and I had painted a squad of Chaos terminators for the same customer the year before and in a red colour scheme, so we thought it would be nice to have them look differently. 


I asked if I should get rid of the Blood Angels iconography and maybe replace it, but the customer said it's okay. So I used basically the Ultramarines colour scheme because it looks amazing on terminators and kept the BA iconography, claiming the dudes are of the Knights of the Chalice chapter.


In early summer I started work on some additional Space Wolves models. These flyers here (along witht he Sicarian at the top of the page) are just a few of the models in this batch. Still need to take photos of the finished rest of the SW models. Really, really fun painting those though.



By the way, here are the models I closed last year's (2014) recap with, now fully finished:



Possibly the commission job I did this year which I remember the most fondly is the Vikings army. Here they are on a table along with my Dark Age terrain (about which I wrote an article about this past year as well):



They are meant to be used with the very popular Saga rules.


The models are mostly by Wargames Foundry and I found them to be incredibly nice to work with. First time I worked with Foundry models on a larger scale.


Probably the coolest thing about Foundry's Dark Age ranges is those little scenes and vignettes you can get and which of course work perfect for objective/loot markers.


These peasants and carts here are by Gripping Beast. Their metals don't have the best of reputations (rightly so in most cases), but these here are really nice.


For the warlord I was asked to go for a similar arrangement as I did on my own Anglo-Saxon Warlord I did two years ago.




All I can say is: Really great figures and great job on the customer for not only choosing Battle Brush Studios to have the models done and painted for him ( :p ), but also for choosing those miniatures specifically. It's an amazing looking force on and off the table.

This wasn't the only Saga warband I did this year. Here are a few selected shots of a 4 points Frankish force I did as well:




Quite different to the Vikings above in that the requirement of this warband was that it's got to be all plastic. So some converting was done.

A surprising theme of the year was bloody ball games!

Guild Ball teams, all NMM and stuff:



Then of course there was this very charming band of side-liners I did:


Really, really good selection of models once again. Especially compared to the Guildball minis above these here of course are quite different in style (and in part technically inferior, let's be honest), so they posed very different challenges. Really cool stuff. The person to whom these minis eventually went is a big fan of Tom Brady, which is why the human starplayer looks the way he does and which is why I was asked to convert him to hold a (scratch-built) Vince Lombardi trophy).

Last but not least I got into BloodBowl myself in 2015, with these nice plastic Orcs from the 3rd edition boxed set! The Orkakringer Schnittaz are probably the least successful team in BB history.


Another big theme of the year was Star Wars, more specifically FFG's Imperial Assault. The gaming community had cried out for new 28mm Star Wars figures for years (or course there have been ranges of 28mm Star Wars figures in the 1980s). FFG in a way answered the call, at least for boardgame figures, but they are really well done and would hold up on a wargamingf table as well I think:




For more and larger pictures of these figures, keep an eye on my site www.battlebrushstudios.com! Until mid-January I will post pictures of these and more figures every other day.

Back to tasty, tasty 40kays, here's some Imperial Guard. Or Astra Militarum if you insist.



Probably the most characterful squad of Guardsmen I ever did (and I did my fair share, being an IG man of almost 20 years). Pretty impressive what a few FW bits and parts from command sprues and such can do. Of course I hope that the paintjob did its share as well.

Then again, some may like the old Death Korps better:



Really nice minis, aren't they? Of course FW got rid of a few codes of that range, because the molds probably got worn out and making new ones is an option, but ...well, let's be honest: They aren't Space Marines, so why bother?


Very, very nice stuff to work with. The colour scheme of course is based on early WW1 French uniforms.


I even got to do that mounted Commissar figure twice. Once for gaming and another one for showcase purposes (hence the scenic base and so on). Really, really good experience, and I'm rather happy with the result.


In fall I got to work on a Malifaux warband the first time in two years actually. Since then they had switched to plastic figures, which I took for a good reason to write up a review of these new Malifaux plastics. Here's the full warband (Arcanists) all painted:


Also in fall I got to work on some promo figures for Kickstarter projects, amongst them of course Stagrider and Warbear:



Congrats to Dead Earth Games for the very successful kickstarter. The other KS I did minis for, Legends of British Steampunk, went extreme well too.

As usual I also did a bunch of Freebooter's Fate minis on the side:


The above of course is just a selection of some commission work I did throughout the year.


2015 in Gaming and Shows

Now let's see what else I remember having done this year. This year I have done quite a lot of World War Two gaming actually. Over the first quarter of the year I got rather hooked on Operation Squad and played a remarkable number of games by my standards. Without going into too many details: If you're looking for a game which gets the challenges of squad-.level gaming right Operation Squad is a very good choice. I actually attempted for a while to rewrite it a little to use with my Infinity figures (which I hold dearly, but I just can't draw enjoyment from the Infinity rules any more).


If you're in any way interested in a rock solid set of squad-level WW2 rules, have a look at my review of Operation Squad over on Skirmishwargaming.com!

Speaking of which, quite a lot of gaming-related articles of mine have been published on Skirmishwargaming.com over the past year. Feel free to check them out. There is a lot more to come.

The other game I enjoyed playing the most (just like in 2014) was Too Fat Lardies' excellent Chain of Command. 


Early in the year we tried 40k-ifying Chain of Command (originally a WW2 platoon-level game). In general the whole thing worked very well. Of course all the rules for those wildly different troop types in the 40k setting would require some more fine-tuning, but the Chain of Command rules holds up.


For the rest of the year we stuck to our regular mid-1941 Northern Africa WW2 setting for further games of Chain of Command.
Mission objectives/ Jump-Off points for Chain of Command

For the VIVAT 2015 show we even ran a Chain of Command table which got over with the audience really well. Now interest in playing the game soared in and around Vienna. :-)

As in 2014 as well the summer trip to the South for a weekend of wargaming at a friend's was one of my gaming highlights. This year we played a massive game of  Mantic's Kings of War, for which I gave my Dark Elves some new bases and banners. They were really happy too to get out for the first time in  10 years.




Kings of War turned out to be kinda what I expected. It's Warhammer with more playability and less quirkiness/charm. We made up for that though with our minis and the seriously cool table. 

Speaking of seriously cool tables, the second day we had a game of Dux Britanniarum:

Nasty Vikings raiding a coastal village. Good times.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend as many wargames shows as I would have liked to. In the end (smaller one-off events aside) I stuck to the two big ones for me: Austrian Salute in March (great time, looking forward to the next show!) and VIVAT in November (pretty good new location and again a really, really good time).

For VIVAT, Chain of Command aside, the big thing of course was the Waterloo game:


For a full report of the show, feel free to have a look here.

In terms of 'not buying much new stuff'... well, I tried to get around that by buying old stuff:


Aw yeah, I got it now. Unpunched, all ships and sails there, beautiful. Here are some other Oldhammery things I managed to grab:



Usually I'm not collecting much old GW stuff any more, but the WFRP books are just too legendary to pass up on and I can't walk past a 2nd edition Ork without at least consider buying the fella. The dragon is just cool. :D I know that nowadays I can get the Bones version for the same money i paid for the metal one here, but it's nice to have this one in metal.

Maybe you'll remember how I reinforced my terrain building efforts late in 2014, with the main focus to get some generic pieces I could use for a lot of different settings and historical periods. I proceeded this by adding a little cart to my collection as well as stacks of chopped wood. It's weird how rarely we see those on gaming tables even though they are rather easy to make, they make sense in pretty much any setting and make for nice and easy cover.


The following piece is just one of those bits which make a gaming table come to life. Very quickly done. I have to admit that it's very specific in terms of timeframe and even geographic location, but it's a fun little thing to add to any Eastern Front table.


This biogas plant I've had lying around for years, and this year I finally got around to painting it. It's a toy model I bought on amazon. Now it's even cheaper than it was then. Cheap, cheerful, fits any table  with a contemporary or sci-fi theme and it's a big, LOS-blocking thing to put on the table.



In terms of miniature reviews I wrote twelve in 2015, plus one book review and a bunch more rules reviews on skirmishwargaming.com. Most of these reviews are of historical figures, so not suited for Tale of Painters. If you're interested, here they are.


 

 Did get into any new games/periods this year? Well, I started my own Dystopian Wars fleet. That came quite as a surprise. It kinda happened. A friend who had his eyes on the models for a while now got himself a fleet, another friend happened to sell a fleet and so I got myself a Chinese Federation fleet. I really dig the models and painted the whole fleet within quite a short amount of time. I even had a game with them too. Dystopian Wars certainly isn't a quick or elegant set of rules, but it works and it's fun. Looking forward to my next game!



2016 Resolutions

Looking back to my 2015 hobby resolutions I think it's safe to say that I failed most of them about 17 days into the year. :-D At least concerning not buying new stuff and drastically reducing the lead pile. 

So this year's resolutions (apart from the usual 'don't buy as much stuff') will be a bit more tangible.

First: We try to get Chain of Command going a bit more locally, as well as a little campaign centered around Kampfgruppe von Lucks counter-attack against British and Canadian Airborne prior to the Normandy landings.

Second: I want to play Frostgrave. Preferrably a campaign.


Frostgrave hit hard in 2015. The rulebook's been lying around here since release, and I've got models and ideas for about five different warbands (Dark Elves, Chaos, Undead, Dwarfs once I get my Advanced Songs of Blades and Heroes Kickstarter minis, humans.. well, let's be honest: Empire.) already. I really hope to get something done with them in 2016. It's just such a tempting thing to get into. Surely most of us have lots of unused Fantasy minis lying around which can be tailored into a warband at an instant.

Third: For Austrian Salute 2016 we've got a proper big American Civil War game planned - the battle of Perryville. Still need to paint quite a lot of minis for that. But it will be really good.

Other things I really should get started with: 15mm WW2 stuff, those bloody 28mm Romans for Hail Caesar and my 6mm Napoleonics. So as you can see 2016 will be a very busy year.

I had a smashing time in 2015, and Tale of Painters has been a part of that just as much as the Battle Brush Studios site, skirmishwargaming.com, the various forums I post on and the great people I had the honour to meet in real life at shows, across the gaming table and otherwise.

Thanks to each and every one of you following Tale of Painters and Battle Brush Studios and here's to us all having a grand old time in the new year!