Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Ion Age - a recap

Way back in 1991, Alternative Armies released Firefight, a 25mm miniatures game, played on squared grid maps. These were made up of Battlegrounds, which were 6x6 squares representing interior and exterior features. They were put together to make the map of the area being fought over.

I picked this up at the time, my first miniatures wargame, so have a bit of a soft spot for it. I also bought some models for it, a couple of Crusaders (power armoured space knights), and the Shia Khan, a mysterious but deadly alien race.

Years passed, I moved around a few times, but the book and the models always came with me. Every now and again, I'd dust them off, read the book again, and put them away.

Fast forward to 2009, by which point I'd got a house, a wife and a son. A chance reading of the miniatures page said that Firefight 2 (FF2) was coming out. I dusted off the models again. Gave them a soak in Dettol and a clean up, ready for a consistent paint scheme.

This time, the story was a civil war between the human nations, 1000 years after the Shia Khan had been defeated (kind of). Still had power armoured knights (called Retained Knights this time), and the Muster, basic infatrymen.

I managed to talk the wife into getting me this for Christmas that year, along with some more models. The rules were similar, a few changes along the way, and the map grid had changed to 30mm squares.

I happily painted up Retained and Muster, but missed the Shia Khan (and I wanted to use my old models for those). Luckily, Alternative Armies later released the old models and a bunch of new ones, along with stats for FF2.

While all of this was going on, Alternative Armies moved into the 15mm market as well, with a dedicated website, offering old Laserburn figures as well as others. They also brought out a set of simple and quick rules, which apparently they'd made up to get their staff into 15mm gaming. I bought the rules, and some more models...

After a while, suddenly there were Retained and Muster in 15mm. I got some of the Muster at Salute this year. Then these models branched off from and got their own site,

I came across this site by accident. I don't think it was even live (properly) when I found it. I mailed Gavin, the site moderator, also one of the main people (possibly the main person?) at AA/15mm/theionage, said I liked the look of it, asked if Shia Khan might make it into 15mm. Got a quick response, explaining the plan for the company, and yes the SK would be coming at some point.

Cut to now. I've painted two units of Muster, one of Retained, and a complete set of SK and their minions. There are still more to paint in my to-do pile, plus some buildings. There's an ever-growing range of models on their site, plus they have some new rules in play testing.

After my blogging hiatus, I intend to go over the units painted in the order they were done, and try to keep on top of the project.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Return to Blogging

OK, the last post on here was September 2010! In the meantime, I moved to, made some updates, and then didn't blog for ages again.

6sided now appears to have shut up shop, so those posts are gone, but have been on a roll for a while now, getting loads painted, and improving my techniques.

My current must-buy and must-paint figures are 15mm from Based on the 28mm range Alternative Armies produced for the Firefight (version 1 and 2) setting.

Currently have Muster and Shia Khan units done and done, and just starting on Retained Knights.

Updates to follow...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Trying out home made Magic Wash

Have used Army Painter Quickshade, and impressed with the results, but can be a bit messy and seems hard on brushes when trying that approach.

Over on TMP (, it always starts a debate over home made washes etc.

So, after reading several different formulas, here is what I tried today.

Used Pledge Multi Surface Wax (formerly known as Klear), some water and GW Chestnut Ink (as I had some already).

Used a spoon which came with some kids medicine. Has a 5ml spoon at one end, and a 2.5ml spoon on the other.

Put 5ml of Klear, 10ml of water and 2.5ml of ink in a jar and stirred it around.

Had a Celtos Sidhe Retainer painted and waiting for next steps. This became the guinea pig model.

The wash has gone into all the creases and folds pretty well., bringing out the detail. I'd used lighter colours for base coat as they then get "knocked down" a shade or two following washes/shades.

May add a few highlights and details before hitting it with a spray of matte varnish and see what the end result comes out as.

Even using small amounts of Klear, water etc., there's quite a bit of the mix left, so have put it in a small airtight jar and will use it on the other models when they're finished.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Pics from last weekend

These are the models I managed to get completed last week

Junkers Sergeant

Suicide Bombers
Flame Thrower

and Vasa Colonial marines

Friday, 16 July 2010

How time flies

OK, has been a LONG time since last update! Work and family ate up painting/hobby time until recently. Few days off this week, and managed to get some painting done today.

Looking at the pile of part painted models sitting around waiting, I finally thought enough is enough and made a real push on them today.

Junkers : Finished off 2 x Suicide Bombers, Sergeant, Flame Thrower.

Also cracked on with VASA Colonial Marines (5 with Gauss Rifle & 1 x Chain Gunner).
These had been sitting around for ages. I stripped them using Dettol and undercoated probably around Christmas and had just managed to paint trousers in all that time.

Tomorrow will give them all a dip of Army Painter Quick Shade then its all done (apart from a coat of matt varnish).

Really pleased with how today has gone.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Junkers Legionaries Shield colours

Trying to work out which colour is best for the Junkers shields.

Choice of Red Gore or Chaos Black.
Red Gore goes quite well with the brighter red of Legionaries main colour, and is sufficiently dark not to make the whole lot appear too red. The black looks nice and "business-like".

Will probably get some decals from V3 (Veni Vidi Vici), or surf for some other companies which make them. Thinking of the historical Roman Legionaries shield designs, to bring the whole army together.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Plastic Junkers completed!

Had a week off, plenty of things to do, but managed to get plastic Junkers finished.
This is a bit of a long post, as I'm now trying to get my blog up to date.

Sat 20th : models all glued up, and sprayed white. (Doing the remaining 8, as the 2 test ones will be stripped down and repainted later).
Having decided to go for mostly red scheme, took them back to the shed and gave them a burst of Army Painter Pure Red.
I like Army Painter - it helps me get a job done quicker. Wouldn't necessarily use it if I was making a display model, but for models ending up on the table then its perfect.

Mon 22nd : First coat of base colours. Boltgun Metal for armour, Snakebite Leather for leather. Backpack in Calthan Brown/Commando Khaki.

Tue 23rd : Touch up base colours, make sure there's no odd patches of red on the metal or vice versa. (Not a very good pic this time)

Spent the evening putting gravel on the bases.

Wed 24th : No painting done today but spent the evening filing, prepping and gluing the rest of my Junkers force. Learnt a few things about Exo Suits the hard way. Mainly, should have done the head first and shoulder/thermite lances last. Still, now have 6 more models ready to get underway.

Thu 25th : Army Painter Quickshade time. This gets in all the gaps and creases and tones down the original colours slightly. If you intend using it, paint your models slightly brighter than you normally would.
When I first used this, went with the recommended method of dipping models in tin then shaking them like crazy to get rid of excess and push the shade deeper into folds. Works well, but kills my arms later on.
This time I used a 1/2" brush and splashed it on, then took off excess with cotton buds. Effect seems about the same. Makes the models shiny (also acts as a gloss varnish).

Fri 26th : Quickshade was dry, so back to the shed for coating of Army Painter Matt Varnish. This knocks the gloss effect down. I'd brought the varnish in overnight, as have learnt the hard way that cold varnish tends to "crackle" as it drys.

The gravel needs a drybrush over it, and then some static grass. Trying shield colours next. Have the feeling that red shields would be too much. Thinking of either black, grey or Boltgun Metal.

I'm going to leave them there. Good rank and file troops, done reasonably quickly (by my standards). The sergeant will probably get some highlighting as well to make him stand out more.

Will keep posting with regards to the rest of the force, and working out what else this army could do with!