Aldo Nova

Every now and then I get a wild hair, and paint a fantasy figure, or two. There’s no sort of project attached to these figures, though they do occasionally make it onto a table for roleplaying games. Here are a couple of my recent efforts.


I painted this Dragonborn wizard for a friend. It’s a reaper figure. I have to say it was a real pain in the ass to clean up…all of those spiky bits and undercuts meant lots of flash, and I’m not sure I managed to get it all. On the other hand, the level of detail makes for a really striking figure in the end! Can I officially say that I REALLY hate slot bases? There I said it. Hate them. I wish they weren’t so prevalent in fantasy figures.


Balasar the Dragonborn and Ivan Browncup venture forth into the dread Plane of Blue Posterboard. (Ivan is a Red Box Miniatures figure)


This is a “DeTerilizzi Masterworks” miniature, sculpted by the completely masterful Tom Meier. Meier absolutely captures the feel of the DeTerlizzi sketches these figures are based upon. This particular figure came in 3 parts, and was an absolute breeze to put together. Fantastic casting, too…cleanup took all of five minutes. A real treat! I think it may be time for me to learn how to paint non-metallic metals. Also, her face needs some more attention!


By request…


A Place to Call Home


Apples and ale

Not too much progress on the hobby front over the past couple of weeks, but I did make up this deployment point vignette for Sharp Practice II. It’s carved out of polyiso rigid insulation, which is something of a new material for me to work with. This was a practice piece. I think my texture work needs some…work, and the paint job got away from me a bit. I wanted it to look like a weathered ruin, but it’s kind of a muddy mess.

I thought about adding some stacked muskets to the vignette for extra ambience, but left them out for the moment, leaving the piece is period-neutral.


Rubble filled stone wall.

The only figure I’ve painted since the last post is the colonel of the 1/52nd that you see in the pictures. It’s a Perry figure. He’s quite dashing, with his pelisse thrown carelessly over his shoulder, and bright orange mutton chops. I’ll call him Opie.


You’ll never fit through that door, Opie.


Cacadores the 1st


1st Cacadores in line. No skirmishers.

With unparalleled swiftness (unparalleled by myself, anyway), I’ve completed another battalion for the Lasalle project. Ladies and gents, the 1st Cacadores. This is a four base unit (24 figures) with a couple of skirmish bases. Much like the 3rd Cacadores, they are very brown. And black. With a dash of light blue.


The 1st, with skirmishers out.

This battalion of Portuguese lights completes the core brigade of my Lasalle division. Well, sort of. I’m supposed to have two more battalions when on the offense, and support brigades can be added to flesh the division out.

My additional on-the-attack battalions will be red-coated regulars, if for no other reason than it will put more flags on the table. I may do a brigade of light dragoons for my first support force, but I’m also tempted to do a brigade of Portuguese regulars in their sweet barrentina headwear. Decisions, decisions.

In any case, here’s the infantry portion of the core brigade. The artillery is beyond the hills, still advancing into position.


From left to right…52nd Oxfordshire, 43rd Monmouthshire, 3rd Caçadores, 95th Rifles, 1st Caçadores.


Now with Photoshopped sky!

Tabletop Workshop



Don’t bother clicking this image. I don’t have WordPress premium, so can’t embed video.


I think I might have found the best terrain building tutorial channel on YouTube. Unfortunately (for me), all the narration is in German, which means I need to pay close attention to the visuals. That said, the tutorials are very easy to follow even for a non-understander.

Here’s the link to Tabletop Workshop YouTube Channel. You’re more than welcome (nay, encouraged!!) to pass on your favorite terrain tutorial video links in the comments.


Dra-goons, that is. This week’s work involved the painting of a handful of 28mm Dragoons for my Sharp Practice project.

Another five dismounted dragoons await the tender ministrations of my paint brush, and then I will have to order the mounted versions. Though it will hurt my wallet, particularly with the aforementioned mounted figures, I think I’m going to stay with metal miniatures for this entire project.

These figures are from Brigade Games’ Napoleonic line.In my opinion, (obviously, since I wrote it), Brigade’s figures are every bit the equal of Perry (which I also love). To forestall any confusion, I’m speaking of Brigade Games in the USA-I don’t think they have any affiliation with the UK company of the same name.

Until next time…

Rifling Through

Arise, arise, blog! Live!


95th Rifles on the Dusty Road. Some bossy fellow points the way.


Well, it’s been a minute or two, but I’ve been a-hobbying lately, and have managed to finish off the 95th Rifles for my long-suffering Lasalle Light Division project.


95th Rifles in Line, 43rd Monmothshire advances along the road. Bossy fellows abound.

With this regiment out of the way, I only have to paint up the 1st Cacadores, and I’ll have my core force completed. The 1st is mounted up on tongue suppressors, and ready for priming, so perhaps early September will see the completion of the first, core, stage of this project (there are additional supporting forces to be painted).

The astute observer will notice that I’ve knocked together a miniature terrain board for photographic staging. I used this exercise to try out some new-to-me techniques, including using sifted dirt and tile grout for a ground base. I think the ground work looks pretty fantastic. The finished product is a good representation of an arid area, and the ‘scale’ of the dirt works well with the figure scale. One thing is certain: you can’t beat the price and availability of dirt!

I’ve borrowed/stolen some techniques from Luke Towan’s excellent model railroad YouTube channel. His tutorials are well worth a watch, and are sure to inspire some new ideas, even if the techniques aren’t directly applicable, without modification, to the rigors of a wargaming table.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.




6th Cacadores for Sharp Practice II


6th Cacadores – 8 troopers, an NCO and an officer.


Just a quick update. I’ve made a good start on a few Portuguese skirmishers from the 6th Cacadores. I should have twelve troopers for the standard Sharp Practice elements, so I need to purchase and paint four more. This is my way of avoiding painting 95th Rifles!

These figures are from Brigade Games, and I believe they were sculpted by Paul Hicks. They are wonderful sculpts-highly detailed, and pretty easy to paint. They’re easily on par with the Perry miniatures I’ve painted, and they’re produced here in the U.S..

The thumbnails below will take you to a full size image.




Thunder at Cassino!

I had the opportunity to playtest one of Grady West’s fantastic 1/285 adaptations of old Avalon Hill board games this past weekend. This one was Thunder at Cassino-a project he’s been working on for at least a year (and, to me, that’s a LOT of progress in a year’s time). Thunder at Cassino covers the campaign to break through the German defenses at Monte Cassino, and the particular scenario we played covered the third battle. Click here to look at the previous game I played in, covering Turning Point Stalingrad.

The Germans were fielding panzergrenadiers and fallschirmjagers, while the allies were a British and British Commonwealth force consisting of British regulars, New Zealanders, Indians and Ghurkas (GHURKAS!!)

I was on the allied side, and was nominated (read forced) to be the overall commander. My fellow allied commander was Ralph, and he took the New Zealander force, which would do the hard slogging through the town below the Monte Cassino monastery, while I took the British regulars, Indians, and GHURKAS!!

This game is platoon level, meaning that each counter/stand of infantry represents a platoon. There are rules encouraging company cohesion, but nothing addressing higher levels of command.


The Avalon Hill box cover art

The allies had the numbers, while the Germans had the edge in troop quality and a big advantage on the defense, due to the heavily rubbled terrain. The next couple of photos cover the preliminary allied bombardment, and illustrate why the terrain is so heavily rubbled!



Grady painted many a B-17 and B-25 to illustrate the rubble generating preliminary bombardment. This is a man dedicated to his art, as the bombers go away after the preliminary bombardment, never to return!


The allies do have another air asset, though…a fighter bomber group (or maybe it’s just a squadron…not sure on the scale of the air assets) that definitely got its licks in over the course of the game.


Hurricane in action


Ralph’s New Zealanders spread out into the town, watched over by Nazis in the castle above. There was a little armor on the table, but this was decidedly NOT tank country. Hard fighting ensued.


Many a bloody close combat was fought in the zones below the monastery…

This entire battle went really well for the allies. The Germans made a huge blunder in not moving to immediately occupy the monastery…instead they focused on counterattacking the New Zealanders down in the town. On turn two, my fast moving mountain climbing Ghurkas were able to sweep into the monastery virtually unopposed. Ghurkas are extremely good at close combat, and there was no way that even highly trained fallschirmjager engineers were going to dislodge them.


How sweet it is!

I’d like to claim that it was my tactical acumen that lead to our landslide of a victory, but really it was a mixture of the players not knowing the gaming system, and not fully grasping the vulnerabilities inherent in the initial setup. I will give us allies a little credit for fully exploiting them, though.


Not only did we take the monastery, but Ralph’s New Zealanders were able to storm the castle after a particularly heavy bombardment from his corps artillery tubes. This position had a commanding view of the town below, perfect for calling down artillery, but the Germans never really exploited it.


Just because I needed to show the Union Jack flying ‘over’ Monte Cassino.

This is an excellent set of rules, and Grady’s miniatures adaptation is top notch. We didn’t finish our game, but we had some extremely slow moving players, particularly in the first couple of turns. I don’t think the open-flanked Ghurka attack will be a problem again-Grady has stated that he will make certain the defenders are aware of the danger in the future.

If you get a chance to play this game at one of the conventions Grady will bring it to, I HIGHLY recommend it.


Legere and Barrels


All of zem.

I’ve been procrastinating on starting my 15mm 95th Rifles for Lasalle (although I did clean up all 50 casts, and mount them on craft sticks in preparation for priming!) by finishing up my 28mm French legere for Song of Drums and Shakos/Sharp Practice II. I also painted a couple of resin barrels, as you might
have gathered from the subtle title of this post.

A basic force in SD&S is a dozen figures, and, conveniently, it seems like skirmishers/light troops in Sharp II are assembled in groups of six.

Soon I will have to start purchasing mass quantities of 28mm figures for my Sharp Practice line infantry. I may go the plastics route, Then again, I REALLY hate assembling plastic figures, and this is a sort of slow going luxury project for me, so maybe I’ll go ahead and bite the (expensive) lead bullet.



More French!


Recent production: three chasseurs, a drummer, and sappeur

My long-suffering Song of Drums and Shakos/Sharp Practice project has also seen a little progress this month. In fact, I now have enough figures to put on a French vs. Brunswicker game of Song of Drums and Shakos. I’m intrigued by the streamlined V2 of Sharp Practice that comes out next month-maybe I’ll ramp up 28mm production, and try to get something ready for that by this Fall.


The specialists. Sappers are intimidating fellows! There’s something incongruously brutal about that axe and apron in the middle of all the normal uniform finery.