Monday, July 25, 2016

Still more fun with cheap D.I.Y. table mats, the Endgame

   Let's face it, the idea is to play wargames on all this stuff. If we were just into building static displays we could do railroad modelling or build dioramas. But, no, we play wargames.......this means that we need attractive, playable gaming surfaces. Small good gorgeous terrain if it can't stand up to the rough and tumble of wargaming; errant dice, movement stands and the odd spilled beer.

So, after boring you all to tears with my construction project, I put a table together and laid out a game. I think that it turned out rather well. Take a look and feel free to opine!

I added the roads, my new hills, my refurbished trees
 and some lovely buildings that I had picked up at local Cons

Sunday, July 24, 2016

More fun with D.I.Y. Wargame mats, Caution Road Construction Ahead

       Having made a couple of straight bits of road I decided to go whole-hog and make a complete set of roads to go with my fancy new mats. This was made imperative when I realized that my usual roadway material (masking tape) wouldn't work on the fibrous mat surface. And, really, what point is there in having a good looking mat criss-crossed with masking tape roads?

     Construction was very simple, I decided that a road section should measure 3" across, with a roadway surface of about 2 1/2". To go with my 48" x 72" table all roads would be made in 3", 6"and  12"  sections. Curves sections would be cut from 12" squares to ensure that they worked with the other road sections. I drew the planned roads on the back of already dry-brushed 12" square sections of mat. I cut them out using a good heavy sharp set of shears. Then it was off to the paint works. The process is chronicled below. 


all sections were cut from 12" squares to ensure that they were compatible

Friday, July 22, 2016

More fun with cheap D.I.Y. table mats

     As a follow up to my earlier article. I suppose that my excitement got in the way of my objectivity in my last note in this regard so this time I will concentrate on a few more specifics.. The matting is about an eight of an inch thick. The nap, or fuzziness, is minimal, particularly so after the surface has been dry-brushed with house-paint. On its own it would work fine with15mm through 28mm figures, perhaps a bit smooth for larger figures. The material is very light and rather rigid, I don't think that the entire 6 x 8 foot roll weighs five pounds. When I measured three of the rolls I had purchased I found all of them about a half-inch oversize in each direction and properly squarely cut.

a penny on the surface to give an idea of the fuzziness of the surface, 
mind you it has been dry brushed with latex house paint

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Perry's British Infantry, a thing of beauty

At long last the Perry Twins have released Victorian era British Infantry in pith helmets. Quite simply they are beautiful. Crisply cast in medium gray plastic in the natural poses that are the hallmark of Perry Brothers work these figure fill a void that stood empty too long. I can say that I am simply delighted. Beyond the superb quality of the figures and the great subject matter, we get a pair of finely sculpted dogs as well!



the front of the box

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Earth Attacks! Warning ... Photo heavy

For once the Earthlings make the move!  (by the way this is the Housemartin reporting)


So this time we are trying some rule modifications and some newly finished figures.  I decided to get the foot troops finished off so this action sees only a couple of the Martian walkers and A LOT of foot troops.  Namely this will have Martian drones and Lobototons fights swarms of motorcycles and cavalry.  The Humans have Mexicans, Texas Rangers and Apaches initially, the US army will arrive later.  (we only had four players show up, Where were you Tom and Thomas?) 


Here are the briefings for all the sides. 


The Martians are just minding their business trying to lay low in the desert.  Their order are to hold the power node and destroy any monkey boys that show up.  However the Martians and the Apaches have a "live and let live" arrangement in place so they are not to be killed. 


The Apaches have decided that the Martians might represent some emissary from the "spirit in the sky" so they are not going to fight with them as long as the Martians leave the Apaches alone (they have enough enemies).  The Apaches are offended by the Westerners use of alcohol on their horses, do not get along with the Texicans well, and HATE the Mexicans.  However, this is the 20th Century and the Apaches have reached an "accord" with the U.S. army.  The 'Mythologizing' of Native American warriors (now that they have lost) has begun and as long as the Army does not see them actively helping the Martians all is well for this to continue. 


The Mexicans heard about the power Nodes from the Americans and decided to try and get involved.  The Mexicans can not get into any trouble with the American Army, but the Texicans (if the army is not around) and Apaches (filthy animals) are fair game for a bit of butchery.  They do not know what is going on, but would love to be the ones who end up with the Power Node. 


The Texicans found the Power Node and do not know what it is, but when they reported the node, the Army wants to mount an operation to try and capture the thing.  So here are the Texicans guiding the Army to their target.  The Texicans do not like the Mexicans and really do not like the Apaches, but the job at hand is the Martians. 





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Reminder: D&D this Saturday, 7/23

Anton just informed me that he will be available for D&D this Saturday, so there should be no worries about delays in the schedule.

Friday, July 15, 2016

D.I.Y. Game Mats

I have long been impressed by the fancy game mats produced by commercial firms. I have seen various types at the wargames conventions over the years and R.U.P. has purchased some very nice ones as well. Two things have stood in the way of me purchasing them; first I'm cheap, second I wasn't able to find one that exactly met my needs. Another (far less significant) problem was the felt material they all seem to be made from. I have had many bad experiences with felt; it stretches, it gets nappy, people spill beer/wine on it and ruin the finish. So for years I soldiered on (pun intended, you can thrown rotten vegetables later) with my old fabric cloths. That was until yesterday.

Yesterday I was at Lowe's (one of those big-box home improvement stores) when my eye happened to fall on what looked like outdoor carpeting. It was in a less than frightening shade of green so I stepped over to the display and examined a roll.. To my surprise it wasn't the traditional coarse green plastic, it looked for all the world like plastic felt. I grasped a roll, it weighed nearly nothing and felt soft to the touch. A quick glance at the label showed it to be made from recycled plastic pop bottles. I promptly bought two six foot by eight foot rolls for the ridiculously low price of twenty dollars (US) each.

Once I got them home I unrolled one across my game table to examine it more closely. One side is smooth, almost shiny. The other side has the faintest hint of a knap to it. I tugged at both sides to see it it would tear or distend, it resisted manfully showing no stretching or tearing. I poked and prodded the fuzzy side to see it would shed fibers the felt does, again I was happily surprised that it held it shape extraordinarily well. I cut the sheet into two four foot by six foot pieces for further experimentation.

look for this label, it was on sale in the outdoor furniture section at Lowe's 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Saturday Game Situation

I have been ordered in to work Saturday and Sunday; 16 and 17 July, if we can work things out perhaps we can do something on Friday, assuming that doesn't conflict with J&Rs D&D schedule.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lace Wars Project , Part V Spanish Morenos Battalion

So, I finally managed to finish my battalion of Morenos. The Spanish, while offering freedom and citizenship to persons of color, were still a painfully hierarchical society. They even differentiated between full-blooded Spaniards that were born in the colonies as opposed to those born in Spain. Needless to say they were not about to allow escaped slaves and people of mixed blood to serve next to high-born Spaniards despite the desperate need for manpower.

I painted my unit to reflect the uniforms issued to the soldiers garrisoning Fort Mose, just north of Saint Augustine Florida. This fort was established with a dual purpose; to protect the northern approaches to the Castillo de San Marcos, and to serve as a magnet to attract (and encourage the escape of) slaves from Georgia. Fugitive slaves were offered freedom and land if they adopted the Church and swore fealty to the Spanish throne. The Spanish rather cynically stationed them closest to the British colony knowing that they would fight with added vigor as surrender meant returning to slavery.

the wig on the officer might be questionable

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lace Wars Project Part IV; Spanish Regulars

The Spanish forces in the New World were a mixture of Regular, locally-recruited full time Colonial troops and militia. I figured that since I had painted French line troops, British regulars and a militia unit it was time to bring some Spanish Regular, or Metropolitan, troops into the list. They were more closely regulated, and more fashionable, than the colonial troops so I built figures all wearing the crisply formed tri-cornered hat that had become the latest fashion item for a well-dressed soldier of the 1690's. Their uniforms are a much brighter white (actually a lighter shade of gray). Next some Morenos, locally raised black militia troops, and then some more Birts and French with a careful eye to picking uniforms that can switch sides with a flag-swap.

these troops could easily switch to French pay with a flag-swap , I started them in true white but the look was too clean, they got repainted in very pale gray and them washed in a very thin black wash

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rhodesian Diversions

    The bane of my wargaming existence has always been my lack of focus. I have literally dozens of projects in hand at any given time. I confess to being easily distracted and often disheartened by a long or arduous task. Just such a thing happened to my Lace Wars Project, too many button loops and turnbacks left me craving an entirely different task. I cast my eye toward the looming pile of half-completed undertakings and found just the tonic that I sought. R.U.P. had asked me to paint some Rhodesian aircraft for him a little while ago, a project that I undertook and promptly put on a back burner (too my shame). This little project popped out and rescued me from the sea of tricornered hats that I was drowning in.A few happy hours later I had finished them and was ready once again to advance toward my mountain of plastic soldiers. I think they turned out pretty well.



Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lace Wars Project Part IIIa The British Are Here!!!!

I finally got the wash on th figures and touched up the bases and white. Then I added the white buttons which REALLY made a difference in the look of the minis. Next I am working on a Spanish Metropolitan Regiment and a militia  battalion of "Brown" troops; soldiers of mixed race that the caste-conscious Spanish kept segregated from the troops born in Spain.


I like the red jackets, too bad they are English troops

there has to be some troops in red from other armies, Irish or Swiss, 
I must check my references more carefully

the white buttons were tedious to paint 
but I think they really add to the look of the unit

     I am going to dig through my pile of reference books, I would like to paint a unit in green jackets and another in brown, Just to get away from the red/blue/gray-white that was so common during the period. I try to paint actual units rather than just something that appeals to me at the moment. The big plus is that in the era of 1680-1710 the uniform regulations were fairly vague which gives me a bit of latitude.