Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gaming Days at the Sterling Heights Library

     I just got a note in the mail from Metro Detroit Gamers saying that the Sterling Heights Library is hosting gaming on the following Saturdays; 14JAN12, 18FEB12 and 17MAR12 from 1030hrs to 1630hrs. The Sterling Heights library is located at 40255 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights MI 48313. No phone contact is listed but there is a website for further info; This is a good opportunity to go out and meet some other local gamers for anybody living in the North Metro Detroit area. Beat the winter blahs and go meet some other gamers.

And the Distraction wins!!!

     Thursday night after dinner I was bemoaning the lack of worthwhile television so I betook myself to the workroom. There on the table were two piles; one of Vikings, the other the Western Town from Game Craft Miniatures that my son Pat had given me for Christmas.

     I dutifully began painting faces on Vikings but the lure of the finely crafted buildings kept capturing my imagination. In nearly no time at all I found myself gluing together the model I had test fitted a few days earlier. That sealed the deal and I decided the Vikings could wait another few days. With a decision in hand I grabbed my trusty camera to record the festivities and set to work on the models. I chose to use regular wood glue for the assembly as I have had spotty results with superglue on wood models and I hate fiddling with epoxies.

     I chose another of the smaller/simpler models to assemble first. There is no designator or model number on the bags so I am just calling this one the Dry Goods Store (because it reminds me of one from Cross Roads Village , a local historical attraction of period homes and businesses). It is a single-story building with a false front and peaked roof. I chose to begin with the roof as the long narrow glue joint would require a bit of time before being stong enough to handle.

the handy square assured me that the roof was right

the front of the building has two parts,
the peaked inner wall and the the fancy false-front

Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Open Invitation

    In the past month or so I have noticed that we have gained a number of new followers in this little corner of the web. In checking them as they signed on I have noticed that a goodly few have blogs or websites of their own (you can check them out yourself if you wish by clicking on the followers icon in the sidebar). It has occurred to me that they, and other readers, may wish to have a larger presence here so I am going to list the followers that have blogs/websites and link to them in the sidebar.

      Anyone else with a wargaming/modelling blog or site that isn't a follower of this blog please reply in the comments section below (list your web address please) and I will see about adding your site as well. This will expand our information base and cross-fertilize the hobby a little bit more.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Distractions from the Viking Project

     My son, Pat, has an uncanny ability to distract me from one project by the placing another (equally interesting) item before me. Last year it was the Dystopian Wars Prussian Fleet as you can see from the  pictures they took a bit of painting. The models were lovely and the rules are a blast. This year he chose to place under my tree an unassuming box that smelled slightly of burnt wood. Inside I found a most amazing set of model buildings. These little beauties are the product of Game Craft Miniatures. A complete Old West town laser cut out of wood (which accounts for the scent). As I opened the bags containing the models I noticed that they are devoid of saw-marks of any kind, every cut has been executed with a laser, this creates very close tolerances and perfect fit. I took one model out and assembled it, the parts fit together smoothly with no need to fiddle or sand the joints to ensure a good fit. I have put together expensive plastic models that didn't come close to this perfection of fit. I will be doing a full write-up on these when I get to building/painting them. In the meantime enjoy these photos.

the models came carefully packed in individual bags

Progress among the Vikings

     Now that the dust from the Christmas festivities has settled a bit I spent some time digging deeper into the pile in the "toy room" and uncovered more Vikings (as well as some hapless victims). To my sorrow I also found that I didn't have as many longships as I first thought (unless the others are hiding deeper in the vault), but to my surprise and amusement I found that the project that Pat had undertaken a few years back had gotten farther than I remembered. He had painted sixty or so Vikings to a near-complete status as well as a couple of dozen Vikings that were  looting and some Saxons that were, well, loot themselves. This greatly accelerated the establishment of the Viking forces. Unfortunately the French were in bare-metal status while, worse yet, the Saxons were still all in bags. I assembled the materials on the gaming table to get a look at the dimensions of the undertaking; it looks a goodly task but not insurmountable.

the entire project, may have to add a couple of extra longships

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Viking Project; Figure Painting Techniques

     There are times when I really enjoy painting minis and other times when it is simply a chore (it can switch from one to the other in mid-stride, so mayhap it is that I am bi-polar and painting is just painting). Certain things are more likely to make it a chore; such as painting forty figures with brown trousers and red jackets. Conversely when I am looking at dozens (or hundreds) of figures that are dressed in an irregular manner I am often at a loss as to how to organize the work. Too organized and it may as well be uniforms, too chaotic and it looks as if the troops escaped from Cirque du Soleil (as well as being dreadfully slow to paint). If I try to paint figures one at a time I find that I have gotten a dozen or so finished and a month has passed. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Winter Project

     Scanning the vast mounds of unpainted miniatures that forty years of wargaming has provided me with I contemplated a winter project, a single undertaking that I could use a a guiding star through the dark months ahead. My attention was captured by an opened box of plastic Vikings that I had raided for figures for my Barroom Brawl game some months ago and had just left the unused portion in the box. This teetered precariously on the stack of boxes of plastic minis that were awaiting assembly and paint. I decided that the Vikings would be my winter project at that moment.

     A week or so later it turned out that the Tuesday gaming group was meeting at my house and consisted solely of Joe and myself, rather than play we assembled some of the Vikings while discussing the pros and cons of Two Fat Lardies rules. By the end of the evening we had built a box of Vikings that were ready for paint. I do like the plastics as you can make simple and subtle adjustments in the posing of the figures so that no two models are the same.

Wargames Factory Vikings, the painting begins

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kit Review, the Plastic Soldier Company Stug III 15mm 1/100

     The long awaited Stug from PSC arrived at Michigan Toy Soldier the other day and I went there straight-away to get my grubby paws onone. This kit is up to the usual standard of PSC models (or about an order of magnitude or two better than most others). The kit is cleanly molded in a light olive and the kit contains five sprues that will build either the F/8, early or late model G and the Sturmhaubitze. Truly a workhorse of the German war effort the StuG III went everywhere that the German fought, this model will provide WW2 gamers with a core component of the German army. The kit provides the two different upper hulls and assorted gun barrels to accurately recreate the listed versions.

the box art, much better than the effort on the 251 box

the contents

Monday, December 12, 2011

B'Maso: The Rhodesian Light Infantry Strike Back!! 15mm African Wars

     The day after the Great Hospital Raid the Rhodesians decided that the ZANLA guerrillas had gotten completely out of hand and, rather than relying on the local Constabulary, they called in the big guns; The Rhodesdian Light Infantry. This crack force of highly-trained, ultra motivated and very well equipped troops were deployed to reduce the level of rebel activity in the area. The mission was to recover the hostages (the ZANLAs had been collecting them over the past week or so), discover and destroy the rebel supply base, detach the rebels from sympathetic villagers, and kill or capture as many guerrillas as possible. The R.L.I. took that lengthy list in stride and mover swiftly into action.

    Below we find the area of operations, this zone is known to be thick with ZANLA troops and there is evidence that the villagers are actively supporting the rebels.

                                                           Click on the pictures for a larger view

north is at the bottom of this view

north is to the left of this view

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Subject, book reviews

     OK, I confess; I am a book junkie. I have tons of books on subjects military from prehistory to the Second World War. I have a particular soft-spot for Osprey publications (I still have one or two that I got "back in the day" when they didn't have numbers, from the Squadron Shop, it is priced at $1.95 US, my how the dollar has fallen) and have aquired a good many over the years.

     The Men-at-Arms series has been a stand-out feature over the decades, I think that I have all of their WW2 and earlier issues. Three of the newest releases were of particular interest to me as they covered small and relatively obsure campaigns; #471 Armies of the Adowa Campaign, #472 Armies of the Irish Rebellion 1798 and #474 The Chaco War 1932-35. All of these off the beaten path subjects peaked my interest and I picked them up from Michigan Toy Soldier as soon as they were placed on display. They also fall into an odd place in the Osprey pantheon, sort of a campaign book, sort of a uniforn guide but not enough of either. I wish that Osprey would start an "Obscure History" series that combines both aspects in a format like their Essential Histories series.