Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Now that everybody has gotten past the holidays we can look to the future.

Spartacon XXIII is scheduled for 12JAN13 at the Lansing Center in (oddly enough) Lansing Michigan 08:30 until midnite. The usual $10.00US fee gets you into the Con and lets you sign up for games; there being three gaming sessions 09:00-13:00, 14:00-18:00 and 19:00-23:00. Further info can be found on the Spartacon website. In the past this Con has been accompanied by some pretty outlandish weather events so dig out you best winter gear and make sure the survival kit is in the car!

I'll see you there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Plastic Soldier Company Tiger I 1/100 scale 15mm

     I have had this kit for a little while but have finally gotten around to doing a review of it. At first glance it is a beauty, as well as second and third glance too! Cleanly molded in a a panzer-yellow plastic this kit comes with the parts for early/mid/late production models. I will leave it for the rivet-heads to nit-pick the tiny details, to my wargamer's eye these neatly fit the bill for all my Tiger I needs. Plus the kit will generate quite a few spare parts to dress up my older models from other manufacturers. But enough of my prattling on; here are the photos!

the box cover, artwork is an improvement over other recent releases,
 but this IS the biggest box they use

Friday, December 14, 2012

Plastic Soldier Company T-70 Russian Light tank in 1/100 15mm

     I spotted this box at Michigan Toy Soldier a while back and bought it right away. Once I opened it I was delighted to find that PSC had lavished their usual attention to detail on this this tiny model. Cleanly cast in a light olive plastic this kit provides five models of this very common Soviet tank. At last I can finish that Soviet light tank horde that I was working on!

box art is OK, not a lot of choice in camo schemes with Soviet stuff

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New stuff at G A Models

     Craig over at G A Models has many new items on his website, From a host of LVT variants (both afloat and ashore)to German light AA and the assorted trucks and tracks that the Krauts hauled them around with Craig has got it all. These are still one of the best buys on the market ($5.00US each and one free for every ten you buy) for gaming models plus Craig fearlessly goes where others don't even try (he even has gliders and a good selection of Japanese tanks).


     The best part is that the kits come assembled and base-coated, almost ready to go!

      Highly Recommended!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Warlord Games 28mm Ruined Hamlet

    I got a chance to take a look at this kit in person the other day and I must say I like what I saw. Too many "wrecked building" kits are designed in such a way that they can only be assembled in one way, and often lack a "reverse side" so that, if viewed from another direction, you can seen the model lacks true thickness walls. None of those problems apply to this kit. The kit is intended to assemble into three very badly damaged European style village houses. The box shows suggested ways to build them. The number of parts and the way that they are cast will allow the gamer a wide latitude in the assembly process.  Add in a bit of foamcore and some modelling compound and you could probably build a half-dozen less damaged buildings using the parts provided here. The kit contains three bags of demolished buildings, on for each building I presume. Each of the models are cast in a solid gray plastic with good detail and no obvious mold-lines or flash. The level of damage to the buildings would suggest that high-explosive has been used, old fashioned roundshot would have to work long and hard to create this sort of havoc

the front cover

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Plastic Soldier Company ZiS 2/3 guns set in 1/100 15mm

    Fresh from PSC we have their kit of the ZiS 2/3. This builds either the 76mm field gun/anti-tank gun or the 57mm dedicated (and far more lethal) anti-tank gun. Molded in a green-khaki plastic this kit is devoid of flash and comes complete with a crew for each of the four guns in the kit. The kit contain enough extra barrels and wheels to correctly portray four copies of either gun, as well as boxes of ammo, no doubt that the spare parts will be put to use by creative games and scratchbuilders. Available in person or over the internet from Michigan Toy Soldier.

front of the box

Friday, December 7, 2012

Zvezda Soviet T-26 Flamethrower tank 1/100 15mm

      Having given the Germans a flame-tank Zvezda took a turn at making one for the Soviets. There probably more of the T-26 variant made than the PZ III version now that I think about it, the Russians were at the cutting edge of experimentation for most of the thirties. This little gem is molded in hard dark-green plastic and is replete with delicate detail. It is a snap-tite kit and will go together quickly and with little fuss, do be careful with the tracks as they are delicate and could break if forced. This little beauty is available from my local brick-and-mortar in person or via the internet.

the box art, not much to work with as almost all early-war Soviet stuff was just green, 
but nice all the same

Zvezda PZ III flam 1/100 15mm

     I am sure some rivet-head will correct me but I am pretty sure that this model will also stand in as a Panzer III l/m as it has the spaced armor on the gun mantle and hull front. That said it is a very pretty kit of the Panzer II flame-thrower tank. It is molded in a hard grey plastic withall the detail and precision that had become the standard for Zvezda. Remember also that this is a snap-tite kit (but I always glue mine)

box-art, a pretty unusual color-scheme for a PZ III

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

28mm American Frontier Blockhouse from Architects of War

     I popped by my local brick-and-mortar hobby shop today to find on display this nifty log structure blockhouse. Molded in a hard gray-brown resin this kit has a cast metal doors and ladder. The detail is good and the top and second story are removable so that the entire interior is accessible for skirmish games. This goes perfectly with the French and Indian Wars figures reviewed a short while ago and is large enough to work with the Tomahawk and Musket figures. Architects of War also produce a log cabin and Dark Ages farmhouse in 28mm.

the box

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zvezda AEC Matador British heavy truck in 1/100 15mm

     One of the most common heavy trucks of the UK's armed forces this vehicle served on many front throughout the Second World War. Zvezda has done an excellent job of bringing this workhorse to wargamers at a very affordable price ($5.00US) and in beautiful detail. There was a time when a "snap together" model meant that the kit was some ugly, ill-fitting parody of a famous vehicle. Zvezda had killed that paradigm with their series of 1/100 scale gaming models. and this one is a beauty even by those standards. Flawlessly cast in a medium tan plastic this kit captures the look of the ungainly original to perfection.

box art front

Monday, December 3, 2012

Zvezda 1/144 Hawker Hurricane Mk I

     Because of the high quality of their earlier aircraft releases I was excited to see that Zvezda was going to release a Hawker Hurricane in 1/144 to go with their Art of Tactic game. It is a relief to see the Hurricane instead of the Spitfire, in the early part of the war it was the Hurricane that did most of the fighting as the Spitfire was slow to get into mass-production. This kit is crisply molded in a light tan plastic with optional raised or lowered undercarriage  and is provided with a stand (which, if it is anything like the other stands from Zvezda, will require a weight at its rear to keep from tipping forward).

box art provides adequate information for painting and decal placement

Zvezda 1/100 15mm Matilda MK II

     I somehow missed these when they first came out but there they are; the first of the new Zvezda releases for the expansion of the Art of Tactic game (can't say I am into the game but these "playing pieces" they are making are great). The Matilda Mk II was the mainstay of the British Infantry tank force for the first half of WWII and the folks at Zvezda have done it proud. The kit is molded in a hard light tan plastic with not the faintest hint of flash and only the finest of mold-lines. The detail is crisp and clear.

box art is good

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Musket and Tomahawk 32mm(40mm?) French and Indian War figures

     Well, perhaps a little more or less than 32mm (they might even be 40's), I didn't have a metric scale when I was taking a look at these.Aside from the size thing these are some stunning figures, I mean STUNNING. The poses, proportions and detail is over the top. As the are intended for use in a low-level skirmish game it probably isn't a big deal about the size and it looks like they produce a comprehensive range of minis.

front of the box

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

French Regular Infantry for the French and Indian Wars in 28mm from Warlord Games

    As a companion piece to the British troops (reviewed below) I also took a look at the French Line Infantry offered by Warlord Games and Conquest Miniatures (mergers and co-op arrangements seem the de riguer these days in British wargaming circles). These are every bit as attractive as their opponents. A full 28mm to the eye and superbly cast in very fine detail they made me wish that I did not already have hundreds of figures painted in 25mm.

I might be the only guy in the world that cares about box-art, 
but I am pretty sure that artwork this good helps sell minis, 
I just wish I could get prints of the paintings (HINT HINT) 

British Regular Infantry for the French and Indian Wars in 28mm from Warlord Games

     I popped by my local Brick&Mortar store the other day and was pleased to find that they had in stock some very nice new models from the ever-prolific Warlord Games. I declined to buy them, even though they were great castings, as I already have hundreds of figures in the period painted and based in 25mm. As a result you will be forced to review the models as I did, through the packaging. Not particularly satisfactory but I'm not springing for figures that I can't use out an altruistic devotion to the hobby.

nice artwork on the front

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hydra Minis on sale!

Hydra has started a sale on their lovely, very pulpy, line of science-fiction space figures. Looks like 20% off through the holidays. Check it out!

Freebies for Wargamers Part 1a

     OK you guys, almost all of the items I put up were claimed; but only Joe, Dave and James have sent their checks for USO!  If you claimed an item but haven't sent the donation please e-mail me to say that you still want it and have dropped the donation (check, money order, postal money order are all OK, I will even take PayPal and eat the surcharges so the USO gets the full amount) in the mail. Anything still unclaimed as of Monday will get reposted. The Native American warriors are still unclaimed and are still very good figures.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Review Osprey Campaigns #248 Coronel and Falklands 1914


      Let me start by saying that I have to admit that I have long been a fan of this campaign; there are so many "what ifs" that occur throughout the course of the story that several campaigns could be run in succession without having the same result in any of them. It is a campaign that was fought with small forces, but no entirely light forces, so you aren't stuck buying the entire Grand Fleet, but you still can use Armored Cruisers and Battlecruisers. The battlefield is the entire ocean surface of the southern hemisphere and the potential impact on the course of the First World War was significant. There is plenty of meat here for a naval gaming buff.
     The book itself follows the standard Osprey Campaigns format with a short background that lays out the forces and commanders as well as the overall situation. The straightforward text is peppered with photographs and evocative period artwork. I can't make my usual gripe about bad maps as they have the ocean colored blue and it seems that all the continents and islands are in the right places. The map of the Battle of Coronel is very good while the one for the Battle of the Falklands is fully adequate. The maps tracking the hunt for the Emden and later the Dresden are fine giving the reader a bit of a feeling for the work laid out in tracking down two small ships in such a vast tract of water in an era when radio communications were often faulty or non-existent..
      I do have to take exception to two of the three double-page spread illustrations that were apparently commissioned for this work; "Craddock's Gamble" on pages 50 and 51 and "In the Finest Tradition of The Service" on pages 59 and 59 are quite simply very poor. I was surprised that a prestigious outfit like Osprey would place such weak artwork in so very prominent position, using up four pages of full-color in a 96 page book. Better to have enlarged one of the wonderful period pictures that populate the other pages of the text.
      That said this volume is a good starting place for someone just getting into the period and a handy "all in one spot" reference for an old-hand. Many of the photographs I had not seen before and the text is clear, laconic and moves along easily. While I am no expert in the field I did not see any errors in the text or maps. There is a good index and a short "Further Reading" section (in lieu of a proper bibliography, I have to guess that is due to many of the references being difficult to access military records or rare books from the period) All in all a worthy effort let down only by some shabby artwork.

     I will give this a Recommended rating due largely to the issue with the waste of four full color pages.

Osprey Campaigns #248
ISBN 978-1-84908-674-5
Author: Michael McNally
Illustrator: Peter Dennis

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The first of the Freebies

     OK, I have finally gotten my furnace inspected and I am in the process of sorting things back into storage. The first box that came to hand was the one holding a bunch of unfinished projects involving plastic minis. I have moved onto other things and I know these will just never get done so here they are. The groups will not be split up and you (as an individual) can only get one group a week so choose wisely.

All other iems are gone
Unit #9 Italeri Indian Warriors

     The deal works like this; you choose the stuff you want and e-mail me the information at daftrica89 at yahoo dot com with the header "Free Stuff for ME". I will confirm that you are the winner and send you an e-mail back with my address. You then go onto the US Postal Service/UPS/Fedex website to see how much shipping from Warren Michigan to your location will cost. You then mail me a check rounded up to the next highest whole dollar amount and made out to "The USO". Once I get the check I will send your package out in the next week or so. For folks that are uncomfortable with using checks I have a Paypal account, I prefer not to use it as those bandits take a slice off going in both directions and I want to raise as much as I can for my favorite charity.

Monday, November 5, 2012

This is what 1000 professionally painted 28mm figures look like

OK, OK, this beast COST as much as having one thousand figures painted by a professional studio.

There are times when I hate being a homeowner.

The worst part is that it will be until the 8th of November before the inspectors show up to give it the thumbs-up and I can finish putting my toys back into the store-room!

On the upside I have sorted through a back-log of rules-sets and will be posting them shortly for anybody that wants them.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Thanks Joe

       I know he will be mad that I am doing this, but I think I have to recognize his generosity. Having read that the game was cancelled because my furnace was out my buddy Joe showed up at my house on Friday with a load of firewood and a couple of industrial strength space heaters to help me and my family stay warm until the furnace gets installed on Monday. It is good to have friends.

    Thanks Joe, that was cool.

Too Much Stuff = Free Stuff

     Having cleared the storage area that is also the room that the furnace is in I have decided that there are more than a few things that I can live without. I will be posting them on the blog as I continue the process of sorting, members of the group get first dibs, then it will go to whoever posted first in the comments (they are time-stamped so nobody can cheat). Conditions are this; you pick-up or pay shipping ( I am generous, but not foolish), if you have already got one item you will be bumped down one notch on the next item.

       For starters I am going to give away a 28mm John Carter of Mars city, this is very professionally done in very sturdy card stock, fully colored, there are over a dozen buildings and some wall sections. Anybody interested can post a comment. I will be at Pro or Con on 27OCT12 and can hand off there. There is enough stuff here to pretty well cover a 6' x 4' table. I will post pictures after the table gets cleared and I can spread them out.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hail Caesar Army Lists

       I had mixed feelings about the idea of the release of army lists for the Hail Caesar rules, the rules sem to have been written with a complete disregard of competitive gaming and now they were releasing lists. Humph!

     I am pleased to say I was wrong, I can't imagine why anyone would try to run a tournament type game using these rules but these lists will probably not appeal to that mind-set anyways. What we have here is a set of army lists with troop-types and special rules (and the unavoidable points) for the period of the third century AD through the thirteenth century AD.

Fireforge Games 28mm Mounted Sergeants

     Frankly, I am disappointed.     

      I never thought that I would say this about a Fireforge product, based on their first two releases, but I am. Following on the heels of the Teutonic and Templar Knights Fireforge has released their mounted Sergeants. They are perfectly cast in a hard gray plastic, with the same lovely detail as the earlier Knights, and that is the problem; it is EXACTLY the same detail as the only change has been a head-swap. Granted the heads are very well executed, on a par with the very best stuff available at any price, but the rest of the box is simply a re-box of the horses and men from the first two kits. I was hoping that Fireforge would present new sculpts with this release. 

     My self-centered whining out of the way let us look at the product.

as with earlier Fireforge products the box-art is atmospheric and excellently presented

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fire Forge 28mm Templar Knights

     The long-awaited (OK, by me at least) Fire Forge minis of the Knights Templar have finally gotten into my hands. I must say that I am both pleased and disappointed. Pleased that they cover a period that I have long been interested in and are stunningly detailed models, disappointed because they are the same models as the Teutonic Knights package that was released a while back with the exception of a swap of the heads. Don't get me wrong, if you are looking for 28mm knights Templar you would have to work very hard to find better models, I am more than a little disappointed that the opportunity to add variety to the Fire Forge line was missed. With that said let us look at the models.

box art

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Perry Miniature Mounted Knights 28mm plastic

front of box

     It has been a while since I picked up a box of Perry's plastics, I has almost forgotten how very good they are. Inside the rather flimsy box we find a dozen very well sculpted  horses and riders molded in a hard dark grey plastic, the casting work is exemplary with no flash and only the barest hint of mold-lines to be found. Taking full advantage of the flexibility of plastic molding these have been molded so that the horse is cast completely and the armor, in delightfully thin parts, is cast separately. This allows the purchaser to add as much or as little armor as they desire, greatly widening the applicability of this box.

Book Review, Osprey Fortress #106, Forts of the War of 1812


 It took Osprey a while to get around to this subject, and I am glad they did. As any regular reader knows I have a thing about forts, fortresses and castles. I also have a soft-spot for the War of 1812 (this having occurred in and around my part of the world). Now Osprey has covered both of these subjects in one slim volume. The redoubtable Rene Chartrand, who seems to know nearly everything there is on pre-ACW North America, has written another tempting morsel. This book is littered with historical maps and drawings, awash in lovely new artwork from the very talented hand of Donato Spedaliere and the remaining space id filled with tightly written text. This is about as good as it gets in 64 pages.

    In the text Chartrand lays out a background for the situation just post Revolutionary War and covers the steady progress of fortification that the fledgling USA undertook to protect it's lengthy coastline and ever-advancing frontier. He also charts the British response to this and reflects upon the fortifications they maintained or added as a result. There is a good explaination of the somewhat arcane nomenclature used in describing fortifications and a good starter bibliography and index at the back of the book.

    Very highly recommended,  John

ISBN 978-1-84908-576-2

Conquest Games 28mm Norman Foot

     Recently acquired from my local Brick & Mortar is this box of Conquest Games 28mm plastic Norman Foot Soldiers. Having seen the Mounted Norman Knights earlier I was excited to see what the box held in store. I was certainly not disappointed, these figures are up to the very best standards of the industry (which is saying a lot), molded in a hard gray plastic and crisply cast these are absolute beauties. With my previously purchased box of knights I now have the makings of a DBA or Saga army. The only fault is that there are no missile troops, which is a critique on the choice of models to include rather than any criticism of the sculptor's skill.

the same sort of truly tragic cover art as the Knights box,
 this has to hurt sales

the worst part is that the back of the box is SOOO much better

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Little Housekeeping

Sorry about the lack of postings lately but August has been a bit of a shambles.

I will be getting back to the regular book, model and rules reviews as the Fall advances.

In-house there are a few things we need to address, the lagging players in the Gorka-Morka campaign need to get caught up (you know who you are) so that I can close out the campaign and we can award the trophy.

With current developments I will probably only be able to host games three weekends a month. I would like some specific and positive input as to what sort of games people would like to see. Time will be even further compressed as the Holidays approach so running games that everybody is interested in becomes all the more important.

I would like to set aside a Saturday (a long Saturday, say noon straight thru) to run a short SAGA campaign, I will need help from Gary and Mike in this regard, so get in touch with me about this you two.

Rich Uncle Pat's AK-47 campaign is still in the offing, perhaps this could fit into the Wednesday slot abandoned by the GoMo campaign.

Please respond in the Comments, I really want to know what you WANT to play; not what you don't want to play (you can always stay home if you don't want to play). Of course anyone wishing to put on a game, or host one at their home, is free to throw their hat in the ring.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

28mm Victrix Spartans and Osprey Spartan Warrior

     OK, now they are ganging up on me! I walked into the local brick & mortar to find (prominently displayed) both the Victix 28mm plastic Spartans and the new Osprey Warrior Series #163 title "Spartan Warrior". Being a sucker for the heroes of Thermopylae and for any ancient subject from Osprey I took this as sign from the powers on high to indulge myself in a sample of both. As they only sold by the book or by the box I soon left with one of each.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Warlords 28mm Natal Native Contingent

      Hot on the heels of the Zulus (however unlikely that would be in reality) come Warlord Games Natal Native Contingent. Crisply cast in a medium gray plastic these represent the local troops recruited by the British for the Zulu War. Commanding them are two metal Officer figures that are equally well-done. This fills a large void in the plastic Zulu War realm as many thousands of these troops were employed during the war.

box art, evocative and illustrative at the same time

Some really good stuff

     Other than frothing about better than average wargaming figures I rarely do product endorsements of any kind, but, in this case, I am going to commit myself to a full-fledged, no-holds-barred, flat-out endorsement. Rustoleum has released a line of spray paint/primer; Painter's Touch Ultra Cover. This says it has twice as much coverage as regular paint, being the eternal skeptic I thought to myself "Yeah. Right" and bought a can of each to give it a try. Fully expecting to encounter a slightly better coverage and a bit of a sheen I was amazed and pleased to find FAR better coverage and an absolutely dead-flat finish (even when spraying the gray over fluorescent yellow poster-board). This stuff covers! So far I have seen it in black, white and gray, gloss and flat. If. like me, you use spray paint to prime your minis this is something you want to try. So far I have used it on wood, card, metal and plastic with uniformly good results. At US$6.00 a can this beats the pants off of most other spray primers and absolutely slays "hobby primers". The coverage is thin, consistent and ultra-fine (no lumpiness or graininess here) with little risk of runs, sags or drips (at least in the flat colors, I didn't try the gloss). Get Some!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Six Bitters completed (well two at least)

I have completed two of the eight Six-Bitters so far and (as they will all look alike) decided to give everybody a look at the new twins.

the Six-Bitters being almost full scale shows the level 
of foreshortening the Armored Cruiser experienced 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

IDF vs. PLA, Refugee Camps near Tyre, July 1982

In our continuing Lebanese Civil War “campaign”, Rich Uncle Pat decided to put the Israelis through a wringer, giving them the densest urban terrain they had seen yet. Previously, the campaign had them in the wonderful orchards of rural Lebanon trying to push a column through, getting delayed and leading to a strategic SNAFU. This strategic SNAFU required Israeli forces to push into the nice suburbs of Tyre to secure a crossroads, allowing a Merkava I Platoon to successfully get to where they needed to be because they got "lost" trying to keep on schedule.

Well, did you wonder where they actually needed to get to? The real reason?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Six-Bitters and the Prohibition

     No, I am not talking about a type of beer. During the Prohibition the US Coast Guard needed to patrols the coastal waters around the US to try to stop the Rum-Runners from bring in illegal booze. They found themselves to be painfully short of vessels that could fulfill this requirement. To meet the need they placed bids for over 200 patrol vessels from a number of different boatyards on both coasts. The requirements were to be seventy-five feet overall length carry a crew of eight men for several days at sea, to have very good sea-keeping ability and be able to maintain a good head of speed in rough weather. The ships they had built served through the Prohibition and then through the Second World War. Some served into the 50's and a few are still sailing as private vessels.

one of the originals

Monday, July 16, 2012

28mm Torpedo Gunboat Completed

     It seems that either I am getting better at this stuff or the smaller models go a lot faster (probably a combination of both). Here is the completed Torpedo Gunboat. She is a sleek little boat compared to her larger, more powerful brethren, but make no mistake, she packs a lethal punch.  With one fixed bow tube and three more on flexible mounts this vessel has a deadly sting.

     The build was straightforward except for the turtleback deck forward. In retrospect I should have built a frame out of wood like a balsa airplane model, as it was I went through a lot of card trying to cut some to fit a conical section onto the front of the model. I made smaller guns to represent the 4" QF guns commonly found on such vessels, and I built the Vickers style torpedo tubes out of a used .22cal pistol cartridge and a paper tube and a wood turning. The smokestacks are rolls of card and the companionway is a block of balsa wrapped in card.

the family photo, it seems each new boat has less yellow in it

3/4 front view, the fixed above-water launch tube can be seen in the bow

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Review, Amber Books Great War Series

     Being an avowed maven of the Great War I must admit that these books from Amber Books UK took me by surprise. I have spent the last twenty years collecting First War books, maps, and weapons but I had not encountered these items in the flesh until this past spring,. I do admit that I very much tend to shy away from "coffee table" books as they are usually collections of the same couple of hundred photos that have all been seen before, I found these while shopping at Half-Price Books in metro San Antonio (we have no such marvels here in Michigan) and only picked them up on account of their being on sale. Once I had looked inside I spent the next ten minutes looking for more.

28mm Torpedo gunboat nearly done

     I had a little free time this weekend and knocked together this Torpedo Gunboat. While it is not yet done I couldn't resist posting a picture or two.

with three 4" guns and four torpedo tubes this small vessel packs a punch

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Schedule Change!!!!

The game for Saturday 14JUL12 has been cancelled due to changes in my work schedule.

You are free to play elsewhere of course, but don't show up at my place; I won't be there!

Perry's Mercenaries

     I had been contemplating picking up some more metal Middle Ages minis until I heard that the Perry Brothers were going into plastic. When this set was announced I knew I needed to get them. Cast in the same gray plastic as their other products, and with the same attention to quality as well, these are flash-free and nearly devoid of mold-lines. They provide a good mix of troop-types and weapons and have the easy, natural posing that one has come to expect from a Perry sculpt. A superb bit of work in all.
front box art

Victrix Athenians 28mm Hoplites

     I had promised myself that I would not buy any more 28mm plastic figures until I had gotten a box or two painted and on the gaming table. It seems that I am not so good at keeping promises, at least not the ones I make to myself! I knew I needed to buy these the moment I laid eyes on them, even though I already had the Hoplite figures from Immortal as well as their version of Spartans and a box or two of Wargames Factory Heavy Hoplites  on top of the couple of hundred metals one (thankfully those are painted). I employed the same logic that my wife uses; "They are so cheap that they are a bargain even if I don't need them" at less than a dollar a figure they certainly are a good value for the money.

box art is good, decent artwork plus photos of the actual figures

Fleet Review

     OK, Ok you can probably call it some sort of disorder. I like to scratch-build large models of warships, not those fiddly scale model ones, wargaming models that evoke the spirit if the time without getting in a sweat as to how many rivets there are on a companionway hatch. I confess that I have been doing this off-and-on for years. Below you will find photographic evidence.

           Above you see the products of my disorder. I will start in chronological order; lower right is the steamer that I built way back when we were just beginning to play colonials (I had just watched Khartoum - steamers were a big thing in that movie), next is the turret ship (clearly influenced by the H.M.S. Devastation) followed by the fleet of little ships, two light torpedo baots, two heavy ones, an "old-fashioned" torpedo-launching boat (dead-center in the picture) and a "stealth" fast torpedo boat (all black, just nearer than the old-fashioned one), in the lower left we find the steam-powered submarine in it's sufaced and submerged modes and, last but not least, we find the Molly McGuire on the far left she is Mad Mike O'Hara's personal rivercraft. You are probably familiar with the two charaters in the very back, the as yet unamed Armored and Protected Cruisers.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Protected Cruiser Almost Finished

     I finished the boat in one push, there was not as much railing as I first thought. I took the advice from commenters here and at TMP and weathered the hull; they were right, it looks much better (now I have to go back and re-paint the hull of the Armored Cruiser, drat!). I still have to weather the upper structures, I am thinking that a wash of a red-brown with a touch of gray-black grunge would do the trick.

3/4 forward view, I now wish that I had made the con smaller so that the
smokestack could be further forward; ahhh, live and learn

3/4 rear view, I finally got the boats done, they weren't much work actually,
 just a bit of balsa and some index card

Friday, July 6, 2012

Protected Cruiser scratchbuilt

     I haven't posted on this build as I was doing it, I didn't want to bore everybody with another, very similar, series of step-by-step articles. In this post I will point out the things that I did different and my reasons for doing so. I started out with another blue-board hull and added a lower section that has a distinct "tumblehome" ( the inward leaning of the lower hull, I have no idea why it is called tumblehome) to get a more exotic look. From there it was a pretty standard build except that I kept this one in sub-assemblies until the very end. This made things much easier as I could work on one bit while another was drying and it made handling the model far less fiddly.

     I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, I think a colonial gunboat is in the offing.

the major components build and test-fitted together

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quick, but dull, hills

     Having made dramatic hills for the GorkaMorka campaign I have been bombarded with complaints about the lack of gentle slopes for the Orky things to drive over (apparently they are not satisfied with driving over my Grotz all of the time). To solve this crisis I grabbed my hot-wire cutter and a pile of blue-board and set to   making some dunes and gently sloping hills.

as so often happens I got distracted, 
a pile of off-cuts looked (to me) like a pile of boulders, 
so I stopped and made them look more like a pile of boulders

Toy Store find

     One of the most interesting things about this hobby is that you can find useful items nearly anywhere. Toy stores and garage sales are two very productive venues. Most of the stuff is dross, but if you dig a little, you can find some very interesting things. Recently I was wandering around in the toy section of a local store when I stumbled across this:

six guns for five bucks, plus a dozen spoked wheels for other projects, not bad!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things have gone completely to Hull!!!

     I was monkeying around with a few ideas and decided to give one a try; templates. If I could attach a template to the blue board it would get rid of a lot of the issues with trying to cut a consistent shape with the hot-wire free-hand. There were a couple of false-starts but I think I have gotten a grasp on things so I will walk through this step-by-step.

the first step is to decide on your hull-form and then sketch it onto some stiff card
(a thin piece of plywood or masonite would be even better) get the edges as smooth as possible

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Distractions from the past

     Having finished the Armored Cruiser and looking for something that would go quicker and require less thought I grabbed a couple of models that had been used in a recent game that were in need of paint. The Wild West Town  by Gamcraft Miniatures that my son had given me for Christmas had escaped painting thus far. I now intended to remedy that issue. While building the models was easy and quick I had noticed that the laser-cut edges were markedly darker than the rest of the wood check the old post and see what I mean link . I had solved the problen by adding trim peices made of balsa, which worked out pretty well, see the pictures below:

the trim pieces did the job pretty well,
but these buildings were painted in pretty wild colors in the Good Old Days

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Armored Cruiser: commissioned at last

     Between the dozen different things that occupied my time over the last weekend I managed to squeeze in a few hours of work on the cruiser. I got the bridge equipment painted and installed and finally decided on an arrangement for the smokestacks and cranes. There is a ton of little details and a bit of touch-up painting to do but she is ready for service as she stands.

that is a lot of yellow, I might still paint the upper deck black

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Armored Cruiser: Deck guns and portholes

 Deck Guns and Portholes.......

the Captain is impressed with his additional firepower

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All Star Service from Reverisco

     A little while ago I was concerned that the Armored Cruiser project would run into a slow spot as I waited for some parts that I had ordered from Reverisco to arrive (the web-site said that it could take a week to ten days for arrival). I ordered the parts on Tuesday 5JUN12 and got them on Saturday 9JUN12. That is pretty amazing servive and should be brought to people's attention!

    Now the only hold-up is that I am in a stretch of time where I will be very busy and will have little time to devote to this project. So, in the meantime, I will show you some of their handiwork instead of mine;

I ordered these on Teusday night and they were here on Saturday morning,
that is great turnaround time for a small company!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Feature, look up above!

I have added a new Page to the space up at the top of the blog, it brings together all of the posts on terrain and buildings and shows them in chronological order (makes them a bit easier to follow that way).


Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review Osprey Vanguard Series #183 Warships of the Anglo-Dutch War and #188 Great Lakes Warships 1812-1815

     Continuing the Naval theme that has taken over the blog in the last week or so I present these two works. Conforming to the usual Vanguard format of a little bit of history and a LOT of technical stuff and data both of these books fulfill what they set out to do in grand style. Both the writers and the artists are masters of their craft and it shows well here.

Armored Cruiser, railings and rivets

     My earlier efforts at creating embossed rivets having failed I tried the idea put forward by a commenter on TMP and used fabric paint. At first I was not hopeful that this would lead to success as my first efforts were, well, let us say uneven. Practice makes perfect they say, and as I got the hang of things the results improved markedly; then I had a thought. Why put the rivets directly onto the model when I could create strips of rivets that could be applied all at once. The results you see below;

the yellow was my choice, the pink was my granddaughter's

even spacing was achieved by using a spare 3x5 card for a guide