Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodies That I Got For Christmas

     I have a wonderful daughter-in-law. She got me two very interesting books for Christmas this year, they embrace two of my favorite historical themes. First they both cover conflicts of extreme obscurity. Second, they cover Pre-Dreadnought naval conflicts. Needless to say I was excited the moment I saw them.

   Taking them in chronological order I will look at the  Sino-French Naval War 1884-1885 by Piotr Olender, published by Mushroom Model Publications out of the U.K. ISBN 978-83-61421-53-5. This covers the "almost" war that lead to France taking over Indochina (and thus to the U.S. involvement in the Viet Nam War eighty years later) from the decadent Chinese Empire. It gives an overview of the conflict to place the naval operations into perspective but keeps to the main focus of the narrative firmly on the naval operations. The book provides complete fleet lists and data on each vessel. Heavily illustrated with period drawings, photos, scale drawings of some of the ships and perspective sketches it will fire the imagination. I found the modern maps left a bit to be desired but I am very demanding that way. Lots of material for wargaming, highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Return of the Giant Ships, Naval Gaming in 28mm (more or less)

     The redoubtable Ray Braemer has prevailed upon me to run a game at SpartaCon this January. Given that this is the one venue with enough square footage to allow a game of 28mm Pre-Dreadnoughts I offered to haul my fleets down to the Lansing Center and run a game.

     To put myself in the right state of mind I scrolled through the previous posts on the building and use of these giant models. In doing so I noticed a pattern that occurred in the games; the French lost. Stop your snickering! We are talking about the French Navy, not the army. The French Navy was one of the benchmarks used by the British for fleet comparison purposes, no Royal Navy, but they were pretty darned good! The Imperial Prussian Navy certainly didn't have the reputation that the French did.

      To redress this problem I have decided to add a few boats to the French Fleet. A brace of gunboats to be exact. See my initial ideas below.

as usual I don't really have a plan, I just start cutting foam

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

DONE! Danish Garden til Fods finished at last

     I discovered that I had all of my Christmas shopping done and nothing to distract myself from this project, so I sat myself down and finished the buttons and skin highlights then applied a final sealing coat of Armory Matte Finish spray.  Here they are in all their glory; The Danish Foot Guards.

I really must get over to and find some banners for these units I have been painting

3D scans of real forts (and other stuff too)

      The folks at Sketchfab are doing some amazing things with 3-d scanning, check out Fort St. Jago in all I need is a REALLY big 3-d printer and I'm off to the races!

you can manipulate the 3D image on their site, it is amazing!

28mm Laser-cut stuff

         OK, OK I know that laser cut MDF isn't a big story anymore.

         But this guy is making some truly lovely stuff at very reasonable prices and I feel that he deserves some recognition, take a look. And the prices are very reasonable!

I love the furniture........
I have to get some for the tavern we built out of foamcore ages ago

the windmill is delightful too

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Danish Foot Guards near completion!

I have almost completed the washes and detailing, I pushed one figure all the way through to finished, just to keep my morale up. You see him below.

still a little shiny from the washes, he will get his matte spray soon enough

Friday, December 16, 2016

Lace Wars continues; Danish Garden til Fods

     I have gotten back to the workbench and have been laboring away at the next to last foot unit, the Danish Garden til Fods ( Foot Guards in plain English). They are happily clad in a straw colored coat with carmine facings, a delightful change form the grey/red/blue cycle that seemed to dominate coat colors of the period. I have the larger blocking done and some of the detail as well, next is washes and highlights.......another week at least.

the contrasting coats of the officers stags out in this color scheme rather boldly 

Thoughts on History

and we didn't really hate the Hessians

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lace Wars, Grenadiers at last

I finally got back to the workbench for a bit and got a battalion of Grenadiers painted. They are in green and red to go with the musketeers I finished a while back. Two battalions of foot and I can get started on the cavalry (and then, the artillery).

the mitre hats make them look very large next to the other figures

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blood Bowl Revival!

Since GW has rereleased Blood Bowl, RUP and I were thinking of giving the whole League thing a second try.  As the last time kind of fell apart really quickly, we were hoping to have a bit more dedication to the cause this time.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Meanwhile, in other news.....

I have started a separate blog to cover out upcoming VSF campaign. You can find it here.

(JnR Edit: The link now works. :-) )

Everyone interested in participating in the campaign can email me at daftrica 8 9 at yahoo dot com. with their choice of nation and I will reward them with the access so that they can post their own entries on the new blog.

If this takes off like the last campaign I will make a page for it in the header and permanently link to it for everyone's edification.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Old Sarge has been busy again

Take a glance at my always resourceful buddy, Old Sarge's blog, he has been researching Boer War blockhouses and working on his miniatures for our up coming campaign. It is worth a visit, Old Sarge is a WAY better modeler and painter than I am, his stuff is simply beautiful.

Now I have to get to work on a blockhouse or two :)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pro or Con Resurgent

 I attended the Pro Or Con convention today and was very much pleased by the change of venue. The hall was large and well-lit with plenty of space between the tables and lots of room for vendors and rummage sale space. I tried out two games; Sharpe Practice Two and Tanks!

the game used the old 25mm Minifigs, I have always loved the clean 
simple lines of the old Minifigs range, and these were very well painted to boot!

 Sharp Practice was very well presented and was a lovely game to look at. The rules themselves seemed to fall between two stools; not detailed and granular enough to be a proper skirmish and yet too fiddly for a larger game at the brigade or division level. Most of the other players seemed to be enjoying themselves so maybe it is just a problem I had.

nobody has equaled the Minifigs mounted figures to my eye

Monday, November 14, 2016

One Of The Odd Reasons That I Love Christmas....In Five Simple Pictures

.....and one word.

     This company produces the  cool Christmas village houses and scenics that people love to buy. Every year I go poking around the village displays looking for things that I can use in wargaming, Pine trees (green and snow-covered), bridges, all sorts of scenic oddments. But I think that I have found a real treasure with this latest discovery. 18" x36" heavy vinyl mats embossed with brick of freestone patterns for $9.00US (at Menard's in the Detroit area). I bought one of each roll and, having examined them, I intend to return and clear them out.

look carefully for them, the packaging is a bit deceptive
 and tends to get jumbled in with other items, I almost missed these 

Friday, November 11, 2016

28mm Perry's Union Civil War Infantry 1861-1865

   These just showed up at the local Brick amd mortar hobby shop. As a loyal supporter of that endangered species I spent my money at the store and brought home a box of these little beauties. They fall into the format of previous Perry Brother's releases........and as usual they leave me searching for adjectives that adequately describe the quality of the product. Superb, excellent, wonderful, crisp, anatomically accurately proportioned, golly-gee-whiz-they-are-great!

     Now that I have that out of my system, let us get down to business. The nicely illustrated box contains the usual printed sheet of suggested uniforms and two flags, one national, one regimental, one sprue of four command figures, two sprues providing a total of six skirmishers, six sprues of five infantry figures and finally a sprue of bases to mount all of the figures on.

the box demonstrates the usual high standard of all Perry products

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Further Basic Ideas

More ideas from my fevered brain:

1.   Forts
     Every colony will start with a fort, it is capable of housing 24points of troops. The walls will support 12 figures fighting in each direction (subject to the points limitation). if a cannon or Gatling gun is mounted it displaces as many figures as it has crew plus one. If the field piece is mounted at a corner it displaces figures from both of the walls that make up the corner.
     The model of the fort will be no larger than 12" square. In game terms it counts as hard cover (divide hits by two, rounded down) and higher ground.
    We will discuss the price of forts, I want them to be relatively expensive to force the colonial forces to keep moving around to enforce the Sovereign's will.
     I will build a standard fort, if you have a desire for a different design, and can draw it coherently, and it interests me, I will build a special one for you.

2. Supply Wagons 
     Supply wagons cost one point each, they will support 24 points worth of troops each week on campaign. Effectively a 24 point force will "consume" a wagon a week while on campaign. The supply column will be present on the table with every Imperial Power's force. Wagons can be destroyed by inflicting six hits on them either in melee or by shooting. Once a wagon has been consumed it is removed from the supply column. Loss of supply wagons will either foreshorten your campaign or lead to attrition among your troops.

3. Heavy Guns 
     As the game is designed the guns are small field pieces. Fortresses and siege trains may have need for heavier hardware. Heavy Guns cost 8 points each, shoot 48", have five crew figures and ignore two levels of cover.  They move 2" a turn without limbers, 4" with limbers. There are no heavy Gatling Guns, but I am open to discussion.

Old Sarge has been busy

Pop on over to Old Sarge's blog, besides being a much better painter and modeller than I am he has a series of posts linking to great rules ideas for The Men Who Would Be Kings and In Her Majesty's Service blogs. Food for thought as we work out the rules details for our campaign.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Some thoughts from Joe

These were too long to post as a comment so I posted them here;

Monday, October 24, 2016

Some Basics.....

The planned VSF campaign will require (but will not be limited to ) the following:

We are using The Men Who Would Be Kings rules from Osprey, you will need a copy, either a PDF printout or a bound copy, hard copy preferred!

An army consisting of at least enough figures to field 24points under the rules

An Army List of 60 points under the rules, this will be the ENTIRE land forces of your colony so choose wisely.

Some practical thoughts on Higher Command appearing on the table.

Some thoughtful ideas on how to handle steam-powered vehicles including AFVs.

Some thoughts on handling skirmish-sized combats (I am thinking that In Her Majesty's Name might suffice)

A list of the three most important things you want out of a campaign game.

Tom's Halloween Party is this weekend, it looks like we will be meeting next on 5NOV16 1900hrs.

oh, and wee need a name for the mythical continent, my vote is Neulandia.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Forts (again) Fort Stueben, Ohio

Located oddly enough in Stuebenville Ohio, this on-site reconstruction represents one of the first new forts built by the fledgling United States (technically they were the Confederated States as the Constitution had not yet been written and ratified Actually, true believers, Article 1 of the Articles of Confederation is them declaring that their confederacy would be known as the 'United States of America'. It's a single sentence long. Also, I now feel like Stan Lee... - Justly Rulin' JnR). Named after the Baron Von Stueben of Revolutionary War fame this fort was constructed in 1786 to protect surveyors who had been contracted to begin the platting of "ranges" (a.k.a. townships) along the Ohio river. The presence of the troops also enforced the claim to the lands west of the mountains that had formerly belonged to Great Britain and helped enforce the treaties with the Native American tribes in the area. The fact that the 150 soldiers present there represented one-fifth of the total armed forces of the nation showed how seriously the government considered the work being done.

The original fort was built in just over a month by the 150 soldiers assigned to defend it, it was reconstructed in fits and starts over a much longer period of time. There was suggestions of building a reconstruction on the centennial of its founding and then, after repeated archaeological digs on the site,and some very dedicated fund-raising by local enthusiasts, work was begun on the current reconstruction in 1989. This project continued for ten years with alternating bouts of construction and fundraising until the project was finished. The fort has a very informative and well presented Visitor Center staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers. If you are in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania or the northern tip of West Virginia take the time to drop by it is well worth a visit!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

First Blood

      The ever creative and relentlessly jingoistic ( or would that be Gingoistic ? ) Housemartin has laid claim to the Mexican Empire as his nation in our Alt-History/VSF campaign. To bolster and buttress his claims to a place in the sun on the newly discovered continent he has issued the following missive. A literary masterpiece soon to be required reading worldwide! I encourage everyone intending to participate to construct a similar time-line (it does not need to be a complete - or bombastic- as this beauty) to announce to the world their backstory and plans.

     It is a delightful example of thinking outside the box, about how a few minor changes to a timeline could have changed the face of the world we know. No need for time-travelling AK-47 merchants (side-eye at H. Turtledove) just a few different decisions and a different bit of luck. 

The Mexanish Empire’s History of Magnificence. 
The ascension of Emperor Maxmillian I on 10 July, 1863 was the brightest day in Mexico’s brief, but glorious history. Since his ascension, His Most Catholic Majesty, Maximillian I, has presided over a rapid and impressive rise in both Mexican power and prestige on the world stage. At his ascension the Emperor faced the warmongering ways of the Yankee Imperialist Lincoln with manly resolution. Avoiding both direct involvement in the American Civil War, but also maintaining his right to the throne of Mexico. When the Southerners successfully defeated Lincoln in their Civil War, with significant material assistance from the Sovereign of Mexico, any attempts at Yankee meddling in Mexico were ended. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

New Rules, Deep Thoughts and Dark Plans

    After several successful games of The Men Who Would Be Kings and a serious-minded discussion with some of my gaming compadres (and an even longer serious discussion with myself) I have decided to float the idea of starting a new VSF campaign. Drawing deeply on the seven years of experience that the Daftrica campaign provided will correct the flaws that became apparent as time went by.

      All are invited to the discussion of what they are looking for but I am the final arbiter of the campaign. I will set forth the rules and modifications to be used, I will establish the entry level commitment for players (be ready to paint your army if you don't already have one available) and the time-lines that will drive the campaign. If you aren't serious, have issues with completing paperwork in a timely manner or want to sponge armies off other players please do not apply. There will always be plenty of slots in the OPFOR side of things for people that only want to show up and push lead.

    Baseline requirements are:
       1. Have a copy of the rules, The Men Who Would Be Kings, no excuses, none, don't ask. Osprey rules are cheap and widely available, and these are dead-easy to understand.
       2. Have an email that is checked regularly, that means daily, preferable twice a day.
       3. An army totaling 40 points under the rules, these must be composed of PAINTED  period-specific figures from 1850-1900. No recycled WW2 Japanese or such. Certain exceptions will be tolerated but you must come to me on bended knee to ask permission.
       4. The ability to undertake the rudimentary math required by the rules.
       5. A true sense of the Victorian and a jovial sense of humor, a strong sense of the power of the Pun is welcomed as well.

     Further, probably more irrational requirements will be imposed by me on a whim, proper pith-helmets (or other period appropriate headgear) is a possibility.

     Interested parties can reply to my email or directly in the comments section


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fireforge Russian Foot

      I bought these a while ago and I am only now getting around to writing this review. Fireforge has brought out something that I've been waiting on for ages; Dark Ages Russian foot. I have a Byzantine army and have been cheating for years using Vikings as Rus. Now I can finally do the right thing and field a real unit of Rus warriors to assist the Emperor in defending Byzantium from the barbarians.Doubtless they will be striving to get promoted to the Varangian Guard!

      These figures show their Viking heritage but have a decidedly Eastern/Slavic look. They are molded in a medium soft gray plastic with very crisp details. A good selection of shields and weapons is provided, a bit heavy on the archers to my taste but that is just one man's opinion.You could easily back-date these by swapping in more round shields and hairy faces from other sets of minis.I can barely wait to start converting these models.

once again the back of the box shows a photo of the very pretty painted minis, 
one of these days the guys in marketing will realize that this would sell more boxes

not that there is anything wrong with the cover-art, very atmospheric
not at all like the tragic Wargames Factory cover art

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Looking forward, Game Schedule for September and October

     The rest of this month looks good for our normal schedule of 7pm Saturday games. October, on the other hand, is a complete train wreck; between family commitments and work I will not be able to host a game all month. Others are welcome to host a game at my place, just contact me in advance so I can set things up.

     Of course you all are welcome to host games of your own, I make no claim to be the only venue in town. Suggestions for games or offers to run one can be posted in comments or emailed to me.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lace Wars Part VII, Into action at last!

     The point of owning and painting wargames minis is to actually play games with them, at that is what I have been told! The growing pile of Lace Wars figures had me thinking that I would like to see them in action on the table top, not just a staged photo-op, but a real game. So I concocted the following scenario.

    On the Island of Santa Margarita the Spanish have begun to construct a gun battery on a bit of high ground that overlooks the Straits. They have been concerned over the increasing tensions with Britain and want to secure the passage against interference by the Anglos. Right near the proposed battery is the homer od Senor Fernandez, the leader of the local militia. He has called them to his home to assist with the construction work and to guard the area while the battery is built.

     Having better and faster ships the British have found out that war has broken out against Spain. The salient problem is that while word has arrived, reinforcements have not. Lord Feversham understands the need to capture the battery position and spike or carry away the guns but he lacks the manpower for the job. To make up numbers he has struck a bargain with the devil and signed on a large number of Buccaneers to at as shock troops. They have been promised a free hand in looting the island as long as the battery is wiped out first.

     The British player was given the choice of flanking attacks from the north or the south, or an attempt to land directly onto the dock with the one schooner light enough to handle the shallow water. He chose to launch all of his units into a flank attack from the south with the schooner sailing toward the dock as a distraction and a signal to his own men to begin the assault. Below we have a map to the table

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lace Wars Part VI, Spanish 3rd Tercio

       I finally found someone that wore a color other than red, gray or blue. The Spanish 3rd Tercio wore green with red cuffs; a get-up the matches a certain Russian Guards regiment. I promptly set about painting them and in less than a week they had gotten to almost finished. The figures are 28mm plastics from Wargames Factory (now being produced by another company, Warlord Games I think). My objective is to be able to field a variety of readily distinguished units for a Imaginations  Campaign based (loosely) on the Caribbean during the Age of the Buccaneers. One thing I insist on is that all of the units be painted to represent a real historical unit, a needless restriction I know, nut one I will not bend!

 You can see the fruits of my labors below. I am still looking for a unit in brown or yellow.........

my inability to leave well enough alone is on display in the command figures of this unit, 
only the flag-bearer and one of the drummers have escaped modification

Friday, August 26, 2016

Odd Things that I have found

     I spend far too much time cruising the internet, it gets in the way of working on my projects from time to time.But then I find a gem of a site like this

Need a covered wagon? Don't want to spend a ton of money on what is essentially a prop? Try this:site, Need a dozen 15mm windmills and don't feel like scratchbuilding....they have them.

I have been raiding souvenir shops on all of my vacations picking up such items. I caution that some of the items are rather cartoonish and the scale is extremely variable, so buy one before placing a large order. It is remarkable what a coat of paint does for these things!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lace is the Place, back to the 28mm Lace Wars figures

I pushed aside my many distractions and pulled out the last two boxes of Lace Wars infantry. This builds four more battalions of infantry once they are combined with the remains of the previous boxes. I decided that two of the battalions would be grenadiers, just to liven things up[ a bit........and to use those cool looking heads with the silly hats! A couple of hours and I had most of them based and assembled.  I have found a unit that dressed in green, but I'm still looking for a real unit that dressed in brown, I know they are out there somewhere, I just haven't found a picture or trust-worthy source. If anybody knows of such a unit please advise.

almost done, the horse are next

the assembly process would go much faster if I stuck with the standard poses, 
I always end up modifying at least two figures per unit

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Little Rough Going, 15mm rocky ground

   OK, another distraction to add to my list of distractions..........I know. I know, I keep up like this and the Lace Wars project will die in the cradle. But I do so love making terrain.

R.U.P. is planning a Rhodesia game for the beginning of September and he mentioned that he needed some areas of rocky ground because the REAL Rhodesia looks like this;

be careful kids, this is not your average table top

   Being an irrepressible half-wit I immediately suggested that I would put some patches of rocky ground for him, mind you, this was before he sent pictures! I have never learned how to un-volunteer for something so I was truly stuck now. Fortunately I have tons of foam and my trusty Proxon hot wire cutter. A half hour later I had put this together;
ruler for scale, I was going to put a model of Louis XIV on the table
 but at the last moment backed away from the pun

   I sent R.U.P. a picture and met with his approval so I kept at it and added a bit of paint ending up with a few areas of rather rough ground looking like this.
hartdly an exact match 
but the wee soldiers need to be able to stand upon it after all!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Oh No !!!! More with the mats....15mm roads

I spent the afternoon making roads with my eight year old granddaughter, she is still young enough to think this stuff is cool. Same materials, same techniques as before so I won't bore you with the procedural stuff. Here is a photo of the finished product, they are made on a base width of 2 inches. I am not certain that I am fully happy with these as they sit rather high above the surface. I will have to see what they look like on a mat.
 these will be used as trails in 28mm, notice the connection pieces at the bottom
 these transition from 3" road width to 2" road width
the distortion is from me using my cell phone camera in "panoramic mode"
while standing unsafely on top of a stool

Sunday, July 31, 2016

My my....More with the Mats? Folding and Spraying

    I know that I'm starting to sound like a one-horn orchestra but there were a few questions asked by folks here and over on TMP. I have tried to find the answers and present the information below.

     First we have the 30lb ammo can torture test. Someone asked how the  mats handled being folded, I folded up a section and sat a 30lb ammo can on it for a week

for a whole week the poor mat lay there crushed under the weight of an ammo can full of cartridges

Friday, July 29, 2016

For Once I'm Working Ahead!

Saturday's game will be at 1900hrs, U.S. Marines vs Local militants (sounds dreadfully familiar) but here is the twist; it is the 1920's and the Marines are in Central America trying to keep the peace. We will be playing on my brand new game mats so everybody show up, let's break these in right!

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 is 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.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Lace Wars Project Part III The British Are Coming!!!

Perhaps the English is more accurate. Despite a horrible week at work I have gotten pretty close to completing the first batch of red-coats. They need a wash and flat coat, but otherwise they are complete. I do like the way that they are turning out, I have to flip over to and print up some flags pretty soon to give them the real impact. Flags of this period were large and very colorful and I think that they will add a lot to the character of the units.

rather brighter than the previous two units

the officer in the middle pointing is one of my runaway posing projects,
he took longer to build than six regular figures

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lace Wars Project Part II; Another Regiment joins the ranks

I am trying to stick with a disciplined painting schedule and have been working on this unit for a steady hour (minimum) a day. They still lack flags and groundwork but they are otherwise completed. They can be used as either Spanish or French line troops with a simple swap of flags.

As always comments, curses and jeering are welcomed....

I find it harder to paint the simple gray uniform than the blue jackets of the colonial troops

Monday, May 16, 2016

Progress on the Lace Wars project

     I decided that the only way I was going to make headway on this project was to sit down and work for a solid hour on it at least five days a week. At first it seemed a daunting task. As I got used to the routine I began to look forward to the quiet period of time painting miniatures. After a week I managed to get one battalion finished, the (almost) finished models can be seen below, they only require matte finish and flags to be complete. Just eleven more to go!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A tiny fortress

The NPS gift shop at the Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine Florida had these on sale for eight bucks each. They looked perfect for Age of Sail land fortifications so I bought four. Unfortunately they don't appear on the list of items available on the park website so you will have to go there in person to get them (or offer me absurd sums of money for mine). I also saw them at the Fountain of Youth, but they don't list it on their website gift shop either. Or you can wait until next spring when I'm heading back that way and place an order with me and I will be happy to pick them up when I visit.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Upcoming RPG Stuff

Hey, y'all. Been a while, but boredom is a wonderful motivator and frankly I don't want to bother people all through email about this. Given most of us comment on the blog, I'll put this here.

"Down the highway and through the brush, to Ho Chi Minh's house we go!": A Charlie Company Battle Report

Our friend and commenter Dobbers Wargames had wanted to put on a Vietnam game for quite a while, and he chose one hell of a night to do it. Not only was Honest Dan in the house on leave from Fort Bliss, but just about everyone in the group managed to show up, and Mr. Dobbers brought his own friends along to fill out the crowd.

On one side: Dobber and his evil communist advisor the Old Sarge.

On the other: myself, Anton, Honest Dan, R.U.P., Housemartin, Crowag and a host of others trying to work within a chain of command.

Oh, this was going to go swimmingly...

Slow and Steady: A "Rock the Casbah" After-Action Report

   I'm going to finish this largely because I wonder if RUP reads the blog, and what he'll do if  I finish it. At any rate, the game was set: the Israelis were meant to clear a town that a small group of Syrians had forgotten to actually pull back from; the Israeli spearhead was to take the town while the Syrians and PLO were there to take what they could and hold until relieved... or at least that's what I think they were to do. As an Israeli, I found their actions and methods inscrutable, and thus do not deign to try and explain them.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Enter the Infantry

The weather in these parts has been utterly abominable so I whiled away the hours putting together a couple of boxes of Lace Wars infantry. This was a surprisingly simple procedure, the hardest part was deciding which version of the figures to build, the kit provides so many options that it can be distracting. I steeled my nerves and stuck with building straight-up regular infantry and not doing too many dramatic poses with the officers and drummers.

 Now I just need a break in the weather so I can get them primed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A misspent afternoon.......

The other day I wasn't really feeling like doing anything productive so I spent a few hours assembling plastic figures for my next Big Project, the Lace Wars. I hope they are as easy to paint as they were to build! The biggest obstacle was avoiding the urge to customize every figure (the kits provide so many options that it is silly!) One box of cavalry and three boxes of guns, just three more boxes of guns, six more boxes of cavalry and eight boxes of infantry and I can start painting!

the small mounted unit is the officers that come with the artillery set,
I will use them for my command officers

Sunday, April 3, 2016

D&D Saturday

J&R will be running his D&D campaign this Saturday 9APR16 at 1900hrs, be there to play, observe or just pick on us as we stumble from one blood-bath to another

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Aging Gracefully, the 28mm Dark Ages/Fantasy Fort grows up

I heeded the advice of the comments here and on TMP and added a very thin dark wash to the 28MM Dark Ages fort. As usual the Vox Populi was right, it does look so much better. I used the same paint that I am now using as a standard for all my terrain. This makes it look like it is part of the the groundwork. Thanks to all for the brilliant suggestion!

just enough color to take the edge off and blend it with the surroundings 

Thank You to the work detail

I promised photos of the stuff we got done on Saturday. The worst part of the job was finding someplace to put all the hills while the paint dried! Flocking or sanding was applied directly to an additional coat of standard latex house paint and, after being shaken off, was then top-coated with the cheapest hair-spray I could find (stuff works wonders, much better than expensive spray sealants).

Behold the wonders of our labors my comrades!

the Steep Hills selection, two UWSSU hold enough terrain to cover a 8x6 foot table 
safe from chipped corners or scratched flocking!