Monday, November 27, 2017

Year's End Book Recall

     Yes, you know who you are. Now bring back my books, you have had them for months and I would like them back. Don't make me name names (or worse yet, come to your house in the middle of the night). I am missing several valuable and hard to find books. Don't ruin things for everybody by not returning the books that you have borrowed.

Friday, November 24, 2017

R.U.P.'s new Rule set

     A while back R.U.P. showed up at my house with another of his lavishly appointed 15mm wargames. This one was an encounter between the Israelis and the P.L.O.  Everything was up to R.U.P.'s usual standard; lovely miniatures painted to a superb standard, Attractive terrain with a density of detail to rival a railway modeller's effort and a detailed scenario. One big change was the rules, instead of the tried and true Rock the Casbah rules from Lard Island we were to be the test subject of a new acquisition; Spectre Operations from Spectre Miniatures (who, by the way, produce some truly stunning minis, take a look at the website)

somewhere in the peaceful Lebanese countryside two infantry patrols are one the move,
 one each from the IDF and the PLO, both seek valuable intel (probably trying to hunt down the gamer that disgraced such a pretty table by leaving all those dice in the picture)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Katy, bar the window!

    Yes. it is a bad pun. If I was any good as a comedian I could hire people to build stuff for me, but things are such as they are. Having put hinges and handles on the doors it was now time to turn my attentions to window treatments, and I don't mean those gauzy shreds of fabric that interior designers like to hang around window frames. I mean the sort of thing that would keep an angry pirate safely outside your room; thick iron bars!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Another Great Resource

this is the Royal Aircraft Factory's SE1 of 1911
(yes, the front of it is to the left)

    This isn't connected to anything in particular, but is simply representative of some of the really cool stuff out there on the web. Blue Print Box has hundreds of blueprints of aircraft, vehicles and weapons. All ready to download and completely free!

Good Reasons for Attending Conventions

      One of the great things that happen at conventions is that you run into old friends. This happened to me when I attended Pro or Con. I ran into two old buddies of mine that time and circumstance had caused me to lose track of; Dave MacDonald and Kevin Davidson. I was happy to find them both well and gaming with all the energy and enthusiasm they had decades ago (Has it really been that long? OMG!). I had the pleasure of their company through two games of Pikeman's Lament and in side discussions found that Kevin has his own blog; Zhodani Commando, take a look, it is a treat for the eyes to say the least.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Doors, Hinges and Handles

     Having finally finished the embrasures I decided to indulge my OCD just a bit and add doors in the doorways. Having done so I then found myself compelled to add hinges and handles. A simple process in its own but there are a couple of dozen doors, and it simply wouldn'r do to have some door with handles and others without.

finding myself without any thin balsa (my preferred answer) I decided to  
try slicing blueboard very thinly as a substitute, it seems to have worked

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Now All I Need is Sixty-Six Cannon

     Behold below the Castillo. Now fully embrasured she awaits only a drawbridge to be ready to defend herself against Pirates, Englishmen and the odd Huguenot. Doors, window shutters and other such niceties are still required, of course, but hardly mandatory when facing invaders. Wait, there is the small matter of armaments; I have but six cannon with which to defend this erstwhile mighty fortress, sixty-six embrasures remain empty! Much Sadness.
      Actually, my research shows the the Castillo was never fully armed when under the flag of Spain (and, most likely not while in English or American hands) so the demands do not run anywhere close to a full 72 cannon. I do intend this for other purposes and will need many more cannon before I'm finished so if anybody has a line on cheap cannon (or just cannon barrels) please drop a note in the comments.

with the corner towers in place it does look very much more elegant

Monday, November 13, 2017

Further Progress on the Tedium Front

     Having finally finished the dozens of doors and windows I moved on to the next hugely repetitive job; embrasures. There are dozens of these as well, and they need to be the same size and evenly spaced. So I made myself a little template and started the long process of carving notches in my lovely parapets.

about a third done so far; each bastion has ten embrasures

just to relieve the boredom I decided to fancy-up the main gate a bit

     Next up is the corner towers, then the drawbridge, then doors and window-grates, then a portcullis, then the Ravelin..............

Start 'Em Young!!!

    Rich Uncle Pat (R.U.P. to most folks in the know) reports great success in his efforts to inculcate the Wargaming Spirit in his first born. Dice are used to regulate casualties (although the "red spot means a hit" is sometimes replaced with a more Wellsian approach of flinging the die at the target) and the youngster displays great skill in both methods of casualty randomization.

terrain is kept to a minimum while teaching the rules

casualties tend to be ferocious

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sometimes Things Just Happen Part IV; The Aztec Temple

As if I didn't already have WAY too many distractions......I was at my local Brick&Mortar the other day when Matt (an employee of same) told me that he was working on a Conquistador vs Aztecs game using any of a number of rules sets. The discussion wandered around and it came up that it would be visually striking, as well as an instant stage-setter, to have an iconic step pyramid on the table. I said that it would be dead easy to knock together as they were all right angles and layered like a birthday cake, it is always easy to brag......

.......but this morning I got home from work and couldn't get to sleep. My busy mind needed to occupy itself with busy hands, so off to the workshop I went; and this happened. I will be delivering it to Matt for completion as I have too much work already but it was a happy half-hour and very therapeutic.

the stairs need a little refinement and the whole thing needs a lot of surface decoration, 
but it is a decent start, of course it is hollow inside to allow for "Indiana Jones" style exploring

Friday, November 3, 2017

Making Gun Carriages

     Having built a couple of boxes of the old Wargame Factory War of Spanish Succession cannon kits (currently available from Warlord Games) I found myself in possession of several spare gun barrels. As these were beautifully sculpted cannon barrels it seemed a pity to just throw them away, besides, I needed cannons to mount on the walls of gradually completing Castillo de San Marcos. The biggest stumbling block is that fortresses use cannons on garrison carriages (the classic "ships cannon" on the small heavy mount with little wheels) not the two wheels and a trail style carriages that the model provides. It was clear that I was in for a building project.
       Not fancying the idea of making dozens of tiny symmetrical wheels I cast around for an idea as to what I could use as a substitute. After some thought I hit upon the idea of using small flat beads to replace the wheels. A trip to Hobby Lobby provided both the beads and the bass wood strips to build the rest of the carriages.

the components, 3/32 square basswood strips,  a string of beads and the "donor kits"
wood glue and a fresh blade in the X-Acto knife

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Things I Bought at Pro or Con

     One of the great things about our local gaming conventions is that John Vincent of Quality Miniatures usually shows up with a vast array of reasons for me to spend money. This latest convention was no different, and I walked away quite happy to have added to my collection of 28mm Mediterranean/Caribbean buildings. These were hand-crafted by John himself and are carefully constructed with lift-off roofs and evocative details. Check out his website, if you don't see what you want contact John, he may be able to build exactly what you are looking for (he is talented like that!).

a small mosque or temple