Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pictures from Spartacon

      While I was busy playing a game in the first round and running a game in the second J&R had a chance to prowl the hall at the Lansing Center, he took the opportunity to record many of the games on display there. Although I had but a cursory glance at the tables my impression was that the quality of the visual impact of the games was impressive. All games were participation games and everybody seemed to be having a jolly time. I am trying to attribute the games to the presenter and identify the rules used, please correct me if I am wrong!

Paul Makoski gave us the simply stunning Samurai Skirmish game

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Note For The Housemartin

   As you are considering ways to spend your twenty bonus points this year in Nuelandia take a look at this gem (you have to check in the left-hand side bar and click on "Alexander Bondar, it the the bottom entry in his list of paper models) on the Landships II page. A lovely paper model that is also a free download; what could be better?

     Everybody else should take a look as well, this site is truly a labor of love by the people that put it together, and a fountain of information on the early days of armored warfare.

And Now For Something Completely Different.....

    I know that for the last few months I have been rather fixated on a certain project. That is done now and there will be few further references to it. I pledge myself to get back to basics, like wasting time on the internet looking for cool stuff! It didn't take me long to find this little gem; Michas Figuren. It is in German so I haven't a clue what he is writing but I know a pretty picture when I see one, and his blog is filled with things like this;

I just love pretty flags!

    So, once you are done saying "Wow! That is lovely", take a little stroll over to his blog, it is time well spent

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Castillo Besieged! Part II

With the scene set and the players briefed we began play.

the day broke to the sounds of musketry and shouting as the Pirates had found and looted the farmer's cottages south of the town, with this short warning the Governor roused his men and prepared for a desperate defense, to his dismay the gunners were overrun before they could fire the cannon (Tom from Texas was the Spanish Governor and he was plagued all day by the most horrific Command dice in the history of wargaming)

Castillo Besieged ! Part I

     After all the drama and effort it was finally time to actually play a game using the Castillo. The fine folks at Spartacon had been kind enough to allow me to take up a large chunk of their space and set up the scenario. Beneath it all were four 30"x96" banquet tables arranged as you see below;

Friday, January 19, 2018

Castillo in a Crate

     It turns out that the warping (and attendant framing that was required to straighten it) was a blessing in disguise. I had originally devised a complicated  way of stacking the parts of the model for transport. With the presence of the wooden frame at the edge of each panel a far simpler (and sturdier) method presented itself. Make the baseboards into the sides of their own crate! see below:

with the simple addition of  a small sheet of thin plywood on each side
 the baseboard become part of their own crate
yes, I think that I am a genius!

the whole shooting match crated up and ready for deployment

Frantic Last Minute Stuff

     Having effectively lost two days I found myself scurrying to get things in order for Spartacon. I realized that I had not painted the blue board paves on the inside of the castle, nor had I double-checked the supply of buildings to represent Old Saint Augustine......and I still needed to round up dice, rulers and other game impedimentia. Then I noticed that the sloping ground I had started yesterday had not finished flocking itself.

but, before flocking, they needed to be drybrushed  an hilariously named (Cream in My Coffee,
 who names paint anyways?) tester pot from Lowe's provided a nice light beige color

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Just When I Thought It Was Safe To Go To The Convention..

     I was haunted by a dark thought as I finished the last post; it all seemed to easy, things were going too well. I dismissed it as paranoia. How wrong I was!  Somewhere along the line, as I was applying additional groundwork to the bases it seems as if I overdid it. Yesterday I awoke to find the bases had warped like potato chips, the thin plywood allowing the moisture to penetrate too deeply and, as it dried, shrink and deform the bases. There was nothing for it but to run to the builder's supply and grab a bunch of lumber and build frames to attach the bases to. This, of course, meant that the model now sat well above the surface of the game table and thus necessitated sloping terrain to help blend the joint. So, instead of having time to fine tune the scenario I find myself rushing to finish terrain. I type this as paint dries....

the worst part is that the framing has doubled the weight 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Last Minute Details

     Having finished the vast bulk of the fortress I got to work on the myriad of details that are still outstanding. First I made sure that my supply of cannon were painted and ready for action, then I began taking care of the little details on the fortress, such as the paved walkway around the interior; this proved to be far more work than I had anticipated (of course).

I was going to make some of them iron, but I like the bronze thing too much

oh look, hundreds of tiny blue-board bricks,
 I should have just used some embossed paper 
live and learn, they say

     Next on the list is a drawbridge from the ravelin to the ramp, followed by organizing the troops and packing everything up for transport.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

So Close I Can Almost Taste It!

     I got the first few stages of groundwork done, all the base colors and the the first round of flocking are finished. I am almost finished with the model. This is the part of the project that brings into focus all of the little things that still need to be completed; cannons, game support items, pre-packing the minis, rules, dice, information cards....

..........but I couldn't resist putting it all together to see what it looks like.  So here it is in all its glory!

just for safety's sake I think that I will trim back the inside corner of the bastion bases

Monday, January 8, 2018

One fourth of the Castillo completed!

    I have been pounding away at the Castillo model. Hours of intensive work have rewarded me with the completion of one fourth of the model; a wall, a bastion and assorted outworks. With these I have all of the complicated stuff done (and thus hope that things will move along a bit quicker). The whole doors and windows thing is a time-sink but there is no going back now. With that out of the way behold the noble fortress! (or a quarter of it anyways)

the moat will be painted a different color from the rest of the ground-work 
as a reminder to players that it is there and poses an obstacle

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Paint At Last!!! (Updated)

   After an almost-all-nighter I have finished priming and detailing the Castillo. I got the sand set on the base=boards and am finally ready to start the job of drybrushing the white stucco that covered the real fortress. I did a few test-cases; comment, suggestions and ideas are all welcome.

the test group; the stairway, a wall section, the ramp up to the ravelin and two garitas

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Gates and Drawbridges

   The ravelin simply looked too plain, I had to add detail (even if means losing sleep to be ready in time for Spartacon). I dug out my photo-survey of the real Castillo and noticed that the gateway/drawbridge of the Castillo are done in a fancy style. I decided to up my game and add some nifty details to really engage the eye.

this all started because I get bored watching paint dry 
that is just a primer coat, the Castillo will not be baby-puke brown!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Ravelin (Updated)

    Now that the hustle and bustle of the Holidays have passed I am working feverishly on the Castillo with one eye on the clock. Less than three weeks remain before the unveiling at Spartacon and I realized that I had not yet built the ravelin. For those not conversant with Vauban's method of fortification the ravelin was a smaller bastion-shaped out work that guarded the approach to the main gate. Ir was also often used as an additional layer of defense in front of the other sections of wall too. Happily for me the Castillo has but one and it stands on the south side of the fortress facing the town and covering the main gateway of the fortress.

 a photo of the actual Castillo de San Marcos