Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Quarterly Review

     For a second time in a row I have managed to get my Quarterly Review done on time!  This past quarter has seen a slackening in games as my (and most other people's) schedule has interfered with gaming but I still managed to get 21 games in. I wrote forty-six posts in all of these I completed six minis reviews and four book reviews while  publishing four more fort walkarounds. I wrote After Action Reports on five games and painted an even dozen 28mm figures and ninety 15mm figures as well as two 1/700 scale ship models complete with rigging. Along the way I seem to have thrown together a 1/72 scale I-16. I added six "How-to" posts and got through giving away all of the rest of my 1/300 scale minis and all of the 15mm ancients (I will return to the Great Minis Giveaway in 2020 starting with the rest of the redundant 15mm stuff). I assembled and primed sixty 28mm Greeks to donate to Flintcon 2020 for their painting bench. The most overwhelming project for this quarter was completing the rebasing of 1600 15mm Thirty Years War minis (that sort of thing just sucks the soul out of me). All things considered a productive three months.

       Lets see what sort of pace I can keep up in 2020.

Literary Loot!

       What do you buy for a guy that has been collecting stuff (miniatures/rules/guns/woodworking tools, etc. etc)  for over forty years?  BOOKS!  Books of course; each new book is a package filled with hours of entertainment that fits into far less space than a 28mm Macedonian Phalanx or another M-88 Commission Rifle  (and it makes me look so danged ERUDITE to have a library packed with serious historical books). My family was kind enough to bless me with a mountain of reading material this holiday season and I can hardly wait to dig and fill the few remaining nooks and crannies in my brain with obscure facts (what was the facing color of the First Pomeranian Guards Regiment in 1688?......let's ask Anton!). I hope that everyone else was so lucky. And you best be prepared for more of my opinionated reviews coming down the pike!

in addition there is this mass of books and pamphlets 
that I collected from my trip to Florida in November

Sunday, December 22, 2019

San Marcos de Apalache, walkaround

       Perhaps the most confusing site that I have ever visited, San Marcos de Apalache has been the site of many forts over the centuries. Other locations benefit from having a careful reconstruction or a complete fort still standing to provide a visual clue as to the location and history. In this location we find that the early forts have been utterly destroyed by hurricanes and later (partially completed) forts were built one atop the other. The physical structures extant are puzzling at first glance. I have tried to gather as many drawings and maps of the location to provide an idea of what the structures looked like before they fell into their current ruinous state. The park has an excellent little museum with an informative video and a good many informative panels supported by artifacts and models to illustrate  the long history of the St. Marks area.

the inevitable historical marker, packed with tantalizing bits of niformation

Sunday, December 8, 2019

An Incident in Tunisia

       It being Pearl Harbor Day I thought that it would be appropriate if we did something WW2. Pearl harbor being a bit lop-sided as a battle I decided that I would present a game based on the first significant strategic invasion n that the US undertook in response; the invasion of North Africa.

a small airfield in the Tunisian back-country just after dawn
viewed from the West

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Book Review Osprey Men At Arms MAA522 The Khazars

The Khazars
A Judeo-Turkish Empire on the Steppes, 7th-11th Centuries AD
Osprey Publishing
Men At Arms MAA522
Authors Mikhail Zhihorov and David Nicolle
Illustrator  Christa Hook
ISBN 978-1-4728-3013-5

        I found this to be an informative and interesting book. Previously the Khazars had just been a name on an army list that involved painting too many horses for my taste, I knew nothing of where they were and cared little of their appearance. This data-packed little volume has enlightened me about who they were and where they rules (I'm still unlikely to build an army reflecting them as I'm even slower at painting now than I was twenty years ago).
        This book follows standard Osprey format with a brief introduction as to who the Khazars were and then follows the expansion and eventual collapse of their empire. There is a delightful lack of the usual horrible Osprey maps, instead we are treated to a series of information dense black and white line maps that,paired with the time-line, give a clear idea of the rise and fall of the Khazar Khaganate. Scattered throughout the text a nice clear photos and very precise line drawings of recovered artifacts that illustrate recovered item. In this aspect it looks like the very best sort of archeological dig report. From this the reader can gain an understanding of what the armor and weapons of these warriors looked like and how they evolved over time. Excellent work indeed!
       What really brings to life the intensely detailed archeological details is the atmospheric artwork of Christa Hook. I do confess that I started buying Osprey Men at Arms before they had numbers due largely to the artwork. Christa Hook builds on that sterling reputation and adds to its repute with her energetic, evocative and precisely detailed drawings.

     Very highly Recommended!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

All About That Base......

       Having agreed to run a Thirty Years War game at Spartacon on 11Jan20 I thought that I had best get off my backside and finish re-basing the rest of my figures. By "the rest of my figures" I mean most of the infantry which is something on the order of 400 minis! I have probably mentioned this before but I find rebasing particularly irksome; undoing work just to re-do it!

       But there was nothing left but to get started so off to the workshop I went.

the first step was to tear all of the figures off of their bases
this was tedious but uneventful until I got to the ones that had been painted by Trunkmonkey, 
he had gone to great lengths when he did these figures back in the early 90s 
and had cut plywood bases and superglued the figures to them 
the entire bases were glued to the larger Tercio bases

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Fort Barrancas/Spanish Water Battery walkaround

barely still in Florida, 
Pensacola was "La Floridas" westward extremity for quite some time

a current aerial shot of the two forts, courtesy Google Earth
notice that North is in the upper left of this picture
       The most complete of the forts that I visited in my whirlwind tour of western Florida Fort Barrancas in on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Like most coastal fortifications in the area it began as a Spanish effort and changed hands several times during the 1750-1820 period. The current fortifications consist of a late-period Spanish Water Battery and a U.S. Third System fort protecting the back of the Water Battery. Both are in excellent condition and are a nice contrast between the styles and thinking of the different systems of defense.These forts were built on the on the site of several previous fortifications dating back to 1698 which had been occupied by Spanish, English, and French forces in turn, for a delightfully tongue in cheek explanation of the convoluted military history of the forts around Pensacola check this post over at Starforts.com.