Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Let's talk Real Estate, Afghan Style

steps one and two 
chocolate brown base coat with medium brown dry-brushed over it

       Having finally gotten the hill to my liking I decided to have a go at painting the village that was the source of this whole project. The buildings were coated with the ever-present chocolate brown and then a heavy dry-brush of the same medium brown that I used on the hills. In all the photos that I have seen of Afghani villages they seem to be exactly the same shade of brown as the surrounding terrain. Next was the light tan highlights (a good bit heavier a dusting than than hills got) followed up by a thorough dusting of pale gray. Tomorrow I will go back and add white highlights and a few touches of color. All that remains is the other panel with the riverbank and irrigation canals and poppy fields.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

How about some highlights?

  the last time we saw my Afghan village hill it was a wet mess of chocolate brown paint.

        A night's worth of drying time solved that problem and I got right back at it. First I double-checked to be sure that there wasn't any loose sand anywhere, once I was satisfied that all of that was locked down tight I began the two-stage drybrushing effort. The chocolate brown was only ever intended as shadow so the first coat of medium brown was applied very heavily. A second coat of medium brown was added after the first had had a chance to set for an hour. After that had dried for an hour I broke out the light tan, this too was applied liberally to all of the surfaces to establish a base and then a second coat was added with a lighter hand to make the details pop. Once this had had a chance to dry I will add a coat of pale gray then some white highlights.

Fine Grit, further adventures in Afghanistan

the last time that we saw the base for the Afghani hilltop village it looked like this

       Satisfied that I had applied enough of the True Grit mix to the base I took the next step. Well aware of how apt wargamers are at knocking items over, bumping things and generally creating mayhem amongst terrain and minis I decided that having large, heavy and fragile epoxy castings of buildings located on the high points of the terrain base was just asking for problems. To avoid such a sad occurrence I added some carefully crafted and located "boulders" to the surface. These were cleverly arranged to ensure that the buildings would be trapped in place and could only be knocked astray by Herculean force. OK, that last bit might be an exaggeration. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

True Grit (and some pebbles too) UPDATED

       The last step in the Afghan village project left me with the reconstructed hills finished and coated in paint. The next step is adding details to these hills; the first of which is ground texture. Rocks, boulders, gravel and sand in the margins and on the hillsides, I mean, it isn't as if anybody is tidying up around there so all of that geological detritus would be just lying about. Cognizant that I have to maintain a playable surface I tend to add this sort of detail in places that won't impede play; the endless balance between a wargamng surface and railroad modelling quality terrain is a fine line to tread. The first step is to add the flashy details in areas that are out of the way and won't impact the deployment of our miniature legions, the base of cliffs, the edges of roadways, water runoff gulleys etc. Then I step back and assess what more can be added and where.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

A Second Tour in Afghanistan

metal yes!
plastics, NO!!!!!

          Ages ago I began a project for my good friend, Zhodani Commando, wherein I undertook to build a base for some Afghani buildings that he had purchased. This project had moved along nicely until I sprayed the nearly completed base with a matte clear coat that I had been using on minis for a couple of years now. This product is a solvent based automotive finish that is very flat and extremely hard-wearing; unfortunately it is also a lacquer-based paint and contains an extremely high amount of powerful solvent. A bit of thought would have had me waiting for a restock of Amory Matte Sealant at my local brick-n-mortar but I was in a hurry and thought that the thick coating of Durham's Water Putty and vinyl spackle would protect the vulnerable polystyrene foam that formed the body of the work. How wrong I was! The solvent penetrated the thin spots and dissolved the underlying structure leading to a collapse of the entire thing (I won't say what happened next but I will admit that I lost my temper in a rather significant way). The upshot of all this was that I had to start the project again from scratch (the wooden base having disappeared during the fire).

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Upcoming Gaming Conventions 15-16MAY20 Drums at the Rapids 2020

15-16MAY20 Drums at the Rapids 2020

Drums at the Rapids  15-16 May 2020
        No info yet, aside from the date, I went last year and had  a great time 
  Fort website link 

 HMGS website link (to 2019 info right now)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Battle of Mobile Bay, an alternative history game

       This scenario is based on a couple of counter-factual assumptions; that the Confecerates were able to get the CSS Mississippi and North Carolina (putatively built for the Khedive of Egypt under the names Al Monassir and El Tousson) out of Great Britain and combine with the Alabama to form a "Blockade Breaker" squadron. This force has moved into Mobile Bay and combined with the local units to try to force the Union squadron away and open the port to commerce.
         Confronted with this situation Farragut has decided to force the mouth of the bay, take out the Confederate naval units then besiege the forts, thus solving the problem once and for all.

I ended up with twelve captains instead of the eight that I had planned on
 but they were a jolly bunch of sea-dogs

Monday, March 9, 2020

Battlefields 2020, a photo review

the VFW hall provides a great space and the turnout was up significantly

       Another Battlefields has come and gone and a great time was had by all. Despite it being the first truly nice Spring day that we have had here in Michigan the crowd was up and the games were many and varied. The Pro-or-Con guys have done a great job widening the player base by incorporating  fantasy and sci-fi games as well as the usual historical fare. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

1/600 ACW, finishing up the details

the floating battery and its landward version; an earthen fort,
and a quarter

       Having completed all of the ships I only had these two little gems left to do. Rather than leave them for "when I get around to it" I decided to go ahead and get all of the 1/600 scale stuff finished. They are every bit as finely detailed as the ship models are and were a breeze to assemble. The floating battery was mounted on a bit of matte board and given some water texture while the earthwork seemed just fine on its own.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Making game accessories

       I had a few minutes to spare today so I took the time and made turning and broadside templates out of some matte board that I had lying around the workshop. They would have worked just fine as they were but I had a flash of inspiration and decided to paint them. I think they turned out pretty well.

L to R, top row; wide broadside template, standard broadside template
bottom row; sixty and forty-five degree turning templates

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

1/600 ACW USN from Thoroughbred Models

       As can be seen from the picture above the far larger portion of my unplanned purchase of a bunch of Thoroughbred Models 1/600 ACW ships was vessels from the Union Navy.  Below you can find a full-circuit photo record of each model. I must say that I very much prefer the monitors to the others when it comes to painting and rigging. Aside from that they are all excellent models that my humble skills do not really do proper justice.

Monday, March 2, 2020

1/600th Scale C.S.A. Naval units Thoroughbred Miniatures

the combined fleets

       Having finally gotten through the pile of minis that I bought on a whim at FlintCon2020 I thought that I would conduct a proper one-by-one "fleet review". All of these models (except the Tennessee) are from the wonderful range produced by Thoroughbred Models, I don't intend this as a kit review these models have been around for a long time and the quality is legendary. So, in no particular order, here is the fleet.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Ironclads completed at last

sailing away from me to avoid my wrath,
the Future floor wax certainly does provide a good gloss

         With only six working days left before the Battlefields convention I forced myself to complete the last six ships in my little ACW fleet (I do fear that I will be ordering at least a few more before this saga is over!). This effort confirmed for certain my dislike of square-rigged ships and the spider-web of rigging that goes with them. I consumers yards and yards of stretched sprue and a couple of tubes of Super Glue in the process. Now I can rest easy with the knowledge that the boats are done, now all that remains is to construct the shoals and sandbars that form the harbor mouth and gloss the bases one more time. Oh, and print the ship diagrams and eight copies of the rules, gather dice and rules, make the turning widgets........at least I don't have to bring any hills.
       I will be running this game in the second session, anyone wishing to play please take a look at the rules which are in this post.