Thursday, December 30, 2021

Getting Ready for Spartacon2022


the Japanese forces gain two  more bombers and another Claude

       I am (as always) in a rush to get things squared away for Spartacon 2022. I have added a few more planes to the Imperial Japanese forces and have another Polikarpov I-153 to complete. Then all that remains is to print up a couple more data books and ensure that I have enough flight stands. With any luck I can get it all sorted out and run another test game at Bastion Gaming Center this coming Tuesday, 4JAN22 at 6pm. I will be running this game in the morning session using my Red Stars and Rising Suns rules.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Warlord Games Napoleonics


cavalry and cannons individual castings well detailed for single-piece models
 I am left to wonder if the infantry come in blocks like the ACW stuff

       I just picked up the latest issue of Wargames Illustrated and affixed to the front was a sprue of Warlord's latest offering; plastic Napoleonics. To my delight and surprise they appeared to be 15mm figures! So I got home and dug out a few of my 15mm figures for a quick size comparison and my suspicions were confirmed, they match nicely with the Minifig 15mm figures in my collection. Mind you, they are probably a tad small by "modern" standards where it is easy to find figures marketed as "15mm" that tower nearly 20mm tall, but they would be an easy mix with my existing armies.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Upcoming Gaming Events; Spartacon 2022, Lansing Michigan

        It is hard to think about but Spartacon is just a month away. This has been a very good local convention for despite being plagued by what I will gently call "Weather Events". You can see the game schedule and also sign up to host games at the Tabletop Events site. I will be bringing my Red Stars and Rising Suns WW2 air combat game with a scenario that pits a Japanese air raid against a Russian air base and the Russian fighters trying to protect their homeland.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

A Few Chosen Men

        I have had the Osprey Rules "Chosen Men" lying around my house for a number of years now. I picked them up on the cheap at a gaming convention flea market table but never got past a quick read-through until last week. This was mostly due to the fact that I didn't have any painted 28mm Napoleonics until this past October. That has changed and I now possess enough troops to stage a tidy little skirmish. To that end I rounded up some of the usual suspects and ran a simple scenario "Take and hold the village" with the forces coming from opposite directions and the village sitting in the center of the table.

        Having a (very) limited selection of troops for the French side I gave them four ten-man Guard Chassuers squads and a Lt. Colonel to lead them. Facing these brave lads was a polyglot assortment of Prussians; one ten-man squad of Schutzen, a twenty-man platoon of Regular Line Infantry, a ten-man squadron of Dragoons and two twenty-man platoons of Landwehr, all commanded by a mounted Captain . This meant that between the two sides we would see most of the troop-types envisioned by the rules and a considerable variety of morale and drill.

right off I liked the alternate-unit movement,
 it gets away from the nonsense associated with I-go/U-go systems 
here we see the game a couple of turns into proceedings, 
the marching is ending and shooting is about to commence

Saturday, December 4, 2021

All Flocked Up!!! The Guard Chassuers based and ready for battle


they took forever but I think they look pretty snazzy
       With the holiday season pressing in from every direction I took advantage of a "slow day" and finished these guys to clear the bench for further work. Technically they still need flags and their fanions painted but they are close enough for now. Some of these lads will star in this weekend game so I really did need to get them sorted. Their cousins in the Grenadiers will have to wait as I have some other commitments to honor before I can even start gluing the Grenadiers together. Formed into two "Large" (in Black Powder terms) battalions these guys will get all sorts of Special Rules that I will struggle to remember during a game.

maybe I can dig around and find something that isn't mostly blue to try painting

they certainly look like they are ready to sort out my Prussians

Friday, December 3, 2021

New Rabbit Holes....


two battalions of Chassuers of the Guard (soon to be followed by two battalions of Grenadiers)

       Having completed my Prussians I needed to find something to keep the mojo going. I had started these while waiting for my guns and artillerymen to arrive but they had gotten shunted aside once the Prussians arrived. With the Prussian brigade finished and no French yet available to fight I decided to get these folks out and finish them up. If Napoleon's Imperial Guard isn't up to facing the might of Prussia who else stands a chance, right? 

        I had first thought that the fact that they were wearing all blue and overcoats would make this a snap. How wrong I was! There is a confusing mass of white belts worn on the outside of the overcoat as well as a mass of fiddly little details all of which needed painting. It took a whole week to sort through all that but here they stand, just needing facial hair and sword-knots to qualify as completed. I learned a few things finishing these so the Grenadiers should come along a little bit quicker but I'm not figuring on a completion date before the end of the year on that. For now I just need to bang together some bases and it is off to the flocking table!


initially I used Citadel Levadon Blue contrast paint for the base coat but it cannot stand handling 
and I was constantly repainting wear points as I worked, eventually I had to shoot the whole mass with a matte spray just to get the paint to stay on the model as I handled them during painting

once I had switched back to my standard Americana paints things went more smoothly;
the backpack, cartridge box and sword belt all have their own set of belts and straps
all of which are white over the very strong blue color, many coats were required

they looked quite a raggedy bunch until the very end when things began to pull together
       When I undertake the Grenadiers I am going to force myself to paint the heads and backpacks as separate items before gluing them to the figure. This may sound odd but, given the mass of belts that are present on both sides of the figure (a good many of which run under the backpack) it seems that not having to maneuver around the extra details would making painting slightly easier. Once I get them finished  I will post my observations.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Et Finis! Just under the wire I get my Prussian Brigade completed


completed at 23:24hrs on 24NOV21, just minutes ahead of the deadline

       For once in my wargaming life I have managed to get a project completed on schedule. It is a very different feeling, frankly I'm not used to it. The toughest part was letting the Vallejo Matte spray dry before touching the minis (it is a top-flight product but takes forever to dry). Along the way I knocked together some sabot bases for my guns and gunners; this allows me to keep them as individual items in case I want to play a skirmish game with them at some later point.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

'Rounding the turn and into the Homestretch!

        In a desperate effort to meet my deadline I stayed up until 3am pounding away at the gunners and guns. This morning I added a few last details and gave them a coat of varnish. All that remains is to base them and I'm finished with this entire force. 

Old Glory really did a good job of casting these minis, no flash, very few mold lines
if I had ordered these minis back when I ordered the cavalry I wouldn't have to be in such a rush

I'm not quite happy with the gun barrels,
 more shading and a few highlights might make the difference

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

From Bag To Basic Paint

Old Glory did a great job casting these, hardly a trace of a mold-line and no flash at all

       Having lost the last weekend of painting to family matters I sat down last night and got serious about getting these done by my self-imposed  deadline of Thanksgiving. I cleaned based and primed the minis before dinner and hit it pretty hard last night. The guns need to be toned down and the carriages will get a thin black wash. The gunners are a mass of tiny details that I will have to struggle through.

        And as soon as they are finished I can get back to my other distraction ......

I found that I had  two boxes of Victrix Old Guard, 
so I am also building four over-strength battalions of Imperial Guard;
two Chassuers and two Grenadiers, thirty figures each


Friday, November 19, 2021

AD1813 Project, Objective in Sight!

a few dots of superglue and a dash of paint and I will be done!

         Much to my amusement I got a package today from the USPS. A small box but weighty. My Old Glory 25s Prussian guns and gunners had arrived! The last hurdle in my push to complete my Prussian Brigade by Thanksgiving  now only demands to be painted and my task will be complete. Let us see if I can manage it in just five days.

         Kudos again to the good people at Old Glory Miniatures who got the minis cast and posted  package to me in just over a week!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Further progress with the AD1813 project

the half-empty bases in the back are my unfinished Landwehr battalions

        All that remains is a few Landwehr and a couple of batteries of guns, what a relief! Having finally gotten my painting "mojo" back this has been the most intense period of painting in years. 186 figures (30 of which are cavalry) in less than a month with just sixteen gunners and sixty or so more infantry left to go. I'm not sure if I will hit my self-imposed deadline of being finished by Thanksgiving but I'm going to give it my best.

Jagers to the front!  the green uniforms is a relief in this sea of blue

that space between the generals is where the artillery would be if I hadn't waited to order them
despite being made up of figures from four different manufacturers (Warlord, Perry Brothers, Wargames Atlantic and Old Glory 25s) the figures all seem to work together fairly well

the poor Landwehr are currently rather badly understaffed, I hope to remedy that very quickly

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Gaming Update 13NOV21

 Rich Uncle Pat will be hosting a game at his house 13NOV21 at 630pm

Be there!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Further down the Rabbit Hole; Send In The (now painted) Cavalry

        So, my order from Old Glory came in  (very promptly and exactly as ordered, hats off to the crew over at Old Glory ) and I am off to the races painting the cavalry component of my Prussian Brigade. Clean-up on lead minis was a bit of work as I am very much out of practice but the models were cleanly cast with no flash and very little by way of flow-channels left so that went rather quickly. Then it was time to get out the "Devil's Minion"* and hot-glue the models onto painting sticks. Now they are primed and ready to go!

thirty cavalry, twenty troopers and ten officers/trumpeters/standard-bearers

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Gaming Update

        Rich Uncle Pat has canceled the game.  No game tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

What I Found Down That Rabbit Hole

two weeks of steady work and the Regular and Reserve regiments are finished and ready for flocking
       I have always been the sort to get swept up in the enthusiasm for a bright shiny new project, particularly if it involves a bunch of friends and a favorite historical period. So, when it happened that some of the guys at Bastion Gaming Center began building armies of 28mm Napoleonic  soldiers I was all in. I already had the figures from buying boxes to review for the blog and I found that my painting mojo had returned after finishing the Victrix Hoplites; it was off to the races. In just two weeks I found myself flocking bases. Honestly it was very satisfying to get a project under way in such a short period of time (there ARE advantages to being retired!). 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Everything has turned to Dust


      Have you ever wondered what was before Warhammer 40K? WAY before 40K? I don't mean in our chronology, I am referring to the world that would eventually give rise to a galactic Empire, a world spawned in 2K. Dust is that world.

          Dust gives you a peek at an alternate world history wherein alien tech is exploited by the warring sides in WW2 and gives rise to endless warfare using strange weapon systems (that look like the predecessors of the weapons systems we find in 40K). It is a stand-alone world of alternate history and is supported by some truly stunning models. In a special arrangement with a significant collector of Dust products Bastion Gaming Center can now offer the collectors of this interesting range of miniatures access to a comprehensive assortment of Dust products at very reasonable prices. 

now, that's a Dusty shelf!

the models are highly detailed
some even come pre-painted

       Dust has been out of production for some time so selection is limited and prices continue to climb. If you are a fan of this genre drop by and take a look at what is available.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Historical Saturday at Bastion Gamining Center October 30th 1pm, Egyptians vs Assyrians


is that a kopesh in your pocket, or are you happy to see me? Rameses lead his men into combat

       Starting a series of  historically-theme games Bastion Gaming Center will be hosting an open gaming event this Saturday at 1pm. The featured game will use the store's Egyptian and  Assyrian armies in 28mm using Hail Caesar rules. There is plenty of space for anyone who would like to participate and lots of spare tables if you would like to bring your own forces and play in the store.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Gaming Update 30OCT21 my place 7pm

 As it stands now we will be playing at my place on 30OCT21 at 7pm. 

f I get time this week I will put something spooky together for Halloween

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Gaming Update: Game at my place 23OCT21 at 7pm

       The troops will gather at my place this Saturday October 23rd at 7pm.

Be there!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Hey Look!! Another Rabbit-Hole to go down

        The guys at Bastion Gaming Center were all building forces in 28mm to play Napoleonics using  Black Powder rules. I already had piles of plastic that I had either bought to review or had acquired through trades. Happy to fuel the fire I let some boxes go at a discount to the guys that were assembling their armies. As I looked through the Hill of Guilt (the plastic one, the metal figures are stored in the Mountain of Shame) it occurred to me that I could build a Prussian force for the 1813 campaign only needing a unit of cavalry and a couple of cannon. Of course I fell for it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Gaming Update 16OCT21 My Place

 The Housemartin has threatened to bring a bunch of his minis over and take over my gaming table this Saturday. The festivities will begin at 7pm on the 16th of October (I'm sure The Housemartin will be on time) so be there. The subject matter is to be a brush with skirmish gaming during the period of Napoleon.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Star Wars Armada at Bastion Gaming Center this Saturday 9SEP21


        This Saturday, September 9th at 1pm Bastion Gaming Center will be hosting a Star Wars Armada game. This game is open to the public and will be using a sizeable portion of the Center's large collection of of Armada models. If you would like to try your hand at overthrowing The Empire (or crushing the Rebellion for that matter) drop by and give it your best. All materials are provided and no fee is charged.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A Commitment Finally Honored

        Ages ago, in the Time Before Covid (TBC henceforth) Rod Cain, the genius behind Flintcon and an all-around great guy, asked me to be in charge of the Paint and Take table at Flintcon 2020. I happily agreed, and to provide some subject matter for the nascent artists to work with I busted out a box of Victrix Hoplites and assembled and primed them. To my chagrin the kids seemed far more interested in dragons and heroes than my dull old historical minis so I ended up bringing a good many of them back home. I promised myself that I would get them painted and put them in a project-box in the painting queue.

         Like good soldiers they stood there, patiently waiting to get their coat of paint, as I scratch-built tons of other things (including three 1/200th scale ships and an island with a starfort on it), painted hundreds of figures in 15mm and 28mm, assembled dozens of sailing ships and 1/72 scale aircraft. And yet they waited. Finally I could endure their accusing glare no longer and dusted off the box they had waited in for so very long and got to work. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A Little Light Reading


time to hit the books, a fire in the fireplace and a good glass of bourbon 

           I had been saving up to purchase a rifle but Helion went and decided to offer 25% off any title in their comprehensive inventory so I had a sudden change of plan. I placed the order on the 28th of September and the package landed on my porch on October 2nd, to say the least I am amazed at the speedy service. This makes a big step toward filling in the gap in my book collection covering the 17th century rather well and touching into the early 18th in addition. The hardest part is trying to decide what to read first. Kudos to Helion for top-rate service and good prices!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes; Pro or Con 2021 a quick review

       What a pleasure it was to walk through the doors of the Elk's Lodge in Plymouth and see a host of familiar faces and rows of tables waiting to be adorned with toy soldiers! Conventions are back at last.  As was to be expected turnout was lower than in years past but better than one might expect. There were many games on offer and everyone was soon happily rolling dice and moving troops about.

Russian fighters on the prowl

       I presented my 1930s air combat rules Red Stars and Rising Suns with a scenario that had a Japanese attack against a road convoy being intercepted by a Russian fighter patrol. The players picked up on the rules right away and were soon busy shooting each other out of the sky.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Just A Reminder

       The venerable gaming event Pro Or Con returns from it's Covid-induced absence the first Saturday in October at the Elk's Lodge located at 31117 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI 48150, USA. A schedule of games can be found at Table Top Events. Take a look and sign up for something,, better yet sign up to run a game! 

         I will be showcasing my WW2 air combat rules so drop by and join the fun flying a nimble KI-27 or a rugged I-16.

         Don't miss out on the fun and take the opportunity to catch up with old friends. Also remember that the there will be the usual flea-market to either get rid of your spares or add to the pile.

1/72 Curtiss Hawk II in Nationalist Chinese colors


the old Revell kit from the 1960's but it goes together like a dream
 the overall olive drab is a striking, if sober, color scheme

       Taking a break for a second from the Russo-Japanese conflict at Khilkhin Gol I decided to build a model that I knew would be a breeze to build (having built one already). The molds to the Revell kit has been through a few hands over the years but they still make a lovely model that has near-perfect fit. I pirated the decals from the Encore Polikarpov I-15 that I had just finished and gained a quick addition to my Chinese Air Force.

Monday, September 27, 2021

1/72 scale Encore Polikarpov I-15bis


       In my endless quest for more aircraft with spats I managed to acquire two of these little gems. As usual with Encore kits you get a good-quality decal sheet with a nice choice of options and a faithful reproduction of some other manufacturer's kit; in this case an old ICM mold. The kit went together just fine until it was time for me to install the upper wing when a combination of my fat fingers and vague instructions made things a bit dodgy. But, in the end tube cement and careful adjustments brought things together in a satisfactory manner. This first one joined the Soviet Air Force (of course) I'm still trying to decide on Chinese or Spanish for the second one. Of course nothing is stopping me from rounding up another one and doing both!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Data Book for the KI-15 "Babs" for Red Stars and Rising Suns


       Fast and lightly built the KI-15 was used as a reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber by the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy. At first its speed made it almost untouchable but as the war progressed it was relegated to second-line duties.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Size Comparison between Wargames Atlantic Late Romans and Gripping Beast's models


ahh, yes.......the usual suspects, indeed

        One of the reasons that people go on about the metric system is that it so my experience there seems to be either a significant growth in the size of a millimeter or a problem with its application in the world of toy soldiers. Thus we are forced to use highly unscientific instruments such as the MK. I Eyeball when measuring our models. My work around is to simply stand them up side-by-each and take a look. It has worked well for me in the past so I present a photographic record of my efforts for perusal .

Wargames Atlantic 28mm Late Roman Infantry


the box front
       Wargames Atlantic has gone and done it again. I have already built and painted the Gripping Beast Late Roman Infantry (which look like they are from a slightly later period than this latest release) so I didn't really need these, but need is such a subjective concept. Let's just say I wanted them and leave it at that. Inside you will find twenty-four beautifully sculpted and detailed plastic multi-pose figures that provide a mind-boggling number of assembly options. Completely free of flash and nearly devoid of mold-lines these figures are cast in the softer gray plastic that is common these days, it takes the detail well and is easy to trim and modify (which means I will be spending simply ages making different poses out of these guys).

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

KI-27 Nate data book for Red Stars and Rising Suns

         Here is the other workhorse fighter for the Japanese; this one belonged to the Army. The KI-27 was an elegant aircraft that was lethal in the hands of the highly trained Imperial pilots. It only met its match when confronted with the armored, more heavily armed and much faster P-40. When facing the Russians and Chinese prior to 1940 this was a very effective aircraft.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Data Book for the Polikarpov I-153 Chiaka, for use with Red Stars and Rising Suns

        I really should be working on the databook for the KI-27 Nate but this one is already finished so I will go ahead and post it now. Plus this is one of my favorite aircraft in that it combines the relic of being a biplane with the cutting-edge (for the time) feature of retracting landing gear. 

          Highly maneuverable if somewhat slow the I-153 was the pinnacle of biplane fighter development and a dead-end at the same time. Its encounters with modern monoplanes in Span and Manchuria showed that the age of the biplane fighter was over. 

Data Book for the A5M4 "Claude" for use with Red Stars and Rising Suns


         Having published the data book for the Polikarpov I-16 when I posted the beta version of the rules I now present the data book for one of its most common adversaries over the skies of China (the KI-27 is still being worked on, please be patient); the A5M4 Claude.  

        This data book is set up to be copied and printed out in the same way all of the cards are JPEG format and can be easily copied by right-clicking on the image and then pasting it into your word processor.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Playtest Opportunity


         Anyone brave (or foolish) enough to allow themselves to be employed as guinea pig for my rules testing is cordially invited to drop by Bastion Gaming Center this Tuesday, 21SEP21 between 2pm and 8pm. I will be on hand with the rules and aircraft so that you can give the rules a try and provide feedback without delay or typing.

More Dangerous Ramblings While Writing Rules; or; Red Stars and Rising Suns, air combat over Khakhin Gol


       I blame this whole thing on Covid-19. If I hadn't been locked down I would never have gotten around to building those old 1/72 scale Interwar aircraft models and this would never have happened! But that aside I have long held an interest in the fighter aircraft of the period 1930-40. It was an era of very rapid development with significant improvements coming on an almost daily basis. And, to be honest, I just like the look of aircraft with fixed landing gear.