Monday, November 24, 2014

Dropping the Checkers on the 2014 Season

Another racing season is officially over. Well, for all intents and purposes it has been over for me since September with the end of the Indy car season, but there was still that matter of NASCAR and F1 to go. While the chase still seems silly, the F1 championship is still something worth noting, so well done, Lewis Hamilton.

I'm not the biggest F1 fan in the world, considering most of them to be prima donnas compared to the Indy drivers. But that said, the machines are phenomenal examples of technology at its best, and frankly, I do kinda like Lewis Hamilton. I dunno, just seems like a decent enough bloke, if I can speak the language a bit. He may not be as popular as past champions, and he certainly benefits from being on a dominant team, but he still had to go out and do it.

With that, I offer a humble challenge. (Which, coming from a mere American racing fan I'm sure isn't worth a nickel, but I offer it anyway.) Lewis Hamilton has joined an elite group now consisting of four British drivers with multiple F1 titles to their credit. The three others, Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart also all competed at Indy, with Clark and Hill getting wins. (Well, Hill's can be argued as by default, but nonetheless...)

So what do you say, Lewis? Fancy an entry in the 500? I'd be all for it!

In the meantime, only five months until May.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More PT Boats

Finished up these three 80' Elcos last night, also from PT Dockyard. Much more heavily armed, and ready to go barge busting!

I also made some additional progress on one of the destroyers, which is now basically ready for paint. Of course I am tempted to get some more coastal craft, but I suppose I should run through at least one game with what I have first!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Going Coastal: Some of the Mosquito Fleet

Here's something a little different: WW2 coastal! US PT boats, to be precise. Which led to a brief debate, is this or is this not obscure? My erstwhile opponent Jon's first reaction was, "Oh, another obscure topic for you!" I countered with, "Sure, if you consider the titanic struggle between the United States and Japan across the vastness of the Pacific to be obscure. Most people have heard of it." :)

77' Elcos
80' Elcos
At any rate, these are 1/600 scale resin models from the PT Dockyard. A bit fiddly to clean up some of the small guns and such, but ridiculously easy to paint. I think the end result looks great!

Here we have two early war 77' Elco PT boats, done up in Measure 5 (dark gray) paint. I could use these for some actions in the Philippines, or maybe New Guinea? The other three are '80 Elcos done up in an earlier setup with torpedo tubes, and without the heavy armament that comes later. I do have three of those almost done that will make excellent barge busters. These are painted straight up with Testors medium green.

Speaking of which, I also have about half dozen Daihatsu barges painted up (no pics yet...) and am working on a couple of 1/700 Japanese destroyers. I plan on testing these out with the Flaklighter rules, hopefully before the holidays.

Another option is to incorporate these into a CY6 game.

Which reminds me, I haven't been neglecting that, either. In addition to some P-400s for the Cactus Air Force, I am back to trying to improve the flight stands to better show altitude. And perhaps ever better, I received some 1/1850 ship counters from Topside Miniatures that will look great on the CY6 hex map and serve very well as targets. They also currently have a Kickstarter going for Atlantic fleets. Tempting....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Getting the Young Ones Rolling Dice

Last week I introduced my daughters to the thrill of determining combat results by rolling a die! OK, so it was a LEGO game. And the variable outcomes are pretty much limited to a sword = you win, and a shield = you lose, but still.

This is one of the LEGO Heroica line of games. I've had this one, and one other for a while, but waited to get them out for the girls. They actually had a ball. Seems wandering through the Harduk forest in search of the evil wizard king, battling spiders and werewolves along the way, is just there thing. Hmmmm. Wonder where they get that from!

Though the game is quite simplistic, there are some strategies involved, and the girls were pretty quick to pick up on them. What route to take, how to deal with magic teleporting doors to your advantage, how to use the magic potion to your advantage, etc. I'm a proud dad. :) Heck, one even caught me in an overlooked rule. "Um, dad, aren't you supposed to move back one after you lose?" Oh yeah, you caught me!

We ran through it a few times, and each one was a little different. They got a little boisterous, climbing ON the table and such, which will be frowned upon at a con, but hey, we were having fun. I think they will like some other games, like a My Little Pony card game, but that requires more reading. LEGO kept it simple - count the pips and look at the symbols and off you go. I'm looking at adding some more challenging house rules, like variable numbers of dice needed based on monster level, etc. And I'm looking to add a couple more of the modules. All in all a fun time.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saving the Saxon Village from Marauding Vikings

Sunday I was lucky enough to get in another game of Saga with good 'ol Jon. Despite him being able to seemingly call down all the gods from Asgaard for assistance using the Saga battleboard, and some uncharacteristic good dice rolling on his part, my Saxons were finally able to do in his warlord and save the day. The villagers are safe once again!

We were actually a little confused about inflicting hits on the warlord, and may still not have done it right. But so it goes. I need to look that up some more.

There are still some rules that puzzle us, like the uphill attacks and use of cover, etc., but as has been pointed out, Saga is first and foremost a GAME. It's fun. So we go with it.

I have some Dark Age civilian types on the table that I hope to use as future objectives - monks, women, etc. And I still have a bunch of unpainted Normans, but am inspired really to get a few more Vikings and paint them up. I also need to do something about a Scots/Irish faction. Ah, the list never ends!

Without further ado, the photos...

Goose for supper? Maybe when we're done.

Overview of the battle. Crops are carpet samples from Menard's. :)

My warlord, surveying the scene.

Saxon hearthguard.

More Saxon hearthguard - freshly painted BTD with incomplete bases.

I like how he turned out. Looks like he's been in a few scraps.

Come on, you pagans!

The warlord, joined by his brave warriors.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Oooh, Shiny. WW2 Slovakians, Anyone?

After backing the Kickstarter mentioned in the previous post for Hungarian tanks, the next thing to do, of course, was to start looking around for some infantry support! While Baker Company is planning another Kickstarter for Balkan theater troops, including Hungarians, that could be a while yet. Outpost does some Romanians, and there are some conversion options, but I started looking for something "different," and stumbled upon... Slovakians.

Yup, Slovakians used some of the equipment available in this Kickstarter, notably the Pz. 35(t). And best of all, someone - namely Bohemian Troops - makes the figs now! In the Czech Republic, which makes sense. And I'm always up for something... unusual. So after contacting the proprietor of said operation, off went an order, and two weeks later I am now the proud owner of a couple rifle squads of Slovakians.

Excuse the poor quality of the photos on my phone, but in general, my first impressions are I am impressed. These are very nice minis.

They were sculpted by Paul Hicks, and while perhaps they lack the depth of Crusader figures, or the facial expressions of Artizan, I would rank them right up there with the

best Warlord or Black Tree put out. Of course, there will be duplicates within a squad, but there are enough poses to keep things interesting. They aren't necessarily the most "energetic" minis I have ever seen, but at the same time the poses are convincing and realistic. The weapons look exceptionally detailed, especially the LMG. Sizewise, they seem a touch larger than Crusader, but match well with Artizan and BTD.

Production quality is excellent, with virtually no flash to speak of, and just minor mold lines to file off. I cleaned up a bunch last night and hope to get them in the painting queue soon.

Their uniforms are remarkable similar to Italians, and I'm already looking at some Italians to fill in some gaps in command, etc. And an Austro-Hungarian WW1 Schwarzlose MMG looks a dead ringer for the Slovak version, with a different helmet. The only thing I can't seem to find a reasonably easy conversion for is the Prada trucks used by the Slovakians. That could be tough.

I've started doing some additional research into Slovakia's role in WW2, and it is really quite a story. From Poland, to Russia, and then back home, these guys really were up against it, but were courageous fighters and represented themselves well. Mine will most likely be used in skirmishes against Russians. (That means I have to paint some Russians too!)
Anyway, that's kind of a rambling introductory post. I hope to have more details on painting these guys, and some actual real info on their history, in the future.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I didn't even know I wanted Hungrian AFVs

I guess this is what you really call going up the creek without a paddle. I pledged today on this Kickstarter from Mad Bob Miniatures for some Hungarian AFVs. Never mind that I don't have any Hungarian infantry. Or suitable opposition in the form of Russians or Romanians. Don't they just look super cool?

Check them out here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Late Summer Saga

After just dabbling in hobby stuff the last couple months, it was time for a full blown gaming day to kick off Labor Day weekend!

So up came my regular opponent, Jon, with his Vikings in an attempt to conquer Essex sometime in the 9th century. Yes, it was time to finally get those dark age minis on the table and give Saga a try!

Certainly Saga has been reviewed plenty of times elsewhere, so there is no need to go into details here. Suffice to say, our voices now join the chorus singing the praises of this system. We had a blast. In only about five hours, we got three games in. Not bad at all considering we were both learning the rules and playing for the first time. And every single game was incredibly even matched and literally came down to the last roll as our warlords went at it mano a mano. In the end, my Anglo Saxons won two of the three.

As we were learning, we basically just lined up some troops and went at it and didn't worry too much about scenarios. A brief recap of our 4-point games...

Game 1 saw the Vikings attempting to advance on a Saxon village. A line of Saxons came out to meet them. After an initial volley from my archers, Jon moved in and it turned into a nice slugfest. After eying each other for a couple turns, our warlords finally advanced on each other to settle the matter. I won. :) Lessons learned here were a 12 model unit of levies doesn't do much. Better to split them up. On the other hand, Anglo-Saxons definitely do better in larger groups, and may be better suited to a 6-point game.

Game 2 had a road running down the center, mostly open terrain. Both sides advanced, with me placing a unit of 12 warriors in the center, with two groups of six levies on the flanks. It worked for a bit, but my hearthguard was unexpectedly taken out. Some of those Viking abilities are wicked! Loki? Wow. And when my warriors got knocked below the 10 threshold, it turned into another even match before his warlord finally mustered the courage and (with a lucky roll ;) ) took mine out.

Game 3 we experimented with terrain. We put lots of trees and hills on the table, which really slowed movement and made us think more about our approach. In the end it was another close fought game, with my warlord finally putting an end to things. The thing that bothered us most in this game is the lack of any sort of penalty for attacking uphill. We thought perhaps one's armor could be reduced by 1 when attacking up hill, or at least be given an automatic fatigue beforehand. Doesn't seem like it would be that tough to employ, and would reward a player for gaining the high ground. Or perhaps the defender could simply be considered to be in cover? Something needs to be done there.

Anyway, without further ado, some photos of the festivities. Figures are a mix of Old Glory, Black Tree Design and Crusader. Jon's Vikings are plastic.
Too many levies put in one place.

Some warriors from Black Tree Design.

Sneaky Vikings trying to come through the woods.

Battle is joined!

Whew. Getting tired.

You looking at me, punk?

Hey, where did everyone go?

All right, let's do this...

Game, 12 Anglo Saxon warriors ready to rock.

Splitting the levies up helped.

Table overview. Love that Saga doesn't need much room.

Another view.

Game 3. That's a hill, not a Mayan pyramid.

Claire checking out dad's toys. And yes, the table is set on my Mustang. Poor Mustang.

Anglo Saxons go over the top! Sort of.

It's a race to the top!

I won. But did it matter?

My warlord, on the hunt for Vikings.

Random archer shot.

Monday, April 28, 2014

"Hi, my name is Scott, and I'm a gamer."

Last weekend I made a feeble attempt to organize all my stuff. There really is no better word for it than stuff. I made some progress, though probably not as much as my wife would like. Or me, really.

Here are some of the boxes that were piled up and at least gone through and the proper bits put in the proper places. This is just the gaming stuff. I fear to show you the modelling stuff. Especially all of the unbuilt Indy car kits. That is just plain scary.

If nothing else, this shows an utter lack of focus. Not uncommon among gamers, for sure. But with so many scattered eras, it's little wonder I never get a game in. Fortunately I have been able to focus on some terrain this year, and certain game sets are well on their way to "legitimate" gaming. CY6, for one, which requires virtually no scenery! And I have the Dark Ages for Saga well in hand for a good game, and am getting close to some more WWII skirmish. AWI and ACW terrain is looking better, too. Some goals there are to finish fences, rivers, roads, etc. Then the Wild West stuff too. Everything else should probably be considered window dressing at this point, but you know that won't last!

In the meantime, the labels show a few of my random approaches to gaming. Some, like the Union, ACW and Confederate, are pretty much full of painted figs. Others, like Aztecs, are fairly minimal, with more unpainted than painted contained therein. At this rate, I will never die, right?

And this doesn't even include my AWI Americans or my 15mm WWI collection, both of which pretty much fill up a banker's box on their own!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Trio of Vals for CY6

These had been sitting around on the bench forever, so I just did the final touchups and got them on their way. I haven't had a CY6 game in a while, but really should, I have so much stuff now.

These are painted up slightly differently than previous Vals, with the IJN green finish rather than the grey/white previously. No specific reason, I just wanted to mix it up a bit.

Raiden 1/285 models with mostly Testors paint, with some Vallejo.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Striped Pants: Not as Bad as Plaid, I Suppose

I've always kind of wanted to paint up a Jacobite army. Then I think of the plaid. Oof. But you know what? Pinstripes are just about as bad! Why, oh why, did the Lousiana Zouaves have to wear these?

Every good Confederate army has a unit of Wheat's Tigers, right? So I set off to do the same. But these pants really seem to bog me down, and after doing one or two, I'm ready to go paint some Yankees. There we go, sky blue pants, blue coat, done.

At least I can hope that one day these will look nice on the table.

(Figures are 25mm Dixon.)

Friday, April 4, 2014

18th or 19th Century North American Homestead

Here is another addition to my growing collection of laser cut MDF buildings, a house suitable for 18th or 19th century North America. This one is from Laser Dream Works. While it lacks the tabs and slots found in 4Ground and other kits, this was still a simple project to put together. It includes a lot of nice little details, like a mantle above the fireplace and the hatch to the cellar - and it even comes with an outhouse!

While not shown here, it also comes with a section of snake rail fence that I found to be quite ingenious. Simple interlocking MDF pieces. I need to get a pic of that.

It painted up nicely using acrylics (no warping), and I really like the way the shingles worked out. These are provided as strips of heavy card, and just need to be layered on. As you can see, it sizes up well with these Dixon ACW figs.

Laser Dream Works' main focus is on ships. Their 28mm Napoleonic ships are a sight to behold. But he has a growing range of buildings, and I look forward to getting some more of his colonial buildings and barn.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Rare Event Indeed

Last night, after swim lessons and playing with the neighbor kids, the girls fell asleep at 7:30. 7:30! My wife was content with a book, and the dog seemed happy with a new bone.

That left me with some, what's that called again? Me time! I usually have to sacrifice a goat or something for the stars to align like that. So out came the 12 year MacAllan and a date with the paint brush.

Those Union troops you see there, I have almost done except for some facial details and some touching up. Then there are those Norman horse you can see. Off to the left off scene are some CY6 aircraft. I also finished up another dark age building for Saga. Hope to get pics soon. I also primed and started the rest of my Louisiana Tiger zouaves and another Union artillery crew.

I still ended up wasting time chatting to friends on the Facebook, but with some good scotch, who cares, right? I wouldn't count on this happening again for a while.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saxons for Saga

Yes, I did do some painting over the fall and winter. As evidence, I present a portion of my Saxon warband intended for use in Saga.

These are Black Tree Design minis, which I find to be quite nice. Clean sculpts, not a lot of extraneous "stuff" and easy to paint. Good poses and facial expressions too. Painted with the usual mix of Vallejo and Testors.

The rest of the warband is made up of some old Gripping Beast and Old Glory minis I painted up years ago. I'm debating rebasing those to match these, but we'll see.

Now, to just get a game going!

Looking again, I really need to get my wife to take some better photos with her good camera. These are pretty bad.