Tuesday, January 15, 2019

AHPC: Vehicles

 Not everything in this year's challenge will be 15mm scale - and to prove that point here are two 28mm WW2 vehicles.  The first one is a British Staghound armored car.  It's a Resin model from Blitzkrieg miniatures with plastic detail parts from a Rubicon kit.

Next up is a 76mm Sherman Tank (one can NEVER have too many Shermans in ones collection).  This is a plastic kit from Rubicon which I highly recommend - it's an excellent model.

OK back to 15mm Napoleonics...

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

AHPC IX: Frigate in 15mm scale

 The sixth of a planned fleet of seven ships is done - well "done-ish".  I'll add some rigging once a few playlists a are completed.

The model is a 22 gun Frigate from Thoroughbred Miniatures and was a blast to do.

 This summer, she'll be the flagship of the French squadron.
 There's also some crew figures (20 of them)

Monday, January 7, 2019

AHPC IX: Submissions 4 - Boats!

4 15mm scale frigates and sloops have been added to the fleet.  All of the models are from the fantastic "Sea Eagles" line from Thoroughbred miniatures and are highly recommended.  The kits are a lot of fun to both build and paint.
A French Polacre.  The masts may look a little short.  Heh, heh there's a funny story about that.  It seems that I may have dropped the model while painting it and some of the masts broke off.  When I say some, I mean all.  The parts are all standard sized wooden dowels so it will be easy to replace them.
The second "French" ship is actually a model of the USS Onieda but she'll be pressed into French service for the Historicon game.
The pride of the planned British Fleet is this 18 gun brig.
Perhaps my favorite models is this 12 gun British sloop.  It kind of reminds me of my sailboat, the Bucentaure except I'm not "allowed" to mount cannons on her.

Hey - what's that noise....

I turn my back of these kids for one second and their back to fighting.  I know I recycled this bad joke form the AHPC positing but I liked the photo and wanted to use it.

I'm really happy with how the ships are coming out and think They'll look and play great.

Still coming up is a 22 gun French/US Frigate and a Xebec - which will be in the service of the British as a mercenary.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018: A Year of Extremes

It seems that 2018 has come and gone.  I think we all know what that requires - one of those self-reflective, and self-absorbed blog posts about the year that was.  I think the picture at the right kind of sums up 2018 for me - sometimes you're the T-Rex and sometimes you the miniature getting chomped.  (Thanks to Joe P from the scrum in miniature blog for the picture)

2018 was a year of extremes - hobby wise it was a great year and I ended it even more enthused about this silly shared habit of ours.  On the personal side, it was a very difficult year as both me and my son faced  serious health challenges.  I'll not dwell on the details other to say the following:

- One of my greatest mistakes in life is taking my health for granted.  "I'll exercise tomorrow" and "I should eat that extra portion of bacon" (insert any other high fat food alternative here) are two big lies I often told myself.   Hopefully you're all smarter than me and realize this fact.  I learned it the hard way by waking up in an ICU last April after an outbreak of severe Pancreatitis.  Several surgeries and 45 pounds later* I'm doing fine but wish I didn't have to learn these things by touching the hot stove all the time.  

* Technically it's now just 40 pounds less as I seem to have put on a little weight over the holidays - we'll see to that over the next few weeks.

- I pray none of you ever have to deal with a child going through a major health crisis.  Even with the resources we're blessed with I can't describe the feeling of powerlessness one has in these situations.  The one silver lining was Sean moved back home as he was treated and seems to have made a full recovery.  He's a tough cookie and is just as stubborn as his old man (but maybe not as stubborn as his mother).  Thankfully, he's now preparing to return to Carnegie Mellon to finish up (he's got 3 classes left) and then graduates.  I'm trying to steer him towards jobs in London so let me know if any of you have any leads for entry level roles for people with a degree in data analytics and robotics.

- It wouldn't be fair to discuss any of the health challenges from 2018 without disclosing my secret weapon for overcoming these things - my wife, Mary Beth.  She's a rock in hard times.  I know I often make fun of her in this blog but I would not have made it through 2018 without her help.  I'm still amazed she (a) chose to marry a moron like me and (b) still chooses to remain so.  Let's just say no luckier man walks the face of the earth than me.  I'm still deathly afraid of her (as you should be too) but deeply glad to have her by my side.

I've made some big lifestyle changes as a result of the "trials of 2018".  Professionally, I've moved to a part time status with the VC firm I work and have shifted my focus to healthcare and healthcare related tech.  Financial services just isn't as interesting as it once was and I'm convinced there is no industry that needs reinvention more that US healthcare.  Personally, I exercise just about every day (although the Christmas five pounds will make that every day!) and have radically changed my diet.  Suffice it to say I haven't felt this good in years.    

OK, enough of the maudlin, self-reflective stuff, this is a miniature wargaming hobby blog and not a movie script from the Hallmark Channel.  Lets get onto the hobby stuff!

2018 Painting totals
The last year passed saw a shift from 28mm to 15mm scale painting, which will be accelerated in 2019.  Lets look at 2018's painting tally relative to the last few years:

28 MM    
15 MM    
1/1200 ships2200
1/600 Inronclads10000
6 MM    

The big news is the shift from 28's to 15's during 2018 and you'll see that accelerate into 2019.  Why?  Three reasons.  First, My 28mm armies are nearing completion and I just don't need that many additional items.  Now stop clutching your pearls, I didn't say "complete" as we all know that miniature armies can never be completed.  The second reason is storage - I'm running out of space!  and Third, I wanted a new challenge for convention gaming and thought I just don't see that many "big convention games" that use 15mm miniatures yet one can achieve a real panoramic scale with 15's - a "moving diorama" to quote Rich Hasenauer (author of the Fire and Fury ruleset).

Despite 2018 being a challenge health wise for the family, hobby wise it was a fantastic year.  Here's my top 6 achievements for 2018:

1) Joined a War-game Club: Like many of you, I've really enjoyed the gaming related videos from the youtube channel Little Wars TV.  I discovered the group that makes these videos is a wargame club - Army Group York, which is located a little over an hours drive from where I live.  I really couldn't have found a nicer group of fellow gamers and in an act of incredible kindness they lowered their standards and allowed me to join the club.  Please don't hold that act against them.  I pretty much guilted them into to doing so by standing outside the club house crying.  People often discount how effective crying can be when negotiating.

2) Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge: This still remains my favorite hobby event of the year and for Challenge VIII, I posted my best personal score ever and placed third overall..  Curt does an amazing job wrangling the cats for this event.  Challenge IX is in full swing now and I think my pace is pretty strong.

3) Successfully ran my Historicon game: Given some of the health challenges and the fact the US healthcare industry conspires to prevent people from painting miniatures while in hospital (an outrage if you ask me), I didn't have enough time to develop a new game concept so essentially re-ran the 2017 games "DAK & Dragons" / "SOCOM & Socery".  I did add some jungle terrain and Dinosaurs (what game isn't made better with dinosaurs?).  The games went very well and the players seemed to enjoy themselves.    I also won another PELA award which is very gratifying.  I was also not feeling the greatest during the event and think that limited some of my usual "showmanship".  To be honest, I felt a little guilty about re-running 2017's game in 2018 and have vowed to pull out all the stops for 2019 but that's a topic for some future posts.

4) Gamed a lot - Joining Army Group York last August means I've gamed the most in the last 5 months than I ever have before.  I've lost the most also but who cares about that.

5) Jumped into 15mm Napoleonics in a big way. Coming out of Historicon last July, I was seized with a crazy idea of putting on a giant Napoleonic game in 15mm scale.  This idea was crazy on several fronts:

- I already have a rather large 28mm Napoleonic collection
- As of July 19th, 2018 I had zero in the way of 15mm painted Napoleonic figures
- I really wasn't familiar with any of the rulesets for the period, well familiar enough to put on a convention game.

Logic and economic common sense would dictate I avoid this new project like the plague.  So, of course, I jumped in with both feet.  Now I do need to admit that I've cheated a bit as  most of the troops collected to date were purchased pre-painted.  The majority were obtained from GAJO Miniatures and I highly recommend their services.  I'm well on my way to being able to field over 3,000 Napoleonic miniatures along with 15mm scale ships.  It will either be an epic game or an epic disaster.  Either outcome should prove interesting.  Stay tuned over the next few months to see how it plays out!  By the way, the picture to the right show some of my French infantry.

6) 3D Printing - I finally got my 3D printer to work (OK, that was with some help from my son) and have been using it for some terrain related projects.  I suspect you'll see a lot more in 2019.

To sum up 2018 was a great year hobby wise but a very trying one on the personal side.  As we enter 2019, I consider myself truly blessed as the health issues have subsided, my son is doing very well and returning to school and my wife still tolerates me.

All-in-all I'm damn lucky.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dry Dock

Lots of 15mm ships under construction in the Lair's dry docks.

Ship building is messy business - very messy business.

Friday, December 28, 2018

AHPC IX: Submission 3 French Marines and British Limbers

 My third submission this year is also 15mm Napoleonics in the form of two units of French Marines and some British Limbers.

All of the figures are from Old Glory's Blue Moon Line.
 One of the real attractions of 15mm is the scale of the army that can be fitted on a reasonable table but you can still see the figure details.  I find painting limbers to be a bit of a chore but worth it given how they make a table look.
 There are 56 French French marines organized into two units of seven 4 figure stands
Lastly some 6 pounder British field guns.  Submission Four will likely be a good bit more aquatic in nature.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

AHPC IX: Second Submission - British Marines, Wagons and a Gunboat

 The second submission for this year's challenge is proof that while AB miniatures are superb nothing can beat the combination of good quality and great value from Old Glory's Blue Moon line - especially if one purchases the army Card 40% discount card.
 First up are 56 Old Glory British Marines organized into two units.

 These are really nice figures but I found painting them to be a bit of a struggle.  That's solely due to my limited skill set and not the quality of the minis.

 Next up are some Wagons - one never sees enough Wagons and general logistics on a tabletop!  Like the Marines, these minis are from Old Glory and are superb.

 And lastly, we have a simple gunboat from Thoroughbred Miniatures.  I've got six more much bigger ones to finish over the next few months!

This submission netted a tidy 238 points, and was a good jumping off point towards my trek to 3,000.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Analogues Hobbies Painting Challenge IX: First Submission

 My first entry into this year's painting madness is a pair of commands stands for my 15mm Spanish Army.

All three figures are from AB Miniatures which really do make some of the finest 15mm scale figures out there (ok, so technically they're "18mm").
There will be a lot of 15mm scale Napoleonic stuff during this years challenge.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from S Michaels, MD!

I hope you and your families are having a joyous holiday filled with good cheer and companionship.  Here in the Lair, Christmas has been wonderful as we're all together in good health.

All the best for a Happy New Year, too.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

It's a Christmas Miracle!

Crisis averted as my re-supply of Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes has finally arrived.

That's right guys no need to call off Christmas this year as I'm sure all of you were planing to show solidarity to those of us who might not have received their brushes on time.

And here are my new Pigment Warriors!

Very Shiny