Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Little Progress on the Essex and LOTR Card Game

 Not a lot has been accomplished on the modeling workbench other than some work on the brass sails for the USS Essex - a 32 gun frigate in 1/1200 scale.  After I took this picture a  bit more progress was made as the hull and deck got their initial painting applied.  I should finish the Essex next weekend and then may take a break from the 1/1200 Langtons for a bit.  Next up will be some 15mm Flames of War units for an upcoming tournament.

Last weekend I did get a chance to play the Lord of the Rings card game from Fantasy Flight Games.  To be honest, I was very dubious about the game and most card games in general.  My concerns were misplaced, the LOTR card game is a lot of fun to play and does a surprisingly good job of conveying the feel for Middle Earth to the point I was recalling how much I enjoyed the books when I first read them in High School (yes the printing presses existed back then).  Thanks to Steve MacLauchlan for taking the time to teach a gaming luddite such as myself the  key points of the game.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

155mm US Artillery (in 15mm Scale) and more Spider Fun!

 A bit of a change of pace as my current project is a 155mm US Artillery unit for Flames of War. I signed up for a tournament in early October and want to bring a US Glider Infantry force.  In the current rules version Artillery is very effective for the US so one doesn't leave home without it!

There's a pretty active debate in terms of if allied artillery is too effective in the game but dems da rules for now.

I also had a bit of spider fun today as I went to retrieve the empty trash can from the street and found this lovely family scene - a female Black Widow spider with her newly hatched brood of young (all the little brown dots).  It takes about 2-3 weeks for an egg sack to hatch so I've been trundling this trash can with it's veritable "cargo of death" (OK that was a little melodramatic) for a good bit.

Some of you may remember from earlier posts that I'm not the biggest fan of our eight legged arachnid friends (Shelob Lives!).  I admit it, I'm a spider wimp.

My first reaction to this fearsome arachnid incursion was typical of most Bolt Action players - when in doubt employ a vehicle flame thrower or my case douse the bin in gasoline and light it on fire - that's 3 D6 hits you, you nasty spiders!  I then realized that doing so would render my plastic trash bin unusable (except as a stark message to future spider invaders) and provide yet even more fodder for my wife to ridicule me.  With logic ruling out a flame attack, I was left with one choice - chemical agents.  A quick trip to the local hardware store and I returned with a few cans of spider killer (I think it's just normal bug killer sold at a premium 'cause there's a picture of a spider on the can).  Never-the-less, said agent was quickly dispersed over the can and where we keep the cans and the local problem nuetralized.  At least, I think so ........

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2 US Ships of Line Ready for Service

 My 1/1200 Scale US Fleet has been enlarged by two new ships of the line - the 74 Gun Third Rate USS Columbus (on the left) and the 44 gun Frigate USS Congress (on the right).
 A view of the other side of these ships.  Next up for the US is the 38 gun frigate Essex and then some odds and ends from GHQ - a Xebec, a 24 gun East Indiaman and a Baltimore Clipper.  I'm hoping to put on an Age of Sail game in the next few weeks.

I had a visitor in my pool yesterday - a newly hatched Terrapin turtle - cute little bugger isn't he.  He swam up to my wife while she was exercising in the pool.  I'm not sure who was scarred more my wife or "Bubba" as we've dubbed him.

After making sure he wasn't hurt, I re-located him to the marsh and wished him the best of luck.  It's a tough world out there for little turtles.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1/1200 Langton Merchant Ships Completed

 The four merchants I've been working on are now complete and ready to see some action on the table top.  Of course, action for a merchant ship in a naval game is essentially being hunted down but that how the dice roll.

 I also made up a marker for a sunken ship.  Ships in this time period took a long time to sink and often lingered at the surface posing a risk to other ships in the battle.

I did break down and order a few East Indiamen ships from GHQ - no collection from this period could be considered complete with a few of those beasts.  East Indiamen are armed merchants and were favored by pirates - hmmm pirates???...

I highly recommend 1/1200 scale Age of Sail ship models as a hobby.  If you choose to give it a go, I do recommend you pick up a copy of Rod Langton's assembly guide - it really is a hobby gem and I constantly refer back to it when modeling.

Monday, August 25, 2014

1/1200 Langton Merchant Ships

 The naval bug seems to have bitten hard lately - In addition to filling out the US fleet, I've made some progress on some generic merchant ships to use as game objectives.  The models are all from the Langton line and consist from top to bottom of a single small merchant, a large merchant and 2 medium merchants.  The only thing I'm missing is a few Indiamen but I don't have any of those in the 1/1200 naval stockpile.

These ships will be painted in drab browns to reflect their lowly merchant status and make sure they stand out on the table top.  I also don't have the usual brass ratlines so these models will likely look very plain.

Once these little tubs are done the 1/1200 Napoleonic lead pile will be down to a handful of British Frigates, the Agamemnon (a 64 gun third rate) and one lone GHQ model - the 38 gun Frigate USS Constellation.

In other naval gaming news, turn 4 of Clint's "Anything but a One" play by blog game has been posted and the Spanish and British fleets are just about to come into range of one another.  My command, the Spanish frigate "Mercedes" has just come onto the board and it will be several turns before I can bring her into action.  I really like the play be blog concept - thanks Clint

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1/1200 Langton US Third Rate Almost Complete

A bit more progress on the US Third Rate from Langton Models.  All that's left is a few more rigging lines and the National flags / pennants.  After numerous tabletop mishaps, I've learned to keep the rigging to a minimal level.  Taught rigging becomes un-taught when the masts get bent.  Such are the tribulations of the table top Napoleonic Sailor!

I need to come up with a name for the ship, but don't have my research files handy so that will wait until after vacation.  This ship becomes the fourth of my planned 7 ship US fleet (3 Frigates and 4 74's).

Next up is a US Frigate - the 38 gun Congress.  The model was one of the first I purchased directly from Rod Langton and will be modeled at full sail using all those somewhat fiddly brass sails.  Once the Congress leaves the workbench dry dock will be another frigate - the 32 gun Essex.

Still trying to get the hang of posting with an I-Pad

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Langton 1/1200 74 Gun Ship of the Line

 A return to 1/1200 sailing ship models is in the wind.  Why?  Three reasons - firstly because I haven't built one in a while and I find these kits to be both challenging and rewarding to do.  Secondly, I've been doing a lot of 1:1 scale sailing and was in a nautical mood and lastly because I was able to get into a very interesting "play by blog" game that features Napoleonic ships over at Clint's "Anything but a One Blog"

I've been given command of a nice 38 gun Spanish Frigate, which I named the Mercedes after one of the Spanish frigates involved in the Treasure Fleet action of 1804.  Hopefully I'll captain her to a better outcome.

As for the model that's in the "dry dock", it's a British 74 gun Third Rate which we be painted and rigged as an American Ship of the line for some what if scenarios.  In the background there are some more historically correct frigates that will be added to the fleet namely the Congress and the Essex.

I'm also planning on hosting a Napoleonic naval game in the near future so need a few extra ships.  This is also my first post using an I-Pad and the blogger app so it will take a little work to get the formatting right

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Trenchworx: French FT Tank

 Trenchworx is a new miniature company that is currently running a very successful Kickstarter campaign for 28mm WW1 tanks.  At Historicon, one of the guys behind the company (Nate) very generously gave me some sample models to try out and all I can say is wow - these are some top notch models.  First up is the smallest of the three tanks - a French FT.

 The model is resin based but comes from a master that is 3D printed - Nate is astonishingly talented with 3d CAD design and these models are proof it.  The French FT kit comes with 11 pieces - a body, two track sections, the skid assembly and two gun options - a machine gun (which I used) or a light howitzer.  All of the parts were flash free and had no defects (as in none).

 I primed the model with grey auto primer and then made up my own camo scheme.  Decals will be added later when I figure out what nationality will use the FT.  Assembly, priming and painting took less than 90 minutes.
 I do have some experience with some of Trenchworx other products - namely the Japanese Type 97 Tankettes.  I have a blog post on the tankettes which can be seen here.

 This model was a pure joy to both build and paint up and I really can't recommend it more.  In fact Trenchworx has now replaced Blitxkrieg Miniatures as my favorite provider of top notch 28mm scaled vehicles.  I can't wait to get started on the British and German models I've got.

I was very grateful to receive the demo models and can't wait to get started on both the British and German tanks - which are big beasts indeed. You can get a peek at the British tank over on the Bolt Action.net

As for scale, here's a shot next to a 28mm scaled Perry British figure - the FT was a tiny tank and it's model reflects that well

Trenchworx has a e-store up and running where you can get some of their ww2 stuff.  I highly recommend these models and the kickstarter.  Give them a try, I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

By Fire and Sword: Swedish Skirmish Force

I've finished painting and basing the figures that came with the Swedish skirmish force that I received from the By Fire and Sword Kickstarter.   It's a nice little force that has 4 stands of reiters, 4 stands of Dragoons (both mounted and dismounted) a light gun and commas group.

Also pictured is the fortified farm terrain piece which should also work nicely for FOW Eastern Front actions.

 A close up of the Reiters - these are essentially medium cavalry.

 The mounted version of the Dragoons

Finally the dismounted Dragoon stands, the light gun and the Command Group.  Soon to be joining these figures will be another Dragoon and armored Reiters group, two infantry infantry regiments and some more guns.  I should be able to field a full division of Swedes in the next few months.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

1:1 Scale Sailing: Asymmetrical Spinnaker Rigged

 I played hooky yesterday and spent the day on the water installing a Asymmetrical Spinnaker sail on the Bucentaure.  Spinnakers are used for adding speed when the boat if "running" the wind is coming over the stern.  An asymmetrical spinnaker can do this but also be configured to work when the wind comes from a beam reach position (coming at a 90 degree angle across either side of the boat.  Spinnakers are traditionally "gaudy" sails and my sail is a very patriotic red, white and blue.

 Here's a shot of the spinnaker furled (rolled up) next to the jib (which is also furled).  It was a very light wind day which usually isn't the best for sailing but is great when one is installing something that one really doesn't know how to work yet.

I've got a lot to learn in sailing the boat and what conditions work best for each sail plan.  I'm also fairly clumsy in deploying sails (let's just say I can be a bit slowwww...), so there will be a lot of practice needed.

 Obligatory shot of the Bucentaure in her slip just prior to heading out.  At the bow you can see the 2' metal boom that I installed for the spinnaker rig - technically it makes my boat just a little bigger.  In a gaming related note, my slip mate - the gentlemen who owns the 50 foot cruiser to the left knows a little history as he asked me where I was going to put the 80 guns the Bucentaure is required to carry!  It isn't such a big jump from naval history buff to naval gamer when enticed by 1/1200 Langton model!  Now I need to figure out how to raise the gaming issue in a socially acceptable way...

Nothing tastes better after a day of sailing than pizza and a beer.  You can see one of my crew in the picture - Elvis.  My wife and I are dog sitting Mr Elvis for the next week or so.  He's not too bad despite being a poodle and he did seem to enjoy sailing which is a big positive.  I did tie a line to him in case he went over the side.

A dog in a restaurant?  St Michaels, MD is a very dog friendly town and most of the restaurants that have outside patios allow people to bring their dogs.  Very civilized.