Saturday, January 24, 2015

Back Home - Finally

 Not a lot of Hobby activity over the past two weeks as I've been traveling on business.  The first week found me in the UK spending a few days in Nottingham and then 3 days in London looking at some companies.  I was pleasantly surprised by Nottingham - hence the obligatory picture of the statue of Robbin Hood and...
 A good number of pints where had from the "Trip to Jerusalem" pub.  I've been told the Perry's can be sighted there on occasion - but, sadly, they were nowhere to be found during the two visits I made.
 London, as always, was a blast to visit on business and here's the obligatory photo of the double decker buses.

 After a week in the UK, I flew back to the US and then my wife and I flew out the next day for my investment firms annual planning meeting in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  This was definitely rough duty - especially leaving behind the sub-freezing temperatures in Maryland for the balmy 70-80F's  in the Turks.  Yes rough duty, indeed.

I was able to make friends with the local populace including this fine gecko who spent most of the evening attached to my shoulder.

We got back from the Turks last Thursday and then I had to spend Friday up in New York and then finally back home.  Hopefully I'll get some modeling and painting time in this weekend as my standings in the Painting Challenge have taken a tumble!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge Update: Week V

Wow - with the conclusion of week 5, we're now 1/3rd of the way through the AHPCV  Points wise, I'm very pleased with my progress and ahead of "plan".  Total points accrued so far are 1,527 out of a planned 2,404.  28 separate entries have been submitted.  I should note that my total includes 170 points for the "Colonial" fortnight challenge which will show up on the official score in a week or so..

My previous challenges followed a pattern of a burst of activity in the first third, a bit of a slow down in the the middle followed by another burst in the last third.  This year will prove no different as the next few weeks will by filled with some business travel to the UK, coaching robotics events and general "life-type" stuff.

I do have some more "All Quiet on the Martian Front" mini's on the painting table that are 90% done (basing needs to be completed) but after that will need to prep some more figures.

In terms of overall standings, as of this morning I'm ranked number 2, trailing Millsy by 241 points and just ahead of DavidD by 9 points.  With my upcoming painting "pause" I suspect that my rankings will fall a bit but overall I'm comfortable that my goal of a top 5 finish is still achievable.  There may be a few weeks of "vacation for painting" required to ensure a top 5 placement goal becomes reality.

I do have two side challenges.  Mr Millsy and I are vying to see which one of us "spreadsheet jockeys" can get the most points and he does seem to be pulling ahead (where do all those Orc's come from?).  I suspect he's got a comfortable lead but, then again, I may have something up my sleeve.....

My second challenge is ship modeling related (naval or space) with me Roy, Robert and David racing to see who can get to 250 points of ship related submissions.  I've only got 99 points to date, so some focus is needed there.

One of the more amazing things about the Challenge is the level of activity that Curt must manage - we've had close to 300-320 posts. most of which with multiple entries  in the first 5 weeks of this "Geek Gladiatorial" contest.  All-in-all, the challenge is great fun and really making a dent in my lead mountain.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Yet More DAK!

 More Support choices for my 28mm DAK force.  First up some mobile artillery in the form of a Sig 33 assault gun.  The model is from Blitzkrieg and the two crew figures are Perry metals.

 It's a great model and the cast is superb.  Assembly was fairly easy - glue the gun in place and I was done!
 The Sig 33 was based on a lengthen Panzer II chassis - it's a stretch assault gun.  12 vehicles were built and all went to serve in North Africa.


 Next up is a Soviet M1938 122mm Howitzer.  The Germans captured massive numbers of these and I'm hoping they sent a few to Africa 'cause thats what I painted it for.

 The model is a 3D print from Trenchworx and is superb.  I really suggest you try out their stuff it's fantastic.




I had some visitors the other day - there were another 5 or 6 outside the frame of the shot.  Apparently, in the winter, our shrubbery becomes a highly regarded salad bar!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Analogue Painting Hobbies Update: WW2 in Multiple Scales

 A WW2 mix of submissions for the Painting Challenge last week,  in both 28mm & 15mm scales.
 First up is a DAK Pak 38 AT gun / crew plus a Kubelwagen field car in 28mm.  All of the models are from the Perry;s WW2 line with the figures being metals and the car resin.

 These will be used as part of my growing DAK army which should see it's tabletop debut at the Cold Wars BA tournament.


Next up is a US Armored Rifle Platoon in 15mm scale from Battlefront Miniatures.  All of the figures and vehicles are plastics from the new box set and I must say I was impressed with the quality.  I find painting plastics much easier than metals and these were a joy to paint up.




 Lastly another entry in 15mm WW2 from Battlefront - a German Pioneer platoon.  These are old Battlefront metals that I've had primed for painting for a few years but never got around to actually putting paint on the guys until now.

 To be honest that casts are really poor and required a lot of clean up and I found painting them to be at best a chore.  They will be fun to get on the tabletop as Pio's are always a fun unit to field.
I also tried the Battlefront rubble bases which I liked but I also was a bit lazy in finishing off - I need to go back and dress up the bases a bit.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

All Quiet on the Martian Front: US Land Ironclad

 I present to you the mighty US Land Ironclad  Nashville: Defender of Memphis and Scourge of the Red Menace.

A Land Ironclad is the apex predator of the US Arsenal in All Quiet on the Martian Front and it's a massive model at over 13 inches long and 11 high.  The whole thing also weighs 5 pound as it's mostly resin.
 A close up of the conning tower show's she's already claimed two of the dreaded tripods with her mighty guns.

 I added the scaffolding and scout car to give her some dedicated recon support - made the model feel more battleship-like to me.

 A few shots down the port side...

 I downloaded images of WW1 US Navy semaphore flags.  The messaging on the left guy wire spells out AHPCV - since I've submitted this kit for the challenge, I thought it should message the same.

 A picture next to my Rubicon 28mm Tiger tank for a size comparison.

Nameplate and close up of the scour car rig.  I know it's kind of silly but it was fun to add.
 Bridge crew planning their next move

 I'm planning to build out a Naval Brigade for AQMF and wanted them to standout form the rest of my US stuff - hence the blue helmets.

 A few pictures of the scaffolding being built - it's just a few pieces of styrene plastic.
The hardest part was tying on the platform and getting the it to be level.

I highly recommend this model - it's was  a lot of fun to put together and detail.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 What Was and 2015 What Will Be...

 Well it's time for the obligatory retrospective on how I did vs my hobby goals.  The big news hobby wise isn't related to gaming but sailing as in late July my new sailboat, "Bucentaure" was delivered and I spent most of August through October on the water learning how to sail her.  But this isn't a sailing blog so onto the miniature hobby aspects.

From a real life perspective 2014 was an eventful year and generally very positive - It was a good year investment wise (which is what I do) and my wife and I continue to adapt to being empty nesters.  I did manage to take a week long sailing course at "J-World" in Annapolis which was a blast.

Sean continues to enjoy school and seems to becoming more interested in software engineering and drone technology (quad copters).  In fact he's be teaching a student lead course on quad copter design during the Spring Semester of 2015 at CMU.

In terms of total productivity - 2014 saw a more balanced level of production with a rekindling of my interest in Flames of War and starting up  15mm projects for both By Fire and Sword and All Quiet on the Martian Front:

                                        2014      2013
28mm
Infantry                           240         411
Cavalry                             17             2
Artillery                              6           12
Vehicles                            17             7


15mm
Infantry                             274          0
Cavalry                                27         0
Artillery                               13         0
Vehicles                               64         0

1/1200 Sailing Ships             7         0
1/600 Ironclads                      8        0
1/6000 ww2 Ships                44       0


 One of the bigger hobby events for me is the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  Doubtless you've seen my posts about last years fourth challenge and this years 5th (which is ongoing) but it has become my main painting "production" event - the photo to the left show what I got done during last years Challenge.

 One of the focal points of my hobby gaming experience are the 3 HMGS conventions.  During the Summer at Historicon my friend Mike M and I hosted two civil war themed games that featured two 28mm scaled ironclads (Mikes's in the picture on the far left).  The games went well...

 So well that we won one of the roving awards from the HMGS crowd which was both unexpected and very much appreciated.  Of course that just ups the ante for next year - no I'm really not a competitive type of person at all...

Ok, Ok enough rambling - how did actual 2014 compare to my hobby goals?  I did OK -

(1) Attend all 3 HMGS Cons  PASS
I made it to all 3 and enjoyed them all, although the Host (where Cold Wars and Fall In are held is an awful place)

(2) Host a Game at Historicon PASS
Mike and I hosted two!

(3) Play in a FOW Tournament PASS
In fact I played in 3 and never came in last.  2014 saw a return of my interest in the game and I really enjoyed the tournament aspect.  In fact most of the games I played where at tournaments either for FOW of Bolt Action - I think I played in 24 tournament themed games and even managed to win the Fall-In Bolt Action tournament.  I was extremely disappointed that no groupies showed up after the Fall-In win - strange that.

(4) Finish 2 Armies for All Quiet on the Martian Front PASS
I did finish two basic armies and even a Land Ironclad but still have a lot to paint up form the kickstarter

(5) Finish the Game Room Remodel PUSH
Some progress in terms of getting some military art and had the card table refinished.  Sadly, I hosted no games in 2014!

(6) Place in the Top 5 of the Analogue Hobbies Challenge FAIL
This was a tough one - I came in 9th or 10th but just couldn't keep pace.

(7) Start Only 1 New Army in 2014 FAIL!, FAIL!, EPIC FAIL!
What was I thinking?

Overall 4 Passes, 1 Push and 2 Fails (one was epic) - I'd give myself a B+ grade wise

So what are the goals for 2015?

(1) Attend three Con's but not all HMGS ones
I do enjoy gaming conventions but the HMGS ones are becoming a bit stale so I'd like to try another one furring 2015.  Don't get me wrong, aside from the Host, all three HMGS cons are a lot of fun, I just need a change of pace

(2) Host 2 games at Historicon

(3) Play in 6 tournaments during the course of 2015
      - Field a new army for the Bolt Action tournament (it's time to retire the Japanese)

(4) Finish my sectional terrain project
Started with high hopes and bold statements in July 2014 - never touched since August.

(5) Host a Naval Play by Blog game.  I've been having a lot of fun with Clint's Napoleonic Naval blog game and want to try hosting one - details to follow.

(6) Finish in the top 5 of the 5th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge
Maybe this is the year!

(7) Only add armies that I have storage for
My lovely yet fierce wife has laid down "THE LAW" and I can only add armies if I can store them properly.  Apparently, piles of stuff along the walls of the man cave is deemed to be slovenly by the norms of society - my only option is to conform as there appears to be no reasoning with my wife.  Now she thinks she's being clever because she's also banned me from purchasing new storage as my IKEA wall units are full.  My legal team has spotted a loop hole in her edict and  I've been reconfiguring the storage under my game table using leftover 1x2's and some quarter round molding from my scrap lumber pile:

 A quick shelf frame - put together in a few hours....
Slides under the table and can hold a hole bunch-o-stuff.  The frame slides out and has tie down straps to helps with transporting mini's to convention game.

I'll put up a post a bit later on how the unit was built.

Well there you have it - a good 2014 and a slightly ambitious 2015 -lets see how the year unfolds....

















Monday, December 29, 2014

Tunisian Tiger

 My growing 28mm DAK army has been reinforced with a Tiger tank.  The model is from Rubicon and is part of their rapidly expanding plastics line.  It was a joy to both put together and paint and I'd rate it a 10 out of 10.  Rubicon has become one of my favorite sources for ww2 vehicles.  Trenchworx is still my favorite due to their superb quality but rubicon isn't that far behind.


 The crew figures are Perry metals and are very nice - I still have 4 left for other vehicles.

 I added a dry brush of stone grey as a last step and like the results.
 This model was entered as part of the second fortnight challenge - "Riders and Mounts" in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge


Saturday, December 27, 2014

AHPCV Week 3 Reports and a DAK Army

 With the third week of the challenge conclude progress is a bit "ahead of plan".  With a total points level of 777 vs a plan goal of 609.  With real world work stuff piling up and at least 3 trips to the UK for business in the next few months, I need to crack on if I'm going to meet the goal.

I should point out my total includes 80 points for the "Cold Fortnight Submission".

 The latest challenge entry was a large one (320 points) and is a 28mm DAK army to be used for either Bolt Action or Chain of Command.  I managed to paint the entire group over a three day period - which is a blistering pace for me!

 38 infantry figures from the Perry plastic Box set.  These are superb figures and nicely balance figure pose options with ease of assembly.  There are 22 riflemen, 8 troops with SMG's, 4 light machine gunners, a 50mm mortar team, a radio operator and on officer.

The force's recon element consists of a 3 vehicle 8-Rad unit.  These are all from Warlord and are Resin hulls with metal detail parts.  To be honest, the casting quality was very poor and the hulls required a good bit of work to make paint-ready. The commander is a customized plastic figure from Warlord's first plastic german infantry set.

 The main punch of the force comes in the form of a platoon of three Panzer IIIJ's.  These are the new Rubicon plastic kits and I highly recommend them.  Lots of detail and one can build serval different version of the Panzer III.  The only complaint is that some of the deck details (tools, cables) are molded on but are very faint and a bit hard to paint.  Those details are probably true-scale but require care to bring out.

Overall, I'd rate these a 9.5 or of 10 with Rubicon now replacing Blitzkrieg as my number one source for WW2 tanks.

Like the 8-Rad's the unit's commander if a converted figure from Warlord's first German infantry set.

 Some additional scout elements in the form of two motorcycles with side cars and med machine guns.  These are metal kits from Warlord and are really nice.

Lastly, one other positive from the Rubicon kits is their large decal sheets.  I was able to do all 8 vehicles with the decals from one sheet plus a few extra crosses from a second and still have a lot left over.  One of my biggest gripes about 28mm kits is that manufactures such as Warlord, Blitzkrieg, Company B don't include decals - it's akin to a "hidden charge" as one needs to source decals separately.

The Rubicon kits have a slight cost advantage over their resin counter parts but if you factor in the decals its a significant discount.

I'll be adding some support options to the DAK force over the next few weeks (some artillery, a mortar, a heavy Machine gun and even a Pak 38 AT gun).  There are even rumors that the force may receive a Tiger!

This force will likely see the tabletop at the 2015 Cold Wars BA tournament.