Friday, March 27, 2020

Rolling Herb Garden: Quarantined Woodworking

With spring around the corner, it's time to think about getting the garden ready.  Add on top of that being quarantined, well then one needs to get creative.

We've got a nice raised bed garden in St Michaels but the boss (aka my lovely yet fierce wife) wanted a small herb garden near the kitchen at our place in St Michaels.  I had a bit of cedar in the garage so 8 hours later we have this rolling herb garden.  I copied the design from a product that is available on Amazon.

I decided to put wheels on it so we can roll the herbs inside during the winter.  The wheels came from my number one hardware source McMaster-Carr.  If you need hardware, fasteners or are just looking to be inspired to build something then go to their website.  The seeds to plant the herbs are on order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds so it's really just a rolling cart of dirt for now.  For those of you in North America, Baker Creek is the best source I've found for seeds if you're into gardening.  With the world's economy crumbling, its an activity I do recommend all of you take up gardening.

MB was actually thrilled with the planter, so +1 me!

Stay safe and healthy

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Green Field Test Piece


 I wanted to make some fields and so, in between virus related work calls, a test piece was made.  Now I am stealing this idea from my club where they have lots of these.  The club has a short online tutorial that can be found at 6mmacw.

Construction couldn't be simpler - just cut some scrap fabric, in this case two different shades of green felt and some tan corduroy for plowed fields.  The sections are then attached on the underside with duct tape.  Short "teddy bear" fur would be even better for wheat fields but I don't have any on hand.  I've also got some moral qualms about using teddy bear fur - what kind of monster is capable of trapping and then skinning wild teddy bears just for their fur?  Barbaric.

The field edge boundaries are made by hot glueing woodland scenics clump foliage around the edge.  Apply the glue in 1.5 to 2 inch lengths to give you enough time to pick out the clumps and attach them while the glue is still tacky.

I'm intending to use these for 15 and 6mm gaming.  Pictured is a 15mm Austrian infantry battalion and the field edgig is perfect for light cover.  At the 6mm scale the edges could even be hedgerows or bocage.
I added the stone wall as a whim.  It's just small sized talus (another Woodland Scenics product) that is attached with hot glue.  you do need to form the wall by pressing the talus into the glue with your fingers so there is a little bit of trial and error waiting for the glue to cool enough to still be soft but not burn your fingers hot.

I like the look of the wall but but not the coloring.  It will get a grey stain today but I'm afraid that will seep into the fabric.  I'm also going to experiment with staining the field a darker tan brown and other details.  If the wall staining fails I think I'l just make a bunch of stone wall sections in 12 inch lengths and then cut them to fit.  On second thought, the pre-made walls is likely they better way to go as I can also add things likes gates and openings.  Plus one can never have enough wall sections when making terrain.

Overall this is really promising and I think they add a lot of character to a bland table top.

 I did borrow a lot of the club's fields for my Historicon game in 2019 - heres a shot of how they look on the table without troops.

By the way, here's hoping there is a Historicon in 2020.  Im pretty confident there will be and will plan accordingly.
and a close up with some troops. 

So if I can use the club's why make more?  Well two reasons, (i) so I can use them at home when I host games and (ii) there's a lot of wear and tear on terrain is it gets transported and used at conventions and I'd rather not inflict that on the clubs terrain.  Plus I need some creative outlet as I'm helping my portfolio companies go through a rather devastating interruption in activity.

Stay safe everyone.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge X is Over

 Well it's March 21st, which mean the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge X is over.  It was a grand affair and I'd like to again thank Curt and everyone else who participated.  I do think we should award Tamsin the Most Valuable Player (award) for her tireless minioning efforts.  Well done Tamsin. 

One of my traditional tasks the morning after the challenge is to clean my painting area - here a shot of my miniature painting bench all tidied up and
My terrain making bench - the terrain area was a disaster from the Jungle terrain project.  I do really enjoy terrain projects but they are very, very messy - well at least the way I do it.
Lastly, we need to give a final salute to some very tired pigment warriors - the brushes I used during the challenge.  They performed tireless work and never once complained about being wielded by an inept painter such as myself.  Their stoicism in the face of adversity should inspire us all as we face the rigors of social distancing and quarantining to protect our families and communities.

With their service as miniature paint brushes concluded, each one of these stalwarts can look forward to a happy retirement frolicking across my terrain bench while making terrain.  If only all of us could hope for similar retirements.

Adieu mon amis, your services will never be forgotten.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Battle of the Tensaw Gap, Alabama Territories Sep 1811

Last Monday we fought the first tabletop engagement of the NOLA campaign.  It's turn 8 of a 12 turn campaign and things are getting very interesting.  We're using the ESR ruleset to resolve tabletopl engagements.

The battle commenced with two allied Corps: a British one under the command of Packenham and an American corp under the command of Winfield Scott) marching onto the board.  Their objective was to seize the Tensaw Gap (middle left side of the table).  Initially opposing them was Davout's III Corps (or so they thought...)
Ed and Keith were the allied commanders and adopted a mass column of three divsions with a fourth in reserve.  That formation was dubbed the "sledgehammer" - here you can see them making initial contact with Friant's division of Davout's Corp.  They steam rolled Davout and sent him scurrying back to the rear.

The white cards on the table are order changes.  In ESR orders are issues in one turn and then rolled for to see if they take effect the next.  While the cards don't look all that good, they did make it easy to keep track of pending orders.

The allies were surprised to see the Emperor himself commanding a grand battery on the hill covering the gap.

As the Allied Sledghammer continued on it ran into Morand's division deploying along a stream in an attempt to stem the tide.  Morand's division was also swept aside but fatigue was mounting in the British Guard division

Perhaps more worrying for the allies was the surprise of seeing dust clouds to the north, heralding the arrival of Soult's II Corp.  Had the French sprung a trap?

Indeed they had for a few turns after Soult showed up to the North, Lannes arrived from the west with a single division.  It was now 5 on 4, in the favor of the French.

Soults and Davout's calvary catch a lone British hussar brigade in a calvary sandwich.  It did not end well for the Brits.
Napoleon repositioned his grand Battery and effectively evaporated the US 2nd Infantry division which quit the field.  Seeing themselves now out numbered 5:3 Ed and Keith chose discretion over valor and executed a skillful withdrawal to the south.  The last thing heard form both commanders as they left the field was shouted orders to their aides to erase any mention of the battle in their dispatches as an "assault" and replace it with the word "raid"

The battle was a very bloody affair with the Allies taking slightly more casualties than the French - Grand Batteries are devastating in the ESR ruleset.  Both sides had enough replacement points to replace their losses but their stockpiles are growing very thin, indeed.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Sky Galleons on Mars

 On Saturday, Bob G ran a rather silly but really fun game set in a sciFi Mars but with a colonial theme.  The best way to describe the game was flying sailing ships and ironclads.  It was a blast.  Tony and I command the British and were pitted against 3 Martian ships.
It  was a full 3D experience as bob used used plexiglass rods to indicate altitude.  It was a grand game and super creative.

Sadly about 1.5 hours into the game, I received a notification of an emergency board call for an institution that is dealing with some aspects of the Coronavirus.  I turned over my ship to a player whose floating barge Tony and I ganged up on and left the game.  That was a real shame as Bob puts on a great show.  Thanks Bob!

The call ended up lasting 2.5 hours and we ended with more questions than answers but it was the right decision to convene the board.  I try not to get political on this blog (it's just toy soldiers, after all) but I can say the lack of any coherent guidance from the Federal government is shocking.  The state of Pennsylvania's health department was competent and more importantly they were clear on what they knew and didn't know.  The Feds are a dissembling mess, which seems to emanate from the orange moron at the top. 


Friday, March 6, 2020

Artillery Redoubt

I think this came out nicely with one exception - I had measured it to fit four batteries not three!  Past experience has given me zero confidence in my measuring skills so it's a good thing I decided to test fit some bases before cutting out the firing positions.

Sure enough 3 fit just fine but getting that planned 4th one in might be problematic.

I suppose I'll just need to build another Redoubt!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

15mm Entrenchments

With all of the cancellations from Coronavirus, I have a little free time on my hands.  Now I'm not celebrating this situation, but one does need to make Lemonade when presented with lemons.   The NOLA Campaign will have its first land battle and I needed some field works.  When making 15mm scale entrenchments, it's best to make a lot.
Pretty simple design - once the glue has set, I'll texture these up with tile grout, paint them and they'll be good to go.
Each straight section is 2 inches long.  I've made just under 4 ft today and will make some specialty pieces tomorrow.  I don't need all of these for Monday night but best to get them down now while I'm in the mood.
Of course when making entrenchments it's best to also do an artillery redoubt.  One never knows when one of those will come in handy....

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Sturmovik Commander at the Club

Ed ran a very nice WW2 air combat game last night at the club using the Sturmovik Commander ruleset.  Yeah I hadn't heard of those rules either.

The scenario was early in the Pacific campaign and depicted a rag-tag air raid by US and Dutch forces on a Japanese port - technically a Dutch port but the Japanese had rudely taken it the day before.  Tom and I commanded the Japanese air defenses and had 3 zeros and 1 seaplane each.  Josh and Simon commanded the American and Dutch forces, respectively. 

As usual, Ed put on a grand show with a meticulously researched scenario.  I would grant the victory to the Allies as Tom and I learned its a bad idea for a fragile zero to trail B-17A's.

The rules took a little while to get used to, but as the game went on I caught on.  There is pre-plotting of movement but with more flexibility that saw Check Your Six.  Shooting is fairly difficult needing 5 or 6's to hit (usually 6'3) and then rolling to damage, which requires another 6 unless using a high caliber weapon.  There is limited ammo, which is a nice feature. 

I look forward to playing this ruleset again and hope to avenge the dishonor my flying skills have brought upon the Emperor.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Jungle Terrain 2.0 Done

 There are 15 new sections of jungle terrain and I've refurbished my earlier versions (which are off to a friend in Canada)
I think they came out very nicely and  this was a very fun project

 Some of the refurbished pieces


 The bamboo still a little "shiny" so needs some more weathering.
 The ground works was really simple to do and I think the look is fantastic.  I'll do a more detailed how to post as I've got enough materials left over for another 4-6 terrain plates.
Marshall Theodore does approve but prefers me in my office in my executive repose.  Apparently, I'm very comfortable furniture.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Welcome to the Jungle 2.0 - In Production Now

 The test Jungle section pieces came out really well.  I'm very pleased with them.  There's still a little more to do in terms of tiny details and silly easter eggs but the overall look is what I was going for.
 I did 3 test pieces.  This is the first time I've worked with raw cork bark as rock faces and I'm impressed.  Obviously not as customizable as carving EPS foam but really fast looks very natural and is cheap.
With the technique nailed "downish", It's time to start mass production.  I'll also be tarting up some of the old pieces to make the journey up to Curt in the great white north

Some of the old pieces have been completely stripped other are having major surgery done as you can see in this picture.

Back to the terrain bench