Friday, December 30, 2011

4th US Rifles Started

I've started my next US War of 1812 unit, which is a US Rifle battalion.  I choose to do the 4th US Rifles as I like the grey uniform - it's a bit different than the standard "dark green" most rifle units get.  Besides I will eventually have the Glengarry Lights on the British side, who wore dark green, so a little bit of color difference will help players keep track of who's who on the table top.

This unit will have 36 figures, of which 6 are 90%+ complete and the others are about 1/3 of the way done.  I should get these completed over the course of the weekend and submitted to Curt for the painting competition.

Back to the workbench....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

29th US Infantry Completed

 The 29th US Infantry is complete!  This is my first US unit for my 28mm War of 1812 project and it consists of 36 figures.  Sorry for the poor picture quality but I was too lazy to get the right lighting in place.

This is the 1st unit of a planned 8-10 unit US force which will consist of:

3 Regular Infantry Units
1 Rifles
3 Militia
1 Artillery Battery (3 guns)
1 Light Dragoons or Mounted Kentucky Militia

As per the previous posts, I have completed these figures as part of the Analouge Hobbies painting challenge.  I've had a pretty decent showing (in terms of volume) but some of the other competitors have some amazing contributions.  The competition has been a lot of fun and I appreciate all the work Curt has had to put in keeping up with all the submissions.

As you can see in the second picture, I still need to add a flag to the unit and will be trying a new manufacturer I found (via his comment on Curt's blog), Flags of War.  The flags seemed reasonably priced so lets see how the work out.

Next up on the painting workbench will either be the 1st US Rifles or a Maryland Militia Unit

Saturday, December 24, 2011

First half of a US Regular Infantry Unit

 The first 18 out of 36 figures for a Regular US Infantry battalion (War of 1812) have been completed.

I did these fairly fast but am happy with the "unit-look" and think they will be more than serviceable for the table top.

The second half of the unit should be finished in a few days but I doubt there will be a lot of progress on Christmas day.

Heres hoping that all of you have a wonderful holiday.  Merry Christmas for the Lair of the Uber-Geek!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And so it begins....

 My first entries into the Analogue Hobbies second annual painting competition have been completed and submitted to Curt.  For one brief, shining moment I was in the lead.  Of course there were no other entries but, never-the-less, I was in first place!!  Sadly, more talented and efficient painters have usurped the pole position.
 My first three entries were for SAGA and consisted of the mounted Norman Warlord (I didn't really like the one I completed a few weeks ago) and two Vikings.

 The Vikings are a bit whimsical in nature and are based on a request from my son to depict what Santa might look like if he was a Viking.  The figure to the left is the one that comes with the SAGA ruleset and wields a mighty two handed axe - that makes being on the naughty list a decidedly risky proposition!

 The third figure is another "Santa-Norseman" but comes from the command sprue of the Gripping Beast Viking plastic set.  While you can't see it in the picture, his shield does have a red and green holiday design.  We are very festive this year in the Lair.

 In order to show a sneak peak of my next entries, I need to bend Curt's embargo rules, hopefully he'll not notice as very few people ever read this far into any of my posts.  I've started my first 36 figure unit of regular US infantry for the War of 1812.  The figures are from Knuckleduster and they are top notch.  I'm painting this unit in the Fall/Winter uniform, hence the tan rather than white pants.  The first three are almost done.
 I've got 12 more in process and 18 awaiting there first dab of paint.

We'll see how long it will take me to finish the whole unit.  I suspect it will be at least a few days!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Lair of the Uber-Geek!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad etc, etc. from the Uber Geek

It looks like Santa had a "training mishap" while on exercise with the US Air Force.  I'm sure the elves will get things fixed up before the big night.

Heres to wishing all of my readers a wonderful Christmas holiday and happy New Year.  My family and I are looking forward to a quite holiday at our home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland - hopefully one that features some toy soldiers under the tree!

By the way, I took the above picture at a house close to mine - they're very artistic and always have some form of whimsical sculpture for major holidays, but this time they have out done themselves with the use of a real jet airframe!  Please note that no reindeer or elves were harmed in the making of this sculpture.  Click on the picture to see all the details - the sulking pilot to the right is very well done.

Marry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Prime Directive

I just finished cleaning up and priming 220 Knuckleduster War of 1812 figures.  From left to right there are 5 36 figure US units (3 regular Infantry, 1 Rifles and 1 Militia) and 1 40 figure British unit (Glengary Lights).

The figures came in really good shape and had little flash.  Other than straightening rifles/bayonets there was very little clean up required.  I prefer to do priming in large batches as it's much more efficient.  Here are my steps

(1) Clean up flashing and sand bases flat - make sure each figure can stand on it's own.  I also add brass rod flag poles during this step.

(2) Wash the figures in warm soapy water and leave out to dry

(3) Attach to 20mm square base with super glue.  The bases will be magnetized later on so I can group the figures in either 4 or 6 man stands.

(4) Prime.  I prefer to use white primer.  I use a very basic and cheap primer from Lowes (a US Do-It-Yourself store chain).  I let the primer dry at least 24 hours before starting to paint.  In the case of these figures it will be a bit longer.

(5) Try not to operate heavy machinery or sign binding legal agreements while high on paint fumes (this last step is optional but highly recommended)

I'll start painting these gentlemen on 12/20 as they will be my primary source of material for the Second Annual Analog Hobbies Painting Challenge!  Lets see, the challenge runs from December 20th to March 20th so that's roughly 90 days or 2.44 figures a day.  Hmmm, given my current glacial rate of output is closer to 0.1 figures a day I may need to up production speed!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The 2nd Annual "Analogue Hobbies" Painting Challenge

It seems as if I've gone and entered the second annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  I enjoy watching last years unfold but discovered Curt's great blog after the event had started.  If you haven't yet gone over to his blog, you should do so it a very nice read with great miniatures.  Of course those compliments are in no way an attempt to sway the judging in my direction.  Nope, not a chance of that, but if it did....

This year's event has a bit of a Tom Sawyer feel as Curt is allowing participants to get a 10 point bonus for painting one of his 28mm Viking figures.  Hmmm, I sense a real opportunity for Curt to pawn off all his household chores on point crazed and competition dazed miniature painters "must get more points..."  One wonders if he will use the awesome power of his competition for good or evil.  I suspect if my future posts indicate I'm traveling to Saskatchewan to shovel snow or wash dishes in return for painting points you'll know that Curt has been swayed by the dark side.

As for my entry, I'm leaning towards finally starting to paint my War of 1812 units (with the 200th anniversary coming up and all).  I recently purchased a rather large lot of War of 1812 figures from Knuckleduster (approx 225 figures) to flesh out at least 5 American infantry / militia units and one British unit (the Glengary Lights).  I'll also flesh out my Roman and Dacian armies a bit and there is always a chance that some 15mm Flames of War might sneak in just to keep things interesting.

There are some great painters entered into the competition so I don't have a chance on the quality side so it's got to be a quantity win for me.  Let the games begin!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WW2 Pacific Naval Action!

 Last night Dick hosted a WW2 Naval game using his Axis and Alies ships / planes and the Victory at Sea ruleset.  The scenario was a hypothetical capital ship slugfest in the Philippines. I was the Japanese 2IC and had command of the Battleship Division (pictured) which had 7 Battleships, including the mighty Mushashi and Yamoto.  As with all of Dick's games it was a grand evening and he and his wife were superb hosts.  Many thanks to Gary who brought Chili for dinner - although I was a bit suspicious that it was a cunning ploy to distract players later in the game ....

 The allied command staff - I'm sure they look much more impressive when they are wearing their Navy dress whites.

 The allies draw first blood as Les's battleship division savages the Nagato.  While the Nagato gave as good as she got, being the closest target to a group of 6 modern US battleships with 16 inch guns isn't as glamorous as one might think.  You can also see the developing air battle to the left.  This is the second time I've played Victory at Sea and the first with air and I really liked the simplicity of the rules.  Most of the players were new to the system and we all picked it up after a few turns.

 Japanese reinforcements show up in the form of the Northern command - heavy cruisers with deadly long lance torpedos.

 A few turns later, The Nagato has been sunk and the Mushashi engines put out of action - but not her guns!  In return the US has lost both the Maryland and North Carolina sunk and the Iowa and New Jersey have been reduced to flaming hulks.  We decided to call the game after another turn as the US losses were very heavy and the Japanese cruiser squadron was lining up for a torpedo run.  Many thanks to both Dick and Joe (the respective Cic's of the US and Japanese fleets) who spent more time tutoring the rest of the players on the rules than actually playing the game.

I know we made some mistakes, but as a learning game it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to playing the rules again.  While they didn't cause any ship damage the air aspect was a lot of fun and really lent some atmosphere to the game.

 I was very impressed with the Axis and Allies ship miniatures.  They are not as detailed as GHQ but they look great on the table, are not as delicate as GHQ, come pre-painted and are very inexpensive.  The Plane stands are also very well done.  I have been know to be a bit of a miniatures snob and my preconceptions of these ships was way off- they are very nice miniatures.

One last picture of the Battleship division at the end of the game - big guns = lots of fun on the tabletop.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Four Day Sale at Architect of War

I was over visiting Ernie yesterday and he let me know that Architects of War has jumped on the "Black Friday" bandwagon and will be having a four day sale.  If you're into 28mm mini's you might consider checking out the sale. The sale runs from Friday to Monday.

All Perry plastics are 20% off on Friday - I'm heading back over to get some more plastic british infantry for my upcoming  War of 1812 project.

check out the sale:

Happy Thanksgiving eveyone

Sunday, November 13, 2011

SAGA Norman Warband Completed

 My Vikings now have a foe for the tabletop - a 4 point Norman War-band, which consists of a Mounted Warlord, 2 units of Mounted Hearthguard, a unit or Warriors with spears, and a second unit of Warriors with crossbows.  These gents should pose a good challenge to my Vikings.  All of the mounted figures are plastics from Conquest Games.  The foot figures are metals from Gripping Beast.  Sorry for the bad lighting in the photos.

 The unit of spear -armed Warriors look dashing sporting their Little Big Man shield transfers.  Some of you may remember the rather questionable attempt at hand painting shields with my Viking War-band - the figures just look so much better with the LBM transfers.  They are well worth the cost.

 Some crossbowmen to pepper and annoy my plucky Vikings.  Wow designer shields AND annoying crossbow bolts - those Vikings are really going to hate theses guys.

 The first of two units of mounted hearthguard.  I really like the Conquest Plastics.  The LBM shield transfers required just a bit of trimming along the bottom to fit the Conquest figures but that wasn't too hard.

 The second unit of mounted Hearthguard.  All of the figures in each unit sport the same tunic color to help tell them apart on the table top.

 A close up of the shields - I here they're all the rage on the Paris runways this year....

Lastly, here is the Norman Warlord.  I think he came out "OK" but will likely switch him out for a metal version that will look a bit more heroic.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's "kind of" scale modeling

 Today I made a scale model of the robotics field for my son'e Robotics team.  It may not be military miniatures, but it is scale modeling of a sort.  The team uses the mock up to plan match strategies "dry-runs" of autonomous programs.  We've found it much easier to debug the code if everyone has seen a 3d walk trough of what the 'bot was supposed to do before we observe what it does.

 The model also serves as a great tool when communicating with the team we will be playing with during a match at a competition - there are four robots on the field at once (2 per side) so it get very busy and hectic during a match.  the more pre planning of actions, the better we tend to do.

The boys are thinking of making more of these fields and selling them to other teams - we've had several offers for last year's model.  Who knows, I may be getting into the scale model making business after all!

Here's a look at the actual field (not completely set up.  There will be 100 racquet balls in the four cylinders during each match - this year's game design is very challenging.

Oh well, off to coach robotics practice

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SAGA: Painting Progress on the Normans

 There was some progress on the Norman Warband today - most of the block painting was completed today (some after this photo was taken).  The Normans should be completed by next weekend.  You can see there future opponents above them casting derision on their unpainted state.

To be honest, I had hoped to get a bit more done today, but our cat, Oliver, had other plans.  I was working in my office when he decided my lap look comfortable and hopped up and went to sleep.  Not knowing what to do, I promptly drifted off also.  Oh well, maybe more painting progress next weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

SAGA: Normans Assembled

 Yesterday, I finished assembling a 4 point force of Normans to go against my recently completed Vikings.  The first picture shows the whole force which consists of a Warlord, 2 mounted units of Hearthguards (elites) a unit of Crossbowman (warriors) and a unit of Spearmen (Warriors).

 A close up of the crossbowmen and one of two mounted Hearthguard.  The crossbowman are from Gripping Beast and all the mounted figures are the plastic Mounted Normans from Conquest Games.  As you may know I'm a bit of a miniatures apostate as I actually prefer plastic figures over metal.  The Conquest figures are very nice and you have a lot of options in terms of weapons and shield style.

 Here are the Spearman (Gripping Beast figures) and the second unit of mounted Hearthguard.

Lastly, a picture of the warlord.  I managed to pick up some of the Little Big Man shield transfers and flags for both the Normans and Vikings from Ernie over at Architects of War.  The Norman flags are really nice so I plan on replacing the plastic flag stand on the figure with some brass rod to allow for a bigger flag.

Later in the day, I primed all the figures in white and have set them out to dry for a few days.  Hopefully in a week or so I'll have the Normans complete!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Old Style Sand Table

I just stumbled across a gamers blog, Service Ration Distribution (Hobby).  The blog's owner, Simon is from Scotland and has a very clever old style "sand table".

The photo shows the table before the sand has been added - why paint the bottom blue?  Water features can be added by just pushing the sand aside - Brilliant!

He's also got a very impressive collection of minis show the blog is definitely worth a look.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Viking Saga Warband Complete

 I managed to finish up a small (4 point) Viking Warband to use with the Saga ruleset.  This force consists of a single Warlord, 3 units of Hearthguard (elites) and one unit on Bondi Warriors (Regulars). I have another unit of Bondi Warriors to add to the force at a later date.

 Here's the first unit of Hearthguad - all plastic Gripping Beast Vikings.  I tried my hand at painting shields and lets just say I need some more practice.  I did check with Ernie and Barb at Architects of War and they just got in some more Little Big Man transfers - whew!  I did try to keep the shield designs the same for each unit to help keep things organized on the tabletop.

 My second unit of Hearthguard are Viking Beserkers, all metal Gripping Beast models.  Beserkers get extra attack dice but at a cost of lower armor values.

 The third and last unit of Hearthguard, also Gripping Beast plastics.

 Here's the big man himself, my warlord.  I have yet to settle on a fittingly blood curdling name, but don't worry one will be found in good time.

Lastly, the 8 figure unit of Bondi Warriors (Gripping Beast metals).  I like the stark black and white shield design.

I'm looking forward to trying these lads out on the tabletop in the next week or so.  Now it's on to their Norman foes!

Annapolis Sailboat Show!

 As some readers may know sailing is my second hobby after miniature gaming.  This weekend was the US Sailboat show, which the largest sailboat show in the world.  The show features about 2 miles of floating docks andover 300 hundred sail boat models on display.  This event is my favorite "con" of the year and Sean and I went on both Friday and Saturday.

The first picture is of a 45 ft Trimaran racing boat - it's really a wind powered rocket ship.  My son spent about an hour crawling over every aspect of her.  I'm a bit of a purist and prefer mono-hulls, but my son left the show very impressed with more modern design styles.

This is a picture of a one of the new Beneteau "First 40" designs which is their entry into the racing category.  It was an impressive boat and did a nice job of combining a race design with a cruiser's cabin.  This is the first time I've actually been impressed with a Beneteau.

The "bell of the ball" for me was the J-95 from J-Boats.  This boat is a "one class design" built for racing with a passable cabin layout that can best be described as "Spartan".  She is a "go-fast" type of boat but can be handled by one person.  Ahhhh dreams.....

I was struck by how much the sailboat show is similar to a gaming con.  Where Historicon had gaming tables, substitute display boats and test sails.  The harbor was ringed with Vendor booths in large tents.  At a gaming con the vendors sell all sorts of gaming related items from terrain, to paint to dvd's.  At the sailboat show, the vendors featured a similar range of related products from sails, to nautical electronics to sailing dvd'd and everything in between.  Perhaps people are more similar than different.

There was one vendor at the sailboat show who I haven't seen at one of the HMGS cons and it would be  a definite upgrade if they were to attend - Hendrick's Gin had a booth/free bar!  It was very funny to see the various sales reps steering potential buyers into or out of the bar.  I'm sure more than one boat sale was closed via the help the Hendrick's products!  Alas since I had my 16 year old son with me, I did not partake.

All in all, sean and I had a wonderful two days of "sailing-stuff" to tide us over as winter sets in - I am definitely not a "frostbite series" winter racer.

Back to the work bench to finish up some Vikings.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Progress on a Viking Warband for "Saga"

A short progress update on my Viking Warband for use with the new Saga ruleset.  Saga uses a simple point system where each force is worth one point and the quality of the troops drives the number you get per unit - Hearthguard (elite) have 4 figures per unit, Warriors (average) have eight and Levies (poor quality) have 12.  My Viking Warband will feature 3 units of Hearthguard, including one of beserkers and a unit of warriors.  I'm not sure how the unit will do on the table top but it should be fun to field.

Here's a shot after a few hours of painting.  I still need to do the details, including shields and straps but there was some good progress this morning.  The figures are a mix of Gripping Beast metals and plastics.  I'm planning to use some of my Dacians as stand in for a test game next week.