Monday, January 31, 2011

More Robotics and another win!

There wasn't a lot of modeling this past week as I was coaching my son's robotics team (team 3113) to prepare for and compete in another competition - the South Central Pennsylvania Qualifier.  It was a very tough event and despite some real electronics issues we managed to eek out another win.

I was very proud of the boys as our robots electronics had real issues and required extensive on the spot repairs.  We'll need to replace or repair some of our electronic components before the next competition in March.  The picture shows the end game of one of the finals matches (best two out of three) where our robot (3113) and our alliance partner managed to balance on the swing bridge with just 4 seconds to go in the match.  The extra points from balancing swung the match in our favor.

This competition was very rough as the referees allowed a lot of contact.  It's a good thing we built are robot to be both slow and heavy (like the coach!) as the ability to either withstand ramming or push robots out of the way was critical to winning.  The boys also won a design excellence award which was really cool.

This week we'll be doing a full inspection and developing a repair prioritization list.  I may never get my game room back!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Romans, Rebs and Yanks

 I had a chance to sneak down to the game room and get some painting time in as my son is away on a scout outing so there will be no Robotic's practice this weekend.  After seeing some great Roman Auxiliary calvary posts for Big Red Bat's blog, I thought it would be fun to finish off my second unit of aux calvary (Warlord figures).  I've always been a bit nervous about painting horses but wanted to get the job done before the new "Hail Caesar" rules come out in the Spring / Summer.

 Here's a shot that shows my mobile painting station.  It's a 24 inch x 24 inch piece of plywood with a shelf .  I find using a relatively small space forces me to be somewhat organized and that helps lend to spending more time painting rather than looking for "that" part!

I've also started 2 packs of the new "Uncivil War" figures and currently they have been primed and awaiting painting once the Romans are complete.  Last night, AofW Ernie hosted another play test of the rules and let me say it was a blast.  A battle report will be coming shortly, but here's a few  teaser shots....

 A portion of the confederates approach through the swamps.

Pig Sty Alamo!!!!!!!!!
Hmmmm, I wonder where I could get a cool pig sty model like that?

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Uncivil War" Play Test

 Ernie invited me over for another play test of his new "Uncivil War" skirmish ruleset.  He's planning to do a full battle report on his blog so I've only got a few pictures here.  The game featured Ernie's wonderful terrain and painted figures.  The first picture shows the town, which was the objective of the raid.

 The scenario involved a water borne confederate assault on a Union held town to steal supplies.  Outside the town was a Union calvary regiment.  The Confederates also had some off-table calvary but it's entry was controlled by a die roll.

The last picture shows the battle about two thirds through - here a detachment of dismounted Union calvary is about to demonstrate how effective sharps repeaters are at close range on rebels caught out in the open.  Thank goodness the rebs (me!) had two characters with the troops including "the Swede" the large gentlemen who is very deadly in close combat.

What happened in the game? - I''ll leave that to Ernie to describe in a future blog post.  lets just say it was a fun outing and the rules are coming along nicely.

The last photo also shows a proto-type of Architects of War's new laser cut barn model (with the roof removed) - it's a great terrain piece and very easy to put together.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

6mm ACW 2 Completed Divisions & a New Book

 The picture to the left shows the latest additions to my 6mm ACW collection - A full Confederate Division on the right and a full Union division on the left.  These are Baccus figures and were purchased as Army packs.  I also completed 15 artillery limbers and have another 16 to complete.  I put the limbers way in the back so you can't see the "quick" paint job.  A single color for the horses, another for the limber and the a wash of GW Baddab Black to bring out the traces and details.  Not that good from 3 inches away but serviceable from 2 feet.  Lastly, you can see the defensive works I posted about earlier.

I did get a new book for Christmas - Col Nick Lipscombe's "Peninsular War Atlas".  What a beautiful book.  While a bit pricey, ($70.00) both the text and maps are very well done.  There's also a fantastic appendix with all sorts of detailed orders of battle and such.  Of course having this book means that my hobby will be returning to Napoleonics at some point in the near future.  I highly recommend this book if your interested in the period.

My next project will be some of the new "Uncivil War" 28mm figures from Architects of War that I got for Christmas.  They're very cool - but that's another post.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

6mm ACW Defensive Works & Based Union Division

 Here's a picture of my new 6mm ACW defensive works occupied by a Brigade of Union troops.  I wanted to make some sectional defensive works that both fir how I base my ACW stuff and look relatively good on the table.

 So far there are four straight sections, 2 90 degree turns, an artillery position and a breached section.  I like the look of them and will likely make some more.  I'm undecided if I should make them by hand one by one or make some molds and cast them in resin.  I'm leaning towards resin and will try one to see how it works out.

 I'm still fiddling with the details.  One comment that I received on the previous post was to glue some sand at the top of each gabbion to simulate the "dirt" filling.  I plan on doing so once I find some finer sand to use.  My attempt at texturing the sides of the gabbions didn't work that well after painting.  All-in-all these are a good first start.

In addition to the defensive works, I finished basing another Union division (pictured) and am 80% through a similarly sized Confederate division.  The next step for the Union is to add the flags and they are ready for the table.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

6MM ACW Test Field Fortifications

 One of my goals this year is to run a ACW campaign using my fairly large (3,000+ figure) collection of 6mm ACW figures.  In order to do a proper job I will need some field fortification and thought I should try and make some myself.  My armies use a 60mm x 30mm basing standard for infantry and calvary so the fortification bases are 60mm x 40mm.

The first picture are my test pieces - three straight sections, a 90 degree turn, an artillery emplacement and a breached section.

 Here's the view from the other side - they were simple to make - a bit of ground material and gabions made out of 1/8 inch wooden dowels that were "roughed up" with 60 grit sand paper.  A light layer of playground sand with be added to the defenders side.   The right side of the second picture shows a 60 x 30mm base which would be placed in the open space on the fortification stands.

I these work out, the next step will be to make some molds and cast a bunch of them.
Here is a very useful tool for modelers - "The Chopper II" - it allows one to make repetitive, precise cuts easily - say like a bazillion 5mm tall gabions.  The Chopper is left over from my rail road modeling days where I used to scratch build structures using scale planks!