Friday, February 28, 2014

Another All Quiet of the Martian Front Sneak Peek

 I was, yet again, a guinea pig test again for some All Quiet on the Martian Front (AQMF) models. This time it was a pair of Martian Grenadier Tripods.  The models are resin and metal casts and come in about 15 parts.  In the game, the role of the Grenadier Tripod is to provide a Martian force with a form of artillery.  I find these units fit my play style and they tend to cause the most human casualties for my Martian commands.  These Tripods are less well armed than the main Martian Assault Tripods so they are very vulnerable to human infantry if they can get close enough.

 The models went together very easily.  I did use a little green stuff on the inside of the leg junction to hold the three legs pieces in place while assembling the lower structure.  All the model parts are metal except for the "head" and "Launchers" which are resin.  The model stands about 3.5 inches tall.

 All the parts painted up well.  I base coated the models in grey auto primer (it's what I had on hand) and then painted the body with Vallejo Oily Steel.
 I'm not that happy with how I painted they eyes - who knew that Marty Feldman was a Martian? and will likely repaint them over the next few weeks.

An action shot!  A human infantry company has managed to sneak up on a pair of Martian Grenadier Tripods - good luck boys (you'll need it)....

I highly recommend these models.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Painting Challenge Update

 A bit of an eclectic mix of submissions to the painting challenge over the past few weeks.  First off, yet another 24 figure Confederate infantry regiment in 28mm - 18th Georgia.  As usual these are Perry Plastics confederates.

 I've now completed 4 out of the 5 regiments from Hood's Brigade in 1862 and only need to finish out Wade Hampton's South Carolina Legion.

 A few more artillery pieces and some command / camp figures and the armies will be done for Historicon.
 Next up is a Flames of War objective marker that I submitted as my "bonus round" submission for the casualty category.  It's a Plastic Soldier Company german half track that's run over a mine.

 I cut open the rear doors to make it look abandoned and did some "fender" bending over the front tire where the "mine" went off.

 Overall, it came out nicely and only took about an hour to complete.
 I had a much more elaborate submission planned but just couldn't pull it off and shelved the project for now.  Sometimes projects just wander off the track and it's best to move on for a bit.
 Lastly, I completed the IJN Coral Sea Fleet by adding 12 Destroyers and 2 Light Cruisers.  The fleet was also reinforced from it's historical levels by the addition of 4 Mogami class Heavy Cruisers and the Yamato and Mushashi battleships

 Here's a close up of the two Japanese battle wagons!
Here's the full fleet - 5 Carriers, 2 Battleships, 12 Cruisers, 2 Light Cruisers and 28 Destroyers.

What's on the painting schedule next?  Well the challenge ends on March 20 (three weeks!) so I'm feeling confident that I'll make my target of 1,500 points as I'm currently at 1,356 points.  My personal target is to finish in the top 5 and that will require a burst of productivity.

Scheduled to be painted next are the following
- A pair of Martian Grenadier Tripods for All Quiet on the Martian Front (test models)
- A few boxes of the new 28mm Perry plastic ACW artillery (3 guns/crews per box)
- A 24 figure Confederate Infantry regiment (28mm)
- A few odds and ends for my 28mm Japanese force for Bolt Action / Chain of Command
- Some themed figures for the last two bonus round submissions "Hero's" and "Last Stand"

Time will tell what actually will get done.....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Robotics Team Wins Inspire Award

The First Tech Challenge robotics team I coach (Team 3113 "Some Disassembly Required") just won the Inspire Award at the MD State Championship today.  The Inspire Award is the highest award an FTC can earn so it's a big deal.

Winning gives the team a berth in the East regional tournament and if they do well their they may get another invitation to the World Championships (like last year).

The 'bot itself isn't in the picture - it sustained a good bit a damage during the finals matches and is down for some significant rebuilds.  We do have our 3D printer (from Robo 3D) in the picture which the team uses to make specialized parts.  We got the printer as part of a payment for building a custom robot for robo 3d to use at trade shows to drive the printer around - we made enough money off the project to fund most of the team this year.

Here's a picture of the robot the team built for Robo 3D

We've got 5 weeks to get the robot back up and running before the East regionals - which are in York, PA!

Friday, February 21, 2014

All Quiet on the Martian Front Playtest

 I had the opportunity to play another test game of "All Quiet on the Martian Front" over at the galactic headquarters of Architects of War. The first game was a breakthrough type scenario where the Martians (me) had to exit the "Red Martian" tripod off the human board edge.  The humans (Ed) had an infantry heavy force which include some of BEF and their damn coil guns.  The first pic shows the Martian force - impressive!

 The initial advance - the players of the match for martians where the grenadier tripods, who can use a scout tripod to really increase the accuracy of bombardments.

 Another photo of the advance - the Martians are a lot of fun to play but you need to balance two distinct play styles - stand-off tactics with tripods and inclose with drones and lobotom squads.

 A few turns into the game.  The humans have whittled down most of my lobotom squads and drones at the cost of most of their armor - the infantry is still dug into the buildings and will prove difficult to dislodge.  You can see the red Martian lurking in the corner trying to skirt down the side to victory.  The telephone poles are "Edison wire" which is impassible to tripods.  The key to the game was an assault by my remaining drones against some British heavy infantry.  Luck was with me and the drones prevailed - just barely and the Red Martian snuck his way to victory!

The other side of the battlefield was a bloody stalemate.  The game was won by the Martians but it was very close.  It was also a lot of fun.

We did manage to play a second game, which featured the first outing of a mocked up Land Ironclad for the humans.  Lets just say from a Martian perspective that Ironclad is a very formidable opponent.  yep, very formidable.  Sorry no pictures of that game as the form of the Land Ironclad model is still "classified"

I can't wait for this game to come out as it's a blast to play.

Monday, February 17, 2014

All Quiet on the Martian Front Sneak Peek: US Infantry

 After constant badgering, pleas and just being a general pain-in-***, I have managed to convince Ernie to give me a handful of the US troops to start painting up for All Quiet on the Martian Front (AQMF).  I'm really excited about the game and have have helped play test it a good deal.   The figures were first posted on the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge.

 These figures are 15mm in scale and all are wearing gas masks to ward off the effects of the damn Black Dust the Martian have been known to spew about.  Nasty stuff that.

 The basic infantry unit for the US forces is a platoon of three 5 man stands, so I've completed three platoons.  Ernie has thousands of these cast and he and the team are in the process of sorting them out.  If you've never seen what 45,000 15mm miniatures look like all together, it's a rather impressive site.

Once last show of these doughty Americans surging out to deal with one of those dreaded Martian Tripods.  Tripods? where are they.  I've been allowed to see the first test shot of the plastics and they look fantastic - no pictures yet but maybe soon.......

The game is a real blast to play, pun intended!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SNOW DAY!!!!!! Feb 2014

As you can see from the extremely scienentificul-like back-deck-table-top snow gauge, we've got about 14 inches of snow here in Maryland.

After countless hours of painstakin analysis and careful calculations I have come to the conclusion that today is, indeed, A SNOW DAY!!!!!


May the snow be with you

Monday, February 10, 2014

IJN WW2 Coral SeaFleet

 Yet another entry in the Painting Challenge - 1/6000 scale Imperial Japanese Navy Fleet for the Battle of the Coral Sea.  The models are manufactured by Hallmark and have a surprising amount of detail for the tiny size - a large Carrier is only 1.5 inches long!  So far, I've completed 5 Carriers, 8 Cruisers and 16 Destroyers!

 A close up of four Myoko class Cruisers and 8 Fubuki class Destroyers.

 The heart of the fleet - 5 Carriers from top to bottom the Zuikaku, Xuiho, Ryuho, Shoho and Shokaku.  The flight decl detail is a print out that was cut down to size and are available for download from Toshach Miniatures.  They also make some for US carriers.  I think they look very nice.

 A US dive bombers view of the carriers!

 4 more Cruisers (Hatsuharu class) and 8 Shiratsuyu class Destroyers round out the Fleet that's completed to date

Ariel view of the fleet. I was surprised now much fun I found these little ships where to paint.  I plan on using them with the Victory at Sea ruleset once their US foes are completed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mexican Village Defenders

 My latest submission the the Analogue Hobbies Challenge are these 10 armed Mexican peasants. This is my "entry fee" for the Challenge, the theme of which is the Sam Peckinpaw film "The Wild Bunch".  I'm taking my inspiration from a different iconic western which is probably why you're hearing an Elmer Bernstein tune in the background.

 These are 28mm figures from Foundry (many years ago) that was given to me by Ernie from his Himalayan sized lead pile.  There are seven musket armed villagers, two hired guns and a dozing guard.

 Hopefully, these villagers will pose enough of a threat to get those bandits to move on the the next village.....
 Soon these humble villagers will be off the the Great White North to defend their Canadian pueblo.  Now for a little musical interlude....

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fireforge 28mm Templar Knights

 My latest submission to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - a unit of 12 Templar Knights.  These are 28mm scale models and are produced by Fireforge Miniatures.

 These figures were both very easy to assemble and even easier to paint.  For some reason I find painting medieval figures easier than any other period.  The shield covers are decals from Battle Flag.

 Originally, I decided to do this unit as a "one-off" but I've now come to the "conclusion" that it wouldn't be fair to these guys if I didn't build out a full Crusader army to keep them company.  It seems like the only reasonable outcome.  Over time, I'll build out a medium sized Crusader force (10-12 units).  All of the figures will be based individually on magnets so I can field them either in units or individually use them for skirmish gaming ala "Saga".

Next up will be the 24 figure Templar Infantry box set from Fireforge and perhaps some command figures from the Perry Crusader line.  I highly recommend the Fireforge Templar Knights.

As for their foes (whenever I build out an army, I build out an opponent force also) I'm a bit undecided.  The "normal" choice would be Saracens but then again the fine folks at Fireforge are coming out with a line of 28mm plastic Steppe Tribes / Mongols.  I've always wanted to do Mongols.....