Tuesday, April 29, 2014

4 15mm Brumbars Done

 A platoon of 4 15mm German Brumbar assault guns is now ready for the table top.  These are Battlefront models that I've had hidden in the lead pile for ages (I think at least 4 years).

 These are painted up for Italy and the models where very easy to put together.  They still need a bit of dry brushing but I like how they came out.
 In the background you can see some other various support units being prep'd and/or painted.

From a Flames of War rules perspective the Brumbar is relatively cheap (70 points per vehicle vs 90 for a Panzer IV) and can be devastating against dug in / stationary targets.  The gun has a very short range and only has one shot per turn (vs the normal 2 for almost every other vehicle in the game).

Sunday, April 27, 2014

After the Storm

 It's over.  I have emerged from my female proof bomb shelter (the game room) dazed and a bit unsteady on my feet but secure in the knowledge I have survived yet another women's dental student soirée.  While the memories are still painful, I feel it's my duty to bear witness to the carnage I have seen, if only to warn my fellow man of the dangers posed by such conclaves.

 At great personal risk, I organized and executed several recon and re-supply missions from my basement sanctuary.  My quiche lorraine supply runs were especially successful.  Unfortunately, my attempts to seize both Salmon and the Honey baked ham depots met with fierce resistance and were, ultimately ineffective.  These Ladies just didn't want to give up their Salmon.

Intelligence gathering was an equally important aspect of my missions - here's a shot of my wife instructing her pupils in how to effectively train a husband.  The only words I could make out were "spare the rod and spoil the man".  Her students seemed to be "shudder" eager learners.

 A few combat action shots showing the young ladies tearing into their rations.  One of their supply depots is in the foreground of the picture.

 Yes, mass quantities of food was consumed.  I am very happy to report that all 56 of the chocolate mousse cups I made this morning were consumed and the raspberry topping sauce was particularly popular.  I am abetter cook than I am a painter.

 More action shots of the Ladies.
Sure, those smiles might make you think these are very nice young ladies who both adore my wife and tolerate her odd husband who makes pastries and plays with toy soldiers.  You could think that and, if you did, you'd be right.

It was another fun event for Mary Beth and her students.  This year we had two special guest a new born and am 8 month baby.  I got to babysit the 8th month old, young master Ignacio III, who I promptly brought down to the game table to try and teach gaming to.  You can never start them too young.

If anyone's interested, I could schedule a gaming event at the house next year in April and "accidentally" have it coincide with the Spring Women's Dental Student event.  It's not a half bad event to attend.

The Gathering Storm

 Spring is usually remembered as a time of renewal, a new start, a hopefully beginning.  For me that's true, but there's also a more ominous side of Spring - my wife's annual party for her women dental students.  The storm clouds are gathering over our humble homestead as the feast is prepared and the young ladies begin to descend upon us.  At this very moment, I'm typing this post in hiding but I'm sure to be discovered so my time is short.

 The food this year is Provincial French, with a bit more seafood than usual.  Some of you may actually believe the legends that young ladies don't eat all that much, preferring to peck at their food like anorexic doves.  That legend is false - these ladies are eating machines, especially around the chocolate mouse (my own recipe) or the strawberry cake.  Don't get between a 20 something dental lioness and her prey - you are not likely to survive the encounter.

I had to cut my recon mission short as they are gathering - I only hope I've got time to get back to the basement before being discovered.....

Friday, April 25, 2014

All Quiet on the Martian Front is just about to ship....

AQMF will be shipping during the month of May!!!!  I can't wait to get my order and start building out both sides.  Since I live just over a mile from the galactic HQ of Robot Peanut Studios, I may just wander over and pick up my stuff rather than wait an extra day or so for the mail!

Pictured at left is the massive model of a US Land Ironclad - it weights almost 5 lbs and is a real beast.  I was lucky enough to play test the Land Iron Clad rules (using a mock up) and they were a blast!!!!  It was fun to have something to take the fight directly to the Martians.  Sadly, the first Land ironclad destroyed by the Martians was under my command.....

I'm planning to paint mine with a more naval theme - battleship grey and such.  My gaming buddy, Mike, is thinking about using a WW1 dazzle camo pattern.  I'm getting very excited about this game.

Limited pre-orders just went live of the Alien Dungeon website - don't be left out!

Monday, April 21, 2014

15mm Battlefront Brumbars

A little modeling work over the weekend.  I've had a box of 4 15mm Battlefront Brumbars sitting on the lead pile for almost four years and thought I should get them built up.  The Brumbar was an assault gun with a heavy 150mm Howitzer on a Panzer IV chassis.  Since these where old battlefront models, I had a very detailed and finicky set of Schurzen (the armor panels on the side) to apply.  I added a post (from the sprue) to provide some beter support to hold the panels on the model better.  The post is roughly 3/8 of an inch long and is superglued to the center of the track piece.

 Here's another shot of the post.  Since if has three points of contact, it's a very strong bond.  The next step is then using a combination of super glue for the top contact points and plastic glue on the post to affix the panels to the tank.

While not as detailed as the original model would be, the bond is very strong and the model will hold up under table top usage.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Making Mud for Models Tutorial

 I've been using a new technique to add mud effects to models - a mixture of Liquitex Modeling Paste and some paint - in this case flat brown from Vallejo (70-984).  I like this process as it adds a nice 3D effect to the mud that my skills can not achieve with shading and dry brushing alone.  Let's see - quick, easy, cheap - yup this method hits all the requirements for me.

 You'll find a little of the mixture goes a long way so this tub should last a long time - I grab a little bit on a small modeling spatula and plop it in a mixing "bowl".  In our case today, it's a cut down styrofoam coffee cup.

 Mix in a few drops of paint - 2 drops got me a nice chocolate frosting color (too light) so a few more drops plus one of Ochre Brown.  There really isn't a set formula here - just add color to you get want you want.  Since it's much easier to add color than take it away, proceed by only adding a drop or two at a time.

 Now comes the tricky part - hand crafting a custom made application device - henceforth referred to as a "pointy stick".  I whittled down a craft stick.  The key is to have a pointy end to help guid and shaper the mud when applying - the smaller the model you're working with the pointer the stick needs to be.  No doubt some of you will be thinking - why not use a tooth pick.  That's an acceptable alternative if you don't mind taking the cowards way out.  What could be more manly than "whitl'n" a stick?"

Apply the "mud" sparingly and allow at least 12 hours drying.  I find the mude effect work next on a 28mm scale vehicle but you get acceptable results with 15mm - as pictured on the left.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Return to FOW and 15mm Modeling

 With the publishing of the new Italy Campaign books, my interest in Flames of War has been re-kindled and I wanted to finish off some units that have long been on the painting to-do list.  This morning I checked off some recoilless fire support for my FJG units and some Marder III's.

All of the models, except the Sherman, are Battlefront.

The Italy force lists only have entries for the 75mm recoilless guns (the smaller of the two) but they're very cheap and provide a nice level of fire support and AT for a German list.   I also completed two Kubelwagons which had been sitting around forever waiting to get done.

 Next up is some AT support with a lot more punch and mobility - 4 Marder III's.  I really like these units as they're a good AT asset and have mobility that FJG's lack.  Of course if they get caught out in the open they don't last too long on the table.  I like how the camp pattern came out.  I followed "Dirty"Jon Baber's tutorial on german camo using a stippling painting technique - check out the tutorial here - it's worth the time.  It's much better than my previous German camo efforts which likely means some re-painting of previous units is in my near future.

 Some of the Marders were missing crew figures and some pieces but most were easily scratch but.  I'm looking forward to getting these guys on the table.
 Lastly, a lone Sherman for Plastic Soldier Companies first Sherman box set (M4A1's).  The PSC models are "OK" and this tank will be used as an observer for a Priest battery.
All of the tanks have mud added to the tracks and undercarriages.  I'll post a tutorial later this week on how I do the mud.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Robotics Season Ends

 My robotics team competed in the FTC East Super-Regional in York, PA.  It's a three day competition during which we had a blast but just fell short of earning a spot in the World Championships.  I'm very proud of the team and am both looking forwarded to a month or two off from robotics and then getting right back into it!

 Here's a shot of our booth,  Our team number if 3113 and name is "Some Disassembly Required".  72 teams were competing from 12 Northeastern States (VA on up the US east coast).  One of my favorite activities is walking through the pits seeing how creative each team can be in it's robot build.

 The East Super Regional was the most competitive robotics event I've ever been too.  I was asked to be one of the referee's, which is a lot of fun, but kept me extremely busy.  This years games involved picking up 2.5 inch cubes and placing them in baskets on a swing arm (extra points if the arm is balanced!).  During the end game robots earned 50 points if they can left themselves off the floor on the central bar and remain hanging.  Several matches features all four robots being lifted - amazing stuff built by high schoolers.

Coaching robotics is time consuming but it's also very rewarding.  For me, this year was very different as it was the first year that my son wasn't on the team as he's gone off to college.  I realized how much I relied on hime to keep things going.  Sean kept texting me from college (Carnegie-Mellon) to see how the team was doing, so I think he misses it too.  He's thinking about mentoring a team in the Pittsburgh area as part of a college project next year.  This year's team will loose one senior to graduation but I've got a great core of young but very committed scouts coming up - some even shaved the team number into their scalps - that's dedication!  I really am looking forward to next year.

If any of you have an engineering or technical bent, you should consider getting involved / mentoring a team.  You can find out more from the FIRST robotics website.  I should warn you, it's a bit addictive!  FIRST has a great phrase to describe the experience - "It's the hardest fun you'll ever have"