Wednesday, December 30, 2015

AHPC VI: Fourth Submissions - Some Napoleonics

My 4th submission the AHPC VI has a definite Napoleonic theme.  First up is a 32 figure Portuguese Cacadore regiment (the 3rd to be precise),  These are 28mm scaled figures and are from Front Rank.  I'm really impressed with the Front Rank figures and put them on par with the Perry's stuff but the clean up and prep was A LOT easier.

 Some 28mm Naval crewman from Brigade games.  Some are painted British but most are generous so they can be used for multiple sides.

A British gunboat to go along with the American one submitted earlier
An "action shot" of the two gun oats going at it with complete crews.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Loot & Workbench Update

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!..  Gamers with Christmas loot aren't any different from 1st graders at show and tell - we do love to talk about out toys!

For Christmas my son got me me some Armada Wave 2 stuff and my secret Santa really hit the mark with some great AWI miniatures from Fife and Drum!

Both presents are deeply appreciated.

I just finished a Portuguese Cacadore regiment and some Napoleonic naval (all in 28mm) which will hopefully soon be posted on the AHPC site. Up next on the work bench are some 28mm Perry Native Americans.  I'm about 3 hours into these guys and experimenting with different skin tones and war paint designs.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

AHPC VI: First 3 Submissions

 An eclectic trio of initial submissions for this years challenge.  First up a Finnish BT-42 with  incorrect Soviet markings - think of it as a recaptured tank.  The model is 28mm scale and from those excellent chaps at Trenchworx.

 Next up 3 British Siege Mortars from Front Rank (28MM).  You'll be seeing a lot of Front Rank stuff this challenge.  I've got a 32 figure unit of 28mm scaled Portuguese Cacadores from Front Rank on the painting table now.
Lastly, a 28mm scaled US gunboat from Laser Dream Works.  There be a more detailed post on this one in a few days

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ready, Set, Organize?

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge VI has officially commenced and after painting up a 28mm tank my next move required careful planning and decisive execution.

What was this master-stroke of pigment planning?  Was it switching from righty to lefty? No, not that.  Blindfolding myself and letting the "force" guide me?  Nope not that either (although some of you may have assumed that was the way I usually paint).  No silly painting fans it was an even more desperate act - I cleaned up my painting desk and broke out 3 new Windsor and Newton Series 7 Brushes (sizes 0, 1 and 2).

Oh yeah, "he just did that".

Look on in awe struck terror at the terrible magnificence of my sparking clean and organized painting area.  Imagine with dread the 3 fold increase in painting efficiency and skill such an environment will create.

Conan was right - the answer to the question what is best in life? is to "Break the brushes of your painting enemies, see their paints dried before you and hear the lamentations of their forever unpainted minis"

There have been unfounded rumors that the real cause for my cleaning my hobby space is the eminent arrival of my Mother-in-Law for Christmas and the rather strange panic it has induced in my lovely but fierce wife.  These rumors are completely inaccurate in some respects.  It is just a coincidence that I have decided, under my own accord and not out of dire fear of spousal repercussions, that the entire basement, my wood working shop and my office needed to be cleaned up and that such cleaning has to be completed today.  Yes just, ummmm, a coincidence.....

Merry Christmas everyone and may all of the painting challenge participants have a wonderful time!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Amazon, For the Love all things Holy, Why?

With the Christmas 8 days away, I have entered my normal panic mode in getting presents.  I'm sure none of you have fallen into this trap so bear with me and try not to be too judgmental.

Usually Amazon is my friend in these situations and I was looking for presents for some teenaged relatives and I clicked on the search tab for toys for kids aged 14 and up.  I was sure that within the 466 thousands items Amazon has in that category some really good ones would pop up

So what filled the first 6 of 9 spots on page one of the recommended list for teenagers aged 14 and up - Cards Against Humanity and its several iterations.

Don't get me wrong, I've played the game at conventions and its fun in a juvenile and rather inappropriate way but pushing it off on 14 years olds is a bit beyond the pale.  I can just see this future family disaster scene - "Thanks Grandma, this looks like a fun game, let try once the reverend arrives for dinner...."

Aiyyy Carumba

Monday, December 14, 2015

Yet More Prepping for AHPV VI

 A large number of 28mm figures and vehicles were being prepped Sunday.  I managed the clean up and base 133 28mm figures, three siege mortars, an Elephant and 6 tanks).  I'll primed them sometime this week.

 First up some Perry AWI Indians (who will also see additional duty as War of 1812 and FIW Indians also).  The armored Elephant in the back is from Sgt Major Miniatures.

 The bulk of my prep work was on some 28mm Front Rank figures.  From back to front a 36 figures British infantry battalion, 2 32 figure Portuguese infantry battalions (one line and one Cacadores) and three siege mortars.

I found cleaning these figures to be incredible easy - this will be my first attempt at painting Front Rank figures.  I doubt they'll look as good as the French I picked up from John but I'll give it a try.

Lastly 6 tanks from the Trenchworx tanks in Manchuria kickstarter.  These are resin casts made fro 3D printed masters and they are simply superb models.  Since taking the photo, I've added a second early war T-34.

Next up will be the FOW boxes you can see in the last picture.  What's up with the corn fields?  That's my next terrain project....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

How The Grinch Stole My Yacht Club

 Yesterday the Annapolis Yacht Club caught fire and was destroyed.  Thankfully, no one was seriously injured - one fire firefighter had a minor injury but was released from the hospital.  The cause of the fire is reported to be a Christmas tree on the third floor.  There isn't a known reason why the club was engulfed so quickly, but that will come out over the next few days. Thankfully, the club was closed for party preparations when the fire started or it could have been much worse.  Kudos to the club's manager for realizing the threat and getting all the staff out safely.
 I have spent many an hour in the club with friends and after races and it really was a grand location.  I'm a member of the club in St Michaels and the our clubs have reciprocity (I get to use both) and I spend more time at the AYC.

While these are just "things", one of the great losses are all the sailing trophies accumulated over 150 years of operation, including some won by my son when he was sailing in high school.

As a side note, you can see how unseasonably warm it is here as there are paddle boarders in the water during December (it was 72F yesterday)

I really feel for the members, as the club was really a hub for sailing and social activity in Annapolis.  I've spent a lot of time at the bar telling sea stories (some of which were true) and was planning on hosting a dinner there between Christmas and New Years for friends.

What a shame, but then again we're all very lucky no one was seriously hurt.  While the fire is a devastating blow only "stuff" was destroyed and it can all be rebuilt.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Merry Christmas from St Michaels, Maryland

Merry Christmas from St Michaels, Maryland.  I hope that all my readers and their families enjoy a wonderful holiday season.  I'm looking forward to taking a bit of time off and spending it with the family.  We'll be especially thankful to get out son back from college as he's had a grueling semester and needs a bit of a break.

I do hope Santa and his elves find ways to deliver the appropriate scale goodies to you and yours this season!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Workbench Part V: The Drawers are Complete

 Finally the terrain making workbench is finished.  OK, "finished" might be a bit strong as workbenches are constantly tinkered with but it's close enough.

The last step was to build two large drawers.  One will hold my "large scale" scenery making supplies (pictured) and the other will hold often used tools and manuals
 The drawers are made out of stock 1/2 inch wide  plywood and each drawer measures 32 inches wide by 38.5 inches deep and 3 inches of interior height.

The second picture show's one of the assembled drawers being planed to ensure a smooth fit.
 A picture of the first test fitting with all the side parts cut.  The drawers rest on a pair of 2x4 "guides" and will be very strong.  They'll also be able to be accessed from either side of the workbench.  I still need to attach some leftover drawer pulls but will not have those until I complete the wife's kitchen remodel (which is underway).

I did get to use a new tool I "had to have" for the project - a Dewalt cordless finish nailer.  It made the glueing up of the drawers a snap.  Oh the fun I will have with a nail gun!

Some finish work on the transits box - I don't really like how the "gunstock" finish came out and may redo it with another color.

Monday, December 7, 2015

And now a British Gunboat

A British gunboat has appeared in the Lair's dry dock awaiting outfitting during the AHPC VI.

I made need to reinforce the jib spar as it screams out "Breakable in Transport"

This is another kit from the Laser dreamwork line and will be used in my Historicon 2016 game.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

AHPC VI: Prep' preping along

 The first of several 28mm War of 1812 sailing ships has been assembled and is awaiting priming.  This an American Gunboat from Laser Dreamworks and was both easy and fun to build.

I still need to finish the spars but will do that further down the construction process.

 A whole bunch of stuff on cleanup and priming stage including a largish order of Front Rank Napoleonic Brits and Portuguese troops.  There are also a good number of those wonderful Perry black boxes - I wonder what's inside?

I managed to cut all the wood I need for the drawers on the workbench and hope to get those assembled today also.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

AHPC_VI: The Plan

Well here it is in all it's astounding glory - my plan for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge VI: The Die is Cast.

The cunning Curt has trimmed this years challenge from 15 to 13 weeks and I'm targeting to put up 2,075 points.

You should all feel my projected points are a rock solid investment. As a financial services professional wielding a spreadsheet is second nature.  Moreover, I think it's safe to say that financial types with spreadsheets are only a force for good in the world and have never gotten into mischief....

Auto-calc ON!!!!!!

Figure prep-n-priming is underway here in the Lair.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Some Fire and Fury Gaming: AWI Style

I was very fortunate to be invited over to Rich H's house to play a game of Fire and Fury Regimental: set in the American War of Independence.  Rich is the author of the Fire and Fury ruleset which are the best rules to use for black powder gaming (IMHO).  Rich also hosts a wonderful day of gaming, repeat with a superb table and wonderfully painted mini's and food - what's not to love?

The battle I participated in was a recreation of Guilford Courthouse.  I had command of the British left flank and our objective was to batter our way through 3 successive lines of American troops.  The first two line are "raw" militia while the third American line is a mixture of good to very good Continental regulars.

 The British force is small by comparison, but made up of either Elite or Veteran troops.  The figures are 15mm in scale and are from Rich's friend's Tony's collection.

 It wasn't very hard to clear the first line of militia and soon we were advancing on the second line which was now reinforced by remnants of the 1st line.

 The Brits's attempt to envelope the American line with my troops on the left and Tarleton's cavalry and Hessians on the right
 Success! both flanks collapse due to some astonishingly bad die rolls on the US side.  My US opponent for the day, Dave, was a great sport and took the ill favor of the dice Gods in stride.
 We continue chasing the fleeing militia and also started to set up for the main assault.  The third line of US troops are held in reserve (can't move) until the Brits cross the fence line in the middle of the picture.
The Militia try to stem the tide but just can't stay rallied..
The disparity of losses heavily favored the Brits - our losses are in the lower left while the US losses are everything else.
 The final assault commences!  Sadly, I had to leave at this point for a prior commitment and I ceded my command to the other British player.  It was a grand game.

 Rich was actually running two games that day, with the second being a massive recreation of the second day at Shiloh (ASW).

The pictures really don't so the game justice as there were huge formations of troops pitted against each other.  It seemed to be a bad day for the Union during this game.

What a fantastic day of gaming.  I really enjoy the fire and fury rule system, especially the command and maneuver rules.  If you're looking for a new ruleset to play the ACW or earlier black powder time periods you should pick up a copy.  Look I even put link to the rules description to save you time: Fire and Fury Regimental Rules

Come on, you know you want to buy the rules and with Christmas so close I think you owe it to yourself.  It's the right thing to do....

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tournament Transport Boxes, Part IV: The Interior

 A little bit of work on the 18x18 square box.  I added a compartment for to hold dice, measuring tapes and templates.   It measure 8x7inches so is more than big enough to hold a 6 inch square FOW artillery template.

 I also made some wooden troop carrier trays that are all two inches high which will accommodate most 28's and 15's with the exception of some long lances on some 15MM By Fire and Sword mini's but I'll figure out how to accommodate those later.

Some of you might be wondering why make custom wooden trays when you've got some plastic ones already.  It's because I was off an 1/8 of inch and the interior was too narrow to use then without forcing the fit.  Argh!!!!!!

What was that saying "measure once, go to Home Depot twice and curse three times"?

A shot of the trays all nestled in the box.  Theres still one inch of clearance on the top and the gap will fit a FOW hardcover book.

Still waiting on the handles to arrive and then it's time to finish this project.  Which is good because the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is less than a month away!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

French Reinforcements Arrive!

 When opportunity knocks, it's best to open the door!  John over of Wargaming in 28mm fame, has decided to parts ways with his French 28mm Napoleonics and has been selling bits and pieces off to finance a big move into 18mm Napoleonics.

He made me an offer I couldn't refuse on his Front Rank French collection and they have just arrived.  Please forgive the awful pictures as they just don't do his superb painting skills any justice.  I also need to reattach the unit flags and such but these are fantastic figures.
 4 units of French calvary, including Lancers! (The Lances need to be re-attached)
 7 battalions of infantry and 4 gun batteries plus 2 limber teams.

Some officers to command this rambunctious group of Frenchmen.

All of the figures are from Front Rank. It's my first real experience with Front Rank figures and I must say I am impressed.  Maybe I need to relax my Perry snobbery a bit.

I tend to run bigger battalions and so will be getting some front rank figures to "flesh out the ranks"

Thanks John, these troops are a welcome addition to my humble collection.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tournament Transport Box, Part 3: Main Construction Done and a Dice Tower from the Scrap!

 Sunday morning I was determined to finish up the construction of the tournament boxes.  The next step involved  adding rabbets to the sides of the boxes s to accept 1/2 plywood that would be used for the bottoms.

Using a rabbet mean the interior height of the box will go from 5.5 inches to 5.0, but that still allows for stacking three troops trays (at 1.5 inches each).

After that was done, the next step was to fire up the 'Ole Table Saw and cut the plywood to fit.  I had a 4x4 foot price of 1/2 plywood in the shop and used it for the bottoms.

Everything fit really nice as you can see from the dry fit in the fist photo.  When building something with precise corners always dry fit each piece as you go.
 The next step involved glueing the bottoms to the rabbet slots.

 I also added a few brad nails to hold every thing in place.  The wood glue plus the brad nails means the bond will be stronger than the wood.  The wood will split before the glue bond breaks.  Thats important because it wouldn't be a good outcome if the bottom fell out while I was carrying a bunch of troops.
 All nice and square.  I did sustain a minor shop injury doing something stupid....  Handling rough wood without wearing gloves which resulted in a 1inch long splinter.
With the boxes done, it was time to move onto the the tops.  The tops will be cut to the exact dimension of each box (18x18 or 18 x 24) and  will have a lip around them to fit sung to the box.

You can see I suck at miter cuts and had to add a little extra to make one corner "fit".  I'll be able to hide the gaps when finishing but it's something I need to learn do a better job with.

The framing is just stock 1/1/8 corner molding.  It makes a tight fit the box top and will serve as a nice frame for the sceniced top.

 Here are the boxes all nice and done - at least construction wise.  They still need to be sanded and finished and there will be some interior work also.

I did order some "aged brass" clamshell handles from Rockler which should arrive in a few days.

 On a whim. I decided to use the remaining plywood from the 4x4 piece of plywood to make a dice tower.  This is one of those projects that has zero planning so we'll see what happens.

The dice "motivators" are glued in place.  I'm sure their is a more technical name for these in the the world of dice tower science but I haven't bothered to look it up.
 The sides and bottom are attached.  I still need to cut a 45 degree ramp at the bottom to make sure the dice flow out of the tower.
 Another shot of the boxes.  I'm pleased how they are shaping up.
 The basic dice tower.   I'll add some details around it to make it look like a castle.
A look down the business end of the dice tower - I suppose this will work.

Lastly, I did come up with a use for the first test box - it will serve a a tool caddy onto the workbench.  I'm constantly looking track of measuring tapes, pencils etc in my workshop.  I suspect it's gremlins moving that stuff around.

Having a caddy to put small frequently used stuff in and keep it with reach may reduce the time lost to looking for that #&%@ pencil.  I will drill some 3/8 inch holes down one of the long sides to hold screw drivers and pencils.