Sunday, October 30, 2016

Preying Mantises!

 Today was a spectacular day on the Eastern Shore - sunny, high 60's with a steady breeze.  In other words a perfect fall Sunday.  What made it even more perfect was a swarm of Prey Mantises in the yard.

Here's one on the deck...
 and in the bushes, a second,
 a third,
 a fourth,
a fifth,
 and a sixth!  All spotted in 15 minutes and within 20 feet of each other.  It is mating season so they do tend to congregate. These were all mature specimens averaging about 6 inches in length.

I've always been fascinated by these stealthy hunters and have cultivated them in the garden as they are great at controlling pets

 Just how good are they at controlling pests.  Here's another shot of the first one just after she nabbed a horse fly.
A tasty morsel if ever there was one.  One of the reasons we don't use chemical pesticides on out yard or vegetable garden is to make sure we don't kill off the mantis population.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Frostgrave Terrain II

 After priming with basic black paint, I painted on a medium grey.  The next step will be to redraw in the mortar lines with a sharpie marker and then dry brush white.

While the grey was drying, I thought the interior looked a bit to barren.  I added some columns and rubble.
Once the glue sets, I'll paint the new foam pieces grey and then proceed on the steps outlined above - almost done!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Another New Period/Scale.....

Hmmmm, it seems somebody has been a little too promiscuous on Kickstarter.  15mm ancients this time via the recent War and Empire kickstarter.  I picked up 2 armies - Imperial Romans and Sassanid Persians.

I do want to report the quality of the miniatures is fantastic - I'm very happy with them, although I do have a good bit of painting to do now.  If only there was an event coming up that could motivate my painting mojo.... I seem to remember something.

Those of you with better memories might recall that I've got both Imperial Roman and Dacian armies in 28mm and might wonder why I'm doing something so similar in another scale.  Well, you see, that's a funny story and ummm.....  Oh hell, I have no idea why I'm doing it but it really seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anyway, there's nothing illegal or immoral about collecting the same army in multiple scales.  I prefer to think of it as being "thorough"rather than "compulsive".  Of course, one has to concede that having the same army in four or more scales might be pushing the definition of thorough a bit to far.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Frostgrave Terrain

 Decided to make some Frostgrave terrain today out of shop scraps.  I had some extruded polystyrene foam lying around and just went to work without much of a plan.
 The base is 12 x 12 inches and the EPS is 1 inch thick - a little too thick for this application but it's what I have on hand.  The first two shots are some test fits.  Making the brick pattern on both sides of the wall was a pain.  I used the handle of a paint brush to make the mortar lines between the bricks.
 Add some stairs out of 1/4 inch styrene that came with some packages.

 Starting the glue up.  All of the straight EPS cuts were made on my handy Proxxon hot wire cutter.
 Another shot of the project being glued up.
I didn't like the uniform heights of the walls so I made some 1x2 inch "blocks" and added in a little variability.

Not bad for a 90 minutes of work.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge: Prep Work has begun

With the Fall comes the anticipation for the start of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  Normal brushwork is put on hold and figure prep takes the main stage.   I've learned to use the Challenge as a way to get all the painting done that is needed for the games I put on at Historicon.  This year will be no different in purpose but there will be a noticeable increase in the percentage of non-historicals that will make up my painting tally.  I need a lot of dungeon baddies for the silly game I'll be putting on.

So mostly I'm focusing on cleaning up figures, glueing them to their bases and the brushing on primer.  All of the figures on the workbench are from Reaper or the Frostgrave line with any metal figures already covered in thinned Panzer Grey primer from Vallejo.  The instructions for the plastic Reaper figures indicate no priming is needed.  I'm still a but dubious about that, but it seemed to go well for the two gentlemen in the back by the large bottle of Liquitex Matt Medium.

A close up of one of the metal Reaper figures - they're really nice and very cost effective.  It also seems my little dungeon escapade will have a very Egyptian feel to it.

As for this years Challenge, I haven't figured out what my goal is and doubt I can muster the energy to beat last years tally of 3,306 points.  At 5 points per painted 28mm infantry figure, that works out to 661 figures painted in 3 months.  Of course, my point tally is buttressed by 300 or so points from the various bonus themes but I'll still go with the the self-aggrandizing implication.

I think this year I'll go for quality rather than quantity - we'll see how it goes.  If Curt will have me, I'll still do the riveting mathemagical updates.

I do hope Mr O'Grady is up for a nautical challenge of some kind - I shall leave the choice of subject to him.....

Back to figure prep.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wargames Illustrated Issue 348: Shameless Self Promotion

WI 348 includes an article covering this year's Historicon and, for some strange reason, I got a full page spread on page 84.  I know it sounds silly but I'm pretty proud of that and grateful for the coverage.

Go out and buy multiple copies for yourself as I'm sure these issues will become very valuable collectors items.

Even more exciting was the nice coverage of my friend Ivor's gangster game on page 83.  Here's a link to Ivor's blog.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Rainy Weekend

 This weekend was very rainy so that means means some quality painting time.  I finished up my GuildBall Hunters team.  I went with an article them for the team as it "felt" right and I've always wanted to try snow basing.

 OK - when I saw the bear model it just screamed "Polar Bear!" to me and thats what really drive the decision to go with the article theme.

 I think the figures came out nicely

 I also made a fire pyre out of twigs from the yard and scrap polystyrene (pink insulation foam).

Not very impressive at a first glance but....
 It lights up!

I stuck a battery powered tea light in the center and it looks pretty cool.   The light actually flickers which adds the effect.

 It was a pretty simple project -

(1) cut the poly styrene in a ring with the teak light in the center

(2) Bevel the sides

(3) paint black and then dry brush dark great

(4) Hot glue the twigs along the beveled sides (leaving enough gaps for the light to shine out

(5) Run in some soot from the fire place and the lightly seal.

I bought 24 of the tea lights on Amazon for $12.00, so expect to see several more "lighted" terrain projects.

While I'm sad to see the summer go, I am looking forward to prime painting season and the return (hopefully) on this years Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

An Interesting Weekend on the Maryland Eastern Shore

 The eastern Shore of Maryland is wonderful place to live and there's no better time than the fall.  On Saturday, my wife and I went to the farmers market and then stopped in on the monthly "soup-sale" at a local church.  Homemade soups from different cultures, sold in a Church and packaged in an box for ammunition.  If that doesn't scream 'Murica, nothing does.
 Mmmm - Venison chili....  I got different types of chili and a large Italian Wedding soup.  The Chili didn't last the afternoon as there was college football that needed watching.

My apologies to my British friends as the prevailing winds were blowing towards the East.

 Later in the afternoon we were treated to a flyover from Robert, our local crop dusting guy.  It's hard to tell from his pictures but he was wagging his wings as he flew over.

We also have a new housemate - this large spider was a web right outside our dinning room window.  I'm not sure the type but he's big - about 1.5 inches across.

As long as he stays outside we'll be the best of neighbors.
On sunday night we had dinner at Ava's Pizza and wine bar and got the Eastern Shore Beignets - mmmmm