Friday, December 29, 2017

Analogue Hobbies Challenge VIII: First Submission

 My first entry for this year's challenge was done early in the morning and managed to be the first entry.  I went with a Russian tank as they're pretty easy to paint up fast.

This model is a plastic kit from Warlord and I highly recommend it.

 It comes with two complete turret options to make either a KV-1 (first two pictures) or a ....

KV-2!!!! - one of my favorite tanks from WW2.

 The kit also comes with 8 28mm plastic Russian infantry figures.  If you've ever played Russians, you know one can never have enough infantry!
A fun kit to build and paint up!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Woodworking Christmas Presents

 This year's homemade Christmas presents included a dice tower for my son, who really likes to play D&D now.  A picture of it in "storage" mode and then....

 It "transforms" into a dice tower.  It's made of white maple and cherry wood and was a lot of fun to make. Sean like a utilitarian design style so that's what I went with.

I'm sponsoring a prize for this year's painting challenge, which will be a custom made dice tower.  Not sure which category Curt will select but looking forward to building it.

For my wife I made the "obligatory" cutting board.  Every new wood worker makes a cutting board for Christmas.  The hardwood I used was pretty poor quality, as you can see in the middle left side.  I'll try resending this one down.  I did get a gallon of food grade mineral oil for finishing the board so expect to see a lot of cutting board for future holiday presents.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thanks WWPD!

The crew over at WWPD have made the decision  to hang up their podcasting spurs and move on to other things.  While sad to see WWPD end, it's good to see them go out in a classy way and I look forward to gaming with the crew in the future.

Thanks for the memories guys!

Some of my favorite gaming events with this crew include

1) The X-Wing campaign (Heroes of the Arturi Cluster) at Fall-In

2) Hosting them at some gaming events at my house in St Michaels

3) The online FOW campaigns - which have been copied by both Warlord and Battlefront!

4) My first live podcast at one of the Valley Forge Historicons

5) Playing Sparatcus with Luke - it's like the game inhabits him....

6) Dirty John's German camo tutorial - I still use that method

7) The time when - oops I forgot about the non-disclosure agreement on that one

8) Judd and Dano's intro game of Bolt Action "snipers are sooo O.P."

There are many more.

and, yes, they are really as creepy as they seem in the picture.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Proof that a college education allows you to do something useful - behold my son's farming 'bot. He had some time off between exams and coming home for Christmas so built a farming bot that monitors water and nutrient levels in the soil and adjusts them automatically.  It also turns on/off the grow lights.

All built with and ardino (sp?) board and some spare parts.

Now if I could only get him to be as industrious finding a job since he graduates in May....

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Twas the Night Before the Challenge

 My painting table groans from the weight of plastics waiting to be primed.  Just a few weeks ago it was pristine but now its a disorganized chaos of minis, paints, brushes and plastic sprees.  You know pretty much it's natural state.

 More stuff awaiting assembly
 Even more minis to be primed tonight
Hmmm - perhaps something for the terrain challenge........

Just 30 some dd hours to go.....

Monday, December 18, 2017

I AM A REJECT (honorary)

 Last week I was in the UK for business and decided to extend the trip over the weekend to see if I could weasel my way into a game at the Legendary Posties game shed in sunny Gravesend England.  To my delight I was deemed worthy and had a fantastic time playing a Crimean War themed game with the Rejects.   In a surprising show of low standards, I was also awarded the title of "Honorary Member of Posties Rejects".  I'm pretty sure this is the same thing as getting knighted so I should be free to pop in and say high to the queen the next time I'm in London.

 Here's an action shot of me and my award enjoying a glass of Italian red on the flight back to the US.  Being from the US, I'm not really familiar with how people should address me with this new and august title.  I decided that "Your Grace" would do but really struggled to get any of the British Airways crew to recognize my nobility.  Given their resistance to using my new title, I suspect the crew must have originated from Scotland and had just watched Braveheart the night before.
I'll do a proper battle report in a few days but I must say playing a game at Posties is a fantastic experience and reinforces how much fun a game with a GM/referee is.  I didn't know the rules and think that made the experience even more fun.  Perhaps the best gaming experience I've ever had.

I also learned that whenever Postie laughs, something bad is about to happen on the table.

Thanks to Postie and the rest of the rejects for allowing me to participate.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Uber Geek's Lair to you and your families.  The Holidays are a hectic time for us and, to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Logistics for Challenge VIII

Before commencing any type of operation, it's critical to make sure sure logistics are well in hand.  That fact is especially true for long winter campaigns such as the famed "Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge" - often referred to as the Ititarod of the miniature painting in the sporting world.

Careful attention must be paid to ensure all of your required supplies are well in hand or one might be forced to go outs into the cold to visit a hobby shop to resupply - loosing valuable painting time and having to interact with other people.

I just received a vital resupply of bases from the kind people at Renedra, who are my base supplier of choice.  I even got some of those new fangled "clear" bases that seem to be the rage in more avant guard quarters of our hobby.  To be honest I think they are a bit scandalous.

An order from Firelock Games, makers of the fantastic Blood & Plunder game also arrived on the same day.  As you can see the package narrowly escaped being plundered by real pirates.  Thankfully the contents were all safe and sound but maybe Firelock is taking this Pirate thing a step to far...

Prepare! Winter is coming.....

Monday, December 4, 2017

Terrain Testing: Sectional Interior Castle/Dungeon Terrain

With terrain now being a part of this year's upcoming painting Challenge, I've resurrected a project that that's languish in the "should do but don't" list a long time - sectional interior terrain for skirmish and role playing games..  I really like some of the commercially available sets (Dwarven Forge and Lunesdargent) but they are expensive and hard to customize so wanted to build my own.

This weekend I built two test pieces trying different stone "textures" and wall sizes.  Each section will be 4x4 inches in size and built out of 1/2 inch wide Extruded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) or "pink insulation foam.  I used my trusty proxxon hot wire cutter and straight edge guide to cut the foam to size.  I'll post more details on construction at the end of this post.  I tested two types of wall style stone blocks and random stones:

Option A: Stone Blocks.  These were carved into the foam using a dull pencil and just eyeballed.  I added a 28mm Frostgrave Barbarian for scale but didn't think the grab a painted one - the grey plastic kind of blends in but you get the idea.
 As these are test pieces, everything was done super quick
I like how the floor came out but am so-so on the walls.  Perhaps drawing the stone on the walls with a bit more care would be in order.
Option B: Randon stones.  After watching Black Magic Crafts video review of Greenstuffworlds's texture rolling pins, I picked up a few to try out.  I used the cobblestone road one to try a make random stone texture for the walls.  The technique is simple - just bear down and roll the texture pin across the face of the foam.
 Everything the same size as the previous test.
The texture came out fainter than I wanted - probably because I didn't push down hard enough to really embed the pattern.

What do your guys think?

Construction Process (all pretty much stolen from Black Magic Crafts videos):

- Use a hot wire table cutter to cut your EPS down to size.  In this case thats 1 4x4 inch base plus 2 1.5x4 inch walls.  All of the pieces are 1/2 inch wide.  I tried different wall sizes (1,1.5,2,3 & and even 4) and found 1.5 inches had the best combination of appearance and practicality (players can see and grab figures).

- Before assembling add in your texture of choice

- glue the pieces together - I use Eileens Tacky glue but any type of pva will do.  I also added some toothpick "columns" to act as structural support

- Prime everything with a black primer/hardener - I uses a roughly 50/50 mixture of modge podge and black paint.  This covers the pink color and really strengthens the piece.

- Paint in a dark gray

- Dry brush on a lighter grey

- Wash with a wash of diluted black paint