Wednesday, January 30, 2019

AHPC IX: Week 7 Progress Report

It has been brought to my attention by a few misguided souls that I haven't given any numerical updates on my progress during this year's Challenge.  To be honest, these "spreadsheet groupies" kind of scare me and they were likely those kids back in school who reminded the math teacher they forgot to assign homework.

Since I want to make everyone happy, as the Geeks Lair is certainly a big tent, here is the update through week 7.

I know its a graph of almost in decipherable complexity.  Let's break it down into it's two components.  The two bars relate to this year's Challenge, with the red bar being my plan and the blue actual progress.  As you can see, I'm slightly ahead at 1,925 points* vs a plan level of 1,617.

The lines on the graph are the points progressions of Challenges 5-8 and you can see Challenge IX is pretty much in the middle of the pack as of the approximate halfway point.

In terms of painting, the focus has been of finishing up what I need for the Historicon game this summer, which is based on 15mm Napoleonics and I'm pretty much done there.  In fact 75% of the points to date are related to this scale and period.  I suspect you'll see a bit more variety in the second half and there will be a very large "secret" terrain project.  OK, "secret" may be a bit over-blown.  Let's just say it will either be a grand success or an epic failure that I will never live down.

Progress will be a little bit more uneven as I have some business trips over the next few weeks but I'm very happy where I am so far in the Challenge.

There will still be more 15mm Nappy's in the form of an Austrian army but these are just for my personal collection so the pressure of getting them down in time for a convention game if off.  I may have gone a little mad on collecting Nappy's at this scale....

* My reported point total is slightly higher than the official one on the AHPC Blog as it contains miniatures that have been painted but not submitted yet - future bonus round entries.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Too The Strongest: ECW

Had a chance to play the English Civil War version of "Too the Strongest" last night at the club and loved the game.  I got crushed but really enjoyed the game system and period!

I sense another project down the road!

Monday, January 28, 2019

AHPC IX: British Generals and Ship Crew

 A short update on the Painting Challenge - first some British (and one Spanish) General.  All the figures are AB Miniatures and desire a painter with much better skills than me,
and a whole bunch of French and British crew stands for the ships that have been built to date.

These figures are all from Thoroughbred Miniatures and were a lot of fun to paint up.  I base them two to a stand for the ship to ship combat rules I'm adapting for the upcoming Historicon game.

Only one ship and crew set for the game remains to be completed!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Sail & Steam Navies: Battle of Mobile Bay

Last Monday I put on an ironclads game at the club using Sail and Steam Navies and 1/600 scale ironclads.  I thought the game went really well and I had three players, all of whom were new to S&SN as a ruleset.
The scenario was the Battle of Mobil Bay but with reduced fleets as I just don't have enough Union Screw Sloops and Frigates to flesh out all of Farragut's 18 Ship Union Fleet.   The Union Attacked with 10 ships .

It was a very bloody affair with the Union loosing four ships and having four others very badly damaged.  The Confederates eventually lost the Tennessee but Fort Morgan was still holding on.

I need to tone down my riles form Torpedos as I think they were way too powerful.

All in all, it was a grand game and I look forward to doing more.  The game has also provided me a reason to go ahead and purchase the models to do the entire Union fleet.  Its for the club, not me....

Friday, January 25, 2019

AHPC IX: More 15mm Napoleonics - French Generals and Limbers, Spanish Artillery and some Sarissa Buildings

Another 15mm painting update
French Generals - the figures are from Old Glory's Blue Moon line and were a lot of fun to paint up.  The larger the base, the higher the command level.  These 9 command stands join another 4 that I purchased pre-painted from GAJO.
Spanish artillery - AB figures and Old Glory guns.

AB figures are simply superb.
6 French Limbers for Old Glory.  Wonderful figures and very cost effective but I really don't like painting limbers.  Got some Austrian Limbers to also paint up.
One of two 15mm scale Sarissa European Buildings.  I highly recommend the kits.
I "need" to get some more!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

AHPC: Vehicles

 Not everything in this year's challenge will be 15mm scale - and to prove that point here are two 28mm WW2 vehicles.  The first one is a British Staghound armored car.  It's a Resin model from Blitzkrieg miniatures with plastic detail parts from a Rubicon kit.

Next up is a 76mm Sherman Tank (one can NEVER have too many Shermans in ones collection).  This is a plastic kit from Rubicon which I highly recommend - it's an excellent model.

OK back to 15mm Napoleonics...

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

AHPC IX: Frigate in 15mm scale

 The sixth of a planned fleet of seven ships is done - well "done-ish".  I'll add some rigging once a few playlists a are completed.

The model is a 22 gun Frigate from Thoroughbred Miniatures and was a blast to do.

 This summer, she'll be the flagship of the French squadron.
 There's also some crew figures (20 of them)

Monday, January 7, 2019

AHPC IX: Submissions 4 - Boats!

4 15mm scale frigates and sloops have been added to the fleet.  All of the models are from the fantastic "Sea Eagles" line from Thoroughbred miniatures and are highly recommended.  The kits are a lot of fun to both build and paint.
A French Polacre.  The masts may look a little short.  Heh, heh there's a funny story about that.  It seems that I may have dropped the model while painting it and some of the masts broke off.  When I say some, I mean all.  The parts are all standard sized wooden dowels so it will be easy to replace them.
The second "French" ship is actually a model of the USS Onieda but she'll be pressed into French service for the Historicon game.
The pride of the planned British Fleet is this 18 gun brig.
Perhaps my favorite models is this 12 gun British sloop.  It kind of reminds me of my sailboat, the Bucentaure except I'm not "allowed" to mount cannons on her.

Hey - what's that noise....

I turn my back of these kids for one second and their back to fighting.  I know I recycled this bad joke form the AHPC positing but I liked the photo and wanted to use it.

I'm really happy with how the ships are coming out and think They'll look and play great.

Still coming up is a 22 gun French/US Frigate and a Xebec - which will be in the service of the British as a mercenary.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018: A Year of Extremes

It seems that 2018 has come and gone.  I think we all know what that requires - one of those self-reflective, and self-absorbed blog posts about the year that was.  I think the picture at the right kind of sums up 2018 for me - sometimes you're the T-Rex and sometimes you the miniature getting chomped.  (Thanks to Joe P from the scrum in miniature blog for the picture)

2018 was a year of extremes - hobby wise it was a great year and I ended it even more enthused about this silly shared habit of ours.  On the personal side, it was a very difficult year as both me and my son faced  serious health challenges.  I'll not dwell on the details other to say the following:

- One of my greatest mistakes in life is taking my health for granted.  "I'll exercise tomorrow" and "I should eat that extra portion of bacon" (insert any other high fat food alternative here) are two big lies I often told myself.   Hopefully you're all smarter than me and realize this fact.  I learned it the hard way by waking up in an ICU last April after an outbreak of severe Pancreatitis.  Several surgeries and 45 pounds later* I'm doing fine but wish I didn't have to learn these things by touching the hot stove all the time.  

* Technically it's now just 40 pounds less as I seem to have put on a little weight over the holidays - we'll see to that over the next few weeks.

- I pray none of you ever have to deal with a child going through a major health crisis.  Even with the resources we're blessed with I can't describe the feeling of powerlessness one has in these situations.  The one silver lining was Sean moved back home as he was treated and seems to have made a full recovery.  He's a tough cookie and is just as stubborn as his old man (but maybe not as stubborn as his mother).  Thankfully, he's now preparing to return to Carnegie Mellon to finish up (he's got 3 classes left) and then graduates.  I'm trying to steer him towards jobs in London so let me know if any of you have any leads for entry level roles for people with a degree in data analytics and robotics.

- It wouldn't be fair to discuss any of the health challenges from 2018 without disclosing my secret weapon for overcoming these things - my wife, Mary Beth.  She's a rock in hard times.  I know I often make fun of her in this blog but I would not have made it through 2018 without her help.  I'm still amazed she (a) chose to marry a moron like me and (b) still chooses to remain so.  Let's just say no luckier man walks the face of the earth than me.  I'm still deathly afraid of her (as you should be too) but deeply glad to have her by my side.

I've made some big lifestyle changes as a result of the "trials of 2018".  Professionally, I've moved to a part time status with the VC firm I work and have shifted my focus to healthcare and healthcare related tech.  Financial services just isn't as interesting as it once was and I'm convinced there is no industry that needs reinvention more that US healthcare.  Personally, I exercise just about every day (although the Christmas five pounds will make that every day!) and have radically changed my diet.  Suffice it to say I haven't felt this good in years.    

OK, enough of the maudlin, self-reflective stuff, this is a miniature wargaming hobby blog and not a movie script from the Hallmark Channel.  Lets get onto the hobby stuff!

2018 Painting totals
The last year passed saw a shift from 28mm to 15mm scale painting, which will be accelerated in 2019.  Lets look at 2018's painting tally relative to the last few years:

28 MM    
15 MM    
1/1200 ships2200
1/600 Inronclads10000
6 MM    

The big news is the shift from 28's to 15's during 2018 and you'll see that accelerate into 2019.  Why?  Three reasons.  First, My 28mm armies are nearing completion and I just don't need that many additional items.  Now stop clutching your pearls, I didn't say "complete" as we all know that miniature armies can never be completed.  The second reason is storage - I'm running out of space!  and Third, I wanted a new challenge for convention gaming and thought I just don't see that many "big convention games" that use 15mm miniatures yet one can achieve a real panoramic scale with 15's - a "moving diorama" to quote Rich Hasenauer (author of the Fire and Fury ruleset).

Despite 2018 being a challenge health wise for the family, hobby wise it was a fantastic year.  Here's my top 6 achievements for 2018:

1) Joined a War-game Club: Like many of you, I've really enjoyed the gaming related videos from the youtube channel Little Wars TV.  I discovered the group that makes these videos is a wargame club - Army Group York, which is located a little over an hours drive from where I live.  I really couldn't have found a nicer group of fellow gamers and in an act of incredible kindness they lowered their standards and allowed me to join the club.  Please don't hold that act against them.  I pretty much guilted them into to doing so by standing outside the club house crying.  People often discount how effective crying can be when negotiating.

2) Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge: This still remains my favorite hobby event of the year and for Challenge VIII, I posted my best personal score ever and placed third overall..  Curt does an amazing job wrangling the cats for this event.  Challenge IX is in full swing now and I think my pace is pretty strong.

3) Successfully ran my Historicon game: Given some of the health challenges and the fact the US healthcare industry conspires to prevent people from painting miniatures while in hospital (an outrage if you ask me), I didn't have enough time to develop a new game concept so essentially re-ran the 2017 games "DAK & Dragons" / "SOCOM & Socery".  I did add some jungle terrain and Dinosaurs (what game isn't made better with dinosaurs?).  The games went very well and the players seemed to enjoy themselves.    I also won another PELA award which is very gratifying.  I was also not feeling the greatest during the event and think that limited some of my usual "showmanship".  To be honest, I felt a little guilty about re-running 2017's game in 2018 and have vowed to pull out all the stops for 2019 but that's a topic for some future posts.

4) Gamed a lot - Joining Army Group York last August means I've gamed the most in the last 5 months than I ever have before.  I've lost the most also but who cares about that.

5) Jumped into 15mm Napoleonics in a big way. Coming out of Historicon last July, I was seized with a crazy idea of putting on a giant Napoleonic game in 15mm scale.  This idea was crazy on several fronts:

- I already have a rather large 28mm Napoleonic collection
- As of July 19th, 2018 I had zero in the way of 15mm painted Napoleonic figures
- I really wasn't familiar with any of the rulesets for the period, well familiar enough to put on a convention game.

Logic and economic common sense would dictate I avoid this new project like the plague.  So, of course, I jumped in with both feet.  Now I do need to admit that I've cheated a bit as  most of the troops collected to date were purchased pre-painted.  The majority were obtained from GAJO Miniatures and I highly recommend their services.  I'm well on my way to being able to field over 3,000 Napoleonic miniatures along with 15mm scale ships.  It will either be an epic game or an epic disaster.  Either outcome should prove interesting.  Stay tuned over the next few months to see how it plays out!  By the way, the picture to the right show some of my French infantry.

6) 3D Printing - I finally got my 3D printer to work (OK, that was with some help from my son) and have been using it for some terrain related projects.  I suspect you'll see a lot more in 2019.

To sum up 2018 was a great year hobby wise but a very trying one on the personal side.  As we enter 2019, I consider myself truly blessed as the health issues have subsided, my son is doing very well and returning to school and my wife still tolerates me.

All-in-all I'm damn lucky.