Friday, July 30, 2010

4 More Completed Ships

The four ships that where primed last night have been all painted up and I think they came out pretty well.  The four ships on the left consist of the German Battle Crusier Derflinger, the German Battleships Konig and Ostfriesland and the US Battleship Pennsylvania (sister ship to the Arizona).  I've got some light cruisers and destroyer yet to complete from the stash I got at Historicon.  Yes, all of the models are at the right scale and while only a Battle Cruiser the Derflinger was longer than most battleships of the age.

Here's a close up of the newest ships to the fleet.  Combined with the Royal Oak (off camera) I've got enough to have a small game, which I'll try tonight.  Following the lead of my fellow blogger, Paint Pig, I did order some more ships from GHQ to further flesh out the British and German fleets.  Once I've completed the fleets it's on to Warlord Romans which were purchased from Architects of War.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

4 More WW1 Ships Assembled and Primed

A little more work has been completed on my current WW1 Naval project - four more ships have been assembled and primed.  The ships are, from left to right: USS Pennsylvania, and from the German Fleet the BB's Koing, Ostfriesland and the Derfflinger.  I have them posed next to the British ships I completed the other day.  I have become very impressed with the quality of the GHQ Micronaughts - minimal flashing and each ship kit comes with extra detail parts.  I don't know about you but I tend to drop stuff and 1/2400 scale cranes can be hard to find.  Having one or two spares in each kit is a very helpful feature.

The color scheme for the German fleet will feature a darker grey's and tans.  I haven't decided how to paint the US ship.  The USS PA will likely see several paint schemes before I settle down on one.  I'm hoping to have fleets of 10-12 capital ships for both the Germans and British when I'm done and a smaller sized (5-6) for the US.  All fleets will have a handful of Destroyer/Torpedo Squadrons to spice things up.

On the rules side I've settled on a very simple set of rules (4 pages!) from a member of the NOVAG group.  I'm also studying the Naval Thunder ruleset  (downloaded from the Wargame Vault) for more involved games.

My next project (which will start in mid August) will be a 28mm Imperial Roman Army (Warlord Games figures that were purchased for Architects of War. The pricing was great and Ernie has a complete selection of the warlord figures in stock (plastic and metals).  I'll also be doing so test builds of his terrain pieces - I really like the 28mm machine gun nest!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

3 More WWI Ships Completed

I got a little build and paint time in today and managed to complete 3 more 1/2400 British ships for my growing WW1 collections.  All the ships are from GHQ and the casting quality is top notch.  The ships that will be joining the Royal Oak (see a previous post) are, from left to right, the CV Furious, BB Ajax, and the Early Dreadnaught King Edward VII.

While I don't know that much about naval air operations during WWI, the Furious is a very interesting ship - it bow has a flight deck and the stern has a turret with a single mounted 18" gun!  Very interesting and fun to build.

I painted these while listening to the latest issue of the "View from the Veranda" podcast, available from either I-Tunes or the Meeples and Miniatures website.  Always a good listen, however the fabled discussion about point systems got bumped yet a again!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Architects of War Store is Online

I just made my first online purchase from the Architects of War webstore!  They are going through a "soft open" to ensure the site functions well.  The site is very well done and worth a look.   Ernie and Barb are continuing to add to the inventory and hobby content but there's a lot to peruse right now.  I picked up some scenery kits, glue and the Warlord Imperial Roman Starter army (at a very nice price, by the way).

Based on the current status of my son's room, I feel inclined to start with the "Pig Sty" as my next scenery project!

Take a look at the site, I think you'll be very impressed.  I'll be fleshing out the Romans as the inventory listing gets expanded.

Friday, July 23, 2010

6MM ACW Black Powder Battle Report

Ernie and Mike came over and played a test game using my 6mm ACW figures and the Black Powder ruleset.  The game was loosely based on the Batltle of Shiloh and involved a initially larger confederate force (6 infantry and 2 calvary brigades and 14 batteries) attacking a smaller Union force (4 infantry and 1 calvary brigades and 12 batteries).  The Union did have reinforcements (3 Infantry and 1 calvary brigades plus 8 batteries.  The reinforcements needed to be rolled for but did come on fairly quickly.  The objective for each side was to exit a brigade off the far corner of the table.  Mike commanded the Union and Ernie the Confederates.  One note of warning, Ernie does attempt to speak in a southern drawl while commanding the confederates and sounds suspiciously like a former Governor of Arkansas.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

Like most battle reports here at the Lair, I forgot to take a any pictures during the fight!

The picture to the left is the initial confederate deployment - 4 infantry brigades are in front with 2 and the calvary in reserve.  The game proved to be very deadly for the cavalry units as there were a good number of attempted charges with predictable results - the only real bright spot was the confederates running down a pesky artillery battery.

Here is the Union deployment - 3 brigades in line with a fourth coming up in column.  The Union reinforcements started coming on in turn three from the table edge to the right of the picture.  The battle quickly developed into to separate fights on each flank.

The fight on the Union right flank just after we called the game.  Union losses where high - 3 infantry regiments and the calvary brigade were destroyed and their position was being turned as you can see to the left of the picture.  We used Litko markers in the game - skulls for losses and red disrupted markers.  One note, these are the same markers that were used in the Black Powder game at Historicon from Architects of War (yes, that is a shameless plug).

Things were looking a good bit better for the Union on their left flank as two confederate brigades were just about to be overrun by a large Union force of 4 infantry brigades.  The Union calvary brigade did attempt a charge (lower right) but that didn't work out so well.  We called the game as a draw.

Overall, I think the game went very well and we did learn the mechanics of the rules.  BP is a game that rewards both concentration of fire and flexible tactical thinking given the potential for either really good or really bad command roles.  It is a great set of rules for larger battles and I think gave a good feel for the period.  We had just under 2,000 figures on the table and the battle proved to be very manageable.  The next test game will involved some ironclads and then I think we'll be ready for the campaign!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Modeling Organization

Developing some organizational skills has been a big boon to my enjoyment of the hobby.   Modeling is a hobby / stress reliever for me rather than a business, so production efficiency isn't the paramount issue but I do like the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a project.  It's also a plus with my wife to show some reduction in the lead pile just prior to a new addition.

Anyway, I have found two methods that really help keep me organized and reduce the time I spend looking for stuff.  The first is a rolling tool cabinet that holds all my modeling tools/paints and scenic supplies.  The real trick to making this work is to organize your projects and take out what you need at the start and then put stuff back once your done.  The whole "putting stuff back" is the hard part as I tend to assume a perfect memory when I put an item down and then the next day spend 20 minutes looking for the damn thing.  I'm sure something like that has never happened to you.

The other plus is that the rolling tool cart makes it easier to pick up or hide your modeling efforts if executive management of the household has dictated another use of the space your occupying.

The second organizational trick I use are wooden project trays (I got them from the craft store Michael's on sale for $1.25 each) to organize my projects in.  This step accomplishes two goals - first it keeps all of the items associated with an effort in one spot and makes it easier to start/stop projects as I like to do.  The second goal is that since I limit the size of a project to what will fit in a tray it forces me to think a bit and break a large project down into smaller subsets.

The trays are also very useful on game nights to help players organize and move their respective forces from the storage cabinets to the table.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

GHQ WWI Battleships and Other Historicon Purchases

I finished the assembly and basic painting of my first GHQ 1/2400 scale WWI ship.  The model in question is the British Battleship Royal Oak.  As you can see in the picture the model is just three inches long but the casting has a wealth of detail from anchor chains and capstans to life boats.  The GHQ micro-naught line is very impressive.  The model was very easy to build and paint.  This one went from out of the blister to painted in about 90 minutes.  There are a few places that need a touch up but I'm happy with the results.  I used a thinned down version of the GW baddab black wash to highlight the details.  I'll finish this one up tomorrow night and get a few others started.

I also spent some time cleaning up and priming some 28mm Bolt Action German paratroopers (Warlord Games) that I also got at Historicon last week.  These are all metal and the quality is good.  I did struggle a bit with the 75mm anti-tank gun as there are no instructions in the blister.  I had to resort to using the assemble instructions from an old Battlefront 15mm anti-tank gun!  I'll likely put these aside as I finish up the GHQ ships but I wanted to get the basic work out of the way.

On the gaming front, I'll be organizing a 6mm ACW game using Black Powder for my club in the nest few weeks.  Hopefully they'll be enough interest to run a campaign during the fall.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

3 Days at Historicon

Well I just got back from my first "overnight" game convention experience after attending three days at Historicon.  I must say that all the gibberish and hand-wringing concerning the convention on TMP and the impending demise of Historicon was way off-the-mark.  I had a blast and the Valley Forge Convention Center was definitely a big step up from the Host in Lancaster.  The convention center hotels (I stayed in the Radisson) were adequate (they're not a Four Seasons) but the pricing was reasonable.

I was able to play 3 games at the convention and help my friend Ernie both with his debut of Architects of War and put on his Black Powder game with the Perry brothers and John Stallard.  There may have also been some new lead acquisitions but the less said about that the better.

I really enjoyed the 2 pre-WWII dreadnaught games that I played which were put on by members of the Northern Virginia Gamers club (NOVAG) using their home grown rules.  I found the games to be a lot of fun and really liked the feel of the period.  In fact, I ended up purchasing a fair number of WWI ship models from GHQ and as a result have yet another period to game / model.  I will say the guys from NOVAG did a very nice job hosting the event and ensuring the form of the rules they used where both approachable and yet gave a good feel for the period.

The highlight of the con for me was helping with the "Black Powder in the Peninsular" game that was co-hosted by Architects of War, Warlord Games and the Perry Brothers.  The photo to the left is a picture of the 24' table with the scenery in place.  You can see a lot of the new terrain pieces from Architects of War on the table - especially the fortfication set, which is a very difficult location to assault!  My role in helping put the game on was to lug stuff around and help new players with the rules while playing.  I did a pretty good job on the lifting stuff part.

Here's a picture of the game masters.  From left to right Ernie Baker (AofW), Alan and Michael Perry and John Stallard.  Having the authors and main play testers of the rules moderate a game is fairly useful!  The game featured almost 2,000 of Ernie's personal collection of 28mm Napoleonic figures and had 6 players per side, each commanding a brigade.  My command in the game was to be one of the two brigades to assault the fortification in the center of the map.  My Brigade attacked the right side and another player attacker the left.  Technically, we were supposed to just screen the fort but got really good command roles and attacking is just a lot more fun!  The fort was defended by a brigade of British and a brigade of Portuguese infantry.  Oh yes, it had a ton of artillery too!

After the previously mentioned lucky command role, my brigade was able to make contact with the defenses on turn two.  My first assault was repulsed with moderate casualties on both sides.  In a subsequent turn I was able to renew the assault with the support of the reserve battalion and....

Breached the defenses!  The British brigade was quickly despatched but those damn Portuguese were superbly played and manage to hold the last third of the fort until the end of the game.  While the mechanics of Black Powder are elemental they lend themselves to both very quick play and a real feel for command trade-offs .  I really like the ruleset and recommend it highly.  It's not for everyone as there is moderate detail and a lot is left up for player discretion but for me gaming is as much a social experience as it is a competition and these rules blend the two nicely.  There will be a lot more (and better!) pictures from the game posted on both the Architects of War website as well as their blog.

Lastly, a picture of John Stallard and myself.  John's a great guy and very fun game host.  I think he may have missed his calling and instead of owning a miniature figure company he could have been a very successful game show host.  He's a very affable fellow but I do not recommend trying to keep up with him in a pub.

As for the debut of Architects of War,  Ernie reports they did a very brisk business at there stand and was very pleased with the reaction to their initial product line.  I was able to even make a sale or two!  Check out their website when it comes up in the next week or so.

All-in-all it was a great trip and I look forward to next year!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paratroops & Produce

I made some progress on my 28mm US Paratroopers (from Warlord's Bolt Action Line) and have completed the basic painting of the first 2, 10 man squads.  I have some details to clean up and then seal the figures.  As you can see, I also made a little progress on the Hetzer. I'll be picking up some opposition for these guys at Historicon, which I will be heading out to in a few hours.
Here's the 1st squad, 8 M1's, 1 M1 Carbine and a Thompson.  These figures are just about complete.

2nd Squad has a similar weapons loadout

The Hetzer has been block painted.  I usually find painting the rubber road wheels on tanks a bit of a pain (I just don't do it for 15mm) but found the raised detail on this model made it very easy.  I'm going to build a frame for camo netting and make the netting removable so I can have one for an urban setting and one for the bocage.  I'll also be picking up some detail parts latter today at Historicon to add some character ala "pimp-my-Hetzer"

Outside of modeling and sailing my main interest is gardening (well it's my wife's interest and she tells me I like it too).  We pulled in out first major harvest: 2 Zucchinis, a green pepper, some jalepenos and 70 lbs of english cucumbers!  The plants to the rear of the pile-o-cukes are black beans

The bed in the foreground has two eggplants in the front and the rest are cukes.  I have realized that I have grossly over-planted the cukes and will have them coming out of our ears.  We had to fence the garden to try and limit the incursions from the local wildlife.

Of course, like the Maginot line, our defenses have not proven to be impervious to assault as this video with my son and wife point out:

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Week Before Historicon or the Geek Prepares to Sally Forth

Well it's a week before my trip to Historicon.  This will be the first time I've gone on a multi-day trip to one of the HGMS shows.  Usually it's up for a 2 -3 hour excursion and ramble through the vendor booths.  I'll be attending the show for a few days and helping my friend, Ernie, with the debut of his new miniatures company "Architects of War".  I'll be helping around the booth and generally trying to look much more important than I really am - standard executive stuff.

As for my planned purchases, as I've posted before, I've got my eye building up a 28mm Imperial Roman Army and really like the Warlord stuff.  On the other hand, after seeing some of the Warlord 28mm ECW stuff in person, that seems to be a very interesting line also.  I'll also be getting some terrain pieces and the odd shiny bauble.  The wife has declined to attend this grand event, but has given me the green light to go, albeit with the slightly mocking attitude on the worthiness of playing with toy soldiers.  I did think about pointing out that my "mid life crisis" involves miniature gaming rather than silly things like Ferraris and women half my age but thought better of that as a conversation started on that premise has no possibility of ending well!


On the modeling front, I've been focusing on finishing up some projects, namely my 6mm ACW and a some 28mm WWII stuff from Warlord's Bolt Action line.  I've finished three full divisions for both the union and confederates for my planned ACW campaign which will be held after Historicon.  My total in painted 6mm figures is just under 2,700 so it makes for a pretty impressive game on the table.  I still need to add scenery to some bases and finish up the limbers.  6mm plays really well with the black powder ruleset so I'm looking forward to hosting the campaign.

I've included some pictures of the US Paratrooper platoon and Hetzer I'm trying to finish up this weekend.  All the items are from the bolt action line.  The paratroopers are very nice figures and fun to paint.  I've got enough for a platoon of 3, 10 man squads and a small HQ / weapons unit.  I'll likely want to pick up a mortar at Historicon.  The Hetzer is a OK model, but the packaging is a bit on the minimalist side - no instructions or decals and for the price charged I would have expected a bit more.  Despite my whining, I think the model will finish out nicely.  I need to add some German opponents and perhaps some terrain pieces for AofW's WWII line.