Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's "kind of" scale modeling

 Today I made a scale model of the robotics field for my son'e Robotics team.  It may not be military miniatures, but it is scale modeling of a sort.  The team uses the mock up to plan match strategies "dry-runs" of autonomous programs.  We've found it much easier to debug the code if everyone has seen a 3d walk trough of what the 'bot was supposed to do before we observe what it does.

 The model also serves as a great tool when communicating with the team we will be playing with during a match at a competition - there are four robots on the field at once (2 per side) so it get very busy and hectic during a match.  the more pre planning of actions, the better we tend to do.

The boys are thinking of making more of these fields and selling them to other teams - we've had several offers for last year's model.  Who knows, I may be getting into the scale model making business after all!

Here's a look at the actual field (not completely set up.  There will be 100 racquet balls in the four cylinders during each match - this year's game design is very challenging.

Oh well, off to coach robotics practice

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SAGA: Painting Progress on the Normans

 There was some progress on the Norman Warband today - most of the block painting was completed today (some after this photo was taken).  The Normans should be completed by next weekend.  You can see there future opponents above them casting derision on their unpainted state.

To be honest, I had hoped to get a bit more done today, but our cat, Oliver, had other plans.  I was working in my office when he decided my lap look comfortable and hopped up and went to sleep.  Not knowing what to do, I promptly drifted off also.  Oh well, maybe more painting progress next weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

SAGA: Normans Assembled

 Yesterday, I finished assembling a 4 point force of Normans to go against my recently completed Vikings.  The first picture shows the whole force which consists of a Warlord, 2 mounted units of Hearthguards (elites) a unit of Crossbowman (warriors) and a unit of Spearmen (Warriors).

 A close up of the crossbowmen and one of two mounted Hearthguard.  The crossbowman are from Gripping Beast and all the mounted figures are the plastic Mounted Normans from Conquest Games.  As you may know I'm a bit of a miniatures apostate as I actually prefer plastic figures over metal.  The Conquest figures are very nice and you have a lot of options in terms of weapons and shield style.

 Here are the Spearman (Gripping Beast figures) and the second unit of mounted Hearthguard.

Lastly, a picture of the warlord.  I managed to pick up some of the Little Big Man shield transfers and flags for both the Normans and Vikings from Ernie over at Architects of War.  The Norman flags are really nice so I plan on replacing the plastic flag stand on the figure with some brass rod to allow for a bigger flag.

Later in the day, I primed all the figures in white and have set them out to dry for a few days.  Hopefully in a week or so I'll have the Normans complete!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Old Style Sand Table

I just stumbled across a gamers blog, Service Ration Distribution (Hobby).  The blog's owner, Simon is from Scotland and has a very clever old style "sand table".

The photo shows the table before the sand has been added - why paint the bottom blue?  Water features can be added by just pushing the sand aside - Brilliant!

He's also got a very impressive collection of minis show the blog is definitely worth a look.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Viking Saga Warband Complete

 I managed to finish up a small (4 point) Viking Warband to use with the Saga ruleset.  This force consists of a single Warlord, 3 units of Hearthguard (elites) and one unit on Bondi Warriors (Regulars). I have another unit of Bondi Warriors to add to the force at a later date.

 Here's the first unit of Hearthguad - all plastic Gripping Beast Vikings.  I tried my hand at painting shields and lets just say I need some more practice.  I did check with Ernie and Barb at Architects of War and they just got in some more Little Big Man transfers - whew!  I did try to keep the shield designs the same for each unit to help keep things organized on the tabletop.

 My second unit of Hearthguard are Viking Beserkers, all metal Gripping Beast models.  Beserkers get extra attack dice but at a cost of lower armor values.

 The third and last unit of Hearthguard, also Gripping Beast plastics.

 Here's the big man himself, my warlord.  I have yet to settle on a fittingly blood curdling name, but don't worry one will be found in good time.

Lastly, the 8 figure unit of Bondi Warriors (Gripping Beast metals).  I like the stark black and white shield design.

I'm looking forward to trying these lads out on the tabletop in the next week or so.  Now it's on to their Norman foes!

Annapolis Sailboat Show!

 As some readers may know sailing is my second hobby after miniature gaming.  This weekend was the US Sailboat show, which the largest sailboat show in the world.  The show features about 2 miles of floating docks andover 300 hundred sail boat models on display.  This event is my favorite "con" of the year and Sean and I went on both Friday and Saturday.

The first picture is of a 45 ft Trimaran racing boat - it's really a wind powered rocket ship.  My son spent about an hour crawling over every aspect of her.  I'm a bit of a purist and prefer mono-hulls, but my son left the show very impressed with more modern design styles.

This is a picture of a one of the new Beneteau "First 40" designs which is their entry into the racing category.  It was an impressive boat and did a nice job of combining a race design with a cruiser's cabin.  This is the first time I've actually been impressed with a Beneteau.

The "bell of the ball" for me was the J-95 from J-Boats.  This boat is a "one class design" built for racing with a passable cabin layout that can best be described as "Spartan".  She is a "go-fast" type of boat but can be handled by one person.  Ahhhh dreams.....

I was struck by how much the sailboat show is similar to a gaming con.  Where Historicon had gaming tables, substitute display boats and test sails.  The harbor was ringed with Vendor booths in large tents.  At a gaming con the vendors sell all sorts of gaming related items from terrain, to paint to dvd's.  At the sailboat show, the vendors featured a similar range of related products from sails, to nautical electronics to sailing dvd'd and everything in between.  Perhaps people are more similar than different.

There was one vendor at the sailboat show who I haven't seen at one of the HMGS cons and it would be  a definite upgrade if they were to attend - Hendrick's Gin had a booth/free bar!  It was very funny to see the various sales reps steering potential buyers into or out of the bar.  I'm sure more than one boat sale was closed via the help the Hendrick's products!  Alas since I had my 16 year old son with me, I did not partake.

All in all, sean and I had a wonderful two days of "sailing-stuff" to tide us over as winter sets in - I am definitely not a "frostbite series" winter racer.

Back to the work bench to finish up some Vikings.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Progress on a Viking Warband for "Saga"

A short progress update on my Viking Warband for use with the new Saga ruleset.  Saga uses a simple point system where each force is worth one point and the quality of the troops drives the number you get per unit - Hearthguard (elite) have 4 figures per unit, Warriors (average) have eight and Levies (poor quality) have 12.  My Viking Warband will feature 3 units of Hearthguard, including one of beserkers and a unit of warriors.  I'm not sure how the unit will do on the table top but it should be fun to field.

Here's a shot after a few hours of painting.  I still need to do the details, including shields and straps but there was some good progress this morning.  The figures are a mix of Gripping Beast metals and plastics.  I'm planning to use some of my Dacians as stand in for a test game next week.