Friday, November 29, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

 Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out on the inter webs.  A roast Turkey is a beautiful thing, indeed so I thought I would share.
Turkey induced comas for Sean and his two college friends he brought home for Thanksgiving.

I have much to be Thankful for.  I would be even more thankful if I could find my pants with the elastic waist.  It seems my current pair has shrunk - funny that?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge X

It's that time of year again.  The days are shorter and colder.  We retreat to the warm confines of our respective hobby warrens and busily prepare for the bacchanal of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge version X.

Yes this is the 10th Challenge and I'm really stoked.  If I must say, I do have a rather ambitious plan, which will be revealed in good time.  I can say that its never been done before....

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Jasper and team over at Wargaming, Soldiers and Strategy have started to publish some of the findings from the 2019 version of the Great War-gaming Survey.  The 2019 survey had a record level of participation and yielded some interesting insights about the state of the hobby and both some opportunities and challenges ahead.

I encourage you to go over and take a look at the results that Jasper will be discussing over the coming weeks.

Here is a link to the first post, "The Basics"

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Project Wargaming You Tube Channel

A few of the club members made it to Fall In and put out a video on Little Wars TV.  One of the outstanding games they saw was the D-day game pictured.  It's in glorious 6mm scale and the table really looks wonderful.  The gentleman who put on the game has a Youtube Channel called "Project Wargaming" which I've found very informative and fun to watch.  Go check it out.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Troop Cabinet 2.0 - All Done

 I got up early today and decided to bang out the cabinet and get it installed under my table.  Here's a shot of the installed unit.

 I assembled the cabinet carcass out of 1/2 inch plywood.  Its a simple cube with a divider and the overall dimensions are 21.75 inches wide, 25 inches tall and 18 deep.  The only part that requires some precision is placing the middle column as it if its off to one side the drawers will not fit.  I just made 10 1/8 inch spacer for each side to make sure the placement was accurate.  The drawer gaps are set to be 10 1/8 inch wide - 10 inches for the drawer and 1/8 of "wiggle" room.

I then cut the drawer runners.  Like the earlier troop cabinet, I'm using very simple wood platforms as runners.  Putting drawer slides in would just be too expensive and add a lot of un-needed weight.
Putting in the runners is a bit tedious (OK, a lot tedious)
 With the cabinet built, all that was left was to finish all the drawers. I had built 5 as a trial a few days ago so just had 11 to go.  All the wood was cut and using my handy dandy drawer jig got these 11 done in less than an hour.  My average assemble time Wass 2 minutes and 40 seconds per drawer.   Yes, I did time myself.  Why? - because I'm a geek.

 After sanding the drawers, I attached the drawer pulls.  I had just enough of the library card pulls to put one on every drawer.  I like these pulls a lot and think the add a good bit to the look.
 When building projects that need to fit in a specific area there's always a bit of an apprehensive walk when you carry the unit and try it's fit for the first time.  No need for worry as I got the measurements right.  OK - given my track record on measurement accuracy, there was a lot of need to worry.
 Look! there's room for 6,000 15mm scale troops

 A shot looking down from the table top
and the first troops have taken up residence - my 15mm Imperial Romans and

The project has been on my to-do list for many, many months so it felt great getting it knocked out.  Sunday will be spent re-organizing the war game rooms and filling up these drawers.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

War & Empire Kickstarter Arrives: Can a Leadpile Ever be Too Big?

Kickstarter can be a wonderful / terrible thing.  I eagerly backed West Wind productions War & Empire III (after doing War & Empire II back in 2016) and the new miniatures just showed up today.

There are 30 packs of minis - 15 for an Early Byzantine army and 15 for an Arab Conquest army.  These will go nicely with my Early Imperial Roman and Sassanid Forces.

The figures are 15mm in scale and paint up nicely.  There arrival is timed very nicely in anticipation of the upcoming analog hobbies painting challenge.  Hmmm, Byzantines, Sassanids and Arabs - I wonder if a campaign is in the works?

Maybe this is why I was building extra storage.....

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Troop Transport Expansion: More Drawer, Please

 A little over a year ago, I built a custom troop storage and transport cabinet.  The goal was to make something the efficiently stores my 15mm Napoleonics collection and help me cart stuff around to put on big convention games.  At the risk of sounding a little self-congratulatory I was thrilled with how it came out.  The cabinet worked fantastically at Historicon and made both transport and keeping my troops organized a snap.  Another plus was there were zero figures damaged in transport.

I've decided to build some more troop storage under my game table and will be using the same drawer size as the troop transport so I can switch drawers out to get ready for future convention games.  I'll also be making some improvements to the base unit (security, more compartments but that's a future project).

 The first step in any project that has some repetitive aspects is to build a jig.  The jig is built to the exact outside dimension of a drawer which is 10 x 16.5 inches and 3 inches high.   There no magic to those dimensions - it's just what I decided to use when building the first set.

With the jig done, I then moved on to cutting the parts - I had enough scrap to make 5 drawers and that was a good number to refine the build process.  I also got to use "Betsy" my trusty cross-cut sled.  I'm sure all of you name your jigs also.  Well if you don't, then, you're just weird - "aren't they, Betsy?"
 OK all the wood is cut.  Each drawer requires the following parts:

2, 10 x 2.75 inch 1/2 inch plywood

2, 15.5 x 2.75 inch 1/2 inch plywood

1, 10 x 16.5 inch 1/4 inch plywood (bottom)

I'm using simple but joints - not the best looking but fast and strong enough.

Exterior drawer dimension remains 10 x 16.5 x 3 inches
Lets try the jig - plop the sides in with a bit of wood glue and brad nail them in place.  Nice, snug fit.
Put the bottom piece on and with glue and brad nails (I did get a new nail gun and love using it). The nail holes are that visually appealing but it I'm not making fine furniture.

Total assemble time - including cutting the wood, roughly 7 minutes.

but does it fit in the cabinet?
 Yup - it fits perfectly!  I'll need to do some sanding and finishing but will wait until the weather warms up a bit.
Ok 5 drawers built in under 30 minutes.
I didn't have enough 1/4 ply to have single piece bottoms for all the drawers so two of the drawers have bottom made of two pieces of 1/4 plywood.  I ran an interior brace across the seam to create some stability and ended up with a nice pencil / dice storage area.  So that's the way I umm planned it...

I'm planning to build another 15 drawers for a total of twenty.  That should allow me to hide - oops store a lot more new miniature acquisitions.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

3D Printed Pontoon Bridge

 Dave from the club is running a Iran/Iraq War-game at Fall In and needed a pontoon bridge. I volunteered to print one and you can see my first attempt was more abstract than I hoped.  A little repair work on the printer and things were set right.
 The print files I'm using are from WOW Buildings and are for a WW2 Bailey bridge (part of WOWBuildings Market Garden set of files).

Theres a file for the platform (which prints two decks) and pontoons, which I copied in the slicing program to print 3 at a time.  I didn't like the look the mix of pontoons to platforms in the second picture, so printed both files again.
This version looks a lot better and gives Dave and extra section if he ever needs it.  The original file is scaled for 28mm some I ad to reduce it.  The detail came out well but the railing are REALLY then and break easily.  I snapped off a number of sections while painting up this bridge.

A word on painting 3D prints.  One of the downsides of 3D printing is the print layers (striations) are sometimes visible.  There are a number of ways to hide them depending on the material used to print.  I mainly print in PLA (why? because its what I have on hand) and the easiest way to mask the layering is to prime with a thicker medium so I use a white gesso  (Liquitex).  It works surprisingly well for terrain items.  I tint the white gesso with whatever base color I plan to use to reduce the chance of bright white spots showing through.

A couple of coats of white gesso and then some Vallejo Russian Green and this bridge is done.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

 Last Monday at the club, Josh put on a fantastic ACW game using fire and fury regimental and his 15mm ACW collection.  We refought the battle of Honey Hill in 1864 from Shermans march to the sea.  Tony and I were the Confederates and Greg, Ed and Keith the Union.

The Union forces outnumber the confederates by close to 3:1 but the Rebs have fortified positions

The Union's left flank emerges from the woods - its a very large attack
The left flanks attack charges home - most of the Union troops are Veterans vs Trained for the confederates
The confederate breastworks are eventually overwhelmed
I tried shifting some regiments to meet the Union attack but did so too late, dooming Tony and I to defeat.  Just after this picture was taken, the CSA force reached it's break point and the game was called.  It was a lot of fun to play regimental F&F again.
A view from the Union side.

I was able to get to the club a bit earlier and was also able to play a quick game of Churchill from GMT games.  Its a very fun and interesting card driven game of conferences between the allies to during the course of WW2.  I found it fascinating and want to play again.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

I've been working on the Rail Road....

"I love the smell of Laser Burnt MDF in the morning, it smells of gaming". Ok that's a pretty muddled paraphrasing of Col Kilgore but it is an accurate description of the scent in the Lair as I've been assembling a lot of Sarissa Precsision 28mm rail road kits.

Sarissa has a large selection of rolling stock and the models are very fun to put together.*. The first picture shows the assembled Pannier Engine and freight cars set.  The set is a great deal and I highly recommend it.  I tossed in a 28mm Perry DAK officer figure for scale.

 If there are trains, then there must be some track, so I picked up a few track packs from Sarissa also.  They are very simply to put together but one tip is to paint the rails and ties BEFORE assembling the tracks.

The completed train - sorry the picture is a little dark
 A dark grey, rust streaked engine and flat car.

The rest of the rolling stock.  Why am I building a 28mm railroad?  Well you may see it in an upcoming LWTV episode....

* Usually Sarissa Precision kits are a joy to put together but one has to be in the right frame of mind - if you're in a rush, well then thing s might go awry.