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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Store Report: Game Vault

Game Vault
6328 Five Mile Centre Park
Suite 412-414
Fredericksburg, VA  22407
540-785-4263
www.thegamevault.net

   Everywhere I travel, I usually try to find time to look into the local game store, if there happens to be one. My trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia, for Historicon is no exception to that general rule. In Fredericksburg, the Game Vault is your FLGS. At least, it would be mine if I lived there.



   The only drawback to this place is that it is a little hard to find. Really, that's it. There is ample gaming space, and an active weekly tournament schedule. They support Magic and other CCGs, roleplaying, and miniatures wargaming in the store, which is about half dedicated gaming space. One last word about layout, and this is something I have mentioned before is a big plus in my book: they have open windows so that you can see inside. I really hate the cave-like atmosphere of some games shops where the windows are plastered with posters and such to the degree that you get no light in from outdoors, and it makes the whole thing seem somewhat seedy and disreputable, like a 24-Hour video rental place, the kind with preview booths, if you catch my drift.

  On the retail side, they have a wide variety of games. Mostly, I am interested in miniatures, and they have a good selection of different lines, including Flames of War, Dystopian Wars, Reaper, Warmachine, JR Miniatures terrain, and more. They also have a good variety of boardgames and roleplaying games. The ubiquitous CCGs are also available.

  Service-wise, the Game Vault is very fine. They are open most of the times you would expect a game store to be open (see website for exact hours, naturally). The staff is very friendly and helpful. Cathy, who owns the store with her husband, was there on both our visits and was very accommodating to us, and offered the Historicon discount of 10% even though we couldn't find the coupons that were supposed to be available at the convention. Our badges (and out-of-town accents, I am sure) were plenty. While friendly, Cathy also did point out that she wasn't so nice to those gamers who need to make a closer acquaintance with soap and hot water. The upshot of that is that the store had no atmosphere of 'gamer funk.' The tile floor helps, too.

  Overall, I would give Game Vault a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It has everything you would expect in a store, and with a better atmosphere than most. I only withhold that last half star because of the new Dragon's Lair in Austin, Texas, which is the greatest games store I have ever seen. If you are ever in that part of Virginia, or even as far off as Washington, DC, I recommend a visit. I doubt you will be sorry.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Historicon Purchases

   Two of my favorite things at Historicon are the Vendor's Room and Wally's Basement, the 'flea market.' Why? All the shiny toys! And of course I bought my share of them. Here's what I got.

HISTORICON FREE SWAG IN THE BAG: Usually this has been pretty good, but this year's was a bit disappointing. It consisted of a single metal figure by Warlord, a 28mm ACW cavalryman, dismounted, firing a revolver. Yes, it is a nicely done figure, and limited edition and all, but I don't have much use for it. Trade fodder, I suppose.

FIGURES:

  • Battletech Flea 'Mech
  • Battletech Hex bases (x4)
  • Rebel Minis 15mm Steampunk Adventurers (x5)
  • Splintered Light 15mm "Not Firefly" (x10)
  • Perry Minis 28mm Plastic ACW Zouaves (x42)
  • Frontier Minis 15mm FPW Chasseurs d'Afrique (x8)
  • Frontier Minis 15mm FPW French Infantry (x18)
  • Frontier Minis 15mm FPW French Garde Grenadiers (x18)
  • Frontier Minis 15mm FPW French Command (x12)
  • Frontier Minis 15mm FPW Mtd. Generals (x2)
  • Frontier Minis 15mm FPW Limbers (x4)
  • Dystopian Wars Prussian Armoured Battle Group
  • Reaper BONES Ape-X
  • Reaper BONES Kobolds (x18)
  • Reaper BONES Eye Beast
  • Reaper Savage Worlds Darius Hellstromme
  • Reaper Shrend Alligator-Man
  • Parroom Diabolical Weaponeer (x2)
  • Parroom Manikin Automatons (x10)
  • Cygnar Trencher Master Gunner
  • Ironclad Miniatures Steam Tank 1
  • Ironclad Miniatures Steam Tank 13
  • GW Ork Killa Kan
  • GW Empire Emperor Karl Franz
  • GW Empire Reiksguard Champion
  • GW Empire Battle Wizards (x2)
  • GW Blood Bowl Kroxigor
  • GW Ghoul
  • GW Skaven (x9)
  • GW Horses (x2)
  • Battlemasters Halberdiers (x2)
  • FOW DAK Panzergrenadier platoon
  • FOW DAK Machinegun platoon
  • FOW British Lt. Col. Frost
  • Kneeling Camels (x2)
  • Chariot Minis Turtle w/Howdah
  • Small Sailboat

TERRAIN

  • MBA 15mm Bridge
  • MBA 25mm Jungle Adventure building
  • JR Minis 15mm Vietnam Buildings (x2)
  • JR Minis 6mm dirt road (2 pcs)
  • JR Minis 6mm cobblestone roads (22 pcs)
  • JR Minis 15mm river (blue) (16 pcs)
  • 4-Ground 28mm Check Point
  • Scenic Crafts Flock/Static Grass (Carnage Red)
  • Scenic Crafts Flock/Static Grass (Oxidized)
  • 6mm Sci Fi Buildings (x3)

MISC.

  • Dave's Baggage Train trays (7 pcs)
  • Hotwire Foam Factory 3 Tool Kit
  • Foam Glue
  • Molon Labe patch
  • GF9 20mm square bases
  • Paint (4 bottles)
  • Dystopian Wars patch
  • Decals (8 sheets)
  • BK Toy: Wild Wild West Tarantula
  • Dark Future Boxed Game








 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Well, I survived another Historicon...

   So Historicon 2013 is in the books now. For the record, the trip out was fine (though a bit early) and the convention was a blast. I do feel sorry for Zach's eardrums overnight, as my snoring is... monumental. As in, pounds on the wee little eardrum like an orchestral tympani. I did warn him.

   I'm going to break my Historicon blogs up into three parts, including this one. The other two posts will be regarding the games I played and the multitude of purchases.

   I liked the Fredericksburg venue. It is not the easiest place to get to from an airport, but the town itself was quite nice. They have a good game store in town as well, and I will be writing up a report on it this week. Plenty of food options around town. We ate at Aladdin, a local Greek/Mediterranean sort of place twice, and at Friday's chain twice. Most of the rest of our meals were taken at the convention center, and were pretty decent for that sort of fare, and even semi-reasonably priced, considering the captive audience factor. The building itself was big enough, clean, and nice. Plenty of restroom space (they opened one of the ladies' rooms to the gents, considering the imbalance in gender over the weekend, I thought it a wise decision). Air conditioning worked fine, even through the "heat wave" last week - something other venues have lacked.

   There were a lot of vendors there, and most of the vendor space was taken up. Nic, of Eureka Miniatures, did not make it over from Australia, unfortunately. That's a shame, because he is one of the nicest guys there. I also missed Cor-Sec Engineering, who was supposed to have a booth, but apparently had some sort of trouble in getting to the show. That was a pity because I wanted very much to see one of his ocean mats. Some of the big guys were not there (no Old Glory), but there were quite a few smaller companies well-represented.

   We stayed at the Best Western, which was about three miles away by car, just the other side of I-95 from the venue. It was clean, the beds were pretty comfortable, and the shower was hot. The food at the free breakfast was okay, if nothing spectacular. All in all, not a bad stay.

   Traffic returning to Baltimore for my flight on Sunday night was only bad once I got near the airport. My flight was delayed for two hours, and I was already early because I had accounted for worse traffic than I encountered. To eat up some of the five hours until my flight, I went to the movies and saw Pacific Rim. Pretty good kaiju movie. Went to return my Dollar rental, and they tried to charge me an extra day's fare. Got that sorted out (no, I didn't have to pay it). Plane was even later, and finally boarded at about midnight instead of leaving at 9:20. Then there was a mechanical problem with the plane. We didn't take off until almost 1:00 local time, arriving in Houston at almost 3:00 AM. Yuk.

Look for more soon, probably tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fredericksburg, ho!

  No, not a lady of negotiable virtue in Fredericksburg. And not Fredericksburg, Texas - although that is a really interesting vacation destination as well, if you are into history, especially World War II. Admiral Chester Nimitz was from there, and there is a really nice museum in the old hotel his family owned... but I digress.

   I am talking about Fredericksburg, Virginia. Site of four major Civil War battles... but, more importantly for my friend Zach and I, it is the site of Historicon 2013!

   By the time this posts - I am scheduling this to post later on (current time is 2146 on 16 July)  - we will already be on our way to the airport. 0600 flight out of Houston to BWI. But four days of toys and games and oooo shiny!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Legion Etrangere in OGRE

   The French Foreign Legion has a lot of romantic history, and has even shown up in science fiction novels of the future, although in mixed form (Falkenberg's Legion, once a regiment of the CoDominion Marines were partially descended from the Legion. Great bit about Camerone in one of the novels). Anyway, I like the Legion, so I figured I had to include the Lègion Ètrangère in my Paneuropean forces.

   I started with infantry. As I mentioned elsewhere, I am not a huge fan of the OGRE line's infantry. Just not my cuppa. Anyway, I bought a batch of GW's Epic-scale Space Marines, including some assault marines. Assault? Sounds like the Legion to me!

The gold shoulder pad indicates company command element.

The white space is for unit details.

   I need to get some more assault marines, and some heavy weapons ("Devastators?") to finish out the battalion.  So here what we have is four platoons of Legionnaires. A good start, at any rate.

Monday, July 15, 2013

1st Canadian Air Cavalry GEV

   More OGRE vehicles. This is my prototype paint job for a squadron of North American Combine GEVs. The unit is the 1st Canadian Air Cavalry. I still need to add decals that I plan to buy at Historicon this week. Maple leaf on the vertical stabilizer, perhaps another on the dorsal aft deck.

The GEVs will be suspended slightly above the bases by a short brass rod.
Squadron and vehicle ID numbers will be on the aft lift nacelle.


Dorsal View
Notice the multitude of windows. GEV pilots gotta be able to see!

I would like to put a Combine Hourglass on the GEV somewhere, but I don't have any decals for it, and can't manage to paint it free-hand.

The base is not complete yet.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Presenting OGRE Unit Ashe, of the Coldstream Guards

[##RF-ID: 1/2-V-ASHE-78-14//07112083.155010]
  Regiment Sierra Six, this is Ashe. Request secure connect with Regiment Sierra Four, please.

[##RFID: 2 RCP(S4)//07112083.155100]
  Ashe, this is Sierra Four, Whitley speaking. What can Logistics do for you today? We just topped up your ammunition... yesterday, according to my log.

[##RF-ID: 1/2-V-ASHE-78-14//07112083.155101]
  Captain Whitley? Excellent! Sir, I would like to request a favor. I have a day of leave coming, and I was wondering if you could be so kind as to spare a few men and a spot or two of paint? My regimental flash has gotten banged up a good bit, also my Combine armour badge, and I'd like to have them seen to as soon as possible.

[##RFID: 2 RCP(S4)//07112083.155115]
  Unit Ashe, is there a problem with the armoured section of your conning tower? Is your sensor dome intact?

[##RF-ID: 1/2-V-ASHE-78-14//07112083.155116]
Affirmative, Captain Whitley. I am fully functional.

[##RFID: 2 RCP(S4)//07112083.155119]
  So this is purely a cosmetic job? Are you out of your plastic and fiber-optic cable mind? There's a war going on, if you hadn't noticed!

[##RF-ID: 1/2-V-ASHE-78-14//07112083.155120]
  On the contrary, Captain. I think one should look smart in front of the men, don't you? Good for morale, and all that. This is the Coldstream Guards, after all, not some grubby colonial TA battalion!

   So I have been painting an OGRE. The big guy, my Mk. V. As I was considering paint schemes, I decided that it should be somewhat determined by the AI's personality. So a bit of backstory later, and we arrive at 1/2-ASHE-78-V-14. Reading backwards, we have the fourteenth Mk. V produced in 2078 at Sheffield Factory's Building A, assigned to First Battalion, 2nd Regiment (Coldstream Guards). This particular OGRE is known (as are many of the Building A units) as "Ashe" within the Regiment. He has been attached to the regiment for five years, and has an inordinate sense of regimental and personal pride. Yes, a vain OGRE.

I need an hourglass decal! That handpainted one looks shite!

Conning tower is painted in tactical flash for Guards Regiment.


   Ashe isn't completely finished. I need some decals, and I just thought about painting the sensor dome black with a red plume on the right hand side (not unlike a bearskin!). Otherwise, he is in strict accordance with regulations regarding paintwork. He would be, the insufferable git.

  I will probably paint some infantry to go with Ashe here, and some lighter armour units of the Coldstreams.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Space Marines for OGRE? Madness!

   You see, here's the problem: I don't like the figures for the infantry battlesuits that are part of the official OGRE line. So I started looking around at 6mm battle-suited infantry. And, lo and behold, (DUH! moment), I hit Epic Space Marines. Plastics are relatively cheap and plentiful. I have purchased a couple of hundred now, and have begun painting a few.

  The Mk. 6 Corvus armour suits (aka "Beakies") are being painted up as Paneuropean troops. I put six figures on a popsicle stick, this forming two platoons of three squads (each figure represents an entire squad). Four platoons is going to make a company (Command, two regular, one heavy), and three companies plus a CP will make up a battalion. That's the plan, at any rate.

   Since the premise of the game is that the commanders are watching the developments via holotank, and the figures are merely representations of what is actually on the field, realistic modern drab colors are not required. Sure, the real battlesuits are camouflaged, but in the holotank, it is more important to immediate recognize the forces. So we get to have colorful figures, and a good rationale for it, too.

   The French are a major nation of Paneurope, so I decided to start with a battalion of French troops. They have horizon blue uppers and madder red legs, along with red helmets. I also have two companies' worth of assault marines, with jump packs. These must be Legion Etrangere! I just hit them with primer last night, but the paint scheme will still be simple: dark blue upper body, white legs, white helmet (kepi blanc).

   Meanwhile, I have decided that my initial Combine units will be British. Why? Because I'm an Anglophile, that's why! The first OGRE, a Mk. V known as Ashe, is attached to the Coldstream Guards. You can see him in progress here. I'll also do some lighter armour and infantry to go along. I think I may run up some Canadians as a different unit, too. Red and white, need a maple leaf decal... Hmm...