Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Prep for MilleniumCon, Chapter 2

   I think I have decided upon the minions of Otto Maton to be the fourth faction in my convention game, just because I like these guys so much. I will probably take the gentlemen of the Sapphire Club as well, in case I need to squeeze in a fifth player.

   And I think they need a vehicle. I happen to have one already painted and good to go - the nefarious All Terrain Quadruple Wheeled Lightly Armoured Autocycle (Machine Gun), more commonly called the "Quadcycle" or even simply "Quaddie." 

You've seen this before, no?

So, I need to stat it up for In Her Majesty's Name. Probably best to treat it as a walker, I think, as far as the rules for hit allocation are concerned. This is what I am thinking:

Pluck: 5+ (2 pts)
FV: +1 (1 pt)
SV: +3 (4 pts)
Speed: 9" (2 pts) - based on Bestiary from HVF
Armour: 10 (4 pts)
Weapon: Machine gun (26 pts)
Equipment: Steam Dynamo (10 pts)
Equipment: Lined Coat (Steersman, AV 8) (1 pt)
Equipment: Pistol (Steersman) (3 pts)
Equipment: Breath Preserver (Steersman) (2 pts)

Note: Can not enter Difficult Terrain

What says the collected wisdom?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Prep for MillenniumCon, Chapter 1

   I will be running a game at this year's MillenniumCon XX, held in Round Rock, Texas, the second weekend of November. I'm running a game of In Her Majesty's Name, my current favorite skirmish VSF rules. Here's the basic story:

  After weeks of exploration in the desert, the Tomb of the Lost Pharaoh was found. Unfortunately, the myths about the Regalia of Osiris being hidden there were just that: myths. Even worse, your rivals followed you and one of those fools triggered the Lost Pharaoh's Curse. Now, a storm of flesh-eating scarabs pursues you across the arid wastes. Your only hope is to be the first to reach the safety of the coastal town of Al Maja, where you can board a ship and escape the doom which follows close behind you!

  I plan to have four Adventuring Companies in this game:
  • Lord Curr's Company, 
  • the Society of Thule,
  • the Servants of Ra (naturally), 
  • and either the Sapphire Club or Otto Maton.

   I also have the figures for a werewolf company, or a Scotland Yard company, but they don't seem right for an adventure in the North African desert. My other mad scientist company, belonging to Professor Vardu, isn't ready yet either, and I don't think they'd fit in very well anyway.

   The scenario is pretty simple: 9.1.7: Death at Your Heels, with the following modifications:
  • Table size: 4' x 6', with coastline along the long edge.
  • Two boats, not one, each having a jetty 18" from the table edge
  • Must convince captain to sail*

*Convince the Captain to sail: any figure with a Leadership characteristic can attempt to get the Captain to cast off, but only if there are no enemy figures on the boat. To make an attempt, roll a die in the figure's Movement phase. Add the Leadership characteristic and the total number of figures on the boat. Modify the roll by +1 if the scarabs are past the center of the table; add +2 if they are within 12" of the boat. A total of 8+ indicates the ship leaves, stranding anyone not aboard. The ship will automatically leave when the scarabs would reach it.

   For terrain, I don't have much, all of a sudden. Dammit, Harvey! I have a Cigar Box Battle Mat desert mat, and a few desert palms. That's about it for 28mm compatible desert terrain. I just ordered a number of Plastcraft Colored Desert houses to build a small village along the coast. I think I am going to embellish this with the addition of a few fishing nets hanging to dry, easy enough to make a simple frame and net. I do have some of the sand colored cobblestone roads and some older dirt roads to put out, as well.

   So, any ideas for improvements? Especially terrain. I was hoping to put some sort of ruined wall up on the desert side.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Damage (Flooded Part 2)

 It has taken me a while to work up to posting about this. What did I lose in the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey?

What I didn't lose is most important: my wife, my kids, my dogs, my friends, my home, my faith, or even my job. What I did lose is hard enough.

I lost a lot of things I have collected over the years, going back to when I was a kid. Nutcrackers -dozens of them - and books. Oh so many books. Hundreds of books. Enough to literally stuff a dozen tall bookshelves. Highlights include:

  • Most of the Bibles in our family, including those given to our sons at their birth. Thankfully, my old family Bible (dating back to the 1870s) is in a safe in a house that did not flood.
  • Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, given me by my grandmother
  • Fifteen first edition Casca novels
  • Monster Hunters International Limited Edition Leather bound
  • All of my Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels (I had all 21)
  • About half of the Horseclans books, again, first editions.
  • Everything S.M. Sterling has written, in hardback if available that way.
  • Most of my Harry Turtledove books.
  • My Richard Scarry books from when I was a kid.
  • All of my sons' Series of Unfortunate Events books - the entire series
  • My Odyssey and Iliad, gifts from my grandmother
  • My language dictionaries (German, Welsh, Spanish, and Latin)
  • All of the Song of Fire and Ice, first print, hardback.
  • My hardback Lord of the Rings.

I lost a bunch of game related stuff, too. Including...

  • Original Ogre Pocket Box
  • All my D&D stuff, from red box to 3.5
  • Star Frontiers, several editions
  • Twilight 2000 and 2013
  • All my GURPS stuff, including several rare ones (Swashbucklers, for example) and Man to Man.
  • A lot of terrain.
  • All of my Ospreys
  • Almost all of my board games.
  • Custom terrain boards
  • But, as far as I can tell, no minis.

   Plus furniture. And clothes. And a lot of my sons's stuff: trophies and martial arts belts and stuffed animals and school projects and... well, you get the picture.

I have a few dry boxes left to go through, so I may have a few things yet I'm hoping that I didn't lose.

Sorry for the whinging post. In perspective, I have friends who lost basically everything they own. People lost their lives (thankfully, no one I knew personally). I lost stuff, and most of it wasn't an everyday useful item - it was in storage, after all. But it sucks. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Hi everyone. I know not many of you are still reading since I rarely post anymore. Sorry about that.

Long story short: if you've heard about the flooding in Texas, that's me. I live in Dickinson. I'm in the process of moving house. Luckily my homes have remained dry so far. But my temporary storage unit (which held a lot of my game stuff, furniture, tools, and so on) is probably a total loss along with many others'. I don't know for sure because I still can't get there.

My friend Zach, whom I have mentioned here before, lost everything but his family. They had to escape through a hole he cut in their roof as water rose into their home.

Just... devastating.

So, if you're of a prayerful mindset, we could use them.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


   Hey all. I played a new boardgame last night, and enjoyed it a lot. My usual Tuesday night Pathfinder game was canceled because the game master is in DC for a couple of weeks for work. So some of us got together and played boardgames. Anyway, Steve brought his favorite game, Pandemic. It was my first time to play it, and it was fun, but kind of tough.

   Players take the roles of various members of an epidemic control team. The goal is to come up with a cure for each of four plagues (blue, red, black, and yellow) before time runs out or a worldwide panic ensues. It's a cooperative game, so everyone wins or loses, like Arkham Horror. In our first game, we lost, because one of the diseases began a series of outbreaks and we couldn't keep up. Our second game of the night we won, but only just before time ran out.

   Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and the cooperative aspect made for a very social game. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Survived Historicon and the Move

  Hello all! Just a quick note to let you know that I did, in fact, survive Historicon and the move that took place immediately after returning. How immediately? We got home late Monday, and the movers arrived Thursday morning bright and early. So, pretty immediately.

  So how was Historicon? It was a lot of fun, as usual. I think I came home with less stuff than I left home carrying, thanks to a decent showing at the Sunday morning Wally's Basement (aka gamers' flea market). I got to play games with and chat with a lot of people that I usually only get to see at the convention: Buck Surdu, David and Kalissa Skibicki, Jon Lundberg, Lon Weiss, Martin Goddard, James (whose last name I can never remember, but he runs lots of 40K themed games), Frank Chadwick, and others. I missed Howard Whitehouse this year, as he couldn't attend. I also made a couple of new acquaintances, so new folks to look forward to seeing in future years.

 As for the games, well, I played in several. I posted photos to Facebook from my phone, since that was the only camera I took with me. I'll get a few shots up here soon, I promise. The table for the Frostgrave games was truly amazing, and I need to get some photos of it up. Sadly, I couldn't get into any of the games they put on, but they looked just great and the players all seemed to be enjoying it. I ended up buying a set of the rules and a few figures for a pair of starter bands (a Witch and Apprentice and a Sigilist and Apprentice). So the games I did get to play...
  • Dystopian Wars 2.0: Just about the same as far as I can tell to older versions, though we didn't get into deeper strategies, so maybe that's where the difference lies. I did hear that a newer edition is on the horizon. I played as part of a Japanese force against a FSA fleet. We lost, but it was a near thing.
  • Congo: Probably my favorite game this convention. I tied for the win. The system for initiative and activation is really interesting, as it requires planning ahead but is still pretty flexible. It's also a pretty simple resolution system, which I liked.
  • Empire of the Dead: While I did horribly in this game (the victim of two factions ganging up on me and killing off all of my guys, barring my Packlord), I had a lot of fun with it, too. The 28mm scale Martian screw galley (a Whispering Death-class, IIRC) was amazing. So amazing that I bought a kit for it. God only knows when I will get around to building it. Anyway, I had the werewolves, and did my best to make sure it was 'night' throughout the game, but to no avail. If I had a bit more influence, it would have been night and a full moon. I did manage an eclipse, which lasted six turns with the help of the vampires. Anyway, Jon Lundberg put on another great game on the Miniature Building Authority table.
  • Bolt Action 2E: The Defense of Grammercy, Sicily. This game was amazing - it won the award for Best Theme Game (100 Years of Tanks) as well it should have. A big table with great scenery and models. The Skibickis (David and Kalissa, two of my favorite gaming folks EVAH!) really went whole hog on it and it showed. I was on the victorious German side, leading some Panzers and a few hapless infantry who never really got a chance to do much until the very end, where they assaulted and killed a Canadian Sherman. So that was fun.
  • And One I am Forgetting: I also forgot what time one of my games was and flat missed it.

  As far as toys purchased, I mentioned a couple already - the Frostgrave stuff that I bought from Brigade Games. I also bought a lot of trays and stuff from Dave's Baggage Train to help me organize my existing collection of minis. I bought a few test figures for a 15mm fantasy line by Battle Valor Games, mostly because they looked fun to paint. I got a paint rack and some 15mm huts from Impudent Mortal (nice folks, turns out the wife went to school with my sister a few decades ago) - and check out their upcoming Kickstarter. The giant ship I bought in the flea market, and I bought a few gifts for friends back home, also mostly in the flea market.

  Offspring #2 (Dane) who also went, spent a bit of time in the Hobby University, and has mentioned an interest in painting. I will need to get him a good basic set soon. He did spend a little of my hard earned money buying a few figures to paint, primarily Reaper Bones.

  So there's my brief, un-illustrated convention report. It's a long three and a half days, and a long five days of driving roundtrip, so I got home really tired only to have to pitch in to the move, but it was a good time and I really enjoyed the time I spent on the road with my son who is about to head off to college (uni for my UK friends) in a few weeks.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

On the Road to Historicon 2017

   Hi guys and gals! Long time, no post. I've been crazy busy - we are moving! This means lots of packing over the last month or so and not much gaming. So I have been very much looking forward to this trip with my youngest son (who just graduated high school and earned an Associate's Degree at the same time !). We are driving from League City, Texas, to Fredericksburg, Virginia. That's about 1,550 miles (2,460 km). One way.

   We are taking it in easy stages going out but have to hustle back home after the convention. So tonight, after two days in the car, we are in beautiful Charleston, WV. Actually, I don't know if it's beautiful or not - it was dark when we got to town. But the hotel is nice (Embassy Suites Downtown, got a heck of a deal on Priceline).

  So that's what is going on here in my world. I have been playing a weekly game of Pathfinder with a small group of adults, which is nice. The GM is right at my age and does a good job of storytelling. I've died three times already, but it is more an issue of each of the players dong their own thing rather than supporting one another. Oh well. My newest character is designed to be supportive. Maybe that will work out better.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tabletop Gaming Day 2017

   Last year I participated in a a local Tabletop Gaming Day event put on by a nice guy named Curtis. He invited me back again this year, and I went. I even brought a few other people, four guys from the Pathfinder group I am playing in now.

   I stayed a lot later than planned. Like, until midnight.

   Played a lot of games, some for the first time, some not. I did okay in wins/losses, too, which is unusual for me. I usually lose a lot more than I win, but have fun playing the game anyway so that's what matters most. Here's what I played, and my thoughts about the games.
  • King of Tokyo: Played twice, showing one guy how to play for the first time. I won both times.
  • Tsuro: Played twice, the first time for me. Okay with two players, but would probably be more fun with three or four. Very Asiatic and Zen in its play. Follow the path...
  • Dominion: First time. Played against three other people. The owner of the game, who was showing the rest of us how to lay, won handily. Still, it was fun. He had some expansions to the basic game in there as well.
  • Smash Up: I really like this game a lot. We play at home fairly often. I brought my copy with three (or is it four now?) expansions. I was the only experienced player of the seven (that's right, 7!!) playing. I played a new combo, Ghosts and Zombies. It was my first time playing Ghosts, and I didn't like them much. I still won, but it took FOREVER with that many new players. Like three hours.
  • Machi Koro: A neat Japanese deck building game where you try to finish off your city's landmarks. I played with three other people, I think the Bright Lights, Big City edition with the Harbour expansion as well. It was a lot of fun. I also won, which doesn't hurt the fun factor.
  • Cards Against Humanity: A group of about eight of us played. When we quit, I was tied for the lead with five cards. I'm a little ashamed of myself...
  • Werewolf: In this game, you have people who are secretly werewolves, and the rest of the players are villagers (well, some are special villagers). We played twice, with about 15 players each time. I was killed in both games, but the villagers discovered the werewolves the first time around. The second time around, I was the last villager and two werewolves got me. Oh well. It was a lot of fun, but I think it needs a lot of people. Playing with only five or six would be dull, and with less than four would be pointless.

   The cost for the event was a $5 door fee. They held raffles, and I won a $25 gift certificate to a local game store. They also provided food and non-alcoholic beverages all day, including donuts and pigs in a blanket in the morning, lunch of home smoked bbq brisket sandwiches, a variety of sides, a killer buffalo chicken dip, and pizza in the evening.

  All in all, considering I got three meals and made $20 while having a good time for about 14 hours, I would say it was a great day of gaming. Can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Team Yankee Game Photos

   I was cleaning out my phone's photos the other day and ran across these photos I took of a game of Team Yankee we played back in January of this year. It was fun, although the freedom-loving workers and peasants of the Glorious Soviet Union were not victorious in their attempts to spread their more enlightened socioeconomic system to the capitalist drones of the decadent West.

   Yep, I played the Russkis. I loved this book back in the 80s, and enjoyed the game a lot.

No capitalist artillery? Close order, Comrades! 

Blasted Americanski infantry!

Comrade! Abrams tanks coming out of the woods!

Conscript drivers cowering from American tanks?
The Commissars will have 'words' with them!

Luckily for the T-72s on the far end, Abrams tank guns don't 
penetrate through the first two dead Soviet tanks.

The Highway of Death

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Talk about a hiatus!

Almost six years later, and I still haven't done anything at all with these. How depressing.

Monday, April 17, 2017


And now for something completely different...

  This past Saturday we  had a jolly time slaughtering Westphalians. You see, the silly buggers had gone and let the wrong Bonaparte lead them.  They had Jerome and they needed Napoleon. At least, if they wanted to fight Bagration and his huge Russian hordes with all that lovely artillery.

   What is it with Russians and artillery? They're positively queer for the stuff.

   The scenario was that the Russians needed to crush the Westphalians before Marshal Davout could show up to save Jerome's bacon. We managed to do it, but I wasted an entire division positioning them off to the left to secure that flank in case the French arrived early. Luckily, they did not. Also, my usual abysmal dice rolling was absent. As far as that went, I felt like it was pretty statistically even, which is a major improvement over my usual luck.

Russian infantry advancing! We pretty well turned the Westphalian right flank.

My Russian 6-pdr batteries giving the Westphalians hell.

My left flank, waiting for the French.

Tom painted most if not all of these minis. He has thousands of Napoleonics,
and pretty much all of the armies represented.

All the terrain was done by Tom, too.

Action on the right!

Things are looking dicey for the Russians in the center, though...

   As the weather was very nice, we played on the back porch at Tom's. He even smoked some delicious chicken wings and drums, had a beer or two... all in all, a very enjoyable day.

   The rules we used were "Quelle Affaire," a set of rules that my friend Tom Lytle is working on developing. They're pretty nice, and fairly easy to pick up. We (Zach and I) made some comments as we played on adjustments that we thought would either speed play, simplify rules, or more accurately model how they fought. These were noted and may be included in  future versions.

Before I go, this just in: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Skrak Terror Birds

   These are new from the Ion Age. I just learned of their existence. I almost regret having the Orb Bikes for my space viking scouting elements, as these are... amazing. Just too cool. Maligs (read: space goblins) on giant terror birds. Giant. Terror. Birds.

   Heck, I even like the paint scheme.

Skrak Terror Bird Cavalry - Available here.

   Now I am trying to figure out a 'good' reason to buy these. The temptation of free worldwide shipping until 24 April isn't helping me resist either. Any 'good' reasons you can think of to buy them? So far all I am coming up with is "cowboys on a farm planet that is being attacked." Of course, I would then need some alien 'cattle'...

   And, since Ion Age is selling these without riders as well, I can think up another use for them, one near and dear to my heart: Victorian Science Fiction. I was never thrilled by the Martian Empires mounts, a sort of long multilegged dinosaurian looking thing. These might do the trick, however. Maybe just a test buy, just to see if they will work with the riders I have.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pathfinder Woes

   I am currently playing in a roleplaying game of Pathfinder, getting to be a simple player for the first time in, well, years. And I'm totally loving it. The group consists of six players and the GM, all male, ranging from ages about 25 to 45. They have had female players in the past, but currently none. I just joined about two months ago; we play each Tuesday night from 6 to midnight (kinda late for me...) at a local game store.

   Anyway, last night was a bad night for the party. We went up against a dragon not once, but twice (we thought we had escaped it). We made some poor tactical decisions and suffered for it. Long story short, one character was outright killed, and the rest of us were captured. Said capture led to some opportunity to roleplay being tough guys under torture as our captors tried to get information from us about the city they were heading towards to attack.

   I won't bore you with the details of my totally amazing and awesome character... oh, you want to hear about it? (Why can I practically see the eyes rolling?) Too bad, I'm really not going to do that. There is a guy who comes into the game store who has, on multiple occasions, told me and anyone else who can't escape all about this totally rad character he has, and she's completely legit, with statistics that are, essentially, impossible, which he claims to have worked out through taking the character through a series of game-to-game conversions. Let me just give you this tiny bit: she's amazingly beautiful, and totes a .50 caliber sniper rifle like a pistol, and can do magic, too. All of this in a typical medieval fantasy setting. He even has drawings of her. 

  Multiple drawings. In different although always tight/skimpy/both outfits.

   The only good that has come from this experience is that I have sworn off talking about any of my characters, current or past, ever again, except when it directly involves playing the game in the course of the game. Next time he tries, I'm just going to be dead rude to him, as we have all tried polite expressions of disinterest.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Martian Skyship, Part 1

   With a bit of space made on the table thanks to some finished 15mm vehicles, I decided it was time to finally work on the hulls at least of my pair of 28mm Martian Skyships. I bought these from Ironclad Miniatures through their US distributor at Historicon back in 2015, I think. So almost two years ago. For me, that's not too bad.

   Anyway, I took the pieces out of the boxes and cleaned them up with warm water and detergent, just like I always do with resin. Dull, but I hate it when I try to prime a piece and some mold release is still on it, causing all manner of havoc. So, suds, rinse, let dry overnight.

   Next day I laid out the pieces and did a bit of test fitting. The fit is pretty good. Looking at it, it seems that the deck and lower hull pieces are the same as in their British Airship. If not, they are pretty similar. It's not a problem or complaint, mind, just an observation. The upper works are nice, but they don't quite fit the curve of the deck. I thought about sanding down the edges of the deck, then though about how much time that would take and the chances I screwed it up worse, and decided that the small flaw wasn't going to be that much of an issue.

   Yeah, I am a bit lazy, too. But mostly I didn't want to make a hash of it and be forced to wait until I bought another ship.

You can see how the curve of the deck and the curve of the 
upper works doesn't quite match.

   Next I glued the lower hull to the underside of the deck, and after that dried for about ten minutes - I'm using CA - I flipped it over and attached the fore and aft bulwarks. Or gunwales? Anyway, the upper deck railings. I held off on attaching the mast collar on the deck for now, as I will need to carefully position it so the guns and ship's wheel won't be in the way. More on those later.

  Once the glue was nice and dry, I took the model out to my spray booth for a shot of flat black all over.

   And that's about as far as I have gotten in the actual build. Why? As I looked through the box in which I had stashed these kits, I noticed I had forgotten a couple of things that I need for them: to wit, guns and a ship's wheel! The ships come with a control console of sorts, but it looks too modern for my vision of VSF. So I need to order those... and that's why I know there will be at least a Part 2 to this series of posts. Probably a Part 3 as well.

  I'll end this post with a few thoughts about what I'm going to do with these two vessels.
  • Sails: Lateen rigged, will cut the sail from some heavy paper, maybe some of that scrapbooking stuff, especially if it has a nice pattern on both sides. Rigging from white cotton thread.
  • Ship's wheel: both Eureka and Houston's Ships make nice ones. Leaning towards Houston's because of the next item...
  • Guns: I want at least a pair of swivel guns on the railings, and a heavier gun either in the bow on a raised carriage/slide, or in the waist with perhaps a pivot mount. Houston's makes some that are specifically for VSF aliens that are strangely reminiscent of designs in 1889.
  • Flight Base: Not sure. I can custom build one, I suppose. I don't like how the champagne glass stand turned out, so I will be trying something else. Probably some thick brass wire. But it will need to have either a wide or a heavy base underneath for stability.
  • Transportation: They are getting their very own trays and custom pluck foam. I may need two trays, one for each hull or one for the hulls and one for the sails. I am going to leave the masts removable, maybe magnetized.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Aggie Ring Day! WHOOOOP!

   If you didn't already know, I'm a very proud former student and graduate of Texas A&M University, class of 1994. For Aggies, getting their senior ring is a very big deal, surrounded by traditions that have grown up for over a hundred years (the first rings were made in 1889, but the design wasn't the same). 

   Unlike any other school of which I am aware, you can not just buy an Aggie ring. Theoretically, I could go online and purchase a ring from Baylor, or Notre Dame, or even t.u. (that cow school in Austin). Not the Aggie Ring. You have to earn it. Usually in the fall or spring of your junior year, you turn in an application to the Association of Former Students (our alumni organization, who owns the rights to the ring design). The Association will check your transcripts and grades and determine if you meet the criteria to purchase your ring.

   Each part of the design has a symbolic meaning.

   The only visible difference in the ring is size (ladies' rings are smaller scaled), class number (the last two digits of your graduating class year), and your signature, engraved inside the ring. Some students opt to have a diamond added or have it 'antiqued,' but that's not part of the official design.

   Here's mine. I essentially never take it off, and won't until I am buried. Notice, it's a bit worn.

J Womack '94, History

   And today, right about the time this posts (I scheduled it yesterday), my oldest son will receive his Aggie Ring. I'm very proud of him.

Greyson Womack '18, Biomedical Science

   One of the traditions of getting your ring that goes back at least thirty or so years is the 'ring dunk' ceremony. Essentially, you don't put it on until you have taken it to a bar, dropped it into the bottom of a pitcher of beer (soda is okay if you're teetotal, but most college students drink the beer), and drink the entire pitcher to get it back. Some people try to chug it down quickly. I prefer to enjoy my beer, but to each their own. Just don't puke it back up or choke on your ring! 

   Anyway, we are heading to the Dixie Chicken to dunk his ring (and re-dunk mine!). The sun is over the yardarm somewhere!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Star Viking Scouts

   I also finished up a trio of light scouting vehicles for my Star Viking multi-racial pirate/raider faction. These are Malig Orb-bikes, produced by Ion Age.

   They are painted red because, as everyone knows, "red wunz go fasta!"

   These should make a nice little high mobility flanking unit for the Star Vikings. I have about six or seven more infantry of various sorts, mostly Ion Age, on the table right now, nearing completion. These will pretty much flesh out the Star Vikings with something like three squads of infantry, a little bit of support, and some light vehicles.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Marine Armour At Last

   Yesterday I finished up the first six USMC armoured vehicles for FLames of War Pacific. THese include four LVT(4) Amtracs and two M3 Stuart tanks.

   I had problems with the Amtracs, in that all of them have some pretty noticeable issues with the tracks. This is a casting issue I think, since it's on all four models. Two of the models were sent to me as replacements for the damaged original pair that I bought. The replacements had the same issues as the originals. If I were going to buy more, I might consider the British version, the LVT-4 Water Buffalo. It has metal tracks and a resin hull. It also has a British crew, so you would need to get some gunners in American kit. As it is, I think I will just stick with the four I have (all I need for two platoons, anyway). 

   Each has a name, but I didn't have any numerical decals appropriate for them so they are not numbered. I may get around to doing that one of these days... yeah, right. Anyway, they are "Betty," "Conan,", "Purple Heart Kids," and "Deuces Wild." You can see Betty's name on her armoured fender, just forward of the red beach stripe. I essentially painted them like the ones that Battlefront did, but with flat green instead of the grey base they used. I kind of wish I had used a different color for the beach stripes, too. I might go back and change that, if I ever get proper numerals on there.

   I did use the British version of the M3 Stuart, known in British service by the nickname "Honey."  It's a little different from the Marine version, but I already had a box of them that I wasn't using, so... they got drafted. Hey, Uncle Sam's Misguided Children would steal gear from anyone they could. Maybe these were supposed to have been in Aussie hands and 'somehow' ended up with a Marine division.

   The M3 is generally classed a light tank, but "light" is sort of a relative term. In the Pacific, the M3 was as heavily armoured as almost any Japanese tank, and its 37mm gun was capable against them all. It also had the canister round, which I am looking forward to deploying against Japanese banzai charges. Mine here are named "Diablo" and "Alley Oop."

   None of the vehicles have registration numbers. It seems, according to the fifteen minutes of internet reserach that I did, that it was uncommon for Marine vehicles to get registration numbers in combat areas. This was primarily due to a lack of supplies, and no one wanted to waste any of their precious (and probably looted from inattentive Army or Navy supply unit) paint on numbers.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

02 APR 2017 Sitrep

   You will note that I did not post this yesterday, on April Fool's Day. I always found that so-called 'holiday' to be more annoying than entertaining. Perhaps it's because I don't suffer the presence of fools easily. That being said, let's move forward with a recap of what I accomplished gaming-wise in the month of March, shall we?

   The US Marines project for Flames of War Pacific is moving along nicely. I have a pretty good start on it, at any rate. Painted, I have two BAR platoons of three squads, plus command, the Company command and 2iC stands, an HMG platoon, an 81mm mortar platoon, a 60mm mortar platoon, and an F4U Corsair. I have four LVT(4) Amtracs on the painting table, along with two M3 Stuart light tanks. Purchased but still in the box are an engineering assault section, a 37mm AT gun platoon, a medium MG platoon (M1919 .30 cals), and four recon war dog teams. That leaves a few odds and ends (like the SeaBees section I want to do), but it's almost ready for battle.

   I finished translating the Carlist Requetes section of Spain in Flames from Spanish into English earlier this month. In doing that, I realized that I had painted one too many AT gun sections - I have four painted but can only use up to three. So I will pop the crew off the base and re-use them for my artillery. Which I still need to paint. But I did manage to finish off some more of those, and except for my artillery, four Panzer Is, and a FIAT plane, I think I am almost done with this project, too. I need to buy the panzers and the plane, of course. Two projects finished in a year. That's possibly a record. Except of course, they're not really finished yet.

   I've been working on the palm trees for the jungle, too. I've mentioned that elsewhere, right? Need to get a LOT more of those done, though. But as long as I am mentioning terrain, I did finish off a few more of the Ion Age corridors for my 15mm sci-fi colony, a pair of 'Y' interchanges and a single 'T.' I really like the 'Y's since they have an interesting ventilation turbine in the roof center. It's a nice touch, I thought. I have another 'T' that needs painting, as well. Again, this is a project that needs just a few more pieces to really come together: a few long corridor straights, another blockhouse I think, a few pressure doors and maybe a couple of standard corners. I might even add another hab dome. I do wish they had a garage module, at least some sort of large doorway that would represent the entrance to an underground vehicle park.

   On the roleplaying front, I have joined a local gaming group of six other players. I like most of them alright, and the GM is a great guy. We have a good bit in common, being the same age, with kids, jobs, that whole sort of thing. We are playing Pathfinder, and its my first time to really get to just play a character rather than GM in probably a decade, at least on any regular basis. We meet every Tuesday night from 6-12 midnight. That makes my early Wednesday morning not fun at all, but so far its worth it. I could bore you with the details of my character if you like...

   And boardgames, I've played a few. We played Smash Up a couple of times this month, and I won once. Yay me! I also played a game of Super Dungeon Explorer, which was fun, but I could see myself tiring of it pretty fast. Finally, a couple of missions in Zombicide: Black Plague round out the month's boardgames.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Palm Trees Every Where

   To help get ready for some rumble in the jungle Pacific War action, I've been working on putting some palm trees together. How can you have tropical island paradise warzones if you don't have lots and lots of palm trees? Well, if you ask me, you just can't! So, I'm making forests.

   I have used model railroad palms for a while for the desert, so that's what I started with here. My personal favorites for 15mm use are the Woodland Scenics brand Woodland Classics Palm Trees in the 3" to 3-3/4" height (TR3597).

  I just dry brush a little Vallejo Iraqi Sand or Grey Green on the fronds to tone them down a bit, glue to washers, and use my typical desert basing. Easy and they look good. You also don't need many, because it's the desert! You're looking for a few palm groves, maybe a small oasis, and that's it.

   However, at $14.99 for a box of 5 (well, I only ever pay 8.99 with my ever-present 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby), they are not what you'd call really cheap. And considering I wanted at least forty trees, that's getting up there quickly. So off to eBay, where I found Chinese plastic trees to buy. $5 for 20 trees? Heck yeah! I bought three different sorts, each a different height, ranging from 2" to 3-1/4" tall. One has coconut clusters (2-1/2"), one is sort of a fan palm (2"), and the last has a nicely textured trunk and a bulb at the top (3-1/4").

   Naturally, they look pretty cheesy straight out of the box. Very shiny plastic looking, really. The first thing I did was to spray them down with some matte clear coat (I like Testors ModelMasters series Lustreless spray, personally). Then I started doing a few different shades of green as a dry brush on the palm fronds, both top and bottom. I used Vallejo paints, as usual: US Dark Green, Grey Green, Luftwaffe Camo Green, Yellow Green, and a few others. Painted the trunks a nice medium brown, then gave the trunk a wash with Army Painter Strong Tone Ink, again, one of my favorites. One last drybrush of that medium brown color (I forgot which one - sorry) on the trunk and the tree itself is done.

   For bases, I have a few of the smallest trees mounted on single washers, but most of the trees are on multiple tree bases on bigger washers. The washers provide weight at the bottom and also make them magnetic, which I like for storage and transportation. Paint those in Flat Earth, put some grit and static grass and flock and grass tufts on them, maybe a few bits of cork for rocks, and there you go. So far I have only done a few of them, as test pieces, but now that I have my technique down, I expect they should go pretty quickly.

   And here's a snap of the test pieces. I trimmed one down to make a sort of fern, there in the front. Also nipped the base down on one of the coconut palms to give them a bit of variance.

  The next step is to make some area bases for the trees to sit on, to indicate the jungle regions. I figure to make these about six inches to a side, sort of square but with rounded corners and not rigidly straight edges. I haven't decided what material to use, but am leaning towards a thin MDF, maybe 3mm thick? Another option would be to get some of those skirmish/ mob formation bases sold by a few different manufacturers. If I put magnets in the holes, I'll get a way to mount the trees but still have them removable to move figures around on the base. It's a though, at any rate. Any suggestions from anyone?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


   Hey everyone. I promised some photos, so here they are. I haven't done any serious painting this last week, just some finishing touches on a lot of things, but I took a few snaps of what's going on.

Company Command for Carlist Requetes in Spain in Flames

I wanted to add a Catholic priest to this base but never found a good one.
Any suggestions?

Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo
Need to finish Tom's glass bulb head and base them.
I should probably try to do a space station deck, huh?

Call Me Gungnir and SkullBot 2.0
Two re-programmed security bots now serving the star vikings.
Call Me Gungnir has the rune on his faceplate.

Khr'kk Mreowrth
Wow. I'm ready for my closeup Mister DeMille...
This is a Khurasan Felid Plasma Gunner. He's a renegade working with the star vikings, as indicated by the red helmet and armor plates.
Just needs a little grass and a clear coat.

The Republic of Wales Wishes You...

...a very happy St. David's Day!

   Oh, the Free Welsh project. Wow, is it languishing. Too many other things going on I suppose. There was some initial enthusiasm for Very British Civil War in 28mm amongst my friends but they all tapered off from it. I think I might still get one or two guys interested in it. I think Zach has a fair number of 28mm Condor Legion figures which we figured would work as a Fascist force in England as well as they did in Spain. The Fasco-Royalist oppressors invade our sacred Welsh homeland again! 

   One of the big sticking points is a lack of suitable terrain in house. What a shock, right? I have exactly one piece that would work, besides generic rivers, roads, and trees. Heck, most of my trees are really too small, especially the deciduous and conifers (as opposed to the palms, where I have a few really tall ones). So... I have a nasty suspicion the Free Welsh will languish further.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

45 Laps and more

   Well, I made it around again. That's 45 consecutive laps of the third orbital. And my time is great - right on target - exactly 45 years for 45 laps. Woot woot! What a pace!

   Anyway, I'm celebrating with a game of Pathfinder tonight. Already did the dinner with the family and friends back on Saturday night. Yummy German food and good beer (Spaten Optimator).

   I also got a few things finished up on the painting table over the weekend. I now have a second full platoon of USMC riflemen ready to assault the beaches. I'll take pictures soon and post them here. I also finished up the light mortars for my SCW rifle platoons and two 37mm antitank guns, and a new company command stand that only lacks it's banner:

   Finally, I have an additional nine 15mm sci-fi figures finished with painting, just waiting for a little basing and a clear coat. Six of them are security robots from Khurasan. I painted four of them in the same blue and yellow scheme that I used on the previous robots. But the other two are painted as renegade robots - joining the star viking crew. Ah... those motley pirates are growing in leaps and bounds!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Progress Report 19 FEB 2017

   I have been progressing well at the paint table the last week or two. Taking a moment to gather (and share) my thoughts.

   I have almost finished the second platoon of Marine infantry, eight more bases of four figures each. In addition, I ordered some of Battlefront's War Dog teams, a USMC Engineer Assault Squad, an LMG platoon (M1919 .30 cal), and some M3A1 37mm AT guns. After that, I just have some odds and ends to fill in for variety (at least as far as purchasing goes). I think the next group of Marines to get painted will be my 60mm mortar platoon.

   While I'm at it, I also put the gun crews for some Nationalist Spanish Civil War antitank guns on the painting table, and a new company command stand. They are almost finished, with all the base down, and the ink washes done. Just a bit of highlighting and basing, then clear coat and done. That will bolster my forces nicely.

   I discussed yesterday briefly purchasing some additional Ion Age figures for my Star Viking force. I'll be adding more Maligs to the crew, some random picks from what Ion Age offers. I'm painting up some older random sci-fi figures right now too. Some security robots which I think will be added to the Star Vikings and the crew of the Biscuitship from Khurasan. These are definitely not Joel, Crow, and Tom from MST3K. Nope. I'm going to group base them, use them perhaps for an objective marker or something scenario driven, like the scientists.

  Finally, let me leave you with this newly finished park terrain piece. Yes, the benches are painted like Pokeballs.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pirate Air Support

Image not mine - but it's cool.

   As promised previously, here are a few snaps of the Star Viking / space raider force's air support. The camouflage pattern here was painted for the raid on Harrison's Star (MW3-556B2-III), with it's odd purple foliage and mustard yellow skies.

Obviously started life as a Matchbox plane. 
The massive intake looked vaguely "Prang-y" to me.

Sprayed flat black and repainted.

  I think I am going to add some bombs or rocket pods or something below the wings to help give the impression of a ground attack craft.

   Also, I just ordered a trio of these fellows (below) from the Ion Age. While I was at it, I picked up a few odds and ends of other Maligs to add to the ever growing motley scourge that is the crew of the Five Dragon Reaper Sword. (Never translate literally from Prang to English - it comes out wrong, as you can see...)

Malig Orba Bike
This figure actually helped start development of the Star Vikings