Saturday, February 23, 2013

Car Wars Tomorrow!

   I am planning on a game of Car Wars tomorrow with my son and some friends. The scenario is a classic "Amateur Night" with each player getting a stock Killer Kart and body armor. I will, of course, try to get some photos and write a few notes down regarding the outcome of the event.

  Something I found while fiddling about on the internet was a really neat Car Wars design website. You can create cars online, then create a PDF of the design. I used it to make the PDFs for the Killer Karts for tomorrow. It can be found here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dystopian Wars Sea Mat, Attempt #1

   The following picture is of a piece of cloth that I purchased and dyed, hoping to create a useful sea mat for Dystopian Wars. The color of the lighter blue does not show up well - it was originally white with blue zebra stripes. I think it is too busy, so it may be back to the drawing board, with $18 worth of materials down the drain.

   Anyone have any ideas how to tone it down? Should I hit it with some spray paint or something? Or is this one chalked up to experience and start over?

   Have any of you created a good sea mat yourself? I want some wave pattern in it, smooth finish, not rough canvas weave, felt, or flannel. Any tips for me?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Warmachine Update # 4 Plus Handgunners

   I managed to finish a few things tonight: the Cygnar Warcaster and a unit of twelve Empire handgunners from Talabheim. The handgunners have been languishing on my painting table for several months now - maybe even a year. So I am glad to be done with them. The warcaster also finished off the starter box of Cygnar models that Zach gave to me. Early, no less! I had promised to try and have them done by the end of March, and here it is with a week left to go in February. Miracles never cease.

   Enjoy the photos, and, as always, any tips or comments are appreciated.

Cygnar Warcaster - Don't recall the character name, honestly.

A view of his Steam-Magic Armour Powerplant

Command Group (Flute and Standard)
These are added when not using the unit as a detachment.

The "Violent" Violet Regiment

A Sharpshooter takes deadly aim...

   I think the handgunners will normally serve as a detachment, but I wanted to be able to field them effectively as an independent unit, hence the standard bearer and musician.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Store Report: Tier One Games

FM 517, Dickinson, TX

   If you are familiar with the South Houston gaming scene, Tier One Games is located in the same place that Predator Games once occupied.

   If you are a card gamer, this may be your place. Lots of Magic and Yugioh. There were a few Warhammer 40K players in the store as well. Minis-wise, they had about a dozen box sets of 40K, and that was all.

   One thing I did like about the store was that the windows were not totally covered, so light and curious passers-by could see in.

   At that point, I run out of positives. The space is small and cramped. They have a lot of folding tables set up for card games. They had a fairly large crowd for a Sunday evening, but none of them were aware that a convention was going on in Houston over the weekend. Many could have used a closer relationship with soap and hot water. The store smelled bad.

   I was hoping for the change to create a new FLGS for me, as they are only a five minute drive for me. However, I won't be going back, at least not until the store changes hands again.


Monday, February 18, 2013

OwlCon 2013

   On Saturday, I decided at the last minute to go into town for OwlCon, the annual gaming convention held at Rice University in downtown Houston. Overall, I had a good time, so I thought I would share my thoughts.

   I played in two games, one in the morning and one in the evening. The morning game was Dystopian Wars. Each player was given a force out of the naval battle group box set. I had a Federated States fleet. I enjoyed the game overall, enough so that afterwards I went shopping for rules and minis (more on that in a minute). We ran out of time, but my fleet had only lost two frigates and my opponent's was down two squadrons, including his cruisers.

   I then had several hours until my next game, so I hit the dealer area. This was pretty disappointing. There were only three booths directly selling games, and two of them were more focused on board games. There were three or four steampunk costumers, and they offered some nice things, but nothing in which I am really interested. The Mechwarrior pods were back, and that's neat. But, overall, I was disappointed in the options. No one had any Dystopian Wars rules or minis, which I would have probably dropped $100-150 on.

   I spent an hour or so at Reaper Miniatures' sponsored Paint N Take. That was fun, and I now have a mouse Indiana Jones mini, which is kind of neat. Had a good conversation with my fellow painters about technique, style, and life.

   Steve Jackson, of Steve Jackson Games, gave a Q&A session, including a demo box of the upcoming OGRE 6E. It is huge, and I can hardly wait for my Kickstarter copy to arrive. That took up an hour, but well spent.

   The food was better than usual. There was a Greek grill that made gyros, shwarma, and falafel. The gyros was okay - the tzatziki was disappointing - but the chicken shwarma was fantastic. The dolmas were tasty, too. Back to gaming...

   My son Dane was dropped off by the memsahib at 8:00, to partake in the game of Gutshot! Mike Mitchell, a friend and one author of the game, was game master, and we have something of a tradition of playing in his OwlCon game. It was a last man standing free for all. Sadly, Dane and I were the first two eliminated. At least this time I put some lead into someone, even if I failed to take them down. When Feelthy Sanchez, bandito and pistolero extraordinaire, bit the dust, we headed out.

   My only purchase at the convention, other than entry fee and food, was a copy of Arkham Horror. I got a slight discount, and have had my eye on it for a while. We are hoping to play sometime this week.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Problems Painting Resin

   I hate resin vehicles.

   No matter how many times I wash them, I can never get all the mold release off. So, when I spray them their base color, the paint does not adhere properly. Sometimes, not at all. Sometimes, you get this leprous effect.

   I just tried, again. I am using hot water and dish detergent with a toothbrush to scrub into the corners ans such. Washed twice. Rinsed under running hot water. Dried thoroughly. Spray with Army Painter desert armor color (Flames of War British vehicles). Paint starts to do that 'pooling away' thing.


   So I tried shooting with my preferred undercoat for metals, black Krylon primer. And lo and behold, no problems. I think I have solved an old problem for me - hit it with the plastic approved Krylon primer and then go back with the real undercoat color. Once the black dries, I will go try it.

   Just thought I would share this tip.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Store Report: Fat Ogre Games

Fat Ogre Games
525 Sawdust Road #101
Spring, Texas

   Returning home after a weekend in Dallas, I decided to drop back by this store on the way. They have moved, and I wanted to see their new premises. We arrived at about 1700 on Sunday afternoon.
   Premises: Spacious, clean and new. Plenty of windows. I like this, because it seems to me that too many game stores hide what they are donig behind an impenetrable wall of crap in the windows. Maybe gamers are sensitive to the sun, but I think it makes us look like we are hiding something. This is not a porn shop, after all!
   Staff: Friendly, but not pushy. They asked if I needed help finding anything, and backed off when I replied that I was mostly just checking out the new shop. Allowed me to thumb through the store copy of a Flames of War book for a few minutes, no trouble. My cashier had to be coached through the transaction because they have recently changed their POS system, apparently.
   Gaming Area: It was split between an RPG area and a wargaming area. The tables for the wargaming area are good and sturdy. Wish I had as nice, and mine is not bad (just too low and a bit small). The RPG area had standard folding tables and chairs. Gaming space takes up the majority of the floor area. There were three or four wargames going on, and one group of about a dozen playing some RPG - I didn't get nosy enough to find out what.
   Retail: Some board games, plenty of card games (not that I am interested in those, but for those of you that are - they have 'em!). Lots of GW stuff, no surprise. A good selection of Warmachine (better than Area 51's), a good selection of Flames of War as well. They had quite a few boxes of Mantic figures for fantasy gaming. Some comics, but this is definitely a gaming store with comics, not a comic store with games. This is preferable, to me.
  Food: They are right behind a James Coney Island (not as good as Der Weinerschnitzel, of course), and other food places are nearby. I didn't notice any vending in the store.
  Misc.: I would suggest a re-work on the website, as it is out of date with pictures of the old store, the old address in some places, and events that I do not think the current store can support - or I may be wrong. One neat thing they used to do was offer movie night in a separate media room, with popcorn and everything.
   Anyway, a short review of a good store. If I lived on that side of Houston, I could easily see this as my FLGS. But, an hour plus drive makes it a bit far for a regular hangout, to me.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Store Report: Area 51

Area 51
201 N. Barton Street
Grapevine, Texas

   My sons and I went to Dallas over the weekend to celebrate my good friend's 40th brithday. We arrived on Friday night, but the party wasn't until Saturday night, so we spent some time on Saturday afternoon doing something I always love doing when I am out of town: checking out the game stores!
   Now, I grew up in Dallas, and have been to many game stores there over the years. Most are no longer with us, sadly (Game Chest, RIP). But, now days I rarely get the opportunity to go exploring because I usually travel with the memsahib, who has less than zero interest in being dragged to another game store. Sort of like me and any place that sells shoes, cosmetics, perfumes, or handbags. But I digress. We got to the hotel on Friday, and I popped onto the internet to find a new game store. I found Area 51, in Grapevine, Texas.
   Grapevine is not immediately adjacent to the neighborhood in which we were staying, but we had pretty much all day, so over we went.
   I was happy we drove the thirty minutes. The store is a bit difficult to find - they have no sign, and are easy to miss from the road. However, a quick phone call got us back on track. Once you see it, you can't believe that you missed it.
   We arrived in the midst of a Warmachine tourney. Probably a dozen or more games being played. Additionally, there were people painting, playing card games, some Warhammer games, and one game of Dystopian Legions - interesting look, and something I will have to mention later.

   Gaming Area. Probably 90% of the store. At least 80%. Good, sturdy tables, some beautiful terrain, just really a good place to push some lead about the table. Or plastic, resin, whatever. This is a big plus for me. I just don't see how you can really have a good game store without any place to play the games...
   Retail Space: The retail end was a little disappointing. They had a great paint selection. Some GW, of course, and a decent selection of FOW and Warmachine/Hordes. Also displayed were the new Dystopian Legion figures, and Dropzone Commander miniatures. There is a small comic selection as well.
   Staff: The owner (whose name I have suddenly forgotten - sorry!) was present, and very friendly and helpful. There were one or two other employees as well. They seemed friendly and knowledgable, but I spent less time talking to them.
   Location: As I mentioned, a bit difficult to find, but not too bad. Several food places nearby (one player was scarfing down some Sonic). Store is clean and well lit.
   Purchase: Minimal. I got the boy a Munchkin expansion (Expansion 7: Cheat with Both Hands), some Army Painter 4mm tufts, and a can of Desert Armour spray.
   Patrons: Largely friendly, though one kid (well, at 22, not really a kid, but he was to me) was pretty annoying. He claimed to have written the rules for Star Wars Miniatures seven years ago and sent them to Hasbro, who stole them and didn't give him credit. And the same thing happened with an FOW army list he created and shared with Battlefront. Uh-huh. I made a few useful contacts, though (hey, Terrence!), and ran into an old acquaintance, Jeff Hunt of Portsmouth Miniatures. He has a new game coming out that looks interesting as heck, a murder mystery kind of thing, set in 1900s London.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Company Command from India

3/2nd Punjab
Company B Command

   Since my gaming group is looking at some desert Flames of War in the near future, I thought I needed to get on the ball with my 4th Indian Division troops. I bought another platoon of infantry, which I have cleaned up, mounted on popsicle sticks, and primed black. I also purchased some additional India Pattern Carriers, bringing my total of those to six, and a trio of Grant tanks. These I bought painted from eBay.

An India Pattern Carrier of the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade

   However, I already had a company command blister, so I have been working on them. Not many bases, of course, just the Company Commander, the 2iC, and a pair of Blacker Bombards, sort of a giant PIAT or spigot mortar. Except for a bit of touch up and some basing left to be added, here they are...

The Blacker Bombard

The Pukka Sahib, Major Terence Oswald-Thorpe, OC
Also, Subedar-Major Bahadur and Sergeant Singh

Captain Harold Hadrada, 2iC

An actual Blacker Bombard, manned by Home Guard

One of the trio of Grants I purchased.
Needs some basing to match my others.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Car Wars Update #3

Enter the Demon!

  The Dodge Demon, that is. My 14-year-old, Dane, owns a '74 Dodge Dart that we are in the process of turning into a cool black street machine. So naturally, he wanted something similar for his Car Wars car. The closest we could easily get was this '71 Dodge Demon. Ultra-simple job, I just painted the turreted Vulcan MG to match the red and white of the car itself. Then instead of a matte finish, I sealed it with gloss, brushed on, let that dry, and glued it to the roof. Done.

Front quarter view.

Profile shot. Sweet, right?

   I have gone a bit daft over this project. Right now, I have the following Hot Wheels cars sitting in their packaging, waiting to be turned into lethal arena duelists or highway warriors:
  • 2001 Saleen S7
  • 1964 Custom Ford Galaxie 500
  • 2011 Ford GT
  • 1968 Chevy Copo Camaro
  • 2012 "Scoopa di Fuego"
  • 1966 Ford 427 Fairlane
  • 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500
  • 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR
  • 1961 Chevy Impala
  • 1968 Chevy El Camino SS (Thinking of putting a cupola in the bed.)
  • 1968 Chevy El Camino "Shark Patrol"
  • 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge
  • 1970 Chevelle SS Wagon (Yes, a station wagon. It is getting a "tailgunner.")
  • 2012 "Fast Gassin" tanker truck.

   I am using the really wonderful Road Warrior accessories from Stan Johansen Miniatures to jazz up the cars, plus some plastic rod. I need to get some more pieces from him, come to think of it - especially rockets. I will probably pick up a biker gang at Historicon, too.

  I also need to get some additional bases from Litko, so I need to order them. These will be 1.5" squares used for mine and spike counters, debris counters, etc. I can use them for the bikes, too. And some 3/4" squares for pedestrians. Who makes good 20mm near future pedestrians? Stan has some armed ones, I may use those.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Warmachine Update #3


   I guess that sort of says it all, huh? The Battlegroup box's Warjacks are done: painted, based and sealed. I still have to finish up the Warcaster, but he is coming along well. Here are a few pictures of the finished 'jacks.
Cygnar Charger
I bored out the barrels with a small drill.

Cygnar Ironclad
The Heavy. The shading on the top of the carapace looks better in person.

Another shot of the Charger.

Cygnar Lancer
Finished shot, with basing done.

   Tomorrow I will show you the newest of the Car Wars cars finished, the '68 Dodge Demon. And, later this week, I have some Flames of War Indians that are just about done to show off, plus one of the three Grant tanks.