Monday, March 31, 2014

C is for Chuhuac


   The brainchild of a friend of mine, Eli Arndt, the Chuhuac are the first release from his boutique minis company, Loud Ninja Games. Chuhuac are high tech raptors on the newer 'semi-avian' model. The Chuhuac project was an ambitious one, and it took longer than expected (what minis project doesn't?). However, it looks as if most of the people who got in on the Kickstarter that Eli used to finance the project are happy with what they have received. They are also now available for sale at (Yes, I am plugging them for a friend, but they are really cool).

   One of the things that Eli did that I liked was he tried very hard to do a pretty somprehensive rollout of the figures. That was part of the reason for the Kickstarter. Instead of just offering one or two packs of infantry, he commissioned infantry, special weapons, power armor, APCs and jet bike cavalry, plus leaders, etc., all at one go. So instead of waiting for anything, you can just pick up a pretty complete basic force right away. This is a big plus, and a move that I hope more game companies will move towards.

   So, on to the eye candy. None of these images are mine (haven't got any painted up yet).

Raptor Jet Bikes - possibly my favorite minis of the line

Battlesuits and a Herdmaster

Chuhuac Alpha Troopers

Concept artwork

The APC (no painted pics I could find)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lead Painters League, Week One

   For those of you who are not familiar with the Lead Painters' League, it is a ten week competition held by Lead Adventure Forum (LAF) every year, starting in the spring. Each week the contestants submit a photograph of a group of painted miniatures, and the team is pitted head to head against a randomly selected opponent. On Sunday morning, the new round is unveiled. Forum members then have a week to vote on each matchup. Points are accumulated for winning a round (30), losing a round (10), or a draw (20), plus bonus points for 'new' teams (10), certain themed rounds (10 or 25), and number of votes garnered (1/50 votes). The highest point total at the end of the ten weeks is declared the winner. This is the 8th 'Season' of LPL, and the first time I have entered.

   As of this writing (I am scheduling this to post after the round ends on Saturday, but writing early Wednesday morning), I am winning my first round matchup with a comfortable lead. The photo above is the team I entered, titled "Bottom of the Dungeon Food Chain." One of the rules is that you can not post photos of an active team, but it is okay to do so afterwards. This is why you haven't seen many photos of newly painted minis lately on Scattergun Gamer - most of my painting time has been devoted to getting teams ready for the LPL! I have already delivered 3 teams, and have two more awaiting photography (Rounds 4 and 6, respectively). My Round 5 team is on order (special bonus theme: Ancients), and my Round 7 team is almost finished on the paint table (no hints).

   Anyway, wish me luck, and go check out the entries. I'm not going to win it all, because while I think I am reasonably skilled, some of the competitors are amazing. But there is a lot of really inspiring work to be seen in the entries. Sign up (it's free, and no spam) and you can vote, too! Wish me luck!

Friday, March 28, 2014

B is for Bugs


   "Bugs Mister Rico! Millions of 'em!"

   I don't know if Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers was the first novel to include semi-mindless spacefaring insects as a threat to humanity, but they are the earliest of which I am aware. Since then, of course, bugs have been a fan favorite. They're icky, and dangerous, and scary. I love 'em. I am NOT including intelligent insectoid species in this grouping - just the really buggy bugs.

Rebel Miniatures Terror Mites

Khurasan Miniatures Parasachnid Bugs

   Please note that if I were not trying to limit myself to just 15mm scale miniatures, I would be including the really incredible Starship Troopers Arachnids produced by Mongoose Publishing. Very scary buggies, but way too big for 15mm gaming.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A is for Aliens


   No, not the movie. Even though it was a classic. "I say we go back to the ship and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." YES!

   Anyway, in a stunning array of forms, ALIENS are one of the things that make science fiction gaming so appealing. All of those non-human races just ooze style and character. While most are anthropomorphic, not everyone makes bipedal aliens. Just look at Khurasan Miniatures' Molch, Vespalids, or Cnidarians! Or the Vergans or the Slurmite from, just to name a few. The Molch are especially 'alien' looking to me.

   Not that I hate bipedal aliens - you can bet that they will be appearing in significant numbers later on through this A to Z! I'll be checking out the various 15mm science fiction manufacturers to highlight some of the products they have to offer. I don't get any kind of financial reward for this - just the fun of pointing out some neat minis. So, that's what you can expect to see in this series, plus some of the concepts of science fiction that make it so interesting to me. 

   I would like to say I will put up a new letter every day, but that just isn't going to happen. So, sit back, grab a beverage, and enjoy. Also, let me know what you think about my choices. Sometimes I am going to be overwhelmed with good choices for a particular letter, and I have to pick just one. If you think of something else, please make a comment!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An Interesting Project

   Norm Smith on TMP began a new project back in January, to create a small scale gaming set for multiple eras. He is chronicling his progress on his blog, Battlefields and Warriors. It's a very interesting project, and his detailed explanations of what he has done and why make for some very interesting reading. This could be a template for anyone else who is considering a major gaming project. Very much worth your time, I believe, and so I have created links to each of the posts to date, below.

29 January, 2014

20 February, 2014

23 March, 2014

   He has an artistic style at the top of the two monthly updates that I find quite attractive, to be sure. It's a photo of a terrain piece that has been somehow digitally (I assume) transformed into a Van Gogh-esque "painting." Below is the February example, so that you can see what I mean. I don't know how he did it, but I certainly like it.

   At any rate, I believe it is certainly worth the time to pop over and check it out. Encourage him to continue this interesting project in creating small scale gaming for a small scale living space.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Voting begins today!

  Today is the start of Season 8 of the world-famous and highly prestigious Lead Painters' League competition! {pause for wild applause and cheering}

   So everyone be sure to go and vote! {more cheering}

   Each week, a new set of matchups will be ready to vote upon. All you have to do is register (it's free) and get voting! {more applause}

   Where do you go to vote? Well, right here. Thank you, and God Bless 'Merica! {wild cheering and applause}

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Top Ten Movies of the 1980s

   Ah, the 1980s... the "Me" Decade. Yuppies. PCs. Big hair and shoulder pads. Parachute pants. And a lot of awesome movies that defined my junior high and high school years. Born in 1972, I lived the Eighties. Naturally, this is the era of nostalgia for me. As always, these are listed not in any particular order, and are just my personal preferences. Here is a list of someone else's Top 100.

10. The Breakfast Club (1985)

   If only detention had really been this cool. Not that I spent much time in detention. Just, you know... this was way better than the reality. Not uncommon, I suppose. And the way it looked at the various cliques in schools was real. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal... every school had them, and every school has them now (or some version of them). Plus, Claire (Molly Ringwald) was a hottie.

9. Red Dawn (1984)

   At the height of the rhetoric of the Cold War, this movie about a Communist invasion of the United States and the resistance of a bunch of small-town kids was dynamite. "WOLVERINES!" I swear, I left this movie foaming at the mouth to kill me some Commies. Hey, I was 12, gimme a break.

8. Risky Business (1983)

  Um, Rebecca De Mornay. And that kid, Tom Whatever-His-Name-Is. For me, it's all about two things: smoking hot Rebecca De Mornay and the "Old Time Rock and Roll" scene. Favorite quote: 
"I've got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I'm being chased by Guido the Killer Pimp."

7. Caddyshack (1980)

   Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, and written by Harold Ramis. Loads of classic lines in this one. I can't play a round of golf without quoting it. I have a gopher club cover. It sings Kenny Loggins. My favorite quote?
"So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."
6. The Blues Brothers (1980)

   Honestly, this is probably my favorite movie of all time. Love it. Now appearing at the Palace Hotel Ballroom on beautiful Lake Wassipomottie...

"It's a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."

5. Highlander (1986)

   As you can tell, this is a list of movies that appealed to a teenage boy. Highlander rocked. Literally, thanks to Queen's score. It starred my favorite Scottish actor as a Spaniard/Egyptian and the worst French actor of the last 50 years as a Scottish Highlander. And it's still awesome. Like many other movies of the 1980s, it spawned terrible sequels. "There can be only one!"

4. Top Gun (1986)

  "She's lost that loving feeling." "No, she hasn't." "Yes, she has." "I hate it when she does that." A movie that improved Navy recruiting for years. Because everyone wanted to go to Miramar and hook up with Kelly McGillis, just like Maverick. Plus, the term 'wingman' was created to describe Goose for his role in helping Mav get some. Favorite scene: When Maverick flips off the Russian while inverted above him. Favorite quote: "Yeehaw! Jester's dead!"

3. The Princess Bride (1987)

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

   Another eminently quotable movie. Fun for all ages, and clean, too. I have put Inigo Montoya on so many name badges that start off "Hello, my name is..." that I can't keep track. Every once in awhile, someone gets it and chuckles. Just like you are doing now.

2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

   "I am your father."

   'Nuff said? Okay, let's throw in Yoda. And the Battle of Hoth. And Han Solo's ultimate player line: "I know." Well, I saw it 27 times in the theater the summer it came out. You could say I like it.

1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

   Where to start? I love this movie. Always have. Still have my FBDO button somewhere. My sons and I watch it every year on the night before school begins. Favorite scene: The Parade.

Honorable Mentions:
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Big (1988)
Terminator (1982)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Robocop (1987)
They Live (1988)

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Humble Powder Monkey

   The sculptors at Games Workshop/Citadel Miniatures produced, once up on a time, a small little figure of a monkey with a powder barrel. This was intended, as far as I can tell, as just a little piece of scenic fun. However, what if the powder monkey had a purpose in the game? I propose three options.

Option 1: Extra Crewman (4 pts)

   Because it sucks when you lose the crew and you can't shoot your Great Cannon any longer, let's give them a  bit more staying power. The powder monkey acts in all respects like a regular Human crewman for a gunpowder weapon. Simple. I actually use my powder monkey this way because I lost a crew figure.

Option 2: Safety Monkey (4 pts)

   Because it sucks when your Great Cannon blows up, we have Safety Monkey. The monkey has adulterated the gunpowder for your war machine. Now, if a Misfire result is an explosion, roll a die. On a 4+, the powder was no good instead, and the gun is out of action this turn and the next as the crew draws the ball, kicks the monkey, reloads, etc.

Option 3: Monkeying with the Powder (no points)

   Because it sucks when your powder is serpentine and you have a monkey mixing it up for you, we have Monkeying with the Powder. Monkeys really shouldn't be relied upon to mix gunpowder in a consistent or safe manner. Therefore, every time you fire the weapon to which the monkey is attached, you roll a die. 
  1. Thanks to poorly mixed powder, the weapon fails to fire. Reload and fire again, losing this turn.
  2. The weapon performs as stated in the rules.
  3. The weapon performs as stated in the rules.
  4. The weapon performs as stated in the rules.
  5. The weapon performs as stated in the rules.
  6. Extra strong powder, causing the weapon to act erratically. The effect depends on the particular weapon, but is as follows:
  • Cannons and Great Cannons: Add 4" to the 'bounce' roll.
  • Mortars: The fragments hit at +1 S (S4).
  • HellblasterVolley Guns: Extend both short and long range by 3, i.e. short is now 0-15, long is now 15-27.
  • Hellstorm Rockets: If Artillery die was not a hit, deviate twice, re-rolling Misfire results.
   So, there you have it. These rules, of course, are in no way endorsed or approved by Games Workshop, and are certainly not 'tournament' legal. They are just a bit of fun, the sort that should be agreed upon amongst players prior to a 'friendly' game, similar to the themed armies presented in the army book.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Top Ten Irish Things

   Now, it just so happens that I'm virtually un-Irish in my heritage. I know for a fact that there is more Indian (American, not Asian) blood in my ancestry, and there isn't much of that. So what? In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I decided to offer up my ten favorite Irish things, generally speaking in no particular order. I say generally, because at least one of those things is definitely in a particular spot for a reason. Hint: It's at Number One.

10. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

   He whupped every marshal the French could send at him, then he beat the Corsican Ogre at Waterloo. Sure, the Prussians showed up late to help, but Wellington's the MAN! Plus, he has some snazzy footwear named for him.

9. Ireland Rugby

   Like I wasn't going to put a rugby mention here somewhere? Irish rugby may not be the best in the world, but they are still a lot of fun to watch.

8. Jack Taylor

   Discovered this as a TV program on Netflix. Hooked. Love it.

7. Van Morrison

   "It's a marvelous night for a moondance..." Cool. Just cool.

6. Soda Bread

   I know it seems a bit trivial, but I really like soda bread. Especially with currants or sultanas. Because, well, it's yummy.

5. The Quiet Man

   Okay, so maybe it is only set in Ireland. But it is still a great movie, and one of my favorite John Wayne films, as well. At least I didn't go with Darby O'Gill and the Little People (one of my least favorite movies). Casting a Scot as an Irishman... it's criminal. And I like Sean Connery. Worst movie he ever made, excepting Zardoz (the Gun is Good) and The Avengers.

4. Harp Lager

3. Irish Monasteries

   The Irish monasteries had a great deal to do with the preservation and redistribution of classical knowledge in and after the early medieval period. As the 8th century Anglo-Saxon historian the Venerable Bede wrote:  "At that time there were many of the English nation, both of noble and of lesser rank, who, whether for divine study or to lead a more continent life, had left their native land and had withdrawn to Ireland.  Certain among them gave themselves up willingly to the monastic way of life, while others rather went about from cell to cell of the teachers and took pleasure in cultivating study.  And all these the Irish most freely received, and made it their study to provide them with food from day to day without any charge, with books to read and with free teaching."  

2. Irish Whiskey

   I like whiskey. I also like whisky. If you don't know the difference, you should go find out. Soon.

1. Irish Women

   First girl I ever had a real thing for was fresh from Ireland, worked on my daddy's horse farm. Beautiful redhead, sexy as hell accent, flawless skin with a dust of freckles, and in good farm-working fit with the curves a woman is supposed to have, by God!. Let's just say I never minded the hay if we were in the loft.

   I bet you are all shocked that Guinness Extra Stout didn't make the list. There's a good reason for that. I don't really like it. I don't want to chew my beer, thanks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Zach's Scary 88

   Quick Late Night Posting of my good friend Zach's Spanish Civil War 88mm Flak. Crewed by Condor Legion volunteers. He plans to use this along with some other SCW Nationalist troops as supporters/foreign volunteers in a Very British Civil War. This thing will open up my Free Welsh Rolls Royce Armoured Car like hitting a soda can with a 12-lb sledge hammer...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Welsh Things

   A little late, but in honor of St. David's feast day (Patron saint of Wales), I present to you my top ten favorite Welsh things. As befits a wargamer, many of these are military related.

10. Doctor Who

   It is shot in Wales, mostly in Cardiff. Probably my favorite television program ever. Probably.

9. Cymru
   Pronounced Coom-ree (sort of). The fact that many of the people of Wales still speak Welsh, some as their primary language, rather than English, after all this time under the English crown... it's cool.

8. 24th Regiment of Foot, the South Wales Borderers

   One of the most famous of the British infantry regiments, thanks in no small part to the films Zulu and Zulu Dawn, which showcase two of the battles of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War, the Defense of Rorke's Drift and the Battle of Isandhlwana, respectively.

7. Doctor Who Experience

   We went on this tour while in Cardiff in December 2012. It is a total blast.

6. William Windsor II (Billy), of the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers

   A member of the Royal Welch Fusiliers (NOT a mascot) since at least 1775, Billy has the honours of a lance corporal, and is apparently the only member of the British armed forces that still receives a cigarette ration, as it is good for his digestion.

5. The Goat Major Pub's Wye Valley Pie

This photo of The Goat Major is courtesy of TripAdvisor

   Speaking of goats... if you are ever in Cardiff, go to the Goat Major pub, just across from the Castle. Have the Wye Valley Pie and some chips. The other pies are quite good as well. But the Wye Valley is something very special.

4. Men of Harlech

   One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies, Zulu.

3. 'Welsh' Longbows

   Archaeological evidence in Britain can trace the use of the longbow as far back as 3000 BC and its use as widespread throughout Europe. In the year 633, Offrid, the son of Edwin, King of Northumbria, was killed by an arrow in battle with the Welsh and the Mercians. It's not certain the arrow was from a Welsh longbow but this is an early account of the use of the longbow by the Welsh archers in military action. The story promotes the belief which credits the Welsh with inventing and introducing the longbow into the British Isles. The acknowledged expert on the longbow, Robert Hardy, has written:"If the Welsh did not have bows yet, it cannot have been long before they adopted the weapon from the raiding Danes, but it is more than likely that, however they first came by it, the Welsh, among all the tribes in the British Isles, either retained the use of the bow from much earlier times, or invented it for themselves long before there could have been any chance for them to have learned of its use from the Scandinavians."

2. The Welsh Red Dragon

1. Welsh Rugby

   As if rugby wasn't going to make an appearance here. I just watched (last weekend) the Welsh team trounce Les Bleus in the Six Nations. Well done!

Weather outside leaves something to be desired.

   So I have three things on my agenda for today.

1) Vote in the primary elections.

2) Go to my witch doctor (chiropractor) at noon.

3) Paint some minis.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Texas!

   Today is Texas Independence Day. On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. Seven weeks later, on April 21, 1836, a treaty was signed by President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (the self-styled "Napoleon of the West"), recognizing Texan independence.

   Happy Birthday to my fellow proud Texans!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Goals Update #2

   Well, it's the two month mark, one-sixth of the year gone already. I thought that sounded like a good time to revisit my goals for the year, and check on my progress. Overall, I am pretty happy with it.

10. Win a game of Ogre.


9. Paint 100 25/28mm miniatures.

   25% complete. Doing pretty well, so far. The Lead Painter's League competition is helping me drive this forward.

8. Paint 100 15/18mm miniatures.

   49% complete. Not bad at all.

7. Play at least 10 VSF games.

   50% complete.

6. Paint more minis than I purchase this year.

   So far, so good...

5. Spend less, play more.

   So far, so good...

4. 'Finish' at least one of my 25/28mm VSF factions.

   41% complete. Edging closer to this goal. Again, the LPL is helping. Besides the LPL, I have already painted up seven of the seventeen figures I figured I needed to call the Automaton faction 'finished.'

3. Finish my Flames of War 8th Army (Indian) Company

   86% complete. Going for a 1500 point force, I have painted up about 1277 points. All that is left is the mortar platoon and two more 2-pdr portees (need to buy those still). That will be a base Rifle Company (Indian) with some support.

2. Publish another issue of The Aethergraph

   DONE! You can get a copy of Volume 3, Issue #1 now.

1. Enjoy Gaming.

   So far, so good...