Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Must... Not... Kill!!!!

  So my wife has a puppy. A Smooth-Hair Chihuahua, but not pedigreed. Female. Named Empress Carlotta. About 9 months old now. Has been in our home since June or July. Is just starting to understand the concept of "pee here, and only here."

   The dog has now developed an interest in miniatures wargaming. Or at least in taking half-painted miniatures off of a table and dragging them into her lair under the TV cabinet. They were glued to some popsicle sticks (15mm Chuhuac). She chewed the sticks up pretty good. No damage to the minis that a bit of paint can't fix, and luckily she didn't actually swallow any of them.

   That said, she also knocked off a 90% finished Chuhuac battlesuit. And it broke. Now guess who gets to drill out broken pins and re-pin and glue the thing together?

   GRRRrrrrr.... at least if we had gotten my preferred dog, he would have had the good sense not to jump up on the table. Or the ability to do it - I want an English Bulldog. His name will be Winston.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Banzai! Banzai!

   My buddy Zach has sent me photos of his newest completed minis, some Japanese tanks for Flames of War. He's a better painter than photographer.

   His notes on the paint job:
  • Vallejo recommended colours from the FOW book.
  • Army Painter Strong Tone wash (that's the water-based, I think, not the dip)
  • Model Master dullcote to varnish it.

   A man of few words, Zach. Well, at least when he's just texting you some stuff. He's an attorney - he talks a lot.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Decision Making Time

   Alright, I have already made the decision and spent a few bucks in the pursuit of some 15mm Sci Fi, after years of holding out. The basic plan is to keep things relatively small scale, unlike my other grandiose projects, so that I can get a sense of accomplishment that will spur me forward. I am thinking a company-sized force on each side as the largest I want to field. That would be three infantry platoons of about 20-30 figures each, a command section, and a few support elements like a trio of grav bike scouts, a squad of power armour, or some crew-served weapons. Artillery will be off board, period, except for mortars. Just an observer team in play. Add in a few vehicles as well, no more than a platoon (3-4 vehicles). Figure eventually a hundred-ish figures for a side. Going to start with a platoon or so of each force and work my way up. Probably only do two or three factions (definitely two: Chuhuac and a human force).

   I have three decisions to make at this point, that will affect how I proceed. I thought mulling it over publicly and entertaining suggestions and polling the public would help me decide.


   I have downloaded FUBAR. Not bad. I like the simplicity of it. I have also purchased Gruntz 15mm, which has a decent following on TMP and elsewhere. Also, not bad, and fairly straightforward. I like straightforward. So, I am looking for any other suggestions. I could always use GASLIGHT as well, since I have always liked how those rules work. I'm pretty sure there is even a mod for Flames of War into a Sci Fi game out there on the interwebs somewhere. Any other comments or suggestions?


   FUBAR seems pretty straight-forward individual basing. That's fine for games with no more than two or three small units like I plan on starting with, but if I have to start moving a hundred or more figures a turn (like a company of infantry), that's going to take too much time. Gruntz has an optional rule, very simple, to go from individual basing to squad basing. This is making me lean a bit towards Gruntz. However, I don't want to always play a company-level game, either. For a platoon-level game, I don't want to have just seven or eight stands for maneuver elements. Finally, I would rather do one or the other, and not have some on stands and some on individual bases. That just makes more work for me to find, buy, and paint. So that's poll #2.


   I need to decide on my Terran Hegemony force. I like the looks of both Khurasan's Federals and Critical Mass's ARC fleet. Definitely like the HALO-esque vibe. I am also a fan of Ground Zero Games's Neu Swabian League and New Anglian Confederation. All three manufacturers have pretty extensive lines so getting the figures I need shouldn't be a problem. Khurasan is in the US, which is an advantage, but has that issue about closing his website down sort of randomly and for unpredictable lengths of time.  I can't even show you pictures of the troops right now because it's down. Both Critical Mass and Ground Zero are in the UK, so I have to deal with currency differences and international shipping. I don't know if either has a US distributor, but that would help their cause.

GZG Neu Swabian League Panergrenadiers

  Then there is the question of vehicles for the Hegemony. I like Ion Age's line of vehicles, but also Critical Mass, Ground Zero Games, and Khurasan vehicles as well. This is easier to mix and match, though. Definitely want some bike-mounted recon units, an APC platoon, a C3 vehicle, and maybe a trio of tanks. Maybe a VTOL as well. Not sure if I want grav tanks or tracked. Not wheeled (for tanks), but wheeled for transports and C3 is fine.

Neu Swabian League Fan bikes

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lead Painters' League Reduces my Eye Candy

   It does, because while I have been painting some things, I can't show them off here because of the rules of Lead Painters' League competition. Which is going to begin in a few weeks. And which I am going to enter, using some of the minis recently painted. So there you have it.

   I can tell you what I have painted, however. A good bit of smaller scale items. Including:
  • 1x 15mm Old Glory Colonial Steam Gunboat
  • 3x Paneuropean Light Tanks, in Swedish colours
  • 6x Paneuropean Heavy Tanks in Swedish colours
  • 2x Paneuropean Howitzers in French colours
  • 3x Quar 6mm Gun Tractors / tanks
  • 1x Dystopian Wars FSA battleship
  • 3x Dystopian Wars FSA cruisers
  • 5x Dystopian Wars FSA frigates

   Almost finished are eleven FSA tiny flyer tokens (or support air squadrons, in Ver 2.0), four FSA frigates, and two FSA bombers.

   Also on the table, but not nearly finished, are some 15mm Chuhuac (Loud Ninja Games): one grav APC, two armoured walkers, and a trio of grav bikes.

So there is a good bit of work going on on my table. How about yours?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lots of Boats

   According to my son Greyson, "if it doesn't have boats, it isn't art." By that logic (with which I disagree, by the way) my paint table is art. Because it is currently covered with boats, both large and small.

   The large is an Old Glory Colonial Steamer (15mm) that I received as a birthday present about four years ago, I think. It's coming along well, but painting planking is a bit wearing. SO I am doing it in bits while I work on other boats, too. Color scheme is dark grey hull (VMC Grey Black) with red gunwales (VMC Red). Decking is a light tan (VMC Buff), the pilot house and paddles are dingy white (VMC Offwhite) and the upper works are dark wood (VMC Flat Earth). 

Here's the stock photo:

   I haven't attached the smokestack because I can't find the finial. The stack will be black, the finial brass. I did attach the upper works, and added balsa planking to the top of the pilot house. I am not going to permanently attach the forward gunshield (though I am painting it for drop-in use) and the bulwarks added to the rear of the boat are out. I plan to add rope stays to the stack, and some sort of awning (removable, I think) to the rear of the boat. I will also add a flagpole which can be swapped out for various nations to use.

   I am a little extra excited about this project because I measured this boat for a fit when I had some custom Martian canals made up last year (or was it two years ago now???). Now I will have a vehicle with which to dominate the canals of Mars. Rule, Britannia!

   The other boats on which I have been working are a starter set of Dystopian Wars Federated States of America ships. So, nine frigates, three cruisers, and a battleship, plus tiny flyers and two bombers. Plus turrets, and drop ins like rocket batteries and shield generators. You know, the usual VSF-y stuff.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Baby It's Cold Outside...

   Well, not super cold, but cold for Houston. It's one of those days that is rare here: too cold to use spray cans out in my garage. So, the minis I have just finished painting (the first of the year!) will have to wait for more amenable temperatures in order to be varnished. 

   Come to think of it, I suppose I could try some brush-on varnish that I bought a while back. Probably ought to 'test' it first, see if it is still good. It's Model Masters by Testors. Anyone ever used that brand before?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Monterey Jack Saves the Day

   I am speaking, naturally, of the eminent archaeologist of Arkham, not the cheese.

Monterey Jack interacts with Amazonian Locals

   We played another game of Arkham Horror this week. This time we added in the cards from both the King in Yellow and Curse of the Dark Pharaoh sets. Our Ancient One was Nyalarthotep. I drew Monterey Jack as my investigator, which is fine, because he is one of my favorites.

   This was one of the fastest games we have yet played. The Investigators triumphed by closing all the gates. Monterey Jack, after having a great deal of trouble in the Other Worlds (especially being delayed three times in the Abyss) used an Elder Sign to seal the final gate in the eighth turn of the game. And, thanks to the luck of the draw on gate locations, there were three turns in which a gate failed to appear because the location was already sealed with an Elder Sign. The Stars Were Not Right.

To Historicon or Not to Historicon, that is the Question

   I really enjoy going to Historicon. Over the past eight or so years, I have gone five times: twice in Lancaster, twice in Valley Forge, and once in Fredericksburg. Each time was fantastic fun. Played lots of well-produced games and tried many new rule sets, genres, and scales. Bought lots of toys, both in the dealer's room and in the flea market - oh how I love the flea market!!! Met lots of great people. Drank lots of Yuengling. And rum. That sort of thing.

   This year I am trying to be more frugal, however. It's not that I can't afford to go - I can. And with a friend along (I have a buddy who wants to go), the cost goes down because I can split the room and the rental car. So that makes it even less expensive, or, as I see it, leaves me with more money for purchasing toys.

   I already decided that I would not buy any minis until I had painted some of the ones residing in Lead Mountain. I think a two-to-one ratio of painted to purchased would be good. So, if I paint ten 15mm figures, I can buy five. Perhaps that should be my goal this year.

   Naturally, that means I need to get painting if I want to attend Historicon and buy things. Because I will buy things at Historicon, and I am not going to limit myself to Belle and Blade's videos and t-shirts! Maybe a painting and gaming goal needs to be reached by, say, the opening of registration, before I can go. Yes, that sounds good.

   I know you find this stuff riveting... I promise to have more gaming content next time.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mentioned in a Magazine!

  Okay, this is kind of cool. At least, for certain values of 'cool.'

  I just got my copy of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy (WSS), Issue 76, which was dedicated to Victorian Science Fiction - "Adventures in the Age of Steam" as they put it. So there I am, just flipping through the issue, reading an article that serves as in introduction to VSF (or steampunk, if you insist) written by Gary Mitchell.And there, right at the end of the article on page 33, is a mention of The Aethergraph:

"The Aethergraph, for example, is a new online 'zine on the topic, complete with a mock Victorian-style newspaper presentation."

  Geek-out frenzy ensues. I'll be back later.