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.