Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Wrap-up

It wasn't a bad month for painting. I was trying to keep it down to working on three projects (vintage SF, Portable Fantasy Campaign, and Minifigs Tolkien war bands). Everything I did was either SF or Portable Fantasy, so I guess that was a success. Next up, planning for the coming year...

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I see that I have been too busy to update the blog the past two months. At least I've been getting some painting done, like this 1/72 scale elf command stand using Caesar elves. My son built the standard for me several years ago, incorporating an earring that we found in the parking lot at the ice rink, and I was glad to get it finally finished and ready for the table. Naturally, I haven't had time for a game since then...

In the new year, I am hoping to get back to blogging a little more regularly, take some new project(s) to conventions, and to get back to working on something historical among the things seeing progress.

A Merry Christmas to all, and best wishes for a better 2018, wherever you are!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Recent painting

I recently finished the basing of the speed paint figures I'd done at Gencon this year, so that gave me an idea.  I decided to accumulate a war band (for some undetermined skirmish game) using just the speed painted figures, and whatever prizes and free figures I'd gotten.  So, when work sent me to Colorado for most of last week, I took the portable paint kit and these three figures with me.  The left and center figures are Reaper Miniatures which were awarded to me for winning qualifying rounds in the preliminaries in 2016 and 2017 respectively.  The figure on the right, Mr. Spiky, is a sample of 3d printing capability handed out this year at Gencon by Shapeways.  I must say, I was favorably impressed with the smooth surface texture.  If one needed something professionally printed, I can see where it might be worth it. Given the spikiness, I painted him in an olive skin tone as a half-orc.

Since I was working up the war band, I decided that it was finally time to touch up this figure:

She is some sort of Malifaux thing that I had tried to paint in the final round of a Wyrd Miniatures event in 2015.  I had run out of time before I was really finished, and I was trying to paint without magnification, which made the rather petite little face problematic.  I just touched her up today enough to make her look like I was trying for in the speed paint.  I don't know much about the Malifaux backstory, so I have no idea what she is, but the rest of the player/painters that time were excited by the fact that she was some sort of alternative pose not usually available, as best I recall.  Since she's throwing a fireball and armed only with a sword, I figure I can drop her into a fantasy game without any artistic qualms...

That leaves me with just a package of Malifaux wild boars that I got with a gift certificate from speed painting in 2015. As kits of only three to five pieces, I think that I can manage that, and I don't expect the paint scheme to be particularly difficult.

I took advantage of the federal holiday (and resulting long weekend) when I got back from Colorado to get this unit moved off my painting table.  The figures are old Minifigs DA range Carolingians, from an eBay purchase, and I just wanted them done, so they come from a clan with a limited range of hair color....I expect that they will be dropped into the fantasy Byzantine campaign set-up, as part of the "Westerners".

The other excitement for the weekend was a HAWKs game day, so I had an opportunity to throw some dice in a couple of WWII games, for a change of pace.  Now, though, I'd like to get some of the recent painting on the table...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Casting Session

The weather was cooperative today and I had little else on my schedule (besides a ballroom dance event later this evening...), so I decided to take advantage of the circumstances to do some casting. I've recently been trying to get two playable warbands for Dux Bellorum using these home cast figures, and the last metal working session left me nearly out of round shields. I was also short of oval shields for the Late Romans. If I don't get another chance, I should now have enough to carry me through the winter for painting.

Since the molds were in the same box, I tried a few casts with the molds of the 54mm 'Trojan Wars' figures (from Heralds plastic originals). I keep circling back around to Greek legendary/mythological topics, so there are enough to keep me busy for a while if one of my ideas finally gels.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The calm after the storm: Some painting

I mentioned in my previous post that it has been a hectic time at work.  We finally ran the week-long exercise I'd been preparing last week, so I reached the weekend tired but calm.

I ended up taking up my brush and finishing two figures from my deep backlog:

Irregular friar and Marx merry man

 and the back:

Not my best side...

I checked my painting records, and it would appear that the last time I finished anything for this project was in 2012.  The last game to be put on the table was in 2014, at Historicon.

One of three games from Historicon 2014

The Historical games that year involved three narratively linked scenarios, starting with the one pictured above, about raiding for provisions.

I was considering the possibility of running Medieval Mayhem at Gencon next year.  The transport is right, albeit somewhat bulky, but would be reasonable if we chose to drive, and if the hotel situation allowed for hauling things to the table.

Anyway, with those guys done, it should be back to 25mm Due Bellorum figures next...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Imagi-Nations Interlude

I've been in a busy period at work, so I haven't been doing too much gaming in the evenings the past couple of weeks.  I did get one thing done, as a leftover from the previous blog post.  I sat down and finished the Saxon mounted companion stand I've been working on, for Dux Bellorum.  I'm experimenting with some commercial flags from Wargames Designs for this project.  I also did the metal work last weekend on several more stands' worth of troops, so I'll be able to provide some choices in war band composition for the Saxons even if I don't get in a casting sessions before the weather becomes too cold.

My son Norman had arranged to stop in for a visit this weekend, in conjunction with getting some car maintenance done, so we had been considering what we might do by way of gaming. He has been working (intermittently, as we all sometimes do) on a 19th century imagi-nations project for several years, originally inspired by the acquisition of some interesting toy building blocks at Cold Wars back in 2014.  He's recently completed a few more stands, leaving him with forces that would do for Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames rules.  Ross Macfarlane had posted a review of One Hour Wargames back in 2015, and I didn't have high expectations, but I also didn't have a good suggestion for an alternative set of rules, so we agreed that we would give them a try.  

One of the nicer aspects of One Hour Wargames are the scenarios, already keyed to a three foot square map.  Norman and I both have sets of double sided mats in that size, so setting things up was a breeze.  The first game we tried was using Scenario 9 "Double Delaying Action".  I took the Elabruenese forces, attempting to prevent the Occiterrans from capturing the town and exiting the map on the road on my side of the river, while also subject to a requirement to withdraw three units at various stages of the game.  We each had a full six unit army (the maximum given for scenarios in these rules).  I ended up able to withdraw my units on schedule, but was unable to prevent the capture of the town and the subsequent exit of a pursuit force,
Elabruen forces mass for delaying action; dice indicate remaining unit strength
Cavalry and skirmishers on my left flank guard the ford

We chose scenario 8, "Melee", for our second game.  We switched armies, since Norman wishes to maintain an impartiality to these forces, rather than espousing loyalty to one of them. The scenario involves both sides attempting to control a dominant hill, with forces coming in piecemeal for both sides.
Elabruenese defending a large hill in Scenario 8
Since Norman's forces started in possession of the hill, it was up to me to take it, and I did start with a larger force.  Unfortunately for me, I was still figuring out how tactics work in this game, so ended up spending too much effort uselessly attempting to get an artillery unit in position.  I was never able to put enough concentrated fire on the hill to clear it, and Norman was victorious again.

Not a good day for Occiterre...

After the game, we did a quick hot wash, and concluded that the side with the need to move into the enemy fire zone first was going to be at a disadvantage.  However, with the random force assignment, we did note that the battle would have been much different if his force had included cavalry instead of the skirmisher who had made trouble in the woods through the whole game, for example.

We had intended to play some Full Thrust, a space game that's been in Norman's collection for many years, but the business of digging out Legos and forming them into two spaceship squadrons took longer than expected.  We boxed the ships up for the next visit, which will give me a chance to read up on the rules as well.

 Before his departure this morning, we threw one more One Hour Wargames scenario on the table.  This time the battle was #10, "Late Arrivals".  A random throw left me with the Elabruenese as defenders in a race against time, as I started with 2 units against his 6, and the reinforcements were not particularly prompt.

I did, at least, have a town to defend.  This time around, Norman got an army list with cavalry and no artillery, and the cavalry can't enter the town.

That made the open ground a dangerous place for my troops, but the difficulties Norman had in wearing down my town defenders fast enough ultimately gave me the victory, leaving me one for three for the weekend. 

Nevertheless, a good time was had by all, and it was nice to have the opportunity to get his project on the table for the first time.  I would play One Hour Wargames again; it was neither quite so static nor so fast as Ross's review had led me to expect, but I should note that he used the ancients rules section, while we used the horse and musket rules.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dux Bellorum, back around for some more work

In the week before Gencon, I got Rosemary Sutcliff's book, The Shining Company, off of my shelf for a reread.  If you aren't familiar with it, it is a retelling of The Gododdin, an early Welsh poem about a band of heroes who almost all died in a battle with Saxons.  Like all of Sutcliff's books, it's very atmospheric.  The battles could be refought without too much trouble using Dux Bellorum, so I thought that it might be a good time to dust off my stalled Dux Bellorum project.  I took a few figures along with my portable paint kit as a backup, but didn't use them during the convention.

This week, though, I had to take my car in for some maintenance, so an enforced time to sit seemed like a good time to get some painting done.  Four of the figures on this stand were finished over a year ago, and have been awaiting the second four to complete the stand, which I polished off during the maintenance (I should note that they were partially painted, so I wasn't starting from scratch):

"Noble" Saxons

As with the rest of the war band in process, all the figures are made from Prince August or Dutkins molds.  They are a mix of Dutkins unspecified Roman and Barbarian molds, Prince August's 25mm fantasy molds, and the mostly discontinued Prince August ancient armies multiple part molds.

I also finished up a mounted standard bearer, a Dutkins figure with a Prince August head on a Prince August horse, leaving me two more riders to go for a stand.  At that point, they told me my car was ready...

Mounted Dark Ages standard bearer

My original minimum Saxon war band was going to have the one mounted stand, three "noble" (better armed/armored/motivated) warrior stands, three "ordinary" warrior stands, and two skirmisher stands, and I am now short one "noble" warrior stand and the riders.  Inspired by completing these figures, I sat down with my large box of Prince August castings to see if I couldn't put together the third noble warriors stand:

While I'm not getting too worried about archaeological correctness, I am still depicted these with a front rank of armored figures and a back rank including some less armored figures.  I glued them to sticks and primed them after this picture was taken.

I still haven't played enough Dux Bellorum to know whether that war band composition is going to give a good game, so, as long I was doing metal work, I started turning out a few more ordinary Saxons.

Their opponents are due to be some Romano-British and/or some Late Romans, so I've also started putting a few of those together from the Prince August ancients molds:

Those armies are permitted to blend by deploying allied contingents of the other, so I would like to get them on the field faster than the Saxons have gone.  The Romans have a few specialized units available, and I did a conversion of a Roman horse archer the last time I was doing metal work for this project.  A bit rough, perhaps, but I only need two, and I'd mostly like to keep this project in home cast figures.

I looked up the first Saxon stand; I posted it here in October 2014, nearly three years ago.  The exception to the home cast mandate will be for Ross's figures. Ross gave me some Romano-British from his collection a couple of years ago, so I think it's high time to get them rebased and refurbished to fight the encroaching Saxon hordes. 

All completed Saxons to date

I like the idea of getting something historical done again; it's been fun getting out the vintage fantasy lead, but it has ended up as a somewhat all-consuming project for the past two and a half years, and I'm getting the itch to mix it up again.