Sunday, September 30, 2012

A little painting

I finally managed to get some painting time today. I got as far as putting a preliminary varnish coat on these two Egyptian chariots and crews:

Let's just say they have been in process for a long time... I did not have the bases handy, so they have not received their final assembly yet. However, with the new Caesar releases out, I'd like to finish some things before I add more.

I also bought enough Vallejo paint this weekend to try using it exclusively for a while, instead of my cheap craft paint. In addition tithe Egyptians, I worked on some Reaper fantasy figures. I got as far as putting varnish on this fantasy librarian (in more than one sense of that adjective), but also had to stop without basing her:

With the Reaper Kickstarter pledges being finalized this weekend, I had better be upping my painting game...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lots of Activity

There's been a lot going on since the last time I posted, and quite a bit of it even has to do with gaming...
The 15th saw the HAWKs host Barrage XVI, our local game day. This year it moved from January, when we tended to have snow problems, to September, when we lucky to avoid hurricane problems, and from downtown Baltimore out to Havre de Grace, just across the river from where I live. Including club members we had about 120 attendees and several 'real' dealers plus a lively flea market. I put on one game, a kids' ancient game with 1/72 scale plastic 2nd Punic Wars figures. I used rules adapted slightly from Morschauser's How to Play War Games in Miniatures from 1962, and the scenario was based on Hannibal's initial encounter with the Romans after crossing the Alps, Trebbia. It had been quite a while since I had run a proper kids' game, and, to be honest, I had forgotten how high-energy a process that could be, with a constant stream of direction necessary to keep things moving.

I have been upgrading my storage from cardboard boxes to the 4 and 9 liter Really Useful Boxes, so I have been handling a lot of projects that haven't been out in a while. One of these is my 40mm French and Indian War project, done with a mix of Meisterzinn and Prince August home cast figures, and commercial figures from Irregular, Sash and Saber, and Trident. I want to get these on the table sometime soon, so I took a risk and picked up the hot new FIW rules, Muskets and Tomahawks, by the publishers of Saga. The import price of $40 seems a bit steep, but I had money from flea market sales to offset it. I hope to try it soon and post a report/review. At least I have enough figures to field any of the units contemplated in the game...

In any case, it was nice to have both sons home for the event. They weren't running anything, but were able to find some things to play. William was particularly successful at Aerodrome, earning his Ace pin in one long session.

The week following was not as interesting from a gaming view, until the weekend. Norman came home again on Friday night in anticipation of a gaming day at Chris Palmer's house on Saturday. We marked the Tolkien festival of 22 September early, with a lightly Tolkien-themed Hordes of the Things game. Norman has recently expanded his orcish army to 24 Hordes army points, and we matched them against a composite force of elves and men, plus a wizard. While I promptly botched my first attempt at bespelling the orcs, leaving the wizard vulnerable to "frogging", the rest of the battle went in my favor, and I won with a high-stakes general-to-general fight, in which neither general had room to retreat.

We celebrated Bilbo and Frodo's birthday the next morning with a hearty breakfast of waffles and ham, then loaded the car for the trip to Chris's house. The game for the morning was Charge!

While the lighting is not the best on this shot, the basics can be seen. A North Polenburg force has taken up a prepared defensive position anchored on two villages and constructed three redoubts. A Pragmatic Coalition force of troops from Schoeffen-Buschhagen, Wachovia and Wiegenburg is approaching from the right. (This is scenario 1 from Grant's Scenarios for Wargames, the Green Book.)

Faced with a requirement to force the position, the Coalition commanders looked at the dug in guns and concluded that there was no time to waste. Two regiments of infantry were detailed to assault the village in the center of the line while the artillery kept the North Polenburg redoubts under fire. The Wachovian regiment attack the village on the left, and the fourth infantry regiment was assigned to attack the redoubt at the right of the positon.

To the far right, a detachment of the King Rupert Jaegers attempted to work their way through the woods to a position to support the attack on the redoubt.
The SB dragoons were placed between the center attack and the right attack, opposite a regiment of North Polenburg dragoons, resplendent as always on their showy white horses.

Much to the surprise of the Coalition commanders, the battle unfolded much as planned. A cavalry melee developed quickly in the center right, as both sides moved forward in support of their infantry. (In these circumstance, I elected to use the rules for accidental melee.)

Despite the movement of the NP cavalry, a detachment of thier infantry was caught be a fierce charge and driven back in disorder.

The attack in the center eventually was driven home, though not without losses. The SB Adelmann regiment was reduced below strength and withdrew to regroup.
Shortly thereafter two of the three redoubts fell to Coalition action, and the NP commander assessed the situation. With half his infantry force gone, little fight left in the other half, and two thirds of his guns in enemy hands he decided that using his cavalry, in somewhat better condition than the Coalition cavalry, to cover his retreat was the best course of action.
After packing that game away, one of the other HAWKs laid out a 6mm WWII game using the the club's Look Sarge rules.

So I got three games in for the weekend, which is quite respectable. That brings me to 31 so far for the year, not too far short of an average pace of one per week. If I can keep that up, it should be a good year.
I had a little time to work on painting yesterday.
Here are the sample Prince August orcs I cast last session. I don't usually prime in rust color, but I was out of gray at home, and will add a thinned black gesso coat before I get started.

I also started in earnest on a 1/72 scale plastic fantasy army, earmarked for Norman's proposed Myboria Hordes of the Things campaign. I am building the Viking-inspire Barbarians of the Cold Islands, figuring that I have done enough Dark Ages figures in 28mm that the painting should come naturally.

This group will consist of 15 stands of figures, totalling 79 figures; 3 heroes, a sneaker (Valkyries), a horde of thralls to complement the 3 point sneakers, and a choice of 2 shooters, 2 spears, 2 blades, and 4 warbands. The figures are a mix of Zvezda Vikings, Orion Vikings, and Revell Anglo-Saxons.
I also stopped by the local game store yesterday, and found that they had some Reaper Bones Orc archers, so I picked up a pack and some others odds and ends to keep me warming up to the great fantasy makeover next spring.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A time to cast...

To paraphrase, for everything there is a season; a time to cast and a time to paint ...

I had the opportunity today to finish some things that have been pending. The company of infantry for Schluesselbrett got a spray coat in the relatively cool dry weather this morning.

The Bones test figures, pending further investigation of a suggestion that they might not be compatible with Krylon, got a brush varnish coat.

I then set up the melting pot and set out to make up for the lack of cavalry last week. Without an assistant, I found that cycling through four molds kept things warm between casts.

I expected a fair amount of time on venting issues, and that turned out to be the case, so production was slower than it might have been. I also worked with the Prince August 40mm dog and fox mold:

Commanders may now be accompanied by favorite hounds.

I had some limited success with hussar mold 52. I also cast some carbine cavalry on both poses, a few classic 11s, and some officers, for a total of about 30.

After that I broke out the 25mm ancient and fantasy molds, for a try at some Dux Bellorum armies. In the process of sorting through the fantasy molds looking for the barbarians, I also ended up casting a handful of orcs, from some old single figure molds. These were my first introduction to casting, and I thought it might be fun to try painting a few with my current techniques.

Overall, I ended up with the dogs, about 30 NQSYW cavalry, half a dozen 25mm fantasy/Dark Ages cavalry, and about 80 assorted 25mm foot. If I get in another session this season, I'll try to work toward stocking up on castings for Dux Bellorum armies. If I don't, this long afternoon will still provide enough work to keep me painting for many sessions.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

More Casting

With Norman home for the long weekend, we decided to try some figure production for the NQSYW project. Our recent game sparked some interest, and some units were requested by members not previously involved.

As is often the case, some molds were fine and some were frustrating. Cavalry, in particular, was not cooperative yesterday, with the exception of the Prussian Garde du Corps Cuirassier mold, which was running about 80% good castings. Luckily, Norman is starting some Wachovian guard cavalry. The figure was also used as an officer in the two mercenary armies we picked up, so I can complete their cavalry regiments by Cold Wars. (I hope...)

I may have to try a solo session Monday after Norman leaves to see whether the cavalry will cooperate, and to diagnose the venting required for the 40mm dogs.