Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reforestation efforts

After much delay, I finally sat down to spruce up (so to speak) my aged trees bases. These fellows usually sit on an area marker or in a hex so are designed to be moved around to accommodate unit placement.

There are 38 of these (I think I've lost two over the years) and the base is cork with a washer on the bottom for weight and magnetic purposes. Then I put on some flock and then some trees.

I think I originally made these back in 2005 or 2006 so they have had some heavy use. Several bases were down to only a few trees. I replenished the forests with pieces I had in my terrain box.

There are basically three kinds of trees. The spruce are pipe-cleaners that GHQ used to sell. The clump foliage is on woodland scenic trucks. And the light coloured, column-linear trees are part of a dried flower that I chopped up.

These are meant to be generic trees. Most of my gaming is set in North America so I was going for a rocky east-coast look with a mixed forest. I think these fit the bill.

Up next: I have four 1/600 ships about half painted an I hope to finish these by early next week. I also have a game of Maurice with Bruce on Wednesday and there are some 28mm vampire count figures to build.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday's mail brought me a copy of the new game 1812: The Invasion of Canada by Academy Games. The game is a Risk-style area control game with card-driven activation and dice reminiscent of Borg designs. I took it out to Bruce's for our usual "off-Tuesday" games and we managed to learn the rules and fight the game to conclusion in 68 minutes.

Here you can see the opening moves and the British have punched south through the Niagara Penisula. This was mostly to spoil an expected American attack and gain some victory points quickly. The game can end any time after the third round of play, depending on how the cards shake out and what the players do so an early lead can be helpful.

In retrospect, this may have been overly aggressive as the Americans punch back by mid game. It did, however, focus the American attention on the Niagara frontier and meant there were few troops to be spared for adventures in Michigan.

There was quite a fight on the south side of the St. Lawrence and the Americans eventually managed to capture Montreal (ack!). In the meantime, the British looped around the far side of Lake Erie and drove south. I think we were both quite aggressive in the game and the final outcome was a narrow British victory. You have to watch that Bruce because he is cagey!

Overall, an interesting game. One level more granular than Columbia Games' War of 1812. The dice mechanics are fascinating, forcing very difficult and often counter-intuitive choices about casualties. The cards work well. We both thought that this might be one of the few games that actually works better with five players (so there is some intra-team bargaining) than with two players. But the dice mechanics are very tight and compelling.

Up next: I've finished replanting my trees and they are drying. And I have some 1/600 ships ready to prime. I'll be a bit quiet this next bit as I attend to a couple of other engagements.

Monday, January 23, 2012

6mm FPW French

And today the last of the 6mm, this time some 6mm Baccus FPW French.

There were a smaller number of these fellows.

There are also a few bases of skirmishers.

Up next: Work is a bit busy so maybe a game of A Few Acres of Snow and some 1/ships.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

6mm FPW Bavarians

I've just finished a bunch of 6mm FPW Bavarians for a commission. The figures are Baccus and are very nice.

There a bunch of formed troops. The red is not nearly as bright as it is in these pictures. I see the glue has not yet dried on the bases.

There are also a large number of these smaller bases representing skirmishers. These posed some challenges for my fat, fat fingers!

Up next: A small selection of 6mm French FPW figures is drying. I'm also hopeful I can get a game with Bruce and perhaps paint a couple of 1/600 Uncharted seas ships.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More FoW German Paratroops

This is the second batch of bases for a 15mm Flames of War commission.

This bunch includes a platoon of machine guns to support the infantry. Overall a nice unit but the MGs themselves had a fair bit of flash. Hard to tell what was flash and what was detail!

I quite like the fellow with the binoculars.

There is also a mortar platoon.

These fellows were nice to do and have a couple of bases of FOs as well as a command stand.

Up next: I'm just finishing the painting on some 6mm FPW (French are done; Bavarians need cuffs and collars and details. I should have these finished by the weekend). Then onto my trees and some 25mm Star Wars reinforcements.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

FoW German Paratroops

Awhile back fellow I know asked me to paint some 15mm WW2 French troops for a Cassino campaign he was playing in. They turned out okay and were fairly fun to paint. Subsequently, the German opponents (paratroopers as it turned out) also came my way (consistent basing was important).

I finished the first of two batches tonight. First up we have an infantry company of nine bases plus command. The figures were in a three-colour camo pattern. Oh my, that was a challenge. What colours look good together, will darken acceptably with the wash and will still have an appropriate colour shift to look in scale? Not sure I quite nailed it but pretty close.

The Battlefront figures have a nice amount of detail. I wish the individual bases were thinner (or smaller) but they do a nice job of them overall. Below is a shot where I tried to show the camo pattern. The green looks a bit Christmas-y but there is a weird colour shift thing happening--it does not pop that much in real life.

There was also a set of guns. Normally I hate assembling artillery (and chariots--chariots suck) but these guns were very nicely made and went together quickly.

There are also a couple of command/FO bases.

Up next: Drying right now are MG and mortar units to fill out the Germans ranks. And I have some 6mm FPW that I will primer tomorrow when the glue dries on the paint sticks. Thereafter, I'm not too sure.

Club Night: January 17

We had 10 guys out at the club last night, which was pretty good given it was minus 40C with the windchill. We have some dedicated gamers!

I put on a game of Battlelore. I had hoped to test out the reluctant allies rules for my MayDay game but I was happy in the end to have two players keen. Here you see Bruce as Mordred and Neal as Arthur. The actors portraying them in the movie version will be prettier! It was a narrow win for Arthur after an aggressive Mordred had him on his backfoot for much of the game.

Dave hosted Chen, Terry, Scott, Mark and Alan in a redux of his Hail Caesar Normans v Saxons game. The scenario had a few tweaks (more Normans!). You can see the pretty new Normans (actually El Cid Spaniards standing in) above.

The Saxons again refused the right, awaiting the Norman cavalry (who turned up pretty much on time).

There was much taunting and eventually (I think) the middles met (which sounds kind of dirty) with the Normans managing a win. I didn't hear Scott swearing too much so he must have done alright last night!

Up next: I have some 15mm FoW Germans which are being based (should be done by tomorrow) and then onto some 6mm FPW figures. It has been awhile since I have painted 6mm! And then I will get to work on my tree repairs, which is the last item I need for my MayDay game.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Star Wars Memoir '44

The weather turned rather chilly last night (-17, feels like -31) so Jessica and I found ourselves at loose ends around the house. I couldn't face another hand of cards and she was asking to play with the Star Wars figures I had painted up last year. Instead of hauling out HoTT and reteaching her the rules, I decided to try a game of Memoir.

I bought a deck of cards over the holidays so I quickly made up some dice, found a unit sheet and made some equations and we were off. I played the game mostly from memory and it seemed to work well. No scenario--just whatever figures we happened to have handy.

I pushed hard in the centre and on my right flank; Jess was content to hang back and shoot. She eventually managed to fell both my speeder bikes and my AT-AT walker. Above you can see a band of heroes led by a Jedi--I used to leader mechanic from CCA to incorporate powerful characters.

Setting up the game drove home to me how ratty my trees have become over the years. Also, I need some pieces to indicate entrenchment.

Eventually it came down to two foot units, led by Luke and Vader. And I got lucky with the dice, managing to rub the unit out by throwing a Bantha into the fight. We will likely be playing again today and hopefully I'll be able to give the rebels a bit more effective orbat.

Up next: Some 15mm FoW Germans are underway--flesh and trousers done so onto jackets today. They have a camo pattern that will be slow going. Then onto some 6mm Naps. And the club is tuesday so I'll need to haul out Battlelore and get that prepped.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

42mm Toy Soldiers

One of my regular painting clients makes his own wooden toy soldiers. These are roughly 42mm figures and he sent me a batch to try painting.

These fellows represent a militia unit thus their uniforms are... errr... not uniform. Beyond blue coats and not too uniform, I was left to my own devices with a sample figure.

These were an interesting painting challenge. There are relatively few features to the figure so much was painted free hand. Also, the surfaces involved are huge, in the context of most toy soldiers. I had to find some larger brushes in my collection to get decent coverage. These took roughly three times what 15mm figure would take, but I'm guessing I could get the time down with some practice.

Although the figures look simple, there is a surprising amount of detail to paint. The faces took me a while to figure out. Some of the jackets were prepainted with what I think is an oil paint which did not play nicely with my acrylic cross belts. But in the end they turned out alright.

My daughter quite likes these. They have a quaint, throwback feel to them. I cannot believe Dale hand-made each one. The arms are fun felt but the rest is wooden.

Up next: Some 15mm WW2 Germans are crying out for paint. With the weather about to turn cold, I expect should have them done this week. I also have some 6mm Naps I need to prime. Then back to my own projects with trees and perhaps some 1/72 AWI British in the offing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

28mm Imperial Romans

About five years ago, I got a sample sprue of Warlord's 28mm Imperial Romans to review. These were among the first of the 28mm historical plastics. After the review, these fellows sat on my shelf for awhile. Then I traded them to Justin. Then they were traded back to me. So I finally decided to build them.

There are six bases of legionnaires. A couple of the figures had been previously built to populate as DBA camp but the rest were brand new. Assembly was easy and painting was a snap. These are very nice figures.

As the sprue was a sampler, I did not have an decals for the shields. I decided to try painting them. The pattern is reasonable enough but was too small relative to the shield size. Oh well, a good lesson!

I also acquired a 28mm Warlords metal general figure somewhere. This angle is not very kind to the figure--he is quite nice.

Below I have tried for a side-by-side show of the Wargames Factory Republicans versus the Warlord Games Imperials. The Warlord games have superior detail and are appreciable smaller (the Wargames Factory guys are quite stooped).

Up next: I have some 15mm FoW Germans on paint sticks and I will prime them this afternoon. I also have some wooden soldiers (42mm) that I will start on shortly. Then some 6mm fellows.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Maurice

Braving almost seasonal temperatures, I treked out to Bruce's last night for a second go at Maurice. Again we played a fairly generic game. The centre was crowded with terrain while the flanks were open. Bruce had 15 units (including two lousy militia units) and I had 13 units (including two strong grenadier units).

We've not idea how Sam will deal with unit quality in the full rules so we tried making it easier for tougher units to rally off hits and harder for poorer units. This wasn't really all that effective and, after mulling over fiddling the number of disruptions a unit could take before it broke, we settled on fiddling the "conversion" roll where hits become disruptions next game. Good troops are hard to tag with hits from shooting. We'll see how that goes.

I decided to attack this game, refusing my left, loading the cavalry on the open right and sending the foot up the middle. I used the cannon to ward off Bruce rushing my cavalry but that was a poor choice on my part. So up the middle the boys went. They ran into a flanking force of cavalry and were saved by "that's not on the map!" as a marchy area appear to protect my flank. The screams of the horse and howls of indignation warmed my cold heart.

His cavalry hit me, bounced and then I had hoped to shoot him to death. But I couldn't roll worth beans all night so he eventually extracted them from their mess just shy of death. Unfortunately, there was a bit of "confusion" on his side and they charged forward into the bog (and their deaths) again (evil laughter). But things went downhill from there. The rest of the middle was a series of unit trades through firing.

My attack was poorly planned and eventually fizzled but I was a couple of units up on Bruce so decided to risk a cavalry charge up my right to see if I could snag victory. I knew his militia would be easy meat and they were (crunchy!). Alas, this was Bruce's plan, as he used the militia as bait and then hit me with his cavalry.

Overall, I traded four units for his three and then he snagged another unit through shooting to win. It could have gone the other way at the end if I had played my cards a bit different but he clearly deserved to win for his patient trap laying. Also for not crying too loudly as I hooped his cavalry with the marsh twice early on.

Overall, we had a great game in about an hour. I'm keen to see the full rules with a bit more detail (different types of cavalry, skirmisher troops, more card play). Bruce is so enthralled his is mooting rebasing and did up a sample unit. I will be staging an intervention at the next club night and need folks to sign up to bring food and drink.

Up next: I am about to base some 28mm Imperial Romans and start the prep on some 15mm WW2 Germans. I have also hauled the trees out of storage and am mulling how to fix them up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Last Celtic Reinforcements

These fellows are the last (ha!) of the extra Celts in my paint pile (excepting some attached to an unpainted Carthaginian army) and are 28mm Wargames Factory.

I did up a couple of bases of warband to flesh out the ranks some. There are a few odds and ends mixed in here (viking heads, weapons from various sets).

I tried to send a bit more time on the shields. Some I did some Celtic knot(ish) designs. Others I simply did some wet-on-wet mixing to give the shields some extra depth. I see a couple of fellows plundered some Roman dead for equipment.

I also knocked off two light horsemen to give the fellows some extra mobility. It is fun to see stuff moved from the "to-do" shelf to join the ranks of the painted.

Up next: I have a game of Maurice scheduled tonight and some 28mm Roman auxilia rolling off the production line. I have 500 points of FoW Germans that need prep and I plan to fiddle with some old bases of trees in the interim.