Saturday, December 31, 2022

Finishing up old projects: Harry Potter

As the year winds its way to an end, I'm working on clearing off some old projects. A few weeks ago, I finished some Harry Potter figures and decided to give them an outdoorsy base. 

I was happy enough with the results that I decided to go back and give the rest of the figures a similar treatment.

The integral bases on these are large and oval. They were too difficult to remove so I originally just painted then grey, which sucked.

The grass and sand is better, even if it doesn't really make a lot to sense given how much of the action was indoors or for the Winter Ball figures.

Oh well!

Up next: Absolutely no idea.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The man in the red shirt

No, not that guy. Just regular old red shirts. I picked up twenty-odd Heritage 25mm Star Trek figures from the 1970s on fleabay. They came on nasty 1970s wooden bases and were a bit worse for wear.

A soaking, some lotta bases, a bit of a paint touch-up, and some texturing and they fit in with the rest of my ST:TOS crew.

Tucked in the box were some figures I didn't recognize. These five turned out to be unlicensed Scruby figures from the mid-1970s. There were 12 figures (6 federation and 6 alien). I seem to be missing the Kirk figure. Plus the phaser rifleman on the left has had his arm repositioned away from his body (a big improvement).

The Scruby's (wings below) fit in well enough with the Heritage figures (centre below). They are just a bit thinner, taller, and more static (they have a 1/72 vibe). The bases are also smaller. In a group you can't really tell them apart and I'm always happy for some different weaponry.

Up next: Hard to say. Maybe some British flank companies for the Crimea

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Last of the Harry Potter

I finally finished the last of the Harry Potter figures I bought years ago from Metal Magic. These guys have been staring up from the edge of my painting desk for ages.

Even after stripping off the factory painting, the figures were pretty so-so. But the only other range I have seen is from Spain in resin and cost the moon. These are about 40mm tall.

They have an odd, oval-shaped integral base that proved too bothersome to remove. I have been painting it a simple grey and it looks yucky so I decided to just texture these. I was happy enough with the outcome that I'me going to go back and redo the bases of the other figures.

Up next: Some very old Trek figures, including a couple of 1970s Scruby figures!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Last of the Russian foot!

These are the last of the Russian foot from Foundry. Holy cow was this a boring batch to grind through! 

I finished one 15-man unit and another 9-man unit with a small command group.

Looking forward to something more colourful next, but I'm not sure what!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Megablox Carrier

Back at the beginning go the pandemic, I picked up an old Megablox aircraft carrier set (the USS Kitty Hawk). It had some 1700 pieces and I finally got around to building it this weekend. The final model is about three-feet long and is maybe 1/450 scale?

This was a bear of a model to put together and Megablox are almost, but not quite, as good as Lego.

There were several places where the instructions included this icon (below). Which appears to be Brick for "this next step looks slick on the CAD rendering, but sucks shit in real life, sorry bro".

I had to call in reinforcements at one point because I was just out of gas and my hands were sore.

The decals on the model had been applied but then pulled loose (instead of being cut cleanly) when the model was disassembled. Some decals were okay (around the edges of the elevators) but the flight deck decals were a mess. I eventually stripped them, masked, and painted replacements.

This kit really took me back to high school gaming with old Tente sets. We'd play 7th fleet confrontations. My teacher had two carriers (which were out of my price range!) so I played the Soviet side. And we lost and lost and lost. The US would always find us first and then pummel us with their air strikes until we'd finally spot them and send a ragged volley of missiles from what was left.

Until I noticed the US plan was always the same and used it to predict their search path and their location. We managed to get off two volleys before they found us. We brought glory to the Soviet empire that day, sinking one carrier while a second and an aegis cruiser had to be towed to port. Hope the flyboys enjoyed ditching their tomcats and hornets! That was also the last time we played, I think.

Anyhow, a fun throw back. Not sure what I'm going to so with this now though.

Up next: More Russians for the Crimea.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Man of War

Bruce graciously put on a game of Man of War, hauling out his lovely collection of GHQ ships. This is a very slick system with movement triggered by one's speed (the faster you go, the more times you move in a turn--akin to the activation system in the old fighter-plane game Mustangs). Movement is interspersed with five shared firing phases. So the challenge is to maneuver so you can take advantage of (and not be screwed by...) the occurrence of the firing opportunity. I imagine Bruce has tweaked the rules some but I can't recall what the tweaks were.

Our scenario was a smaller but better quality French fleet (foreground) having the wind gauge on a British fleet (background). The wind is running left to right across the picture above and is abeam the one French ship that is cutting hard to the right all on its own. In my mind, I call this game "oh shit, the wind shifted" and this was no exception

So we get get moving and the second turn I roll a wind change in direction (it is now coming from the right, angling along the hex grain to the left) and it has dramatically weakened. This is a very unlikely event. Bruce has just turned his fleet to try and take the wind gauge away from me and this change basically catches him in irons, partly becalmed, and creates a major traffic jam (basically, he is now screwed). Despite my sympathy for his situation. I am proceeding to take full advantage.

Picture above of pretty ships with a speed counter on in. Speed ranges 0-7 hexes per turn--speed 4 for a big ship is pretty fast.

I manage to get a group of ships around the end of his line an start doing rear rakes. Some lucky rolls and he has two ships awash. My effort to board isn't successful, however.

Over on the left, I'm trying to get ships around the front for more rakes and put him in a box. The wind has just left him with no good options except to fight it out until he can get turned around and run.

In the end, one of his awash ships strikes it colours and that causes a cascading morale failure (a second seton unlucky dice for Bruce) and his fleet breaks contact. Probably a pretty decisive (and lucky) victory for the French.

Overall, one of the better sets of rules. Maneuver is slow and grinding, wind position and crew quality really matter, unusual things (like boarding actions) are risky and unlikely to occur. The mechanics create command and control limits that seem realistic while still giving players some difficult choices around movement and combat. The firing mechanic (basically, if you fire now, you have to skip the next firing phase to reload that side), in particular, make for tough choices.

Up next: A different era of naval operations.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Crimean Russians Advancing

Despite a slow week at the painting table, I finished off the first of two batches of 28mm Crimean Russians from Foundry.

These are the advancing pose. Nothings special about them (beyond their sheer number). I managed to step on one fellow and his bayonet cut quite a gouge in my foot!

Up next: Lego naval ship?

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Some Pulp Alley Musketeers

I dropped in on Bruce to play some Pulp Alley. He was keen to try out a new solo-play chart he'd created to go with the solo deck he'd bought. Basically, you roll 3d6 for each NPC unit and cross reference against proximity to enemy (different chart for each type of NPC) to determine what they do. This is an alternative to players just making the 'most sensible' move for NPCs during a solo game. Overall, it worked well.

Bruce set a lovely table. I think I snapped this at the end. The four musketeers came on on the bottom of the frame with the baddies starting at random spots (mostly on the far edge). There were four minor plot points (various articles belonging to the queen). Once a side had on minor plot point (1 point each), they could then hustle to the tavern, climb the stairs and try to convince a noble to join them (four points).

Almost immediately, two musketeers ran into a group of the Cardinal's goons in the woods while trying to rescue a lady in waiting. The musketeers sent these fellow packing but the random dice meant that one of the musketeers spent the rest of the game here dueling and buying time for the rest.

A second musketeer grabbed the queen's diary and with two minor plot points in the can, everyone made for the tavern, the cardinals' goons in hot pursuit.

A big barney in the woods tied up a lot of the cardinal's resources. One musketeer ran into the tavern and up the stairs before getting cut off by some goons. Two more musketeers jumped through the door and put the boots them.

In the end, the musketeers managed to (barely) get the noble and two minor points out the back door. There were no casualties among the musketeers and three among the cardinal's forces so we gave the game to the musketeers.

Overall, the random reaction table workers well, adding unexpected events and limiting the helicopter god effect. The solo deck was also pretty effective, penalizing or rewarding in random (and annoying) points.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Even more Russians with helmets

More Perry Russians for Crimea. This time in the shooting pose.

Nice sculpts also likely suitable for colonial adventures into the 1920s and 1930s. Just an overwhelming number of figures to paint. 

Thank Cthulhu I can just spray on the beige and detail.

Up next: Unless I go blind, we'll have more Russians. This time a huge number in the advancing pose. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

More Crimean Russians, now with helmets

 The endless hordes of Russians continue. These are 28mm Perry figures from Foundry.

There were 13 figures in this unit and the pose is "defending". I think they turned out okay (followed examples on Foundry site). I wish the helmets had been just a touch darker. 

I also did a unit of command bases.

Up next: More Russians! I didn't find anything at the model railway sale on last weekend so I'm back to grinding through my to-paint pile.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

More Crimean Russians

Some more 28mm Crimean Russians from Foundry. 

Up next: Yet even more Russians, but this time in helmets!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

28mm Crimean Russians

I'm grinding my way through a huge lot of 28mm Crimean Russians that I received last fall.

These are Perry sculpts and have lots of character. I used the pictures on the Foundry website as the painting guide.

I'd say these fellows could also be used in colonial adventures from the 1850s into the 1930s.

Up next: More Russians for Crimea!