Monday, May 2, 2016

New toys arrive - Free figure up for grabs.

I indulged in a little retail therapy and just got in the first few items. I bought some industrial MDF buildings on Ebay. They just arrived. The buildings filled my cubical with this wonderful woodsmoke smell from the laser cut mdf. They came in a package with two smaller packages withing them. There are a total of five buildings in the lot. I got them at a great price but the shipping was a bit high. More than the buildings. My only gripe - NO INSTRUCTIONS. I will email the vendor and see if he has anything.

Next up is the first part of my order from Brookhurst. I ordered six packs of figures from them but only three were in stock. The one I was really waiting on came in. The Scots preacher from the ECW. I love the pose. He is waving a book about in one hand as if he is preaching up a storm. I can really use him and the dog. The scot lancer on the other hand, I have no use for. Anyone want him? Let me know and I will ship him off. Nice figure but I am 99.9% sure I will not do any ECW armies anytime soon. I need to know my limits.

the other two packs are command packs form British Light Infantry and British Legion Infantry. Since I just finished off my British Legion cavalry, I need som infantry to go along with them. Unfortunately the three packs of infantry were the part that did not make it yet. Oh well. They will show up.

Still waiting on my copy of Sharp Practice v2. I have my PDF so I good to go, but just want the book. And the cards. And the markers. And the chips. Quick update. looking at the British Legion command pack and the Light infantry command pack, I have extra figures here too. I will only need one officer for the British Legion infantry. I only intend on painting three groups of these fellows. So I have two officers up for grabs here and two musicians. Then I have six different officers for the light infantry. That leaves four that I don't need. I am getting lazy and will only paint one of each pose. One I will use for my New Jersey Volunteer Light Infantry and the other for my Delancey Brigade troops. I don't like my existing Delancey officer so it will be a good replacement.

Messing About with CreateSpace

Well, I just started to look into using CreateSpace to make a hard copy of my book In the Name of Roma. The interface is dirt simple that even I could figure it out. The problem is the price. As a full color book with a glossy cover, the thing came out to a minimum price of $37.48 US. That is without any royalty for me. I need to fool around with the properties on it as I doubt that this would be useful to anyone else. I am sorely tempted to try to see if I can do this for some of my other scenario books even if it is to just print a copy for myself. For a hard copy of a scenario book, what do ya'll think is reasonable?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Weekend Painting - AWI Again

I managed to finish off some more figures and get a good running start at some more.

First up is an eight man group of the Delancey Brigade. I started painting these up way back when I wrote This Land Divided. I had them at a 25% complete state since then and just finished them off this week. I did find that the thinner styrene sheeting that I used for my Sabot base did not work as well as the thicker sheeting did. The figures are not in as securely. I have another three incomplete sabot bases that i will probably abandon until I can get thicker styrene for.

The picture came out darker than I had expected it to. I need to figure out what I am doing wrong. May have to try to take some outside during the day sometime.

The next piece up is an outhouse. For the terrain that I am working on for my Marion campaign book, I needed a few out buildings as well as some larger pieces. I managed to paint the tiniest piece of terrain that I could and still say I did something. It is an old JR Miniatures cast. I found that I have another four of them in my drawer. Once that I started on has a big chip out of the side and will have to be thrown out. The others remain languishing with most of my other terrain.

Then lastly, I painted up and ink washed some British Legion Cavalry. They still need some matt varnish and basing but they are painted. They have only been on painting sticks now since Peter Pig launched their AWI line. They will be a great support element whenever I can finally get in a game.

I was not done with painting with these. I am also working on some old Blue Moon FIW buildings. I have a two story log cabin that I am putting together. I am trying something different. I did a black undercoating. Then I sprayed it with some brown camo paint that I had in the garage. The idea is that I can try to save a step with the spray. We will see how that goes. This building will represent a tavern that will appear in one of the scenarios.

That is it for this time. Hopefully, I will have more to show shortly.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sharp Practice 2 - Extras

I am very fortunate that I already have the three carts needed for the support lists for the AWI. But what I lacked was an engineer and his six crew. Then I started thinking. What I have is some civilian characters holding tools. These will work perfectly for my engineers. I have several Peter Pig Enthusiastic workers. I also have the Blue Moon FIW Civilian pack. The Blue Moon pack is fantastic. It has a guy running a plow, several farm workers, children and other useful figures. My favorite is a richly dressed fat man. There are at least two of these in the pack. This will be the the physic for my AWI forces. Another favorite is a guy holding a duck and a shotgun. These need to be painted up. They have been languishing in the bin for a long time.

Then I rediscovered Stone Mountain Miniatures. They have some nice extra pieces. I decided that I needed some extras. First up was their set of campfires, pots and wood piles. Then a homestead with pigs and pigstye wound up in the cart. This was followed by the army supply depot and battlefield debris from their ACW range. In all, it should provide some useful clutter for the tabletop. Especially for many of the AWI actions in South Carolina. These had a number of surprise attacks on encampments.

The one thing that I was looking for was a Holy Man for my AWI Sharp Practice forces. In 15mm, I was not able to find a suitable figure until I decided to surf through Peter Pig's ECW line. What I found was item number 57 Game markers pack 3: Scots ensign, preacher, dog (3 pieces). The Scots ensign is worthless to me but the preacher and dog are perfect. Every table needs a friendly dog running around. The preacher looks like he would fit in just fine. That is a must purchase for me now. Then I saw an item that would be really cool. they have a Countdown Slab. This is a panel with holes in it marked 1 through 12. It would be great for tracking force morale in Sharp Practice. Paint a little miniature marker to march down the slab. I'll put that on the later list.

Anyway, I have spent some more time on the Campaign part of my AWI scenario book. We will see what happens.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Terrain Time - Kharkov Terrain

I finally have an evening to myself to work on all the terrain that is languishing on my work bench. Workbench is not the right term. I have a TV tray with the stuff stacked too high to work on. With my wife and child in slumberland, it is time to go to work.

First up is some new basing material for my buildings. Copying a page out of Matt G's book, I grabbed some 1' by 2' tiles from Home Depot that have a nice concrete sidewalk look to them. I am still not settled on how wide to make the sidewalks. Looking at pictures of Kharkov from the 1940s, they were rather variable in size. Some were quite wide. I am guessing at over 12' wide in places. With those there were nice features such as small trees in planters and phone booths along the way. I intend to make a few of those as well.

The aim is to base the buildings to that I have city blocks to use as building blocks to create my city with. Between the city block will be the nice sections of cobblestone road that I have picked up. One thing that I apparently need is some cable car tracks. I wonder if I could use normal train tracks in between sections of cobblestone street?

So, what did I do?

First off is the Foundations of War warehouse. It was EXTREMELY fiddly to make. The result is not bad even with my unskilled hands.

It has tons of detail. Now I just need to texture and paint the thing. It comes with a file cabinet, a chair and a table. Tons of detail. But there are no guides for glueing the walls together. You have to glue straight edges together and hope for the best. Still, it turned out OK.

Next up are two buildings that I picked up on Ebay.

These came with NO instructions. I need to add the details on one of them still but I am mostly happy with them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sharp Practice 2 - AWI Loyalist Forces

I have finally gotten around to taking a picture of what I have so far. I have what I think is a basic force for Sharp Practice II. I still need the final rules to figure it out.

First is three groups of New Jersey Provincials with two officers. I have one more group on painting sticks. I have at least one other group worth of them in raw metal.

Then there is two groups of Provincial Light Infantry from the Delancey Brigade. I have two men left of painting sticks to round these up. I have another two groups of these guys in raw metal as well. We will see if I get around to them.

Lastly, I have a group of six Light infantry skirmishers from the NJ Provincials. That should round out my core force.

For support units, I have an unpainted group of 8 British Legion Cavalry. Next is a light gun with a four man crew and a limber. I actually have three limbers. Next I have a water cart, an ammunition cart and an engineer's cart.

I have a number of other miniatures that I can paint up. But these are the ones I will use initially.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Reinforcements - Figures & Terrain, have arrived.

I decided to save some time and effort and purchase some more painted miniatures to get my AWI troops settled so I can begin some playtesting. I have been tempted by the miniatures on the GAJO Games website for a long time now. I finally decided to take the plunge and order their 15mm militia packs. My inner cheapskate balked at the price but after painting a whopping 4 figures last week, I realized that purchasing them would be cheaper in the long run.

They arrived on my desk this morning. They are great. I now have 3 groups of militia and one group of militia skirmishers that are awaiting basing. I actually have run out of #10 washers and need to visit Home Depot to sort that out as well.

I did not just stop at figures. I had some spare cash just burning a hole in my pocket. So I jumped on the Noble Knight website and did some shopping. I wanted to have some variety in my rivers that I put out on the table. I have an investment in JR Miniatures river sections. I have just about 5 to 6 feet of 15mm rivers. A while back I bought the wrong thing and ended up with one 10" of 28mm river. Rather than junk that, I bought the 15mm to 28mm connector so I can use it. This time through I made my biggest purchase yet. I bought the 15mm to 6mm connector. Then I bought four feet of 6mm Rivers. These will serve as creeks on the table. Next, I got the lagoon. It is a nice 9" by 5" pond that can be put in my marshy areas. I am working on one scenario for my next AWI book that it will come in handy for. One more 10" section of 15mm river as you can never have quite enough rivers. Lastly, I bought one more section of 28mm river. These bigger sections will be impassible. That should give me all the flexibility that I need.

With some cash left and no one looking, I ran on over to the Game Craft miniatures site. After seeing what Matt G has done with their Matt Board buildings for his Achen game, I wanted to try one out. They are rather inexpensive so I added it to the cart. Next was a building that I have had my eyes on for a bit. Their WWII Government Building with removable floor and internal floor and stairs kit. I am super excited about this. If I can make some removable signage for it, it can double as my train station as well as other significant centerpiece buildings. The kit is rather large and daunting. As always, some candy was thrown into the package. The butterscotch was quite good.

Anyway, this should keep me busy for quite some time to come. I have several city blocks to assemble for my Kharkov campaign. I have my British forces finished for my AWI campaign. (Except for cavalry. I hate painting cavalry.) Now I just need to finish off my Rebels for my AWI and the figures are done. I have old buildings that remain unpainted that should be done as I need a couple for some scenarios.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Finished Miniatures - AWI

OK, I have my proof of concept done and they work. Here is the first eight miniatures in their sabot base.

I think they look much better than my existing ones.

All in all, success. I will base all of my Sharp Practice minis this way going forward. The good news is that I only need to do a few sabot bases and share them between miniature collections. AWI will get the treatment first. Then on to Napoleonics.

I decided to order some more militia figures. I placed an order with GAJO miniatures and am getting 3 groups of 12 miniatures. This will give me 3 groups of militia plus a group of militia skirmishers. That should round out my existing loyalist force nicely. I have 3 more groups of loyalists on the paining table plus some cavalry that I have no idea when I am going to paint them.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

More Work on my AWI Troops

I decided to go through the rest of my lead pile and work out what I have in terms of miniatures beyond my immediate painting table.

Loyalists
New York Volunteers: 13 additional troops. That would bring me to five total groups of infantry for this unit.

Delancey's Brigade: 22 additional troops. This would give me two more groups of infantry and a group of skirmishers. I already have painted or partially painted two groups of infantry and a group of light infantry for this brigade.

British Legion Cavalry: I have 16 unpainted miniatures. The problem is that at least one of these is the musician and the other is an officer. Groups are 8 in size for cavalry. I will have to figure something out with this. Probably just buy another pack of the Peter Pig fellows and be done with it.

British Legion Infantry: I have one figure. That won't do much good. I think the folks at Peter Pig threw him in as a bonus or something.

Militia: Ah, my favorite troop type. I have enough for three groups of 10 figures and a group of skirmishers.

Artillery: I have another set of gun crew and a cannon. That would give me one militia crew and gun and one British crew and gun. That should be plenty.

Rebels
Here, I have far less in terms of troop types.

Mounted Militia: I found I have 14 of these fellows. I already have four painted up. So that gives me two groups to play with.

Militia: I have been lazy. I did not realize how many figures I had laying around. I have 54 unpainted militia. That is another five groups of them to field. If I can get paint on them.

Artillery: I have one militia gun crew and another cannon. In a pinch, I could always borrow the militia artillery from the Loyalists if it came down to it. So plenty of troops.

Dead: These were a happy find. I have nineteen dead figures that I need to paint up. I also have six dead horses. That should be plenty to scatter around the battlefield. I am hoping my militia will break long before i have to put out 22 dead figures.

That brings me to a sobering thought. At my painting pace, I won't finish these until I am 80. Anyone know of a reasonable US based painter? I need some militia painted up.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Finding an Old Friend

One of the big problems with the internet is the temporary nature of many very useful sites. One was my go to source for AWI uniforms. It was a page that was stuck onto a corner of a Hotel's website. That page has since vanished from the face of the internet. Until, I learned that you can do wildcard searches in archive.org! With about 20 minutes of digging, i found it. You can go here and check it out.

The guy did his homework and the site is well worth preserving.