Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Treasure Trove of Information

If you have any interest in the American Civil War, you have to check out this site: War of the Rebellion, Army Records, Series I, Volumes 1 - 29 from Western Illinois University. What a fantastic resource. These include the official reports from both the Confederate and Union Armies. It spans the whole war and each volume has a area and period of the war that it covers. I have been searching for these on Google Books in the past but this has all of them in one place.

These books are fantastic resources for everything from the largest battles to the smallest skirmishes. Swing on by and check them out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ACW Scenarios

I have been doing some more research on the Kanawha Valley Campaign of 1861. i think I will focus on the actions that occurred after the Little Napoleon (MacClellan) left for his bigger command. So that gives actions that occurred from roughly mid July through December 1861.

There is a bunch of good information available on this campaign to be had. Here are a few of the items that I am looking at:
War Diaries: The 1861 Kanawha Valley Campaigns - This one is in my wish list at the moment. I hope to pick it up over Thanksgiving.
Battle of Scary Creek: Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July 1861 - This book should prove interesting. It too is in my wish list.
Robert E. Lee and the 35th Star - I own this one. I found it in a second hand book store while working on The Coming Thunder. It is not bad and gives a decent overview of the campaign.
The Glories of War: Small Battle and Early Heroes of 1861 - This is one of my favorite books on the actions in Virginia in 1861. Very easy to read and packed with details that any scenario writer needs. This proved invaluable for The Coming Thunder. He takes great care in walking through the little things that lead to bigger actions. This is definitely on a must read list if you have any interest in the early war period.

I have also managed to find some unit histories as well as the memoirs of one of the Union Generals - Jacob Cox. I should have plenty to read over the week of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Santa Clause Updates and More

I managed to get my Santa Clause package out in the mail last night. My wife was kind enough to gift wrap the miniatures. The only trouble I ran into was with a clerk at the post office who gave me a bucket full of bad attitude.

Hopefully that will be arriving in good order. I remembered to add the initials "SC" in the name. I have my fingers crossed that it will be well received.

So with both Secret Santa and Santa Clause taken care of, I can focus on my other random motivations.

I ended up committing to writing an ACW and an AWI scenario for a friend's magazine. I have begun work on it and I think it will lead me toward another supplement. One thing I was looking for was a historical campaign in a relatively small geographic area that I had enough miniatures to do. I would want actions that ranged from a small skirmish of a company or so per side to a battle of a brigade or so per side. I think I have found it with operations in the Kanawha Valley (1861) in what is now West Virginia.

There is much going for these battles. They feature some of the larger names that would dominate the war later on. Both McClellan and Lee operated in the area at various times. It has plenty of poor quality militia and many politically appointed commanders with no military experience. While doing some reading on the subject, it seemed that to be a Confederate Brigadier General, the requirement in Western Virginia must be that you had to be a former Governor of Virginia. Many of these men were at odds with one another throughout the war and made the situation much worse for the poor troops fighting it than it should have been.

I am still in the research phase but it looks like it should be some great fun to work on.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cold War Project Progresses

I managed to finish out the infantry for my Soviet Motor Rifle Platoon. I followed the painting guide that I posted earlier. I like how they turned out. I have the bases done but the glue holding the flock was not quite dry when I took the pictures so it looks a bit off.

I was attempting to get better light for the pictures. I am not sure that I succeeded. The motor rifle platoon normally would carry two more people per squad. But these are the vehicle commander and the driver. I figure they would remain with the vehicle and not dismount under normal conditions. So I just left them off.

Here is the vehicles that I had completed earlier.

Here the lighting was worse. I have some desk lamps but they are not really doing what I want them to. Still, this side project came out quite nicely. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

One thing I really like about where I live in Georgia is the displays that different veterans groups put up along the roadsides. One of which is lining the street with white crosses that bear the name of a soldier and the conflict in which he fought. You cannot help but be moved by such displays. There are still crosses erected with names of soldiers who fought in the Civil War placed along the roadside. WWI, WWII and Vietnam dominate the crosses that I noticed. It is a high traffic area and unless I want to be involved in a fender bender, I can't focus my eyes on those for too long.

The day also make me think of my father as well. Dad served during the Korean War. He was a brand new Second Lieutenant, fresh from the Citadel. He served with the "Deuce Natural" (27th AAA Bn Mobile) that was deployed to Germany. He was never involved in combat. During his service he had numerous stories that he would tell of his life in the army. Many were funny to the point of being absurd.

After his tour in the regular army, he joined the reserves for several years. He always looked back fondly on his time in uniform. While his military career was probably not normal in any sense, he served honorably. In his retirement, he signed up for the Sar El program with the IDF even though he was a gentile. I think this was the happiest I had seen him in the last years of his life. He convinced them that he was able to repair diesel engines because he had once worked on a Volkswagen Bug. I still had pictures of him sitting on the deck of a 105mm SP howitzer in the Negev with the brightest grin on his face.

I sit again here on Veterans Day and miss you terribly Dad.

Sick Day, Research and Painting

I ended up catching a cold over the weekend. Despite this, I was able to get some painting done. I have painted up my first Cold War Soviet Motor Rifle Squad and three BMP-1s. I have most of the miniatures that I need. I really don't have appropriate looking Squad leaders but they really do not differ from the other AK toting fellows so I will use regular riflemen to fill in the vacancies and base them on a round base. Below is what I have done. They still need some Matt Varnish but are just about there.

I found some books that I managed to locate to help me out for this. The first set is an Army Field Manual set on the Soviet Army.

THE SOVIET ARMY : Operations and Tactics FM 100-2-1 (Soviet Army)

FM 100-2-3, The Soviet Army, Troops, organization and equipment

The FM 100-2-2 is available on the net. There is the 1985 version floating around somewhere that I managed to find. Unlike the much shorter field manuals for The Infantry Platoon and Squad, these are huge volumes with an incredible amount of information. I started to read the Operations and Tactics Field Manual. It is interesting but probably not what I am ultimately looking for.

Anyway, The miniatures painted up quickly and I should be able to knock out the other two squads in no time. Probably once I can breathe again. Breathing is definitely not over rated.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

CSS Appomattox One Week Later

Thank you to everyone that has purchased the book on Amazon. I have sold books now not only in the US and in England, but I have also made sales in Australia and Canada as well. Something In the Name of Roma did not achieve.

If you are one of the ones who bought the book, can you do me a favor and let me know what you think. Either post here on the blog, on Amazon, out on DriveThruFiction or just shoot me an e-mail. Let me know if it was worth your time or if there is something I really need to fix. Any feed back will help me get better at this.

I am still working on a better cover. Hopefully I can get something together that will be more eye catching. Any suggestions? Also I am fiddling about with the Amazon Affiliate program. If you are feeling generous, please take a look at the book through the link below.

Cold War Gone Hot Miniatures (15mm) - Suggestions Requested

I have been going through my shelves recently and am rediscovering some old projects. One in particular that is grabbing my attention was my stuff for Lebanon in 82. What got me thinking were the figures that I had not done anything with.

I had three BMP-1s that were assembled but were not yet undercoated. I also had almost a platoon's worth of figures as well. Now, I could easily add these to my existing Syrian collection but I want to do something else. I have been jealously reading some of NickO's AARs for his I Ain't Been Nuked Mum rules that he is working on. While I don't want to invest in a company sized force, I was thinking maybe a Chain of Command sized force might do. I have plenty of Europeish terrain from my WWII collection. Why not try to get something together that I can use there?

I started to fool with this a bit last night and put minis on painting sticks and went to prime the miniatures. My black spray primer decided to die. I was sure I had another can of black primer around and was rather disappointed when that came up as empty as a politician's promises. I reached for the darkest can of spray paint that was there in the cupboard. It was a rustoleum flat camo green. I am going to try this out and see if it works. It could be a complete disaster but this is a trial balloon project anyway.

Now at this point I am stymied. I need some help. How does one exactly paint Cold War Soviets (Circa 1980 or so)? Some surfing got me a uniform color of Vallejo Russian Uniform. But what about the rest of the kit? I am comfortable painting the weapons. but what color are the helmets? What about pouches and web gear? Any thoughts? What color should the BMP-1s be? I know the answer is Green but what green? Any help will be gratefully appreciated.

My other concern is getting the troops right for the platoon. What was the composition? When I did Rock the Casbah all those many years ago, I knew the Syrians based their units off of Soviet units. But did the platoon have any Anti-tank elements? Did they have a three man Sagger team as part of the first squad? I found FM 100-2-3 which probably has what I want in it but is painful to search through as it is a huge doc.

Now I do not have any US military figures. I really would like to get some that would reflect the US Army in the early 1980s. Who does figures in 15mm that would do the trick? Would Peter Pig US Marines work or is there something better? Also what would the organization be? In the early 80s would the vehicle of choice be the M113 or would the Bradley be present? I am going to ship off any infantry to be painted as I do not want to try to do the woodland camo pattern. Life is too short.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Next Endeavors

Now that I finished CSS Appomattox, I am looking for where to direct some focus. I am tempted to return to Sharp Practice. Its such a great game. I have some ideas for another AWI Book and some material for a campaign between the Ottomans and the Russians with it. I have about 20 pages of work done on the Ottomans but last time I touched it was in 2011. The AWI book is just theory at this point.

Also I want to do some more with Chain of Command. I am trying to figure out if the Force List contest stuff will be used at all. If not, I want to take my Action at Ustilug stuff and flesh it out a bit more and do something with that. That and I have been getting some wonderful terrain bits for the Eastern Front.

I do know that I want to get some more Wild West stuff done. I am hoping that I have been good enough this year and Santa will bring me some more items to flesh out the small start I have on that project. This would be nice as it is something I can do as a pickup game with my son. If I am lucky, I might drag Brian into it with me. I purchased the Fist Full Of Lead rules and they look like a great starting point.

There are some things I want to do with the American Civil War as well. I have the miniatures to do some larger games now. I have some terrain as well but that is neglected. I am thinking about some scenarios that are on the larger side. Something like a battalion or so of troops rather than a company per side as in Terrible Sharp Sword. Still in the thinking about it stage.

There is also what I had started with the Zulus. This project has been so neglected. I will come back to it eventually.

Lastly, there is a followup to CSS Appomattox that I am thinking about. That will wait to see if the first one has any kind of success. Thus far, it is not doing to bad.

What projects are ya'll working on.

Industrial Terrain

I wrote yesterday about the conveyors that I picked up over the weekend.
These should be very usable for what I have in mind. I am looking to create something like the pictures below.

Unfortunately, I have lost where I found all of these pictures of Gorlovko, Ukraine. But I basically want to make a mine complex. It could be interesting. This, the Impudent Mortal Vertical Tanks and the Workshop that I made should get me closer. I also have a Game Craft Miniatures warehouse that I need to tart up as well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

WBQ Issue #2 Is out

I just downloaded the current issue of Wargame Bloggers Quarterly and I am very impressed. Roly has a fantastic article on the Maori Wars in New Zealand. Very interesting.

Next was Dave Docherty's article on putting working lights in his terrain. While it is not likely that I would do such a thing, it was a great effect. The pictures of his terrain were also inspiring. His warehouse is something I would like to duplicate at some point.

This is just two of the articles. All of the rest are definitely worth a mention as well and in no way do I mean to diminish the work those authors put into it by not listing them here. It is amazing that this high quality magazine is FREE! What is not to love? Follow the link at the top and check it out yourself.

Impudent Mortal 15mm Industrial terrain

I just finished work assembling the 15mm workshop that I purchased from Impudent Mortal. Great bunch of guys and really nice models. It took me about a half hour to glue the model together. It was actually very simple to do once I printed the instructions off of their website. My next steps are painting it. The roof of the building can be removed over the enclosed area. I glued down the roof over the porch. I need to figure out how to do them as the roofs are completely flat and have no texture at all. The walls are grooved and could go for either wood or corrugated metal.

I really like this building and hope to get more work done on it tonight.

A brief Rant, normal service will resume momentarily

First let me apologize. I do not want to use this space for politics, but this had me upset and bewildered this morning. So sorry for the change of topic.

Today is election day here in the US. I got up and after dropping my son off at school, I went to vote. So far so good. When I got to the point where I have to present ID to show I am who I am supposed to be, I looked at the sign that showed what was acceptable. The normal stuff was there: Drivers License, Passport and state id. But there was a new option that was available - the Marta Breeze Card. WTF! (sorry about that but I am too baffled to come up with anything but an explitive)

How is this a form of ID? They can be bought with cash at an automated kiosk at any Marta station. For those who are not familiar with the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) it is the Atlanta bus and commuter train system that moves through most of the city and out into a couple of the suburbs.

For every step forward we seem to make, somebody inevitably finds a way to make a great leap backwards and has the audacity to call it progress.

Rant Over.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Bit of Weekend Fun

Over the weekend I did not manage to get some work done. First, I found a new hobby shop that is half way between my house and my son's school. It was a standard hobby shop that was mostly model kits, rail road supplies and radio control planes and cars. I did find a single 1/100th scale Zveda kit for a Kht-26. Well it just so happened that I need one of these. It was quickly purchased.

On Saturday morning, I took a look at the kit. Having purchased one of the Ba-10 kits from the same company, I was a little nervous. Well this kit was very straight forward.

With the help of my son, we quickly had it put together. It is a nice little kit. It still needs some paint as it is just a shiny plastic right now.

Also on Saturday, I took my son to the local train shop so he could see their display. They have a huge display room with multiple tracks. My family must have spent over a half hour watching the trains run. When we went through the shop I found a few things. The first was a conveyor kit that I have been wanting for my Eastern Front terrain. At $16.00, I picked it up. Then I found another one that I put on my Christmas wish list.

When we got home, my son begged me to "play miniatures." What else could I do but give in. Recently, my wife had picked up a table for my son's play room from Ikea. It is a nice little folding table that is some 5' by 3' in size. So its a bit smaller than the kitchen table but it was perfect for us.

We set up a quick game of Chain of Command "lite" and my son proceeded to roll more sixes that I have ever seen. His first turn lasted four phases. He wanted to play with the new tank that he made. So we each had a platoon of tanks. Joshua had 3 T-26s and the Kht-26 and I had a platoon of three Panzer IIs and my new Pz II Flamm. We also had a squad of infantry each. His T-26s proceeded to destroy the two Panzer IIs that I managed to deploy and he got his Kht-26 to hose down my infantry squad and broke them. At this point, my morale broke and the game was over. My son's victory came at the cost of 2 infantry and some shock on one of his tank.

Well, it was a fun day all the way around.