Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Links Update

Okay, I'm not at home to paint, so I have to steal some time to do other valuable things, such as update my blog. I've always admired those blogs who have a skazillion links. I had a few, but forgot how to update them. After looking at the html formatting, I suddenly remembered how to do it, and bingo, update links.

I added PT BOATS, Inc. This is a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of information and images about pt boats. Lots of squadron information and oral history.

The PT Dockyard is one of my recent favorite shopping places. David Gregory, proprietor of the miniature company, is very responsive. He casts on demand, and charges when the miniatures are completed, accepting payment by PayPal. There are several ranges available. However my favorites are the 1/700 modern coastal range, and the 1/600 WWII coastal range. The castings are resin, come with a hull, and a wafer of weapons and accessories cast in thin resin.

De Re Militari is a scholarly society for the study of medieval warfare. This site includes book reviews, and discussion of important topics from this era.

Last, but certainly not least, is Giles Allison's wonderful blog about wargaming the American Revolution. He is a wonderfully talented painter, and has lots of great observations about this period.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Deadline Week

Deadline weeks usually mean a no painting week. The hours are just too late to get anything done, though I may have some time Thursday and Friday. I usually dash home for an hour in the middle of the afternoon to take care of the dogs, so I may try to sneak in a few moments of painting.

Last night I got a lot done. I've finished eight of the fourteen British Legion dragoons (at last,) and I also polished off twelve figures worth of Virginia and South Carolina state troops at Cowpens. No more fiddle farting around with this project. I still have a lot of horse and foot to finish in order to get done. The last six BL dragoons are next, followed by four Georgia/South Carolina state dragoons.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fields of Glory, Tarleton's Quarter, and some sleep would be nice

My copy of Fields of Glory arrived yesterday. They are the new ancients rules written by Richard Bodley Scott who partnered with Phil Barker on DBM. They are also published by Osprey, so they are quite impressive-hardcover, lavishly illustrated with diagrams and Osprey art. It's also not cheap at $35, but I've seen worse. I pre-ordered the rules and the expansion on the Middle Ages before Christmas, and they arrived Thursday. I've poked through the rules a bit, but haven't gotten very far. I'm interested to see more. They won't be a simple rules set to play, but they look pretty good, though they desperately need a quick sheet.

I was supposed to get together and run another round of Tarleton's Quarter today, but I had to cancel. I've been suffering through a week of insomnia. Stress no doubt, but I've been running on 4-6 hours sleep a night since the 13th, and I've got to get some down time. I'm trying to re-schedule for March 22nd. I've made some additions to the rules. I added a unit effectiveness chart for rating the effectiveness of units of different quality as they lose stands (a Fire and Fury feature.) I also am going to make a little table for units that roll a 0 on the fire table to determine the results. Maybe I can figure out a way to post these on the blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ConQuest: Sunday

My friend, Mark Waddington is always good for a game or two of Martian death at a convention. I thought it might be fun to run a Sky Galleons of Mars game in addition to our traditional Sword and the Flame based game, so I piled everything in my car.

I set up the Sky Galleons game for the morning, and we had about ten players. It was the Escape from Shastapsh scenario I've run several times before. In previous games the Martians have had a hard time accomplishing much. However the last time I played it--several years ago, the Brits were slaughtered. This time out, the Brits were massacred too, but they took a fair number of Martians with them. I think next time I would give one fewer Hale rockets to the Anarchists converted Clearsights and replace them with a Nordenfeldt gun. Sky Galleons is just a fun game whether running it or playing it, and there was just enough flames and explosions, and even a boarding action to keep it interesting.

In the afternoon we trotted out the Brits and Martians for a really big Sword and the Flame on Mars game. There were sixteen (!!) players with eight on each side. The game was Landship Down, which we ran once before. A broken down steam tank is defended by a small British infantry command, while a larger relieving force marches down the table. The relieving force has many mechanicals, including tanks, walkers and a gunboat, and are opposed by significant Martian infantry, artillery and anti-air defenses. The Brits got started with difficulty, but disposed of some nasty Martian late arrivals. Unfortunately they lost some a tank and a couple of walkers along the way. Their gunboat, the Ranger, was hit twice but still was aloft. The Martians, unwisely, advanced a couple of their legion units out of cover, and were getting shellacked in the open. However, they had some success routing the broken tank crew their defending infantry out of cover, and now controlled the broken down hulk. In any case, the Brits couldn't take the heat and recalled the relief column.

I've included pictures from both games. The single, somewhat fuzzy picture of a ship for SGoM is a Gametech Whisperdeath kite-a beautiful miniature. A second photo shows the death of a British dirigible that's just been Hale rocketed. The 25mm gunboat is Mark Waddington's spectacular scratchbuilt Ranger. Finally, we see the advance of the British relief column for Landship Down. All the mechs are scratchbuilt by Mark.

Monday, February 18, 2008

ConQuest Saturday

Saturday was the day I really worried about. I thought the number of games could be pretty thin, and even at that we might not have enough gamers to play what we did have. In the end things turned out fine. Though we had some promised games that didn't materialize, we also had some pick-up games to pull out of our hats, and everybody seemed to have fun.

Paul Hannah ran a session of DBA and Hordes of the Things in the afternoon. I didn't get an opportunity to follow these games because I was wrapped up in my own game. However it looked like things were going reasonably well, especially as more DBAers trickled in later in the day. Chris Ewick and Game Matrix ran the DBA Open tourney in the evening. There were eight players, and the tournament was won by Seth Terry and his Maoris.

Dave Schueler and I ran an Action Stations WWII coastal naval game. It was based on the cooperation between the radar armed US PT boats and British 4.7 inch gun armed LCG's in their interception of German convoys on the Italian coast 1943-44. The scenario allowed the German players to choose the escorts for their convoy. The Germans chose well from their collection of Italian cast-off vessels, but even so there were just too many Allies in the wrong place. A lot of the German escorts escaped, but the transports and their supplies were at the bottom of the Guly of Genoa. The Allies lost a PT boat, a LCG and a Fairmile motorgunboat.

We ran more Thunderboats in the afternoon, and it was just some hellacious racing. Of all the racing games I've ever run or played in, it was the best. Scramble starts, pushing engines and corners from the very beginning of the race, it was very fun. Lots of guys were asking about boats and rules.

Herbie Fairbanks was scheduled to run a couple of games, but didn't arrive until late. His work schedule conflicted with the gaming schedule. It would be easy to be angry and frustrated, but that's just the way real life goes. Sometimes the real world gets in the way of our hobbies.

Randy O'Boyle pulled out another Ironclads scenario for Friday night. I found it less interesting than Friday night's game, just because it was an improbable collection of ironclads pounding on one another. But, the players seemed to enjoy it, and that's all that really matters.

I left for my evening repose at about 9:45 in preparation for Sunday's big games

There are a couple of pictures from the Action Stations game. The Rhone freighter stuck in the yellow circle means "Oh shit, I'm spotted." The hydroplanes photo is from one of the great scramble starts on Saturday afternoon. It was amazing. The last pic is of Chris Bauermeister working with a couple of youngsters on his Russian Civil War game. He did a fabulous job with them.

If you feel so inclined to leave comments, please do so (sometimes I think I'm talking to myself.)

ConQuest Friday

Got back last night from ConQuest in Bellevue. This is a four day multi-genre convention owned by Avalon conventions out of California. This is my second year working with the staff there as historical miniatures coordinator. Last year, the miniatures room was constantly filled and a huge success. This year I had a lot of difficulty recruiting games and gamers from my NHMGS brethren. Regardless, the show must go on, and we still managed to host some great games and have some fun.

I knew Friday night was going to be thin, so I brought my Thunderboats! stuff and hoped I could drum up some interest in a hydroplane racing game. When I arrived at about noon, both Gil Fussells were waiting in the miniatures room, fiddling with Wings of War. The room was already set to go, so life was good. Battletech players arrived shortly thereafter, and I put together my tables for Thunderboats! A wide variety of players dropped in and out of the Somerset room to watch and play. We ran five mini-races or heats, each of three laps. These each take about an hour. The racing was very good. I've run or played this game about a half-dozen times, so my ideas about the best strategies are still forming, and it was interesting to see everyone else's take on the game.

As I stated, there were lots of different guys playing, but Gil Fussell found ways to new ways to crash in each game. I think he raced in all five games, and manged to finish only once-winning the last race.

In the early evening, Randy O'Boyle ran an interesting Ironclads between mostly ironclad vessels defending a fortified dockyard. It was fun to watch as the more numerous Confederates crashed into one another. He used some ships I've never used such as Roanoake and Columbia, so it was fun to see them perform. Randy certainly knows the game well and doesn't let the history stand in the way of a good time.

I've got a couple of pictures of Thunderboats here, as well as the self-satisfied Mr. Fussell upon completing a couple of laps, leading the racers without the intervention of some apocalyptic act of God. I have one quick picture of the Battletech game. These guys were fantastic, loved the game and sustained interest in their scenarios for at least twenty hours over the weekend. I also have one quick picture of the Ironclads game with the ram Stonewall attempting to breach the log boom protecting the dock area. Reminded me a bit of Trent's Reach, but not quite.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day and Getting Ready for ConQuest

This is the end of a fairly crappy week. I am an insomniac. I've been tending in this direction for a number of years now, and this year, with all the stress of my new job, it's really become a problem. On those days when I come home after 4 1/2 hours of sleep, it is very difficult to get much painting done, and a lot easier to just read or watch tv (though I am quite selective about the latter.) I think I've found a routine that will still let me get an hour of painting time per night, and 7-7 1/2 hours sleep too.

However, today is Valentine's Day, and Lorri bought me a 32" HDTV for my den. I spent most of last night getting it set up to accept my DVD player, so not much more than five minutes or so laboring over British Legion Dragoons. I'll be so glad when they are done. The television is great, will help me see movies and Mariners games better. I also get to see some of those wonderful digital channels. Anyway, it looks like the den is getting a bit more upscale, and I need to clean it up a bit more. Unfortunately, my own contribution to Valentine's Day doesn't look like much--a copy of The Jane Austin Book Club, and a couple of Jim Brickman (ick) CD's.

Tomorrow is the first day of ConQuest. I spent last night puttering around, getting stuff ready to go. I printed the cards for Thunderboats, and they came out great. I just used Office Depot two sided business cards as Daveshoe suggested, and it was as easy as pie. I also printed out the boat cards for the game, with plans to laminate them. Unfortunately the laminate I purchased was the self sticky kind, not the laminating pouches I thought I was getting. I ran out this morning to pick those up. I'll have to try again tonight.

I have four different games I'm running which means a challenge to my ever fragile memory. Thunderboats Friday night, Action Stations Saturday morning, plus I need my DBA army for the Open Tournament, just in case. Sunday morning its Sky Galleons, and Martians in the afternoon. I hope to get out of Dodge early on Sunday night after the banquet. Thank goodness I have Monday off. I'm truly not looking forward to this. I'm exhausted, and could use the time to relax, but I volunteered and nobody was twisting my arm. It's likely my last year as miniatures coordinator however. There simply has not been the enthusiasm for the con among the miniaturists this year, and I simply don't wish to be the guy who is swimming upstream against the tide.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Coastal vessels

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As promised, I've included photos of my coastal vessels. As usual, taking photos is a challenge for me. In this case the lighting is crap. Using the camera's flash washed out the detail, so I opted for no flash which picked out the detail but messed up the actual color. Some day I'll figure it out.

The first photo is of 80 ft Elco PT boats with an LCG in the background. Didn't do much with my LCG's. They're Skytrex miniatures and your basic gray. The Elcos are PT Dockyard minis. they turned out reasonably well and are camouflaged. Probably too much blue in the dark gray. The boat on the left with only two torpedoes is armed with a quad 20mm Thunderbolt.

The next two pictures are of two large Italian vessels that were pressed into German service. the larger of the two is an Italian destroyer escort. It's big and nasty, a PT Dockyard model. The smaller vessel is a corvette. It's probably my best effort among all of my vessels, another PT Dockyard ship.

The last two pics are of a pair of late war F-Lighters and a Flaklighter. Great models by PT Dockyard. The lighting being terrible they look like a rust brown color, when in fact they are dark gray almost, black, and dry brushed to highlight the detail.

Now I'm back to my AWI miniatures, working on Tarleton's British Legion, as well as a combined unit of Virginia and South Carolina state troops. ConQuest next week. I'll keep everyone posted on how it went, hopefully with pics.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

One Week Until ConQuest

With a week to go until ConQuest, I still have a little bit of getting ready to do. Tonight I finished the last of my coastal craft. I like the German lighters, but am very pleased with the Italian corvette. Pictures tomorrow, promise.

I do still have some game prep to do. I need to get with Mark Waddington about our Martian scenario. I have to make up the cards for Thunderboats. I also need to put together the ship cards for my Sky Galleons scenario.

I'm also hoping to finish all of the British Legion cavalry before ConQuest. It's not likely I'll get that done, but it's always important to have goals. The Cowpens project isn't going to finish itself, and with Fields of Glory coming out in the next couple of weeks, I want to be able to move on as soon as possible.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday: A Weekday Paintfest?

It's Tuesday night. Last night was Curriculum Night for incoming freshmen. Last week was deadline. It's my first normal weeknight in over a week. After my WASL meeting ends at 3:30 I can head home and use my time however I wish. Super Tuesday will be plastered all over the television tonight. I sense a weeknight painting orgy coming on.

Okay a painting orgy for me may not be much. Maybe three hours if I'm lucky. But I really need the time. I've made a bunch of progress on 25mm British Legion dragoons. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on one's position) my PT Dockyard order arrived yesterday, with bunches of F-Lighters, flaklighters, and a super spiff looking corvette that require assembly and painting in time for ConQuest (a scant ten days from today!)

In any case, unless Lorri demands my time-she'll be watching Hillary, I'll be rooting for Obama-I hope to get some serious work done as we assess the drama from Massachussetts to California.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Deadline Week

Deadline week is always difficult. It means late nights that get me home just in time to go to bed. I've managed to sneak in a few moments to paint Action Stations coastal vessels--LCGs, pt boats and I've worked on the German S-boats. If I could just get an hour or so they would be done too, but I haven't been able to get that hour.

Fortunately today is the last day of deadline, and we send the paper to bed some time tonight.

I should be able to finish my coastal vessels this weekend, though I have a few more coming in from PT Dockyard soon. I'd like to add some more German lighters and a second Italian corvette with my next order--probably in March.

I'm moving back to work on the Cowpens project. I've primed up all of the remaining British Legion horse, which I need to complete before moving on to the 71st battalion. I still have some militia to paint as well as the state troops and volunteer cav for Morgan's army. I think I'll start organizing the militia into units on Sunday.

DBA day tomorrow. I hope to get my Early Roman army some action against the Early Etruscans. My bets are on the Etruscans.