Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

Wow, I was amazed at the number of specials going on in the hobby during this holiday weekend. I received an announcement from The War Store, a great hobby shop on Long Island with some weekend specials. They carry a wide variety of miniatures, notably Foundry and Perry figures. Unfortunately they weren't included in the sale.

I also received an e-mail from PT Dockyard, which makes my resin modern and WWII coastal vessels. 20% off a pretty reasonable group of prices sucked me in for some moderns (a U.S. littoral combat vessel and two more Iranian boats for my little navy,) and the first two Fairmile B's toward the St. Nazaire project.

Dunno if there were more big sales out there for Black Friday weekend, but hopefully some of view were able to get some deals to go with your turkey.

Musings and reflections

This is Thanksgiving weekend, and it was a pretty traditional one here. We had the family over to Smythland. Not a big gathering, there were eight of us. However, it seemed like a lot more work. We got things ready from 9:00 until guests arrived at 3:30, really working almost every minute. Then it was cleanup from after dinner until about 9:00, when I threw myself into bed and collapsed. Not quite as much energy as I used to have.

I've noticed some age issues creeping into my gaming too. Well maybe not so much the gaming as in painting. I love to paint. I truly do. I don't know what would happen if I was unable to do it. However, I am having vision issues when I paint. My trip to the ophthalmologist turned up nothing. My doctor assured me my surgically created mono-vision was about 20/25, but not enough to warrant further surgery or regular correction. But, I know what I see. Or, worse still, I know what I don't see very well. Painting small details is getting more difficult. Hell, just seeing the damn details is getting more difficult. As a result I find that machine painting, painting lots of figures as quickly as possible, with some regard for quality is more difficult. I am accepting work that I probably wouldn't have accepted a couple of years ago, let alone about fifteen years ago, which I believe was my best work.

It really leads me to the big question--realistically how long can I be a productive painter on a large scale? There are definitely projects I'd like to complete and they include the following:

The Hundred Years War--I want to fight Poitiers, Agincourt and whatever other battles excite me using the Medieval Warfare rules and Field of Glory. I also want to continue painting singly mounted figures for my own rules. This is a pretty big undertaking that I seem to gather up in spasms. I have many, many painted figures (600ish) and many, many unpainted figures.

The American Revolution-Again I have figures for pretty much two systems, though they can be combined fairly easily. I have many painted figures-probably 5-600, and a fair number of unpainted figures, though nothing like HYW. I'd like to continue to build units for the Southern Campaign, be able to fight any battle I want from Camden to Guilford Court House and beyond to Eutaw Springs. I'd need more Brits.

The War of 1812 is close to my heart, but kind of a black hole in terms of organizing my plans. I'd like to have the figures to do Chippewa, but would really like to focus on building for a campaign around Washington D.C. I'd like the troops to do Bladensburg and North Point specifically. I have Scott's Brigade at Chippewa, but need to finish the other American units. I have a lot of unpainted American militia, which I'm actually working on this minute. I also have a ton of British figures I picked up at the end of my Old Glory Army membership, but not sure I have enough to do the Chesapeake Campaign of 1814. This is complicated by my partnership with Doug Hamm, who is far away in Vancouver, B.C. I wish he lived closer so I could see him and game more frequently with him. He has over 600 figures invested in this project, while I have about half as many.

Wayne' s Legion. I've always been interested in this obscure little conflict. I think the period offers a lot of opportunities that really takes us up to the adoption of a new American uniform in 1809. I'm interested in the Wayne's Fallen Timber campaign as well as the Indian War on the Ohio. I think there is some potential for a Lewis and Clark intervention game. I also think there is the hypothetical possibility of a clash with Spanish troops and Indians. Lots of possibilities. I'd need lots more figures, but it's something I'm passionate about. Not much painting done on this, well lots of Indians, I guess-not so much on the Americans.

Space 1889--Love it. Have tons of Martians painted, and some Europeans and sepoys. We're actually starting our Martian campaign today, which should be a lot of fun. I'd guess I have about 220 painted figures with about 100 left to paint. I'd love to buy another 60 or so figures but they're expensive, which makes me crazy. It's near the top of my list in interest and priority.

15mm projects still looming on the horizon are more DBA armies (though I haven't played much in ages), King's War First Jacobite War. I'd like to play with my Spanish Civil War stuff. Just need to make time. Of course I have my Thunderboats, modern and WWII coastal vessels and ACW ships. I'd never part with those, or for that matter my 1/300 planes.

I'm thinking seriously of parting with the following
  1. 25mm Punic Wars Romans
  2. 25mm ACW
  3. 15mm WWII in the Pacific
That would clear some space for me, and would also unload some dead weight.

The pictures are of a portion of my unpainted lead piles all tidily bagged up. The top pic is many of my American Revolution figures left to paint. The bottom two are of my Hundred Years War minis. I believe the first HYW picture is English and the second is French. Ahh me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have a lot going on right now. We're moving toward the holidays and all the requisite responsibilities that go with being the chief host for the big ones like Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Coupled with Casey moving home the first of the year, Lorri and I have been tearing the place apart, letting go of some cherished possessions (okay, she's letting go of crap, I'm letting go of cherished possessions.) Finally I have some leftover baggage from last year's controversial JagWire issue. The school district is being sued, and my name has appeared in the papers in most unflattering terms. It's been unsettling and unpleasant to say the least.

In any case, I've been trying to make time for painting and gaming as much as possible. I'm slowly making the move to focus just on my Martians and War of 1812 stuff. I haven't gotten too far with the transition yet, but I'm pleased.

The Space 1889 project is important because we're preparing for a SGoM and Space 1889 campaign. It should be a lot of fun, but I need to wrap up my RAFM miniatures for the land battles. At the very least, I need to finish up my 60 Shastapsh militia figures, and so far I have 24 finished with another dozen in the "ready to paint" category.

I've begun working on a pile of War of 1812 militia figures by Old Glory. I've gotten a real good start on the command figures, and should have nine figures or the command stands for three units done tonight-tomorrow at the very latest. My aim is to really roll on this project. It's just one of those times I feel energized about a period and need to take advantage of it. Militia first, then my remaining Amerian regulars, before heading on to the British.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Musket Miniatures Black and Tans

My Musket Miniatures Black and Tan figures finally arrived from Little Wars this week. They are 28mm figures I'd like to use to fight some skirmish actions from the Irish War for Independence. Musket is building a very nice range of figures, including the Tans, Royal Irish Constabulary, some British regulars and of course Irish Republican Army.

The figures are large, and well detailed, showing the miniatures in battle dress rather than in full uniform. All are armed with the SMLE. My only beef is that two of the figures come with separate rifles on a sprue, and one of them had the rifle broken off at the sprue. At three dollars per figure that is not welcome news.

The figures match up well with some early World War I British infantry I have from Renegade. I picked up a boxed set at Enfilade and it comes with a pair of extra machine guns. How handy. My IRA figures are from Cannon Fodder. They are a bit slight compared with the well fed Brits, but they are nicely modeled, each a true personality. I don't intend to add many more figures, perhaps a few RIC figures and a few more of the good Irish boys. I am planning to use Leo Cronin's rules Irish Rebellion: The Black and Tan Wars. That's assuming I can figure them out.

This is probably my last figure purchase for a while. The economy has me a bit spooked, and truthfully I have plenty of figures to work on for virtually every period I am currently working in.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

F and I at Game Matrix

Tuesday about eight of us took advantage of our Veteran's Day holiday to play a French and Indian War game at the Game Matrix in Tacoma. I was expecting a rather small gathering, and it was going to be great because Mark Waddington was going to run it and I was going to play.
It was a great game, but there were eight players slogging through the woods trying to lay hands on one another. The scenario required a British force to slog through the woods and across a stream and exit, with a pack train, the opposite side of the board. The tricky part for the Brits was to get their force through the woods on trails, that would doubtless be ripe for French and Indian ambush. The tricky part for the French and Indians was to determine which of the three possible exit points the Brits were aiming for.

The French, played by myself, Scott Murphy, Jason (of unknown last name) and Bruce Meyer, opted to put somewhat weakish forces on the either flank, with fairly strong forces in the middle that could fairly quickly move to either flank. Our task was further complicated by the use of counters to represent each unit until they were actually spotted. Both sides also had a handful of dummies, so it was possible to make a weak force look pretty strong.

The game opened with the British running their Rogers Rangers unit straight into two units of Indians and a unit of Coeur de Bois. Bad thing. Though we Bruce was only able to get two of their three units into melee, the Rangers were thrashed, which really opened the middle up to our strong reserves.

The British feinted on their left (our right,) and sent their main force up the left flank road. It might have worked, except our strong middle was able to crash the left flank of their advance. The Indians under my command also earned undying glory as they turned back a strong unit of British line infantry in the woods, in one of those Sword and the Flame rolloffs. I was down to my last two guys, when I trashed the eight or so Brits remaining. To quote Barry Fitzgerald in "The Quiet Man," "It was heroic."

As the reserved troops crushed the Rangers remnants and made mincemeat of a Highland unit, my surviving heroes sneaked into the pack train, and the game ended. It was fun.

The pictures show the British left flank as their advance is stalled. The Highlanders, trying to hold the column's left flank is fighting disordered and shaken in the woods. A British line infantry unit has taken its position in a rocky clearing. Dead Rogers Rangers are in the foreground. The second picture shows a coordinated Indian assault on the Highlanders. Bad things are about to happen. The last picture shows My Indians and Scott's Marines firing on British light infantry in the rocky clearing, moment before launching my deadly assault on the line infantry in the woods.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


It's been a while since my last entry. Sorry about that. At school, we went through our first production cycle and got out our first issue of the paper.

Even so, it's hard to believe this is my first post of the month and it's already November 9th. Of course, it's also important to have something to say, and I haven't gamed much or had any big gaming news.

One of the topics on the NHMGSyahoo group has been the Battle of New Orleans and how much fun it would be to take that on. It rose out of a controversy over the unveiling of the very interesting Douglas Coupland War of 1812 monument in Toronto. It's got me thinking some more about getting on with my massive pile of unfinished War of 1812 figures. Of course, I won't paint them for New Orleans. New Orleans is a bad game waiting to happen. However, I'm interested in getting some figures done. I have a large number of American militia figures, a few more regulars, and tons of Brits. I thought I might paint up the British regiments in the Chesapeake, because I'm sure Doug Hamm has painted up those on the Niagara frontier.
I have been painting pretty much whatever is on my mind. I am finished with a ten figure unit of Mexican lancers for the Maxmillian era, and I have one more unit of cavalry to paint for that project-Imperial troops. I'm considering a Maxmillian game for Drumbeat. I'm in the middle of another unit of Shastapsh militia for Space 1889, and then a half dozen longbows for HYW.
I dunno. I'm thinking its a War of 1812 kind of year.