Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Madness and April Anxiety

It's the last day of March. It's time to take stock and make plans for April.

First, March was an extremely difficult month for me. I think I've mentioned my role in a legal action against the school district resulting from an issue of the school newspaper in 2008. It's all come to a head. I've had hours of trial prep. I testified for four hours on Monday. It was exhausting and I came away with a major headache. That also doesn't speak to the two years of anxiety and depression of suffered through for this trial. The really good news is that even though I know I'll have to testify one more time in the next couple of weeks, I'm feeling freedom I haven't had in two years.

Despite all this, it was a very productive month. I finished the last 21 figures I needed to complete and finish the 2nd Maryland. This was one of my target units for 2010. Two more to go.

I also completed 46 15mm Spanish Civil War figures. I know they're 15's and don't require a lot, but they are also the last complete infantry units I have to paint. Probably the first figures I'll actually buy this year are more Peter Pig figures to wrap up this project. That's another ten infantry battalions to give myself a suitable mix of infantry, but it's fine. I see the Spanish Civil War as one of my core projects now, and not that far from being complete.

Last, but not least, I also finished two hydroplanes. I'm always amazed at how much I enjoy painting up these boats. They look cool, despite the lack of information I usually need to paint them. I just give it my best shot. The results are pretty good despite painting numbers and script by hand.

I finished 69 figures this month, and my totals are just over 180 for the year thus far. Not an astronomical number, but definitely on a pace to meet my goal of 500-600 figures this year. Still no figures purchased.

For April, I have a handful of SCW weapons and vehicles to paint. I also would like to start building some battalion sized entrenchments too. In addition, I would like to paint all of my remaining hydroplanes. I've started painting Gale's Roostertail and Miss Madison, but I have three additional boats to paint for the '65 Gold Cup and three additional boats I'll paint up in fantasy colors for the Enfilade Cup. I have some ideas I'll share when they are complete.

Pics up this week. Lorri and I are away for the weekend for a much needed break. It's Spring Break week, and I'm enjoying what I can.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Alcalde's Daughter

In January at Drumbeat, I chatted with old friend Darin Howard about getting together for a game. I mentioned my Maxmillian stuff, and Darin was interested. We made a date for the NHMGS game day in February. Unfortunately that was the week I started to come down with fluey, germiness, so we put off the game until the third weekend in March.

I dragged out a scenario I like. It doesn't use every figure I own, but it does allow me to play with a nice sampling of my toys. Each player basically has a company of French regulars or militia irregulars with varying victory conditions. So the players could all be working against one another and not for one's self. The scenario has a small unit of French trapped in a small Mexican village surrounded by militia. The French objective is to rescue the little unit of Contra Guerrillas, while inflicting maximum damage on the enemy. Each unit also had some minor goals to keep things interesting: sack the alcalde's hacienda, steal the sacramental wine, rescue the Alcalde's daughter. You name it.

Nice mix of guys, Darin and his brother George, Tom Bieker, Dale Mickel, Scott Abbott and Lawrence Bateman all played and I think everybody had a good time. Lots of death. The scenario is pretty unbalanced, but I think that's a pretty quick fix.

As I've stated before, this is my only completed project. That's a claim I hope I can match with other projects some day. All the French as well as my Mexican regulars are Wargames Foundry figures. I also have some Guernsey Foundry Mexicans (remember them?). Most of the Mexican militia figures I have are Old Glory from their Mexican American War range. The cavalry on both sides are the old Rich Houston range that are now homeless with the closure of London War Room (sigh)

On the photos-Mexican regulars march into San Hernandez to chase of the Frogs while militia man the walls of the old church. French regulars and Contra Guerrillas evacuate the large adobe just ahead of them. French Foreign Legionnaires face off against militia to their front and flank.

Friday, March 12, 2010

AWI: The Big Rules Quandry

I'm not really ready to play an AWI game yet. Well, I could, I have lots of figures in various stages of remounting and painting

I have my 1st and 2nd Maryland figures, tons of militia and riflemen, some cavalry and such. I have lots of Brits. Finally remounted my highlanders, some regular battalions, lights and provincial units. I'm still just working on some big American units that historically play throughout the period.

The big question, for me anyway, is rules. I have some basic rules requirements. The first and most important is they be suitable for AWI in the South. Except for a few battles, such as Green Springs or Yorktown, there aren't any real big battles. The rules need to accept a ground scale and figure scale of 1:10. That can lead to some big units, but it's doable. "British Grenadier" and "Fire and Fury Regimental" both fill the bill. I think "Loose Files and American Scramble" can be made to work too.

The rules also need to accommodate my mounting. I've just remounted my figures back to 40mm square bases. Each base is equal to 40 figures, though skirmishing units such as riflemen and jaegers are only mounted two to a stand. It appears I can make this work with all the foregoing mountings. I have questions about the scale for F and F Regimental, because I think they are designed for 15mm, but perhaps I can get some clarifications.

Feel for the period is also important. Could I actually refight Cowpens with all its retrograde movement? Are there allowances for the extended order the British units might have employed? That's a definite yes for British Grenadier and Fire and Fury Regimental. Not quite so clear for Loose Files.

I'd also like to host games at conventions or informal gatherings. Fire and Fury would probably work. British Grenadier might be a stretch for those who aren't real excited about the period. Rank and File by Crusader games would probably work too, but they lack a lot of period flavor.

Anyway, lots to think about.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Enervation, Ennui: Ma, I'm stuck

I am moving very far very fast. I'm still slogging through my 2nd Maryland figures. I confess, I'm taking a lot of extra time with them. They are Perry figs, and I really do love them. They are very crisp and have a fair amount of extra detail. However, they do have the most annoying mold marks--little tags of pewter that are very hard to see at times. I often find myself scraping them off as I apply paint because I didn't catch them as I was prepping the figures.

The figures in the 1779 regulations uniform are very nice, but the uniform for these boys is brown faced red. Not real exciting. A couple of the officer figures have voluminous jackets that I painted blue faced red, regulation for Maryland units. I've finished all the uniformed types, and a handful of figures in hunting shirts. I'm actually down to the last third of the unit: a dozen figures in shirtsleeves. I've just begun working on them, but I'm still really struggling with a germ and zillion anxieties associated with work and home. It's been a challenge getting painting time.

I've attached a couple pictures of the 2nd Maryland in progress. I've got a few of my finished figures in regimentals, the rest of the finished miniatures are piled behind them. The figures I have in progress are to the right. I actually committed a couple of hours tonight, and a couple more nights' work will wrap them up. Sunday by the latest.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

2nd Maryland

These are my 2nd Maryland figures. They are a mix of Perry figures, with a couple of Old Glory guys thrown in to fill it out to 36 figures. I ordered figures in regulation uniforms, hunting shirts and shirt sleeves to show the varying attire of the unit. It's size represents the strength of the 2nd Maryland at Guilford Courthouse, the first of several engagements the regiment went on to fight in 1781. The unit was also at Hobkirk's Hill and Eutaw Springs. At each succeeding battle the unit got a bit smaller due to casualties and, no doubt, desertion.

At Guilford the 2nd Maryland was a green regiment. Unlike the veteran 1st Maryland, they didn't receive the blue regimentals, faced red. They drilled and trained under Nathaniel Greene as the light corps of his army maneuvered north through North Carolina, leading Cornawallis and his army a merry chase. However, the unit was drawn from the entire state of Maryland, rather than a particular locale, loosening those necessary bonds of unit attachment, and many of their officers were transferred to the First Maryland.

Their first action was at Guilford, where they formed part of Greene's third line of Continentals. Unfortunately, they broke under the British attack, which led to the counterattack by the 1st Maryland and Greene's withdrawal despite brilliant fighting on the day.

The Perry figures are mix of uniform types as I explained above. I chose to go with the firing line poses because of the nice mix of miniatures. It's pretty impressive in a large unit. Standards, as with all American units, were problematic. I went with a version of the stars and stripes based on the Jonathan Trumbull version at Yorktown. I also went with a divisional flag, just for something different.

This is the first of three large units for the American Revolution I want to complete by the end of the year. The first and second Virginia regiments are next in line. However, it's unlikely I'll begin working on them until school is out for summer.

My photography is, as always somewhere between crappy and execrable.

Monday, March 01, 2010

February finis

Well, February roared in like a lion and went out like a lamb. I got off to a great start in this second month of the year, finished some Spanish Civil War figures, some AWI figures, but got very little done after deadline began last week. I did complete a couple of hydroplanes yesterday. I really got stuck on the number 50 (completed figures.)

I didn't buy any additional figures this month, though I did invest in some paint and some brushes. My total painted figures for the year is 114. Not bad. It puts me on a pace for over 600 painted figures for the year. It also meets my range of 40-60 painted figures per month. It was a short month too, so, again, not bad.

It was a tough painting month too. I am in my third week of fighting a low level germ that sometime leaves me pretty tired. We were also on a very contentious deadline last week that kept me busy every evening except Friday.

In March I'll keep working on those 2nd Maryland figures. I expect I'll finish them. I'll keep working on hydroplanes. I have seven more to finish for my Gold Cup project, and they should be pretty doable. I'll also wrap up all my 15mm Italians for the SCW this month. These should pad my figure totals. There are 44 of them, half in the dark green European uniforms, and half in the light khaki African uniforms.