Saturday, March 26, 2011

Off for some R and R

This morning I finished the last of the cogs.  Yes, you heard it hear first.  Unfortunately, I'm also running off to La Connor for a few days with Lorri and won't return until Tuesday.  I'll be sure to get some pics and post them when I get back.  I'm on Spring Break and plan to get a number of game-related activities done this week, but first a much need break away from school, games, headaches.

We're scheduled for the first Sluys playtest on April 2nd.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Galleys: Finished at last

Castilian flagship.  The sail depicts the arms of Castile

I finally completed my galleys for the cogs project.  I needed three models for Sluys.  The galley participants at Sluys were Genoese, but the Castilians also supplied galleys to the French, so I made three more for them.
The three Genoese galleys.  The Grimaldi family arms for a Genoese leader

I also included the Grimaldi family arms on the aft awning.

They weren't super difficult to build, and honestly I could have done a better job in smoothing and sanding them, but at their size it's hard to tell much of anything with them.  Honestly, I just feel the need for speed building these guys.  I did drill the sides of the basswood for the eight oars per side, and used steel wire for the holes.  All in all not bad.  A little washed out ivory paint and cover the lot with gloss gel and not so bad.
I wasn't quite sure what to do with Castilian awnings.  I decided to embed the Castilian arms in a field of blue.

A head on look at the Castilians 
  I've built the next 11 French cogs, all the large ones plus some extras.  I'm hoping to have them finished by mid-week at the latest. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Shipyard Review

You can see a dozen large cogs (2 inches long) with their fighting platforms and crenelations in place.  The fighting platforms for the 16 medium sized cogs are also done, though I haven't done anything about the walls.
Well, I'm disappointed.  I really did work hard on the Sluys project today.  I probably put in eight hours, but didn't finish anything.   I really hoped to have the galleys done, and did make considerable progress on the Genoese vessels, but still didn't get them done. I did cut all the fore and aft castles, and installed them on a dozen large cogs. Got a good start on stuff, and I'm positioned to make progress and wrap a lot of items up when I can get some time.  Probably not until Wednesday evening because we're on deadline this week.

Made progress on, but didn't finish the Genoese galleys.  You can see the Grimaldi family arms on the aft awnings.

The Shipyard is open

Blank hulls for large and medium cogs waiting for built up fighting platforms
Today is a critical day for me to get stuff done on the Sluys project.  I really want to wrap this up before Lorri and I shuffle off to La Conner on the 26th and this is a very ugly-looking deadline week. Not only that but they've stolen another hour from me with the move to daylight savings.  At this writing, it's eight o'clock and I'll have to go into work for a couple of hours this morning.  I've probably got nine or so good work hours-no doubt filled with interruptions-but I did try to get my honey-do's done yesterday.  Called my parents, did the grocery shopping, changed my oil.  Missed the Husky baseketball game (blues.) Anyway, the scene is set for a big time hobby work day.  I'll end-of-work-session pictures tonight.
Galleys got their decks and masts painted.  Still need forward superstructures and awnings painted, as well as basing stuff done.
Yesterday I got ready for today but wasted a lot of time.  However, I did finish all the small cogs for the Flemish and French forces at Sluys, did a little bit of painting on the galleys, but most importantly, I shaped all the hulls for the French fleet.  About 30 of those, so no small deal.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Renendra Tent sets

I made a small purchase today.  I ordered a couple of the tent sets by Renendra from Architects of War.  I'm pretty excited about them.  They'll represent the brigade encampments in Hobkirk's Hill.  They look nice and aren't very expensive.  Each set costs ten bucks.  I'm also anxious to give AoW a try because they are the reincarnation of Barb's Bunker, whose work I enjoyed so much. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

An Enfilade Check-up

Enfilade begins on May 27th.  That's 77 days from today.  Seems like a long time, but in project preparation time, not so far away.  That will include three newspaper deadlines, a trip to Anaheim for journalism nationals, a well-deserved spring break rest in La Conner, and countless honey-do's and sleepless nights.

I still have a lot to finish and play test.  The cog project is back in full swing, but there are still nearly 30 to finish.  This weekend I'll fully reopen the Smyth Sluys Shipyard.  There are about 30 hull blanks piled on my painting table that need to be shaped.  If I do that then I'll be in good shape to be working them throughout the week.  The sooner I finish the cogs the sooner I can playtest the scenario.  I'm hoping to maybe do that with Daveshoe and Dean sometime in March.  Gives me an excuse to have Dave down and Dean has expressed an interest and lives nearby.  I can do the land areas in felt for now, but I'll probably do the actual areas in foamboard for the convention. 
The Flemish fleet at Sluys.  Not quite finished.  Still some basing and sails to finish
Genoese and Castilian galleys.  They still have a bit of work to do.  Lots of paint and basing stuff and they'll probably each need sails
I'd like to shape all these hulls this weekend.  There's about 25 of them yet to do, but that's it for the project.
Small cogs for the French fleet.  It will be these guys and the Flemings finished tomorrow for sure.

I still have lots of figures and bits and wagons and stuff for Hobkirk's Hill.  I haven't played Regimental Fire and Fury, though I don't think it could be that difficult.  Spring Break (March 26th-April 3rd) should be enough time to do some practice walk throughs.

The Closing Wilmington scenario really needs some walk throughs.  The land combat portion of the rules definitely lead some work and some play testing.  I also want to be sure I get the right balance of Union Navy and Confederate shore batteries. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mediterranean Galleys WIP

One of the ship types I have to produce for my cog project is some 14th century Mediterranean galleys.  The French hired galleys and crews from the Genoese and the Castilians, so it's only right that I have a few in my collection.  Three models are necessary for Sluys, so I made six, hoping might get three usable ones.

Found this picture in Fighting Techiniques of the Medieval World by Matthew Bennett, Kelley DeVries and others.  Single square rigged sail, but I couldn't quite accept the low yard.  Why bother with a strange teeny, tiny sail?
I started with this picture of a 14th century Venetian galley and did the best I could.  I cut 1 1/2"  hulls from 3/8" by 1/8" thickness basswood, and cut the bow into a point.  I added a little forward and aft superstructure and followed up with lots of sanding.  Then I drilled holes for steel wire and voila, we have the unfinished product.  They will look anything but perfect, but I think they'll do.  I'll post the finished product when I'm done
Fairly close up shot.  As you can see, nothing special.
The lot of them definitely look better at a distance.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The field is fallow

I've had a heckuva time getting anything done lately.  I've got about three different projects I've been piddling at on my desk and getting frightfully little done on any of them.  I've entered one of those zones I face a few times a year when I don't get much done and just kind of hang out and read.  I'm not sure I have a good reason.  I did have a nasty fall at home a few weeks ago.  I really banged up my left leg just below the knee and it has a huge knot.  If I sit for very long it gets very stiff.  It's finally starting to get better and maybe that will help.  Today was a good painting day.
All the hard stuff is done.  Eight small cogs for Sluys.  They need masts and bowsprits, then it's prime 'em and paint 'em
I spent the weekend  painting a bit, but finished nothing.  First, I have eight small cogs I'm working on.  I need small cogs for the Flemish forces at Sluys, and will have a few left over for the French.  I'm getting more motivated to jump on the rest of the ships for Enfilade so I can get on with playtesting the scenario.
16 miserable figures that aren't even hard to paint.  Why can't I get the done??!! Argh!
 I worked a little bit on these silly Perry figures for the King's Provincial Regiment.  It's the last unit I need to paint for Hobkirk's Hill.  Again, I need to playtest the scenario so I gotta get on them.  Right now, every hour I spend on them seems like weeks.  Gah!!
Absolutely one of my favorite minis of all time.  Alys and Her Pussycat by Hasslefree Miniatures.
 This is Alys and her Pussycat based on the Alice and the Cheshire Cat from Hasslefree figures.  Its my last HF figure, and is one of my favorites.  It really captures the subject well.  Not quite finished, just gotta do something with the base.
Two limbers, two gun crews, three mounted officers and one ammunition wagon await my attention.  Perhaps I should just cover it all with Scenic Cement and give up.
This stack of Perry boxes are all the guns, gunners, wagons and officer figures I need to do for Hobkirks.  For the most part they're just for show and don't comprise a whole lot of minis.  Even so, it's a big pile of boxes.  Sheesh.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saying Goodbye Was Hard

Early this morning I headed north to an Indesign workshop in Montlake Terrace.  For those who don't know, Indesign is a page layout program that is a wonderful tool  It can do far more than the Pagemaker 2 I started out with so many years ago.  Nevertheless, I am such a miserable schlub with the program.  I have CS3 at home and at school and it's the program we use to lay out the paper.  I am little or no help to my students, so I thought it was important to take the class the Washington Journalism Education Association was offering.  All I proved was that I need a lot more practice as well.

I made myself a promise to stop by American Eagles on the way back.  I've wanted to go the last couple of weeks to take advantage of the sales.  No, that's not really true, I really wanted to stop by to pay my respects.  I knew from visiting the shop after Drumbeat there wasn't a lot I was interested in, but I was sure I could find something, even if it was a token amount, I could use for one project or another.  I arrived at the shop at about 3:00, and it was pretty busy with a fairly consistent line at the register.  I was really hoping to find a nice 1/48th sale model of a P-6E Hawk.  The army flew these in formation at the Cleveland Air Races, and I thought it might be a fun addition to my collection.  Alas, there was no such thing, much to my chagrin.

So, I spent a lot of time looking.  There were lots of model planes, but not one that really floated my boat.  There were tons of role-playing supplements, but not many sets of game rules, definitely none of interest.  There were many leftover copies of Seekrieg 4.  There's a reason for that. Lots of very nice Clash of Arms games, but board-gaming really isn't my gig.  I finally settled on a a couple of 1/700 ship kits.  One was a Spruance class destroyer.  Designed in the 70's and retired after 2000, I figured I couldn't go too far wrong with that.  The Taiwanese picked up four of these just prior to 2000, so I can maybe use it in an Airwar C21 game.  I also picked up the Tamiya set of Japanese auxiliaries for World War II.  Comes with three handy small vessels.  Unfortunately the labeling is all in Japanese, so I'll have to check on what I actually got.

 There was something deflating about the entire shopping trip.  Though I never went to the Lake City shop enough to feel at home there, it did seem that I was saying goodbye to something familiar.  I've been going to American Eagles for years.  I remember George Edwards when he was a little boy running around the shop making his mom crazy.  I went to American Eagles when I was first married, and when I was carrying Patrick around in my arms. Today is Pat's 31st birthday.  And today I'm saying goodbye, as I said goodbye to Escape Velocity in the 80's and American Eagles in Tacoma a few years back.  They're places I grew up with, and now they're gone.