Thursday, January 30, 2014

Boat Comparisons

I am in the process of cleaning my workbench. Its gotten to the point where I work off of about a 3 inch space in front of me. I want to get it clean before half of my family returns from China. Then, I will have no time to do it as the Little Boss Man will demand much of my time.

What does this have to do with boats? While cleaning, I found three in various stages of completion, so I thought I'd take a picture of them before I put them somewhere out of harms way. All three are 6mm-1/285 scale and will be used for my Gambusia campaign.

Top: In-shore patrol craft; Middle: Soviet BK1125 River monitor; Bottom: SOC-R assault craft

The patrol boat looks enormous next to the other two. However, the SOC-R is just larger than the rubber boat that is on the back of the patrol boat, so it seems to be in scale.  When I stick a 6mm infantry man onto the patrol boat, he seems to fit right. The Soviet river monitor is the one that seems out of scale. I am pretty sure I did the math correctly when I did the scaling. It could be that those Soviet river monitors were just not that big.

The inshore patrol boat was featured in an early series of postings, so I am not going to comment on that.  I decided that the monitor needed some updating. I cut off the machine gun turrets that were in front of the 76mm tank turret, on top of the pilot house, and aft. The detail on them wasn't all that much. I added a tripod mast with two radar mounts. Where the pilot house machine gun turret was, I added an electro-opitic system. In the rear, I scratch built a M2-3 turret with two 25mm AA guns. It didn't turn out very well as it is larger than it should be. Originally, I tried to make it out of paper, but that ended in complete failure. The guns are too thick as well. These turrets, common on smaller Soviet ships from the 50s to the 70s, were very small. Only a single gunner could fit in them. I am thinking about adding railings around the monitor, but it depends how motivated I am.

The SOC-R assault craft is made by P.T. Dockyard. I have been eying the various small ships that he has to offer for quite awhile. In addition to some 1/700 missile boats, I got two SOC-R river assault crafts that are 1/300 scale. They are cast in white resin. It was very difficult to remove the flash successfully from the guns. I had to replace the barrel of one of the forward mini-guns with a thin rod, and will have to do the same for one of the bow machine guns. I added two antennae made out of plastic filament in the back. Despite these issues, I am pretty happy with it. I will mount it onto a thin base. I modified a GHQ WWII US artilleryman to pilot the boat. The assault craft will be part of the small Southern Chalupastan river fleet unlike the large patrol boat and river monitor, which belongs to Northern Chalupistan.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Month of Spending Foolishly

I could not resist spending this month. Most of my spending was on rules or game related books.

First off, I ordered the Kindle version of The Wargaming Compendium by Henry Hyde. It think it is about $40 hard cover. I didn't really feel like paying that much, so I got the Kindle version. It is well worth the money. It is an excellent book, particularly if you are starting out. I really enjoyed his style of writing. It was relaxed, almost conversational. If I were starting out, I would seriously invest in the paper version. Only two criticisms. His history of wargames is good, but based on other other history of wargames articles, I think there were some things he left out. Second, the book just ends abruptly. I might have missed it, but I would have liked a conclusion.

Second set of purchases were some modern air rules. The first one is Bandits! 2 by David Redpath.

Bandits! 2 by David Redpath
My interest in them came out of several interesting AARs that he wrote in SOTCW's journal, The Journal. I am always on the lookout for air combat rules that are not too complex and these sounded like they were. Ordering them was sort of a pain in the you-know-where. They are only sold on Ebay, which not my favorite place to shop. They are published by Vandering Publications, the same company that put out Shipwreck! I had to do several emailings in order to finally get them; the issues had more to do with the publisher than the author. This is definitely a don't judge a book by its cover sort of rule set. It comes bound in one of those plastic binder things that students use for book report covers. I have yet to use them (big shocker there!) but they have some interesting ideas, particularly what the author calls "situational awareness." Its what allows each side to perform various actions. The author has a blog, but has yet to post on it.

The other rule set is Flames Above the Falklands, which is part of the Wings At War series produced by Tumbling Dice miniatures.

Flames Above the Falklands.

 I thought I had ordered the Vietnam rules, but I got these. They come with a bunch of Tumbling Dice's Vapor Trails 1/600 scale aircraft, which is a nice touch. Again, I have not tried them. There are some aspects of the rules that are not clear to me, but I will refrain from any more judgement until I give them a try. There is a website for the rule series, but it lacks a FAQ section.

Are you still with me? I'm not done yet!

Next, I ordered two pdf rules. First, Modern Naval Conflicts by Naval Warfare Simulations.

I had never heard of this company/organization, but they were having a sale on these rules, so I couldn't pass it up. I got the main rules along with the 1980s expansion, which covers the Falklands War. I have not had a chance to read them in detail, but they seem on the order of Harpoon in complexity.

Next, is 5150: Star Navy by 2 Hour Games.

I have not time to even read them, but the reviews of them sound good. I wanted something to go with my 15mm sci-fi stuff.

The last book I got was The Solo Wargaming Guide by William Silvester.

Its a small book, but it has a lot of good ideas. I especially liked his ideas on how to transfer your campaign map onto the gaming table.

Last, but not least, some fire power for LEGO minifigures:

An assortment of weaponry as well as some stands from BrickArms. I'm thinking of having a free for all battle royale sometime in the future, provided my daughter lets me use her minifigures.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shapeways Shops

There are a lot of folks at Shapeways who are pouring out minis. This includes those at the micro scale. Like others, I have not been overly impressed so far by the level of detail. Of course that has not stopped me from buying some. One thing that really bugs me about the Shapeways site is that their site really sinks in terms of navigation. I have yet to figure out how to get a list of shops that specialize in what I want. You have to search for a particular item. It just annoys me.

I came up with a list of various shops that offer micro scale miniatures. This list is rather biased toward my areas of interest. Furthermore, this is not meant to be a critique of the minis, nor do I compare prices.  I just complied this so you and I can more easily access the shops on Shapeways. If there any others that I've missed, please let me know.

New Aragon Mechanical Works
Designer: Carlos2k10 
Consists of 1/285 aircraft and mecha. Have a number of early interwar biplanes and jet fighters from the 50s and early 60s.

Dragoman's Depot
Designer: Dragoman
Has a variety of models including 1/600 and 1/300 (lists as 6mm). Aircraft ranges from the 1930s until now, with the majority being interwar. He has several interesting never-weres. His vehicles are an interesting mix, but the majority is 1980s Cold War. He seems to be starting a line of modern South Korean AFVs.

Objects May Appear... 
Designer: afrodri 
Large number of naval vessels in a variety of scales. If you want modern warships, this is the place to come! He has a smaller selection of aircraft, but some interesting ones such as the F7U Cutlass.

Tiny Thingamajigs
 Designer: matt_atknsn
Focuses WW2 naval ships. Has a few aircraft in 1/285 scale that include some modern jets and some interwar aircraft. He has a larger selection of aircraft in 1/600 scale, including helicopters.

 Masters of Military
Designer: masterofmilitary
Focuses mainly on 1/285 vehicles. A lot of WW2 never-weres and some modern civilian vehicles.

Arctic Skunk
 Designer: mpennock
A small selection of 1/285 early jet fighters.

Prairie Hawk Gamers
Designer: snowfox01
Very large selection of 1/285 aircraft with the bulk being early jets to modern. Some concept jets, too. Produces a lot of aircraft that can’t be found elsewhere. For example one of the few manufacturers that make a A-37 Dragonfly.

Kampfflieger models
Designer: kampffieger
He has a pretty large selection of aircraft at various scales. His microscale aircraft consist of early jet age, interwar, WW1, WW2 with a few WW2 experimentals thrown in.

Designer: panzergrey
1/350 scale WW1 buildings. I am not clear why he picked that scale, but says that his buildings should be compatible with 1/300. He is also willing to make them in other scales.

Big selection of Cold War 1/285 vehicles, but seems to be mostly minor WarPac nations, particularly engineering vehicles and trucks.

Fen Edge Wargaming
Designer: NickHawkins
Large selection of interwar and concept aircraft. The designer states that his aircraft are useful for Pulp and alternate-war kinds of games.Most that I see at his shop seem to be in that vein.

Federico's Shop 
 Designer: fgiunchi
A small shop, but has a bunch of terrain accessories that look very useful. For example, he has some storage drums in 1/285.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Three New Technicals

This is crazy! A new post a day after the previous one! More fun & games with my new phone and its camera!

New Kids on the Block
 I painted these guys back sometime in late summer/early fall. I think these are Scotia trucks, but I am not sure. The guns are by Heroics & Ros. Previous technicals were painted a sort of khaki green, but I've decided that from now on, technicals will be civilian colors. Though you can't tell, the front truck is armed with a WW2 German quad 20mm Flakvierling 38. These are pretty small trucks, especially the white one. Its about the same size as the GMC pickup truck that H & R makes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Greetings 2014

There are a lot of blogger folks that have posted their gaming thoughts concerning last year and their plans for this year. I didn't really want to review 2013 because there wasn't a whole lot going on hobby-wise for me, particularly in the the second half of the year. I did do some gaming, but never got around to posting my adventures. Therefore, 2013 was not a great year for blog posts. Besides not a lot of hobby-related activities, I found that I had little time to post things. But this may change!

Welcome Chris to the 21st Century!

There was special on January 2nd for a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone at BestBuy. Up to this point, I've been using an old flip phone. I really wanted an iPhone, but the price was right for the Samsung: free. At least for the phone. I was told by many that the Samsung had a better camera than the iPhone. My wife has an iPhone and her camera is pretty darn good, so it was hard to imagine an even better camera.

Last night, I did a test drive of the camera's macro abilities. I had some 15mm Chariot Miniatures mounted lizardmen (LIZ010) on hand. Other than cropping them, no digital touch ups were made on the pictures.

Test shot 1: Samsung Camera only
Test shot 2: Using Magnifying App
The first shot was just using the camera itself. The second was using a magnifying app that I found. Both employed the phone's light. I am not really sure which is better, but either way, I am pretty impressed. Using my camera's phone is a lot faster than setting up my DSLR, so hopefully, I will be posting more than I have. In addition to fun & games, I do have a serious reason for having a phone with these capabilities. I take a lot of photographs of fossil specimens for my research. Many of the specimens are rather small, or I need close ups of certain features. This phone should be very useful in the field or at museum collections where I don't have access to a camera stand.

Let me know which one you think is better. I clearly need to avoid the harsh shadows.

Happy New Years! May you get in all the gaming that you hope for!