Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Forest Method

Here is a test piece for a very dense forest.


I went the route that Architectsofwar.com and http://www.6mmacw.com/forests.html have by making a lift off canopy. I used thin, black craft foam for both the canopy and the forest floor. 

Here it is taken with the flash to show the tree trunks:


I painted them grey and than added a dark brown wash. The flash shows the gaps in the canopy where this is no foliage. In normal lighting, these gaps are much less obvious. 

Here is was it looks like with the canopy off:

Each square on cutting mat equals 1/4"

The main challenge was trying to get the trunks to stand vertically. This proved to be a mixed success.  I used craft sticks that I bought at a craft store, but I am seriously considering flat head nails that would have solved the vertical trunk issue. I probably could have stuck a lot more trunks on there. The two in the middle are to provide a little more support. 

Both methods in the links above used a hot glue gun to attach the clump foliage, which I did, which predictably was a mess (unless you are trying to recreate the spiders' lair in Mirkwood). Clump foliage is kind of expensive, but I used up only about maybe a fifth of a bag, if that, for this 6 1/2" by 3 1/4" forest.  I probably won't make any more that are much larger than this one. 

I am a lot happier with these than the hex-based forests that I presented in a previous post. Now to get cracking on that second bridge as I inch closer to having enough terrain for a battle.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

AI Decision Tree for Solo Games


I've really become hooked on the  Delta Vector blog site. The author, evilleMonkeigh, deals a lot with rule design, often from the standpoint of solo gaming. Recently, he has been discussing non-player character AIs. I've been playing around with AIs for a while, but it got me tinkering again, especially since I am getting closer to having a game.

I have been focusing on building AI for battles involving battalion level and higher micro armor games. This decision tree is what I've come up with so far:

Click on chart to better read it.

A lot things on the chart are very loosely set up. For example, final actions, those in the light green boxes, have more than one possible action to take. It might be that which one to take would be decided by die roll, or it might be that several actions could be taken based on available unit command pips. Even some of the early decisions may not be automatic. A percent dice might be used for the "Yes," "No," and "No, but..." decisions. 

What is meant by Scurry? I borrowed the word from Ivan Sorensen's various rules, particularly from his Fivecore Company Commander rules. In his rules, it has a more positive meaning (move to a better firing position or gain ground) but right now, I'm using it as a place-holder term to mean, go to ground, redeploy to take cover, or fall back to a safer position. 

This is in the very early stages of development. I don't know how fluid this tree is, but guess is that its probably not in its present iteration. Also, I don't know what then happens after a fire fight. Does it go back to the intital state at the beginning? Does it fall into some sort of loop at or past the "Yes" state until there is no more enemy? Bizarre results might be entertaining, but that is not what I am going for! 

I still have not decided what rules to use. It might be a mash up two or several. That discussion is for another post. The hope is that the AI will be generic enough to be used with any rules.

Any thoughts or comments are welcome.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Update


The crack in my stomach (as my son calls it) from my surgery is healing, but I have not had much energy to do much. I started back to work last week, but it was basically, teach my classes and go home and crash. 

I am nearly finished improving on some old hills that I had made a long time ago (sorry, no pictures yet), and I thought I was pretty close to being ready for the first land battle of my campaign, but when I looked at my map, I discovered that I needed some paved roads, and some more dirt roads, and more river segments, and more forests.......ah-h-h-h!

Table top map for game

I THINK I can get it all done by this weekend, providing I have some spare time and I don't get all detail-ly, which I am prone to do. I also need to focus. I finished some trees for my friend Will, who is venturing into Warhammer Age of Sigmar, that I had started before all the medical issues erupted. As I finished them, a thought came into my head about making some houses for him. Nope, they will have to wait! I need to stay focused on getting things done for this game.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Building Bridges, Part 4

Here is the completed larger bridge that I previewed two posts ago. I would have finished sooner, but the heart attack turned out to be an acute gall bladder infection and it had to be removed, stat. The doctor wasn't sure what the cause of it was, but it was probably a combination of it being "sluggish" which propagated an infection. It was a messier operation than expected and they had to remove it old school. My 3-year-old says that I now have a big crack in my belly. I came home yesterday from the hospital and managed to have enough energy by the evening to finish it.

Two trucks loaded with rebels head off to the front
Overall, I'm happy with it. I could add more detail, but I'm more in the mood to move on to get closer to playing a game. I think it will look fine on a gaming table.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Big Scare

I had planned to post my completed second bridge, but this weekend took me on a different path that led me to the hospital. Early Sunday morning, 4 am to be exact, I thought I was having a heart attack. Thankfully, turned out not to be.

It was a huge wake up call. I've struggled with my weight for a big chunk of my life. My main issue is food, not so much healthy vs. unhealthy because I by-in-large eat fairly healthy, but the quantities that I eat. I exercise three times a week and can even get up at 5:00 in the morning to do that, but I have little control over eating. So, I need to do three things:

1. Cut down some on certain foods.  As I said above, I do eat pretty healthy food. Over the years, I seemed to have lost my sweet tooth so sweets are not an issue. My sugar levels are normal. Its the other numbers that are high. I do eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, but I love cheese and starches. I need to try to cut back on those somewhat. Cheese will be the hardest.

2. Portion control. This is the big one! I can't seem to stop shoveling it in. For me, I think, food is sort of a drug for me in that its comforting. Eating is also the few times where I have social interaction. I eat lunch with my colleagues at work, and Wednesday nights the church that I attend has a pot luck dinners. When I am in these situations, I feel like I am on auto-pilot. A more minor situation is that both my wife and I finish up whatever is on our kids' plates. Both my wife and I came from families where you didn't leave anything on your plate.

3. Stress, I eat when I am stressed, and I seem lately to be stressed a lot. I have almost no "me time" anymore. My two big personal activities have been my wargaming and my research. For the past several years, the research has been non-existent. The hobby activities have been limited for an hour or two at night when everyone's in bed, and that might be once or twice a week. Other than some church activities, I don't have any social activities. This will be, in some ways the toughest one.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Building Bridges, Part 3

Working on another bridge.  I hope to be done soon.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Building Bridges Part 2


In last post, I started building a simple suspension bridge.  In this post, I  finish it.

The next thing I did was to make the posts. I used 1.5mm styrene rods and cut them with my new tool, the Chopper II.


I bought it at my look hobby shop chain, but I think you can also order it from Micromark. I'm not sure what great improvements it has over the Chopper I. A couple of issues. First,  it would be an improvement if the guides were a little thicker aND the locking screw was better. Second, and a bigger issue is that the measurements are in inches!


Come on! If you're trying to make  precise cut of tiny things, metric is the way to go. Not only that, but each hatch mark was a little thick, so there is a larger margin of error.  It managed to do the job and I got a whole mess of poles that I then glued onto the sides of the bridge:

I then built up the base. I first tried polymer clay,  but I couldn't pull it off the styrene base without distortion.  I then used a air drying clay, which worked well.


Once the clay was dry, I then glued the bridge on and covered it with some caulk.

Thought I had a picture of it with caulk. I guess not.
The last part before painting was putting the railings. I superglue thread. I am not too happy with how ends turned out.


Here it is all painted up:

Here's a GHQ Nyala RG-31 attempting to cross it: 

It's too narrow for my infantry stands to sit on, but it's supposed to be a narrow bridge.  I didn't think about it until now but I should have made a copy of the base and built a destroyed version!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Building Bridges, Part 1


In a previous post,  I mulled over what kind of bridges I was going to make. It must be due to the lunar eclipse,  because  I seemed to have had the time in the evenings this weekend to work.  So I started on a bridge.

I decided to build a simple suspension bridge as a test run. After measuring the width of the river, I cut some styrene strips for planks and glued them to two long strips that run about the width of the river.
Top side of bridge.

Underneath the bridge.
I added a tab at either end of the bridge to hold it to the bank. I wasn't picky about the widths of the planks. This is supposed to be a crude bridge. 

Here is what it looks like resting on a section of river:
 

As you can see the planks extend onto the banks. I did this deliberately. In my previous post,  I felt that having a free standing bridge that I could put anywhere was the way to go, so I wanted some leaway to account for river width variation. Well, after about an hour of staring at it, I decided that there was no way for this to work as a free standing bridge. So, I started to build a narrow river section to go with it. 

I will pick this up in my next post.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The new Future is Pledge

This post is to share my hobby-geek joy with you all. I am close to running out the original Future Floor Finish. I've been using it since the late 90s, mixing it with black acrylic paint or India ink for a wash. I've tried a whole bunch of brands of pre-made washes, but none compare to using Future Floor Finish. What I like about it is that you can control the ratio of paint (or ink) to floor finish.

For reasons I don't understand, the S. C. Johnson company re-branded Future as Pledge Floor Care Finish. I cannot find this anywhere I live! Fortunately, Amazon.com sells it. It wasn't really all that expensive to order it online. This new bottle should last me quite awhile. I've heard all kinds of rumors that isn't as good as the original stuff...I guess I will find out. Word of warning: they make a similar product, but it has a detergent in it.

 This is stuff is pure liquid acrylic love! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bridge Dilemma

Now that I've made what I feel are enough river sections, the next step is to make (or buy) some bridges. Thinking about it, I can go two ways:

1. I can build or buy a bridge model that can be plunked down anywhere along the river segments.

2. I can make a small river segment, like I did for the river forge, that incorporates a bridge.

There are pros and cons to both.

Free standing bridge:
Pros: putting it anywhere means that a road can cross the river at any point. I don't have to force the road to fit a location along the river. Second, I can make various bridges to fit various games: European-looking bridges for WW2 or fantasy games; more generic or jungle-looking bridges for my fictional Gambusia campaign.
Cons: Won't look very pretty. Second, I will have to make sure that a bridge will span any point along a river. There may be the problem that a bridge is much longer than the width of the river section. That is more of an aesthetic issue, but a bridge that is too short will just look stupid. Also, if the banks are irregular in height (which they are to varying degrees) the bridge won't sit very well on it.

River segment with built-in bridge:
Pros: Will look much nicer. Will eliminate some of the problems listed in the above cons regarding free-standing bridges.
Cons: May be a big problem when there is a road crossing a river at a point where a bridge segment cannot be placed. I would have to force the road to conform to the river or reconfigure the river segments to conform to the road. Second, would take a little longer to build them. As much as I really enjoy building terrain, I'm getting a little burned out on it and want to finally do some gaming.

I have been combing the internet and both methods are used. I have noticed that the built-in bridges tend to be on tables that use terrain modules. I am not going in that direction. It might be that the free standing bridge is the way to go.

Any comments or suggestions are greatly welcomed.






Friday, September 4, 2015

Warp-free Rivers!

I recently bought a fancy label maker, so for about the last week I've been labeling my boxes of fantasy figures. That, and I finally completed my rivers.




I made them by cutting out the segments from sheet styrene  (for sale signs), then using caulk to make the river banks. Once the caulk dried, l painted the river with the appropriate colors. Yes, rivers are not really blue, but I gave up after several tries to get a more realistic color using greens and browns. The river was given two coats of gloss Mod Podge.

I have two widths.  The wider river segments I can also use for 15mm games. The bottom picture shows a short segment that is supposed to be a ford. It looks a little better than the photo....it look more like peanut brittle here! I am not happy with it, but it will do.

I will probably use painter's masking tape to hold them to the gaming table.

These turned out better than the ones using the foam core and took 1/3rd the time to make them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Air Mail

I got a box today in the mail:


I had ordered some models of Japanese commercial commuter aircraft off of E-Bay. The company that made them is called F.toys. You get ten in a pack:


You get eight plus two random planes. As far as I could tell, which plane is in the package is not stated on the box. However, I was guaranteed the eight different models. Here is what you can get:



Yes, I did say eight, even though there are five shown. That is because three had variants....same plane, different airline. Unfortunately, only two of these models were at 1/300 scale, the others were at 1/500 scale, but I can probably find some use for them, or give them to my son to play with.

Here is what you get inside:


The model, an instruction sheet, and a little piece of gum. The instructions has clear illustrations, so the Japanese isn't an issue.

Here is a close up of a model still in its plastic box:


What you get is a stand, landing gear, and some have props or an additional tail fin that needs to be attached. I don't know if these need gluing or snap on, but I will find out when I put them together.

I plan to use them for various airport scenics. I thought about painting them, but I think I will leave them as is. I don't think I could reproduce the windows and doors on them.

I am now slowly working my way through the gum:




Monday, August 10, 2015

I'm Confused


For a LONG time, I've hoped that either GHQ or C-in-C would make the M103 US heavy tank. Here is some info on the M103 if you've never heard of it.  Why do I want one? Well, to make a long story short (which you know I'm not good at), it was one of the Roco minitanks that I owned as a kid. I thought it was really cool...so what if it wasn't successful! It was part of my Roco "holy trinity," the M103, the M47 Patton, and the M42 Duster. When I started my ImagiNation game, the trinity had to be a part of it. For a long time, GHQ only made the M47. Yes, Heroics & Ros and Soctia made the M103 and Duster, but they weren't the greatest models. I was excited when GHQ made the Duster. I hoped that the M103 was right around the corner. So far, it hasn't happened.

So here's my rant and its directed at GHQ because C-in-C hasn't made any new AFVs in who knows how long. GHQ just released a set of WWII German trailers. I'm sorry, but why???? For that matter, they have HMMWV w/ Towed Generator. Again, why? What in the world do you do with these trailers and a portable generator in a wargame? Did I miss the section in all my microarmor rules where the trailers are used? Is there a huge demand for microarmor trailers?  I don't understand why a company would put out trailers as well as a lot of other stuff that are not combat vehicles, and not something like the M103? I really like GHQ's products, but come on, guys!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Point of Origin

My wife declared a major purge on all stored stuff in the house. We are packrats (my wife more than I) and can't seem to throw away anything. I've been slowing sifting through the boxes and container earmarking items found as things to keep, things to be donated, or things to throw out or recycled. I came upon a box that I have been looking for, for a long time. It consisted of various military history and technical books, wargaming books, and how-to books on sculpting and painting.

Sandwiched among these various books was a copy of Wargamer's Digest, that dated June/July 1977 (volume 4, number 5). At the time this was THE magazine for miniature wargaming, at least as far as my friend Mark and I were concerned. Of course didn't know better. I bought them back in the late 70s and I have kept a number of them, though I am not sure where I kept them all. Definitely not your slick publication of today, with colored graphics and professional type setting (or even good editing at times!). It also seemed to contain a hodge-podge of topics, though later issues tend to have themes. The editor was a big WWII gamer and later issues reflected this. Despite its weaknesses, at $1.25, even back then, it was worth the price. 

There is one article in particular that is particularly important to me, in fact, its probably the reason why I kept this issue. The article was entitled The Battle of Ged, by Mike Covell (pages 24-25).

It was two-page after action report of a fantasy battle between the Royal Amy and the combined armies of the Haradrin, the Woodsmen Tribes and the Dwarves. Based on the one photo, it was gaming with 25mm figures.  Not too surprising given that 15mm was not that popular then, I don't even think there were any 15mm fantasy around at that time. If I had to guess, he used Chainmail for the rules. I like the use of LEGO bricks for terrain. He included a large map of the battle. 

This short report is important to me because between reading The Lord of the Rings, buying my copy of Chainmail, and this article, I got interested in fantasy wargaming. Something about this article lit a fire under me for fantasy gaming. I know that I already had Chainmail, but I think this article gave me some ideas on how to put together a battle.  Call me old school, but I've never been all that attracted to games where you had to use figures from one company in order to play the game. Even though he never says what brands of miniatures he used, I have the sense that it was whatever had had on hand. This agrees with my philosophy that its O-K to have a game where you field troops made from different companies, so long as they are reasonably compatible. 

Whatever the reason, it propelled me forward into a hobby that I has given me pleasure since I was a teen. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nation Building the Nordic Weasel Games Way


About a month ago, I got Nordic Weasel Games' Nation Generator for 20th Bush Wars and Not Just a Bush War. Turns out that the same nation generator is in both publications...oh well. This is a combination test run/review of them.

In addition to the nation generator, Not Just a Bush War has a lot of fun stuff for creating an army for the country you rolled up. This is what I ended up with. I've added some comments throughout. Warning, its a long post!

Nation Generator
You need a D10 and percentile dice for all of the charts. The numbers in parentheses are what I rolled for each category. 

Size

(4) Small: between 1 and 5 million citizens

Natural Resources

(4) Building Materials
Er-r-r...Okay?

Urbanization
(7) Somewhat urban

Technological Standards
11-7 = 4
Four years behind the most modern technology, so 2011.

Heavy Industry
(10) Extensive Heavy Industry

Political System
(44) Secular Military State

Government Legitimacy
(7) Viewed as reasonably legitimate

Government Popularity
(3) Very unpopular

Religious Standing
(3) Follows dominant religion in region

Rule of Law
(7) Corruption is accepted but infrequent

Cultural Coherence
(8) Moderate coherency

Allegiances
(4) Ancestral ties

Pressing Concerns
1. Very unpopular government (scored a “3” in government popularity)
2. (62) Civil rights issues
3. (46) Inequality

Army Generator
I used the Army Generator found in Brigade Commander (BC) and Military Generator in Not Just a Bush War (NJBW). I am not sure if I used the generator correctly in BC, particularly for the manpower units, but this is what I got: 

It’s a small country, but because its currently under military rule, the army is beefed up more than it was under royal rule, so I rolled for three brigades.
2 Infantry brigades
1 Specialized brigade


For specialized brigade, rolled under Elite Units (NJBW) and got a 2: Marines

I decided an average force to generate manpower units (BC). I am not sure if I did this right in terms of separating out the manpower units into battalions and their companies, but this is what I got:

1st Infantry Brigade

For main units, I rolled a 44 and got 6 main units, so
1 infantry battalion consisting of 4 companies
The extra company will be stationed as some sort of border unit

For secondary I rolled a 61
3 armored companies
Consists of Armored Cars (NJBW)

1st Brigade Attachements and Fire Support (BC)
3 Attachements
2 Fire Support Packets 

2nd Infantry Brigade

Main units: Rolled a 47 equaling 7 main units
1 infantry battalion with 3 companies
1 infantry battalion with 2 companies

Secondary
2 armored companies
Consist of MBTs (NJBW)

2nd Brigade Attachments & Fire Support
3 Attachments
2  Fire Support Packets


1st Marine Brigade

1st air assault battalion with 2 companies
1st Marine landing battalion with 3 companies
2nd Marine landing battalion with 2 companies
4 attachments

Air Force (NJBW)
Focus Air Superiority
Status: Limited
How Modern? Rolled a 5 so 2011 – 5 = 2006 +1 (for heavy industry) = 2002
So, aircraft can can be no newer than what was out in 2002. That's fine by me. 

Navy
Gotta have a navy! Especially if you have a marines brigade. Not in either booklet, so I modified Air Force generator in NJBW:

Focus

Status
1
Humanitarian/Disaster Response
1-2
Bare Bones
2-3
Maritime security
3-4
Very Limited
4-6
Deterrence
5-7
Limited
7-8
Sea Lane Control
8-9
Moderate
9
Forward Presence
10
Extensive
10
Power Projection


I ordered the Focus at increasing levels of ambition. I assume that under Focus, the number rolled is the primary focus, or that which the nation is striving for, with those below its being secondary. Status still works because what their ambitions are and what reality is are two different things. If the nation has the very grandiose focus of Power Projection but has limited or very limited status, that would mean that the higher ups might waste all of their very limited resources on larger warships.

Modifications on Focus:
+1 if rolled a 9 or 10 on the Natural Resources category.
+1 if rolled a Dictatorship, Secular Military State, or Fascist Military state
under Political System

Modifications on Status:
+1 if maritime-oriented nation


Focus: Deterrence
Status: Moderate
How Modern? Used the same as for Air Force
Rolled 9, so 2011 – 9 = 2002 + 1 (for heavy industry) = 2003

Overall Training Level
I rolled this for all of the armed forces, with the Marines maybe being a little better.
6 (after modifications): Acceptable training but lacking practical experience.

Overall Morale Level
Again, applies to all armed forces.
16 (after modifications): Willing.

Sources of Weapons
Primary: USA
Secondary: Germany
Germany? That will be a stretch, but that is the fun of the whole thing!

Putting it all together
Now comes the interpretation of the rolls. 

Country Name: Aquor-Ornur

Capital: Janwalli

Population: 4 million

Percent population urban: 60%

Economy: timber, building industry products, and furniture.

Technological standards: at 2011 levels.

Government: Secular Military State

Religion: 80% Buddhist, 15% Muslim, 5% Other.

Aquor-Ornur is a small nation located along the coast of South-East Asia, between Burma and Thailand. It gets its name from the two main tribes that make up the nation. Historically agriculture, mainly in the form of timber, was the main economic driver, but with the reduction of the rain forests, the economy shifted to timber products for the building industry and as well a growing furniture industry. This growth in heavy industry has caused a major migration to the urban centers. Many foreign industries have set up manufacturing centers because of the relatively cheap labor.
Until the late 1990s, Aquor-Ornur was ruled by a monarchy. Attempts to institute democratic reforms led to a crackdown of dissidents. In 1998, a military coup backed by pro-democracy citizenry removed the monarchy. Promises to hold elections have yet to materialize and have made the military government increasingly unpopular. Persecution of religious and ethnic minorities has also been on the rise. Recently, there has been growing nostalgia for the monarchy

Traditionally, Aquor-Ornur had strong ties with both Burma and Thailand, but these have been weakened.  The monarchy is currently in exile. It is secretly building an army to retake the nation.

Armed Forces of Aquor-Ornur
Rising suspicions of both their neighbors has given cause for the military to increase spending. Aquor-Ornur does not have any real ties to either the USA or Germany, so most of their major weaponry is second hand. I need to flesh this out more, but this is what I have come up with.

All infantry and marines are issued the Heckler & Koch weapons. TheArmbrust light anti-tank launcher is the principle LAW.

Armored cars:
When I think of modern armored cars, neither the USA nor Germany springs to mind. I decided to arm the three armored car companies with M8 armored cars, with one of the companies having the turrets swapped with South African Ratel turret with the 90mm low pressure gun. 


Tanks:
I thought about the Leopard 1A1, but decided to go with US M48A3 MBTs. Since the US is the main arms supplier, it would make sense that their MBT is American.

Transport:

The infantry ride to war on trucks.

Aircraft:
The air force was easy. I decided on F5E Tiger II as its fighter jet. Its a common export fighter for US allies throughout the years. For ground attack and other roles, they use the BO 105 helicopter.


Navy:
I'm still working on that. Of all the armed forces, the navy will probably the most modern. Historically, ship-building nations built "tailor-made" warships for nations willing to pay for them. Today is no exception. There are plenty of shipbuilding firms that use modular construction to build ships. The results are shorter building time, potentially cheaper ships, and ships are specific to the needs of the buyer. An example of this is the MEKO class of ships built by the G

erman companyBlohm+Voss. Here is a short article on the subject of modular ship design.

Thoughts about Nation Generator
Overall, its fun to use and produces some interesting results. There are a few things that I found sort of odd. The biggest one is that it doesn't generate an overall economy. Is it a rich or poor country? It is hard to say based on the rolls I got. A country can be highly industrialized but the country be by-in-large poor. Some rolls seemed contradictory. For example, if its a country that relies extensively on heavy industry, I would thing it would have a higher urban population than what I rolled.  I suppose I could have modified things, but I wanted a country that was solely based on the die rolls.

I liked the army builder in Brigade Commander, though I am not sure if I used it right. Its general enough so that I could come up with my own units. Not Just a Bush War fleshed out what I created in Brigade Commander. Not Just a Bush War had a lot more added "fluff" (and "fluff" in the best sense!) to really give your units a lot of personality, but I was content for now. If you like pre-game parts of the first edition AK-47 rules, you will really love this!

Both Nation Generator for 20th Bush Wars and Not Just a Bush War are worth the price.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dirt Road Gas Station


I'm still sort of burnt out from making dirt roads, but still haven't jumped into the water and started making rivers. So, I made a few curves (bor-ing!), and a little roadside scene: a gas station.





The station and its roof were made from a block of Polymer clay. For the roof, I flattened out some clay and then pressed it onto the bottom of the small metal mitre box. The bottom is corrugated, and seemed to be of the right scale. I peeled the clay up and then baked. I was pretty happy with the effect. The main body of the station was roughly cut out of clay and the door and windows gouged out.

The gas pumps, the little tank on the side of the building, and the sign were made out of styrene plastic. The word GAS on the sign is not centered; I should not have used superglue to attach it. Its probably hard to tell, but on the other side of the building I have two metal drums from Heroics & Ros against the wall and a tire that I made out of a styrene tube, which was a lot more work than it was worth.

The station is mounted on a sheet of styrene that was covered over with latex caulk. The roadside scene is to connect up with the other road pieces.

This going to be the last road piece for awhile. I want to get started on my rivers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An Apology for Comments not Posted

I want to apologize to Jim Casey and the other folks who made comments on my blog but never appeared! Your comments are valuable and I always greatly appreciate them!

My blog is set up to send an email saying that you have made a comment. A bunch of them never did get sent to my email.  They also didn't seem to initially make it to the "comments awaiting approval: until I clicked on a previous post and then all of a sudden they showed up like gangbusters.  I don't understand the selectivity of this.

I'll admit, I don't have a lot of time to get on Blogger and check things beyond just throwing up my post, hence the numerous typos and such. I still can't seem to figure out how to take a MS Word document and paste it into Blogger without all the formatting junk that I have to manually edit out, but that's another story.

I promise that I will diligently check more often to see if this happens again.

Again, I apologize to those who commented but didn't see their comments up on my blog.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rangers of the North Part 3


I have not painted the entire pile of rangers, but enough to get an idea of how I want them to look like when painted and based. Pardon the obvious flash photography.  Its hit or miss with my phone camera in terms of getting the minis in focus. Flash guarantees it but the colors seem a little off and you get shadows in the background. After a lot of back and forth, I decided to base them two to a stand. Everyone was more or less compatible size-wise except for the Demonworld figures.

Demonworld minis
Left : Chariot Right: Peter Pig 
Left: Splintered Light, Right: Rank and File
More Rank and File
Splintered Light
I put the last two Splintered  Light rangers on separate stands. They seemed somewhat unique  compared to the others. They guy on the left looked like an old veteran, hence the grey beard. The guy on the right I call "The Dude." I gave him a grey cloak rather than a green or brown one. The lower part of The Dude's bow didn't  seem to be completely cast. But he's  cool with that; it is what it is.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

15mm Sci Fi


Here are a few 15s that I painted a while back. I happened upon them while deleting a bunch of pictures on my phone. The first two are from GZG.



I  think they are supposed to be  human colonists. I painted then up to look like state troopers. I think the second one is a woman, but I'm not 100% sure.

The next one is from Rebel Miniatures  zombie survivors  line.


I think he turned out pretty well. I christened him Brother Leon while having a test game of Five Core Skirmish rules. Sadly, he rolled poorly during a fire fight against some corporate body guards. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Minis


I think its been over a month since my last post. I've been terribly busy with end-of-school activities and family activities. Plus my allergies have been the worst since forever. They have really wiped me out. Its a vicious cycle of not being able to sleep at night followed by being dead tired the next day. I have not enough energy to do anything at night, which is my usual time to work on stuff. It doesn't help that I've gotten hooked on Netflix's DareDevil series! It takes very little brain power to veg in front of a TV screen at night waiting for the Benadryl to kick in.  I did base a bunch of those 15mm rangers that I have been working on and will post those soon.

I ordered some stuff including some rules, and some miniatures from Splintered Light. They have commissioned a special China collection to help with a foster home in China that they are adopting a son through. I thought that its a very worthwhile cause, so I ordered one. I also ordered their space crew, but realized that I already have them. I should have ordered more of their orcs, but oh well.

Space Crew:


Several of the characters look very familiar to a Joss Weldon TV show that Fox television foolishly cancelled. Ground Zero Games also makes a version of said crew. I have a few painted up and should do a side-by-side comparison.

China Collection:


These are the three humanoid characters. Depending how I paint her, the princess would make a great female fantasy magic user. The Hu Hsien is a fox spirit or shape changer. You can read a little about them here. There are a bunch of mythological creatures included


Above are Fu Dogs that guard temples. They have special meaning to me. My father loved them. My parents had a bunch of them and he sculpted some abstract ones out of concrete that now sit in my mother's garden.



What collection would be complete without a Chinese dragon? You also get a Kirin and a Kung Fu Panda. The thing sticking off the Kirin's tail is its antlers that need to be attached.


Last, but not least are two adorable pandas.

I have been thinking about having my daughter paint everyone but the humanoids. She done some work on a few Reaper Bones figures with mixed results, but I think the Young One will enjoy painting these.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Late Night Thoughts

I just spent the last 3+ hours working on my taxes. If you live in the USA, you know what a "joy" they are. I think I can wrap them up tomorrow.  This is the latest I've ever got them done.

Two reasons for this post. First,  this is my first post made using my phone.  If there are more typos than usual,  blame it on the tiny keyboard.  Second, I've been dwelling on rules a lot. I've also been invited to play test a few. What bothers me is that I have to say no to the offers. I would love to but the way things are,  I can't promise that I would be able to actually play a game using them. Its rather depressing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Road Less Traveled

I got some very good feedback from my previous post where I lamented the failure of my foamcore hex rivers. Messrs. Paul and Pahoota suggested using 1 mm thick styrene plastic as a base. The thought was that the styrene wouldn't warp when I put the caulk down. I have sheets of styrene plastic in the form of For Sale signs. They have gone up a bit in price at Walmart, but $2.75 is still a steal for a fairly large sign. The guy behind the paint counter must be wondering what I am constantly selling.

Before I plunge into the river waters again, I thought I'd test it out by making roads. Here is the result:


The short section of road on the far left is one of my road hexes that goes with my forest hexes. The cross road section and the straight section of road are the test pieces. They are caulked, painted, and flocked, but I have not applied a wash on them yet.

Verdict: no warping, at least so far. One thing I did not do was add a layer of card stock on top of the plastic base. I applied the caulk directly to the plastic. I also applied the flocking that is on either side of the roads to the plastic. The reason why I added the thin card stock on my forest hexes was that I thought I needed a good substrate to hold paint and other things down. I get the feeling that the card stock was responsible for my multi-hex warping, so I might make another multi-hex but without the paper layer. I'm sure that caulk must shrink when it dries, but it could be that paper does more. It does not fully explain why the foamcore warped, but my next step is to start working on the rivers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hex-based River Project: Fail!

*Sigh*

Last night, I cleaned off a small table that I plan to play some small mircoarmor games to compare various modern rule sets. I had mentioned my plans to do this some time ago. Anyway, I laid down the finished river hexes to figure out how I wanted the river to go for these games. When I did, they looked awful in terms of how warped they were! I guess carpet is far more forgiving; but on a hard, flat surface, they really looked bad. It looks like some major geological faulting occurred on the battlefield! More importantly, they would be impractical. Even if I taped them down, they would rock around. They also didn't fit well together because of the warping.

I couldn't bear to throw them in the trash. Its not like it cost much to make them: $4 for two sheets of foamcore, and about $3 for the tube of latex caulk. It was the time I put into them and my little mini-hex forests; that is pretty much all I've worked on for the last several months. My hobby time is limited to an hour or two at night, and that's only if I don't have grading to do, or am just too tired to do anything. So, I stuck them in a plastic bag and found a spot for them on a shelf.

I guess plan B is to use the caulk directly. No mounting them on anything. You'd have to give me a good argument to do so, or guarantee on pain of death that the material you suggest won't warp.  I don't want any warping. Just say "NO!" to warping.

Like it or not, the saga of river building continues....

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Another Year Older....

...but I'm not sure how much wiser!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Update

I have not done much since the last post. Last week, I had spring break. I spent the early part of the week visiting an old college friend who lives in Atlanta. His wife passed away a few months ago from cancer. It wasn't meant to be a "fun" visit but it turned out well. Basically he talked, I listened. This isn't meant to be a boast, but as another friend said, "truly listening to people is what you do best." 

The remainder of my vacation was taken up with my daughter's tennis tournament. I had planned on finishing the revisions on a paper to be published, but that didn't happen.

Since I've been back, I've been swamped with work, mostly grading and non-scholarly things. Much of the little free time has been spent cleaning the work area. I started to make a few more river hexes even though I didn't plan to make more. One of them is going to have a dock along the river, and maybe a little shack or hut on the bank. The other, I was going to make specifically for a bridge, but that is still up in the air on that. I'd prefer to be able to stick bridges anywhere along my river. I also toyed with the idea of taking the Mediterranean villa I bought from GameCraft Miniatures and set it high up on the side of the river. The hexes are not big enough to accommodate it. I'd have add an extension to the hex, and I think that would look funny. I might still do it, who knows?

I bought some stuff from Shapeways...sorry, no pictures.  I got some more various aircraft, including a 1/300 twin-engine Cessna (not cheap!) and some Pakistani JF-17 Thunder multirole fighters in 1/285. 1/300 and 1/600. The 1/285 looks a little more detailed than the 1/300...no surprise there, but the 1/600 looks awfully small even for that scale. I'll have to compare it to both Oddzial Osmy and Tumbling Dice, but it looks smaller than even Oddzial Osmy's planes. 

 In addition to the airplanes, I bought some 1/96 scale ship-building accessories. This included a 25mm gun and some bridge binoculars. Don't ask me how I got this in my head, but my plan is to build a 1/00 (15mm) small, modern patrol craft. It can be used for AK-47 games. 1/96 is a little big, but don't think it will be too obvious. The plan is to try to sell it. 

Last but not least, more rules! I'm not going into them in detail, but I got Brigade Commander from Five-Core Rules. Another set to be potentially used for modern armor combat. The biggie is that I splurged and got General Quarters III. I can't deny it, I've got naval fever! Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Making Rivers for 6mm, Part 3


I'm SLOWLY getting there on my rivers. Here is a small stretch:


Sorry about the crazy background. I took the picture on a chair because the rest of my work area is a major mess! That is also the reason why they are not fitting together that well. The river itself is done, or at least as good as its going to get. I am now working on the banks. I am not going to go all crazy here on this project. I'm still not sure that I will end up using them, but I've come this far, so I am going to complete them. I keep thinking about just laying down some caulk without any sort of base and be done with it. Currently, I am taking a forced break in order to attempt to clean up the messy workbench.

A few other thoughts as I do some housecleaning:
1. The siren song of naval wargaming once more is calling me. Back in the late 70s and into the 80s, I was a big naval wargamer. My friends and I used various rules, even a homemade one based on Avalon Hill's Midway, but we settled on Fletcher Pratt rules.
Some aspects IMHO were a little clunky, like how torpedoes worked (they almost never hit anything), but they seemed to have what we wanted. Anyway, lately, I've been wanting to go back to naval gaming. There is a naval gaming Facebook group that I joined, and that might be the culprit. I am thinking about pre-dreadnought era, but can't decide. What's holding me back, among many other things, is do I want to build my own or just buy them. One of these days, I will pull out and photograph my scratch-built fleets that I built in the early 80s.

2. Completing my own modern rules. I've been putting together little bits and pieces of it for some time now. It is a mash up of several published rules that I like. I take the best parts and put them together. I'll use them for solo purposes. I've noticed there seems to be a lot of game design posts on various blogs, and a lot of folks are coming up with their own rules. I figure, it they can do it, so can I.

3. Having another epic fantasy battle. Not much to comment on, except I am in the mood for one. It will give me an excuse to paint more of the pile. I still have to finish those rangers, and I have a big pile of Copplestone barbarians that I want to dig into and paint up.

OK, I think that is enough introspective cogitating for one night.