Friday, July 19, 2024

15mm Watch Tower

 I've been working on this thing off and on for probably three years...mostly off. I took the advice of a crafter on YouTube to build it out of cardboard. I won't be doing that again. While very inexpensive, it was very time consuming and boring. I used a dollar store Christmas gift box as the base as it were. The battlement was made by gluing the lid to the main part of the box and then cutting out chunks to make the merlons and the crenels. The part that took forever was cutting out and gluing the stones to the sides of the walls. I used pulp paper egg cartons. They have a nice bumpy texture. I ran out of egg cartons and used regular cardboard for the outside and inside of the battlement wall. I should have made the floor of the battlement out of stone, but for some reason, I made it to look like wood planks. I used strips of card board. 

I sealed it all with a mixture of Mod Podge and black craft paint and then kept dry brushing it with lighter and lighter grays. For the wood, I painted it with a honey brown craft paint and then used made a wash of Future floor wax and burnt umber paint. 

I think it turned out OK. The stones are not to scale, but I don't really care. It isn't meant for diorama purposes. 

Recently, I bought a sheet of pink insulation foam. I plan to use that for my next terrain project. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Shapeways Out of Business

 This is probably old news to a number of you, but Shapeways is officially out of business. It filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week, which means there is no restructuring. I don't know the details of what happened to cause this. I have to wonder what the vendors are going to now do, especially those in the table top gaming business is going to do. In this day and age, they can probably set up their own machines to print out figures. 

I am glad I managed to get some of the models that I did. Many of these vendors had a niche market for aircraft, AFVs, and ships that are not found elsewhere. There are a whole bunch of companies that make F-16s or MIG-21s, but nobody I know of in the "mainstream" makes a Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano in 1/600 scale. 

This news brought back a memory I had several years ago. I struck up a conversation of sorts with one of the vendors who made aircraft. He was seriously considering parting ways with Shapeways due to some policies that had with the vendors. I can't remember what the issues were, but he was pretty unhappy. 

Well, despite your ridiculously high shipping prices and shipping times measured in geologic time periods, I will miss you as a company that offered unique miniatures to the hobby. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

More Test Shots

I did some more test shots using my light ring on 15mm fantasy figures. They are better lit, but still look like crap in close up. They seem to loose their depth and three-dimensionality and look like they are poorly painted pictures. 

I look a picture of Baron Henri of Emoree awhile ago, but I thought I'd add a few more. For entertainment purposes, the barony of Emoree is a large county in the kingdom of Zarnagol. After the king of Zarnagol was killed in a final climatic battle, Zarnagol was plunged into civil war as many of the lords of the land did not recognize the king's infant bastard son as the legitimate heir to the throne. They were more against the child's mother, a powerful sorceress, who declared herself the royal regent. Conflict has died down over the years with little resolution as to who is to be king. Those who opposed the illegitimate heir pretty much do what they wanted and pay little, if any, lip service to the regent. The child is now 16, and with is mother's urging is trying to unite those loyal to him and make him the true king. Baron Henri fully supports the young heir, but many of his neighbors to the east, oppose him.

Baron Henri and his entourage. All are
Demonworld minis expect the knight on
the baron's right who is a Khurasan mini.

His household men-at-arms.

Slightly different angle.

The Baron's court wizard Zandu. Flanking him
are the Baron's battle champions. 

I threw up a brown background for the fourth picture. It seemed to have darkened them a little without hiding parts of the figures in shadows, which is what often happens without a light on them.


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Test Shots With New Phone Light

 In one of my many endless quests for perfection, I recently purchased a ring light for my phone. My photos of figures always look like crap, and its often due to poor lighting. It was all of about $9 at Walmart, so I though why not take a chance. There are my results:

The first test shot. This was done using the light and natural daylight. 

 In the evening, I did two comparison shots. First shot is my normal way which is to adjust my Ott light to light up the figures. The second is Ott light + phone ring light.

Typical workbench light

With the phone ring light attached

I sent the pictures to a friend of mine and asked which he thought was better. He preferred the one with the ring light attached. He thought the other looked more garish. Of course, he didn't have the actual minis in front of him, which could bias his opinion. Also, I didn't tell him which was which in terms of the lighting used. He did say that the mounted elf and the orcs where I used the ring light were very shiny looking and wondered if I had used gloss paints. For the elf, yes; I had not sprayed it flat yet and a lot of washes dry glossy. For the orcs, I had already deglossed them. They seemed shinier than the elf especially the banner.

The quest will continue. 

Monday, May 13, 2024

Plastic Solider Battle

 When my son was about five, I bought him a big bucket of cheap plastic soldiers. I was hoping my son would enjoy playing with them both alone and with his dad, that by now he would be an ardent gamer. Well, it never really happened, but once in awhile, he will have a game with me. In the past, the rule was to either line them up and throw them at each other, or we'd make "phew-phew" noises and designate who lives and who dies. In this latest battle, we used a D20 and rolled for who lived and who died. Why a D20? Why not. 

Movement and weapon ranges were rather fluid. Everything moved about 3 to 5 inches. Aircraft got unlimited range but could only be in the air for a turn. Ranges were about 6" though tank gun ranges were slightly longer.

A roll of 10 or higher hits unless the target is behind cover, in which case its 15 or higher. A hit automatically kills infantry, but tanks get a saving roll of 15 or higher to be destroyed. 

Machine guns and grenades get three rolls to hit and can target up to three infantry so long as they are next to each other. Bazookas act like machine guns against infantry. Against tanks, a bazooka get one chance to hit but gets a +2 on the saving throw die roll. Tanks firing get same as machine guns against infantry; but against tanks, it gets one chance to hit with a +3 against the opponent's tank's saving throw die roll. Aircraft could drop bombs that could kill five infantry but had to roll a 12 or higher. Against a single tank, it was 12 or higher to hit, but got a +4 against their saving throw.

The battle

Pre-battle singing of the Red Dot national anthem,
accompanied by bagpipes.

My left flank

My right flank. Infantry bolstered by some tiny tanks.

My squadron at the ready.

Enemy armored spearhead lumbers forward.

Notable cowboy mercenary Buck Sheboygan
joins the right flank. He's a crack shot with is
sawed off lever-action rifle.

The battle begins. Already in these early stages,
my troops are taking casualties. Two of my 
tanks have been destroyed.

An Ace up my sleeve? Rambo the Commando
begins to sneak round the napkin holder.
The darring plan was for him to take out 
the enemy's aircraft.

I launch one of my jets to even the score
from above, but it failed to score any hits!

Rambo the Commando is halfway around
the napkin holder........

............only to be cut down by enemy snipers!
It was almost as if they knew he was coming.

Carnage on both sides continues. Unfortunately
form me, the enemy still had some troops in reserve.

I try for another air strike. I managed to 
kill some of his troops but couldn't 
damage the tank.

My fighter bomber was attacked by
two enemy jets on his way back to base

My pilot was able to shake one of them off,
but not the other.

The enemy started moving in their reinforcements

Little did I know that the enemy had their
own cowboy. It was mano a mano shootout.

For a brief moment, a hush settled over the battlefield.
When the smoke cleared, only one man
was left standing.

But in a cruel twist, Buck Sheboygan 
gets taken down by an enemy machine gun.

In the end, only a few of my troops were left
along with my bag pipers. The enemy had won
the battle but paid a heavy price in men.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Another Victory At Sea Battle

This game pitted the Japanese with three heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, and three destroyers. Will had three Fletcher class destroyers, and one Iowa class battleship. Guess who one? I did manage to sink all his destroyers, but he annihilated all of my ships mostly with the battleship. Trying to damage the Iowa was like trying to kill Superman using a pellet gun. Even my long lance torpedoes could not penetrate the Iowa's anti-torpedo belt. It didn't help that he got the initiative for all but one turn. Initiative not only determines who moves, but also who shoots. Some pictures:

Sinister grin on Will's face

My cruisers valiantly engage the Iowa

Float plane view shortly before the carnage

Couple of things:

First, Will failed to tell me that if I launched my torpedos at his battleship at an angle to its broadside, there were lower odds of hitting, but I could have bypassed the Iowa's torpedo belt if they hit.

Torpedoes are crap in this game. The Japanese really weren't all that effective, but the American's are even worse. You have to be point blank to hit anything with a torpedo. In a duel between my destroyer and his, we only hit each other when we used our guns.

As I said above, initiative also determines who shoots first. I don't think I would have had a chance anyway, but at least one of my cruisers was quickly sunk before it had a chance to fire back at the battleship.  

I had a good time anyway. I had just given a final exam earlier that morning, and there was some drama regarding a student who failed to show up for it. This entire semester has been, as my son calls it, "scibbiddy." Due to financial issues, not of the faculty's doing, we have been bearing the brunt of things, which has culminated in a whole lot of calamity, including the resignation of my department chair in anger.  Any time I can get away from work issues and dive into something fun, I am a happy camper. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Once Again Great Service from The Last Square

Playing Victory At Sea two weeks ago at Will's gaming store got the naval warfare juices pumping. Me being me, I have been slowing accumulating 1/6000 ships mostly Figurehead with a few Shapeways models thrown in. In the US, the place to order Figurehead ships is from The Last Square in the great state of Wisconsin. Their server is rather slow, but they have always provided prompt service and quickly respond to any emails sent.  A while ago, I had ordered some naval rules from them, and for some reason it never got to me. Even thought they stated that they had sent it, they sent me a new copy. 

This time, I put in an order for a bunch of ships. One of the packs was supposed to have four WWII South Dakota class battleship in it. When I looked at them, two were South Dakotas but the other two were North Carolina class battleships. There is separate pack for the North Carolinas. It wasn't a big deal and I didn't want a replacement, but I thought I'd let The Last Square know for quality control purposes.  Sure enough, even though I stated that they didn't need to send me a replacement, I got two South Dakotas in the mail!

In this day and age, its nice that at least with our hobby, companies are willing to go the extra mile for their customers.