Wednesday, February 1, 2023

I'm Sick of Being Sick

Like many people out there, I have had a running battle with respiratory illnesses since back in December. Currently, its been on and off sinus infections. I had planned on taking and posting pictures of all the medieval and fantasy figures I have been frantically painting, but instead I am laid up in bed, or too miserable to function.
I have to say, the one advantage to waking up at 4 am and feeling like you are going to choke to death on all this junk you've built up is that I just go into my work home and paint until the sun comes up. I'm being sarcastic here. Yesterday, I probably got about 2 hours of sleep. As a result I barely made it through the day.

Here are three pictures of stuff.
It might be a stretch, but what is that on his shield? Hint:
it was used to kill the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

Cool LEGO minifigs series this year. My kids are big fans. You can't get any Orc-ier than this guy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

What I Have Been Doing During My Holiday Break


Painting Frenzy

My last post was on December 10th and it was to show off the latest fantasy painting challenge. Despite my lack of postings, I have been very busy. In a pathetic attempt to clean and organize the hobby space, I noticed that I have a lot of left over figures. These are figures that remained after I had based them in units. For example, I use 24 figures (six stands with four figures per stand) for a unit of close infantry. Depending of the manufacturer, I might have 4 to 6 extra figures left over.  In some cases, I found packages of figures that I have no idea why I bought them. I found two packs of Essex Greek peltasts. So, I have been painting these extra figures and then mounting them on single stands. I have capitulated and decided that in addition to being used for games with my son, I would use the single stand figures for playing Lion/Dragon Rampant or any other rule system that insists on single-stand figures. 

The mess is real

Trip to Chicago

My family and I made our annual trip to Chicago to visit my family for Christmas. The subzero weather really forced us to hunker down. My daughter and I did go into downtown Chicago. Normally, we visit some museum or other cultural venue, but she just wanted to visit all the upscale stores that line north Michigan Avenue. Other than that excursion, we all sat at my mother's house doing not much of anything besides some baking. 

Chicago-style hotdog and fries

The "Bean" at Millennial Park along Michigan Avenue

When you stare into the Bean, the Bean stares back at you

Looking north on Michigan Avenue. Not the best
picture, but way at the end is the famous Water
Tower that was one of two buildings that escaped
the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Daughter enjoying her pizza

Chicago deep dish pizza. I wept with joy!

I had planned to run a D&D game, but no one was all that interested. Even though no game was played, I did get this from my daughter for Christmas:

The recipes are pretty basic but the stories that accompany them are pretty entertaining. 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Fantasy Painting Challenge IV: Deep Ones Part 3

 I gave up on trying to come up with a terrain feature to go with the three Deep Ones I painted up as seen in part 2. I sent it out on Tuesday of this week and two days later, my friend's Deep One arrived. All I can say is WOW! 

All of his work have been excellent so far, but this one seems to be the best! My photos don't do it justice. He did a great job of highlighting and shadowing and at the same time, giving the skin a mottled appearance. The colors of the base material and the pedestal add to the Lovecraftian vibe; which was something I wanted to do on mine, but couldn't figure out how. When working on mine, I kept going back and forth on whether to spray it flat or use a semi-gloss coat to make it look wet. I think his flat coat works just as well, if not better, than my gloss. 

We will probably have to take a hiatus from the challenges due to the holiday season, but hopefully will be coming up with a new challenge in the new year. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Quick Follow Up on my Last Post

 In my last post, I grumbled about rebasing. Going thought my collection of fantasy and medieval 15mm figures, some seemed rather awkwardly based in their present state. These were rank-and-file troops that had overly dynamic, action poses. There was a unit of spearmen that seemed wildly swinging (I'm exaggerating here a little) their spears. Based on 15mm deep stands, there were a number of them that risked poking the eyes out of their comrades in the next rank. So, I decided to rebase this unit onto single stands. I can used them for rules that require figures to be on single stands, my skirmish like battles with my son, or for sieges where individual figures would be more appropriate for climbing up ladders or defending the walls. 



Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Basing for Rules Rant

 Things have been slow in the hobby area of my life. I have had little time between moving my daughter to college, starting the semester at my school, and the ramping up of all my son's activities. I have been working on various things, but in piecemeal fashion. Projects make some headway but then come to a grinding halt. There really has not been anything blogworthy to report on.

Even though I have nothing visual to show for, I have been thinking a lot. And what I have been thinking a lot about is figure basing. It has become my pet peeve that every new rule set I encounter seems to wants different basing. Let's take ancient/medieval/fantasy rules for example. One set still has you base your figures following the old WRG format (40mm length x Xmm depth, depending on troop type), which is fine with me. Then you have rules where figures have to be in squares. Then you have rules where the base dimensions are odd so that you have to special order them from some company. Finally, you have rules where each figure is individually based.  You have rules where the commanders are based independently from the units they command. Then you have rules were the commander must be based among the rank and file troops. The variations seem to go on and on. 

One one level, I do get the point of having bases of a standard size, but I have read through enough rules to conclude that the justification of basing troops a certain way did not seem to be all that critical to the rest of the rule mechanics. The rules would work fine as intended so long as you keep things consistent.

I read a lot on the various Facebook groups, particularly those that center around a single set of rules where posters rebased their figures to conform to this latest rule set. So in a year or so, when the new latest & greatest set of rules come along, are you going to rip off all of those figures from their current bases and rebase them? What if it ends up that you don't really like the rules?  Sorry, but I am not going to rip up all my figures and rebase them for a rule system that is relatively untried, nor do I have the money to duplicate units to match the various basing systems ("...and here is my unit of Orcs for Rules A, and here is my unit of Orcs for Rules B, and here is my unit of Orcs for Rules C...."). It would not be that big an issue, but some rules seem to force you to use a particular basing system. I will not name names, but the wording of the first edition of a particular rule set seemed to shame the reader if they dared to have multiple figures on a single base. Recently, I read some reviewer of rules state that those who insist on using the WRG basing conventions were old dinosaurs and need to get with the picture....really? 

I cannot put my finger on it, but I blame the rise of the Games Workshop mentality of rules. Not only must you buy and use only our miniatures to play our game, but you have to base them according to our conventions. Heaven help you if you do otherwise (even if it doesn't really matter so long as you are consistent). Again, a certain unnamed WWII set of rules seems to insist on basing your infantry on a particular sized base (which they are happy to sell you), even if it does not really seem to matter that much as far as I can tell. This mentality has permeated among a lot of rules that don't have their own line of miniatures. 

As a wargaming child of the late 70s, I am going to continue to buck the system and fight the Power, even if it means I will be using these rules solo. I will ignore their iron-fisted basing rules or adapt my already based miniatures to the rest of their system. I will make it work! 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Fantasy Painting Challenge IV: Deep Ones Part 2

The Deep Ones are now painted. I did them in a purple with pale green abdomens. 

I am not as happy with these guys (girls?) as I was with the lizardman. For their bellies, the pale green was followed up with a green contrast paint that I wasted a lot of money on. Maybe you can sense my lack of enthusiasm for these paints. They turned the entire surface a very dark green...not feel'n the contract here. I ended up repainting the offending features and starting over again, this time with tried and true highlighting and shaddowing. Contrast paints bumped static grass from the pedestal of hobby products that really annoy me.

The next step is to build the scenic item to go with them. As I think I have mentioned, I am not putting in as much effort into this one as I did for the lizardman challenge

Sir Winfred Oldschool getting directions from some 
Deep Ones who happened to be passing by.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

First Air Battle Over the Leek-Leek

At 0600 hours, reports were coming in that Aquor-Ornur jets were flying over the region of the Leek-Leek National Forest. The commander of Sardeese AFB, which represents the Symbalian western military district, quickly scrambled the only combat-capable squadron still at the base, the 6th Squadron. The 4th and 5th squadrons, consisting of F-16s, were very recently transferred east. It was up to the 6th Squadron to take on the aggressors. Unfortunately, 6th Squadron consisted of the Hawk 200 fighter. These are light, multi-role fighters have yet to be tested in air combat. By 0700 hours, the 6th Squadron was heading to the border to defend Symbalian air space. 

The Match Up
Aquor-Ornur now has two types of fighters: the F5A Tiger II, and Saab JAS 39 Gripen. The Gripen is a more recent acquisition from Northern Chalupistan. The more veteran pilots as well as hired mercenary pilots fly the Gripens. The old Tiger IIs are flow by less experienced pilots. I rolled a D6 with a 50% chance of the Symbalians intercepting either. They rolled the Tiger IIs.  Rules used for this battle: AirWar: C21 with the ranges cut in half to accommodate my kitchen table.

Symbalian Hawk 200 light fighters.

Aquor-Ornur F5E Tiger IIs. These are painted in
Southern Chalupastan colors, but Aquor-Ornur's 
paint scheme is close enough.

The Tiger IIs have the advantage over the Hawk 200s.  They are faster and have a higher power rating than the Hawk 200. The Hawk 200 has a modern radar system and can carry four AA missiles, rather than two on the Tiger II. Both sides carried the AIM-9P3 Sidewinder missile. This is an all-aspect, heat-seeking missile. To compensate for the shortcomings of the Hawk 200, I gave the Symbalian squadron one pilot rated Good (the flight leader), and the two others rated as Average. The Aquor-Ornurians had one Average pilot (flight leader) and two pilots rated Poor. 

The Battle

Turn 1 

Looking from the east. The F5Es can just be seen
at the upper right edge of the table.

I rolled for where the two squadrons would enter from.  Aquor-Ornurians (abbreviated A-O for now on) entered the board from the north. The Symbalians came in from the east and had the advantage of the sun behind them They hoped that would add to their favor. Their better radar picked up on the A-Os first and they increased speed to try to catch them at their beam. The A-Os, still unaware of the Symbalians, maintained their course and cruising speed. 

Turn 2

The A-Os spotted the Symbalians, increased speed to maximum, and changed course to intercept. Both closed in.

Turn 3
Getting near weapons range, both sides started maneuvering to get behind each other. One of the Symbalians successfully performed a Barrel Roll, while another did a simple turn. The flight leader tried to execute a Barrel Roll and Turn that would have lined him up for a kill:

Despite his pilot rating bonus, the Symbalian flight leader failed. Not only did he find himself in a position he didn’t want to be, he greatly lost speed. Meanwhile, two of the A-O jets split off to the left and right to go after the Symbalians, but the one plane in the center flew straight and ended up almost nose to nose with the Symbalian flight leader:

 The two jets simultaneously fired their guns. Neither one could miss at such close range:

Guns a Blaz'n!!

The Symbalian flight leader gained a bonus damage die whereas the A-O pilot had a reduced number of damage dice due to his poor rating. The amount of hit damage to both fighters was enormous and both planes were destroyed. The Symbalian flight leader, though wounded, managed to successfully eject from this aircraft. The A-O jet was obliterated with no chance of the young pilot surviving. 

Turn 4
Both sides successfully passed a morale test due to the losses and the battle continued…but only for a short time. One Symbalian failed a Barrel Roll and Turn maneuver. The other Symbalian attempted a Split-S and failed that one: 

The Symbalians can't catch a break when it comes
to complex maneuvers!

The failed Split-S maneuver cost him two points of damage for excess speed. On the other hand, the two remaining A-O pilots, even though they were both rookies, successfully executed an Immelmann and a Break Right Turn respectively. Because of the failed maneuvers, neither Symbalian jets were in a position to fire missiles or guns. The both A-O jets launched a Sidewinder that found their targets, hit, and shot the Hawk 200s out of the sky:

Fortunately, both pilots successfully ejected. Their rescue transponders indicated they were sill in friendly territory. Helicopters were dispatched to pick them up. The two A-O F5Es turned west to head back to base to celebrate their victory and memorialize their fallen comrade. A-O commanders on the ground were satisfied with the outcome. At least for now, attack aircraft and helicopters will be unimpeded in their support of ground troops invading Symbalia!

Postgame Analysis
Chuck Yeager said about air combat, "It's the man, not the machine." This did not seem to apply to the outcome of this battle. I blame the loss of the three Symbalian fighter jets on poor rolls when trying to pass the special maneuvers difficulty ratings. It led all three into harm’s way. The flight leader’s roll was so low that not even his +1 allowed him to execute it and he ended up virtually face to face with his opponent because of the failure. Unlike other rules, pilots have to pass a difficult rating test to successfully execute what they call a special maneuver. AirWar C21 really has some major penalties for not passing the difficulty rating test. Not only do you not end up where you wanted to be but you often lose a lot more speed. On top of that, failures mean the aircraft does not get its particular defensive bonus for that maneuver. It is frustrating, but it does make for some interesting outcomes. I will give another set of rules for the next air combat game.