Friday, March 27, 2009

A Blast from the Past

Here is an example of my earlier painting skills:

It is a Ral Partha magic-user figure. I made a quick look through the web to see if I could find the catalog number, but no such luck. Ral Partha was probably my favorite miniatures company. I still have some of their early ones from the 70s. I was really bummed out when they went out of business.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where is Gambusia?

A lot of people...ok, only one person, a friend who is a geographer, asked me where Gambusia is. You'd think he would know being a geographer and all, but that is part of the mystery that is Gambusia. The mini-continent of Gambusia is located in the Indian Ocean:

It is the little green splat west of Australia and south of Sumatra and Bali. In spite of its location, few people know that it is there. You'd think it would be of great strategic value...but its not. And you'd think it has played an important part in shaping global events...but no, it never did. I will gladly get deeper into its history in a later post, but for now, I just wish to provide a short introduction.

If we examine the region closeup, we see that there is the main, mini-continent and several smaller islands.

Being marginally trained as a geologist, I will gladly go into the geologic processes that formed Gambusia, but its tax season and I have more pressing things to do. I am going to introduce the three nations that exist on Gambusia. They are:

The Sultanate of Northern Chalupistan

Also known as Northern Chalupistan, this nation occupies the northern two-thirds of the continent proper, plus the three islands to the east. It was originally settled by pirates in the 1500s, but became a unified sultanate by the early 17th century. It has the highest per capita income of the three countries thanks to tourism, ship building, and growing high-tech industrial sector. Politically, it is a constitutional monarchy. Islam is the dominant religion, but it has been always known to be extremely tolerant of other religions. Citizens have always been proud of their pirate past much the way Australians are proud of their past as a place to send convicts. Two years ago, as part of a tourism PR campaign, the country altered the spelling of its name from "Chalupastan" to "Chalupistan." There was also a move by the Ministry of Tourism to replace the crossed swords (representing their pirate heritage) with crossed palm trees, but this was voted down in a national referendum.

The Viceroy of Chalupastan

Also known as Southern Chalupastan, this nation occupies the southern part of the main continent. Southern Chalupastan was "discovered" by one of Magellan's ships that sailed off course on the way back to Spain. Although it was granted independence from Spain in 1924, it continued to have a viceroy as its head of state. Like its neighbor to the north, it has a constitutional monarchy as a form of government. Economically, it ranks second. The economy is largely agricultural. The main crop is the Bu-Bu berry, which is used in several manufacturing processes as well as eaten. Additionally, Southern Chalupastan produces some of the largest carrots in the world. Carrot lengths of over 3 meters have been recorded. Several international firms have recently established technology parks in some of the larger cities. Southern Chalupastani are a mixture of Spanish, Gambusian, and Chalupan heritage. Sadly, social status and wealth is based largely on ethnicity. Those of more pure Spanish ancestry tend to be higher up in society, and more economically well off.

The Federal Republic of Gambusia (FRG)

This is the smallest and youngest of the three countries. It occupies the western side of the continent. Prior to the coming of the pirates and the Europeans, the mini-continent was inhabited by the Gambusians and the mysterious Chalupans. Whereas the pirates and Spanish invaded the eastern lands, the western region was carved up first by the Dutch, then later the British and French. It remained three separate colonies until the three gained independence separately in the early 1960s and then united into single republic in 1965. Britain and France still have some influence, and maintains a military presence. They are the poorest of the three nations, with their economy based solely on agriculture and fishing. In the past few years, the FRG has been trying to cultivate an eco-tourism industry, but rebel activities in the eastern part of the country have hampered their efforts. Despite being less well-off compared to the other two countries, the people of the FRG are proud of their indigenous identity.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fantasy Giant

Besides microarmor, I am a big fantasy wargamer. About 10 years ago, I found that even though 25/28mm figures have a lot more detail, they dented my wallet too much to really build the armies that I wanted. Plus, I felt like I was doing more painting and far less gaming. So, I switched to 15mm. Not as many companies, so you have to improvise and not be so picky as to what your orcs and elves look like. Here is are some that I painted last year.

The giant, which I bought at Walmart, is from a series of Yu-Gi-Oh plastic miniatures. He was supposed to be a cyclops, but I re-painted him with two eyes. His opponent is from the now-defunct Demonworld line of 15mm fantasy figures. Very nicely sculpted, but rather pricey.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Small Gambusian Village

Recently (about 2 years, give or take a few months), I got interested in modern wargaming. I never really thought I would, but the more I read, the more I got interested. I also got burnt out on my 15mm fantasy figures. Being poor, I decided to stick to 6mm. Besides, I figured I could use a lot of my WWII microarmor. Anyway, I decided to have a campaign on the fictional micro-continent of Gambusia, which is somewhere in the Indo-Pacific. Why a fictional country and not real nations?

1) Maybe due to my interest in fantasy wargames and having played D&D many years ago, I just
seem to like fictional settings.

2) The various nations can have a hodgepodge of weapons. I can pit any AFV against any AFV.

3) It seems like a lot of smaller nations seem to jury rig weapons endless source for
model conversions.

3) Because of (2) & (3), I can create all kinds of TO&E's for the various nations.

The campaign is slowly progressing via PBEM.

OK, enough background for now. Gambusia is a semi-tropical continent, hence, palm trees. Also, the poor folk live in mud huts:

A typical Gambusian village

The hut were made of Sculpy and painted with craft paints. The roofs are acorn caps. I left the caps their natural color. To make the palm trees:
First I looped 28 gauge copper wire.
I then twisted the bottom 2/3rds of the wire together.
Cutting the untwisted part gave me eight stands that I bent to make a radial pattern.
I then cut thin strips of paper, ran some PVA glue on them, then folded them over the wire.
After they paper dried, I cut out the frond shapes.
I then smeared epoxy putty over the twisted part to make the trunk. As it dried I made grooves around the trunk with a scissors.
Let it dry, then paint.

Frankly, buying plastic palm trees would be a lot easier and faster than making them, but I have never been one to do things the easy way.

Gambuisan rebels armed with a recoilless rifle wait to ambush a passing troop convoy.