Friday, December 29, 2017

New Years Gaming Resolutions

This is probably my last post for 2017. Tomorrow, I am heading off to Louisville, Kentucky for my daughter's USTA Junior's tennis match. While visiting my family in Chicagoland, I went to Games Plus Hobbies in Mt. Prospect, Illinois and bought about $80 of stuff I probably don't need. I also scored a can of Krylon Olive Green from a nearby hardware store. Why they sell this stuff in a Chicago suburb but not in rural Tennessee is beyond me.  Anyway, on to resolutions.

My resolutions? I have only one:

Play more games.

Happy New Years to all!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Shapeways 15mm Fantasy Figures

I thought I had posted this a while ago, but I only posted one of them. Here is the complete set of 15mm fantasy characters from Small Ox Miniatures all painted up. Small Ox Miniatures is a Shapeways shop that specializes in 15mm and 28mm figures.

L to R: female paladin, dwarf, male magic user, female thief/assassin
Not too bad looking. Their heads seem sort of big. Something about how they are "sculpted" seems different from traditional miniatures, but I can't put my finger on it. Nonetheless, I like them. My bases didn't turn out well. They are supposed to be on cobblestone, but it looks like crap. I bought two more that will be character figures.

Monday, December 11, 2017

News From Bovatopia

Headlines from Sunday's paper:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

T-34/85 in 1/600 scale

My project continues much slower than expected. This has not turned out to be the quick slap on the paint and get them on the game board project I had thought. Part of the problem is that the weather has not been conducive to spraying. It's been either too cold or too humid to spray paint outside. The biggest issue has been flocking. I can't put my finger on why it is, but it's a pain in the you-know-where to flock them. Here is some finished T-34/85 tanks ready to go.

I am using Krylon and Rustoleum Camo spray paints. Originally, I painted a few of them khaki, but at that size, it didn't look any different from the pale green (Rustoleum's Army Green) that I am using for the opposition. Krylon makes a camo olive, which I would have preferred over the pale green, but none of the home improvement stores nor Walmart sells it. So, I used sand instead, and is now the official colors of Bovatopian ground units. Frankly, I am not in the mood to be all that picky.

Notice that the flock is rather uneven on the stands. I used PVA glue (Elmer's white glue). In some places the flock stuck; in other places, it didn't.

On a positive note, I found that Krylon clear flat is almost as flat as Testor's Dullcoat. Around these parts, Dullcoat is hard to get. A can of the Krylon is the same price as the Dullcoat for more than double the amount of paint.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rethinking Bridges

As much as I like the bridges I made for my 6mm moderns, they are limited by the fact that I can't put them anywhere. They are part of a river segment. So, what that means is that I have to lay down the roads to conform to where the bridges are. Originally, I wanted bridges that I can place anywhere, but I couldn't figure out how to integrate them with the river banks. At the same time, I didn't want them suspended a few scale feet above the water.

Schorote, a contributor on the Facebook 6mm wargaming and terrain group  (also has a website: BK (budget) Wargaming), has made bridges for his games. When I saw his pictures, it was one of those, "Doh! Why didn't I think of that?" moments. He kindly let me post them here:

According to Schorote, "the bridges are 6 cm long, 2 + 2 +2 cm, and 1,5 wide. the river top is 5mm below board surface while it is again 5mm deep."

A few years ago, I bought one of those profile or contour gauge. Now I have a use for it. My rivers are pretty uniform in width and the banks are not particularly variable. I think I can build some that will do the trick.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Figure Bases for 3mm Figures

I thought about using rectangular bases, but I decided to go the cheaper and faster route for basing my 3mm figures. I found some washers of various sizes that I can use at the local home improvement megastore. Each were a box of 100 and were around $5 each.

The #6 is a little too small, plus it is thinner than the other two, as well as the penny. I will probably go with the #8, the 1/4" and if need be, the penny. The #8 and 1/4" are about the same thickness as the penny. I didn't notice it until after I bought them that they were made out of zinc. So much for storing them on magnetic sheets.

I will fill the holes with cheap plumber's epoxy putty and then follow the way Just Jack based and painted his for his 3mm armies.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Dark Journey into 3mm Begins

Fear not gentle readers, I am not abandoning 6mm microarmor scale.  My fixation on creating modern ImagiNations sent me on a slight detour. Bovatopia is entering the game. Yeah, I could have built another 6mm army for Bovatopia, but I decided to go with 3mm for two reasons. First, I'm not sure how invested I will be in the Bovatopian sideshow. 3mm moderns is a cheap way to build armies. I already have a lot of aircraft in 1/600 scale that I use for air combat portion of the campaign, so those are already covered (except helicopters).

Second, I want to play some games...NOW!!! My famous last words when I started 6mm was that they would be relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive to get some games going. You just have to go through this blog to see how that's panned out. Nonetheless, I plan to hold to this statement.

That being said here is what just came in the other day from PicoArmor.

Until I can develop more of a backstory, Bovatopia will begin with Soviet/Russian equipment.

MGs & AGLs

The Opposition
As I mentioned in my last post concerning Bovatopia, I am leaning towards having several enemies of Bovatopia. I don't have a name or backstory to these, but they will represent one of Bovatopia's enemies.

Polish IVF based on the Finnish Patria AMV.
Very nice model of the Brazilian armored car.

Polish for Infantry
British, but who would know at this scale?

I had to look up what "Piechota" means. Its Polish for "Infantry." The German infantry and the British Milan team are very different in sculpting style compared to the Soviets. It is not clear by the catalog numbers, but my guess is that the Germans and British are more recent sculpts compared to the Soviets. They look less blobier.

They have a lot of flash on them, much of it in the form of vent casts. However, if you look at the Soviet riflemen, there is quite a bit around the heads. I will try to get it off without decapitating them, but I am not going to worry about it too much at this scale.

The selection has really grown over the years. One of main reasons why I stuck with 6mm was that there was much variety to choose from. The gap between 3mm and 6mm is quickly closing.

The next step will be basing them. Do I go with US pennies like Just Jack's Hakuna-Matata Wars? Or do I spend more and order some from Litko?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Battle Valor Miniatures

I've been painting some 15mm fantasy figures. Here are some from Battle Valor Games. I posted on them awhile ago, but these are the first that I've painted up. As I've said before, they are very nicely sculpted.

I guess I'm a sucker for dwarves. I have a huge army of them already, but I ordered a bunch more from Battle Valor. I need to compare them with some of the other makers of dwarves. I think they might be a little larger than the old Ral Partha ones, or the Grenadier (now Mirliton) ones that make up the bulk of my dwarf army.

Dwarf Hero Riding Bear

Usually, I paint bears a little darker using a burnt Sienna, but I wanted a lighter, more yellow brown after looking at a bunch of bear pictures on the internet. I remade the rein that the dwarf was holding out of thin paper. The original looked funny. This is before I flocked the base.


If you place an order of any size, you get a free, special edition figure for that month. I thought I was getting a different wizard, but this is the guy I got. That's fine because I don't have any bad guy magic users except for an orc shaman. Being lazy, when I sprayed my Northern Chalupistan AFVs a khaki camo, I also sprayed the fantasy figures the same color, too. This spray paint works well as a primer. The khaki color seemed to fit well for this guy's tunic. I then painted his weird hoodie-scarf gray.

He had this semi-undead, mummy vibe going on, so I mix a pale caucasian skin tone with a light gray. It worked well. I used one of my wife's metallic nail polish for his sword. I have no clue what is on top of his staff. It sort of reminded me of a misshapen asparagus head, so I painted it green. I did my usual wash using black mixed with clear Future floor finish, but I didn't bother to put any highlights on other than on the face and fingers.  I haven't decided what to do about his base yet.

Necromancer vs. Dwarf Hero

Friday, October 20, 2017

Hail Bovatopia!

I have not posted in a long time....I know, my usual opening sentence. I have been working on a bunch of stuff both for my Gambusia campaign and doing a little 15mm fantasy painting.

So, I get onto PicoArmor site to order some 3mm aircraft, then I start looking at the 3mm AFVs and such.

Then, I think, "why not get some armor?"

What am I, nuts? All I need is another project! Why the madness? Well, some of my colleagues at work have sort of come up with a new fictional nation, Bovatopia.

Hail Bovatopia!
It's a running joke among us based on a student's exam essay where he described a region in the USA that has high cattle production as Bovatopia. For all we know, it might be real but I have not found anything on it on the internet. I ran with it including the flag above. Bovatopia is set in the same world as my microcontinent of Gambusia, but is on the Asian mainland. Is it the homeland for all bovines escaping persecution and the slaughter house, or is a nation whose citizens really like cows? Not really sure yet.

Instead of buying more 6mm, I thought maybe I would invest in some 3mm ground units for some battles.  I wasn't planning to put a lot of work into, though that is what I say about a lot of hobby projects. I would be a sort of side show, plus a potential ally of one of the three nations on Gambusia.

Hopefully this is a passing fancy.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Look What I Got in the Mail, Part 2...

...Warmaster Ancients.

I ordered this along with Combined Arms, again from a third-party vendor on I have the original Warmaster. I really like the rules, but never got around to playing them. Prior to publishing this, a number of pdf files came out with the rule adjustments and lists to make Warmaster into Warmaster Ancients. I never bothered to buy the book. I somehow lost both the files and the hard copies of them. I happened to see it, so I ordered it.

The rate I am going, I am so in need of a new bookshelf.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Look What I Got in the Mail...

...its an autographed copy of Frank Chadwick's Combined Arms!

This was totally unexpected. I ordered it with through one of their third party vendors. It was relatively inexpensive. I have the feeling that the vendor had no idea the author's signature was on it. Nothing was mentioned in the description other than it was in good condition. According to my peeps over at the Facebook 1/285 Scales Miniatures and Wargaming page, their reserved copies of a rule book has a sticker added and were autographed. Cool beans! Now I have to look at my other GDW books to see if they have them on there. I went to college at Illinois State University during the late 70s and early 80s. ISU is in the town of Normal (yes, that's the name of the town), Illinois, which was the publishing headquarters of GDW. You could go into their office and buy rules books there, which I did.

As far as the rules, I've only spent all of 10 minutes reading them over, but they pass my test that if I can understand the mechanics on the first pass of reading, it's got a lot going for it. It focuses on mid-1980s potential NATO vs. Warsaw Pact conflicts, which is the latest tend. I think I can figure out those of AFVs and weapons not in the rule book using stats from other rules like FFoTs.

I still haven't playtested the various rules I have for microarmor like I had planned in an earlier post, but when I do, these will be in the mix.

As a separate issue, I've noticed that there are some older posts that are duplicated. Sort of annoying. Anyone else have that issue with blogger?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Federal Republic of Gambusia Armored Battalion

This past week I managed to work on some projects. The rebels got a some additional firepower in the form of a Russian M1944 100mm anti-tank gun. Sorry no pictures at this time. The Federal Republic of Gambusia now has a battalion of more modern tanks in the form of the Vickers MK III MBT. Here is a thrown-together shot of the battalion:

In reality, the anti-aircraft tanks and the tank destroyers are in separate companies, but I spaced them out for ease of photographing them.

The table of organization of the FRG is somewhat similar to that of many modern nations where the largest standing unit is the battalion. Units are combined depending on the mission. The AA company is attached. The 3rd battalion's mission is dedicated to fighting such foes as Northern Chalupistan rather than going after rebels.

Each company is represented by a different colored thermal sleeve.  The command tanks are represented by having antennae and either a tank commander or just a machine gun.

Vickers Mk III MBT
 The minis are old Skytrex ones, which are now sold by Heroics & Ros. This is their second paint job. Originally, I had a wash on them, but they looked awful. So, I repainted them with a basic gloss green  that I bought at Lowe's, and decided to skip the wash. They still look pretty glossy despite the coating of Vallejo clear flat. I would spray them with Dullcoat, but it's been awfully humid out. They are not the best models, but they are the only representatives of the Vickers Mk. III, so they will have to do.

The tank destroyer company is made up of the FV 120 Spartan MCT (Milan Compact Turret). These are Heroics & Ros models and they painted up rather nicely.

The AA battery is made up of the French AMX DCA with two 30mm AA guns. These are C in C models. I painted them up a long time ago before I really decided on a paint scheme for the FRG. These are probably among my best paint jobs for micro armor in terms of highlights and shading.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Back From China and Inner Mongolia

I am finally back from a week in Chicago and about two weeks over in China visiting in-laws and doing some sightseeing. This isn't intended to be a long travelog, just some pictorial highlights.

We spent the first week of our trip in my wife's hometown, whose name I cannot remember, but it is in the Hebei Province near the larger city of Chengde, which is about 4 hours northeast of Beijing.

Hebei Province. Chengde is the region in the northern part of the map.
Source: Wikipedia
Chengde was home to a summer palace for the Qing emperors. Like most of China, it is very rugged. Some relatives took me to a shrine that was on top of two pillars of rock. How the monks managed to climb up there is beyond me.

A common feature of all cities and "towns" are the enormous apartment blocks. The view is a stark contrast from the temples and various monuments that were in the hills.

The big highlight of the trip was to Inner Mongolia.

Source: Wikipedia

This is the part of Mongolia that is on the Chinese side of the border. My wife's college roommate is Mongolian from the region and set up a college reunion in the city of Ordos. The reunion was a pretty big affair with banquets with lots of drinking! We also took a couple of sightseeing tours.

Genghis Khan is revered and is said to be buried in Inner Mongolia not far from where we were staying in Ordos. There were lots of statues commemorating Genghis:

Even though no one knows exactly where his tomb is,  there is a large shrine that is dedicated to him. The shrine contains his saddle, bow, and a number of other artifacts pertaining to him and his wives.

The Shrine

Statue located at his shrine.
Our trip began and ended in Beijing. Whereas Inner Mongolia was heaven in terms of heat and humidity, the weather for the most part of the trip was hell. High temperatures and humidity made sightseeing a drag. Even though the subway system is air conditioned, it doesn't help when we were packed into cars like sardines.  There were a lot of crowds of sightseers in Beijing that was something I didn't notice the last time we were there. We went to the Summer Palace in the early evening, which turned out to be a blessing temperature-wise. One of the things I got to see that I don't recall seeing last time was the famous or infamous Marble Boat.

It was built by the Empress Dowager Cixi in 1893 using funds earmarked for the Chinese Navy.

There is my much shortened highlights of my visit to China. It is still crazy almost a week after we got back. We are still suffering some from jetlag and the kiddos are back in school, with my son starting kindergarten, and me trying to get ready for upcoming classes and preparing a poster for a scientific meeting. I hope to get back into the swing of things hobby-wise soon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Post for the Sake of Posting

I was on a roll in May, but then came June. I've gotten almost nothing done. It has been endless driving to tennis tournaments and then a five day vacation to Florida and Legoland. Legoland is not a monstrosity like Disneyland or Universal, but there are plenty of things to do. One of the cooler parts of the park is that there is a number of dioramas built out of Legos. Most are various cities in Florida and in the US, but there is a series of scenes from Star Wars:

Cantina scene

Fighting off storm troopers
Chewie at the controls

There were plenty of figures to go with all of the dioramas, but the interesting thing was that instead of the usual Lego mini-figures, the people were built out of separate Lego pieces. They still had plenty of character to them.

My boy and his current favorite superhero

I managed to start a few things, but nothing worth taking pictures for. Just before I left for Florida, I decided to strip the paint off of my Vickers Mk III MBTs. As much as I hate stripping paint from figures, I was not happy with how I painted them for the Federal Republic of Gambusia. They sat in a jar of Simple Green for about 6 days. That was enough time to do the job. It didn't hurt that they don't have much detail to them. The paint came off pretty quickly when using an old tooth brush. If I have a chance, I will add some commanders to them to indicate that they are company HQ tanks.

This will probably be the only post until August. Next week we head to Chicago and then off to China and Mongolia to visit the in-laws for three weeks.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

6mm Head Swap

I've made lots of head swaps for 15mm medievals, but this was both 1000X more tedious and felt weird. One of the riders of the MT-LB was missing his head, but I didn't notice it until I primed the model. So, I cut off the head of another mini and glued it on.


Can you spot the new head?

Not perfect, but good enough at this scale. I just hope it stays on. Another piece of hardware for the Gambusian rebels!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Curvaceous Thief

I bought a role-playing adventure party from a Shapeways shop called Small Ox Miniatures.

They were a little expensive, but I wanted to see how good 3D printed minis could be. After washing them a lot, I primed them with acrylic gesso. The last time I primed a 3D model with spray paint, it melted on me. Plus, the gesso helped reduce the surface graininess.

Here is the first to be painted.

She is either a thief, or an assassin, I am not sure. She seems to have a lot of heavy plate armor on her. She also has the curves, not that there is anything wrong with that! I would like to have seen some side arm like a sword, and a quiver for her crossbow bolts. If you look at the above picture, they all seem to have rather large heads in proportion to their bodies. I assume all but the Dwarf are humans, but the look a little on the Gnomish side to me, maybe it's the big heads.

Small Ox has several other lines of fantasy figures, but they seem be a little on the expensive side for the price.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Harpoon: Captain's Ediion

There are a lot of wargames that were published in the good old days that are now out of print that I wished I had purchased. So, I've been picking up a number of them. One reason is to have some board games available if needed. The other is looking at them in terms of converting them into miniatures games. This is nothing new for me. Way back in the late 70s, my buddy Mark and I used the rules for Avalon Hill's Midway as the basis for a very simple naval game using handmade ship miniatures. We also once tried using AH's Panzer Leader to have a microarmor battle.

I've been focusing on naval and air board games because there are few miniature rule sets out there compared to land-based games. My latest purchase is Harpoon: Captain's Edition (H:CE).

Unlike Harpoon rules, H:CE is a board game that takes place during the 80s. The rules are pretty simple, but not simplistic. They are also pretty clear cut and well organized. I read them in about 20 minutes and didn't feel confused about any particular part. I noticed that some of the mechanics are very similar to those of other modern naval rules, Shipwreck in particular. I think these can be easily converted into a miniature game. There are only two minor drawbacks. First, weapon stats is somewhat abstracted.

Sample of ship cards for H:CE. Weapon and defence stats on the right.
As seen above, there are anti-aircraft/anti-missile defenses, anti-ship weapons, and so on, but you don't know specifically what the weapons are. The weapon systems for Rory Crabb's Naval Command is the same way. I prefer to know exactly what each weapon does so that I can build my own boats. However, with a little work, I can figure out weapons data.

The second issue is more of general complaint of a number of modern naval rules. Many rules seem to focus on the "big ships" and leave out smaller ships. For example, there are no Soviet missile boats such as the Komar or Osa, or even the larger Nanuchka-class and Tarantul-class missile corvettes in this game. I can forgive H:CE as it has a narrowly focused scenario that takes place in the Northern Atlantic. However, I don't understand why other rules sets do the same thing. Not to pick on them, but Naval Command is an example. Interestingly, I've seen this in some WWII naval rules regarding destroyers. It's as if they don't exist. Again, I can work out the stats for these smaller ships, but it would be nice if they were already done by the author of the rules.

I need to get back to my 6mm miniatures. I have been making some pillboxes and small bunkers out of polymer clay. I will give a report on those soon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rebels in a Box

Here is my generic rebel army with most of its technicals:

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Another COIN Aircraft and a RPG

It's been a long hiatus of doing much hobby stuff, but finals are now over. Today was commencement. Fortunately, I had lunch right after the ceremony with good friend and colleague. Usually, I am rather melancholy for a few days after commencement, but the lunch was a pick-me-up.

Anyway, I've started back into working on stuff. First off, a COIN aircraft for the Federal Republic of Gambusia:

It is a Hawker Sea Fury from MSD Games. They have some really nice models that are probably a little better than Heroics & Ros. 

Like the Kiowa Warriors, this plane painted green brown but now with Middlestone camo. The roundel looks like a british one, but the center is actually green. The rockets are modified C-in-C Sidewinder missiles. I have another Sea Fury that I plan to put more modern rocket pods on. I don't usually do anything with the panel lines, but this time I did and it turned out well. 

Onto the RPG gunner.....
I noticed that my rebel units are pretty skimpy in the basic riflemen category, so I've started beefing up those. I seem to get obsessed with various weapons and this time is the Soviet/Russian RPG-29:


Pretty simple: a tube. But it's a tube that can really punch major holes in modern armor. According to Wikipedia, it has taken out MBTs such as the M1 Abrams and the Challenger 2. It's secret is that it has a tandem warhead that can defeat ERA or modern composite armor. An avid converter who posts on one of the microarmor groups on Facebook made one out of a RPG-7 gunner, so I thought I could too.Here are some pre- and post-painted pictures:

I used a RPG-7 gunner from GHQ's Bush Warrior pack. First, I tried cutting off the entire RPG off, but the gunner's head came off along with it. Then I cut off the front and back ends on another victim. I then glued two pieces of an 8 mm styrene rod. Hopefully, it won't bread off. I plan to mount this guy in the center of the base with two other figures on either side of him. That should protect him. The back part of the barrel is a little warped, but overall it looks pretty good. I think I got it pretty close to the proper length scale-wise. 

I don't really have any sort of story as to how Gambusian rebels got a hold of one. Northern Chalupistan doesn't even have them in their arsenal. It will be a one-off weapon, so probably not a battlefield game changer. 

When I get closer to completing the rebels, I will post a group portrait.