Friday, January 24, 2020

Dragon Knight

I painted this guy up during an effort to reduce my pile of 15 mm fantasy lead. He's a Demonworld miniature now sold at Ral Partha Europe. I think he's supposed to be a bad guy, but I'm not sure. I experimented with making his armor metallic green by mixing green ink with silver paint, but it looks more blue. My shield painting skills are not what they used to be, it isn't awful.

My son wanted me to post this character here. Fully armed Spider-Spawn. You would think a superhero wouldn't need all the fire power, but I guess better safe than sorry.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Experimenting with Flight Stands

I've been playing around with some different ways to mount 1/600 aircraft on to stands, and the stands themselves.

I as much as I like rare earth magnets to mount jets, there are some drawbacks to them. First issue I have was when I had a magnet on a model as well as on the stand. I tried really hard to make sure the polarities matched, but I didn't always get that right. Second, it was very hard for me to make sure the magnet was mounted on the model so that it was level. Third, rare earth magnets do not like to stay glued.  I suppose that drilling a hole into the model and inserting the magnet into it might have taken care of at least the second and third issue, however, I don't know if my hole would have been any more level than just gluing the magnet on. So, to solve this for at least some aircraft, I glued a tiny piece of steel the bottom.

Using tin snips, I cut out a tiny piece of metal off of some can top. I pounded it out with a hammer to make sure it was as flat as possible, then I glued it to the model. I did have to slightly file down the spot were I glued on the metal piece, but this model of a Mirage 2000 was pretty flat to begin with. Here is what it looks like on a stand.

The advantages are that I don't have to worry about magnet-to-magnet polarity issues, it is a lot easier to make sure the metal piece is level, and it sticks well to the model. The big drawback is that I cannot use this technique with some models. Many of my helicopters and some jets need the metal to project out beyond the bottom of the model. For example, I have some attack helicopters with weapons slung on either side of the bottom. If I didn't have the small cylinder rare earth magnet projecting out, there would not be a contact with the top of the stand.

The second experiment was the stand itself. If you read two of my posts where I play test some rules, you might have noticed some differences in stands. One stand is my LEGO stands. I like them a lot, but it is somewhat difficult to change altitudes. The second stand was a jury-rigged steel base with 1" cylinder rare earth magnets. These are potentially easier to swap out to show changes in altitude, but they have the annoying effect of being so strong that they will pull other bases to each other if close enough. So here is my an experimental base I've come up with:

The stand is a piece of styrene plastic. On it, I glued a piece of metal. The metal cylinder is not a rare earth magnet, but a 5 mm diameter peg used for shelving brackets. The ends are not perfectly level by any means, but its not horrible. The peg is connected to the base by a small magnet. In turn the jet has a magnet glued to it. The hope is that the magnetic field of the two tiny magnets are not strong enough to drag another stand to it, and the plastic base will provide enough of a buffer zone, so to speak.

If all goes well this week, I plan to have another air combat test game using these stands.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Looking at the Simpler Side of Things

Lately, I've been finding myself looking at rules where quick playability outweighs realism. Rules that I might have poo-pooed a few years ago greatly appeal to me. I think the main reason being that I have almost zero time to even exhale lately, let alone devote to hobby activities. There is a part of my brain that is constantly screaming, "I want to have a game!!!" but it is squelched by the powerful "must do's." There is a scene in Cinderella (the Disney cartoon) where the evil step-mother tells Cinderella that go to the ball but only if she does about 10 new chores, in addition to her regular chores. That is how I feel most of the time. What I am hoping for this new year is to be able to set up a game quickly and play it in a relatively short amount of time. Here are some rules that I am looking at:

Air Strike: Modern Air Combat for the Whole Family by T. Jensen
Boy, talk about your simple rules! Someone recommended them on the aerial wargames group on FaceBook. These are at the same level as the Battle of Britain rules that Just Jack has modified for his tiny air battles, only Air Strike is card based. I read them over and I really liked what I saw. The aircraft are very generic. A fighter is a fighter, and a missile is a missile. No variation in performance. When you think about it,  unless your match up is a jet from the 70s versus a jet from today, there isn't going to be huge differences; and to paraphrase Chuck Yeager, its the pilot not the plane that will determine the outcome of the dogfight. For a good review, see the Red in the Morning blog. You can get them on Wargames Vault for $4.50

Archduke Piccolo's Ultra Simple Naval Rules by Archduke Piccolo
As I mentioned in my previous post, my interest in WWII naval gaming has resurfaced. In particular, I've wanted to replay the various battles found in Hector Bywater's Great Pacific War. I've been looking at various rules including, Bob Cordery's Gridded Naval War-games, David Manley's Find, Fix and Strike, and recently Battleship Captain by Gary Graber. The Achduke's rules are fairly simple, and based on his after action reports, they are pretty fast games. I tend to give a big thumbs up to any game, simple or complex, if I can understand them after only one reading. These rules fit that criterion. They are only for battleships, however, and hex based. I do have a hex mat that I bought several years ago that has a seascape on one side. He provides the stats for a great number of battleships, but explains in detail how he derived them if there is a ship you want that is not on his list.