Thursday, December 30, 2021

Last Post for the Year

 I thought I'd join the bandwagon and have a wrap up of 2021. 

Counting up the number of yearly posts, 2021 is tied with one other one since I started this blog. There are lots of reasons why I didn't post, but its been another year where life got in the way of my hobby, particularly during the second half of the year. None of there events were particularly good ones. My bout with Covid did not free me up to do more. In fact, I did very little for the two weeks that I had the symptoms.  It did not help that my bosses felt that I could still efficiently teach remotely.  

The water disaster was a major game changer as well. In my November post, I predicted that we would have our new floors in. It turns out that that won't happen for another two weeks. So, we are still walking around on our subfloor and our garage and second floor of the house is packed with stuff from the first floor. 

Even without all the issues I mentioned above, work has become very stressful. I enjoy the teaching aspects, but the all the nonsense in dealing with not only administrators but even some of my faculty colleagues has become soul crushing. I thought I'd never say this, but some of my colleagues are as much idiots as the administrators. My college is not the same as the one I first started. The ideals that the school prided itself on are now lip service. The college has become a business. I get the need to be financially competitive, but the school has definitely lost its way. For the first time, I am looking forward to retirement. I'm looking at between five to seven years depending on were I am at financially. 

Even though my original goal for 2021 was to game more, I think my biggest success was whittling down my pile of lead. Painting made up for the lack of gaming mainly because it emotionally or psychologically allowed me to escape the real world, even if it was for a half an hour each night. I did manage to have a few games. Most of them were with my son. They were all prior to the various disasters. We had fun, but I don't think I have sparked any interest in him. I can't seem to compete with Fortnite and these other online games. 

I am not going to give any resolutions regarding the hobby, but I am currently on  a much overdue sabbatical. Already, I feel less stress! In addition to finally getting to do some major research (I have a lot of projects that have been languishing for the past 5 or more years), I plan to do some gaming in there. 

The last thing I want to say is that I greatly appreciate all my fellow bloggers out there. I live vicariously through their after action reports, and I really get inspired by there various projects. If you are reading this, thank you for your posts. They keep me going during dry times.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

More Odds and Ends

 Just some more pictures of things that I recently finished. I am trying to get things done before I leave for Chicago for the holidays. 

Dwarf Challenge 2:

My old buddy from grad school days and I decided to do another painting challenge. This time it was dwarf magic users and he got to picture the figure. I've had a lot of bad luck with Reaper Miniatures. They seem to come broken. I had one earlier whose weapon came broken. Reaper was nice enough to send me a new one. This time, the top of the dwarf's staff was broken. I figured that I'd just work with it. After painting him, I glued a red translucent bead on top. I think it looks better than what was originally on there. Hopefully, it will hold. The guy standing next to him is a bonus that I will send my friend. He is a Reapers Bones figure that is made out of a plastic similar to what 1/72 figures are made out of. He's supposed to be a dwarf ranger, but looks like he's holding a giant wrench for a weapon. I bought him for my son to paint, but he didn't seem interested, so off he goes with the magic user.

More 1/600 Moderns:

As part of my effort to paint lots of stuff, I got these done for the Bovatopian army. I was also testing out a new shade. Its one of the Citadel shaders. 

Baron Henri of Emoree:

This is another pair of 15mm fantasy figures that were at the bottom of my lead pile. I ran of of ideas for coat of arms, so I used the symbol from the college I teach at. These are Demonworld Empire figures.

The car finished:

Here's the Cub Scout all ready to march in the Christmas parade. Fewer scouts than we thought built one. Hopefully, more will build one next year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Odds and Ends

 The "restoration" of my house is going at a snail's pace. Still no floor. The guy who is going to fix some of the cabinets is supposed to show up tomorrow. Meanwhile, I've been trying to do a million things at once. Most of it related to the college application process for my daugher. 

Oddly enough, I've had a little time to do some painting. As I might have said before, I'm trying to reduce the pile of lead. This is mainly in the fantasy/medieval category but I've done some painting on my 3mm modern figures. Additionally, I have been making a bunch of very crude ship counters representing various modern ships for the naval portion of the Bovatopia campaign. This way I can test out various rule sets. I might extend this heresy to earlier eras. 

Just a few pictures here:

Essex 15mm Swabian Swordsman:

Why is he included, unpainted? I ordered three packs of these guys and out of the three packs, I only got one figure of this pose. Very annoying. This isn't the first time this has happen lately with Essex. Shame on you Essex!

Demonworld (now Ral Partha Europe) Beastmen command:

These guys have been waiting to be painted for probably well over 20 years! Not sure why I never got to them because I've painted a bunch of the armored rank & file. The tree in the background was also made recently. It took a lot longer to make than I expected.

Recent purchase: Hexplorer magnetic hexes:

Found this company on Facebook called Headless Hydra Press. They make small, magnetic-backed hexes called Hexplorer Mag Tiles for RPG campaigns. They measure about 1.5" face to face. They are very thin. Thinner than those little calendar magnets that you get from your insurance agent to put on your refrigerator. I got two ocean packs for playing hex-based naval battles. They would work well for 1/6000 ships, or slightly larger if you don't mind the overhang. You get 30 for $13, which isn't a bad deal. I will probably order another pack or two. It would be nice if they were a little thicker, but I can't complain about the price. I just need to figure out what to mount them on.

Among other things, I've been building this for tomorrow's annual Bristol TN/VA Christmas parade: 

Normally, Ivan's Boy Scout troop marches in the parade carrying a HUGE American flag. It spans the entirety of main street. It's pain to carry, plus I am not sure why for a Christmas parade. I have no issues when we carry it in the Veterans' Day parade, or the 4th of July parade, but not for Christmas. This year, the troop leader who owns the flag won't be making it to the parade (pretty much no one complained about not carrying the mega-flag), so the leaders decided for the scouts to build little cars that you wear to look like the pinewood derby cars. They said to make them simple. So, naturally, I went far beyond what I should have. Hot glue gun is now my best friend! It is almost done and I will post the final product in a future post. BTW, do you notice the lovely floor?

Friday, November 5, 2021

The Latest Insanity

 If September was family Covid month, October was flood-the-first-floor-of-your-house month! Whoopie! The little tube that connects the toilet tank to the tap that is on the floor decided it wanted to make a splash, and splash it did! My son came home about 20 minutes before I did from school, opened the door, and there was about an inch of water on the entire first floor of our house. We don't know how long it had been gushing, but it was a major mess both on the first floor and in the crawlspace. I guess I should be happy that it seems to be just the tube and not the spigot. My wife, daughter, and I spent the evening with shop vacuums borrowed from neighbors sucking up the water, and throwing out whatever paper items that were soaked beyond use.  

The upshot is that all our heating ducts had to be replaced, the restoration people (they are responsible for power drying the subflooring and walls) had to tear all our beautiful flooring that my wife and I put in about two months work on last year, and our first floor currently sounds like the inside of a C-130 transport plane from all the blowers and industrial-strength dehumidifiers running 24 hours a day. Fortunately, it seems that our house insurance will pay for most if not all of it, including putting in new flooring. Equally fortunate, the contractor in charge is very no-nonsense, and seems to really know what he is doing. The owner of the HVAC company that tore out our old ducts and put in the new ones that this guy is the best in the business. If all goes well, we should have our new floor in no later than about two weeks. Hopefully, the rest of November will be very uneventful. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Covid hits hard

 Thursday, September 2, my son started coughing a lot, then I did, then my wife did. We all got Covid tests the next day. Everyone was positive except my daughter. Last week was pretty much a wash. My son seems to have recuperated the best and me the worst. I'm still very tired and have this nagging cough. Teaching from home stinks, but a lot of students at my school are starting to come down with it as well. I shudder to think what things would be like for my wife and I if we had not had vaccines. 

Unlike a lot of stories about folks getting hobby projects done, I did not. I did managed to upgrade Aquor-Ornur's airforce. They are now owners of Saab JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters. I had an informal poll on Facebook's ImagiNation group and the Gripen was the winner. In the backstory, Northern Chalupistan was going to sell theirs off to buy some Russian Su-27 fighters. Here they are repainted in Aquor-Ornur's camo scheme:

Not really happy with them, but they will do on the tabletop. Now to work on their opponents.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Concerning Mass Battle Fantasy Rules

 In the little time I have devoted to the hobby, I've been dwelling on mass-battle fantasy rules. I know that skirmish games seem all the rage, but except to play with my son, I just don't really have a whole lot of interest in them. My focus in the area of fantasy is mass combat games.

I've been mulling over a number of fantasy rules sets, and in an earlier post, had a game of HOTT. My conclusion is that I'm an old-school gamer who has no problem rolling lots of dice, prefers units made up of a bunch of bases, and likes the granularity of different weapon and unit types. I cannot get into the abstraction. So many rules state in various ways that a general is not concerned with what type of armor or weapons his troops use...I get that, but it sort of takes away the color and flavor of fantasy gaming. I think the one thing these abstract rules have going for them is time. A game can be played a lot faster when things are more abstract than buckets of dice sorts of games....or will it? It seems there are as many pluses and minuses you have to consider in these rules and huge amount of focus needs to be paid on getting the units to line up perfectly. 

To me, most  more recent ancient/medieval/fantasy rules have their origins in DBA/HOTT. I can still remember the first game I played with a friend when I got the first edition of DBA (a long time ago when it first came out). We played a number of games and our feeling was..."meh." Since then, I've played either DBA or HOTT, but my feelings where the same. I think the level of abstraction found in DBA and other games like it would work very well in Age of Musket games. I will probably give these other rules a try if I have time, but I have a feeling that my views will stay the same. 

If I have time, I will post a list of the ones I like and why. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

What I've been up to

 Hey out there. I have been doing hobby stuff, but lately, I have not had the time or really the energy to put things up on the blog. I did celebrate International Naval Wargaming day on August 6th by having a test battle using the old Sea Strike II rules. It involved four missile boats that were cardboard counters, two on each side and lasted all of 10 minutes. The Red side lost one missile boat but managed to sink the two Blue boats. I had planned to have a few more games with more ships, but it was probably 85 degrees in my garage so the desire to play another game fizzled. I liked the rules, but I don't know if I like them enough to use for my various ImagiNation campaigns. 

I have been painting a lot of 15mm fantasy in an attempt to reduce the pile. It doesn't help that I keep buying more. I am also inching forward on my 6mm American War of Independence project. I am not sure when that will start, but I have a few rule sets that I'm looking at.

One thing that is new on my blog is that I have a rules folder. I put up my home brewed science fiction skirmish rules. This is the one I use with my son. I plan to put up the fantasy version it soon. 

That is basically it. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Corrupting the Youth of America, One Miniature Game at a Time!

 Anything I can do to get the young'ins to play something other than computer games, I will:

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Finishing up June

 Just some more pictures of figures to reduce the lead pile. Tomorrow, we head for the Motherland (Chicago) to visit family, so I won't have the time or the ability to do any hobby stuff. Maybe I will get in another D&D game like we did when we were there for Christmas.

This is Sir Trebel (pronounced: Tra-bell). He is from Khurisan's late Medieval range. He, like Sir Partner and Sir The Man were originally heavily-armed, LEGO characters that fight bad guys and various monsters such as zombies. He is a late joiner for my fantasy skirmish battles with my son. His coat of arms looks like it came from a high school varsity jacket, but it was my son's design. His motto: "When there is trouble, call on Trebel!"

I thought I had already posted this guy, but maybe not. Copplestone barbarian riding a bear. 

This guy is a 28mm Reaper Miniature ogre. He seemed perfect as a giant for 15mm. He had a lot of flash on him, but being made out of a soft plastic, it was easy to remove. 

Last but not least, a warrior from Splintered Light's Heroes of Might set. I figure he's make a good commander to lead a unit of polearmed infantry. I wasn't sure if his armor was metal scale armor or quilted padded armor. I went with the scales. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Battle of the Tan Plateau

 For the past month, I've been painting like a fool to get the pile down. It was inevitable that I hit painting burn out, so I decided to have a battle. It was a quick, throw it on the table game. I picked Hoards of the Things. Probably not a great decision as far as the number of figures on the table, but I wanted something where I didn't need to prepare forms with stats on them. So here is the battle report. 

King Ivan sat alone on his throne watching the fire slowly die in the late evening. His knightly companions were all out on various adventures and quests, and all he had for company was his faithful hounds. Suddenly, the doors to the great hall opened and two guards let in a peasant, clearly exhausted and covered with wounds.

"My king," gasped the peasant, "a large body of Orcs have come down from the north! They are attacking villages as the go!"

King Ivan called in his subordinates. "To arms! Muster the garrison, send messages to my vassals, and prepare my horse and armor! We ride at dawn!"

He called to his falconer. Giving him a small paper with a note on it to tie to a bird, he said, "direct your swiftest hawk to the Eleven kingdom.  There, the mighty wizard Dangolf  the Dazzling should be among them." He hoped that Dangolf would receive the message and come at once, hopefully with reinforcements.

Two days later...

The royal army arrived early in the morning and deployed on the field on top of what is known as the Tan Plateau. Scouts had reports the huge Orc army heading up onto the far end of this very flat plateau. 

On the far right was a company of royal spearmen led by Sir Philbert:

On the center right, King Ivan placed his knights. At the forefront was Prince Valiant, a mighty champion of previous battles:

King Ivan commanded the knights:

Just to the left of the knights were the royal archers commanded by one sergeant Giles of Ham-on-the-Rye:

At the far left flank was the company known as the Guild of Turnip Farmers from the county of Ompfsk (known for their turnips, beets, and other root vegetables) armed with flails. They were led by mighty mercenary captain, Jeff:

As the morning mist cleared, King Ivan and his men saw the great Orc army marching toward them in the distance: 

The royal army was dismayed. Among the hoards, was a giant ogre:

Snarg the Obnoxious, chef of the Orc Tribal Confederacy laughed a orcy laugh and turned to his sorceress and main squeeze, Gristleena and said, "this should be a breeze, my love, we outnumber the humans 2 to 1. We will have them off the field in no time!" She cackled but said nothing:

The Orc army swiftly rolled toward the humans (high pip rolls for the Orcs; low pips for the humans). The Ogre roared as he ran out in front of the Orc line toward the knights:

"I shall smite the foul brute!" cried Prince Valiant as he charged at the ogre:

Sadly, it did not end well for Prince Valiant who was knocked aside like a rag doll (it was even up Hero vs. Behemoth, but the dice rolls were not in the Prince's favor):

Instead of causing fear, the sight of Prince Valiant's apparent demise enraged knights to attack and kill the ogre: 

Meanwhile, the rest of the units move toward each other. The archers of both sides get into range, and begin to take shots, but they have little effect on the opposing armies. The turnip farmers attacked the Orc archers as the Orc line busters hurtled themselves against the royal archers. A unit of orc warriors moved slowly (Orc army now getting low pip rolls) to flank the turnip farmers:

Suddenly, from the humans' left flank came Dangolf leading a company of Elf archers!

The wizard casts a spell that sends forth a yellow blast of lightning towards the Orc unit:

Check out the classy special effects!

*Crack!* *Sizzle!* the Orcs are dead!

Meanwhile, the Orc unit led by Snag and the knights collide and the spearmen are attacked by the Orc archers and a company of warriors that flank them:

"Oh Snap!" Realizing that she had yet to cast any spells, Gristleena tries to, but there are too many Orc warriors in her way and is unable to do so (magic users can only cast spells from a distance in HOTT). For several rounds, the melees were inconclusive.

 Back on the Human left flank, the turnip farmers defeat the Orc archers with the aid of the Elves' support fire, and the royal archers manage to push back the Orc line breakers several times: 

Things did not go any better for the Orcs on the right side. The Snag's unit finally fell to the knights and the royal spearmen held their ground and managed to cause both attacking Orc units to flee! 

Seeing that things were falling apart, Snag turned to Gristleena and said, "baby, it's time to go home." and wisely called for a retreat. 
King Ivan contemplated going after the routing Orcs, but decided against it. The Humans rejoiced at their victory! There were few casualties and the land was once more safe. The turnip farmers turned to go back home to their turnip farming. Prince Valiant, while seriously wounded, was still alive and taken back to King Ivan's castle for a long but full recovery. 

Postgame Analysis:
The Orcs started off really well as far as pip rolls. The number of pips rolled determines how many units get to move. There were able to move in very quickly. However, once in combat, they really rolled terribly compared to their human opponents even when they had more pluses. Too many times, they would roll a one. HOTT, as well as DBA, is more suited for smaller armies, not much more than 10 units (bases of figures) on a side, where each base acts as a unit. They are really designed for relatively quick battles.  I've been playing DBA on and off since it first came out, but never really gotten into the rules, and I suspect I won't with other rules that treat bases as a single, independent units. They are too abstract for me.  I might replay this battle with other rules or try again with HOTT using only much smaller number per side. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Rock Trolls

It is finals time at my college, and with the pandemic, it has been very chaotic. My "boss" the department chair, who was in the army for about six years says I am suffering from combat fatigue. Not to sound whiny, but the administration is so worried about the students' mental health...faculty, not so much. There's been nights where I'm up until midnight or so grading and there's been nights where after my parental chores, I say, "to hell with it!" and call it a night. On some of those nights, I've been doing a lot of painting. I seemed to have swung the pendulum back to fantasy figures. Maybe it was due to the painting challenge I had with an old college friend, or maybe it's just more relaxing to paint an warrior than a tiny AFV. Also, my focus has been on painting things so that my son can I can game. Little by little, he seems to be more interested. 

These are probably the fastest figures I've painted. Splintered Light rock trolls. I got them as part of a Kickstarter. I had no clue how I wanted to approach them, so I painted them gray and that was that. Maybe took about 20 minutes, if you don't count waiting for the wash and the the spray coat to dry, and then overnight to let the flock dry.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Numbering bases for 3mm armies

 This weekend, I started numbering units of my 1/600 armies for my Bovatopia campaign. I didn't get too far, but this is an example of how I'm indicating companies and platoons:

Three companies with four platoons each

Company of M48A5s

For my 1/300 microarmor, I number the infantry bases with numbers. These are too tiny to do that, so, I am using colors to denote company and a yellow tick mark to indicate platoon. I use Fist Full of TOWs organization of units. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Dwarf Painting Challenge

 Facebook is a pretty good way of keeping up with old (real) friends. In fact, the whole reason why I signed up with Facebook, was to keep up with my friends from my graduate school days at the University of Kansas. I come to find out over time, that one of them is a big D&D gamer. Had I known that way back in the day, we probably could have did a lot of gaming. A couple of weeks ago, we challenged each other to a paint contest, or really a painting swap. We picked out a 28mm figure from Reaper Miniatures, painted it, and then sent it to each other. As I was ordering mine, I ran across another Dwarf who would make a nice companion/partner in crime/girlfriend. I thought I'd surprise my friend with this extra figure. Below are the results.

His miniature:

My miniatures:

He opted for a base of sand, which was courtesy of  Lake Eerie. The skull came from a GW set of a 100 skulls. I used MDF bases that I had lying around for a long time. I wanted a dungeon effect, so I used this rubber stamp that I had bought awhile back and pressed it into polymer clay. For best results, according to the company that makes the stamp, you are supposed to use Green Stuff. I don't have any, but the polymer clay work just as well. 

We ended up with different interpretations, though it was funny that I had originally thought to paint much of my dwarf's armor in blue metallic, but then decided not to go with that. I enjoyed the challenge, but it reminded me of why I don't game in 25/28mm scale anymore. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

She said she was on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan

 March came in like a lion for me and still is roaring at me...more like screaming at me. A lot of health issues have popped up, but not for me. My mother has been in the hospital for the third time in two months. A friend from work and the husband of another friend from work both have been hit with cancer.  In terms of work, I am running out of steam. Between dealing with administrators, other faculty, and students who won't do their work, I am so done. Remote and hybrid learning is a joke, and the administrators feel that its business as usual during this time of pandemic. The only bright spot is that I got my COVID vaccine last Saturday and will go in for my second one on March 27. 

I have not done a whole lot hobby-wise. I have no energy for it. I've managed to do a few things. For now, I give you 15mm fantasy Dwarven Princess Leia from BVG. The photo is not up to par, but it is what it is. I wasn't too happy with the face. Unlike a lot of other miniatures from BVG, her face lacks detail. She will likely join other Dwarves in future skirmish battles with my son.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Fantasy Skirmish Game with my Son

About two weeks ago, I had a skirmish battle with my son. Orcs vs. Good Guys consisting of humans and a couple of dwarves. We played on top of a large plastic storage box that was ideal for a skirmish game. We used his rather random rules that are loosely based on our 15mm sci-fi skirmish rules.

Here's the happy goblin and his army of bad guys. The big, ogre thing is on top of their makeshift stronghold:

First couple of turns. Good guys moving out to engage the baddies:

View from the bad guy's side. The ogre watches the enemy. For some reason, the ogre was not allowed to move unless he rolled a 3 or 4. My son's idea, not mine:

The ogre finally rolled a 3 on his activation dice and joined his fellow orcs. Combat then begins! A human paladin (maybe an elf, not sure) is dispatched by an orc!

Next turn. On the good guys’ left flank, the wizard zaps an orc. On the right flank, a human (the Sensitive Pit Fighter Dude) and two dwarves battle the orcs, taking down an orc:

Fierce fighting on the left flank as Sir Partner (yes, that is his name) fends off three orcs while the wizard prepares another spell:

The clash of steel could be heard on the right flank! Two dwarves and the Sensitive Pit Fighter Dude do battle some orcs. Two more move up to join the fight:

One of the dwarves and an orc manage to take each other out:

Meanwhile, Sir Partner is a fighting machine! He takes out one of the three that he was fighting:

The Paladin fights an orc and the wizard is attacked by another orc:

Back on the right side, the dwarf and pit fighter are holding their own, but two other orcs are about to join the fight: 

Another view of the action. The ogre seems to be taking his sweet time getting there:

In an unexplained turn of events, one of the orcs is somehow teleported to the top of the Good Guys' very unfinished stronghold:

On the right, the human pit fighter goes down. On the left, the ogre finally joins the battle:

As a result, the other paladin goes down:

But the wizard casts a resurrection spell and he lives to fight again! Yay!

The revived paladin strikes a deadly blow to the ogre while the wizard zaps him at the same time. The result is a dead ogre! More yay!!

But oh no! Sir Partner and his orc opponent kill each other!

Cheer up! A second resurrection spell saves Sir Partner!

On the right, the second dwarf goes down but managed to take out an orc. One orc still standing:

Seeing the ogre dead and the wizard managing to resurrect warriors, the orcs turn and run:

Sir Partner and the paladin catch up to them and kill another one:

The one orc turns to fight and sadly kills our paladin before running away:


End of the battle. The orc on the top of the good guys' fort surrenders. Sir Partner and the wizard have mercy and let him run away.