Saturday, January 20, 2018

Plains Indians

On the very large list of things I have wanted to model, plains Indians have always been near the top.

I've always been drawn to both the war paint of the Indians themselves, but also the paint they would apply to their horses as well.

Naturally, most of those images I've seen come from movies, but I've always been fascinated by it as there is always so much narrative in the painting, especially on the horses because it's a bigger canvas to allow you to tell a story.

My wife has been begging me to get on a horse to ride around the property with her, but the only way I'll do it is if she lets me put some war paint on the horses like here lol!

These three figures are all from Warlord.

They are absolutely fantastic models, though as with every manufacturer who makes horses the tails are incredibly short - sometimes I wonder if sculptors even look at real horses.

Usually it's a movie or documentary that helps get me motivated to finish something, and the new movie "Hostiles" starring Christian Bale was that push that made this happen.

This particular sculpt is just brilliant! When I first saw it I had to have it.

Hanging off the side of the horse shooting a bow, how cool is that?!

I added a bristle from an old paint brush to the bow to make it bit more interesting.

With these models complete, some more on the paint table, and the "Hostiles" movie coming out, maybe that'll push me to crack open the Old West boxes again - which haven't seen daylight in at least a year or more - and have a go at some good old fashioned cowboy and Indian games :)

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017 Overview And A Look Ahead To 2018

Another year gone by. It's crazy how fast this one just seemed to fly by, and just based on everything that's happened at the farm and with horses, it's clear that this year will be even crazier as my wife continues to work her way up to the highest level of the USEF.

It's really strange now because for the first time EVER the family is completely separated - Jakob is away at university, Therese is down south, and I'm at the farm. The farm will be empty for the next 3 months and I really hope to get a lot done over that time, though I'm certainly not off to a good start as just this post alone has taken almost two weeks to complete, but that has to do with the fact that we're currently remodeling the master bedroom bathroom.

On to the meat and potatoes - these are by far my favorite posts to do of the entire year because I can see all the goals I had and see how well I failed at completing them :) 2017's goals -

So 2017... what's the goals, what's the focus? The biggest thing that will take at least half of the year will be the Historicon table and game. Making it into Wargames Illustrated last year really upped the ante for this year's Historicon. I think a lot of the year will also just be finishing up army's and figures that are not quite 100% complete, as there are quite a lot.

Historicon WWII game and table
Finish the Denison smocks on my British Airborne
Finish my French Partisan army
Finish my Pulp Era figures
Finish my Hollywood DAK - for pulp games
Complete Jonny Quest Pulp Alley leagues and run 2 games
Complete the last of the 4Ground large building kits that need built - 9 kits
2 Blog posts a month
Design a logo for Studio 13/Saturday Mornings

Historicon WWII Game and Table - Well, I think I'll give myself a pass on that one. While not strictly WWII, I had the game set in WWII with fictitious characters that are all set in that era with Agent Carter. And incredibly the game and table somehow made it into Wargames Illustrated. Still can't wrap my head around that one. Grade A

Finish the Denison Smocks on my British Airborne - Huh? I have British Airborne... yeah, not so much. Fail. Grade F

Finish my French Partisan Army - I'll give myself a pass. I have some straps, washes to apply, and then basing to complete and then they are done. Grade B

Finish my Pulp Era Figures - This was a huge achievement and where the bulk of last years completed figures came from. I'm not sure of the exact count but it has to be well over 200 to 250. Grade A

Finish my Hollywood DAK - Geez, forgot I still even had these. Epic fail. Grade F

Complete Jonny Quest Pulp Alley Leagues and Run 2 Games - This was fun to finally complete! I think JQ makes for a perfect pulp game and I had a lot of neat story ideas for the Quest gang before I got sidetracked by the Historicon game. Grade A

Complete the Last of the 4Ground Large Building Kits - For the first time ever I had all my big 4Ground kits completed - that was quite a feat really when I think about how many kits I have! The problem now is I went bat shit crazy buying way more kits than I should have this year, including the massive shopping mall - yup, here it is, the giant cat out of the bag, I went all in on the mall range. Even buying multiples of the same kit, the food court for example. So I'm giving myself an A for completing my goal, but a giant what the F were you thinking buying more and especially the mall lol!

2 Blog Posts a Month - Incredibly I put up 53 posts over the course of the year, that's almost 4.5 a month. The big thing for me is quality over quantity, hopefully I walked that line successfully. Grade A

Design a Logo For Studio 13/Saturday Mornings - Nope. Nada. You lose, good day sir. I will say that I did ask a friend who is in graphic design for a living for some ideas and help, but after a "sure" never heard back from him and I completely forgot that this was something I wanted to try to do last year. Grade F

So overall, I think I did pretty good - passing grades on 6 of my 9 goals. Honestly, it was probably my most productive year to date so far :)

Now on to 2018...

Historicon game and table
Build game specific tables with a focus on terrain and building 4Ground purchases
Find more people to game with/try to meet once a month at least
Play more games and write AAR's on them
Continue re-basing to clear bases
Complete the underground facility for the Agent Carter game
2 blog posts a month
Sell rules sets/figures/terrain I know I'm not going to do anything with
Don't buy into any new games - Harry Potter /Gangs of Rome/Batman (Monolith)
Stay off of Kickstarter!

This is the first year I can actually say painting figures does not need to be a major focus. I probably got over 500 figures painted over the course of the year - there were a lot that I didn't bother posting about. Certainly I still have a ton of ACW, AWI, and the Rorke's Drift sets all to be painted, but these aren't any games that are on the immediate radar - and I do have enough of each completed to play skirmish rules sets (Sharpes Practice for instance) if I wanted to.

I really want to focus on terrain this year. Though not 100% committed to Historicon yet, I'm going to be in the mindset that I am and want to focus on and try to make another really fun Hollywood-esque game where even if the game sucks eggs at least it will look good :) And I also really want to try to get together once a month with gaming friends. So those will be my three major focuses.

The other thing I'm really torn about is should I "promote" or try to grow the blog more to get more followers. I don't share posts to Facebook or The Miniatures Page at all. Occasionally I'll link a post to The Lead Adventure Forum or the Pulp Alley forum but that's really it. My Agent Carter AAR's from Historicon got shared on several Facebook pages and that particular post has my highest views of any post I've ever made. And back in October I joined a group focusing on painting survivors and zombies for the entire month and to be able to interact with a whole new group of people was brilliant - I myself followed several new blogs and in turn had several new people follow me because of that. Obviously I don't have any kind of consistent gaming group (yet) so the interactions between people commenting and giving suggestions or critiques on the blog is incredibly helpful for me. What to do...

So until next time, thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wargames Illustrated #363, I'm An Author Ma!

The latest issue of Wargames Illustrated arrived in the post today with the theme being 'Wargaming Hollywood'. With the direction I've been moving with my games lately it's almost like the entire issue was made for me lol!

We're still just getting crushed by the cold temperatures as you can see by the weather board in the barn - if you look to the right in the middle you can see the outdoor temperature at -5° Fahrenheit (-21° Celsius) so I wasn't even sure I wanted to go out and check the mailbox today.

But thankfully there were no bills and only the Wargames Illustrated :) Plus there was a nice surprise when I opened it and looked at the index on page 84.

Incredibly I have a 6 page article on the game I ran at last summer's Historicon convention in Fredericksburg, with 12 really neat photos of the table.

Full credit goes to Dave Taylor at Dave Taylor Miniatures for making this all happen, so thank you Dave!

I have bumped into Dave several times over the course of the many Historicon's I've gone to, and he's put photos of my tables into WI before, but when he asked if I'd write up a full article about the game and the table build I was simply blown away. What a huge honor it was to be able to write several pages about what I'd built and created, and then to have that literally go out to the whole world to see and read about. Madness really lol!

I also want to give a big shout out and thanks to Dave Phipps from Pulp Alley. As I mention in the article, I used the Pulp Alley system for my games and couldn't have been happier with the results. I think everyone who got to play in the game had a lot of fun and that was all due to the great rules that Dave created. Hopefully my plug in the article will get some more people into trying out these fantastic rules :)

And I couldn't possibly write this post without thanking Cad, Ben and everyone else at 4Ground. As you can clearly see almost everything is from 4Ground, and I have been using 4Ground buildings and accessories on my tables since I started this crazy gaming obsession years ago. I'm looking forward to continuing that partnership into the future with all the new lines they are coming out with :)

But, and there always has to be a "but" with me lol! One thing that will always bother me though is that I know I could have done so much more with this game and table. I had so many ideas and things I wanted to do but ultimately just didn't have the time to do them all.

I'm also going to chalk this up as the major accomplishment for my 2017 year in review I'm currently working on, even though technically this has been released in 2018. If I do make it out to Lancaster for this summer's Historicon, the big question is going to be can I possibly build and create something that can top this?! Fingers crossed I can, so stay tuned!

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Final Post Of 2017 Even Though It's 2018

I tried my hardest to get this one in on Sunday, but just couldn't manage it - I was even in a tuxedo up in the studio trying to get the last of the SAS based... but disappointingly had six that I was unable to complete.

As mentioned in an earlier post , I was pretty well flabbergasted that out of the blue all kinds of Agent Carter figures were now popping up after I searched high and low forever to find proxies for my Historicon game. Well here are the two that came from Warlords 'Defenders of the Realm' set and also a "not" Johann Schmidt from Warlord. Really wish I had this figure for Historicon.

A few more '40's spy type figures - I think a few are from Warlord, but honestly can't remember lol! I just really liked the chap in the middle with the drivers cap. I think it's because I've started to wear a drivers cap myself over the last several months :) Covers my bald spot perfectly!

When I saw these two disguised nuns I absolutely had to buy them! What fantastic figures with a ton of narrative to them.

And the one on the right is hiding a potato masher behind his back! These are both from Warlord.

I thought it would be fun to grab another "not" Doc Brown for the possible Back to the Future game I've been playing around with. Another fantastic figure from Warlord. The witch doctor is from Reaper - he reminded me of the witch doctor from the Bond movie Live and Let Die and had to have him.

Next we get into some SAS/LRDG figures from Artizan. I love the idea of running games with a team doing commando/sabotage type of raids, so I grabbed these at this years Historicon on the cheap in hopes that I can do that in the coming year.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to try and do traditional basing on these as I thought they could even possibly make their way into a Bolt Action game.

I decided on clear bases again because more than likely their foes will be wearing clear bases too.

These figures are full of all kinds of neat little details and character. The backpacks in particular are really impressive - and I didn't take any photos of course, so you'll have to take my word lol.

Regarding details, how cool is it that the chap on the right is carrying bolt cutters - perfect for breaking into places he shouldn't be in. I wonder what's in the bag? Explosives maybe?

And our fearless leader. The overcoat is the bees knees :)

As I mentioned in the beginning, I was unable to complete this post on Sunday because the wife and I had to go to a black tie wedding for one of her clients daughters. Let's just say that Ivor is way more comfortable on his couch watching old movies than being in social situations like weddings, and definitely not comfortable in a tuxedo. Besides, the $200 I spent renting it could have been $200 worth of new terrain I could have bought. At least that's what I was thinking the whole time as the credit card went into the machine :)

The way everyone was dressed to the nines, how the tables were set, and the sheer number of wait staff, I really felt like I was dining on the Titanic.

I must give a tip of the hat to the band though - they were amazing, especially the horn section!.

We are in the middle of an incredible cold spell - yesterday when I was running solo in the barn it was a balmy 1° Fahrenheit (that's -17° Celsius). So predictably my wife has moved the annual trip down south with the horses up, and we're leaving in 4 days. I hope to try and get my year end review and goals for 2018 up before we leave, but realistically don't think it will happen. Fingers crossed I'll fly back home within a week or so and then, since it'll just be me all alone for 3 months really hope to focus on building some terrain and finding some new friends to roll some dice with.

Until next time, thanks for looking!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

You Are Without Doubt The Worst Pirate I've Ever Heard Of

I love pirates. Always have since I was little - from the old classic movies like The Sea Hawk, to my hardback copy of Treasure Island, to the amazing Playmobil pirate ship toy I had as a kid that I would customize and play with for hours on end. Anyway, even before Blood and Plunder came out I wanted to do a pirate game and was slowly collecting pirate figures over the years. This batch is a large part of that, though there is still a lot more from Old Glory that need painted.

There are 13 minion type figures in this 41 figure batch.

I'm not going to put photos up of each one as a lot are kind of similar in both pose and paint job, but these few here are some of my favorites of the bunch.

But here we get into the much more flavorful figures :)

All these figures are a mixture of Northstar's On the Seven Seas line, as well as some Old Glory pirates that I bought way back in the day when I had the OG Army Card getting you a crazy 40% off of all items from OG.

The scallywag in the middle has a monkey on his shoulder, how neat is that!

In the middle is an interpretation of Mr. Smee from Peter Pan. Much later in life with a bit more gray in the beard and grog belly falling both out and over his pants :)

Casualty figures are something I really want to have for every type of game I have. I really think they add a lot to a table, and look much better than a figure tipped over on its base.

These are from Foundry I believe, and I'd really like to get at least one more pack. 

And these last three are my absolute favorites, as they have so much character to them. They are so cool I've even given them a photo from the stern view :)

And this particular figure, with a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder is just brilliant! Fittingly he is listed as Long John Silver on the box, though definitely not your traditional Hollywood version.

Both of these figures come from the Captain Hood set from Northstar.

This figure is listed as the Righteous Edward Leake.

But this is where it's at with this particular group of cutthroats - Edward Teach himself, Blackbeard!

This figure is just on another level in terms of the cool factor! Again, from Northstar Miniatures, and the Blackbeard set. I am so completely blown away by this line that I have ordered the Calico Jack set (that will complete the line for me, as I've decided against picking up the Royal Navy Crew - just not enough variety like in all the other sets) and hope to have that soon :)

Incredibly I got Jakob up to the studio to play a game yesterday and I pulled out one we haven't played in probably six or so years - Wings of War, now named Wings of Glory.

I really wanted to try out the B-17 bomber I bought at Historicon several years ago, so I just threw some blue poster board we used to use for the old Wizkids Pirates of the Spanish game ironically to represent the game board.

Having not played the game in forever I quickly remember why I loved it so much - easy and fun rules and just super cool models.

I had three fighter escorts with my B-17 and Jakob had six German fighters trying to stop me from hitting a target on the other end of the table.

I'd forgotten how neat these models are, and how cool they look together on a table. I need to cut the propellers off and do clear plastic, as well as do the gimble mounts I did with all my WWI planes. It adds a lot to the look of the game for sure.

The B-17 was brutally slow and Jakob just swarmed it despite having 8 different guns to defend with.

He won the game by destroying my B-17, as well as two of the three escorts. I did manage to take out two of his fighters though. It was great just to play a game even though it probably wasn't a fair match up and my objective was so far away, but for throwing something together really on the whim it was great!

I finally managed to obtain my proxy Mary McFly figure (on the right) from someone selling used figures on the 7TV Facebook page. He is from the discontinued Doctor Who line from Crooked Dice, and I'd been desperate to get this figure for quite a while now. Despite being made for Doctor Who he is perfect proxy to use for good 'ol Marty from Back to the Future. Absolutely can't wait to get him!

And finally, hats off to the wife - she got me some really neat shirts from the official Liverpool store across the pond. As you can see from the card, I don't like Christmas at all lol! I don't want to be that way, but that all comes from being from a divorced family at a very young age - holidays, especially Christmas was always something that I didn't look forward to. So while I play the role of the Grinch, she plays the role of the true spirit of Christmas :)

I'm hoping to get one more post in before the New Year, just to show that figures are fully painted, they just need based - and there are a lot, well over 130 Germans for Bolt Action alone :)

Until next time, thanks for looking!