Friday, September 22, 2017

Mantic's The Walking Dead All Out War


Truth be told, I'm really not into zombie movies, or horror movies for that matter. I'm just not into gore, ultra violence or that kind of stuff - and I definitely don't need to see a head split open from three different angles, with the obligatory splat of blood across the camera lens. But... in the past two weeks I've totally got sucked into both The Walking Dead tv show and now The Walking Dead All Out War miniatures game by Mantic Games.


I've been sitting on season one for probably about 3 or 4 years. I'd heard all about how good it was so I grabbed a copy and there it sat until last weekend. With Therese away at a horse show I thought what the heck. HOLY SMOKES! It's really, really, really good!


It's so good that I ran up to the local library immediately after I finished the last episode of season one to get season two! They only had a DVD version though, kind of a bummer. And I just finished that last night and HOLY SMOKES! So good, highly recommended - so far at least. Seems like shows like these always start out strong and then kind of go off the deep end.

Now, in saying I'm not really into zombie movies/shows I will say I have always been kind of drawn to zombies on the tabletop. First and foremost I think it's the terrain - I really like the idea of a dilapidated board and all the creativity that allows a terrain builder. And then second, I love the idea of a board being just overrun with zombie figures. One of my very first Historicon's had Jakob and I watch a zombie game that no joke probably had 1000 28mm zombie figures. Initially they were all behind a huge chain link fence that spanned the entire table, it was an incredibly amazing visual. It was interesting because it only had 4 players, and they controlled a small team of around 5 or so figures - it was an absolutely amazing thing to see, and the number of spectators around the table was crazy. You literally had to be on your tip toes just to see anything. Everyone was having so much fun - laughing, being animated, and everything else that goes with a great game. I haven't seen a game come close to anything like that spectacle since that night.


But I think there is another really big factor here for me in regards to TWDAOW - while researching the game and watching quite a number of AAR's and tutorials on You Tube, you can play the game solo. With Jakob away at college now, the opportunity to get someone (or just anyone) up to the studio to roll some dice just decreased a lot. So it's a whole lot of just me all by myself, and the Prelude To Woodbury expansion set allows you to play solo, so I had to purchase that. I've said it a million times, those of you who have regular gaming groups or friends you always game with hold them close, love them - one day you may be a solo gamer playing with yourself LOL!!


My friend Gabriel, who I met at Historicon, lives down in Florida so I sent him a quick message just to make sure he and the family were ok from all the devastation that Irma brought. They pulled through ok with a bit of flood and tree damage so that was good to hear. But then we started to talk about games and I mention how I'd got sucked into The Walking Dead. He gave a full endorsement of the game and then told me Miniature Market has some boosters and an expansion set on sale - well, a few minutes later what you see above was order and they just showed up yesterday! So thanks Gabriel for helping me spend more money :)


I snagged Dale's RV second hand for only $10.00 so I figured what the heck. I'm not even sure who the manufacturer is and there are no directions - but I've done enough MDF kits it really shouldn't be a problem.

More couponing for terrain ideas - I grabbed this helicopter from Michael's with a 50% off coupon. Should be really neat to have crashed on a table.


So with a post apocalyptic game in hand now I get to have some real fun with terrain! My first kit I'm going to work on is 4ground's Emma's Diner. I'd originally planned to use this as part of another 2x4 expansion to The Chicago Way board.


Here's just a quick peak at my first parts glued together, but I'm going to do a separate post on the whole process and I absolutely can't wait to share it, as I really think this one's looking to be one of my best builds :)

What is going to fun as well is that for the entire month of October I've joined up with a group of fellow zombie gamers who are going to utilize the 4 weeks to focus on painting zombies and survivors. Pulp Citizen over at the Eclectic GentlemanTabletop Gamer has brought together about 15 bloggers to participate. The rules are pretty simple -

To take part you just need to paint one Zombie or Survivor (or more!) each week, in any scale you like, posting it to your blog by that week's Sunday (we use Sunday's as the end of each Zomtober week). So that means posting one or more newly painted Zombie or Survivor minis each week on or before the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of October 2017. This year has a very tight start and there is nothing stopping bloggers starting that first mini early in readiness for the Sunday!

It should be fun and I'm looking forward to seeing and following some new blogs as well as getting some inspiration to pick up the paint brush, though I should probably just stick with what I'm good at which is terrain. Be sure to check out some of Pulp Citizen's other posts too, he's currently working on a set of G.I. Joe figures that are just spectacular, as well as his Batman Miniatures Game figures - that was where I originally stumbled upon his blog some time ago!

Until next time, thanks for looking!
Ivor

Sunday, September 17, 2017

An Update



One thing I knew I wanted to try to accomplish as quickly as I could when I got back from this years Historicon was to add another two tiles onto the Normandy board. This would now make the board 6x4 and allow for a proper game of Bolt Action - and finally I've got it completed, though it sure as heck wasn't done quickly!



I had initially thought of bringing the village further down with a couple more buildings and why I extended the cobblestone street. In hindsight I wish I hadn't and created a dirt road instead at the break between the boards, as I changed my mind about the other buildings probably within a day after I'd set the street down, oh well. 


Something I've wanted to make for quite some time was a field with Rommel's Asparagus, so this gave me the perfect opportunity. I used some skewers for the poles and made it so that the poles could be popped out easily so gameplay wouldn't be affected. Anything can be put into the field, team bases, vehicles, squads, or whatever, and the poles won't affect anything.


I originally thought maybe magnets for the poles, but the way the skewers are cut and how I drilled the holes into the field made it unnecessary. I cut the poles to slightly different heights to make it a bit more visually appealing as well.



These were early test photos to get an idea if perhaps there were too many poles in the field, which I felt there were.


I took about six out in positions that made the field seem a bit less congested. A Vallejo sepia wash was put on all the poles to finish them off.


I also put some roof shingles on a small little cabin that is positioned next to the field. I wish I had the gray colored shingles but I only had a few left from the old west buildings I did years ago, so brown it was.


I also used 4ground base paint to cover up the connection points. On the left you can see the base color applied and then I went over that with the sepia wash, on the right - almost a match, looks much better in person :)


I threw some cut logs onto the side of the cabin.


The front view of the cabin with some sheep off to the side.

And here's where we really lose focus, LOL!


Something else I've been toying around with is a Pulp Alley Back To The Future game. I've thought a lot about it and really think it could work, despite the only fighting being melee. I've already got Doc Brown and a scale Delorean, but it's Marty that is going to be the big hurdle. Hasslefree have a figure that would be perfect, but it's a resin master and to purchase it and get it shipped across the pond will almost be $20.00, and I just don't know if I can justify 20 bucks for one figure. So we'll see what happens there.


What I thought would be really fun for the game would be to have actual 1:1 scale props as the plot points. I'd have scale versions of each one on the table, but then when a character successfully grabs the plot point they could have the prop in front of them. With Jakob heading off to college he went through his room and threw out all kinds of stuff from when he was young - this case was for his Game Boy system and games. When he was heading to the garbage I kind of stared at the box for a moment and went "wait, that really looks like the case that held the plutonium in the first Back To The Future movie". So I rescued it and started working on making it like a movie prop.



I got the case all painted up pretty easily, just needed several coats of paint. And then to find the appropriate stickers.


The stickers were found online, with the little plutonium sticker being my favorite that really identifies it to BTTF.


Here is the sports almanac, complete with the bag from the Blast From The Past store.


And the flyer for saving the clock tower.


And it even has Jennifer's "I Love You" and phone number on the back.


All three of the props together. I still have to fill in the holes on the front of the case from where I took off the handle, but I thought it would be fun to just get them all together for a quick photo. I still have three more to make but it's been forever since I built any movie props, so this was a great little project to start with.


Now the frugal gamer part of the post. I've heard nothing but amazing things about all the different applications for Mod Podge so I used a 50% off coupon from Micheal's to buy some to try out. I think some water effects will be my first attempt to use it.


And finally, I got this coupon in the mail from Micro Center for $20.00 off your purchase. Sure it said "No Minimum Purchase", but c'mon, there had to be a catch some where. I decided to take a quick look at their website because I figured maybe I could use the coupon to grab a comic book creator software that I could use for Pulp Alley AAR's.


Their website was super easy to navigate and I found one right away, it gave me the closest store to me and even gave me the aisle number the software was in! While running some errands I stopped to check it out, found the store absolutely packed even though it was only 10am - wasn't sure if the coupon had anything to do with it, but it was crazy. Found the software easily and checked out without paying anything, not even tax!? So it was totally free! Hopefully it'll work out like some of the other fantastic comic book AAR's like Gordon's over at his blog http://ihavewroughtmysimpleplan.blogspot.com/2017/03/henry-ironside-andthe-pagan-stone-pulp.html


As you can see I'm all over the place with stuff - clearly I have ADD! - so apologies. And you'll really see it in the next two blog updates, I really have it bad!! The other two things I'm messing about on are so completely different to the stuff here -  I just can't focus on one thing anymore :)

Until next time, thanks for looking!
Ivor

Sunday, August 27, 2017

D-Day Conneaut 2017



Last weekend was the Conneaut D-Day event. This was my 6th year participating and as it does every year, it just keeps getting bigger and better.


Conneaut continues to be the pinnacle of a WWII living history event in the United Sates, and it's really an honor to participate as a reenactor.  Early estimates were over 40,000 spectators this year.


If you are close to Conneaut, Ohio in the middle of August and have even the slightest chance to see this event, I can't recommend it enough. It's literally like stepping back in time.


The biggest disappointment for me is not being able to take photos of the event myself - as a reenactor having a cell phone out is just asking to be shamed! So all the photos you will see are from the D-Day Conneaut Facebook page.


But I have been poking around Ebay looking at vintage camera's that are non-functioning and thinking of ways I can get my phone inside so I can finally take photos myself. So stayed tuned for that : )



The biggest spectacle continues to be the beach invasion. This year had 4 Higgins boats and a Dukw bringing in Allied troops to storm the beaches.


The beach is sectioned off into five "alley's", one for each of the beaches stormed on June 6th.


So many more demonstrations were added this year that for the first time the event took place over three days as opposed to the usual two.




More tanks and vehicles than ever before, and more battle reenactments as well.


The aircraft are simply amazing to watch in person, and it's crazy how low to the deck they actually get!





The 88 was back and impressive as ever!





The attention to detail in the German camps was amazing.



















The French resistance battles are slowly becoming some of my favorite things to watch. I have stopped participating in the Airborne battles as running around doesn't suit me much anymore.





















Saturday had the lake have a pretty heavy chop so I'm sure a lot of those infantry guys were feeling it coming in off the Higgins boats for the big beach battle!






A bit disappointed I've yet to see any photos of our Allies versus Axis soccer match as that is always a fun part of the event for me, but none the less we won again this year 6-4.
















I am going to do one more post in the near future about the event - I was given all the letters written home of my great uncle who was killed in Normandy of July of 1944 and I saved those letters to read during the event. It was an incredibly humbling experience to say the least, and quite emotional. I want to write something about the letters for my family so I think the blog will be the easiest way to do that, as opposed to just an word document in an email to everyone, then I can have photos and even maps attached. This photo was sent to me by a lady named Naomi who came all the way from West Virginia to see the event - she snapped this photo of me reading one of the letters while I was unaware, which is the only way to take a photo of me! I think I've finally gotten used to people asking to take photos at the event, but honestly I will never be comfortable with it. She was nice enough to send me a copy of the photo : )


As always, thanks for looking!
Ivor