Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Huh, really, it's November?

It's amazing how busy life gets, and how difficult it ends up being able to find time to update a blog. October was incredibly busy, and it was supposed to slow down a lot; or so I was told. Anyway, this is why it's been difficult to sit down in front of a computer.

The farm continues to change. About a month ago Number Six arrived. This put the barn at full capacity with six horses. When Number Six arrived he didn't have a name (well, that everyone liked anyway) and that's what I called him. It just stuck until we came up with his new name a week ago, which is now officially Coleridge.

It's full on "No Vacancy" at River Edge Farm now. I'd also forgot we were gone a whole weekend as we took two of the horses to a clinic with a German trainer, Christophe Hess. My wife learned a lot and I brought back my new favorite saying from him "Zat iz ah feeling". I would just blurt it out randomly (and not so randomly). It's funny how quickly everyone here got tired of hearing me say that all day.
In addition to that, my wife said "Goodbye" to Zigzag, her first event horse. He was hurt a few years ago and just could never do what he used to. She donated him to Victory Gallop, a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic and recreational horseback riding for children with behavioral and/or emotional challenges and life-threatening illnesses.
So that's pretty neat that he'll be off to help kids that need it. Z was pretty cool because he would actually clean his own stall! This picture was taken last summer.
The lads enjoying pasture 5.
With Z off to a new adventure, my wife is starting a new one as well; leaving in 3 days to fly over to Ireland to buy another horse to replace Zigzag. This is the part when I don't ever feel bad about buying miniatures and buildings - I wish I could fly over to England to buy some tabletop fodder!

The other big thing that has kept me away from the studio is that fall soccer has started in full and I'm playing in three different leagues; the most for me in about five years. And five years later my body isn't really appreciating the extra work - despite my absolute love for the game. Three leagues means three different nights that I play. In addition, the "Normal One" has been brought to my beloved Liverpool to bring us back to glory! This guy is absolutely brilliant and I absolutely love his passion and sense of humor. It's good to be a Liverpool fan again. Klopp for the Kop!
Now despite all the above, I have been getting up to the Studio a little. I started to work on a British Airborne army. I'm just fascinated by the paratrooper; in my opinion the greatest soldiers. And absolutely no disrespect to any others, just my humble opinion. Anyway, the Ox and Bucks on D-Day, that's what my goal is with this group. I've got 50 figures probably about 75-80% complete, so not too bad considering the past four weeks. This is actually an older photo (big surprise!), and the figures are much further along; really just the smocks with camo need completed as of today.

Jakob and I even managed to get another game of Bolt Action in. He absolutely murdered me on this new table I made; it wasn't even close and I had pretty much lost the game by turn 4! Regardless, it was still fun. Now I just want to try out the Red Devils.

The wheel feel off my staff car so I thought lets use it for the objective.
As always, thanks for looking!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

More Bolt Action

I made a lot of headway in my Bolt Action "to be built" box. In the past week I've built a Panzer IV ausf H, a Panther ausf A, a Tiger I, an Opel Blitz, a Hanomag sd.kfz 251, my kubelwagon, another Willy's jeep, and a German staff car matchbox car I'm probably going to use as an objective marker. In fact, I've built everything I have except for my plastic US Rangers box!

Obviously lots of work to go with detailing, but the most important thing is that they can all get on the table now!

I also finished my Lt. Winters figure,  as well as my ammo man for my machine gun team. In addition to that, I got my entire 82nd Airborne army based. So the only thing that I need to complete in regards to my Airborne army is my 57mm AT gun; paint the 3 crew and gun, and then base. So I'm pretty happy!

I also  started to work on some detailed customization of my 4Ground buildings as well. I began with the 3 story detached building by using the roof tiles from 4Ground. Makes a big difference in my opinion. 

I also started to make some signs for the building. I cleaned up all the burn marks from the laser cutting process and painted areas that got exposed after gluing walls together. Another thing that I feel greatly improves the look of the buildings. I've been playing around a bit with possibly putting shutters on the windows too.

I also started to play around with some sidewalks that will be modular as I'm really on the fence on whether or not I want to put my buildings on mdf like my Old West buildings are. It doesn't make sense to mount only one building, so I was thinking about possibly doing a row of 3 or so buildings; almost like a small diorama. I'll need to get out to the shop to use the big boy saw and cut some mdf, so we'll see how that turns out...
Jakob and I played another game of Bolt Action a few days ago - Point Defence. Jakob played the Germans again, and me my 82nd Airborne. He defended and it was fun to be able to try out a preparatory bombardment! He held his objectives well and easily won the first 4 turns; it wasn't until turn 5 that things started to finally push the other way. I had yet to control an objective, though was really close to two of them at the end of turn 6; the third was really untouchable as he had his machine gun team positioned on it. We rolled to see if we got to play one more turn and we did! Because of that extra turn I was able to secure one objective on his right flank, which had collapsed on turns 5 and 6. So, two games in the books and it's one victory for Jakob and I managed to squeak out a draw in our second game. Apologies I don't have any photos of that game, it was just one of those things were we playing and didn't think about documenting.
My Battleground Europe book came a few days ago and I'm looking forward to reading that to get some more airborne scenarios set up here in the future.
As always, thanks for looking! 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Bit Of Bolt Action

Finally, after about two years of buying, building, and painting, I got to play my first ever game of Bolt Action last Saturday. And it was an absolute blast! More on the actual game in another post; here I'm just going to show a few things I'd been  working on to be able to get that first game on the table.

The first thing that I wanted to finish was my telephone poles from 4Ground. Super easy to put together. Because I'm OCD, I used the transistors  (I think that's what they are, but I could be completely wrong) board pictured below to use as a measurement tool to make sure I had heights and distances of the capacitors (again, I'm sure I'm completely wrong on what they are!) consistent at the top on each pole - the little marks on the left of the board.

The other thing that I did, and I feel makes a huge improvement, is painted all the inside edges that were brown black, pictured below. The left is painted, while the right is what comes right out of the package.

The last step was to base each pole with some Citadel grass and some Army Painter tufts. I really like the look of the poles, but they are incredibly light and topple over much too easily. Some washers will easily fix that, just need to get up to Home Depot to get the right size; the 1 inch washers I have on hand are too small.

The other thing I finished up - though clearly needs detailed, but at least it's built and has it's initial coat of paint on, baby steps :) - is my Warlord Sherman tank. We used it as the objective in our "Top Secret" game. Again, another really easy build and even better little model.

My initial plan was to build my Warlord Kubelwagon as our objective. Battlefront Games make some really cool objective models for Flames of War, and my absolute favorite is the crashed Kubelwagon! It's a brilliant little model with a lot of narrative to it, as its crashed into a telephone pole on the side of the road. I wanted to do something similar with my Warlord model, and thought it would be perfect for a "Top Secret" objective, but when I began test fitting everything it turned out that the doors on my model were way too small.

Just to see if anyone else had this issue and really more importantly I was looking for ideas on a fix, I posted this exact same photo on the Bolt Action International Facebook page. Immediately I got a response from Darren Evans, who works for Warlord, saying go ahead and send an email to them and they'll sort it out, even after I told him that I didn’t buy the model direct from them. So here's my tip of the hat to the Warlord guys! Absolutely brilliant service from them! Extra thanks to Lorenzo as well, who sorted out my ticket number and got my replacement parts sent out - all within 10 as well, and I'm in the United States! Hopefully I'll get started on the Kubelwagon shortly.

I also built my 57mm Airborne AT gun. Again, just built and primed, still lots to go.

I also began work on my Historicon figure of Richard Winters from Band of Brothers. Another really great model and likeness to Damian Lewis, who portrayed Winters in the series.

I also finished building my Panzer IV, minus the side armour for now, and got that primed. Continuing the theme, much to do on this as well. But at least I can put it on the table if we wanted to.

I also completed the first steps in a Matchbox conversion of a Willy's Jeep. These little guys are only $3.00 to $4.00 if you can find them in the store, a bit more on Ebay, but way cheaper than "real" ones.
Again, just a basic priming and waiting for details (probably should have at least painted the tires). This is after taking the wheels and front window off. The wheels were re-glued higher up and it's amazing what a difference it makes!

The biggest thing I learned from my first BA game was, in my haste to build and paint models, I made a complete meal of a lot of the team based figures. For my Airborne army - I need to add another figure to my MMG (ordered from Warlord, hopefully here soon), I had to take a figure off my medium mortar, as the US Airborne only require a two man team. I also needed to add a figure to both my German medium mortar and medium machine gun. Oh, well. And side note, why don't Warlord make a US Airborne sniper team?!
Here's a quick photo of the board I made up for our first game. The mat is from Cigar Box, of course 4Ground buildings :), trees from Noch, Woodland Scenics, and Heki, and some homemade stone walls and hedgerows using Woodland Scenics products.

As always, thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Gooners

Loving Liverpool FC is like being in the most abusive relationship imaginable; sure there may be some amazing times, but really, when you just stop and evaluate the entirety of the relationship it is nothing but pain and anguish. This is me and Liverpool. I know that I should just walk away and be with Arsenal; they play entertaining football, and how I like to play when I myself am on the field.

Why can't I just quit you Liverpool?

Anyway, next up for Corner Kick is Arsenal.  I chose Arsenal for the above reasons and also because I have several friends who are huge Gooners fans; my hope is that I can get them out to the farmstead to play a few games here soon.

Clean up, basing and filling. I really should have done more work on the hair of a lot of the figures; many have long hair which just isn't the look of players today.

Primed, skin tones finished, and the bases completed with Woodland Scenics grass.

And above is the finished product. I unfortunately couldn't make the shorts numbers red.

But, more importantly, I was able to make a helmet for Petr Cech. Which I'm super pleased with!

I think this is my favorite pose, and the reason why I made this figure Santi Cazorla; here he is captain's armband and all.

I made an attempt at painting a ball as close as I could to this years Nike Premier League ball. Again, pretty happy with the end result.

Overall, really happy with another squad finished. My only frustration would be the hair on several figures, as I mentioned at the top. Ultimately though, I guess that's on me, as I could have made some customizations to them.

Next up is United, though I think I may end up finishing some Bolt Action items I've had set to the side first. I've got the BA bug again, and started to assemble a kubelwagon a few days ago...

As always, thanks for looking.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Manchester City Complete

I finished with Manchester City today; same as I did with Liverpool, I added numbers to the front of the shorts and also added Premier League patches on each figures shoulders.

Liverpool and Manchester City in the opening match of the season!

Arsenal is on the painting table, halfway complete. Hopefully I'll get them done in the next few days, and then on to Manchester United.

As always,
thanks for looking!