Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kickstarter: Gunfighter's Ball Wild West Miniatures Game

I would be remiss if I did not point out this wild west Kickstarter from Knuckleduster Miniatures.
I do wish there was a level somewhere between $35 and $135 dollars though. If I participate I would join in at the lower level and just pick out stuff from the add ons. I really want the bar though, but just the bar not the whole building that goes along with it. I will attest to the quality of the miniatures though. I have the Faro set and the Poker Table set and they are fabulous. I now feel the need to pull these out and get some paint on them.

Check it out here:
Gunfighter's Ball Wild West Miniatures Game

Some seriously fabulous miniatures and painting

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

C&N Railroad Project - Pen to Paper and an Unexpected Event

Yes, I have been missing in action for a good bit of November, although its unlikely that anyone has really noticed. Starting off the first part of the month has been quite busy and while I have some draft postings waiting in the wings I have been unable to finish those quite yet. The biggest distraction was a trip to the emergency room which was diagnosed as gallstones and a "go see your doctor" directive to schedule surgery (although honestly they were willing to put me on the schedule Sunday night but he said I would probably just end up watching TV). Well I dutifully did that and saw the Doctor Tuesday morning who promptly told me that she had already asked the nurse to setup a room for me at the surgery, the gallbladder was coming out, that day if possible. The evening surgery got bumped and Wednesday morning saw me go in for routine surgery. Four small incisions, absorbable internal stitches and super glue on the outside and I was out of there. I have been in recovery mode since then. Today is the first day I have really felt pretty good, although the pain I felt through the whole thing has been pretty minimal thanks to modern day laparoscopic surgery!

I'm still reluctant to just sit down with the paints though as its easier and more comfortable to stand. So I broke out the big graph paper and settled down to make some initial sketches for the C&N. As I stated before each module can be no larger than 45"x 23". That really gives me a long and somewhat narrow mainline and of course even shorter since we will be building in O scale now. I skipped the fiddle yard section and moved to the first "real" portion of the railroad what I tentatively naming Salina. Adding industry in this area is kind of iffy, its not really that far up the canyon from Boulder and the grade on the real C&N at Salina was 7% pretty stiff for any railroad. I'm not hell bent on reality here so I'll be keeping things pretty level for the most part and a little bit of extra industry there and no one will likely no the difference.

I find a layout in the Model Railroad Planning 2011 magazine that looked like a good fit and sort of based Salina on this layout. In the meantime I also pulled out a couple of other references to sort through; Layout Design by Iain Rice (2010) and the old Building Your Next Model Railroad by Robert Schleicher (1989). I really like the Rice book because it brings all of his typical concepts together in one book with a lot more detail on how to go about things. I have been an avid follower of MRP since its inception even though I haven't had a focus on design in a long time. The Schleicher book brings together all the articles written in Model Railroading (Not Model Railroader) magazine, and there are a lot of concepts that were a bit ahead of their time back in 1989. 

So armed with that I started out on the initial sketch. Not to much to see at this point but its at least something down on paper. I started out with 24" radius curves and I would like to keep that going if I can and I'll try not to go down below 22" curves. The modules have been drawn in and a couple of track centers added for the initial curves from the fiddle yard to Salina and from Salina to the Bridges section. It looks a bit old school at this point with a steel ruler and old style compass for the circles. It would be quicker if I made some templates up especially for the turnouts to make sure that what I draw will actually fit.

If you click on the picture for a bigger version you can make out some of my initial penciled in notes and the two large circles that represent 24" radius curves. The compass was my Dad's during his college days and is older than me!

Everything you wanted to know from Iain Rice in one place. Despite his ability to squeeze in track that actually can't be replicated I like his style and his concepts.

There is always an idea or two I can take away from MRP. I always seem to have one or two laying around for quick reading. I subscribe to the Layout Design Journal as well but they aren't always as readable as MRP.

This is my second copy of the this book as I wore the first one out. Some great ideas and concepts were definitely ahead of their time back in 1989. I think the series of articles on  building this layout were sometime between 1984-1986 in Model Railroading.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Clue Collection - 2015 Clue

I"m guessing I missed a release as this one has a copyright date of 2015. The 2013 edition featured a double board, so there were two places that the murder takes place in, much like the Game of Thrones edition. This edition goes back to the single board but we see a character dropped, Mrs White, and a character added, Dr Orchid. Nothing particularly special there since there are no special character cards in this edition of the game. We do get some very nice dynamic artwork on the cards though which is always nice to see. We all see the return of the clue cards, nine cards that are drawn whenever you roll the magnifying glass symbol on the dice. You select the card immediately and read it out loud and take the appropriate action. So new artwork on the cards, a new set of dice, but there are no changes in the weapon tokens. A nice addition to the collection and a good looking game.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture here

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

World War II Project - Basing the Germans

With the expectation of the Badger primers arriving this week I went ahead and started preparing the Germans for painting. I have been going back and forth on what bases to use for this. My British Airborne are already mounted on 25mm rounds which settles that part of the equation. I don't like the look of tall bases on the table so I want something that's a lower profile. I have some 1.5mm plywood bases from Litko that were going to be my first choice, but I would need a lot of filler to hide the base of the figure and I had no intention of cutting all those troops off their bases. I started rummaging through my base box and I found a bag of 25mm round bases from Proxie Models. These are low profile with a slight lip which I think are ideal for this. I kept digging and found two unopened bags and about half of another. These are the bases I use for Calamity but I haven't worked on any minis for that for a while and I forgot I had them.

That takes care of the regular standing troops, but I need larger bases for the teams. I pulled out some 60mm Litko bases to get an idea and arrange the teams on them to see how they look. 60mm is good for the deployed two man LMG teams and the sniper team. I need something a bit bigger for the HMG  and mortar teams. Fortunately Proxie Models is still in business so I ordered 25mm, 60mm, 75mm and 90mm rounds. Hopefully those will arrive shortly, they have been pretty quick in the past.

In the mean time I have based and added the fill to the regular German troops.

Standing troops mounted on the Proxie Models 25mm bases.

Here is the 60mm Litko base (1.5mm plywood) for a two man team. I suppose I might be able to fit this on a 40mm round

The deployed LMG on the 60mm base looks pretty good though with room for some scenery

The mortar team looks a little tight, especially if I want to include some scenic elements on the base.

The HMG team looks really tight though.

I have two jars of stuff from Liquitex, Resin Sand and Natural Sand and I can never remember which one I like the best.
This gunner's base is filled with the Resin Sand

The ammo carrier's base is filled with the Natural Sand

The first batch of Germans with the Resin Sand, which has a nice rougher texture

The whole group sans the team

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

World War II Project - Brigade Games German Infantry III

The is the last of my Germans from the Brigade Games kickstarter. This batch is primarily support weapons; 81mm Mortar and crew, MG42 on Tripod and crew, sniper team and panzerschrecks. I also picked up another set of German NCOs (which I probably don't need) and MG42 teams. The MG42 teams give me the flexibility to use these as either regular infantry or as panzer grenadiers.

The only thing that really came out wrong was the Panzerschreck team came with US heads, but a quick check of the Bazooka bag showed that they had German heads so it worked out in the end. Although quite frankly I have plenty of heads for just about any eventuality.  The only other issue as such were the legs for the mortar which were pretty mangled in the package.

With everything cleaned up I'll get everyone mounted up on painting sticks and they should be ready for priming as soon as the new primers arrive. I'm going to give James Wappel's shaded basecoat a try and see how quickly I can get these guys ready for the table.

Today's work:

German 81mm Mortar and 4 crew

MG42 in Heavy MG role


Sniper Team, no separate heads for this team!

The whole lot
From left to right: NCOs, Panzerschrecks, Mortar Team, Sniper Team, MG42 Team and the LMG teams

Friday, October 27, 2017

AWI Project - Basing a First Look

With a few painted AWI Continentals under my belt I felt like it was time to see if the base sizes I had figured out were really going to work or not. Since my current idea is to use Regimental Fire and Fury I wanted to use the base sizes from those rules for the AWI. That means converting the base sizes from 15mm to 28mm. I put it all in a spreadsheet and let it do the calculations. What I arrived at was a base with a frontage of 40mm and a depth of 30mm (which were rounded up from the actual calculated number to get to a base size that would be commercially available, in this case from Litko). Since I fully intend to provide both sides of the conflict I decided that these seemed like a reasonable size for the infantry bases.

Now the moment of truth. Here are the Perry plastic AWI miniatures on the 40x30 bases. Its pretty tight but certainly workable, although there will not be a lot of room for the "diorama" style basing that seems to be so popular these days. It does, however, suggest a pretty good massed formation and I'm happy with that.

Five bases ready for some miniatures

Not a whole lot of wiggle room there, but I think there is enough to make sure that everything can square up against bases on either side.
Two stands ready to move out. I'm liking the look here.

And a look with a command base taking up the center position. I have a couple of other ideas for this so I'm not sure this will be the final look for a command base or not.
Now confident that the Perry Miniatures would look pretty good on these bases I pulled out some Fife and Drum miniatures to see how those would look.

The slightly smaller Fife and Drum miniatures are going to look just fine on these bases.
There are a number of markers that are used in the FnF rules. Here's a look at the base size I'll be using for those. They should stand out nicely on the table without over powering everything around them.
The stand for a Exceptional Brigade Commander

An out of ammo marker.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ReaperCon 2017 - Whirlwind Tour

ReaperCon did actually happen this year contrary to my lack of posting about it. We were all set to go when our petsitter flacked out on us which set a quite a problem for us. Hobbes is the oldest of the four dogs, a Great Pyrenees that is pushing 13 years old. His hips are shot and I would not even consider putting him a kennel at this point let alone trying to transport him. Its hard to lift a dog that size into the back of a Jeep. So that pretty much nixed driving done to the convention the way we had planned.

It would be hard to completely skip ReaperCon. I handle the vendors, help with the judging and, of course, run the auction. My wife suggested that we just go down for Sunday, so that's what we did. We left Denver on 6am flight on Sunday morning and came back home on a 10pm flight Sunday evening. 

Uneventful flights, always good. Took a Lyft ride from DFW to Lewisville, not so good, the driver managed to get lost even with GPS mapping. She managed to leave via the south entrance to DFW rather than the north entrance and doubled the travel distance. We did manage to arrive safely though. I checked in with my vendors all of whom had a great show, that's always good to hear. Just about everyone wants to come back for next year so I'm going to start off with a pretty full vendor area right off the bat for 2018. And yes I do think that far ahead for conventions.

The auction was great, it is still my favorite auction to do. The hall remained full till just about the end of the auction and the audience was great. There was a ton of stuff donated by Reaper from Bone 3 including some items that are were still in the fullfillment bags, because there is not yet retail packaging for them, Badger gave donated a bunch of airbrushes, primer sets and starter paint sets that had the crowd drooling. All in all a great auction and a great day at ReaperCon. While I made an effort to track down everyone I know, I missed a bunch of regulars anyway. It was good to at least attend for a single day.

By the time I got there most of the contest entries were gone and I didn't bother taking any shots of the hall, although the configuration was a lot different this time. Fortunately some of the best ones were by instructors and then tend to 

Michael Proctor
Third in Best in Show

Michael Proctor

Derek Schubert. This is an old one but it really pulls off the whole underwater effect quite nicely.

Brice Cocanour
Sophie Gold in Dioramas

David Diamondstone
 I love the effect of the slanted floor, nicely done. 

Sophie Bronze in Painters

I really do love these flats, this is built up from scratch. Noel Meyer

Jessica Rich, this one is quite different from what she has been entering over the past few years

Erin Hartwell, another mirror piece, her freehand is really stepping up.