Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week Six and Seven

I have been away doing all sorts of fun and exciting things. Actually not. The highlight of the last two weeks was the painting "jag" I got into right before I departed. Now I am back and hope to get back into the swing of painting and playing.
Since I have nothing exciting to report and no cool pictures of anything interesting, I dug up two animated shorts. The first up is Zombie Smith's Quar video ( which I found to be quite well done. Zombie Smith ( has an interesting collection of figures. Foremost is the Quar range covering a massive civil war between the same named species. Elements of the war are very World War One. The figures are represented in both 15mm and 28mm. Two Hour Wargame's 5150 covers the race and it's FREE ( Zombie Smith also has or will have a set of dedicated rules.
The next animated short is Birchbark Heroes ( A spoof of the party killer dungeon of old known as Tomb of Horrors. I found it interesting to watch. I recall reading this dungeon many years ago when I played 1st edition D&D and AD&D anal the while knowing the module was unplayable...yet like all horror-like things, it lurks on.
With all of my traveling, ditch digging and the like, I had time to think. I had no internet except for my phone, so I tended to surf and explore sites with readable content versus flashy images. One site I settled on was Wizards of the Coast as D&D still holds a place in my heart. I originally went there hoping to find out about D&D figures and Star Wars figures (both lines sadly discontinued). I also hoped that they would be making Gamma World figures as the game was just re-released. I like their figures and find they repaint very well. I have scads and scads of the rank and file. Much of my Star Wars collection paid for itself by my willingness to sell off the extra Darth Vaders, Luke's and R2D2-s (how many do you need?). I also got a pile of the D&D figures almost free by selling off the named characters to finance the bulk. The only problem is organizing the myriads. My son and I did the same thing with Halo and HorrorClix.
Well, it seems Wizards has had some success in pushing out 4th edition D&D beyond the usual gaming crowd. It also seems they have realized that RPG's are hard to play if you have other things in your life. So they have created 4eD&D Encounters where you go to a store every Wednesday and play for 90 minutes. I signed up for a session on Wednesday afternoon. I was going to arrive back in NY near a store and go straight from the airport. Nope. Traffic on the way to the airport and Jetblue's rigidity did me for that (they refused to check me in 29 minutes before the flight departed)...anyway, that's another story. If this Encounter thing sounds good to you, log on to the Wizard's Game finder ( and make sure you modify the to include Encounters Finder ( Oh, and if Avalon Hill games are more your speed, the Wizards Game finder searches for locations that play those...
I got home to some mini-disasters that had to be fixed or repaired. Now my free time is devoted to the basement and bathroom renovations. Yup, two at a time. Both are nearing completion. Next week will be a better post.

Boardgames, Card games and Role Playing Games Played:
Tunnels and Trolls--yup. good old T&T is still around. It seems they are on version 7.5 which comes with adventures, markers, maps, etc. Right before I went away, I was opening a box from the move (yes, I still have unopened boxes 1 1/2 years later). Well, I found my T&T stuff. I have played this off and on since it came out in 1977. In my little pile of T&T stuff are some compact solo adventures, rules and all the size of a paperback book. I tossed one and some dice into my pack. One afternoon, I found myself inexplicably free, so I dug out my first level fighter Thrudd (not a very imaginative name but he matched the stats for him when I rolled him up). Well, the adventure I played was Sword for Hire. Blue Frog Tavern is in the book also. naturally, Thrudd went off and hired himself out to map a dungeon under a wizard's tower. I survived and prospered. In the end I split my treasure with a Rock Demon (he helped me several times) and refused to give back a magic dagger and 10% of my treasure to the bilking Wizard who hired me. The treasure and the dagger were supposed to be mine for the service rendered. I did survive the blast (barely) and the wizard went away. Oh, and I have no hair and green skin due to a curse (Charisma Two fro the next six months). Now to play the next adventure: Blue Frog Tavern.

My Hotz Mats are missing...I never had problems with them before but this time it looks like I may have to come up with another mat for a Cold Wars game...stay tuned.

South American Wars of Liberation: Warmodeling says that my Mountain Guns are tied up in customs. I am running out of time to paint them for a convention game. I bought the one the US supplier had and ordered the rest from Spain in early December! Warmodeling has always been fast...

Painting and Painters:
Here's what I completed, based and varnished right before I went away:
Twelve Star Trek engineers.
Six Star Trek Marines in away gear.
One Star Trek Marine in light gear
Four GW Void Field Generators
One Large Robot (I think it is a Mage Knight figure rebased and painted)
Two Cthulu-esque creatures manufacturer unknown.
Unfortunately no photos as my battery is still in shipping limbo...perhaps it's hanging out with my Mountain Guns.

Doctor Merkury's Lab ( had a great AOR of a Where Heroes' Dare game. I played this last year. If you see it a a convention, play it. The scenario is great!

Din Of Battle continues to narrate a Boxer Rebellion campaign ( I am inspired by their Chinese village. Many of the buildings arte quite good. There are a few anachronistic items, but hey! The effect is great. When my basement renovation is complete, this might be the sort of thing I start working 15mm. As for 28mm, I have my eyes open looking for a few good skirmish buildings.

Lord Ashram's House of War has a great 15mm Old West game set up (

Sunday, February 13, 2011

China seems to be in the cards this week. Stan sent me the Chinese contingent for Deadlands(see earlier post), I finished an article about the Dutch in China in the 17th Century and one of my favorite Blogs ran a great AOR of a battle in a Boxer Rebellion campaign. Read on...

Blue Moon is roaring along. I cut this from a series of strings on The Miniatures Page ( It also tacks a conversation or two I have had with some of you about Blue Moon, Old Glory and 15mm. This direct from Russ Dunaway, owner of Old Glory:
"...[t]he ACW range has a list that includes over 90 codes...will be completed before years end...boasts over 400 sculpts. Also, the AWI range is well under way and most of it will be available at [C]old [W]ars...The planned releases for this year include massive Nappies, deep dark Africa, the streets of Chicago gangster range including buildings,and a entire horror range which will include a [D]raculas castle, [L]ondon steets and Translvanian (sic) village. I am stoked as we are back to my own personal 1st love --15/18MM. The quality on these figures is so great that I feel they are as good as 28s and the gaming table and the wallet just got a whole lot bigger.
Russ Dunaway"

Personally, I think that is great news. I have bunches of 15mm figures, buildings and terrain. It is only gradually over the last ten years that I have added to my 28mm. I enjoy the 15mm look as it allows you to set up sweeping vistas for the Wild West, roads and villages for wars of maneuver, multiple scenes on one tabletop if playing through narrative games, tank platoons look good in 15mm oin a reasonable table, etc. Perhaps this terrain thing comes from finding the hobby through model trains--my grandfather had model trains and so did I until my uncle showed me a "cooler" thing we could do while he was at work with his Airfix figures...and that, was that. I like 28mm for the characterization and the "zoom-into-the-scene" but I will always like 15mm. Not to mention, they cost less and store smaller which are important from someone who has a myriad of periods. Lastly, I feel more comfortable terrain and building modeling in the 15mm scale.

The only down-side to the post above is that the scale diversity among 15mm figures has gotten as bad as that among the 28mm figures. One of these days I will have to create a master figure guide which has one figure from each manufacturer showing whose figures you can use. This scale creep thing is what made me choose 15mm WW2 over 20mm many, many years ago. It irked me that my Hanomags varied by the manufacturer. I guess 15mm has finally matured as this seems to be a common discussion point in 15mm land.

Miniature Games:
I played part two of the Squad Leader scenario (Seize and Hold the village at the crossroads) at Mike's house. I was late so my Combat Engineer force was given to Jimmy and his son. They did a fantastic time chewing up the German relief column. It was fun to see. I was very happy with my command--Mike and Freddy gave me two tank platoons; should I say the remnants of two tank platoons--two tanks ( T-34 and a KV-1). I had a great time with them even though I lost the KV-1 very early. It was a great time playing cat and mouse with the German armor and Hanomags in the streets and surrounding woods, not to mention the forest of wrecks. Meanwhile Mike and Freddy fought to hold the town. A complete victory was not the Russian's as it became almost impossible to winkle the last Germans out of a ruined stone building. I must say, Freddy's commander was sent to a Gulag in the end for failing to maintain and resupply his forces: he ran out of ammo or jammed five (possibly six) tank guns and countless support culminated with Mike bouncing a die off his head. Freddy's dice were cold, nay arctic. Angelo, Vic and Mitch gave a great game. Thanks! It ranks up there with one of the better scenarios for early war Russian Front have ever played on a board and on the tabletop. Frankly, I always liked Squad Leader and I still do...

Previously I posted a picture of the Radioactive waste dump I completed. The other pictures of figures and terrain did not really show up on the iPhone very well, so I deleted them. It's hard to see it but I painted the water in a swirling mottled green sludge more than water. Additionally, I used water effect to make it look both wet and two currents of waste slowly flowing together. As soon as the rechargeable battery comes, I will start using the camera...anyway, I hope you like it.

I looked at Peter Pig's Giant Martians for consideration later this year. I have collected the Black Hat line over the years. The line is great. I have much of it painted and playable. No Prussians or Home Service Brits, though. When the time came to do their Giant Martians, I was unpleasantly surprised that the figures seemed to be reconstituted 25mm; the whole feel and look is wrong for the 15mm figures of the line. Thus, depending on how projects go this year, Peter Pig's Green Martians will provide a small TSATF force.
French Revolution: (See earlier post).
South American Wars of Liberation:
Delays and roadblocks is the best descriptor:
1) Where are the rest of my Mountain Guns? I need them to go on a trip with me to paint.
2) I also have a mat from Hotz Mats that is long overdue--I know others have had this problem but Hotz has always been very fast shipper with my orders.
3) the renovation of the workshop is taking longer than I expected so I have been unable to use my are to sculpt some slopes I wanted for the future. Frustrating.

Painting and Painters:
Finally, I seem to have gotten back into a painting groove. Last week was a bunch of terrain cluttering up my painting table. This week I have been working on the figures. First completed were three 28mm Xeogs (, a very tough blueskinned female similar to Zotoh Zhann of Farscape ( but brought to my consciousness first in 5150's expansion, Illegal Aliens ( Next completed was an old (very old) GW Ork Commando; the figure is dressed in WW2 British Commando garb. Then, I completed a much newer GW cherub carrying a bolter for an Inquisitor. Work continues on the following 28mm figures:
Eight Apes with Guns
Twenty Assorted SciFi/CyberPunk Aliens & Adventurers from Space Vixens of Mars (
Two Daleks
Six Genestealers
Three Gun Towers
One Infinity Ninja
Two Klingons
Twenty Norts
Six Paranoia Robots
Two Romulans
Five Space Scouts
One Space Marine
One Splinter Cell Ninja
Thrudd the Barbarian
One Troll
Venus Blue Genes

Work continues on the following 15mm:
South American Patriot Mountain Guns with Guns, Crew and Mules packed (limbered?) and ready to fire but I am struggling with how I want to base these...

Work continues on the following 6mm:
NAC Anti-Ogre Task Force
1 x Artillery Battery
4 x Emplacments
6 x Squads of Infantry
14 x Vehicles

Stan Johansen continues to work away on my Deadlands stuff (see earlier post). The figures are mostly from the Iron Dragon Railroad. My undertanding is the force is supposed to be Chinese but the author and sculptors have created a 1990's version of a hybrid Asian army made of odds and ends from various cinematic periods and countries. Stan completed the wizard (Chinese), the Demolitionist (?), an oriental Ogre (hardly the Japanese one of mytholgy and rather more of a Greco-Japanese hybrid), five Samurai (with Chinese swords?), five sappers(Vietnamese?), and five martial artists (a cinematic mix of weapons from China, Japan and Okinawa). Mentioned in the fluff is a unit that I would like to find: a group of Seven (could it be THE Seven) Samurai as they are a named force as a hero contingent. I would also like to add and some rank and file that match the style. Oh, and how did they forget Ninjas? Criticism aside, the army looks like a fun one. I will have to add to it but need to find castings that work (style) and fit (size). Perhaps the MegaMinis Ninjas and Martial Artists will fit size and style...I will keep you posted.

Last week I mentioned the Arquebusier, a journal from the Pike and Shot Society but forgot to mentione the article that I found exceedingly enjoyable: The Fall of the Dutch on Formosa in 1661-1662 by Michael Fredholm von Essen. It is a ripping good tale of the Dutch getting into a massive war between the Manchus (in the process of conquering China) and the last genuine Ming loyalists, the half-Japanese Pirate King Coxinga. All sorts of craziness and diverse troop types including Tigermen, the Iron Swords ( a scle armored heavy sword Chinese unit), and the Black Guard (Christianised African elite matchlockmen). This fight has it all skirmishes, raids, battles, sea battles, cutting out parties and sieges. It was a fun read and has potential for a mini-campaign...some day.

Din of Battle has a fun series of AOR about a Boxer Rebellion campaign. I have enjoyed following the campaign but found this particular episode very enjoyable. ( It almost got me fired up to re-start my Boxers (15mm) or even add a few 28mm skirmish. Almost, but I promised myself that 2011 was about four things: 1) South American Wars of Independence; 2) Finishing mini-projects on my painting table; 3) Basing and Playing with my Renaissance stuff; and, 4) The French Revolution. But, it has been a fun read with great figures and terrain.

Khurasan has a great new release coming, the Chinantecs ( to add to my ever growing 16th Century Americas collection. I will have to put these on the short list. Right after I finish the Chichimecs I bought lat year...that's how

Last week, I misnamed a podcast last week. I said Beer and Battle but it actually was Dragons and Flagons ( BandB is ok but Dragons and Flagons is the one that had the Gamma World sessions.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I have been engaged in an ongoing correspondence with Richard Clewer of Magister Militum about the 15mm French Revolution miniature line. It seems that he has added a few new units to the French (cavalry and limbers, caissons and wagons). In addition, he will be adding limbers, caissons & wagons for the Austrians and Prussians. Over the next year it is his goal to add more or update the collections over the next year. The additions will also be occurring in the later napoleonic collections. The Revolutionary era (1794-1802) additions are great news to me as I hope to continue to complete more of my ever growing collection. I forgot to ask when the additions will appear on the website, but I know some are already available to order...he is also considering adding British and Russians.

Here's the link to the collection: (

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Deadlands Monsters and Iron Dragon on the way...

Stan Johanesen continues to work away on my Deadlands stuff. The figures are mostly from the Iron Dragon contingent, a quasi-Chinese Japanese railroad Completed are the wizard, the demolitionist, five Samurai, five sappers, and five martial artists. I would like to find a pack of Seven (could it be THE Seven) Samurai as they are a named force as a hero contingent.and some rank and file that match the style. The bummer on this line is the manufacturer is truly UNDEPENDABLE. It took me almost a year to get the line 95% completed and a return of the money for the three items he never could seem to ship. Only buy the Deadlands stuff in the here-and-now...

Monsters: There were several monsters in the pack: an oriental Ogre (hardly the Japanese one of mythology and rather more of a Greco-Japanese hybrid), a Sasquatch, a Wendigo, a Grizzly and a Hunger Spirit (I think).

There also was a pack of Atomic Cafe zombies in the box...enjoy the pictures:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week Four

Friday saw a senior moment when I forgot Mike's game was that night. I was wandering around with not much to do, so I agreed to a game of Scrabble with my wife and her friend. Luckily, Mike called to inquire to my whereabouts and I escaped. Angelo had devised a scenario that had me slotted for a turn four appearance, so I was able to make it without holding the crew up too badly. The battle was another Squad Leader Eastern Front action. I found myself commanding two Combat Engineer platoons, one T-34 platoon and a KV-1 platoon. My unit came in on the flank of a German assault. We helped to stop the rapid advance. A quick tank battle resulted in a bunch of blasted tanks, Germans and Russians. Both sides then settled down into a game of hide and seek. I winkled the engineers into a blocking position. The German infantry and I started a slogging match amongst a bunch of smoking hulks. Unfortunately, the game ended before I could take a long shot at some Hanomags the Germans were scooting across the opposite flank. I also had a bunch of broken German squads and leaders that were wanting execution but for the covering platoons. Tempting targets, the all. Good game.

Miniature Games played this week:
Squad Leader (see above) still remains one of my favorite World War Two games. I had not played the game since the late-80's but still am amazed at how much of it is coming back. Once I finish my basement renovation, I am going to have to dismantle some more boxes and find my SL stuff. It is a great boardgame and a great miniature game. Just enough detail for the treadhead/rivet counters and a very workable play style that rewards accurate period tactics and PUNISHES mistakes. I have figures I could use for a table top version of this both in 6mm and 15mm stuff, but I just cannot decide which scale to use. Later this year I will have to play around with it. There are also the 10mm lines that would work for the game. Hard choices:
6mm--great but small. You could play with smaller tables or use 4" hexes and have a 1:1 for the infantry. Support weapons and leaders need a different base as they are hard to differentiate by casting. Vehicles can be done in a variety of paint schemes by theater, loaded, etc. as they are cheap and easy to paint for the little amount you actually need for the scenarios.
10mm--Somewhere between 6mm and 10mm as they paint faster than 15mm but cost more than 6mm. Visually, castings are easier to discern the support weapons. Could be played with 3" so the size of the table is a bit larger; but the look gets better.
15mm--Visually, the best; but 4" hexes are needed. And my 15mm stuff is all based for skirmish. I have the most terrain for this scale.
At first glance, it looks like I need to play around with my hex mats and figures and see which scale appeals to my visual preferences...

I finished various terrain pieces that had been on my table and in a Moving box for some time. It felt good to completed the Nuclear Waste Dumping Pit (Old Crow?), several tank traps and barricades (all Games Workshop), two caveman tents (Acheson?) and a containment tube (manufacturer?). I wish I could tell definitively who manufactured what, but they all come from various finds in fleamarkets and eBay. I think the tents are Acheson. The resin of the Pit matches smell, style and texture of Old Crow stuff ( ) I have, so they be from there. No idea on the containment tube.
Barry sent me the Boot Hill that was featured in last week's letter, he also sent me the a Hardware store, bunches of snake rail fences, cow-high-and-pig-tight fences, concertina wire (uh-oh here's another vote for 15mm Squadleader) and one abatis for the ACW. Once again, this is some of the best terrain pieces in my collection, His modeling is superlative and his pricing is excellent (

Projects I worked on this week:
American Civil War: received boost in some fencing. I also moved some figures to the "on-deck" status for basing once the convention is over.
Carlist Wars: I ordered three packs from Warmodeling ( to round out my British and French Foreign Legion units. Grenadiers and command packs must have come out and I missed it, so I picked three bags to work on in the Spring.
Doctor Who: I have been watching a bunch of John Pertwee (the Third Doctor). He tends to mix it up with the bad guys more than the earlier Doctors; thus, his episodes lend themselves to miniature games. I have two Daleks to finish on the painting table. Perhaps Sea Devils or Unit get painted next.
Renaissance (16th Century): I dug out my copy of Spanish Fury Actions! ( as I have a hankering to play some Elizabethan skirmishes in Ireland. I have always liked the rules and the integrated system. Actions! are for fighting skirmishes in the era. There are integrated systems that allow for Battles, Sieges, Duels, Campaigns in Europe and Campaigns in the New World. I have played Actions! and like it; the rules are very command oriented. Someday I would like to play the others in the system. They also have variants for the English Civil War, Amercian Revolution, War of 1812, and Russian Revolution. They also have another system that is oriented towards Ancients and Medievals.
South American Wars of Liberation: I followed up with War Modeling to determine the whereabouts of my Mountain Guns. They should be here next week. Hopefully in time to go on a trip with me as I am running out of painting time before Cold Wars.

Painting and Painters:
Terrain got some work this week, see above. It felt good to finally finish the pieces. As for figures, I worked on basing a bunch of the clutter. I also have my final detailing to finish on these. If I can paint today and through the week I should have a pile of stuff completed by the time I go away...I also got back to the camouflage painting of an OGRE contingent. I have been using the Russin Black Sea pattern. It all started when I painted an OGRE in that fashion with a make-up sponge. It came out so well as to appear to be airbrushed. The smaller vehicles are more challenging but, I think the force will be a coherent one.

I was reading an Arquebusier, the Journal for the Pike and Shot Society ( It had some good articles. If the early Gunpowder era is your "thing" then I would subscribe to the Journal. Great discounts from various figure and book companies for period purchases.

I weeded out my BLOGs as some of them had been trending towards areas of lesser interest.

Not much here. I listened to an Actual Play session of the new Gamma world on Beer and Battle ( It seems like a fun game. I would want to play it with figures, though. So the problem would be figures in the right style and scale...and a DM..and TIME.