My Hobby Origins – and Wow – I’m on The Imperial Rebel Ork Podcast!

Last weekend I had a lot of fun being on the Imperial Rebel Ork podcast.  It was a lot of fun, and I really appreciated the opportunity.  Though the Imperial Rebel Ork himself (aka IRO) apologized for the audio quality – I thought it was fine.  Hell, we had to have our chat over quite a few miles:

Map

All 10,463 of them.

The podcast is fun (and NOT just because I was lucky enough to be on it).  Here is the link where you can access the podcast on Apple – though it’s on other platforms as well:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/imperial-rebel-ork/id1508066553

And of course IRO has an excellent blog that is well-worth following – he’s amazingly creative.

If you listen to the podcast (and YOU SHOULD 😁), it’s clear that there are some background details of our discussion that might be of some interest to you.  Basically, it’s about how I got into the hobby back in 1982 or 1983, and how I got back into it in 2015, plus where I’m at now.  So, I will share some anecdotes, pics, and links that many of you may not have seen before.

I described how I was a traditional board game wargamer – I really got my first wargame – Avalon Hill’s Afrika Korps – probably when I was 10 or 11.  Others followed, like Waterloo, and War at Sea.  Finding opponents was not easy – most of my friends and family thought these games to be uninteresting at best.  Later, at West Point, fate got me as a roommate the irrepressible Dave Wood – who was a wargamer as well!  We spent hundreds of hours playing the aforementioned games, but also especially Victory in the Pacific and Panzer Leader.

Afrika Korps
My first wargame – and I still have it ready to play after nearly 50 years.
Waterloo
Always loved this classic.
VITP & WAS
Dave Wood and I played these games hundreds of times.
Panzer Leader
A great platoon level game with decent realism.  I even acquired the France 1940 expansion.

A major influence on my hobby was to come through Dave – and that was an introduction to Buck Surdu, who was at West Point in the class behind me and Dave.  Buck had already written and had published his own sets (sets – not a set) of rules for different wargames.  My first meeting with Buck was when Dave brought me up to a session that Buck had set up in the Department of Foreign Languages classroom – it was a giant fantasy miniature battlefield covered with old 25mm Ral Partha, Grenadier, Minifig, and other miniatures.  This was set up on desks put together and covered with old US Army OD blankets as mats.  I had never seen anything like this before – and I was stunned – and hooked.  Buck had written the rules for the game as well.  Before long, both Dave and Buck were lending me figures to paint for them as I wanted to try that too.

The first units I painted for them still exist!  One was a group of Minifig halflings that Dave had that he let me paint for him.  I did not really know anything about painting with highlights, washes, or dry brushing back then.  Kindly, Dave gave them to me a few of years ago that I described here.  I flocked their bases and varnished them, but left them unchanged otherwise.

8-halfling-battalion
The Halflings!

A second unit was one I painted for Buck – a group of pig-faced Orcs that I think were from Minifig.  I decided to give them a pretty gaudy paint job – with a Captain America theme.  They were the “All-American Orcs”.  Buck still has them and took a couple shots to show them to you in all their ancient “glory”:

All American orcs 1
The All-American Orcs

All American orcs 2

Mind you, these were painted before my class graduation in May 1984, but I used no varnish back then so there are chips, and no flocking (washers were enough for me then) – but I’m happy to see them again, and humbled that Buck has kept them around.

Another unit (that I don’t have pictures of but Dave has somewhere) was a punk/new wave blue, red, and green mohawk-wearing group that I called “Paddy’s New Wave Bar and Grill Conscript Militia”.  Yup, that was a thing back then.

Also, I, Buck, Dave, Doug Morris (’85), and another ’84 classmate Ken Thrasher also had Sunday night campaigns of Tunnels and Trolls (a role-playing game that competed with Dungeons & Dragons back in the day).  The campaign I ran focused on a Balrog wizard who had dimensionally transported himself to the US in the 1960’s – and used LSD and other drugs – and then returned to rule a mountain lair replete with monsters, traps and puzzles with a 1960’s theme.  The Balrog’s name?  Why Purple Haze of course…

T & T
And I still have this too!

After graduation, I still puttered around with painting my own figures, as well as casting some in Prince August molds using – of all things – fishing lead weights.  I was deployed to Germany, and got to host Buck and a friend of his in 1987 for a couple of gaming weekends and a side trips to Paris via Verdun.  They were stationed in Italy.  Buck recently shared this blast from the past with me – a big game using Buck’s Fantasy Miniature rules with some edits that I made.  You cannot see a lot, but I made the game analogous to a Bastogne 1944 scenario – with sprites, dwarves, halflings, orcs and more.  We used stuff like lichen and Styrofoam as terrain.

game 6

Me and Buck’s friend Mike at the game in Hagenbach, West Germany.  I am wearing my 249th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) t-shirt.  I still have the card table in the back!
November 1987 Buck, Me, Ellen
Buck, myself, and my daughter Ellen.  I was a single parent 1LT in Germany.  Ellen was 2 here.  Now she’s a mom with a three year old!

Then my hobby activities slowed to a crawl.  I was a divorced single parent, then remarried, then divorced, then remarried…in the Army, then out…in many parts of the US, then more this and that…fast forward to 2015…

I had always saved all my miniatures and paints.  I knew I would eventually get back to the hobby, but when?  Well, a chimney fire required us to move a lot in the cellar during a rebuild, and my wife was moving my minis – and I said, “I’ll take care of them”.  Next thing I know I’m painting again, gaming again, and blogging about it starting back in 2015.  My first project was “The Nightmare Legion”, which only took more than three decades to complete – and was the subject of my first blog post in March of 2015,

12 Ma'kcon
Myself, Buck Surdu and Dave Wood at “Ma’k Con” (in my basement) back in 2017.  If the hobby is a crime, these are my bad influences!

On the podcast, IRO discussed a few aspects of my hobbying that you may not have seen before if you are a relative newcomer to the blog.  So, here are a few links if you want to take a gander if you’d like some context:

Casting

Duck Wader and the Star Duck Platoon

Aphids

Mark 1 Sphere Tank

Aztecs

WWII tanks using poster tack

I hope you enjoyed this romp down memory lane in conjunction with the podcast – if you have similar memories, or completely different ones – feel free to comment.

Oh yeah, if I follow or comment on your blogs, or you on mine, you all inspire me. 

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Wars of Ozz game and Kickstarter Coming June 27, 2020

Dorothy, this definitely ain’t Kansas…

This looks to be an exciting new game!  My buddy Buck Surdu has teamed up with Old Glory and Sally 4th on this project – the link is here.  It launches on June 27th, 2020.

There’s a great description at Beasts of War here’s a snippet from that page:

Wars Of Ozz Kickstarter Coming Soon

The idea is that the rules here take Baum’s world and give it a little bit of a post-apocalyptic Earth twist. Things then get even more quirky with the addition of the “Madness Bomb” which got dropped into the mix during the “Last Great War” where survivors were mutated and chaos reigned until the Wizard finally arrived.

This then all distills down into a new mass battle game with miniatures sculpted and cast by the team at Old Glory. All of the miniatures are cast in lead/tin and are you’ll be able to buy armies to build up your mass of troops as well as characters to lead them into battle.

There is more there to check out, and the miniatures look amazing.  Here’s a shot of the Pumpkin Men:

5ef317e2b3408-5ef317e2b3409Wars-Of-Ozz-Armies-3-Sally-4th.jpg

I love the Tin Men:

5ef317dd82253-5ef317dd82254Wars-Of-Ozz-Armies-2-Sally-4th.jpg-1024x519

And whatever these are – they look cool!

Wars-Of-Ozz-Armies-4-Sally-4th

Just to be clear, I have no financial stake in this whatsoever, though I will likely be diving in to get some of this stuff, as well as the rules.

Thought my followers would enjoy checking this out, what do you think?

An Eagle Has Landed…On My Scorecard!!

Well, yes – a golf post for a change  (this blog is titled Life, Golf, Miniatures & Other Distractions after all)!

Please note that normally I would not just post a mundane golf story about myself.  So, apologies in advance if I seem to be a bit self-focused here.  I would not want to be too narcissistic, but some background for the reader may help.

I have been playing golf, mostly as a hacker, since I was 12.   My late grandfather (who drove an M24 tank in WWII and was a hero of mine) got me started.  He was absolutely terrible – he would be lucky to break 110 or even 120 for 18 holes.  He did imbue me with a love of the greatest game – and I carry that with me to this day.  I still have golf balls of his that I carry in my bag to honor his gift to me.

In the Army, I played when I could, and even joined clubs at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, at Ft. Belvoir, VA, and even the Canadian Forces course at Lahr in Germany.  That Canadian course was fun as for one you had CF-18 fighters zooming overhead (quite low) and secondly it was the only place to be able to get Canadian beer like Labatts (the Germans would not allow it to be sold and the US had only American and German beer for sale at the Class VI store).  I left the Army in 1992, and I did not play very often until 1998.

At that point I had moved to East Brookfield, MA, and was happy to discover that there was a golf course 0.3 miles away!  The first tee was closer to my house than it was to the first green!  That was Bay Path Golf Course – and I was a member there for 21 years.  I was playing nearly 70 rounds a year (mostly at Bay Path), which is a lot when you consider that our Massachusetts weather is only good for golf from April to October for the most part.  I kept a spreadsheet of all my scores, just to track progress and focus on improving. One goal eluded me, that being getting an eagle.

For those of you non-golfers, an eagle (not to be confused with my Eagle Warriors) is a score that is two shots under par.  On a par three, it would be a hole-in-one.  On a par 4, it would be a 2, etc.  At Bay Path, it became a running joke that I had not gotten an eagle, even just from luck.  I came close several times, only to be denied.  I even hosted a pool for charity where members could bet whether I would get an eagle that year or not.  Most all bet “not” by the way.  Last year, Bay Path closed (sadly), forcing me to join a new club, Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA. It’s about a 15 minute drive from home.  It’s a nice club, but a much more difficult course than Bay Path.

According to my spreadsheet, by last Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, I had taken 115,136 plus strokes since 1999 with never an eagle.  That equates to 1,293 rounds – not including any scrambles by the way,  So effectively, that’s about 5,172 hours of golf – or 215.5 days of golf!  Many birdies, but no eagles!

stats (2)
Data as of the morning of 6/9/2020

Even more sadly, play was delayed here because of COVID-19.  So while normally I would try to play in March or April, I did not get to play or even practice until late May.  My game does not rely on any real talent – it’s based on hard work and practice.  I also track my golf progress here for myself on the blog (see the main menu as well).  So I had little expectations about early play and knocking off any rust.

There is a group that plays on Tuesdays at Quail that I joined up with called “Pit’s Crew” after the guy that runs it, Pit Caron.  We play a 4-man scramble.  On June 9th, we approached the 3rd hole, a par-4, 249 yard hole.  I was the “B” player, and drove my ball right next to the green on the left fringe – maybe three feet off of it.  For me this was a very good result as the fairway is quite narrow and the green is guarded by a deep bunker in the front.  I then used my 56 degree wedge and chipped my second shot – it went up, up – it rolled – and plunk, it dropped in nicely!

EAGLE!!!!!

I was happy that one of my teammates was a fellow former Bay Path golfer, Jim Kularski, who was our “A” man.  It was gratifying that he got to see me accomplish something that he knew well that I had been trying to get for so very long.  I also had on lucky golf gear from my West Point reunion last year.  While it was a scramble, I played the same ball (a found Titleist Pro-V1 that I was using so as not to lose one of my preferred Titleist ProV1X’s), from the same position, so I am counting the eagle as having been my first.  After all, at this pace, my next one will be in 2060 when I am 98…

Oh yeah, we also came in first place out of 18 teams.

So here’s some pics (thanks to Jim Kularski for the pictures – again, more to commemorate than to brag – but like I always say – it ain’t braggin’ if ya do it!

1 Eagle in!
IT’S IN THE HOLE FOR AN EAGLE 2!  (note the mask too!)  I am holding my putter along with my wedge – no need for the putter on that hole that day!
2 Get the Eagle ball!
Get that ball for safekeeping!
3 Get the Eagle ball!
I was sooooo happy to pull this ball from the hole!  And nice Army hat huh?
4 it's a 2!
It’s a two!
5 HAPPY!
Unfortunately I could NOT stop smiling for days!

Thanks for indulging me by looking!

Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors from Wargames Foundry

Readers of this blog have seen that I have been building a large force (Aztecs, Conquistadores, and others) for the 16th Century Spanish Conquest of Mesoamerica for the upcoming game of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol™.  This game is exciting for me as I got to write the supplement for this period (“Civilizations Collide”).  I invested in a number of figures, and I have a need to push myself production-wise, without sacrificing quality.  I had two blisters each (AZ017 “Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors” and AZ023 “Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warriors”) from Wargames Foundry.

Those Aztec names just roll off of your tongue so easily don’t they!  There were two Ixtlilxochitl’s – Ixtlilxochitl I was a Chichimec leader who fought against the Aztecs of the Triple Alliance, and Ixtlilxochitl II was his grandson who fought against Montezuma II.  So they were Aztecs – just not the ones that fought Cortes and the Conquistadores.  Cuauhtli means “Eagle”, but these so designated are not Eagle Warriors.  So, the names chosen by Wargames Foundry for the blisters sound Aztec, but are a bit off historically.  Still, the sculpts are great.

These metal figures were sculpted by Josef Ochmann and are 28mm in scale.  They are available in the US from Badger Games and from Wargames Foundry internationally.  Each of the two blister packs had 6 figures leaving me with 24 figures – with 12 of them being duplicates.  Similar to what I did with the Novice Warriors, I decided to differentiate them by both a color theme and by their shield designs.

As I had finished 24 figures previously, this project would effectively double my Aztecs – hence I am doubling down.

I also had a few technical goals here for this project.  One was to improve upon my painting of flesh tones on the models.  The second goal was to attempt to improve my shields by freehand painting historically accurate and authentic shield designs.  The last goal was to try better to use contrast medium to thin contrast paints on these figures.  As always, dear reader, you may be the judge and jury on that – and I am open to how well or how poorly you think I did here.  I find that sometimes when I am doing a platoon-sized project, I can easily overlook mistakes that would not be overlooked when doing a smaller group or even an individual figure.  Hopefully, I was able to catch any errors.

This will be a photo-heavy post.  I’ll share some WIP and some eye candy of the finished figures, along with the list of paints used here.  To do 24 figures at a time can make quite a list as you will see at the end of this blog post.

Figure Prep and Priming

1 mounted group for painting
The group here is mounted for painting.  I label the vials and the base bottoms, and I had a matrix for keeping the colors straight on all of these so as to make them realistic enough and to help with tabletop identification.  I needed this as historically each Aztec warrior’s uniform was unique to the status of that warrior, and based upon his individual accomplishments in battle, as opposed to the unit to which he belonged.  The elite units were the exception to this – these are of course veterans warriors, not elites.
2 Contrast painting blending
I must give a nod and thanks to my blog buddy Azazel’s suggestion as to how to use contrast medium, I did the above.  Basically I placed a drop of the contrast medium next to some of the contrast paint on the palette, and drew them together to get the shade I wanted.  I did this with flesh here (also used Gulliman here as the main flesh contrast paint instead of Fyrestarter) as well) – and it really was helpful.  Check out Azazel’s blog too – his stuff is really good!

There were a few problematic mold lines – most I caught and filed/fixed but some were on the figure’s faces like below.  To eradicate some mold lines, I would have had to nuke the face, which I did not want to do.  In the end, I think I minimized most of the more egregious mold lines.

The shields that came with the blisters was more than sufficient.  For the 24 figures, I needed an additional 18 shields for figures that did not have one.  I also had leftover shields from the Novice Warrior project that I saved – so I ended up painting 29 shields.  It was a good chance to try some new techniques and practice with some different Aztec designs (of which there are many luckily).  The most difficult type to paint were the type that were cloth-covered types with “crenelated” surfaces (as on those the paint flows into the shields’ low areas).  I also had to be careful when painting both sides so as to protect the previous coats of paint.  Using diluted satin varnish between side swapping helped to protect the work, but I still did need to go back over the shields and touch them up.  In the end, I was happy with the results and will save the extras for future use.

3 finished shields
My shields completed and ready to mount.  Thankfully, I got a shipment of Windsor & Newton brushes (0000) which was a must for my freehand work here!
6 finished!
The group shown here freshly off of their specimen jars.  They have been flocked and are ready for some eye candy shots.

Eye Candy

First, here are Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors – there are 6 poses with two of each painted.  One was “blue-themed” and one was “red themed”, mainly to add to tabletop differentiation in addition to the shields.

Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 1 – armed with an atlatl

Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 2 – armed with a macuahuitl

Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 3 – armed with a cuauhololli

Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 4 – armed with a macuahuitl

Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 5 – armed with a macuahuitl

Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warrior 6 – armed with a tepoztopilli

 

8 AZ017 Group shot - red themed
Here are the warriors from the “blue-themed” blister pack of Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors assembled for battle.
7 AZ017 Group shot - blue themed
The “red-themed” blister pack  of Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors defending the temple.
9 all AZ017 group
Ixtlilxochitl’s Veteran Warriors (all 12).

Secondly, here are Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warriors – there are also 6 poses with two of each painted.  Once again, I painted 6 as “blue-themed” and 6 as “red themed” in addition to the shields.

Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 1 – armed with a macuahuitl

Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 2 – armed with a macuahuitl

Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 3 – armed with a macuahuitl

Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 4 – armed with a macuahuitl

Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 5 – armed with a tepoztopilli

Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warrior 6 – armed with a macuahuitl

7 AZ023 Group shot - blue themed
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warriors in the “blue theme” moving out.

 

8 AZ023 Group shot - red themed
Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warriors in the “red theme” form up for battle.
9 AZ023 Group shot - all AZ023
All 12 Cuauhtli’s Veteran Warriors in the desert.

I enjoyed painting these – though I do not think that I will be doubling down with a project of 48 at a time – “a man’s gotta know his limitations” as Dirty Harry so eloquently said.

Here’s the 24 all together:

All AZ017 and AZ023

Oh yeah, I also just got a set of Feudal Patrol™ cards from Buck as a gift – try and guess which deck backings are my current favorites?

0 Feudal Patrol Decks

Hope that you enjoyed the post and the minis – if not, let me know – if yes, the same.

Until next time – take care and stay safe all!
Posts on Units for my 16th Century Spanish Conquest Supplement for Feudal Patrol™ – “Civilizations Collide”

  1. Doubling Down – Aztec Veteran Warriors (this post) – 24 Aztec Veteran Warriors
  2. Aztec Arrow Knights, Ral Partha circa 1988 – 6 Aztec Arrow Knights
  3. Aztec Eagle Warriors from Tin Soldier UK – 6 Aztec Eagle Knights
  4. Aztec Novice Warriors and a few Frinx – 12 Novice Warriors

Total figures to date for this project:  48 Aztecs

All Aztecs as of May 31, 2020

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE AZTEC VETERAN WARRIORS:

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. 1/8″ x 1″ Everbilt Fender Washers
  3. E6000 Epoxy
  4. Poster tack and plastic plates
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – White Primer”
  6. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  7. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  8. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  10. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (shade)
  11. Vallejo Model Color “Sunny Skin Tone”
  12. Vallejo Model Air “Weiss” (off-white)
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  14. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Volupus Pink”
  15. Vallejo Model Color “Dark Blue”
  16. Citadel Air “Evil Sunz Scarlet”
  17. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Warp Lightning”
  18. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Contrast Medium”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  20. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Basilicanum Grey”
  21. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Nazdreg Yellow”
  22. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aggaros Dunes”
  23. Battlefront “Dark Leather”
  24. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  25. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Wyldwood”
  26. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Aethermatic Blue”
  27. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Flesh Tearers Red”
  28. Battlefront “Sicily Yellow”
  29. Vallejo Mecha Color “Turquoise”
  30. Vallejo Game Air “Dead White”
  31. Vallejo Game Air “Escorpena Green”
  32. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Blood Angels Red”
  33. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Iyanden Yellow”
  34. Citadel “Yriel Yellow”
  35. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Apothecary White”
  36. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Ork Flesh”
  37. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Talassar Blue”
  38. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Militarum Green”
  39. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Creed Camo”
  40. Vallejo Model Color “Glossy Black”
  41. Vallejo Model Color “Light Flesh”
  42. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Gulliman Flesh”
  43. Army Painter “Flesh Wash” (wash)
  44. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Fyreslayer Flesh”
  45. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  46. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Skeleton Hordes”
  47. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Terradon Turquoise”
  48. Vallejo Game Air “Sun Yellow”
  49. P3 “Cygnar Blue Highlight”
  50. Vallejo Game Air “Electric Blue”
  51. Americana “Desert Sand”
  52. Vallejo Model Air “Matt Varnish”
  53. Elmer’s PVA Glue
  54. Army Painter “Brown Battlefields” (flocking)
  55. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  56. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  57. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  58. Army Painter “Grass Green” (flocking)

Thanks for looking!!